The predator has become the prey, as both Braun Strowman and Kane will step into Brock Lesnar's hunting ground at WWE's Royal Rumble on January 28. Lesnar's Universal Championship will be on the line, and fans are undoubtedly anticipating the direction the company will take.
Meanwhile, many other fans likely want nothing to do with this one.
That's because Lesnar tends to win. A lot. He wins so often that no matter who challenges him or how many times he seems to be at a disadvantage Lesnar is still viewed as the favorite. Suplex City reigns supreme nearly every time he gets in the ring, and there's been no indication that will change anytime soon.
But even though some may sleep on this match, it's definitely worth a second look. After all, Lesnar can't keep going forever; at some point he will once again take a step back from WWE. Kane is likely nearing the end of his WWE career, so the company could give him one last title run leading up to WrestleMania 34.
Then there's Strowman, who many believe is overdue for a universal title win.
There's enough drama in this one to keep the fans interested, and there are plenty of intriguing storylines to back it up. The match could go as expected and Lesnar remains champion. But WWE may do the unthinkable and book Lesnar to lose.
While the former would not be a surprise, the latter would be. But is taking the strap off of Lesnar at the Royal Rumble the right move?
Simply put, the time has come for Lesnar to lose.
When Goldberg returned in 2016, he dominated Lesnar. Fans loved seeing the former WCW phenom back in a WWE ring, but much of his popularity was also due to the desire to see someone finally match Lesnar. The Beast Incarnate had been infallible for so long it appeared he would never go down.
While an unstoppable monster can be fun to watch, it can also become monotonous. Every time Lesnar entered a WWE ring, the outcome was the same. There is no drama in seeing a guy crush everyone in his path every night. The excitement comes from when a red-hot challenger steps up and gets the win.
It's not as if fans necessarily want to see Lesnar gone from WWE, but the time has come for something different.
That's where Strowman comes in. The Monster Among Men is definitely different, and he's been red-hot for quite some time. The WWE faithful have anointed him the next top guy, and with good reason. Strowman is charismatic, he's powerful and he's got that one intangible that makes him stand out from the rest.
When Strowman hits the ramp, all eyes are on him. He's worked hard to get his spot, and he's worked even harder to keep it. Of all the New Era stars who have climbed the ladder in WWE, Strowman is the one who seems to have connected with fans every step of the way.
Why not give him the Universal Championship on January 28? It's evident he's on the way to the title, so if it's going to happen, why wait until WrestleMania 34? The fans are behind him, and he's been positioned as the next top guy on Monday Night Raw. Surely Lesnar would have no issue dropping the belt to a Superstar who is legitimately tough, especially if that star can believably win man-to-man.
Can the same be said of Kane?
Though he's viewed by many as a veteran who's past his prime, the truth is Kane deserves this spot against Lesnar. The Big Red Machine is one of the few men in WWE who can realistically match Lesnar move for move and give him the kind of match fans want to see.
Since returning to action in October, Kane has been presented as the demon of old. He's ferocious, punishing and unstoppable. He is once again the monster fans remember, and it seems as though he's on a path to something big.
If WWE puts the belt on Kane, it's because he deserves it. He can carry the title, defend it regularly and show up on Raw more than once every three months. Kane's time in the sun may be fading, but so is Lesnar's.
In either case, WWE can make the switch and make it work. Strowman is the future, so the title will come to him eventually. Kane is the past, but a title win could lead to a major main event down the road wherein he can drop the belt, maybe even to Strowman.
Regardless of which way WWE goes, taking the belt off of Lesnar is the right thing to do.
If WWE takes the belt from Lesnar on January 28, what then?
This is not a move that should be made simply because fans want it to happen. Giving the audience everything it wants is not something WWE has ever been known for; why start now? No matter how many fans want to see Lesnar without the title, the fact is this is the wrong time to make it happen.
Kane is back to his old form. Yes, it's nostalgic. Yes, it's intriguing. But beyond that, what's left? Kane will go down as one of the best big men in WWE history, and he's definitely a first-ballot Hall of Famer. But handing the title to a 50-year old man who has obviously lost a step in the ring and can't keep his gimmick for longer than 10 minutes is a mistake.
Kane has been rebuilt from the ground up and booked as an invincible monster again because Strowman needs some competition. Period. Anything else is illogical and does not allow the younger big man any chance of evolving and moving on to the next level.
The Big Red Machine is the wild card in this Triple Threat Match, because it's obvious he's the buffer between Lesnar and Strowman. That's the angle. Giving Kane the Universal Championship is not. If WWE did make that move and then booked Kane to drop the title to Strowman later on, would anyone care?
Taking the belt from Lesnar is what fans want to see. Strowman has come a long way since arriving on the main roster in 2015 and fans have witnessed that journey firsthand. Seeing him established as a true contender is one thing, but seeing him win the title is something else. Assuming that is his fate, it would be a much bigger payoff for him if he takes it all from Lesnar.
But if that is meant to happen, it should not happen on January 28.
Lesnar versus Roman Reigns at WrestleMania is the match that many believe is inevitable. But what if they are wrong? What if WWE is building toward Lesnar versus Strowman on The Grandest Stage of Them All? If that's true, then it's best to keep the title just out of Strowman's reach until the time is right.
Building Strowman as the next top titleholder means putting him on a path of evolution. Adversity and chaos has cultivated his character to this point, and there's no reason to stop that now. Strowman has overcome every challenge put before him, and he will continue to do so.
The payoff will be a title win over Lesnar, but that win must come at WrestleMania 34.
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Bleacher Report. His podcast, Tom Clark's Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, iHeartRadio, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online at boinkstudios.com.