Is Brock Lesnar good or bad for WWE?
Last Updated: 08/08/19 10:35pm
Brock Lesnar has set his aggression levels to the maximum since returning to the top of the mountain as Universal champion.
After recapturing WWE's top singles title at Money In The Bank, the former UFC heavyweight champion has been every inch the Beast in his vicious attacks on Seth Rollins.
The pair collide at SummerSlam on Sunday night - live on Sky Sports Box Office - where Lesnar will again be the main attraction on a huge WWE event.
But is Brock being on top good for WWE? Sky Sports WWE Editors past and present take up the opposing sides of the argument...
Yes (Jefferson Lake)
While it may not quite have the impact of the Stone Cold glass smash, the opening guitar strike of Brock Lesnar's entrance music unquestionably has the ability to increase heart rates and expectation levels in arena crowds and among armchair fans.
When it sounded at Money In The Bank, everyone watching was stunned. Lesnar wasn't even in that ladder match, but won it - and the Universal title - anyway. The end result was the Beast back on top and a huge debate raging fiercely about the benefit or otherwise of such a decision.
There aren't many people in WWE who polarise opinion as frequently as Lesnar. Fans don't like his part-time schedule, the fact he seems to openly treat them - and, in the minds of some, wrestling in general - with barely-disguised contempt and the perks and privileges he is given by the company.
But it is those things that make Lesnar the star he is. Because he isn't on Raw every week, it feels like a big deal when he is. The same goes for pay-per-views - he isn't on all of them, but he's on the big ones, such as SummerSlam.
The flip side of that is that such a booking strategy could easily be handed to someone more 'deserving', a former indie scene darling with a strong work rate who has paid their dues in the bingo halls and at NXT.
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Lesnar gets that booking, however, because he is one of the few active members of the roster who have a crossover appeal, who have made a name for themselves away from WWE and therefore feel like a legitimate star.
Of course, it helps enormously that he has looked like a star in recent weeks, showing a real enthusiasm and intensity in his program with Seth Rollins which, admittedly, has not always been present.
The Beast is back on top. And he'll be there for some time.
No (Anton Toloui)
Let me start by saying I am a fan of Brock Lesnar, so this is a difficult argument for me to accept but it's become a reality.
True, Lesnar is "a beast" and there's no one else in the company that offers the strength and fear factor he does. He also brings legitimacy to the Universal Championship by being a legit future UFC and WWE Hall of Famer. However, his run at the top second time around has been less than scintillating.
Let's start with the absences, there have been a lot of them. It's one thing being a special attraction or prize fighter, it's another having your top champion for months on end and not being able to mention him on TV.
Then when he does return it's the same old story. I'm angry, get Paul Heyman to blow smoke up my butt and then suplex, suplex, F5, pin, raise hand. The only refreshing moment was when he carried the Money in the Bank briefcase like a boom box, which made him look like a middle-aged man saying to the locker room "kids, I can still kick it to hip-hop".
There have also been some stinkers of feuds. His beef with Roman Reigns never seemed to end with only one match, when Rollins cashed in at Wrestlemania 31 to pull off the "heist of the Century", worth the top billing. Fans never seemed to engage in what was supposed to be a brutal battle between the powerful present and the good-looking, Samoan future - viewers rejected it as match after match between the angry guy that barely shows up to work and the handsome guy in a bulletproof vest that was being rammed down our throats.
WWE Raw: Lesnar destroys Rollins
A clearly injured Seth Rollins came out fighting against Brock Lesnar but was once again beaten down by the Beast.
There have been high points. Lesnar's brutal destruction of John Cena at Summerslam five years ago remains one of my favourite matches in the event's history; no one expected Cena to be manhandled in such a violent manner. His rivalry with Samoa Joe was inexplicably short but made the appallingly named Great Balls of Fire pay-per-view watchable. It's a shame Lesnar only needed one F5 to put away his nemesis, unlike Reigns who eats six.
Finally, there's the argument Lesnar is a progress stopper. You only need to watch this year's Money in the Bank for proof. Cesaro, Ricochet, Balor, Andrade and others tore the house down in one of the best ladder matches seen on the main roster for years, only for Lesnar to come in and take a younger guy's opportunity.
Yes, that's called heat but WWE needs to move on from the fact it thinks only Lesnar, Rollins, Reigns, Styles, Bryan and now Kingston can wear the gold. There's many ways to be the top heel in the company, let Lesnar stand aside and see if the audience connects, hates or is terrified of someone else.
Also, when was the last time you were excited about a Brock Lesnar match? I mean really excited? As in it's the bout you're looking forward to more than anything else on the card? He may give you exhilarating moments but his days of being the box office seller are done.
Anyone for heel Becky Lynch instead?