Ten years ago, Brock Lesnar made his debut as a professional wrestler for World Wrestling Entertainment. I was instantly blown away by his intense ferocity, his power and brute strength combined with such speed and agility...such technical proficiency. Labelled `The Next Big Thing' and later `The Pain', Brock was an athlete who was clearly destined for greatness in sports-entertainment.
The things that Lesnar accomplished in his brief tenure as a WWE Superstar are truly remarkable and unmatched in the eyes of many fans and peers. How quickly he achieved main-event status, became the biggest star of wrestling and established himself as a multi-time world champion and one of the greatest workers and most legitimate athletes in the business - in only two-years of the business - before his untimely departure...it's all truly amazing.
As was Brock's shocking (and successful) transition to the world of Mixed Martial Arts in 2008. Rising through the Ultimate Fighting Championships in no time at all (like WWE), Lesnar came, saw and conquered those pitted against him to become the undisputed world heavyweight champion, earning the awe, respect and/or anger of fans all over the world.
After overcoming a life-threatening case of diverticulitis, and suffering a series of devastating losses that made this one-of-a-kind beast retire from MMA, Brock Lesnar is currently back in WWE, wrestling on a part-time basis. Lesnar has sure generated a lot of attention/controversy throughout his career and life...and had a huge impact on both sports-entertainment and mixed martial arts as we know them.
I've been a big Brock Lesnar fan over the last decade, and his autobiography is something I've been meaning to check out for some time. Death Clutch is a title that's most appropriate to describe Lesnar, his career, his life and all the challenges he's faced (particularly his battle with diverticulitis), and like the man himself and his wrestling/MMA careers, this is a read that's short, often-restrained, often-unrestrained and makes you feel that there could've been so much more.
And yet...it has such an impact on you.
Brock has sat down with long-time confidante and real-life friend Paul Heyman (his agent in wrestling and former owner of ECW) to produce Death Clutch, and the result naturally works, given their relationship and Heyman's own credentials (particularly when it comes to his own blog `The Heyman Hustle'). The writing style Heyman uses is engaging, and Brock's voice makes the reading material even more so. It's a winning combination that will have readers and fans hooked.
Alas, as has been said by fellow reviewers, Death Clutch feels lacking and criminally too short. The whole read only took me a few hours, and readers could truly have benefitted more if Brock had gone into more detail over various issues.
Lesnar is evidently a private man, which although commendable, will leave WWE fans feeling rather cheated, especially those who've read the highly in-depth and compelling autobiographies of Mick Foley, Bret Hart and Chris Jericho. His WWE run is covered but not in as much detail as we would've liked. It's the same with things like his childhood, his college days, winning the NCAA Championship etc. All touched upon and discussed, but really, it's only when we arrive at the chapters regarding his transcending to the UFC and his battle with diverticulitis that Death Clutch feels truly gripping. If only the same level of enthusiasm could've been applied from start-to-finish. It makes this book feel something like a lost opportunity.
Nonetheless, this remains a grand insight into the mind of one of the most extraordinary athletes/fighters in history. Brock comes across as many things; arrogant, humble, respectful, disrespectful, sympathetic, vicious, ruthless, competitive, driven, a family-man etc. Lesnar is very open and honest throughout regarding pretty much everything (barring the areas deemed off-limits by himself and his lawyers), and it's a (more-or-less) fair, impartial view of everyone & everything involved in his life/career.
Working with the likes of Hulk Hogan, Big Show, Undertaker, The Rock & Kurt Angle, the truth behind his WWE departure, his relationships with Vince McMahon & Dana White, his hatred for rival Frank Mir, the court-battles with WWE and incidents with New Japan Wrestling, training for MMA, remembering Curt Hennig, his controversial victory shoot at UFC100, his family life involving wife Rena (Sable) and their children, his real-life problems and challenges and losing the UFC World title to Cain Velasquez...Brock tells it all like it is. No sugar-coating, no B.S., just openly and up-front, all the good along with the bad. Lesnar truly comes across as a man of integrity on the whole...and while some of the stuff here is bound to ire both wrestling and MMA fans alike, Brock evidently doesn't care. And for that, I say `fair enough'.
In closing, Death Clutch is a damn good read. Despite it feeling somewhat lacking, this is an autobiography that manages to sum up Brock Lesnar's life and career in a nutshell; very short for one still so young, yet has accomplished so much to take the whole world by storm. For fans of WWE, UFC or both, this is still a quality - and recommended - read.