Brock Lesnar is one of the most recognizable faces in wrestling today. That’s true whether we’re talking about his badass beat down style, or just what he actually looks like. He’s got bigger traps than have any business on a human being, and a full back tattoo to boot. This combination of his alpha-est of alpha males look and his MMA-based style make him one of the most feared wrestlers the industry has ever seen.
Lesnar broke into professional wrestling in the early 2000s after being a college star in amateur wrestling, even winning the national collegiate championship. Kurt Angle had just made everyone acutely aware of the great technical wrestling that can come from amateur wrestlers making the jump, and Lesnar followed suit, quickly lighting the wrestling world on fire. Unfortunately, he didn’t stay in the business for very long, leaving in 2004 to pursue an NFL and later UFC career.
He came back to WWE in 2012, and though he’s only been a part-time performer, his matches are often the most hyped for any pay-per-view he appears on. But understandably, leaving for nearly 10 years and being immediately pushed back to the main event scene when he returned despite only wrestling part-time makes him a bit of a controversial figure in the fans' eyes. But what do his fellow wrestlers think about him?
There’s a lot to love about wrestling Lesnar, especially the fact that his matches are hyped to no end, but his hard-hitting style certainly isn’t for everyone. And so, here’s 8 wrestlers who loved working with Lesnar, and 7 who hated it.
15 15. Love – Kurt Angle
We already briefly mentioned how both Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar were top amateur wrestlers before coming to professional wrestling. As such, you would only expect that the two either had immense respect for each other, or were intense rivals. Turns out it’s a little bit of both. When the two feuded, there was so much intensity as each man was trying to prove they were better than the other. They even agreed to a shoot wrestling match after an episode of SmackDown had gone off the air to see who the better amateur wrestler was.
14 14. Hate – Randy Orton
By the end of their SummerSlam bout, Randy Orton was simply on the receiving end of a brutal beating, including having his head busted open the hard way. And reportedly, according to Orton himself, the whole thing including the bleeding was planned, and Orton was even promised Lesnar knew how to do it safely. What fans might not know is how that last part sort of fell out of place.
13 13. Love – Batista
The Beast and The Animal were never both on the main roster of WWE for very long. From 2002 to 2004, they were there together, but went opposite ways when the brand split started, with Lesnar being a dominant force on SmackDown while Batista tore up RAW with the Evolution stable. There was a chance for a match to happen when Batista returned in 2014, but of course Batista was mostly a complete waste during his short, ill-fated return, leaving Batista vs. Lesnar as a great match that never happened. Except they actually have wrestled before.
12 12. Hate – The Big Show
One of the few wrestlers to have wrestled Lesnar both in his original run and in his return, Big Show doesn’t seem to have liked wrestler Lesnar at either point in his career. In his original 2002-2004 run, some of Lesnar’s most iconic matches were against The World’s Largest Athlete, including his first pinfall loss after Paul Heyman turned on him and the famous spot where Lesnar superplexed Big Show, collapsing the entire ring. But still, there was no love lost between the two, and things didn’t get any better when Lesnar returned.
11 11. Love – The Rock
What makes The Rock such a good legendary figure in WWE is that unlike Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, or John Cena (and sometimes even Steve Austin), The Rock doesn’t have a history of backstage politicking and refusing to lose. More than any top performer in the company’s history, The Rock was more than happy to lay down for up and coming talents to give them the rub to instantly kick off their careers in the best way possible. And one of the biggest names he did so for was Brock Lesnar.
10 10. Hate – John Cena
From one legend who passed the torch to Lesnar, to one who came up along with him. Unfortunately, this matchup didn’t fare so well. Unlike Lesnar’s rivalry with Angle which remained professional, the competition between two upcoming stars got ugly, with real vitriol between the two backstage. Go back and watch some of their matches from 2003 and it’s hard not to come away thinking that Lesnar was phoning it in to sabotage the match. Reportedly this was to fuel Cena’s reputation as a clumsy worker.
And things didn’t get any better when Lesnar returned. Lesnar’s first match after coming back in 2012 was against John Cena. Lesnar was slated to lose, which he was fine with as long as Cena sold the beating he received during the match well. But after their Extreme Rules match was over, Cena got up and addressed the crowd with a heartfelt promo, which was seen as Cena burying Lesnar by no-selling the brutal match.
