Brock Lesnar is headed for an epic showdown with former Paul Heyman client CM Punk at WWE SummerSlam on August 18. The bout that many fans feel is a dream match is the result of a rivalry that began the night after WWE Payback when Brock attacked Punk on Raw.
This latest return for Lesnar is yet another opportunity for him to show his dominance, a way for him to prove once again that he is the true beast of WWE. Because the truth is if it does not happen that way this time, then everything the company has done to get him over will be for nothing. And that means Brock must defeat CM Punk at SummerSlam.
It's a real Catch-22 situation for WWE. On one hand, Brock's spotlight as the most dangerous man in the industry, the merciless warrior who is bent on destruction, is spot on. This is by the far the best way to present him, the most sensible way for Lesnar to get over with the WWE faithful.
He plays it to the hilt, as well. Everything about him, from his icy expression to his unbridled rage in the ring, everything he does says "I am a stone cold killer; I will end you." There is no doubt about it, Brock Lesnar is the Beast Incarnate.
Well, that's the tag line. But in reality, does anyone truly believe that anymore?
Therein lies the other part of the Catch-22 for WWE. Because, as much as Brock completely fits the role of superhuman monster, the truth is that these days, he's looking all too human.
He's had a grand total of four matches since his return in 2012, once against John Cena and three times against Triple H. He lost to Cena and went 2-1 with Hunter. That's 2-2 for his win/loss record with his matches and 1-1 with his feuds.
In terms of an average Superstar, it's not bad. But Brock is not an just an average Superstar—Beast Incarnate, remember?
So Brock is the MMA-trained fighter, more machine than man, a guy who won the UFC Championship during the time after he left WWE back in 2004. And his record since returning in 2012 is 2-2. The truth is, he did much better during his first run with WWE when he was fresh, green and unproven.
How can any fan look at Brock Lesnar and believe that he is a threat to any Superstar in WWE? Is it even possible anymore? His impact is undeniable and at first, it's always very effective. He makes a statement every time he's on camera and wreaks havoc on anyone standing in his way.
He's big, he's mean and he's completely believable.
But the minute he's truly tested, he's bested. And when it's all said and done, Brock looks as weak as any other Superstar who loses a match on the main event stage of WWE. So, what's the answer here?
To be honest, I'm not sure there is one. Brock is great in his role, can play it to the hilt. But if the company needs him to do the job, then he does it. That's it. Perhaps we read too much into it. Perhaps we as fans get too wrapped up in the win/loss record to truly understand Brock's purpose in WWE.
However, I keep coming back to the main point. How can we take him seriously if when the dust settles and the smoke clears, he's not totally dominant as initially advertised?
Maybe the reason why this has been such an issue with fans is the fact that Brock is just not there. And when he is there, he is rarely ever working. He never wrestles on TV and is always saved for pay-per-views. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that; Lesnar is a real star in the industry and should be on the big cards in order for WWE to make the most profit off him as possible.
But the way he's marketed really only makes sense if he consistently wins. And its for that reason that I believe he must defeat CM Punk at SummerSlam in order for his return to be taken seriously.
A win over Punk puts Brock right back in that dominant position among the elite in WWE. He will have revenge for Heyman and another notch on his belt, this time against one of the biggest current stars in the company. Lesnar will reestablish himself as a power player in WWE, and the rivalry with Punk could actually continue, with a second match happening at Night of Champions.
And on that night, Punk will even it up by beating Brock. Saw that one coming, right?
Again, it's such a big deal because Lesnar is not a full-time Superstar. If he were, then dropping losses on pay-per-views would probably not be all that serious for him. In fact, he would likely blend right in with the other stars of WWE.
But he's not. He never will be. And that is both a blessing and a curse for the company.
Lesnar is great in the short term, he's good for WWE. But for his career in the long term, the way he's booked does nothing for him. So yes, he needs this win over Punk at SummerSlam. He needs to be the clear-cut winner, make a statement and then move on to the next match that he should win in dominating fashion again.
And I honestly do not believe that will happen.
Brock Lesnar is facing CM Punk on WWE's SummerSlam pay-per-view coming up on August 18. For Punk, it's another night to show how versatile he can be and another opportunity for him to shine on WWE's main event stage. For Brock Lesnar, it's time to improve his win/loss record since returning in 2012.
Whether or not he will is anyone's guess.