Brock Lesnar is something of an enigma. The “genetic freak” as he is called, has been one of the biggest attractions in the World Wrestling Entertainment during his times with the company, firstly from 2002 to 2004 and since 2012 to the present day. In the interim, he went on to conquer to the world of mixed martial arts (MMA) in the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC). He entered the octagon for the first time in February, 2008. By November in the same year, he was the UFC Heavyweight Champion, going on to hold the belt for the longest duration in its history.
Here, we take a look at what lies in store in 2017 for the “Beast Incarnate” in WWE, and talk about a possible return to the UFC as well.
A Gimmick Wearing Thin
Despite once being a special attraction, Lesnar’s match-ups and fighting style are now slowly but surely wearing thin with the fans. His matches usually see him dominate right from the start, and his limited move-set mainly only includes German suplexes and his finishing maneuver, the F5. It used to be great to see a man dispose off fellow wrestlers with such ease, but the lack of variety is now very apparent.
Lesnar has stuck to the very same gimmick since his return to the WWE in 2012. With the absolutely brilliant orator Paul Heyman as his mouthpiece, he has been portrayed as an unstoppable monster. He was chosen as the man to break the Undertaker’s 21-0 winning streak at Wrestlemania XXX in 2014. Later that year, he absolutely dismantled John Cena in the main event of Summerslam to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
He continued in the same vein in 2015, and had a solid year. A Match of the Year candidate with John Cena and Seth Rollins at the Royal Rumble was followed by a surprisingly good main Wrestlemania main event against Roman Reigns. He then tussled with the Undertaker to settle old scores, and came out on top in a brutal Hell in a Cell match in the pay-per-view of the same name.
2016 though, was a big disappointment. Lesnar was eliminated by the Wyatt family at the Royal Rumble, but that didn’t lead to an eventual feud. He had an incredibly underwhelming No Holds Barred Street Fight with Dean Ambrose at Wrestlemania 32 before fighting in the UFC for the first time in 4 years. In his return to the octagon at UFC 200 as a betting favourite with My Betting Bonus and other bookmakers, he beat veteran Mark Hunt (a result that was later overturned after Lesnar tested positive for a banned substance), before returning to the WWE for Summerslam. A messy, hard-to-watch encounter with Randy Orton did him no favours, before things finally took an interesting turn at Survivor Series, when his aura of invincibility was shattered in a 1 minute, 26 second-loss against the returning Goldberg.
Plans for 2017; a Return to the UFC?
Lesnar has been confirmed as a participant in the 2017 Royal Rumble, and will almost certainly continue his feud with Goldberg. Everything points to another showdown between the two at Wrestlemania 33 in Orlando.
It will be interesting to see the direction that Lesnar’s career takes post-Wrestlemania, though. There aren’t too many major superstars on the current roster that he hasn’t worked with and beaten already. It remains to be seen if he is willing to put over young blood.
The former UFC Heavyweight Champion could look at a return to mixed martial arts. He has been given a one-year suspension by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) after failing multiple tests at UFC 200, as reported by ESPN. He will only be eligible to return to the sport on July 15.
Lesnar could be working on an extended schedule until Wrestlemania for his build-up with Goldberg. His limited number of dates with the WWE though, mean that his next assignment after Wrestlemania will almost certainly be at Summerslam. In the gap in between, another return to the octagon is very much possible.
Despite the doping scandal at UFC 200, he remains one of the biggest draws in the sport and Dana White will know that it makes perfect business sense to have him make an appearance if possible.
It’s going to be a very interesting year for Brock Lesnar. It would be incorrect to use the phrase “make-or-break”, but he will have to improvise and innovate in the WWE ring to win his aura back with the fans. We’re tired of seeing him work the same matches over and over again, and his character needs something new and fresh in the year ahead. There are hardly any doubts with his ability, as he has worked classic matches in the past against athletes ranging from Eddie Guerrero to The Big Show. The creative team needs to make the most of their prized asset.