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Brock Lesnar Deep Dive

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Brock Lesnar is one of my all-time favorites. Let's do this. 

Recommended Brock Viewing (essential matches in bold)

  • Brock Lesnar vs Jeff Hardy (WWF Backlash - 4/21/2002)
  • Brock Lesnar vs Hulk Hogan (WWE Smackdown - 8/6/2002)
  • Brock Lesnar vs The Rock (WWE Summerslam - 8/25/2002)
  • Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker (WWE Unforgiven - 9/22/2002)
  • Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker (Hell in a Cell) (WWE No Mercy - 10/20/2002)
  • Brock Lesnar vs Big Show (WWE Survivor Series - 11/17/2002)
  • Brock Lesnar vs Big Show (WWE Royal Rumble - 1/19/2003)
  • Brock Lesnar & Chris Benoit vs Kurt Angle, Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas (WWE No Way Out - 2/23/2003)
  • Brock Lesnar vs Kurt Angle (WWE Wrestlemania - 3/30/2003)
  • Brock Lesnar vs Big Show (Stretcher) (WWE Judgement Day - 5/18/2003)
  • Brock Lesnar vs Kurt Angle (WWE Summerslam - 8/24/2003)
  • Brock Lesnar & John Cena vs Kurt Angle & The Undertaker (WWE Smackdown - 10/2/2003)
  • Brock Lesnar vs Chris Benoit (WWE Smackdown - 12/2/2003)
  • Brock Lesnar vs Rey Mysterio (WWE Smackdown - 12/9/2003)
  • Brock Lesnar vs Eddie Guerrero (WWE No Way Out - 2/15/2004)

Brock Lesnar vs Jeff Hardy (WWF Backlash - 4/21/2002)
A damn fine main roster debut for Lesnar. He looked like a world-beater here. Jeff Hardy is established enough that Lesnar's win over him feels like a massive deal. Hardy bumps his ass off for all of Lesnar's shit. Heyman trash-talking and blaming Lita at ringside for Jeff's beating because she refused to sleep with him was creepy and it added another layer to the villainous Lesnar/Heyman pairing. Hardy is able to hit a few hope spots and Lesnar even kicks out of the Swanton Bomb, which I don't think anyone had done up to that point. Jeff soon realizes that he can't beat Lesnar, so he grabs a chair and attempts to lay him out, but Lesnar is able to catch him with an F5. Lesnar then keeps assaulting Jeff until the referee decides to call this off. The referee stoppage finish hadn't been used in a while and it made Lesnar's dominating victory feel even more special. ★★★½

Brock Lesnar & Shawn Stasiak vs The Hardy Boyz (WWE Insurrextion - 5/4/2002)
The story going into this is that Lesnar wanted to face Matt and Jeff by himself, but the Hardyz had signed up for a tag match so Lesnar has to find a partner. Lesnar and Heyman pick Stasiak and hope he's smart enough to stay out of the way and let Lesnar do all the work, but this doesn't go to plan as the voices in Stasiak's head tell him to take matters into his own hands. Stasiak rushes the ring to start the match, much to Lesnar and Heyman's disapproval. He has some pretty decent comedy chops. Stasiak doesn't fare too well and Lesnar tags himself after saving Stasiak from a Hardyz double-team move. Lesnar kicks ass and looks good doing it. He looked like a lion playing with his food when he was working over Matt Hardy. Lesnar misses a charge into the corner and Stasiak tags himself back in and loses the match for his team. Lesnar wrecks shop after the match and takes out Stasiak. Lesnar loses, but his aura hasn't been damaged because of the circumstances of his loss. ★★½

Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman vs The Hardy Boyz (WWE Judgement Day - 5/19/2002)
Lesnar continues to wreck shop as the crowd throws some Goldberg chants at him. Jeff's hot tag lacked in fire and the crowd doesn't seem too invested in this as they know who's winning this. Heyman excels at being the greasy chickenshit manager. After the Hardyz work together to get Lesnar out of the ring, they turn their attention to Heyman. Heyman runs away until the Hardyz are able to catch him and give him a beating. Lesnar recovers just as Jeff is about to go for the Swanton Bomb on Heyman. The stare-down between Jeff and Brock made for a cool visual. Lesnar hits the F5, but Heyman insists that he gets tagged in and gets the deciding pinfall. Fun stuff. ★★★

