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Brock Lesnar

Born: July 12, 1977 in Webster, SD
6'4, 294 lb
AKA: The Next Big Thing

Brock Lesnar grew up as a farm boy in the small town of Webster, South Dakota, but farming wasn't the path that Lesnar would follow. Instead, he turned his attention to wrestling, but initially not the professional ranks where he would later gain fame.

Lesnar, instead, excelled in the amateur ranks. After winning a National Junior championship at Bismarck (North Dakota) Junior College in 1998, Lesnar transferred to the University of Minnesota. After two Big 10 championships, he became an NCAA National Wrestling Champion in 2000.

Upon graduating from the University of Minnesota, Lesnar received, but turned down, offers from TB Buccaneers and Washington Redskins to play football. Instead, his interest piqued in pro wrestling after watching the WWE, Lesnar decided to sign with WWE in June 2000.

Assigned to the WWE's developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling, Lesnar teamed with another former amateur standout, Shelton Benjamin. Together, the pair was dubbed the "Minnesota Stretching Crew". In February, 2001, the Crew defeated the Disciples of Synn to begin the first of three reigns as OVW Tagteam Champions.

However, with Lesnar's size and agility, the WWE soon decided he was ready to be called up to the WWE. On October 3rd, Lesnar worked his first WWE house show, which took place in Winnipeg against Chris Kanyon.

Lesnar would arrive on WWE television screens on March 18th 2002, the day after Wrestlemania XVIII. During a Raw broadcast, Lesnar stormed to the ring during a Hardcore match and beat up Maven, Spike Dudley and Al Snow.

Lesnar would make his presence felt by interfering in several other matches. He was quickly dubbed "the Next Big Thing" by manager and mouthpiece, Paul Heyman. He was so impressive that he was draft to the Raw brand as Ric Flair's 8th pick.

After a program against the Hardys, Lesnar defeated Bubba Ray Dudley to qualify for the King of the Ring. He defeated Booker T to advance in the tournament and then, at the pay-per-view itself, defeated Test and RVD to win the 2002 King of the Ring.

A brief feud with King of the Ring finalist Rob Van Dam became a feud with the Undertaker, after Brock turned on 'Taker during a tagteam match against Van Dam and Ric Flair.

After the July 22nd edition of Raw, Lesnar defected to Stephanie McMahon's Smackdown brand. A month later, at SummerSlam 2002, Brock Lesnar defeated the Rock to become the WWE Champion, but while the previous title-holders had moved between Raw and Smackdown, Lesnar decided to remain exclusively on Smackdown, forcing Eric Bischoff's Raw brand to create its own World Championship.

In the fall, Lesnar resumed his feud with the Undertaker, battling and defeating 'Taker in a Hell in A Cell match at October's No Mercy pay-per-view.

Lesnar's first reign as WWE Champion would come to an end at the 2002 Survivor Series. His manager, Paul Heyman, would betray him and help the Big Show unseat Lesnar for the title. Lesnar was so outraged that he disobeyed Stephanie McMahon's orders and was suspended. However, he would receive help from an unlikely source: another former NCAA champion, Kurt Angle. Angle promised that he could get Lesnar's suspension lifted if Lesnar would help Angle regain the WWE title.

At Armageddon, Lesnar was the difference maker and Kurt Angle defeated the Big Show to regain the WWE Championship. However, Angle soon unveiled a surprise of his own: his new manager, Paul Heyman.

At the 2003 Royal Rumble, Lesnar had to defeat the Big Show to gain entry (#29) into the events, and then eliminated the Undertaker to win the match and the right to face the WWE Champion at Wrestlemania.

Of course, in the weeks that followed, Lesnar had to put up with shenanigans from Kurt and Eric Angle, not to mention Team Angle (his former partner Benjamin and Charlie Haas) before getting to Wrestlemania XIX in Seattle.

It would be at Wrestlemania XIX that Lesnar would show the world his ability to perform a shooting star press...and almost break his neck in the process. Despite the injury, Lesnar managed to finish the match...and defeat Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship.

After becoming WWE Champion, Lesnar feuded with the Big Show. During on broadcast in June 2003, Lesnar delivered a superplex on the Show that broke the ring. But perhaps the biggest surprise was that, upon his return, Kurt Angle teamed with former foe Lesnar. At least until July's Vengeance pay-per-view when Angle won a Triple Threat match to end Lesnar's second title reign.

The next week on Smackdown, Lesnar turned on Angle after a tag match against the Big Show and A-Train. He even menaced both Zach Gowan and Stephanie McMahon. However, after an Iron Man match on Smackdown on September 18th, Lesnar was once again WWE Champion when he defeated Kurt Angle 5 falls to 4.

Lesnar would soon surround himself with the likes of Matt Morgan, the Big Show, Nathan Jones and the A-Train as events lead up to Team Lesnar vs. Team Angle at the Survivor Series. Lesnar would also prove himself a monster as he demolished Shannon Moore and Rey Mysterio, Jr.

After retaining the WWE Championship against Hardcore Holly at the 2004 Royal Rumble, Lesnar interfered in the Rumble itself, attacking Bill Goldberg. The attack on Goldberg would come back to haunt Lesnar, however, as Goldberg's interference cost Lesnar the WWE title against Eddie Guerrero at No Way Out.

