In his autobiography, WWE star Brock Lesnar talks about an NJPW tradition he immediately refused to follow.
Brock Lenser has been one of the top athletes in the pro wrestling industry since his debut in 2002. In his 2-decade-long career, the Beast Incarnate has become synonymous to combat sports with all he has achieved in WWE and UFC. But, the 10-time WWE champion once decided to leave WWE and pursue a full-time football career. After having a very concise run in NFL, Brock signed with New Japan Pro Wrestling(NJPW).
In his autobiography “Death Clutch”, Brock Lesnar shared an interesting story from his time with NJPW. He revealed that he once reused to follow a tradition in NJPW.
Brock Lesner refused to get slapped by NJPW Legend, Antonio Inoki
Before getting into the incident, let’s go back to where it all began. New Japan Pro Wrestling founder Antonio Inoki once slapped a young boy who went to achieve huge success in the future. Since then, there’s this tradition in NJPW for every newcomer to get slapped by Antonio Inoki.
But, the only person to refuse to partake in the tradition is Brock Lesnar. The 10-time world champion talked about the incident in his autobiography. Brock stated that he immediately declined to get slapped by Antonio Inoki. He said:
“I guess part of the initiation over in Japan is that all the newcomers end up getting slapped by Antonio Inoki, who is a living legend over there. I let them know where I stood on that one right away. No one was going to slap me. Not Inoki. Not anyone.”
Well, with the kind of success Brock has had in his career, he certainly did not need that slap.
A quick look at Brock Lesner’s run with New Japan Pro Wrestling
So, after leaving WWE and a failed attempt in NFL, Brock went back to pro wrestling, but in NJPW. The WWE superstar got an instant push as he fought for the IWGP title in his very first match. Brock Lesner defeated Masahiro Chono and Kazuyuki Fujita in a triple threat match to become the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Lesner also faced the current WWE star Shinske Nakamura, who used to work in NJPW back then.
However, his stint with NJPW was noteworthy as he refused to defend the IWGP title regularly. But, Lesnar claimed NJPW paid him less than the agreed amount for one of his matches. All of that led to Brock getting stripped of the title. Although the physical belt remained with Brock Lesnar, NJPW decided to conduct a tournament to crown a new champion.
However, in 2007, Lesnar defended his version of the IWGP championship against Kurt Angle at the inaugural IGF event. Brock Lesner dropped the IWGP title against Kurt Angle, the TNA champion. Lesnar left NJPW and then established himself in MMA where he won the UFC Heavyweight Championship in 2009.
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