This year's WWE SummerSlam has to be one of the most controversial yet, and one of the primary reasons for this was Brock Lesnar's brutal battle with Randy Orton. The match divided people, with criticism pointed towards its length, its one-sided predictability and the graphic but ambiguous ending.
But just how well did Randy Orton hold his own against the Beast Incarnate? Since the former UFC Champion returned to the company in 2012, he has left a trail of brutalized opponents in his wake, including the likes of John Cena, Big Show, Mark Henry and Seth Rollins. Let's take a look at some of those foes who fought back and see just where Orton's performance ranks among them.
6. John Cena
John Cena and Brock Lesnar both debuted in WWE around the same era. Lesnar's ascension to the top was quicker but Cena stuck around for far longer. When Lesnar returned to the company in 2012, he set his sights on Cena. Lesnar dominated in their match at Extreme Rules, but in typical WWE fashion they just couldn't let John Cena lose. So with a quick AA in the closing moments, Cena somehow survived.
Two years later, the two met again at SummerSlam 2014 for the WWE Championship, where the unstoppable Lesnar destroyed John Cena with 16 German Suplexes, coining the term "Suplex City" and walking out WWE Champion. The match really wasn't that great — but the story it told received acclaim. After defeating Big Show and the Undertaker in relatively back and forth matches, Lesnar somehow squashed John Cena — it wasn't even a fair fight. This was the beginning of Lesnar's unstoppable Beast angle that is still ongoing. The fight he put up at Extreme Rules and the sheer magnitude of his SummerSlam loss are enough to earn Cena a place in the top 6.
5. Randy Orton
This match had the makings of a classic: Randy Orton is one of the greatest wrestlers on the planet today while Brock Lesnar is one of the most vicious professional fighters of all time. But the contrasting styles also could have resulted in the match going horribly wrong. However, neither happened. This match wasn't a classic but it was by no means horrible either.
Despite Randy Orton really trying, we ended up practically seeing a typical Lesnar suplex squash match. Don't get me wrong, there were some great moments, involving announce tables and what not — Orton delivered two beautiful RKOs, including one on the announce table that quite literally came from "outta nowhere." It was the ending that really divided people.
Lesnar brutalized Orton, delivering a UFC-style beat-down as he buried Orton under his bare fists and drove his elbow right into his forehead, splitting him wide open. As Orton lay there in a pool if his own blood, the crowd gasped wondering if Lesnar's win via TKO was actually planned, or if Lesnar's violence had caused the abrupt ending.
Orton gave it everything he had, but the result was disappointing as this match wasn't exactly worthy of the main event, and the controversial ending left many unhappy. It wasn't the worst match of all time, but because it was Randy Orton — we were just expecting a whole lot more.
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4. Roman Reigns
This wasn't a match that fans necessarily wanted to see. Reigns was being pushed too hard and too fast, and many fans hadn't forgiven Lesnar for breaking the Undertaker's streak the previous year. However, while it wasn't pretty or a classic, it was quite the brutal collision we were secretly hoping it would be.
For being the WWE's "chosen one" Reigns didn't get in as many shots as we expected and took one hell of a beating. However, he kept getting back up. He took everything Lesnar threw at him until the perfect opportunity when he struck back with his own little flurry. And for one brief moment, it seemed as if Reigns might do the impossible.
Although, Seth Rollins cashed in his Money In The Bank contract and won the title, it seemed as if Lesnar winning was a foregone conclusion. It was relatively back and forth — albeit more back and less forth — but overall, it wasn't as bad as many were expecting and the future face of the company in Reigns put up a stronger fight than both present faces.
3. CM Punk
In a match that comic book fans billed as "Wolverine vs the Hulk," CM Punk took on Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam in 2013. This was just shy of Lesnar's dominant phase so all of his matches were at least a little back and forth. And man, did CM Punk capitalize on this. One of the greatest wrestlers in WWE history took on the Beast Incarnate and together, they delivered a classic.
Punk hit Lesnar with running knees, dives through the ropes, the Anaconda Vice and the GTS, but it still couldn't keep the Beast down. Lesnar walked out looking dominant, but so did CM Punk — who threw everything he had at Lesnar, including a beautiful reversal of the F5 into a DDT. One of the best matches of the year, Punk put up one hell of fight.
2. Triple H
If you want to take a Beast down, what do you do? Unleash the Cerebral Assassin. When Triple H had his arm broke twice at the hands of Lesnar and tapped out at SummerSlam in 2012, fans really thought that was the end for the Game. However, months later when Lesnar assaulted Triple H's father-in-law Vince McMahon, the King of Kings returned to take down the Beast once and for all. With both athletes looking as though they were chiseled out of stone, the anticipation was high for their rematch.
While he did put up a fight at SummerSlam, Triple H really took it to Lesnar at WrestleMania 29 in a No Holds Barred Match, finally achieving a victory over the Beast after a Pedigree on the Steel Steps. Although Lesnar would steal another victory inside a vicious Steel Cage at Extreme Rules, Triple H once again hung in there with the former UFC Champion and gave as good as he got.
Triple H was the first worthy adversary of Lesnar, brutalizing him like nobody else could — and he would rightfully deserve to be at the top of this list. However, there's one man who did what nobody else could — take the Beast straight to hell.
1. The Undertaker
Taking the number one spot is none other than the legendary Phenom — The Undertaker. Despite Lesnar brutalizing a very gaunt Undertaker in a train wreck of a match back at WrestleMania XXX, shockingly ending his undefeated streak, concussing him and leading us all to believe his career was finished, this story was far from over. The Deadman would return the following year and prove that the ring was still very much his yard. In their match at SummerSlam 2015, the Undertaker proved that the Beast wasn't unstoppable — he stood toe to toe with him, gaining retribution for his loss and proving that he could still stand against the company's most vicious athlete after all these years. He also finally gained a victory over Lesnar forcing him to pass out in the Hell's Gate submission hold — marking Lesnar's first singles defeat in two and a half years. Controversial or not — on this night, the Deadman slayed the Beast.
'Taker would invite Lesnar into his own back yard when the two met at Hell In A Cell for a — you guessed it — Hell In A Cell match. Once again, we saw a brutal, bloody collision between the two. Although Lesnar ended the rivalry with the victory, the Undertaker was the real victor here — he silenced his WrestleMania XXX critics and proved that even at 50 years of age, nobody could take it to the Beast like the Deadman. The two matches were back and forth between two evenly matched characters — which was a nice break from the one-sided "Suplex City" squashes.
Since Brock Lesnar's return to the company, he has rampaged through the WWE roster. Now, we can add Randy Orton's name to that list of victims. But the question is: Will the Viper strike back, looking for revenge or will Shane McMahon choose another SmackDown competitor to take down the Beast? But unless you're Triple H or the Undertaker, good luck being able to hold your own against Brock Lesnar.