by Chase Bowie

Brock Lesnar is, without a doubt, the baddest man in World Wrestling Entertainment right now (the WWF had to change their name in 2002 due to a lawsuit from the panda-huggers at the World Wildlife Fund). Before he became the youngest WWE champion in history by taking the belt off The Rock at SummerSlam 2002, Lesnar was the NCAA Heavyweight Champion--so don't think for one second that he's some stuntman poseur. Brock is one of the most dominating champions in the history of sports entertainment. His agenda consists of kicking ass and taking names. Some of his most memorable violent streaks include smearing Hulk Hogan's blood across his chest after beating the living crap out of him, tossing the 500-plus pound Big Show across his shoulders like a sack of potatoes, and throwing one-legged wrestler Zach Gowen down a long flight of steps in a wheelchair.

Now that the Oregon Boxing and Wrestling Commission has lifted its inane ban on pro wrestling, the WWE Smackdown brand is making its debut at the Rose Garden this Sunday, where Brock takes on the Canadian Crippler Chris Benoit. We caught up with Brock to talk about wrestling, folk singers, and the Disney classic, The Fox and the Hound. (The interview was more like a handicap match, though, as WWE rep Joe Villa kept interrupting the conversation when things were getting hairy for the champ.)

Chas: Hey Brock. Huge fan. That new high leg cradle suplex that you've been doing on TV lately is completely awesome.

Brock: Thank you.

Brock, a lot of contemporary folk singers have started giving themselves rock star names--like "Iron and Wine" and "Little Grizzly." A few years ago, wrestlers had cool names like The Undertaker and Prototype, but now they're debuting with their real names--like John Cena and Brock LesnarÉ Any thoughts on that?

I think the business has evolved. And while people know that we're "sports entertainment," we also want to give a realistic factor to the entertainment side. Because of my background, because of Kurt's background (Kurt Angle, Olympic Gold Medalist and four time WWE champion), these guys have had a tough time gaining legitimacy as real wrestlers. You look back at The Rock, he wasn't an amateur wrestler, he was a college football playerÉ and the name Dwayne Johnson really doesn't stand out.

When you debuted with the WWE, you destroyed all the wrestlers, running through almost everybody on the roster--and within five months you became the youngest champion ever in the WWEÉ

I don't know about the exact timing. I could give a shit, really. All I know right now is I think I've had the title three times.

Yep. The first time, you beat The Rock for the belt. That must have been a huge rush.

Yeah, yeah. The first one's probably the most important--and it's the hardest one to get. First you make a name for yourself, then by the second one, you definitely know you're a wealthy champion.

Did you ever feel any resentment coming from the guys in the back who have been with the company for years, never got the title, and barely appear on TV?

No, I think people knew I was a genuine person, and that [management] didn't say "Oh, here's Brock Lesnar, let's see if he can be a WWE champion." They groomed me and I worked hard. Ask any guy in the locker room--ask them if I cut any corners or if I've got an attitude problemÉ nobody would say one thing. Everybody's been really helpful. All the guys in the back understand thatÉ umÉ I guess the correct word is that I'm the "right champion."

Amen to that. I know you guys are professionals, but have you ever been in the ring and thought "Shit, I think this guy really wants to hurt me?"

I've never thought that--mostly because I don't think anybody really could hurt me. I mean there are some very physical times in the wrestling ring, you know, but that's part of the business.

Could you talk a little bit about your relationship with Kurt Angle, who debuted before you, and his amazing amateur background?

Me and Kurt have a lot in common because of our amateur background, and a bit of our lifestyle growing up. So me and Kurt are definitely genuine friends outside the wrestling business. Inside the wrestling business, however, we have a resentment for one another, a bit of jealously. We're competitive.

Have you ever taken it to the mat with Kurt in an amateur style match?

YeahÉ and I win every time.

I was doing some research, and I found these photos of you and Kurt, and it looked like you were making out in the middle of the ring. I was wondering if Portland could expect something like that when you come to town.

I'll tell you one thing--Kurt Angle doesn't kiss like a guy. I don't know, he may have caught me off guard one timeÉ

You know which incident I'm referring to, don't you?

No, I don't.

It was at a Smackdown show, after the show went off the air, you were in an intense staredown with Kurt, and you grabbed him and started kissing him. The kiss happened in Fresno, CA, on July 22 of this year.

NahÉ I don't know what website you're reading--the gay porn? *

WWE rep Joe Villa interrupts: Chas, I don't know about that. You might want to leave that out.

All right, all right. Another thing I read--one of your favorite movies is Disney's The Fox and the Hound. True?

UhÉ yeahÉ I like that movie.

There are a few lines from The Fox and The Hound that you might be able to use one day. Try these on. "Those days are over, Paulie. I'm a hunting dog now." Or how about, "Listen good, Show. It's either education or elimination!"

(Laughs) Yeah, that's a good movie.

At Wrestlemania, you pulled out the Shooting Star Press, which is usually done by guys half your size. But afterwards, (WWE cruiserweight) Billy Kidman got his nips in a twist about you using his move. Is it really that big of a deal?

I didn't know anything about it. I didn't know--he got his what in a twist?

Um, I think I said his "nips" in a twist.

WWE rep Joe Villa interrupts: Chas, it's Joe again. That's just speculationÉ

Actually, Kidman said all this on (WWE's webcast) Byte This. **

Joe Villa: Well, it's really not going to come into play for our show coming up in Portland.

Brock: Look, I'm coming to Portland Oregon to wrestle Chris Benoit for the title--and I'm coming there to fucking kill somebody, so that's all there is to it.

WWE Up Close & Uncensored!, Rose Garden, Sunday, Nov 23, 4 pm to 11:50 pm, Tickets range from $19.25 to $50.50.

FOOTNOTES

*Frequently, after wrestling shows are officially over, the headlining performers will remain in the ring and give a small, extra show as something special to send the fans home with. Several reports from people who were at the Smackdown taping in Fresno on July 22 reported the same thing: After a six-man tag match that topped the show off, Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle remained in the ring, and wound up in a tense stare down. To everyone's surprise (including Angle's, it sounded like), Brock grabbed Angle by the face and planted a big one right on the lips.

** Byte This is WWE's internet show which appeals to only the most depraved wrestling fans. On the May 30 edition, WWE cruiserweight Billy Kidman was the guest. One of Kidman's signature moves is the Shooting Star Press, in which the wrestler gets on the top turnbuckle, does a backflip from a front-facing position, and lands across the chest of his prone opponent. Few wrestlers can perform the move, and Brock is the only heavyweight we know of who could pull it off. At Wrestlemania XIX, Brock broke with wrestling etiquette and used the Shooting Star Press, which is generally known as Kidman's signature maneuver. During the Byte This interview, Kidman said he felt that Brock's use of his move was disrespectful, and that he violated an unwritten rule of ethics. He said that he could do the F5 (Brock's finishing move) on his opponents if he wanted--but refuses to do so out of respect.