A year ago at this time, there was a lot of speculation that Brock Lesnar might leave WWE after a three year run and head back to the UFC. Instead, he went on ESPN’s Sportcenter prior to his WrestleMania 31 main event match to say that he had signed a new contract with WWE. The new contract included more matches and appearances for Lesnar, which was considered a good thing for the WWE Universe. In the past year, Lesnar has had several matches at WWE live events and he’s even advertised for Smackdown tapings, including next week.
With Lesnar secured under a WWE deal for several more years, fans were right to expect that WWE would spend even more time and resources to make him an even bigger star. Instead, WWE’s poor storytelling has taken away the mystique of the one guy that has more credibility than anybody else on the roster. The company is wasting Lesnar, and everyone outside the company, and surely some within, can see it.
Lesnar’s currently set to main event the February 21 WWE Fastlane pay-per-view in a triple threat match against Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose. All three wrestlers are faces that the fans love, or in the case of Reigns, a guy that WWE wants people to love. The winner of that match gets to face Triple H for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the main event of WrestleMania.
The expectation in the match is that Reigns will win by pinning his best friend Ambrose and then go on to win the WWE Title (for the third time) at WrestleMania. Where does that leave Lesnar? He’s likely going to lose the match due to the interference from the Wyatt Family, led by Bray Wyatt.
During the Royal Rumble on January 24, Lesnar was dominating his portion of the match as he eliminated Wyatt Family members Erick Rowan, Braun Strowman and Luke Harper. Then Bray entered the match and the other three guys went back in to toss Lesnar out.
Did they follow up on Lesnar being screwed out of the Royal Rumble by the Wyatt Family? Not really. He wasn’t on the Raw after the Rumble and then this week on Raw he had no interaction with them. Bray actually missed Raw because his grandpa Blackjack Mulligan is ill, but there’s no indication that they would have had any interaction. Instead, Lesnar and his advocate Paul Heyman (the best talker in WWE) simply warned the Wyatt Family while focusing on the match at Fastlane.
While Bray Wyatt is a very good performer with a bright future, WWE hasn’t booked him like a strong enough character to be on Lesnar’s level, if if they probably think they have. Wyatt has lost major feuds to Roman Reigns, John Cena and The Undertaker in his career with the latter two men also beating Wyatt in WrestleMania matches. In WWE’s eyes, a guy wrestling in a featured match at WrestleMania is a big deal, so they probably don’t see the problem with Wyatt’s lack of credibility in being a viable challenger for Lesnar.
Speaking of that Wyatt feud with Cena, this Lesnar/Wyatt story is following the same path as that 2014 feud did. Wyatt cost Cena his WWE Title match with Randy Orton at the Royal Rumble. Then at the Elimination Chamber PPV, Wyatt cost Cena again. That led to Cena beating Wyatt at two of the next three PPV events, including WrestleMania. If Wyatt costs Lesnar at Fastlane, then it’s a similar way of setting up a WrestleMania match, which Lesnar would likely win in dominant fashion.
Based on his performance in the last year, as well as the star power he brings to the table, Lesnar should be either defending the WWE Title at WrestleMania or challenging for it. Wrestling in the third or fourth biggest match on the biggest show of the year is poor planning on WWE’s part.
The main event of WrestleMania 32 should be Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar II. Last year’s match that headlined WrestleMania 31 was one of the most physical main event matches in WrestleMania history. It made fans respect Reigns because he showed an ability to take a beating from Lesnar and come back fighting. Then Seth Rollins showed up, cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase on Reigns and left as the WWE Champion while Lesnar was never pinned.
A Reigns/Lesnar rematch makes sense, because this time there is nobody holding the Money in the Bank briefcase, which means that there must be a winner. The WWE could have had Reigns walk into WrestleMania with the WWE Title while Lesnar could have won the Royal Rumble and they would have had two months to build it up. Instead, Lesnar is likely relegated to the background—look at that Fastlane graphic above if you disagree—while Triple H gets to headline the big show with Reigns.
What’s so exciting about a Reigns vs. Triple H match? Nothing. The only appeal that it really has is that Reigns has never faced Triple H in a singles match, but they have been a part of multiple tag matches in the past.
