Brock Lesnar may be gone from WWE sooner rather than later.
According to a report from PWInsider (h/t WrestlingNews.co), Lesnar indicated at last month’s Elimination Chamber event that he was coming to end of his current stint with WWE: “PWInsider also noted that Lesnar was saying farewell to some people and that he was ‘finishing up.’ A source noted that Lesnar was not ‘necessarily’ done on that night or even at WrestleMania.”
A year after headlining WrestleMania 38 in a title unification match against Roman Reigns, Lesnar has, in a rare twist, taken a big fall down the card. “The Beast” is now slated to battle “The Nigerian Giant” Omos in a clash of two titans at WrestleMania 39, even though that wasn’t originally planned for WWE’s flagship event.
Lesnar, however, reportedly rejected a WrestleMania match against Bray Wyatt, which was a good call on Lesnar’s part. The idea of Lesnar dealing with the over-the-top elements of Wyatt’s ridiculously campy character isn’t exactly one that had set the wrestling world ablaze. Lesnar vs. Wyatt sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, but the same is true of Lesnar vs. Omos, especially given that Lesnar typically thrives against smaller opponents.
Truth be told, however, it doesn’t really matter what WWE has Lesnar do on a WrestleMania 39 that has already sold itself. The bigger—and more important—question here is what this mean’s for Lesnar’s future in WWE.
It’s widely known that Lesnar and Vince McMahon have a close relationship, leading some to speculate that McMahon is back running WWE’s creative process and is the reason behind Lesnar vs. Omos, which comes across as something McMahon would book. Rumors of McMahon running WWE again have been put to bed thus far, which makes Lesnar’s future and his overall booking less of a certainty.
From 2012 to 2022, Lesnar was almost always a fixture in the world title scene whenever he was around, but with McMahon no longer running creative, Lesnar has taken a bit of a backseat. While Lesnar is still featured prominently on WWE programming, he also hasn’t been pushed at the level he was under McMahon, who prioritized him above virtually anyone and everyone else on the roster.
On more than one occasion in the past, Lesnar used his clout in WWE to sign short-term deals that give him a limited workload and have kept him among the company’s highest-paid stars during his second stint with the company. Lesnar has often been WWE’s “break glass in case of emergency” part-timer, emerging from the shadows whenever WWE—and especially McMahon—has felt that its programming needs a jolt of excitement.
There’s no denying that Lesnar can provide exactly that, too. His current babyface run has been a surprising hit, and he’s shown the type of charisma and comedic timing that is largely lacking when he’s a villain. Even at 45 years old, he’s still very good in the ring, but his recent matches have relied far too heavily on suplexes, F5s and other big moves rather than storytelling.
That has negatively impacted the quality of those bouts, and at a time when names like Cody Rhodes and Sami Zayn—who aren’t larger-than-life superstars—have developed into substantial draws, it’s clear that just being Brock Lesnar doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to make things more interesting if he isn’t put in a position to succeed booking-wise.
While there may be still be some dream matches left for Lesnar, a potential WWE sale and possible cost-cutting measures to speed up the sale process could make Lesnar more expendable at a time when the WWE product as a whole doesn’t necessarily need stars like him to thrive.
WWE officials thus must consider whether keeping Lesnar at a hefty price tag is worth it, and one argument for Lesnar sticking around is that WWE should keep stars like him in order to be more appealing to potential buyers. There is also the counter-argument to be made that, with some WWE stars unhappy about a potentially part-timer-filled WrestleMania, continuing to focus so heavily on Lesnar is more trouble than it’s worth.
If WWE is going to pay Lesnar like a top star, though, he should be featured in marquee feuds, and a rivalry with Omos doesn’t really fit that description. However, it’s also refreshing to see Lesnar out of the title picture for a change.
If Lesnar is going to “finish up” at WrestleMania, it’s much more likely that he will simply be gone for an extended period given that his current contract runs out around the time of WrestleMania 39. Lesnar is performing at too high of a level and making too much money to walk away right now if he still wants to be in WWE.
What’s likely going on here is that Lesnar is doing what he always does and using the leverage of an expiring contract to get an even better one, and if he doesn’t ink a new one prior to WrestleMania 39, perhaps WWE does the unthinkable and has him put over Omos on his way out.
That’s unlikely, however, and the best-case scenario for Lesnar and WWE is that he disappears after WrestleMania 39—only to ink a new deal and come back with a vengeance later in 2023.
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