Should Braun Strowman Be ‘The Guy’ Going Into Wrestlemania? – by Mike Sanchez

What are WWE’s plans for Braun Strowman? Is there a plan? If so, why does he appear to be floating around Monday Night Raw and never firmly in the main title picture? So many questions and the road to Wrestlemania is getting shorter by the week. And each and every week, Braun Strowman appears to be an afterthought when it comes to the grandest show of them all. It stinks. This guy should be top of the pile right now, yet he isn’t. Why is that?

Without doubt, Strowman has been one of the stand out stars of the last year. He featured heavily in the TJR Wrestling 2017 Johnny Awards, even scooping ‘Most Improved Performer’ and ‘Best Feud’. His matches with big name opponents have earned rave reviews, yet for all his bluster and (literal) stage crashing he does on a regular basis, we still can’t picture him going against Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title come Mania. Look, I know WWE and professional wrestling is a scripted entertainment show and I respect that. What I can’t understand is why this gift in Strowman is seemingly being overlooked right before our eyes.

It smacks of Daniel Bryan in his heyday and his charge to glory at Wrestlemania 30, when he defeated Randy Orton and Batista to capture the gold. It was the culmination of an epic story that was driven by the fans every week. They saw something in him. They believed in him and I firmly believe that Wrestlemania should be the culmination of many feuds, story-lines and fairy tales. That was the case for Bryan that fateful night. I see the same comparisons with Strowman; we’re sick of the current champion, we want a new face at the top of the tree. Someone who has battled and defeated challenge after challenge to get there and win on the biggest stage. It’s Strowman’s time and I cannot fathom why WWE can’t see this.

World Wrestling Entertainment has this horrible habit of ignoring their fan base and they make the same mistakes over and over again. They (and by ‘they’ I mean Vince McMahon and co) have this arrogant stubbornness that they know what’s best for us. If the WWE Universe consisted solely of five-year-old children who wanted chocolate for breakfast, and WWE was the parent imposing a bran-filled cereal on them, then I’d understand and agree, but that’s not the case. The WWE Universe consists of children, adults and everyone in-between and we know what we like. We’re a demographic that likes wrestling, enjoys the product and buys the merchandise for ourselves and our kids. Not everyone likes John Cena, but lots do. Not everyone likes Elias, but I do. It doesn’t matter, and WWE has no influence on what I like or how I chose to spend money on the product. Can they make us more interested and invested? Sure, but if they never listen to their fans, their source of income, how on earth can they expect us to have faith in them?

For our love of Strowman and our cheers of support for what he says and does, what do we get? Roman Reigns. Look, I’m no Roman hater, but this is reverse Bryan at Wrestlemania 30 as far as I can see. Does WWE not see or hear the fans? Do they not understand what Reigns’ reactions have been for the last two and a bit years? By all means, stick him back in The Shield and we’ll all cheer because we love The Shield, but we’ve seen Roman at WrestleMania. We’ve seen him in the big match and we’ve seen him as champion. It’s old news. He’s a good wrestler, one of the better ones, but WWE has a blind spot when it comes to our reactions to Strowman and his unstoppable march to the top. WWE isn’t that stupid that they’re going to curtail all Strowman’s good work, hence the lack of clean losses in his career, but I wouldn’t hold out on them improving his record for much longer.

The Elimination Chamber match should go some way to showing us what faith, if any, WWE still has in Braun, or if they’re cashing in their chips on Roman from here on in and have him firmly as their top guy. The chamber will give bookers limited opportunities to get Strowman out of there, unless his recent feats of strength in destroying anything not nailed down reappear again and he wrecks the chamber to the point of somehow getting eliminated. Then again, WWE could pull the swerve on us and have Strowman dominate the event, win the match and march on to Wrestlemania to face Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship. Ha! No chance. We’re getting Reigns vs Lesnar and we’re gonna like it. Braun will likely have a nondescript match with Kane or Kurt Angle (please, God no – and I love Kurt) that will likely go on early in the show and will be quickly forgotten about. (Editor’s Note: There is Strowman vs. Miz rumor out there too.)

Do I think it’s too early for Strowman? Possibly, and in all honesty, is he that over with the crowds? Granted, he’s not evoking cheers like Stone Cold in his heyday, but nobody is or is likely ever to again. Strowman is a popular guy who has been accidentally caught between the face/heel character, and it’s that point I believe WWE are stuck on. They just don’t know how to progress with him. Do they drop Reigns in their immediate plans and go with fan favorite Braun, or do they kowtow to Brock and his ridiculous contract and keep faith with the absent champion? Will they trust Strowman with Brock again after their heavy-handed spat at the Royal Rumble? Who knows, but one thing’s for sure; WWE can’t stall too long on Braun Strowman. They have something special there and I really hope they don’t waste this colossal talent in favour of the tried and tested to appease not the masses, but the backroom.

What do you think? Is Strowman being misused? Are WWE stalling on pulling the trigger in favor of Roman Reigns? Is Strowman that over with the crowds? Should he be Universal Champion? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As always, thanks for reading.