Thursday’s Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia saw Brock Lesnar defeat Cain Velasquez in just over two minutes, which came as a surprise to many fans. Velasquez was making his hotly anticipated WWE in-ring debut after signing a big-money deal with the company in October. However, the reason behind the squash match may have been to protect the former UFC star from aggravating a pre-existing injury.
Citing a report from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, 411Mania reports that the match was always supposed to be short because Velasquez needs surgery for a knee injury. The original plan was for both superstars to perform their big moves, but because of Velasquez’s injury situation, the match was changed to be less physically demanding.
The bout was reminiscent of a mixed-martial-arts fight, as Velasquez wrestled “The Beast Incarnate” to the mat and tried to get some shots in. Shortly afterward, however, Lesnar trapped his opponent in a Kimura lock and forced him to tap.
After the shock defeat, WWE’s announce team made clear that Velasquez has been working with a knee injury, possibly in an attempt to keep him looking strong in defeat. Lesnar also attacked him after the match, suggesting that the rivalry between the former UFC stars is far from over.
At the time of this writing, there has been no confirmation as to when Velasquez will receive treatment for the injury. It is also unknown if he’ll still team up with Rey Mysterio to take on Andrade and Drew McIntyre at a live event in Mexico City on November 30.
As quoted by Wrestling Inc., Velasquez recently told MMA journalist Ariel Helwani that he’s been using a brace to compete and doesn’t believe that he’ll need surgery. Based on the latest development, however, WWE won’t want to risk causing further damage to his knee until it’s been treated.
Injuries have plagued Velasquez throughout his career, but this particular one has been bothering him since February. As documented by MMA Fighting, his comeback fight against Francis Ngannou at UFC Phoenix saw him unable to stand up after being toppled by his opponent.
During the post-match press conference, Velasquez described the incident as a “freak accident” and revealed that he felt “100 percent healthy” going into the contest. The 37-year-old has kept quiet about the severity of the injury ever since, but he’s always downplayed his physical woes.
It can be argued that WWE rushed Velasquez into action, but his three-year deal means that there is still plenty of time for him to recover and fully embark on his wrestling career.