At UFC 200, WWE rolled the dice and left Las Vegas with all the chips. WWE Superstar Brock Lesnar, who reportedly raked in a $2.5 million purse, didn’t only beat premiere UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt, he embarrassed him.
It was three rounds of wall-to-wall domination from a man who looked every bit as unstoppable as he was while healthy during his initial UFC run. Hunt didn’t get caught. Hunt didn’t slip up. The man just got beat up for 15 minutes by a superior specimen who we’ll still be struggling to comprehend long after he’s gone.
UFC President Dana White predicted UFC 200 would do over 1.5 million buys, and even if that number is on the optimistic side, WWE’s beast was put on display in front of an enormous viewing audience.
It was the best possible scenario WWE could have hoped for heading into its highly promoted live SmackDown broadcast on July 19. In fact, WWE’s only concern is that Lesnar did too well and may contemplate a full-time return to UFC’s suspect heavyweight division.
For now, Lesnar is staring down the barrel of a dream match against Randy Orton at SummerSlam. Although this will be Orton’s return match, the smart money is on WWE capitalizing on its once-in-a-lifetime athlete and riding his momentum. With interest in Lesnar flirting with all-time highs, he needs to be showcased in a way similar to his one-sided victory over John Cena at SummerSlam 2014.
Orton doesn’t have to be dominated, but if he’s presented as the underdog who is on the defensive throughout, Lesnar’s mystique will remain intact. There’s no telling whether or not the mercurial super athlete will stick around, so it needs to do everything it can to present Lesnar as a conquering, returning WWE Superstar.