When Brock Lesnar ran head-first into an exposed turnbuckle at WWE Backlash to split his forehead clean open in his main event match against Cody Rhodes, it was an unusual spot for the typically blood-adverse promotion, so much so that they actually played back the highlights in black and white on RAW to cover up the color.
So what gives? Was this spot intentional and just wasn't supposed to have blood? Did Rhodes and Lesnar get special permission to work blood into the angle, maybe as a tribute to the Puerto Rican bloodbaths of yore? Or did Rhodes legitimately make a mistake in removing the cover, as Michael Cole and Corey Graves suggested on commentary, even though it didn't look very accidental to any of the fans in the arena or watching from home?
Well, as it turns out, the spot was intentional and sanctioned by WWE, as, according to Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer, different rules apply to “The Beat Incarnate” than the rest of the roster.
“They let [the blood] go because that was the script,” Meltzer said on Wrestling Observer Live via Wrestling News. “It's unusual if it's anyone else.
When Brian Alvarez noted that WWE opted against showing Finn Balor bleeding at WrestleMania 39 despite having a cut so brutal it needed 14 staples to close, Metzler concurred with his cohost before noting that, again, Lesnar simply has different rules.
“It was part of the show. Brock Lesnar has different rules than anybody else. We've seen it how many times on pay-per-views? Probably a half dozen times, maybe more. If Brock Lesnar wants to do color, Brock Lesnar can do color. Everybody else might get in trouble for it but he has different rules. It's crazy because if Brock Lesnar insists on getting color, they might as well let him blade rather than risk a concussion or something dangerous by running his head into the metal buckle as hard as he can to split his head open. He's done that more than once. He's done that into the [ring] post too.”
On paper, WWE's decision to give Rhodes a quick, bloody win was the right call considering the storyline they have in mind; Lesnar beat the heck out of Rhodes on RAW during his tournament match with Finn Balor and The Miz and then called out “The American Nightmare” for being the real coward at Backlash. Still, it's unusual to see intentional blood on WWE, which, apparently, isn't the only rule that doesn't apply to Lesnar.
Brock Lesnar and Cody Rhodes bringing blood back to WWE! #WWEBacklash pic.twitter.com/zwRL35Yvd9
— Public Enemies Podcast (@TheEnemiesPE3) May 7, 2023
Brock Lesnar has different rules when it comes to drug testing too.
Speaking of rules that don't necessarily apply to Lesnar, Meltzer also discussed WWE's drug policy, which is very strict for performers like Billy Gunn, who was fired for violating it when he worked only as a coach but doesn't apply to “The Beast Incarnate.”
“Billy Gunn, if you remember when he was working for WWE, he was a coach and he did a powerlifting meet and in the powerlifting meet he tested positive for steroids and he got fired for that. Brock Lesnar did UFC, was an active wrestler – Billy was not even an active wrestler – he tested positive, it wasn’t for steroids, but he failed a drug test and the response from WWE was the drug policy doesn’t apply to Brock Lesnar,” Meltzer said via TJR Wrestling.
“I was amazed they told me that because I asked you know Brock just failed a drug test and in commission states in theory he should be suspended from commission states that regulate wrestling because that’s the rules. One year they actually had WrestleMania and Brock was in it and it put the commission in a bind because Brock was suspended. But they had to pretend they didn’t know or they had to Mickey Mouse things but it was an embarrassing thing for the commission because obviously Brock wasn’t gonna be banned from doing WrestleMania but he would have been banned from doing a fight.
“[…] The rules for Brock Lesnar are different across the board and not just because he can be on any brand at any time and that’s just how it is.”
Is Meltzer's suggestion correct? Is Lesnar such a big star that he can pretty much do whatever he wants without consequence, whereas other performers and even coaches would get fired for much, much less? Based on how infrequently Lesar loses matches, let alone wrestle matches period, it's safe to say WWE gives him plenty of leeway to do as he likes despite being one of the company's top earners.