Yes, I'm STILL retired... But tonight, as I was trying to complete my crossword puzzles, I had visitors lining up at my Retirement Home suite asking me "WHAT DID YOU THINK OF BROCK LESNAR'S RETURN?!?" over and over and over again. So I'm going to dust off my keyboard and pump out yet another "Excellence in Column Writing" experience for you to enjoy (or hate, as there are many who cringe everytime I post).
First of all, I called for Brock Lesnar's WWE return all the way back to December 16th, 2009. During that period of time, Brock's health was deteriorating and couldn't continue to compete at a high level in MMA and should return to pro wrestling instead. I figured that since his WWE exit, his New Japan and UFC experience could be nice leverage points for Lesnar to get a good deal with the WWE.
Now, he's back. Lesnar's return was HUGE and was what the post-Wrestlemania edition of Monday Night RAW is all about. Despite many fans knowing that it was coming ahead of time, thanks to WWE leakers over the weekend about Brock/WWE negotiations... It didn't matter, as the Miami RAW crowd erupted when the Lesnar theme music hit and thoroughly enjoyed when John Cena was the recipient of the F5 finisher. It's been 8 long years since the WWE's prized 2002 Ohio Valley Wrestling graduate left the WWE after Wrestlemania 20 in 2004 to foolishly persue an NFL career. Brock would later redeem his WWE exit by having a legitimate UFC career including being UFC Heavyweight Champion.
But Lesnar joins Randy Orton and John Cena as the remaining members of the Ohio Valley Wrestling "Class of 2002". When the WWE was preparing for the first RAW/Smackdown brand split, they called up all of their horses from their developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling. Jim Ross, then VP of Talent Relations, recruited a group of horses to be molded like clay by Danny Davis and Jim Cornette in Louisville, KY where the developmental Ohio Valley Wrestling promotion was located. In addition to Randy Orton, John Cena, and Brock Lesnar, the likes of Shelton Benjamin, Charlie Haas, and Batista were big call-ups for their day. WWE is reportedly negotiating with Batista for a possible return, while I'd give my left leg for Haas/Benjamin to return and dominate the tag division.
Brock Lesnar reportedly signed a 1 year deal which tells me that he doesn't want to dedicate himself TOO much to the WWE in the event that he wants another crack at Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). That, and he was stuck in his contract in 2004 and fought through legal battles with the WWE to free himself to be allowed to fight for UFC. I figure Lesnar will finally give us the Main Event level feud with John Cena, which we were denied in 2004-2005 when it was supposed to happen with John Cena's rise back then. But with a 1 year deal, here's my prediction: Undertaker defeats Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 29. At least with a reported 1 year deal in place, his last match will be at Wrestlemania and becoming Undertaker's #21 will contractually happen.
Short-term, it's a GREAT move by the WWE. In my humble opinion, the WWE is becoming desperate not just for higher ratings, buyrates, or attendance, but for the WWE Network. The Network is on life support based on the WWE's inability to get placed on cable/satellite packages. Consider Brock Lesnar a "WWE Network Investment", which is why I believe the WWE will also get Batista. WWE wants the WWE Network to succeed, as Vince McMahon probably sees the revenue streams of the Big 10 Network, NFL Network, MLB Network, and NBA Network and wants a piece of the themed cable money. Brock Lesnar, thanks to his UFC run, is a HUGE name that is sure to draw outside attention for the way he opted to retire from UFC and his overall success there.
Furthermore, it gives the WWE some much needed star power, namely for John Cena. I've argued it for 5 years now, or so, that John Cena has NOT had a Joker to his Batman. His feud with CM Punk was his closest thing, aside from his recent Rock feud. Brock Lesnar will more than give him his challenge. To see Brock then move on to challenge other WWE performers will get interesting and should provide for some unique challenge opportunities to enjoy.
Long-Term, however, we're still seeing a WWE incredibly dependent on the Attitude Era and Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002 wrestlers. Sure, some of the recent developmental wrestlers or those brought in from other indy sources are decent, but they just aren't getting over like the previous generations of wrestlers. Hence, why the WWE is very reliant on the older wrestlers for Wrestlemania events. Sure, the "sugar high" of Brock Lesnar will be nice for the next year and maybe for a few years... But these guys are getting older. It's time for the WWE wrestlers, notably those under 30, to STEP UP. Today's wrestlers need to stop feeling that "sense of entitlement" because these older wrestlers will cling onto their spots as long as possible.
Speaking of current WWE wrestlers, I predict that Brock Lesnar will get thrashed by backstage reports. That's right, the WWE squealers will text or call their favorite Insider News Source about what a "snob" Brock Lesnar is. Those who believe that they are entitled to a push will believe that Brock Lesnar is taking away their push. Same thing has happened with the Rock's return, as the backstage "sources" squealed that Rock was a raging egomaniac backstage. Because they are jealous of Brock Lesnar's success and probably the pushes Lesnar will receive, they'll squeal to the internet news media. Funny that they do that, as bashing the top guys only hurts the WWE's image and drawing power of those big wrestlers. So be ready for that...
For now, Brock is BACK and I'm excited. It's one of those rare moments where you feel GREAT to be a pro wrestling fan. Sure, it's a staged profession, but some characters are just good enough to make you want to believe. When pro wrestling has these high moments, there's nothing better.
As for the REST OF RAW...
The Rock, WWE Champion? See, I told you with my prediction of the Rock winning. Vince McMahon wants the Rock around and will give him favorable booking, even at the expense of diminishing his top star John Cena, to keep the Rock's interest in returning to the WWE often. Don't doubt that it happens sometime this year.
I was very impressed with the man formerly known as Albert/A-Train, now known as Lord Tensai. Great to see someone leave a promotion and return with a better skillset from training and performing elsewhere. Tensai looked AWESOME absolutely destroying Alex Riley and I'm proud to have enjoyed it. I didn't think much of Albert/A-Train, but I enjoyed the new style of Tensai. He was brutal!
Hand it to the WWE Creative Team... They are doubling down on Chris Jericho bashing CM Punk's family members for their drinking problems as Jericho ripped Punk's family again and poured whiskey on Punk and even shattered a gimmicked bottle over CM Punk's head. I hate the angle, but at least the Creative Team believes in the angle and is fighting to get it over. I dislike it, but I admire effort to get it over...
That Miami RAW crowd was GREAT! They were hot all night long, crapped all over the Alberto Del Rio/Sheamus segment, and chanted "We Want Lesnar" during John Cena's last segment. Just classic stuff! By the way with Del Rio vs. Sheamus... It's basically the Vince versus Triple H "lovefest", as Vince loves Del Rio and Triple H loves Sheamus. Vince shoved Del Rio down our throats last year, even at the expense of derailing CM Punk's momentum. Meanwhile, Triple H pushed hard for Sheamus to win the Royal Rumble. Reportedly, WWE officials had the plan of the Sheamus squash of Daniel Bryan in the books for weeks. Gee, I wonder who wanted that?
And it's time for bed... No time for love, Dr. Jones! Back to Retirement Home room, as I need to stay away until the next exciting thing excites me to write again...