The title says it all.
Disclaimer: In 2014, I whole-heartedly supported giving Lesnar the win over The Streak.
Let’s proceed for a moment that Brock Lesnar is, in fact, done with WWE after WrestleMania 34 is finished. He can always come back after his next UFC stint is ended and despite how sick fans are of him, I think it’s likely Vince McMahon will want him back.
Many complain that he’s a part-timer taking attention and time away from the week-in and week-out performers in WWE. The complaint is that Lesnar is a waste of millions since he only shows up a dozen times a year and only gets physical maybe a third of that time.
Fair enough, but it’s Vince’s money and he sees it as paying a guy to be a special attraction. It’s not like Brock is showing up every week to stand around while Paul Heyman sings his praises. Somehow that would be worse, wouldn’t it? If you had to choose you’d rather limit Lesnar’s “smile and hop in place” shtick to only a handful of RAWs per year, yes?
Of course, to that you say “What I’d rather have is Lesnar actually do something, even if it’s only on a handful of RAWs per year.” And I grant you, it does seem like a good bit of bad business on the part of Vince McMahon. Think about it: It’s not like Brock Lesnar is demanding he not wrestle on Monday nights. It’s simply a business decision; Vince teases him on Mondays and then hopes you’ll shell out $9.99 if you haven’t already done so to watch him wrestle on (one of three? four?) Sunday(s a year).
Lesnar is being paid lots of money to be a special attraction; someone to draw eyeballs and drive ticket sales. And yet, how is he being booked? He stands around while Paul Heyman talks about him in the third person. Is that really drawing eyeballs? Are there people on the fence about picking up tickets to RAW who say to themselves “well...it says Brock Lesnar will be there. It’d be nice to see him thrust his arms and scream without pyro, and listen to Paul Heyman tell me how great he is...I’M IN!”?
I must admit though, on the times Heyman does his thing and Lesnar isn’t standing (hopping) right next to him, it does feel like something’s missing.
And then there are the rare bird times when he does get physical, like on PPV or an occasional house show. Here again you see the idea behind Lesnar as a special attraction, but the execution is counter-productive. If you want me to pay money to watch Lesnar wrestle, doesn’t it behoove you to have him work more than a five minute match? At some point aren’t you just spitting in the face of the fans who paid to watch? How much saliva can one fanbase take?
Wouldn’t it be better to book Lesnar to work something more than a “five move” match? And I don’t mean “five move” like “herp derp Hogan only uses five moves,” I mean the man literally does five things, boom-boom-boom-boom-boom and then wins. Why pay to see that? What’s the point?
Ah, you say, but this time it’s intentional! They’re sending Lesnar out there to look like a jerk so fans will boo him and cheer for Roman Reigns en route to Roman finally unseating Lesnar and sending him packing!
So then I ask again: Was ending The Streak worth that?
What has happened where you have to intentionally bait and switch your special attraction in order to get him booed? What has happened where you can’t get your heel booed after he ended the Undertaker’s undefeated streak?
That was the beginning of this, right? I’m not misremembering? Before WrestleMania 30, Brock Lesnar was a pedestrian 4-2 in his return-career in WWE. He lost to John Cena at Extreme Rules 2012 (in one of the most moronic decisions ever for a dozen reasons let’s not go there), defeated Triple H at SummerSlam, then lost to Triple H at WrestleMania 29, then beat Triple H (because everyone was just dying for THREE TRIPLE H MATCHES IN A ROW) at Extreme Rules. He then defeated CM Punk at SummerSlam and laid out the Big Show at the Royal Rumble. He entered Mania 30 on a three-game winning-streak but looking entirely mortal.
Then he beat the Deadman.
Since then, take a guess how many times he’s eaten a pin or been submitted? It’s twice (Undertaker, SummerSlam 2015 and Goldberg, Survivor Series 2016).
So without question Undertaker’s streak was laid on the altar and sacrificed in order to make Lesnar—a bonafide UFC heavyweight champion with a prior WWF/E record as a monster in his own right—an unbeatable looking superstar (nevermind the fact that both of the aforementioned loses greatly diminished the victory over the streak, in that he submitted to the guy he beat and was punked out by Grandpa Goldberg in a buck twenty six).
Isn’t there something wrong here?
Why was Lesnar so poorly managed after his return to WWE that they needed to offer up the most remarkable streak in scripted sports just to reset him back to factory settings? Why has Lesnar now been so poorly managed on his way out the door that he is forced to work ten second house show matches and kayfabe no-show RAW (not to mention do nothing when he yes-shows) in order to legit-anger the fanbase into booing him? Wasn’t that why they gave him the streak? To make him an unbeatable heel?
And now in less than a month will come the big payoff, the big passing of the torch, the big (third) coronation of Roman Reigns. He will steal the streak-beating powers of Lesnar like Shang Tsung steals souls and go on to have a ten year main-event career...and we’ll all look back on it in 2028 and say “It was all because he beat the guy who beat The Streak; that was the catalyst.”
Because WWE are all so brilliant at managing their talent.