According to Dave Meltzer in the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, by way of Sportskeeda, Lars Sullivan is being kept off WWE Friday Night SmackDown at the moment because of Roman Reigns‘ current push.
The report stated that officials are high on Sullivan, otherwise known as “The Freak,” and want to portray him as an unbeatable monster. However, putting him on television at the moment could result in the star losing momentum as management is focusing on Reigns’ Universal Championship run for the foreseeable future.
Meltzer also stated that this is why he was left out of last month’s Survivor Series pay-per-view as well. It is now unknown when he’ll return to television, especially with reports claiming that Reigns is going to be the company’s top heel for a considerable amount of time.
Perhaps management will keep Sullivan out of the equation until they’re ready to turn Reigns babyface again. However, he could return sooner if the creative team comes up with an interesting program for the heel.
The fact he’s being kept off the screen confirms that the company must have high hopes for him. The promotion is often criticized for making talent feel overexposed, so the decision to protect Sullivan speaks volumes about higher-ups having strong hopes for him as a long-term project.
It is also believed that officials don’t want Sullivan to compete on Monday Night Raw. As The Inquisitr previously documented, this is due to the fact Braun Strowman — another monster heel –currently competes on the red brand. Both superstars are too similar for the same show.
However, as The Inquisitr article documented, there are reportedly plans in place for Strowman and Sullivan to collide within the next year. This will presumably come after they’ve both received dominant runs on their current brands.
The latest development suggests that Sullivan’s hiatus is a creative decision, rather than a disciplinary one. The superstar has been rocked with scandals in recent months, which has reportedly led to him receiving some backstage heat from his peers and some members of management.
As The Inquisitr article mentioned, Sullivan was accused of sending inappropriate messages to a woman on Instagram earlier this year. This story emerged following previous scandals in which he’d been punished for sharing offensive messages in message board forums.
Sullivan also allegedly starred in some NSFW films, which may have upset some people behind the scenes. He has struggled with injury woes as well, which kept him on the shelf for over a year. However, he returned to WWE television a couple of months ago for a short program with Jeff Hardy.