TSC Interviews: Former WWE star Bobby Lashley
Bobby Lashley is a different kind of athlete. He started out as an excellent amateur wrestling, becoming a standout Olympic prospect while attending Missouri Valley College, where he became a decorated champion.
Unfortunately, an event beyond his control occurred that put his amateur career to an end.
Some athletes would have been discouraged and ventured into endeavors beyond the world of athletics, but not Bobby Lashley.
In late 2004, Lashley was recruited by Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). He soon joined their developmental roster (farm system), learning the ins and outs of professional wrestling. The National Amateur Wrestling Champion debuted on WWE television September 2005 and began an improbable run in a relatively short amount of time.
In fact, very few wrestlers can say they have had the success Lashley has attained in such a short amount of time. The only other wrestlers to come to mind: Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar, Bill Goldberg, and more recently, Sheamus. Lashley became World Heavyweight Champion barely a year after his WWE debut.
He headlined what still is the highest grossing wrestling pay-per-view of all-time in WrestleMania 23. Then it all ended. Just as fast as he came, he left. Lashley and WWE parted ways early-2008, due to alleged creative and contractual issues. Whatever truly happened is between both parties, but needless to say, it was and still is WWE's loss.
So where does a guy that was on top of the professional wrestling world go from there?
Much like current UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar, Lashley took the same passion he had for wrestling and applied it to Mixed Martial Arts. Many were skeptical about Lashley's foray to the world of MMA, but those doubters were soon proven wrong.
Between stints in independent MMA promotions, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), and now Strikeforce, Lashley has compiled an impressive fight record of 5-0. Recently, Lashley was kind enough to answer a few questions regarding his amateur/professional wrestling days, MMA career, and how he became the athlete—and man he is today.
TSC: You were an excellent amateur wrestler. Did you ever dream about going to the Olympics or were professional wrestling or MMA always your ideal career paths?
Lashley: As an amateur wrestler, of course everyone's goal is to be in the Olympics. Unfortunately, the year before the Olympic Trials, I was in a bank that got robbed and I suffered an injury that ended my amateur career. When that door closed, the WWE door opened up and I ran through it. I was always a big fan of WWE, so when that opportunity presented itself it was too good to pass up.
TSC: How did your time in the military shape you not only as an athlete, but as a person?
Lashley: Being in the military, they really press discipline and hark work. I went to basic training and became friends with a lot of guys who are in Iraq and Afghanistan now, so I have a special appreciation for what our soldiers are doing for us on a daily basis.
TSC: Who were your favorite athletes growing up, whether they were in professional wrestling or in another sport?