Raw Superstars WWE Must Build to Become Believable Contenders for Drew McIntyreMay 17, 2020
Raw Superstars WWE Must Build to Become Believable Contenders for Drew McIntyre
To suggest Drew McIntyre's WWE Championship reign has been anything but what he expected when he started his journey to the top of WWE Raw would be an understatement.
There have been no fans to cheer him on, no energy to feed off of and, worst of all, his victory over Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank has left him with no credible competition at the top of the Raw card.
So much so, in fact, that WWE basically revamped its wild-card rules to bring over talent from SmackDown to face off against The Scottish Psychopath, as we will see Monday night when King Corbin steps up to the plate.
The lack of top stars on Monday night is readily apparent, but the wealth of talent proves WWE Creative could easily create a fresh new challenger for McIntyre if it so desired.
These are just a few options.
Sure, we have seen Andrade square off with Drew McIntyre on two occasions since The Scottish Psychopath captured the WWE Championship from Brock Lensar at WrestleMania, but in both instances, he was essentially treated like a tackling dummy.
They had strong, quality matches, but the outcome was never in doubt.
And therein lies the problem.
Andrade is the United States champion. He is one of the most talented and gifted workers on the roster and has proved as much against everyone from future Hall of Famer Rey Mysterio to upstart Humberto Carrillo.
He also happens to be the Superstar responsible for the torn biceps that essentially drove McIntyre out of NXT.
The storytelling potential alone is so rich, not only from that perspective but also Andrade having to prove he is worthy of McIntyre's time after losing consecutive matches, that it is almost inconceivable WWE would hesitate to pull the proverbial trigger on this one.
There will always be concerns surrounding El Idolo's language barrier, but Zelina Vega is one of the most gifted talkers in WWE, and she has done a phenomenal job communicating for Andrade when necessary. Using that excuse as a crutch not to give him a more sustained push doesn't wash, and whoever is directing that to be the case should be ashamed.
Of the five Superstars on this list, the most likely to get the push that puts them on a collision course with McIntyre is Bobby Lashley.
After an embarrassing storyline that had him at the center of a love triangle involving Rusev and Lana and a wedding angle that nearly ruined whatever credibility he had left, Lashley appears to be back on track and ready to ascend to the top of the red brand.
Thanks, that is, to the guidance of MVP.
The former United States champion sweet-talked his way into securing a meeting with Lashley and could well be the mouthpiece The All Mighty needs if he is to carry his weight at the top of the card against a WWE champion dripping with natural charisma.
The physicality of those matches, should they happen, will do wonders in selling the rivalry to fans without the need for any complicated backstory. Wrestler A has the title; Wrestler B wants it. It's an age-old story and one that suits Lashley perfectly.
The key to his push is, and always has been, consistency. We have seen what happens when WWE Creative gets bored with Superstars and abandons them. Hopefully Lashley does not follow suit because a hoss fight between him and McIntyre is incredibly appealing.
Aleister Black should already be in the main event scene. Few are able to mesh aura, appearance and in-ring ability into a complete package like the Dutchman, yet he has found it increasingly difficult to break free from the binds of the midcard.
Even a pay-per-view win over AJ Styles at March's Elimination Chamber failed to give him that consistent push that any prospective main event star needs to get to the next level. As the summer draws near, he is as much known for being the guy King Corbin threw off the roof at Money in the Bank than he is as the most promising untapped talent on the Raw brand.
As if there needed to be another reason beyond the aforementioned skills and talents, the fact that Black can be both good and evil makes him a compelling choice.
He could just as easily challenge McIntyre honorably as he could execute a shocking betrayal that puts him in position for the highest-profile match of his WWE career. The storyline options are endless, and his flexibility from a morality standpoint makes him easily the most intriguing option on this list.
Once upon a time, in a galaxy lightyears away, Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre were part of 3MB, a trio of rockstar wannabes alongside Heath Slater. The group was a lower-card act that routinely found itself catching a beatdown at the hands of everyone from John Cena to Los Matadores. It was the last thing McIntyre did before his dismissal from the company in 2014.
Their history together alone makes the prospects of a rivalry that much more intriguing. That Mahal said on the May 11 episode of Raw that he is patterning his career after that of the Scottish Psychopath opens up the possibilities for an even greater feud.
Imagine Mahal finding his journey to redemption nearly impossible and the frustration that would set in. The envy, even. He would understandably want to take it out on his former tag team partner.
As great as that sounds, Mahal badly needs rebuilt.
Prior to the injury that kept him out of action for a year, he was a low-level enhancement star, quite the fall from his WWE Championship run in 2017. He needs credibility, he needs legitimacy and it is up to WWE Creative to help him find it.
Simply jobbing him out to anyone and everyone on the roster will not help.
Hopefully the promo that sparked this so-called "hero's journey" will provide him with enough momentum that he can stand across from McIntyre at some point in the near future.
Apollo Crews may be the most interesting entry on this list, if only because it is clear WWE officials have plans for him for what may well be the first time in his entire WWE run.
Crews is a super athlete, a big, strong, powerful, high-flying performer who can do things guys of his build usually cannot. He has always been a win here or there away from building momentum and getting an opportunity at stardom in WWE. He just has not been able to convince WWE Creative he is worth their time.
That changed in the wake of WrestleMania, up until an injury angle wrote him off of television and prompted reports of a heel turn.
Should that happen and Crews were to turn and possibly join someone like MVP in the stable the former United States champion has construction, it could kickstart his eagerly anticipated push.
We have yet to get a taste of what Crews as a heel would look like, how he would work and what it might mean for some of his trademark offense. Yet his power and agility gives the impression he would thrive as an ultra-arrogant baddie who is simply better than everyone else.
A modern take on Mr. Perfect, if you will.
Those matches with McIntyre would give Drew someone to work with he never has before and, more importantly, reward the fans with a fresh matchup at a time when repetition is setting in across the wrestling world.