Pro Wrestling Stories

Published on July 2nd, 2016 | by Joey Finnegan

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The Inseparable Bond Between BROCK LESNAR and PAUL HEYMAN

‘The Beast and His Advocate’

Author: Joey Finnegan  /  Editor: J Zarka

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‘The Advocate’ Paul Heyman and ‘The Beast’ Brock Lesnar

My name is Joey Finnegan, and today I take a turn at the wheel. If you are an avid reader of this site like myself, then you may have read some of my articles before (The Kliq Rules (With An Iron Fist) and The Tragic Tale on How Perry Saturn’s Life Went Downhill After Heroically Stopping a Rape). I truly love the work done here on ProWrestlingStories.com, so I’m honored to be taking part here again!

With the introductions out of the way, let’s take a look at the inseparable bond between ‘The Beast’ Brock Lesnar and his ‘Advocate’ Paul Heyman, from their beginnings to present.


“There he was. Brock Lesnar.

Jeeeesh, he was just so big, so massive, so huge. And he moved like a cat. There’s no way a man that size should be able to move so quickly and with such agility.

The man who would one day become the first individual to win both the WWE and UFC world heavyweight championships was working out his non-televised match with Funaki.

He was also getting some really bad advice from veterans who were obviously threatened by what Lesnar could potentially bring to the table.

“Nikita Koloff got over just being big,” one old school NWA vet told Lesnar. “Be more like Goldberg,” another person suggested. “Someone your size shouldn’t move too much. Look at tapes of Sid when he first started,” advised a third.

Some of the bad advice was clearly intentional. Some of it was based on the fact a lot of people have a hard time accepting change.

Tazz pulled Lesnar aside and advised him to talk with me. Lesnar listened intently, thanked me profusely, and said: “You know, I’m very coachable.

Truer words were never spoken.”

-Paul Heyman


PART ONE: A BEAST IS BORN

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[Photo courtesy of cavemancircus.com]

Brock Edward Lesnar was born on July 12th, 1977 in Webster, South Dakota. He was raised by Stephanie and Richard Lesnar on a dairy farm. He has two older brothers, Troy and Chad, and a younger sister named Brandi. He attended high school in his hometown, where he played football and competed in amateur wrestling.

The latter pursuit is one that his parents let him begin at five-years-old. He would work his family’s farm, same as everyone else, but he’d never miss wrestling practice. His mother did most of the driving, as his father had a farm to run.

If she wasn’t available, Brock would catch a ride from another family or his coach. However he got there, he had one job to do: win. If he did, his parents would tell him he did a good job. That’s it. No celebration, or any of that. If he lost, there was no crying allowed. He would simply be told to try harder and win next time. There was no settling.

Brock Lesnar was raised to be a winner.

At age 17, in an effort to go after a future that included more than milking cows and sitting on tractors, Brock joined the United States National Guard. He ended up at a desk job when his red-green color blindness was discovered and deemed hazardous due to his desire to work with explosives that were, unfortunately for Brock, coded red and green. He was later fired from his job for failing a computer typing test and went back home to finish high school.

At this point, most people assume that Brock was flooded with offers from college wrestling recruiters, given cars, and under the table money; all that good stuff. Not true. Football was his chosen path when Lesnar came home. He even signed a letter of intent to play with Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota because he didn’t receive any wrestling offers.

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[Photo courtesy of WWE.com]

He wanted to run the ball. He had speed and was gaining size. Then it happened: a defensive back took his knee out, forcing Brock to get surgery to fix it.

Now, high school wrestling usually starts right after high school football ends. That meant that Brock wasn’t completely healed for the first day of wrestling practice; he was on crutches. His coach also had a tradition for the first practice of every season: he would make his team run six miles.

He called it a “gut check.” This was Brock’s final year we’re talking about, and he considered himself a leader. So, what does he do? He starts moving on his crutches, continuing on and on, until the coach allowed him to stop. Even then, he was disappointed he couldn’t finish.

Guts officially checked. Most people would’ve happily taken the day off, but not Brock.

The soon-to-be Next Big Thing eventually moved on to Bismarck State College, where he won the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) heavyweight championship in his sophomore year. This was a big difference from his freshman year. During that year’s tournament, Brock placed fifth, much to his disappointment. That wasn’t the worst part.

I’ll let Brock tell you the worst part (transcribed from his book, Death Clutch: My Story of Determination, Domination, and Survival“):

“Even worse than the fifth-place finish, though, is that I got beat by a pudgy little kid whose name I can’t even remember, and neither can anyone else.

The loss to the pudgy no-name was a major turning point in my life, because there was no way that kid should have been able to beat me. I looked at the guy who won the whole tourney and I knew in my heart I could have beat him for the championship. That killed me, because I never got the chance–the fat kid made sure of that. Sorry I can’t remember your name, but I do want to say thanks. 

