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.
NXT Minus 6: Moving Forward
What does the next era of NXT hold?
It’s WWE NXT: We’re moving on. We’re not bitter. We’re happy with what we have.
6. The WWE reeeeeally loves to screw with us. They spend weeks dumping on NXT then kick off a show with a 4.7 star banger?!?!?! Buddy Murphy is a big league striker. He packs a punch far above his weight class. Meanwhile, Velveteen Dream steals another victory. I like where they’re going with him. Shades of the Ultimate Opportunist. Living on the Edge of a Dream?
5. “Charlie Brown finally kicked the football.” Oh Mauro, sometimes you are just too good.
4. Dominik Dijakovic is in desperate need of a save. I have no idea what that promo was. Ancient Wicca prayer? Medieval magnet poetry? He is world class in ring and absolutely floundering on the mic. He’s so bad, it would be an upgrade if Io Shirai was his manager.
3. Speaking of promos, Johnny Champion adds another layer to his story. Johnny Smartass absolutely crushed Adam Cole on the mic. I know they said 2-out-of-3 would be definitive, but if we get Johnny Gargano-Adam Cole part 2 in HIAC or falls count anywhere, I’d find it in my heart to forgive them.
2. Shayna Baszler watches Dark Side of the Ring. She thinks it’s a comedy. She is PURE EVIL. She is as pure of a heel as there is. She is the anti-Ricky Steamboat.
1. I’m trying to overlook how poorly WWE handled Kairi Sane’s last NXT match. Instead, I am focusing on how much it adds to the inevitable Baszler-Io Shirai matchup. Shirai has improved in ring every time out, but she’s still anime nicey nice. It will be exciting to see her turn up the emotion and intensity and really look to hurt Baszler as payback for her best friend. This one could steal the show at the next Takeover.
That’s right…I said it.
Mcleod: Will We Ever Get The Lee vs. Dijakovic Rematch?
Will we ever see the anticipated rematch?
Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic tore the house down in their first WWE NXT encounter, and Scott Mcleod is eagerly awaiting the rematch–just like the rest of us!
Cast your minds back several weeks when we saw a short but physically impressive match between Keith Lee & Dominik Dijakovic. We saw Lee get monkey flipped only to land on his feet and Dijakovic hit a corkscrew plancha to the outside. The match unfortunately ended in a double count out but we were lead to believe this wasn’t over as they continue to brawl while refs try to pull them apart.
They were scheduled to face off on the episode where the 5 way to face Gargano took place and that was the focus of that episode. A week or so later Lee said they would settle their differences in two weeks time.Two weeks should have this week but Lee was nowhere to be seen. Dijakovic came out and beat an enhancement in record time before declaring his intentions to challenge for the North American Championship. Judging from this week it looks like they’re feud is done which is just a shame.
They teased us with what could be with that match several weeks ago. Two guys who have the size but can pull out incredible displays of athleticism. Put that on a takeover give them around 10 minutes between two title matches and they would tear the house down. It would be a shame to not see this match at least one more time in NXT. If a few weeks ago didn’t convince you then check out their match from the PWG Battle of Los Angeles 2017 which was rated 5 stars.
It would be something different to everything else on the card. If Dijakovic is set to challenge Velveteen Dream can we not not add Lee and make it a triple threat. Think of how good Dijakovic vs Lee was and add the Dream. Don’t tell me you don’t want to see that on a Takeover. They could have a good build as well. You have the charisma of Lee & Dream along with the intensity of Dijakovic. I need to see that now.
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