Brock Lesnar’s WWE return was reportedly put together at the last minute.
Lesnar returned at Saturday’s WWE SummerSlam pay-per-view to confront Roman Reigns, right after Reigns retained the WWE Universal Title over John Cena in the main event. It’s been reported that he will be a babyface on the SmackDown roster moving forward.
In an update, Dave Meltzer in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that Lesnar’s return was a last minute deal that was put together for a number of reasons, all in some form related to the relationship with FOX, John Cena leaving again, and CM Punk signing with AEW.
It was noted that the situation between FOX and WWE is always up & down, with one key issue being how SmackDown on FOX is used to promote Peacock, which is NBCUniversal’s streaming service, and FOX has its own streaming services that they are rolling out. Punk reportedly has a good relationship with FOX, from when he made the deal to work WWE Backstage on FS1 last year, and FOX officials were among the first to congratulate Punk on the ratings success that his AEW Rampage debut brought.
FOX officials were reportedly very upset that WWE didn’t make a big offer to Punk to keep him from going to AEW. It was noted that because of this, politically, WWE felt the need to get Lesnar and new SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch to SmackDown right away. You can click here for a recent backstage report on how USA Network officials are said to be upset over Lesnar and Lynch going to SmackDown, and not appearing on RAW this week, and what WWE told them about the Draft.
It appears there was nothing to any rumors of AEW wanting to sign Lesnar because of the big money it would take to get him, but The Observer says one story going around is that WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon did not know that, which may have factored into Lesnar’s negotiations with WWE. It was noted that Lesnar’s signing likely had little to do with Vince or FOX being worried about Lesnar signing with AEW, as much as it was WWE needing a big news story for the weekend as a counter to Punk’s debut.
Lesnar is reportedly signed to his current WWE contract through early 2023. You can click here for a new backstage report on his contract.