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Dry Socket Opinion: Braun vs. Roman-Did WWE Back Themselves Into A Corner?

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WWE’s RAW main event feud features Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman (and doesn’t feature any title). It seems as though the company is trying to mold Reigns into the next John Cena and Braun Strowman into a legit monster. Both have been built up fairly well (whether we like it or not) and have been featured in multiple pay-per views. My problem is that they’ve sacrificed far too much in such a short amount of time.

From the looks of how everything has panned out, Roman Reigns seems to be the one who has retired the Undertaker. In a massive upset, Reigns defeated the Undertaker at Wrestlemania. The majority of wrestling fans (I distinguish wrestling fans from the WWE Universe because “WWE Universe” sounds like such a cheesy term. It is a term I’ll use for the gullible WWE kids) are sick of Reigns and his constant superman skills. While WWE claims he’s not a bag guy (or a good guy…he’s THE guy), it’s pretty safe to say that the crowd reaction says differently. Going a step further, Triple H claimed that Reigns is already a bad guy (despite his booking) because of how the crowd reacts. When was the last time WWE seriously took the reactions into consideration? Anyway, after Reigns beat ‘Taker, the deafening roar of boos from the crowd, cemented him as a heel…or so one would think. Despite the audience’s reaction, Roman Reigns has yet to give a full heel promo. He is still booked as the underdog (yet one of his many factory nicknames is “the big dog”) and must overcome the odds (a common baby face angle).

Braun Strowman, on the other hand, is booked be an unstoppable monster. He has had more than his fair share of squash matches and sounds like an angry giant on the mic. Even though WWE had him back down [multiple times] to Lesnar, they continue to book Strowman as legit threat to anyone on the WWE roster. He was teased to be in a Wrestlemania main event, with Reigns and Lesnar, but WWE dropped the ball on that. He has wins against Reigns which builds his credibility. But has WWE backed themselves into a corner? If Reigns loses, in this feud, it defeats his win over the Undertaker.

WWE already wasted the streak when they allowed Lesnar to end it a few years ago. Lesnar is a part-time wrestler who rarely shows. He isn’t around and fails to build his feuds. Giving him the title kills the prestige and credibility and is a slap in the face to every full-time WRESTLER on the roster. Having him lose to Bill Goldberg (not counting the last ‘Mania) makes wrestling look faker than the normal WWE crap. Goldberg is a middle-aged guy. Sure, he’s built and had a streak (nearly 20 years ago). But we’re supposed to believe that a former UFC champ, all-American wrestler, and someone who is ten years younger than Goldberg, would lose so quick and on multiple occasions?  I’m all for suspension of disbelief but this is a stretch. Lesnar has the belt (oops…not supposed to use that word) and isn’t scheduled to appear until July. Talk about your fighting champ. Not.

I digress. Ending the Undertaker’s career is a massive honor and something that should be used to push a superstar. Having that superstar lose, at the following PPV, hurts the credibility and the honor of the win AND the Undertaker’s legacy. Roman Reigns should have gone on to defeat other guys while playing the heel card. WWE is great at milking things when they shouldn’t. However, they failed to capitalize on Roman’s win. WWE could have very easily used ‘Taker’s career ending to boost Reigns as one of the most hated heels in the company’s history. Instead, they had him get “injured” and took him off TV while the crowd “forgot” about the ‘Mania win. But, if Strowman were to lose, to Reigns, this would deflate his ballooning monster push. It’s as if he’s getting the Rusev treatment.

Rusev was also built to be an indestructible force. He faced John Cena, at Wrestlemania, and the predictable fears occurred. Cena won (because John Cena) and Rusev went from being a feared monster to an average threat (if that). The push stopped and he began to fall into the revolving roster of “who cares”. My fear that the same thing will happen if Strowman loses to Reigns.

Braun Strowman needs to continue to be booked as an unstoppable monster. He needs big wins over top names WITHOUT sacrificing Reigns. WWE gave Reigns the win over the Undertaker. They’ve basically made Reigns a guy who can’t be defeated for quite sometime. For Reigns to lose would be to piss on ‘Taker’s career. The win (much like ending the streak) would mean nothing. However, Strowman can still be built higher. Give him some wins in handicap matches. Book him in gimmick matches where weapons are optional. While both can use weapons, Strowman does not. The opponent attempts to use everything at their disposal but to no avail. Strowman and Reigns should not face each other until much later in the year (if that) or until next year’s Wrestlemania.

But, much like everything else, WWE jumped the shark. Reigns and Strowman is already played out. Gimmick matches are the “go to” for WWE’s booking and they’re struggling to keep everything alive. Look for an ambulance match to be used soon. If Roman wins the feud, it breaks Strowman’s push and he’ll struggle to get credibility. If Strowman wins, it defeats Reigns ending the Undertaker’s career. Either way, something big is sacrificed and the payoff won’t be there. One of those guys will face the part-time half-ass champ and the feud will be built with Heyman giving his tired shtick.

I had high hopes, for RAW, after this year’s Wrestlemania. However, last week’s RAW was a “go home” show for a PPV. That same show drew the lowest ratings for the year. WWE will give the excuse that the NBA playoffs were on but those excuses are long played out. WWE needed to step up their game and deliver a solid show with more than one or two mediocre segments. 5 minutes of solid moments do not mean a show is good. It must be entertaining from start to finish. The shotty camera work, alone, was enough to make me tune out. If the product requires lazy camera tricks used in “The Hunger Games”, it’s time to go back and rethink how pathetic your product is. There is NOTHING that makes the product “must see”. WWE struggles to hold an audience and ratings (along with ticket sales) are dropping. Investors and advertisers are pulling out (ever notice how you see the same commercials played during every commercial break?) and WWE is forced to add more commercial breaks during their shows. The breaks occur in the middle segments and distract the viewer from whatever is going on in the ring. It is even worse when the show features poorly timed product placement that sacrifice the dignity and credibility of the characters. It’s not entertaining. It’s stupid.

We’ve been begging WWE to change for a while. We know they can but they choose not to. It’s only a matter of time before something new takes over WWE. Their roster says they’ve invested in the future but their booking claims differently. Dunn’s production tricks make the show look more staged than it actually is. The commentary is lacking. The booking does not make sense. Pro-wrestling is dying almost as fast as sports entertainment. Many parallels can be draw from the last year of WCW to the current WWE product. Abandon ship!

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