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Brock Lesnar WWE Champion And Former Gopher Q&A With Cageside Seats

Brock Lesnar has taken a unique path following his years as a Gopher. We talk with Cageside Seats about what the new Brock era means and what makes this former Gopher worthy of being a WWE Champion.

NCAA Champion

UFC Champion

WWE Champion

Brock Lesnar has accomplished a great deal as both an athlete and entertainer. Think about the NCAA "Go Pro In Something Other Than Sports" campaign...can you imagine what that commercial would look like if it featured Brock? It's pretty clear that the U isn't quite sure how to interact with his post Gopher success, but we here at TDG are proud to support Brock and highlight his accomplishments. In celebration of the WWE title Brock won on Sunday we thought we'd talk with Cageside Seats (@cagesideseats), SB Nation's Pro Wrestling and MMA blog (a must read if you're a pro wrestling fan). Geno Mrosko of CSS was kind enough to take the time to answer the questions Matt and I came up with (note: I wrote only one of these questions). Our goal was to I'm going to deliver a mix of questions aimed for wrestling fans and people who know absolutely nothing about it and only know Brock as a former Gopher.


The Daily Gopher: Brock is best known to many in Minnesota as a NCAA Champion wrestler for the Gophers. Is there something specific about his skills as a college wrestler that made his transition to the WWE easier? Or is success at the highest levels of pro wrestling more about overall athleticism, strength, and showmanship?

Geno Mrosko: A little bit of all of the above. Obviously his amateur background aided in his transition to the professional world, even if one is legitimate competition and the other is a work. WWE often scouts top amateur wrestlers and they paid him big money for all of the attributes you mention.

TDG: Wrestling is scripted, as we all know. What then makes a Brock Lesnar match so compelling?

GM: Wrestling is at its best when those involved make you forget the fact that it's scripted. We're always aware it's a work, of course, but think of it like a movie. If you're watching and one of the actors always makes you painfully aware that what you're watching is just a movie and none of it really matters anyway, you would dismiss said movie as second rate and not worth your time, yes? Then you have Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, or any other masterful performance. That's Brock Lesnar in a pro wrestling match. He's so big, and strong, and fast, and feels so uncontrollably violent -- this is aided by the fact that he's a former UFC heavyweight champion -- that you always feel like you're going to see him maim someone. And sometimes that's exactly what happens. He makes you believe it.

TDG: We remember Brock during his first run with the WWE. Wasn't he a champion back then too? If so, why does it seem like now is a bigger deal?

GM: He was the golden child during his first run. He lasted just under two years on the main roster and accomplished damn near everything there was to accomplish. What makes this latest run a bigger deal is the fact that he left the world of fake fighting and found very real success in the world of real fighting. He wasn't just the UFC heavyweight champion, he headlined the biggest MMA show in history. He drew 1.6 million buys on PPV, a record they haven't come close to matching. So when he returned, it was a big deal. Now, though, he has all the credibility in the world because he's the guy they chose to break Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania. Then he squashed the biggest and brightest star of the past decade to win the title. They haven't ever booked someone this strong. This would be like an NFL team beating the Cowboys dynasty of the 90s and following it up by not just beating but destroying the 49ers dynasty of the 80s.

TDG: Where does Lesnar rank in terms of PPV draws? Is he a bigger draw now that he's the champ and has destroyed The Undertaker and John Cena in his last two matches?

GM: The WWE business model has changed. Lesnar has proven to be a bigger draw since he came back but with the launch of the WWE Network, the PPV business has been cannibalized. As for how he will draw as champion, that remains to be seen. The first episode of Raw that featured his being presented with a new WWE title didn't do any better rating than most episodes of Raw. So we'll see.

TDG: Lesnar has fought in only 8 matches since his post-Wrestlemania 28 return and reportedly has a contract that pays him handsomely to work limited dates per year. Assuming he walks out of the September PPV, Night of Champions, retaining the title, how will the WWE keep interest in their PPVs without a potential Lesnar title match until the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania 31?

GM: Your guess is as good as mine. Really, that's the intrigue for his match with John Cena at Night of Champions. He just squashed Cena like a bug and now they're using up one of his dates on the very next PPV. Barring a new agreement, one we haven't been made aware of, this would mean keeping him out until at least the Royal Rumble with a few Raw shows in the meantime. It's entirely possible, even likely, that he loses the title in some sort of smoz finish (meaning he won't be pinned or submitted, but lose it in some other way to keep him strong).

TDG: What is the end game for the current Lesnar title run?

GM: Rumors suggest WWE wants to continue pushing Roman Reigns all the way up to a WrestleMania 31 title showdown against Lesnar. It looks like they have a clear plan in place to crown the next guy they believe will carry them into the future as the next big star and they're going to use Lesnar to do it. It's a smart play, if that's the direction they decide.

TDG: Assuming he decides to stick around for a while, is the WWE transitioning Lesnar into a once or twice a year major PPV attraction, especially now that the Undertaker has probably fought his last bout?

GM: He's more or less already that. He worked Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and now he'll do Night of Champions this year. He's said he's in for that schedule until he's done and that will be in maybe a couple years or so.

Thanks to Geno for taking the time!