The one constant in all of WWE programming is that there will always be feuds. Sometimes over titles, sometimes over prestige and sometimes over coffee. Here, we celebrate the highs and lows of WWE feudage and, hopefully, will only ever focus on a feud once.
I’m Tom Colohue and this is Focus Your Feud.
Follow Tom Colohue at @Colohue for updates.
Sami Zayn and Bobby Lashley
I was really hoping that I’d never have to discuss this one.
Since the first NXT promotion there has always been one favoured main roster wrestler whose job it is to take the loss and make the new guy look good. For a while that was Dolph Ziggler; an accomplished seller who could reliably get good matches out of anybody. He put over Tyler Breeze, Baron Corbin, Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode after their debuts.
However, with the advent of the new brand split another name was needed on the other side. Enter Sami Zayn; an underdog who wasn’t doing much of anything since ending his feud with Kevin Owens. That feud with Owens of course has defined Zayn’s entire main roster run so far.
Sami Zayn was Braun Strowman’s first value opponent. Curiously, Zayn won that feud by not being beaten into submission within a dedicated time limit. Zayn was the first sacrifice at the alter of Samoa Joe. Now Zayn has expanded beyond NXT and he’s just feuding with anybody new.
There are subtle differences in the usual line-up though. For example, for most of Zayn’s early run in WWE he wasn’t anywhere near a microphone. Since turning heel it’s been particularly apparent how he’s taken to it once he has a microphone in his hand. It’s remarkable how comfortable he’s been.
Zayn and Owens have spent the last few weeks essentially jobbing heavily. That doesn’t look like changing any time soon and is in fact true of a lot of the trades from Smackdown. Knowing that Money In The Bank was coming I would have expected Zayn to join Owens in the match as he did last year. Zayn is talented, he’s smooth and he’s higher profile than ever before.
And then we have Bobby Lashley. Bobby Lashley’s been away for long enough that he’s come back quite the unknown quantity. WWE have mostly played it cool, pairing Lashley with Braun Strowman to establish that he’s supposed to be a good guy worth the cheering. While Lashley has been hitting his patient standing suplexes, except that one where he nearly broke Big Cass in half, Strowman has always been the hot tag and the clear hero of the piece.
So we’re supposed to cheer for Lashley. Okay.
So we’re supposed to like his big suplex. Okay.
So we’re supposed to care about Lashley. Ah.
Don’t get me wrong; I know Lashley is relatively fresh and new to this incarnation of WWE. I know that if you really wanted people to love Lashley then Vince McMahon should have put him straight into a feud that sees him beat up Roman Reigns or John Cena for a couple of hours. I know it’s not a case of blink and you’ll miss it when it comes to getting over but, to be frank, this is not the way to make me care.
Having a sit down interview is a great chance to learn someone’s motivations and aspirations. Instead we learned that Lashley had sisters. Great. I have a sister too. You all care so much about me right now, right?
Of course what followed was everyone’s favourite segment: This Is Your Life. Because there’s never been a bad This Is Your Life segment before. You know, if you forget all the other ones.
Lately, things have started to take an upturn. Accusing an American that served in the army of not doing so is always going to resonate with the audience that WWE has and having Lashley smugly complete an obstacle course with ease is admittedly impressive but it might be that the damage has already been done.
The whole point of course is to make an audience interested in seeing Bobby Lashley beat up Sami Zayn. To his credit, Zayn has managed to be utterly insufferable; always a key part of that heel set up. I’d love to see him get beaten up.
The problem is that I’m not sure I want Lashley to be the one doing it.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: FOCUS YOUR FEUD – Colohue evaluates the Charlotte Flair-Becky Lynch dynamic, the history and the highs and lows so far