Reigns already won the WWE Title twice, so it’s not like Triple H has been that successful at stopping him from being “The Man” in WWE. Assuming Reigns wins the WWE Title, is there going to be some huge reaction from the crowd? No. They might even boo him, like they have before, because they already know what the result is going to be.
What WWE might do – in order to help Reigns – is put The Rock at ringside as a special enforcer or a guest ref to ensure that his “cousin” Reigns isn’t screwed out of the title. Since Rock isn’t going to wrestle, it makes sense to involve him in the main event. Will it minimize the boos for Reigns? Probably not, because The Rock was beside Reigns at the end of the 2015 Royal Rumble and the crowd still booed Reigns.
The problem with WWE creative right now is they don’t have any top heels that are booked strong enough for the fans to think of them as major superstars. It’s why they are relying on 46-year-old Triple H, who has wrestled two matches in the last year, to be the one to put over Reigns. Well, that and Triple H runs the show with his father in law Vince McMahon. (It’s good to marry well, my friends.)
This past week on Raw, Lesnar had a backstage face-off with Triple H. They just did that to try to tease that match happening, but they already had three major matches in 2012-13 with Lesnar winning two of three. It’s highly unlikely that they will go back to that match.
Lesnar is 38 years old and probably has another four or five years left of being a professional wrestler (or sports entertainer) if he wants to keep doing it. Most fans look at him as the best wrestler in the company because of his ability to take anybody to “Suplex City” at any point in a match. When he does a move, it looks like it hurts more than when anybody else does a move. Add in the fact that he’s a legitimate NCAA Champion wrestler and a former UFC Champion and there’s no denying that he has as much credibility as anybody in the history of this business.
In Triple H’s case, his best days in the ring are behind him. Is he one of the best wrestlers in WWE history? Sure he is, but he stopped wrestling full time five years ago and took an office job. He still looks the part of a wrestler, but it’s not like he’s going to have a lot of matches any time soon. He should be humble enough to say “it’s not my time anymore, let somebody else main event” yet here he is in the spotlight once again.
Throughout the 2000s, Triple H was believable as a top guy. No question about it. However, now he is an example of how WWE’s lack of forward thinking is hurting them big time. How can they build new stars if the old ones never really leave? There’s value in having a veteran put over a younger wrestler, but in this case the best choice would have been Lesnar not Triple H.
Two years ago, Triple H put over Daniel Bryan huge at WrestleMania. In the two months that followed, he joined up with Randy Orton and Batista to put The Shield over twice. They were great matches that accomplished their goal. Having Triple H put over Reigns this year feels like a repeat of those scenarios that worked much better. It just doesn’t seem like a big deal anymore.
It’s too bad that WWE isn’t smart enough to realize that if Reigns beat Lesnar at WrestleMania then fans might actually cheer Reigns because of how good the match is. If Reigns beats Triple H then so what? Triple H is past his prime. Lesnar is still in his prime. While WWE may try to paint that picture differently, that’s the reality of the situation.
When WWE booked Brock Lesnar to end The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania two years ago (he was the one in 21-1), they did it because they wanted him to be an unbeatable wrecking machine that was also a tool that could put over a future star. Two years later, they’ll probably have Lesnar win a midcard match at WrestleMania while Triple H – a guy who lost to Undertaker three times at WrestleMania – puts over the future star for a title Reigns has already won twice.
There’s still time for WWE to change the course. Will they? Probably not. The Reigns/Triple H match is considered a lock while Lesnar/Wyatt is obviously the plan based on what happened at the Royal Rumble. It should be fun, but Lesnar out of the WWE Title picture is a mistake that not only hurts his career, but also Reigns as well. Instead of Reigns beating the massive superstar Lesnar for the WWE Title, he’ll beat an old guy in a suit. For shame.
What is Lesnar’s reward for having an outstanding 2015 where he had several amazing matches and one of the best feuds of the year with The Undertaker? A match that isn’t a main event at the next WrestleMania. What a waste of an amazing athlete.
It doesn’t seem right, does it? That’s because it’s not.