Since it started back in July, I would say that the brand split has been more helpful than harmful to the roster. The WWE seems to have a good idea of what it wants to do with certain wrestlers. It also gave wrestlers like Kevin Owens and AJ Styles to be the face of their respective brands, something that might not have happened if there was no brand split.
To me, each brand has had one wrestler standout and make an impact since the brand split. And I’m not talking about main eventers. I’m talking about people who didn’t get a chance at all before the brand split but now have the opportunity to become something.
First I’ll look at the RAW side of things.
One of the most entertaining things on RAW since the brand split is Braun Strowman. When he joined the Wyatt Family in 2015, observers didn’t have much hope for him. They looked at Braun as a big man who was very green in the ring. And there was some validation to that. Strowman ws signed by the WWE in 2013 and was in the Performance Center for two years. But he never debuted on NXT. He went right to the main roster. He obviously fit the look of the Wyatt Family so he blended in from that aspect. But it was apparent he was limited in the ring.
Strowman was drafted to the RAW brand during the Draft and many people wondered what was next for him. He was separated from Bray Wyatt and Erik Rowan who went to Smackdown. I for one thought they would give him some sort of gimmick similar to what happened with Brodus Clay. The WWE would build him up as a monster but then he would be a dancing funkasaurus.
But that didn’t happen. The WWE instead decided to push Strowman as the monster that he is. Not only that, but the WWE brought back something that we have not seen in quite some time: the Jobber squash match. And it is a good thing that the WWE decided to go that route. Braun Strowman looks like an unstoppable monster.
I was worried when these matches first started that the crowd would shit on them. Braun Strowman wasn’t a worker in the ring, and no one cares about jobbers. But the opposite happened. Strowman looks like a monster facing these jobbers. And what has helped is that the WWE is allowing the jobbers to show some personality before they get squashed. Because of the Braun Strowman squash matches, we got James Ellsworth. So you have Braun Strowman to thank for James Ellsworth!
Braun Strowman also looks like he is improving in the ring. What we have seen is limited, but he looks to have found a good set of offensive maneuvers. Again, it helps that he has jobbers bumping around for him. But I think Strowman looks to be on the rise as far as an in ring performer. And the short promos he gives are great. They are intense and sound menacing. They are also short and to the point.
Eventually we knew that Braun Strowman was going to need a real feud to see if he is legit. Sami Zayn is the perfect opponent for Braun. While I do feel bad for Zayn that he is being given this task, I think if anyone can get a good match out of Braun it is him. Zayn is one of the best workers in the company. And he can also bump around for Braun. But he can make it look better than the jobbers did. Zayn deserves better in the WWE, I’m not denying that, but he can work with Strowman and even make him look like a good worker to some who don’t think Braun is there yet.
So what does the future hold for Braun Strowman? I think it is wide open. I don’t think he is anywhere near ready for a WWE Universal Title run. But I think he does need to start going through other proven wrestlers on the roster to build up his credibility. Sami Zayn is a fine start. I would like to see him feud with maybe Cesaro as well. I would love for Strowman to go on an undefeated streak that the WWE could start building up. I think Strowman could develop into a main eventer down the line. If he can hang with established workers in the ring, there is no reason to believe he couldn’t be a Champion.
But for now, I’m ready to just sit back and watch Braun Strowman turn into one of the best monster big men the WWE has seen in quite some time.
Until Next Time,
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