As it turns out, the original plan was for Braun Strowman to defeat then-champion Brock Lesnar and become the new Universal Champion at the Saudi Arabia-based Crown Jewel pay-per-view special…then plans changed. Former WWE writer Kazeem Famuyide explained the change on his ‘Say Less With Kaz, Lowkey and Rosy’ podcast, noting that they had to completely re-write the following episode of RAW because of it.
“There was one time where we all thought a match was going — this was — man, f*ck it, I’m not working there anymore. It was in Saudi [Crown Jewel 2018] and Braun [Strowman] was supposed to beat Brock [Lesnar]. This is right after Roman [Reigns] announced he had cancer, right? So, Brock and Braun was supposed to fight for the world title and we had a whole Monday Night Raw written with Braun Strowman as champion and then sike, Brock Lesnar wins and then as soon as Brock wins, we all had to go back into the office, rewrite the whole show and I just thought it was some sh*t where it’s just like oh, they’re just kind of keeping us on the D.L. [down low], whatever but I didn’t know they could change like [that].”
Strowman would later go on to win the Universal Championship from Goldberg on night one of WrestleMania 36.
(h/t to Post Wrestling for the quotes)