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The W - Pro Wrestling - Lesnar wanting to come back? (Page 2)
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Spaceman Spiff
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#21 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.05
Edge and Rey? Edge was hurt, so how did Brock's presence keep him out of the ME scene? And Rey is too small for the WWE to push into the ME. IMO, Rey should be a US Title-level guy, but he'll never get a ME spot.



FurryHippie
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#22 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.28
    Originally posted by A Fan
    Even when he faced Cena at Backlash, the fans were chanting for Cena and he was heel. Brock was a huge disappointment and just kept the status quo of big men winning the belt with Kurt's fluke win.


In all fairness, Backlash was in Cena's hometown, and back then he was still fresh, getting his first title shot. I think he'd get decent amount of cheers against pretty much anybody that night.
PsychoticMidget
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#23 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.29
    Originally posted by A Fan
    Brock was a huge disappointment...


Wow. Someone's a fan of revisionist history. Were you by any chance in the crowd at Wrestlemania 20?
JustinShapiro
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#24 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.84
Brock was an overwhelming success in developing as a performer at a rate only Kurt Angle has. He never drew at the level they wanted him to, but the largest part of that was creative screwed him up as something special after Hell in a Cell with an Undertaker, by ...

1) beating him and taking the title off of him far too soon
2) turning him far too soon
3) botching his Wrestlemania program with Kurt Angle
4) botching the even easier return feud with Angle

His quitting does not reverse the fact that WWE blew it with Brock Lesnar and not vice versa.
Hogan's My Dad
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#25 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.65
    Originally posted by kokolums2
    The first one began when a relative unknown named Hulk Hogan was signed by Vince in 1980. In his first match, he beat Andre the Giant. He dominated right from the start.

    The second boom began when WCW signed Nash and Hall and had them dominate and embarass the entire fed.



What in God's name are you talking about? The first wrestling boom did not begin in 1980, and Hogan did not beat Andre in his first match. His only clean win over Andre came in 1987. He not a "relative unknown" in 1984, which is when the boom actually began, and by which time he was already the most popular wrestler in North America working for Verne Gagne in the AWA. Hogan's popularity had more to do with Stallone's movie than it had to do with him dominating any federations.

Hall and Nash did dominated and embarrass the entire fed, and they never got what they deserved within the context of the storyline. The endless and ongoing humiliation of the babyfaces without a sniff of redemption eventually put WCW out of business.

By your logic, if the impact of someone's run as a "dominating superstar" isn't immediate it doesn't work. Brock's had his run of total domination and it didn't draw flies.

Justin, could you go into more detail regarding points 3 and 4?



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#26 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.85
I don't want Lesnar to return. The WWE built him up, and he up and left to persue a pipe dream of becoming a football star.

They fed him Hulk Hogan. Hogan's a freaking legend in the sport, and they booked Lesnar to squeeze the life out of him. Now, this isnt Holly we're talking about - to be booked to beat the greatest wrestler of all time...that's certainly something.

Yet he turned tail and ran.

If they signed him, he'd probably boost some ratings; and I'm certain there are those who'd love to see him back, but come on...the locker room would hate that.



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#27 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.05
The lockerroom will get over it.



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#28 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.72
They have the potential do it right, if Brock's willing to go along. All it would really take is for a heel or group of heels to start making little stabs at someone wanting to be a football player. (Did JBL actually play in an NFL game? If so, he'd work fine.) Build up some heat on it for a while (kind of like they're doing with Batista on Raw) without having Brock actually show up for a good part of it, then have him blow the roof off the place when he finally shows up.

Of course, WWE would likely compress this into one segment of SmackDown, so forget it.

(Or how about JBL calling out "football players" to beat who are really fat guys that he can squash for a few weeks? Call it "JBL's NFL Challenge". Then one week the fat guy is Brock in a Fat Bastard get-up and he kicks JBL's ass. That could work, too.)



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#29 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.96
After Cena's squash and Show's F-500 last night I'm thinking they've played a li'l switcheroo with their planned WrestleMania matches. Show beats a returning Brocky as punishment before he's accepted back as a bona fide ME player, and Cena gets to be the guy to end JBL's reign of terror.



