Brock Lesnar's world of hurt
Here comes the pain. Any member of the WWE Universe worth their weight in championship gold knows to expect the worst when Brock Lesnar is around a WWE ring. Before "bringing legitimacy back to WWE" one year ago, the former UFC champion annihilated the competition during his first WWE tenure from 2002 to 2004. It was an astonishingly rapid rise to the top of the sports-entertainment ranks for the former wrestling standout from the University of Minnesota.
Brock's ascent to becoming King of the Ring and WWE Champion by defeating Superstars like The Rock and Kurt Angle is well documented. But this beast didn't just win titles. He hurt people. Badly. Now, for the first time ever on WWE.com, we present 10 moments of Brock at his most dominant. After all, it's Brock Lesnar's world. We're just living in it.
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Brock Lesnar tears The Hardys in half
It really didn't matter who Paul Heyman targeted for Brock Lesnar when The Next Big Thing made his debut on the night after WrestleMania X8. Whoever it was, they were about to learn what this monster was capable of very quickly. The unlucky selections ended up being Matt and Jeff, the brothers Hardy.
Less than one month after Lesnar made his first appearance, The Hardys attempted to take him out with steel chairs, but the big man didn't even leave his feet. The very next week, Brock inserted himself into The Hardys' tag team contest, and nailed Matt with a devastating F-5 onto the steel stage.
In Brock's pay-per-view debut at Backlash 2002, Jeff's Swanton Bomb wasn't enough to stop the towering Minnesotan. Lesnar delivered an F-5, and followed his signature maneuver with three monstrous powerbombs. With his opponent no longer able to compete, the referee stopped the match and awarded the victory to Lesnar.
The following night on Raw, Brock destroyed Matt in similar fashion. But Brock wasn't done with the high-flying siblings. Later that summer, a thrilled Matt was assigned a match against Lesnar on SmackDown. Matt might have been gutsy, but he didn't have a prayer. With a grinning Heyman at ringside, Brock systematically picked this Hardy brother apart before delivering a vicious F-5 for the pinfall.
Brock Lesnar becomes Dreamer's nightmare
On the July 22, 2002, edition of Raw, Brock Lesnar met Tommy Dreamer in a Singapore Cane Match. Brock delivered a belly-to-belly suplex on the floor outside the ring and grabbed the cane, but quickly dropped it back down. Dreamer's Kendo stick meant little to Lesnar. After all, Brock already possessed four easily accessible weapons: his own limbs.
Back in the ring, Lesnar manhandled the extreme icon with brute strength. Dreamer was as tough as they come and no small man, but he was mincemeat to the mighty Lesnar. Brock shook off shots from the cane, and swatted them away as if Dreamer was nothing more than a pesky mosquito. An F-5 later, Brock had scored another definitive victory.
Brock Lesnar runs wild on Hulkamania
Brock encountered perhaps his toughest test yet on the Aug. 8, 2002, edition of SmackDown when he put his SummerSlam WWE Championship opportunity on the line against The Immortal Hulk Hogan. During the generation-spanning matchup, Hogan attempted his familiar series of maneuvers: powerful right hands, the big boot and renowned Leg Drop that had grounded so many giants in The Hulkster's career. But Lesnar wasn't just any giant. Lesnar was stronger, more agile and hungrier than any monster Hogan had ever faced.
Hulk dropped the big leg, but Lesnar kicked out with authority and took control. The beast nailed an F-5, but did not to go for the pinfall, instead choosing to humiliate The Immortal One by locking Hulk in a powerful bear hug. The referee dropped Hogan's arm once, then twice and finally a third time. There would be no more "Hulking up" on this night. Brock Lesnar had defeated Hulk Hogan.
Following the contest, The Hulkster struggled to his feet as Lesnar returned to the ring to dominate Hogan with a steel chair. Brock manhandled Hulk like few had ever done before. He grabbed Hogan's head, and yelled in the face of The Immortal One. Hulk hadn't passed the torch. Lesnar just stole it. Hulkamania was dead, but Brockamania was just starting to run wild.
Brock Lesnar breaks Bob Holly's neck
In one of the most defining moments of Brock Lesnar's career, the recently crowned WWE Champion faced veteran and noted tough guy Bob "Hardcore" Holly on the Sept. 12, 2002, edition of SmackDown. The former Hardcore Champion never backed down from a fight, and perhaps felt he could teach his young opponent a thing or two about competition. But Holly was no match for the enormous Minnesotan. Brock snatched Holly outside of the ring, and delivered a spine-cracking belly-to-belly suplex onto the floor. Those mats only help so much, but that was far from the worst pain The Alabama Slamma would experience during the contest.
Back in the ring, Lesnar hoisted Bob in the air to prepare for a powerbomb. Hardcore foolishly attempted to squirm out of Brock's grasp, but instead was dropped right on his head. Holly's entire body folded like a cheap futon, and one of the discs in his neck was ruptured. Brock grinned and kicked Bob when he was down, aggravating the pain. The subsequent F-5 was inevitable, but mostly unnecessary. The damage had been done.
Holly spent more than a year on the shelf due to the injury. Was the career-threatening maneuver intentional on the part of Lesnar, or did Holly's competitive spirit force Brock to improvise the execution of what looked at first to be a typical powerbomb? Only the two grapplers know for sure.
Brock Lesnar puts The Undertaker through hell
The road to sports-entertainment greatness always goes through one man — WWE's own Phenom, The Undertaker.
