In short order, The Hurt Business has become one of the premier acts on Monday Night RAW. The trio of Shelton Benjamin, Bobby Lashley and MVP succeeded in making the flagship show of WWE their territory. Whether it was through collective beatdowns or a well-executed full nelson by Lashley, The Hurt Business has left several bodies in its wake. Their chaos hasn’t been for naught, as they found themselves picking up wins and securing gold. Simply put, this is one business that has seen great returns.
The Hurt Business Takes Over
This has been especially true this past Monday. In the third hour, RAW introduced a new format to its traditional programming. Enter RAW Underground, which took the action from the squared circle and into a dingy fight club. From well-known talents including Dolph Ziggler to newer faces like Dabba-Kato, RAW Underground provided an open invitation to anyone looking to throw down. What wasn’t expected, however, was The Hurt Business taking this endeavor by force.
RAW ended with The Hurt Business crashing the fight club in question. Lashley made short work of an unnamed fighter, MVP got in on the action by exercising his authority against another face in the crowd, and Benjamin wrestled down Dio Maddin before sending him packing. The Hurt Business proceeded to brawl with anyone else that got in their way. Shane McMahon, who had been hosting the event, was quick to give them the platform. In the words of MVP, RAW Underground was under new management.
Regardless of the divisive nature of RAW Underground, it can be agreed upon that the final segment made The Hurt Business look dominant. It established them as a group that would, by any means necessary, get what they needed to boost their brand. From the technical skill of Benjamin to the impressive power of Lashley to the sheer cunning of MVP, The Hurt Business can best be described as “full service.” This wouldn’t have been the case, however, had the business not undergone restructuring. To be more specific, for multiple WWE careers.
An All Mighty Rebirth
When Lashley returned to WWE in 2018, many fans had high hopes. Keep in mind that he had just left IMPACT Wrestling, where he experienced a career renaissance of sorts. He developed a mean streak that saw him obtain four IMPACT World Heavyweight Titles. In 2014, he formed a faction with Kenny King and, coincidentally, MVP. Upon returning to WWE, however, it was clear that he wasn’t the same star that left IMPACT. While he picked up an impressive victory over Roman Reigns at Extreme Rules and formed an entertaining duo with Lio Rush, segments involving Lashley’s “sisters” and his partnership with Lana did little to help his credibility.
Lashley’s luck began to turn around during this past May. When MVP made a surprise Royal Rumble appearance months prior, fans didn’t expect that he would become a consistent performer on WWE programming. As Lashley began to experience on-screen difficulties with Lana, MVP saw an opportunity to create a business partnership with “The All Mighty One.” Lashley finally had enough of Lana and aligned himself with MVP full-time. To say that this partnership saw a return on investment would be an understatement.
As he was managed by MVP, Lashley became a more vicious competitor in the ring. No longer was he buoyed by the woman who cost him the WWE Championship at this past June’s Backlash. He appeared renewed, making the likes of R-Truth and Mustafa Ali fall victim to his patented full nelson. In fact, given his sheer dominance on RAW, it may only be a matter of time until he holds gold once more. While this remains to be seen, The Hurt Business can state that they had a titleholder in their midst.
Reminting the Gold Standard
Shelton Benjamin made his own WWE return in 2017. Prior to this, he had plied his craft in Japan, specifically Pro Wrestling NOAH and New Japan Pro Wrestling. He began teaming with Chad Gable upon said WWE return, though this partnership would come to an end following the Superstar Shake-Up the year after. From there, Benjamin became aimless in the company. Though vignettes of Benjamin aired last summer, showing the former 3-time Intercontinental Champion darting his eyes about in uncomfortable fashion, there was no follow-up.
Last June, Benjamin entered a feud with Apollo Crews, who he lost to on multiple occasions. Around this time, Lashley and MVP had their own issues with Crews. This led to MVP courting Benjamin; also coincidentally, in the early 2010s, they teamed in NJPW under the collective name Black Dynamite. Following a 24/7 Championship victory, Benjamin officially aligned himself with Lashley and MVP. This was when The Hurt Business truly took shape, becoming one of the featured groups in WWE. It can be argued that Benjamin benefited more from MVP’s association than Lashley did. In almost no time, Benjamin went from being an afterthought on WWE programming to part of one of the featured acts.
Big Things Poppin’
The WWE career revivals of Lashley and Benjamin share a common thread: MVP. Much like his business partners, Montel Vontavious Porter saw success during his initial WWE run. He first debuted on SmackDown in the summer of 2006, portraying a highly sought after free agent in sports. During this run, he captured the WWE Tag Team Championship with Matt Hardy and won two United States Championships. MVP holds one of the impressive collective reigns as United States Champion with 419 days to his name.
Since leaving WWE the first time, MVP made his mark in various promotions, IMPACT Wrestling included. He also became the first IWGP Intercontinental Champion in NJPW. It wasn’t until 2018 when MVP began to make appearances on WWE programming. Roughly two years later, he returned to the company as a full-time performer. Though he wrestled a number of matches, he often found himself hosting his in-ring talk show, “The VIP Lounge.” It was through this platform that he helped elevate different talent, including current WWE Champion Drew McIntyre.
With over two decades of wrestling experience under his belt, MVP lives up to his name. It was through his work, as the proprietor of The Hurt Business, that he was able to rebuild two talented WWE Superstars. Lashley and Benjamin have different in-ring styles, to be sure, but they are similar in that they weren’t properly utilized when they returned. Lashley was involved in angles that failed to complement his talents; meanwhile, Benjamin struggled to find TV time. Through The Hurt Business, both found themselves trending upward.
The Future of The Hurt Business
Now that The Hurt Business has firmly established itself as a dominant group in WWE, what does the future hold? The most obvious answer would be success, primarily in the form of championship gold. Benjamin had an albeit short stint with the 24/7 Championship, but the group is capable of more. MVP proclaimed himself United States Champion in Crews’ temporary absence; can he make a third title reign official? Could Benjamin find himself shooting for greater accolades, whether in singles or a tag team? Will Lashley eventually capture the WWE Championship he failed to capture earlier this summer? Regardless of where The Hurt Business goes, expect a trail of battered bodies to form behind them.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. WWE fan? You can check out an almost unlimited array of WWE content on the WWE Network.