The “promo” Paul Heyman posted to Facebook this weekend has been interpreted by many as pointing to Bobby Lashley as the favorite in Extreme Rules’ multi-man match to determine Brock Lesnar’s next challenger. And it very well may be designed to do that. Lashley has already responded, clearly hoping he’s next in line for a match he’s been openly campaigning for since before he re-signed with WWE:
I never ducked @BrockLesnar in college. I never had the chance to meet him earlier in @WWE. Never was in same #MMA organization. Now we're both here again in #WWE. I'm ready. Let's do it. I'd LOVE to fight Brock. Take that any way you want!— Bobby Lashley (@fightbobby) June 24, 2018
It’s a decent way to build toward The Beast vs. The Dominator, although most of the responses I’ve seen have been along the lines of “gah, just so Lashley wins”. Fans - at least the vocal online ones - remain desperate for an end to Lesnar’s Universal Title reign, aka “holding the belt hostage”, however they can get it.
What Heyman’s screed largely does (other than introduce into kayfabe what a lot of people think WWE thinks about some Raw Superstars like Kevin Owens and Finn Bálor) is clearly introduce the idea of Brock holding the Universal Championship scene hostage into the on-screen story. The picture his Advocate paints of a man too big for the sport, waiting for an opponent who presents a large enough payday while openly weighing his options from another sport, looks a lot like what UFC is dealing with with their top draw. The only thing Lesnar needs to do fit the Conor McGregor mold is attack a bus at an event he’s not booked on...
“Exactly what is the criterion being used as the hiring process at WWE.com? I truly believe all those who fail to find employment through Human Resources end up in World Wrestling Entertainment’s version of modified English housed in the digital marketing division. Their latest clickbait is to put up a poll asking you, the WWE Universe, to voice your individual and collective opinion as to whom should be Brock Lesnar’s next challenger. It amazes me that no one has smartened up these recklessly ignorant wannabes and explained to them that Brock Lesnar does what Brock Lesnar wants to do. Who’s going to challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship? Whomever is big enough box office to lure Brock Lesnar into a match that makes Brock Lesnar the type of money he commands for a fight.
Who’s that going to be?
Roman Reigns? The second generation superstar who was second to beat Undertaker at WrestleMania, who failed in his second WrestleMania attempt to take the top title from Brock Lesnar, and similarly failed in his second attempt this year alone in Saudi Arabia? No, Brock Lesnar has no interest in the Sloppy Second Samoan!
Bobby Lashley? The Man Who Would Be Lesnar? The supposed college standout who won the NAIA Championship because he knew the competition for the Division 1 Championship was too fierce? By the way, remember, when Bobby won the NAIA Title that no one really cared about, Brock Lesnar was making national headlines winning the D1 Heavyweight Championship. When Bobby saw Brock Lesnar ascend to become the biggest box office attraction in UFC, Bobby knew he had no chance against Brock, so he hid behind Scot Coker’s tomato cans in Strikeforce and Bellator, hoping to look good enough to graduate into a once-in-a-lifetime payday position against Brock Lesnar, who has never even heard about Bobby except the few times I mention Bobby’s name to Brock, and always as the punchline to a joke about the pitiful level of pseudo-athletes who think they are even in Brock’s league.
And then there’s the list of Kurt Angle’s Lesnar-less roster members who will forever practice the intellectual masturbation of thinking they are worthy of sharing the bill with the single biggest attraction in either WWE or UFC. When will the decision makers in WWE grow up and realize the unique status Brock Lesnar has achieved? Why do you think I adamantly refuse to ADVOCATE for anyone else? I don’t want to Walk with Elias. I don’t care who Gets Braun Strowman’s Hands; don’t want to know why Bobby Roode thinks he’s Glorious; have no interest in witnessing Finn Balor prove he’s the best in-ring performer on RAW; no inclination to watch Kevin Owens KO his midcard status; don’t know why Kurt Angle even has a job, and don’t want to Burn it Down with Seth Freakin’ Rollins.
I want to CONQUER with Brock Lesnar. And until there’s someone who proves themselves to be able to carry their part of the main event, I will continue to ADVOCATE that my client, the reigning defending undisputed Universal Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar rejects every request by WWE to exploit his box office appeal and concentrate on more pressing, “Ultimate” opportunities that exist at the moment!”
It’s been said Brock’s on a date-by-date deal with The ‘E at this point, and not even confirmed for SummerSlam. And the story Heyman’s selling makes it sound like his negotiations with Vince McMahon on behalf of his client are the reason there’s been no announcement about when the winner of Extreme Rules’ #1 contender match will get a shot at The Beast. So even what’s being reported about Lesnar’s legitimate contract status with WWE fits this narrative.
It’s taken a long time to get here, but whoever eventually defeats him - or cashes in on him or the person who eventually defeats him - will receive a massive pop. Who will that be? When will it happen? Those are whole other topics.
But it does look like Vince is modeling his SummerSlam story after Dana White’s headache. Which is probably more fun than when he was booking his WrestleMania story around his own headache.