Despite being an after thought as part of the Wyatt Family, Strowman has risen through the ranks to become a clear crowd favorite. The reactions he receives each and every week is exactly what WWE has tried (and failed) to get from the fans toward Roman Reigns.
However, one WWE legend isn't so sure Strowman's current momentum is going to last. During a recent edition of his podcast, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin expressed some disappointment with how Strowman has been booked of late.
“I don’t know if they’re trying to humanize Braun Strowman, you know, here comes this guy, former strongman, looks like a million bucks, he can talk, he has a charisma about him - he can work. I’ve been a fan for a couple of years now.
Clearly, this is tag match and they’re trying to give Bobby [Lashley] a rub here - and they do. But, you’ve got to be careful with what you do with Braun Strowman, if you try to spread him too thin... after it’s all over, they’re kind of standing there with their arms raised up and it almost looked like, Braun looked over like he was gonna give Bobby like a knucklebump or whatever, kind of put him over... if you rewatch it, and he’s giving Bobby that look like, ‘hey man, let’s do the knuckle thing’ or I’m trying to put you over here, it’s like dude, you’re Alpha. If you don’t get out there and work or act Alpha every time you get into the ring, if you play Beta or second to anybody, you’re going to start losing your mystique or power or whatever.
So I think Braun’s gotta be careful about that. And I don’t want to see Braun Strowman do anything funny. The thing with the Nicholas kid? Great spot for the kid, who wouldn’t want to go out there with a WWE Superstar and do something that they did. But with respect to booking Braun... they’re calling him The Monster Among Men, and Get These Hands on ya and all this other stuff. He’s a little bit like Stone Cold but he’s a lot like Braun Strowman. I don’t need to see a 6’8″, 6’9” 330 pound guy make me laugh, make me smile, bring any warmth to my body – I want to see him go out there and destroy and crush people because he’s capable of doing it and because his desire to hold a gold belt is so great that’s what drives him and spurs him on, he’s been a competitor his whole life, so I think you’ve got to book him as a power guy.
Now certainly... he’s gonna have times where he has an Achilles heel or an injury or something like that, but you can spread that guy around, but - Braun Strowman, as well as he’s done over the past few years still has a ways to go and he’s not bullet proof. If you start puffing that kid up, you’re gonna kill him - you’re gonna diminish him. I don’t think you’re gonna kill him, because I think he’s one of the top guys on the roster.”
Austin certainly makes some good points here. While Strowman originally got over with the crowd as a monster who can't be contained, his recent work has brought him down a notch or two when it comes to that image as an uncontrollable mountain of a man.
Some may argue it started when he was thrust into the tag team division, perhaps illustrated best by winning the tag team titles with a child at WrestleMania. Imagine Bill Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, or even Steve Austin taking part in that type of story during the height of their dominance. No way.
WWE likes to make their characters relatable, but sometimes it is best to keep a character that is cut from the type of cloth as Strowman as a distant figure that just beats up everybody who comes in contact with him and that is all. It was working pretty darn well, that's for sure.
We'll have to wait and see if Austin's prognosis is right or if WWE pivots back to Strowman's pre-WrestleMania style push. With the Roman Reigns experiment failing, it would seem there's nobody in WWE better to take the Universal title from Lesnar than Strowman.
[H/T to Cageside Seats]