Just a few short months after debuting on WWE 205 Live, Lio Rush is now on Monday Night Raw as Bobby Lashley’s manager. Few could’ve predicted this outcome for the “Man of the Hour” but it is the perfect role to turn Lio Rush into a household name.
As a former CZW World Heavyweight Champion and a 2016 Ring of Honor Top Prospect Tournament winner, Lio Rush was among the more highly-touted independent names to join NXT in 2017. Granted, Rush’s potential big name value didn’t come to fruition there as his few appearances resulted in losing efforts.
Rush’s talents led him to transition from a highlight reel underdog to a disingenuous showoff in 205 Live. After a string of quick victories, Rush followed up by defeating former Cruiserweight Champion, Akira Tozawa twice.
A month after besting Tozawa, Rush suddenly shifted to managing Bobby Lashley on Raw. One of the most present criticisms about Lashley since his return has been his promo ability, hampered by the fact that he’s not playing the role of the pompous juggernaut like he did in Impact Wrestling. However, just about nobody thought that Lio Rush would be the remedy to this problem.
Surely there’s a point to be made that Rush’s backing of a fan favorite on Raw openly contradicts his villainy on 205 Live. There’s also a point to be made that Lio Rush’s personality is perfect for a managerial role and it is. Rush’s social media shows his creativity, commitment to the personality he portrays on television and his ability to entertain as a talker, all of which help to make a great manager.
This pairing benefits Bobby Lashley greatly as it adds another dimension to the former Bellator fighter’s character but it also benefits Lio Rush. Rush spent little time in NXT and has only been on 205 Live for a couple of months. The only people with an extended understanding of just how good Lio Rush is are the people that followed his independent career in Combat Zone Wrestling, Maryland Championship Wrestling and Ring of Honor.
Performing on Raw allows the “23 Year Old Piece Of Gold” to present himself in front of larger audiences as Bobby Lashley’s mouthpiece. Those same fans can then continue to familiarize themselves with Rush on 205 Live where he’ll likely have much more of an on-screen presence—in and out of the ring—than he would on Mondays.
Rush’s talent was previewed on the latest edition of Raw when he used his athleticism to avoid an attack at the hands of Kevin Owens and Elias. Despite it only being Rush’s second week on Raw, his escape artist tactics became a meme-worthy talking point from that episode.
If moments like that continue, Lashley and Rush will prove to be a credible duo on Monday nights. The combination of a powerhouse and mouthpiece combination is not new by any means but as much as it is simple, it is just as effective. Although Rush is brand new to the Monday night spotlight, the last two weeks prove that he is more than capable of handling it.