Brock has been back, on and off, for quite a while now. His time in the WWE has been very controversial, whether it was Undertaker’s broken streak or the prominence of a part-time champion. A lot of people voice their frustration with his limited appearances or his physical conditioning, but the positives have certainly outweighed the negatives up to this point. Below is a list of reasons why Brock’s return has been very beneficial for the WWE:
Shattering the Comfort Zone
For years now, we as wrestling fans have complained about the predictability and stale feeling of WWE’s booking. Cena main-eventing every other PPV is still happening, but there have been other moments which resulted in a legitimate surprise. Undertaker losing, Cena being squashed, and very impressive matches with HHH have been some of the most memorable moments of the past few years. Having a part-time wrestler with name recognition is forcing WWE to think outside of the box. While each decision is mostly driven by the WWE Network and merchandise, the booking has still been fresher than in years past. Most importantly, no one is untouchable. The Undertaker can be beat. John Cena can be squashed.
The Championship Unification
I remain a big fan of the belt unification. With the current roster, there weren’t many wrestlers that could come out and declare a singular belt: Cena, The Rock, Brock, and Undertaker come to mind. If Cena had been the face of the unified belt, everyone would have just said, “Here we go, Cena getting over again.” The Rock and Undertaker aren’t around. Brock had to be the guy.
Yes, there have been PPV’s where the belt hasn’t been defended. That part of the unification was the one risk WWE was facing when they merged the belts. So what was better, Jack Swagger vs. Mark Henry as a belt being defended or no belt on a PPV? People tend to take a very hard stance on a championship presence during a PPV, but the WWE Network has changed the format of these shows. No longer does a $40 purchase dictate what a customer demands. Ever since Wrestlemania, the PPV’s have felt more like a wrestling-only Monday Night Raw. The only event that felt significant was Summerslam, thanks to Brock’s match with Cena and Stephanie’s match with Brie Bella. Is it a coincidence that the two best matches came from wrestlers that are not permanent in-ring competitors? No, it certainly isn’t. The WWE still does not grasp how to book their mainstays in a consistently compelling manner. If wrestlers like Brock and Stephanie can surprise the hell out of us, then what’s the issue?
Think about how quickly individuals such as The Miz, Jack Swagger, and Shemeus all became champions. It was before their time, and careers have suffered as a result. With Brock not appearing at every PPV, wrestlers such as Dean Ambrose get to main event a PPV. Not only are they wrestling, but their match really matters, without WWE feeling forced to put a belt on one of them. For too long, wrestlers had to be pushed with either squash matches or early championships, which both never, never, ever result in a good outcome. As you can tell, these two facets of wrestling are my biggest pet peeves. Sure, Rusev squashed his way into success. However, 99% of the time it’s either burying good wrestlers, only to have WWE pull back halfway through. Dolph Ziggler, Fandango, and The Miz have all been recent jobbers. These aren’t wrestlers on the precipice of superstardom, but it kills any momentum they have. We can all hope that a title reign for Rusev, Reigns, or Ambrose is still a long-ways out. Remember when Ryback was a championship contender? How did that work out for him?
With Brock Lesnar currently being booked as a monster, we can all assume the way WWE uses him moving forward will be very different. Brock is expected to stay with the company after Wrestlemania 31, as he doesn’t have any other opportunities as lucrative or convenient. Next year, the WWE can use Brock to help shape their future. When Daniel Bryan returns, he will still be very over with the crowd. After one or two matches with Brock, Bryan will be looked at as a worthy contender again in the eyes of the WWE universe.
We watched Lesnar face HHH, Undertaker, and Cena. Well, now Brock is currently super-over…the most he will ever be. Let’s see him have some great, maybe non-title matches with Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose, and Cesaro. Let’s use his name recognition and reputation to build the stars that will still be with the company five years from now. If you look that far down the road, John Cena and Randy Orton will be part-time, Undertaker and Brock Lesnar will be long gone, and HHH will be nothing but a Vince McMahon-type face of the company. WWE, your time with Brock Lesnar has been amazing. People are once again talking about wrestling all the time. Whether its people discusing about how much they hate his schedule or how they loved watching Cena get squashed, you have a face of the company that people actually want to see main-event PPV’s. We know that you’re super obsessed with the amount of subscribers your network has or how much merchandise Cena sells, but for once, build a long-term plan. Next year, have Ambrose barely losing to Lesnar; have Cesaro swing Brock on Monday Night Raw; have Bray Wyatt beat him clean at Hell in a Cell. Once the streak was broken, the equity in a win over Brock skyrocketed. Please don’t waste it.