“That was the early years of me when I was a young performer in the wrestling ring. You go through things in life, such as you become rich and become famous and you’re naive and you’re young and to top it all off, you’re traveling 360 days a year. The wrestling is fake but the things that go on in the ring – the ring is still a non-forgiving environment to be in. So you’re dealing with a lot of different injuries at one time. I’m not a man to be on the highway. I’m not a man to be in a hotel room every night. I’m not a man to be in an airplane everyday. It took all that for me to discover that and to cope with all that was my best friends – vodka and Vicodin… When you’re young, yeah it’s fresh and it’s cool, but is it really cool to be up all night not getting any sleep and then getting on an airplane, getting off an airplane, trying to find a place to eat, dealing with people at the rental car service, dealing with TSA, dealing with the hotel, dealing with the loss of your luggage, what’s cool about it? Anybody that’s a superstar, anybody that’s a movie star, it’s not what you think it is. It’s not all smoke and mirrors, it’s not all glitz and glamour. It is hard work. It’s a full time job. It’s not very glamorous. You have to go and perform every single night in front of different people that haven’t seen you before and you’re a hamster on a treadmill. That’s how I felt.”
Penick’s Analysis: Lesnar’s a mostly private person, but he’s been very open about the issues that led him to leave the WWE just two years into his run. He made a massive impact in a very short amount of time, but it took a significant toll on him mentally, which is why he left when he did. Building his star further to the point he could return on his own terms with a much less hectic schedule was the best thing that ever happened to him professionally, and he’s taken full advantage of his opportunities since. He doesn’t have to live that life in that way anymore, and he’s much more successful now well over a decade later because of that.
[Brock Lesnar art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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