07 February 2012

Book 3 of 2012

My brother and his wife gave me this book for my birthday because I've been a huge Brock Lesnar fan for a long time and almost got them in trouble with their downstairs neighbor once during the Shane Carwin fight by jumping up and down when Brock survived the first round of the fight. There is literally nothing exciting about how I finished this book, though.

For the longest time, I could honestly say that my favorite fighter is Brock Lesnar. I vividly remember hearing the stories of the 300 pound NCAA Division I Heavyweight champion training at OVW who could do a shooting star press. His WWE debut is seared into my brain because poor Maven, Al Snow and Spike Dudley had to take all of those vicious slams the night after Wrestlemania. His time in the WWE was something to behold because he took to pro wrestling so well and so quickly that it was clear he had the potential to be an all-time great. Then he quit. And while I'm still a pro wrestling fan, I started looking at UFC and found myself even more intrigued with a sport that essentially answered the question "What if pro wrestling were real?" And wouldn't you know it? Two years after I became a fan of the sport, rumors started circulating about Brock Lesnar trying his hand at MMA. I've bought every single one of his fights on pay per view, from his debut to his retirement, and even attended his loss to Cain Velasquez live. It was really easy to call the guy my favorite fighter...until I read his book.

All the athletic skill Brock Lesnar possesses makes him fun to watch. All of the bombast and egotism that drives him makes it fun to anticipate when a person can watch him again. But all of those things that make him perfect as a draw are the exact kind of things that make it really hard to like him. Part of Brock's appeal is that he is an intensely private person. He enjoys putting on the show, but he figures that putting on the show is his job. Once he's done with his job, he just wants to go home and be a family man that's left alone. It makes him more intriguing that he wants to play the game on his own terms. I'm not one to spite him that mindset, however he makes a big point on the dust jacket of the book that this is the one time he's letting everyone into his private world. Too bad that it never actually feels that way.

Case in point: during the beginning of his WWE tenure, his daughter Mya was born. The passive voice is key here because he never mentions before that he has a wife or a girlfriend, that he even got someone pregnant. From the book's point of view, Mya was delivered by a stork that decided that Brock Lesnar needed a baby. There's never any insight into what would have probably made a very interesting story. It's all surface level information that could have been gleaned through a quick read of his Wikipedia page. 

His daughter's story is not the only time this occurs. The pattern of the book is as follows: Brock wants to be number one at [insert athletic achievement here]. Brock fails or succeeds. Brock moves on to [insert next athletic achievement here]. People get in Brock's way. Brock SMASH! It's repetitive and, really, kind of boring. He comes across as someone who is hard working, who doesn't buy into any of the hype surrounding the endeavors he engages, but instead wants to make the most amount of money that he can due to his humble beginnings. 

There are two ways to consider Brock Lesnar after reading this biography: either he never lets the reader penetrate the mystique that surrounds him, or the mystique was never really there from the beginning. There's some interesting information from a fan perspective, but, ultimately, it's a disappointing read.

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