WWE: Was there really a Braun Strowman, Bray Wyatt double turn?

WWE, Braun Strowman (Photo by Bobby Bank/Getty Images)
WWE, Braun Strowman (Photo by Bobby Bank/Getty Images) /

Last week on WWE SmackDown, Bray Wyatt showed empathy while Braun Strowman shoulder pressed his former tag team partner Alexa Bliss.

After weeks of plodding along, the Universal Championship storyline on WWE SmackDown between Braun Strowman and Bray Wyatt started heating up after Alexa Bliss’ involvement. Bliss first became a part of the rivalry at the Horror Show at Extreme Rules when Wyatt used a hologram of her as Sister Abigail to get in Strowman’s head during the Wyatt Swamp Fight.

But as Strowman told Bliss on the most recent episode of SmackDown, facing The Fiend changes people. And when The Fiend dragged Strowman into the swamp, he very likely changed the Monster Among Men profoundly, just as he did with Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, and The Miz.

Strowman appears to be back to his remorseless, “Monster” character. Anything that stands in his way is met with scorn, as Strowman growls at them with a glazed look in his eyes. He went from the lovable “Strowman Express” to a cold-blooded machine.

It was shocking to see the way Strowman interacted with Bliss on Friday Night SmackDown. He wouldn’t meet her in the eye. He wouldn’t tell his former tag team partner that he still cared about how she was doing after the attacks from The Fiend. He took all of her slaps without flinching, frustrating Bliss. And finally, he shoulder-pressed Bliss in the lasting image of the episode.

The Fiend showed empathy to Alexa Bliss on WWE SmackDown

Meanwhile, as my colleague Tom Colohue pointed out, The Fiend showed empathy when Braun Strowman didn’t. Bray Wyatt feigns empathy on his Firefly Funhouse show by saying that he’s “sorry” for what The Fiend will do or feels about for The Fiend’s rivals, but that’s all part of his headgames. He doesn’t actually care.

In this case, though, he’s started caring about Bliss. Strowman used Bliss to try and bait The Fiend into meeting him in the ring, and The Fiend did enter the ring to rescue Bliss before Strowman escaped (and started laughing on the titantron again).

Strowman used Bliss and hurt her, whereas The Fiend has changed his actions over the past couple of weeks. He used the Mandible Claw on Bliss a couple of weeks ago, but over the past two weeks, he has heeded Bliss touching his hand to stop an attack and helped her against Strowman.

It’s entirely possible we have a twist in this rivalry with Strowman as a heel and The Fiend caught in between being a babfyace and a heel because of Alexa. I hesitate to say he is a face now, but it’s such an interesting situation.

But there are two other possible explanations. Firstly, Bliss is aligned with The Fiend, and these actions are all part of The Fiend’s larger strategy to win the Universal Championship off Strowman at SummerSlam. Secondly, it’s possible that Strowman is still a babyface and is trying to pretend he’s someone “new” and doesn’t care about Bliss in order to fake-out The Fiend and make his adversary think his strategy is working.

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After last week’s SmackDown, though, with the way Strowman attacked Bliss, it truly seems like we have a double-turn in the works. The only thing that’s clear is this: the feud between Strowman and Wyatt finally feels like appointment television and should lead to a really interesting match at SummerSlam from a storytelling perspective.