Brock Lesnar Faced Major Early Career Hurdle, Says Ex-WWE Rival

Exploring the intense dynamics of early WWE rivalries.

by Noman Rasool
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Brock Lesnar Faced Major Early Career Hurdle, Says Ex-WWE Rival
© WWE/YouTube

In a revealing discussion on "Cafe de Rene" hosted by Rene Dupree, former WWE star Zach Gowen shared insights into his notorious on-screen confrontation with Brock Lesnar in 2003. This brutal showdown, which unfolded on WWE SmackDown's August 21 episode, saw Lesnar unleashing a ferocious assault on Gowen in Detroit, his own hometown, much to the dismay of his family seated ringside.

The motive behind this dramatic scene, according to Gowen, was WWE's effort to cement Lesnar’s image as a villain to the fans. Despite Lesnar's prowess and intimidating persona, he surprisingly continued to receive cheers from the audience.

"They were attempting to turn him into a heel, but it wasn’t quite succeeding. He kept getting cheered as a hero, so WWE decided something shockingly drastic was necessary," Gowen explained. The plan involved Lesnar attacking Gowen, who is notably an amputee, in a particularly harsh manner that included the use of a steel chair and multiple F5s against a steel post—actions meant to draw ire from the audience and build heat for Lesnar.

Lesnar's Off-Camera Persona

Gowen also reminisced about his interactions with Lesnar behind the scenes during an interview with Chris Van Vliet on "Insight" in November. Contrary to his ruthless on-screen persona, Lesnar was incredibly supportive and kind-hearted off-camera.

"On screen, he was this menacing figure, yet off-screen, Brock was extremely kind and respectful. Our relationship was really positive, which is something I treasure," Gowen stated. Despite his relatively brief stint in WWE, which concluded in 2004, Gowen had memorable matches against icons like Roddy Piper, Hulk Hogan, and Vince McMahon.

His time in the limelight was short-lived, yet impactful. Post-WWE, he credits the organization for assisting him during a pivotal time by sponsoring his entry into a rehabilitation program, aiding him in overcoming personal challenges.
This Marvelous story illustrates the complicated characteristics of character development about professional wrestling, marking the esteem and camaraderie that holds good inside the scenes and is not easily visible in front of a public eye.

Brock Lesnar
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