At that moment I looked inside myself, and I got serious. I vowed to be the biggest, strongest, fastest, meanest SOB I could become.”

For his junior and senior years, Brock made his way to the University of Minnesota on a full wrestling scholarship. There were no pudgy kids to defeat him there. He was now in a NCAA Division I wrestling program, which is about as good as it gets for an amateur wrestler (other than the Olympics). It was at U of M that he met his future WWE colleague Shelton Benjamin.

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Brock Lesnar and college friend, Shelton Benjamin [Photo courtesy of aminoapps.com]

In the year 2000, after becoming NCAA Division I Heavyweight Champion, Brock Lesnar signed with the WWE. He came with one demand, as shared by Jim Ross in an article he wrote for FOX Sports:

“The only catch was that we needed to also recruit and offer Brock’s Minnesota teammate, Shelton Benjamin, as well,” JR wrote. “Benjamin was an amazing athlete, and signing the South Carolina native was a blessing as he had a solid WWE career, arguably underutilized in the opinion of some. Plus, he made Brock’s transition from the amateurs to the pros much easier.”

The first step was for them both to go to OVW (Ohio Valley Wrestling), which was WWE’s developmental territory at the time. Brock couldn’t go right away, though. He had some amateur wrestling community commitments to handle first.

Once everything was in order, Brock made his way to Louisville, Kentucky, which is where OVW was based out of. He got a two bedroom apartment with Shelton and settled in. Within weeks, the two of them were put into a tag team known as “The Minnesota Stretching Crew.” They also famously competed alongside John Cena, Randy Orton, Batista, and Mark Henry (who was sent down to OVW around that time).

Despite the stacked roster, it wouldn’t take Brock too long to move up the ladder. The same goes for the others, of course, but Lesnar debuted the night after WrestleMania X-8 and was in the main event of WrestleMania XIX. For his debut, he jumped the barricade during an episode of Monday Night Raw, and attacked Al Snow, Maven, and Spike Dudley in the middle of their match. As you can see, a familiar face guided the beast on his first rampage…

Watch Brock Lesnar’s WWE debut here:



 


PART 2: PAUL E. DANGEROUSLY

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BAM BAM BIGELOW: “I started with Paul E. I got Paul E his first job.”

INTERVIEWER: “Really?”

BAM BAM: “In Memphis, back in ’86, and Paul E got me my first gig at Studio 54.”

INTERVIEWER: “Right, they were doing it for Ric Flair, right?”

BAM BAM: “Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, you know, and I wrestled in Studio 54 with Otis Day and the Knights.”

INTERVIEWER: “You were the big attraction…”

BAM BAM: “That’s right.”

INTERVIEWER: “The debut of Bam Bam Bigelow.”

BAM BAM: “Yeah.

Paul E’s one of the boys, and sometimes, he has to draw the line to be the boss, which is a business. And business has to come first, otherwise, we’ll all be out of a job. But he creates an atmosphere where when you go to work, you’re happy.”

[Click HERE for source]


INTERVIEWER: “What do you think of Paul Heyman?”

SABU: “Think of who?”

INTERVIEWER: “Paul Heyman.”

SABU: “Uh…”

[Interviewer and Sabu share an awkward laugh]

SABU: “Uh, I don’t think that much of him. Uh, I had my bad blood with him for years, but now we’re okay. But I still don’t trust him, and I still don’t like him that much. You know, he was, uh, he was a bastard.”

[Interviewer and Sabu share another awkward laugh]

[Click HERE for source]


VADER: “I don’t know Paul that well, I really don’t.”

INTERVIEWER: “Was he well-liked with his tenure in WCW by the guys?”

VADER: “The only thing I could say about Paul was that when I left the WCW, he was on the phone, and he had big plans for Vader coming to ECW and I was intrigued. I mean, I was intrigued. He is a good salesman, and he had me sold on the monster he could’ve created, and what he could’ve done. And obviously, [he’s a] very talented individual. I don’t know if you like him, or if you dislike him, but the bottom line is: I think he was good for professional wrestling and was very talented at what he did.”

[Click HERE for source]


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[Photo courtesy of facetoheel.com]

Paul Heyman was born in Westchester County, New York on September 11th, 1965. His parents were Richard S. Heyman, a prominent personal injury attorney who passed away on June 25, 2013, and Sulamita Heyman, a Holocaust survivor who passed away on February 27, 2009. By age eleven, Paul was running a mail order business from his home that sold memorabilia.

A few years later, the young Mr. Heyman managed to fast-talk his way backstage for a WWWF show at Madison Square Garden. He tells the story in his WWE produced documentary, “Ladies and Gentleman, My Name is Paul Heyman.” It was a stroke of genius.

There was a paper that used to publish a gossip column about sports. One of them was about Vincent J. McMahon, and how before every show the WWWF ran out of MSG, he would get a haircut from the same barber. Then afterward, he would go to a steakhouse.

