unless it's Machamp using Cross Chop or something else extremely powerful, Lapras should be able to handle it. i can probably take most of them out with two Ice Beams -- hell i just demolished both a Hitmonlee and a Hitmonchan at level 37 using a level 38 Lapras, no potions or anything. Hitmonlee's strongest fighting move still didn't even take away half of its health. Machamp is like the only exception to that rule in Gold/Silver because it has really good defenses to go along with one of the best Attack stats in the game period.
i can try! lol. im not gonna use Lapras in EVERY situation but i just like having at least one pokemon that's hardly vulnerable to anything.
im only talking about the second generation, those games go back a decade. pokemon's always been a really strategic game. the new games have added some shit, but the main difference is each generation has gotten successively harder so it's been more necessary to think about what you're going to train and how you're going to use it, whereas in Blue/Red you could train any podunk pokemon to level 70 or some shit and have some success with it.