It’s not the Nicholas debate from WrestleMania 34 all over again, but in reviewing Backlash on his podcast this week, Steve Austin isn’t crazy about how WWE’s been presenting Braun Strowman as a tag team guy lately.
Here’s how Stone Cold articulated his concerns to Wade Keller in the episode which went up on Thursday (May 10):
“I don’t know if they’re trying to humanize Braun Strowman, you know, here comes this guy, former strongman, looks like a million bucks, he can talk, he has a charisma about him - he can work. I’ve been a fan for a couple of years now.
Clearly, this is tag match and they’re trying to give Bobby [Lashley] a rub here - and they do. But, you’ve got to be careful with what you do with Braun Strowman, if you try to spread him too thin... after it’s all over, they’re kind of standing there with their arms raised up and it almost looked like, Braun looked over like he was gonna give Bobby like a knucklebump or whatever, kind of put him over... if you rewatch it, and he’s giving Bobby that look like, ‘hey man, let’s do the knuckle thing’ or I’m trying to put you over here, it’s like dude, you’re Alpha. If you don’t get out there and work or act Alpha every time you get into the ring, if you play Beta or second to anybody, you’re going to start losing your mystique or power or whatever.
So I think Braun’s gotta be careful about that. And I don’t want to see Braun Strowman do anything funny. The thing with the Nicholas kid? Great spot for the kid, who wouldn’t want to go out there with a WWE Superstar and do something that they did. But with respect to booking Braun... they’re calling him The Monster Among Men, and Get These Hands on ya and all this other stuff. He’s a little bit like Stone Cold but he’s a lot like Braun Strowman. I don’t need to see a 6’8″, 6’9” 330 pound guy make me laugh, make me smile, bring any warmth to my body – I want to see him go out there and destroy and crush people because he’s capable of doing it and because his desire to hold a gold belt is so great that’s what drives him and spurs him on, he’s been a competitor his whole life, so I think you’ve got to book him as a power guy.
Now certainly... he’s gonna have times where he has an Achilles heel or an injury or something like that, but you can spread that guy around, but - Braun Strowman, as well as he’s done over the past few years still has a ways to go and he’s not bullet proof. If you start puffing that kid up, you’re gonna kill him - you’re gonna diminish him. I don’t think you’re gonna kill him, because I think he’s one of the top guys on the roster.”
This quote (a version of which I first saw at NoDQ.com) addresses something I’ve wondered about since WrestleMania, which is that while Strowman is certainly still very popular, I get a sense the general fanbase isn’t as rabid to see him on top as they were just a couple months ago.
If that’s an accurate observation, is that because WWE’s done too much to “humanize” the Monster Among Men? Is it just too much time out of the main event picture, so rather than championing him for Brock Lesnar’s spot, we’ve moved on to other complaints there (cough * Roman Reigns * cough)?
Let us know what you think about Austin’s take, and give us yours, Cagesiders. Are you a little worried about Braun?