NEW YORK -- Former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar has long been beloved by pro wrestling fans for the realism and brutality he brings to the squared circle.
After Sunday's SummerSlam main event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, it's fair to question whether his bruising style may have forced the WWE to alter its storyline finish on the fly.
Lesnar, in his first WWE match since a pair of UFC doping violations placed a dark cloud over his one-off return in July, was credited with a TKO victory -- rare for pro wrestling -- over Randy Orton. Referee Mike Chioda called for the bell at 11 minutes, 45 seconds with Orton lying in the center of the ring in a pool of his own blood.
Due to the very nature of sports entertainment, it's often difficult to determine what's real and what's a work. The argument for the finish being unplanned, however, centers around just how much blood Orton lost during this current PG-era in WWE where blood is rarely seen.
Lesnar appeared to open the cut on Orton's head with a short elbow while applying his patented ground-and-pound attack taken from his days in mixed martial arts. If the blood was accidental, Lesnar worked it into the storyline perfectly by twice pushing ringside doctors out of the way in order to apply more punishment with right hands to the head.
The crowd booed the surprising finish from the moment the referee called for the bell.
The theatrics continued from there as Shane McMahon, commissioner of SmackDown Live, which drafted Orton in July, came down to stop Lesnar from continuing his attack. After a brief staredown, Lesnar applied his finishing move, the F5, to McMahon, who landed right on top of Orton's massive blood stain on the canvas.
As expected, the match was a physical one from the start. Lesnar intercepted Orton's first attempt at his vaunted RKO finishing move and shoved him halfway across the ring.
From there the bout took a trip to "Suplex City," with Lesnar landing six in a row before taking Orton outside the ring and twice slamming him through announcers tables. Lesnar went on for the trifecta on the third announcers table but was blocked by Orton, who delivered an RKO that woke up the crowd.
Moments later, both wrestlers kicked out of each others' finishing moves before Lesnar's ground attack opened the deep cut that led to the finish.
For recaps and ratings of all the SummerSlam matches, click here.