Braun Strowman was originally booked to face Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble on Jan. 27, but that match was scrapped on Monday Night Raw this week after Strowman damaged Vince McMahon's limo while chasing after Baron Corbin backstage.
Strowman gave his first interview since the match was pulled to The Ashbury Park Press this week, announcing that he'd instead be taking part in this year's Men's Royal Rumble.
"It's a pretty hard pill to swallow right here right now, but at the same time I'm going to use it for fuel to the fire to continue to push the monster train along," Strowman said. "Nothing's going to stop me from reaching the top of this mountain."
"I'm going to do my best to get into the 30-man Royal Rumble," he continued. "Right now I know I'm not in the good graces with the boss right now with destroying his limo and stuff like that. So I might have to go in there the old fashioned way, how Braun Strowman has always got what he wanted, and do a little heavy persuading."
Strowman knows a thing or two about Rumble matches, given he won the 50-man Greatest Royal Rumble match in Saudi Arabia in April 2018 while simultaneously setting the record for most eliminations at 13.
"The Monster Among Men" has been out of action since undergoing surgery in late November to have bone spurs in his elbow removed. He originally won a match against Corbin at TLC (thanks to a handful of other wrestlers coming out and attacking him beforehand) to earn a shot at Lesnar, but according to Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer there was always a plan to swap that match out for Brock Lesnar vs. Finn Balor. Balor defeated Corbin, John Cena and Drew McIntyre in a four-way match on Raw to earn his shot.
Meltzer also reported that Lesnar wanted to work with Balor, and Vince McMahon was sold on the idea of having Lesnar take on smaller opponents similar to his previous matches against Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles (both of which were seen as excellent by many fans).
Balor's history with the Universal Championship is a rather depressing one. He became the first man to hold the title by beating Seth Rollins at the 2016 edition of SummerSlam, but had to relinquish it the following night due to a shoulder injury he suffered during the match. He never got another shot at the title until the night after SummerSlam 2018, in which he lost against Roman Reigns on an episode of Monday Night Raw.