Once upon a time in China, some believe, around the year one double-ought three, head priest of the White Lotus Clan, Pai Mei was walking down the road, contemplating whatever it is that a man of Pai Mei's infinite power contemplates - which is another way of saying "who knows" - when a Shaolin monk appeared, traveling in the opposite direction. As the monk and the priest crossed paths, Pai Mei, in a practically unfathomable display of generosity, gave the monk the slightest of nods. The nod was not returned. Now was it the intention of the Shaolin monk to insult Pai Mei or did he just fail to see the generous social gesture? The motives of the monk remain unknown. What is known, are the consequences. The next morning Pai Mei appeared at the Shaolin Temple and demanded of the Temple's head abbot that he offer Pai Mei his neck to repay the insult. The Abbot at first tried to console Pai Mei, only to find Pai Mei was inconsolable. So began the massacre of the Shaolin Temple and all 60 of the monks inside at the fists of the White Lotus. And so began the legend of Pai Mei's five point palm exploding heart technique.
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#30 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.37
Brock was a huge financial disappointment. They wanted the next Austin and Rock and he didn't come through. His T-shirt did not sell, he did not sell out arenas. The WWE invested time, money and effort in him and he never fully paid off.

Edge was not hurt when Brock intially came to the WWE and Rey put on some pretty hot matches when he first came against Kurt, Eddie and Benoit. He could easily have been a number one contender to Kurt and was at some points in time. The Smackdown carried Smackdown for a majority of Brock's title reign. As for booing Brock at Wrestlemania, the people in that crowd are the WWE's bread and butter, they are the people who are willing to spend the thousands of dollars on airfare, hotels and the tickets to that event. Brock pissed those people off. I think most will forgive and forget, but I doubt. I think people have to remember the IWC is a small portion of the real fanbase and when you piss off the real fanbase, I don't think you are coming back and if you are you are not staying long.



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JustinShapiro
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#31 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.68
"Justin, could you go into more detail regarding points 3 and 4?"

I sure can, my man. Okay, my point is not that WWE didn't push Brock Lesnar to the moon for 2 years. They obviously did. My point is that the creative team is so impaired that even when they're trying to push someone to the moon, they don't know how to get it right. Lesnar is the perfect example. I'll go through everything to make the larger point.

BUILDING BROCK
How the WWE Blew It with the Next Big Thing
by Justin Michael Shapiro

Alright, so there's this guy Brock Lesnar, and in the summer of 2002, they decide he's the future of the company and they're going to shoot him to the top. And the best part is, they actually do it perfectly. He destroys everybody, sells like an unstoppable monster, wins King of the Ring, and even lucks into Hulk Hogan agreeing to put him over in the strongest way imaginable. Lesnar is booked like he's something special and is actually coming off like he's something special.

Looking ahead to SummerSlam, WWE puts the world title on the guy who 1) beating for the belt means more than beating anyone else, and 2) does business and puts people over the right way better than anyone else. Rock. Lesnar vs. Rock is promoted as a special match with major ramifications behind two months of build-up. They shoot video packages of Lesnar carrying trees and Rock training at U of Miami to get it over as a serious athletic competition, almost exclusively based around the superstar against the rising star for the all-important championship.

SummerSlam comes and couldn't have gone better. They have a better than expected match and Rock, being Rock, does a clean job to the F5. Lesnar is made, a brand new headliner has been created, the undisputed title is over as the legit centerpiece of the promotion, and the PPV's buyrate made it by far the biggest non-Wrestlemania success of the last three years, unapproached by anything since then.

Then they create the second world title because Triple H, being Triple H, needs his own. This dilutes the championship and championship matches as a singular, meaningful draw, although it's not a direct anathema to Lesnar's career. Lesnar goes into a program with who else but Undertaker. Taker, being Taker, gets pacified by changing a screwy pinfall loss at Unforgiven to a no contest, but ultimately puts Lesnar over in the best way possible the next month doing a clean job to the F5 in a shockingly great, bloody Hell in a Cell match. Not only is Lesnar developing a serious aura as a monster, but the HIAC is an indication that he's developing at a rapid rate and has already become a very good worker.

