Brock Lesnar is a 4-time WWE World Champion and is quite possibly the most dominant force in professional wrestling history. Paul Heyman gets on television at least once a month to tell everyone all the ways in which Brock has dominated the WWE unlike anyone else, but there are some things about the Beast Incarnate fans may have forgot.
Lesnar’s WWE career technically began in the year 2000, although he didn’t debut on TV until 2002. Prior to going pro, Lesnar was one of the most accomplished amateur wrestlers in NCAA history. He’s been a wrestler, a football player, and a mixed martial artist, and he’s had unprecedented success almost everywhere he’s gone.
When Brock debuted people called him The Next Big Thing, and Tazz always warned, “Here comes the pain!” as he made his entrance. Read on to learn 15 facts about the Conqueror who brought that pain you may have never known.
15. He Joined the National Guard When He Was 17
Brock might have had a military career if not for one small problem. When he was only 17, an Army recruiter came to his school and nearly convinced him and a friend of his to sign up for the service on the spot. He did end up joining the National Guard, but the Beast wanted to work with explosives and be put into serious danger, only to be saddled with a simple desk job. It’s pretty hard to imagine Brock Lesnar sitting behind a desk even if it was to somehow serve his country, so it’s not too surprising he decided to quit pretty quickly and start training to become a wrestler. Why did the military put Brock behind a desk? Well…
14. He’s Color Blind
Considering most deadly animals don’t see on the full color spectrum either, it actually isn’t that surprising to us Brock Lesnar is color blind. He doesn’t exactly see in black-and-white, but Brock has red-green colorblindness, meaning he doesn’t see colors as vibrantly as most people can. It’s easy to imagine him getting into a rage and everything turning red, but as it would turn out, it’s more likely to turn kind of a muddy brown color when he takes people to Suplex City. While this doesn’t particularly affect his athletic performance, the military felt it was too hazardous to allow him to work with dangerous materials.
13. He Was Trained By His First Tag Partner, Shelton Benjamin
After giving up on the National Guard, Brock enrolled in Bismarck State College before transferring to the University of Minnesota on a full wrestling scholarship. One of his wrestling coaches while he was in college was Brock’s roommate, none other than former WWE Intercontinental Champion Shelton Benjamin. A true monster like Brock doesn’t have only one trainer, but Shelton was one of the first to mold the legend Brock would become. The two also wrestled as a tag team early on in their careers, known as the Minnesota Stretching Crew. Shelton has said he never felt jealous or overshadowed by Brock’s success, since he knew Brock was going to be a huge star from the start.
12. He’s An NCAA Champion
Plenty of professional wrestlers got their start amateur wrestling in college, but few had careers anywhere near as successful as Brock. With an overall record of 106-5, Brock dominated his weight class every year of college. In his sophomore year, Brock won the NJCAA heavyweight championship, and in his senior year, he won the NCAA Division I heavyweight championship – definitive proof he was the best amateur wrestler in the world in the year 2000. It’s no surprise credentials like this made Vince McMahon start seeing dollar signs, and Brock was signed to a WWE contract shortly after he graduated. He spent two years training at Ohio Valley Wrestling before he was ready to take over.
11. He Was The Youngest Undisputed Champion Ever
Brock debuted in WWE early 2002 and very quickly took over the company. After becoming the 2002 King of the Ring, he earned a shot at the Undisputed WWE Championship. Only 25 years old, Brock headlined SummerSlam, defeating The Rock and becoming the youngest champion in company history. Randy Orton would technically beat his record two years later, but it was still an amazing accomplishment for the young Beast. Shortly after winning the title, Lesnar began exclusively competing for SmackDown, which is why WWE had two world titles for the next several years. Lesnar lost his first title to the Big Show after Paul Heyman turned on him, but would be a 2-time World Champion before his 26th birthday.
10. He’s Wrestling’s Youngest Royalty
After losing the WWE World Championship for the first time, Lesnar started on the warpath and entered his first Royal Rumble in 2003. Earlier in the show, he defeated the same man who beat him for the title, The Big Show, for the right to compete in the Rumble. After entering at #29, Brock annihilated the competition and easily won, last eliminating The Undertaker. In doing so, Lesnar also became the youngest Royal Rumble winner in WWE history, in addition to his earlier feats as youngest champion and the youngest King of the Ring.
9. He Almost Died At WrestleMania XIX
At the climax of perhaps the greatest debut year in wrestling history, Brock Lesnar very nearly accidentally killed himself on national television. On his way to his second WWE World Heavyweight title, Lesnar faced Kurt Angle in the main event of WrestleMania XIX. Near the end of the match, Lesnar had Angle beat, and decided to debut his version of the Shooting Star Press in what could have easily been the biggest moment in his career. Unfortunately, something went wrong, and Lesnar landed on his face, giving himself a concussion and jamming his neck. Only because Brock is a freak of nature with a neck of steel was he able to survive. He somehow managed to not only stand up, but also give Kurt Angle an F-5 and win the match and the title.
