Friday, 31 December 2004

Replying to Brock Lesnar's Press Release

Last week, former WWE Champion Brock Lesnar released a statement giving the nine reasons he had quit the company. I thought it would be a good idea to offer my own views on his reasons.

1) The travel schedule was more than he could handle. Lesnar grew up as a "farm boy" with a simple lifestyle at home. He didn't enjoy life on the road as much as other wrestlers do, and was uncomfortable rarely getting to go home at all.

This reminds me of that contestant in the first Tough Enough series. Didn't Lesnar realise that when he decided to become a professional wrestler, it would involve a hell of a lot of travelling? Let's just hope that on the farm he'll probably buy with all the money he made he'll set a field buy so he can land his private jet. Although I can't see Sable milking cows and fleecing sheep, can you?

2) Lesnar did not have the passion for pro wrestling that others do, and certainly not enough to put up with the hardships he was facing. Lesnar only got into pro wrestling when he realised that it was an opportunity to make good money; before joining WWE he was an amateur wrestler who despised the industry.

You have to wonder just what these hardships are? And ask yourself this - just a few weeks ago he signed a massive seven year contract. Was he considering these hardships when Vince McMahon was waving millions of dollars in his face? Boy, it's a hard life when you've got enough money to buy yourself a private jet so you can travel around a lot easier, isn't it?

3) He legitimately feels he can make it as an NFL star. The NFL would be a new challenge for Lesnar, and it would be a return to the "real sport atmosphere" which WWE doesn't necessarily provide. Whether Lesnar can make it or not remains to be seen, but most felt that he did have an ego problem, which could be misleading him.

I say good luck to the guy. But doesn't he realise that in all sports, a great deal of travelling is involved? It wouldn't matter who he played for, he would still have to travel to away games.

4) Lesnar also felt that he was being misused by management. He shot to the top so fast that his ego inflated to the point where he did not expect to lose his title in the short-term. He was under the impression he'd have a long, uninterrupted title run, and did not want to lose to a "little guy who'd never been at the top before." He also felt unhappy about going to South Africa to wrestle Bob Holly, who he did not feel was in his league.

This is the thing I find very interesting. Lesnar was pushed to the top, and within six months of starting with the WWE, was given the title. At the beginning, to paraphrase him a little, he was a "big guy who'd never been at the top before." How many people were willing to put him over to make him look good, to help him become the superstar that he became?

As far as being misused by management, I really can't see what he means. If it's having to wrestle Bob Holly, let's look at it from this point of view - Lesnar injured Holly legitimately. Holly could have returned and refused to work the program with Lesnar because of this. Yet he did.

And perhaps Lesnar should remember the act of one Steve Austin about two years ago, who refused to wrestle Lesnar and went home. The former champ complaining about having to work with someone who he thought was beneath him. Sound familiar?

5) Lesnar also had an array of personal issues. He was dating Sable, which obviously led to some conflict with them being on the road together all the time. He was constantly under stress, and also had issues with his child and the child's mother, who were back at home.

I'm not really going to comment about this one. His personal issues are his own.

6) He was kind of embarrassed about house show attendance going up after Eddie Guerrero won the title, which, to a degree, proved Lesnar wrong about Eddie. While the ratings were on Brock's side, house show attendance, which is how many of the undercard wrestlers make a lot of their money, was on Eddie's side. Thus, Eddie's success could have been more important to some people backstage.

The simple fact here is that Lesnar doesn't want to admit that he was wrong. Almost everyone I've spoken to and everything I've read has said the same thing - it was great to see Eddie Guerrero win the title, and it's really not surprising that house show attendances are up since Guerrero won the belt. It's all about the novelty of seeing a new champion, and I'm sure it's happened countless times throughout the history of professional wrestling.

7) The plan was for Lesnar to take on Undertaker after WrestleMania, in an on-air and house show feud that would've had Undertaker come out the better man (by far, just look at how Taker was booked against Kane at WMXX). Taker was also telling the boys that he planned to "humble" Lesnar in the ring.

Again, Lesnar should remember back to his first title reign. Although he didn't do so in their first match, the Undertaker put Lesnar over huge in their Hell In A Cell rematch, and beating a veteran like the Undertaker in what has become known as one of his speciality matches certainly did a lot for Lesnar's career.

But the Undertaker he would have faced would have been a different man, and someone in need of being "put over". This form of the Dead Man has battled countless monsters in the past, from the Giant Gonzalez to Kamala to Mankind. By going against Lesnar, if, as had been originally planned, he had beaten Goldberg, the Undertaker would have been able to go up against a man who defeated what many considered undefeatable.

As for being "humbled" in the ring, this is either a rib on the Undertaker's part, or something a little more serious. If Lesnar was afraid of this, then surely many would brand him a coward. However, if it was just the Undertaker telling the boys a few stories, then he would have been the victim of a rib. But then again, if Lesnar was worried about this, surely the best thing to do was to go to the Undertaker and discuss this with him.

8) Lesnar was concerned with the wear-and-tear wrestling imposed on his body. He didn't want to be completely wrecked by the time he hit thirty-five or forty. Of course, some might argue that trying a shooting star press to put a cherry-on-top of a five-star match, which could've broken his neck, isn't protecting his body either, but who knows.

I can sympathise with his point of view here. One only has to look at the likes of Steve Austin, Kurt Angle and Mick Foley to see what he's talking about. But then again, many others have gone on well into their forties and fifties and continued to have successful careers. Indeed, Terry Funk is still wrestling at the age of 59, and still able to hold his own with stars much younger than himself. If he just looked after himself in the ring a bit more, then things wouldn't get so bad.

9) He felt he had nothing left to prove. Lesnar had already made it to the top of WWE, and was on his way down. He didn't want to go back to where he started, and felt he should tackle something new.

This to me is a bunch of crap. Think of this possible scenario - Lesnar, having achieved all he could on the Smackdown brand, goes to Vince McMahon and asks to be transferred to Raw. Challenging Chris Benoit for the World title and then defeating him, Lesnar sets out to face the one man he has never defeated, the one man who claims to be a legend, but who has never faced the likes of Brock Lesnar. That man is Triple H.

A Triple H/Lesnar match has, to my knowledge, never been seen before. Lesnar claims he has nothing left to prove. I disagree. He's never faced Triple H, and I'm sure this is one match the fans would have loved. If handled correctly it would have been a hell of a feud, but now it's something we're not going to see.

Just reading the reasons Lesnar gave for quitting the wrestling business made me wonder if his chances of returning have become even slimmer since I last mused on the subject. There are probably quite a few people in the WWE who read what he had to say and are glad that he left when he did. In hindsight many are probably thinking that Lesnar's quick was too rushed, that he got to the top too quickly. But then again, Lesnar should remember the people who put him on the top in the first place, and he should also remember that it wasn't just those who work for the WWE who put him there. As I said before, the fans who paid to see Lesnar rise to the top would now like nothing more than to pay to see him get his backside handed to him on a plate.