Brock Lesnar: An Analysis - Wrestling Forum : WWE, TNA, Indy Wrestling, Lucha Underground, Women of Wrestling Forums

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post #1 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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Brock Lesnar: An Analysis



In-Ring Work: *****
Mic Work: DUD
Character Work: **1/2

I'll always miss watching Brock in his prime, because he was one of the finest in ring performers this profession has ever seen.

To be honest, there aren't many Pro Wrestlers that I make exceptions to. If I find their mic work or character work to be boring, I won't pay much attention to them regardless of how good they were in the ring, because mic work and character work are both very crucial to building a connection with the wrestler. It's what makes the things they do in the ring matter more. That's the entire idea of storytelling.

Brock Lesnar was a very rare exception for me, because his matches were a thing of beauty.

I don't think there's ever been a more gifted in ring performer than Lesnar, but I'll get to that later. For now, I just want to say that it's truly a shame this man doesn't have the same passion for Pro Wrestling that others do. His work in other areas isn't really all that impressive, in fact I consider him to be so terrible on the mic that he's the first person in my analysis threads to receive a DUD in one category and a perfect rating in another. That's actually pretty impressive with all things considered. But in the area that he got the perfect rating in? He was incredible. So lets dive right into the man who ended the Undertaker's Wrestlemania streak, Brock Lesnar!

Character Work

You know, I've always considered Brock Lesnar's gimmick to be a pretty simple one, in both runs. He's a mountain of a man who is an athletic freak and gifted wrestler. And yet for what ever reason, I always found him extremely bland.

There was nothing about Lesnar that ever stood out to me. When he was a face, he was a nice guy. When he was a heel, he was a dick. Okay?? I'm not saying these are bad traits, especially when you consider the fact that these are some of the most essential elements of being a face and heel. But when you're not giving anything else beyond that, you become pretty boring. Or, at least, that's how I felt about Lesnar.

I guess I should give him some credit for presenting himself well as an elite athlete. He did a lot of little things that gave you that impression before a match even started. Loosening himself up at the start of his entrances (or at least I think that's what he's doing), jumping on the ring apron rather than just walking on it, you felt like this was a guy who had a lot of pride in his athleticism. And he certainly showcased it a lot in the ring too. And I will admit that he did a surprisingly good job of being likable as a face. Hell it even felt natural in some retrospects.

But as a heel, I always felt like he was forcing the issue. It's ironic considering how he's supposedly not the nicest guy outside of WWE, but him trying to play the heel role just never felt natural to me. While he was okay with coming across naturally as a cocky, smiles more than usual heel, it just wasn't entertaining. And I guess that's one of the biggest problems with him: he was boring. If he wasn't doing in ring related things, he was just boring. And he wasn't the best at connecting with the fans either. A lot of that has to do with him just not enjoying fan interaction outside of the company. But either way, that's a no-no when it comes to character work. Don't get me wrong, he was over with the crowd, but in this case, it didn't have much to do with him.

There was just nothing really to him. A lot of what he did as a face and heel just kind of felt empty and bland. He was devoid of all personality (and no, playing a guitar with a hat doesn't add personality). In a way there was never really much of a character to begin with. He comes into WWE through Paul Heyman, promoted as the next big thing, but that's it. He's simply the next big thing. It's boring. He's just this guy. Same blank facial expression every time he came out to the ring, same body language, it was just the same thing over and over again, and I don't mean in the way that you're saying him stay true to his character. I mean that, in at least 85% of his segments and entrances, there is little to no significant difference.

