It's a happy 40th birthday for former amateur wrestler, former mixed martial artist, and current professional wrestler Brock Edward Lesnar.
Born and raised on a dairy farm in Webster, South Dakota, Brock is the second youngest of four children (he has two older brothers in Troy and Chad and a younger sister in Brandi). He joined the National Guard at age 17, but was assigned to office duty after he was deemed a liability around explosiveness due to red-green colorblindness. After failing a computer typing test, he lost the job and went to work for a construction company.
Lesnar attended Webster High School, where he played football and competed in amateur wrestling. He was a two-time South Dakota state champion as a heavyweight, including winning all 33 of his matches his senior year. Lesnar's success on the mat carried over to the college level, winning the National Junior College Athletic Association heavyweight championship his sophomore year for Bismarck State College.
After transferring to the University of Minnesota on a wrestling scholarship, Lesnar, who roommated with teammate/assistant coach/future pro wrestler Shelton Benjamin, would continue his winning ways. In his junior year, he was the NCAA Division I runner-up in the heavyweight class to Stephen Neal. In his senior year in 2000, he won the national title in the same division. The four-time All-American rounded out his collegiate career with a 106-5 record.
Shortly after his senior year in college, Lesnar signed with the WWF. He was assigned to their developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling, where he befriended Paul Heyman. He would be one half of the Minnesota Stretching Crew with Shelton Benjamin and would win the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship three times in 2001. Lesnar also wrestled several dark matches in 2001 and 2002 before being called up to the main roster.
Lesnar made his WWF television debut on the March 18, 2002 RAW, coming through the crowd and attacking Al Snow, Maven, and Spike Dudley during the WWF Hardcore Championship match. He was accompanied by Paul Heyman, last seen on WWF television being fired by Vince McMahon. Following the introduction of the brand extension a week later, Heyman was confirmed as the agent for Lesnar, touting him as "The Next Big Thing". Lesnar's first major feud came against the Hardy Boyz. Lesnar's in-ring debut came at Backlash when he TKO'd Jeff Hardy. He would do the same to Jeff's older brother Matt the next night on RAW.
Lesnar quickly ran through the rank and file of the RAW roster, including defeating Bubba Ray Dudley, Booker T, Test, and Rob Van Dam to win the King of the Ring tournament in 2002. With the win, he earned a WWE Undisputed Championship match at Summerslam. Just a month after winning the King of the Ring tournament, Lesnar joined the Smackdown brand. He briefly feuded with Hollywood Hulk Hogan and would be the first to score a TKO victory over Hogan in a WWE ring.
On August 25, 2002, Lesnar defeated The Rock to become the WWE Undisputed Champion. The win made Lesnar, at the time just 25, the youngest WWE Champion in company history, knocking ironically The Rock from the record books. He also was the second fastest to the WWE Championship, winning it just 126 days after his television debut (only Ric Flair at 113 days did it faster).
As the championship was being defended on both shows at the time, Lesnar was expected to appear on RAW the next night. It was then Smackdown general manager Stephanie McMahon dropped a bomb: Lesnar would only be required to defend the title on Smackdown; the ruling forced Eric Bischoff to create a new championship, the World Heavyweight Championship. With the WWE now having two world titles, the word "Undisputed" was dropped from the WWE Undisputed Championship.
Lesnar's rapid ascent to the top of the WWE caught the eye of The Undertaker. The two would have a pair of PPV bouts; the first at Unforgiven resulted in a double disqualification. The second came in a Hell in a Cell match at No Mercy. Prior to the bout, the Undertaker suffered a broken hand (kayfabe) that required him to wear a cast to prevent further damage. Despite Heyman and Lesnar pleading their case to not allow Undertaker to use the cast, the match went on as planned with the Undertaker allowed to use the cast. Not surprisingly, it came into play in the match. Lesnar bled. Undertaker bled. Even Paul Heyman bled. In the end, it was a tombstone piledriver reversed into an F-5 that got Lesnar the win and a successful title defense.
Brock feuded next with Big Show. Heyman repeatedly convinced Lesnar that he could not defeat Big Show and he shouldn't defend his title against him. Lesnar refused and the match was on for Survivor Series. Lesnar hit the F-5 on Big Show, but as the referee counted the fall, Heyman pulled the referee out of the ring. Show took advantage of the distraction, chokeslamming Lesnar on a steel chair and winning the WWE Championship.
