2021’s Road to Wrestlemania 37 has been paved with surprise appearances and stand-out moments. These included Hall of Famer Edge’s return to the ring and victory at the Royal Rumble, Bianca Belair’s first Rumble win, and Bad Bunny’s viral cameos. February 21’s Elimination Chamber ended with another jolting moment: Drew McIntyre losing the WWE Championship to The Miz.
Bobby Lashley attacked McIntyre mere minutes after he had successfully defended his title in the Elimination Chamber itself, against A.J. Styles, Kofi Kingston, Sheamus, Jeff Hardy, and Randy Orton. Lashley’s onslaught against McIntyre was both unexpected and brutal. It also proved to be the perfect opportunity for The Miz, who hurried to cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase, officially making his intrusion on the moment a WWE Championship title match. Miz hit McIntyre with a DDT followed by Skull-Crossing Finale. In shocking fashion, The Miz seized the day, and the title, via pinfall.
Opening Monday Night RAW the week after, The Miz was quick to tout his past accolades and his deservingness of the WWE Championship. He also took shots at past adversaries like John Cena and Batista. However, MVP and Bobby Lashley interrupted The Miz’s address. They reminded him that he owed Lashley an immeasurable debt for attacking McIntyre. After all, this created an in for Miz to cash in the Money in the Bank contract. Lashley, he asserted, was owed a fight.
— WWE (@WWE) February 24, 2021
Miz countered that he was game, but he had never specified when Lashley would get his shot at him. MVP and Lashley insisted upon their pound of flesh, but got Braun Strowman, instead. When the Monster Among Men asserted his demands for a WWE Championship opportunity, WWE Official Adam Pearce devised a match between Strowman and Lashley; if Strowman defeated Lashley, he would be inserted in the WWE Championship match against Lashley and The Miz.
Lashley’s domination continued; after besting Strowman, he attacked Miz in a brutal preview of their upcoming faceoff. This left the champion out cold in the middle of the ring. However, as these contenders presented themselves and the current champion preened, Drew McIntyre was noticeably absent from RAW. What are his plans, if any, to regain the WWE Championship?
McIntyre’s championship run was a standout and a cornerstone of the pandemic era. During this time, the former Scottish Psychopath morphed into the babyface Scottish Warrior. He held the belt against the sadistic wiles of Randy Orton and the storied veteran Goldberg. His absence was conspicuous, given the palpable pride that McIntyre has always shown at both possessing the championship and holding off his rivals. However, as Miz and Lashley prepare to face off on March 1st’s RAW, McIntyre may well be a factor waiting in the wings to spoil one or both of their golden tickets to Wrestlemania 37.
While McIntyre’s face turn gave him a second wind, his Scottish Warrior persona still has a sinister edge. If Lashley wins the March 1st main event, claiming the championship, McIntyre will have to summon all of his grit. It will be needed to face the feral, pitiless “CEO” of The Hurt Business. A Wrestlemania 37 faceoff between the two would set the bar for brutality high, pitting McIntyre’s stand-by Claymore kick against Lashley’s near inescapable Hurt Lock.
— WWE (@WWE) February 23, 2021
However, though his persona has taken a heroic turn, is Drew McIntyre above spite? If he somehow spoils the match on March 1 in receipt of Lashley’s post-victory attack, and the outcome of Lashley’s bout with Miz is left hanging, Miz will be McIntyre’s target to reclaim what he has lost. Such treachery smacks of Sheamus’s modus operandi; though the two fast friends have fallen out, a reconciliation merely to annoy Miz and Lashley and muddy the waters of the championship running would not be out of the realm of possibility.
Indeed, this Road to Wrestlemania has been an unpredictable one. Furthermore, this recent plot twist has repositioned some of RAW’s key players considerably. Miz, after a middling reign as Mr. Money in the Bank, has emerged as WWE Champion. Bobby Lashley’s facilitation of Miz’s coup was a strategic play by MVP and Lashley, placing the champion in their debt. This brought Lashley one step closer to the Grandest Stage of Them All. Then, there is Drew McIntyre, whose character may well shift from a heroic face to one seething in the wings, waiting for a cheap shot or a double-cross in the wake of this betrayal.
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