So, Paul Heyman called up the parent company of WWWF and pretended that he had run into Vince at the steakhouse. By the time he was done, they invited him to come to The Garden and cover and take pictures at the show. They even bought several photos from him.

This was all he needed. From the moment he saw Vincent K. McMahon interviewing “Superstar” Billy Graham, Paul Heyman wanted to get into the wrestling business. Now he had his in. Keep in mind, he was only 14 years of age at this point. He ended up graduating from Edgemont High School, and went on to SUNY Purchase and Westchester Community College.

In 1985, Paul was hired as a photographer for Studio 54. That same year, he was bumped up to producer and promoter. That led to him making his first big splash in the wrestling world hosting Wrestle Party 85. Thanks to a phone call with Jim Crockett, that event boasted Bam Bam Bigelow’s debut (referenced above by The Beast From The East ), as well as the presence of Dusty Rhodes, Magnum TA, and Ric Flair, who was due to receive an award.

Thanks to Bam Bam Bigelow, Paul Heyman made his managerial debut on January 2nd, 1987. He worked the northeast independent circuit, at first, and then moved on to a more high-profile gig in February with Kevin Sullivan and Championship Wrestling from Florida. That’s when he first took on the moniker of Paul E. Dangerously. All of this is chronicled in his WWE documentary in a way that I cannot possibly match: from the mouth of the man himself.



To keep this on point building towards the pairing of Paul E and Lesnar, we’re going to skip to Paul Heyman’s first entry into the world of World Wrestling Entertainment, known then as the World Wrestling Federation. For the whole story of Paul’s involvement in ECW, there’s a highly recommended book called, Hardcore History: The Extremely Unauthorized Story of ECW.”

With ECW fallen, Paul Heyman went to the WWF. He became a commentator opposite Jim Ross, who he worked with in the same capacity back in WCW. They ended up calling WrestleMania X-Seven together, featuring one of the greatest main events in the history of the Showcase of the Immortals: The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin II.

 

Not long after that, Heyman left the commentary table and took part in the ECW/WCW invasion storyline. That ended in November of 2001 at Survivor Series. By March of 2002, he was at Brock’s side as his agent. Obviously, at some point before then, the two men met for the first time.

Paul Heyman once wrote:

“It was a moment that changed my entire professional career. Tazz ran up to me and said: “You need to get involved in this.”

I was talking with Chris Benoit at the time.

Vince McMahon’s plan for post-WrestleMania 18 in 2002 was for Benoit to turn heel, and for me to go back in front of the cameras as his on-air agent.

Vince was frustrated because he felt Chris possessed all the tools, but was missing that one last connection with the audience.

Tazz led me to the ring, where WWE Developmental Program Ohio Valley Wrestling’s most promising prospect was in the ring.”

Mr. Heyman continues (from: ‘A Beast is Born’):

“There he was. Brock Lesnar.

Jeeeesh, he was just so big, so massive, so huge. And he moved like a cat. There’s no way a man that size should be able to move so quickly and with such agility.

The man who would one day become the first individual to win both the WWE and UFC world heavyweight championships was working out his non-televised match with Funaki.

He was also getting some really bad advice from veterans who were obviously threatened by what Lesnar could potentially bring to the table.

“Nikita Koloff got over just being big,” one old school NWA vet told Lesnar. ‘Be more like Goldberg,’ another person suggested. ‘Someone your size shouldn’t move too much. Look at tapes of Sid when he first started,’ advised a third.

Some of the bad advice was clearly intentional. Some of it was based on the fact a lot of people have a hard time accepting change.

Tazz pulled Lesnar aside and advised him to talk with me. Lesnar listened intently, thanked me profusely, and said: ‘You know, I’m very coachable.’ Truer words were never spoken.”


PART 3: THE NEXT BIG THING

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[The crowd is chanting, ‘Yankees suck!’ at Paul Heyman, who is wearing a New York Yankees Hat]

PAUL HEYMAN: “Thank you, thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for your irrelevant opinion. But don’t worry, I assure you that as long as Brock Lesnar is standing here, we will take as long as we deem appropriate. You see, when you stand next to Brock Lesnar, you can do anything you damn well please. And it pleases me this evening to educate all of – you’re welcome, by the way – to educate all of you on some historical facts.

Historical facts that led Brock Lesnar to the monumental decision of hiring…me as his agent. You see, it was a historical fact that I, Paul Heyman, managed Steve Austin and groomed him to be Stone Cold. It is a historical fact that I represented The Undertaker, and groomed him to The Dead Man. It is a historical fact that I was the architect of a concept called ECW that spawned WWF Attitude, and created the multi-billion dollar conglomerate of sports entertainment that you see today.

There is a moral to this story, and that moral is: I, better than any single one of you, can spot, the next big thing, and ladies and gentlemen, the next big thing is BROCK LESNAR! NCAA Heavyweight Champion, BROCK LESNAR! The invincible, BROCK LESNAR! The invulnerable, BROCK LESNAR! The indestructible, BROCK LESNAR! The impervious to pain, BROCK LESNAR!

