Finn Bálor and Elias collide as Raw's Seven-Man Gauntlet Match rolls on.02/19/2018 - 22:15
Brock's controversial words draw strong reactions from Superstars past and present
Brock Lesnar minces his opponents, but he doesn't mince words. Time and time again, he's shown he can be as ruthless with his verbal jabs as he is with his fists in the heat of competition.
Still, what Brock said during a WWE interview on Raw SuperShow came as a shock. The short-fused Superstar really let loose on some pressing topics, including his return to WWE and his true feelings about John Cena, his opponent at Extreme Rules ( PREVIEW). When he was through, the entire WWE was left to absorb the impact of his controversial words – and that includes past and present Superstars who have been there to witness Brock's path of destruction both then and now.
In a series of exclusive interviews, WWE.com gauged the reactions to what Lesnar had to say on Raw, especially his bold claim that Cena would've never risen to stardom if Brock had remained in WWE. Or to put it in Brock's own words: "Cena's the guy that would be carrying my bags into the building." What did those who were around for both Brock's departure and Cena's ascension eight years ago think about Brock's comments?
Booker T, one of the Superstars who performed at both WrestleMania XIX and WrestleMania XX along with Brock, didn't agree with Lesnar's statement at all. The former World Heavyweight Champion believes that the landscape of WWE wouldn't have been any different if Brock had stayed.
"There's only one chief around here, and we all know who that is. I don't think one Superstar in WWE determines what goes on," Booker said. "I remember a promoter telling me a long time ago ... Years later, I now understand exactly what he was saying. He said: 'One monkey don't stop no show.' And that pretty much sums it up right there."
The former champion cited the old saying (and title of Goodie Mob's rap album in 2004) about the absence of one not causing the show to stop. Booker's former tag team partner, Dustin Rhodes, shared that opinion in his comments to WWE.com, but admitted Brock was right about one thing: "He's not an entertainer. He's a double-tough, ass-kicking machine."
Even so, the longtime WWE veteran thinks Cena must be shown more respect as a competitor, because a "big, bad, tough man" like Brock could still fall prey to the Attitude Adjustment.
"Whether you like him or hate him, you respect John Cena. He works his ass off day in and day out more than anybody else in this locker room, on the roster, period," Rhodes passionately explained. "What Brock said about Cena, I find that a bit distasteful. I don't believe for a second that if Brock didn't leave eight years ago that Cena wouldn't be where he's at today. I think that's bull.
"John Cena was destined to be a star."
Not everyone was totally convinced Cena and Brock could've coexisted in WWE all these years, however. Superstar and NXT commentator William Regal said that while it may not make him a popular man, he's inclined to believe everything that comes out of Lesnar's mouth.
"There's no way that things would be the way they are if Brock had never left. I'm not saying that Cena wouldn't be the huge star that he is, but there's not room for two of them in the same universe," Regal said. "You can't have two people with that incredible ability, strength, desire, passion, and that Elvis quality – which is that magic quality that you only come across once in a million. And they've both got it. Usually, one fella has got to go, because when they collide, that's the way it plays out."
Now, nine years since they last collided at Backlash in 2003, Brock is back and he's painted a giant bull's-eye on Cena in his mission to "legitimize" WWE, as Lesnar put it in that revealing interview. To Regal, what makes Lesnar's return so disconcerting is that he's not motivated by anything else other than the unbreakable will to bring the pain – and dominate.
"He's not coming back for the money. He doesn't need to come back for the fame, because he couldn't care less about the fame. That makes him a scary man," Regal said. "There's only one reason he's here and that's to prove he's more dominant than anybody else. And that means you need to worry."
Clearly, the onus is on Cena at Extreme Rules to stop Brock in his tracks before he charges to the top, and the Cenation leader has vehemently promised to fight, fight, fight all the way. WWE commentator Matt Striker, who may not have been in WWE in 2003 but closely followed Cena's meteoric rise, thinks the real challenge for John will be to adapt to Brock's brutal nature, but he's confident the 10-Time WWE Champion will be up to the daunting task.
"I think it's safe to say Brock is the most legitimate, most dangerous ass-kicker WWE has ever seen, and the one person that now really needs to reinvent himself and relearn his craft is Cena," Striker said. "Brock is not here to use armdrags and dropkicks. Brock is here to punch you in the face and snap your bones. We need to see what Cena is made of, and I believe at Extreme Rules, the whole world will find out."
With no disqualifications and no count-outs preventing Brock and Cena from smashing each other to bits, Lesnar's biting words will pale in comparison to the punishment to come. And if you believe in fate and destiny like Striker does, this undoubtedly is a rematch nearly a decade in the making.
"I think Brock was supposed to leave. Cena was supposed to rise to the great heights he's reached. I just think that all of this is the planets aligning," Striker said. "This had to happen on April 29, 2012. It couldn't have happened a day before or a day after. It has to be Brock Lesnar versus John Cena, and it has to be done this way."