Lesnar ends rumors, joins pro wrestling

by Monica Wright

The biggest rumor circulating around campus the past couple of months is now a reality. Brock “The Rock” Lesnar is ready to be a professional wrestler.
Lesnar, the 2000 NCAA heavyweight champion and Minnesota All-American, signed a multiyear contract with the World Wrestling Federation that will begin Aug. 1.
Lesnar had been considering his options, which included the possibility of playing football for the Gophers, since March.
Now, he’s made up his mind — the WWF is for him.
“It’s just what I’m looking for,” Lesnar said in an interview with WWF.com. “I like the business, I like the people, and I want to be a wrestler.”
Recruited by WWF official Gerald Brisco, a college roommate of Minnesota coach J Robinson, Lesnar will report to Ohio Valley Wrestling in Louisville, KY to begin work in the federation’s talent-development program.
Brisco believes the 6-foot-3-inch, 285-pound Lesnar will easily find success in professional wrestling.
“I think he’ll be one of those guys that comes in and is natural,” Brisco told WWF.com. “I think the world of the guy. He can be compared to Kurt Angle. I think he’ll be as good or better than Kurt. He’s only 22, so he’s got a lot of time to grow.”
Lesnar took Division I wrestling by storm after transferring to Minnesota from Bismarck Junior College in North Dakota in January of 1999.
In his first season at Minnesota, Lesnar went from being unranked to No. 2 in the country, and went on to win the Big Ten heavyweight title.
In his senior season with the Gophers, Lesnar had a near perfect 31-1 record, losing only to Iowa’s Wes Hand in the final dual meet of the season.
But Lesnar got his revenge over Hand, defeating him in both the Big Ten and NCAA championships.
Lesnar is not the first Gopher wrestler to turn to the WWF for a professional career. Former Minnesota wrestler Shelton Benjamin, a two-time heavyweight All-American, is currently training with the federation at OVW.
The 24-year-old Benjamin, like Lesnar, was a highly touted recruit, and the pair are well-acquainted from the Gophers practice mats.
“I’ve known him for three years,” Lesnar said. “I’ve worked out with him many a number of times. He and I have pretty much the same mentality.
“I’ve asked him a lot of questions. He loves it. So I’m assuming I will, too. I know I will.”
As for Lesnar, he’ll have to start thinking of new nicknames — The Rock is already taken.
But that’s not all Lesnar will have on his mind. He’s also begun rehearing for his debut on the professional scene.
“I’ve been practicing,” Lesnar said. “I’ve got a few names for my moves.”

Monica Wright welcomes comments at [email protected].