WWE: Lesnar, the title and what to do when you’re on hiatus

It seems a forgone conclusion that, by the end of the upcoming Summerslam PPV, Brock Lesnar will be the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Though he has a few key feuds left to engage in (namely against Cesaro, Daniel Bryan and possibly Batista), winning the gold is the last major obstacle he has left to achieve. He has conquered Triple H (eventually), the opponent he famously avoided during his initial run with the company; he has conquered CM Punk (spectacularly), the wrestler who became the defacto “Paul Heyman guy” in his absence; he has conquered the Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak (stunningly), occupied by the man who was among his two greatest rivals in his first WWE career. Really, the only hurdle he didn’t clear is to score a victory over WWE’s golden boy–having lost to Cena in his first match back, it seems that by the end of August 17th, Lesnar will have killed both birds with one stone.


It is also expected that Lesnar will be sticking around for September’s “Night of Champions” PPV. It is a show that has always had great potential, but which has never been treated as anything more than a B-show that is maybe 8th out of 12 in terms of importance (after Mania, Rumble, Summerslam, Money in the Bank, Survivor Series, Extreme Rules, and Elimination Chamber). When it first started, I thought it was a great concept (the idea that every title is on the line and that every match was a title match) that needed a little extra flair. For years I wanted to see the show moved to December (typically WWE’s worst month for a PPV) with the Starrcade monicker applied to it. The event, dubbed “STARRCADE: A NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS” would be a great way to boost December buys, use the best PPV brand WCW had and give the Night of Champions event something prestigious to live up to.

Instead it has been just another PPV, only now it is one that has some serious stakes. The WWE Network, which launched in February, will have its initial six-month commitment expire right around the time of Night of Champions. The Network has famously failed to catch on as quickly or as forcefully as Vince McMahon desired (and boasted). It receives high marks from those who use it, and the price is great even if you only have the service for the monthly Pay-Per-View broadcasts, but whenever a long-term commitment is set to expire you can be sure there will be people–satisfied or not–who choose not to re-up. Vince is in no position to have to announce to shareholders that the WWE Network is losing subscribers. He needs a September card that can show people that another six month commitment (which will expire just before WrestleMania 31) is a good value. He has to offer a card that is worth $60 dollars–not ten dollars–in order to show that the network is worth it even if you only watch the monthly B-PPVs.


With all of that said, it would seem that Vince is fortunate that the plans are aligning for one of his last box office draws (though a diminished one since 2012) is set to be walking into Night of Champions with both world titles in his possession. Where he goes from there, however, has his company on the precipice.

Since returning, Brock Lesnar has been an on-again, off-again attraction. He wrestled at the April 2012 PPV, and then left until SummerSlam. He was not seen again until the run up to WrestleMania a year later, after which he appeared on the April 2013 show before again taking time off until SummerSlam. He returned for what was supposed to be a proper match at the Royal Rumble (Big Show’s legit injury scrapped those plans and wasted one of Lesnar’s rare appearances) before splitting until the feud with Undertaker began in earnest. In his 2 1/2 years since returning, Lesnar has had only seven PPV appearances, taking a lot of time off after each one.

With him set to win the belt, fans have wishfully thought that Lesnar’s reign as champion would mean his sticking around for more dates. Not likely. First of all, he has no emotional connection to WWE, so he’s not going to work more dates out of some sense of honor in holding the world title. Second, he is being paid to work 4 PPV’s a year and that’s all they’re going to get out of him without paying him a hefty extra sum. Considering WWE’s recent budget cuts, I don’t see that happening.

Therefore, with Lesnar set to enter Night of Champions as (1) the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, and (2) a wrestler set to take time off until at least January’s Royal Rumble, the WWE creative team has to decide what to do with their prized championship. There are, it seems, three options at their disposal. One of these we will call the “GOOD” option. One we will deem the “BAD” option, and a final one we will dub the “RADICAL” option.

Keep in mind these options are conditional in three ways.

CONDITION ONE: That Lesnar is going to be the champion at WrestleMania, as rumors indicate, and that he is set to defend against the WWE’s next big bayface. That babyface could be anyone from Cesaro, to Roman Reigns, to Daniel Bryan.

CONDITION TWO: That Daniel Bryan is not yet ready to return to ring action and will not be ready by the time Night of Champions rolls around. While he may be ready to go at the Royal Rumble, it is not looking good for him until then.

CONDITION THREE: That CM Punk is not coming back. CM Punk is not coming back to win the title from Lesnar at Night of Champions. That’d be awesome, but it’s not going to happen.

With that said, I see three options for what to do with the championship at Night of Champions (and beyond)…


Option One: BAD IDEA

Lesnar wins the belt from Cena at SummerSlam and loses back it to Cena at Night of Champions. The belt dances around until February when Lesnar returns to win the belt back, ultimately losing it to someone at WrestleMania.

There’s not enough words available to write how bad this idea is. And yet, because it’s Cena and the championship it has to be treated as a possibility. This option does nothing for the belt, and even if Rollins cashed in on the night Cena won it, it makes Lesnar’s championship reign a waste of time and kills the momentum he had with beating the streak. If WWE’s ultimate goal is to have a nigh-unstoppable Lesnar as champion going into WrestleMania 31, having him lose the rubber match to Cena is not the way to go about it. By the time Night of Champions rolls around, Lesnar will be on a five-match winning streak, dating back to April of 2013. He will have had victories over Triple H in a cage, Punk at SummerSlam, Big Show at the Rumble, Undertaker’s streak, and Cena for the title. He will be riding a tremendous wave; ending it with a loss to Cena sets him back farther than his initial loss to Cena did in 2012.

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