Why did Brock Lesnar beat The Rock at Summerslam 2002?

Hamish Woodward

brock lesnar vs the rock

Brock Lesnar vs The Rock was the blockbuster main event for the 2002 edition of Summerslam. It featured the meteoric rise of the youngest WWE Champion of all time, and the end of an era for one of the greatest wrestler to ever grace the sport.

The WWE Championship was on the line. The crowd was hot. The stakes couldn’t have been higher. But when the smoke cleared, why did Brock Lesnar beat The Rock at Summerslam 2002?

Brock Lesnar vs The Rock

brock vs rock

King of the Ring winner Brock Lesnar faced The Rock at Summerslam 2002, with the greatest prize in sports entertainment on the line – the WWE Championship. It wasn’t a dream match at the time – Brock Lesnar was only months into his career at this point – but it still had the potential to help make a star that had been building since the Raw After Wrestlemania X8.

Brock Lesnar had been taken from OVW after Wrestlemania and thrust onto the main roster. Vince McMahon took one look at the former amateur wrestler from Minesotta and immediately saw dollar signs. He was placed on the main roster with Paul Heyman as his manager, and was a top wrestler as soon as he debuted. Just months into his career he won the King of the Ring tournament to earn his shot at The Rock and set up the main event for Summerslam 2002.

Brock Lesnar would defeat The Rock in 21 minutes to become the youngest ever WWE Champion in WWE history after Paul Heyman interfered to secure the win for The Next Big Thing. The title of Young WWE Champion was taken from the man opposite him and was the second thing The Rock lost that night, including his WWE title.

Why did Brock Lesnar beat The Rock at Summerslam 2002?

Brock Lesnar beat The Rock at Summerslam 2002 because WWE sensed a turning of the tides in WWE and wanted to build for the future. Brock Lesnar was a young star on the rise and the first homegrown star to come through since the fall of WCW. He was destined for greatness and just needed a big win to help him move from good to great.

That man would be The Rock. The Rock was the previous youngest WWE Champion and during his battles with Steve Austin in The Attitude Era had become one of the most popular wrestlers of all time. So popular, he was inundated with offers from Hollywood to star in movies, starting with his role as The Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns.

Brock Lesnar beat The Rock because The Rock was on the way out of WWE whilst Brock Lesnar was destined to carry the company over the next 10 year and more. It was a move made to secure the future of WWE and to help get Brock Lesnar over before The Rock left WWE without giving back to business by going out on his back and giving a young star a win.

Brock vs Rock at Wrestlemania 30

the rock vs brock lesnar

A little known fact is that the original plan for Wrestlemania 30 was to feature a Brock Lesnar vs The Rock match. Along with Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus and Ryback vs Ultimate Warrior (no, really).

The Rock revealed on Twitter after Wrestlemania 30, where Brock Lesnar defeated The Undertaker to end The Streak, that original plans were for The Rock to face Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania.

However, plans fell through. This was likely due to the delay on the movie Hercules, caused by The Rock’s injury suffered in his battle with John Cena at Wrestlemania 29. If all had gone well however, we would have seen Brock Lesnar vs The Rock at Wrestlemania 30.

That does beg the question however – who would face The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. Chris Jericho seemed to think he knew just the man to end the streak.

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