Drew McIntyre vs. Bobby Lashley (c)
WWE Championship match
The rivalry between Drew McIntyre & Bobby Lashley, one of thee biggest matches of night one of WrestleMania, has various starting points. Most recently it started at Elimination Chamber, when Lashley brutalized then WWE Champion Drew McIntyre, allowing Money in the Bank holder the Miz to capitalize and win the championship.
Or maybe it started at Backlash in June, when Bobby Lashley failed defeat Drew for the WWE title. That wasn’t the same Bobby then, but that loss focused him. This confirmed his decision to stop using his then wife Lana as a manager and go all in with MVP. They built the Hurt Business around him and become a dominant force.
But I like look at this story as one that goes all the way back to 2016, a different year in a different promotion.
In the summer of 2016, TNA was in the process of rehabbing their image. It was something they were always tasked in doing but actually seemed be doing well with at the time. Billy Corgan was a fresh mind driving the product. (This would end before the year was even up when Anthem bought the company and brought back old guard that had an obvious low ceiling.) They amassed a good blend of young and veteran talent. Two of those men, Drew Galloway and Bobby Lashley, were set to main event their Slammiversary pay-per-view.
The WWE was in the rearview mirror for both men, after runs that showed potential that they couldn’t quite capitalize on. Galloway was released in 2014 after the Chosen One was relegated to a comedy act for the end of his run. That was jarring for the Scotsman, and he vowed to find his way back eventually. Lashley was released rather surprisingly in early 2008, not too long after a championship feud with the then unstoppable John Cena. It was less than a year prior that Bobby was in a WrestleMania program featuring Vince McMahon and Donald Trump.
Both men found themselves in TNA to try to reshape their wrestling careers. It wasn’t their only stop. McIntyre wrestled for any independent promotion he could. Lashley had a decent MMA run in Bellator. But TNA was the best place for them to prove that when it came to professional wrestling, they were more than what was remembered from their time in WWE.
Both men improved drastically during their post-WWE careers, showcased weekly on TNA, one of the few televised spots fans could see them. McIntyre focused his passion on the business, which ended up a crucial aspect of his characters in this era. And Bobby Lashley found his personality during his time in Impact, something that was lacking in his first run in the E. His run with the gold after Slammiversary was, at the time, the best work of the man’s career. He had finally found the personality to go with his physique and talent.
It’s clear that folks in WWE were paying attention because both men found their way back to New York. Drew via NXT, Lashley right to Raw. And while it wasn’t smooth for either man (remember Lashley’s sisters?), they both endured to find themselves, once again, face to face for a championship. This time, it’s on wrestling’s biggest stage.
The story on paper is one of a man who connived his way into a WWE title match and the fiery babyface who will fight to get it back. The Scottish Psychopath vs. the All Mighty. But I like to look at it as two guys who were released from the company, reinvented themselves in a small pond, and returned to finally climb to the top the mountain.
Everything else is gravy.
Drew McIntyre will face Bobby Lashley for the WWE championship on night one of WrestleMania 37. Keep it here to CaesideSeats.com for all of your WrestleMania coverage.
Who will win this match?
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