Brock Lesnar vs Test  (WWE King Of The Ring - 6/23/2002)
These two just didn't click. Lesnar is still receiving Goldberg chants and the fans couldn't give a toss about Test, so this was a dull affair with a dead crowd for the most part. Expect a lot of lifeless brawling. Lesnar is still green and Test has never been good in-ring, so this match doesn't have anyone to steer the ship. The highlight of this would have to be Test scoring a very convincing nearfall after a gloriously stiff big boot. Lesnar scooping and powerslamming Test with ease was another high point. Aside from that, I'm not seeing a great hoss fight here. I wasn't too keen on Lesnar needing Heyman's help to win either as a world-beater like Lesnar shouldn't have to rely on his manager to help him beat a lower midcarder like Test. ★★

Brock Lesnar vs Rob Van Dam (WWE King Of The Ring - 6/23/2002)
I'm a tad let down by this and I'm hoping their next match together will be better. This became an extended squash once Lesnar countered an RVD monkey flip into a powerbomb. Lesnar works a long bearhug on RVD. RVD makes a brief comeback once Lesnar misses a charge and goes shoulder-first into the ring post. Watching Brock sell RVD's kicks is quite entertaining. RVD hits a frog splash, but Heyman distracts RVD and it results in a unique nearfall where Heyman accidentally knocks RVD onto Brock after pulling his throat onto the ropes. Lesnar catches another RVD aerial attack and turns it into an F5 for the win. ★★¼

Brock Lesnar vs Rob Van Dam (WWE Vengeance - 7/21/2002)
This was much better than their King Of The Ring match as they got a lot more time here. Lesnar and RVD's styles compliment each other well. Brock dominates until RVD is able to hit an incredible flurry moves and it all flowed perfectly and you got the feeling that RVD might actually pull off the biggest miracle in his career. RVD hits the Five Star, but Heyman pulls the referee out and ends up getting Brock disqualified. The post-match angle sees the referee attack Heyman in a humourous spot. Lesnar picks up the ref and launches him as if he was a bag of flour. RVD tries to take advantage of Brock being distracted but eats an F5 for his troubles. The DQ finish wasn't great, but there wasn't much they could have done as they had booked themselves into a corner. ★★★

Brock Lesnar vs Hulk Hogan (WWE Smackdown - 8/6/2002)
Hogan mostly coasts on by his charisma as his body is too banged up to do anything too physical. He still knows how to work a crowd and they go mental for him. Hogan keeps hulking up whenever Lesnar would try and beat him down, but it's a distraction from Paul Heyman that is enough for Lesnar to hit an F5. Instead of pinning him, he decides to lock in a bear hug. The fans were expecting for Hogan to hulk up once again, but Hulk bleeds from the mouth and is unable to make the referee's count. Lesnar brutalizes Hogan after the bell and the show goes off air as Lesnar wipes Hogan's blood onto his own chest. Has Hogan ever put over anyone as cleanly as he did for Lesnar here' Even Warrior didn't get a rub as big as Lesnar got here! Lesnar not only kicked out of a leg drop, but he also defeated Hogan by submission! ★★★½

Brock Lesnar vs The Rock vs Triple H (WWE Global Warning - 8/10/2002)
Nothing to see here. The first half of the match featured nothing but punches, kicks, and not much else. The second half sees each wrestler hitting their finish before the free man breaks up the pin. This featured the worst trope of multi-man matches, where one worker gets hit with a basic move and lays outside the ring for minutes at a time so the two other guys can do their thing. We get a rare instance of Brock showing that he's still green when he just stands there and watches Triple H attempt a pin. Triple H goes the extra mile and gets some color, even if it didn't add anything to the match. I'm not expecting guys to bring their A-game when they are working house shows (this was pretty much a televised house show) and I'm sure the live crowd loved this, but there's no reason to seek this out. ★★

Brock Lesnar vs The Rock (WWE Summerslam - 8/25/2002)
This is a star-making match for Lesnar, but I also thought that Rock's performance here was one of his best. Despite being the babyface going into this, the fans have soured on him so he instead decides to rile them up instead of being the babyface that he thought he was going to be when he stepped through the curtain on this night. After using it to score a clean win over Hogan, Brock's bear hug feels like it might actually end the match instead of feeling like a rest hold. Rock fighting out of the move was the last babyface thing he did before he embraces being a heel and striking Lesnar square in the balls. Rock's punch combo features extra taunting, a neat addition added solely to get under the audience's skin. Brock was decent here and he jumped through all the hoops that Rock (and Heyman to a lesser extent) set up for him. You start to see Lesnar's formula in play once you watch his old matches in order, but he's still got exceptional timing and pacing so such a young wrestler. ★★★★

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Man, I'm not sure if I just had rose-colored glasses when I saw it or it was because I wasn't super familiar with the context, but I really liked the Brock/Test from King of the Ring 2002. Here's what I wrote about it in my blog way back in 2015...

