Braun Strowman was a late replacement for Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 36, and he made the most of his opportunity, beating Goldberg in two minutes to win the Universal Championship for the first time in his career.
While it is true that extraordinary circumstances played a big role in Strowman's title win, he has a chance to prove he belongs in the top spot on SmackDown by having entertaining feuds and matches in the coming weeks and months.
It is unclear whether WWE has long-term plans to keep the title on Strowman, but given the uncertainty surrounding the product and the world as a whole because of the coronavirus pandemic, it is possible he could hang on to the belt for some time.
On the heels of his career-defining victory over Goldberg, here are a few opponents who could get the most out of The Monster Among Men in the near future.
'The Fiend' Bray Wyatt
Goldberg entered WrestleMania as universal champion following his shocking win against "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt at Super ShowDown in February. Given the manner in which he lost the title, it seems likely that The Fiend will attempt to get it back as soon as possible.
Wyatt scored what was arguably the biggest win of his career at WrestleMania 36 when he beat John Cena in a Firefly Fun House match. That victory atoned for his loss to Cena at WrestleMania XXX and gave him a ton of momentum coming out of The Showcase of Immortals.
Wyatt has a lengthy history with Strowman, as Braun debuted on the WWE main roster in 2015 as a member of The Wyatt Family. He was a dominant henchman for Wyatt until 2016, when he became a singles star after getting moved to Raw as part of the WWE draft.
There was never any conflict between Wyatt and Strowman until last year, when The Fiend attacked and incapacitated Braun with a Mandible Claw during his rivalry with Seth Rollins.
The Fiend loves to draw on the past he has with certain Superstars, and he would have plenty of material for a feud with Strowman since they go back to the beginning of Braun's WWE career.
Strowman isn't known for putting on long and entertaining classics in the ring, and facing Wyatt would take some of the pressure to do so away since Fiend matches are generally psychological thrillers more than technical encounters.
Of anyone who could challenge Strowman for the Universal Championship, Wyatt makes the most immediate sense.
Reigns was likely supposed to beat Goldberg for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania, but because of concerns he could be immunocompromised as a leukemia survivor, he decided to drop out of the match.
It was a noble decision on Reigns' part, and it could mean that the WWE Universe won't see him back in the ring until the United States starts moving in a more positive direction with regard to the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whenever The Big Dog returns to the fold, it stands to reason that he will go right after Strowman since he was the one who directly benefited from his decision to sit out WrestleMania.
Reigns and Strowman have faced each other many times in big matches over the years, most notably having a lengthy feud that stretched from 2017 into 2018.
Strowman was at his best and getting the biggest reactions of his career during his rivalry with Reigns, so perhaps WWE will see the situation as an opportunity to get the champion back to the level he once occupied by going against Reigns again.
Crowd reactions toward Strowman had waned significantly before WWE took its shows behind closed doors in March, and he didn't have much momentum on his side prior to beating Goldberg.
Braun needs a shot in the arm in the worst way, and facing arguably the biggest star in the company would be a quick and easy way to get Strowman back in the fans' good graces.
Daniel Bryan is coming off a loss to Sami Zayn in an Intercontinental Championship match at WrestleMania, but the same thing happened to Strowman at Elimination Chamber, and it resulted in him getting catapulted into the universal title scene.
Perhaps Bryan could see something similar happen to him, as he is among the biggest stars on SmackDown and has proved on multiple occasions that he can handle being a top guy in WWE.
The fact that Bryan is a babyface means that feuding with Strowman could necessitate a heel turn for Braun, but that isn't a bad thing since the support he has among the WWE Universe has seemingly dampened over the past year.
The dichotomy between a big monster heel like Strowman and a never-say-die underdog like Bryan would make for some entertaining programming and matches, and it could also lead to Braun having the best matches of his life.
Bryan is a technical master and bumping machine who would make Braun look like a million bucks. Also, while he would play the role of David in the David vs. Goliath story, he could still believably pose a threat to Strowman.
If WWE's goal is to get Strowman over as more than just a monster who has three-minute matches, then there is no one in the company more capable of taking him to the next level than Bryan.
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