Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.
Bobby Lashley Turning Face
If you've noticed Bobby Lashley softening as a heel of late, it turns out there is a reason for it.
Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t Subhojeet Mukherjee of Ringside News) noted after Monday's episode of Raw that WWE is positioning Lashley to be a babyface:
"If you watch the show you certainly get the impression that Bobby Lashley is going babyface. They played a total babyface video package for him at the pay-per-view, yeah. So, I mean it’s been feeling like that’s been in the cards and then he has to beat three guys to get in [to the Day 1 WWE Title match], I mean that’s a total babyface move."
Lashley got added to the WWE championship match at Day 1 by defeating Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins and Big E in three different matches on the Dec. 13 episode of Raw.
The match was initially set up by Owens and Rollins arguing about which one of them would get in the ring first to beat up Lashley.
Two superstars bickering because they don't want to fight someone certainly makes Lashley come off like a face. Big E is still clearly a babyface as the fighting champion taking on all challengers.
WWE's babyface roster is pretty thin, especially on the Raw main-event side. Big E, Edge, Randy Orton and Riddle are the top stars. AJ Styles appears to have turned, especially based on his NXT 2.0 appearance when he confronted Grayson Waller.
Adding Lashley to the face side, especially with Owens and Rollins holding things down as top heels, will bring much better balance to the Raw roster.
Gargano Talks Feud with Ciampa
As fans continue to wait for official word on what Johnny Gargano's future in wrestling holds, he did tease the possibility of one day finishing his feud with Tommaso Ciampa.
Speaking on his Johnny Wrestling Stream: Episode 1 Twitch channel (h/t Mukherjee), Gargano) provided behind-the-scenes details on the rivalry with his former tag-team partner and when it was supposed to end:
"It was supposed to be TakeOver: Tampa. [Was originally] supposed to be TakeOver: New York and then this was supposed to be TakeOver: Tampa, we wanted to have a huge crowd and all that but that’s not how things work out. Unfortunately. That’s, I guess, the story of our whole feud. It’s just timing and just thing’s not working out. Who knows, maybe we’ll finish it one day somewhere.”
DIY had one of the best tag-team runs of any duo in WWE history. They held the NXT tag titles once for just two months, but their feuds with the Revival and the Authors of Pain produced some of the best matches in all of WWE in 2016 and 2017.
After the duo broke up, Gargano and Ciampa had one of the best singles feuds in NXT history. They had three one-on-one matches at Takeover events, with Ciampa winning twice.
A fourth match was booked for NXT Takeover: New York on April 5, but Ciampa had to undergo neck surgery that forced him to vacate the NXT title.
They did have a singles bout on television in an empty arena on April 8 that Gargano won, though as he noted, that match would have happened on the Takeover show in Tampa during WrestleMania weekend before it got canceled because of the pandemic.
It's probably safe to assume Gargano won't sign anywhere until after that happens. If he wants to potentially have one final run with his former tag partner, a return to NXT would afford him that opportunity.
Ciampa is in his second run as NXT champion after defeating LA Knight, Pete Dunne and Von Wagner in a Fatal Four-Way match on Sept. 14.
Austin Theory Discusses Vince McMahon
Vince McMahon has been a regular character on Raw for the first time in years thanks to an angle with Austin Theory that initially began as part of a promotional tie-in with The Rock's new movie, Red Notice.
In an interview with Liam Llewellyn of the Mirror, Theory spoke about how the angle developed and what he's learned working alongside the WWE chairman:
"So I think those ideas came around because I stole a hundred million dollar egg. These lessons that Vince is teaching me, I don’t think he would have taught me in this way if I didn’t do what I did. I think everything happens for a reason. I’m not telling anyone to steal a hundred million dollar egg or even a million-dollar egg, but somehow, it worked out for me. I’m getting a lot of knowledge and the biggest takeaway from Mr. McMahon is to expect the unexpected."
Theory has seen his profile rise since being involved in a storyline with McMahon. He lost a match on Raw to Big E for the WWE championship on the Nov. 22 episode of Raw.
The following week, Theory hung out in McMahon's office to receive advice and life lessons before being slapped in the face by the boss.
There's no indication where this storyline might be going, but if the result is Theory getting a push up the card, it will be worth it to have a fresh face to watch each week.
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