A Bobby Lashley Win at WWE WrestleMania 37 Will Lead to Brock Lesnar's ReturnApril 3, 2021
WWE has a chance to do something special with Bobby Lashley at WrestleMania 37 in terms of walking the tightrope between the company's long-term outlook and short-term boosts with special appearances.
Lashley's quick jump to the main title scene and subsequent winning it all to earn a headline spot at WrestleMania feels similar to Drew McIntyre's journey a year ago. With Lashley, WWE has a veteran Superstar who muddled around in the midcard for a long time, leaving fans wondering whether he would ever get a shot to be a top guy.
Now he's here, and like McIntyre, there's a chance for him to enjoy a long title reign that establishes him as a top guy, beefs up the main event scene and keeps things interesting.
And he could lure out Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar has been missing in action for the greater part of the pandemic era after dropping his top-dog status to McIntyre at WrestleMania 36. It's safe to presume both he and WWE wanted no part of his appearances happening without fans in attendance because the company shied away from most part-timers during the past year.
But with fans starting to get back in the stands beginning with the WrestleMania, now would be the natural time for WWE to start planting the seeds for some of these eventual big returns for part-timers.
And there's a long history of fans desperately wanting to see Lashley take on Lesnar. The MMA backgrounds, monster in-ring styles and the public hints that Lashley wants a fight—whether it's in WWE or the Octagon—make it the perfect fit.
Imagine for a moment if Lashley retains over McIntyre at 'Mania and looks like an unstoppable force for a little while thereafter. In this everything-goes-perfect hypothetical, Lesnar returns after getting called out and the two set a match for Summer Slam in front of a packed arena.
It writes itself, right? McIntyre's incredible run as the top champion for the better part of the past year after seeking out and besting Lesnar has established him as a main event player for the rest of his career. It was a brilliant strategic move by WWE to use the audience-less era as a way to start rebuilding a lacking main event scene before looping back in part-timers.
That means McIntyre can afford to take a loss and still be fine. Lashley is a natural extension of this, as his living up to expectations as a champion and successfully sparring with Lesnar in a heavyweight bout at a huge event will do the same for his career.
At the start of the year, the idea of a Lashley-Lesnar encounter would have been met with a ho-hum reaction, with most of the positive driven by the Beast Incarnate's return and little else. But some savvy booking has pulled Lashley out of the abyss, and if WWE wants to keep him in a relevant spot, some strong booking is a must.
In a way, this Lashley situation can be a vehicle for a fresh-feeling year of WWE programming. Starting to wiggle free of the pandemic era, WrestleMania can be a reset button of sorts that signals just how great the next year of stories and feuds can be.
On one brand, a heel Roman Reigns runs rampant with nobody to stop him. On the other, imagine if Lashley is a colossus of a champion setting the stage for a Lesnar feud—all with live crowds getting in on the action again.
Lashley probably isn't the guy most fans would have tabbed to usher in a fun new era. He's 44, this isn't his first stint with the company and, if we're being honest, his run since returning in 2018 hasn't been the best until recent months.
But it's a testament to Lashley and the company's willingness to take a few risks that have led to this moment. If done right, WWE has its next McIntyre-like ascent as part of its refreshing of its world title scene. If done exceedingly well, WWE can sow the seeds for its next must-see long-term feud by sprinkling in a little Lesnar, signaling the end of one era and start of another.