Braun Strowman has returned to WWE television and looks to be set for Sunday’s men’s Royal Rumble match.
At the end of tonight’s SmackDown, Strowman made his return to WWE TV and laid out AJ Styles, Sami Zayn, and Cesaro. Daniel Bryan, Big E, Shinsuke Nakamura, Otis & Sheamus had defeated Styles, Zayn, Cesaro, The Miz & John Morrison in the main event of tonight’s show.
It was speculated on commentary that this means Strowman has declared for Sunday’s men’s Royal Rumble match. Everyone in tonight’s main event has already been announced for the men’s Rumble.
Strowman had been off WWE TV since the post-Survivor Series episode of Raw in November. In storyline, Strowman was “suspended indefinitely” after attacking WWE authority figure Adam Pearce. Strowman was part of Team Raw for the men’s five-on-five elimination match at Survivor Series, teaming with Styles, Sheamus, Keith Lee & Riddle as they defeated Team SmackDown in a clean sweep. There was a segment on Raw the next night where Strowman snapped and attacked Pearce as Pearce was deciding which member of Team Raw would challenge for the WWE Championship at December’s TLC pay-per-view.
The storyline indefinite suspension was a cover for a legitimate knee injury that Strowman was dealing with. Strowman had originally been scheduled to challenge for Drew McIntyre’s WWE Championship at December’s TLC pay-per-view, but Styles got the title shot instead due to Strowman’s injury.