The tournament continues with our next match - Brock Lesnar vs. Test. This might be one of the best "hidden classics" I've seen in months, an absolute stiff-as-a-board battle that proves Lesnar not only had plenty of "It," but had enough "It" to elevate Test into the best match of his entire career (or at least the only one I've seen that I'd strongly, strongly recommend to others)....Lesnar (even pre-UFC world beater Lesnar) was enough of a monster to make his clean wins the opposite of embarrassing for the loser. In fact, Test overselling Heyman's interference takes away from the fact that he went toe-to-toe with the Beast and got some solid licks in. Fans of flawless execution and picture-perfect sequences will no doubt spot specific moments where these two seem to lose the plot, but because of how snugly this one is worked, these brief moments of confusion come across as literally two guys just trying to shake the cobwebs out of their believably zonked craniums. Absolutely great match that, with a more definitive finish, I'd have no problem giving 4 stars to. (3.5/5)

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Man, Test vs Lesnar is one of my all-time favorite hidden gems. Just two big fuckers beating the shit out of each other, and it does make me wonder if Test would have a better in-ring career if he had a cast of other big fuckers around like Sheamus, Big E, Cesaro et al.

He never really had anything like that Lesnar match and I believe it's because they never really had big monstrous dudes who worked stiff but weren't scared to take stiff shots either, at least at that turn of the century period.

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I've gone back and gave a Test vs Lesnar a rewatch and it's still not doing much for me, although I appreciated how hard those two were clobbering the hell out of each other. Test just bores me to tears. 

What are some of Lesnar's better TV matches? I don't want to cover every TV match of his, but I do want to touch on his most memorable matches. I'll definitely cover his 2003 matches with Rey, Angle, Show, and Benoit. Is there any I'm missing? 

Brock Lesnar vs Hardcore Holly (WWE Smackdown - 9/10/2002)
Yup, this is the match where Holly sandbags Lesnar and ends up with a broken neck. I don't feel too bad for him. It's well known that he would bully and stiff younger talent and he would end up with a PPV title match out of this when he was able to return a year later. Despite the injury, this was a fun compact TV match where Brock wasn't afraid to stiff Holly back and it caused this one to feel very competitive. After Lesnar wrestles Holly to the ground, Holly takes a chance on mat-wrestling Lesnar and ends up tackling him out of the ring. I've always assumed this one ends once Holly breaks his neck, but Holly carries on and finishes the match as planned! He hits a goddam dropkick and takes an F5 with a broken neck, you've got to respect him for that! ★★¾

Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker (WWE Unforgiven - 9/22/2002)
Fans of Lesnar/Undertaker's legendary Hell in a Cell match shouldn't sleep on this match, as it's great in its own right. In his first title defense, Lesnar is look a lot more comfortable in-ring than he was just a few months prior. I liked him trying to play the power game during the opening exchanges, only to become frustrated when Undertaker showed him that he could match him in that department. This forces Lesnar to try and rely on his wrestling skills to mixed results. This was a fun hoss fight with plenty of intensity and hatred to boot. Undertaker's match quality was spotty around this time, but this was one of his better matches of 2002 and it's clear that he and Brock work well together. The non-finish might have pissed off the live crowd, but it was necessary for building up to the HIAC rematch and they made up for the fans in the building by having a cool spot in the post-match which saw Undertaker throw Lesnar through the stage. ★★★¾

Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker (Hell in a Cell) (WWE No Mercy - 10/20/2002)
This was a slow and bloody epic that was rife with psychology. Undertaker's hand is in a cast and that's a crucial part of this match. Lesnar wants to rip it off and do more damage. Undertaker dominates early on and wasn't that interesting when doing so, but Brock makes up for this by bumping into the cell like a madman. This is the first time in Brock's WWE run that he showed fear, as he backs off from 'Taker multiple times during the match. This was so chaotic that even Heyman got color! That visual of him being violently pulled by his tie into the cage wall will stick with me for some time as did Undertaker's horrific bladejob that had him pissing blood all over the place. I wish they didn't forget about Undertaker's hand injury during the last few minutes (he stops selling his hand after landing a barrage of punches on Brock), but that's only a minor gripe. ★★★★½

Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman vs Edge (WWE Rebellion - 10/26/2002)
Excluding the few high points during the go-home stretch, there's not a whole to say about this match. Perhaps it's the jetlag, but these two felt like they were stuck in house show mode. They open with some stalling, which leads into a dull control segment by Lesnar where he works over Edge's ribs. Heyman hamming it up and getting kicked about by Edge saved this from being mediocre. Heyman being in the match means that Edge can pin Heyman to win the title instead of having to conquer Lesnar, which is a small touch that added a touch more drama, even if everyone deep-down knew that Edge would not be leaving with the title. Edge scoring a near fall on Heyman when he wasn't the legal man bothered me more than it should of. Lesnar sidesteps an Edge crossbody from the top rope and causes the referee to be pancaked in a great bump. Edge is able to score a convincing near fall after a Spear, but Lesnar is able to land an F5 to retain. ★★

Brock Lesnar vs Big Show (WWE Survivor Series - 11/17/2002)
 Lesnar is now a babyface and the MSG faithful are going insane for him. Show keeps trying to cut him off, but Lesnar fights back with plenty of fire and shows that he can brawl from underneath just as well as he can dominate from the top. The story going into this is that Lesnar is the underdog for the first time in his career and Heyman is starting to doubt his client. Heyman doesn't think Lesnar can do three things: suplex Big Show, F5 Big Show, and finally beat Big Show. Lesnar ticks the first box by hitting a back suplex and following it up with an impressive overhead belly-to-belly. After a ref bump and a chair shot,  Lesnar is able to F5 Show and tick the second box. Just as Lesnar is about to win, Heyman betrays Lesnar by attacking the referee. This swerve was memorable and I don't think anyone saw it coming. This is the birth of the Big Match Brock Sprint. This goes just four minutes and change and it is thrilling stuff. It's a high-energy back and forth hoss fight. This is the moment where it becomes clear that Lesnar's monster push was a roaring success, even if he did lose on this night.. ★★★½

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I didn't see Test v Brock as any great hods clash either. That was the desired goal but it didn't really connect well to me. Test isn't as good as you'd ideally want him to be in order for it to work and Brock is still inexperienced by this point. 


Side point: King Of the Ring 2002 was a horrible ppv. Awful from Jericho v RVD onwards. 

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Brock Lesnar vs Big Show (WWE Royal Rumble - 1/19/2003)
I am really surprised how much I love this pairing! Big Show is starting to let himself go and he's not quite as agile as he was during their first encounter, but he more than makes up for his shortcomings by pummeling the ever-loving shit out of Lesnar. Like their Survivor Series match, Lesnar overhead suplexes Show multiple times, but Show is able to counter Brock's third attempt by grabbing Lesnar's head and throwing him out of the ring as if he was a bag of feathers. I loved Lesnar's counter to the chokeslam, where he flawlessly arm dragged Show into a pinning position. Heyman gets involved, and the fans lost their minds once Lesnar got his hands on him. This was yet another hoss fight from these two and it made for a hell of an opener. ★★★¾

Royal Rumble Match (WWE Royal Rumble - 1/19/2003)
Lesnar enters the match at number 29 and immediately starts kicking ass. He throws out Haas and Benjamin and then F5s Matt Hardy from the ring and onto the two wrestlers he just eliminated. The last person to enter this match is Undertaker. Like Lesnar, he also clears house and it becomes very apparent that Undertaker and Lesnar were the only two men that felt like they had a chance of winning this match. After being eliminated by Undertaker, Batista rushes in with a chair and this distraction is all Lesnar needs to toss Undertaker out of the ring. Undertaker giving Lesnar props after winning the match was a neat way to wrap up their rivalry and cement Brock as a 100% full babyface. A super fun Rumble all in all.

