There must be something in the water down on Brock Lesnar’s farm because since late 2016 the current Universal Champion has done much in the way of putting others over.
The latter part of Lesnar’s WWE career was primarily led by him destroying everything in his path. So long, John Cena. RIP Undertaker’s Wrestlemania streak. Indeed, the Suplex City gimmick soon became Suplex Metropolis, such was its all-consuming and easily bookable power.
But since the reignition of the feud with Goldberg that ran from Survivor Series 2016 to Wrestlemania 2017, a newer and more humble Beast has emerged.
Anyone who witnessed the insane Fatal Four Way main event at SummerSlam will have been shocked and impressed by the ease with which Strowman manhandled Lesnar and took him out of the match, albeit for a short while.
And so we come to No Mercy and Sunday September 24th will see the unstoppable force meet the immovable object. In a neat twist, it’s still unclear which is which.
Braun has come a long, long way since his debut as the biggest member of the Wyatt Family at SummerSlam 2015. He’s come a long way since he was bullied out of 2016’s Royal Rumble by Lesnar himself. He’s even come a long way since destroying James Ellsworth on RAW during his extended run of jobber squashes. Hey, whatever happened to that guy?
Courtesy of some dynamite match-ups with fan favourite Roman Reigns, the so-called Monster Among Men has earned his place at the top table with a combination of hard work, looking the part and a few wild tussles with the likes of Big Show, Reigns and, uhh, Kalisto.
What marks Strowman out from the usual bevy of big men that have stomped their way through Vince’s Muscle Mass Wonder Emporium is his ability to mix it up. If he isn’t maiming people with sheer power, he’s taking to the top rope against Big Show or displaying some frightening speed and agility for a guy his size by doing things like this:
So far, so total package, right? And we’re not talking about Lex Luger either.
Put simply, it’s Strowman’s time to shine right now, and the man who makes Lesnar look 5’5 and 100lbs is – as Paul Heyman put it on August 28th’s edition of RAW – the man most deserving of a shot at the Universal Championship. And who better to make him gleam than an evidently more flexible Brock Lesnar?
Look, he even smiled and used the mic on Monday night. What more do you people want?
Their match at No Mercy may not be their last but it could present a modern-day benchmark when it comes to battles of the heavyweights.
We’ve already seen Braun is more than capable of swinging Lesnar around like a bored child holding a kitten by the tail, and their moments together during SummerSlam showed Lesnar attempting a German Suplex to no avail.
It presents an interesting quandary, one that should finally take us away from the suplex-suplex-suplex-F5 routine we’ve become accustomed to over the past two years. It’s an affront to fans and frankly, an affront to a man as capable and storied as Lesnar.
Back at SummerSlam, Brock slapped Strowman in a Kimura Armbar, a once lethal weapon reduced to a desperation tactic in the absence of any plausible offence against a man who probably eats traffic jams for breakfast.
The Kimura became the scourge of many of Lesnar’s rivals during his 2012 return to the company, where he traded heavily on his recent UFC excursions, from his moveset all the way down his shorts. This mat-based, ground-and-pound manifestation of Lesnar in WWE was short, sharp and brutal. In lieu of lifting Strowman in the air, we might see a more technical and patient match that builds to a bruising crescendo.
Will we see Strowman pick up that tantalisingly, oddly red championship belt next month? Doubtful. Don’t expect Lesnar to drop it on what is essentially a B-reel PPV. But the seeds have been planted. In a rare alignment of the stars, it’s fresh, it’s new and the fans want it too. No mercy indeed.
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