Executive Director of Monday Night Raw, Bruce Prichard, has opened up about the departure of Brock Lesnar from the WWE in 2004.
Having done everything imaginably possible during his very short two year stint in the promotion, including winning the WWE Championship, King of the Ring, Royal Rumble, headlining WrestleMania and being one of the fastest up-and-comers in the company’s history, Brock Lesnar decided that professional wrestling was no longer for him.
Notifying the company that he would not be extending his contract past WrestleMania XX, Lesnar was thrown into a notoriously terrible bout with Goldberg – who was also departing – on ‘The Grandest Stage of Them All’ during the which the pair received heavy jeers for their wish to leave.
Now, Bruce Prichard has spoken about Lesnar’s 2004 departure, what lead to the decision and how management took the news that one of their biggest stars was no longer interested in doing business on his Something To Wrestle With Podcast:
“Because we invested in training him initially and getting him to the popularity that he was at. Brock was unhappy. He wanted to do other things – that’s fine. You can try other things; however, we made the investment in him in the sports entertainment category and wanted to protect that, so, [it was] just strictly business.
I don’t know that it was too far gone or not. I think it was just something that Brock wanted to do and there wasn’t a whole lot of thought put into it as far as I know. Thank God I wasn’t heavily involved in any of that at the time. From a business standpoint, yeah, we had put a lot into Brock and wanted to protect that investment.”
Leaving WWE in order to pursue a career in the NFL, Lesnar was less than successful in his endeavour and returned to the ring just one year later in New Japan Pro Wrestling where he shocked the world and defeated Kazuyuki Fujita and Masahiro Chono to capture the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion on October 8, 2005.
One of few foreign stars to lift the strap, Lesnar’s decision to step back into the squared circle for a promotion other than WWE left management, “salty”, in the words of Prichard.
After a highly successful career in the UFC, Lesnar returned home the night after WrestleMania 28 in 2012 and flattened John Cena with a F5 to one of the loudest pops of his entire career.
Credit for the interview: Something To Wrestle With
h/t for the transcription: Wrestling Inc.