WWE's Bobby Lashley On Kurt Angle Giving Him 'Second Chance' After Robbery, Bullet Wound

Long before he was a two-time WWE Champion, Bobby Lashley was an accomplished amateur wrestler with ambitions of competing at the 2004 Olympics in Greece. He'd been training in Colorado Springs with that goal in mind, only for a routine visit to his local bank to go awry as he was caught up in an armed robbery. Lashley went to the ground as a bullet grazed past him, the impact of his landing shattering his knee before World Team trials to effectively rule him out of Olympic competition unless he re-trained for 2008.

Fortunately, WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle had come to Colorado with WWE to shoot material for "WWE Confidential," and as Lashley recalled during a recent interview with TalkSport, Angle gave Lashley his second chance in wrestling. 

"He saw me running around with the group and training and everything," Lashley said. "He pulled me off to the side and was like, 'Man, you've got a good look, have you ever thought about doing professional wrestling?' I was a big fan of Kurt, so I was trying to hold it in, and I was a big fan of professional wrestling, but there was always a stigma between [amateur and professional wrestling]." 

Lashley said Angle addressed that stigma, explaining that in any other sport, Lashley would have taken the leap to the professional leagues and made millions. Angle reasoned that professional wrestling was an equivalent jump for amateur wrestlers.

Lashley joined WWE's developmental territory — Ohio Valley Wrestling at the time — in 2005, but would make his TV debut on "WWE SmackDown" later that year. He immediately fell in love with pro wrestling, which he never previously saw as a possibility owing to his lack of knowledge about the industry.

"All I knew was [WWE], so I didn't know if there was a transition or how they even got there," Lashley said. "Kurt was the one that opened up all those doors for me."