In this edition of Huge Crowd Reactions In Wrestling, we look back at the huge Brock Lesnar return to WWE from 2012. See, the Next Big Thing bounced out of the company after WrestleMania XX to give professional football a shot. Must be nice to have those sort of options, right? Leave one mega-corporation to see if you can make it in another…
Welcome back to Huge Crowd Reactions in Wrestling. This series is basically an excuse for us here at Pro Wrestling Stories to revel in some of the moments that made us lose our minds. I mean, we’re all pretty huge wrestling fans. We live for those huge crowd reactions. Even as at-home viewers, those are the moments we crave. We want to be on the edge of our seats, or even out of them entirely.
WWE released this statement, via WWE.com: “Brock Lesnar has made a personal decision to put his WWE career on hold to prepare to try out for the National Football League this season. Brock has wrestled his entire professional career in the WWE and we are proud of his accomplishments and wish him the best in his new endeavor.”
In an interview about the NFL, Brock Lesnar had this to say:
“This is no load of bull; it’s no WWE stunt. I am dead serious about this. I ain’t afraid of anything and I ain’t afraid of anybody. I’ve been an underdog in athletics since I was five. I got zero college offers for wrestling. Now people say I can’t play football, that it’s a joke. I say I can. I’m as good an athlete as a lot of guys in the NFL, if not better. I’ve always had to fight for everything. I wasn’t the best technician in amateur wrestling but I was strong, had great conditioning, and a hard head. Nobody could break me. As long as I have that, I don’t give a damn what anybody else thinks.”
Good for him. He said a big part of trying was that he didn’t want to be forty and wondering if he could have made it in the NFL. He didn’t, of course. After signing with the Minnesota Vikings and playing in several preseason games for the team, he was released on August 30. Lesnar received an invitation to play as a representative for the Vikings in NFL Europa but declined due to his desire to stay in the United States with his family. After that, he did some work in NJPW and then kicked ass (and got his kicked) in UFC. All these outside interests served to build Lesnar’s brand.
When word got out around WrestleMania 28 that the now certified badass Brock Lesnar return would occur soon, the WWE fan base was sent into a tizzy.
It all reached a fever pitch, finally exploding when Brock Lesnar’s music hit during John Cena’s promo on the April 2nd, 2012 episode of Monday Night Raw. It was the night after the twenty-eighth Showcase of the Immortals. This would, of course, lead to Cena versus Lesnar at Extreme Rules 2012. Who should have won is still debated to this day (Cena won), but the match itself was phenomenal. Brock Lesnar would go on to feud with Triple H and CM Punk from there, eventually working up to a match with The Undertaker at WrestleMania 30.
That’s when he became the 1 in 21 and 1; the monster we all know The Beast Incarnate. A number of superstars have taken a trip to Suplex City since then, including John Cena (who caught over a dozen at SummerSlam 2014), Seth Rollins, Kofi Kingston, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and more. Goldberg knocked him down a peg for a minute there at Survivor Series 2016, but after WrestleMania 33, The Beast is definitely back (and holding the WWE Universal Championship). All signs point to Roman being the one to derail that train at WrestleMania 34, but what about Samoa Joe? How do you think he’s going to do at Great Balls of Fire?
Let us know in the comments section, and enjoy the 2012 Brock Lesnar return to WWE!