Brock Lesnar deserves more praise than he gets

WWE’s absentee champion could be coming to the end of his run, but his position in the company is vital

Toby Durant by Toby Durant

For a section of the WWE audience, Brock Lesnar’s presence has long been a problem. His status as the sometimes-there, often-not, final boss of WWE has rankled those that want the champion, and championship contenders, there every week.

Brock’s first run as absentee champion in 2014 was actually relatively refreshing, opening the way for blood feuds like that between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose to take center stage without the need to put the title on them. It was a nice break from monthly title defenses with little heat to them, and it made his appearances really matter.

However, his rolling feud with Undertaker in 2015 and highly disappointing WrestleMania 32 match with Dean Ambrose soured even more people to Lesnar’s position within the WWE Universe.

And yet, Brock Lesnar is very good at what he does.

The 2014-2017 Lesnar formula

Brock’s matches often follow a formula. The mantra “suplex, repeat” exists for a reason, because that is often Brock’s go to move. Multiple germans, a few snap verticals, and then an F-5 and win.

Against John Cena it was a spectacular and unexpected squash. In the Royal Rumble 2015 three-way it was exciting to see Seth and Cena team up to slow his momentum, but later on it became a problem. He dominated a match against Seth one-on-one, and the uninspired bout against Ambrose really hurt his image.

The important thing to remember about Brock though, is that it’s not about his offense, it’s about what his opponent can do. Rollins tried to use his speed to counter Brock, recently AJ Styles was able to move around a deal some serious damage, and at WrestleMania 31 Roman Reigns was able to physically go toe-to-toe with him.

The act of watching people take the fight the Brock is what makes him such an important figure within WWE. Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman have been made stars this year partly because they stood up to Brock and did some serious damage to him over the summer.

While some might find Brock’s offensive formula too repetitive, you should pay attention to what the opponent does, because that is the real value of Brock’s matches.

Selling

While some point to the likes of Dolph Ziggler and Finn Balor as great sellers, Brock is extremely underrated in actually selling offense. 

His wobbly-legged struggle to his feet after a big move gets the most reaction of any sell in wrestling, and it makes his opponents look great when Brock’s cockiness disappears into bandy-legged problems. When Brock is turning purple in the Coquina Clutch or staggered from a Superman Punch it makes his opponent look all the more impressive, and it is something that top guys have traditionally not done for their counterparts.

Hulk Hogan was notorious for not properly selling, Lex Luger too. One of the reasons Ric Flair was so respected was because he would sell and allow his opponent to look like a million bucks. It’s quietly Brock’s best asset as a worker.

His first run

You rarely hear people talk about Brock’s first run with WWE these days, but I don’t think you can properly appreciate modern day Brock without going back and watching his work from 2002 to 2004. His wars with Undertaker, including a ridiculously bloody Hell In A Cell match at No Mercy 2002, suddenly make their modern feuds all the more understandable. His work with Kurt Angle and The Rock was brilliant, and displayed not only his ability to work long matches but work main event matches and captivate an audience.

It was only a short run, but it revitalized WWE in the absence of Steve Austin and Rock, and without him it would have been a struggle for WWE to maintain relevancy. Having recently flicked through the WWE Network to watch some of his matches you suddenly see a real wrestler who can be technical, power-based, and quick. He has always been a freak athlete, but the modern day Lesnar doesn’t really use it. Back in the early 2000’s he was truly a monster.

What makes Brock special

In a WWE that has fully embraced the cooperation and choreography that goes into a match, having someone who seems like a whirlwind of violent chaos is much needed. While Braun Strowman is seemingly taking that torch and running with it on weekly TV, you need someone who can do that in a big main event spot, and that is Brock.

His brute force comes out when he gets pissed, such as the 2016 Rumble and his match against Reigns at Mania 31. It is an awesome sight to see Brock throw stiff clotheslines and get that grin on his face, but is works because it is unlike anything else that is on display week to week.

With Lesnar’s contract reportedly expiring after WrestleMania it is important to really appreciate Lesnar for what he is right now. A titan of modern wrestling, and a vital piece to the main event scene. Everyone hates a final boss because they are so tough to beat, and Brock has been the best final boss WWE has created in a long time.

What’s your opinion of Brock Lesnar? Let us know in the comments below!

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Toby Durant

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