WWE Officially Announced Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton at SummerSlam

WWE officially announced on tonight’s Smackdown that Brock Lesnar will face Randy Orton at the Summerslam PPV on August 21 in New York.

The announcement was made at the WWE Network studios delivered by Scott Stanford, Corey Graves, and Booker T. The initial hype is centered on Brock vs. Orton being “a match 14 years in the making.”

There is still the issue of whether Lesnar will be cleared to compete, depending on the outcome of his UFC 200 fight against knockout artist Mark Hunt on Saturday night.

If Lesnar is good to go, it would reunite two of the top recruits from WWE’s famous post-Attitude Era OVW training class that included Lesnar, Orton, John Cena, Batista, and Shelton Benjamin.

Lesnar and Orton have been on separate paths throughout their up-and-down WWE runs, but they did meet in the early 2000s when Lesnar was “The Next Big Thing.”

For Orton, this marks a big return to WWE TV after being away for the entire year repairing a nagging shoulder injury.

WWE posted the following on the match:

The summer of dream matches continues Sunday, Aug. 21, when Randy Orton returns to the ring to lock horns with Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. The blockbuster encounter was made official on tonight’s SmackDown.

Despite being two perennial main eventers who trained side-by-side during their formative years at onetime WWE developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling, The Apex Predator and The Beast Incarnate have only competed against each other once before in a WWE ring. It happened in September 2002, when both were still WWE rookies. Lesnar, already a month into his reign as WWE Champion, took the victory that night.

Much has changed since that lone, fateful bout, of course. Lesnar has since emerged as a true world-beater and the conqueror of The Undertaker’s WrestleMania Streak, a fearless, 286-pound juggernaut who packs dynamite, and bad intentions, in his fists. One of the most dangerous men in combat-sports history, Lesnar remains the only individual to have ever captured the WWE Championship, UFC Championship and NCAA heavyweight wrestling championship.

The Viper, meanwhile, bears little resemblance to the gifted, if inexperienced, shaggy-haired Superstar who stood across the ring from Lesnar 14 years ago. Since his one and only match against The Beast, Orton has gone on to win an incredible 12 World Titles, establishing himself as one of the most decorated Superstars of his generation. Orton has also exhibited on more than one occasion a disconcerting ability to turn sinister at a moment’s notice. Such a dark, remorseless attitude may prove invaluable against a monster like Lesnar.

Adding further intrigue to the clash is that it is Orton’s first match since injuring his shoulder late last year. Having been out of action since November, Orton is assuredly interested in reasserting himself as WWE’s Apex Predator. There may be no better way to accomplish that goal than by taking down The Beast Incarnate. Yet, the question remains: Will Orton’s shoulder end up being a weakness against Lesnar?

Watch this historic showdown in its entirety when SummerSlam airs live from Brooklyn, N.Y., on the award-winning WWE Network Sunday, Aug. 21, at 7 ET/4 PT.

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