Weight: 295 lbs
Real Name: Brock Lesnar
Hometown: Webster, South Dakota
Billed From: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Other Names: "The Next Big Thing" Brock Lesnar(WWE/UFC)
Wrestler Since: 2000
Finishing Maneuver: F-5/The Verdict, Brock Lock, Shooting Star Press
Previous PWI 500 Rankings: #7(2006), #1(2003), #17(2002), #87(2001)
History: (Updated 5/03/2006)
Weight: 295 lbs
Real Name: Brock Lesnar
Hometown: Webster, South Dakota
Billed From: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Other Names: "The Next Big Thing" Brock Lesnar(WWE/UFC)
Wrestler Since: 2000
Finishing Maneuver: F-5/The Verdict, Brock Lock, Shooting Star Press
Previous PWI 500 Rankings: #7(2006), #1(2003), #17(2002), #87(2001)
History: (Updated 5/03/2006)
Brock Lesnar is one of those rare special athletes that was able to immediately impact the sport of professional wrestling. In little time at all, the Next Big Thing erupted onto the scene, quickly becoming one of the greatest stars of his generation. It's almost startling to realize that he's only in his early 20's, with so much potential lined up ahead of him.
Lesnar grew up in South Dakota, working on his family's farm in a small city. He worked hard, building up the beginnings of his impressive physique. He also created his own personal weight room, converting a machine shed into a workout facility. Lack of funds didn't deter him, as he used a wooden bench and even welded some of his own weights. Lesnar started making waves in the athletic field in high school, competing in the South Dakota Prep Championships. He also earned some extra training in the summer before his senior year, signing up with the National Guard. When Lesnar returned, he was dominating, going 33-0 for the year. During this time, Lesnar had signed to play football at Northern State University. But due to Lesnar's success on the mats, he backed out of his scholarship and headed to Bismark Junior College in North Dakota.
In 1997, Lesnar won his heavyweight bracket at North Dakota State University's annual Bison tournament, the only member of his team to come out victorious. The University of Minnesota took all of the other weight classes, so Lesnar's victory was well-regarded. Lesnar proved that it wasn't a fluke in 1998, when he again took the win at the Bison Open. He went on that year to become the 285-pound NJCAA Heavyweight Champion. Unfortunately, this triumph wasn't enough to save the wrestling program at Bismark Junior College, as financial cuts took their toll. This left Lesnar no choice but to transfer to another college. Not surprisingly, the University of Minnesota was very interested, and in 1999, Brock Lesnar was wearing the maroon and gold of the Minnesota Gophers.
In his first year at Minnesota, Lesnar was incredible, only losing once in 25 matches. He helped Minnesota win the Big 10 Title that year, but suffered a devestating loss in the finals of the NCAA Championships, allowing Iowa to slip past them. The next year, Lesnar went into the season with even more determination, still feeling the sting of his loss. He again put together an incredible record of 26-1, earning the #1 Heavyweight Ranking in the Big Ten. Once again, the University of Minnesota followed Brock's lead, winning the Big Ten Title for the second year in a row. Brock followed this up with a destructive run through the NCAA Heavyweight Bracket, beating Iowa's Wes Hand in an overtime victory to become a 2000 NCAA Heavyweight Champion.
After the successful end to his college career, Brock Lesnar had a lot of choices in front of him. He was sent invitations from both Tampa Bay and Washington, offering a tryout in the NFL. Coaches called, willing to donate their services to train Lesnar for the Olympics. But the offers that Lesnar listened to most were the ones coming from Vince McMahon and the WWF, who believed that Lesnar could have the same kind of success that Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle did. Surprising some, Lesnar signed a development deal with the WWF not long after his championship season, opting to wrestle in a different arena.
Lesnar's first experience with professional wrestling began in the WWF development organization, Ohio Valley Wrestling. He quickly became one of the biggest stars in the federation, joining up with another amateur stand-out in Shelton Benjamin. The two wrestlers formed the Minnesota Stretching Crew, a dominating tag-team that would win the OVW Tag-Team Titles three times during 2001. Lesnar & Benjamin feuded heavily with the Disciples of Synn, one of the top heel groups in the developmental system. Lesnar also had many confrontations with wrestlers like Prototype (John Cena), Rico Constantino and Leviathan (Batista), among other growing superstars, and quickly gained the skills necessary to become a major superstar.
WWE Raw: 2002
In March '02, Brock Lesnar first appeared on WWE television. He was immediately proclaimed as the Next Big Thing by his newly-signed manager, Paul E. Heyman. Lesnar's brute force and abilities immediately had fans and wrestlers alike comparing him to Bill Goldberg, another wrestler who had exploded onto the wrestling world. On April 1st, WWE officials Vince McMahon and Ric Flair participated in drafting wrestlers for the all-new Brand Extension. McMahon tried to select Lesnar, but Flair rightly pointed out that it was his choice in the draft. Thus, Lesnar found himself on Monday Night Raw. For the next few months, Lesnar feuded with one of the most popular tag-teams at the time, the Hardy Boyz, even getting a victory over them despite having to partner with his manager at Judgment Day '02. With the success of this feud, Lesnar was primed for the big time.
With Heyman's guidance, Lesnar entered into the 2002 King of the Ring Tournament. He seemed to move through the brackets with ease, defeating stars like Bubba Ray Dudley, Booker T, Test, and then finally winning an amazing match over Rob Van Dam to take the tournament and the crown. By winning the King of the Ring, Lesnar automatically won himself a title shot against the WWE World Heavyweight Champion at Summerslam '02. Lesnar had other things to worry about first, though, as he continued to feud with Rob Van Dam, who currently held the Intercontinental Title. Lesnar seemed unstoppable, but his inner fire, coupled with the tactics of Paul Heyman, proved his undoing, as he lost, via DQ, at Vengeance '02.
