BROCK Lesnar – The BEAST in the EAST: Live From Tokyo Thread

Thanks to the paradoxes of time travel, I’m in the past posting this to the future which is right now.

LIVE from Tokyo, on the AWARD WINNING WWE Network at 5:30 AM EST/4:30 CST/3:30 MST/2:30 PST.

The matches getting the hype include Brock Lesnar’s return to the ring against Kofi Kingston of The New Day, and NXT Champion Kevin Owens defending against #1 contender, Finn Balor.

Enjoy the show.

Lesnar: best ever businessman in This Business?

Hey Scott,


Is Brock Lesnar the smartest businessman in the history of the industry? Given his current payouts, the way he's always done whatever the hell he want, I think it's a given. Even when it's not been especially good for business (New Japan) he's held the main title and gone over. The argument is made that Lesnar would lay down for anyone, yet he rarely does.

Best,
Ioan Morris

I still feel like Hogan is, for maintaining that level of money day in and day out for nearly a decade even when all he had to offer was smoke and mirrors.  Brock made some really dumb business decisions for a while there, whereas Hulk would still be a multimillionaire many times over if not for his divorce and assorted lawsuit issues.  Hulk managed to convince WCW to pay him 25% of PPVs that he wasn't even on!  You have to respect that a little.  

Raw tonight on lesnar and reigns


Scott, is wwe giving up on lesnar vs reigns as the main event to end the show at mania? They haven't even interacted since that studio raw. Reigns after the Tag match just disappeared into the night while orton dominated the last ten minutes of the show. I have never ever seen a main event for any ppv , much less wrestlefrinkingmania get so little coverage…and what was the point of even having lesnar at raw? To just stand there? Why would they even waste an appearance? This is insane even at wwe levels have been. My head hurts.

I have no earthly idea what the point of tonight's show was supposed to be.  Even scarier is that if they actually booked any of the big three matches to have interaction between the guys, they'd likely fuck it up even worse, so we should probably be thankful that no one touches each other or even talks to each other.  

Lesnar theory

Scott,

    I know you're sick of Lesnar/Reigns questions; but isn't this "Lesnar walks out on the WWE right before WrestleMania" story a little too hard to believe.  I mean this literally sounds like a copycat angle from over a decade ago.  Could it all be a work to pump up Reigns as a sympathetic face conquering this arrogant jerk who wants to walk out on the company?  The WrestleMania crowds are usually mark-ish and there's no way Lesnar get booed unless its a Goldberg scenario where the crowd knows he's leaving.  Better yet, what does Vince do when the crowd KNOWS Brock is leaving, and they STILL cheer him and boo Reigns?
 
 

​I'm amused how people now even preface questions with "I know you're sick of this question…" and then ask it anyway.  
If it was a work, what possible motivation would Dana White have for going along with it?  And why would they suddenly have an idea for getting Reigns over as a babyface now after months of failing to do so?  And why make your big hail mary attempt at getting him over an angle where literally only 1% or less of the audience is even going to understand?  ​

The Brock Lesnar experiment

Scott
I know you haven't been watching weekly (much like myself) but where do you stand on the part time Champion? Has the experiment failed, or can it be considered in any way a success? Nothing seems to be improving the ratings but has it raised the prestige of the title? Or has it not being there harmed it? I suppose the other main question would be if it hasn't worked, could it have been done differently and it absolutely could have worked? Will the part time 'special attraction' champ be more common moving forward? Thanks Scott, loving your work. (Oh and Reigns/Lesnar could be the weirdest styles clash I've ever seen. The WWE must have faith they have a **** match in them… Right?)

