Monday Night Raw can be a chore to get through. Groundbreaking news, right? It’s a long show that’s consistently inconsistent. To paraphrase one of my favorite television theme songs, sometimes, some of the show’s crimes slip through the cracks. Imagine my delight when one of those things I missed on Monday was the Strowman Express, accompanied by train sound effects. I watched the video multiple times, and it keeps getting funnier every single time I see it.
Braun Strowman and Shane McMahon have a match at WrestleMania 37. Before Braun names the stipulation, I want to suggest a cinematic match like no other. A Three Stages of Hell concoction I call “Speed, Mayhem, and Murder on the Strowman Express.”
As one of us points out, Braun is a cartoon character. Always was and probably always will be now that he comes equipped with his own “choo choo” noises. Shane is capable of putting on a good match when he has a dope partner. But Braun is merely okay in this regard, and Shane isn’t getting any younger. In a feud where the crux of it seems to be how the Monster Among Men has a less than monstrous IQ, leaning into the absurdity and silliness of this schoolyard fight feels appropriate.
Each stage tests brain over… brawn. The “Murder on the Strowman Express” portion features the former Universal champ as a Hercule Poirot type, complete with a monocle, doing his damndest to solve the mystery of who killed Hulkamania. This gets noted racist and Florida man Terry Boella involved in the match since he just refuses to stay away.
The match also serves as our chance to lay eyes on cats we don’t see too often, like Ricochet, who serve as witnesses and suspects to the crime. All this while McMahon and Strowman play a game of cat and mouse, throwing an occasional punch to remind us this is still pro wrestling.
It builds to a climax where Braun believes he knows the name of the murderer, and then… he guessed wrong. Of course, we all know the culprit is one Shane O’Mac, but as true to the role he’s playing, Braun swings and misses. Shane cackles as the Monster falls for a proverbial banana in the tailpipe that everyone saw coming. Meanwhile, the rest of us die or die laughing at the fact that it’s happening.
For reasons passing understanding, this leads to the “Speed” portion of Hell. It starts with Shane saying, “Pop quiz, Buh-Buh Braun,” as the big man finds himself at the back of a very long bus. Surrounded by a few panicked WWE wrestlers typically found on Main Event, Braun screams at the McMahon on the other end of his phone.
The events play out like Speed, with Shane telling Strowman there’s a bomb on the bus and Braun not really caring. If WWE really wants to cross the streams, they can reveal “original recipe” Alexa Bliss is the bus driver. Braun switches gears from wanting to give someone those hands to now worrying about the safety of his friend, partner, or whatever these two were to each other. He fights his way to the front of the bus — it’s still wrestling — going through one person after the next to get to Alexa. How will this gentleman detective/FBI agent/wrestler get Ms. Bliss off the bus before it blows up?
Enter Elias. Fully decked out in train conductor chic, he boards the bus and scraps with Braun long enough for Shane to kidnap Alexa. As McMahon rides off and taunts his nemesis, the bus finally slows down and goes bye-bye. We all know Braun isn’t dead. The man survived getting crushed by a trash compactor, so an explosion is child’s play. He awakes one last time in an empty subway car. Shane shows himself with Alexa in tow, and the two finally duke it out. For real this time. And we know the outcome because, well, you’ve seen Braun.
At this point, we need a twist. Shane can’t just go down and let that be that. It can’t be that easy, right? To salvage this whole thing and do some layered, possibly silly, storytelling in the process, WWE tells us Bray manipulated this entire thing. Bray isn’t finished with his former family member and knew just how to get Braun off his axis. Mind games, along with someone insulting his intelligence and playing with his emotions, are all Strowman’s kryptonite.
And when Braun is finally finished with the former European Champion, it stands to reason he’ll need a real challenge. Why not tangle with the man who just came back from the abyss? Throw it all at the wall and see if it sticks.
Yes, this is nonsense and isn’t going to happen. Not even in a million years will this ever become a thing. This whole scenario only highlights this feud’s ridiculousness and how Strowman deserves something just a little better. If they’re putting the big man through this, then it has to mean something in the end. Otherwise, he’s stuck as this generation’s goofy big man who only lives to make the kids laugh, and the adults roll their eyes as the once formidable Monster is reduced to a Looney Tunes character.
Thanks to Raj Anand for our dope header pic. Follow him on Instagram at @rajhasacamera.