5 Keys to Unlocking Bobby Lashley's Long Overdue Title Push on WWE Raw
That isn't to say the company hasn't had its fair share of opportunities to push him as a top-tier talent, though. He came back after over a decade away with a ton of fanfare, only to get lost in the shuffle due to questionable booking and an overall lack of direction.
He's had glimmers of greatness during his latest stint with WWE, but it wasn't until recently that he finally emerged as a world championship contender again. As announced on Monday's Raw, he will vie for Drew McIntyre's WWE Championship at the Backlash pay-per-view on June 14.
Between that bout and his current alliance with MVP, The All Mighty has plenty going for him at the moment. The key now is keeping him strong going into and coming out of the event, regardless of the result against the Scot.
Lashley has proved in the past that he has all the tools necessary to be a viable main event player in WWE provided he's handled the right way. As he approaches the age of 44, this could well be his last chance at superstardom.
The following are five ways WWE can ensure he'll get that overdue title push sooner rather than later.
Lashley spent a decent amount of time off WWE TV last year with an injury and could have been brought back with a bang. Instead, he was inserted into the awful angle with Lana and Rusev that never had a proper payoff.
The decision to pair him with The Ravishing Russian was ridiculously dumb as it failed to benefit the former intercontinental champion in any meaningful way. Although it resulted in more television time for The All Mighty, the segments and matches were largely dreadful and a waste of time for everyone involved.
Even after the rivalry ran its course, Lashley and Lana continued their on-air relationship for no reason at all. They've been teasing tension on and off for months, so this would be an ideal time for WWE to pull the trigger on their split.
Getting Lana as far away from Lashley as possible will do him a world of good and give him a chance to rejuvenate his career. The only thing left for him to do at this point is officially divorce her and establish MVP as his new mouthpiece moving forward.
Where that leaves Lana is anyone's guess, but Lashley is a much bigger and more important priority right now and needs to be booked accordingly.
MVP Serving as His Mouthpiece
Truth be told, Lashley isn't a terrible talker by any means. In fact, he showed he could more than hold his own on the microphone in the latter half of his stint with Impact.
When he isn't overly scripted, he can be great with his mic work. Unfortunately, he doesn't have the same creative freedom in WWE that he had in Impact, and his promos have suffered as a result.
Lio Rush could have helped him during their time together a year-and-a-half ago, but the pairing was never booked to be taken seriously. Lana was no different, but MVP may be the perfect person for the role.
It was MVP who initially brought Lashley to prominence in Impact and led him to its top title. It's brilliant of WWE to revisit their alliance all these years later, especially with their chemistry still being as strong as ever.
MVP has had many roles on Raw since returning to WWE as an entrant in the Royal Rumble in January, but positioning him as Lashley's agent is easily the best use of him right now.
Adapting a More Aggressive Edge
At first glance, Lashley looks like someone who should have no issue putting his opponents away quickly and decisively. He also gives off the vibe that he enjoys inflicting pain in the ring while showcasing his sheer strength and dominance.
Until recently on Raw, though, he hadn't been booked like a monster heel whatsoever. He had some momentum upon initially returning to WWE in April 2018, but almost all of that went away following his feud with Roman Reigns that same summer.
To make matters worse, his win-loss record wasn't the greatest, and he felt like just another performer on the roster. This is in stark contrast to when he was in Impact and went undefeated for months at a time, which meant it was that much bigger of a deal when he was eventually defeated or dethroned as champion.
His No Disqualification match with Humberto Carrillo on the May 11 edition of Raw was effective in establishing The All Mighty as an unhinged machine, but more must be done with that. While he lets MVP do the talking for him, he should be as aggressive as possible whenever he wrestles and get back to being the one-man wrecking crew he once was.
WWE can convince viewers that Lashley has a real shot of becoming WWE champion at Backlash by having him get the better of Drew McIntyre at every turn heading into the event.
Beating Credible Competition
WWE's renewed interest in rebuilding Lashley dates back to when he went on a tear in the Gauntlet match on the May 4 edition of Raw. He defeated Titus O'Neil, Akira Tozawa and Shelton Benjamin in a matter of minutes before being eliminated by Humberto Carrillo.
The run in that match would have meant more if the people he was beating had meant more.
Lashley has also racked up wins in recent weeks against the likes of R-Truth and Carrillo. Neither of those men have been positioned as anything special, either, so it's tough for fans to view him as a main event-caliber competitor if he has yet to beat anyone of note.
Not much time remains before Backlash on June 14, but WWE needs to not only continue booking him to win, but also against Superstars the fans care about. That would include Aleister Black, Rey Mysterio and Kevin Owens, among others.
It's great that Lashley has already been granted a shot at the WWE title in the main event of a pay-per-view, but there is still plenty of work that needs to be done in making him a legitimate threat to Drew McIntyre, the man who beat Brock Lesnar in four minutes at WrestleMania 36.
More Than Just a Challenger of the Month
Far too often, Superstars are built up as challengers to a top title leading into a pay-per-view only to be bumped back down the card once they lose.
That happened to Seth Rollins following his loss to Drew McIntyre at Money in the Bank, but he can get away with it because of how he's been booked as an undeniable star over the years.
Lashley, on the other hand, wouldn't get that same treatment if and when he falls short of becoming WWE champion at Backlash.
The All Mighty does deserve a run with the top title at some point, but Backlash is too soon for McIntyre to be dropping the WWE title. He's thrived in the role and should reign as champion for a few more months at least.
That said, WWE can certainly continue to feature the former intercontinental and United States champion as prominently as they have been lately beyond Backlash. His feud with the Scot can last through the summer, but even if it wraps up before then, Lashley must remain toward the top of the card for this push to work.
The All Mighty should be more than the typical challenger of the month for McIntyre and needs to keep going strong. With MVP representing him, there's no reason why they shouldn't be a permanent fixture toward the top of the card from here on out.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.