In July of 2019, Braun Strowman announced that he had just resigned with the WWE for four more years. He was quoted saying the following:
Braun was also quoted saying the following in October of 2020:
Here we are, eight months later, and Braun Strowman was released by the WWE earlier today. So given what Braun said back in October, is he really done with professional wrestling?
The answer to that is a hard no.
When Braun made those comments, I believe he more or less saw himself as long time employee with WWE like the Big Show or Mark Henry, who coincidentally just left the company for AEW. My guess is that Braun likely did not think he would find himself in a position to be released but he company, but that one day he would be the one turning in his notice on his own terms.
For those of you that do not remember, Braun was brought in several years ago with the Wyatt Family and was about as “green” as they come. He had very little training at that point, and was essentially put in to a similar role that you would find Omos in today. With that said, the “Monster Among Men” developed rather quickly and ran through the majority of the WWE roster. He gained a quick following despite being a heel, and even generated a great catchphrase of “Get These Hands.” Strowman certainly had some “up and down” booking. There were moments of brilliance in terms of how they used him, but more often than not the moment he got hot, the company cooled him off for whatever reason.
Strowman did get the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming the WWE Universal Champion at WrestleMania 36 when he defeated Bill Goldberg for the title. Although he was not originally scheduled for the match as Roman Reigns was initially supposed to face Goldberg, due to Reigns backing out with COVID-19 looming, Strowman got the call up and was given the opportunity to run with the ball. Unfortunately, after winning the match he was put into a terrible feud with The Fiend that ruined his his title run.
Since then, Braun’s most notable feud was with Shane McMahon from earlier this year whereby he squared off against McMahon in a forgettable Steel Cage match at WrestleMania 37. In 2020, he also heavily participated in the WWE’s short lived “RAW Underground” that was scrapped after a couple of months. He did also have a brief run with the Intercontinental Title which did not last very long.
So what happened? Why did this homegrown start that had a ton of potential get let go?
For quite some time now, Braun made comments that he was unhappy with his position in WWE. He said on several occasions that he had a great relationship with Vince McMahon but could not comprehend why he was not being utilized in a better way. One has to wonder if Braun recently expressed his displeasure with the company and asked for his release. Quite frankly, after going from one of the main event of WrestleMania 36 to wrestling the boss’ son in a cage match after being called stupid for two months straight on national television, I can’t necessarily blame him.
I understand that Braun Strowman was never meant to be the next John Cena. He was never going to be the next Rock, Triple H, Steve Austin, etc. But he is the kind of guy if booked properly could be a long term player, especially as a heel for main event babyfaces to work with. It seems like the WWE has completely forgotten how to book big men like they could in the 80’s. Keep big men out of the title picture as long as possible until absolutely necessary. Big men losing title matches is a lot worse for their character than someone like an AJ Styles or Seth Rollins losing a title match. Big men are supposed to be unstoppable creatures, and when they’re booked in a title match, if they lose, there better be a damn good reason for it. Simply taking pin falls does not suffice. They started Braun off right squashing random Johnny Boots and Tights every week on RAW once he split from the Wyatt Family. But eventually, Braun just become like every other wrestler taking part in what WWE does best, 50/50 booking. 50/50 booking does not, I repeat does not work for big men.
I am rarely critical of WWE publicly. Maybe there was a good genuine reason why Braun was released. Maybe he asked for the release and they put up a fight but ultimately gave him what they wanted. Maybe there was a backstage issue as Braun has been known to be stubborn about the booking of his character. I can’t imagine that it is a money issue as WWE is more than profitable right now. But this time, I think WWE really dropped the ball on losing Braun. He may not be a huge star elsewhere, but he could have been a much bigger deal if the WWE took care of his character properly.
Will we see Braun in another promotion any time soon? My hope is if he goes anywhere, it’s Japan. He could learn a lot overseas and would be very well respected there. Nobody can book big men better than the promoters in Japan. I’m not sure that AEW or Impact would be the right fit for him. Maybe they could find a spot for him in AEW, especially with them having a new television show (Rampage) that will give more talent the opportunity to shine, but AEW has not exactly excelled at using former WWE talent on TV. While they are still a young company, AEW has a lot to learn on how to book established talents with a worldwide following.
My hope is that Braun returns to WWE one day much like Drew McIntyre did. There is still a lot of money to be made there. And Vince McMahon never holds a grudge when there is money to be made.