Ladies and gentlemen, THE NEXT BIG THING, BROCK LESNAR!

From Monday Night Raw on April 8th, 2002.


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[Photo courtesy of WWE.com]

How do we sum up Brock Lesnar’s original run in the WWE? He debuted in March of 2002 and left in March of 2004. He was only around for two years but left one hell of a mark on the company’s history.

His first title win came by defeating The Rock, who was supposed to be the good guy. Instead, The Great One was showered with boos, and Brock was treated like a conquering hero. The people turned against a guy who called himself, “The People’s Champ.” To his credit, The Rock worked through it and helped put Lesnar over big time.

So big, Paul Heyman was able to bring it up as recently as last year. They were building for Reigns vs. Lesnar at WrestleMania 31, and The Advocate mentioned how The Beast Incarnate sent Roman’s cousin packing to Hollywood.

 

After that, Brock began a hellacious feud with The Undertaker. This produced some of his greatest work during the initial two-year run. I don’t remember the promos, to be clear. I’m judging by the caliber of their in-ring performances. The Hell in a Cell match they had at No Mercy 2002 is still one of the best that particular gimmick has churned out.

 

A couple months later, Brock lost the WWE Championship to Big Show at Survivor Series 2002, thanks to a double-cross from Paul Heyman. Only a month after that, at Armageddon 2002, Show dropped it to Kurt Angle. He kept it all the way to WrestleMania XIX.

His challenger for that title was decided in January of 2003 when Brock Lesnar won the Royal Rumble.



The buildup and match were both solid. Lesnar and Angle are two elite athletes who, over time, got better and better with the show business aspect of professional wrestling. That doesn’t really matter, of course, because their entire main event was completely overshadowed by the fact that during it, Brock Lesnar almost broke his neck.

He attempted a Shooting Star Press, which is a move he had pulled off on a number of occasions.

Not this time…

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I’m sure you’re wondering, how did he survive that? Luckily, Pro Wrestling Stories already put together an entry focused entirely on this incident, including quotes from Brock himself, as well as Kurt Angle, and Jim Cornette.

ANGLE: “It was supposed to be the greatest moment in Wrestlemania history.

He was supposed to finish me with that move…but he nearly finished himself…”

JIM CORNETTE: “I worked with Brock when he started [at Ohio Valley Wrestling developmental] and I’ll be honest with you, he was getting paid about four or five times more than everyone else in the developmental programme because of who he was. You don’t come across an athletic specimen like that who won the NCAA Heavyweight Championship every day.

The shooting star press he did at WrestleMania, he would do that for us all the time – and I would tell him he was crazy and to save it for the big show at the Louisville Gardens when the WWE agents are there and not in the high school halls.

He did it in front of the WWE agents and they signed him directly because of that.

The time he did it at WrestleMania is the only time I’ve seen him miss it…”

ANGLE: “That match was so important to me because I had to have neck surgery immediately after. I was supposed to have it a month before – because my neck was broken. I couldn’t really use my left arm because of nerve blocks…I knew there was a chance I could hurt it really badly…”

LESNAR: “To tell you the truth, I was worrying just touching the guy. His neck could have snapped at any second, so I was really worried with everything I did with him.

Now when I look back, I was very nervous. And I don’t get nervous hardly ever…”

ANGLE: “So when Brock landed on his head, I thought he broke his neck too…”

LESNAR: “There I stood, on the top rope, both arms raised in triumph, my head back, letting the crowd take it all in…and then I launched the Shooting Star Press.

Every wrestling fan knows what happened next.

My boot slipped off the wet rope…I saw the people, I saw the top of the arena, I saw the mat coming and then I saw Kurt’s singlet, so I thought I was ok…”

ANGLE: “It was my idea for him to do it, so I have to take part of the blame. (laughs)

When he missed me, I thought he was dead, I mean, I thought he was paralysed…”

LESNAR: “I under-rotated, crashed in spectacular fashion, and gave myself a massive concussion. I damn near broke my neck…”

[Click HERE to read the entire piece.]


After that, the greatest thing Brock Lesnar did was lose to Eddie Guerrero. I do not mean that as an insult to Brock, to be clear. Lesnar gave Latino Heat his greatest career triumph. He made himself a despicable heel who went after Eddie’s troubles with addictions. Everyone can identify with making mistakes and trying to change for the better. They wanted Eddie to overcome and were overjoyed when he did.

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RIP Latino Heat [Photo courtesy of WWE.com]

From July 2002 to February 2003, Paul Heyman was the lead writer of SmackDown. His main goal was to take the B show and make it competitive. He wanted to give Monday Night Raw a run for its money.