A match was soon signed between Lesnar and Goldberg for Wrestlemania XX with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin as the special referee. Lesnar did himself no favours when he attacked Austin and, at one point, stole his four wheeler.

However, as the days to Wrestlemania began to dwindle, rumours persisted that Lesnar was on the verge of leaving the WWE and pro wrestling itself, to pursue a career in the NFL. In fact, he had quit the WWE, with his last match being at Wrestlemania.

On April 18th, Lesnar is involved in an accident when his motorcycle collided with a minivan that pulled out in front of him. After having glass removed from his forehead, Lesnar is soon released from the hospital.

He received two tryouts and then is signed as a defensive lineman for the Minnesota Vikings. He received a lot of press for his attempts to make the transition from pro wrestling to pro football but he was cut from the team in August.

Although Lesnar (and fiancée Rena "Sable" Mero) made a non-wrestling appearance on a New Japan Pro Wrestling card in January 2005, the only headlines he made for a while were over his lawsuit against the WWE in an attempt to get out of his no-compete clause, which doesn't expire until January 2010.

In July 2005, in yet another bizarre turn, Lesnar met with WWE head Vince McMahon in what ultimately was a fruitless attempt to resign with WWE. When negotiations with McMahon and the WWE went nowhere, Lesnar returned to Japan and, on October 8th, 2005, defeated Kazuyuki Fujita and Masahiro Chono to win the IWGP Championship.

Lawsuits continued as the WWE remained committed in its attempt to bar Lesnar from wrestling anywhere in the world. Overall their efforts were fruitless as he continued to defend the title for the promotion while also having several non-title appearances. In July 2006, it was announced that the Minnesota-native had been stripped of the IWGP title by NJPW, citing visa issues as the reason. As Lesnar was still in possession of the physical belt, promoter Antonio Inoki still booked him as a champion in IGF during his final defense against Kurt Angle in June of the following year. The Olympian was successful in his challenge and captured the belt, being recognized by TNA and IGF as the champion at the time. He also challenged the former titleholder to a MMA bout, though this never came to fruition.

During his unofficial IWGP title reign, Brock started to venture into yet another sport, expressing his desire to compete in MMA and fight for the K-1 promotion. His first bout was scheduled for June 2nd of 2007 against the giant Hong-Man Choi who sported a 10-3 kickboxing record as well as one Mixed Martial Arts victory at the time. He was replaced shortly before the fight by Min Soo Kim who held a record of 2-5 in the sport. Lesnar claimed his first victory in MMA by TKO a little over a minute into round one.

After his aforementioned unsuccessful title defense, Brock would focus on his new endeavor and signed with the sports biggest company, the UFC in late 2007. He was matched against former Heavyweight titleholder Frank Mir in only his second fight as a professional. Lesnar dominated the BJJ-black belt from the get go with his wrestling and power but ultimately fell to the Las Vegas-native due to a kneebar. The outcome of the fight was controversial as the Minnesotan had his way with the former champion until a questionable standup halted his momentum. Many simply cited Lesnar's inexperience as a reason for the defeat but even with a 1-1 record, he had made his mark and showed his skills in his first outing for the company.

The newcomer was scheduled to return 6 months later, again against a former champion in his own right, Mark Coleman. In the lead up of the fight however, Coleman injured himself in training and was replaced by Pride FC-veteran Heath Herring who held notable victories over Igor Vovchanchyn and Cheick Kongo. The fight was one-sided from the opening bell and once again the former wrestler was able to showcase his speed, strength and agility in the bout, dropping the Texan in the early seconds of the fight and rushing after him in lightning speed for his size. He dominated his foe on route to a unanimous decision and respectively retired him from the sport.

To the chagrin of many fans, Lesnar's next bout was for the UFC Heavyweight title. With only 3 matches and an overall record of 2-1, many questioned the decision but were silenced when the Minnesotan was able to secure the belt by TKO against UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture at UFC 91. Only one event later, his nemesis and only blemish on his record Frank Mir was able to claim the Interim championship after defeating Antonio Nogueira by TKO, being the first fighter to ever finish the legend by punches. The two would finally square off for a rematch at UFC 100 where Lesnar once again dominated the submission grappler before knocking him out less than two minutes into the second frame. After the match, he went cut a heelish promo against not only his opponent but even sponsors of the event. He was forced to apologize for his remarks at the followup press conference.

Lesnar's second title defense against undefeated prospect Shane Carwin was delayed on multiple occasions due to Brock's long lasting battle with mononucleosis and diverticulitis. During his illness, the Minnesotan received treatment in both Canada and the US and started to publicly slam the Canadian health care system after allegedly experiencing "Third World Treatment". A prognosis of his case suggested that he actually fought Randy Couture while suffering from the intestinal disorder. After multiple delays and cancellations it was determined that Carwin would face Lesnar's nemesis Frank Mir, who bounced back from his defeat with a dominant win over Cheick Kongo, for an Interim title. The two squared off at UFC 111 where Shane Carwin kept a trilogy from happening by obliterating Mir. This marked his twelfth victory on an unblemished record and was the longest fight in his career at 3:48, longer than his last three fights combined.