WWE Smackdown: 2002
Throwing away this defeat as a 'moral victory' due to the damage done to RVD, Lesnar and Heyman focused their attention on the Heavyweight Champ, the Rock. Lesnar began a psychological war with the champion, going as far as to jump with Heyman to WWE Smackdown, the Rock's primary show. Lesnar's biggest impact came when he accepted the challenge from Hulk Hogan, one of the Rock's closest comrades at the time, during a Smackdown show, putting his title shot on the line (much to Heyman's regret). In a fierce, bloody match, Lesnar managed to get the victory over Hogan with the F-5, destroying the Hulkster and leaving him laid out in the ring. Lesnar took things a step further by taking some of the Hulkster's blood and wiping it across his chest, showing the savagery of the man. Hogan would be out of wrestling for some time after this match, which Heyman and Lesnar quickly claimed credit for.
As Summerslam neared, the massive feud between Lesnar and the Rock continued to heat up. But there was also an interesting development in the fan base at WWE events. Lesnar's power was so incredible that more and more fans seemed to be moving to his side, supporting him. Never was this more evident than at Summerslam '02, when the crowd in attendance incredibly cheered Lesnar, the heel, and booed the People's Champion, the Rock. When Lesnar landed the F-5, knocking him out long enough for Lesnar to get the pin, the crowd went crazy, cheering for the new star. Only two years after entering the business of professional wrestling, Brock Lesnar held the top title in the land. He was the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
At the next show following the pay-per-view, Stephanie McMahon, who was the owner of the Smackdown brand, announced that Lesnar & Heyman had signed a contract stating that they would defend the WWE Title only on her show. This soon led to Raw creating its own World Title, while Lesnar continued to be the Smackdown Champion. Lesnar then had to step up to face the next threat to his title reign, in the form of the Undertaker. The two behemoths came nose-to-nose on many occassions, with Paul Heyman making things personal by commenting about the Undertaker's pregnant wife, Sara. At Unforgiven '02, the two men had a brutal match, which ended with a double disqualification when both competitors manhandled the referee. The two wrestlers continued fighting after the bell, though, leaving the ring and fighting up the aisle. When they reached the entryway, the Undertaker threw Lesnar through the sign, a violent note that continued the feud.
Lesnar and the Undertaker grew more and more violent towards each other, with Lesnar taking a personal stake in the battle. Ignoring his manager's advice, Lesnar accepted the challenge for a Hell in a Cell match against the Undertaker at the next PPV. Things were put more in Lesnar's favor when he brutally attacked his foe during the Undertaker's Falls Count Anywhere match with Matt Hardy. With Heyman cheering him on, Lesnar broke the Undertaker's hand, forcing him to wear a cast. However, the Undertaker learned to use the cast as a weapon, hitting other wrestlers with it despite the pain it caused. Although Heyman tried to get the cast declared illegal, Stephanie decided to allow its use in the Hell in a Cell. Lesnar also continued his use of psychological warfare, bringing forth a woman, Tracy, who claimed that she had an affair with the Undertaker. This claim was later proved false, as Tracy was taped saying that she was put up to it by Heyman.
At No Mercy '02, the two wrestlers went at it in a very violent brawl. During the match, Lesnar shattered the cast, doing more damage to the Undertaker's hand. Lesnar also gained some aid from Paul Heyman, who put his body on the line to help distract the Undertaker. In the end, Lesnar was able to put the blood-soaked Undertaker into the F-5, taking him out for the pin and allowing Lesnar to retain the WWE Smackdown World Heavyweight Title. At the next show, the Undertaker came out, giving praise to Lesner for his victory. However, he was interrupted by the Big Show, who had just jumped from Raw. The Big Show took out the Undertaker by throwing him off the stage, then announced that he would be going after Lesnar. The two began to feud, in spite of Heyman frantically telling Lesnar that he couldn't beat the Big Show. At one point, during a match between Lesnar and Rey Mysterio Jr, the Big Show interfered, throwing Mysterio deep into the audience, then went after Lesnar, who met him toe-to-toe. Although Heyman tried to talk him out of it, Lesnar signed a contract to face the Big Show at the next pay-per-view.
The big question on everyone's mind was, could Lesnar possibly land the F-5 on someone the size of the Big Show? The two wrestlers met at the '02 Survivor Series with the World Title on the line, but Lesnar seemed to care more about showing the world what he could do. After the match swung back and forth a few times, Lesnar proved his point, impossibly lifting the Big Show into the air and dropping the 7'2", 500-pounder with the F-5! But just as it seemed that nothing could stop Lesnar, Paul Heyman betrayed him, pulling out the referee before he could finish the count. A furious Lesnar chased after Heyman, but this left him open to a chair shot from the Big Show. A chokeslam on the chair soon followed, and Lesnar was quickly pinned. In a shocking moment, Lesnar had lost the World Title, his winning streak, and his manager all at once.
On the next Smackdown, a furious Lesnar was shown in the backstage area, waiting for Heyman & the Big Show. Lesnar was approached by Matt Hardy, who said that Lesnar should have had more Mattitude at Survivor Series. Unfortunately for Hardy, Lesnar wasn't in the mood to talk, tossing Hardy through a wall! With Hardy in bad shape, Eddie Guerrero utilized the moment to talk to Stephanie McMahon, saying that they had a dangerous working enviroment. In response, McMahon talked to Lesnar, threatening to suspend him if he attacked other Smackdown stars. Later in the broadcast, Heyman appeared with his new client, and said that he finally had someone who would listen to him. Heyman also announced that Lesnar would never get a World Title shot against the Big Show. Lesnar responded by attacking the Big Show with a chair, and later hitting the F-5 on the Big Show when he was defending the belt against Edge. On the next Smackdown, Stephanie announced that Lesnar was suspended.
It was later announced that Kurt Angle, through winning a contenders match, would get the shot against the Big Show at Armageddon '02. Angle, knowing that Paul Heyman would be a major distraction, approached Lesnar at an autograph signing, asking him to be in Angle's corner at the pay-per-view, saying that no one knew Heyman better. Angle promised that Lesnar would get the first title shot against him, if he backed Angle at Armageddon. At the event, though, Angle came out alone, apparently without back-up, while the Big Show had his new allie, the A-Train(Albert). A-Train's interference nearly cost Angle the match, but Lesnar suddenly appeared, getting involved as well. He nailed the Big Show with the F-5 while the referee was down, allowing Angle to get things together and win the World Title.
