Since arriving on the WWE scene in 2002, Brock Lesnar has been one of the most notoriously dangerous forces in the professional wrestling world. The bulk of Lesnar’s appeal to casual fans stems from his unbeatable mystique. He came to the WWE with the pedigree of a champion NCAA wrestler. And, when he returned to the WWE in 2012, he had added the pedigree of an established UFC fighter. Lesnar isn’t known for a propensity to put on mat classics regularly, but it doesn’t mean he hasn’t had his fair share of classics. Let’s take a look at some of The Beast Incarnate’s finest work.
10. WWE Championship: Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar, Survivor Series 2002 – It may not have been a five-star technical showing, but the story leading up to this match was fantastic. Lesnar’s manager, Paul Heyman, had turned on him to represent Big Show. The match was deeply personal, and it led to Lesnar losing the title.
9. Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns, Fastlane 2016 – Though Lesnar’s Street Fight with Ambrose in Dallas may have been a dud, the match that set up Wrestlemania 32 was not. Having to put on a quality pay-per-view main event in between two of the biggest shows of the year, Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania, presents a unique challenge, but these three individuals pulled it off wonderfully in 2016.
8. WWE Championship: Kurt Angle vs. Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar, Vengeance 2003 – It’s hard to say what Lesnar’s finest year in the WWE was, but 2003 is certainly in the conversation. His work with Angle was phenomenal, and Big Show had been a constant foil to Lesnar at this point in his career. The three met in a hidden gem Triple Threat Match at Vengeance 2003 worth digging up on the WWE Network.
7. WWE Championship: Eddie Guerrero vs. Brock Lesnar, No Way Out 2004 – In hindsight, it’s easy to see that this match happened to set up Smackdown’s two biggest matches at Wrestlemania XX: Guerrero vs. Angle, and Lesnar vs. Goldberg. That said, don’t sleep on this contest. It was still a classic contest that produced an unforgettable moment: Guerrero winning the WWE Championship.
6. WWE World Heavyweight Championship: John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins, Royal Rumble 2015 – After a dominating victory over Cena at Summerslam 2014, Lesnar appeared unstoppable. Adding Rollins to Lesnar’s last title defense before Wrestlemania 31 provided a spark the WWE couldn’t get in a one-on-one with Lesnar at the time. It meant The Beast could lose the title without being pinned. Still, the match itself was as exciting as a WWE title match can be.
5. Hell in a Cell Match: Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker, Hell in a Cell 2015 – The wrestling world stood silently shocked when Lesnar ended The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania undefeated streak at Wrestlemania XXX. That match was marred by a slow pace, perhaps because The Undertaker appeared concussed. But, a year later, ‘Taker would return for vengeance, kicking off one of the hottest feuds of 2015. That program peaked with an animalistic Hell in a Cell match in October. The Undertaker is one of Lesnar’s greatest rivals, and this match was the best between the two.
4. WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns (vs. Seth Rollins), Wrestlemania 31 – Even without Rollins cashing in his Money in the Bank contract, this match would’ve been on the list. Lesnar and Reigns pieced together quite a story. The Beast delivered suplex after suplex, and a couple of F5s. Still, Reigns kicked out. It’s a shining example of what an underdog, ‘David vs. Goliath’ match should look like (despite Reigns not being the prototypical underdog type). When Rollins cashed in to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, it was simply the icing on the cake.
3. Extreme Rules Match: John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar, Extreme Rules 2012 – This was Lesnar’s return match in the WWE after nearly a decade’s absence. It was built around passion for wrestling. We’ve seen it played out in wrestling storylines for a while now – Cena is here because he loves the WWE and loves the fans. Lesnar is here because he loves to beat people up and make money. This iteration of that story felt extremely personal, though. That sentiment carried over to a brutal Extreme Rules Match that saw a lot of blood spilled onto the mat. This one was a good old-fashioned brawl.
2. No Disqualification: Brock Lesnar vs. C.M. Punk, Summerslam 2013 – the WWE capitalized on the draw of Lesnar and the hot streak of Punk in the Summer of 2013. It worked like magic. Punk was betrayed by his manager Paul Heyman, who also happened to represent Lesnar, and so, “The Best vs. The Beast” was born. While the build to the match was stellar, the payoff was even greater.
After nearly 30 minutes of brawling, Punk hooked Heyman in the Anaconda Vise when Lesnar hit him with a chair. A subsequent F5 ended it – a physical match that culminated a strong build.
1. WWE Championship: Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar, Wrestlemania XIX – Over 14 years after the match took place, it remains the gold standard of Lesnar matches. Really, the entire rivalry with Angle could make up the majority of this list. The two had awesome contests all throughout 2003 – the ‘Mania showdown, the aforementioned triple threat with Big Show involved, a WWE Championship match at Summerslam, an Iron Man Match on SmackDown, etc.
All things considered, this match was set on the biggest stage. It was a bona fide wrestling clinic, and featured one of the most-played Wrestlemania highlights of all time when Lesnar attempted a Shooting Star Press. How he finished the match, I do not know. It’s a testament to Lesnar’s toughness and focus that he delivered an F5 an won the strap with a heavily concussed head. The show rolled to credits with the two combatants hugging, fireworks going off in the distance – an iconic image.