​I think it was an interesting and worthwhile experiment, but we really need the World champion to at least defend that sucker every 30 days.  Yes, the TV title defenses and such were deflating the importance of the belt on a weekly basis, but taking to the extremes of having Brock be gone and not even MENTIONED for months at a time is just too much and leaves the product completely directionless.  Having someone holding it and only defending on PPV is the happy medium they should have gone with, but it would have made Brock too expensive to use.  
So I'd call it a good idea in theory, put much like communism or geometry, not all theories work out in real life.  ​

Another Brock Lesnar Update

The following was reported by Mike Johnson from PWInsider.com


“WWE World Heavyweight
champion Brock Lesnar was backstage at Raw but was not used. Lesnar flew on his
private plane to Nashville for the taping earlier in the day on Monday.


According to those who saw him backstage yesterday, Lesnar was obviously
angry about something and one source claimed he walked out of the taping before
it ended.
 There are different stories making the rounds, but PWInsider.com has been
told it was not something on the creative end that set Lesnar off, but something
regarding his business relationship with WWE. No one we spoke with was willing
to elaborate beyond that, but several made it clear it had nothing to do with
any planned booking.

Vince McMahon acknowledged the issue during a Smackdown production meeting
today, a source claimed, but did not elaborate on the issue. Lesnar has returned
home to Minnesota and is not backstage at Smackdown.
 Lesnar is not advertised to appear again for WWE until the 3/9 Raw taping in
Pittsburgh, PA, which gives WWE several weeks to work out whatever the issue is.


If and when we confirm additional details, we will update.”

Title chain: lesnar-> cena-> Rollins-> reigns

Hi Scott –
Longtime reader, bla bla. There seems to be a groundswell lately – and rightly so – to just get the belt off lesnar at the rumble and have cena put RR over at mania.  That's fine, but doesn't this make even more sense: cena beats Brock in a war, Rollins finally cashes and either with Brock's help, or because cena is so worn down, takes it from cena. Now you have a ready-made feud from the shield breakup (why would cena have an issue with RR in storyline terms?), and we get the face going over the cowardly heel and taking revenge for the "sellout" at mania. Too logical?

​I just feel like Reigns winning the belt from Rollins doesn't do anything for him.  Lesnar is at least a top level star, as is Cena, and either one of those can kickstart the push.  Changing the title three times in a two month span is counterproductive as well.  
Really, the best thing would have been not putting the belt on Lesnar in the first place and letting Rollins cash in on Cena at Summerslam so that he could have been champion during this whole terrible dead zone from Sep-Jan.  ​Lesnar could have destroyed Cena but decked the ref to get DQ'd, Rollins pins the corpse of Cena to win the title, faces chase him from now until Rumble when Cena gets his title back.  

Lesnar Plans?

Scott,

 
If it is indeed true that Brock Lesnar is done with WWE after WrestleMania, do you think it is worth having him headline that show as champion?  In the internet era of instant information, everyone is going to know he's done before the show even rolls around.  They ran into that problem at WrestleMania 20 the last time he (and his opponent) left.  The only saving grace for that match was that it was thankfully not the main event or a title match getting shit all over by the crowd.  Personally, I think if WWE knows he is done post-WM31, Brock doesn't go into the show as champ.  I think the way to go is for Cena to take the belt at Rumble and be the guy to put Reigns over at Mania.  As mentioned on the Blog by many, having Cena as champ is the one surefire way to get the fans to support Reigns in that match.  I'm not sure Reigns gets the fans' support against Lesnar and I could see the whole "Brock threatens to retire with the belt tomorrow night" concept blowing up in their faces if the fans aren't all-in on Reigns.  I think Cena vs. Roman is the way to go if Reigns is the next Guy.  I would then have Rusev go over Lesnar to pass the "monster" torch before Brock leaves.  If they are going to put Rusev over the whole world en route to going against Cena (and eventually Reigns), then may as well go all the way and have him beat Brock.  This way you get something lasting out of Lesnar's last match without risking fan backlash against Lesnar vs. Reigns and Cena vs. Rusev. 

