Saturday night, at UFC 200, Brock Lesnar will attempt to make his comeback to the octagon a legendary one with a win against Mark Hunt in the co-main event. It was over a month ago when Lesnar made his return to the octagon public as he announced his opponent on ESPN. As soon as fans learned of his huge announcement, doubt began to surround his future with the WWE. Will he ever come back? Well, it was confirmed that the WWE is allowing him to fight under their contract.
This all comes after Stephanie McMahon said they wouldn’t promote his fight because the two entities are separate. Even if Lesnar gets bludgeoned in the first 10 seconds, it won’t affect his WWE status.
“Brock is a unique proposition, but just to get to the broader question: UFC is not a competitor to the WWE because we are entertainment and UFC is competitive sport. It’s very different.”
McMahon was quoted as saying that on June 30. Just a few, shorts weeks later, they tweet this on fight day.
— WWE (@WWE) July 8, 2016
It’s fair to assume the WWE isn’t telling the whole truth about Lesnar’s situation at this time. On top of their tweet, clearly supporting the Beast Incarnate’s big fight at UFC 200, they announced on Monday Night Raw that Lesnar’s SummerSlam opponent would be announced on Smackdown. It’s quite the coincidence that his opponent for SummerSlam, which isn’t happening for over a month, came at the same time as his fight.
The WWE went ahead and publicly announced Randy Orton as the former-WWE champion’s opponent for WWE SummerSlam. It was obvious how they were cashing in on Lesnar’s name right now. While not in the NFL, NBA, NHL, or MLB, his name carries just as much weight as Bryce Harper’s or Kevin Durant’s. That should’ve nearly guaranteed high ratings for WWE Smackdown, right?
Well, according to Daily Wrestling News,WWE Smackdown had an increase of fans watching Thursday night.
Last night’s WWE SmackDown, with Chris Jericho vs. Sami Zayn in the main event and the Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton WWE SummerSlam announcement advertised, drew 2.241 million viewers. This is up from last week’s show, which drew 2.080 million viewers.
SmackDown was #15 for the night in viewership, due to the various mainstream news programs covering the shootings in Dallas, Baton Rouge and Minnesota.
SmackDown tied at #3 for the night in the 18-49 demographic with European Championship Football on ESPN and two airings of CNN Tonight.
Win or lose, the WWE has a dilemma on their hands with the Beast Incarnate. If he loses to Hunt, which he most-likely will, that immediately diminishes his reputation by the WWE fans. How can they take someone seriously to defeat Randy Orton, if he lost his last fight? The whole mystique about Lesnar is his unbeatable demeanor and over-powering of his foes. Lesnar conquered the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania.
That in and of itself deserves figurative immortality in the WWE. Stephanie McMahon can believe whatever she wants, but that will hurt his reputation in the WWE. Now, if Lesnar beats Hunt at UFC 200, that will presumably make him want to fight more, and often. What is more important to him? That’s the $2.5 million question.
The aforementioned dollar figure is the largest guaranteed fight purse in UFC history. If Lesnar gets for his comeback fight, who’s to say he can’t receive that for future fights? For one appearance in the octagon, Lesnar is already making history. He headlined UFC 100 and will co-main event UFC 200. The WWE should be worried about his future as a WWE superstar. If the UFC 200 fight was just the reminder he needed as to how much he loves fighting, perhaps that SummerSlam match will be the last for a long time.
[Image via wwe.com]