This week I've set out to do something different in Mixed Martial Arts: acknowledge the pro wrestling past of Brock Lesnar. MMA fans are terrified of the legitimate ties between MMA and professional wrestling. Maybe it's shame. Maybe it's a case of "if I don't say it out loud, then it's not true". In any case, this week is all about the WWE career of Brock Lesnar. Thus far we've covered his debut, a light hearted backstage segment with Kurt Angle, and his match with Zach Gowen. Today, I'd like to cover one of the worst moments in his WWE career.
For those that love the "business" winning WWE gold is a dream come true. It's validation for all the time spent on the road and legitimizes a push the wrestler received. At Wrestlemania XIX, in front of 54,097 fans at Seattle, Washington's Safeco Field Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle squared off for Angle's heavyweight championship belt. The atmosphere was absolutely electric with the Rock defeating Stone Cold Steve Austin in the previous match. When Lesnar and Angle hit the ring the crowd at Safeco Field were on their feet to see two of the biggest names in professional wrestling square off for the most important title in the world.
With both Lesnar and Angle having legitimate amateur backgrounds, the opening of the match focused on the more technical side of wrestling. Treating fans to some clean chain wrestling sequences, Angle and Lesnar put on a display of talent that is rarely showcased. For twenty minutes both Lesnar and Angle took fans on a psychological ride culminating in the big finish: a shooting star press. Lesnar was able to pull this move off multiple times during his stint in Ohio Valley Wrestling and both agreed that a 295 pound man pulling off this stunt would bring the house down. What happened next was one of the most terrifying moments in wrestling history.
Video and more after the jump...
After hitting his second F-5 on the night, Lesnar made the move to the top rope for the big finish. Lesnar took flight off the top turnbuckle with the shooting star press, a forward moving backflip. Unfortunately, he miscalculated how far he could jump and under rotated, barely clearing his head from connecting with the unforgiving mat. Instead, his head slammed into Angle's ribcage. Our own Tim Burke was there live and actually yelled out "HE'S DEAD!" He wasn't dead, just severely concussed. Angle was forced to improvise the finish, setting up Lesnar for another F-5 and the clean pin.
Lesnar almost became a statistic: another wrestler who suffered a career ending injury due to a botched move. Obviously Lesnar survived and didn't break his neck but the moment showed how dangerous professional wrestling is and how quickly a crowning moment can be taken away due to the slightest miscalculation. Be sure to come back tomorrow for the final day of Lesnar's WWE career where I discuss the "holy sh*t!" moment that fans had never seen before.
Skip to 25:45 for the beginning of the sequence.