Bobby Lashley retained his WWE Championship in the opening match of WrestleMania 37 on Saturday night, forcing Drew McIntyre to pass out via The Hurt Lock. McIntyre managed to escape the hold twice and was setting up for a Claymore Kick to end the match, only for MVP to start shouting at ringside and cause a distraction. This gave Lashley the opening to apply his finisher, and kept it locked on even as McIntyre tried to flip off the the the turnbuckle.
Lashley then celebrated in the ring with MVP as the crowd inside Raymond James Stadium stood in shock.
McIntyre's second reign with the title came to an end at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view in February when Lashley attacked him after successfully retaining the title inside the titular Chamber. The Miz then ran down to cash in his Money in the Bank contract to beat Drew, and it was revealed the following night that Miz had made a deal with The Hurt Business to help him become world champion. Lashley cashed in on that deal with his own title match the following week and promptly won in three minutes.
The win marked Lashley's first world championship reign in WWE, though he did hold the Impact World Championship multiple times in-between his two WWE runs. He explained in an interview with Bleacher Report last month that his 403 days on top of Impact helped prepare him for his current reign.
"I think [that Impact run] helped out tremendously because once you come into WWE and they say you're going to be a champion, there's going to be some uncertainties and insecurities," Lashley said. "'Am I able to carry that ball? Am I able to do it? Am I able to have those big matches with everyone?' Because that's what you need to do as a champion, and when I was in Impact, I had those opportunities.
"There's no question in my mind whether I should be on top or not," he later added. "Some people already know it. You see Roman [Reigns] walk out there as the head of the table. He can't even look down his chin is so high up. He has that confidence because he's been in those matches with The Undertaker and Brock and all these different people. Same with Drew. Drew's the same way. Drew can't even see people that are under 6'5" because he's so high up right now, and he knows what he's capable of doing. Not everybody has that."
It was confirmed on Friday that Lashley/McIntyre would open the first night of WrestleMania, and that Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair's SmackDown Women's Championship match would go on as the main event.