The wrestling fan is a fickle creature. Yes I am talking to you, and of course, in some ways, myself when I say that. We think we always know what’s best. We have all the answers. We can fantasy “book” until we turn blue, then we stay blue when things don’t turn out they way we want. It is a vicious cycle that will go on long after we hang up our “smark” boots. Now I know the term, “most polarizing figure in the WWE,” gets thrown around a lot. It usually is attached to names such as Roman Reigns or John Cena. There is another name that needs to be at the top of that list, and his name is Brock Lesnar.
Now I am not sure if we can really call Brock “polarizing.” “Most hated” might be a better term. From some aspects I get it. It’s the usual arguments i.e., he works a very limited schedule, he makes a boatload of money, the quality of his matches are dull, yada, yada, yada. All fair points, especially in an era where being the biggest name in the WWE carries a scarlet letter. Fans always want to see their favorite wrestlers own the spotlight, and feel the part time attractions like a Brock Lesnar take those spots away from their guys. We see the Superstars of the WWE work a hellish schedule and perform on TV week in and week out. It’s natural that a performer such as Lesnar would reap a good chunk of that backlash. As much as understand that side, I can’t bring myself to jump on that bandwagon just yet. Brock Lesnar is a vital part of the WWE as a whole. Some fans refuse to believe he’s needed, but right now his role is more important than ever.
It goes without saying that Roman Reigns taking a leave of absence to focus on his health leaves a gaping hole on the RAW roster. He was the fighting champion that fans have been clamoring for since last years Wrestlemania. That has been the biggest knock on Lesnar. He’s the RAW champion and he’s never around. I never saw this as a negative. I have always been a fan of lengthy title runs, and can’t stand championship hot potato. For us fans with a little more grey in their beards, there is a precedent for this. Ric Flair, widely regarded as the greatest champion to ever breathe, won the World Championship from Ricky Steamboat in May of ’89. He would only defend the title 5 times on TV between then and July of ’90, when he was defeated by Sting. Lesnar defended the Universal Championship 6 times, between Wrestlemania 33 and Summerslam ’18. Now I know what the arguments against these numbers will be. “Flair traveled everywhere” and “it was a different time.” Look I’m sorry there wasn’t 78 hours of programming every week back in the late 80’s to fill. The idea of champion that isn’t around all the time makes it special. Don’t forget the Universal title is only 2+ years old. When it debuted the only thing people talked about was what color it was. Since Lesnar won, people only talked about getting the belt off of him! That tells you one thing, it matters now! His part time schedule and big money contract did their job. It made a brand new title relevant.
This past weekend at Crown Jewel, much to the fans ire, we saw Brock Lesnar become the first ever 2-time Universal Champion. The fact of the matter is that this was the only logical move the WWE could make. We have no idea how far ahead WWE has storyline plans in place. Roman Reigns is out indefinitely, and it came out of nowhere. It is safe to say the writing team had to throw out weeks, even months of programming in an instant. Also, reports are indicating the Braun Strowman has been playing through a few injuries. The best move they could have made was to ante up to Lesnar, and put the title back on him. It allows you to utilize the most important resource any of us have….time. Brock Lesnar will not be on TV every week, which allows the creative crew time to come up with fresh stories moving forward, and not scrambling to figure out what to do. It allows Strowman time to get healthy. It allows Drew McIntyre time to further establish himself as a main event player on RAW. Also, wouldn’t you rather have one of those guys win their first WWE world title at a major show stateside, instead of in Saudi Arabia? It’s the smart play. We can’t let emotions get the best of us.
Wrestling fans are, if anything, passionate. It is that passion that makes wrestling the best thing in the world. However, we can not let that passion blind us. We need to look at the bigger picture. Just because a situation did not turn out the way you may of have wished, or predicted, does not mean it is the wrong move. Brock Lesnar is the Universal Champion. It was the right thing to do given the circumstances. If that pisses you off, fine. That doesn’t mean that Brock Lesnar isn’t the champion RAW needs right now. I can only beg you to not look at this is a vacuum, and see the more exciting scenario that looms. Who’s going to be the guy that beats him?