Braun Strowman, Asuka, and WWE Stars Who Deserve Better Booking at WrestleMania

Kevin Berge@TheBerge_Featured ColumnistMarch 16, 2019

Braun Strowman, Asuka, and WWE Stars Who Deserve Better Booking at WrestleMania

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    WrestleMania is the biggest night on the WWE calendar. The show is massive, now spanning around seven hours and having as many as 14 matches to fill the time. Despite this, talent still gets left out. No matter how good a star is or how much work they have put in, only so many can get a spotlight.

    The Grandest Stage of Them All is dominated by the older stars who come back to make a splash. While there's nothing wrong with Batista or John Cena returning to compete after spending most of their time lately in Hollywood, this does mean those who have been used all year don't get that spot.

    In order to get everyone a 'Mania paycheck, Superstars are thrown into multi-person matches or Battle Royals that have little to no stakes. Does anyone remember who won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal last year or the year before?

    This year's WrestleMania has a clearly established top card, even if it has not all been announced yet.

    That includes Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair, Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins, Batista vs. Triple H, Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston, AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton and Shane McMahon vs. The Miz. Kurt Angle vs. John Cena and Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre feel likely as well.

    The available spots are being filled quickly, so many stars are sure to be left out or marginalized. While there's still a chance for guys like Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, Rey Mysterio and Andrade, there are those who feel like they have already lost out on a chance to appear or make an impact at The Showcase of the Immortals.


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    Arguably the front-runner for match of the year on the main roster, The Empress of Tomorrow vs. The Man was supposed to establish the SmackDown women's champion as an unstoppable obstacle to be overcome after a year of bad decisions.

    Since making Lynch tap out at January's Royal Rumble, though, Asuka has almost disappeared from television. She has defended her title once since then and been pinned by Mandy Rose. Her indomitable aura has been shattered, and it's not because anyone has stepped up to her.

    The Japanese Superstar is an incredible in-ring performer. Her style and versatility allows her to outshine everyone else. Last year, she went into 'Mania undefeated with a chance to become champion. This year, she holds that title, but it feels like no one else wants it.

    By taking the two biggest female stars on SmackDown and throwing them to Raw without sending anyone back, Asuka was left with no challengers. Her biggest threats, Rose and Sonya Deville, are not going to give her a match worthy of 'Mania, especially as they continue to fight among themselves.

    At best, it feels like The Empress is set for a multi-woman title match against whichever competitors are available. This could have easily been avoided by having The Queen stay on the blue brand and fight Asuka in a 'Mania rematch, but WWE has invested too much in the Raw Women's Championship contest, which could be set to headline the event.

    It is at the point that the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships are a bigger deal than what was the most important championship in the business as recently as December.


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    What has become of Rusev Day? Not unlike most WWE stars who get themselves over unexpectedly, The Bulgarian Brute had a brief moment in the sun before crashing down to earth. Just 40 days after winning the United States Championship, the Super Athlete dropped the title back to Shinsuke Nakamura.

    Two days later, he turned heel and has been teaming with The Artist ever since. While an alliance between Rusev and Nakamura has potential, it mostly feels like a reason to hide Rusev. The popular star has steadily lost his impressive crowd reactions thanks to his booking.

    Now, the heels are a generic team not even good enough to get a title shot. They look poised to be a part of a messy SmackDown Tag Team Championships match with bigger tag teams like The New Day, The Bar and The Hardy Boyz.

    While they are doing better than developed tag teams such as Sanity and Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, who have returned to obscurity, they feel like the tandem most likely to take a fall for the bigger teams.

    Going into 2019, it would have been easy to assume this would be Rusev's year. He was the champion. He was as popular as he had ever been. All he needed to do was stay the course.

    Instead, WWE swerved right into the woods, and it will take months to find The Bulgarian Brute again.


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    Does anyone remember what Elias did last year at WrestleMania? After rumors of a huge segment potentially including The Rock and newly inducted WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett, The Drifter walked out, taunted John Cena and got beat down.

    This will be his second chance to make an impact after another entertaining year, but much like Rusev, his most interesting run was recently cut short. His babyface push was silenced for no reason, turning him back into the cheap-heat heel who barely gets to wrestle.

    Still, there was a chance he might get to do something more. He has rubbed shoulders recently with main event talent on Raw, and all he needed to do was piss off the wrong guy. It is not looking like that will come to pass.

    His feud with the soon-to-be-departing Dean Ambrose will likely lead nowhere, and he will end up once again being filler during the show, singing before someone beats him up. If nothing else, it's always possible the Brahma Bull does show up this year to knock down the musician.

    More than anything, the problem is that it seems WWE likes Elias too much to not use him but not enough to take him seriously. At best, he might get a championship some time this year. It's not coming at 'Mania, though.

Braun Strowman

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    Sit and listen to the saddest tale of recent WrestleMania history: The story of how Braun Strowman repeatedly got to do nothing on the most important show of the year.

    The Monster Among Men debuted in 2015 as a member of The Wyatt Family and spent his first 'Mania watching Rowan lose to The Rock in six seconds.

    The following year, just as he was finding his stride, including a ferocious match with Reigns at Fastlane, Strowman was eliminated in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal before Curt Hawkins or Rhyno.

    2018 should have been his year, but the card filled up so fast that he had to force his way into a match against Sheamus and Cesaro for the Raw Tag Team Championships, proving he was better than any tag team by picking a kid out of the crowd to basically watch him defeat the champions on his own.

    It was OK, though, because the rest of the year was set up to be Strowman's time. He was supposed to become WWE universal champion, especially after The Big Dog had to step away, taking up his mantle as the top babyface for Raw. That did not happen because WWE has never believed in him for some indiscernible reason.

    The Mountain of a Man is the heir apparent to Big Show with perhaps even more natural potential. He works faster than guys half his size and has mic skills that match up with just about anyone else's on the roster. CEO Vince McMahon should be in love with Strowman, yet the big man continues to fall short.

    What will The Monster be doing at WrestleMania 35? It looks like he's going to be feuding with guest correspondent Colin Jost, terrorizing him throughout the night. For the second year in a row, he's in a comedy segment when he should be one of Raw's most prominently featured talents.

    Lesnar can be champion, and Rollins is a worthy challenger to him. However, it is unforgivable that WWE has sacrificed any chance of Strowman getting a 'Mania spotlight in that match.