Brock Lesnar has been a part of so many major moments and matches in recent WWE history, that it’s only fair to call him underrated right now.
In a recent interview with Yahoo Sports’ Anthony Sulla-Heffinger, Brock Lesnar’s long-time advocate and manager Paul Heyman made some statements which took the wrestling universe aback:
“I think the general public and even those who aren’t fans of Brock Lesnar but admire his greatness, don’t truly have the mindset of understanding how unique and how rare and how once-ever Brock Lesnar truly is,” Heyman said. “Brock Lesnar is so important to WWE because no one on the face of the planet can match up against Brock Lesnar. There is no one on any roster in mixed martial arts or sports entertainment that can compare to the resume, the accomplishments or the ability of Brock Lesnar. He’s a once-ever athlete and a once-ever performer.”
While that is somewhat of an eye-popping statement in and of itself, especially considering the illustrious resumes and reputations of some of Lesnar’s opponents like The Undertaker and Goldberg, that wasn’t the part of Heyman’s comments that really riled fans up.
“I think Brock Lesnar is the most underrated, underappreciated talent in the history of WWE,” Heyman said. “I think Brock Lesnar deserves credit for being the best in-ring performer in this or any other generation. No one moves like him, no one has matches like him. There’s nothing standard about a Brock Lesnar match. It’s a completely different style than anyone else is employing.”
Now, that’s what I call a controversial statement right there! While it was framed in the article as Heyman doing his typical marketing pitch, that quote about Lesnar being “the most underrated, underappreciated talent in the history of WWE,” really took off.
Many wrestling outlets reported on that claim, assuredly because of its inherently disputable nature.
Nevertheless, what Heyman said isn’t entirely off-base. In fact, if you tone the claim down to its bare bones, you actually get what I would consider to be a pretty reasonable comment.
Brock Lesnar may not be the most underappreciated superstar in WWE history, and he certainly isn’t the best in-ring performer ever, but he definitely is underrated.
Lesnar is rarely given the full breadth of credit for what were some amazing matches throughout his most recent WWE run.
His matches against AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan were both highly entertaining and competitive bouts. At the last 2 WrestleMania shows, you could fairly easily claim Lesnar helped put out a match of the night candidate. Heck, Lesnar even had a match of the year candidate in 2015 when he took on John Cena and Seth Rollins at Royal Rumble.
Do we ever sit back and remember those brilliant matches when talking about Lesnar? Typically, the short answer is no. Even if we do however, its with the condition that Lesnar is, or was, a horrible champion.
That constraint carries on into discussions about any of the impactful moments Lesnar has created as well, some of which will almost certainly help define this era of wrestling
Lesnar’s utter destruction of John Cena at SummerSlam 2014 is practically guaranteed to always be a point of discussion. Similarly, his match against Orton 2 years later at SummerSlam 2016 will likely forever be remembered for its shockingly bloody outcome.
He tore apart a car and threw pieces of it into the audience on Raw. He coined one of the most memorable wrestling phrases of the 2010’s at WrestleMania 31. He even became one of the most shocking Money In The Bank winners of all time.
Those moments and matches seem to always play second fiddle to Lesnar’s reigns as Universal Champion in fans’ memory’s though.
You could probably argue that’s just how it should be. Lesnar’s times atop Monday Night Raw weighed the entire brand down. His absences seemed to hang over the show for months upon months at a time. There’s almost no questioning that it damaged the on-screen product for most fans.
Should that part-time nature and lackluster ability to elevate what was supposed to be one the company’s top titles outweigh all that Brock Lesnar did in his time in WWE?
That’s the question you have to ask yourself every time you try to evaluate Lesnar’s career. At this point, its basically the asterisk that’s destined to linger by his name in the WWE history books.
To me though, that’s somewhat ridiculous. Until we all recognize that we can firmly believe Lesnar makes for a terrible champion who’s prone to being over-pushed, while still admitting how uniquely talented he is, then Paul Heyman has a point.
We don’t appreciate how great Brock Lesnar is. He’s been crucial to crafting so many memorable moments in his WWE career, yet all fans can ever think about are his failed title reigns.
Looking back, we should all be able to recognize that while Lesnar had a complicated and turbulent time in WWE, he was critical to making some of the best matches and angles of this era.