The result was the first pinfall defeat for Lesnar and essentially a face turn. Big Show would be WWE Champion for all of a month, as Lesnar gained revenge by costing Show the title against Kurt Angle at Armageddon. It was pretty much all he could do, as a clause in the Survivor Series contract stated that Lesnar wasn't entitled to a rematch.
Angle would take on Heyman as his manager, and Paul again declared that Brock would not get a WWE title match. Lesnar would be beaten down by Angle and Big Show, but when the Smackdown following Armageddon went off the air, he knocked out Big Show with a steel chair, and incapacitated Angle, giving him an F-5 to the ring post and a kneebreaker on the ringside barricade.
Lesnar resumed his feud with Big Show and Heyman, culminating with Lesnar defeating Show at the 2003 Royal Rumble. The win got Lesnar into the titular match later in the show, which he would go on to win, eliminating Matt Hardy, both members of the World's Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas and one-time roommate of Lesnar, Shelton Benjamin), and The Undertaker. The win guaranteed Lesnar a match at Wrestlemania XIX.
Two months later, Lesnar would defeat Angle at Wrestlemania to win the WWE Championship for a second time. Late in that bout, Lesnar attempted a shooting star press. Hitting the move numerous times while in developmental bouts, Lesnar under-rotated and botched the move on this night, jamming his head and neck. Lesnar would suffer a concussion from the botch. Needless to say, Brock has not attempted the move since.
Lesnar next turned his attention to John Cena, whom he injured in February the same way he took Angle out. Cena would rename his finisher the F-U as a jab at Lesnar (the name would stick for more than five years). Cena won a #1 contender's tournament to challenge Lesnar for the WWE Championship, but would be defeated by Lesnar.
Brock resumed his feud with Big Show when he saved Rey Mysterio from a stretcher assault. This led to a stretcher match at Judgment Day in which Lesnar won with help from Mysterio and a forklift. A few weeks later, the two had a memorable bout on Smackdown where the ring collapsed following a top rope superplex. Around that time, Kurt Angle returned from neck surgery and began pursuing the WWE Championship. The two were friendly rivals, even when Angle defeated Lesnar and Big Show in a triple threat match at Vengeance for the WWE Championship.
Lesnar continued his chase of the WWE Championship, but his rivalry with Angle soon crossed streams with Mr. McMahon's rivalry with Zach Gowen. In early August, Lesnar and McMahon were set to face off in a steel cage with Kurt Angle as the referee. Lesnar passed out (kayfabe) and McMahon was set to pin Lesnar, but Angle refused to count. The two argued, and Lesnar kipped up. It turned out to be an elaborate ruse, as Angle was on the business end of an F-5. Lesnar brutally beat Angle as McMahon watched, then celebrated with McMahon, essentially turning him heel.
Lesnar and Angle fought at Summerslam, and despite Mr. McMahon's interference, Lesnar was defeated via submission by Angle. The two would meet one last time in a one-hour Ironman match on the September 18, 2003 episode of Smackdown. Lesnar would defeat Angle 5-4 to regain the WWE Championship.
Late in the year, Lesnar resumed his feud with The Undertaker, whom he had previously cost the WWE Championship in a bout against Kurt Angle. The two met at No Mercy, with Lesnar defeating Undertaker in a Biker Chain match with help from Mr. McMahon.
After suffering just his second submission defeat at the hands of Chris Benoit during an elimination tag match at Survivor Series, Brock turned his attention to Hardcore Holly. Holly suffered a legitimate neck injury during a bout against Lesnar in 2002, costing him a year of his career due to neck surgery. Holly wanted revenge obviously. The two met at the 2004 Royal Rumble event, and Lesnar retained the WWE Championship. He would have an impact in the show's Royal Rumble match later when he attacked Goldberg and hit an F-5 on him, leading Lesnar's old rival Kurt Angle to eliminate Goldberg.
Brock next feuded with Eddie Guerrero, who won a 15-man Royal Rumble match for a WWE title opportunity at No Way Out. Late in the bout, Goldberg speared Lesnar with the referee down. Guerrero tried to take advantage, but Lesnar kicked out. Brock then went for an F-5, but was countered into a DDT. One frog splash later, and Eddie defeated Lesnar for the WWE Championship.
