15 Ups & 13 Downs For WWE In 2017

1. The Rise Of Braun Strowman

braun strowman elias samson

WWE's star-making machine certainly isn't what it used to be, but the company have struck gold with Braun Strowman, who went from unconvincing stiff to one of their hottest commodities in 2017.

His 2016 feud with Sami Zayn showed promise, but Strowman didn't really break out until he started warring with Roman Reigns. The duo put on a series of thrilling slugfests throughout spring and summer, with Great Balls Of Fire's Ambulance Match a particular highlight. Feuding with 'The Guy' was instrumental in getting him over, and this wasn't solely down to the matches: their angles provided a steady stream of "holy s***!" moments throughout the rivalry, the likes of which have become key in Braun's presentation as a spectacle athlete.

The Reigns feud wasn't Strowman's only triumph, though. He shone in SummerSlam's blitzkrieg main event, and it was immediately apparent that him vs. Brock Lesnar was the match WrestleMania 34 should be built around, but WWE jumped the gun and had them wrestle a damp Great Balls Of Fire squib instead. A shame, as Strowman felt like the hottest star in the world.

But his popularity endures. Braun is too charismatic, athletic, and fun to watch for fans to tire of his three-dimensional monster act. He's primed and ready to take Reigns' place as 'The Guy,' and if handled right, could well be the era-defining star WWE have spent years looking for.

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