Lesnar left WWE in March 2004 after two years on the main roster and 18 months in the company’s Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) developmental system. The former WWE Champion’s contract stated he was not allowed to work for any other wrestling companies until 2010.
Speaking on his Something to Wrestle With podcast, Prichard recalled how Lesnar and WWE were involved in a legal battle over the contract clause. In June 2006, both parties came to an agreement and the case was dismissed:
“Sometimes you just reach a point of enough and being done with it and you move on, and that’s pretty much where we were at that point,” Prichard said. “It [WWE’s thought process] was you protect your IP [intellectual property] as much as you can, you try to protect – that’s why you have contracts – and do what you have to do.”
Brock Lesnar competed in seven matches for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) in 2005 and 2006. Following the legal case, he also lost a match against former WWE rival Kurt Angle at an Inoki Genome Federation (IGF) event in 2007.
WWE and Brock Lesnar held talks in 2005
In 2005, Brock Lesnar entered negotiations with WWE about possibly returning to the company. Talks broke down and he did not rejoin WWE again until 2012.
Bruce Prichard worked as a key member of WWE’s creative team during the time that WWE held talks with Lesnar about returning. From his perspective, Prichard did not have any interest in creating storylines for Lesnar until his return was confirmed:
“But then when it’s over [the legal battle], at some point you’ve just gotta move on,” Prichard added. “And from our vantage point that was something the lawyers were battling with, and that’s not anything that we were in a day-to-day, ‘What’s the status there?’ There was never at that point, ‘Okay, well, he’s coming back here.’ That wasn’t what we were looking for, so I really didn’t care [as a creative team member].”
Brock Lesnar became a free agent in 2020 after losing the WWE Championship to Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania 36. His former on-screen advocate, Paul Heyman, told DAZN this week that The Beast will only return to WWE when he wants to.
Please credit Something to Wrestle With and give a H/T to Sportskeeda Wrestling for the transcription if you use quotes from this article.