At UFC 226 last weekend, Brock Lesnar made a surprise return to the promotion and in a scene reminiscent of Monday Night Raw, challenged new heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier. Though we had heard rumblings that Lesnar’s new WWE contract included a clause that would allow him to return to UFC competition, it was a true shock to me on Sunday morning to see the headlines and video of Brock’s reemergence. While this may be the shot in the arm the UFC needs right now, it begs to question what implications this will have on his current WWE commitments.
You might not remember, and who could blame you, but Brock Lesnar is the reigning WWE Universal Champion.
In my mind, the ruckus at UFC 226 puts two potential WWE scenarios in play.
The first is the simplest, safest, and perhaps the best for all involved. This scenario would simply involve Lesnar dropping the Universal Title at SummerSlam (challenger TBA) and taking a long sabbatical as he prepares for his UFC return. Dana White all but confirmed Saturday night that a Cormier/Lesnar match WILL take place. Lesnar has been confirmed to have reentered the USADA testing pool, allowing him to complete the remainder of his suspension from a failed drug test prior to UFC 200, and a potential showdown with Cormier for the heavyweight championship could take place as early as late December or early January. Allowing for a 6-12 week training camp for Lesnar to prepare for the fight, the timing would seem right to have him work SummerSlam in August, drop the title, take some time off to heal and recharge the batteries, and begin UFC training in October or November. It would make for a clean break for Lesnar and the WWE on good terms, with the obvious potential for a future return. As for the present, Lesnar moves on, WWE can move on (with a full time Universal Champion to boot), done and done!
Scenario B gets a bit more complicated. Without getting to heavily involved in the how, the end result of this scenario would ideally conclude with Brock Lesnar carrying the Universal Title all the way into next year’s WrestleMania, with the hope that he also walks into MetLife Stadium as the UFC Heavyweight Champion as well. There are already reports out there that Vince McMahon and WWE are very interested in this potential prospect. Granted, there is an allure to the visual of seeing Lesnar walk down the ramp at the biggest show of the year with both the WWE Universal and UFC Heavyweight championship belts over his shoulder. However, there are a few big red flags with going in this direction.
For starters, regardless if Brock Lesnar works SummerSlam or not, going in this direction would all but guarantee that Lesnar would not again defend the Universal Championship until WrestleMania 35, perhaps Royal Rumble 2019 at the absolute earliest. He would obviously need that time from September to late December/early January to train for his UFC fight. You’d have to assume all WWE engagements would be off the table at that point. So if Lesnar leaves (or simply remains) that title holder after SummerSlam, there would be no top title on RAW for the entire fall and majority of the winter. That’s nearly seven months! We know Lesnar has been an absentee champion, but surely over half a year without a champion to promote would be too much even for Vince, right?
Additionally, we can’t forget about the biggest variable in this scenario- the UFC fight itself. Lesnar might beat Cormier; Cormier might also beat Lesnar. Each outcome comes with its own set of issues.
First let’s look at what the ramifications if Brock Lesnar walks into his UFC fight as Universal Champion and loses. If that happens, the preceding seven months are a total waste. The lack of a visible champion, the lack of a Universal Title defense on any major show, etc. All done in the hopes of having a “dual champion” at Mania, now up in smoke. Plus, what effect would it have on Brock’s drawing power? Would there be much interest, both from traditional wrestling fans and the casual viewer that Mania draws in each year, in watching a guy in a “fixed” fight for entertainment sake when he just lost a real, legitimate contest just two months prior? And if the end game was for Brock to ultimately drop the title anyway, why take the risk? Why not have him drop it early, while his name is hot again and it will make newsfeeds across the sports and entertainment realm, rather than take the chance of him dropping it much later when no one cares anymore?
Now, what if Brock Lesnar were to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship? The scenario becomes even more problematic in my opinion! You have to assume that the WWE and UFC have some sort of working relationship and an understanding of what both parties are wanting to gain from Lesnar’s participation in their promotion. You would also have to assume there are a few strings attached on both sides. So WHAT IF Lesnar wins the UFC Heavyweight Title at the start of the year. He rolls into Mania as a dual champion. Do you really think the UFC, a legit fighting company, would be keen on the idea of their champion losing a “fake” match to a wrestler/entertainer? I don’t think so! Now I am taking nothing away from any WWE performer or the wrestling business itself, but I don’t think anyone could argue that it would do the UFC no favors to have their Heavyweight Champion get “pinned” in front of a multi-million member audience and then also promote him as the baddest man in the fighting game.
Would Dana White have the stroke with Vince to tell him he will not allow Lesnar to lose in WWE while he is the reigning UFC Champion? Would Vince even entertain that? Would the WWE be at the mercy of Lesnar’s UFC career and be forced to keep him as the Universal Champion until he dropped the UFC title first? Would Brock even agree to wrestle anymore if he wins the UFC title, for fear of injury? It’s a fascinating rabbit hole to go down.
In the end, all things considered, I think SummerSlam is the right place and time for Brock Lesnar to drop the Universal Title. At this point, I don’t even care who he drops it to. While the idea of a crossover champion is interesting, it offers way too many potential obstacles to overcome and chances to have to take. If Vince wants to do what’s “best for business,” it’s time to put the Lesnar Era to bed and move on.
AJ’s Controversial? Wrestling Opinions 10.12.21
AJ feels like spouting off about a few wrestling topics that bug him. How controversial are they though?