The Colorado-native challenged Lesnar in his second title defense at UFC 116. He rocked Lesnar early and dominated the first frame with ground and pound and superior striking though he ultimately fell to his own stamina as the champion easily took him down in the second round, after being severely hurt in the first, to secure an Arm-Triangle-Choke for the victory. This not only marked Carwin's first defeat but also the first time any fighter survived the opening frame against the power puncher.

Brock's third and ultimately last title defense came at UFC 121 against yet another undefeated prospect in Cain Celasquez who punched his ticket by dominating Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Ben Rothwell and Cheick Kongo to cement his place in the division. As always, Lesnar hyped the fight by trash talking and playing the heel, even sporting a beard at the fight for the first time. He tasted defeat for the second time in his career after being blown out of the water by the Mexican in a TKO loss in the first round.

Because of his popularity and charisma, Lesnar was chosen to coach the 13th incarnation of The Ultimate Fighter against Junior Dos Santos with a followup fight at UFC 131. His team won the show after Tony Ferguson finished Ramsey Nijem in the finals to secure the victory for team Lesnar but he himself had to withdraw from the fight against the Brazilian as he battled another unexpected outbreak of diverticulitis. He was replaced by Shane Carwin who fell to Dos Santos in his last fight of his career. His opponent however was able to use his momentum to dethrone Velasquez, who won the belt off of Brock, in the followup title bout.

After another absence due to illness, Lesnar was scheduled to return against Alistair Overeem at UFC 141. Though still employed by the Ultimate Fighting Championship, he also appeared in WWE's 2012 version of their video game, even being unofficially billed as a former MMA fighter in the promotion for the game. Brock tasted defeat once more in his fight against the Dutch kickboxer for back-to-back losses and retired from the sport after the match. His foe particularly targeted his body with knees and punches during the bout, leading to an early TKO stoppage. Lesnar left the sport with a record of 5-3 and a title run in less than 5 years.

The Minnesotan returned to his former home, the WWE in April of 2012 against John Cena. His character was largely based on his MMA background and was to bring legitimacy to the company, even being allowed to use real maneuvers in his matches like cutting his opponent with elbow strikes and using a Kimura to break Triple H's arm during a storyline. After his initial debut against Cena, Lesnar went on to feud with Hunter with Paul Heyman on his side. Due to his new contract, Brock rarely made appearances outside of PPVs and was mostly represented by his manager and legal council Heyman on television. After a contract dispute with Triple H that ended in him breaking his arm, he disappeared from the company due to an alleged breach of contract. He returned against the King of Kings at SummerSlam, defeating him with yet another Kimura. He was also used to injure Vince McMahon who was scheduled to undergo surgery for his pelvis and decided to put over Lesnar on his way out. He went on to feud against Helmsley, culminating in a match at Wrestlemania with the latter's career on the line. He ultimately lost the bout but went out on top in a follow up steel cage match at Extreme Rules to end the feud.

After his storyline against management, Lesnar assisted Heyman in his turn against protege CM Punk. The two attacked each other on multiple occasions before Brock made an official statement, beating CM Punk in a No-DQ match at SummerSlam 2013.

-- compiled by John Milner & Frederik Heinen

BROCK LESNAR STORIES
  • Oct. 30, 2012: Lesnar DVD seems too familiar
  • April 5, 2012: Loud-mouth Lesnar belongs in WWE
  • July 1, 2011: Lesnar's Death Clutch doesn't quite grab hold
  • July 11, 2009: Lesnar floors a door
  • Nov. 15, 2008: Lesnar out to prove his critics wrong
  • Sep. 27, 2008: Fight of life for Brock
  • Aug. 2, 2005: WWE: Brock says no to contract
  • July 6, 2005: WWE cuts more while negotiating with Lesnar
  • Feb. 12, 2005: Brock taking WWE to court
  • Jan. 27, 2005: SLAM! Speaks: The Brock watch
  • Oct. 28, 2004: Lesnar rookie card released
  • Aug. 30, 2004: Vikings cut Brock Lesnar
  • Aug. 29, 2004: Bravo to Brock for good effort
  • Aug. 2, 2004: Lesnar tackles the NFL
  • Aug. 1, 2004: Lesnar has the body and mind to make it
  • March 16, 2004: Brock talks
  • March 14, 2004: Lesnar itchin' to grab grass and growl
  • March. 13, 2004: Lesnar story doubted
  • March. 13, 2004: Brock rocks then walks
  • March. 10, 2004: Brock Lesnar quitting wrestling
  • Sep. 19, 2003: Smackdown!: Brock, Angle put on a classic
  • Sep. 15, 2003: Lesnar limps away at house show
  • Oct 19, 2002: Think outside the box
  • Oct 13, 2002: Lewis vs. Lesnar for Montreal?
  • Sep 1, 2002: Brock's future in the WWE will be Rock solid
  • March 15, 2002: Lesnar, Orton impress at Axxess
  • Oct. 3, 2001: WWF debut for young turk Lesnar