Bobby Lashley defeated Drew McIntyre via Hurt Lock, following a distraction from MVP, at WrestleMania 37, seizing the moment most assumed would be reserved for Drew McIntyre as part of a live coronation in front of fans. Instead, WWE continued to ride the hot hand as Bobby Lashley retained.
The narrative of WWE “owing” Drew McIntyre is straight trash. Similar to WWE’s begrudging audible to crown Daniel Bryan champion at WrestleMania 30, pro wrestling has always thrived when riding the hot hand.
In 2021, WWE’s hottest hand has been Bobby Lashley.
This can be a cold business, and WWE has demonstrated time and again that it doesn’t “owe” anybody anything. Kofi Kingston, who lost the WWE Championship to Brock Lesnar in nine seconds, was not even gifted a rematch, let alone another moment.
Mark Henry, who garnered some of the highest ratings in the history of SmackDown’s run on the SyFy network, didn’t seem to be “owed” anything when his red-hot run was undercut by a groin injury. Upon his return, WWE did not rally around Henry to recreate its ratings success, let alone get him his “big moment.” Henry just went right back to the midcard.
Just like Kofi.
But, good for Drew and his “big moment.” WWE really owed him one.
January 26, 2020—Drew McIntyre Wins 2020 Royal Rumble
Drew McIntyre won an electrifying WWE Royal Rumble where he not only eliminated WWE champion Brock Lesnar, but went on to eliminate Roman Reigns in the Final 2. Riding a wave of momentum, McIntyre was closing in on becoming solidified as WWE’s next major babyface star.
March 16, 2020—WrestleMania 36 Cancelled in Raymond James Stadium, Moved to WWE Performance Center
In an official statement, WWE announced WrestleMania 36 would be moved to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando amid the onset of COVID-19.
“In coordination with local partners and government officials, WrestleMania and all related events in Tampa Bay will not take place,” read the statement.
“However, WrestleMania will still stream live on Sunday, April 5 at 7 pm ET on WWE Network and be available on pay-per-view. Only essential personnel will be on the closed set at WWE’s training facility in Orlando, Florida to produce WrestleMania.”
The event would mark the first-ever empty-arena WrestleMania in WWE history, rendering Drew McIntyre’s potential coronation a quiet affair.
March 26, 2020—Drew McIntyre Defeats Brock Lesnar in the Main Event of WrestleMania 36
Drew McIntyre defeated Brock Lesnar in the main event of WrestleMania 36 inside a desolate Performance Center. McIntyre’s muted celebration—with no fans in the stands—would become a source of sympathy for the top star moving forward as he looked to chase what should have been a full-stadium coronation.
October 25, 2020—Drew McIntyre Loses WWE Championship to Randy Orton at Hell in a Cell
In a surprising development, Randy Orton defeated Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship at WWE Hell in a Cell after multiple attempts. McIntyre previously defeated Orton at WWE Clash of Champions and WWE SummerSlam before suffering a rare pinfall loss to The Viper in what ultimately proved to be a transitional run for Orton.
November 16, 2020—Drew McIntyre Regains WWE Championship
Drew McIntyre regained the WWE Championship in the main event of WWE Raw, defeating Randy Orton in a singles match. McIntyre would go on to hold the title for the rest of 2020.
February 21, 2021—The Miz Cashes in Money in the Bank, Beats Drew McIntyre
As a wonky Road to WrestleMania persisted, The Miz cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase and shockingly beat WWE’s top star at Elimination Chamber. Miz was able to successfully cash in after Bobby Lashley destroyed McIntyre following a successful title defense in the Elimination Chamber main event. Miz’s cash-in marked his first world title win in a decade as he captured the WWE Championship in similar fashion to his Money in the Bank cash-in against Randy Orton in 2010.
February 22, 2021—Bobby Lashley Beats Braun Strowman, Earns WWE Championship Opportunity
As Bobby Lashley’s hot streak continued, Lashley continued his dominance with an impressive—and clean—victory over Braun Strowman, even kicking out of Strowman’s Powerslam finisher at one point. The stipulation mandated that Strowman would be added to next week’s WWE Championship match had he been victorious.
March 1, 2021—Bobby Lashley Wins WWE Championship
Bobby Lashley defeated The Miz to become WWE champion. Lashley had been significantly protected for the better part of a year, consistently destroying opponents and rarely taking pinfall losses. Flanked by The Hurt Business, the tides began to significantly turn as to whom the hot hand in WWE was.
Lashley’s victory over Miz also translated to ratings success on Raw as WWE Raw topped the cable ratings for the world title change. Raw also saw its lowest first-to-third-hour drop of 2021.
March 15, 2021—WrestleMania 37 WWE Championship Match Announced
WWE randomly announced Drew McIntyre would be challenging Bobby Lashley at WrestleMania 37. The seemingly premature announcement undermined McIntyre’s forthcoming showdown against Sheamus at WWE Fastlane.
March 15, 2021—Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin Lose WWE Raw Tag Team Championships
After being dripped in gold and on Cloud 9, WWE began its saboteur hack job on The Hurt Business. Alexander and Benjamin lost their Raw Tag Team Championships to The New Day on Raw, setting the stage for premature tensions among the group.
March 17, 2021—Drew McIntyre Expressed Concern for Missing out on his Moment
In an exclusive interview, Drew McIntyre admitted he was unsure of whether or not he would get his big WrestleMania moment.
“I thought ‘Crap! After all this hard work, after all these main events, all these crazy matches I’ve done—am I gonna be able to get my moment at WrestleMania with the fans?” said McIntyre.
“Since then, I’ve been working my butt off and making some noise, but at the same time, Lashley’s stepped up big time. He’s been making some big noise, and he’s stepped into that role unbelievably.”
March 22, 2021—Drew McIntyre defeats The Hurt Business in a 2-on-1 Match
Drew McIntyre defeated Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander in a 2-on-1 match. The stipulation mandates that The Hurt Business was not to appear at ringside if they lose. After dropping the Raw Tag Team Championships, and being barred from ringside, Benjamin and Alexander were in danger of becoming lame ducks this WrestleMania season. That’s exactly what ended up happening.
March 29, 2021—The Hurt Business Breaks Up
In what seemed to be a sabotage of Bobby Lashley’s momentum, The Hurt Business broke up in the opening segment of WWE Raw. The duo was previously banned from ringside at WrestleMania, and the closest they came to the event was a pair of early eliminations during Friday’s Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal on SmackDown.
Many expressed displeasure with the breakup with WWE Hall of Famer Booker T admitting he felt the move was premature. Never one to hold his tongue, Batista called the break-up flat-out bad for business. WWE Morale was reportedly down as a result of the puzzling move.
April 9, 2021—WWE Announce Drew McIntyre vs. Bobby Lashley will Kick Off WrestleMania 37
WWE announced Drew McIntyre vs. Bobby Lashley would open WrestleMania 37 on Night 1. This was an advantageous spot as it would mark the first entrance in front of a live crowd in over a year on WWE’s biggest stage.
April 10, 2021—Bobby Lashley Beat Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania 37
Bobby Lashley defeated Drew McIntyre in an incredible match, slapping him in the Hurt Lock after distraction from MVP.