After Braun Strowman ripped the door off of Vince McMahon’s limo during Raw last Monday, The Chairman stripped “The Monster Among Men” of his Universal Championship Match against Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble and made an impromptu Fatal 4-Way Match for later in the night to determine his new challenger. Balor then beat John Cena, Drew McIntyre, and Baron Corbin to earn the Universal Championship Match against Lesnar at the Royal Rumble.
The widespread belief is that Strowman got removed from the match due to injury — that he’s still recovering from elbow surgery. According to Dave Meltzer on the post-Raw edition of Wrestling Observer Radio, Strowman did not get removed from the match due to injury. Rather, this is a creative decision by Vince McMahon that he had planned for the past several weeks.
We heard that McMahon still considered having Strowman and Lesnar face off at the Royal Rumble as recently as two weeks ago. Strowman, however, failed to recover from his November 27 elbow surgery within the four-week timetable that was set for his return to action.
The blame for this was put on Strowman, who overtrained and suffered an injury setback despite being given a strict rehabilitation program by physical therapists. We don’t exactly what happened — he likely either trained outside the program or lifted more weight than told.
The injury occurred a few days before Lesnar and Strowman’s encounter on Raw on January 7. Lesnar and Strowman were supposed to be involved in a brawl, but it wasn’t done due to Strowman’s injury.
To make matters worse, Strowman forgot some of his scripted lines during the segment. This upset McMahon, and he finally decided to cancel the match.
There’s no word yet on Strowman’s injury status and what plans WWE may have for him when he recovers.