The untimely injury suffered by Cody Rhodes just prior to June's Hell in a Cell premium live event left the Raw brand scurrying for babyfaces to help fill his spot at the top of the card. Enter Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits, both of whom are coming off monumental performances at Money in the Bank and riding a wave of momentum into the remainder of the summer months.
With The American Nightmare sidelined for an unspecified amount of time, WWE's flagship brand must turn to the new United States champion and its top tag team to carry the load on Monday nights and through its two remaining, major premium live events this season.
The All Mighty's Resurgence
It might seem somewhat absurd to suggest that Lashley fell off at any time over the last year, particularly when he was still very much a top-tier contender to the world title, but the Omos feud felt like a considerable step down for him.
Even the heel turn by MVP and the personal edge the feud took on as a result felt more like a midcard program than the top-tier ones that Lashley had become synonymous with since winning the WWE Championship in March of 2021.
That all changed with his victory over the big man inside a steel cage and the ensuing United States Championship rivalry with Theory. Lashley, firmly established as a babyface because of that program with Omos, took on the chosen one of Vince McMahon and dethroned him at Money in the Bank.
Most importantly, Lashley appears far more comfortable in his connection with audiences than he ever did before. Back in 2006, during his initial push in WWE, it felt forced and unnatural. Lashley appeared uncomfortable and did not really know or understand how to get the crowd fully behind him. Fast forward 12 years to his return to the company and, though he was a much better performer this go-round, he still felt disconnected from the WWE Universe.
That is no longer the case. This is, by far, the best Lashley we have ever seen. He's a better worker, has a better command of his character and has finally earned the crowd's respect as a dominant, unbridled badass.
We witnessed just how over he really is at the aforementioned Money in the Bank show, when the fans in Las Vegas were red-hot for his win over Theory. That he kicked off the following episode of Raw to a big pop only helped solidify his status as the top singles star on the show.
Bobby Lashley @fightbobby
San Diego y’all BROUGHT IT!! That <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AllMighty?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AllMighty</a> energy is amazing every night!! Let’s keep it going all the way to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SummerSlam?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SummerSlam</a>. <br><br>Oh and <a href="https://twitter.com/_Theory1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@_Theory1</a> is still a punk. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WWERaw?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WWERaw</a> <a href="https://t.co/FpHZtIMbRa">pic.twitter.com/FpHZtIMbRa</a>
No brand can realistically revolve around one guy, though, as SmackDown is currently finding out. Too much emphasis on a single star leads to a downturn in quality when that performer is not around.
Lashley needs support, especially on a brand with three hours of TV to fill every week. Enter one of the most consistently strong tag teams in recent history, coming off a 5-star instant classic against The Usos at Money in the Bank: The Street Profits.
Profits Are Up
Montez Ford is in the best shape of his career and among the most physically impressive athletes in all of WWE. Angelo Dawkins silenced any doubters Saturday night on Peacock with an explosive performance that served as one of the greatest of his career.
Despite recent hints at a breakup by WWE Creative, the team absolutely should stay together and continue their hunt for the Unified WWE Tag Team Championships, currently held by their most hated foes, The Usos.
You may ask how they can possibly be top-tier babyfaces as a tag team when WWE does not have nearly enough tandems to fuel an entire division. That may be the case, but beyond The Usos, the Profits have Judgment Day's Finn Balor and Damien Priest to work with. If the company remains insistent on splitting them, there is no reason both cannot remain babyfaces and embark on singles runs.
WWE officials obviously see Ford as the next big thing, but do not sleep on Dawkins. He has the size, athleticism and intensity to be a star in his own right. He has the sort of attitude fans look for in today's product; an attitude that is all too often missing.
Whether feuding with teams like The Usos or Judgment Day, or trying their luck apart, The Street Profits are as hot as they have ever been coming off the extraordinary match Saturday night in Vegas and absolutely should be leaned on more heavily as WWE looks to fill the void left by Rhodes.
Coupled with Lashley, the brand has a nucleus around which it can build its upcoming and future programming, culminating at SummerSlam on July 30 and the UK premium live event, Clash at the Castle, on September 3.