Forbes WWE Is Reportedly Unsure What To Do With Braun Strowman

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WWE Is Reportedly Unsure What To Do With Braun Strowman There is apparently a big debate in WWE regarding what to do with Braun Strowman, even though he just won the biggest Royal Rumble in history.

According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer (h/t Ringside News), there has long been a mixed feeling among WWE officials about whether Strowman or Roman Reigns should be the one to defeat Brock Lesnar and be pushed as “the guy” on Raw:

There’s a feeling that he’s better off not being champion…I agree that Roman’s not the guy. I think that’s been the case for years. Well, they know that [Braun Strowman] is the most popular guy and I know there are people in the company who definitely think he should be the champion and he should be the guy that beats Brock Lesnar. Look, I think that’s probably better we’ll see. Maybe, in the end, that’s what they’ll do

WHAT’S IT MEAN FOR WWE?

Imagine having a potential No. 1 star and face of the company in the palm of your hand but not knowing what to do with him.

That seems to be the pickle WWE finds itself in with Strowman, essentially because of the push of Reigns. If you were to categorize WWE’s biggest stars based on their recent crowd reactions alone, the battle between Reigns and Strowman would be no contest. While evidence indicates that both stars are major draws and top merchandise movers, there is no denying that Strowman is, at least currently, much more liked than Reigns is or has been at any point over the past few years.

Although the very vocal minority that despises Reigns doesn’t necessarily portray an accurate depiction of the size of Reigns’ fan base (it’s obviously bigger than Reigns haters will admit), all you need to do is watch an episode of Raw to see that Strowman is the most over guy on the show. Strowman generates the loudest reactions and creates the most buzz, and it’s baffling that WWE still hasn’t crowned him the Universal Champion by now, having missed opportunities to do so at both No Mercy 2017 and Royal Rumble 2018.

That ties directly into the push of Reigns, with WWE’s logic presumably being that Strowman “doesn’t need the title” and can be a major draw without it while Reigns needs that title to fully cement himself as the company’s No. 1 star. That logic, however, should tell WWE all it needs to know about Reigns. The title doesn’t make the man, the man makes the title. And right now, there is not a hotter star in WWE than Strowman, who should be Raw’s Universal Champion and the focus of the red brand going forward.

Yet, WWE seems unwilling to go all the way with Strowman as long as Reigns is around, indicating that either one of the two stars will have to turn heel at some point or that they’ll eventually need to find themselves on separate brands.

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Sportskeeda Wrs’ling@SKProWrestling

Find out what the Monster Among Men has to say about being the good guy and working with Mr. McMahon. https://www.sportskeeda.com/wwe/braun-strowman-discusses-vince-mcmahon-s-involvement-in-his-character-and-being-a-babyface?key=skwwetwtr&utm_source=AUTOFEED&utm_medium=WWEtwitter&utm_campaign=skprowrestling 

WWE News: Braun Strowman discusses Vince McMahon’s involvement in his character and being a babyface

Find out what the Monster Among Men has to say about being the good guy and working with Mr. McMahon.

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Current Creative Plans For Ronda Rousey

Credit: WWE.com

Credit: WWE.com

WHAT’S THE DEAL?

Earlier this week, it was announced that Ronda Rousey would face Mickie James on WWE’s UK tour, which would mark her first singles match for the company.

But it looks like Rousey vs. James will actually happen before that as the Wrestling Observer (h/t SEScoops) reports that the match could be slated for next week’s Backlash pay-per-view.

WHAT’S IT MEAN FOR WWE?

WWE has made two very wise decisions with Rousey since WrestleMania 34.

The first is pairing Rousey with Natalya in a mentor/student storyline that will allow Rousey to work closely with her real-life training partner, who just so happens to be one of the most experienced female superstars on the roster. The second is positioning Rousey in a feud with James, also an established and accomplished veteran who would make a great choice for Rousey’s first singles opponent in a PPV match.

Rousey is really catching on with WWE fans in a major way, instantly boosting ticket sales and presumably playing a role in the WWE Network reaching an all-time high subscriber count at WrestleMania 34. She is also positioned as a “featured superstar” on WWEShop.com among the likes of John Cena, Roman Reigns and AJ Styles, indicating that she may have immediately become one of WWE’s biggest merchandise movers.

Once labeled the world’s most famous female athlete, Rousey is clearly bringing her popularity from UFC to WWE, where it’s now just a matter of the latter setting her up for success through quality booking. Although Rousey will apparently be around more than your prototypical part-timer would be, she is still not a traditional full-timer in the sense that she doesn’t consistently work live events like the rest of the roster.

That will make Rousey’s rare matches oh so important to her development as an in-ring performer, and initial storylines with the likes of James and Natalya, who aren’t pushed strongly but are great wrestlers, should prepare her well for major future bouts against stars like Asuka and Charlotte Flair.

