The Real Reason WWE's Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley Feud Could Be an All-TimerJanuary 5, 2022
New WWE champion Brock Lesnar will defend his title against Bobby Lashley at the 2022 Royal Rumble on January 29, as announced Monday on Raw.
The contest is a dream match of sorts between two of the most physically dominant stars of their era. More than a battle of heavyweights, or a clash of stars who rose to prominence during the Ruthless Aggression Era before finding success outside the rings of WWE, it is a showdown that accentuates the importance of managers in professional wrestling.
Ahead of the colossal showdown between two industry badasses, it will be MVP and Paul Heyman who set the stage and fuel the conflict that will ultimately conclude with one of the most hard-hitting main events in recent history.
The Gift of Gab
Paul Heyman has long been one of the best talkers in wrestling. His ability to express raw emotion and intensity has made him one of the most compelling and believable performers in the industry. He is simply incredible at talking an audience into investing emotionally into whatever story he is tasked with telling.
Such ability has been on display over the last year as he has been an integral part in the evolution and effectiveness of Roman Reigns as the lead heel on SmackDown.
Conversely, MVP has been extremely valuable to Lashley and his growth into a consistent main event performer.
Prior to hooking up with MVP, Lashley was going nowhere on Raw. A star bigger than his role on the show, he wandered aimlessly before entering a storyline with Rusev and Lana that did more to hurt his reputation than enhance his role on the show.
MVP and his ability to hype The All Mighty up elevated Lashley to the point that he dominated as the United States champion, then was believable enough to roll through The Miz and win the WWE Championship last March.
That doesn't happen, nor does the feud with Goldberg this past summer, without MVP adding that missing piece to Lashley's presentation.
In an era where everyone is a good-to-great wrestler, the ability to connect with audiences is of the utmost importance. Both Lashley and Lesnar, and even Reigns, have benefited exponentially from their association with their mouthpieces.
The long-awaited feud between The All Mighty and The Beast Incarnate will, too.
Reaping the Rewards
Outside of the optics of two big, badass wrestlers battling each other in a high-profile title match, there's not much Lesnar and Lashley could do on their own to hype up the WWE title match. Neither is a strong talker, nor do they possess that explosive personality that hooks audiences with a single 10-minute promo segment.
For all of their greatness, that is one of the weaker parts of their performance.
The feud will succeed because MVP and Heyman are old-school hype men who know exactly what they have to do to enhance the story, elevate the talent and do so without taking the spotlight away from them.
The story is obvious: Lesnar has the WWE title, Lashley wants it. There may be amateur wrestling histories built in, or references to their MMA careers, but the premise is simple. MVP and Heyman will enhance it, putting the emphasis where it belongs and capturing the attention of a fanbase lucky enough to see two great managers work their craft in an industry that has attempted to eliminate that element of the show over the years.
Ironically enough, it was WWE who most benefited from managers over the years.
Bobby Heenan was essential to Andre the Giant's transition from beloved babyface to hated heel. Mr. Fuji added immensely to Yokozuna's run as WWE champion in the early 1990s. Slick, Jimmy Hart and Harvey Wippleman are three others who helped otherwise one-dimensional workers have solid runs in wrestling's most storied promotion.
The contributions of J.J. Dillon, Gary Hart, The Grand Wizard, Freddie Blassie, Jim Cornette and Captain Lou Albano were essential to the success of the stars they seconded.
Then there is Paul Bearer, without whom The Undertaker and Kane characters simply do not work.
MVP and Heyman have been responsible for a small resurgence in manager use in WWE. If the Lesnar-Lashley feud exceeds expectations, it would behoove the company to examine the possibility of reintroducing managers more consistency to help those who have all of the other tools make the necessary leap to the next level.