WWE SmackDown: What’s next for Braun Strowman after Payback?

Braun Strowman lost the Universal Title at SummerSlam and didn’t emerge victorious at Payback either. What’s next for him on WWE SmackDown?

WWE SmackDown superstar Braun Strowman held the brand’s main male title for most of the summer, as he won the championship against Goldberg at WrestleMania 36. The original plan was for Roman Reigns to win the title, but he chose to protect his family during the pandemic.

Now, Reigns is back, and it took him one week to win the Universal Championship that he never lost. Aligned with Paul Heyman, Reigns may be headed for a harrowing Fall feud with the Fiend, who fell in the Universal Title Triple Threat at Payback after holding the belt for just one week.

All of this leaves Strowman out of the picture. He’s not going to get another shot at the Universal Title in the near future, and few fans want to see another Strowman vs. Reigns rivalry. Strowman has gone “full heel” since being changed by the Fiend in the Wyatt Swamp Fight at Extreme Rules, so it would be ideal for him to feud with a babyface.

In multiple video reports, Sportskeeda’s Tom Colohue has stated that he expects Strowman to feud with Big E on Friday nights.

Braun Strowman vs. Big E would be a great WWE SmackDown rivalry

I can’t think of a better rivalry for Strowman after Payback than E. The New Day faction member is on his own with Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods off television, and WWE is finally giving him another singles run.

As everyone expected, Big E is doing an incredible job. His matches have been sublime, including his Grade-A effort against Sheamus at Payback. And his promos have been just as good, especially the promos he’s cut on The Miz on Talking Smack.

If Strowman and E have a rivalry, the babyface would undoubtedly go over. Big E has future Universal Champion written all over him, and he could be the guy to take the belt off Reigns at WrestleMania 37. The support for E is that high right now, and E’s work in and out of the ring is clearly at the level of a world champion on WWE SmackDown.

Strowman already had his run with the championship, and he’ll surely have a couple of more in the future. He has plenty of time in WWE to continue to make a name for himself. But keeping him away from the title picture and having him put over babyfaces seems like the best usage of the Monster Among Men.

Remember, Strowman is a heel and fans aren’t interested in cheering him, but he can slowly rebuild popularity and respect with a good heel run that helps the rest of the roster. He’s organically built support before his big babyface run and turn in 2018, and the same thing could happen in 2021. Strowman remains an important part of the SmackDown roster, even without the championship.