Early indicators suggest Braun Strowman and Shane McMahon are headed for a showdown at WrestleMania 37, and while some WWE officials believe it is an attraction worthy of the biggest event of the year, the reality is...it isn't.
From The Monster Among Men's inconsistency to McMahon's questionable track record of helping the Superstars he has been tasked with getting over, WWE's own booking tendencies have devalued the match.
A Monster With No Bite
Strowman won the Universal Championship last year at The Show of Shows, beating Goldberg in seconds to capture the top prize on the SmackDown brand.
An uneven feud with Bray Wyatt brought his title reign to an end, and by the end of summer 2020, he was merely a punching bag for Roman Reigns.
A jump to Raw in the WWE draft in October did him no favors as he was lost in the shuffle, with no noticeable direction. Injuries didn't help, but misfortune on that front is hardly to blame for Strowman limping onto The Road to WrestleMania and his impending showdown with McMahon.
The Monster Among Men has long battled booking inconsistency.
One minute, he is presented as an unstoppable beast; the next, he is losing to Sami Zayn in overbooked messes. One second, fans are asked to view him as a credible threat to the world title; the next, he is stomping around Raw Underground because the creative team has nothing for him to do.
Two weeks ago, he was fodder for Bobby Lashley on The All Mighty's road to the WWE title.
For a monstrous badass, he has been beaten down and booked into oblivion, his credibility nearly nonexistent no matter how many angles WWE Creative writes involving the destruction of backstage equipment or how many times Strowman threatens "these hands."
His misuse by those in charge of the writing process is oftentimes shocking, especially considering how valuable a star such as Strowman is to a company struggling to create them.
That does not change suddenly because he has been hand-picked to work with McMahon, an opportunity that hasn't necessarily worked out for those "lucky" to earn that spot in the recent past.
McMahon's Diminishing Returns
When was the last time someone really benefited from working with Shane McMahon?
Kevin Owens may have earned a huge pop for dropping the then-SmackDown commissioner with a Stunner and pinning him at SummerSlam 2019, but did he end up any higher on the card for it? No.
And the less said about his feud with The Miz ahead of WrestleMania 35, the better.
Those two Superstars had to dig themselves out of the creative abyss and develop new personas after being beaten into oblivion by McMahon.
Raw Underground—a grand concept designed to bring reality back to the red brand and spotlight its underutilized talent—did little for anyone, and McMahon was at the forefront of that, too.
In fact, since his return to WWE television in 2016, it can be argued that the only person to get over in any program featuring him is McMahon himself.
He won that awful "Best in the World" nonsense in Saudi Arabia, was all over WWE television during a feud with Roman Reigns, and he quickly overshadowed the talent he was tasked with helping elevate and get over—like most McMahons are guilty of, intentionally or not.
There's no reason to believe this feud with Strowman will do anything more than overexpose McMahon again, leading to both a fan backlash and another potential main event star struggling to crawl out of a hole dug by the writing team's desire to highlight one of their bosses at the expense of the talent they are there to serve.
The Monster Among Men will toss McMahon around, Shane will poke fun at his opponent, and it will all end with Shane-O-Mac inevitably falling off of something from a height none of us would ever consider.
Social media will go wild and tout the third-generation promoter for his fearlessness, but we will all be left wondering what exactly the point was of all of it, especially given the creativity (or lack thereof) behind it early on.
We're Going With Stupid Strowman?
Monday night's Raw brought with it the worst McMahon performance in a long time, during which he appeared to forget his lines and stumbled through a promo in which he found any number of ways to call Strowman "stupid."
And that, ladies and gentleman, appears to be the emphasis for this WrestleMania program.
Not the chasing of dreams or the tyrannical owner screwing over what he considers an unfit champion. No, this storyline and all of its brilliance is steeped in McMahon calling the resident big man "stupid."
How did Strowman respond? Surely, he shook it off and proceeded to smash things. Perhaps he grabbed Shane-O-Mac and decimated him, leaving him lying like a crumpled-up fool for daring to insult his intelligence.
Nope. He demanded an apology.
Then, when McMahon reiterated that he was unintelligent, Strowman chased him like an overemotional monster and was outsmarted again. "So stupid," the WWE producer muttered as he got one-up on the big man.
In what universe WWE officials think this will somehow benefit Strowman or lead to some hotly anticipated WrestleMania match is a question only they can answer because their audience sure can't.
The only thing about the entire ordeal that is stupid isn't the former universal champion but, rather, whoever decided this was the path to take on The Road to WrestleMania with two of the most recognizable names on Raw.
The back-and-forth to this point has yet to suggest anything in the way of chemistry between the performers and the aforementioned segment from Monday's Raw was among the worst in that show's recent history—a history that includes Seth Rollins spouting nonsense about ripping Rey Mysterio's eye out.
Strowman and McMahon's impending WrestleMania showdown isn't only wholly uninteresting, it is also potentially devastating for the big man, who really cannot afford to continue finding himself in these convoluted stories that hurt him more than help.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where he finds himself, with no sign of upward momentum or positive outcome to speak of.