Now they've got Survivor Series at MSG, and the idea had been for Hogan to make his return and go for revenge after the injury angle. Only problem is that Hogan, being Hogan, thinks he ought to be getting his job back here, not losing again. WWE is not about to job their new monster to a 50-year old three months into his run, so Hogan pulls out, "never to work for the company again" according to Vince.

So they need a new opponent for Survivor Series. Edge is the logical replacement as Hogan's #1 Fan and all that, but Edge did a clean job at No Mercy so it's decided he's not ready to headline. Heyman pushes for Benoit, but Vince, being Vince, decides it would mean more for Lesnar to slay a giant and goes with Big Show, whose career had been going nowhere for the last two years. Show gets moved to Smackdown and gets a rejuvenated insta-push as an unstoppable giant so that it'll mean more when Lesnar F5s and beats him.

(1) But here's where it gets cuhrazy. Vince hears Lesnar getting cheered at SummerSlam when the crowd turns on Rock and recognizes that Lesnar is starting to get face pops, not surprising since he's booked as a total asskicker. Vince gets overanxious like he does anytime he thinks he's about to create the next Hulk Hogan, like he did with Lex Luger, Diesel, and Randy Orton, and decides to turn Lesnar face right away, just three months into his run as the top heel and with no longterm angle to get people anticipating it. The decision is quickly made that Heyman will screw Lesnar to officially turn him babyface. (2) So Big Show, who was only put in the spot because Hogan pulled out and they wanted a big guy to impressively get F5'd, ends up being the first guy to pin Lesnar, much earlier than they'd originally planned, and gets a world title reign.

This was way too early for Lesnar to have been beaten, but it did effectively turn him and he did catch on immediately as the top face (as compared to Orton) because it's not hard to get behind a massive badass. Now, back in August, tenuous longterm plans were made to do Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle as the Wrestlemania main event, keeping them apart until then and teasing it to make it a match everyone was waiting for. The plan was that with no more Austin and no more Rock, Lesnar would be the new top star and they would finally have to go all of all the way with Angle, who had always been in the main event scene but was never given the ultimate push as the guy -- he only headlined a single PPV in 2002 as a throw-in to do a job in UT's place at Vengeance and spent the year in upper midcard programs with Edge, Mysterio, and Benoit.

Over the fall, Angle was kind of sort of turning face in a tweener tag team with Benoit, to eventually set up a full-fledged turn as the great hope for Wrestlemania against Lesnar's reign of destruction that doubled as the first ever high profile pro wrestling match between national amateur champions. But with Lesnar having turned, Angle made it a double-turn so that he could instead be a strong heel opponent for Lesnar to chase. This was a fine idea, but execution in getting there was a problem since it was stupid. Angle, now working as a total face, won the title from Big Show, managed by Heyman, but then turned heel and revealed it was all a scheme and he was with Heyman and they weren't going to give Lesnar a title shot.

For this to really have worked and set up the Mania main event, Angle needed to have directly screwed Lesnar out of the belt with Heyman's help, but that's what happens when you call booking audibles off of booking audibles. They got where they wanted to be anyway with Lesnar chasing Angle w/ Heyman and Angle becoming a serious heel champion, adding Haas & Benjamin and picking up clean wins over Benoit. At the same time, Lesnar was catching on as a superstar in the top face position, and took the usual babyface Road to Wrestlemania path by winning the Royal Rumble.