Brock Lesnar vs John Cena (WWE Smackdown - 2/11/2003)
Seeing as their Extreme Rules match 9 years later would end up being one of my all-time favorite matches, I had to see this one even if I knew it wouldn't be anywhere near the quality of that match. This was an entertaining enough TV bout, which had the sole purpose of giving Brock more momentum as he heads into No Way Out against Team Angle. The result is never in question. Brock dominates and Cena is only able to take control after hitting Lesnar with a chain behind the referee's back. Cena using Angle's scissored sleeper to wear down Lesnar was a neat touch, but I'm less than pleased about Cena's extremely obvious spot-calling as he works the hold. I always assumed that he only started doing that when he was a main eventer that was untouchable and I didn't realize he was doing it as early as 2003. Lesnar looked like a monster and Cena showed promise, so this did what it set out to do. ★★¾

Brock Lesnar & Chris Benoit vs Kurt Angle, Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas (WWE No Way Out - 2/23/2003)
Edge was meant to be on Lesnar and Benoit's team, but he was ambushed at the show and this is now a handicap match. The pace of this one was electric, with them not slowing down for the entire duration of this 13-minute bout. Both Haas and Benjamin looked comfortable mixing it up with Benoit and Lesnar, despite their inexperience. Any time we get to see Angle and Benoit slug it out, you are guaranteed a good time. Something that I thought was lacking in their Royal Rumble 2003 match was that Angle didn't act like a heel. That's not a problem here as he's always looking for shortcuts to keep Benoit in Team Angle's corner. Benoit's fake-out enziguri to mule kick spot was a fantastic way for Benoit to bide himself enough time to make the tag. Lesnar looked unstoppable when he was cleaning house. The interactions between Angle and Lesnar were limited, but they gave us just enough to leave us salivating for their Wrestlemania match next month. Although this felt like a Smackdown main event. the quality of the match was good enough to not bother me. ★★★¾

Brock Lesnar vs Kurt Angle (WWE Wrestlemania - 3/30/2003)
Although it's overshadowed by the freakish Shooting Star Press botch, this was the most physical main event of a Wrestlemania up to this point. This was two lads without fancy gimmicks going out there and putting on a rugged and aggressive wrestling match. Angle is more focused on putting on a clinic and doesn't get many chances to show his huge personality and plays this one straight. Lesnar goes into this with injured ribs and Angle sets his sights on his injury by going after them with many German suplexes, including one onto the turnbuckle. Although you could tell that some fans weren't into this and maybe having a slow burn technical clinic in front of a tired stadium crowd wasn't the best way to keep the fans engaged, I enjoyed this a ton and seeing Lesnar getting a chance to show off his technical chops and sell like a sympathetic babyface made for compelling viewing. This was a changing of the guard moment with the work rate feeling more important than the big gimmicks and characters. ★★★★

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Brock Lesnar vs John Cena (WWE Backlash - 4/27/2003)
This felt like a filler title defense and there wasn't one moment where I thought that Cena was going to win. Brock felt like too much of a bully during the opening exchanges for a babyface. Cena is able to take control of Lesnar by countering a whip into the steel steps, which cuts Lesnar open. The fans get restless once Cena locks on a rest hold for over two minutes. Lesnar makes it to his feet and does that spot where he runs into the corner with Cena still on his back. We've seen Lesnar do that spot a few times now and it wasn't enough of a satisfying pay-off after having to sit through that long and dull Cena control segment. Lesnar makes a comeback using STOs and clotheslines, but there are plenty of awkward mishaps along the way. I found this to be disappointing given how great their later matches would be. ★★¼

Brock Lesnar vs Big Show (Stretcher) (WWE Judgement Day - 5/18/2003)
A stupidly entertaining match that sees Lesnar and Show wack the piss out of each other with stretchers and come up with all sorts of creative spots. Lesnar struggles to get Show onto the stretcher, so he has to get resourceful. He first chokes out Show onto the stretcher with a cable, but when Lesnar goes to move the stretcher the cable gets stuck and ends up pulling Show from the stretcher in a twist of irony. Show takes a lot of nasty bumps here. I wasn't sure about the Mysterio involvement at first, but seeing Lesnar come back to the arena in a god-damn forklift made up for it. Lesnar launched himself from the forklift to the ring and looked like the biggest babyface ass-kicker in the world. I thought this stipulation would be too gimmicky and that they wouldn't be able to match the level of brutality that the commentators were trying to put over, but these two made it work. ★★★★

Brock Lesnar vs Big Show (WWE Smackdown - 6/10/2003)
This is the match where they break the ring with a suplerplex. Show clobbers Lesnar with elbows and Lesnar sells this well by stumbling around the place. Lesnar's back is worked on, and it's not forgotten about as Lesnar is unable to land an F5 later in the match. Show cuts Lesnar off with a gloriously stiff clothesline and he gets a nearfall with a chokeslam. A frustrated Show then climbs the top rope and tries to take Lesnar with him for a top rope chokeslam, but Lesnar is able to counter and hits wrestling's most famous superplex. Although it might be lacking the explosiveness of their other outings and it's their weakest match yet, this was still another corker between these two big men. ★★★¼

