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On August 31th, Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com reported that wrestler and mixed martial artist Brock Lesnar is now a free agent after he and WWE couldn’t come to an agreement on a new contract. Once sources within the company confirmed the report, speculation has run wild over Lesnar’s next move. From other wrestling promotions to a return to UFC to even retirement, nothing except a second NFL run is off the table.
So where will he go? What will he do? Would he have the same success that he’s had in the last two decades? Let’s take a look!
While definitely the least likely option, Impact! Wrestling is the one company to never count out in sports entertainment. After bringing in recently released WWE talent like Brian Myers (formerly Curt Hawkins), Heath (formerly Heath Slater), Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson and Ethan Carter III, Impact! showed they were always watching. Even bringing former stars from the 90s and 2000s like Rhyno, Tommy Dreamer and Ken Shamrock has paid dividends.
Lesnar would provide Impact! a credible threat, someone who could dominate their roster. It would make each time he’s defeated more of an actual moment, similar to how WWE approached him. It would also seemingly force them to develop talent to be able to take him on.
Impact! has been known to play hot potato with their title, even to the point that they’ve had just as many title changes as WWE in a lot less time. It would give their top talent a reason to develop and stay near the top.
The biggest stumbling blocks for Lesnar to come here is lack of a real television deal. While Impact! is shown on AXS (which not everybody has) it doesn’t bring in the same revenue that NBCUniversal or AT&T’s WarnerMedia does, meaning that television appearances may not be worth his while.
The other problem is they don’t have enough pay-per-views to really use Lesnar to his full force. Lesnar was broken out mainly at the “big four” PPV’s (SummerSlam, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble and WrestleMania) with appearances at events like SuperShowdown, Crown Jewel and Extreme Rules. Impact has had between two and six PPVs in each of the last eight years. Of those, only two of them are done every year: Bound For Glory and Slammiversary.
The only way this happens is if Impact! offers Lesnar everything he could ever hope for. There’s no real incentive for him to join the promotion unless he wanted to invest in their future. Simply put, it’s just not likely.
In 2017, Lesnar fought his last UFC fight, defeating Mark Hunt by unanimous decision at UFC 200. The bout would eventually be overturned as Lesnar tested positive for a banned substance and saw his victory turned into a no decision. He would then retire for a second time.
It was his initial run though that saw Lesnar become a household name. He was UFC’s golden boy and one of their biggest draws. From 2008 to 2011, Lesnar was a box office sensation as he took part in some of their biggest Pay Per Views. He would defeat the biggest names in that time including Randy Couture and Frank Mir.
Could one more run be in the cards for Lesnar? There’s various rumors speculating that Jon Jones wants to fight either Lesnar or Stipe Miocic. There’s also always the call of Conor McGregor fight against him as well. Given that UFC has the money and has offered him a lot to come back, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
The only thing that would hold Lesnar back in this regard is a very big thing: his health. His first run saw him retire due to battles with diverticulitis. He may not be healthy enough to compete at the level he once did in the octagon. The part time schedule would help him long term and give this a real chance, the real question is if his body internally would hold up.
All Elite Wrestling
Since making their television debut on October 2nd, 2019, AEW has been on fire. They’ve been a ratings and viewer cash cow for their owners, Tony and Shahid Khan, even to the point that people forget they own the Jacksonville Jaguars. Utilizing big names like Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega and Cody (Rhodes), they’ve come out strong and in the span of less than two years, have created a phenomenon the likes of which nobody has ever seen.
Enter Brock Lesnar! AEW has utilized several legends of the industry as managers, enforcers and figureheads. Grabbing a name like Lesnar would shock the wrestling world and it would add another threat level of possible villainous characters to their pool. Grabbing someone like Lesnar would add even more mainstream appeal to the company.
Names like Brian Cage, Lance Archer and Brodie Lee would create match ups only seen in created characters modes of video games. Plus their abundance of talent would allow Lesnar to have more of a part time schedule.
The only downside with signing here is fan reaction. A lot of former WWE fans turned to AEW when more part timers like The Rock, Batista and Lesnar started coming back, winning championships and main eventing. If this happened, fans may turn around and find another product to watch again. It would be a battle between mainstream and casual draws and hard core draws. It’s not an envious position and it’s a hard question to answer.
President of Bellator, Scott Coker, immediately addressed the possibility of Lesnar joining Bellator. When asked by someone if he was interested, he said the following: “Yes, if he’s truly available. Fedor vs. Brock is interesting. It’s the fight that never happened!”
What Coker is referring to is Brock Lesnar vs Fedor Emelianenko, a fight that was rumored to be happening back when Lesnar was with UFC. However, it never happened as Emelianenko signed with Affliction and Strikeforce before retiring. Now, Emelianenko is out of retirement with Bellator, giving hope for this fight.
Even if this fight didn’t happen, the legends that Lesnar could face include Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Wanderlei Silva, and Frank Mir. As well as several up-and-comers like Jake Hager and Valentine Moldavsky.
While everything could seem right, including the money and the talent, it’s his health and prestige that would hold him back. While mixed martial arts fans love Bellator, more casual fans often flock to UFC, meaning he’d more likely go back there.
What does Brock Lesnar have left to prove? He dominated WWE, he climbed the mountain at UFC and he even made some covers on video games. He could walk away tomorrow and nobody would doubt his legacy.
Lesnar could star in a couple action movies, taking pages from several former wrestlers and go Hollywood. He can even make some money on the legends autograph circuit for a few years while waiting for his call to the WWE Hall of Fame.
It’s not going to happen though. He’s 43 years old, he’s in remarkable shape. He’s going to do at least one more run.
Let’s be real, who else would give him a boatload of money for limited days worked? While it’s wishful thinking that New Japan or Ring of Honor have a chance, money talks and of the big names that could sign him, WWE may be the most likely to come to terms with him.
Chances are, Lesnar will be back sometime between Survivor Series and Royal Rumble to challenge whoever is WWE or Universal champion. It shouldn’t come as a surprise but fans still will be shocked. It’s just how it almost always happens.