Lesnar was irate, and instead of turning his attention to Guerrero and the title, he went after Goldberg. Brock was also angry at Stone Cold Steve Austin for planting the suggestion to run in during the title match at No Way Out. Lesnar attacked Austin and stole his ATV. Soon after, Austin was named the special referee for the Lesnar-Goldberg match at Wrestlemania XX. Two weeks before Wrestlemania, Lesnar defeated Hardcore Holly in what would turn out to be his final bout on an over-the-air WWE show.
It turned out that not only Goldberg was leaving following Wrestlemania XX; the Tuesday before the event, rumors surfaced that Brock was heading out too, pursuing a career in the NFL. The Lesnar-Goldberg bout, won by Goldberg, would not be well received by the Madison Square Garden crowd (nor wrestling fans in general; the bout was voted sixth worst of 2004 by Wrestling Observer Newsletter readers). Post-match, both Lesnar and Goldberg would get Stone Cold Stunners by Austin.
Despite not playing football since high school, Lesnar began pursuing a career in the NFL following Wrestlemania XX. Lesnar told a Minnesota radio station that he had grown unhappy with wrestling and he wanted to try pro football now and not wonder when he turned 40 if he could have made it.
Though he had a good showing at the NFL Combine, his football prospects hit a major setback when his motorbike collided with a minivan; he suffered a broken jaw, broken left hand, bruised pelvis, and a pulled groin. Despite that, he was still given a tryout and an invite to training camp by the Minnesota Vikings. He played in several preseason games, but would not make the final 53-man roster. He received an invite to play in NFL Europe as a Vikings representative, but turned it down as he wanted to stay in the United States with his family. He turned down an offer to join the Canadian Football League soon after for the same reason.
Lesnar had signed a no-compete clause to be granted his release from WWE, prohibiting him from working for any wrestling or fighting company until June 2010, when his original WWE deal expired. In February 2005, Lesnar filed a restraint of trade lawsuit against WWE. WWE countersued two months later based on Lesnar breaching the agreement by appearing at a New Japan Pro Wrestling show the prior year. The two sides drop their lawsuit in July and began working on a new agreement. In August, the talks broke off when Lesnar withdrew his involvement with WWE. The two sides began working on a settlement in September.
On October 8, 2005, Lesnar would defeat Kazuyuki Fujita and Masahiro Chono in a three-way match for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. He defeated Chono with the F-5, known then as the Verdict as a shot at his lawsuit against WWE. The win made Lesnar just the fourth American-born IWGP Heavyweight Champion, joining Big Van Vader, Scott Norton, and Bob Sapp (one other American has done it since, AJ Styles in 2014).
In December, WWE filed a temporary restraining order to prevent Lesnar from continuing to work with New Japan Pro Wrestling, but the motion was denied. They tried again in Janaury after Lesnar defeated Shinsuke Nakamura at their annual January 4 show in the Tokyo Dome. In April 2006, WWE announced that the company and Lesnar reached a settlement. Despite that, WWE again filed a temporary restraining order that was also denied in May 2006.
The same month, Lesnar successfully defended his title against Giant Bernard; the bout was the first IWGP Heayvweight title match between two Americans since Vader versus Stan Hansen in 1990. It would be Lesnar's last notable defense; due to visa issues, Brock would be stripped of the title on July 15 and a tournament would be commissioned to crown a new champion the next day; it was won by Hiroshi Tanahashi.
As for Lesnar, he held on to the physical IWGP Heavyweight Championship belt for nearly a year. Lesnar was brought in by Antonio Inoki for the Inoki Genome Federation as the "proper" IWGP Heavyweight Champion as Brock was never defeated for the title. On June 29, 2007, Lesnar took on Angle in a title-for-title bout (Angle's TNA World Heavyweight Championship was also at stake); Angle would submit Lesnar for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship (IGF version). The bout would be Lesnar's last wrestling match for nearly five years. The IGF and New Japan versions of the IWGP heavyweight titles would be unified in February 2008 when Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Angle for the titles.
In April 2006, Brock Lesnar announced his intention to join Hero's, an mixed martial arts organization under the K-1 umbrella. He would officially join the promotion in August. His first scheduled fight was to take place on June 2, 2007 at K-1's Dynamite!! USA show. The fight took place on time, but instead of facing Choi Hong-man, he took on Min Soo Kim; Lesnar would submit Soo Kim due to strikes just 69 seconds into the fight.
