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WWE Summerslam Finish Building to Lesnar-McGregor at Wrestlemania?

Brock Lesnar

On Sunday night at WWE Summerslam, Brock Lesnar took on Randy Orton in an inter-brand match. It was being billed as “15 years in the making” as for the first time on PPV, the Beast and the Viper met in an epic clash. As expected, Lesnar, fresh off his UFC victory over Mark Hunt in July, took Orton to “suplex city” as he has so many others since. This long list includes John Cena, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose, since Lesnar coined the phrase at Wrestlemania 31 in 2015.

What Lesnar did after Orton had taken seven germans was something else entirely. In an ending that few could have expected, and what has some speculating may not have even been planned, the Beast left the Viper disoriented and lying in a pool of his own blood. To use a phrase that the WWE has all but banned from its lingo, Orton was “busted open.” Given how the company no longer allows its wrestlers to blade, it’s clear this gash, that required Orton to get 10 staples in his head, was done via hardway, thanks to what very well could have been a less than accidental shot to the head delivered by Lesnar.

The Elbow Heard Round the World

The match began pretty standard fare, exactly what one would expect from a Brock Lesnar bout. The two exchanged some early blows and then it was suplex after suplex after suplex. In all, Randy Orton took seven, which given the amount past competitors have taken has sometimes been well over double that, the man got off easy. But Orton also had just returned from a shoulder injury that kept him out for close to nine months and it was clear that the suplexes he did take were less than the full extent of what Lesnar could do. Instead of throwing his opponent for much of the earlier suplexes, Lesnar merely fell backwards with Orton, it appearing as if his lower back, not shoulder or neck, was taking the brunt of the damage.

If anything Lesnar was going easy on Orton. Even in a spot where Orton was thrown against a table which failed to break the first time, Lesnar can be seen with his hand under the man’s neck, minimizing any sort of impact the move would have had.

Orton managed to get his revenge, when on the Raw announce table, he hit Lesnar with the RKO out of nowhere and then bated the Beast back into the ring, catching him on the ropes and executing one of his vintage hangman’s DDTs. However, in what was either a botched or rushed spot, Orton seemed to drop Lesnar straight on his head. And what followed, whether it was a brilliant act of storytelling or simply Lesnar reacting to the DDT gone wrong, it was in that moment where the match took a turn.

Following an F5 in which Randy Orton kicked out of, Brock Lesnar took off his gloves and began a vicious, MMA-style assualt, landing forearm blows to the skull of his opponent. However as you often see in matches where blows to the head are exchanged, Orton has his hands up in protection. But for just a moment, Orton’s head is exposed and that’s when Lesnar uses his elbow in devastating fashion. For a moment, it even looked as if the shot to the head knocked out Orton. When he finally does move, it’s merely to roll onto his side, showing just how much blood was pouring from his head.

The referee immediately put on his gloves and tried to stop the bleeding only for Lesnar to continue to attack the already injured Orton. At this point it was apparent that the match needed to be stopped and following the arrival of several more refs and medics, Mike Chioda made that call. Lesnar was awarded the victory by what is a rare decision in wrestling, a TKO.

Is that “Real” Enough for you Conor McGregor?

One of the theories that seems to be going around regarding Brock Lesnar’s actions is that it had something to do with the recent Conor McGregor vs the WWE saga that has been going on for several weeks. Calling out the entire locker room, vowing that he would defeat them all and referring to what occurs in a wrestling ring as “a little bit more show business,” compared to the UFC, which he referred to as “fight business,” the featherweight champion had a chance to prove his point by defeating Nate Diaz at UFC 202 on Saturday night. The following night however, it was Lesnar, who McGregor called out by name, who had a chance to prove a point of his own.

Following a press event in which Lesnar responded to McGregor’s comments with ones of his own defending the WWE and going so far as to challenge the UFC star to a match on his turf, the Beast returned to the squared circle for the first time since defeating Mark Hunt at UFC 200. And for a man who Mick Foley even suggested on Facebook in the afermath of Sunday’s main event, may have “gone into business for himself,” it’s quite possible Lesnar took it upon himself to show McGregor just how “real” wrestling can be. While many of his coworkers used Twitter to express those sentiments to McGregor, it would only make sense that Lesnar, who has experienced both worlds, would use his actions to speak louder.

Now, for this theory to have any traction, it assumes one of two things:

  1. Brock Lesnar cares what Conor McGregor thinks about him.
  2. Brock Lesnar wants a WWE match with Conor McGregor.

Digging a little further into the second assumption, because let’s be honest, Lesnar doesn’t care what anybody thinks about him, it is very possible that Lesnar acted on his own. However, it is also possible that Lesnar acted entirely with the WWE’s and even Orton’s blessing if noted WWE insider, Dave Meltzer is to be believed. According to Meltzer, Lesnar opening up Orton, perhaps in an effort to show just how dangerous the Beast can be, was in fact scripted, even if the WWE likely hadn’t intended nor planned for that much of a bloody finish.

It is speculative at best at this point, but if WWE wanted to lay the groundwork for a possible Lesnar/McGregor match, last night did exactly that. Not only did it prove how real pro wrestling can get, but it also opened the door for Paul Heyman to spin some incredible promos going forward about the destructive nature that is his client and how no one steps into the ring with him and manages to leave in one piece. How Orton was just the latest example, the latest in a long string of talent in the locker room that needed to learn their lesson the “hardway.”

But regardless of whether Orton being busted open was scripted or not, it has gotten people talking and no doubt will have them wanting to tune in to Raw tonight and Smackdown on Tuesday for more on what should be a compelling and developing story.

Especially if its end is to have Brock Lesnar taking on Conor McGregor inside a WWE ring at the biggest PPV of the year, Wrestlemania.

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