The idea of "absence making the heart grow fonder" certainly applies in pro wrestling promotions like WWE.
But the "absence" part of the equation also has a way of healing any damage done to a Superstar's character, including a reminder of "Oh, yeah, this guy belongs in the main event, remember?" scenarios.
That's 100 percent Braun Strowman, the possible cure to many of WWE's woes.
Strowman made his nearly predictable return to WWE the week after Clash at the Castle to a huge reaction. He looked great, smashed up some tag teams and went on his way.
But that fun moment shouldn't be Strowman's ceiling when it comes to usage in Triple H's WWE. The schtick where he ran through tag teams and did the little sprint around the ring while shoulder-checking guys was fine—but it sure as heck wasn't the brilliant monster character who flipped vehicles and created carnage backstage in unforgettable spots.
More importantly, the latter is much more believable as a title contender, and that's what WWE needs right now: A guy who can make the mid-card titles look amazing before getting thrown into the main-event scene.
It's the no-brainer of all no-brainers on this front. This new direction for WWE with Triple H at the helm of creative has already done a fantastic job of making mid-card titles like the U.S. and Intercontinental straps look just as important as the main-event scene. That's wildly critical at a time when both main titles are on Roman Reigns, leaving an entire weekly broadcast without a top title.
Strowman's the perfect way to take that up another notch. Bobby Lashley is right in the middle of a superb run as U.S. Champ, so imagine how great a monstrous feud featuring him and Strowman could be and the weight it would add to that title scene.
And don't sleep on Strowman vs. Intercontinental champ Gunther, either. That could be one of the more vicious matches on the roster possible, never mind refreshing considering Strowman has seemingly already faced most of the roster in the past.
That sort of feud would be a two-birds-one-stone thing for WWE, too. The title itself gets massively elevated if done well, plus Gunter, even in a potential loss, could still be presented to fans unfamiliar with him as a main-event threat of his own if the matches are properly competitive.
Handled well (and the Triple H era so far has given us zero reason to think it wouldn't be), Strowman's ascent from there is almost a free pass for many of WWE's past mistakes with the main-event scene.
Because, right now, nobody looks like a credible threat to Reigns, as it remains clear the company wants him to face The Rock at WrestleMania 39 in California. WWE whiffed on giving Drew McIntyre his moment in the United Kingdom at Clash at the Castle, so that's pretty much it as far as viable contenders go, and it's safe to presume Reigns wouldn't be losing to the Rock, which further complicated matters.
But here's Strowman, who has bested Reigns in a few different ways before. He's also taken down each of the formerly-known-as Shield members before and slugged it out with Lesnar, among other notables. His resume as a top contender is long, never mind looking the part.
WWE and Strowman have to handle it right to make it happen. We'll see how his mic work looks and if the moveset or style of matches gets stale too quickly. But it's not hard to dream up a scenario in which he gets super hot, fast, not unlike McIntyre did before his pandemic-era reign.
Make no mistake, we're a long ways from seeing Strowman dethrone Reigns. But it would be a pretty fitting, organic thing to happen given the storied history between the two. There's the Cody Rhodes factor in the background, but Strowman-Rhodes would be no less impressive over the long run. And, look, the WWE main-event scene actually having options instead of just bringing back Lesnar for the umpteenth time would be...refreshing.
And that's all it's really about, right? Refreshing developments that create intrigue. Strowman's refreshed after a hiatus. He's got the ability to refresh all title scenes mid-card and up, and if it trends the right way, be an unexpected, legit option to rep the company from the top of the mountain.
This isn't something fans would have guessed even a week prior to Strowman's reappearance, but that's part of the fun of pro wrestling. For now, a least, the possibilities for his fit in this new-feel WWE seem limitless.