Lee Maughan: Praise is lashed down on Brock Lesnar from the greats of the industry, such as Pat Patterson, Michael Hayes, Gerald Brisco and The Brooklyn Brawler… all the truest legends. Kurt Angle prophetically proffers the notion that Lesnar would be an ass-kicker in the Octagon as well as the WWE ring, and then it’s back home to Webster, South Dakota, where Brock goes to get a haircut from a singing barber. After the visual thrill ride that was watching Rey Mysterio get a tattoo on his DVD and now this, I have to wonder what’s next? Steve Austin goes to the dentist? Trish Stratus gets a pap smear?
Lesnar of course grew up on a backwoods farm, and was known as “Pork Chops” when he was born, a bouncing, barrel-headed baby who came out at nine pounds, nine ounces. From an early age, he was an aggressive, hard-working, outdoor kid who liked to sleep in the hay barn for fun. He was actually pretty skinny as a child, but discovered amateur wrestling around the age of five. Routinely unable to cut weight, his coach decided to go the opposite route and bulk him up, telling an amusing story about how when Brock worked on his farm, his wife would make one meal to share between the seven other workers, plus an entirely separate meal just for Brock. Brock admits that he had an attitude at the time and didn’t have many highlights, losing just as many matches as he won. He also admits that had he won a state championship, he likely would have stopped wrestling there and then, but feeling he had unfinished business to attend to, got focused and became a collegiate, heading to the University of Minnesota. There he made it all the way to the 2000 NCAA finals at 285 pounds, beating rival Wes Hand in double overtime. His mother still gets choked up thinking about it.
After winning the title, his passion for amateur wrestling ran dry and he was ready for something new. Perhaps that should have been a red light right there, given what was to come. He was recruited into the WWF by Brisco, and told Vince McMahon that he’d always wanted to entertain people. He began doing dark matches, whereupon Tazz pointed out to Paul Heyman that nobody was giving Brock any direction, so Heyman buzzed him with a few ideas and thus began their friendship. It’s been said that Lesnar has always responded well to coaching, and in wrestling, Heyman became his coach. The Hurricane stops by to put over Lesnar’s strength and speed, and this is the point where the documentary just devolves into the usual collection of ready-made pay-per-view promo packages that always seems to plague these things.
Disturbingly, Hayes celebrates the devastating unprotected chair shots that The Hardy Boyz gave Lesnar on RAW, then Bubba Ray Dudley declares, “Me and Brock had a little bit of a story,” before proceeding to say absolutely nothing of interest. Booker T rather less than cryptically recounts Lesnar “going into business for himself” (sort of) in a match they had, taking the initiative of throwing Booker around the ring rather than backing off in deference to the veteran. From there, Lesnar gets the rocket strapped to his back and beats Rob Van Dam to become King of the Ring. Hayes brings up past tournament winners Angle, Bret Hart and Triple H as clips of Owen Hart and Steve Austin also air, and calls the tournament a “great launching pad” for talent. Pedigree like that makes it all the more incomprehensible that WWE scrapped the entire concept immediately after Lesnar’s win, even if the buyrates for those shows were relatively anaemic. Hayes moves on to the Lesnar-Van Dam rematch at Vengeance 2002, Lesnar’s first main roster loss (by disqualification), which he claims made fans want to, “jump up and shit all over themselves”. Okay then.
A thoroughly inconsequential RAW bout with Tommy Dreamer is touched upon next whilst his SmackDown! victory over Hulk Hogan is laughably ignored, and then it’s on to Lesnar beating The Rock at SummerSlam to become the youngest-ever Undisputed WWE Champion, complete with a relevant, first-hand account from… erm, Bubba Ray. Nothing from Lesnar, nothing from Rock, but plenty of insider insight from a bloke who wasn’t even on the card that night. Next up is The Undertaker, who Heyman bizarrely calls “The Johnny Carson of the WWE,” in a sentence I’m still not sure I quite understand, whilst Brisco verbally backhands Rock, Hogan, Van Dam et al, by dubbing Undertaker as Lesnar’s “first real challenge.” Their first meeting at Unforgiven went to a lame double disqualification, but it did at least set up a gripping Hell in a Cell bout between them the next month at No Mercy, which Lesnar won.
With Lesnar having vanished from the production entirely as a talking head, it falls upon, who else, but referee Mike Chioda to talk us through Lesnar’s babyface turn and split from Heyman at Survivor Series. Clearly losing steam, it’s time for another round of talking heads all putting over Lesnar’s speed and strength, and then we skip Lesnar’s revenge over the Big Show and zip through his 2003 Royal Rumble win in order to get to yet another pile of promo clips for the Lesnar-Angle feud. Special attention is paid to their WrestleMania XIX main event, where Lesnar almost killed himself by undercooking a Shooting Star Press and landing square on his head. Defiant as ever, a severely concussed Lesnar refused to accept medical help after the bout.
More tiresome pay-per-view and TV promo clips follow, this time for Lesnar’s quick run with John Cena, and then it’s on to the renewal of the Big Show feud and their stretcher match. Show uses the whole thing as an excuse to talk about his own career, and given the lack of commentary from Lesnar himself, he might as well. On their Judgment Day bout, Show grandiosely claims that he, “didn’t care if he broke [his own] back,” he just wanted to steal the show. Well, that’s a tad extreme. One final round of talking heads from a bunch of midcard workers with no connection to Lesnar follows, and they all predict great things for him over the next handful of years. And boy, wouldn’t Dana White just reap the benefits of those “great things”?
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