​Yeah, you can certainly say that WWE's timing on this Brock contract deal is not working out very well for them, to say the least.  Especially with both UFC and Bellator very publicly in a sort-of bidding war for Brock's services once his deal is up.  Basically Vince has gotten none of the rub or money increases from having Brock around, put his main title in the deep freeze for months with no payoff yet, and then is pretty much guaranteed to lose the guy to his competition the day after the deal is finished.  ​I wasn't really on the "drop the title before Wrestlemania" train before now, but it might be the smarter play at this point. Hell, given hindsight he probably shouldn't have won it in the first place, since the Night of Champions show was such a flop that it negated any of the point of him winning it.  

Lesnar — 10/6 Sports Business Jornal

So I'm looking at the 10/6-12 issue of Sports Business Journal, which has "Who will step up for UFC" as one of its cover stories. Further into the story, they highlight UFC's top draws since January 2006. A quick recap, if I may:
  • Brock Lesnar has the two highest drawing PPVs in UFC history and 3 of the top 5, two of which were against Frank Mir and Shane Carwin. Let me repeat those opponents – Frank Mir and Shane Carwin.
  • Brock Lesnar made 7 appearances in UFC, 5 as headliner (top two matches on the card). As a headliner, Lesnar averaged over 1 million buys. the next highest, GSP (their most consistent draw), averaged more than 300,000 fewer buys. ronda Rousey is averaging 395,000 buys and we think it's a big deal.
  • After re-joining WWE, the company decided to put him in a B-show and then have him LOSE to John Cena.
Shouldn't the investors be filing class-action lawsuits over this and not the network? 

​I'm gonna have to stick up for WWE a bit here, in that it's apples and oranges.  Lesnar had a unique charisma in UFC precisely because he was a "fake pro rassler" who was coming in and daring to beat longtime "real" fighters while cutting WWE-style promos about it.  Hardcore fighting nerds HATED him and gladly paid $70 a pop a million at a time hoping to see him lose.  
The WWE audience dynamic was totally different, in that everyone basically was happy to have him back and didn't really associate him with UFC any longer at the point when he returned.  Yes, it was a fuckup to have him lose to Cena, of course, but his wrestling drawing power was in a totally different league than his UFC drawing power.  He was a giant WWE star, yes, but he was an invading monster in UFC and it was the kind of special magic that probably won't ever be duplicated again.
As for Rousey, 350K is good now because UFC destroyed their own PPV business by oversaturating the market.  Even Brock returning would probably only do 700K at the high end now.​

Lesnar WM Solution


Hi Scott

Like everybody else I can understand the WWE's problem when it comes to Lesnar. They've built him brilliantly – too brilliantly – and now it's quite likely that nobody on the roster will be ready to beat him down in time for Wrestlemania.

However, surely the company can't go any longer than WM without a full time Champion and you just know they are desperate to try one of the Shield Guys as champion (ideally Reigns).

How about a solution to book a four way for the Main Event – Lesnar (as champion) vs Reigns (Rumble winner) vs Ambrose (Elimination Chamber winner) vs Rollins (MITB)?

Then mid match you have the three Shield guys realise that the only way to take down Lesnar is as a group with the triple powerbomb through the table. They do that and proceed to have a three way with whoever the favoured one is at the time taking the belt.

This pays off the year long Shield storyline – gets your three hottest young stars in the Main Event of Mania and maintains Lesnar's aura as unstoppable as it took all of the most dominant stable of all time to take him down.

You then run with the new guy as Champion till Summerslam where he faces Lesnar in a rematch one on one. If the new guy has caught on and is working you give him the big win and if he hasn't you simply go back to Lesnar and draw up a new plan.

Thoughts?


​Not the worst idea!  I feel like the temptation might be there for them to do a Shield reformation out of it, but it certainly gives Ambrose the main event payoff fans are waiting for and allows them to move the belt to Reigns in a believable manner.  ​

BROCK LESNAR

Scott,


How completely stupid would it be to have Lesnar lose at Night of Champions? Would you rank it higher than their stupid decision to have him lose his first match back against Cena? Or would this be even worse?

I would call it a strange decision, but I can at least understand the mindset if they do.  Pop a big Network number and then go back to the touring champ model.  Plus Brick is already damaged goods now to a degree, so it's less of a big deal.  

