Brock Lesnar (c) vs Braun Strowman
WWE Universal Championship
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, United States
(reviewed 10/17/2017) Famously hated match due to Lesnar “shitting the bed” against everyone’s big new favorite flavor of the month(s), but I still sort of dig this. It’s not great, sure, easily the worst Lesnar match that is actually a match (i.e. excluding Orton at SummerSlam) in about a year and a half. It’s funny, the match I’m referencing here is obviously the WrestleMania shitshow against Ambrose, which is sort of similar to this in that he just didn’t care there and clearly doesn’t care all that much here. Here I think there’s also something of a greater health problem going on with Lesnar, but in the grand scheme of things you could describe it as Lesnar not coming to play. On the total opposite end of the spectrum we have Strowman, who is a blast here at peak form just out-monstering one of WWE’s best monsters ever. The great thing about Lesnar is that he excels in being out-monstered, so the good 70% of this match that deals directly with Strowman beating down on the champion is really enjoyable and carries this a fair way. Lesnar’s turn on offense is, per usual, a one note affair, real uninspired and unexciting, but so was the offense in Roman/Cena and people loved that shit. The big kicker here is a particular spot where Lesnar’s got Strowman in a kimura and Strowman gets to the ropes before hitting a spinebuster. After Lesnar kicks out, he very obviously is meant to slap on the kimura again, a fairly common spot in these sorts of matches and something that is clearly telegraphed by Strowman feeding him the arm. But Lesnar just… sort of doesn’t do it, either because he’s exhausted (pretty likely chance of that) or because he forgot (also a fairly likely chance) and Strowman just slowly gets up, still selling his arm, and they continue on into Lesnar hitting his suplexes to build towards the finish. It’s a weird, awkward, and undoubtedly bad spot, but it’s the worst thing about this match and people want to pretend that it’s some crime against wrestling itself and it’s just not. It’s just a blown spot in what is primarily an alright little match where one guy is pretty clearly past his prime and shouldn’t be in this position anymore. But because that sort of match happened to contain Braun Strowman, people will rant and rave about it and call for the blood of someone they were over the moon about just a few months before in Orlando. Goes to show that wrestling, both in and out of the ring, is very much a “what have you done for me lately?” sort of business.