This past Monday night on RAW, Braun Strowman faced off against The Big Show in another outing between these two that surpassed expectations. The two worked about as great of a big man vs. big man match that you’ll ever see in WWE. However, the signature moment came when Braun took The Big Show, and superplexed The Big Show from the top rope, giving way to the inevitable ring collapse stunt that had the crowd jumping out of their seats. The previous week, Braun Strowman brutally attacked Roman Reigns, who came away victorious in what was presumably The Undertaker’s final match at WrestleMania. He brutalized him, threw him on tables, shoved him off a surface and flipped over an ambulance while he was on the inside. More than ever, this is begging me to ask the question, is Braun Strowman The Next Big Thing?
No, I am not asking if he’s the next Brock Lesnar. Brock Lesnar was and still is a pretty big draw, and he is perhaps the greatest pure athlete that WWE has ever seen. I really haven’t seen a WWE superstar who has the combination of speed, power, athleticism and versatility in the ring that Brock has. However, when you talk about pure dominance, it would appear that WWE has stumbled upon some coal that could be converted to the next diamond. I mean, is he the next major superstar to lead WWE into the next generation. Braun Strowman began his WWE career with an ambush of Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose back in 2015, and was named The Black Sheep of the Wyatt Family. He was muscular, hairy and looked like a complete monster. He laid waste to both former members of The Shield and with that, he joined the cult of The Wyatts.
He was muscular, hairy and looked like a complete monster. He laid waste to both former members of The Shield and with him joining The Wyatts you’d think they would become a dominant tandem. Despite that, the group didn’t amount to much as they only managed to win meaningless matches against the likes of The New Day and The Dudley Boyz. Then, the brand split came, and Braun Strowman was one of the last picks in the draft, and he was sent to the RAW brand. We didn’t know what would become of him on his own because, at the time, he was inexperienced and green as The Hulk.
In a lot of ways, Braun reminds me of being a modern day version of monster heel Mark Henry at his peak in 2011. Henry bullied people, got what he wanted by force and took down WWE’s top stars during his rampage. He would also destroy who ever would stand in his path. Isn’t this the path Braun has taken thus far?
WWE went the Ryback rout with Braun Strowman at the beginning of his singles career. Week after week, nameless, local jobbers would line up in the ring and Braun would proceed to toy around with them week after week, giving a mere taste of his individual dominance. However, WWE made a mistake when they were pushing Ryback (at least in my opinion). After he was done with the jobbers, he was inserted immediately into the WWE Title picture, and would lose his feud to CM Punk. Because they pushed him to the highest point so quickly, he had nowhere but down to go from there, and we saw what became of The Big Guy, as he only amounted to a meaningless Intercontinental Title reign. Braun, however, moved gradually in his pursuits as he requested that Mick give him some real competition, and up came Sami Zayn. While Sami never really should have stood a chance against Braun, he did last 10 minutes against him at Roadblock: End of The Line. He would redeem himself with a Last Man Standing victory over him in convincing fashion.
I can’t help but feel as though WWE has missed numerous opportunities with Braun, because he was supposed to be one of the favorites in the Rumble match and was expected to last long. However, he was eliminated by another (and reportedly bigger WWE favorite with the higher ups), Baron Corbin. He was also eliminated in short order at WrestleMania in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. He was the big favorite to win the match, but instead, the nod was given to one Mojo Rawley, and Vince only knows what that victory will do to him. This is also not to mention the fact that he lost to Roman Reigns at Fastlane (though we can see that loss has not hurt him greatly). When I look at Braun, I look at a man who has vastly improved in many facets in WWE. His ring-work has improved dramatically as he has diversified his moveset from early on.
His work on the mic has also improved as well. While to me he can still sound like a robotic monster reading off a script, he speaks with confidence and conviction, which is also sort of rare for big men in WWE, if you ask me. It also helps that he looks the part as well. If you look at the sheer size of him and how he’s able to make Roman Reigns look tiny by comparison (and Roman is a BIG dude), it would be very interesting to see him in a matchup with Lesnar. He is probably one of only a few superstars on the entire active roster that can go up against Brock in the strength department. Now, I’ve been wrong on many superstars before and overestimated what their ceiling was. However, I think WWE has done a pretty good job with Braun.
Perhaps the biggest thing that resonates with me about Braun is that he is over with the crowd. Chants of “Thank You Strowman” echoed throughout the RAW crowd as Braun decimated Roman and left him in a heap. Whenever he displays his incredible power the crowd watches in awe and pays him respect. Now, of course, a lot of powerful big men have this type of reaction, but with Braun I think it’s different. His warming up to the crowd and their investment in him seems to be more organic, while the others seemed to be more formulaic.
Now, it will help me if he is involved in more concentrated singles feuds, because he’s really only feuded with Sami and Roman, so of course, he needs more experience in that department. I also believe that he should be built up methodically before he inevitably faces off against Brock Lesnar because once he starts feuding for the top title on the RAW brand, there’s no higher place for him to go except perhaps a main event slot at WrestleMania, and that is highly unlikely for all of his upsides. There’s also the test of seeing whether or not he’s a guy WWE could rely on to sell tickets, because as unfair as it may sound, market value, popularity and being able to draw money goes a long way in determining how far you will go. Braun hasn’t been put in that slot yet, so it will be interesting to see what the numbers show.Despite all of that, I can’t help but feel as though he’s destined for grat things.