In this instance however, I will give him a pass, due to something I like to call the Roman Reigns effect. No, Reigns isn't the first person to have this happen to him by any means, but is the first clear cut example of what can happen. Brock's push to the top wasn't organic by any means. It was actually was one of the biggest super pushes in WWE history. The guy made his debut, and then four months later (126 days to be exact) he beat The Rock at Summerslam to become WWE Champion. That's pretty quick into your WWE run. So while I do think Brock never really had much of a character to begin with, he never had a chance to truly develop one either. Seeing someone progress and journey through the ranks is how you grow and develop. It's the fans way of getting to know you and understand you better as a character. But never the less, Brock was still with all things considered pretty poor in the character work department. He was pretty good in certain areas but for the most part he just wasn't good at it. But in the end, I'm not going to make too big of a deal out of it, because it wasn't the worst part about him by any means. And I can say that with absolute confidence...

Mic Work

...because his promos were a shit show.

Brock Lesnar, simply put, does not know how to cut a promo. He didn't know how in his first run and he still doesn't know how to now. He might be the most unlucky Pro Wrestler when it comes to this. On top of his natural awkwardness and forceful delivery, he has the unfortunate displeasure of having a non-intimidating voice that cracks every now and then (and sometimes the internet even makes a meme out of it). It seems like he was always trying his hardest to get the promo over with, because the pacing of it was always rushed and he barely had much to say. He tried to tell stories, but he did so in the most inefficient and ineffective way possible. He didn't know how to properly sell a feud, and he didn't know how to properly react to the things his opponents were saying. I think it's safe to say that he legitimately hates cutting promos and being part of talking segments. And look no further for evidence than...this.





I think the reason as to why he had Paul Heyman as his mouthpiece for the majority of his career is obvious at this point. Simply put, he needed a mouthpiece for his segments and there was a good reason for it. What more can be said? He's pretty decent in pre-taped segments, but I don't put much on those, as you can see by the rating I gave to him. He's just a terrible mic worker and there's no other way around it. And that's fine with me. No really, it is...

In-Ring Work

...because he was a god in the ring.

Forget Vader. Forget Bruiser Brody. Forget Samoa Joe. Brock Lesnar is the best Heavyweight In-Ring performer of all time and it's not even close. If he was active for many more years, performed full time and had the love for Pro Wrestling similar to that of, lets say, John Cena, he probably would be the greatest in-ring performer of all time. He was that good. Even in the amount of time he did spend, he doesn't really have the accolades for me to back up this claim. But like Christian, when he was given the opportunity, he did amazing things with it. And he was able to make great things with almost nothing to work with. But in his case, he's gotten a lot of opportunities to showcase his brilliance in the ring, but unfortunately in a much smaller time frame.

So with that in mind, that's a pretty bold claim on my part. So allow me to back up that claim.

First I want to point out the polar opposite we seem to encounter when it comes to luck here. As I said before, Lesnar was pretty unlucky when it came to promo cutting with his voice. With in-ring work however, it was the exact opposite. He was a large, muscular and strong individual with world class wrestling abilities and was insanely athletic. It was the perfect combination of elements for developing an in-ring style. I know those aren't something you gain through luck but hard work (except for the height part), but either way you get my point. But as well know, none of these things mean jack if you can't utilize them properly.

And that's what makes Brock Lesnar so special.

This man knew what he was doing in the ring. He understood storytelling. He understood in ring psychology. He understood character work. Yes, that area I just said before he was bad at, he was actually very good with it in the ring. He showed intensity, he showed heart, he showed some god damn personality (again, looking at you Rollins). It's almost like holding a microphone took away all of his talent and replaced it with...well, that video from above.

One of my favorite aspects of Lesnar's in-ring work was his brilliance as a heel. He understood how important build up and anticipation was with each and every move he hit, and considering how physically built he was, you had to really make those hits feel impactful. And he was excellent at it. Even guys like Chris Benoit had trouble with this. See, the whole idea of build up and anticipation is that you are allowing the crowd to settle in on what's going on. So in this case, you hit a move on someone, and you allow a moment for that wrestler to showcase the damage. They bump, then they sell the damage, and they show the impact that it made on them. That's the whole idea behind making a match look and feel real. It allows you to dive into a Pro Wrestlers mind when you see the pain being showcased by them.

