Less than two years later, on the episode of Raw following WrestleMania 18, Lesnar made his debut by running roughshod over all the participants of the Hardcore match—Maven, Al Snow and Spike Dudley. Not only did he gain the attention of the crowd, but with Paul Heyman by his side, the entire WWE Universe.
It only took three months for him to be certified enough to become a major name for the company. In the final King of the Ring pay-per-view, Lesnar defeated Rob Van Dam to win the tournament and earn a shot at the Undisputed WWE Championship at SummerSlam and hopefully become one of the fastest rising stars in history.
However, The Rock had other plans.
After a brief hiatus following his memorable match with Hollywood Hogan at WrestleMania 18, Rock returned to win his seventh WWE title at Vengeance in a triple threat match including then-champion The Undertaker and Kurt Angle. He was destined to have a long run as champion, but he had to get past Lesnar to commence that goal.
So the stage is set. August, 25, 2002. Uniondale, NY. SummerSlam. The veteran, seven-time WWE Champion and fan-favorite Rock versus the fledgling—but intensely impressive—25-year-old Brock Lesnar.
The match lived up to its expectations. Lesnar using power and speed, while Rock using speed and psychology. In a fight to the finish, Lesnar proved to be the better man that night, and became the youngest WWE Champion in company history—a record that still remains, and is only paralleled with Randy Orton being the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in company history at 24.
The anticipation for this match was through the roof. In a mere five months, Brock Lesnar cemented himself as being a main-event superstar and world champion.
11 years later, he is no longer the underdog. That title belongs to CM Punk. By the end of SummerSlam, we will see if the underdog reigns supreme again, or if the favorite snatches any hope from his opponent.
This should be a very interesting match. Sound off below.
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