That’s exactly what he did. While Heyman was in charge, SmackDown was arguably putting out a better product than Raw each week with live attendance figures and merchandise sales making a huge splash, as well. Six members of the locker room were the real centerpiece of the show, at that point: Edge, Rey Mysterio, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, and Kurt Angle.

They were dubbed, “The SmackDown Six.” They were the workhorses. Some of their greatest battles were over the WWE Tag Team Championships, which were created for SmackDown, so that brand could have its own tag team titles. Benoit and Angle beat Edge and Mysterio to crown the inaugural Champions at No Mercy 2002, the same event where Brock battled Taker in that bloody Hell in a Cell match I linked above.

The tag match went on to win the Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s, Pro Wrestling Match of the Year, completely outshining Brock and The Dead Man.

 

Years after that, ECW was resurrected in the form of a One Night Stand. It was a true testament to the popularity of the brand, and its performers. The event recorded 325,000 PPV buys. On top of that, so many people tried to order the event through WWE.com, that they had to shut down the website entirely, due to a lack of bandwidth.

ECW was given another One Night Stand in 2006. As you can see from the following video, it went downhill from there.

 


PART 4: A MONSTER IN THE OCTAGON

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“I have the chance to prove that I can compete with the best fighters in the world. It is an honor.”

– Brock Lesnar

[SOURCE: UFC.com]


“He feels great. He’s healthy. His body is not spending so much energy fighting off diverticulitis. He’s healthy for the first time in years and I think his potential is limitless. He’s a once-in-a-lifetime athlete. This is Jim Thorpe, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky, this is a once-in-a-lifetime athlete.

Anything you saw him do, he did as an unhealthy man competing at the very top level on the face of the planet. Imagine what he could have done if he was 100-percent healthy.

If Brock Lesnar ever fought healthy in the UFC, I don’t see any fighter that could have touched him.”

– Paul Heyman

[SOURCE: Fox Sports]


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[Photo courtesy of sherdog.com]

Brock Lesnar had what was supposed to be his last WWE match at WrestleMania 20. Bill Goldberg stood across the ring from him. It is one of the most legendarily bad bouts in the history of the company. See, Brock was done once the night ended, and so was Bill. Neither man wanted to hurt themselves on their last night, so instead, we got to see about nine million tests of strengths, while a very visibly bored Stone Cold Steve Austin looked on.

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[Photo courtesy of theathleticbuild.com]

After that, Brock Lesnar went and tried to play professional football for the NFL. He hadn’t played since he was in high school, but The Beast wasn’t afraid of a challenge.

Following his departure, WWE released this statement:

“Brock Lesnar has made a personal decision to put his WWE career on hold to prepare to tryout 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.”

Later, in an interview, Lesnar had this to say about playing in the NFL:

“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.”

[SOURCE: Wikipedia]

Brock went on to have a great showing at the NFL scouting combine, earning himself a spot on the practice squad for the Minnesota Vikings. Before the camp started, however, a minivan collided with Lesnar’s motorbike, resulting in a broken jaw and left hand, a bruised pelvis, and a pulled groin. He made a full recovery in time to attend the eight-week training camp, but unfortunately, that’s as far as things went.

Brock Lesnar was cut from the Minnesota Vikings at the end of the pre-season. He received an invitation to represent the team in NFL Europa, but declined. He decided he’d rather stay in the United States with his family.

With football out of the way, Brock went to New Japan Pro Wrestling. He won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in his first match, opposite Kazuyuki Fujita and Masahiro Chono. He pinned Chono after hitting the F-5, which he renamed The Verdict, in reference to his lawsuit with the WWE over a non-compete clause that he signed.

That case was eventually settled. Brock worked for NJPW the whole time. WWE tried to file multiple motions to stop him from working for the Japanese company, but they were denied on each occasion. While there, he faced an assortment of men, including Shinsuke Nakamura (now in the WWE), Akebono (former Sumo Wrestling Grand Champion), Manabu Nakanishi, Yuji Nagata, and Giant Bernard (in what was the first American vs. American title match to be held in NJPW since Vader vs. Stan Hansen in 1990).

 

On July 15th, 2006, NJPW announced that Brock Lesnar would not be returning to defend his IWGP Heavyweight Championship due to “visa issues.” He was promptly stripped of the title, and a tournament began to determine the new champ. Hiroshi Tanahashi wound up winning.

Approximately one year later, Brock Lesnar returned to Japan to face Kurt Angle in his last professional wrestling match until he returned to the WWE in 2012. The bout took place for the IGF (Inoki Genome Federation). Its promoter, Antonio Inoki, came out and said that Brock was the proper IWGP Heavyweight Champion since he never actually lost it. This allowed the match to be sold as a champion versus champion affair.

Brock was even still in possession of his physical IWGP Heavyweight title. Not for long, however. Angle took that championship from him when he caught Lesnar in the Angle Lock, and tapped him out.

[NOTE: The title change is recognized by TNA and IGF, but not NJPW.]