Here is an example of that:



I want to emphasis something here: This is a young Brock Lesnar going up against a way, WAY past his prime Hulk Hogan with about a couple weeks worth of build-up (if memory serves me correct). He plays his role perfectly in this match. This is exactly how a heel is supposed to perform in the ring. Less moves, and more focus on physically beating down the opponent and wearing them out. And when he does hit one of his signature moves, he allows for some time to pass in order to really make the impact feel more powerful. The whole idea of this is that this is a guy who thinks way too highly of himself. He's beating down one of the all time greats and he's enjoying every minute of it. And there are quite a few times where his overconfidence ends up getting him in trouble. But through all of that, he's staying true to the bigger picture, the entire idea behind heel work in the ring...which is the face being the one that picks up the pace of the match. The face is the one who brings the excitement. The face is the one who hits the big moves, who has the big moments with the crowd, who brings back life into the match. And Lesnar on the other hand is making sure he sucks out every amount of it. THAT is how a heel is supposed to perform in the ring.

So what about his face work?



In all honesty, there are much better matches from Lesnar on both ends of the spectrum that I could show you. But I think his lesser known matches are what need to be showcased. And this is a perfect example of why. His matches with Angle, Show, Taker, etc. We already know how those go. Most of us have seen them more than enough times. It's matches like these that don't get enough love, and that's a shame.

Here, the match starts exactly the way it should start. An aggressive Cena going right at Lesnar only for his ass to get beaten brutally for the next ten minutes for it. Look at what Lesnar is doing. He is the face in this match. He's working at a slightly faster pace than what you saw in the match against Hogan above. He's making references to his head wound that he received at the hands of Cena. What do we call this? Storytelling. And while doing so, he's allowing some time to pass between each move he does to build up anticipation for what's coming next. By doing this, you're given the impression that something big is going to happen, that there's going to be a big move coming from the heel (in this case Cena) that will catch him off guard. That's what a face is supposed to do. And through it all, he's staying true to his character. He's being the dominant force he's supposed to be, picking up Cena from a headlock into a fisherman's suplex. It's little things like that which add greatly to the quality of a match.

I could go on and on. I really could. And in all honesty, I really want to. But I'm not going to, because you get the point. I strongly suggest watching both of these matches in their entirety if you didn't already. They aren't all time great matches by any means, but they are just very good demonstrations of how someone is supposed to perform in the ring. It's an explanation to what "it's not about the moves you do in the ring, it's how you use the" means and why I say it all the time.

And yeah, I guess I should address the big elephant in the closet, which is the Brock Lesnar we have now. Yes, I acknowledge fully that he's become a much more lazy version of his former-self, sticking to spamming suplex's and F-5's and going for a completely different direction in regards what he usually does. But in all honesty, I can't blame the guy. I really wish he didn't do this, but if it's what Vince and the WWE wants him to do, then by god let him do it. In the end though, I don't think he's really regressed in the ring. In the matches he's legitimately regressed in, he's had some incredible matches. The talent is still there. The desire isn't. But given his current situation, I'm not going to use it against him. And, again, even now he's still been able to give us some damn good matches since coming back.

