Bobby Lashley faced off against Kevin Owens on Raw this week and during the match, Lashley made an official heel turn along with his manager, Lio Rush.
Lashley worked over the injured left knee of Kevin Owens for most of the match and then got the win with a Dominator-like slam off the shoulders. The fans booed Lashley during the match while Rush was very annoying with a microphone in his hands trying to urge the crowd to chant “Lashley,” which led to the fans booing him more.
After Lashley won the match, he insisted that the referee raise his hand as the winner of the match, which is typically a heel move. Also after the match, Lashley went back in the ring with a forearm cheap shot to the back of the left knee of Owens. Lashley whipped KO’s left knee into the ring post three times. Lashley grabbed the right leg and whipped that into the ring post followed by another whip of the left leg into the ring post. When Lashley and Rush celebrated their actions, the crowd booed them.
That was the official heel turn of Lashley, which was obvious from watching the show. According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Dave Meltzer, the decision to turn Lashley heel was made on Monday especially after the company knew that Kevin Owens would be out of action for an extended period of time due to knee surgery, which I wrote about earlier.
It was noted by Meltzer that WWE’s decision makers felt like Lashley needed to be a heel since they were lacking heels on the Raw brand. Meltzer added that Rush had an IFB in his ear, which is what the referees wear to receive instructions from Vince McMahon and others backstage. The report notes that McMahon was feeding Rush lines and if you watched Raw, you could see Rush was wearing the IFB with the cord running down his back when Rush was running away from Owens.
A feud between Lashley and Finn Balor was teased on Raw in a backstage segment on Monday when Lashley interrupted a Balor and Bayley interview. It would make sense since Balor hasn’t had a meaningful feud in a long time.
At Saturday’s Super Show-Down event in Australia, Lashley teamed up with John Cena to defeat Owens and Elias. There was no indication of a turn there, so the report that it was likely decided on Monday appears to be true.
TJR Thoughts: I’m fine with the heel turn of Lashley. I don’t think the boring face act was going to work much longer anyway. Plus, like I said I think the feud with Balor makes a lot sense for both guys since they had nothing else going on anyway.