9 9. Love – Roman Reigns
Wrestling fans talk a lot about Roman Reigns being pushed to the moon both way too soon in his career and ahead of other wrestlers who arguably are far more deserving of it. The rejection of Reigns as a top babyface really cemented itself when Reigns won the 2015 Royal Rumble to go on to face Lesnar at WrestleMania 31. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar may not have been the WrestleMania main event fans had been hoping to see in 2015, but it ended up being a surprisingly good match that the Samoan still remembers fondly.
8 8. Hate – Dean Ambrose
Dean Ambrose had a match with Lesnar at WrestleMania 32, but this ended up being almost the exact opposite of the Reigns vs Lesnar match the year before. Where Reigns vs Lesnar was a compelling match nobody expected, Ambrose vs Lesnar was an exciting prospect that turned into a complete stinker. And Ambrose has not been shy to place the blame for that squarely on Brock.
7 7. Love – Seth Rollins
Just in case you were curious where the other member of The Shield stood on Lesnar, here you go. Seth Rollins has had multiple run-ins with Lesnar, though only one of them was actually a full match. But all three of his encounters with Lesnar have been standout moments. Their triple threat along with John Cena was a match of the year contender and Rollins cashing in at the end of WrestleMania 31 was one of the most memorable moments in the past decade.
6 6. Hate – Bob Holly
Bob Holly’s match with Brock Lesnar back in his original run with the company is one of the more infamous ones. The two were having a perfectly decent match until it came time for a powerbomb that went horribly awry. Holly didn’t pull himself up properly to get ready to land on him back, which caused Lesnar to drop him straight on his head, breaking his neck. It was even long rumored that Holly was intentionally sandbagging the powerbomb since he had a bit of a reputation for hazing rookies.
5 5. Love – Shinsuke Nakamura
This one will surprise a lot of people, because most wrestling fans might not even know that Nakamura vs. Lesnar already happened. After Lesnar was cut from the NFL after the pre-season, Lesnar returned to wrestling in 2005 in New Japan Pro Wrestling, and even won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in his debut match. Despite injunctions from WWE relating to his no-compete clause, he defended the belt until being stripped of it due to visa issues. And one of his defenses was against Shinsuke Nakamura.
4 4. Hate – Matt Hardy
One of Brock Lesnar’s first feuds ever in WWE was with The Hardy Boyz, Matt and Jeff. It was an effective way to introduce him as a monster by having him ruthlessly attack one of the most over duos ever. But apparently, there was a little bit of real heat, especially with Matt. In a shoot interview, Matt Hardy tells of how he was annoyed by Lesnar getting a little bit cocky backstage despite being new blood, and hit him with a hard chair shot in one of their matches to try to put him in his place.
3 3. Love – CM Punk
CM Punk is not an easy guy to get along with. Then again, neither is Lesnar. Which is why it’s quite shocking to realize that they have absolute respect for each other. For all the wrestlers CM Punk has talked smack about after walking out of WWE, or even when he was still with the company, he has never had a bad word to say about Brock Lesnar. He may not have liked the circumstances around him facing Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam 2013, but that was always a beef with management, not the man himself.
2 2. Hate – Goldberg
Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar was a dream match that every WWE fan was clamoring for. Until it actually happened. What should have been one of the most hard-hitting matches in WWE history instead turned into arguably the worst WrestleMania match ever. This was mostly because both Goldberg and Lesnar were set to leave the company after their WrestleMania XX match. And supposedly, there was also some real heat between the two.
1 1. Love – The Undertaker
This is a very interesting one because Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker have no love lost for each other outside the ring. According to Lesnar, a mutual friend of the two told Lesnar about things The Undertaker had said about him that he didn’t take kindly to. It’s easy for the two to feud so intensely because they actually do have some beef between them. But it’s all good, because the two are professional enough with each other to set it all aside and make magic in the squared circle.
Both back in his original run and in his return where he broke The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak, neither has a bad thing to say about the other’s work within the ropes. Their WrestleMania match may have been lackluster due to Undertaker suffering a concussion, but their feud culminating at SummerSlam and Hell in a Cell was one of the most compelling stories of 2015. It doesn’t hurt that Undertaker is actually a huge MMA fan, so working a harder style with a former UFC star had to be something he loved doing.
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