wrestling / Columns

Braun Strowman: Appetite For Destruction

January 20, 2018 | Posted by Jeremy Lambert
Braun Strowman WWE RAW

When Braun Strowman flipped over an ambulance carrying Roman Reigns on the Apr. 10 edition of RAW last year, he became a hero.

He also set himself up with impossible expectations.

The moment the ambulance landed on its side, WWE told their audience, “This guy is Superman.” From that moment forward, people wanted to see him destroy things. And human bodies were not enough.

In the last year, Braun has destroyed rings, cages, sets, bodies, and more. He treated The Big Show like his own personal crash test dummy. He threw office chairs at Roman Reigns. He survived a trash compactor.

It looked like he had peaked two weeks ago on RAW when he used a grappling hook to pull down a backstage set, sending it crashing onto the bodies of Brock Lesnar and Kane. Somehow, he topped himself on RAW by flipping a detached semi truck.

Strowman and the WWE have blurred the line between impressive feats of strength and cartoony gimmicks.

This isn’t anything new, mind you. That line has been blurred for years.

As wrestling fans, we all accept that wrestling reality isn’t real. We all suspend our disbelief enough to be entertained by those on our television screen. When Shawn Michaels and Triple H go under the ring and enter Little People’s Court, we laugh. When Hornswoggle runs through a wall or blows up The Coach, we find it stupidly hilarious. When The Undertaker shoots lightning, we’re mesmerized. When Bray Wyatt teleports or projects maggots onto the ring, we think it’s really stupid and wish WWE would stick to reality a bit more often.

Strowman flipping over a semi truck is really no different than any of those examples. They all have cartoon elements that are impossible in reality, but entertaining in the universe create by WWE.

We just accept that this man is strong enough to dump a semi truck, but is not strong enough to beat Brock Lesnar in a one-on-one match. The same way we accept that The Undertaker is a deadman who can shoot lightning, but isn’t supernatural enough to beat Brock Lesnar in a one-on-one match.

With Monday’s feat of strength, WWE has now set the bar even higher as to what Strowman has to do next. At the Royal Rumble, simply competing against Lesnar and Kane is not enough. Fans have been conditioned to expect more from Strowman. Watching him sell for a 50-year-old politician is unlikely to go over well with a crowd that his seen him escape a trash compactor with no noticeable injuries.

The No Mercy match between Lesnar and Strowman failed because nothing was destroyed. They just went out there, tossed each other around for a bit, and then Lesnar won. It wasn’t enough for an audience who had seen Strowman rearrange furniture like a Feng shui expert.

People don’t care about Braun wrestling anymore. They want to see him toss over tables, snap ring posts, and pull down lighting rigs.

And therein lies the problem. I’m 100 percent fine with Strowman becoming Superman, even if it means he can’t beat Brock. But now people expect him to be Superman all the time. So, when WWE turns him into Clark Kent, no one cares.

I’m sure WWE has more tricks up their sleeve when it comes to things Strowman can destroy. Maybe he’ll flip an entire arena. Maybe he’ll fall off the top of an arena, come back later in the show, and win the Universal title. Maybe he’ll beat Brock Lesnar. There is no shortage of impressive visuals that Strowman and WWE can bestow upon us in the coming years.

But when we’re not getting those things, we’re now conditioned to not care. We’re either way from him to toss his opponent through the stage setup or we’re waiting to be disappointed when he doesn’t.

It’s fun to watch Strowman give people those hands, but we’d much rather see those hands bench press a car for no reason.