August Classics: CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar – SummerSlam 2013

OK, so it happened a year ago, therefore it’s not a “classic” by the common definition. However, this is a ***** match that will easily be considered one of the best SummerSlam matches ever. The Best vs. The Beast. Due to health and behind the scenes drama, this may possibly be Punk’s last great match.


CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar – SummerSlam 2013 by AndresGuilherme

The Sporting News: Who is likely to challenge Brock Lesnar at WM?

In my newest Sporting News column, I examine the odds of various people challenging the Beast should, say, an airplane fall on Roman Reigns and manage to penetrate his flak jacket.  

A Future Lesnar Program

Here’s a thought: What about Bray Wyatt as one of Brock Lesnar’s challengers?
Let’s fast forward to the holiday season. Lesnar and Paul Heyman are in the ring cutting a promo. Lights go out, lights go back on, and there’s the Wyatt Family surrounding them. I’m thinking the crowd goes haywire over that development.All three are big enough to hang with Lesnar. Wyatt is over despite the losses and would elevate to the next level with a good showing, as well as Harper and Rowen, who Lesnar would have to go through to get to Wyatt. I don’t think this would turn Lesnar face since he is generally unliked enough. Not saying Wyatt should win the title, but fresh faces are desperately needed and that feud would keep them occupied for a few months.And it would be something different and unexpected.

​Well, there's a million guys they could throw at Brock for short-term programs if he was going to be around for every PPV, but he's not.  As great as it would be for Brock to give the rub to the Sheamuses and Wyatts of the world, it's just not cost effective.  That's probably why they're saving him for guys on the level of the Rock or Cena.  Brock shouldn't be the guy to get someone to that level, he should be the one to monetize the guy once they're already there.  And Bray is not.​

MeekinOnMovies On…Is Brock Lesnar the new Undertaker?

Credit: WWE.com / Satan
 “Well, there are really only two ways to do it. Think of something that
makes you really sad… or forget you’re you and really forget you’re
pretending…” – Nick Nolte

It’s possible I was running purely on Mountain Dew (I guess advertising works) when I watched Lesnar vs. Cena at Summerslam about…15 hours ago. By the time it was over, things felt different. Intentional or not, Brock Lesnar finally appeared to ‘get it’. Special attraction or not, there to collect a paycheck or not, mercenary or not, the Brock Lesnar we saw at Summerslam was the Brock Lesnar I’d been waiting for – The Brock Lesnar Steve Austin referred to on his Podcast as what could potentially be if he fully invested in the world of sports entertainment..

This Brock, lording over the conscious corpse of the WWE’s poster boy had a ferocity we hadn’t seen in awhile. Sure, fans believed Brock was a monster, Paul Heyman believed Brock was a monster, and that chair he broke over Big Show’s dome believed he was a monster too, but until last night, I wasn’t sure Brock did. After last night, like Undertaker, Brock is now something more than human.

And if you’ll afford me the opportunity, I’d like you all to hop in my magic school bus as we travel up my own ass, and discuss the craft of acting.

 If you regard the poster, you’ll notice two things. First, regardless of what you think of the guy, John Cena looks genuinely concerned for his well being.

Second, you’ll notice Brock Lesnar is clearly attempting to scare a five year old child at a haunted house by making his face look as close to a pumpkin as possible. But if you look into Lesnar’s eyes, they seem…confused, like he isn’t sure what the fruit  he’s doing, but someone told him to make a scary face, so here it is. Can I have my check now, please?

And that’s a problem. It’s also a problem in sit-down interviews where Brock is clearly reading, or repeating lines verbatim a producer or writer told him to say like he’s on Total Divas.

I call this “confessional syndrome”. You’ll notice it in early seasons of popular reality shows like Pawn Stars, as the people in it get used to the idea of ‘playing themselves’. There’s the natural stuff, when Rick is negotiating and essentially doing the job he’s had for years, and the ‘storyline’ stuff where you don’t quite believe anything that’s happening, because the folks it’s happening to don’t either. If you want a fantastic example of some terrible reality TV ‘acting’, check out the first season of American Choppers.