I guess you could argue that his tendency to do stiff strikes in the ring is something that can be used against him, but then again, I've never really seen him get out of hand with it. Sure he concussed The Undertaker, but then again Taker had an extremely fragile body at that point. Otherwise I can't really think of any instances. If you guys got any, I'd be more than happy to hear them. Otherwise, I really don't see any weaknesses in Brock's in-ring work. It's very clear that he took the in-ring aspect of Pro Wrestling very seriously and he absolutely excelled at it. He was great at putting together a match from beginning to end. He was a great seller and bumper and had great execution with his moves. He understood how to use his insane athleticism and wrestling abilities to his advantage to create art in the ring. And whether it was a 10+ years past his prime Hulk Hogan or a relatively green John Cena, Brock Lesnar didn't overreact to it, but instead continued to tell a story in the ring in order to make up for the weaknesses of his opponents. He's definitely had some disappointments in his career. Hell I consider his match with Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania 19 to be a let down, and have even called it a flop at times. But all great in ring performers have had their disappointments here and there. Even Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin have. It's not uncommon and no one is exempt from it. But when he cared and when given the opportunity, Lesnar fulfilled his role to near perfection almost every time...unless he was facing Goldberg. He was an absolute wizard in the ring, and it's a shame that we only got less than three years out of a full-time Brock Lesnar. Give him ten, and I guarantee you he'd have a resume that qualifies him to be compared with the all time greats. But for me, I'm going to do it anyways, because what he's shown us gives me no reason to think otherwise.

Conclusion

Brock Lesnar is by no means one of the all time most talented Pro Wrestlers. When it came to character work, he wasn't really all that impressive, and was in fact pretty bad. When it came to his work on the mic however, he was actually much, much worse.

But damn it, his in-ring work was something special, and in some aspects it still is. He excelled in every area of in-ring work, and he produced a lot of great matches through out his time, some of which with relatively poor in-ring workers. And for me, his in-ring work is what I'm always going to remember him by, because he was simply so damn good in it. Again, it's a shame this guy doesn't have the heart for Pro Wrestling that a lot of the others in the business do. But I guess I should be thankful for what he has given to us in the past, and I hope that someday, we can see him go away from the suplex-spamming machine he is now and go back to the In-Ring mechanic he was in his prime, because that version of him was truly something special.

Edit: I had intended on giving Lesnar a **1/2 rating for Character work, but I guess I had missed that I only gave him a star and a half for it originally. I honestly don't know how I missed that, but whatever. Ratings have been updated.



*credit for sig goes to CJ*

Last edited by AlternateDemise; 05-13-2017 at 08:27 PM.
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post #2 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 09:13 PM
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Re: Brock Lesnar: An Analysis

It's impressive how a wrestler can be so good in the ring, but unable pull off a star promo.
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post #3 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 09:14 PM
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Re: Brock Lesnar: An Analysis

Agree, also...

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post #4 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 09:17 PM
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Re: Brock Lesnar: An Analysis

I actually never thought of it until I read this. Besides in ring work and look, there's really nothing else to Brock. Still in my all time top 10 though since he's just fun as hell to watch in the ring.

Off topic: Btw OP, are you ever going to update your signature and profile pic?
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post #5 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Brock Lesnar: An Analysis

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ Punk View Post
I actually never thought of it until I read this. Besides in ring work and look, there's really nothing else to Brock. Still in my all time top 10 though since he's just fun as hell to watch in the ring.

Off topic: Btw OP, are you ever going to update your signature and profile pic?
Waiting on someone now to give the finished product.



*credit for sig goes to CJ*
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post #6 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 09:46 PM
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Re: Brock Lesnar: An Analysis

Brock has never done anything for me. Even when he first started he just bored me.
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post #7 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 10:36 PM
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Re: Brock Lesnar: An Analysis

I enjoy these quite a bit. That's all I have to say. Nice work OP

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post #8 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 11:21 PM
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Re: Brock Lesnar: An Analysis

I agree with the ring and the mic aspects, but I think Brock plays his character perfectly.
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post #9 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 10:00 AM
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Re: Brock Lesnar: An Analysis

I feel his mic work in underrated. Ya he can't do a 10 min promo but he's good at those short and sweet promos. Blood Urine and Vomit was great. He's actually really good at sit down promos. Also some.of his stuff against Eddie guerrero was good too. As a face his promos sucked tho. But as a heel.or badass when kept short they came.odf genuine. His ufc promos were great as well.
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post #10 of 46 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 10:28 AM
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Re: Brock Lesnar: An Analysis

Brock's character work is underrated-uhh.







AM I FUCKIN' GOING OVER?!
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