There is not a more accomplished wrestler in the WWE the past decade than “The Beast Incarnate,” Brock Lesnar. Had he not left the WWE in 2004, we may even be able to go back another decade and the top dog would still be Lesnar. But what this man has done in his time since returning in 2012 is untouchable. Now, with WrestleMania just days away, we will look at Lesnar’s career at WrestleMania, as he has clearly established himself since his debut in 2002 as the “Box Office Prizefighter” of the WWE.
In his career, Lesnar has performed at WrestleMania on nine different occurrences, with number ten on the way this weekend. Between those nine occurrences, six of them have been with the biggest possible stake on the line. Five of those being championship matches and one being to end the Undertaker‘s WrestleMania streak. We will explore all of his major matches at the “Showcase of the Immortals” as his epic encounters have mostly been history-making or in the main event. People tend to either love or hate Lesnar, but the rub he has maintained due to his megastar stature. From his first to his upcoming encounter with Drew McIntyre, Lesnar has always been at the center of WrestleMania.
WrestleMania XIX Main Event: Brock Lesnar Defeats Kurt Angle To Become WWE Champion
The rise of “The Next Big Thing” was something no one had ever seen before considering who Lesnar went through to get to the top. Within a year of his debut, Lesnar had defeated Hulk Hogan, Undertaker, and, most memorably, The Rock for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam 2002. He then managed to win the 2003 Royal Rumble to secure a spot in the WrestleMania XIX main event to try and win back his WWE Championship from Kurt Angle. Most wrestlers dream of competing in the main event of WrestleMania. Dream. Brock Lesnar achieved the feat in his first appearance. That is the definition of special.
“The Next Big Thing” went back and forth with the Olympic Gold Medalist before eventually having enough to toss him around on an F5. Of course, that didn’t come without the scary Shooting Star Press that could have left Lesnar paralyzed. Somehow, he made it to the end of the match and missed little time; winning the WWE Championship for the second time in his short career at the time. He really was special from Day 1.
WrestleMania XXX: Defeats Undertaker, Ending His Undefeated Streak At 21
When you delve into the history books and re-watch WrestleMania XXX, you think of two things. The first is Daniel Bryan‘s massive win in the main event to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Second is the moment when time stood still. “F5. Pin. 1… 2… 3…”, “The Streak is over,” Michael Cole said. It was a moment when the shock broke many a heart as Brock Lesnar pinned Undertaker in the middle of the ring, making him 21-1 in his WrestleMania career. The Streak – for most of the time – felt bigger than any championship match on the card. It became a special attraction that will never be replaced at WrestleMania. And Brock Lesnar ended it.
11 years after his first appearance at WrestleMania – where he won the WWE Championship – he did something that could not be matched by anyone in the history of professional wrestling. That’s what makes Lesnar such a “Box Office Prizefighter.” He does things that no one else could. Lesnar can never be matched by anyone; past, present, or future. There is only one Brock Lesnar and that Brock Lesnar broke The Streak.
WrestleMania 31 Main Event: Defending WWE Championship Against Roman Reigns, Loses Title By Not Being Pinned As Seth Rollins Cashes In Mid-Match
Following his defeat of Undertaker at WrestleMania, it was time for Lesnar to chase the WWE Championship. He was the de-facto top contender with that win and ultimately destroyed John Cena at SummerSlam to win the championship for the first time since his return in 2012. Lesnar went on to defend it against the next “face” of the company in Roman Reigns. It was a match of hard-hitting, beast-smashing, absolute physicality. Lesnar and Reigns beat the life out of each other. So much so that it allowed Seth Rollins to cash-in his Money in the Bank briefcase and pull the “Heist of the Century” by winning the WWE Championship.
Lesnar was not involved in the finish, which managed to further his greatness at the top of the card for years to come. After WrestleMania 31, there would only be one “Showcase of the Immortals” that Lesnar would walk in and not compete for the world title. That is the definition of a “Box Office Prizefighter” if there ever was one.
WrestleMania 33: Brock Lesnar Defeats Goldberg, Becomes Universal Champion
Brock Lesnar is the living embodiment of mainstream attraction. When you put him against someone holding the same distinction, you can make magic. More importantly, money can happen. Lesnar and Goldberg entered a feud at Survivor Series that saw Lesnar suffer a stunning defeat. Two months later, Goldberg eliminated Lesnar from the Royal Rumble and you knew this would lead to one more match between both men. Over a decade after their failed match at WrestleMania XX, they had something to prove and had far more on the line. The Universal Championship was still on it’s way to being established, so what better way than having two hosses going head to head in an absolute action movie-like brawl.
F5’s. Spears. Jackhammers. Suplexes. This one had it all and was Goldberg’s best bout since returning. But in the end, “The Beast Incarnate” rose to the top by pinning Goldberg in the middle of the ring to win the Universal Championship, going on the longest championship run of the modern era in WWE. This was the beginning of what will be a four-year run this Sunday as fighting for the world title at WrestleMania.
WrestleMania 34 Main Event: Defeats Roman Reigns, Successfully Defends Universal Championship
The match that was made a year in advance. Lesnar held on to the Universal Championship for a year before defending it in the same stadium that he ended The Streak of Undertaker. Lesnar vs. Reigns II was not nearly at the caliber of their first WrestleMania encounter. It was a bloodfest where Reigns was brutalized, victimized, and tossed around like nothing. It took six F5’s to stomp out “The Big Dog” once and for all. Lesnar is the top of the wrestling business in 2020 because of moments like these. Running through the face of the company was not something people expected. And that’s the beauty of who Brock Lesnar truly is.
WrestleMania 35: Brock Lesnar Loses Universal Championship To Seth Rollins
One year ago, there was some belief that Brock Lesnar would go into WrestleMania as the Universal Champion for a second year in a row and walk out with it for the third time. Seth Rollins won the Men’s Royal Rumble to earn the spot of facing either world champion. Rollins selected Lesnar, believing that he could really become “The Beast Slayer” and add to his impressive resume. Lesnar attacked Rollins before the match, which may be the reason he lost the title at all. It allowed Rollins to get the upper hand eventually, hitting Lesnar with a low blow before a number of stomps would get him the win.
Lesnar’s WrestleMania resume took a hit with the loss to Rollins. That’s a fact. But his incredible run of being the center of WrestleMania would not end with this defeat, but instead will go into this weekend as the WWE Champion.
WrestleMania 36 Main Event: Defending WWE Championship Against Drew McIntyre
Paul Heyman might have had the statement of the night on RAW this past Monday. Another year, another go-home edition of Raw where Brock Lesnar is in the final segment. It’s been a staple for years now. For 2020, the strangest WrestleMania in history because of the COVID-19 epidemic, it happens once again. “The reigning, defending, undisputed WWE Heavyweight Champion” heads into WrestleMania as exactly that for the third straight year. Defending the gold. But this time around. It feels… different. Different in the sense that Brock Lesnar has not had a chance of bullying his opponent as in prior years. Drew McIntyre is not afraid. The one time The Chosen One has his chance to go against the true Chosen One.
Lesnar has been the pinnacle of what a champion is in the WWE for a better part of the decade. McIntyre, on the other hand, has been scratching and clawing to become the world champion in the company that once touted him as a future world champion. This isn’t about tomorrow for McIntyre, it’s about right now. If he is going to become the world champion once and for all, this is that moment. The “Box Office Prizefighter” will fight “The Scottish Psychopath” in the main event of WrestleMania. A spot that Brock Lesnar has truly made his home during his wrestling career. His legend status only rises.
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