Brock Lesnar's Win vs. Braun Strowman Is Proof WWE Doesn't Care About Its Fans

Anthony Mango@@ToeKneeManGoFeatured ColumnistNovember 3, 2018

This photo is from March and nothing has changed.
This photo is from March and nothing has changed.Credit: WWE.com

Crown Jewel was a disaster before it even began, but things only got worse once it started.

Some of those problems have weak excuses for why they happened. For instance, the World Cup was a misguided attempt to build toward Survivor Series, so even though it was a mistake, WWE at least had good intentions, if you're being kind.

But there is no excuse for putting the Universal Championship back on Brock Lesnar. It's simply a clear-cut sign that as long as WWE is making money, a dwindling fanbase of increasingly bitter viewers means nothing. The complaints fall on deaf ears.


The E Stands for Entertainment, Not Exasperation

World Wrestling Entertainment's sole purpose is to put on wrestling shows people want to watch. Even after hours of programming, fans should still clamor to see more and eagerly await the next episode.

The goal is to put smiles on faces, not to upset people and rile them up so much that they beg for the show to be different. Yet that is the game WWE continually plays with Lesnar.

Vince McMahon @VinceMcMahon

Proud to bring smiles to faces every Monday night for the past 25 years. Here’s to the next 25 and beyond! #Raw25 https://t.co/WbJobekkL5

Even before he won the WWE Universal Championship in April 2017, his story has been that he holds the title hostage and phones in his performances with quick matches that consist of nothing but German suplexes and one F-5 before leaving for another few months.

WWE spent a full year calling attention to this between WrestleMania 33 and WrestleMania 34, with the intention of getting over Roman Reigns by having him present an argument everybody could agree with.

But rather than ending it there, the story dragged out longer, annoying people all the way until SummerSlam in August. It took 504 days to see the end of an angle built around aggravating viewers and making them want to stop watching, which is the opposite of what TV shows should do.

However, 28 days later, Lesnar messed up the main event of Hell in a Cell. And now, he's champion again. with everything reverting back to when he beat Goldberg at the 'Mania 33.

How is this supposed to make anybody feel other than frustrated?

It isn't progress or a step in a new direction. It's a step back to what has proved to be bothersome to sit through.

And don't be foolish enough to think that patience will pay off or that it will be worth it. This isn't a masterfully crafted story of delayed gratification on WWE's behalf.

Everyone in that optimistic camp said to just wait until WrestleMania 34. Then the Greatest Royal Rumble. Then SummerSlam. But here we are, stuck in the same mess as before.

Nothing ended. It just had a two-month hiatus. Why should we have any faith it will end soon this time?


Fans of Braun Strowman, Give Up Hope

This loss reiterated that as popular as Strowman is, and even with the roster's desperate need of someone like him, WWE still doesn't see him as worthy of top spot.

If he couldn't beat Lesnar this time, with all those factors in his favor, he never will, so there's no point in getting excited for any of his future matches. If they are for the title, he will come up short and job out like he always does.

Clearly, his ceiling in the promotion's eyes is being good enough to be manhandled by Lesnar, which he was twice last year and four times this year.

This perfectly sums up the only way WWE sees Strowman in comparison to Lesnar.
This perfectly sums up the only way WWE sees Strowman in comparison to Lesnar.Credit: WWE.com

He wasn't set up to look strong here. Make no mistake: This was a squash match. Baron Corbin's attack took away some of the sting, but it doesn't matter how much of a fight you put up if you always lose because the record books still say you are a loser.

Somehow, we are living in a world wherein Jinder Mahal will forever have the clout of being a former WWE champion, but Strowman's only title win was capturing the Raw Tag Team Championships alongside a 10-year-old boy for a laugh before relinquishing it the following night.

That type of treatment is what makes people give up on hoping their favorite Superstar will ascend to stardom because if WWE doesn't want them to, they won't. Just ask The Revival and Zack Ryder how far their popularity got them. Strowman is just another one of those cases.

