When Was the Last Time Brock Lesnar Wrestled on Free WWE Television?

Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman made a surprise return to WWE television on this week's SmackDown Live where "The Beast" issued a challenge to Kofi Kingston for his WWE Championship on the Oct. 4 episode of SmackDown. That episode will mark The Blue Brand's first episode on Friday nights on FOX, but it came as a surprise to fans given how Lesnar never wrestles on free television anymore.

Back in his original run with the company it was nothing special, but when Lesnar returned to the WWE in 2012 his new contract gave WWE a restricted number of dates they could use him on, and as a result all of his matches became pay-per-view special attractions or house show matches (mostly in Madison Square Garden). Since 2012 Lesnar has wrestled 58 times, which included multiple WrestleMania main events and four world championship runs.

But that begs the question — when was the last time Lesnar wrestled on regular television. The answer turns out ot be the March 4 episode of WWE SmackDown, which was taped two nights prior. During the show Lesnar appeared in the arena riding "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's stolen four-wheeler, playing into the storyline of Austin being the special guest referee for Lesnar' match with Goldberg at WrestleMania XX. He'd go on to cut a promo (this was back in the days when Heyman was constantly at his side) only to be interrupted by Hardcore Holly. The two would wrestle for just two minutes before Lesnar put him down with an F-5.

Lesnar would go on to face Goldberg two weeks later in what would become one of the most infamous matches in WrestleMania history. With Goldberg's contract set to expire after the match and reports of Lesnar leaving the company (eventually leading to his attempt to join the NFL) already online, fans in the arena at Madison Sqaure Garden mercilessly booed the match since they knew both wrestlers were leaving.

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WWE would pick that storyline back up in 2016 when Goldberg returned to the ring for a match with Lesnar at that year's Survivor Series. The WWE Hall of Famer would win in just 86 seconds, leading to a feud with "The Beast" that would continue all the way up until their Universal Championship match at WrestleMania 33.

On top of the Kingston vs. Lesnar title match, SmackDown's FOX premiere will also serve as the SmackDown 20th Anniversary special and feature legends such as Hulk Hogan, Sting, Goldberg, Mick Foley, Kurt Angle and Booker T.