LAS VEGAS - JULY 03: Brock Lesnar reacts after his second round submission victory against Shane Carwin to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship Unification bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 3 2010 in Las Vegas Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Now that Brock Lesnar is officially back on the WWE roster and working advertised dates like tonight's (April 9, 2012) Raw and this month's Extreme Rules pay-per-view event, his past dealings in the pro wrestling world will both be laid bare for all to see and be reminded of, and to be criticized from all sides.
Lesnar was given a WWE contract coming out of college, where he was a national champion amateur wrestler. After a few years in a developmental territory, he was called up to the main roster and quickly became one of the most successful superstars in the history of the promotion. He was the youngest guy to win the title and beat a who's who of legends on his way through the ranks.
But it didn't take long for "The Next Big Thing" to be come "The Latest Big Burnout." Lesnar hated the travel schedule and rigors of the road. Injuries and the drugs to deal with those injuries all simply became too much for him and he got out while the getting was still good, just two years after he first arrived on the scene.
This, of course, caused a great deal of resentment amongst those in the locker room. Because when you're welcomed into the WWE fraternity, the prevailing attitude is that it's supposed to be for life. Most guys get in and get big like Brock and never manage to get back out.
Lesnar refused to conform, so he's been buried in promos by various wrestlers throughout the years. Once he found success with the UFC as a mixed martial artist, the old WWE personalities came out of the woodwork to go to events he was competing on and get a little bit of that shine Lesnar found in legitimate sport.
But the attitude has once again changed now that Brock has left said sport and is back to take another bite at the pro wrestling pie. And he's doing it for big, big money too. Naturally, not unlike The Rock, he's facing potential problems backstage, as superstars of today make their voices heard.
That includes CM Punk, who today told FOX 5 in Washington his thoughts on Lesnar's return. And he's got a biting remark to go with it:
"I'm going to hold out judgement and wait to see what Brock does. Brock, unfortunately, has that cloud over his head of him kind of cracking under the pressure of being WWE champion and splitting before. So we'll just have to wait and see how he does."
Those comments underscore the nature of those within the industry on the level of a guy like Punk. While we may perceive Lesnar's actions as a health-conscious decision to better his life, others can just as easily say Lesnar was just a quitter who couldn't handle being WWE champion.
That said, Punk is a high profile superstar who admitted The Rock changed his opinion of him by the time WrestleMania 28 was over. Maybe Lesnar will do the same by the time WrestleMania 29 rolls around.
It should be most interesting to see how many "anonymous" wrestlers crop up to bash Lesnar in light of this, though. All is gravy for now but that will undoubtedly change as he gets deeper into the dates on his contract and issues start cropping up with how WWE is using him.
It sure is a good time to be a fan, isn't it?