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WrestleMania 36’s Brock Lesnar ... as you’ve never seen him before

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Interviews with Lesnar’s peers, co-workers and bosses throughout his time in UFC and WWF/E reveal a more human side to “The Beast Incarnate.”

WWE Announces Matches With Tyson Fury And Cain Velasquez At Crown Jewel Event Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Throughout the pro wrestling and mixed martial arts (MMA) careers of Brock Lesnar (and a brief dabble into professional football), he has widely been regarded as a reclusive, intense hard ass. Quite frankly, those are pretty accurate descriptions based upon most of the stories surrounding him.

His current contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) earns him top dollar, yet lets him not have to participate every week in the stuntman circus. The free time that contract nets him is reportedly almost always spent at home with his family on his farm outside of Maryfield, Saskatchewan, Canada. If you’re too lazy to check that out on Google maps, it’s about 70 miles north of the United States border where North Dakota lies.

He gets to hunt, farm, fish and be with his family out in the middle of nowhere. For some of us with his kind of money, we’d go running to the nearest luxury resort or buy an island somewhere, but that modern day viking would rather be a recluse in the middle of nowhere rather than be in the big city or sunny beaches.

ESPN recently posted a really good bunch of interview snippets with a host of people who’ve worked with Brock (a.k.a. Bork Laser, BROCKLES, Brock Solid, ‘The Next Big Thing,’ ‘The Beast Incarnate,” etc). Several of these anecdotes and stories do a great job of really telling a number of sides of the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight champ.

There are plenty of you who care more for unscripted combat and aren’t fans of professional stuntmen occasionally injuring themselves, so you may not be too familiar with the names of Jim Ross or Rey Mysterio or Gerald Brisco. Fear not, we’re gonna start with some of his UFC interactions first.

Erstwhile UFC hype man, Guy Friday and all around coordinator of everything backstage, Burt Watson gives (to my knowledge) a never before read story about just how exactly Brock’s enormous gorilla-sized hands changed UFC gloves forever.

It was the night of Brock’s first fight in the UFC. When fighters come in on fight night, they come into the dressing room, and I have cutmen assigned to wrap their hands. I assigned “Stitch” Duran, the Godfather of cutmen, to wrap his hands. At the time, the UFC glove had an elastic band around the top. That meant you had to squeeze your hand with the hand wraps through that band to get it on. Well, my man’s hand was about as big as my foot. And by the time I put the hand wraps on, it was as big as my butt.

I went to put the gloves on, and the largest we had was a 3X. We couldn’t get it on.... He wasn’t getting upset, he just saw that it wasn’t happening. But he also knew he had to have a glove, and he just looked at me and said, “Now what?” But he was calm, he was not belligerent. He wasn’t Brock Lesnar, famous WWE star. He was there in a whole different world....

So, I went over to Stitch and said, “What’ll happen if you cut that top of that damn glove leather? Cut it open, and let’s wrap it so tight with tape.” Stitch said, “S---, I’ll do it, Burt. If you say do it, I’ll do it.”

Stitch went on and cut the glove. The glove then spread open, and we were able to get the glove on Brock’s hands. Once he put them on, we put white tape around it and we put blue tape around it... I had never seen anybody that couldn’t fit into the 3X.

We cut it, and it worked, but it also gave us an idea for a newer glove. Now, all of the gloves are cut and it’s a Velcro top that closes it up. That started from the time I had to cut the glove with Brock Lesnar.

Then there’s the time he went and decided to give love taps with his truck to a van full of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) contestants, as told by TUF Season 13 competitor Chuck O’Neil. The even weirder plot twist is that it wasn’t his truck! It’s a bit unclear if it was a rental truck or owned by UFC President Dana White, but check this out:

We had a van that came and picked us up at the house every day. We were rolling up to the training facility. We were just talking, shooting the s---, and then we just get slammed from behind. We looked back behind us and there was Brock in this huge white truck. He was just like laughing — like the normal Brock Lesnar laugh from TV. He was ramming into the van.

We get out and we’re like, “What are you doing?” We’re thinking it’s his truck. He’s like, “Oh, I don’t give a s---, it’s Dana White’s truck anyways.” He just smashed into our van. Dana rented him a house and rented him a truck.

Yeah, not his truck, but bashing it around like clothes in a spin cycle, that’s the manchildbeast for you. But it wasn’t all bully attitude and self-serving id. Former pro wrestling superstar and the butt of MMA jokes everywhere, C.M. Punk describes our big galoot as a “sweetheart.” That’s right, check out this excerpt:

I don’t want to ruin his image. 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.

Crazy, right? There’s more of that, but honestly the most interesting tales in this series comes from former Olympic gold medalist and WWE champion Kurt Angle. There’s been stories regarding Angle and Lesnar for decades. Nearly any fan of pro wrestling has heard how Angle bested Lesnar in a real wrestling match on a WWE plane back in the day. But per the “American Hero,” that wasn’t actually the case.

It was 2003. I didn’t want to wrestle Brock. I know he didn’t want to wrestle me. But the rest of the guys put me on the spot, and I was like, “No, he couldn’t beat me. But if he thinks he can, let’s do this.” It kept going back and forth, trying to get us to do this. Eventually, I just went up to Brock and said, “Hey, let’s get this over with.” And he said, “No man, I have slippers on.” I said, “That’s OK, we’ll go in our bare feet.” He said, “No, no. I’m not gonna do it.” So, it didn’t happen.

A couple of weeks later, he and Big Show were in the ring. He is double legging and picking up Big Show. They were wrestling, and Brock was showing his dominance. Big Show wanted to see what it was like to be in there with an NCAA wrestling champion. This is when Big Show weighed about 520. He was picking Big Show up and slamming him down on the back of his head. I’m going, “Holy smokes, this guy might kill me.” I was 225. Big Show was 520, and Brock was manhandling him. I’ve never seen anyone do that to a human.

So while they were doing it, they took a quick break. Brock’s back was facing me. I was outside the ring. I looked at Big Show and said, “Get out of the ring.” He’s like, “OK, OK.” So he gets out of the ring, and I walk up behind Brock and I tap him on the shoulder. He goes, “Oh, s---.” He knew we were gonna go.

C’mon, even if Angle is playing this up, that’s a great story so far, right? The ending is just as good.

The rumor is that I completely dominated him. That is not true. It was very close. I took Brock down a couple of times. He didn’t take me down. But we went 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes and there were only two takedowns. It was a pretty close battle. Did I win? If you want to give the aggressor the win, then I won. But it was really close.

I won’t spoil the entire article for you, so go and check out some of the other stories of his athletic feats and personal malaise by the likes of former Bellator champion Cole Konrad, professional football coach of almost forty years, Ted Cottrell, and former UFC champ-champ himself, Daniel Cormier, among others.

Lesnar battles Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania 36 this weekend, with his title on the line. The “Showcase of the Immortals” is a two-day event (Sat., April 4 and Sun., April 5, 2020) with both shows scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, streaming live on WWE Network and pay-per-view (PPV).