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Recently, the WWE made what many fans consider a surprising termination of a contact. Braun Strowman was released by the WWE on June 2nd, 2021 along with Aleister Black, Lana, Buddy Murphy, Ruby Riott, and Santana Garrett. Strowman was just the WWE Universal Champion during 2020 after defeating Bill Goldberg at Wrestlemania 36. The infamous 4/15/21 cuts, by contrast, did not have any previous World Champions let alone one that just won the title during the previous year.
It was shocking… But when you begin to assess the facts and review Braun Strowman’s time in the WWE, things begin to come together as to why WWE has released him. After all, Braun could join the young All Elite Wrestling (AEW) company who is thirsty to have larger wrestlers on their roster.
What people have to realize is that WWE is morphing into a different company right now. Whether they are “for sale” or it’s just Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan reorganizing things as the future CEO of the WWE, It’s very apparent that the WWE (a) isn’t afraid of AEW as a competitor and (b) WWE believes that its brand is bigger than the sum parts of its wrestlers. Furthermore, WWE is more analytics driven than ever… With an army of statisticians as their disposal, the WWE is micromanaging their data against wrestler salaries to see who has the maximum effect on their revenue. Unless AEW can become a legitimate threat to the WWE (about 600,000 viewers away), the WWE will be decreasing downside guarantees offered to wrestlers because they can as the clear #1 wrestling company in the world.
Funny thing about Braun Strowman is that he appears to be EVERYTHING that Vince McMahon wants in a “larger than life” wrestler. Braun has size, strength, and seemed flexible to do whatever WWE Creative wanted him to do. Yet, he’s also everything that Vince McMahon doesn’t want… And I’ll explain.
At first, I was SHOCKED by this release… WWE is severely lacking in Main Event talents and has a very thin bench of future heavyweight wrestlers within their NXT product right now. But then, when brainstorming this column, there might be something else bubbling under the surface that we’re aware about.
Personally, I hope that All Elite Wrestling (AEW) signs him and he then becomes that ex-WWE wrestler that makes it huge elsewhere… You know, like how WCW let Undertaker, Triple H, Steve Austin, and Mick Foley were just let go and later become the cornerstone stars of the WWE Attitude Era that eventually beatdown WCW Nitro in the Monday Night Wars. However, Braun Strowman only knows how to operate within the cushy WWE system and wasn’t as well traveled as Undertaker, Foley, and Austin before they joined the WWE. Additionally, Braun has made statements that he’d “only work for the WWE” before. We shall see.
For today’s column, I’m going to give you reasons why Braun Strowman was released by the WWE. Then maybe, if he joins another promotion, these are things to look out for with his new employer.
Reasons WHY Braun Strowman was released from the WWE
$1.2 Million Downside Guarantee
During 2019, WWE began signing all of their wrestlers to extensions to protect their rosters from any talent jumps to AEW or elsewhere. The Jon Moxley AEW signing and debut scared the WWE into spending more money to protect their stars. Braun made the most out of this, as he signed a new contract with a $1.2 million downside guarantee. No matter what he did throughout the year or if he sold any merchandise, $1.2 million right went into his bank account. No crowds last year, no problem for Strowman. As I said above, the WWE employs many statisticians who are measuring analytics against salaries. It is very likely that their numbers team saw that Braun Strowman is drawing less per dollar than cheaper salaried wrestlers. If he’s not drawing for you at $1.2 million, he’s just an expensive talent.
Blamed for 2020 as WWE Universal Champion
Look, the COVID-19 pandemic can be blamed for many things and Braun’s entire 2020 WWE Universal Title reign was without fans present. While Strowman defeated Bill Goldberg, he beat him as an emergency back-up to Roman Reigns and the win wasn’t that spectacular. Then, Braun had to suffer through that AWFUL Fiend feud. Smackdown’s viewership numbers began to dip consistently below 2 million and thus it’s no secret why the WWE rushed Roman Reigns back to the World Title upon his SummerSlam return.
When the Coronavirus hit, many States implemented lockdowns of mass gathering events and this caused wrestling promotions nationwide to be forced to shut down. Many Indy wrestlers began to set-up GoFundMe and Patreon accounts to help pay for bills. Braun responded via Social Media during March 2021 by stating the following:
“Here we go with more of the somebody pay for my bills stuff. If you can’t afford to pay your bills maybe you should change professions. That’s why I quit strongman. I loved it, but I couldn’t afford to live so instead of making a GoFundMe or a Patreon wanting someone else to take care of me I went out and worked harder than I ever have in my life to get to where I am. What happened to being accountable for your own actions????!!!!”
“And for anyone that goes that’s easy for you to say you’re a WWE superstar just and FYI 7 years ago I moved to FL with everything I owned in a Kia Soul with 150$ to my name when I started this!!!!!!”
