Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley are headed for a showdown at WWE Extreme Rules on Sunday, July 15. The two Superstars have had heat over the past several weeks and that heat has led them to a point of no return. What began as macho posturing on Monday Night Raw has now become a war and fans are likely curious to see what happens.
But those fans may or may not be anxious for the match itself. Reigns versus Lashley never really got a fair shake from the WWE faithful, who all but dismissed it from day one. The feud had too many problems going in and it was clear that the onus was on the company to draw interest. The fact is that Reigns and Lashley must bring everything they have at Extreme Rules.
This one is important, mostly because it does involve WWE’s top guy. Many fans have debated the validity of that point, due to Reigns’ inability to dethrone Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship. After all, if Roman is the face of the company, why can’t he get over on the less than part-time champ?
Check out Lashley and Reigns backstage on Raw:
However nothing has really changed for Roman Reigns in WWE. The company has shown no real signs of pulling him back as he continues to be a featured star on Raw. He remains at the forefront and that does not seem to be changing any time soon. So even though many hate him, Roman is still WWE’s Big Dog and a great showing against Lashley at Extreme Rules will only help his cause.
Whether or not fans will care about that is anyone’s guess of course and the same can be said of Bobby’s performance. But Lashley is perhaps not behind the eight-ball as much as his opponent. Fans know what Lashley can do and anyone that followed him during his time outside of WWE knows it as well.
Lashley is a main event player. He came into his own and realized his potential when he left WWE 10 years ago. He brings that experience back with him and he looks more confident in the ring than he ever has. Bobby Lashley is very capable of stepping up and he is a viable contender to Lesnar’s Universal Championship. He can prove that at Extreme Rules.
Indeed whoever comes out on top could be the next man to challenge The Beast Incarnate. While there’s been no indication that Brock will come back to the fold any time soon, the truth is that his title must return at some point. It’s the only way to salvage the championship and finally build it as the important prize WWE advertised it to be.
Watch Lesnar invade the Octagon:
But does WWE even want that to happen? Many critics are pointing the finger at the company for the Brock Lesnar mess and rightfully so. The Universal Championship was supposed to be the second biggest title in WWE and many would argue it could have become the biggest title. It is the primary championship on WWE’s flagship program; why not elevate the new belt to great heights because of that?
Of course that is just not the case. SmackDown Live will move to FOX in the fall of 2019 and if the WWE Championship goes with it, then the belt would obviously keep its status as the company’s top title. SmackDown Live could even become WWE’s top program. What would happen to the Universal Championship then?
However WWE must deal with the here and now. There’s just no getting around it. If the Universal Championship is to remain an active title, then the man wearing it must become active as well. But he needs an opponent and Braun Strowman is not it. At least not yet.
Braun is Mister Money in the Bank, which means he gets a title opportunity at the time and place of his choosing. While fans are certainly anxious about the prospect of Braun versus Brock, the truth is that the two men are old foes. Strowman could not take Brock out. Lesnar was always on top while Braun was left to lick his wounds. But Strowman is hot and can get red hot at a moment’s notice. WWE surely knows this and will only act when the time is right.
So until then, Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley are in the hunt. Yes fans have been critical of both men heading into Extreme Rules. Yes they have a lot of work to do in order to silence those critics. But Reigns versus Lashley received a real shot in the arm recently. That will improve their chances of success on July 15.
The pull-apart between Roman and Bobby on the July 9 edition of Monday Night Raw was a win for WWE. Fans have seen that sort of brawl many times in the past so it’s always a tricky prospect in terms of getting the participants over. If fans see it as a cheap ploy to garner interest, they will tune out. It’s an understandable reaction. But that was not the case this time.
Watch Reigns and Lashley brawl on Raw:
The crowd popped for the skirmish and it was indeed fun to watch. Roman was cheered just as much as Lashley and the two men brought great intensity to the spot. It may have began as a typical battle but it ended on a high note. The fans were invested. Now those fans wait for the payoff at Extreme Rules.
Will Roman and Bobby bring the pain and deliver on the hype? The fact is they really don’t have a choice. The haters can sit back and criticize the men in the ring but a good match is a good match and everyone knows it. Roman Reigns is more than capable of having a top match under a bright spotlight; he’s been doing just that for quite some time now.
Bobby Lashley surely knows how important this match is so when the bell rings, he will be ready to go. Many feel he is the best candidate to face Brock Lesnar and that may be the eventual destination for him. But first he must step up and shine against Reigns.
Extreme Rules is an opportunity for both men to show off and just enjoy the moment. Fans want to be impressed. They want to see a good old-fashioned fight. There may not be two better men to deliver that fight than Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley.
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Wrestling Rumors. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, iHeart Radio, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online at boinkstudios.com