Why Brock Lesnar’s Return To UFC Is A Win For WWE
Two years ago, when Brock Lesnar announced on SportsCenter that he was staying with WWE, instead of UFC, it was considered a monster victory for WWE. Lesnar was by far their biggest draw. He was the WWE Champion, the man main eventing WrestleMania, and of course the man that "SportsCenter" wanted to talk to. Before WWE was on SportsCenter weekly, Brock Lesnar was one of the only reasons ESPN would cover the company. Lesnar staying with WWE, after returning in 2012, legitimized WWE.
At first glance, Lesnar's announced "One Night Only" return to UFC is a disaster for WWE. If Lesnar wins, it very well may not be his last fight. He clearly still has a burning desire to fight and defeating Mark Hunt at UFC 200, will only make that desire stronger. Lesnar stated on "SportsCenter" that hanging championships means nothing to him. He's a prize fighter and the checks are what drives him. Although he's stealing Kevin Owens' gimmick, this isn't anything new from Lesnar. Lesnar doesn't care about WWE or UFC. He cares about how many 0's he's getting, which is exactly what he told to Hannah Storm on "SportsCenter". If he wins, the number of 0's will only increase.
Also, if Lesnar defeats Hunt, how can a WWE wrestler realistically beat him? Of course we always suspend disbelief while watching wrestling, but could someone like Dean Ambrose actually harm Lesnar? Or Bray Wyatt? Or Rusev? Or yes, WWE, even John Cena or Roman Reigns? It's puts WWE in an impossible situation. They will never be able to believably make one of their guys.
If Lesnar loses badly, he returns to WWE, not nearly as invincible as he once was. He hasn't been pinned in WWE in years and is viewed as an indestructible monster. If Mark Hunt knocks him out in the first round, just as Hunt did to Frank Mir, Lesnar couldn't possibly be seen as the same machine. Worse than that, if Lesnar is significantly injured at UFC 200 on July 9th, how the hell is he going to be cleared to wrestle at WWE's Summerslam on August 21st? Beaten and battered, performing in a WWE ring is going to be the last thing that he wants to do. It seems unlikely the quiet Lesnar will want to promote his Summerslam bout either after his battle with Hunt, so that will probably fall on the voice of Paul Heyman.
However, when you think about it, Vince McMahon knows all of this too. Vince McMahon is a prize fighter too. He isn't lending out Brock Lesnar to UFC for charity. No, Vince McMahon is going to make money from this. And a lot of it. If Lesnar has assured McMahon that this is a one time deal (and by assured we mean signed a binding agreement), Vince doesn't care if Lesnar wins or loses. If he wins, he can pump up that the uncrowned UFC Heavyweight Champion of the World can exclusively be seen on the WWE Network. The unbeatable Lesnar will seem even more unconquerable. If/when Lesnar ultimately loses a match in WWE, it may not be believable anymore, but it certainly will be a major story. McMahon has never cared about realism or making sense. He's cared about making money. If Finn Balor came up and defeated Lesnar, Balor is a made man. He conquered the beast.
If Lesnar loses to Hunt, the story for Lesnar's next opponent writes itself. Lesnar is a loser. He went back to UFC and couldn't handle it. He's old, weak and has lost a step. He's no longer the conquerer and is clearly a shell of his former self. When Lesnar eventually conquers his opponent, Brock still looks good. The indestructible beast showing some vulnerability will be good in the long run. He can be beaten, but it's going to take every last breath. Let's also not discount Heyman if Lesnar does lose. He'll remark poetic for Lesnar and sell the crap out of the next fight.
But that's just Lesnar. And we still haven't found where McMahon is really making his millions back. That's because we have been so focused on Brock. Instead we should be focused on WrestleMania.
WWE wasn't going to let Brock Lesnar bail on them again and get nothing in return. Nor is Vince McMahon in the business of making deals in order to just be kind. He famously wouldn't let CM Punk accompany Chael Sonnen to the ring at a UFC event. You really think he would let Lesnar FIGHT without getting SOMETHING in return? We can confidently predict that something is going to turn out to be Ronda Rousey.
The WWE's crown jewel just took place two months ago, but there is no doubt WWE has already begun planning for next year. It's also no secret that WWE has been infatuated with getting Ronda Rousey to wrestle at 'Mania. Perhaps, allowing Lesnar out of his contract to fight at UFC 200, is the opening McMahon needed to get Rousey out of her contract for WrestleMania. Now, Rousey's most likely opponent of Stephanie McMahon will need more suspension of disbelief than ever before. But that's a question for another day. Rousey has shown herself to be one of the biggest draws in UFC. She is an avid WWE fan and has crossed over to movies. Getting her in the ring at WrestleMania will bring thousands of more eyeballs to the product and in McMahon's mind, thousands of more dollars.
The UFC and WWE will both win on this deal. More importantly, with Lesnar in the UFC cage Rousey in the WWE ring, so will we.
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