As we’ve noted, Braun Strowman has been removed from his scheduled WWE Universal Championship match against Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble later this month. Vince McMahon stripped Strowman of that opportunity after “The Monster Among Men” destroyed his limo on RAW. In turn, Finn Balor won the vacant spot by winning two matches on RAW. “The Demon King” will now face “The Beast” at the Royal Rumble for the Universal Championship.
According to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio, McMahon began changing his mind about Strowman vs. Lesnar shortly after Crown Jewel. The original idea was for Lesnar to go over on Strowman before setting up Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins at WrestleMania 35. The report noted that McMahon began to change his mind on Lesnar vs. Strowman because the former Wyatt Family member started to cool off at one point. WWE was forced to do an injury angle with Strowman because he legitimately needed elbow surgery to repair his bone spurs, but the feeling is that time off hurt him a bit.
WWE continued promoting Strowman vs. Lesnar to help move ticket sales before finally announcing the match was off. PWInsider now reports that the move to remove Strowman from the match was done to protect “The Monster Among Men.” The feeling was that another loss would hurt Strowman even more, as having him beat Lesnar for the title at the Royal Rumble was not an option. Also, there was a feeling that Lesnar vs. Balor would make for a much better story.
Not to mention, Strowman isn’t 100 percent cleared to return to the ring quite yet after his elbow surgery. There’s currently no word on whether or not Strowman will be a part of the 30-Man Royal Rumble match.