On this week’s Raw we saw Brock Lesnar appear for the second week running, a rare treat for wrestling and Lesnar fans. Unfortunately the role we saw Brock cast in was hugely underwhelming. Fans remained fairly quiet as Lesnar stood in the ring trying to look as intimidating as possible while manager Paul Heyman cut a promo. As the promo concluded, Mark Henry came to the ring, and as was the case last week, Lesnar destroyed him.
Now bear in mind that Lesnar is earning $5 million dollars a year. Is this really the best use of such an expensive asset? Doing pretty much the exact same 10 minute angle shot last week. Repeats don’t work, and regardless, fans didn’t care about Lesnar beating Henry up last week, even less so this week. Sure, you can see the logic. “Let’s get heat on Brock by having him F5 Mark Henry and breaking his arm.”
The fact is though that this thinking is way too simplistic. These traditional booking techniques may work for a certain level of star, but Lesnar is bigger than that. WWE has paid huge money and sacrificed Lesnar’s few contract dates to have him do beatdowns on Mark Henry – that is mismanagement and financial folly as far as I’m concerned.
Lesnar’s “work” wasn’t over yet though. At the end of this uninspiring segment, the record low drawing Survivor Series main eventer The Big Show came out. A stare down took place. Lesnar bailed, got in the ring again, and then Show threw him out of the ropes like a rag doll. It looks as if Big Show vs Brock Lesnar will now take place as an undercard match at the Royal Rumble event.
Personally, I think it is yet another misuse of WWE’s investment in Lesnar. Since coming back in 2012 WWE have put $10 million into Brock losing to Cena, losing to Triple H, battling some more with Triple H, one great match with Punk and now a dead match with The Big Show. Have they got value for money? Hardly. Events like Extreme Rules he spiked buys, but the Wrestlemania would have drawn regardless, and Summerslam 2013 was actually somewhat of a drawing disaster. It’s all been down to the abysmal way that WWE has booked ‘The Beast’, chipping away at the aura of aggression he had when boasting a million buys in the UFC. The losses to John Cena and Triple H have undermined Lesnar’s selling point – he progressed to a million buys in UFC by simply and quickly smashing through opponents. He was something to behold. Can the same be said of Brock in 2014?
Lesnar vs Big Show is the latest folly in WWE’s handling of Brock’s run. It is clear that Brock will win that encounter, which in many ways negates any reason to watch the match. There is no way WWE send Brock into Mania with a loss, this Lesnar vs Show match is filler plain and simple. It will be dull filler at that. We saw Lesnar vs Big Show at Survivor Series 2002 and Royal Rumble 2003 – it was nothing to write home about. The fact that this match was being done 11 years ago also tells you everything you need to know about the staleness of WWE’s innovation.
The WWE creative team would no doubt argue that the Henry segments and Big Show match are necessary to send Brock into Mania hotly over. Perhaps they were paying for Brock to be in the Rumble match anyway, so they decided to get the most out of him by having him in an undercard match too. Still, you can’t get away from the fact you are booking a $5 million dollar man – they should be doing better.
It’s a sad continuation of an inferior creative trend when booking Brock Lesnar. Firstly he is booked to do nothing on TV other than pose and occasionally brawl, and then he is put in ppv appearances against mostly uninspiring opponents – who for the most part have undermined his character. Brock Lesnar could have been so much bigger of a draw than he is right now. WWE got a box office mega star in 2012, but through bad management and creative they have made Brock Lesnar just another part time returner. Lesnar vs Big Show is set to the latest unsatisfying chapter.
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This article was first posted on January 7, 2014