As Eric Bischoff, President of WCW once said, Controversy Creates Cash…no I’m serious; it’s even the title of a book that he did. Everyone has their hot takes on professional wrestling and some are always wide eyed and kind of shocking to some. There are some of us that will have same opinions or chastise me on a show or an article maybe but hey, don’t hate the player, hate The Game.
Maybe there are some that the readers at home agree with or you want to also be the one to chastise me, @PhenomenalAJB on Twitter. This one is going to be fun!
#1- There are more things than just WWE/AEW and are better majority of the time
There are many people that will rant, rave and complain that the mainstream product is so bland and boring and the classic, “Who even watches this trash?” Whether you love the flippy dippy do’s like I don’t or long drawn out storylines that peter out very quickly because fans aren’t invested in a story or character. To those people, I will say something very bold, very confusing and very… very controversial…
THERE ARE OTHER COMPANIES YOU CAN WATCH ON VARIOUS PLATFORMS IN VARIOUS MEANS ON YOUR OWN TIME!
I don’t know how and I don’t know why that this is even a topic. “TNA has been dead for years” No it hasn’t. Pay $1 USD for Impact Plus on YouTube so you can watch it without commercials at 8:30 Eastern. “Two hours is too long!” NWA and MLW both go for an hour on their respective YouTube Channels as well and if you want to watch, you can hop in at any time. Everyone has something for everyone and you might find your new favorite wrestler in a matter of minutes into an episode. I would never have known who Eli Drake (now LA Knight on SmackDown Live), Alexander Hammerstone or even in the early stages of TNA Impact, AJ Styles, was! You can watch more than what is broadcasted on your TV. Is it easier? Of course but, there is so much more than just the popular option.
#2- Belt Collecting now is just redundant and moronic
Back in 1996, Ultimo Dragon famously has a picture of him holding TEN championships looking like an amazing superstar with amazing defenses. What people don’t know is, that was because eight championship belts were united in a tournament called “The J-Crown Championship” with the adage of ‘All or Nothing’. He lost them one by one but, it was to show that he was the best Junior Heavyweight (or Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight) out of everyone in various promotions.
People after that really haven’t belt collected other than unifying championships to a grand caliber… then Austin Aries showed up. Aries kind of revised the gimmick and brought it back to light. Newer fans might have thought this was cool but older fans kind of groaned and grumbled. I was one of them but, nothing is original in anything anymore so it’s a fresher concept at the time back in 2018. He did surpass Ultimo with ELEVEN championships but it seemed everyone started doing it to an extent after. Matt Cardona, after being released from WWE, started doing it, getting up to six championships before dropping them. As of right now, not necessarily solo belt collecting, The Bloodline has a stranglehold of the World Championships for both Singles and Tag Teams, we had Becky Two Belts, Bayley wanted Dos Straps but nothing makes this worse than Kenny Omega’s stint as a belt collector.
I am not and will never be a Kenny Omega fan. I don’t see the appeal, I don’t see the amazement or anything like that out of him. I’m impressed he did three 35+ Minute IWGP Championship matches against Okada because that takes a lot of stamina to do so but, that’s about it. When he won the AEW Championship, alright. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that since he helped build the company up. The Triple A Megas Championship… nothing too wrong here. I hate that he had five defenses in two years but he vacated it due to his injuries. It wasn’t until Don Callis and Omega popped into Impact and made the Hogan Era of TNA look like a dream… okay ALMOST but still. Kenny defeats Rich Swann and Moose in two different matches and has everyone else carry the belts while holding the AEW Championship. I understand heel tactics and mentality but at one point in an interview about going for the Impact Championship, he compared it to a common Comic Book and the AEW Championship as Superman Issue #1. I understand trying to be a heel in this story but you boost your clout, not rain on what you are going after. Heel or Face, belt collecting has just been a cluster within itself in the past four years and it honestly needs to stop.
#3- Overuse of Certain Moves
This one is a more recent problem that I have seen and no, I wish EC3 paid me to say this but it is true and very annoying to even bring up but here I am, wishing for Carter money and a fifth Rum & Coke…
Stop. Overusing. Moves. Because you think. They were cool.
If I had a shot for every time a Canadian Destroyer, Superkick, Suicide Dive, Avalanche (Insert High Spot here), Dual Dropkick spots where they cancel each other out or opposing members do back to back high spots on the prone partner spot… I would not have written this article due to death… even if it was water, I would have died due to drowning. They don’t look cool anymore when everyone does it. It’s bland. When Petey Williams wrestled in his last return to Impact, the Destroyer looked very… stale. Superkicks are the new DDT apparently (another Finisher turned common everyday move) and most people that do dives mess it up in some way shape or form whether it’s their feet get caught in the ropes, they didn’t get a full launch or they overshoot it. Having your own move special to you is difficult now but different wrestlers do their own styles or the pay homage to a family member or a wrestler that they interact with or ask permission… or asked to stop.
How’d you feel if you watched WCW and WWF in 1997 and saw DDP do the Diamond Cutter and HHH did the Pedigree Pandemonium and say they do the same move? That is exactly what happened too if Dallas didn’t ask Hunter to stop using it. We might not have the RKO out of nowhere or an iconic move that seldom bigger names use today.
That’s my list. I said before if you agree with my list and if you don’t and want to throw hate my way… @PCTunney is the hate mail account so enjoy!
AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns
With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?
With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?
With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.
With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.
1. Johnny Gargano
Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?
WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.
2. James Storm
This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.
Watch your Money and your Alcohol.
Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”
3. Big Cass
Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.
Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.
4. Bronson Reed
The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.
Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?
5. Bray Wyatt
And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.
To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.
– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!
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