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It's been confirmed: Brock Lesnar is still able to move the needle at the box office for a major event, even with WWE. The SummerSlam 2012 buyrate is in and the numbers have proven it to be a smashing success.
Brock Lesnar is, in fact, kind of a big deal.
The former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion has been used sparingly by WWE since re-signing with the company around WrestleMania 28 but he's still managed to pull solid numbers on pay-per-view (PPV) for both Extreme Rules and now, SummerSlam.
This was proven when the buyrate came in recently and, according to key business indicators, the show drew 350,000 buys. According to the Wrestling Observer, 264,000 of those buys were domestic with 86,000 international. As it stands now, this will likely be the most successful SummerSlam since the 2008 show that featured a fairly deep line-up that included Undertaker vs. Edge in a Hell in a Cell match, Batista vs. John Cena, Triple H vs. Great Khali for the WWE championship, and CM Punk vs. JBL for the world heavyweight championship.
In comparison to last year's show, which was centered around Punk returning for a rematch with Cena from the wildly successful Money in the Bank PPV with Triple H as special guest referee, that event pulled 301,000 buys with 174,000 domestic.
Seeing as the show was centered almost solely around Lesnar and his blood feud against Triple H paying off in the main event, we can largely attribute the numbers to Brock (with some credit to Triple H, too), proving he's still a formidable draw at the box office, even after his embarrassing losing streak before retiring from mixed martial arts (MMA) in December of last year.
This is where it gets interesting.
Headed into SummerSlam, it was widely speculated that the buyrate would essentially determine whether or not Lesnar was worth the money WWE paid for him to come back, not to mention go a long way in helping make the decision to offer him another deal when his current contract expires at WrestleMania 29 next year.
With the success of this PPV, along with Extreme Rules, some believe Brock may have earned another contract. Though he may be difficult to work with at times, unwilling to commit to a full time schedule and expensive as all get out, it's clear at this point that he's worth every penny.
At least so far.
Actually, when you combine Lesnar's impact with that of The Rock since he's returned for a more active role, WWE is doing quite well for itself on PPV this year, certainly better than last year.
Now if they could just build some stars while they still have the services of these old lions.