Brock Lesnar is making his return to RAW on Monday night.
It’s the first time The Beast has made his way into the ring on TV since early October and odds are pretty good his return is going to spark more than its fair share of drama.
But there’s much more to Lesnar than just another notch in a WWE storyline. In fact, he’s one of the most experienced, and successful, wrestlers in the entire organization. Here’s everything you need to know about Lesnar’s multi-faceted career, his family and his road to WWE superstardom:
1. Lesnar Started His Wrestling Career at Bismark State College
After wrapping up his high school career with a 33-0-0 record in his senior year and two South Dakota state titles, Lesnar attended Bismark State College and immediately made his presence known on the mat. He was dominant from the get-go and won the National Junior College Athletic Association heavyweight championship in his sophomore year.
From there, Lesnar transferred to the University of Minnesota on a full wrestling scholarship for his junior and senior years. While at school, Lesnar continued to rack up the honors, winning the 2000 NCAA Division I heavyweight wrestling championship in his senior season. He also met future WWE colleague Shelton Benjamin who also served as his assistant coach.
By the time he left school, Lesnar had become one of the most decorated wrestlers in NCAA history. He not only won a national title in 000, but finished as a two-time NJCAA All-American, the ’98 NJCAA Heavyweight champion, a two-time NCAA All-American and two-time Big Ten Conference Champion. Lesnar wrapped up with a total record of 106-5.
2. He Debuted on the WWE Main Roster in 2002
Following college, Lesnar signed with the World Wrestling Foundation and spent time in the program’s developmental league, Ohio Valley Wrestling. It was there that he first met future manager Paul Heyman. However, it didn’t take long for Lesnar to make the jump to the next level.
Lesnar debuted on WWE television on March 18, 2002 during an episode of RAW. In June 2002, Lesnar won the King of the Ring tournament before going on to defeat the Undisputed WWE Champion, The Rock, at SummerSlam in July 2002. The victory made Lesnar, then 25, the youngest WWE Champion ever and the second-fastest to win the tile.
Over the course of his early career in the ring, Lesnar was quick to start feuds, fighting with everyone from Hulk Hogan to The Undertaker.
Lesnar ultimately decided to leave WWE competition in 2004 as rumors surfaced that he was looking to pursue an NFL career. However, Lesnar was cut from the Minnesota Vikings roster before the season began and, instead, he turned to New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2005.
3. Lesnar Signed With UFC in October 2007
In April 2006, Lesnar officially announced his intent to joined a mixed martial arts league and started training with the Minnesota Marital Arts Academy under Greg Nelson. He first started fighting with K-1, but, during the broadcast of UFC 77, it was announced Lesnar had reached a deal to fight with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
On February 2, 2008 Lesnar made his debut with the promotion in an event titled UFC 81: Breaking Point, falling to Frank Mir. However, he bounced back in UFC 87, defeating Heath Herring by unanimous decision. Over the course of the next few years, Lesnar made his name in UFC and, in 2011, was listed as one of the highest paid athletes in the world, earning $5.3 million, including his reported bout salaries and pay-per-view bonuses.
Following his loss to Alistair Overeem in 2011, via technical knockout in the first round, Lesnar announced his retirement from MMA.
4. He & Rena ‘Sable’ Greek Were Married in 2006 & Have Two Children Together
Lesnar officially became a husband on May 6, 2006, tying the knot with former wrestler Rena “Sable” Greek. The pair currently live on a farm near Moosomin, Saskatchewan and have two sons together; Turk (born June 2009) and Duke (born July 2010).
The wrestling standout also has two other children with his former fiancee Nicole McClain, Luke (born Brock Jr. in June 2000) and a daughter named Mya (born April 2002). He’s also a stepfather to Mariah, Greek’s daughter with her late husband, Wayne Richardson.
Rounding out the Lesnar family are Shelton Benjamin, the godfather to his two oldest children, and Paul Heyman, the godfather to his two youngest children.
5. Lesnar Is a Passionate Hunter & Member of the National Rifle Association
Lesnar has described himself as a conservative and is a public supporter of the Republican Party. He’s also an avid hunter and is a member of the National Rife Association, speaking to the group at its annual meeting in May 2011.
The Lesnar family, which leaves in Saskatchewan, regularly spends time together hunting and the WWE superstar spoke to the NRA in 2010 about the tradition, saying:
I consider myself a blue-collar redneck, outdoors kind of guy. Growing up I was a wrestler and a hunter and, first and foremost, a farm boy. It was family tradition. We hunted…For recreational use we went out and shot some 50 cal rounds. It’s a fun gun.
In December 2011, Lesnar was charged with hunting infractions for a trip to Alberta on November 19, 2010. Two charges were dropped, but Lesnar pleaded guilty to the charge of improper tagging and was fined $1,725 with a six-month hunting suspension.