Brian Damage, Jamie Lithgow, Craig Wilson and Russ Morgan
The WWE roster is filled with “superstars” at every level. There are the main roster guys who regularly appear on Raw and SmackDown, those who are used as glorified jobbers and those who are barely used at all. In this series of pieces, we will take an individual wrestler barely or poorly used and decide if they are worth keeping or should they be let go. Today we Book or Cook Brock Lesnar.
Brian: This book or cook is a bit different for a few reasons. First of all, Brock isn’t off TV because the WWE doesn’t know how to use him or he is being punished in some way. He is off TV because he has a nice cushy contract and will start training for a return to UFC.
I realize that he is still a focal point somewhat on WWE programming because he is on the cover of the new WWE video game. I get all that, but what if Lesnar loses his return UFC fight? What if he gets beat really bad? Does that kill or at least hurt his credibility in the WWE as a monster? Does it hurt him being the one that ended the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania? If so, what use can the WWE get out of him at that point? It is a bit risky isn’t it?
Jamie: Even if Lesnar wins his UFC fight at UFC 200 I don’t see how it benefits him, other than the massive payday and a warm fuzzy glow inside. He can only really lose in this situation. A win reaffirms his already solid reputation as WWE’s monster and won’t do much for his UFC career because he’s under contract to WWE and is unlikely to make repeat visits to the octagon in order to fight for a UFC Title. A win means nothing, but a loss would be damaging to both his prospects in WWE and UFC.
Let’s say he does win though, and he goes on to work Summerslam, who with? He’s wrestled Cena, Rollins, Reigns, Ambrose, Taker and wiped the floor with The Wyatts. Randy Orton? AJ Styles? The nature of Brock Lesnar’s deal is that he comes in once or twice a year for a big fight, but those big fights are running out. Personally I’m becoming less and less interested in him because I know that his matches – while usually really fun to watch – generally mean nothing. He is becoming the personification of a high spot for the sake of a high spot. Fun to watch, but what is the point if nobody sells a damn thing and we forget moments after it has happened?
Craig: Can’t disagree with what Jamie has said. Never a fan of the limited date deals anyway, but what else has Brock got to do? There’s really not that much. Am sure he’d like to remain around for those fairly sizeable pay days but am not sure what the WWE get out of it. The UFC stuff will get WWE some more mainstream coverage but that’s also fairly limited. UFC fans will already know about Brock and the WWE. Can’t envisage the WWE will get many new viewers out of this.
Brian: If for some reason Brock loses to his UFC opponent, it’ll do irreparable damage to not only Brock Lesnar’s WWE status but probably to the Undertaker and the WWE as a whole as well. I am actually one who likes when Brock shows up on WWE television.
He has the ability to elevate the importance of a match almost instantaneously. Not many in the WWE besides someone like John Cena can say that.
Craig: I do get that Brock elevates a match-up and, like you say Brian, there are very few on the WWE roster that you can say that about.
There’s no doubting he does have name value. What a loss at UFC will do to that, I don’t think all that much. And with a brand split on the horizon, should the WWE push the boat and try and tie him to a longer term deal?
Jamie: It’s a catch 22. Part of his appeal is that he is a special attraction and as Brian mentioned, when Lesnar shows up you know it’s a big deal. But with his ‘big match’ options diminishing would making him a more permanent fixture freshen him up? It would be nice to see him interact more with the roster, like his match with Kofi Kingston last year. Booking him like Bray Wyatt might work. Wyatt’s booking is largely down to injuries but he seems to only appear on half the number of shows as everyone else, and it seems to work in terms of keeping him fresh and interesting.
That said, I’d agree with you both regarding a loss at UFC. I doubt WWE would let other performers use a potential defeat as ammunition in promos, but fans would see right through this as another case of WWE ignoring the elephant in the room.
Brian: I gotta say book here because Brock Lesnar to me still has a lot left in the tank. I can envision him against the likes of Kevin Owens or maybe Baron Corbin. If he loses in his UFC fight though…I say cook him because his worth will be severely diminished unfortunately.
Craig: I probably have to side with Brian on this one. It’s a cook if he loses.
Russ: If Lesnar wins his UFC fight, all fine and dandy. If he loses, it will take away his credibility as the monster. The result could be a win/win or lose/lose for WWE and UFC.
There’s our take: basically that Brock’s value goes down if he does lose at UFC 200. What do you think? Leave your thoughts below.
You can read all previous ‘Book or Cook?’ pieces here.