With only one professional fight to credit, Lesnar joined the top MMA organization in the world, the Ultimate Fighting Championship in October 2007. Lesnar made his debut at UFC 81: Breaking Point against former heavyweight champion Frank Mir. Due to Lesnar's oversized hands, he wore 4XL gloves for the fight, joining Choi Hong-man as the only man in Nevada combat sports history to wear such gloves.
Lesnar gained the early advantage by taking him down and landing numerous strikes, but was docked a point for punching Mir in the back of the head. Lesnar took Mir down again, but Mir would get Lesnar in a kneebar, submitting the former NCAA and WWE heavyweight champion in just 90 seconds. Lesnar bounced back at UFC 87 when he defeated Heath Herring by unanimous decision (Lesnar was originally set to face Mark Coleman, but he withdrew due to injury).
On November 15, 2008 at UFC 91, Lesnar defeated Randy Couture via technical knockout in the second round to become the new UFC Heavyweight Champion. A month later at UFC 92, Frank Mir defeated Antonio Noguiera for the UFC interim heavyweight crown. That set up a unification bout between Mir and Lesnar. Mir suffered a knee injury prior to UFC 98, when the bout was originally set to take place. The delayed bout was moved to UFC 100 on July 11, 2009.
At UFC 100, Lesnar defeated Mir via second-round TKO to become the undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion. Post-fight, Lesnar flipped off the crowd who had been booing him and made disparaging remarks about Bud Light (the PPV's primary sponsor), saying they "won't pay me nothin'" and promoted Coors Light instead. Lesnar apologized in the post-fight press conference and endorsed Bud Light.
Lesnar was set to face the winner of Shane Carwin and Cain Velazquez from UFC 104 at UFC 106, but the match ultimately never took place, with Lesnar to take on Carwin at UFC 106. That bout would be delayed after it was announced that Lesnar had been ill for three weeks and it was the sickest he'd been in his life. UFC president Dana White later remarked that it may be a long time before he returned and that an interim title bout may be necessary.
The bout was delayed until UFC 108 in January 2010. Lesnar initially sought treatment in Canada, but after receiving what he called "third world treatment", he returned to the States to seek better health treatment. He used his experience to speak about health care reform in the United States. Oh, and it turned out that he had a case of both mononucleosis and diverticulitis, an internal disorder. The diagnosis required surgery to close a perforation that had leaked fecal matter into his abdomen (the leakage and his immune system being overworked led to the mononucleosis). It was revealed by the surgeon post surgery (it took place in November 2009) that he may have had diverticulitis for about a year.
After Shane Carwin defeated Frank Mir at UFC 111 for the interim heavyweight title, a unification bout was set. Brock Lesnar would return to the Octagon and take on Carwin at UFC 116 for the undisputed heavyweight title. Carwin knocked down Lesnar and cut him open above his left eye in the first round, but Lesnar took Carwin down in the second round and eventually finished him with an arm triangle choke. Lesnar had become the UFC undisputed Heayvweight Champion. It gave Carwin his first loss and gave Brock Lesnar a second successful title defense, tying him the record in the heavyweight division. Lesnar held the title until UFC 121 when he was defeated by Cain Velazquez by TKO in the first round.
In January 2011, Lesnar was announced as a coach for The Ultimate Fighter's thirteenth season opposite Junior dos Santos. The two were set to face off at UFC 131, but Lesnar came down with diverticulitis for a second time and had to withdraw. Shane Carwin would replace Lesnar and would be defeated by him.
Lesnar returned to the Octagon at UFC 141 against Alistar Overeem. Overeem won via TKO in the first round. The result remains controversial due to Overeem testing positive for an elevated level of testosterone; the failed drug test resulted in Overeem being pulled from UFC 146. Post-fight, Lesnar announced his retirement from MMA, citing his struggles with diverticulitis.
After eight years away from WWE, Brock returned to the company the night after Wrestlemania XXVIII in 2012, confronting John Cena and giving him an F-5. Lesnar, who was brought back in storyline to "bring legitimacy back to the WWE" faced Cena at Extreme Rules in an extreme rules match. Lesnar dominated the bout until Cena hit Lesnar with a fist wrapped in a steel chain, followed by an Attitude Adjustment on the steel steps.
