Brock Lesnar has not been seen on WWE programming since his match with Dean Ambrose at WrestleMania 32 over a month ago. Both the build and the match itself were panned as underwhelming, prompting Vince McMahon to say their big box-office attraction was wasted at the biggest event in the company’s history. Vince is now doing everything in his power to make sure the stars align for a showdown between Brock Lesnar and The Rock at next year’s WrestleMania.
That’s still nearly a year away, however, as there’s plenty of time left in 2016 for WWE to build Brock Lesnar back up to the unstoppable fighting machine fans have been accustomed to. A star of his magnitude doesn’t necessarily have to be in contention for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but as Vince alluded to, he does need to be involved in more meaningful feuds. And it looks like WWE will be taking their time in coming up with the creative for when The Beast does return to the ring.
According to the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Lesnar is not scheduled to return until August, where he would then start building for a major match at SummerSlam. Basically, that would be four months of WWE action without Brock Lesnar. And it’s important to point out that SummerSlam takes place on August 21, so if he does in fact hold off on his return until August, he’d have three Monday Night RAW appearances, at most, to build towards that pay-per-view in Brooklyn.
Initial reports had either Bray Wyatt or Braun Strowman as being penciled in to face Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. However, it seems unlikely that Strowman is still being considered, as any push he was expecting to receive has cooled off considerably. He was originally slated to win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania, but obviously those plans were scrapped as he did not even appear in the match at all. And subsequently, any momentum that win would have created was squashed as well.
WWE teased a Bray Wyatt/Brock Lesnar feud all the way back in January, but held off on any payoff altogether. There was even an advertised match between the two at the WWE Network special, Roadblock, but Lesnar ended up squashing Luke Harper with Wyatt looking on from ringside. And Wyatt would be an interesting choice at this stage considering plans were in place for The Wyatt Family to turn face which started in a program with the League of Nations. However, Bray got hurt in Milan, the angle was squashed and the League dissolved shortly thereafter.
Brock Lesnar’s schedule in 2016 is somewhat different from that of a year ago. He was in the main event at WrestleMania 31 and then appeared the next night on RAW where he wreaked havoc over everything, ultimately resulting in a storyline suspension. That kept him off tv until June 22. He appeared on RAW two more times after that and was booked on the July 4th Network special in Japan before his main event championship match against Seth Rollins at Battleground. Lesnar, then, was a fixture in the build to SummerSlam where he squared off with the Undertaker.
This year, it appears we won’t see Brock at Extreme Rules, Money in the Bank or Battleground, let alone any of the RAW‘s in between. The saving grace for WWE is that they have other returns to look forward to in the coming month in the form of John Cena, Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt.
It should also be noted that, according to the Newsletter, Brock Lesnar is NOT scheduled to appear at the June Honolulu show, as he was never asked to appear. So the rumors of a Brock Lesnar/Kevin Owens match are false, and the show will not be a WWE Network special, as originally thought.
[Image via WWE]