Earlier this week, the internet noticed that WWE removed Brock Lesnar from advertising for their May 8 WrestleMania Backlash show in Providence, RI.
This was significant if not shocking. Lesnar’s inclusion on promotional materials up until now was a bit of a surprise to folks who pay close attention to WWE. Brock typically takes time off after WrestleMania each year, and while his feud with Roman Reigns is probably never over, it did seem like their program was at least on pause after their match at this year’s ‘Mania.
Having his picture on the poster next to Roman’s wasn’t going to hurt ticket sales, though. According to the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, that’s likely the reason Lesnar was in the promotional materials for as long as he was — because WWE never had him booked for the show.
“Card subject to change” covers a lot, but this would be stretching it. Even further than they have in the past. As Dave Meltzer wrote:
This is a different type of false advertising than WWE usually does, which would be situations where they change their mind, or somebody gets hurt or sick and they know they won’t be there, but they keep it from the public and continue to advertise them. This is spreading things into a new realm, especially because Lesnar is theoretically one of the two biggest drawing cards the company has, and has been positioned as the company’s top babyface.
One possible justification for the move involved Cody Rhodes. He will be on the WrestleMania Backlash card, but someone WWE couldn’t or wouldn’t have wanted to advertise until recently. His is the face replacing Lesnar’s in the new promotional materials:
Is he an adequate replacement if you bought tickets expecting the Beast Incarnate? Some fans may let WWE know.