WWE Universal Champion Braun Strowman will defend his title against Bray Wyatt at Extreme Rules, and there have been reports that he might lose the match. According to Sportskeeda‘s Tom Colohue, some members of WWE management don’t believe Strowman has what it takes to be a main event superstar and think he “lucked” his way to his championship victory at WrestleMania 36.
“Unfortunately for Braun, there are a lot of dissenting voices backstage that aren’t necessarily in his corner. There is a lot of debate almost constantly as to whether Strowman is the right guy, but the top-level on SmackDown is it’s so bare at the moment. What I think we’re going to see is if the Fiend loses, then the ‘Fiend’ is probably going back to Raw, whereas if ‘The Fiend’ wins, Roman Reigns is probably returning soon. As regards to Strowman, I’m not sure, and I think that’s a bad sign.”
Strowman was a last-minute replacement for Reigns at this year’s WrestleMania. The original plan was to have Reigns face Bill Goldberg — who was the champion at the time — for the title. However, “The Big Dog” withdrew from the event over COVID-19 concerns and he’s been absent from WWE television ever since.
Colohue noted that WWE officials believe Strowman was the best choice to become Universal Champion at the time, given the circumstances. Goldberg is a part-time superstar who only wrestles for a few minutes per year, and there’s no telling when Reigns will return to the company.
However, many fans were unhappy with Goldberg winning the title in the first place, as he defeated Wyatt for it at Super ShowDown in Saudi Arabia. Wyatt has been a huge fan-favorite since adopting his “Fiend” gimmick, and having to drop his title to a part-timer proved to be an unpopular booking decision.
The fact that Wyatt is a former champion — and arguably more popular among fans — makes the upcoming title match more unpredictable. If the backstage reports are true, it wouldn’t be surprising if company officials opt to put the championship on a tried-and-tested main event superstar.
However, Strowman has been held in high esteem with the company since he joined, and he’s never been far away from the main event scene throughout his tenure. It remains to be seen if WWE officials have long-term plans for the superstar as the face of Friday Night SmackDown, but that should become more evident at Extreme Rules.