Brock Lesnar vs Big Show (WWE Smackdown - 6/17/2003)
Show and Lesnar broke the ring the week previous, and I liked how they played off that multiple times. Lesnar starts the match by climbing the turnbuckle and trying to get Show to climb up again. Once Show starts to make his way over to the corner, Lesnar leaps over him and they kickstart this match. Lesnar shows a lot of personality as a babyface and I don't think enough people give him credit for his work as a good guy. Not a whole lot of interest happens here before Haas & Benjamin rush in and cause a DQ. Chaos ensues as Kurt Angle and Mr. America get involved, but it's Big Show standing tall as Smackdown goes off the air. The weakest match from the Show/Lesnar feud, but this was mainly here to set up things heading into Smackdown's first-ever PPV. ★★½

Brock Lesnar vs Kurt Angle vs Big Show (WWE Vengence - 7/27/2003)
Angle and Lesnar work together to try and take out Show. Angle puts Show through the announce table and makes his way back to the ring. Lesnar and Angle meeting back in the ring with both of them realizing they have a chance to fight it out without Big Show interfering was a cool moment. All the nuggets of story-telling with Show being the most dangerous man in the match stopped this from feeling like a spotfest. This was a fun, fast-paced triple threat hindered by the usual issues that come with multi-man matches. You can't invest in a lot of the near falls as you know the third man is lurking in the background. Aside from that, this was an entertaining way to spend 20 minutes. ★★★¼

Brock Lesnar vs Kurt Angle (WWE Summerslam - 9/24/2003)
A rematch from Wrestlemania, only with the face and heel roles reversed. These two ripped into each other with some impressive amateur-styled wrestling with Angle schooling Lesnar on the mat. Lesnar has the power advantage and he tries to lean into that, but Angle blindsides him and Lesnar leaves the ring and starts trashing up the ringside area. They really brought the intensity during the opening exchanges, but they start to lose me as the match progresses. Lesnar's selling is incredible here and it's always consistent. After his ankle has been torn to shit by Angle, he manages to power through and hits a one-legged F5! Angle's performance was a lot more spotty. He would bring a lot of cool transitions to the table, but this also featured some of his worst tendencies. The dumbest moment of the match had to be him pulling his straps up, only to pull them back down seconds later. Angle sold his beating, but he wouldn't milk sympathy from the crowd as all great babyfaces would. I could take or leave the Vince interference and the excessive usage of ankle locks. Not quite on the level of their Wrestlemania bout, I'd still recommend you check this one on the strength of Lesnar's performance alone. ★★★½


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Let's finish off Lesnar's first WWE run. Next time I'll be having a look at Lesnar's brief time in Japan! 

Brock Lesnar vs Big Show vs The Undertaker (WWE Smackdown - 8/26/2003)
This is a 1# contender's match for Kurt Angle's WWE championship and he joins the commentary team just as this one starts. I was surprised by how bad at commentary Angle was. He sounds like he's struggling to have a normal conversation without it sounding awkward. Anyway, the match itself is a good TV main event with plenty of close calls. Show and Lesnar try to work together, but that alliance is short-lived as Lesnar starts attacking Show as soon as Undertaker is kicked out of the ring. We see Lesnar failing to F5 Undertaker into the ring post. Just like the Vengence triple threat from the same year, Show is treated like a massive threat here. Everything here was decent and had a quick pace, but it wasn't exactly memorable. I did love the finish though. Brock and Show tease another superplex, but Undertaker is able to sneak under Lesnar and hit the Last Ride to score the victory. ★★★¼

