If 2016 was the year that elevated AJ Styles to the status of true WWE Superstar, then 2017 is the year of Braun Strowman. Strowman has had an epic 2017, the “Monster Among Men” has been elevated to main event status, a trend set to continue at the 2018 Royal Rumble. Last night on Monday Night Raw, the WWE network announced that it will break new ground when the 2018 Royal Rumble rolls into the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Sunday, Jan. 28. The WWE Universe will be treated to its first ever all female Royal Rumble event.
That announcement is certainly welcome, but there was big news on the WWE’s plans for Braun Strowman at the Royal Rumble too. Last week’s Monday Night Raw saw Strowman and Kane both get counted out in the No. 1 contender match. This gave rise to claims that both Strowman and Kane would challenge for Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship title at the 2018 Royal Rumble. As reported by Sky Sports, that triple-threat match was also announced on last night’s Raw.
Having Strowman compete in a major match at one of WWE’s biggest PPV events shows how far he has come over the past 12 months. Strowman’s feuds with Sami Zayn, Roman Reigns, and Brock Lesnar made for great television and established the Monster Among Men as one of the WWE’s biggest stars. Strowman’s fans have no doubt that he has earned the right to challenge for major titles.
Strowman has already had a shot at the Universal title. He lost to Lesnar at the No Mercy PPV, and it seems unlikely that he will take the title at Royal Rumble. As reported by Give Me Sport, Dave Meltzer predicts that Lesnar will win the match by pinning Kane, thereby keeping his title without Strowman having actually lost the match. Meltzer claims that Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns is a certainty for WrestleMania 34, so he will keep the Universal title until then.
Meltzer also says that Vince McMahon doesn’t want Strowman to take another loss at this point in his career, so the triple-threat match at Royal Rumble provides a way for Lesnar to keep his title and avoids Strowman having to take a loss. If Meltzer’s insider knowledge proves correct, then it indicates that Vince McMahon has big plans for Strowman in 2018. Those plans must surely have a title for Strowman in the works.
A WWE title would be a fitting reward for Strowman, who has risen to the top of ESPN’s WWE power rankings. Strowman edged out AJ Styles, who takes the top slot from the SmackDown roster. Strowman’s WWE push is far from over, it can’t be long before he grabs that elusive championship title.