During the Fourth of July edition of Monday Night Raw, WWE promised that they would announce Brock Lesnar's SummerSlam opponent during Tuesday's SmackDown taping. However, there was no announcement regarding the matter. But there's still been a ton of speculation regarding who Lesnar will be facing this coming August, and now the Wrestling Observer has confirmed that "The Beast" will be facing former multi-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton.
The Lesnar vs. Orton match-up is dependent on Lesnar's health coming out of UFC 200, because if he gets badly hurt during his fight with Mark Hunt, then he may not be able to wrestle on August 21 in Brooklyn, New York. It's also now been reported that, due to a potential doping violation by Jon Jones, the Jones vs. Cormier fight is off of the UFC 200 card, and Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Hunt will be the show's new main event. So, now we're really going to see if Lesnar still has the drawing power that he once did during his first run with the UFC.
There have also been reports that Orton has been suffering from some neck issues, and that he may need surgery at some point in the future. But as of right now, he can continue to wrestle with the injury, although returning for a match with Lesnar where he's going to have to take multiple German Suplexes may not be the best idea for a guy with neck issues.
Lesnar and Orton started out together in Ohio Valley Wrestling [OVW] -- WWE's developmental territory prior to FCW and NXT -- and they both ended up winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in their early 20s. In fact, Orton ended up breaking Lesnar's record as the youngest WWE World Champion ever when he won the Title back in the summer of 2004.
Lesnar vs. Orton has been a match that WWE fans have been dying to see ever since Lesnar returned to WWE back in the spring of 2012. So now, WWE is finally giving their fans what they've wanted to see for nearly four years now.
It's unclear exactly when Randy Orton will return to WWE television, but, as previously mentioned, if he's going to wrestle at SummerSlam, he should be returning within the next month or so. As of this writing, Orton is planning on heading down to the WWE Performance Center next week to begin knocking off the ring-rust.
As for Lesnar, he said at Wednesday's UFC 200 press conference that he's booked with WWE all through August, so that suggests that he'll be returning to WWE television at some point next month, although he didn't say how many appearances he's planning on making prior to SummerSlam.
Right now, Lesnar is a babyface, and it's unclear if Orton will be returning to the company as a heel or if his match with Lesnar will be a "battle of the good guys." It's also unclear which rosters Lesnar and Orton will be on following this month's WWE draft, or if they'll even be involved in the draft.
[Image via WWE]