A few days later, Angle came out with the belt, to the joy of the fans. The joy was short-lived, as he announced his new manager, Paul Heyman! The entire match had been a double-cross to fool Lesnar. Heyman again claimed that Lesnar would never again get a World Title shot. This brought the feud between Lesnar and Heyman to a whole new level, as Kurt Angle and his allies, Team Angle (Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas), joined the feud. Lesnar only had one chance to get a crack at Angle and the Smackdown Title. He would have to win the Royal Rumble. But Heyman took steps to prevent that, setting up a match between Lesnar and the Big Show at the '03 Royal Rumble, with only the winner moving on to the battle royale. Lesnar, dying for another shot at the Big Show, agreed.
At the Rumble, Lesnar once again showed his incredible power, hitting a series of overhead suplexes on the massive Big Show. Interference from Paul Heyman nearly cost Lesnar the match, as the Big Show was able to chokeslam him at one point. Surprisingly, Lesnar kicked out before three, then blocked a second chokeslam attempt, instead getting the F-5 and the victory. This placed Brock in the Royal Rumble. Heyman rallied his troops, trying to get all of his men in the Rumble to go after Lesnar. But the Next Big Thing had a great luck-of-the-draw, coming out #29. Lesnar quickly made an impact, tossing out both members of Team Angle at once, then F-5'ing Matt Hardy on top of both of them outside the ring. In the end, it came down down to the final four: Lesnar, Kane, Batista and the Undertaker. Batista went out from a double-team from the Brothers of Destruction, then the Undertaker betrayed Kane, throwing him out as well. When Batista tried to come back in with a chair, the Undertaker stopped him, only to leave things wide open for Lesnar, who tossed the Dead Man out to win the 2002 Royal Rumble, as well as the coveted Smackdown World Title shot against Kurt Angle.
Angle and Heyman, furious over the turn of events, began to look for ways to take out Lesnar. But all ways seemed to be doomed to failure, as Lesnar appeared unstoppable, always fighting his way through the attacks. Lesnar also gained friends in the form of Chris Benoit and Edge, neither of whom had any love for Heyman's regime. The trio was set to face Team Angle at No Way Out '03, but during the night, Edge was taken out by Team Angle, making it a handicap match. This didn't bother Lesnar or Benoit, who took it to the three foes. The match ended with Lesnar hitting the F-5 on Benjamin, while Benoit made Haas tap to the Crippler Crossface. It was another momentum-building win for Lesnar, as he looked to be heading into Wrestlemania XIX as the odds-on favorite.
During March, Lesnar faced test after test. He was put into a handicap match against Benjamin & Haas, who currently held the Smackdown Tag Titles. With a victory, Lesnar would win the right to face any member of Team Angle in a steel cage match. Predictably, Lesnar won out, winning despite the odds. After the match, Angle seemed reluctantly accepting the match to come, but Lesnar disagreed, saying that he wanted to face Heyman. The next week, a terrified Heyman tried to find a way out of the match, but Stephanie wouldn't let him. She also stated that if Lesnar won, he would get a World Title shot against Angle the next week. This put Heyman inside the cage with Lesnar, who promptly tore him apart, easily getting the victory. At the next Smackdown, Lesnar got his title shot, taking on Kurt Angle for the World Title only weeks away from their showdown at Wrestlemania. In a shocking maneuver, Angle's brother Eric reappeared on WWE television, trading places with Kurt to allow him to get the victory over Lesnar, keeping him from the World Title.
A week later, Kurt and Eric came out together, with Eric nursing a badly-injured leg due to the assault from Lesnar. Kurt wanted an apology from Brock, but instead got Stephanie McMahon, who announced that if anyone interfered in the World Title match, Angle would forfeit the title to Brock. The match would have to be clean. Lesnar then came out to attack both brothers, but was injured due to a slam on a steel chair, injuring his ribs. At Wrestlemania X-9, Lesnar and Angle went at it in a great technical battle. The match nearly turned into a catastophe at one point, however, when Brock attempted to debut his Shooting Brock Press in WWE. Angle, on the mat, was too far away, causing Lesnar to miss the jump and land painfully on his head. Lesnar managed to recover, and landed the F-5 to get the victory, gaining the WWE Smackdown World Title for the second time. But after the match, Lesnar, dazed and not sure where he was, had to be helped out of the arena.
Brock wouldn't show up on the next Smackdown show, as it was announced that he had a concussion from the botched maneuver. During the show, Matt Hardy claimed that Lesnar was faking the injury, and challenged Brock to a title match at the next Smackdown, attempting to take advantage of Lesnar's weakened condition. Of course, Brock answered Hardy's challenge, and the two fought at the next show, with an apparently-still hurting Brock still able to get the victory over Hardy. During this time, a tournament was formed to choose the next opponent to face Brock for the World Title. In surprising fashion, John Cena managed to cheat his way past both the Undertaker and Chris Benoit in the final rounds to earn the shot at Backlash '03. Cena, formerly known as the Prototype in OVW, knew all about Lesnar, and claimed that he was the one who could take down the powerhouse. He even started calling his finisher the "F-U", an obvious take-off of Lesnar's finishing maneuver.
During the bout at Backlash '03, Cena and Lesnar showed some true rage against the other. At one point, Lesnar took Cena to the outside, slamming him on the announce table, then throwing the World Title into his face. Cena later opened Brock's head open with a slam into the steel steps, causing the blood to flow. Cena was in control near the end, landing a devestating neckbreaker. But out of nowhere, Brock, crimson mask and all, rose up and delivered the F-5, getting the pin on Cena and walking out of Backlash as the champion.
Another major event at Backlash was the match between Rey Mysterio Jr and the Big Show. After the Big Show won the match with a huge chokeslam, Mysterio was put on a stretcher by EMTs. Surprisingly, the Big Show came back to the ring, grabbing the stretcher and throwing it against the ringpost, injuring Mysterio further. On the next Smackdown, the wrestlers in the back condemned the Big Show's actions, but none were more vocal than Brock Lesnar, who called the Big Show out and demanded that he fight someone more his size. The Big Show said he'd take on Lesnar, but the title would have to be on the line. Lesnar agreed, wanting to fight the Big Show then and there, but the giant said they'd fight at the next PPV, and left.
