Bobby Lashley Wins Championship in Dominant Victory, More WWE Raw Fallout
For Monday's episode of WWE Raw to be successful, it needed to accomplish one thing: crown Bobby Lashley as the new, undisputed WWE champion.
For two-thirds of the night, it looked like the company was going to use any number of twists and turns to get out of it and keep the title on The Miz.
Then it happened.
Lashley realized his potential, captured a title that had eluded him for 16 years and took his spot at the top of the Raw roster.
The All Mighty's milestone victory highlighted a show that also teased Braun Strowman's path to WrestleMania 37, featured questionable booking of its women's division and kicked off with a hell of a match between Drew McIntyre and Sheamus.
Bobby Lashley Obliterates The Miz En Route to Historic Championship Victory
Bobby Lashley became just the third Black Superstar to capture the WWE Championship Monday, and fourth world champion in Vince McMahon's company overall, by decimating The Miz in the night's main event.
It was the right outcome, at the right time, for a performer who got hot thanks to utter domination. The All Mighty tore through the competition, putting fools down with his Hurt Lock submission. When he did lose the United States Championship at Elimination Chamber, it took repeated crutch shots to the back and Riddle earning the fall over John Morrison instead of Lashley himself.
The CEO of The Hurt Business took the opportunity the creation of that faction afforded him and thrived. With MVP by his side and renewed interest from WWE Creative, he rolled in a way he had not since his initial run with the company way back in 2005.
He earned the title run by evolving and growing from novice to badass veteran, taking the opportunity to learn elsewhere before returning to WWE and chasing the gold that eluded him. And, as it turned out, the surest path to that title was by being himself: an unstoppable force.
It worked, and he now etches his name alongside the all-time greats with the opportunity to headline WrestleMania 37 as the defending champion.
Not bad for a guy stuck in midcard hell and in a going-nowhere storyline as Lana's reluctant husband a year ago.
Questionable Creative Plagues Raw Women's Division
By the time Drew McIntyre and Sheamus wrapped up their opening contest on Monday's Raw, it was already 8:45. Then came a commercial break, and we knew Bobby Lashley vs. The Miz (part one) was slated for the top of the hour.
In between, WWE shoved a squash match pitting women's tag team champion Nia Jax against Naomi. While it was nice to see Naomi back on television, and the women's division getting some television time, it came in an abrupt squash match that killed Naomi and Lana's momentum as contenders to Jax and partner Shayna Baszler.
Worse yet, it felt like an afterthought.
WWE Creative threw the match on the card to eat up five or so minutes, with no rhyme or reason for it except to remind you there was beef between the two teams. In the process, it obliterated the credibility of the potential challengers.
If that was not bad enough, it made sure to tear down any semblance of legitimacy Jax and Baszler may have had later in the night when Charlotte Flair shrugged off both and beat The Queen of Spades in singles competition.
And finally, there was Flair's promo before the match in which she said she came back and didn't want to be in the title picture.
A professional athlete, in a title-driven industry, who didn't want to be in the title picture? That would be like Tom Brady coming back next year, off a seventh world championship, and deciding Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers have been doing a fine job as the NFC's top seed and can have the title for a while.
It doesn't make sense, even if it was meant as a response to social media criticisms about her character constantly being in said picture. It was out of character for really any WWE Superstar.
It served only as a reminder of how unfulfilling and creatively backwards the night's efforts surrounding the women's division were.
WWE Plants the Seeds for Braun Strowman's WrestleMania Program
And, to quote The Monster Among Men himself, "it sucks."
The march to WrestleMania 37 began for Braun Strowman Monday night as he once again confronted Shane McMahon and Adam Pearce over what he considered biased decision-making on their part. For that, he was met with a Raw Tag Team Championship match against The Hurt Business' Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander.
His partner? A reluctant Pearce.
The outcome? A successful retention by the champs after McMahon ordered Strowman to tag Pearce into the match, only for ol' Scrap Iron to be rolled up and pinned.
A furious Strowman vowed to tear the place down, a threat certain to earn him the wrath of management. And, inevitably, a WrestleMania 37 match with Shane-O-Mac.
Is that a high-profile contest on the most important show of the year? Sure, but it is also one of no substance; yet another gimmicky match for Strowman rather than a defining contest on wrestling's grandest stage.
McMahon will surely take a big bump, there will be brawling, and in the end, either Strowman wins against a non-wrestler or he loses in what would most likely amount to the latest overexposure for the boss' son.
Either way, it's not exactly the most beneficial program for the big man.
Of course, it is still infinitely better than partnering with a 10-year-old for a Raw Tag Team Championship victory in a meaningless throwaway match.
Drew McIntyre and Sheamus Deliver Pay-Per-View-Quality Match
On a night in which the attention of the WWE Universe was rightfully on Bobby Lashley and his momentous championship victory, former titleholder Drew McIntyre kicked off Raw with a hell of a match against Sheamus.
The Scottish Psychopath and The Celtic Warrior tore the house down with a physical war of attrition. The length and ferocity of a pay-per-view encounter, the match previewed what could have been a show-stealer on any one of the company's more prestigious events.
As it was, it served as a suitable conclusion to a feud that started in 2020 before stalling, then reigniting before wrapping up on a random episode of the flagship.
The finish, a cool spot in which McIntyre answered Sheamus' attempted Brogue Kick with a Claymore, was great and further proved that the babyface can deliver his finisher at any time.
All signs point to McIntyre heading to WrestleMania to challenge for the WWE title that he lost by controversial means. If that is so, this was a great match for him to exorcise the demon that is Sheamus and move onto his eventual clash with Lashley.