As WWE enters spring, it's becoming painfully honest who its next big project is as the dog days of summer approach. But after two weeks of all-world stunts, Braun Strowman is becoming less of a pet project and more of a bona fide star.
Strowman added yet another clip to his growing highlight reel as he and Big Show participated in WWE's third ringbreaking superplex spot. Though the spot was familiar, WWE has waited long enough to perform it so it remains special. The hit-or-miss crowd in Columbus, Ohio, was fully on board with the stunt.
As of this writing, the clip has amassed over four million views on YouTube as Strowman's star surges. Last week's ambulance tipping spot is well over eight million as Strowman clips on YouTube have surpassed 12 million in their last two weeks.
WWE couldn't have selected a better Superstar as a convincing challenger to Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship, and it couldn't have done a better job building him up as an absolute monster.
Jinder Mahal Bolsters Heel Roster on SmackDown Live
Career afterthought Jinder Mahal came out of nowhere to become the No. 1 contender for the WWE Championship on SmackDown Live. Mahal, whose last match on SmackDown came in a loss to El Torito in 2014, is suddenly one of the most intriguing heels in the promotion.
While pretend heels like Kevin Owens and Dolph Ziggler parade as bad guys despite receiving cheers for being unconvincing in these roles—and with AJ Styles recently turning babyface after failing to garner boos as a heel himself—it will be up to more effective heels like Baron Corbin and Mahal to rebuild SmackDown Live's weak roster of villains.
Mahal hit the right notes by criticizing WWE's fanbase of xenophobia, and a potential stable with the Bollywood Boys could make Mahal an upgrade to currently uninspiring WWE champion Randy Orton.
Mike and Maria, WWE Bound?
WWE has no shortage of power couples. The Miz and Maryse, Dean Ambrose and Renee Young and the recently engaged John Cena and Nikki Bella highlight an amorous roster. But with recent reports of Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis coming to WWE per Wade Keller of PWTorch, WWE may have to make room for one more.
Kanellis has had past beef with the Bella Twins, something she detailed in an interview with Raj Giri of Wrestling Inc. This could make for an interesting storyline should Maria be involved in an upcoming season of Total Divas as the show's viewership continues to bottom out from season to season per ShowBuzz Daily (h/t Wrestling Inc).
Bennett stands to benefit greatly from a potential stint in WWE. Bennett has the right combination of mainstream appeal and respect from WWE's otherwise obnoxious hardcore audience through his stints with Ring of Honor and Impact Wrestling. Being associated with a familiar face will help facilitate Bennett's potential rise to a world championship, which New Era wrestlers are winning earlier in their careers than ever.
Is Alexa Bliss More Popular than Bayley?
WWE inexplicably soured Bayley's current main roster run. Sure, Bayley is the Raw women's champion, but that's not her appeal.
In NXT, Bayley did her best work as an underdog who was constantly chasing the grand prize. She naturally relates to the common fan, so the longer she fights the good fight, the more popular she is.
Instead of booking her as an underdog who chased pedigreed world champion Charlotte, who was undefeated in one-on-one pay-per-view matches, WWE opted to end Charlotte's undefeated streak prematurely and have Bayley walk into WrestleMania as a world champion. As a result, the Raw Women's Championship match at WrestleMania 33 was forgettable, and the debut of heel Alexa Bliss was seen as a breath of fresh air.
Cheering for Bliss continued into Week 2 as a member of the Raw roster in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio, and WWE will have some work to do in booking the undersized villain as a heel against the suddenly non-relatable Bayley.
Alfred Konuwa is a Featured Columnist and on-air host for Bleacher Report and Forbes. Like him on Facebook.
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