LaBar: Strowman appears to be McMahon's new favorite
Watching on-screen and hearing behind-the-scenes chatter all suggest Braun Strowman is the next big project for Vince McMahon.
Strowman made his debut in August as the newest member of The Wyatt Family. He pulled the sheep mask off and had a menacing look. With his scowl and general heel demeanor, he looks like an oversized toddler in the face, but I guess that's good for a role as the new creepy guy in a creepy family. But, hey, I'm no George Clooney myself.
Strowman made a physical impact with his strength and power moves. He had this debut after having only a few dozen matches never televised at NXT live events primarily in Florida. It's a rarity as some spend years on NXT television before getting the call to be on RAW. There are two sides to this coin of concern and beauty.
The concern side being how limited experience he had before becoming a significant part of WWE television being the biggest member physically of The Wyatt Family. The beauty side is he's legitimately a mystery to much of the audience. The element of surprise is valuable in entertainment, and this might come into play.
Strowman has no indy wrestling background. You won't find any videos or shoot interviews over the past years from him giving you insight into his life. The most you'll find is stats of pre-WWE days when he was a decorated winner of strongman contests.
To the causal viewer, his background isn't known nor does it matter. Viewers only care about what they see on WWE programming, which is a man who continues to be touted with growing importance as he stares eye-to-eye with the giant Big Show.
This lack of professional wrestling background does come into play with WWE's more vocal audience, which prides itself on knowing as much as possible in front of and behind the curtain. To many, the fast track to a prominent role as the enforcer of The Wyatt Family is not justified or deserved for someone who has little wrestling background and more limited abilities.
Strowman has been in the business since 2013 when he was signed. He doesn't have a world traveling experience to draw from and is seemingly having to learn faster from scratch. However, the limited abilities is the wild card. We only know what Strowman can do based on what he's been able to show us so far. He hasn't been put in many situations on his own. For the most part, he's part of some tag match with his Wyatt Family brothers.
This is where the element of surprise comes in. There is no past video of Strowman prior to WWE, and the company has kept its hand secret with Strowman by having him protected by three partners. That's not to say Strowman is coming up on a Broadway classic singles match at WrestleMania, but I will concede that whatever we see from him could be a surprise because the bar has been set so low.
Strowman's start of his career is very similar to Big Show. Both came into professional wrestling with no prior background of time in the ring. They both were immediately highlighted to look important but kept insulated in a group with more experienced guys around them. For Big Show, it was the Dungeon of Doom in WCW in 1995.
Vince McMahon always has been a fan of Big Show. When Big Show was in WCW, McMahon was mad WWE didn't sign him first. Both wrestlers have athleticism for their unique size. While we haven't seen a ton of Strowman, he moves better than most guys would for his size. Great Khali only could dream to be so light on his feet.
Both Big Show and Strowman are must-see-to-believe attractions with their physical statures. Yes, Strowman is still green and so was Big Show once upon a time. But the only green McMahon cares about is money. It's easier to draw money with someone who has freakish size or attributes about them. They don't have to do as much as the average-sized person who has to talk more and bump more in the ring. They'll always draw attention to themselves everywhere they go. A stranger on the street wonders who is that massively big man and the answer is a WWE wrestler. McMahon loves that.
Big Show has a natural charisma and sense of humor. We've yet to see it from Strowman because it isn't what has been called upon for his role on television. If Strowman has something to offer on the mic, it's being saved for a point to where his character evolves into that.
I'm not in favor of Strowman in a big singles match at WrestleMania against The Undertaker as some rumors have dished. If WWE wants to take a member of The Wyatt Family other than Bray to have a career moment opportunity against the legend, then it should be Luke Harper. The same result comes of it being a moment for the audience to take notice of, “Wow, he's a big deal because he's fighting The Undertaker at WrestleMania.” It's just that the “he” is Harper and it's a safer gamble on the grand stage and more deserving.
Harper can hang for 15 to 20 minutes in a better match with The Undertaker. Plus, Harper is no small man and has a proven track record in every situation WWE has put him in.
If WWE is determined to give that kind of rub to Strowman, so be it, but hold it off until a SummerSlam event which provides more time for Strowman to continue getting experience, train and be positioned as quality as possible in the eyes of WWE's audience, causal or otherwise.