This is the summer of Braun Strowman. Put it down in writing. Take it to Las Vegas. Do whatever you need to and cash in on the Monster Amongst Men.
The big guy may not win the Money in the Bank ladder match – it’s too predictable – but he will become “the guy” WWE puts its stock in during the long summer months.
I wasn’t a fan of how WWE has booked the former Wyatt Family member, putting him through the paces in a nowhere feud with Roman Reigns and losing to Brock Lesnar, but I get how building the perfect beast is important to the company’s forecast over the next six months.
As WWE takes a step back from Reigns and promotes Seth Rollins, Jinder Mahal, and other rising superstars, Strowman is nearing the top of the company food chain, with a date with a title in the near future.
I thought Strowman would have to win the MITB ladder match to claim the Universal Title and dethrone Lesnar as the baddest man on the planet. Now, but having the current champion hibernating, counting money and waiting to make his next chess move, Strowman can use the time to build on his resume, running through the roster, eliminating his competition.
At some point, a confrontation with Bobby Lashley should be all that stands in the way of Braun Strowman’s place in WWE lore.
Professional wrestling’s infatuation with big men has been a major theme for decades. The notion that Vince McMahon chose Hulk Hogan over Jimmy Snuka, building on the “bigger is better” premise tells you how the owner of the company should feel about a performer who is solid in the ring, does well in promos and has formed a bond with the fans in the arenas.
Andre the Giant set the bar for this connection, this affinity with the wrestling world. Others have tried to emulate it or capture it – Big Show, Kane, Mark Henry and King Kong Bundy.
The only superstar who has done as well in taking the baton and running is The Undertaker. Braun Strowman has the same kind likeability as the WWE superstars I mentioned. He would fit well in the McMahon cartoon style of the WWF in the mid-1980s. The problem I see with Strowman is how does the company keep him at the forefront of the fans’ conscience as a babyfaceBRo when at any point, he could play the role of heel and do it better once he holds the red brand’s top strap?
Strowman’s size and his agility are what keep the fans coming back for more. Just Like Lesnar, beating opponents into a bloody pulp make him “must see” television. Like Lesnar, the more punishment he inflicts, the more ratings go up.
It’s really a win-win for performer and promotion.
By SummerSlam, it should be clear how WWE will book Braun Strowman in his quest to reach the zenith of the company’s title picture. Until then, he will be booked as a powerhouse with no true direction. That works because Lesnar is the loner who makes the Universal Title irrelevant.
Once the focus is on Lesnar and who will beat him for the title, everyone will wonder, just like me, when will the current change get Strowman’s hands and drop the title for good.