Over the next few weeks, Brock and the Big Show had many confrontations, usually involving the Big Show's pal, A-Train. The Big Show also made an announcement that, since the feud had started due to Mysterio's fall in the stretcher, that the two men would have a stretcher match at Judgment Day '03. The match quickly became brutal, with the stretcher quickly becoming a dangerous weapon. The Big Show dominated the early going, using his size to his advantage. He managed to get Brock on the stretcher and wheeled him down to where the yellow line, signifying the end of the match, was located. But Brock managed to escape, coming back on the offensive. He took the Big Show down, smashing a second stretcher over him, then suddenly left the ringside area, even as Rey Mysterio Jr came down to attack the Big Show! The giant was able to take Mysterio out, preparing for a chokeslam, when Lesnar returned to the ring with a forklift, leaping off of it and smashing into the Big Show. He then hit the F-5 on the Big Show before placing him on the stretcher. He then used the forklift to carry the Big Show out, winning the match and staying the champion.
Lesnar next started a feud with the Full-Blooded Italians, who had tried to take Lesnar out with a three-on-one beatdown, only to have the Undertaker return to make the save. Lesnar & the Undertaker then signed a match to face the Full-Blooded Italians in a Handicap Match. But Nunzio had other ideas, claiming that he was 'injured' from the Undertaker's attack. Nunzio was then replaced by the Big Show. With it being practically four-on-two, Lesnar & the Undertaker were completely outnumbered, and in the end, the Big Show chokeslammed Lesnar for the victory. A few weeks later, Lesnar and the Big Show faced off again, fighting for the World Title on a June Smackdown. The match featured many power maneuvers, but none was bigger than when Lesnar caught the Big Show on the top turnbuckle. To the absolute amazement of everyone present, Lesnar superplexed the Big Show. On impact, the ring collapsed inward, sending the referee flying. Both men stayed down, devestated by the maneuver. Due to the ring being destroyed, the referee called for the No-Contest.
Lesnar continued to feud with the Big Show over the next month, while competitive problems also began with his friend, Kurt Angle. The trouble really began when it was announced that Lesnar would defend his World Title against both Angle and the Big Show at Vengeance. During the month, Lesnar and Angle somewhat stuck together, as they had to battle against Vince McMahon, who had brought together the remnants of Paul Heyman's unit, the Big Show, A-Train & the World's Greatest Tag-Team. On one Smackdown, Lesnar was forced to fight in a Handicap Match against both the Big Show & TWGTT. Angle said he'd be there to help, but was called away by McMahon and told not to interfere. Lesnar fought hard, but couldn't beat the odds, and was chokeslammed through a table. Later on, Angle was put in the same predicament, and Lesnar was told to leave the arena. Angle, though, had the help of Zach Gowen, and won the match.
At Vengeance '03, all three wrestlers came in thinking that they had a chance to win. At the beginning, Lesnar & Angle double-teamed the Big Show, returning the favor for the various handicap matches they'd been in put in. At one point, Angle put the Big Show through the Spanish Announcer's table with the Angle Slam, an unbelievable maneuver. With the Big Show down, Lesnar and Angle went at it, each exchanging some heavy blows. The Big Show finally returned to the ring and attacked, but suffered another Angle Slam for his trouble. When Lesnar charged in, Angle delivered an Angle Slam to him as well, and made the pin, winning the World Title away from Lesnar.
The next week, Angle and Lesnar were teamed up to face off against A-Train & the Big Show. Despite getting the victory, Lesnar and Angle came to blows after the match, showing the animosity growing between them. After Lesnar laid out Angle with the F-5, Vince McMahon appeared, announcing that he would be facing Lesnar in a "Steel Cage" Match the next week. It was also announced that the man laid out at Lesnar's feet, Angle, would be the special referee. The next week, during the show, Lesnar was knocked out in the back. Angle was seen in the area, and quickly blamed by McMahon. Lesnar recovered enough to enter the match, though, and quickly dominated McMahon, with Angle watching as the ref. When Lesnar picked up McMahon for the F-5, though, he collapsed to the mat, apparently unconscious. McMahon quickly took advantage, trying to take the win, but Angle refused to make the count, instead signaling for help from the back. When McMahon got in Angle's face, Angle knocked him down and put on the Ankle Lock submission hold. However, as soon as he turned his back, Lesnar shockingly leapt up to his feet and attacked Angle from behind, throwing him repeatedly into the cage until Angle was a bloody mess. Lesnar had turned on the fans and joined McMahon.
Lesnar was quickly signed by McMahon to face Angle for the Smackdown Heavyweight Title at the next PPV. McMahon also gave Lesnar a "tune-up" match the next week, pitting Lesnar against cruiserweight Brian "Spanky" Kendrick. Not surprisingly, Lesnar destroyed Kendrick, although he technically lost the match via disqualification. Lesnar didn't care, though, flipping Kendrick into the steel post with an F-5 and seriously injuring him. Lesnar did similar damage to Zach Gowen the next week, breaking his only leg, and making things look bad for Angle. At Summerslam '03, Lesnar dominated throughout the beginning of the match, but began to lose control, as Angle came back with a vengeance. Vince McMahon interfered, hitting Angle with a chair, and Lesnar landed the F-5, but he just couldn't put Angle away. Angle later got the Ankle Lock submission hold locked on, and Lesnar was forced to tap out, keeping him from regaining the gold.
The next week, a disappointed Vince McMahon told Brock that he had let him down, and that he just didn't seem to have the fire anymore. The fans riled on Lesnar, chanting "You tapped out!", and generally got under his skin. Lesnar was put in a #1 Contenders Triple Threat Match, but lost again, this time to the Undertaker (the Big Show was the other participant). The monster returned the next week, though, and viciously attacked the Undertaker, costing him his title shot against World Champion Kurt Angle. Around this time, Vince was feuding with his daughter, Stephanie, the General Manager of Smackdown. Since Stephanie wouldn't quit her position, Vince placed her in a match against Brock, who, of course, dominated. Before he could put Stephanie into the ringpost with an F-5, however, Angle interfered, making the save and causing the No-Contest.
