By Edward McDonald
The WWE and ESPN teamed up to provide fans of both professional wrestling and MMA some very big news. Brock Lesnar, the current reigning, defending WWE Heavyweight Champion, sat down with ESPN’s Michele Beadle and announced he is officially retiring from the UFC as he has re-signed with the WWE.
There was a lot of speculation on what Lesnar would decide on until he ultimately chose professional wrestling. The business move makes sense for all the involved parties. For Lesnar, he is set up financially and will work a schedule to his liking, much of which he has done in the past. Also, Lesnar was once the UFC Heavyweight Champion, so he doesn’t have much more to prove inside the octagon. He said the offer WWE CEO and owner Vince McMahon put on the table was one he couldn’t refuse.
For McMahon and the WWE, this couldn’t have been done at a better time. In four days, the WWE will put on its biggest show of the year, WrestleMania. Two nights ago, the flagship show, Monday Night Raw, had many fans upset and dissatisfied with how the show concluded in a segment that involved Lesnar and his WrestleMania opponent, Roman Reigns. A day later, the WWE Heavyweight Champion was on ESPN’s flagship show, SportsCenter, to announce his decision.
This is somewhat similar to how LeBron James decided to take his talents to South Beach in a one-hour special on ESPN entitled “The Decision.” The difference between the two is that James’ was on for an entire hour before he revealed what he wanted to, where Lesnar came right out and said it. Also, everyone knew what LeBron was deciding on, where many didn’t know what Lesnar was going to decide on or even if that was what the decision was. So when millions of viewers are tuning in while eating dinner, getting home from work, etc. the WWE name expands. A lot of people watch SportsCenter that don’t necessarily watch the WWE, but now could be intrigued enough to do so and subscribe to the WWE Network.
With the sudden announcement, the WWE has opened up many possibilities heading into the biggest night on the professional wrestling calendar. There are various scenarios as to what could now possibly happen at Levi Stadium this Sunday. Will Lesnar just keep doing what he’s been doing and keep the belt? Will Roman Reigns come out and just take it to Brock and take the belt? Will we see a double-switch like we did at WrestleMania 13 with Bret Hart and Stone Cold Steve Austin?
I’ll preserve my prediction on the subject at hand in my WrestleMania Preview post later this week. The timing of this announcement for the WWE couldn’t have come at a better time. After a lackadaisically-booked, go-home show of Monday Night Raw, the WWE garnered a whole lot of attention thanks to ESPN. WrestleMania 31 just got a lot more interesting.