Last night on Raw, Braun Strowman was removed from his Universal Title match against Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble. Later in the night, Finn Balor won a fatal four-way to earn a shot at Lesnar and the belt at the Jan. 27 event.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, Lesnar has reportedly wanted to work with Balor dating back to last year's Royal Rumble as he likes working with smaller opponents such as AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan and Balor. There were reports that Balor vs. Lesnar was scheduled for last year's Royal Rumble, but the idea was scrapped as Vince McMahon did not feel that Balor was over enough. Lesnar ended up working against Braun Strowman and Kane in a triple threat bout.
Meltzer also reports that Balor vs. Lesnar was the plan all along and that Strowman vs. Lesnar was only advertised in order to move tickets. WWE pulled a similar move prior to Evolution when they originally announced Alexa Bliss vs. Trish Stratus for the event before changing it to a tag team match that also included Mickie James and Lita.
Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp noted on the Raw post-show podcast that, as of Christmas, Strowman's name was on internal documents indicating that he would be Lesnar's opponent at the Royal Rumble. As of last week, Strowman had not been cleared for physical contact for his elbow injury. Strowman underwent surgery on Nov. 27 to repair his "shattered elbow."
Back in September, Balor commented on a potential match with Lesnar and called him out for "destroying the reputation" of the IWGP Heavyweight and Universal Titles. You can view Balor's comments here.