Brock Lesnar has been one of the most discussed personalities not only in wrestling, but in-general this week. Beginning on Monday night with his unexpected return, Lesnar shocked audiences by storming to the ring, staring boss Mr. McMahon into his soul before hoisting him onto his shoulders and delivering a thunderous F-5, Paul Heyman groaning in dismay at Lesnar’s actions expecting the full brunt of the consequences.
Raw went off the air with many questions unanswered; why is “The Next Big Thing” back? Did Paul Heyman purposely bring him back knowing Vince McMahon would be on his tail? And who is the next victim in Lesnar’s onslaught on the WWE?
The following morning Brock Lesnar was once again the topic of discussion, not solely for his television return but for the report that he had signed a two-year contract extension, one which rolls on until Wrestlemania 31, cementing Lesnar as a focal point on the WWE roster for at least two more years. The reaction, with virtually every WWE decision varies depending on who you talk to. Everyone has an opinion and everyone wants their opinion to stand above the rest.
I’m of the opinion that this is nothing but good for the WWE. Whether you like or dislike Brock Lesnar, nobody can debate the fact he is a proven, bonified draw.
Lets revert back to Brock’s initial return the night after Wrestlemania; was there any one of us who can honestly say they weren’t excited? When his music hit and the former UFC Heavyweight Champion appeared, strolling almost casually from one side of the stage to the other it brought back an extreme sense of excitement to the WWE product instantaneously. Planting John Cena with the F-5 and setting up their feud and eventual match at Extreme Rules gave WWE programming that “must see” aura, something which doesn’t come around all too often.
Extreme Rules came, Lesnar and Cena delivered one of the most innovative and physical matches in WWE history, and WWE’s experiment showed early signs of success – compared to Extreme Rules 2011, with the addition of Brock Lesnar the pay-per-view drew 25.8% more in the buyrate, gaining 263,000 buys, up from the previous years 209,000. You can argue that it wasn’t all Lesnar, but if you take into account the average buyrate for a WWE pay-per-view in the last two years outside the big four (Summerslam, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania) is 201,500, something significant had to happen for such a large increase.
Advance to July, Triple H and Brock Lesnar begin setting up their Summerslam confrontation. They’ve played it off an earlier incident which saw Lesnar break “The Game’s” arm with his Kimura Lock submission hold, and with a returned Paul Heyman threatening legal action for WWE breaching a contract signed by then Raw General Manager John Laurinitas in April which contained clauses such as Raw being renamed “Monday Night Raw starring Brock Lesnar,” their Summerslam meeting was built fittingly as “The Perfect Storm.”
Lesnar came out on top after delivering a viscous beating to Triple H. Some feel the match didn’t live up to the expectations it had set, however if the plan sees a rematch take place at Wrestlemania – judging from Lesnar’s attack on Triple H’s father-in-law Vince McMahon this past Monday on Raw, that direction seems all but confirmed – then their Summerslam meeting was simply a prelude to the bigger story, this doesn’t alter the fact once again, with Brock Lesnar headling the event Summerslam drew a large buyrate.
Obtaining 358,000 buys, up from 296,000 in 2011, Brock Lesnar once again seemed to do more than simply “bump” peoples interest but instead he managed to hold it. It’d be ignorant to suggest he alone was responsible for the large number but in the grand scheme of things he was a large factor in it.
Then take the rating for this past Monday’s return into consideration; the final moments of Raw gained a 750,000 viewers for a 4.00 overrun, the best final hour Raw has done since Raw 1,000 back in July. Taking all this information and looking at it from an unbiased perspective, meaning you observe it from a business standpoint instead to that of a fan, and whether your personal opinion on Brock Lesnar is positive, negative or borderline on the fence, one thing you can’t argue is WWE are getting every cent they spent on him back through ratings and buyrates, with Wrestlemania just around the corner.
With the event scheduled or more accurately, “believed” to feature the likes of The Rock, Triple H, The Undertaker and Lesnar himself, WWE seem hell bent on breaking the record set with Wrestlemania 29, which gained the biggest buyrate in Wrestlemania history. With the proven, tried and tested drawing ability of the aforementioned names, not including CM Punk, John Cena, Chris Jericho and others, WWE’s decision to re-sign Brock Lesnar to a two-year extension is nothing but an intelligent move.
Quite simply, WWE are getting more Brock for their buck.
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