Over at our sister site Pulse Wrestling, Mark Allen takes a look back at the pro-wrestling career of Brock Lesnar. Well worth reading the whole retrospective as Mark recaps the enterity of Lesnar’s ‘sports entertainment’ career including his initial WWE Title victory and feuds with legendary pro-wrestlers (and MMA fans) The Rock, Kurt Angle, The Undertaker and Bill Goldberg.
He also picks his five favorite Brock Lesnar matches, with his top pick being Lesnar’s 60 minute Iron Man Match against Kurt Angle. Allen writes:
#1 – Brock Lesnar v. Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship in an Iron Man match (WWE SmackDown, September 18, 2003)
While actual in-ring wrestling isn’t often WWE’s strong suit these days in the era of guest hosts and TV-PG style comedy in reality they always an elite roster of professional wrestlers who can actually tell a great story in the ring and present a product reminiscent of an actual sport if so called upon. This was no more evident than back in 2003 when they had two of the greatest American amateur wrestlers in recent memory at their disposal in Lesnar and Angle. By this point the two men had been feuding virtually nonstop throughout 2003 and this was essentially the big blow off to their rivalry. Presenting a 60-minute Iron Man match on network television was a daunting task, but two athletes of this caliber where more than able to shine in such an environment. Lesnar proved his dominance by going to a 5-2 lead with fifteen minutes left in the match, but Angle racked up two quick falls to make it 5-4 in the closing moments. With just seconds remaining, Angle locked in his patented ankle lock on Lesnar, but Lesnar avoided tapping out and he became a three-time WWE Champion. It was a beautiful match, especially one shown on free television. However because of Angle’s defection to TNA Wrestling, Lesnar’s new career path and the fact that it was on TV and not on a pay per view it is often forgotten about. Regardless the match is a modern classic and a perfect demonstration on how to combine legit pro wrestling skill with modern day “sports-entertainment” theatrics.
If you want my own take on Lesnar’s pro-wrestling career, the two matches of his I have the fondest memories of are the match with The Rock at Summerslam 2002 and the Hell in a Cell match with The Undertaker at No Mercy 2002. The match with The Rock was more for the quality of the build, with the WWE pioneering many of the marketing techniques that both the UFC and HBO have used to such great effect in their hype specials (and which Vince McMahon et al have strangely decided to abandon). The Hell in a Cell with The Undertaker is just a legitmately great match, the type of a big man pro-wrestling match that appeals to the same part of the brain as a superior heavyweight title fight. Indeed when I took part in Iain Burnside’s Desert Island Matches feature in 2006 it was one of the matches I picked out as one of my favorite of all time, saying that:
This is probably going to be a controversial choice, but screw you guys this is my list. Yes, this is my favourite HITC match, more so than the UT-HBK one or any of the Foley ones. What this had over them was that it was just two big bad ugly bastards pounding the holy hell out of each other. Like the Iron Man Match, nobody was expecting much from this match; the build-up suffered from some typical Steph soap opera bullshit, their bout the previous month had been nothing special and HITC was struggling to escape Foley’s legacy of insane bumps from the top of the Cell. The two of them of put on a hell of a show, with Brock taking some impressive bumps for a man of his size, Undertaker actually pulling off a tremendous blade job for once and the two of them just delivering action in spades. In addition, this match had expert psychology with the focus on the Undertaker’s broken arm/cast and whether Brock’s inexperience would cost him dear. And all credit to Undertaker, he puts over Brock big time here, allowing Brock to physically dominate him in a way nobody has or probably ever will again. All of this adds to a genuine classic that has somewhat been lost amid all the praise of the Smackdown Six.”
Tags: Brock Lesnar, Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez, Mixed Martial Arts, UFC 121