Brock Lesnar made his TV debut for WWE on March 18th 2002 and at the time he was billed as an unstoppable monster; The Next Big Thing. In just two years, Lesnar dominated the rosters of both Raw and Smackdown, carving a name for himself unlike any superstar that came before him. The physical specimen that he was, he was able to toss around anyone that found themselves in his path, including big guys like Mark Henry, A-Train, Big Show and, of course, The Undertaker. He left the WWE in 2004 in what can simply be considered a disappointing fashion by being booed out of the arena by a displeased Wrestlemania 20 crowd who knew he was on his way out.
Most will know what happened in the period since he left and ultimately returned to our WWE screens. A failed attempt at an NFL career, a stint in New Japan Pro Wrestling, then a fairly successful stint as an MMA fighter in the UFC, he eventually returned to the place where he made a name for himself; the WWE. Many celebrated his return to the WWE in 2012, especially as his first opponent was John Cena in a match many agreed was nothing short of brutal at the Extreme Rules PPV of that year. Since then he has been a star attraction for the WWE – due to his part time status – only to be brought out on special occasions to really sell a rivalry or increase interest in a PPV. So you may be wondering why all this matters and why this all justifies him ending the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania streak, well here’s why.
As much as I love the Undertaker and have an immense amount of respect for what he has done for the business, there is no doubt that he is moving toward possibly retiring in the very near future. Lesnar is still relatively young compared to some members of the active roster, and has many years ahead of him in the WWE, even if he retains his part time status. In keeping Lesnar and justifying the money the WWE are spending on him, they have to do more than just have him beat up some of the bigger stars on the roster, they have to etch something in stone that says ‘even though he’s not invincible, he’s still probably going to break you’. What better way to do that than to have Lesnar end the streak? What greater way to sell the fact that Lesnar is a force to be reckoned with than by have him be the one who ended Undertaker’s 21 match winning streak at Wrestlemania?
The streak is definitely a commodity for the WWE to sell Wrestlemania and draw people in, but that isn’t a commodity that will be around for much longer, whereas Lesnar has easily another 10 years or more in him if he keeps on the same wrestling schedule. He could be the vehicle upon which many young careers can be advanced by having them beat the guy who ended Undertaker’s Wrestlemania winning streak.
Some may argue that a young, full-time wrestler should have the opportunity to end the streak, but that is a risky practice as that bet may not pay off, especially if the bet is placed on someone who may disappear within a year or two of achieving main event status, yet they should have someone who can be used to launch the careers of a number of young and hungry talents. Someone that will be around for a lot longer, someone whose entrance music still makes you think “Well, something’s going to go down tonight”, and that someone is Brock Lesnar.
– By Steven Stewart