Monster Mash

For some performers, it can be a bit of a mystery as to why they work so well together. Like, try to explain in less than two hours, with no visual aids, why Bulldog-Warlord is secretly the second best match at WrestleMania VII. I dare you. But for Braun Strowman and Kevin Owens, it’s pretty clear every time they interact why they work together even during times when the rest of their match or segment doesn’t. Braun’s entire career is based off of exceeding expectations every time he’s on camera. Braun flipped an ambulance? Now Braun flips a semi. Put someone through the ring? How about he breaks the ring and then stands up after it like a fucking pro wrestling Phoenix.

Because Braun is so big and so good at everything pro wrestling at the same time — outside of submission wrestling… maybe? —  he’s kind of created his own kayfabe that supercedes the rest of the show. And Kevin Owens entire existence in wrestling is based around the idea of pulling down the permeable membrane between how television works — he calls everything the Kevin Owens show, for god sakes — and how wrestling works. It’s why Kevin Owens relies on technicalities and loopholes so often: He knows as one of the stars of the show he can get away with pretty much whatever he wants as long as he can find any justification for his actions that people in authority can use to hand wave away all of the clear problems that he brings along.


That they end up in the same match against one another — because of both wanting the same thing, but for different reasons, all at the discretion of the one authority figure who won’t just act like Kevin Owens should be able to get away with things because of his talent — is when televised pro wrestling is working the way it should. There should be a reason the combatants are fighting in a literal sense (whether it be a grudge, a title, a spot in an important match, or even simply a chance at a better spot on the card) and an underlying reason why the combatants’ personas would make for an engaging confrontation or tell a captivating story. The best matches include those two components, but it’s all for naught if the performers can’t do the work in the ring.

This is, of course, not an issue for Strowman or Owens, who share a similar chemistry in the ring that they do out of it. Kevin Owens is just the right combination of size, speed and agility — outside of Brock Lesnar (one of the truly freakish athletes in the history of American sport,) perhaps the “pound-for-pound” most agile performer on the show — to give Braun a real test, but still big enough that he can be ragdolled by Strowman if he can stay on his feet long enough. Strowman-Owens feels like a superheavyweight version of Jericho v. the entire Cruiserweight division, where the larger performer is still so gifted an athlete that he can keep up with the smaller performer but can also do any and all necessary “big man” spots that the people want to see. Like, say, trucking Kevin Owens so hard the second verse of “Takeover” by Jay-Z started playing over the PA.

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