I walked into the offices of philly.com shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday to start my usual overnight shift as a sports content producer.
I placed my laptop bag down on my desk and glanced up at the television that is mounted above where I sit. The television, which is not always on when I first come in, just so happened to already be on ESPN.
Upon glancing up at the screen, I noticed Brock Lesnar's screaming face in the top left corner advertising an upcoming appearance on SportsCenter.
Since I'm the "wrestling guy" here at philly.com, this obviously piqued my interest. In my mind, this was going to be standard interview where the WWE World Heavyweight Champion tells everyone to watch WrestleMania.
After all, the show was five days away and he's a name that rings bells across sports due to his memorable run in the UFC. It all makes sense.
As I settled into my routine, Lesnar and Michele Beadle pop up on the screen.
It became immediately apparent that Lesnar was not there to do an ordinary interview hyping WrestleMania. He had an announcement. My eyes widened in anticipation. I quickly clutched the remote to turn up the volume, lacking all sense of caring for my colleagues' eardrums.
Then, it happened. Lesnar announced that he officially shutting the door on his mixed martial arts career and that he had re-signed with the WWE.
Wrestling fans everywhere rejoiced. Social media immediately began buzzing with the good news, which was made by the man himself on the biggest platform in sports — not sports entertainment.
The thousands (maybe even millions) of wrestling fans that had their dials on ESPN at the time weren't alone in rejoicing. The WWE rejoiced as well.
Let's be honest, the WWE has had a tough time building excitement on its television shows for WrestleMania, which is the company's Super Bowl. In my opinion, and in the opinion of many others, the build has been rather lackluster.
Convoluted stories and a lukewarm main event (that includes Lesnar) have contributed to a less-than-stellar level of anticipation for the show.
Just 24 hours earlier, Lesnar took part in a child-like tug of war over the WWE World Heavyweight Championship with his WrestleMania opponent Roman Reigns as the flagship show went off the air. The WWE was in dire need of a shot in the arm to inject some momentum into its biggest show of the year. Not to mention, settle the contract situation with its current world champion.
With Lesnar's monumental announcement, the WWE finally got the shot in the arm it needed.
Lesnar's time on ESPN's flagship television show did more to publicize and hype WrestleMania than anything the WWE has done on its own television shows since the Royal Rumbe back in January.
The news of Lesnar staying put in the WWE was not only major news to wrestling fans, but also major news in the world of mixed martial arts, which ESPN covers extensively on its web site. This was not only mainstream news but it also brought mainstream attention to the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, who is only five days away from walking down the aisle during the biggest show of the year.
In short, this was a genius move by the WWE.
The WWE doesn't do everything right, but this was one thing the company definitely handled correctly. Think about that for a second: A wrestler was just sitting down announcing his re-signing with the WWE on SportsCenter. That's crazy.
Not only did it give the WWE the mainstream attention it craves, but it also added more intrigue to the main event of WrestleMania.
It also made Lesnar the biggest babyface on the WWE roster.
Fans love Lesnar, despite the fact that his character and presentation is tailor-made for a heel. But there isn't much you can really hate about Lesnar. He's legitimately as tough as he claims to be, he has one of the best orators in the history of wrestling speaking for him and he's capable of having tremendous matches. No one wanted to see him go.
Then comes Tuesday, when he said on a worldwide platform that he was choosing the WWE and its fans over the UFC.
In reality, Lesnar is choosing more money, a very light schedule and less health risks over the UFC, but in the minds of the fans, he's choosing each and every one of them as well.
People are only going to gush over him even more now. If there was a city in this country that was solely inhabited by wrestling fans, he could run for mayor. That's how much wrestling fans love him right now.
And so does the WWE, because not only is he sticking around for another couple of years but he helped jump-start the mainstream publicity of the company's biggest show. He all but rescued the hype from oblivion.