Bobby Lashley Discusses Signing With WWE, His WrestleMania Experiences, TNA & More
Former WWE and TNA star, former ECW Champion and mixed martial arts fighter Bobby Lashley joined Kayfabe Wrestling Radio Tuesday Night. In a nearly 30 minute interview, he discussed his amateur background, joining the army, how he got the offer to join WWE and who ultimately recruited him, what was harder: rehabbing his knee or training in OVW, who helped train him down in OVW and influenced him there, his first WrestleMania experience at WrestleMania 22 in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, who he could call on in the locker room for advice and help, the WWE schedule then and now, his famous WrestleMania 23 match, his short time with TNA, his training for MMA and if wrestling is harder to train for, traveling and performing on the independent wrestling circuit, his ATT Altitude gym and much more.
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How did he come to be a part of the WWE: “Well, a year before the Olympics, in 2003, was the World Team Trials and we were trying to get that last tournament of the year to find out who was going to be in what place on the Olympic ladder. And I had a good tournament, I ended up taking third, so it would have been a good year moving up because I just moved into a new weight class. So we had a few weeks off training and that’s when I got to the bank and the bank was robbed; I took a dive to the ground and split my knee open and it completely just destroyed my knee. I was supposed to be out for 8 months after that, after the bank robbery; I mean, the guy came into the bank while I was in line, the guy took a shot at me I took a dive to the ground, landed on my knee, busted my knee open; it was a mess. But, from that, the two months that I was in the leg brace and on the couch and just trying to recover from the surgery, that’s when I got the call from the WWE.”
Who was the one to first recruit him to the WWE: “Well, the person that first recruited me was Kurt (Angle), because Kurt was doing a vignette down at the Olympic training center, and we went through a little practice afterwards. Kurt was like ‘Look, you’ve got a really good look. You might want to consider professional wrestling.” And, you know, I was a big wrestling fan; but anyway, I kinda followed Kurt’s career up to that point and when he said that, I was like ‘Cool, that is definitely an opportunity’. So, he passed my number around and finally, a few months later, when (Gerald) Brisco called me, and Brisco called me unfortunately when I’d just got out of surgery, so I didn’t want to tell him about the surgery. But, yeah, I took the offer and just tried to push him back as much as I could. But yeah, I got a call from Brisco and he wanted me to come down, and then I got a call from Dr. Tom (Prichard) right afterwards to kind of set up training.”
His first WrestleMania experience in the MITB match at WrestleMania 22: “Well, first off, I do have a little phobia of heights; mine’s not really, really bad, but when you climb that ladder in the middle of the ring, it is kind of high up and people don’t really understand that. But at that point in time, I was still building my career and I was still kind of new; I think they were giving me the rub of WrestleMania. I don’t think I was actually a key player at that time, I think that I just earned a spot because I was one of the top guys at the time and they wanted to make sure I was in the show. I had no apprehension at all; I just knew it was time to go out there and I don’t want to say do my job, but it was time for me to, well basically, go do my job; just go out there and perform.”
His famous hair vs hair match against Umaga at WrestleMania 23 and calming his nerves before the match: “We got to the point where I would breathe in the energy from the crowd; so the more people, the better to me. I wanted to be seen; it got to the point where I wanted to be in front of the crowd, no matter what, any time. Whether it was good, bad, ugly, I didn’t care; as long as I was our there. And then, you know what was crazy, I say this all the time, when I came down there it was so damn loud when I was walking down that ramp; it was almost deafening. So, of course, you knew everybody was there, but you wanted to see faces; it was like a big blur of crowd, of people going crazy and having a good time, the whole gala and everything going on. You didn’t even have that chance to get nervous, it was game time. Everybody was on point, everybody was in their places and we had a great staff; there was no way that match was going to go bad.
His short time with TNA: “I think what went right was just seeing a different side of wrestling. Like I said, I came from just WWE and then, going there, it was just a different side of it, a different show. I think it was really cool to just see something different and how they were putting it together and how they were trying to get it to the point of where WWE was. So, I mean, as far as what went bad, it was I was at an indecisive point in my career where I had just started fighting and there was a big contract coming my way and I had to make a decision as to what was more important to my career at this time. Now, wrestling has always been the number one thing in my life, but at that point it was like feeding my family and taking care of everything and I had been offered a really big contract by Strikeforce, so when I got offered that contract, I had to put that as my first priority at the time. I tried to balance the to but it was like I was being pulled in one direction and then in the other direction at the same time, so I had to make a choice.”
You can follow Bobby through his personal Twitter (@FightBobby) or his website (www.fightbobby.com) for all the latest on his news and notes. You can visit Bobby’s gym, ATT Altitude Gym in Aurora, CO; visit the website (www.attaltitude.com) for more information on workouts, directions and more. You can also see Bobby as part of the New England Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame event on June 22nd in Fairhaven, MA; go to nepwhof.weebly.com/ for more information on the event and as well as roster of talent attending and ticket prices. You can also visit their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/NewEnglandProWrestlingHallOfFame) for more information and the latest news.
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