Lesnar would next feud with Triple H. The feud began after Triple H, the WWE's Chief Operating Officer, refused to cave to Lesnar's outrageous contract demands (including a private jet and having RAW named after him). The confrontation turned physical, with Lesnar breaking Triple H's arm (kayfabe) via a Kimura lock. The next week, Paul Heyman returned to the company as Lesnar's legal advisor and announced that Lesnar was quitting WWE and he was going to sue the company for breach of contract. Eventually, Lesnar and Triple H agreed to a bout (through Heyman and Stephanie McMahon) for Summerslam. At that event, Lesnar defeated Triple H in a no disqualification match and again broke Triple H's arm (in kayfabe). Claiming he had conquered the company, Lesnar declared himself to be the new "King of Kings" and he was leaving WWE.
Brock returned following the 2013 Royal Rumble and just as Vince McMahon was about to fire Paul Heyman, Lesnar gave McMahon an F-5, injuring his pelvis (kayfabe). Lesnar attempted again to injure McMahon a month later, only to get into a brawl with the returning Triple H. Lesnar was cut open and needed 18 stitches to close the wound. Eventually, the two agreed to a bout at Wrestlemania 29, under the condition that Triple H got it in writing and Lesnar named the stipulation. Once Triple H signed the deal, he found out the stipulation: no holds barred, with Triple H's career on the line. Triple H would go on to win the bout following a Pedigree on steel steps.
Just over a week later, Lesnar returned and attacked 3MB (Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre, and Jinder Mahal), and Heyman on his behalf challenged Triple H to a steel cage match at Extreme Rules. Triple H accepted the following week. A month later at Extreme Rules, Lesnar defeated Triple H with help from Heyman.
Lesnar next feuded with CM Punk. On the June 17 RAW, Lesnar gave Punk, a fellow client of Paul Heyman, an F-5. Punk accused Heyman of ordering the hit, but Heyman denied any involvement. At Money in the Bank, Heyman turned on Punk, claiming that he could not defeat Lesnar. The next night, Lesnar returned and attacked Punk. The following week, Punk challenged Lesnar to a match at Summerslam. The bout, a no disqualification match, was won by Lesnar. It would be Brock's final bout of the year.
Brock and Paul returned at the end of 2013 with the intention of challenging for the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble event, then issued a challenged to anyone that disagreed. Mark Henry disagreed, and he and Lesnar would get into a brawl, ending with an F-5 by Lesnar to Henry. The next week, the two brawled again, and Lesnar would dislocate Henry's elbow (kayfabe). That brought out Big Show, who confronted Lesnar. The two would face off at the Royal Rumble event, with Lesnar getting the jump on Show with a steel chair before the match began. Lesnar would defeat Show in just two minutes.
Lesnar and Heyman returned a month later on RAW. Since Brock wasn't getting a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match, he would get to face anyone of his choosing. The Undertaker returned and chokeslammed Lesnar, effectively setting up their bout at Wrestlemania XXX. On April 6, Brock with three F-5's did the unthinkable: he defeated The Undertaker in what Sports Illustrated called "the most shocking result since the Montreal Screwjob". The defeated ended The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania win streak at 21.
In July, Triple H announced that Brock Lesnar would challenge John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Summerslam. At that event, Lesnar dominated Cena with sixteen suplexes (many of them German suplexes) and two F-5s. Cena had minimal offense en route to Lesnar's first WWE Championship in a decade. Cena would invoke his rematch clause for Night of Champions, but Lesnar would be disqualified due to interference from Seth Rollins. Though Cena won the match, the title did not change hands.
Lesnar would not return until the new year, and Rollins and Cena would both challenge for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the 2015 Royal Rumble. Despite suffering a rib injury (kayfabe), Lesnar retained the title.
In March 2015, Lesnar effectively closed the door on his MMA career during an interview on ESPN's Sportscenter when he announced he had re-signed a deal with WWE. Though he remarked that felt great physically, he felt that "something was lacking mentally", and his return to WWE meant he could work part-time and get full-time pay, despite Lesnar being offered "ten times more" than what he had made previously in his MMA career.