If you’d like another example from actual drama, watch The Usual Suspects again and pay attention to Stephen Baldwin; from how he holds gun, to how he says his lines, to how every scene he’s in tries to make him look like a bad ass, but instead he looks like someone trying to ‘act’ tough.  
If the people saying their lines don’t believe their lines, or act in an unbelievable way, it shows. And to act well, you need to believe. It’s not so much what you say, but how and why you say it. 
If you’ve ever listened to a grade school classroom
recite The Pledge of Allegiance, they’re all saying it, but not many of em’
care what they’re saying so it feels a little hollow. As Brock Lesnar often did since his return

As a poor man’s example of…serviceable acting, here’s a video I did with a friend for a class she had. I was almost in a bunch of trouble for this thanks to the bathroom part, until my cohort revealed it was all pre-staged.

For whatever reason my friend was capable of reacting realistically to the idea of a crazy person hiding in her bathroom, and I was a believable enough weirdo to the point it’s possible I’d do such a thing, at least enough to make the folks watching seriously question if we were being ‘real’ or not.

If my buddy didn’t ‘act’  freaked out / pissed off / annoyed in a genuine way, and I didn’t let out that really fucking creepy laugh, folks would thought it was a dumb gag. They believed we believed so they weren’t sure if it was real until we told them it wasn’t. I’m not saying we’re good at acting, but I’m confident in saying I’m more believable as the kind of asshole who would play such an annoying prank, than Brock was in his various interviews before Summerslam .

But during Summerslam’s main event, somewhere in the middle of those sixteen German
Suplexes Brock gave the human body pillow that used to be John Cena, he ‘got’ it. Look at the eyes again. He’s not contorting his face, he’s not trying to look tough, he is tough and pissed, and triumphant. 

He’s no longer ‘playing’ Brock Lesnar:
Tough Guy, he is Brock Lesnar: Tough Guy. More importantly, I believed Brock Lesnar believed he was Brock Lesnar: Tough Guy. He just engaged in legalized manslaughter, and came away with barely a hang nail. Before, he looked the part, now he *is* the part.

And what is that part? Undertaker 2.0. Putting aside obvious similarities: a portly manager who does most of the talking when not bowing before him in worship, an imposing frame, and ‘special attraction’ status, the number one thing that allows the WWE to slot Brock Lesnar into the ‘Taker role is that they’re now both supernatural characters.

In different ways of course. If Brock Lesnar ever comes down the Wrestlemania ramp, rolls his eyes back in his head, and removes his hood to the sound of cracking thunder, it’s game over. Brock Lesnar is supernatural in that there has never been a WWE Superstar with a more legitimate ‘real life’ resume.

Of course WWE can’t come out and say “Well you know, Brock actually beat people up whereas we’re just pretending here!”, but for smarks and marks alike, we believe Lesnar can do pretty much whatever the hell he wants to anyone he wants at any point and time, and after the insanity of last night’s match, the question of “Who the f*ck can ‘realistically’ beat this guy?” enters our mind the same way it did with Taker and his Wrestlemania streak.  

He’s a real fighter who’s slumming it in the world of sports entertainment, and at Summerslam, Brock finally found a way to channel that “real fighter” mentality into a worked match that resulted in a truly menacing aura – something Dan Severn and Ken Shamrock couldn’t quite figure out. Unlike his first match against Cena at Extreme Rules, where he toyed with Cena like a cat who caught a mouse, at Summerslam, Brock was a killer whale ripping a baby seal apart limb from limb. Finally he’s being portrayed, and is portraying himself as, the brute we always wanted.    

Thus, we have a living legend on our hands. Sure, you could argue Jericho and Triple H are still around and are future Hall of Famers, and so is Big Show if we want to be generous, but those three have been on our television and in our faces for years. At this point, they’re family – we know mostly what we’re getting, and that’s tricky because the thing about legends is they’re enigmatic.