After Japan, The Beast began to fight. His first official MMA match came against Min Soo Kim in K1’s mixed martial arts league, Hero’s. He was originally scheduled against Choi Hong-Man of Korea, but Hong-Man was replaced before the fight. Brock ended up submitting Soo Kim with strikes in 1:09 of the first round to win.



Later, during UFC 77, it was announced that Lesnar had reached a deal to fight with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. His first UFC bout came against Frank Mir, and he lost. He started out strong, securing an early takedown, which allowed him to land numerous punches. He was docked a point when one of those punches hit Mir in the back of the head.

The points ended up not mattering, anyway. While still in the first round, Frank Mir managed to catch Brock in a kneebar, forcing him to submit, and lose his first fight in the UFC. As we all learned in part one, winning is the only option for Brock Lesnar. I’m sure his mother and father’s words were ringing in his ears when that happened. He’d simply have to try harder and win next time.

Lesnar’s next fight was supposed to be against Mark Coleman, but Coleman had to pull out due to injury. So, Brock faced Heath Herring and ended up winning by unanimous decision. Next up, The Beast challenged the UFC Heavyweight Champion, Randy Couture. He won the fight by TKO, becoming the new UFC Heavyweight Champion.

Then things got interesting.

At UFC 92, Frank Mir won the interim Heavyweight Championship and was set to face Brock for the undisputed UFC Heavyweight Championship. He even went and found Lesnar in the crowd so he could shout, “You’ve got my belt!”

The unification match was originally supposed to take place at UFC 98, but Mir got a knee injury, so it was held off until UFC 100. Lesnar wound up winning in a dominant fashion. He even earned Beatdown of the Year honors from Sherdog. During the post-match celebration, Brock flipped off the crowd, who had been booing him throughout the night.

After that, Brock’s troubles with illness began. He was scheduled to face Shane Carwin at UFC 106, but had to pull out. UFC President Dana White said Lesnar was ill for three weeks, and claimed The Beast had never been this sick in his life. The fight with Carwin was rescheduled for UFC 108. In the meantime, Brock headed to Canada for treatment. To say he doesn’t speak well of his experience would be an understatement.

He called what he received, “third world treatment,” which is pretty much the worst yelp review a hospital could receive. It was later confirmed that Lesnar was suffering from mononucleosis and a serious case of diverticulitis. After further diagnosis, he underwent surgery to close a perforation in his intestine that had been leaking fecal matter into his abdomen, causing pain, abscesses, and overtaxing his immune system to the point that he contracted mononucleosis.

From the amount of damage done to his system, the surgeon estimated that the intestinal condition had been ongoing for about a year. Later, in January of 2010, Lesnar announced that he would be making his return to UFC in the summer. A match was later held between Shane Carwin and Frank Mir to determine the interim Heavyweight Champion and the man who would go on to face Brock. Carwin won with a first round knockout.

After the fight, Brock had this to say:

“It was a good fight but he’s wearing a belt that’s a make-believe belt. I’ve got the real championship belt.”

[SOURCE: Wikipedia]

This takes us to the most gloriously brutal fight of Brock Lesnar’s entire UFC career. Shawn Carwin was renowned for his punching power to the point where one of the talking points before the fight was whether or not Brock would be able to make it past the first round. Nobody else had. Shane Carwin was dropping his opponents like flies. Would he do it to Brock Lesnar, of all people?

Almost, as it turns out. In the first round, Carwin got Brock Lesnar down and absolutely unloaded on him. It was brutal. Shane cut him above the right eye, bloodying The Beast. The fight looked to be Carwin’s for the taking. Then Brock survived the round.

This gave him a moment to recharge and also made him the first man to go more than one round with Shane Carwin. Right before the start of the second round, as they stood across from each other, Carwin winked at Brock, causing The Beast to smile.

They quickly high-fived out of respect and went back to fighting.

The fight ended in the second round when Lesnar was able to take Carwin down, attain a full mount, then move into side-control and finish the fight with an arm-triangle choke. With the win, Brock gave Carwin his first loss and tied the record for most consecutive UFC title defenses.

His next title defense would be his last, as he was dominated by Cain Velasquez at UFC 121. The undefeated top contender knocked Brock out in the first round, winning the UFC Heavyweight Championship.

After that, Lesnar had to deal with another bout of diverticulitis, causing him to pull out of another fight. He underwent surgery again, and this time, had a 12-inch piece of his colon removed.

In the summer of 2011, Brock Lesnar lost his last UFC match to former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion, Alistair Overeem. The results remain controversial, due to Overeem testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone before his next fight.

It seems that win or loss, that was Brock’s last fight. He announced his retirement afterward, mentioning his battles with diverticulitis. He would go on to simply state, ‘This is the last time you’ll see me in the octagon.’ Or would it be? On April 2nd, 2012, Brock Lesnar made his return to the WWE…


PART 5: THE BEAST RETURNS

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STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN: “Okay, you’ve got Brock Lesnar, badass dude, big cat, very physical. Great success here. Tries to play a little pro football, goes to UFC, has success there, comes back to the WWE. Success. He’s a world champ. He’s not around.”

