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Heel Turns: Strowman rises quickly to top

Posted by Achilles Heel On September 3

Achilles HeelBraun Strowman has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the world of professional wrestling. While wrestlers such as A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe and Bobby Roode had to work for far more than a decade to reach WWE, it didn’t take Strowman very long to climb to the top of the biggest wrestling promotion in the world. Just four years after signing with WWE, Strowman is challenging Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship at “No Mercy” on Sept. 24.

It doesn’t hurt to be 6-foot-8 and weigh 385 pounds.

But Strowman is more than just a giant. He has improved dramatically in a relatively short period of time.

Strowman made his first appearance in WWE, as the newest member of the Wyatt Family, a little more than two years ago. That was less than a year after his in-ring NXT debut.

Strowman played the role of the monster heel, but critics often complained that his segments during Wyatt Family matches weren’t very good. But what else could be expected from a wrestler with so little experience?

After another year, Strowman was split from the Wyatt Family in the WWE draft, with Strowman going to RAW while Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan went to Smackdown, as did the injured Luke Harper.

The pace of Strowman’s improvement has been remarkable. He’s not going to produce a 5-star classic, but he knows how to play the “big man’s” role. Strowman has a surprising amount of mobility for a man his size. He also has developed a solid sense of timing, both in his matches with Roman Reigns and in his memorable performance at SummerSlam in the four-way Universal Championship match with Lesnar, Reigns and Joe.

Despite his inexperience, nobody is complaining about Strowman being pushed too fast. The fans want Strowman to face Lesnar.

The reaction from the fans is testament to Strowman’s rapid improvement as he climbs the WWE ladder. He’s in the main event at No Mercy because he deserves to be in the main event.


JBL LEAVES SMACKDOWN: JBL, identified as The Greek God of Wrestling’s favorite WWE broadcaster less than a month ago, is leaving his position as part of the Smackdown announcing team. In an announcement Friday, JBL said he is leaving Smackdown in order to spend more time with Beyond Sport, a charitable organization he has been involved with since 2010 when he founded Beyond Rugby Bermuda.

JBL will continue his association with WWE, and he says WWE will be involved with his philanthropic work. There will be speculation that JBL’s departure is connected to allegations earlier this year that he bullied broadcast partner Mauro Ranallo, who took a leave of absence before returning to the company as the lead broadcaster for NXT.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the Smackdown broadcast team. Love him or not, JBL added flavor and excitement to a broadcast team that includes Tom Phillips and the awful Byron Saxton. Who will WWE plug into JBL’s spot? And will the long-range plan be for Ranallo to move back into the Smackdown main chair?


REALITY BITES: There was a terrible incident involving Sexy Star and Rosemary at a AAA’s Triplemania XXV last week. During the match, Sexy Star applied severe torque on Rosemary’s arm, injuring her while applying an armbar.

Rosemary’s statement on the incident described the situation perfectly. “Let me make this perfectly clear: if you take liberties with someone’s body when they are giving it to you and trusting you to keep them safe, you are not tough. You are an asshole. And you don’t belong in this business.”

Wrestlers must be able to trust each other in the ring. If they can’t, the matches can’t work (if you’ll pardon the expression). Although there are numerous instances of wrestlers working stiff in the ring, there’s no excuse for intentionally injuring an opponent. This is particularly true when they put themselves in compromising positions so you can apply a move.

Sexy Star made things worse for herself by originally claiming the match was a work. She then offered a statement which, at best, could be interpreted as a half-hearted apology. At worst, it was a self-serving statement designed to deflect all blame.

Sexy Star is complaining that she is being blackballed from the wrestling business because of the incident. What she doesn’t understand is that if she is allowed to continue in the business, she will have an extremely rough time in the ring – if you get the Greek God of Wrestling’s drift.


FLAIR IMPROVING: Ric Flair is still Ric Flair. After a nearly fatal medical situation, Flair cut a promo to announce that he’s doing better. In the video, he’s wearing a shirt that says “I ain’t dead yet, motherf—ers.”

The spirit of the Nature boy is alive and well! Achilles Heel, with a big smile on his face, continues to wish Flair a complete recovery.


BRACKET ADJUSTMENTS: In the most recent edition of Heel Turns, the Greek God of Wrestling pointed out that one side of CHIKARA’s King of Trios appeared weighted with the best teams. Someone must have been listening. The brackets were adjusted so that the four teams listed as the favorites in last week’s Heel Turns reached Sunday’s semifinals.

The remaining teams are House Sendai Girls (Maiko Satomura, Dash Chisako and Cassandra Miagi), the defending champions; House Rot (Frightmare, Hallowicked and Kobald) ; House Strong Style (WWE United Kingdom champion Pete Dunne, former WWE UK champion Tyler Bate and his former CHIKARA tag team championship partner Trent Seven); and Casa Dorada (CHIKARA Grand Champion Juan Francisco de Coronado, Cornelius Crummels, Sonny Defarge).


ORTON VS. NAKAMURA: Shinsuke Nakamura learned not to trust the Viper when Randy Orton delivered an RKO after he and Nakamura celebrated a victory over Jinder Mahal and Rusev in the Smackdown main event. Orton and Nakamura will square off this week on Smackdown, with the winner earning another shot at Mahal for the WWE Championship. Either Rusev will cost Orton the match or we’re going to have a triple-threat match for the title with Nakamura, Orton and Mahal.


DEATH MATCHES: Ring of Honor has added Kushida defending the Ring of Honor World Television Championship against Kenny King to “Death Before Dishonor,” a pay-per-view which will take place on Sept. 22 in Las Vegas. In the main event, Cody Rhodes will defend the Ring of Honor World Championship against Minoru Suzuki.


FEELING SICK: Combat Zone Wrestling returns to Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees on Sat., Sept. 9 with Down With The Sickness (7:30 p.m.), which is part of a doubleheader with Women’s Superstars Uncensored (WSU), which presents Queen and King of the Ring (4 p.m).

An open challenge from CZW World champion Shane Strickland has been added to Down With the Sickness, which will include the Chri$ Ca$h Memorial Ladder match, in which The Rep will face Private Party in a No. 1 contenders match for the CZW Tag Team Championship, Danny Havoc’s retirement match against Alex Colon, and Sami Callihan vs. Jimmy Lloyd. Jake and Dave Crist, who recently made their debut on Global Force Wrestling’s Impact Wrestling, will battle the Ugly Ducklings.

The Queen and King of the Ring Tournament features eight mixed tag teams. There also will be a WSU Championship match, with Mercedes Martinez defending against Jordynne Grace, and a WSU Tag Team Championship match, with Maria Manic and Penelope Ford defending the titles against The Sinister Sweethearts.


ROODE A FACE? Bobby Roode continues to be positioned as a “good guy” on Smackdown, defeating Mike Kanellis. Roode’s first two matches have come against heels.


BENJAMIN RETURNS: In Shelton Benjamin’s first match since returning to WWE, he teamed with Chad Gable to defeat The Ascension.


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