The past two weeks have been a difficult time for WWE. Their biggest full-time star and face of the company, Roman Reigns, sadly revealed that ever since he was 20 he has been involved in an ongoing battle with Leukaemia. As a result of this, Reigns promptly dropped the Universal title whilst announcing he would take some time off but he will be back. This has thrown a large spanner in the works for the company not just financially but creatively.
With Roman gone for the foreseeable future there is no Universal champ in WWE but more importantly, the company no longer has a face. He is the cornerstone of Raw and one of their biggest draws, yet for now, he is gone and the Universal Championship match for the controversial Crown Jewel show was changed to Braun Strowman vs Brock Lesnar. Lesnar going back to fight in UFC has been one of the worst kept secrets of the summer and Strowman’s time with the championship has been long over due. So why did Lesnar win?
Right now WWE is at an impasse. Their brand and flagship show is missing a main event star, as Roman has been the only wrestler adequately prepared for the position. Seth Rollins and Drew McIntyre are great candidates for the role, but whilst they have both been great recently each is in feuds with Dean Ambrose and Braun Strowman respectively. Most people were expecting and probably hoped, that Strowman would’ve won the Universal title at Crown Jewel.
This would make sense from a storyline perspective and, especially considering the mixed year Braun has had so far, but for the company’s sake, Lesnar is by far the best option. Lesnar is one of the biggest stars in the company’s history and, besides the Undertaker, their biggest draw. The fact he is about to make another return to UFC whilst holding the WWE’s main title will do wonders in terms of mainstream exposure. It is exposure and a face that WWE is in desperate need of right now.
In terms of kayfabe, Strowman was reasonably well protected in his match with Lesnar due to the steel chair attack from Corbin and the multiple times he kicked out of the F5. Whilst the execution of the story was not perfect, Braun’s rehab should be quite an achievable task and if WWE wants to it could be a great build to a Wrestlemania rematch. Whilst right now it is not clear what the creative direction will be going forward WWE at least has several options available. If the Ambrose/Rollins feud is a success then either of those two men could be perfect candidates to eventually topple Lesnar. Drew McIntyre is also an outstanding choice as well for the role although out of the two former Shield members and Strowman he is perhaps the least appealing option.
Strowman losing again is a shame, but the idea of him finally winning the title in Saudi Arabia would be a sour memory for what should be Braun’s crowning moment. If Strowman isn’t the man to eventually topple Lesnar at Mania, then this might go down as a missed opportunity. But for now, we might just have to wait and see…