Lesnar would get his rematch against the champion in the middle of September, in a 60-minute Iron Man Match, the first such match to take place on television instead of a pay-per-view. As the match started, Angle seemed too strong, taking it to Lesnar. But Lesnar, working with Vince McMahon, had a plan. He used a steel chair to knock out Angle, costing Lesnar the first fall, but also taking a major advantage. Lesnar quickly tied it up a short time later, landing the F-5. Lesnar kept up his advantage by going after Angle's legs, actually applying Angle's ankle lock and forcing him to submit. Angle tried to fight back, but he was hurting too badly, and an F-5 on the outside put Angle down long enough for him to be counted out, putting Lesnar ahead 3-1. Angle finally began to come back due to Lesnar's overconfidence, and got the Angle Slam for a pinfall. But Lesnar continued his dirty tactics, catching Angle with the World Title while the ref's back was turned, cold-cocking him to make it 4-2. Lesnar didn't let up, taking the dazed Angle to the turnbuckle and getting a superplex for his fifth win of the match. The rest of the match belonged to Angle, as he got a belly-to-belly superplex for a pin, then forced Lesnar to submit to the Ankle Lock, bringing it to 5-4. As the clock ticked down, Angle grabbed Lesnar's ankle again, and twisted, trying to force Lesnar to submit. But Lesnar hung in there, and survived until the time ran out, winning the WWE Smackdown World Title for the third time.
Lesnar had a World Title celebration on the next Smackdown, with Vince McMahon presenting him with the belt. Lesnar bragged that he was unstoppable. This was quickly followed by the Undertaker's music hitting the speakers. The Dead Man got in Lesnar's face, saying that Lesnar would be facing him at No Mercy, thanks to Stephanie signing the match. A furious Vince told Stephanie that if she didn't take back the match, she'd have to face him in an "I Quit" Match at the ppv as well, but Stephanie held her ground, forcing Lesnar to have to face the Undertaker. A week later, Lesnar & John Cena faced off with the Undertaker & Kurt Angle. Although Angle had control near the end of the match, Cena used a steel chain to get the win. After the match, Lesnar threatened to put the Undertaker through a table with the F-5, but the move was reversed, and Lesnar was instead chokeslammed through the table, taking him out.
As we moved into October '03, a young rookie named Paul London came to Vince, asking for a chance to shine. McMahon, irked by London's boldness, quickly signed the cruiserweight to face Lesnar for the World Title. Lesnar said that he respected London, and gave him a chance to touch the title. But when London went to reach for it, Lesnar clotheslined him, then dominated the youngster, easily getting the F-5 for the win. After the match, Lesnar went to give London the F-5 into the steel post, but Spanky, making his return, ran out for the save. It wasn't much of a save, though, as Lesnar got control and put Spanky backfirst into the post. Soon after, the Undertaker came out, telling Lesnar that their match at No Mercy would be a Biker's Chain Match. In the show before No Mercy, Lesnar took out Jamie Noble, who had been seen in the back talking about how he hoped Stephanie would beat Vince. Later on, Lesnar attacked the Undertaker during an interview, and the two brawled around ringside, with the Undertaker eventually taking the advantage with his chain.
The match at No Mercy '03 was very competitive, with the "No Rules" stipulation being used quite often. With the biker chain hanging from a post over one turnbuckle, Lesnar and the Undertaker engaged in a scientific brawl at first, with Lesnar nearly winning with a Perfect-Plex. The two fought to the outside, with the Undertaker taking advantage, putting Lesnar on the table. The Undertaker then went to climb the turnbuckle, but the lights went out in the arena. The Undertaker quickly dropped back off the turnbuckle to protect himself, as the lights returned. This kept the Undertaker from being able to get to the chain, obviously because of interference from McMahon. Lesnar came back to use the steel steps, dropping the Undertaker face-first on them. But the Undertaker came back again, and seemed to be on the verge of getting the chain, when the Full-Blooded Italians rushed to the ring, attacking him. The Undertaker took out them, but then suffered an F-5 from Lesnar. Even this wasn't enough, though, as the Undertaker roared back with the Last Ride, then nailed all of the FBI. As he climbed for the biker chain, however, Vince McMahon ran out, knocking the Dead Man off the top rope. Lesnar then got the chain and smacked the Undertaker with it, getting the pinfall victory to retain the Smackdown Heavyweight Title.
A few days later, on the next Smackdown, Vince McMahon announced that Paul Heyman would be replacing Stephanie as General Manager (since Stephanie lost to Vince at No Mercy). The Undertaker immediately came out to go after Vince & Paul, but Heyman gave him a deal, saying that if the Undertaker could win a "Handicap" Match against Lesnar & the Big Show, he could have any match he wanted against anyone, basically giving him the green light for a title rematch. At first, Lesnar & the Big Show dominated the Undertaker due to the numbers, but then Lesnar made the mistake of ordering the Big Show to go to the top rope for a spike piledriver. The Undertaker then knocked down Lesnar, then chokeslammed the Big Show from the turnbuckle, getting the victory. However, Paul Heyman then came out and announced that, due to his 'mistake', he forgot to mention that the match was 3 Falls. Later on, the Big Show was counted out, but once again Heyman changed the rules. It happened a third time after the Big Show hit the Undertaker with a chair. No Disqualification was enforced. This, though, worked into the Undertaker's favor, as he got his biker chain and managed to knock out Lesnar before Brock could land the F-5. After taking out the Big Show, the Undertaker made the pin, and won the match! Everyone expected the Dead Man to demand a title rematch, but instead he challenged Vince to a Buried Alive Match, leaving Brock without an opponent.