Brock Lesnar vs Kurt Angle (Iron Man) (WWE Smackdown - 9/18/2003)
The first 15 minutes show off Lesnar's brilliant character work. Just like in their Summerslam match, Angle has Lesnar beat on the mat, and this causes Lesnar to throw a tantrum on the outside. Lesnar stalls outside the ring and this gets under Angle's skin and soon the crowd are calling for Lesnar's head for wasting their time. Lesnar soon gets himself disqualified for hitting Angle with a barrage of chair shots. This was worth it in the end for Lesnar, as he's quickly able to scoop up two points. After this, the match begins to lose me and they don't win me back until the final five minutes. They really start overusing suplexes and spend way too much time on the mat selling the damage. Angle lifts up his straps so he can pull them down immediately after yet again. They are able to get into a groove yet again and create some meaningful drama during the final moments of the match, with Angle desperately trying to even the score. There is plenty of stuff that I like during this match, but I don't think either man had enough stuff to fill a full hour if I'm honest. This was the weakest bout of the Angle/Lesnar trilogy. ★★★

Brock Lesnar & John Cena vs Kurt Angle & The Undertaker (WWE Smackdown - 10/2/2003)
Cena starts the match and gets schooled by both Undertaker and Angle. We don't get much Lesnar involvement until he pulls down the ropes as Angle is running into them and causes him to take a violent tumble to the outside. The match then goes to break and it comes back to Angle getting worked over by the heels, who make quick tags to keep Angle in their grasps. Undertaker doesn't get enough credit as a tag worker. Not only is he great at clearing house after making the hot tag, but it's also the small things like rushing around the apron and bashing on the ring post to wake up the crowd and his partner that really put him over. Lesnar gets knocked on his head after Undertaker rushes in and clotheslines him out of the ring. Cena takes advantage of all this commotion going on in the ring and nails Angle with his chain to steal the victory. This was a total sprint with an unrelenting pace. The No Mercy PPV is just a few weeks away, and this match is here to hype up the two biggest singles matches on that card. If I was watching this at the time and I wasn't sure if I was going to order the PPV, this match would easily convince me to part with my cash. ★★★¾

Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker (Biker Chain) (WWE No Mercy - 10/19/2003)
I thought the stipulation also held this one back massively. Anyone who grabs the biker chain can use it, but the match is already no disqualification, so why would you put yourself in a vulnerable position and try and grab the chain instead of just walloping your opponent with weapons that are more easily accessible' Not to mention, the biker chain isn't pulled down until the last minute of the match, meaning all nearfalls before that lack drama as you know for sure this match isn't going to end before that chain comes into play. Barring my complaints about the stipulation, the match itself is solid if not a little too slow-paced for my liking. Undertaker and Brock work well with each other put on a hoss fight that has plenty of struggle, even if it's lacking the pure hatred and intensity from their previous outings. Undertaker impressed me here, he sells Lesnar strikes well by being punch-drunk and I thought that Undertaker using a triangle choke to stop Lesnar from pushing him off the turnbuckle was a creative spot. Undertaker uses a la magistral like he's channeling his inner Negro Casas! There are moments here when I wish they would quicken the pace up and it never felt like they got into their second gear. Trim 5-10 minutes from this match and pick a better stipulation and you would most definitely have a better match. ★★★

Brock Lesnar, Matt Morgan, Nathan Jones, The A-Train & The Big Show vs Bradshaw, Chris Benoit, Hardcore Holly, John Cena & Kurt Angle (Survivor Series) (WWE Survivor Series - 11/16/2003)
Holly, who's back after having his neck broken by Brock, gets himself disqualified immediately after attacking Brock and shoving the referee in the process. A-Train and Bradshaw are quickly eliminated after, putting the babyfaces at a 3 vs 4 disadvantage. Morgan and Jones are able to use quick tags as a way to hide their weaknesses and not completely stink up the match. Benoit looked very scrappy and intense when he was working against Lesnar and it made me look forward to their singles match together. Benoit and Cena working together to eliminate both Show and Lesnar after their team captain had been eliminated put them over big time as ones to watch on the blue brand. This match certainly felt rushed given the quick eliminations (3 wrestlers are eliminated a minute into this! ), but I can't say that I didn't find this enjoyable due to its quick pace. ★★★

Brock Lesnar vs Chris Benoit (WWE Smackdown - 12/2/2003)
Benoit and Brock's styles mesh incredibly well and made for a super physical and back and forth hidden gem. It's the little things like Lesnar bumping like crazy into the steel steps or showing his fear whenever Benoit was close to locking on the crossface that show that Lesnar is an insanely giving and unselfish worker, who will go out of his way to make his opponent look like a million bucks. Ever since Lesnar tapped out at Summerslam, fans mock him for it and Brock plays into it well and it adds a nice little wrinkle of psychology into his matches whenever he's facing a guy who is well-versed in submissions. Benoit is able to make Brock tap, but the referee is down. Brock never forgets to sell the arm as he hits Benoit with a brutal F5. Benoit kicks out to a monster pop. Lesnar, who is still embarrassed by his Summerslam lose, debuts the Brock Lock and is able to escape with his title. ★★★★¾

