It’s not Bret Hart in WCW level bad (yet), but WWE clearly has absolutely no idea what to do with Bobby Lashley, and last night’s segment on Monday Night Raw might go down as one of the worst segments in the history of the entire program, dating back to 1993.
The in-ring promo between Lashley, Sami Zayn, and the three male indie wrestlers dressed in women’s clothes that Zayn claimed were Lashley’s “sisters” was so painfully awful, Fox should demand a stop payment on the $1 billion check they issued WWE earlier in the day for television rights of SmackDown Live.
It was really that bad.
Basically, the segment was Zayn interviewing the “sisters” in the ring, and they all talked up how bad Lashley was to them. Lashley then came out, knocked some heads together, and this is supposed to build heat for an eventual Zayn-Lashley match.
The problem is, Bobby Lashley isn’t a babyface. He’s especially not the big smiling babyface WWE tried to portray him as last night.
Sure, he’s probably a really nice guy. He’s soft-spoken despite his massive physique, and he genuinely seems like a good dude. But he’s also tremendously awkward, especially when tasked with playing the role of a lovable babyface. It didn’t work for WWE in 2007, when they tried to make him the face of WCW, and it eventually resulted in him getting released. It won’t work this time either.
Lashley’s work was praised while he was with Impact Wrestling, and for almost the entirety of that run, he was a big, mean heel.
Lashley looks great, and his real-life story of being ex-military is something Vince McMahon is going to fawn over. Vince still believes, in his heart, that the American audience wants to see Hulk Hogan as the top babyface again. He genuinely feels like the crowd wants to see someone waving the red, white and blue.
Someone needs to force Vince to sit down for an hour and watch a DVD — heck, maybe even a Blu-Ray, WWE can afford it now that they’re $1 billion richer — of Lashley’s best stuff in Impact Wrestling. That’s how you utilize him, and it’s even better if he has a mouthpiece attached to him, because promos aren’t his strength.
Wrestling is a fairly easy formula. You hide the negative and accentuate the positives. That’s how Paul Heyman turned a ragtag bunch of misfits into ECW in the mid-90s, and the formula can still work when done properly, even though it’s 20 years later.
Hiding the negative is not putting Lashley, as a babyface. in a crowd-killing promo segment that sucked the life out of the show. He’s a big mean heel, let him go beat people up and the crowd will dislike him. He’s bigger — in terms of mass — than almost anyone else on the roster. Let him do what he’s good at, and he’ll draw attention to the WWE product.