We’ll never know if Brock has a real passion for the business, we’ll
never know what’s fact and what’s reality as it pertains to his
character and backstage personality – he’s protected in a way that allows the WWE and the IWC at large to play with our expectations, just like the Undertaker – whom we *rarely* heard from unless he was ‘in character’. There’s also the idea that the WWE needs Brock more than Brock needs the WWE, and with Heyman legitimately having the ear of Lesnar, I find myself filled with a sense of optimism.

It’s wonderfully exciting, isn’t it? Brock Lesnar is now a other worldly figure in regards to the WWE Universe.
Only top stars wrestle him, and only the tippy top stars (or soon to be
owners) beat him. His super power doesn’t come from a demonic urn, but
instead a dastardly reputation and now – thank God – a truly menacing persona in the ring. When all is said and done, Lesnar may not end up with the same incredible legacy and oodles of respect Taker has, but I don’t care.

Because I believe Brock doesn’t care, either.

You Still Do Brock Lesnar Questions,Right?

Scott,
With Brock,why is he so shielded and protected? I know that's a broad question,but in terms of match quality and how quickly the initial buzz/pop wears off after each return,is he worth the outlay? For example,Brock returns and loses a hot match to Cena. OK. He then draws a big buyrate against HHH. Their two rematches sucked however,but one was a WrestleMania and one was a rushed B-show bout so no real spotlight,in terms if numbers, was shone on either. His Punk bout at SummerSlam last year was a **** affair at least but the event flopped finacially. The Big Show angle stunk in every respect earlier this year, and the subsequent Taker stuff had historical value but the match itself was never going to be a classic. Now,he's going to be champion in a few weeks,timed brilliantly to 'save' the Network, and then pretty much vanish with the belt. I still like Brock and his mystique a hell of a lot,but when the dust settles on this run will it be exposed as an expensive luxury?
​I wouldn't say the Big Show stuff stunk as such.  It was pointless as a storyline and the post-match beatdown was overdone, but it got him over as a giant-killing monster again​ at least.  
As for Brock's worth, he already justified the cost of his initial contract by adding extra buys to Extreme Rules, so anything on top of that was gravy.  Plus someone with his kind of star power really does add an extra rub to whatever show he's working on, whether or not he's putting over Cesaro at the time.  I'm not saying the money has been perfectly spent on him and that they didn't flush millions down the toilet by beating him in his first match and wasting three PPV slots on HHH, but it's hard to call him a flop either.  

Brock Lesnar in 2002

Scott,

Do you think Brock Lesnar's rise was timed correctly in 2002?  He was still really green, had not had meaningful feuds to establish himself, and didn't benefit from the current UFC badass crossover appeal in 2002.  He was an unknown commodity with a ton of potential, but was hardly the surefire badass main eventer of today.  Do you think SummerSlam 2002 was the time to put him on top?  

As a matter of personal opinion, I think the way to go was for Brock to come in as Kurt Angle's bodyguard (the Diesel to his Shawn Michaels).  They can emphasize the NCAA background with Kurt building a team of Brock, Benjamin, and Haas as his "legitimate" wrestling stable.  Brock can gain experience through 2002 and build the monster image against a greater variety of opponents.  Eventually, Angle becomes TOO reliant on Lesnar's assistance to protect his title (in a prolonged feud with the returning Benoit?) and Brock ends up ditching Angle.  Brock does the babyface turn, dominates the Royal Rumble and you put him over Angle (who needed to leave for surgery) at Wrestlemania 19 for his FIRST title.  I just think Angle-Lesnar could have had an even more epic build and Brock's rise could have gained more steam with a slower burn (even if it's just prolonged from SummerSlam 2002 to Wrestlemania).  

Why prolong it?  He was super hot by Summerslam, and people bought the title change.  I don't see what the problem was.  Failing to pull the trigger on their hot acts is exactly what the problem was 99% of the time, so I'm sure where keeping it off him would help matters.