Next in line for Brock was Roman Reigns, who won the Royal Rumble match for the right to challenge for the title. Similar to his Summerslam bout, Lesnar delivered multiple suplexes to Reigns, leading Lesnar to quip, "Suplex city, bitch!" The phrase quickly caught on and would become a signature catchphrase and be stuck on a quite a few shirts. The back-and-forth brutal bout had quite the unexpected finish: Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase mid-match, making it a triple threat match. Rollins would pin Reigns to win the title. The next night, Brock invoked his rematch clause, but Rollins refused. Brock would take out his aggression on Booker T, John "Bradshaw" Layfield, Michael Cole, and a cameraman, leading Stephanie McMahon to indefinitely suspend Lesnar.
The indefinite suspension lasted all of two months, as Lesnar returned in June as the announced challenger for Seth Rollins' WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Battleground. Brock returned to the ring at The Beast in the East event in Tokyo in July with a quick victory over Kofi Kingston. At Battleground, Lesnar used the "suplex, repeat" offense that got him the title a year prior: 13 suplexes and multiple F-5. But mid-pinfall, The Undertaker returned, attacking Lesnar, chokeslamming him, and giving him two tombstone piledrivers. Lesnar would win the match, but not the title.
The next night on RAW, Undertaker explained why he attacked Lesnar: not because he ended the Wrestlemania streak, but because Lesnar allowed Heyman rubbed Undertaker's proverbial face in it for over a year. Undertaker and Lesnar would get into a pull-apart brawl. The two would meet in a Wrestlemania XXX rematch at Summerslam. At that event, Undertaker defeated Lesnar despite Undertaker tapping out to the Kimura lock. The bell rung, but the referee never saw the submission. The match was restarted, with Undertaker kicking Lesnar low, followed by him putting Lesnar in the Hell's Gate gogopolata. The next night, Lesnar and Heyman demanded a rematch, only to be mocked by Bo Dallas. Bo would be victimized to the tune of three German suplexes and an F-5.
Lesnar and Undertaker fought one last time at Hell in a Cell in a Hell in a Cell match in October. Lesnar defeated Undertaker following a low blow and an F-5 to the exposed floor. The bout was voted the match of the year at the 2015 Slammy Awards.
Lesnar returned on the January 11 RAW, attacking the New Day, the League of Nations, and Kevin Owens before delivering an F-5 to Roman Reigns. Lesnar and Reigns would brawl again the next week, but both would be attacked by The Wyatt Family. Lesnar would enter the Royal Rumble match later in the month at #23, eliminating four men before being ousted by Bray Wyatt and the rest of the Wyatt Family.
Despite the setback, Lesnar was named one of the top three contenders for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. He faced off against Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns at Fastlane for the right to challenge for Triple H's title at Wrestlemania 32. Lesnar dominated the bout, but would not factor into the finish after he was put through two announce tables by Ambrose and Reigns. Roman went on to win the bout when he defeated Dean. Lesnar attacked Ambrose the next night on RAW, but Lesnar would return later in the night, challenging Lesnar to a no holds barred street fight at Wrestlemania 32. Lesnar would defeat Ambrose at that event.
Despite "closing the door on MMA" the prior year, UFC announced in early June that Brock Lesnar was returning to the Octagon for UFC 200. WWE themselves confirmed that the return was a one-shot deal in preparation for his return to the company at Summerslam. At UFC 200, Lesnar, representing Canada for the first time, defeated Mark Hunt via unanimous decision thanks in part to 32 significant ground strikes in the final round.
Lesnar received $2.5 million for the fight, a record for the company. He would have to give $250,000 of it back after it was found he had failed two USADA-administered drug tests. Lesnar’s win was changed to a no contest. He would be also be suspended for one year by the Nevada State Athletic Commission retroactive to UFC 200 in December. In February 2017, Lesnar informed UFC that he was retiring from mixed martial arts again.
Despite failing two drug tests, Lesnar received no punishment from WWE, as part-time performers (such as Lesnar) were not subjected to the company’s Wellness Policy. Around this time, he feuded with Randy Orton in what was an interbrand feud (Lesnar drafted to RAW; Orton drafed to Smackdown in the 2016 WWE Draft). The bout, billed as fifteen years in the making as the two had not met on television since September 2002, was won by Lesnar at Summerslam via technical knockout when Orton was bleeding from the forehead. Post-match, he gave Shane McMahon an F-5. About a month later, Lesnar defeated Orton in a return match in Chicago in what was billed as a Suplex City deathmatch.
