At the Royal Rumble 2020 pay-per-view, WWE had a bunch of surprises for fans. Naomi’s return, Edge’s return, and Drew McIntyre winning the Rumble were chief among the big moments, but one in particular would have lasting affects in what some may say is the saving grace of RAW as of late, even amidst the declining ratings.
This moment was the return of MVP. In what was meant for a two-night appearance, MVP entered the Royal Rumble wearing gear inspired by Marvel’s Black Panther, and like many before him, was quickly dispatched by the overpowered Brock Lesnar.
However, this wasn’t to be the last we saw of him, as he had what he was considered his final match against old rival Rey Mysterio. Only it wasn’t. In what was meant to be a backstage producer role, MVP found himself bringing back the VIP Lounge segments and having more matches here and there. It’s almost as if this professional wrestler couldn’t stay away from the ring for too long. Well, would you look at that?
MVP soon discovered himself seeing more potential in Bobby Lashley, a man who was stuck in a horrid romance angle with Lana: a byproduct of an unfortunate cuckold angle that involved the long-since missing Rusev (who has since reinvented himself as Miro in AEW). About as much a fan of the angle as the WWE audience, MVP sought to liberate the Almighty by talking him out of his marriage with Lana, who was constantly distracting or ruining Lashley’s chances at winning, despite her best intentions. Finally, MVP got through to Bobby at Backlash 2020 following his defeat from champion Drew McIntyre, once again thanks to Lana, leading to a divorce between husband and wife.
Not long after, the two recruited Shelton Benjamin, someone who had been long-thought forgotten on the WWE roster, and even featured a cameo segment with Ron Simmons. This cameo was interesting, as it felt like a stable was building, leading to a newer version of the Attitude Era’s Nation of Domination, but this was not to be. As it would turn out, MVP had shot down this idea from creative – stating there was no need in returning to the old when there is a focus on the new. MVP is focused on helping build new stars. with various new members and new opponents, and not with the thoughts of bringing race as a motivation in the stable. It’s just business.
It wasn’t too long after that MVP had managed to recruit the younger star Cedric Alexander to the fold. After getting beat up constantly with his former tag team partner, Ricochet, Cedric got fed up and turned against him and another former ally, Mustafa Ali. And wouldn’t you know it, Cedric became a star overnight, with more personality and mic skills than what the WWE audience was used to seeing at the time.
With this collection of businessmen, the Hurt Business acquired gold for their accounts, as MVP briefly obtained the United States title from Apollo Crews, who won it back only to lose it to Bobby Lashley. Meanwhile, Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander proved that they had tag team chemistry and won the RAW tag team belts.
So far, the team had dominated RAW Underground, dealt with and ignored Retribution, and became a highlight of almost every RAW episode, alongside Drew McIntyre, Bray Wyatt and Alexa Bliss.
In the time of COVID-19 and the time of civil unrest following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, for some the stable was a visualization of black individuals succeeding and a distraction from the viciousness of the world outside, and the team has proved an important feature to RAW.
In a world where many grew up seeing black wrestlers acting like animals, savages, dancing or singing fools, or men angry at their place in society, there were few to stand out as men who were wrestlers that happened to be black, and rightfully and unapologetically so, such as 2 Cold Scorpio and Ron Simmons. Though New Day may be categorized as dancing fools, they have shown to be a force for positivity, to show that these three men can succeed in spite of how others perceive their race. New Day has been able to carve out their own legacy.
The Hurt Business are men ready to carve their own path, for those in their community, for those that paved the way for them, and for the future. For MVP to help steer his Business cohorts in a nice and fresh direction, is nothing short of magnificent. MVP reinvented his character while also being a catalyst for reinvigorating three other men’s careers, three men who were being underutilized or not even being featured at all. It is apparent that the group’s focus in WWE is gold and green.
Though Lashley is touted as the CEO of The Hurt Business by MVP, it is obvious he has been the one that he’s the one charting the direction of the group behind the scenes. Cedric Alexander is now cocky and confident, Shelton Benjamin uses his veteran sensibilities to the best of his abilities, Bobby Lashley is dominating and heading into Elimination Chamber 2021 as the United States Champion, and he is turning more and more vicious as a competitor. These men are taking what’s theirs, by any means necessary. And just who on Earth is going to stop these businessmen?
From the suits to the entrance music, the four men have boundless swagger and unbridled success on the red brand. But of course, not just anyone can join the Business, as Titus O’Neil found out. The Hurt Business is a select group of men with chips on their shoulders and a connected vision of accomplishment and wealth. Not everyone can fit in, but it’s nothing personal.
It’s just business.