WWE Legend’s Persuasion Almost Ended Brock Lesnar’s Career
Brock Lesnar is now one of the most powerful professional wrestlers in the world. This superstar, with a fearsome stature, swiftly ascended to notoriety after making his WWE debut in 2002. Within a year at Vince McMahon‘s promotion, ‘The Next Big Thing’ won the WWE Championship by defeating other WWE superstars like The Rock and The Undertaker.
He lost the belt to The Big Show at Survivor Series, but got another title shot (at WrestleMania XIX) on the back of his 2003 Royal Rumble win. In his book, Death Clutch, Brock Lesnar described how his first WrestleMania match nearly ended his WWE career.
John Laurinaitis, who served as the contest’s agent, planned and choreographed the entire bout. Additionally, as an agent, he had to design the match’s conclusion. This required him to speak with the wrestlers individually to discuss all the details.
Laurinaitis approached him and described how the scenario would play out. It would see The Beast perform the Shooting Star Press to defeat Angle and capture the WWE Championship. Lesnar was quite hesitant to execute the maneuver, but Laurinaitis appears to have convinced him to do it.
How Brock Lesnar’s career future was at risk?
Lesnar hadn’t performed the move in almost a year, which made it extremely risky for both of them. When a 300-pound guy inward-reverse-somersaults himself into the air from the top rope, there is little room for mistakes and a lot that may go wrong.
He stated, “Finally, stupidly, I agreed to do it, but I at least wanted to practice the move a few times first. I should have listened to my gut and just said “NO!” But I went down to the ring to practice hurling myself from the top rope.”
When Lesnar started practicing, he was actually very good. He made a perfect landing on his first attempt and was successful every time. Everyone thus agreed that it wouldn’t be an issue when he got it done after a few more repetitions at the end of the match.
Unfortunately, that was not the case, as he suffered a concussion and severe injuries. ‘The Beast’ stated, “I launched the Shooting Star Press. Every wrestling fan knows what happened next. My boot slipped off the wet rope, I under-rotated, crashed in spectacular fashion, and gave myself a massive concussion. I damn near broke my neck. I still had enough sense left to know that I had to win, but I don’t remember finishing the match.”
When Brock Lesnar leaped off the top rope, he fell to the canvas, missed Angle by a considerable margin, and fractured his neck. That, and the concussion, could have ended his WWE stint.