No, that title is not a misprint. We all at one point or another have made derogatory comments about The Beast Incarnate. Whether it be his perceived lack of a moveset, his stiffness in the ring (settle down) or his incredibly 'relaxed' contract, Lesnar is certainly one of the most polarising figures in WWE history.
When you take off the critic hat and try to appreciate the business and superstars for what they are, a very different and surprising picture starts to unfold before your eyes. it's worth taking just a few minutes, from time to time, to look at things in a bit more depth. From this slightly different perspective you start to realise that Brock has had some huge moments and matches within WWE, has helped to put over a lot of talent both young and old, and has shown flashes of great character and personality.
So seriously... is Brock Lesnar one of the most underrated Superstars of all time? Let's take a closer examination.
First, I admit this much: I have often not been a fan of the way that WWE have used Lesnar. I am like a lot of fans who want to see the titles defended and regularly seen on TV. That being said, as long as WWE continues to want Brock, he has leverage like not many others do. For Brock Lesnar, leverage means big money and a nice relaxed schedule. Simply put, don’t hate the player, hate the game. Lesnar is a business man, doing whatever he needs to make himself the most money for the least amount of work. Can you really begrudge him for wanting to make money whole he suts at home? We would all do the exact same if given the chance. Samoa Joe has said much the same - he doesn't care for the championship belts, he just wants to get paid. So why do we not lambasted Joe for a similar outlook?
With that side of things out of the way, you can begin to look at the other thing that the fans tend t hate on Brock for. The Beast is all about hard hitting, short and sweet matches where he gets the majority of the offence in. Though Brock has had his fair share of incredible squash matches in his time on WWE TV, they have almost always been completely necessary to fit in with his reputation. Besides, how many people didn’t enjoy the SummerSlam match against John Cena, where Cena got virtually no offense in? It was a spectacle. Brock isn't a young pup anymore. No more shooting star presses and no more 30 minute classics.
With those 2 major obstacles out of the way, i'm going to give you four great examples of how Lesnar just may be as underrated as I am claiming.
Case 1: Royal Runble 2020
Boy oh boy, this sure was a controversial start to the Royal Rumble match.
When Brock was announced as the number 1 entrant in this years event, a lot of eyebrows were raised. Mainly because he was already the reigning WWE Chanpionand and didn't stand to gain anything, but also because... well who would be able to eliminate him? For the most part it seemed the answer was 'nobody'. Brock proceeded to toy with the first dozen or so wrestlers who came his way, eliminating most of them in mere seconds. Then it was the turn of The Chosen One.
Enter Drew McIntyre. A swift kick to the balls from Ricochet set the Beast up to take one sweet Claymore Kick to the face, sending him hurtling over the top rope. A star making moment for sure, but what followed was every bit as important for making Drew into a believable 'top guy' as the elimination itself was. Brock sold the absolute hell out of that elimination. For a good 2 or 3 minutes, he sat at ringside visibly shaken and disheveled by what had just happened. He looked at Drew with a fear in his eyes... had he finally met his match?
The moment was greeted with one of the biggest pops I've ever heard from a crowd clearly dejected and resentful at the possibility of another Brock showcase. Fans are quick to forget how many times Brock has put over newer and younger talent. He may be all about making money but Brock makes his own rules, and seeing him give a huge rub to other talent just goes to show that maybe, he actually cares a lot more than he lets on.
Case 2: Great Balls of Fire versus Samoa Joe
Forget the horrid name for a PPV if you possibly can. I saw the match between Brock Lesnar and Samoa Joe as a thoroughly enjoyable one. The build was great and it felt like there was genuine animosity between the two men. This match is perhaps forgotten about because of the PPV's name pr because it happened so early in the year, but i still hold it in high esteem and it was more proof that Lesnar can sell with the best of them. I am a huge fan of Joe, his intensity and character always brings any match he is in up to the next level, and here he certainly brought out the best in Brock.
Ome thing that always sticks out for me with Brock, is that his best work often comes when he is clearly having fun. Look at the start of the 2020 Royal Rumble match. His in-ring interactions with R-Truth recently, leading to Brock asking to work with Truth more in the future. The whole Beast In The Bank Run. Brock isn't a bad guy. He has personality, but his character doesn't currently require him to show it.
Case 3: The Streak... is over...
Still a moment of great contention, with nobody outside of WWE HQ ever likely to find out the entire truth behind the decision. Ome thing that's for sure is that neither WWE or The Undertaker hinself made this decision lightly. Taker made this decision along with Vince McMahon, and Taker will have lobbied for Brock to be the one who ended the streak. The detractors will sah it should've been somebody new, a rising star. Taker chose Lesnar, much like he has chosen AJ Styles for this year, out of respect for his opponent. If anyone knows what the business needs, it's the Undertaker. He knew what this would do for Brock. He knew it would get him the ultimate heel heat.
With all of the planning behind the match understood a bit better, think about the in ring action itself. Early on in the proceedings, Undertaker almost got knocked the hell out and was clearly not in a good state for the rest of the match. He was gone and it was concerning. When something like this happens, it's down to the other guy in the ring to steer the rest of the match home and get both men out safely.
The match couldn't simply end early, it wasn't in the script. This was one of the biggest matches in WrestleMania history and was due to end on the biggest moment we have ever seen. Brock did everything required of him to deliver the desired finish, the end result being arguably the most shocking moment in WWE history. Brock earnt a lot of respect that night from the fans, as much as most of them won't want to admit to it. When you take a second and stop romanticizing everything, this was absolutely the right decision and there was nobody better than Brock to end the streak.
Case 4: Matches against Rey Mysterio, Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles and Finn Balor.
Bringing this around now to more recent history. These matches were all just excellent. Sure, they all played out largely the same with Lesnar dominating the first half of the match before the face turned things around, then ultimately falling short of The Conqueror. On all 4 occasions, Brock did everything he could to make his opponents look like absolute stars. This brings back my earlier of point of his ability to sell. From the agony of an AJ Styles Calf Crusher, the lightning fast offence and strikes of Balor, the never say die attitude of Bryanand the impassioned Mysterio defending his families honour. Though twice the size of each of his counterparts, Brock made them all seem like giants in their own right.
Each match was another startling reminder as to what Brock can accomplish whe. he is enjoying his job. He loves working with the smaller guys and not just becaus he can throw them around. He knows that they are the ones to tell the story in the ring. Brock is the brute, the one who doesn't care about co sequences or feelings. He is there to hurt people.
Perhaps that’s the takeaway from all of this. I don’t know if maybe it is just a Lesnar hang up or just an occasional disconnect with the creative team, but I will say that, on numerous occasions, Lesnar doesn’t seem fully engaged. But, when presented with an opponent, a program and a script that appeals to his performing side of things, Brock Lesnar can be the best in the world. His name always equals ratings and no matter how much crap we talk about him, he almost always gets a huge pop on his sporadic appearances.
John Cena recently came out saying that Lesnar is the GOAT, and while I don't agree, there is certainly a case for him being in at least the top 10. No one denies that Brock is great, but it is safe to say that he doesn't get nearly enough credit in the grand scheme of things.
In time, once he departs for good, he will. I have no doubt of that. Brock will be remember for being a once in a lifetime athlete who always knew how to put on a show and get people talking. In a matter of days from now we will see him taking on Ricochet at Suoer Showdown in Saudi Arabia. Here's hoping for another one of his classic David vs Goliath matches, solidifying himself as one of WWE's all time greatest entertainers.