8. He’s The Reason Stone Cold Left WWE
‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin is a WWE Hall of Famer. No one in WWE history made as much money as him as quickly as he did. In 2002, Austin was still wrestling, but neck injuries were causing him to slow down as a performer and WWE higher ups wanted him to lose to Lesnar on a seemingly random episode of Raw in July. Austin always liked Brock, but he felt like a match between the two needed to be a much bigger deal than a random meeting on television, so Austin famously “took his ball and went home,” quitting WWE. Austin and WWE would eventually mend ties, but the match between him and Brock was never meant to be, as Austin retired within a year.
7. He’s No Beast At Football
Brock eventually left WWE for the first time in 2004, primarily because he was hoping to start a career in football. He also had problems with WWE’s arduous travel schedule, which is why he has a special reduced schedule today. Lesnar played football in high school, but hadn’t really practiced much since then. While it’s true he’s a freak of nature and one of the most physically imposing forces in wrestling history, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s great at every sport under the sun, and he himself admitted he simply wasn’t that good at football. Regardless, due to his drive and his physical talents, he was able to secure a spot on the Minnesota Viking’s training team in 2004, before being cut during the pre-season.
6. He Is A Beast In The East
After failing at football, Lesnar decided he wanted to return to professional wrestling. Unfortunately, things didn’t end great with WWE, and a no-compete clause technically prevented him from working anywhere else. Lesnar essentially ignored the law and began wrestling for New Japan Pro Wrestling anyway. He debuted for NJPW in 2005, winning the International Wrestling Grand Prix (IWGP) Heavyweight Championship in his first match. Although marred by legal problems surrounding his no-compete clause, Lesnar dominated New Japan as easily as he did the WWE, holding the title for nearly one full year. After experiencing Visa and financial issues, Lesnar eventually left New Japan to begin a career in MMA.
5. He Lost His First UFC Fight
Brock’s technical MMA debut was in the Japanese promotion Hero’s, and his first victim was Min Soo Kim, who he defeated in barely over a minute in 2007. He returned to America and signed with UFC in 2008, fighting his first match against Frank Mir. Mir defeated Lesnar via submission at UFC 77 after locking in a knee-bar after 1:30. Although Lesnar would return at UFC 87 and defeat Heath Herring, the early loss ate at him for years. Lesnar finally had his rematch with Mir at UFC 100 in 2009, and Lesnar earned his revenge, this time winning via technical knockout.
4. He’s A Former UFC Champion
Although he lost his first fight, Lesnar took over MMA just as he quickly took over the world of professional wrestling. In only his third fight for UFC, Lesnar challenged Randy Couture for the UFC Heavyweight Championship at UFC 91 in 2008 and won the title via technical knockout. At the time, it was considered controversial to give Lesnar a title shot so early in his UFC career, but he proved he deserved it in a little over three minutes. Though there were moments over the next few years Lesnar had to leave MMA and interim champions were crowned, he always returned to defeat the interim champ, until 2010 when Cain Velasquez finally beat him for the title. Why the need for interim champions?
3. He Suffered A Serious Disease At His Peak
The toughest battle of Brock Lesnar’s life may have occurred outside the ring, inside his own body, without him even being aware of it for many years. In November 2009, Brock was scheduled to defend his UFC Championship against Shane Carwin, but had to reschedule due to an illness. As the story progressed, it was reported there were actually two illnesses: mononucleosis, which was the immediate problem, and diverticulitis, a serious intestinal disease that required immediate surgery. Brock’s pain from the disease reached a point he nearly retired from MMA early, making it all the more amazing doctors estimate he was already suffering from it when he won the title.
2. He’s Married To Sable
Rena Mero is an interesting and controversial figure in professional wrestling. Better known as Sable, she is a former WWE Women’s Champion who had her fair share of problems with the other wrestlers while she was at her peak. Although she once sued WWE in the late 90’s, she returned in 2003 and that’s where she and Brock first met. The two eventually married in 2006 and now have two sons. Lesnar also had two children with a former fiancée. Sable hasn’t appeared on WWE television or even been mentioned since Brock returned in 2012, leading fans to wonder if she still holds resentment with WWE for her past treatment.
1. He’s A Former Addict
It’s easy to picture sports heroes as immortal and indestructible, but that’s unfortunately often not the case. Brock, like many before him, had his difficulties dealing with the pressures of constantly being on the road with WWE, not to mention the problems caused by nagging injuries including a torn MCL. According to the Beast himself, during his first few years in WWE, he was heavily addicted to alcohol and painkillers, drinking a full bottle of vodka every day. It got to such a constant point, Brock claims he barely remembers his first two years of unrivaled success in WWE. Brock isn’t the only person in WWE history to have suffered a drug problem, although his demons do seem to get glossed over, opposed to certain other wrestlers whose problems were extremely well known. Some might expect Brock to have been more public with his struggles, especially considering celebrity stories of recovery can be helpful to addicts, but given his private nature, it’s not terribly surprising he’s kept this one quiet.