ESPN spoke with several stars about WWE Champion Brock Lesnar ahead of Sunday’s Lesnar content marathon, and his title defense against Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania 36 this weekend.
It was noted how Lesnar would rather be on his farm in Saskatchewan, Canada, with his wife and four kids, than a stadium filled with 100,000 fans. Lesnar doesn’t do social media, and rarely does interviews.
“Brock Lesnar is an enigma,” said Stephanie McMahon of Lesnar and his privacy. “He likes to keep his personal life private.”
Rey Mysterio recalled how Lesnar was miserable when he wanted to leave WWE during his first run.
“I remember at one point Brock being miserable,” Mysterio recalled. “This is right before he left WWE in 2004 the first time. We were going to Europe, and my wife and I were sitting right behind Brock on the charter plane. I just saw Brock biting the f— out of his nails and looking at a picture of one of his kids. It really hit him, the fact that he had to travel so much. That was the human side of him. The father instinct that he has. Shortly after that, he was like, ‘I’ve gotta get out of here, bro. I can’t f—ing do this anymore.’
“I think for a lot of us, we work so hard to get to that position, and when you do have it and you do make it, the one thing you want to do is brace yourself and hold onto that position — make sure nobody takes it. For him, it was like, ‘I think I did what I need to do here and I’m out.’ I give him a lot of props for that. I grew up around the business. I kind of expected our road would turn out this way. After seeing Brock like that, it really put things into perspective. It made me see my personal life in a different way, too. We just had my daughter, so I was raising some kids at the time. It hit him and shortly after it hit me, too. Brock took that really, really hard. Even though we don’t see it, he’s very close to his family. That stuck in my head. You have to choose one or the other, and he chose to spend more time at home and not be on the road as much.”
CM Punk also spoke about The Beast and called him a big sweetheart.
“I don’t want to ruin his image,” Punk said. “I think he’s a f—in’ sweetheart. This is a guy, when I got into MMA and I left wrestling, he was texting me, ‘Hey, if you need any help.’ I’m always kind of a standoffish guy. It’s hard to open up and trust people in the pro wrestling world. But he was never anything but a real sweetheart. It was a pleasure to work with him. He’s just a great guy, I think. I think I’m one of the lucky guys who he wanted to work with in pro wrestling. We put together a pretty special match. I don’t think Brock gets the credit for how smart of a wrestler he is.
“I didn’t know how Brock was going to be receptive to any ideas. So I, especially at that point in my career, I was like, ‘Let’s just go out there and call it in the ring.’ He was totally stoked to do that. I kind of said, ‘I just want to do this and this and this.’ He said, ‘Oh.’ After every idea I had, he had three ideas that spun off that he wanted to do. It was fun. That match is everything that I loved about pro wrestling. Just two guys coming together and being like, ‘F—, let’s just do whatever we want and have fun.'”
Punk continued, “I think Brock has got a big heart, and that’s something a lot of people don’t talk about. They’ll talk about the freak strength and the crazy athletic things he’s done in his career, the accomplishments. But they don’t talk about the fact that he loves his wife, his kids, lives on a farm and just kind of wants to be left alone. All the fame and the money and everything is really just a side effect of being successful at what he wants to do. And he does what he wants, when he wants. That’s the beauty of Brock Lesnar.”