It was announced on the next show that Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle would each field a team for the Survivor Series. During the show, Lesnar was called to the ring by Heyman, who was waiting with two huge men. Lesnar expected Heyman, due to their past, to make him fight the two men, and brought the Big Show with him. Heyman, however, let Lesnar know that the two men, Nathan Jones & Matt Morgan, were for his Survivor Series team, along with the Big Show, leaving only one man to choose. Angle, meanwhile, announced that he had gotten Chris Benoit & the APA. Later that night, though, Lesnar & the Big Show faced the APA in a tag match, but got disqualified on purpose, attacking both men with chairs. Lesnar took out Faarooq's knee, injuring him and putting him on the shelf, despite Angle & Benoit attempting the save.
The next week, after John Cena took down Rey Mysterio, Lesnar and his team came out, with Paul Heyman offering the fifth and final spot to him. Cena turned it down, but then was attacked from behind by the A-Train, who later joined Lesnar's team. Meanwhile, it was announced that Hardcore Holly would be taking the place of Faarooq, since Holly had a personal grudge against Lesnar, since Brock injured him due to a powerbomb a while back. Cena also joined Angle's team, finalizing the line-up. At Survivor Series '03, the two teams went at it. The first elimination came seconds into the match, as Hardcore Holly attacked Lesnar, shoving the ref out of the way. Holly was quickly disqualified. Shortly thereafter, Bradshaw eliminated A-Train with the Clothesline From Hell. The Big Show then grabbed Bradshaw and chokeslammed him, with the third quick elimination of the match. Angle brought his team back by eliminating Matt Morgan with the Angle Slam, then took out Nathan Jones with the Ankle Lock. But Lesnar took advantage of a distracted Angle and hit the F-5, eliminating him. Unfortunately, Lesnar then fought Benoit, who put on the Crippler Crossface. Lesnar was forced, once again, to tap out. The Big Show followed soon after, giving the win to Benoit & Cena.
Lesnar blamed his teammates the following week on Smackdown, saying that they all let him down. He placed them each in matches, and came down to ringside to watch Nathan Jones vs. Chris Benoit. Despite Lesnar's interference, Benoit got the victory with the Crippler Crossface. Lesnar attacked Benoit after the match, only to have a fired-up Hardcore Holly run to the ring and go after Lesnar. Heyman and security quickly came out to get Holly, taking him to jail and indefinitely suspending him. Holly was shone on satellite the next week, saying that he would break Lesnar's neck when his suspension was lifted. Lesnar had other issues, though, as a 20-man Battle Royal took place to decide who would face Lesnar for the title. Chris Benoit & John Cena eliminated each other at the same time, so Paul Heyman announced that they would face in a #1 Contenders Match on the next Smackdown, with Lesnar defending against the winner later in the night.
On the first December '03 Smackdown, Chris Benoit won the Contenders Match, thanks in part to interference from the Big Show. Lesnar then vowed that he would make Benoit tap in their World Title match. The bout was very competitive, and at one point, Benoit made Lesnar submit to the Crippler Crossface. But since the referee was down, the match continued, and Lesnar used a steel chair to take out Benoit. Lesnar then put Benoit in his new submission maneuver, dubbed the Brock Lock, where he puts one of his foe's legs around his neck and sits down on them, bending them in half. Since Benoit was unconscious, the ref ended the match, giving Brock the win. Lesnar finished off the night by putting the unconscious Benoit in the Crippler Crossface, and making him tap, "fulfilling" his promise. Paul Heyman later announced that Benoit would never get another shot at Brock's title, since Lesnar had so "soundly" beaten him.
As Lesnar was bragging about his victory on the next Smackdown, he insulted the city of San Diego, where they were taping at the time. This brought out San Diego native Rey Mysterio, who challenged Lesnar to a title match. Lesnar only agreed, though, to give Mysterio a non-title match, with Mysterio having to win to get a shot at the belt. Lesnar's overconfidence at facing such a diminutive wrestler nearly cost him, as Mysterio almost won on several occassions. Lesnar finally took control for good, though, forcing Mysterio to tap to the Brock Lock. After the match, Lesnar looked to do more damage to Mysterio, but was stopped by an apparent "relative" of Mysterio, who attacked Lesnar. The 'relative' was revealed as Hardcore Holly, trying once again to get in some shots on the man who broke his neck.
A week later, Paul Heyman announced that Hardcore Holly would team up with cruiserweight Shannon Moore against Matt Morgan & A-Train. If Holly's team won, Holly would get a World Title shot against Lesnar. If Holly's team lost, Holly's contract would be terminated. Before the tag match, Lesnar came out to 'randomly' face an opponent for his World Title. Not surprisingly, Lesnar & Heyman set it up so that Lesnar fought Moore. Lesnar destroyed Moore, ending the match with the Brock Lock, and leaving Moore in terrible condition for the tag match. However, a miscue from A-Train allowed Moore, after a heap of abuse, to tag in Holly, who later got the Alabama Slam on Morgan to win the match, earning his shot at Lesnar's World Title. A shocked Lesnar watched as Holly backed up the ramp, locking eyes with the champion.
For the first few weeks of January, Lesnar stayed away from Smackdown tapings, recuperating from a few banged-up injuries. It was announced, however, that Lesnar would face Hardcore Holly at the Royal Rumble. Lesnar seemed to be scared of Holly, as he sent the Big Show to do his dirty work for him. At one point, the Big Show put a restraining order against Holly, due to injuries received after a hardcore match. But the security guards surrounding the Big Show seemed to be more for Lesnar's benefit. At the '04 Royal Rumble, Lesnar and Holly had a brutal match, with both men apparently looking to injure the other. At one point, Holly landed a devestating Alabama Slam, but instead of going for the pinfall, he grabbed Lesnar in a full nelson, trying to break his neck. Lesnar eventually got free, and eventually won the match with the F-5, surviving again. Later in the night, Lesnar had a confrontation with one of the Raw superstars, Bill Goldberg, who taunted Lesnar about being a coward. Lesnar got some revenge, though, as he kept Goldberg from winning the Rumble.
