Brock Lesnar made a shocking return to WWE over the weekend after it appeared his professional wrestling career was put on hold while he focused on his return to the UFC.
On Sunday night at the WWE event dubbed “Hell in a Cell,” Lesnar stormed down the ramp and ended up attacking both of the participants in the main event, which was stopped after the two superstars involved were deemed unable to continue.
The entire scenario was a set-up for Monday’s announcement when Lesnar was officially booked for a triple threat match against current WWE universal champion Roman Reigns (real name Leati Joseph Anoaʻi) and Braun Strowman (real name Adam Scherr) for a card taking place in Saudi Arabia in November.
The event, called “WWE Crown Jewel,” is the second event that WWE is putting on in Saudi Arabia after brokering a deal with the government there on a lucrative — albeit controversial — contract to bring cards to the Middle East. Earlier this year, WWE kicked off the partnership with an event called “The Greatest Royal Rumble” that featured most of the company’s prominent stars — minus the women’s roster, as women were not allowed to perform in Saudi Arabia.
While there are no exact dollar amounts attached to each show, WWE is reportedly making around $45 million in revenue per show as a result of this partnership with Saudi Arabia, according to pro wrestling insider Dave Meltzer.
Lesnar is expected to clear well over $1 million for his participation in the Nov. 2 match-up in Saudi Arabia.
— WWE (@WWE) September 18, 2018
Considering the payday he’ll be receiving, it’s easy to understand why Lesnar would return to WWE even if it’s on a short-term basis. Lesnar has maintained a good working relationship with WWE CEO Vince McMahon, who previously gave him permission to return and fight at UFC 200 in 2016.
Lesnar’s unexpected return to WWE with a match scheduled in November might seem like a problem, considering he’s supposed to face UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in early 2019.
As it turns out, Lesnar’s return to WWE is nothing more than a short-term stint that’s expected to be promoted in the lead up to this card in Saudi Arabia and he’s not expected to stick around after that. Even when Lesnar was with WWE previously, he worked a very light schedule, only appearing at pay-per-view events and making the occasional showings at WWE Monday Night Raw.
This latest WWE stint is an easy way for Lesnar to pocket a massive paycheck while helping the company promote this card in Saudi Arabia with the biggest stars possible. Right now, former UFC champion Ronda Rousey is one of the WWE’s most marketable acts, but she will not perform on the card in Saudi Arabia, so that’s yet another reason why Lesnar got the call to come back.
As for his UFC career, Lesnar is still expected to face Cormier next year once he’s cleared by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Lesnar is currently undergoing six months of drug testing while also serving out the remainder of a previous suspension after he tested positive for a banned substance surrounding his last fight at UFC 200.
By all accounts, Lesnar is already gearing up for his return to the UFC and this match in Saudi Arabia shouldn’t interfere whatsoever with his eventual showdown with Cormier in 2019.