Braun Strowman is the best example of what happens when WWE Creative hits on all cylinders.
It's surprising for many fans, mostly because of the company's penchant to drop the ball when it comes to handling talent. Though it's not a perfect process, character development is vital to the success of WWE Superstars, and it must work in order for anyone to get over.
That is exactly what's happened with Strowman.
It's taken time because it should. It's a delicate balance of promotion and booking, both of which have been on point for Strowman from the beginning. He once seemed to be nothing more than just another big guy, and WWE fans know that Vince McMahon loves the big guys.
But the more Strowman was on TV, the more fans began to stop and take notice. He wasn't just a muscled brute struggling to find himself. Underneath that exterior was a man that understood who he was, and what he was capable of.
Strowman got it, and getting it is half the battle.
Having an aptitude for the business is key, and Strowman has it. He may not have known where to be in terms of his ring work and he may not have known how to get there, but he understood why he had to be there. He was never just going through the motions; he moved with purpose and he grew every step of the way.
But his journey is not over yet. He's made tremendous progress and he's still improving, but now he's at somewhat of a crossroads in his WWE career.
His war with Roman Reigns appeared to have suddenly ended at Fastlane, but the two continued to cross paths on Monday Night Raw. Even as it became clear that Reigns was moving onto The Undertaker for WrestleMania 33, Strowman kept hanging around.
However it wasn't a case of residual heat; Strowman versus Reigns was still red hot.
But the likelihood of WWE booking Strowman against Reigns and Taker in a Triple Threat Match is likely pretty slim. Now the choices left for him are diminishing, as the card is filling up. The only apparent option left is to book him in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, a match that he will probably win.
Of course the issue of what comes next is a bit trickier.
The pace of his elevation has been perfect to this point, and there's no need to move things along any faster. The temptation to do just that will almost certainly be there the night after Mania, but it must be ignored. Speeding him up now will only hurt him in the long run, and hinder his growth.
Slow and steady wins the race, and it really always has.
That means Strowman cannot begin a program with Brock Lesnar after the curtain comes down on WrestleMania. It's much too soon for that. However if given enough time and with the proper booking, Strowman could indeed continue after April 2 on an upward trend that would eventually lead him to Lesnar.
When that time comes, Strowman could be the man to finally take down The Beast Incarnate.
It may not be a convincing win, and it likely won't be a dominant performance, but Strowman is one of the very few New Era Superstars that can physically measure up to Brock. Imagining him selling to Lesnar from bell to bell is nearly impossible; Strowman has been constructed as a legit monster, and that cannot be disregarded so Lesnar can have a new victim.
Lesnar was handed the world when he first came to WWE. But Strowman has come up through the roster, earning his stripes along the way. He wasn't thrust onto fans as the company demanded he be respected, and he's not been inserted into one major storyline after another in an effort to get him over.
Instead, Strowman was delivered to the fans and the fans gave their blessing.
Acceptance is the most important thing, and Strowman has that. Love him or hate him, no one can deny his main event potential. When fans look at Braun, they see a guy that's working hard to earn his spot. It's obvious he's got "it," and that's why he's respected.
This is one of those rare instances when WWE gets it right from the beginning. With any luck, that will continue as Strowman evolves into the top star that fans believe he will be. It's not a sprint, it's a marathon. Hopefully WWE will remember that.