Lesnar's next opposition was chosen on the Smackdown following the PPV, as Paul Heyman arranged for a 15-man Rumble match to take place. Eddie Guerrero eliminated Kurt Angle in the end to earn the title shot. Lesnar seemed to think that he would have the night off, making fun of Guerrero's height and heritage. On one show, Lesnar even did a funny "Mexican" dance in front of a Mexican band, taunting Guerrero. At No Way Out '04, Lesnar and Guerrero went at it, with Guerrero the heavy under-dog. But Guerrero kept fighting, surprising Lesnar with some ferious maneuvers that nearly won the match. Near the end, though, with the referee down, Lesnar seemed to have finally taken control, setting Guerrero up for the F-5. However, Goldberg came out of the crowd and nailed Lesnar, Spearing him. This allowed Guerrero to climb the turnbuckle and deliver his Frog Splash, pinning Lesnar and taking away the WWE Smackdown Title.
A furious Lesnar begged for a match against Goldberg at Wrestlemania, and was granted his wish, creating a 'dream' match between the Smackdown and Raw stars. Things intensified when it was announced that "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, who had been F-5'ed at one point by Lesnar, would be the special guest referee. However, issues began to creep up behind the scenes that started to overshadow the match. It was discovered that Goldberg's contract would run out at the PPV, without being renewed, making the match Goldberg's last with the company. This made it seem like Lesnar would surely win. However, only a short time before the event, Lesnar announced that he, too, would be leaving WWE! Lesnar was interested in a football career, as well as being tired of the grind of being a WWE superstar.
This led to one of the strangest matches ever at Wrestlemania XX, with the fans booing both men heavily as they came to the ring. It took a while for the match to get started, as both men seemed a little lost from the crowd reaction. Only Austin was getting cheers. Eventually, Lesnar fell to Goldberg's Jackhammer, going down for the 1-2-3. To make the fans happy, Austin gave Lesnar a Stone Cold Stunner after the match, then delivered another one to Goldberg, laying out both wrestlers. This was how Lesnar left WWE behind, a massive star that went out with a flicker.
Lesnar soon tried out for one of his favorite National Football League teams, the Minnesota Vikings. Although looked on as a publicity stunt more than anything else, Lesnar was given strong compliments by the coach of the Vikings, Mike Tice, as he tried to make the team. However, all of Lesnar's strength and enthusiasm, as well as his high Vikings t-shirt sales, couldn't make up for his lack of experience, and Lesnar was cut from the team before the season began, ending his dream of moving to the NFL. Lesnar continued to train nontheless. But he also considered returning to the sport that had made him famous. Unfortunately for Lesnar, he had signed a departure contract with WWE, which would keep him from wrestling for many years. Lesnar, not surprisingly, took the contract to court, fighting about its unfair limitations. After much litigation, a closed session was said to have resolved the issue, with Lesnar being allowed to wrestle in Japan.
Lesnar soon made the most of his new opportunity. In his first match back since Wrestlemania, Lesnar won a "Triple Threat" Match over champion Kazuyuki Fujita and Masahiro Chono at a New Japan Pro Wrestling Tokyo Dome show, landing his finisher, formerly the F-5 but now known as the Verdict, to win the coveted IWGP Heavyweight Title, immediately leaping to the top of the profession once again (albeit in a different country). Lesnar continued to reign as the champion for the rest of the year. However, legal problems again emerged, as WWE surprisingly tried to file a temporary restraining order against Lesnar, to keep him from wrestling in Japan. While the legal battle was going on, Lesnar defended the title in successive dates in December '05, defeating both Manabu Nakanishi and Yuji Nagata.
The legal battles continued into the new year, although it seemed that things were going Lesnar's way. He was still wrestling regularly in NJPW, while judges told WWE that they would have to show proof that Lesnar wrestling would be harmful to WWE for the restraining order to stick. WWE withdrew their attempt to block Lesnar from the January '06 Tokyo Dome show, where Lesnar defeated Shinsuke Nakamura to continue to hold the title. Going into February '06, Lesnar started feuding with former sumo wrestler Akebono, with Lesnar tagging with Nakamura against Akebono & Riki Choshu at the Sumo Hall show. Lesnar took Choshu's hits, shrugging them off. Surprisingly, though, Akebono no-sold Lesnar's attacks, showing him as a major threat to Lesnar's reign. However, Lesnar still got the victory for his team, hitting the Verdict on Choshu to get the pin.
Lesnar and Akebono met for the IWGP Heavyweight Title a few weeks later, at another Sumo Hall show. It was a grueling battle, as Lesnar tried to pit his strength and ability against Akebono's massive size advantage. In the end, Lesnar retained, pinning the sumo wrestler to stay the champion. In April '06, it was announced that there had been a settlement between Lesnar and WWE, with Lesnar now free to wrestle wherever he chose (although it was suspected that a clause in the settlement would keep Lesnar from going to TNA). In the meantime, Giant Bernard (known as Albert/A-Train in WWE) won the '06 New Japan Cup Tournament, which meant that the big man was coming for Lesnar's title. Lesnar was also the outcast, as Bernard vowed to return the IWGP Title to New Japan.
Pay-Per-View/Show Summary: (27 - 16, 1 DDQ)
- OVW Christmas Chaos (January '01) = Lesnar & Shelton Benjamin defeated Johnny Spade & Sly Scraper.
- OVW Last Dance (June '01) = Lesnar & Brian Keck (substituting for Shelton Benjamin) retained the OVW Southern Tag-Team Titles, beating Perry Saturn & Dean Malenko.
- WWE Backlash '02 = Lesnar took down Jeff Hardy.
- WWE Insurrextion '02 (May 4) = Lesnar & Shawn Stasiak lost to the Hardy Boyz.
- WWE Judgment Day '02 = Lesnar & Paul Heyman won over the Hardy Boyz.
- WWE King of the Ring '02 = Lesnar defeated Test, then took down Rob Van Dam to win the KOTR tournament.
- WWE Vengence '02 (July) = Lesnar lost, via DQ, to the IC Champ, Rob Van Dam.
- WWE Global Warning (August 10, '02) = Lesnar lost a "Triple Threat" Match to the WWE World Champ, the Rock. Hunter Hearst Helmsley was the other participant.
