Brock Lesnar’s most recent opponent was Dean Ambrose. In WWE. Brock Lesnar’s next opponent is Mark Hunt. In UFC. It’s not often you find an athlete like Lesnar who can lay legitimate claim to superstardom in both rings. But after the Lesnar-Hunt fight at UFC 200 is finished, regardless of the outcome, Brock will set the stage for his next WWE feud, guaranteeing his appearance at SummerSlam.
As recently as three years ago, it might have been difficult to fathom Lesnar facing either Ambrose or Hunt in 2016. Brock was a little more than a year into his return to the WWE, having been forced to withdraw from UFC competition due to his bout with diverticulitis. Ambrose was still a member of The Shield while Hunt was still trying to make a name for himself in a heavyweight division that Lesnar used to rule.
Since Lesnar’s return to WWE in 2012 and subsequent decision to re-sign with Vince McMahon and company, The Beast has had memorable feuds with CM Punk, Triple H, John Cena, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and the Undertaker. There are still plenty of headlining programs to be had before he hangs it up for good. Paul Heyman insinuated as much in a recent interview with ESPN to promote Lesnar’s upcoming UFC bout. Lesnar’s advocate revealed both rookies and veterans as potential new WWE feuds for his client. (Thanks to Daily Wrestling News for the transcription.)
“Obviously, whoever holds the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Once you get past that, just look at the NXT roster and you’ll see guys like Samoa Joe and [Finn] Balor and all this talent that is coming up and about to break into the main roster. I would love to see these guys. I would love to see modern-day Brock Lesnar against modern-day Randy Orton. And I still don’t think the public is tired of seeing Lesnar against John Cena.”
Heyman isn’t intentionally avoiding anyone from that list, but the two glaring omissions seem to be The Rock and Bray Wyatt. The Brock Lesnar vs. The Rock dream match has been rumored for years, with WWE officials hopeful that the mega-showdown can finally happen at next year’s WrestleMania. Wyatt and Brock engaged in a mini-feud around the 2016 Royal Rumble but never materialized beyond that. Expectations are that Wyatt remains on the short list for Lesnar’s possible SummerSlam opponents come August.
Randy Orton is certainly an intriguing name. Lesnar and the Legend Killer have never squared off at a pay-per-view despite debuting with the WWE in the same year (along with Cena and Batista). Their lone match came on a September episode of SmackDown in 2002, with Brock basically winning a squash match. Orton was still by and large a white-meat babyface at that point who had yet to align himself with Triple H and Ric Flair in Evolution. However, the fact that Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton never had a meaningful feud in the ensuing years since, is almost a travesty.
Heyman has touted Samoa Joe and Finn Balor as future stars on the main roster in many of the interviews he grants. Balor has long been the face of NXT, with a promotion to the big leagues well overdue. His name sells a match with Lesnar immediately, but Samoa Joe might be the more realistic opponent based on his tough-guy image and real-life legitimacy he portrays in the ring. That would certainly come in handy with Lesnar coming off an actual fight in the UFC’s octagon.
Brock Lesnar is always a must-see attraction in WWE, but his 2016 summer will be all the more compelling because of the impending brand extension. Whether he’ll be on RAW, SmackDown, or simply a free agent will make for some quality TV. And there won’t be too many disappointed fans if Lesnar were to meet up with any of the names Heyman listed off.
[Image via WWE]