The timing was horrible, as many people were suffering economically from the COVID-19 induced recession. Furthermore, Braun was recruited by the WWE after they saw him perform in strongman competitions and had the benefit of guaranteed paychecks, room & board, air conditioned facilities, and other luxuries that newer wrestlers don’t normally see in compared to many other Indy wrestlers who are rubbing nickels together to remain as a wrestler.
Rushed to the Main WWE Roster
Braun signed a WWE contract during 2013 and by August 2015, he was on the main WWE roster. 2 years of training and hardly any TV appearances for NXT… Now, I don’t mind being surprised with a new unknown wrestler, but the lack of experience and performing before fans before his debut may have created an issue with Braun that he’s never been able to overcome. It could be a training issue that has contributed to other in-ring or character issues.
The A&E show “Duck Dynasty” was popular 2014 and that was its peak… All downhill ever since. The Wyatt Family has some of its look resembling the Robertson family and that look has translated into many guys growing excessively long beards. Braun has kept this bearded look along with the awful shaved sides haircut that he had for a while until changing it up until recently. We need a top drawing wrestler, not a Duck Dynasty impersonator stuck in a Mad Max movie.
Is he a comedy wrestler? Or is he a serious wrestler?
On one hand, WWE pushes him as a serious monster. On the other, he’s tagging up with children at Wrestlemania and having train noises piped in whenever he does a particular move. How about all of those pranks with Kevin Owens? The character turns of Braun Strowman were wildly inconsistent.
Is he a heel or a babyface? Why so many switches?
Braun became modern day “Big Show” by switching between being a heel and a babyface often. Again, it’s just inconsistent and doesn’t allow Braun to get comfortable in any role at all.
Issues with Brock Lesnar.
Their No Mercy 2017 match-up was underwhelming, but not just the match itself, but the storyline heading into the match-up. Just bad promos by Strowman. Then, the match itself, underwhelmed. When you’re in the ring with a top superstar, you have to either bring your A-game to keep up or let the veteran call the match. Then, at Royal Rumble 2018, Braun delivered a careless knee to Lesnar’s head and Brock immediately returned that receipt with a hard punch to Braun’s head while Lesnar scolded Braun clearly in the ring. In my opinion, Braun Strowman has not been the same since his matches with Lesnar and lacks the confidence that he had before those matches.
Talking about bullying with Shane McMahon.
The Shane and Braun feud was embarrassing… You had Braun with the size being talked down to a non-wrestler in Shane McMahon and revealing that he was bullied when he was a kid. Maybe he legitimately was, but this revelation is contrary to how Braun has been pushed as an unstoppable monster.
Fails to protect Kayfabe.
During 2017, Braun was feuding with Roman Reigns but you wouldn’t know that based on Social Media pictures that arrived from the European tour. Roman and Braun were in the middle of a heated feud yet they were in a group photo together in Rome and that spread throughout the internet. Braun should have been the one who had a long talk with the Undertaker on how to protect the business.
Needs better signature moves.
Running around like a train and using a Powerslam as your finisher just doesn’t sell his past career in Strongman Contests. He should develop moves that fit him as a hoss and stronger wrestler, but not only that, creating a finisher that is explosive. Brock Lesnar’s F5 is a good example of a badass move that is effective and utilizes pure strength to execute well.
Switched Brands 3 times
Great wrestlers won’t be switching brands 3 times in less than 5 years of the Brand Split. But Braun did… Usually when someone moves that much, the WWE doesn’t have set plans for you…
“Get these hands”… Not as catchy as other great catchphrases.
I understand that you need to start somewhere with a catchphrase, but none of those 40 WWE Creative writers could some up with something better than this? At least Ryback had “Feed Me More” which was somewhat over.
Never saying “NO” to Bad WWE Creative
Braun was too nice and therefore did everything that Creative gave him. He should have put his foot down and told them “NO” to idiotic ideas like tagging up with a Child at Wrestlemania or crying to Shane McMahon about being bullied. Furthermore, he should have told WWE Creative that he wasn’t ready for a Brock Lesnar feud during 2017 as those matches with Brock have hurt his career. If the WWE positions you as a Main Event, that should constitute having some leverage.
My big thing with Braun is that the potential is there to be a great Pro Wrestler. You cannot teach size and Braun is one heck of an athlete for his size. However, the WWE Developmental System poorly trained to respect the business and now WWE Creative keeps messing with his head.
Just as WWE Talent Developmental and WWE Creative Teams have failed MANY wrestlers for the past 10 years. Look at all of those 4/15 and 6/2 releases… Many of those releases were NXT Developmental wrestlers, too.
WWE’s management infrastructure (Talent Developmental & Creative) is what needs terminated, not wrestlers who are suffering from it.
SIGN Braun Strowman ASAP, AEW… And treat him like a seriously monster that the WWE failure to accomplish in the past 8 years.
So just chill… Until the next episode!
Comments and feedback are welcome. Follow and Tweet me @titowrestling or login in below to post comments.
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