(3) But here's where it gets cuhrazy again! What had been progressing well as a traditional build to Mania all came to pieces in February. Hogan and Vince, being Hogan and Vince, patch up their differences so they can do a match at Wrestlemania. Of course, being solipstic and myopic, Vince really does believe that him vs. Hogan is one of the biggest, most historic matches of all time and not just a fun sideshow attraction between a part-time oldtimer and a non-wrestler. So the majority of the Wrestlemania focus moves from Lesnar and Angle, who were supposed to be the new present and future of the company, to Hogan and Vince, who dominate the show with their 20 Years In The Making, going as far as to get Bob Costas and Arnold Schwartzeneggar to put it over to try and get it over as a major mainstream happening. Whereas Rock vs. Lesnar was promoted as a serious athletic matchup and was a huge success, no similar effort was put into this, despite the fact that they actually had an Olympic gold medalist to work with instead of just a college football player. Costas and Schwarzeneggar could've given the mainstream/serious sports rub by saying that they were psyched for the battle between a gold medalist and a national wrestling champion, but Angle and Lesnar had to take a backseat to Hogan/Vince and become just a match instead of the special match they had intended on making it.

Botched buildup notwithstanding, Vince was at least rational enough to change his mind at the last minute and let the WWE Title match go on last at Mania instead of his match, and Angle delivered one of the gutsiest (and scariest and perhaps dumbest) performances of all time by working with a broken neck and coming one botched Shooting Star Press away from having a MOTYC. In doing so, ironically enough, he put himself in a position to come back as an even bigger star as a heroic, sympathetic babyface who wrestled with a broken neck at Wrestlemania. It also potentially gets Angle/Lesnar over as a legendary match because both guys nearly killed themselves in doing it, thereby making the future rematch even more special by keeping them apart for another year and building anticipation.

The production team understood! The "Clocks" video they made to build to Kurt's return was a freaking masterpiece and hit every note perfectly. Now all that had to happen was for Angle to come back, be presented the same way, become friends with Lesnar, and keep them apart until the Wrestlemania 20 rematch. But we forget who we're dealing with. After Wrestlemania, someone decided the best thing for Brock Lesnar's marketability would be for him to talk all the time instead of being a physically-imposing asskicker. And to talk like a little boy from the 1950s at that. And so was born the embarrassing Smiley Brock, he of "John Cena gave me a hell of a fight, a hell of fight he did." Oh no. Even if this was conduct befitting of the top babyface, Brock wasn't really the top babyface, because The Adventures of Mr. America and the One-Legged Boy was the focus of Smackdown.

(4) Then Kurt Angle comes back from his broken neck, but instead of portraying a serious/heroic face, he's, get this, doing lame comedy! He and Lesnar are friends, but instead of rivals who respect each other, they're dork pals who eat milk & cookies together. That's just what I look for in my top babyfaces. And instead of building to the big rematch down the road, they can't even wait until SummerSlam and put them against each other immediately at Vengeance in a threeway with Big Show. Perfect! Angle pins Lesnar for the title -- and pinning Lesnar means a lot less by this point because he'd done two or three meaningless jobs to Big Show -- so they got a whopping 2 months of material Angle's comeback quest for the belt.

Now comes the best part and the most mind-numbing for anyone who understands face/heel psychology. After dropping the belt, Lesnar turns heel on Kurt. Brock the Boy Scout was going nowhere as a face and turning him was the right move, but that doesn't change the fact that
- in my mind, the angle of their friendship needed to play out for at least six months before somebody turned on the other to make it really mean something, and they did it 10 weeks in.
- turning your supposed franchise player twice in the span of eight months is remarkably shortsighted, disorganized, scattershot booking that ruins a character's consistency and effectiveness as either a face or a heel.
- at SummerSlam, in his first match back as the monster heel, Lesnar established his dominance not only by losing, not only by losing clean, but by tapping out to the anklelock. In his next match, he did a clean job to the Undertaker. Now that's how you get a heel over, by immediately beating him clean.

Lesnar got the belt back in September and wrapped up his WWE tenure with another six months as the heel champion. By this point, he had developed into an elite worker, one of the five or six best in the company, and he was much better as a heel than a face. But any potential drawing power the guy was going to have had been nullified by the booking -- turning him back and forth and beating him too many times for him to break out of the pack of interchangeable main eventers. Just because he was in the top spot over this time doesn't mean that he failed to succeed in that position (especially when he was having four star title matches), it means that the company doesn't even know how to book the guys in their top spots right.

