By David Dickson, Columnist
Before I ring The Timekeeper’s Bell, this week, I would like like to say how saddened I am at the news, this past weekend, of the passing of one of the greatest Managers and Color Commentators that this business has ever seen, and one of my all time favorites, Bobby The Brain Heenan. A true legend. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family, his friends, and his fellow fans. At least his years of suffering have finally come to an end. Gorilla and The Brain will be calling some great matches, up in Heaven. Rest In Peace, Brain.
Now, onto this week’s column….
Remember when the 30 day rule on title defenses in World Wrestling Entertainment meant something? If a Champion would get injured, either for real, or kayfabe, and they couldn’t defend their title within the 30 day limit, then they would be forced to forfeit their title. If a Champion would get suspended, either for real, or kayfabe, and they couldn’t defend their title within the 30 day limit, then they would be forced to forfeit their title. If a Champion would try and get out of having to defend their title, or just plain refuse to defend it, then after the 30 day limit, they’d be stripped of their title.
We have seen the above happen to so many Champions, over the years, including The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels, several times, The Smoking Guns, Ahmed Johnson, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Batista, Edge, Daniel Bryan, twice, Seth Rollins, Finn Bàlor, and most recently, Asuka, plus so many more.
However, it seems that if you are The Beast Incarnate Brock Lesnar, that rule does not apply to you. When won his fourth WWE World Heavyweight Championship, back in 2014, he defended it in the first month and then he took the belt and went home for 3 months. He would then return to WWE Television, but it would be another month, before he made his second defence. Then, he went home, again. All in all, Lesnar defended that title 3 times, over a 7 months period.
Right now, Brock Lesnar is the WWE Raw Universal Champion, winning the title at WWE Wrestlemania 33, back in April, and then took the belt and went home. It would be 3 months later, that he would make his first defence. His second defence was a month later. His third defence is thiscoming Sunday, as the WWE Raw brand presents the 13th No Mercy event, against Braun Strowman. It is rumoured that this will be Brock Lesnar’s final match of 2017. So, if it is, will Lesnar drop the title to Strowman? Or, will he take the belt back home, again, for the rest of the year, only to show up in time to defend it for the fourth time at the 31st Annual WWE Royal Rumble, in January 2018?
Many people feel that this is making a mockery of the 30 day rule, as well as damaging the prestige of the top Championships in WWE. Then there’s the fact that Brock Lesnar is one of the highest paid Wrestlers on the whole WWE roster, receiving millions per annum, yet has one of the lightest schedules, only competing approximately 7 times, per year. Mostly doing F5s and German Suplexes, and appears to get blown up, just doing those, at the age of 40.
Many people feel that the above is just unfair to the Wrestlers who show up, every day, go on the road for weeks, at a time, away from their loved ones, and working their backside’s off, putting in amazing performances, night after night, risking their bodies, and even their lives, for a fraction of the pay that Lesnar receives.
Many people feel that Brock Lesnar has often been given special treatment that he hasn’t ever really earned. Even the first time he was in WWE, before he walked out on the Company, with 8 years remaining on his contract. It would be 8 years, before Lesnar would return to WWE, and the same special treatment resumed. The above mentioned title reigns, big money deal, light schedule, and of course, getting to end The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania Undefeated Streak.
Now, I don’t want to knock Brock Lesnar. The man is indeed a beast and he does possess Wrestling talent. He had a great amateur career, before turning Pro. He certainly is a big Star, around the World, and does draw slightly higher ratings, when he does show up. But, are they high enough to warrant this treatment? I don’t think so. And what about the performances that Lesnar puts in, these days? Are they as good as they used to be? Are they good enough to warrant this treatment? I don’t think so.
As a longtime, diehard, Wrestling fan, I like my Champions to show up, regularly, whilst they are Champion, and I like them to defend their titles, at least, every 30 days. An event just doesn’t feel as big, when the top title isn’t defended in the main event. When a Champion gets paid to sit at home with the belt, it’s not fair to all the great Champions that were forced to forfeit their titles, or who were stripped. It’s not fair to all the hard working full time title contenders, who could be making good Champions. And it’s not fair to the fans who pay their money to see Champions defend their titles. I think this is just another thing that is damaging WWE, during this down period, that they need to fix.
Until next time, I’ve been your Timekeeper, Davey Dickson, and this has been my bottom line.