Brock’s career in his own words. Previous chapters can be found here: https://www.voicesofwrestling.com/category/vow-latest/columns/brockumentary/
After the Judgment Day stretcher match ended with Brock definitively beating Big Show, the feud just had to continue. Big Show pinned Brock in a handicap match with the Full Blooded Italians to earn another shot at the WWE Title. Brock was teaming with the Undertaker because Babyface Brock doesn’t menace pregnant women, I guess. On June 5, it was announced that Big Show would get his title match the next week. It was also on June 5 where Kurt Angle made his miraculous return from the neck injury that almost cost him his career.
From the April 14, 2003 Wrestling Observer:
“Kurt Angle made the decision to go with the minimally invasive surgery techniques of Dr. Hae-Dong Jho, with an operation for his damaged neck scheduled on 4/11 in Pittsburgh.
The decision had been one of considerable controversy because it was contradictory to the diagnosis of Dr. Lloyd Youngblood, who had been the company’s go-to guy for wrestlers with neck problems. Youngblood had recommended that Angle retire, while Jho said Angle could be back in action in four to six weeks, although internally the expectations are that he won’t be back quite that quickly.”
Angle returned to the ring on June 14 at a house show in Odessa, Texas, which I’m sure is exactly where he wanted to get back in the ring. That made his recovery time nearly 11 weeks, which is much shorter than the year plus he was looking at with the originally recommended neck fusion surgery. So now with a babyface Kurt Angle back in the picture much sooner than expected, the only question now was who he would be chasing for the title.
June 12, 2003
Brock Lesnar and The Big Show go to a no contest
This was Brock’s third defense of his second reign.
Because Babyface Brock is a babyface, he must SELL. And sell he did. Big Show put him in a single-leg Boston Crab, which just looked hilarious. Brock got Big Show up for a German before going for the F-5, but he couldn’t keep Big Show up and collapsed. A chokeslam only scored Big Show a two-count. He goozled Brock again, but this time he went up to the top rope. Brock cut him off before climbing to the top with him. Brock hooked Show up for a superplex, and…
The superplex imploded the ring. The show goes off the air with medics checking on both men and the crowd going insane. The match is nothing we haven’t seen before, but the spot was genuinely one of the most memorable stunts in modern wrestling history. **1/2
Since neither Brock nor Big Show won, Angle would have to face both of them if he wanted the WWE Title back. I’ll be dead honest here, there was another Big Show/Lesnar match for the title. I don’t want to watch it again, it ended with a DQ, and I don’t think you guys want to read a review of the same match five times in the same series. So instead, we’ll look at the big Madison Square Garden main event (back when WWE could sell tickets to that venue) that saw Lesnar and Angle team up with the hot young newcomer to Smackdown, Mr. America against Big Show, and Angle’s ex-teammates in Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas. Lesnar and Angle are teaming now because Brock checked up on Angle when he was in the hospital, so they’re cool now. It’s so good to see that these two hypercompetitive super-athletes won’t let something trivial like the WWE Championship get in the way of their friendship.
June 26, 2003
The Big Show & The Best Damn Tag Team Period (Benjamin & Haas) def. Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle, &
Hulk Hogan Mr. America
Benjamin and Haas calling themselves The Best Damn Tag Team Period is so 2003 it hurts. Hogan sees a giant walking to the ring and immediately calls for a slam, which made me laugh heartily. Michael Cole lets us know that Madison Square Garden will be the home of Wrestlemania 20. Good to know. The crowd chants for Hogan, which will no doubt give him the idea that he should win the belt again. The heels work over Angle until Angle hits a crossbody on Benjamin. That allows Angle to tag in America, who drops Benjamin with a big Axe Bomber lariat. Hogan must think he’s in Nippon Budokan against Hansen, brother. Lesnar gets in and hits the classic lariat from Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain. The announcers are calling Brock a “man-ster,” as in half-man, half-monster. They can’t all be winners.
Big Show comes in, and the announcers remind us that Show beat Lesnar the last time they were in MSG. Angle gets the hot tag and sends Benjamin and Haas flying with suplexes. Everything breaks down before Angle and Lesnar hit their finishes on the babyfaces. Show hits a double chokeslam on Angle and Lesnar before Mr. America rocks him with right hands. He gets ready for the big shot before…ugh, Vince McMahon drags out Zach Gowen. The red-hot MSG crowd dies a death as Vince beats Gowen up. That distracts America enough for Big Show to herk him up for a chokeslam and score the win. We then get Vince and Stephanie McMahon’s Dinner Theatre, but this ain’t the Gowen Recollective, so I’m not talking about it. This was a fun little TV match. Fun fact: this was Hulk Hogan’s last ever match in Madison Square Garden, as he would leave WWE after this show over creative differences. ***1/4
As Brock logged in more and more bumps on that sacred bump card, he felt that he was falling onto the hamster wheel that everyone else in the company was on. He knew early on that he didn’t want to end up like a Hulk Hogan, still taking bumps at age 50 because it was all he could do. He needed some breathing room away from the WWE Universe.
