Braun Strowman Is Real Threat to Dethrone Brock Lesnar at WWE 2018 Royal Rumble

Alfred Konuwa@@ThisIsNastyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2018

Credit: WWE.com

WWE seems to be going through the motions that lead to a WrestleMania rematch between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship.

Though this is the most predictable and expected Road to WrestleMania, it's also the one that makes the most sense given the lack of consistency in WWE's main event picture outside of Reigns and Lesnar.

But Braun Strowman's incredible rise in 2017 puts him squarely on the shortlist of main eventers who could upset the apple cart this year. And while he is a long shot to appear in the WrestleMania main event, it would also be foolish to rule out the possibility of Strowman riding his unstoppable momentum to capture the WWE Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble.

With months to fill and gaps in the storyline, WWE would have plenty of time and opportunities to arrive at its desired main event between Lesnar and Reigns, which Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported it will be as far back as March 2017 (h/t Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc.). Just because the end result of WrestleMania 34 seems predictable doesn't mean the buildup has to be.

This year, Elimination Chamber is a Raw-exclusive pay-per-view. Last year's edition, a SmackDown Live exclusive, featured a WWE title change. Bray Wyatt outlasted a field that included AJ Styles, John Cena, Baron Corbin, The Miz and Dean Ambrose to claim the gold.

WWE loves switching world championships inside the Elimination Chamber. There have been 14 such matches with a world championship on the line, and out of those contests, a new champion was crowned eight times.

Strowman defeating Brock Lesnar and Kane at the Royal Rumble would raise his ceiling, and losing the title at the Elimination Chamber could be done in a way that keeps him strong (i.e., eliminating multiple Superstars before being defeated).

Despite fighting the flu, Strowman was easily the most popular Superstar on Raw's first show of the new year as he laid waste to both Heath Slater and Rhyno. Chants of "one more time" following multiple powerslams have become all the rage.

WWE's disruptive hardcore fanbase typically gravitates toward battle-hardened and undersized wrestlers with storied backgrounds in the independent scene.

But as a homegrown giant who receives unanimously positive reactions, Strowman can safely be considered the world's largest unicorn. Whether it's a temporary decision to add excitement to WrestleMania season or not, WWE needs to strike while the iron is hot with The Monster Among Men.

Lesnar holding the Universal Championship for a year would be impressive. But Strowman rising up and winning a Triple Threat match against Lesnar and Kane would set up for months of WWE programming that cannot be missed.

                

Alfred Konuwa is a Featured Columnist and on-air host for Bleacher Report and ForbesLike him on Facebook.

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