Paul “Triple H” Levesque, Chief Operating Officer for WWE, recalled the organization’s negotiation process with Brock Lesnar to bring the standout athlete back to WWE.
“Brock reached out to us when his UFC contract was done and I think he was just sticking his toe in the water to see if there was any interest,” Levesque told Yahoo! Sports prior to SummerSlam. “We spoke and the rest is history.”
The money, which the article notes could be as high as $5 million for one year, and the flexible work schedule was too good for Lesnar to pass up.
“Brock wanted to come back and be involved but he didn’t want to be here full-time and traveling every day,” Levesque said. “He didn’t want to be in the ring every single day. I’ve said this many times but Brock is a simple guy. He’s a farmer, that’s what he is. I know that doesn’t look like what he is, but right now he’s probably harvesting crops somewhere on his farm. That’s the reality of who he is. He likes to go home, sit, drive a tractor and harvest crops. It just so happens he’s a badass on the weekend.
Levesque says there was bad blood between both parties. He continues, “There had been some animosity a little bit in some ways between Brock and the WWE at various points. Some of that was real, some of that was media.”
The animosity stems from his departure in 2004 to pursue a career in the National Football League. Lesnar had signed a no-compete clause in order to be released from his contract with WWE, which prohibited him from working for any other wrestling or mixed martial arts companies before June 2010. When his NFL pursuit ended, Lesnar went overseas to compete for New Japan Pro Wrestling, breaching his non-compete agreement. Lesnar had anticipated leaving wrestling entirely, but his inability to secure a career in professional football led to him challenging this ruling in court. After almost two years of courtroom proceedings, a settlement was reached that allowed Lesnar to compete in NJPW and mixed martial arts.
“We were kind of disappointed when he left and just didn’t know what was going to happen with him trying out for the NFL and then shocking the world with the UFC,” Rey Mysterio told Yahoo! Sports. “Overall, he did what he wanted to do and you can’t take that away from any man or human being who wants to accomplish something or prove themselves in a certain sport.”
Mysterio, who competed alongside Lesnar throughout the duration of his legendary SmackDown stint, says the animosity is gone from the wrestlers in the locker room.
“When something happens and when it’s unexpected, it shocks the world and it shocks the backstage locker room. Overall, you tend to forget about things and move on with your life. I don’t think anybody has anything to say about Brock. He did what he had to do and accomplished what few will ever do.”
The full article is available here.