So we're done with No Mercy, and even though a lot of us may not be happy with the result, we can't say we're surprised–Brock Lesnar retained the Universal Championship against Braun Strowman, and may be riding off into the sunset for 2017, en route to an early-2018 return and what could be a WrestleMania main event against Roman Reigns. That's been the rumored plan for several months, but there's one man, or should we say monster, who's been making a pretty good case for himself as the deserving "face of the WWE," and that's the very man Lesnar just defeated at No Mercy.
WWE still appears hell-bent on giving Reigns the super-push as the heir apparent to John Cena, but we've got five reasons why Braun Strowman is more deserving of that super-push, may it be in his usual heel role or as a babyface.
5. He's Improved By Leaps And Bounds
One can possibly argue that Strowman improved more in the past year than Roman Reigns has in five years on the main roster, and while some may see that as a stretch, there's no doubt that the Monster Among Men is one of the most improved WWE Superstars of 2017. He'll never be a technical mat wizard, but as a hoss wrestler, there are few better, as WWE has wisely highlighted his strengths in the past year or so, having him successfully graduate from squashing the likes of James Ellsworth to dominating most of the main roster without breaking a sweat.
Strowman is also surprisingly good on the mic in an old-school way, and it's great that WWE has given him a chance to speak this year, even if his promos are usually on the short side.
4. He's Massively Over With The Fans
Let's see where we stand here. Although it was obviously a gimmicked ambulance, Strowman did tip one of them over during his feud with Reigns. During that rivalry, he won fans over with two memorable catchphrases—"your tears hydrate me," and the far more popular "I'm not finished with you!" Fans go crazy when they hear that ear-shattering roar that kicks off his ring theme. Is there anyone doubting how over Braun Strowman is with the WWE Universe? When anointing a "face of the company," you want to hear cheers, not jeers, and Strowman clearly gets far more of the former despite his heel alignment.
3. Great Athleticism For A Big Guy
Generally, fans tend to shy away from matches featuring tall and heavy wrestlers because they lack athleticism and/or physical coordination. While we won't anoint Strowman as a "complete package" just yet, we will put over the fact that he's quite the athlete and more than just a powerhouse wrestler. How often is it that you see someone who stands 6'8" and weighs pretty damn close to 400 pounds doing a kip-up? Strowman did it in a match against Big Show (and a few other times, too), and it's just another example of why the Monster Among Men is also a deceptively good athlete.
2. He's A Nice Guy Who Loves Fan Interactions
Oftentimes, it's the fiercest, scariest heels who end up being the nicest guys outside the ring, and Braun Strowman is a classic example of this. He maintains his own personal Instagram page where he posts all sorts of out-of-character photos with his WWE colleagues, as well as photos with non-wrestling friends, family members (including his similarly well-built father and sister), and most importantly, WWE fans. He may play a scary monster on TV, but offscreen, he's a gentle giant who's perfectly at home when interacting with regular folks and being a real person away from his character.
1. He's A Credible Threat To The Biggest Names
At the end of the day, you've got to buy into the concept of a wrestler being a threat for the top title, or at least to certified main event talents, in order to buy into him or her being the "face of the WWE." And that's what we've seen from Braun Strowman, almost ever since he moved beyond the jobber squashes. He's had must-see feuds against Roman Reigns and most recently, against Brock Lesnar, and even if he lost on Sunday night at No Mercy, the logical move would be to give him another chance against the Beast.
Of course, WWE would still prefer going with Reigns vs. Lesnar at WrestleMania 34, but the signs are all there. Braun Strowman is more deserving of that match than the Big Dog, and he should NOT be finished with the Beast despite the clean loss.