Braun Strowman will wage war against Brock Lesnar at WWE’s Royal Rumble on Sunday, January 27. The Monster Among Men has yet another prime opportunity to take down The Beast Incarnate and become the new Universal champion. Many fans believe he will do exactly that.
But is that truly the best move for WWE’s flagship program? Strowman has always been perceived as a man on the verge of greatness, needing only one defining moment to fully establish himself as Raw’s next top guy. But maybe that is not the case after all. Perhaps Braun Strowman is nothing more than a fill-in challenger for the champ as Brock heads to WrestleMania 35. If so, then what is the point of their Rumble match?
It’s one of those topics that has been discussed and debated for quite some time. What is WWE’s plan for Braun Strowman and why does it not end with the North Carolina native wining the Universal title? He’s got the size, the strength and the overall character to rise to the top. The company has showcased him on many different occasions, building his persona with every spot.
It looked as though Braun was being groomed for big things. How could WWE fans see it any other way? Strowman was rising to the upper echelon of Monday Night Raw and taking a top spot alongside WWE’s heavy hitters. The company needed another big money performer on that level and Braun appeared to be the man for the job.
Watch the heavily edited face-off with Strowman and Lesnar on Raw:
He got over with the crowd, they bought his merchandise and they fully supported him when it mattered the most. Strowman had made an invaluable connection with the WWE faithful, a connection that would allow him to evolve beyond what many believed possible. Everything seemed to be heading in the right direction and WWE definitely seemed to be onboard.
But a funny thing happened on Braun Strowman’s way to the top. He ran into Brock Lesnar. The problem is, no one gets over on Brock. Many have tried and many have failed. Strowman is indeed a monster. He is everything WWE has advertised him to be and more. Braun is a powerful Superstar with the whole world at his feet and all he needed to do was seize his opportunity to be all he could be. No one could stand in his way and if they did, Braun would mow them down.
However, none of that appears to be true. Yes, Braun was given the chance to prove himself and yes he did just that. He delivered on the potential that he possessed and he made the WWE Universe believe that he was the next big thing. But now time has become the enemy and so too has the booking. Braun Strowman, upon further inspection, may not be the main event savior that fans believed him to be after all.
Again no one can take away from what he’s accomplished in WWE thus far. Strowman is in the trenches with the rest of the WWE crew. He’s grinding every week and he’s always in the spotlight. He’s given away so much of himself, just as everyone around him has and he’s done it with the hope that one day, he would become a major contributor on the company’s main event stage. In many ways, he’s already done that.
Watch Strowman and Paul Heyman on Raw:
But Braun’s inability to dethrone Lesnar does not fall on his shoulders and it never has. Fans know that these guys don’t call their own shots; it’s up to The McMahons and WWE Creative. For the past year, fans have assumed that Brock was crushing Braun because Lesnar is the company’s No. 1 attraction and because he can. Brock is WWE’s prizefighter, the crossover sports star that dominates everyone he faces. Of course WWE was feeding Strowman to him because Brock is the focus. Why wouldn’t that be the case?
But as time has passed, it’s become obvious that Braun Strowman is not the heir apparent to Brock Lesnar. His missteps in the ring, though far less than ever before, have been tempered with his lack of mic skills. Suddenly, Braun Strowman seems to have been exposed as a temporary fill-in challenger, a spoiler for Roman Reigns, then Brock Lesnar. Top guys need legitimate contenders and Braun Strowman fills that role. But after that, no one seems to know what his future will be.
So how can the WWE faithful get excited for a title match that really has no drama in the end? Brock is probably going to retain and Braun is surely going to look strong in his loss. But what then? Why would anyone be able to truly get revved up for a match and ultimately a feud, with such a painfully predictable outcome?
This is not about wanting to see Braun fail. He has endeared himself to WWE fans all over the world and he should be commended for his efforts to improve his game. He has indeed come a long way since he first arrived as the newest Wyatt Family member. This is also not necessarily about wanting to see Brock Lesnar fail either. Lesnar is playing his part and doing exactly what he’s been asked to do, just as Braun is.
Look at Braun’s destructive 2018:
This is about WWE once again booking itself in a position in which there is no way out. Routine has become all too routine and now fans are left with a match that will end as nearly every Lesnar match has ended thus far. Braun Strowman is a placeholder for Roman Reigns.
Braun could have won the Universal title perhaps but his deficiencies on the mic and in the ring have likely prevented that from happening. WWE can’t make a title switch simply because the fans are tired of Lesnar. There has to be more involved than that.
The only viable contender at this point to truly challenge and possibly defeat Brock is Seth Rollins. In Seth’s case, WWE has heated him up just as it did with Strowman. But where Braun has stumbled, Seth has excelled. WWE may or may not put the Universal title on Rollins at WrestleMania 35.
But it’s obvious that WWE cannot put the belt on Braun Strowman at The Royal Rumble. Fans have invested and they indeed care. However in the end, it’s just not enough. Braun Strowman will live to fight another day. With any luck, his next run will see him excel as well.
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Wrestling Rumors. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on iTunes,YouTube, iHeart Radio, boinkstudios.com and live every Friday at 12pm EST on Wrestling Rumors Facebook Live