by Craig Higham - August 23, 2014
Right now Brock Lesnar is the most dominate looking WWE champion since Hulk Hogan defeated Andre The Giant at Wrestlemania III. While there have been some great WWE and World champions in that 30 year period (Brett Hart, Macho Man Randy Savage, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, The Rock, Stone Cold, John Cena etc.), not since Hulk Hogan slammed Andre, has there been a champion emerge who have the fans scratching their heads saying… “Who on the roster can beat him?”
Brock Lesnar has finally emerged as the man (and Champion) the WWE had hoped when he was brought back (as a part time wrestler) April 2nd 2012. However, just like his first run in the WWE (March 18 2002 – March 14 2004), Brock Lesnar has one man he needs to thank for making him look like this unstoppable monster, and that is The Undertaker.
Back in March 18 2002, Brock Lesnar debuted and went on a rampage destroying the likes of Al Snow, Maven and Spike Dudley, before moving on and individually destroying the The Hardy Boys Jeff and Matt. Brock Lesnar went on to become the youngest ever Undisputed Champion when he defeated The Rock at the 2002 Summer Slam event. But even with the dominate rise to the top there were still fans who didn’t believe this young man deserved his place at the top, that is until he stepped up against The Undertaker.
In 2002, The Undertaker already had the reputation and the respect by the fans, and even in 2002, a win over The Undertaker was a big deal. The Undertaker had helped establish and make stars of the likes of Kurt Angle, Kane, The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin as main event players through the battles with him. And now it was the turn of Brock Lesnar.
After their first match at Unforgiven ended in a double disqualification, the rematch would be held at 2002 No Mercy PPV, in the match The Undertaker has made famous, Hell in a Cell. It was this match and subsequent victory over The Undertaker that made fans sit up and take notice of Brock Lesnar, and turn him from a possible flash in the pan, to the WWE next main event superstar. The match to this day is one of the best Hell in The Cell matches I have scene, and the punishment that both The Undertaker, and Brock Lesnar dished out and took, demonstrated just what main event matches should be. Brock lesnar walked away form No Mercy still WWE champion, but more importantly he walked away with a new found respect from many of the fans who witnessed that match. Matches and feuds against The Big Show and Kurt Angle cemented Brock Lesnar as one of the WWE top guys.
In 2004, Brock Lesnar was ready to move on and try different ‘endevours’, but instead of leaving on a high, he left the WWE after one of the worst matches in Wrestlemania history against another departing wrestler in Goldberg. The match went a long way in damaging Brock Lesnar reputation and standing he had gained during his time with the WWE.
When he returned on April 2 2012, there was immediate fan backlash. A part time contract, a loss to John Cena and an uninspiring 3 match series against Triple H, had many fans, such as myself, questioning why they brought him back. A victory over CM Punk, and a non-match where he destroyed The Big Show, was slowly rebuilding Brock as a monster, but heading into Wrestlemania 30, very few people gave Brock Lesnar any chance of ending the streak. Then we had Brock Lesnar give a dominate performance, and after 3 F-5’s the unthinkable happened and The Undertaker Wrestlemania Streak ended. In that one match Brock Lesnar reputation as the “Beast incarnate” returned. He didn’t just beat the streak, he destroyed the man who had previously defeated 21 other superstars at Wrestlemania. Winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship by destroying John Cena At the 2014 Summer Slam cemented his return to his dominating presence of the early 2000’s.
Both of Brock Lesnar’s WWE runs were heavily influenced by matches, performances and results against The Undertaker. Without those matches and results, we have to wonder if Brock Lesnar would be looked upon as he is now, as the most dominate WWE Champion in WWE history. Whatever happens in the remainder of his WWE run, on his wrestling retirement he needs to find The Undertaker, and buy him a beer or two, and thank him for making him the champion he is.
Hooroo and see you next week.
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