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Poll Says John Cena Is WWE’s Most Recognized Current Wrestler

Credit: WWE.com

Credit: WWE.com

WHAT’S THE DEAL?

Using data from YouGov Ratings, Medium.com analyzed “which wrestlers have the highest brand name recognition,” and John Cena ranked highest among WWE’s current stars, though he wasn’t No. 1 overall.

Here is a look at the top 10, which shows what percentage of American’s polled had heard of each superstar as of April 2018:

  1. Hulk Hogan 95%
  2. Dwayne Johnson “The Rock” 94%
  3. John Cena 79%
  4. Stone Cold Steve Austin 78%
  5. “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey 68%
  6. “Macho Man” Randy Savage 65%
  7. Vince McMahon 63%
  8. “Nature Boy” Ric Flair 62%
  9. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper: 53%
  10. Dusty “The American Dream” Rhodes 49%

WHAT’S IT MEAN FOR WWE?

The top two names aren’t surprising given that The Rock is arguably the biggest name in Hollywood while a case could be made for Hulk Hogan being the most famous wrestler in the history of sports entertainment.

However, the significant gap between The Rock and Cena (15%) does demonstrate that perhaps today’s generation of WWE superstars aren’t as well known as those from previous ones. After all, what’s quite noticeable about this list is that only two currently active WWE superstars, Cena and Rousey (who as mentioned previously was labeled the world’s most famous female athlete in 2017), made it into the top 10.

Other notable names who fell just outside the top 10 include Triple H (49%), Chris Jericho (47%) and Brock Lesnar (40%), but some notable names who did not show up on the rankings at all were Roman Reigns, AJ Styles and Seth Rollins. A potential takeaway from these rankings is that longevity is important here because stars like Reigns and Styles really have only become mainstream stars within the last few years, while the likes of Jericho, Triple H and Lesnar have been around for the last 20 or so.

Of course, it also helps stars like Cena, Triple H, Jericho and Lesnar that they pursue other endeavors that would make them more recognizable outside the world of pro wrestling. Cena has a budding acting career while Triple H has joined the corporate world. Meanwhile, Jericho is a well-known name in music due to his band Fozzy and Lesnar, who still seemed to be somewhat low on this list, also made a name for himself in UFC.

While it’s important to note that these rankings are constantly changing, this does shed some light on not only Cena’s fame but the popularity of WWE’s current superstars in comparison to stars from previous generations.

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Why Was Samoa Joe Moved To SmackDown?

Credit: WWE.com

Credit: WWE.com

WHAT’S THE DEAL?

One of the biggest shockers of the Superstar Shakeup came when Samoa Joe was moved to SmackDown, causing many fans to wonder why that was the case. Now, we know why.

According to PWStream, Samoa Joe was apparently moved to SmackDown to avoid Roman Reigns, with the idea being that he won’t truly be a top star as long as he’s on the same brand as Reigns due to the push of “The Big Dog.”

PWStream@PWStream

Per source: Samoa Joe moved to to avoid Reigns. The two will have a match soon, however following that, Reigns, as expected, will be running . As such, Joe wouldn’t be a pivotal part of the show. WWE want him to play a big role — he wouldn’t be on Raw, hence the move.

WHAT’S IT MEAN FOR WWE?

Although Joe barely spent a year on Raw (and was injured twice during that span), he actually had already feuded with most of the show’s top babyfaces, including Reigns, Seth Rollins, and to a lesser extent, Finn Balor and Strowman.

There was remarkably little left for Joe to do on Raw, and with Reigns likely to dominate the Universal Championship picture for the foreseeable future, there really didn’t seem to be much room for advancement for Joe on the red brand. Thus, Joe’s move to SmackDown is a logical one that, after joining The Miz and Shinsuke Nakamura, gives the show yet another top heel to build its programming around while also giving Joe perhaps his best chance to become a world champion.

Joe proved last year that he could potentially become a top earner in WWE when he main-evented four Raw PPVs and generated strong TV viewership. Nowadays, he does very well as a draw on WWE’s YouTube channel, suggesting that fans flock to Joe, who appears to be one of WWE’s biggest attractions. Not only does Joe consistently receive some of the loudest crowd reactions in the company, but he’s also been delivering stellar promos and great in-ring performances, which would lead you to believe WWE has big things in store for him on the blue brand.

While Joe doesn’t currently fit in the WWE Championship picture, that should change later in 2018 when it’s likely that he’ll enter the title scene and possibly win it. At the very least, it’s a safe bet that he has a much better shot at doing that on SmackDown, where he won’t be behind Lesnar, Reigns and Strowman on Raw’s pecking order.

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Blake Oestriecher is an elementary school teacher by day and a sports writer by night. He’s a contributor to the Forbes @SportsMoneyBlog, where he primarily covers WWE. You can follow him on Twitter @BOestriecher.