SAN JOSE, USA—Love him or hate him for the schedule he keeps, but Brock Lesnar might very well be the best thing to ever happen to contemporary WWE.
In an environment slightly dulled (but never to the point of being completely ineffective) by the PG rating and Vince McMahon’s aspirations to be less sports and more entertainment, Lesnar stands out like the beast that he is, unshackled both unintentionally and intentionally by what the rest of the company is trying to very hard to remain being. If he and advocate Paul Heyman are not acting of their own accord, then they’re given a lot of freedom to be themselves.
Or at least, how we’d all like them to be, and that’s already saying a lot.
Does it still really matter, then, that Lesnar chooses to keep an intermittent schedule? That he keeps finding ways to stay away from TV? This time, he’s gone due to an onscreen suspension after he went postal on the entire WWE crew at ringside. He F-5ed Michael Cole, to everyone’s satisfaction but to Stephanie McMahon’s ire. This man gives no damns, and he might just be the true top star to emerge from this era; this generation’s Stone Cold Steve Austin, a guy wrestlers like CM Punk have always wanted to be in their prime, but have always lacked the sheer savage fury to fully become.
This is a formula they shouldn’t be messing with, even if more Brock Lesnar seems to be the answer to a middling product that hasn’t looked like it’s trying in a while (with the sole exception of WrestleMania 31—we’ve yet to see how much the WWE will follow through with that momentum. History suggests we shouldn’t get too excited). You need to want to see Brock. You already do now, but trust me, keep showing him at every show and I swear you’ll get tired of him, Paul Heyman or not. Today’s WWE fans lash back at overexposure.
And think about it: the more Lesnar shows up, the more chances they’ll have of screwing up the way he’s written, and they’ve already had slip-ups even with his limited schedule. Remember that little tug-of-war? Give him more dates and the odds are better that something stupid like that happens again.
Whether by artifice or by nature, it’s become undeniable that Lesnar is a god, gracing the company with his otherworldly presence whenever he wants to—and by coincidence, whenever the company needs him to. But the WWE shouldn’t rest and wait for one of its saviors to keep returning for them; the true blessing is the energy and momentum they always get from Lesnar to help reinvigorate themselves.
It’s up to them to build on whatever Lesnar does, and whatever Heyman says, and make sure that whatever happens is worthy of happening.
- Aside from having a hot Intercontinental Championship match (as is always the case whenever Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler match up) the scene is looking pretty bright right now. It seems that they really are making good with their promise of revitalizing the white belt. I wish it didn’t take them this long to figure out that this is what you should be doing with your idle upper-midcarders, but I’m glad we’re finally here at this point.
- Sheamus returning as a careless heel is intriguing, and it should shut up critics who have been insistent on a heel turn. The fact that he returned with a ridiculous look should only fuel the fire. It’s perfect.
- Speaking of second-tier titles, I’m not sure what the plan is for John Cena and Rusev going forward, but Cena vs. Dean Ambrose on Monday was another solid match. Cena still comes off as a heel, for some reason; even if you’re matched up against a favorite in Ambrose, why would you go against your established character… unless you’re actually going against your established character? Let’s hope this is leading to a Randy Savage-style redemption story for Rusev.
- THE LUCHA DRAGONS ARE FINALLY ON RAW! All it took was one match for Kalisto to get over, too! The tag team division is pretty stacked right now, and a lot of you aren’t aware of it. This summer’s heating up.
- This. That is all. (Well, I wish he did it to JBL too.)
- More in debuts: Neville—just Neville—is finally here as well, and the rumored Mighty Mouse gimmick isn’t as bad as it seems. They’re really playing up the “Man That Gravity Forgot” gimmick really well and building around it. That’s good. That’s real good. But I have a small problem with him, which I’ll talk about later.
- You have to give a lot of credit to all the Divas in the 6-man tag—they put out a solid match. You really have to give them credit, because the live crowd won’t. (Again, more on that later.)
- Randy Orton being the first in line to challenge Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is another good thing. If you remembered the championship feud with Christian back in 2011, this is going to be that, but without all the disappointment.
- Let’s talk about the divas match real quick. Wrestling crowds will always be juvenile, I’ll admit, but they’re not above being called out from time to time. This is one of those times that was truly atrocious. The crowd was very profane for each of the Divas in the match, regardless of whether they were likeable or not, and it was clear that they were doing it out of boredom. Look, we need to be better than this. How the hell are we going to put our weights behind a campaign such as #GiveDivasAChance when you, as the immediate wrestling audience, won’t give them a chance? When they’re trying their hardest to put out solid, decent work in the ring so that they would be worthy of being given a chance? Being as good as the male wrestlers is not an overnight process for most. We’re not going to get consistent classics, but dammit, they’re trying, and that should be reason enough to support them. Shenanigans like this are the reason why wrestling fans—or “hardcore” fans, in general—get the bad rap they do. This is embarrassing.
- I have a slight problem with Adrian Neville’s name being shortened to just “Neville.” I won’t pretend to understand Vince McMahon’s vendetta against first names (with casualties like Rusev, Cesaro, and Blake and Murphy), but if you were going to change his name, you might as well have changed it to a mononym that’s somewhere near intimidating. When I hear the name “Neville,” I don’t think of a buff Englishman who could jump high and twist his body in crazy ways to hurt me; I just think of a loser who works the copier at a Kinko’s. That, or Neville Longbottom—even if he did end up being the guy to slay a monster snake, he’s still Neville Longbottom. (No offense to any readers named Neville.)
- I feel real sad that the Dust brothers are both being used to put over other people. Stardust, at least, deserves to be a top player in the Intercontinental Championship scene.
- Six-man tags are still a lame way to stack all your top names into one main event match.
Do you listen to podcasts? Would you want to listen to a local podcast about pro wrestling? If the answers to most of those questions—especially that last one—are yes, then you should check out the cleverly-named Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast—featuring Mellow 94.7 DJ and PWR General Manager Stan Sy, wrestling writer Romeo Moran, and all-around multimedia person (and voice of the PWR) Raf Camus! On the latest episode of the podcast, they record straight from the afterglow of WrestleMania 31! Listen to it here!
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