They took Lesnar, made him the right way, and were on the verge of something special, but slowly but surely, every WWE foible chipped away at him until he was just another guy. If I destroyed my body for two years, became a super worker, and carried all the pressure of being the top guy, but couldn't succeed the way I was supposed to because the bookers mangled my career and blamed me for not panning out the way I was supposed to, I wouldn't be all that eager to stick around either.
SlipperyPete
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#32 Posted on | Instant Rating: 1.32
Who can forget that Kurt Angle was all but crippled going into that Wrestlemania match with Brock? It's easy to say now that they didn't build the match good enough, but at the time there was a period where no one knew if there would be a match. There was also the strong possibility that the match could be over after five minutes if Angle took a bad bump. They had to build up a title match where one participant could barely get physical.

But that said, none of that hurt Brock Lesnar's drawing power. Basically that whole essay boils down to saying WWE blew it horribly with Brock because he turned babyface and then turned heel again several months later. Uhh, okay. Just a little bit dramatic.
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#33 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.02
    Originally posted by SlipperyPete
    Basically that whole essay boils down to saying WWE blew it horribly with Brock because he turned babyface and then turned heel again several months later. Uhh, okay. Just a little bit dramatic.
BASICALLY, that whole essay boils down to Justin is about a BILLION times better than you are. Justin is free to ban you for as long as he likes.



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redsoxnation
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#34 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.45
    Originally posted by JustinShapiro
    Lesnar got the belt back in September and wrapped up his WWE tenure with another six months as the heel champion. By this point, he had developed into an elite worker, one of the five or six best in the company, and he was much better as a heel than a face. But any potential drawing power the guy was going to have had been nullified by the booking -- turning him back and forth and beating him too many times for him to break out of the pack of interchangeable main eventers. Just because he was in the top spot over this time doesn't mean that he failed to succeed in that position (especially when he was having four star title matches), it means that the company doesn't even know how to book the guys in their top spots right.






The biggest problem with the last title run, at least up to the point where he entered the Guerrero feud: From October through the Royal Rumble, Lesnar was stuck in a feud with never was Bob Holly because Holly was being rewarded for getting his neck broken while trying to sandbag Lesnar a year earlier. Now, if the Holly feud had been a 3 week run in a PPV dead area, that would have been one thing. Instead, they have the feud begin before Survivor Series, last through Survivor Series and somehow allow Bob Holly to face Lesnar in a Big 4 PPV Title match.
And hindsight being 20/20, they really shot their load way to early with Cena/Lesnar. Instead of slow burning it through the spring and summer to the point where Cena was viewed as a serious threat to Lesnar, they have it as an "oh, by the way" title match on a throwaway PPV that had a non-title match as the main event and the RAW champ in a 6 man match booked after a WWE Title match.

(edited by redsoxnation on 13.12.04 2322)
JustinShapiro
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#35 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.68
"Who can forget that Kurt Angle was all but crippled going into that Wrestlemania match with Brock?"

I certainly could not. I do recall it very well, the news about Angle coming about ... three weeks before Wrestlemania. But Hogan/McMahon was already getting the main focus before then, and continued getting the focus after Angle decided he was going to do the match. I don't think it would've been all that different if Angle hadn't gotten injured, because one of Vince and Heyman's bones of contention when Heyman was demoted as head writer was whether the show should be built around Hogan & Vince or Angle & Lesnar, and even when we had a healthy Angle on TV in the summer, the show was still built around Hogan and McMahon.

My overarching point was that Lesnar took a backseat to Hogan vs. McMahon for almost half of 2003, and contrasting the incredibly effective buildup for the Rock match against the incredibly ineffective buildup for either Angle match.

"But that said, none of that hurt Brock Lesnar's drawing power."

I attributed it more to the fact that ...

- they beat him far too soon into his initial run just as he was picking up serious steam.
- they beat him clean too many times for him to be truly effective as a monster heel, watering him down into just another good worker.
- WWE was completely inept at booking meaningful feuds for he and Angle, especially the second one.

