Brock Lesnar shocked critics at UFC 200 with a dominant unanimous decision victory over No. 8-ranked Mark Hunt after five years of absence from the octagon and having 12 inches of his colon removed.
The Beast Incarnate only had six weeks to put together a training camp against Hunt, who is widely considered one of the hardest punchers in the heavyweight division despite his journeyman record.
Given the way that the MMA career of Brock Lesnar ended, it was sort of an upset that he picked up any kind of a victory, improving his overall record to 6-3.
WWE and UFC both had quite a bit riding on the bout, which was elevated to a co-main event after Jon Jones tested positive for a doping violation and had to withdraw from his bout with Daniel Cormier.
Had Brock given an embarrassing performance and gotten knocked out, it would have turned the UFC’s biggest show ever into a carnival sideshow of sorts while decimating the “invincible” character that WWE has promoted since Brock Lesnar signed a three-year deal with the company last year.
Lesnar’s win must have left both Dana White and Vince McMahon ecstatic, especially Vince since WrestlingInc reports that uncertainty over the outcome of UFC 200 may have had something to do with the decision not to book Brock in the main event. But one negative to come out of it is something that no one is talking about right now: Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton at SummerSlam.
RT – Lesnar! Like – Orton! You can do both! How it begins & ends between them is over our heads, but it’ll be epic! pic.twitter.com/sb98Cx36Nd
— Alexander The Great (@dontbackdownANM) July 9, 2016
WWE is now in a tough position where they will be forced to bury one of their biggest stars outside of Brock Lesnar after a long hiatus.
The company, of course, could defy expectations and have the Viper beat Brock, but that would make little sense at this point, and it’s unlikely Lesnar would even consider letting that happen with his brand now at its most powerful.
As Brock said in the post-fight press conference following UFC 200, “Brock Lesnar does what Brock Lesnar does.”
While McMahon has most of the booking power as the owner of WWE, there is limitless potential for blowback if he goes against Brock at this point. Besides, Vince probably doesn’t even want to go against Lesnar because there is more money to be made with Brock and partnerships with the UFC than with a Randy Orton run.
Still, from a traditional wrestling perspective, this is an unusual and unfortunate situation for the Viper. Not only is he pretty much guaranteed a loss at SummerSlam in what should be his long-awaited comeback match, but it will likely be a lopsided squash match similar to what John Cena experienced two years ago.
While Cena’s brand wasn’t devalued because he followed that loss up with a rematch in which he looked much stronger and came close to beating Lesnar, Orton will not have that same luxury.
For starters, he is prone to injury and a match against Brock Lesnar — even scripted — has the looming threat of injury with every German suplex. Additionally, even if he isn’t injured, the win that WWE gives Brock here will be definitive in order to keep the momentum he has built with his foray into UFC going.
As long as Lesnar aims to keep a foot in both camps — and keeps winning at UFC — Vince will need to appease him by booking more wins. That means Orton and virtually no one else in WWE will be allowed to go “over” the Beast Incarnate anytime soon.
— ً (@Sloomzo) July 8, 2016
So while White, McMahon, and Lesnar are all breathing a sigh of relief that the partnership experiment went well at UFC 200, Vince will have to come to terms with the fact that — as far as Brock Lesnar is concerned — he only has the exact amount of booking power that his Superstar is willing to give him.
But what do you think, readers? Can fans expect Brock Lesnar to squash Randy Orton at SummerSlam, and if so, what will it do to the Viper’s character? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image via WWE]