Brock Lesnar vs Rey Mysterio (WWE Smackdown - 12/9/2003)
This is in Rey's hometown and if he can beat Lesnar here, he will get a title shot next week. This was a damn fine TV match that was a refresher for me on the talents of Rey Mysterio. I've always thought Rey was great, but a few steps below being considered as a GOAT tier worker. However, this match made me reconsider my views, as he was fantastic at fighting a massively overpowered opponent and believably getting some big blows in. Even when he botches, he's able to quickly recover and not have any mistakes damage the flow of the match, My favorite moment of this was when Rey would get Lesnar to wear himself out by running all over the ringside area. Seeing Brock mock Rey for being undersized was fantastic and a great way of pissing off the crowd. The sight of Lesnar throwing Mysterio around by his leg was beyond scary. Brock shows so much ass for Mysterio and I actually thought that Rey might actually pull this one off, but Brock is able to pulverize Rey with a stiff powerbomb, before bending him in half with the short-lived Brock Lock to end the match. Stop sleeping on this and check this match out! ★★★★½

Brock Lesnar vs Hardcore Holly (WWE Royal Rumble - 1/25/2004)
Although Holly coming back for revenge after Lesnar broke his neck is a tailor-made wrestling storyline, the sad fact of reality is that Holly just isn't popular enough with the fans for it to work. Holly jumpstarts this by attacking Lesnar as he jumps up on the ring apron. His assault is short-lived after Lesnar dodges Holly's dive from the top rope. I understand that Lesnar using waist locks to keep his fired-up opponent grounded was a completely logical move, but it's also boring to watch. Holly eventually makes the coldest comeback ever and hits the Alabama Slam. Holly decides against going for the pin and attempts to break Lesnar's neck with the full nelson. This backfires and Brock is able to slip out of it and land a quick F5 in a smooth as silk sequence. A solid title defense for Lesnar, even if the winner was never in doubt. ★★½

Brock Lesnar vs Eddie Guerrero (WWE No Way Out - 2/15/2004)
This opens up with an intense lock-up with plenty of shit-talking from both men. Guerrero is able to gain an advantage by hitting shots to Lesnar's leg and this bit of limbwork keeps reappearing in creative ways. Brock might be able to power Guerrero around with a wide array of nasty suplexes, but one basement dropkick by Guerrero is enough to send Lesnar to the ground in agony. The worst quality of Lesnar is his reliance on that body scissors choke he does. He works over his opponent's midsection with suplexes and throws, so it makes sense from a kayfabe perspective to why he would do that, it's just clear as day that he's doing it as a rest hold and it drags down parts of this match by making them overly long. Eddie is also guilty of overusing holds, but at least he mixes up the moves to keep his control segments feeling fresh. I didn't have much of an issue with the Goldberg interference and I didn't think it distracted or took away from Eddie's big win. The fans might be looking for him to pop up as soon as the ref goes down, but they are back to cheering for Eddie as soon as Goldberg had left the arena. I love how they faked out the fans, by having Lesnar kick out of Goldberg's spear. An F5 counter and a Frog Splash later, Eddie wins the big one and is heading to Wrestlemania. This is one of my all-time favorite feel-good moments. I still get a lump in my throat watching Eddie celebrate with his friends and family, but I do have gripes with a few things here. ★★★★¼

Brock Lesnar vs Goldberg (WWE Wrestlemania - 3/14/2004)
Urgh. I wasn't looking forward to rewatching this one. Although it was disrespectful for the fans to shit on this straight out the box, Lesnar and Goldberg refusing to do anything for minutes and deliver an awful match like this felt like a slap in the face. Lesnar gives the fans the finger, both figuratively and literally. Most of this consisted of stare-downs and grapples that went nowhere. Austin being the special guest referee is the only saving grace here and the look on his face when he realizes the whole segment was screwed was priceless. The fans start to come alive once Goldberg hits his cool press slam and wipes himself out after a failed spear attempt, but it's not long until they back to heckling the wrestlers. Goldberg wins as the crowd shows their disapproval. Austin stuns Goldberg in one last attempt to save this. Never before had a WWE marquee match shit the bed as badly as this one did! DUD

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