Brock’s career in his own words.

Previous chapters can be found here:

April 10, 2003
Brock Lesnar def. Matt Hardy Version 1.0

Nine days after suffering a “severe concussion” in Michael Cole’s words, Brock is right back in action with a familiar foe in Matt Hardy. Although that was a previous version of Matt Hardy he would have been wrestling, so things may work out differently for ol’ Matt here.

Brock laid out Hardy with a lariat, but Matt got control when he drilled Brock with the WWE Title behind the ref’s back. You can tell this is pre-concussion lawsuits because Hardy was working over Lesnar’s head and neck, taking advantage of Brock’s head. Lesnar dropped Hardy with a nasty electric chair drop before getting control of the match with some clotheslines. Shannon Moore tried to help Hardy before Lesnar took him out, and an F-5 to Hardy ended the proceedings here. ***

With Kurt Angle out of the picture for the foreseeable future, SmackDown had themselves a #1 Contender’s Tournament to find a new challenger for the WWE Championship. John Cena, who was fresh off of a forfeit win over Fabolous in a Wrestlemania rap battle, ended up shocking the world and earning the title match at Backlash. Cena had been calling out Lesnar for two months at that point, albeit from a wheelchair. In a fit of rage leading up to Wrestlemania, Brock had put Cena on the shelf with an F-5 into the ring post. Cena even played a minor part in the Lesnar/Angle build, fighting Brock backstage before Angle broke a wooden plank over Lesnar’s ribs.

But now after beating three of SmackDown’s top stars (Eddie Guerrero, The Undertaker, and Chris Benoit), Cena earned the chance to do what Kurt Angle couldn’t, and that was to beat Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship.

Backlash 2003
WWE Championship
Brock Lesnar (c) def. John Cena

This was Brock’s first defense of the title.

This show happened in Worcester, Mass, which is an hour away from West Newbury, so Cena came out in a Yankees jersey to make sure he got booed. Hey, Brock got his corner post pyro now. GOLDBERG chants in the opening moments of this match, but at least Bill Goldberg was making his WWE debut later in the night. Brock dominated Cena until they got outside, where Cena sent Brock into the steel steps. Brock got busted open, re-opening a wound Cena had made on the SmackDown before. Cena took control, and this match slowed down. Way down. Cena took Lesnar to Rear Chinlock City, bitch, and they took the scenic route. Lesnar hit a MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER, but Cena shut him down with a big lariat. Another rear chinlock applied as a set of the crowd chants Let’s Go Cena. I feel like there’s something missing from that chant, I’m not sure what though. Lesnar eventually broke out of the chinlock to more Cena chants. Brock made a very clunky comeback, repeatedly losing Cena’s arm on Irish whips before Cena got a nearfall with a low blow. Brock nearly decapitated Cena with a whip into the corner, which allowed Cena to grab his chain. The ref took the chain away, which gave Lesnar the opening to hit the F-5 to win. This was easily Brock’s worst match since his squash tour. *1/2

Something was off with Brock during this time.

He wasn’t Brock Lesnar, the ruthless animal that got over in the first place. He was placed in the dreaded top babyface mold. Brock was smiling. He was happy to be here. Shaking hands and kissing babies. And it sucked. It’s interesting to see that the neutering of edgy WWE babyfaces had gone all the way back to 2003. And when you think about it, they had done it even further back with Diesel going from a badass to a handslappin’ good guy in 1994. In any manner, babyface Brock was onto his next challenger, the Big Sh…ah christ, Big Show again? It hasn’t even been six months since the last Big Show push! I hope you all love something like Paul Heyman loved pushing the Big Show.

At Backlash, Big Show beat Rey Mysterio. After the match, Rey Mysterio needed a stretcher. Once he was strapped to the backboard, Big Show picked Mysterio up and swung him like a baseball bat at the ring post in one of the sickest spots I’ve ever seen. On SmackDown, Big Show was beating up Mysterio more when Babyface Brock showed up and fought him off. Babyface Brock doesn’t like bullies because he’s a babyface, so he offers to defend the title against Big Show in a stretcher match. Babyface Brock sucks so bad because it’s such a betrayal of what made him great to begin with. And now BROCK LESNAR, the best bully wrestler of a generation, is standing up for his best good friend Rey Mysterio, with whom he had never interacted with positively before. At least now the announcers aren’t asking how Brock can lift up the Big Show. Now they’re asking how Brock can put Big Show on a stretcher!

Judgment Day 2003
Stretcher Match
WWE Championship
Brock Lesnar (c) def. The Big Show

This is one point in WWE history where they suddenly cared about their history, so they talk about the last stretcher match in WWE, Andre The Giant vs. Killer Khan in 1981. Brock started the match by hammering Big Show with the backboard that Show brought out. Show gorilla pressed Brock to turn the tide. Back in the ring, Show laid Brock out with a big chokeslam. A big legdrop bounces Lesnar 3 feet in the air like a dead fish. We got our first stretcher nearfall as Show wheeled Brock up the aisle, but Brock kicked his way out. Brock came back with more stretcher shots before choking out Show with some loose cables. Brock tries to pull Show over the finish line, but the cables end up pulling Show off of the stretcher. Brock uses the set to monkey bar his way into a dropkick before spearing Big Show down the aisle. Lesnar hits the Hogan bodyslam onto the stretcher, but Big Show’s fat ass bounces off of it. Lesnar sent Show off the apron to bounce off of another stretcher on the floor. So Big Show can’t stay on the stretchers because they’re too small. Whatever will Brock do? Brock realizes that he’s fighting a losing battle and just leaves. Rey Mysterio comes out and guts Big Show with a 619, but Big Show drops him with a clothesline. Then, Brock busts into the arena with a forklift like this is Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain and hits square to do a shoulder block off the top of it. Brock is fired up, the crowd is fired up, and Brock hits an F-5 to lay Big Show out. Brock puts the backboard on the forklift, puts Big Show on the forklift, and drives it past the finish line to win. This was so dumb and I loved it. The most fun of the Big Show/Brock matches to watch, for sure. ***1/2

“When people talk to me about 2003, they talk about my match with Kurt at WrestleMania; my matches with John Cena and Big Show; the Iron Man Match (most falls in sixty minutes) I had with Kurt on SmackDown!; or me beating Kurt for the title and turning heel again.

Financially, that was also my best year in WWE. I was made champion so fast, Vince never even got around to giving me a new contract. I was on the road so much, we never had the time to discuss a new deal. Even by the time I was already a two-time champion, I was still working under the “developmental contract” I signed when I was recruited to train in OVW. Finally, we got around to discussing a new contract, and I signed a major deal with WWE on July 1, 2003.”

Brock’s new contract set him up to make $1 million a year, putting him in the Millionaire’s Club according to Jim Ross. If you want to take a look through that major deal, OSW Review has a copy of the whole thing on their website. I’m sure the WWE and Brock will have many good times throughout the full duration of that SEVEN-YEAR contract, which of course, would have expired right after the Fatal 4 Way PPV in 2010.

That’s all for this chapter of the Brockumentary. What are your thoughts on Brock’s WWE Title run so far? Did you know John Cena had a WWE Title match this early on in his career? Let me know on Twitter, @SuitWilliams.