Braun Strowman has been out of action for roughly one month, undergoing surgery on his elbow that put out the flame on his burning rise up the ranks of RAW.
The WWE has moved on without him, replacing Strowman's role as the next man up to take on Brock Lesnar at Great Balls of Fire with Samoa Joe. The new WWE universal title match has the potential to be a great boost for RAW's suffering ratings and reception.
It's no coincidence that RAW started to see a severe downswing when Strowman, whom they had started building shows around during the peak of his feud with Roman Reigns, was forced to the sidelines. The WWE and fans may not have to wait much longer, though.
The WWE initially reported on WWE.com that Strowman could miss up to six months of action following surgery. That conflicted with reports that Braun was on something closer to a two-month window, with several wrestling reporters calling this a smokescreen as part of the show from WWE.
That appears to be the case if the latest rumored return date for Strowman is accurate. Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer reports that Strowman will compete at Great Balls of Fire on July 9, and it's expected to be against none other than Reigns.
That's a huge return match for Strowman, who's been out of action but clearly will have a score to settle when he's back in the fold. This could coincide with Reigns' big announcement he intends to make on RAW. It's unclear if July 9 will be his first match back, but it's notable that he's slotted for a big spot on the pay-per-view card.
If Braun is set to return to a full match in less than a month there's definitely a chance he'll start making appearances on RAW. Considering how much of Monday night's excitement was watching Braun tear through the locker room out of the ring, that's a nice lift for the red brand.
Strowman was in the midst of a huge push before undergoing surgery, set to be one of the lucky combatants who gets a crack at Lesnar now that he's back in the WWE universe. Braun's program with Reigns was successful in helping put him over as a dominant heel on RAW.
How Strowman is re-introduced into the picture is going to be key for RAW, which is finally starting to break into a pecking order with a new No. 1 contender and Lesnar making appearances again. A big match against Reigns before getting onto Brock's trail would be a sensible and impactful first match back for Braun.
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