Ever since the Monster among Men Braun Strowman debuted as the Black Sheep of The Wyatt Family, bypassing NXT fully and towering above the already massive Harper and Rowan, there was no denying in anyone’s mind that WWE had found their next giant.
Laying waste to all those who stood in his path, it was a long time before Braun suffered a loss, at first being booked so strongly that he wasn’t able to be taken off of his feet by anyone. He even laid waste to Mark Henry and the Big Show, WWE’s monsters and giants of the time and was able to go toe to toe with Brock Lesnar on multiple occasions. Obviously that all changed and he had odd things such as his loss to Kalisto.
Most notable was his feud with Roman Reigns where they would constantly destroy each other, followed by similar showings with Kane and Brock Lesnar, where in my opinion he came closer than anyone else to dethroning the Beast.
Braun had his strange feud with Elias, in which they would both sing and play guitars, albeit a rather larger guitar for Braun, and their Symphony of Destruction match, also instrument ridden. The trend so far was seeming to show Braun as rising very high and then coasting, as if the WWE knew what they had but didn’t want to push him too far at the risk of other people planned pushes. He became a tool to make Lesnar look strong for his eventual encounter with Reigns at WrestleMania 34, just like Samoa Joe and AJ Styles.
The evidence that WWE is not just being stupid lays with how he rises. Just look at the first ever seven-man Elimination Chamber match. Despite being ganged up on almost the entire match by all of the superstars, Braun held all the eliminations, up until Roman. The narrative was that Braun was so overwhelmed by their joint efforts, Roman could easily finish him off with a few spears. Such was the case, Reigns won and went to ‘Mania to face Lesnar, Braun left out of the title scene this time.
So, he took it upon himself to insert himself into a title scene, joining the Raw Tag Team Championship Number One Contender Battle Royal, the winners going on to face the current champs Sheamus and Cesaro, The Bar. Braun definitely raised The Bar, defeating all other teams by himself to be declared the winner.
Raw General Manager Kurt Angle told Braun he had to find a partner to be in contention for the titles, much to Braun’s dismay. He was confident enough in his own abilities that he wanted to prove he could beat them alone. Of course, Sheamus and Cesaro also believed that their combined skills would be enough to topple the behemoth, and the following weeks were plagued by who his choice would be. The internet, of course, blew up with speculation and rumors, from Neville, Samoa Joe or Elias, to stars such as Rey Mysterio or Jeff Hardy.
None of us were sure, I’m not even confident that WWE knew until closer to the time. To everyone’s surprise, Braun revealed his partner to be a member of the crowd! The whole arena erupted as he waded through the fans, in search of the perfect tag team partner.
Despite the fact that there was current IWGP Champion Kazuchika Okada and his fellow New Japan wrestlers Tersuyo Naito and Minoru Suzuki in attendance, Braun chose a child named Nicholas. The crowd went mad, as did many wrestlers but for different reasons. It was a feel-good ‘Mania moment and despite us now knowing that it was not a random child, being the son of referee John Cone. Many people saw it as very disrespectful to the Bar. Basically, it was just done so that Braun could still technically beat them by himself, while also getting a major WrestleMania pop and being one of the main talking points of the night.
This, however, could have been achieved had they used the spot for a returning star, strengthening their return, not Sheamus and Cesaro and also setting up a great tag team like Joe and Braun. This all ties in though to the whole beating them by himself thing and his push. By relinquishing the titles the following night, Braun got to stay as a singles star, which I think is most definitely where he needs to be, just without falling victim to the powers struggle at the top of the card between Braun and Roman.
Braun is another case of a star being hugely over with the crowd, only to get so far when it comes to climbing the heap of talent, if they keep pushing him to the side to focus on these other people, we will slowly start to view him with less credibility.
This, of course, is not what anyone wants to see happen.
There are endless possibilities for Braun to dominate the entire roster, yet I’m starting to think that they overbooked him lately. For instance, if it takes many top stars to wear him down for the top star to finish him, who on earth other than Lesnar is currently booked strong enough to take the belt from Strowman one on one?
The only logical steps now would be for him to constantly terrorize the champion and focus on the Brock and Reigns, the only two other people in this triangle of powerful booking at the top. All three are made to look the strongest, yet Braun is forced to the sidelines for their planned main feud of Reigns/Lesnar. They should have had him take the belt from Brock when he had the chance and before he lost to the F5 on more than one occasion. Even though he had been booked strongly enough that we thought Lesnar’s reign was done for, no one had dominated the Beast Incarnate like he had, putting the champion through tables and pulling parts of the arena down on him and Kane. He is truly a ‘Monster Among Men.’
Anything less than this doesn’t make sense and diminishes his character, only very slightly each time but none the less. They need to work out who’s going on top and make the decisions necessary to facilitate the different stars without leaving out others. It is a tricky situation with the roster depths but still, one that none the less needs to be addressed.
With the fact that Braun can be used to elevate others and would be practically unstoppable in one on one defenses if Champion this has opened up a can of worms. The champs job is to elevate the challengers and the title not destroy all the competition, that leads to periods like we have now where Lesnar has made the Universal Championship seem boring with his lackluster and sporadic appearances.
Yes, Lesnar is someone to be used sparingly, so let someone else have the title, he doesn’t need the belt to be the Beast, yet he is billed as the top of the pile. Braun is his likely successor to the big man spot in WWE, with nobody else showing the dominance that he or Lesnar have. I just hope WWE has already figured this out and doesn’t wait too long to make it happen before it is too late for him to be the most dominant champion in the history of WWE.