VINCE MCMAHON: “Right.”

STONE COLD: “Where is he? Can we not have him on television more than we have him on?”

VINCE MCMAHON: “Well, I don’t think you want him on television more than we have him-”

STONE COLD: “Why not?”

VINCE MCMAHON: “Well, because he’s a special attraction.”

STONE COLD: “He is.”

VINCE MCMAHON: “When you see Brock Lesnar, it’s almost like when – if you recall Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, when he first came to the ring and he brought this big python. Oh my God! That gave you the willies just watching it on television. But he did it week after week – no fault of Jake’s, because he was booked on television.

After a while, it was like Jake wasn’t special anymore. He’d bring out the snake, and you-you know, we became jaded as human beings, and what have you. So, Brock, per the contract we made with him, only allows us X number of dates. To me, it’s not about the title. It’s not about the title that draws people into the arena.

It’s about the performer, about his opponent, and about the story. You know, and how they’re gonna resolve that story. So, it’s not really about the title. Does it help sometimes? Sure it does, but it’s not just about the title. And if you see a lot of Brock, you’re going to see a lot of the same things.

How many people can he beat up? He beats up half of the babyface roster! Who’s left?

[SOURCE: The Stone Cold Podcast w/ Vince McMahon]


[Stone Cold asks Triple H about Brock Lesnar’s WWE contract expiring after Wrestlemania 31]

TRIPLE H: “Yeah, so, you know, we’re constantly talking to Brock. It all comes down to Brock, on what Brock Lesnar wants to do. And I think somewhere in his mind, he may not be sure if he has unfinished business or not.”

STONE COLD: “Right.”

TRIPLE H: “I think he loves what he’s doing here right now. I think he loves the arrangement. We have a great working relationship.”

STONE COLD: “It works.”

TRIPLE H: “Yeah, one hundred percent.”

STONE COLD: “I’d like to see him more, but to Vince’s point, it does keep him special, because when he comes out, and raises hell…”

TRIPLE H: “Yeah.”

STONE COLD: “…it’s incredible.”

TRIPLE H: “It’s awesome. We love having him here, but it just comes down to does he want to-”

STONE COLD: “It’s on him.”

TRIPLE H: “Yeah, does he have unfinished business?”

NOTE: Around this time, there was a lot of talk about whether Brock would stay with WWE, or go back to fighting in the UFC. He chose the WWE.

[SOURCE: The Stone Cold Podcast w/ Triple H]




 

On April 2nd, 2012, Brock Lesnar made his return to the WWE. It began one of the most dominant runs in the history of the company, and maybe even the business altogether. His first match back was against John Cena at Extreme Rules 2012, and he lost.

I know what you’re thinking, “How could his run be so dominant if he lost in his first match back?”

It’s all about the way the loss was handled. John Cena was busted open by Brock within minutes of the opening bell. He had to get gritty to stand a chance with Brock Lesnar. He didn’t go full Doctor of Thuganomics, but he definitely used his Ph.D. to great advantage. That’s why he wore his old chain and lockout to the ring. One of the first things you learn when studying the fine art of Thuganomics is to do whatever is necessary to get that W.

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Moments later, John Cena hit Brock with an AA onto those steel steps and then pinned him for a three count. It was an epic match and a truly great start to Lesnar’s current run in the WWE. Legitimacy was the word of the day. It was made stunningly clear that Cena only won because he’s resourceful John Cena, who happened to have a metal chain and lock with him.

Otherwise, The Beast Incarnate would’ve destroyed him. In keeping with that, Cena spent his whole post-match promo selling an arm injury, thanks to Brock’s brutal Kimura Lock. It was great. All around, Lesnar’s re-debut was a success that established him a legitimate threat.

Next up, The Beast took on The Game…three times. It all began over a contract dispute, which was a perfect excuse to bring Paul Heyman back into the fold.



 

The first was at SummerSlam 2012. The second was at WrestleMania 29, where Triple H’s career was on the line. Obviously, The King of Kings managed a victory. The third and final bout was a Steel Cage Match which took place at Extreme Rules 2013.

There was a spot during this that I love. So, we’re all aware that Triple H’s weapon of choice is a sledgehammer, right? Well, in preparation for his battle here with Brock, The Game spraypainted a sledgehammer, completely covering it in the same silver sheen that the cage displays. Then he hid his camouflaged weapon at the top of the cage, so that during the match, he could climb up and retrieve his equalizer. It’s a quick moment, but it’s such an effective one for Triple H’s character. There’s a reason they call him The Cerebral Assassin.