Lesnar next feuded with Bill Goldberg; the feud doubled as a promotion for WWE 2K17 (Lesnar was on the cover; Goldberg was the pre-order bonus). In October, Goldberg, last seen on WWE programming at Wrestlemania XX in 2004, accepted Brock Lesnar’s challenge for a match. At Survivor Series in November, Goldberg defeated Lesnar in just 86 seconds. This was Lesnar’s first pinfall defeat in three years. He had no better luck with Goldberg in the 2017 Royal Rumble match about two months later. Despite eliminating three men in the bout, Lesnar was ousted by Goldberg with a spear after just four and a half minutes.
Lesnar challenged Goldberg to one final match at Wrestlemania 33. The bout would be for the WWE Universal Championship after Goldberg defeated Kevin Owens for the title at the prior PPV, Fastlane. This time around, Lesnar defeated Goldberg in just under five minutes, making Brock the only man to cleanly defeat Goldberg in his career. The win also made Brock the first man to hold both the WWE World and Universal championships. He made his first successful title defense earlier this week at Great Balls of Fire, defeating Samoa Joe. He is expected to defend the title again at Summerslam.
During Brock's first run in the WWE, Lesnar developed an addiction to alcohol and painkillers, drinking a bottle of vodka daily and taking hundreds of Vicodin pills monthly to ease the pain. In a 2008 interview for ESPN's E:60, the resulting addiction made him unable to remember "an entire two years" of his WWE career.
Lesnar, who previously resided in Maple Plain, Minnesota, now lives on a farm in Maryfield, Saskatchewan, Canada with his wife Rena Greek, who had multiple runs in the WWE as Sable. The couple married in May 2006. They have two sons, Turk (age 8), and Duke (who will turn 7 July 21). Lesnar also has twins with his former fiancée, Nicole McClain, Luke (born Brock Jr.) and Mya Lynn (both age 15). Lesnar has full custody of the twins, and is the stepfather of Mariah, Rena's daughter with her late husband.
In 2011, Lesnar published an autobiography, Death Clutch: My Story of Determination, Domination, and Survival. It was co-written by Paul Heyman. Lesnar has appeared in a dozen video games, including two for UFC (he was on the cover of UFC Undisputed 2010), one for the NFL (Madden NFL 06), and nine for WWE, including appearing on the cover for WWE Smackdown! Shut Your Mouth, WWE Smackdown! Here Comes the Pain, and WWE 2K17. In November 2015, Lesnar was one of eight men voted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame.
A (partial) list of accomplishments for "The Beast Incarnate", "The Conqueror of the Brocktagon", and the "One in 21-1":
- 4-time WWE Champion (including the Guinness World Record for youngest person to win the WWE Championship at 25 years, 44 days)
- WWE Universal Champion
- 2002 King of the Ring
- 2003 Royal Rumble Winner
- 5-time Slammy Award Winner
- IWGP Heavyweight Champion
- First-ever IWGP Heavyweight Champion (IGF version)
- 3-time OVW Southern Heavyweight Champion
- 2-time NCAA Division I All-American (1999, 2000)
- 2-time Big Ten Conference Champion (1999, 2000)
- NCAA Division I Heavyweight Champion (2000)
- 2-time NJCAA All-American (1997, 1998)
- NJCAA Heavyweight Champion (1998)
- 3-time North Dakota State University Bison Open tournament champion (1997-1999)
- UFC Heavyweight Champion
From Pro Wrestling Illustrated:
- 2-time Feud of the Year winner (2003 with Kurt Angle, 2015 with The Undertaker)
- 2003 Match of the Year (Ironman match vs. Kurt Angle)
- Most Improved Wrestler of 2002
- 2-time Wrestler of the Year (2002, 2014)
- #1 singles wrestler in the world in 2003's PWI 500
From Wrestling Observer Newsletter:
- Best Brawler of 2003
- Best Wrestling Maneuver of 2002 (F-5)
- 2003 Feud of the Year (Kurt Angle)
- 2-time Most Improved Wrestler (2002, 2003)
- 3-time Best Box Office Draw (2008-2010)
- 3-time MMA Most Valuable Fighter (2008-2010)
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (2015)
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