If the WWE roster wants to be free of the eventual threat of Brock Lesnar, it will be up to them to steal the show back on their own merit.
Brock Lesnar is everything Paul Heyman has ever said he is. Only Kurt Angle, a legitimate Olympic gold medalist, approaches the legitimacy that Brock Lesnar brings to professional wrestling. Seth Rollins has had a year of build behind a great Intercontinental Championship reign and a slew of excellent matches showcasing just how good he is, and just how good we may have forgotten he is after years of focus on Goldberg, Roman Reigns, and Braun Strowman being possible successors to Lesnar’s throne.
After winning the Royal Rumble, it is quite conceivable that Rollins is going to leave WrestleMania this year with the WWE Universal Championship. This will be a great moment for Rollins as he will be validated as being one of the top workhorses of this generation.
At the same time, his win will inadvertently add a heavy responsibility upon the shoulders of Rollins and the rest of the WWE locker room: They will now be responsible for making us leave Brock Lesnar behind.
WWE has (arguably) never had a roster so loaded with in-ring talent as it has today. The combination of homegrown talent and the realization that they would benefit from hiring others who made their bones in the independent wrestling circuit has given the WWE an embarrassment of riches it has never seen before in terms of in-ring performance.
Despite this fact (more of an opinion because, you know, all art, including professional wrestling, is subjective), this roster has only one true killer, only one man who lacks a true opponent capable of suspending the disbelief of fans long enough to actually believe he could lose: Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar trained in Ohio Valley Wrestling, but he is not homegrown. He was a two-time NCAA wrestling champion before even speaking to WWE, and has since been a UFC Heavyweight Champion. WWE has conveyed a machine that would dominate anywhere his feet landed.
It is easy to forget that the beloved Eddie Guerrero’s lone title reign only occurred due to outside interference from Goldberg, a performer who may own rights over the Lesnar gimmick. Speaking of Goldberg, try to think of another wrestler who actually made us believe that Brock Lesnar could be conquered.
Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Only Goldberg, a man who became a legend based off of an undefeated streak that included a World Heavyweight Championship win over “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan that crippled the New World Order, has been seen as a legitimate challenger to Lesnar.
However, Goldberg’s undefeated streak consists of the repeated names of legends like Hugh Morris, Jerry Flynn, and Glacier. Brock Lesnar defeated The Rock, who was in his prime, to win his first WWE Championship. Since then, he has had multiple title reigns, has ended The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak, and has borderline humiliated every legend WWE has had on its roster, including John Cena and Randy Orton (especially Orton, whose forehead looked like the elevator from The Shining). Finn Balor came close to defeating Lesnar at the Royal Rumble, but his onslaught was snuffed out in just a couple short minutes, which is all Lesnar needs.
Balor did prove, however, that Brock Lesnar can be pushed to his limit by a smaller opponent. Seth Rollins may be the one who gives Lesnar that one final push.
Seth Rollins has undoubtedly earned his shot at Brock Lesnar’s WWE Universal Championship, and he very well could win at WrestleMania. He might get more than he asked for in the process, though, as he will have the tall order to be the first one in line attempting to make us forget Brock Lesnar.
Rollins is no stranger to deeply personal storylines; maybe his title reign will eventually make him revisit his past sins. Fellow roster members like Johnny Gargano and Tommasio Ciampa have recently captivated audiences by pulling on heartstrings to develop one of the most deeply personal rivalries in recent memory. The women’s division, currently being driven by the remarkable performance of Becky Lynch, continues to rival anything being produced by the men’s division.
Roman Reigns has his continued comeback from leukemia. Kevin Owens is prone to take the WWE audience hostage at any given moment. Daniel Bryan’s quest to veganize (I have a Master’s degree, so I can make up words) the world is an interesting and surprising as anything taking place in professional wrestling today.
Braun Strowman can maybe flip a school bus next.
This article can continue to list all the accolades existing within the walls of the WWE, but that would be an attempt to compensate for the fact that the second Brock Lesnar chooses, if he ever chooses, to grab the WWE by the jugular, the moment, the title, the company is probably his.
The rest of the roster needs to remain cognizant of the prospective threat of Brock Lesnar walking through that curtain and give us a reason to no longer wait for him to return, to make us believe that the main event champions are not on borrowed time, that the roster are not subliminally looking over their shoulders waiting for that moment Brock Lesnar arrives.
When Brock Lesnar enters the situation, the game is his. Should Seth Rollins take the Universal Championship at WrestleMania, he and the entire roster must find a way to make us forget Lesnar and make themselves the permanent owners of the WWE.