It's no fun always being disappointed with WWE telling you you're wrong for cheering that person. It's easier to just stop caring.


Fans of the Rest of the Roster Will Suffer Too

Failing to win the title here also hurts the chances of Strowman having interesting feuds going forward because everything would have been made more important with the title involved.

It doesn't matter if he gets revenge on Corbin; nothing would be on the line, and beating him up doesn't offset his failure to win the title. It isn't an equal victory. Only a title win could do that.

A Drew McIntyre feud will mean nowhere near as much as it would have with the title in the mix. With no stakes attached, whether McIntyre wins or loses is irrelevant. Even if he wins, he's just beating someone who isn't the top dog.

It does nobody any favors for Strowman to lose. He's The Monster Among Men who makes opponents look like chumps in comparison. The weaker he looks, the weaker they look by association.

So if you're a fan of watching Monday Night Raw and you want that roster to look the best it can with quality feuds between top contenders, you're out of luck. The next few months will consist of no universal champion and a bunch of people who are not the best, all fighting for second prize—if they're lucky.

Nobody but Lesnar wins here, and he won't be around to spread the wealth.


Fans of High Ratings Will See a Decline

Even if you're a fan who just wants to see WWE succeed, you're in for some bad news.

Raw's biggest jumps in viewers come from special episodes like Raw 25 and the go-home shows for big events like the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania, not from Lesnar.

The most recent episode with Lesnar on it saw no massive increase in viewers from the week before. But even if that were the case, if people tune in just to see episodes with Lesnar, he would have to be making many more appearances for it to be worthwhile, which he just won't do.

You won't be seeing Lesnar on Raw on a regular basis.
You won't be seeing Lesnar on Raw on a regular basis.Credit: WWE.com

There's no way he somehow starts popping up even more while focusing on UFC than he did before he had that distraction.

Based off his history, we should expect to see Lesnar on the next Raw, for 15 minutes at Survivor Series, maybe once before he beats someone in five minutes at Royal Rumble and two or three times to set up his WrestleMania contest.

That's roughly 20 minutes of two-move action and a handful of TV segments over the course of five months.

None of that is dependent upon his being champion, either, as he's just as much of an attraction in non-title feuds because he's still Lesnar.

Letting him leave with the belt is a hindrance, as Raw loses one more thing that could get people to tune in on a regular basis since having a consistent champion to follow is more beneficial than one who maybe shows up once a month for a slight ratings boost.

Title matches like this can't happen if there's no title and no champion to defend the belt.
Title matches like this can't happen if there's no title and no champion to defend the belt.Credit: WWE.com

WWE is effectively taking away a marketing tool and giving it to someone who doesn't need it for nothing in return.

The lack of a champion gives no reason for people to watch Raw, as they know the most important person won't be there. And all main events without that belt don't matter as much.

As WWE fans, we root for the show's success and want it to be good enough to gain viewers, but this move only gives people a reason to avoid watching not just Raw but all pay-per-views going forward without the Universal Championship.


How Can the Voiceless Share Their Voice?

WWE keeps beating the same drum, and it isn't going to suddenly turn into music to our ears. So the only way to stop this from happening is to speak up.

But the company hasn't listened when you booed these past two years. That isn't good enough.

You have to vote with your wallet and the power you have as a viewer by not watching Raw and by cancelling your WWE Network subscription as soon as possible so WWE knows there's an association to Crown Jewel and doesn't attribute it to a different scapegoat.

It's all about the money.
It's all about the money.Credit: WWE.com

The more noise you make, the better. Tweet at WWE officials. Get hashtags trending, like how #GiveDivasAChance woke WWE up about giving the women's division a better shot. When you cancel your subscriptions, specify why that's the case. Explain what you're mad.

As long as WWE is profitable, fans' opinions won't be taken seriously because in the end, just as it's a source of entertainment for us, we are just a source of income for them.

If things aren't fun to watch anymore, we shouldn't give WWE our money. That's the deal of consumerism, and Vince McMahon's company isn't holding up its end of the bargain.


Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.