Brock Lesnar is professional wrestling's last great draw, and WWE's last great hope for pushing its product beyond average.
Lesnar returned to WWE three years ago after a successful run in UFC, winning the sport's world heavyweight title. Lesnar, now 37 years old, opted to head back to the company that made him a household name for a number of reasons: his age, the money and not having to work a full schedule.
Every time Lesnar was on WWE TV or headlined a pay per view, fans took notice. The key to Lesnar's drawing power and success in WWE is two fold: he's protected by not being overexposed every week on television, and his stature, size and credibility as a legitimate "tough guy" reaches out and grabs fans' attention and immediately sends a simple message.
You have to watch.
That type of intensity is sorely lacking within professional wrestling as this sports entertainment genre is hardly the juggernaut it once was. Everything, including wrestling, goes through cycles of popularity, but what ails the WWE isn't so much a lack of talent but a direction that is suspect and erratic and the inability to create new stars or give anyone other than Lesnar a "can't miss" feel to their personas.
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Lesnar's contract with WWE is set to expire in a few weeks right after "Wrestlemania" on March 29, and Vince McMahon, owner of WWE, is trying to re sign Lesnar and hopefully not lose him back to UFC.
Contract talks between Lesnar and WWE, McMahon specifically, aren't going well, and it appears that "Wrestlemania," the company's marquee event is going to be the last one for Lesnar, who is scheduled to drop the world championship to an up and comer, Roman Reigns.
Reigns clearly isn't ready to be the man in WWE, but that isn't stopping McMahon from being his stubborn self and insisting Lesnar drop the title and head off into the sunset for a second time on his watch.
On the surface, McMahon losing Lesnar is a crushing blow. WWE needs Lesnar more than the other way around, since UFC is sniffing around and hoping to lure Lesnar back into the fold. That would be the second performer WWE lost to UFC, with the other being another talent C.M. Punk.
Lesnar is WWE's only wrestler that still turns heads and makes fans want to watch their shows and PPVs. The only one who comes close to that is Daniel Bryan, who WWE has managed to bury by their own hand.
Now, WWE has backed itself into a corner and must put together a lucrative deal to keep Lesnar in the fold. Chances are, they aren't going to be able to keep him, and yet another cash cow is done with the company. There's always a chance he could have a change of heart, but Lesnar and McMahon reportedly aren't even speaking at the moment.
As much as Lesnar is WWE's golden goose, the company has a slight chance of surviving Lesnar's departure. That only is going to happen if they realize the old guard (John Cena, Kane, Big Show) and the tiresome story lines (unreasonable lead characters as authority figures) haven't been important in more than a decade, and the roster, including their developmental territory known as NXT, is a young, hard working and talented group whose time is now.
Then, and only then, can they begin the process of finding their next great draw beyond Lesnar and his legacy.
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