Lesnar became the youngest WWE Champion in history at SummerSlam 2002 by defeating the one and only People's Champion, The Rock, but Brock's first pay-per-view title defense was an entirely different animal. That September, the champion met The Undertaker at Unforgiven in a match that ended in a double disqualification. The title didn't change hands, but Big Evil launched Lesnar through the event's set to make sure the WWE Universe knew who won this battle.
The following week on SmackDown, the WWE Champion inserted himself into a match between Matt Hardy and The Undertaker that had spilled into the backstage area. Brock delivered an F-5 to The Deadman onto some piled up cargo, allowing Hardy to pull off a tremendous upset. Heyman attempted to contain his beast, but Lesnar grabbed a propane tank and viciously slammed it onto his rival's hand against a steel gate. The Undertaker cried out in pain as if he were a sick dog, not a legendary Phenom. It was an impactful statement from the ruthless champion.
Later that month, it was determined The Undertaker would be permitted to wear a cast during competition. But despite the weapon and added protection, Lesnar retained the WWE Championship by defeating The Phenom in one of the most brutally intense Hell in a Cell Matches in WWE history.
Brock Lesnar puts Big Show through the ring
If there was one Superstar who was able to go toe-to-toe with Brock Lesnar during the former UFC champion's first run in WWE, it was Big Show. The World's Largest Athlete handed Brock his first pinfall loss in WWE at 2002's Survivor Series event inside Madison Square Garden when New York native Paul Heyman turned on his longtime charge to side with Show. But even more shocking than Heyman's betrayal was that the long hated Lesnar earned the elusive respect of the WWE Universe.
On the following two editions of SmackDown, the former WWE Champion delivered two earth-shattering F-5s to Big Show, with the second sending the 500-pounder crashing through the announce table. But that wasn't the last time Lesnar caused devastation with Big Show's own body.
In match between the two colossal competitors on the June 12, 2003, edition of SmackDown, Lesnar executed a suplerplex off the top turnbuckle onto the giant. As soon as both behemoths hit the canvas, the ring posts snapped out of place and the entire structure collapsed. EMTs ran onto the mat to check on both Superstars, but it was Lesnar who rose from the rubble, dominant in his destruction.
Brock Lesnar gets revenge on Paul Heyman
Paul Heyman was more than just an agent to Brock, he was a father figure. Emotions ran high when Lesnar was finally able to get his hands on the weasel who had led him to and then cost him the WWE Championship.
On the Feb. 27, 2003, edition of SmackDown, Brock defeated Team Angle in a Handicap Match for the right to face Heyman in a Steel Cage Match. The following week, every member of Team Angle interfered inside the structure, but Lesnar disposed of them all. The pinstripe-clad ECW mastermind attempted to dash out of the cage, but Lesnar snatched him off the top of the structure, hoisted the balding Westchester County native onto his shoulders and delivered a cathartic F-5 for the pinfall. ( WATCH)
Brock Lesnar ruins Paul London's debut
Apparently Brock Lesnar never heard the old adage to "pick on someone your own size."
Paul London, making his WWE debut in his hometown of Hartford, Conn., was given the opportunity to face the WWE Champion in what Mr. McMahon deemed "a tryout match." But it wasn't so much a WWE Title Match as it was an execution.
In an ultimate moment of degradation, Brock allowed London to briefly touch his title before brutalizing the youngster. Two consecutive backbreakers led to the champion slamming London into the turnbuckles. The home town product must have been regretting his decision when he suffered a powerbomb and F-5 as delivered by his opponent. Lesnar handled London as if he were a rag doll, and didn't experience even an attempt of offense from his opponent. It was dominance personified.
Brock Lesnar plays games with Shannon Moore
Brock Lesnar isn't just dominant. He's devious, too. On the Dec. 18, 2003, edition of SmackDown, Brock selected his opponent from a golden tumbler usually reserved for bingo halls. It shouldn't come as a surprise that ECW's Paul Heyman had orchestrated the entire ordeal.
Lesnar selected a ball, and revealed the name "Shannon Moore." Moore's chances against the WWE Champion were slim, and were reduced to none when Lesnar captured his opponent in the brand spanking new Brock Lock submission hold. The beast didn't just want to win the matchup. He wanted to hurt Shannon Moore, and perhaps cause permanent discomfort. Moore screamed and tapped out, and Brock released the hold and returned to the tumbler at ringside. He pulled out another ball, revealing Shannon Moore's name on that one, too. The name on a third ball was also Shannon Moore. A fourth? Shannon Moore. The fifth and sixth? You guessed it. Brock scored B-I-N-G-O.
Brock Lesnar forces Orlando Jordan to gasp for air
Brock's reign of terror in WWE spanned into a third painful year, and the WWE Champion issued an open challenge to anyone in the SmackDown locker room on Jan. 29, 2004. For some bizarre reason, Orlando Jordan chose to accept.
At first, Lesnar was his usual dominant self, muscling his outmatched opponent on the canvas, but the challenger showed unbelievable fortitude. Jordan rose to his feet and mounted a comeback with elbows, forearms and dropkicks to the champion, sending Lesnar falling to the mat. He even achieved a two count on the champion. But, in the words of match commentator Michael Cole, Lesnar "[exploded] out of the corner" and sent Jordan down.
From there, it was business as usual. The monster had no tolerance for any sort of attempted contention from others, and quickly snapped in the Brock Lock. Jordan was quick to submit, awarding Lesnar one of his final victories in his star-making first WWE tenure.