Braun Strowman took a test on Raw last Monday when he worked the Big Show in the main event. It happens to every wrestler who’s been groomed for a featured role. Yes, he can bump, he can sell, he is a towering colossus but can he tell a story in the ring that is worth the price of admission?
It’s no secret that Vince McMahon favors wrestlers with freakish size, which is why the former strongman competitor is being pushed as the new monster on the block. This is becoming increasingly difficult to accomplish, however, since WWE’s in-ring product has been reenergized in a manner that demands more substance than fluff.
Less imposing looking wrestlers such as AJ Styles and Kevin Owens are applying their craft in such a dynamic fashion that it inadvertently exposes how a lot of big men pale in comparison. Monsters still have a place in wrestling but like everything else in life, the individual and the role itself has to evolve.
Braun Strowman appeared to be just another forearm smashing, bear hugging giant when he debuted in September of 2015. While he is no doubt an imposing presence, there was nothing about his work that made him stand out.
Surprisingly enough, Strowman was improving. His strides have been incremental but not eye-raising enough for anyone to notice at first. Then as Strowman raised through the ranks, it became apparent that he’s got something.
Big Show vs. Braun Strowman headlining at the Staples Center seemed like a bad idea that was worth skipping. Soon after the bell rang, the expected lumbering affair became an enthralling story. In other words, it was awesome!
Both men sold each other’s moves as if they never felt that kind of power before. Every punch, lariat, DDT, chokeslam and powerslam was executed in a manner that made the match appear to be a hard-fought contest.
Even the chain wrestling was fun to watch, especially Strowman’s knip-up out of a top wrist lock. Giant battled giant to prove who the alpha was. Neither wrestler forgot that they were bigger than the average bear, which was a key element in this match.
Strowman delivered in the most important match of his career. It was longer than normal for the big man, however, it was important to see if he could pull it off since main event segments/matches are usually lengthy outings.
He even received a “Thank You, Strowman“ chant for his post-match thrashing of Roman Reigns in a segment that was designed to build sympathy for the latter.
Is Bruan Strowman now a bona fide superstar? No, but he could be. That’s the biggest take away here because Strowman demonstrated the ability to tell an effective story on a high level. Even if he’s not your cup of tea, it’s undeniable that Strowman is more than just a wrestling big man to be dismissed.