"Basically that whole essay boils down to saying WWE blew it horribly with Brock because he turned babyface and then turned heel again several months later."

Well heavens, if that was my only point I wouldn't have wasted half an afternoon trying to outline everything else, namely that just because he was wearing the title, he wasn't automatically being used right.

If I wanted to boil the whole deal down to saying one thing, it would be that no one in WWE can break through as a superstar, because no matter how good you are, you're still at the mercy of the inherent handicaps of the way WWE is run.
Stilton
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#36 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.26
Thank you, Justin, for taking the time to write that essay. It's made me remember just how good Brock could be, and just how badly the fed booked him.

I have to admit, I was fairly harsh on him when he quit. Though, he did have the stink of his last match with Goldberg on him at the time.

If he does come back, I can only hope that someone in WWE creative sees your essay and avoids the same mistakes.

Cheers.



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#37 Posted on | Instant Rating: 0.35
Justin,

Awesome recap. Much like Stilton, I forgot how good Brock was. I was a fan of evil Brock and even enjoyed Smiley Brock for a whule, but face Brock was never as good as heel Brock. And I agree, if they kept him heel for a year straight, it would have been much better for all involved. But, as someone stated, the fed does a good job of screwing up every good angle that comes down the pike.

Regardless, excellent post.



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#38 Posted on | Instant Rating: 10.00
    Originally posted by JustinShapiro
    If I destroyed my body for two years, became a super worker, and carried all the pressure of being the top guy, but couldn't succeed the way I was supposed to because the bookers mangled my career and blamed me for not panning out the way I was supposed to, I wouldn't be all that eager to stick around either.
An insightful retrospective, Beverly my old friend, but that bit there is putting an awful lot of words into Brock's mouth for him. From what I recall, his problems with how he'd been used (secondary to his problems with life on the road, his daughter, etc.) were of the "I didn't want to lose to Eddie Guerrero" and "an interpromotional match with my doppleganger Goldberg at WrestleMania isn't a main event so it's not big enough for me" variety, not the kind of rational analysis you have presented about how they missed the boat with the milk & cookie and Bob Costas examples. And I really don't remember much if any talk about the notion that Brock was being blamed for not drawing well enough, or that Brock felt he was being blamed, as it related to his rationale. Regardless, he was something of a jerk is my point. He bought a *plane*. For God's sake.

That paragraph was too long but I couldn't decide on a good spot to break it up. Also, I realize we're talking in hyper-sensitive specifics about making a true break-out boom-creating superDUPERstar compared to just an over, top-card main-eventing superstar, but the "they blew it", "mangled his career", "just how badly the fed booked him" talk is a little funny. Quite successful was this fella Lesnar, after all.

(edited by SEADAWG on 14.12.04 1307)
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#39 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.05
I think he had a bigger problem w/ the proposed program w/ Taker (where he'd essentially end up playing Taker's bitch), which was *reportedly* 1 of the big factors in his departure, than he did w/ jobbing to Eddie.

(edited by Spaceman Spiff on 14.12.04 1539)


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#40 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.70
I would welcome Brock back in a heartbeat. Great recap, Justin, your time spent on it was appreciated by many.

Even though Brock's last match was the disaster against Goldberg, I don't think many fans will hold that against him too badly if he's able to come in and perform in the ring as well as most of his career. Face it, his power moves and ring presence were just plain impressive.

I give Brock a good deal of credit for making the Big Show look as impressive since he came to Smackdown (after jobbing to a freakin' Hardy boy!). The Brock/Show feud was the best feud Show has been in his career, with some great visuals - don't forget the ring shattering. Two huge guys who made each other look strong as hell.

Even though we've seen it before, I wouldn't mind seeing these two go at it again, if Lesnar costs Show the title against JBL and wants it for himself, Show could cost Brock a shot and the two could feud in the upper midcard for a while - let Brock pay his dues again (for the first time?) while retaining his marketability.

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D'Amore's Destroyer just looked weird...which is a weird-looking move to begin with. It seemed like Petey was doing all the work, and it did take away from it. Admittedly the whole thing was pretty amusing.
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