Last night at SummerSlam, in his first match since breaking “The Undertaker” Mark Calaway‘s undefeated streak at WrestleMania XXX, the “Beast Incarnate” Brock Lesnar restored legitimacy to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship with a lopsided victory over 15-time champion John Cena. The win commences Lesnar’s fourth reign as champion and first since dropping the title to the late Eddie Guerrero on February 15, 2004.
Lesnar, who won the NCAA Division I Heavyweight Championship in 2000, debuted in WWF in 2002. With WWF/E, he engaged in memorable feuds with Dwyane Johnson, Paul Wight, and Kurt Angle, and won the WWE Championship three times in his first stint. He left the company in 2004 and would not return for eight years. During his hiatus, Lesnar won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship with New Japan Pro Wrestling, and took up mixed martial arts, winning the UFC World Heavyweight Championship.
Lesnar, who has compiled a 6-2 record since returning to WWE, was in complete control during the bout with Cena. Cena, who won the championship at Money in the Bank after the injured Bryan Danielson vacated it, was able to execute a total of two offensive moves against Lesnar: an STF and an F-U (Fireman’s carry takeover), which scored a two count pin. Lesnar, on the other hand, executed a total of 16 German suplexes and devastating blows to the head and body of Cena, who did not respond to a three count pin after receiving a second F-5 (Fireman’s carry facebuster).
Despite the ten year difference between his last and present championship reigns, Lesnar’s difference falls short of the record held by WWE Hall of Famer Bob Backlund. Backlund lost the title to “The Iron Sheik” Khosrow Vaziri on December 26, 1983 and did not regain it until defeating Bret Hart on November 23, 1994 at Survivor Series. Still, Lesnar’s period narrowly surpasses the ten year span between Dwyane Johnson’s last two reigns (August 25, 2002 to January 27, 2013) for second place all-time.
It is unclear who will receive the next World Heavyweight Championship title shot. Though Cena will likely receive a rematch, 12-time champion Randy Orton did not receive a rematch after losing the title to Bryan Danielson at WrestleMania XXX. Dave Bautista has not had a singles match for the championship since winning the Royal Rumble earlier this year. And upon his return, a healthy Danielson will likely be entitled to a shot at the title he never lost.
Night of Champions, the next WWE pay-per-view event will take place September 21.