- WWE Summerslam '02 = Lesnar won the WWF World Heavyweight Title from the Rock.
- WWE Unforgiven '02 = Lesnar fought to a Double Disqualification against the Undertaker. Lesnar stayed the World Champion.
- WWE Smackdown Tag-Team Title Tournament (October '02) = Lesnar & Tajiri lost in the first round to Rey Mysterio Jr & Edge. Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit won the tournament.
- WWE No Mercy '02 = Lesnar won a "Hell In A Cell" Match over the Undertaker to retain the WWE World Title.
- WWE Rebellion '02 (October 26) = Lesnar kept the World Title, beating Edge.
- WWE Survivor Series '02 = Lesnar lost the World Title to the Big Show.
- WWE Royal Rumble '03 = Lesnar won a "Winner Advances" Match over the Big Show. Lesnar then went on to win the Royal Rumble.
- WWE No Way Out '03 = Lesnar & Chris Benoit won a "Handicap" Match over Kurt Angle, Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas.
- WWE Wrestlemania X-9 (March 30, '03) = Lesnar won the WWE Smackdown World Heavyweight Title from Kurt Angle.
- WWE Backlash '03 = Lesnar defended the WWE Smackdown World Title, beating John Cena.
- WWE Judgment Day '03 = Lesnar stayed the WWE Smackdown World Champ, winning a "Stretcher" Match over the Big Show.
- WWE Vengeance '03 = Lesnar lost the WWE Smackdown Heavyweight Title to Kurt Angle in a "Three Way" Match. The Big Show was the other participant.
- WWE Summerslam '03 = Lesnar was forced to submit to the WWE Smackdown Heavyweight Champ, Kurt Angle.
- WWE No Mercy '03 = Lesnar kept the WWE Smackdown Championship, winning a "Biker Chain" Match over the Undertaker.
- WWE Survivor Series '03 = Lesnar, Matt Morgan, Nathan Jones, A-Train & the Big Show fought in an "Elimination" Match against Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, John Cena, Hardcore Holly & Bradshaw. Lesnar was eliminated by Benoit, who 'survived' along with Cena.
- WWE Royal Rumble '04 (January 25) = Lesnar stayed the WWE Smackdown Champ, beating Hardcore Holly.
- WWE No Way Out '04 (February 15) = Lesnar lost the WWE Smackdown Title to Eddie Guerrero.
- WWE Wrestlemania XX (March 14, '04) = Lesnar was beaten by Bill Goldberg.
- NJPW Tokyo Dome (October 8, '05) = Lesnar won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, winning a "Triple Threat" Match over Kazuyuki Fujita and Masahiro Chono.
- NJPW Tokyo Dome (January 4, '06) = Lesnar retained the IWGP Heavyweight Title, defeating Shinsuke Nakamura.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (February 19, '06) = Lesnar & Shinsuke Nakamura took down Riki Choshu & Akebono.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (March 19, '06) = Lesnar stayed the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, beating Akebono.
- K-1/EliteXC Dynamite! (June 2, '07) = Lesnar won, via submission, in the 1st round (1:10) over Min Soo Kim.
- IGF Fighting Now Bom-Ba-Ye (June 29, '07) = Lesnar lost the "IWGP" Heavyweight Title to Kurt Angle. (Although Lesnar was stripped of the IWGP Heavyweight Title by NJPW after leaving the company, IGF claimed that he had never lost it)
- UFC 81: Breaking Point (February 2, '08) = Lesnar lost via submission in the 1st Round to Frank Mir.
- UFC 87: Seek and Destroy (August 9, '08) = Lesnar won, via unanimous decision, over Heath Herring (3rd Round).
- UFC 91: Coutere vs. Lesnar (November 15, '08) = Lesnar won the UFC Heavyweight Title, winning, via TKO, over Randy Coutere in the 2nd round.
- UFC 100 (July 11, '09) = Lesnar unified the UFC Heavyweight Title and the UFC Interim Heavyweight Title, beating Frank Mir via TKO in the 2nd round.
- UFC 116: Lesnar vs. Carwin (July 3, '10) = Lesnar retained the Undisputed UFC Heavyweight Title, forcing Shane Carwin to submit in the 2nd round.
- UFC 121: Lesnar vs. Velasquez (October 23, '10) = Lesnar lost the UFC Heavyweight Title, losing to Cain Velasquez via TKO in the 1st round.
- UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem (December 30, '11) = Lesnar was beaten by Alistair Overeem via TKO in the 1st round. Lesnar announced his retirement after the match.
- WWE Extreme Rules '12 (April 29) = Lesnar lost an "Extreme Rules" Match to John Cena.
- WWE Summerslam '12 (August 19) = Lesnar defeated Triple H.
- WWE WrestleMania 29 (April 7) = Lesnar lost a "No Rules" Match to Triple H.
- OVW Southern Tag-Team Champion w/ Shelton Benjamin (2/13/2001 - 4/22/2001)
- OVW Southern Tag-Team Champion(2) w/ Shelton Benjamin (5/15/2001 - 7/14/2001)
- OVW Southern Tag-Team Champion(3) w/ Shelton Benjamin (10/29/2001 - 11/07/2001)
- WWE World Heavyweight Champion (8/25/2002 - 11/17/2002)
- WWE Smackdown World Heavyweight Champion(2) (3/30/2003 - 7/27/2003)
- WWE Smackdown World Heavyweight Champion(3) (9/16/2003 - 2/15/2004)
- NJPW IWGP Heavyweight Champion (10/08/2005 - 7/2006)
- "IWGP" Heavyweight Champion (10/08/2005 - 6/29/2007)
- UFC World Heavyweight Champion (11/15/2008 - 10/23/2010)
PWI Achievement Awards: (5 wins, 1 1st RU, 0 2nd RUs, 1 3rd RU)
- 2001 Rookie of the Year, 1st Runner-Up
- 2002 Wrestler of the Year
- 2002 Most Improved Wrestler
- 2003 Wrestler of the Year, 1st Runner-Up
- 2003 Match of the Year (Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle)
- 2003 Match of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up (Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle)
- 2003 Feud of the Year (Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle)