“I have the chance to prove that I can compete with the best fighters in the world. It is an honor.” – Brock Lesnar
“He feels great. He’s healthy. His body is not spending so much energy fighting off diverticulitis. He’s healthy for the first time in years and I think his potential is limitless. He’s a once-in-a-lifetime athlete. This is Jim Thorpe, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky, this is a once-in-a-lifetime athlete.
Anything you saw him do, he did as an unhealthy man competing at the very top level on the face of the planet. Imagine what he could have done if he was 100-percent healthy.
If Brock Lesnar ever fought healthy in the UFC, I don’t see any fighter that could have touched him.” – Paul Heyman
SOURCE: Fox Sports
A Monster in the Octagon
Brock Lesnar had what was supposed to be his last WWE match at WrestleMania 20. Bill Goldberg stood across the ring from him. It is one of the most legendarily bad bouts in the history of the company. See, Brock was done once the night ended, and so was Bill. Neither man wanted to hurt themselves on their last night, so instead, we got to see about nine million tests of strengths, while a very visibly bored Stone Cold Steve Austin looked on.
After that, Brock Lesnar went and tried to play professional football for the NFL. He hadn’t played since he was in high school, but The Beast wasn’t afraid of a challenge.
Following his departure, WWE released this statement:
Brock Lesnar has made a personal decision to put his WWE career on hold to prepare to tryout for the National Football League this season. Brock has wrestled his entire professional career in the WWE and we are proud of his accomplishments and wish him the best in his new endeavor.
Later, in an interview, Lesnar had this to say about playing in the NFL:
“This is no load of bull; it’s no WWE stunt. I am dead serious about this. I ain’t afraid of anything and I ain’t afraid of anybody. I’ve been an underdog in athletics since I was five. I got zero college offers for wrestling. Now people say I can’t play football, that it’s a joke. I say I can. I’m as good an athlete as a lot of guys in the NFL, if not better. I’ve always had to fight for everything. I wasn’t the best technician in amateur wrestling but I was strong, had great conditioning, and a hard head. Nobody could break me. As long as I have that, I don’t give a damn what anybody else thinks.”
Brock went on to have a great showing at the NFL scouting combine, earning himself a spot on the practice squad for the Minnesota Vikings. Before the camp started, however, a minivan collided with Lesnar’s motorbike, resulting in a broken jaw and left hand, a bruised pelvis, and a pulled groin. He made a full recovery in time to attend the eight week training camp, but unfortunately, that’s as far as things went.
Brock Lesnar was cut from the Minnesota Vikings at the end of the pre-season. He received an invitation to represent the team in NFL Europa, but declined. He decided he’d rather stay in the United States with his family.
With football out of the way, Brock went to New Japan Pro Wrestling. He won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in his first match, opposite Kazuyuki Fujita and Masahiro Chono. He pinned Chono after hitting the F-5, which he renamed The Verdict, in reference to his lawsuit with the WWE over a non-compete clause that he signed.
That case was eventually settled. Brock worked for NJPW the whole time. WWE tried to file multiple motions to stop him from working for the Japanese company, but they were denied on each occasion. While there, he faced an assortment of men, including Shinsuke Nakamura (now in the WWE), Akebono (former Sumo Wrestling Grand Champion), Manabu Nakanishi, Yuji Nagata, and Giant Bernard (in what was the first American vs. American title match to be held in NJPW since Vader vs. Stan Hansen in 1990).
On July 15th, 2006, NJPW announced that Brock Lesnar would not be returning to defend his IWGP Heavyweight Championship, due to “visa issues.” He was promptly stripped of the title, and a tournament began to determine the new champ. Hiroshi Tanahashi wound up winning.
Approximately one year later, Brock Lesnar returned to Japan to face Kurt Angle in his last professional wrestling match until he returned to the WWE in 2012. The bout took place for the IGF (Inoki Genome Federation). Its promoter, Antonio Inoki, came out and said that Brock was the proper IWGP Heavweight Champion, since he never actually lost it. This allowed the match to be sold as a champion versus champion affair.
Brock was even still in possession of his physical IWGP Heavyweight title. Not for long, however. Angle took that championship from him when he caught Lesnar in the Angle Lock, and tapped him out.
NOTE: The title change is recognized by TNA and IGF, but not NJPW.
After Japan, The Beast began to fight. His first official MMA match came against Min Soo Kim in K1’s mixed martial arts league, Hero’s. He was originally scheduled against Choi Hong-Man of Korea, but Hong-Man was replaced before the fight. Brock ended up submitting Soo Kim with strikes in 1:09 of the first round to win.
Later, during UFC 77, it was announced that Lesnar had reached a deal to fight with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. His first UFC bout came against Frank Mir, and he lost. He started out strong, securing an early takedown, which allowed him to land numerous punches. He was docked a point when one of those punches hit Mir in the back of the head.
The points ended up not mattering, anyway. While still in the first round, Frank Mir managed to catch Brock in a kneebar, forcing him to submit, and lose his first fight in the UFC. As we all learned in part one, winning is the only option for Brock Lesnar. I’m sure his mother and father’s words were ringing in his ears when that happened. He’d simply have to try harder and win next time.
Lesnar’s next fight was supposed to be against Mark Coleman, but Coleman had to pull out, due to injury. So, Brock faced Heath Herring, and ended up winning by unanimous decision. Next up, The Beast challenged the UFC Heavyweight Champion, Randy Couture. He won the fight by TKO, becoming the new UFC Heavyweight Champion.
Then things got interesting.
At UFC 92, Frank Mir won the interim Heavyweight Championship, and was set to face Brock for the undisputed UFC Heavyweight Championship. He even went and found Lesnar in the crowd, so he could shout, “You’ve got my belt!”
The unification match was originally supposed to take place at UFC 98, but Mir got a knee injury, so it was held off until UFC 100. Lesnar wound up winning in a dominant fashion. He even earned Beatdown of the Year honors from Sherdog. During the post-match celebration, Brock flipped off the crowd, who had been booing him throughout the night.
After that, Brock’s troubles with illness began. He was scheduled to face Shane Carwin at UFC 106, but had to pull out. UFC President Dana White said Lesnar was ill for three weeks, and claimed The Beast had never been this sick in his life. The fight with Carwin was rescheduled for UFC 108. In the meantime, Brock headed to Canada for treatment. To say he doesn’t speak well of his experience would be an understatement.
He called what he received, “third world treatment,” which is pretty much the worst yelp review a hospital could receive. It was later confirmed that Lesnar was suffering from mononucleosis and a serious case of diverticulitis. After further diagnosis, he underwent surgery to close a perforation in his intestine that had been leaking fecal matter into his abdomen, causing pain, abscesses, and overtaxing his immune system to the point that he contracted mononucleosis.
From the amount of damage done to his system, the surgeon estimated that the intestinal condition had been ongoing for about a year. Later, in january of 2010, Lesnar announced that he would be making his return to UFC in the summer. A match was later held between Shane Carwin and Frank Mir to determine the interim Heavyweight Champion, and the man who would go on to face Brock. Carwin won with a first round knockout.
After the fight, Brock had this to say:
“It was a good fight but he’s wearing a belt that’s a make-believe belt. I’ve got the real championship belt.”
This takes us to the most gloriously brutal fight of Brock Lesnar’s entire UFC career. Shawn Carwin was renowned for his punching power. To the point where one of the talking points before the fight was whether or not Brock would be able to make it past the first round. Nobody else had. Shane Carwin was dropping his opponents like flies. Would he do it to Brock Lesnar, of all people?
Almost, as it turns out. In the first round, Carwin got Brock Lesnar down and absolutely unloaded on him. It was brutal. Shane cut him above the right eye, bloodying The Beast. The fight looked to be Carwin’s for the taking. Then Brock survived the round.
This gave him a moment to recharge, and also made him the first man to go more than one round with Shane Carwin. Right before the start of the second round, as they stood across from each other, Carwin winked at Brock, causing The Beast to smile.
They quickly bumped fists out of respect, and went back to fighting.
The fight ended in the second round when Lesnar was able to take Carwin down, attain a full mount, then move into side-control and finish the fight with an arm triangle choke. With the win, Brock gave Carwin his first loss, and tied the record for most consecutive UFC title defenses.
His next title defense would be his last, as he was dominated by Cain Velasquez at UFC 121. The undefeated top contender knocked Brock out in the first round, winning the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
After that, he had to deal with another bout of diverticulitis, causing him to pull out of another fight. He underwent surgery again, and this time, had a 12 inch piece of his colon removed.
In the summer of 2011, Brock Lesnar lost his last UFC match to former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion, Alistair Overeem. The results remain controversial, due to Overeem testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone before his next fight. Doesn’t much matter, anyway.
It seems that win or loss, that was Brock’s last fight. He announced his retirement afterwards, mentioning his battles with diverticulitis. He would go on to simply state…
“This is the last time you’ll see me in the octagon.”
On April 2nd, 2012, Brock Lesnar made his return to the WWE…
THE BEAST RETURNS
As I’ve written, my original intention was to release this all at once, but there’s simply too much. Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar are accomplished men, to say the very least. Part five will be published on Monday, March 14th, 2016 at 2PM EST.
For Part One, “A Beast is Born,” Click HERE
For Part Two, “Paul E. Dangerously,” Click HERE
For Part Three, “The Next Big Thing,” Click HERE
For Part Five, “The Beast Returns,” Click HERE
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We here at Nerdopotamus are thrilled to have joined forces with Mark Out, and its owner Anthony Iovino.
Our goal is to present you all with more quality wrestling-based content. That’s why our first venture together will be the Nerd/Out Top 100 Wrestlers of the Year. We have formed a committee. The selection process has begun. The qualifying period is from WrestleMania 31 to WrestleMania 32.
That doesn’t mean it will be limited to WWE, to be clear. The performer’s promotion matters as much as their gender, which is not all. The only thing that matters is their ability as a professional wrestler.
Numbers 100-91 will be published on April 4th, 2016. From that point on, we’ll drop another ten numbers every day, until we are finished on the 13th.
We hope you all join us!
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FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Fox Sports.