Top 5 Brock Lesnar Matches

This weekend Brock Lesnar will defend the UFC Heavyweight Championship against Cain Valesquez at UFC 121, live from Anaheim, Florida. As a fan of Lesnar’s I anxiously await another successful fight for the “baddest man on the planet.”

While Lesnar is no longer a professional wrestler, he was part of the business off/on from 2000 – 2007 and took the world by storm during his main event run with World Wrestling Entertainment from 2002 – 2004. In preparation for this upcoming fight, here is a look back at the top 5 matches in Lesnar’s short, but illustrious pro wrestling career.

Honorable Mentions:
– Brock Lesnar v. Goldberg (WWE WrestleMania XX)
– Brock Lesnar v. The Big Show v. Kurt Angle in a triple threat match for the WWE Championship (WWE Vengeance ’03)
– The Royal Rumble match (WWE Royal Rumble ’03)
– Brock Lesnar v. The Big Show for the WWE Championship (WWE Survivor Series ’02)
– Brock Lesnar v. The Big Show for the WWE Championship (WWE SmackDown, June 12, 2003)
– Brock Lesnar v. Hulk Hogan (WWE SmackDown, August 8, 2002)

#5 – Brock Lesnar v. Eddie Guerrero for the WWE Championship (WWE No Way Out ’04)
While this match is more important in the story of Eddie Guerrero than it is in the story of Brock Lesnar, it is truly a phenomenal match all the way around. In only less than two years on the main WWE roster Lesnar had become a monster force in the company and had enough star power to elevate others to his level. With Lesnar on his way out of the company, he put over Guerrero as the new WWE Champion in a top-notch effort from both men. Despite brief interference from Goldberg to help set up Lesnar’s final WWE match, the match was near perfect and a true testament from both men. It was a great underdog story with Guerrero playing the underdog in this “David versus Goliath” story. Many believed a guy like Eddie Guerrero could never become WWE Champion, but Lesnar helped make the goal a reality.

#4 – Brock Lesnar v. The Rock for the Undisputed WWE World Heavyweight Championship (WWE SummerSlam ’02)
Lesnar and The Rock headlined the greatest SummerSlam pay per view in history and did so in style. Lesnar had only been a factor on WWE television for less than six months at this point and this was the culmination of his rocket push to the top of the card. While the match itself was a solid affair, it was what the match represented that made it so special. This was The Rock’s last run on top of the company before he left for good to become a Hollywood movie star and he made sure he put over Lesnar in style. By the end of the match the Long Island crowd had turned on “The People’s Champion” and began showing their support for Lesnar. In the end The Rock put over “The Next Big Thing” clean as a whistle to usher in a new mega-star to the company’s fold. At age 25, Lesnar remains to this day the youngest man of the thirty-nine who have ever held the coveted WWE Championship.

#3 – Brock Lesnar v. Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship (WWE WrestleMania XIX)
Despite WrestleMania XIX being filled with marquee matches such as WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon battling Hulk Hogan, Chris Jericho challenging Shawn Michaels and The Rock battling Stone Cold Steve Austin in their third separate WrestleMania showdown, ultimately the final spot of the evening ended up going to Lesnar challenging Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship, the company’s biggest prize. It was a match made in heaven as Lesnar was an amateur wrestling monster and Angle was a 1996 Olympic gold medalist in freestyle wrestling. With so many viable main events to choose from to ultimately close the show, it was a testament to WWE’s thinking at the time when they let their two most legitimate athletes on the roster at the time, both who were essentially rookies in the business by most people’s standards, close the biggest show of the year. After some initial skirmishes this was their first big encounter in a war that would last though the majority of 2003. Despite Lesnar’s botched attempt at a Shooting Star Press in the final moments of the match, it was still a phenomenal match. The company put a lot of faith in Lesnar and Angle to close out their biggest event and frankly they didn’t disappoint.

#2 – Brock Lesnar v. The Undertaker for the WWE Championship inside Hell in a Cell (WWE No Mercy ’02)
In the two years that Lesnar was atop the WWE’s cards, he ran into The Undertaker an awful lot. Their off/on rivalry spanned three separate pay per view Championship main events amongst numerous TV battles and run-ins. But no match in their rivalry came close to matching the sheer brutality and main event spectacle of the Hell in a Cell match these two men had No Mercy 2002. Not only was it one of Lesnar’s best matches in his wrestling career, but it was one of Undertaker’s best matches of his career and one of the best Hell in the Cell matches in history. The blood, violence and high impact brawling found in this match is something no longer seen in today’s TV-PG era of World Wrestling Entertainment. Lesnar bled buckets en route to emerging victorious and retaining his WWE Championship, but it was ability to stand toe-to-toe with the industry legend in The Undertaker that solidified him as a main event superstar and significally raised his stock in the company.

#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.

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