Since failing to regain the Universal Championship in a Triple Threat Match against Roman Reigns and “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt at Payback, Braun Strowman has spent the past few weeks on “Raw Underground,” the red brand’s weekly fight club segment that mostly puts the spotlight on underused main roster mid-carders and up-and-coming developmental stars. While this might seem like a significant drop-off from his previous status as a top titleholder, a new report provided information on why WWE might have assigned this new role to the “Monster Among Men.”
As reported by Ringside News, there are two reasons Strowman is now on “Raw Underground,” starting with the need to give the segment a boost of credibility. Although the outlet described his recent victory against Dabba-Kato as “gimmicky,” it noted that it was still a much-needed win for the erstwhile Friday Night SmackDown superstar.
According to the publication, the second reason behind the creative move is that Strowman “wasn’t needed” on the blue brand’s programming due to the current focus on Universal Champion Roman Reigns’ recent heel turn and alliance with his new “special counsel,” Paul Heyman. Citing an unnamed member of WWE’s creative team, Ringside News added that Reigns and Heyman’s team-up has been “red hot,” thus justifying why the company is spending so much time on “The Big Dog” and his upcoming title defense against Jey Uso at Clash of Champions on Sunday.
In addition, it was pointed out that the focus on Reigns and his championship storyline was also the reason why Wyatt — who held the Universal Title for a week before Reigns won it at Payback — did not appear on last week’s episode of SmackDown.
So far, reactions to Strowman’s move to the red brand’s fight club have been mixed. Considering that he wasn’t the first established main roster star to take part in the MMA-style fights on the segment, Daily DDT wrote that his bout against Dabba-Kato — which resulted in the latter’s first-ever loss — was solid but not as good as expected. The publication explained that both men, despite being known for their power-based style of wrestling, opted instead for a “short grapple and a few hard punches,” which made their fight pale in comparison to the one between Kevin Owens and Aleister Black a few weeks prior.
“Hyping this match and then only getting a few punches and holds will leave viewers suspicious the next time Shane [McMahon] books a Raw Underground match,” Daily DDT opined.