WWE fans will be aware that Brock Lesnar returned to WWE earlier this year after a foray into the UFC mixed martial arts scene. Lesnar returned to WWE wrestling at the 2017 Royal Rumble and was eliminated by Bill Goldberg. The night after the Royal Rumble, Lesnar appeared on Monday Night Raw to challenge Goldberg to a match at WrestleMania 33. Goldberg accepted Lesnar’s challenge and was swiftly elevated to the No 1 contender for Kevin Owens Universal Championship belt.
The history books tell us that Goldberg disposed of Owens and turned his WrestleMania match with Lesnar into a title match; one that many assumed would be WrestleMania 33’s headline event. Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar would probably have been WrestleMania’s headline match had it not been necessary for Roman Reigns to retire The Undertaker.
Those same history books tell us that Brock Lesnar defeated Goldberg to win the Universal Championship title. In doing so, Lesnar became the first man to escape Goldberg’s trademark “Jackhammer” to hand Goldberg him the first clean singles loss of his professional wrestling career. Lesnar also became the first man to have held both the WWE Championship and WWE Universal Championship.
Given the circumstances of Lesnar’s return to WWE wrestling, it would be easy to assume that Lesnar was in for a huge push. Instead, The Beast Incarnate has disappeared from the ring. As reported by Bleacher Report, Lesnar took his Universal Championship belt, made an appearance on Monday Night Raw on April 3, and promptly disappeared.
Lesnar’s absence from the WWE isn’t unusual as he often takes a break after big matches, but on this occasion, his absence leaves a huge hole in the WWE’s scheduling. Monday Night Raw has already been suffering from a decline in viewing figures, so it can ill afford Lesnar’s absence, especially when Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman have also been absent through “injuries” sustained during their escalating feud.
Brock Lesnar Is In Breach Of The WWE’s Mandatory Defense Rule
In theory, all WWE champions are supposed to defend their title within 30-days of winning it. Lesnar has failed to do so, and according to Cleveland.com, his absence is ruining Monday Night Raw. Lesnar has also missed high-profile PPV events, and it is believed that he won’t appear at Extreme Rules PPV on June 4. That may mean that Lesnar won’t defend his title until the Great Balls Of Fire PPV on July 9.
That will, of course, mean that Lesnar hasn’t defended his title in over three months. According to Sportskeeda, the Wrestling Observer said that the only shows Lesnar would compete in for the foreseeable future are Great Balls of Fire and SummerSlam. That leaves a huge vacuum where the Universal Championship is concerned.
Lesnar’s absence means that the WWE is left to try to build some excitement around who will challenge Lesnar when he re-emerges from his self-imposed exile. Recent editions of Monday Night Raw have seen Braun Strowman, Finn Balor, Seth Rollins and The Miz claim that they should be the ones to challenge Lesnar when he eventually returns.
The smart money must be on Braun Strowman getting a shot at Lesnar at Great Balls Of Fire. Strowman called out Lesnar back in April and informed him that he was coming for his title. Strowman’s feud with Roman Reigns has continued a huge push that began around the end of 2016. In many ways, Strowman deserves a shot at the Universal Championship title as he has been a mainstay on Monday Night Raw for many months, and many see him as a natural replacement for The Undertaker.
Given Lesnar’s failure to defend the Universal Championship title within the mandatory 30-days, it would seem that the WWE only enforces the rule when it suits them. Naomi was stripped of her title just days before WrestleMania 33 for breaching the 30-day defense rule, but it seems the rules don’t extend to Lesnar.
[Featured Image by WWE]