It appears WWE is taking the next step with Braun Strowman following his latest squash match. Along with it being the proper move forward, it came just at the right time.
Though that does not mean the future is all roses for WWE’s latest monster character, or for the fans; because while the booking change is a nice forward step, it is a shortsighted one with many issues waiting ahead on this continued path.
Strowman started off as the most recent member of The Wyatt Family. Despite getting off to a hot start, WWE quickly allowed the Strowman character to lose steam with the incessant bad booking of the Wyatt clan in general.
Since then we have been watching Strowman almost every week of Raw come out and decimate some local jobber — something WWE had not done in quite some time. Squash matches returned because they are a nice way to start building up a monster character, but they also are a great way to help mask the flaws of not-so-talented wrestlers like Strowman and Nia Jax.
Local jobber squash matches become stale eventually though. At some point a monster character has to move on to better caliber opponents after reaching that low ceiling. And just when it was starting to get stale, WWE pulled the trigger. After Strowman’s last match, he himself expressed displeasure with WWE’s trail of weak opponents for him.
“I am the ‘Gift of Destruction’ and you are wasting my talent on these weak fools, week in and week out,” Strowman said after his match Monday. “You tell [Raw General Manager Mick] Foley that if he doesn’t get me some real competition next week, there might not be a next week.”
Brilliant. If the fans had any inclination to view weakness in Strowman because of his weak competition, he made it very clear to everybody that his matchups kept getting made against his will. He wants better competition.
Everybody likes a competitor who wants tougher challenges and is uninterested in the easy path. So not only do fans have reason to look forward to Strowman’s upcoming match, but they view him as even stronger and more respectable heading in.
Yet right as those positives emerge, inevitable problems lie ahead. The most logical path forward seems to be just fine in the short run, but the road does not go very far before WWE, and fans especially, have reason to pause and worry.
If Strowman wants better competition, you give him the kind of guys who are meant for that exact job of helping build growing talent. The two immediate examples of the Raw roster with Strowman are Big Show and Mark Henry. You probably give Strowman Henry first, and start a short feud.
Henry being a longtime veteran on his way out of the business, and a champion strongman himself like Strowman, makes for the perfect enhancement feud. Strowman gets a name WWE fans are well aware of and the two can have competitive matches that actually make sense in a King Kong vs. Godzilla kind of way.
Strowman gets through Henry, so WWE throws Big Show at him, upping the ante with someone even bigger than Strowman. Again, you have these colossal matches that get over how powerful Strowman is, and he eventually wins the feud, ready to move on to bigger things.
Except who comes next? If Vince McMahon’s idea is to make Strowman a big star and a major monster on the WWE roster, some real problems wait beyond that point. With the brand split come smaller rosters; it has become pivotal that wrestlers come off as strong as possible. Past guys like Henry and Big Show, WWE is going to have to start making sacrifices to keep putting Strowman over.
At that point, you’re looking at guys like Sami Zayn, Cesaro, Rusev and Chris Jericho. Is there anyone besides McMahon who would think it’s a good idea for Braun Strowman of all people to be going over those established main roster talents? We have shed ourselves of that old fashioned pro wrestling mindset of clumsy big men with limited in-ring talent being the top stars. Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Diesel and Sid Vicious have no place in the New Era. It’s supposed to be about talent all around, regardless of size and looks, rightfully taking those top positions, like Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins.
No one, except maybe McMahon, should want to see Strowman get a big push over the bright talent that fills WWE’s mid-card, let alone its top guys. But if not that, then all the time and work WWE has put into Strowman goes to waste and he becomes just another mid-card guy who happens to be huge, leaving WWE in quite a conundrum going forward with the ongoing rise of its throwback monster.