WWE booked an angle on this week’s (Nov. 23) episode of Raw to determine which wrestler will be next in line to challenge Drew McIntyre for the WWE championship. A mini-tournament of sorts was set up that included Keith Lee, Bobby Lashley,
Matt Riddle, Sheamus, AJ Styles, and Randy Orton. The winner of the tournament gets the title shot. It’s simple, right?
Braun Strowman was not part of the mix because he was suspended after attacking five-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion Adam Pearce. But earlier that same day, a rumor was going around that the only match planned for TLC 2020 so far was Drew McIntyre vs. Braun Strowman.
This presented an obvious contradiction. Why would WWE suspend Strowman and book a 6-man tournament to crown a number one contender if the plan was for Strowman to get the title shot in the end?
On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer discussed the uncertainty surrounding this situation with his co-host Bryan Alvarez. It sounds like a potential knee injury may have changed plans for TLC:
Meltzer: There’s a story going around that there was an injury. And that this tournament was a last minute thing because Strowman was gonna get the title shot, but that he’s injured and that’s why they did the headbutt thing and the suspension, to cover up an injury. But I don’t know that’s the case...If he’s okay, he’ll be getting the title shot at the pay-per-view, I guess, but if he’s not then they got a backup plan. That’s kinda what’s been told to me.
Alvarez: So if he’s injured, the story is that they’re doing this tournament, and if it turns out that he’s good to go for the pay-per-view, regardless of this tournament, he’s still getting the shot?
Meltzer: I have no idea.
Alvarez: Oh, I thought that’s what you said?
Meltzer: I don’t know that anyone has an idea right now. I don’t even know if the injury story is legit. I mean, the story is he got a knee injury in that elimination match [at Survivor Series], but I don’t know that that story is accurate. I mean I’ve heard it, I heard that that’s what the tournament was for. But it just still could just be a storyline, and Braun’s getting the title shot anyway. So, I don’t know the answers to everything, but those are the stories that are going around...If the injury story is true, then yes, the winner of the tournament is getting the title shot. And it probably is, but I can’t say 100% because I don’t know 100%. I only have it from one person, and usually I would rather get this story like this from three people.
It’s a bit convoluted, but the general idea is that Strowman was originally supposed to get the title match with McIntyre at TLC 2020. However, he might have suffered a knee injury at Survivor Series that forced WWE to come up with a backup plan, which we saw play out on Raw. Even if that’s true, Strowman might still have a chance to get the title match at TLC if he recovers quickly enough. Alternatively, it’s possible that Strowman is totally healthy right now and is currently penciled in for that title match at TLC, despite the 6-man tournament that began on Raw.
It’s simple, right?
Let us know in the comments what your best guess is on what’s really going on here.