What’s a Beast to the All Mighty? Bobby Lashley Hunts Brock Lesnar

Bobby Lashley is all hurt, no business

Raw aired from Philadelphia last Monday, making it only the second-worst sports news for Philly fans in recent days. WWE has continued to produce their same 2020 level content as they kicked off 2022, offering the occasional solid match sandwiched between two hours of rambling promos that we’ve all heard before.

Don’t get me wrong, I am genuinely excited for Miz and Maryse vs. Edge and Beth Phoenix, if only because it makes me believe in love for a few minutes. We also saw the Raw Tag Team Titles finally slip from the grasp of RK-Bro, landing instead with Gable and Otis’ Alpha Academy in a very welcome change. And yet, the more things move forward, the more WWE seems to run in place; Omos and AJ is a tag team feud we’ve seen a hundred times, and Becky Lynch’s hold on the Raw Women’s Championship seems as solid as ever.

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In a shocking twist, it’s longtime immovable object Brock Lesnar who has shaken up WWE in recent weeks. After his match with Reigns was bumped when Roman tested positive for COVID (from which, thankfully, he recovered quickly) Lesnar was tossed into the match for Big E’s WWE championship. In an expected but still frustrating move, Lesnar won the belt with a clean pin over E, kicking off a winter version of the Brock Party.

The Beast vs. The All Mighty

Lesnar is a funny figure in wrestling, in that the people who hate him do so for the same exact reasons as those who love him. I admire his strategy of making the most money for doing the least amount of work, but that didn’t mean I wanted to see him dethrone the Powerhouse of Positivity so soon.

Still, Lesnar’s victory was able to mix up Raw’s title scene, and while Big E is taking a backseat for a moment, we’re seeing another dream feud take shape as Bobby Lashley steps up to the Beast. On Monday, Lesnar and Paul Heyman started the show in the ring as Lashley, clad in an excellent turtleneck and suit combo, and manager extraordinaire MVP watched from backstage.

The Hurt Business was one of the rare ThunderDome success stories, although Benjamin and Alexander’s involvement in the group currently seems to be on a week-by-week basis. Last week was a hard no, as Bobby turned them away before strolling out to confront the WWE Champ. He accused Brock of ducking his calls, which, to be fair, is the exact behavior I would also exhibit if I held Brock Lesnar level clout.

The image of these two men, accompanied by their respective mouthpieces, felt almost too special for Raw. If big dudes throwing each other around doesn’t appeal to you, the concept of MVP and Heyman trading insults should picque some interest. And yet, we were force to save that for a very special day, as Lashley and Lesnar did their own talking for the night.

The Beast fired back with the ultimate wrestling promo; a knock knock joke. Brock — who was dynamite on the mic, it should noted — remarked on how obscure Lashley was, that this match wouldn’t have ever occurred to him, because he was off challenging real big boy stars, and presumably chopping wood on his farm or engaging in other country boy behavior.

Lashley’s pride was a little wounded, understandably. After all, The Almighty helped define the ThunderDome era. During a time where WWE was struggling to produce anything someone would want to watch, Lashley was out there putting on excellent performances night after night.

Lashley’s Climb to the Top (and Back)

There were some fumbles early on in his return to WWE — an illfated face phase where they made him wear that silly hat, not to mention the “sisters” segment — but since aligning with MVP two years ago, he’s been on fire. His championship run was excellent, with a list of challengers who all made Lashley look like the dominant force he is. He got some surprising character development when faced with the idea of losing his title; personally, I liked when his thing was popping champagne and hanging out with hot people, two of my own personal career goals. When Lashley lost the WWE Championship to Big E, I wrote about his ThunderDome reign and the end of the Almighty Era. I was, as usual, completely wrong; the Almighty Era is alive and thriving, and we are lucky to see it continue.

As Big E was beginning his tragically short reign as champion back in October, Lashley and MVP were regrouping. He knocked out everyone’s favorite son, Dominik Mysterio, to steal his place on Team Raw at Survivor Series. He and the man whose gimmick is that he’s on SmackDown, Drew McIntyre, reignited their big man big anger feud, both getting counted out because they couldn’t keep from whaling on each other. As far as midcard feuds for past champions, it was a fine use of the Almighty. As long as he’s out there reminding us that he’s a monster in the ring, and as long as MVP is allowed to cut long-winded promos about gladiators or cheetahs or whatever analogy he’s feeling that week, then Lashley’s making an impact. And right now, with the state of WWE being what it is, you can’t ask for much more.

We then saw Lashley get added to the Day 1 match last month, long before we even knew Brock Lesnar was an option. He earned this opportunity by beating the crap out of the other three men already in the match, which is generally Lashley’s strategy for getting most things he wants. And who can say it doesn’t work? Lashley’s defeat of Owens, Rollins, and Big E in separate matches was enough to stake his claim, and Adam Pearce was eager to bow to MVP’s wishes by inserting Lashley into the first show of 2022.

Bobby Lashley Brock Lesnar WWE Day 1
WWE

We all know how that story went, but Lashley’s performance was killer, as he forced Owens and Rollins to team together to take him out of the situation. They employed the same strategy on Lesnar, equating the two former champs as matching threats. For two guys in their mid-40s who have been putting their bodies on the line for the best part of the past two decades, it’s insane they can still do what they do inside the ring, and it makes sense for anyone else in that match to clock them both as the greatest problem.

Game Won’t Recognize Game

But Lesnar’s refusal to see Lashley as his equal has lit a fuse in the Chief Hurt Officer. After his exchange with Lesnar last week, Bobby was jumped by his frenemies, Alexander and Benjamin. He easily took his frustrations out on both men without even busting a stitch in that turtleneck. This week, he turned his anger toward another well-dressed gentleman with championship ambitions: Seth Rollins. As a fan of oily hair and exaggerated laughs, I’ve been enjoying Rollins and Reigns budding feud over on SmackDown. Additionally, Rollins brief brand skip has given Lashley room to step to the Beast, and indulged some Shield fics from 2014. No complaints here. The two challengers faced off this week on Raw — a puzzling move, considering neither can really afford to take the loss right now. But if WWE isn’t shooting themselves in the foot, then they’re not writing three hours of Raw.

WWE Seth Rollins Bobby Lashley
WWE

Lashley vs. Rollins was fine on it’s own; both guys are capable of making it work with different styles, and it was fun to see Rollins athleticism clash with Lashley’s brute force. Seth was forced to use his brain more than usual, targeting the Almighty’s knee in an attempt to chop him down. Lashley kicked out of a Pedigree to deliver a superplex from the turnbuckle, but couldn’t finish things off as Benjamin and Alexander interrupted. Seth sold mild confusion in the ring, while Lashley powered back and destroyed both men in a repeat of the precious week. Bobby looked as strong as he ever has, and Seth lived to eat dual superkicks from the Usos.

The Hurt Business may be dead (again), but Lashley continues to thrive. If his journey since returning to WWE in 2018 has taught us anything, it’s that Lashley is damn resilient. He’s really found his groove alongside MVP; the addition of a smooth talking manager has allowed Bobby to focus on what he does best, and that’s look like a man whose muscles weigh more than my entire body. Do I think he has a chance to regain the WWE Championship at the Rumble? Definitely not. But I can’t wait to see him try to put Lesnar’s meaty neck in the Hurt Lock anyway.

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