“In an attempt to keep my sanity, and avoid becoming like all the others, I kept telling J.R., Laurinaitis, Brisco (and anyone else who would listen) that I needed some time off. That didn’t work, so I finally cornered Vince and told him the same thing. You should have seen the look on his face. You would have thought that I stuck a knife in his stomach and twisted it. He acted as if I had committed the ultimate act of betrayal. “I have all of this TV time invested in you” . . . “The COMPANY is counting on you” . . . “I told everyone I could rely on you. You can’t let me down. Eventually, I persuaded Vince to give me a weekend off here and there, but he was never going to let me come off the road for a couple of months. It didn’t matter to him if I dropped the title or not, there was just no way he was going to give me that kind of time off.”
Brock may not have won any time off, but he would win another battle that would make getting around much easier on him.
“But still I thought maybe if I didn’t have to deal with some of the travel hassles it might be different. Lines at airport security were getting worse and worse after 9/11, and for a lot of flights you had to arrive two hours early. When you fly every day, and you are always tired and beat-up, the constant lines and waiting around just wears on you. And it is even worse when you can’t walk through an airport without being recognized by hundreds or thousands of people who want pictures and autographs. So I ran the numbers, and I found out it was costing Vince about $175,000 a year to fly me all over the country. The international tours were a different story, but just the domestic travel was somewhere between $150,000 and $175,000.
Then it hit me. What if I bought my own plane, and avoided all the lines, check-ins, time spent waiting to board, walking through the airport, getting my bags? What if I could just hop on my own plane, go to work, do my job, and get back on my plane and come home? It would be just like driving to work for most people. Yeah, I could do that! So I added up some more numbers, and I figured it out so that I could buy my own plane, have one of my oldest friends, Justin, fly it for me, and actually save Vince money at the same time. Vince would only need to pay for maintenance and fuel, and he would come out ahead. One day during a SmackDown! taping, I went into Vince’s office with my spreadsheets and told him my plan. I showed Vince how he’d actually save money making this deal with me, and maybe I wouldn’t need as much time off as I was looking for. Wouldn’t you know it, the very next day the son of a bitch got back to me and said, “Let’s do it!”
Kurt Angle def. Brock Lesnar & The Big Show
This was Brock’s fifth defense of his second reign.
The last shot of the promo video is Big Show drooling at the screen. I’m very intimidated. The ring was covered in Vince McMahon’s blood, as Zach Gowen caused him to spring a leak earlier in the night. Blading in Denver, Colorado, as it turns out, is a very bad idea! I remembered this match as being much better than it was. The crowd was not as into this as you would think, which you can attribute to WWE making Kurt Angle into just another guy on the roster in a matter of weeks. Lesnar came into this one cold too, given that he’s spent the better part of his title reign running the same match back with the Big Show. It’s the same issue you see today, where WWE just cannot book a top babyface effectively for the life of them.
Now the crowd did get up for a few things. There were a lot of finishers in this match because it was a WWE main event in 2003. Brock’s feats of strength were always impressive, and the running powerbomb he pulled out here on Big Show was particularly spectacular. Angle sent Show through a table with an Angle Slam to take him out of the picture for a time. Lesnar and Angle went back and forth before Brock resorted to the dreaded Hogan Killer Bearhug, but Big Show came in and dropped the leg (brother) to break it up. Big Show then got his titty out and hit a double chokeslam for nearfalls on both men, before Brock kicked him in the nuts to take him out. Angle gets Lesnar in an ankle lock before breaking it to give Big Show an Angle Slam. One final Angle Slam to Lesnar got the pin and the title, a mere four months after thinking his career was over. I remembered this match being an all-timer the first time I watched it years ago, but this was a typical WWE triple threat match with a crowd that felt tired. They wanted to get into it, but they may have been tired or maybe they weren’t into it and just got up for the moves. Either way, it contributed to a solid, if forgettable main event. ***1/2
So Brock lost the WWE Title to Kurt Angle. But these two men are great friends! They would never let the WWE Title change that fact. Right? But that’s a story for the next chapter of the Brockumentary. Where were you when Brock Lesnar and Big Show imploded the ring? Let me know on Twitter, @SuitWilliams, or on the Voices of Wrestling Discord, where I’m also active.
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