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[Photo courtesy of WWE.com]

The hammer wasn’t enough, though, as Paul Heyman made sure to get involved in saving his client from the destructive power of Triple H and his trusty piece of hardware. Brock wound up with the weapon and used it to help secure the win. Then, in another great character building moment, Lesnar placed the silver sledge onto Triple H’s chest and walked out of the cage.

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[Photo courtesy of WWE.com]

After his feud with Triple H, Brock took on CM Punk at SummerSlam 2013. It was dubbed, “The Best vs. The Beast,” and it is a phenomenal example of in-ring psychology. In order for the much smaller Punk to stand a chance, he had to chop his opponent down. That’s exactly what he did. He was smart about when and where he struck, making sure that every one of them meant something.

 

He would eventually lose, of course, but there were a few moments where it looked like he might pull out a win. Despite the huge size difference, Punk wasn’t dominated. That was the most important thing to take away from the match. A lot of fans cited this as an example for how they think Brock versus Dean Ambrose would go at WrestleMania 32. (They were wrong)

After CM Punk, Brock Lesnar moved onto The Undertaker. This portion of Brock Lesnar’s story has been widely discussed. Everyone has an opinion on Brock Lesnar breaking The Streak.

For starters, there’s Batista, who was not a fan:

“It sucked! Honestly, I thought it sucked. I haven’t really talked much about it, but I think it was a bad decision, a horrible decision. I don’t have any say in the matter but to me, watching as a fan, it made me sick.

Brock Lesnar beating him didn’t seem to work, and it really wasn’t good that Brock left the day after. I just don’t see how that made sense at all. I don’t think anyone wanted to see the streak broken, and it just didn’t make sense to me.”

There was even Brock Lesnar, who apparently did not want to be the one that broke The Streak. There’s no quote, but according to Jim Ross, Brock asked to lose the match. Unfortunately for him, the decision had already been made.

On the other hand, there was this fan who, surprisingly, was rooting for an end to the streak but was just shocked that Brock won!

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[Photo courtesy of WWE.com]

Regardless of the opinion you may have on Brock ending Undertaker’s streak, it cemented him as The Beast Incarnate. Due to an early concussion Taker sustained, the match quickly became uncomfortable to watch with Brock was tossing The Dead Man around at will.

That wasn’t the end of the Brock Lesnar tour of superstar destruction, either. Later that year, at SummerSlam 2014, Brock absolutely obliterated John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. It’s called the most dominant championship victory in history. He hit John with 16 German Suplexes.

From what I understand, the original plan was for Brock to destroy Daniel Bryan. If Bryan was healthy, that would’ve been epic and infuriating at the same time. The floor of that building would have been stained with the tears of many grown men, women, and children. Hell, everybody would’ve been crying watching their beloved Daniel Bryan fall victim to Suplex City.

Lesnar carried the title through Night of Champions 2014, Royal Rumble 2015, and all the way to WrestleMania 31, where he lost it to Seth Rollins in what was one of the most exciting moments in the history of the Showcase of the Immortals. After that, Brock waited for his rematch with Seth, which he was granted at Battleground 2015. That opportunity was ruined, however, by the return of The Undertaker.

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From that kick to the mid-section, the feud led to SummerSlam and then all the way to Hell in a Cell 2015 which was hard hitting and highly physical. Taker was sold as an old gunfighter coming back into town for his revenge. He was doing whatever he had to because with age comes a slowing of reflexes. Taker needed an equalizer and so he chose repeated shots to the bread basket.

Brock won their final battle in Hell in a Cell, and they both moved on. From there, The Beast Incarnate made sporadic appearances. He took on The Big Show at the MSG show on the WWE Network, and recently wrestled at this year’s FastlaneRoadblock and Wrestlemania 32.

Brock’s Wrestlemania 32 match against Dean Ambrose was very much a one-sided affair with Dean Ambrose hardly getting any offense in. Perhaps this was done purposely to build Ambrose up to his eventual rise to become WWE Champion, but then again you can never know with WWE writing.

Brock hasn’t been on WWE television since then, and despite saying he was ‘closing the door on his MMA career’ in March of 2015, UFC announced on June 4th, 2016 that he would return and compete at UFC 200 on July 9 to face Mark Hunt. WWE confirmed that it had granted Lesnar ‘a one-off opportunity’ to compete at UFC 200 before he would return to the company for SummerSlam later this year on August 21.

You didn’t think I forgot about Heyman, did you? Since Wrestlemania 32, he has been laying low off camera but will soon be back by the end of this month doing what he does best, advocating for the beast and killing it on the mic. We will end this piece on a promo I consider to be The Advocate at his very best.



 

Joey Finnegan is a writer and filmmaker for Nerdopotamus.net as well as a regular contributor for ProWrestlingStories.com. He can be reached on Twitter @JFinnegan45.


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The Inseparable Bond Between BROCK LESNAR and PAUL HEYMAN

by Joey Finnegan time to read: 32 min
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