United States Champion Bobby Lashley made an appearance on the WWE After The Bell podcast where he discussed his WWE return run in 2018. Lashley noted that he fits better as a heel today because he’s from a generation that isn’t big on social media, as opposed to this generation that gravitates more to people who are active online.
“I think today’s society is different from then. Then, wrestling was completely different,” Lashley noted. “Wrestling was more of the tough guys, the fighters, the brawlers. I was with JBL, Finlay, Booker [T], Big Show, Umaga, Hardcore Holly – all these guys are guys that I had to start out with. And those guys all had stories of being a little bit mean to the new guys, but they weren’t so much mean to me. But at the same time, when I look back at it, I said, maybe they were, and I just didn’t understand because I thought it was more of a fight. So, I was like, I’ll fight. I think that’s how it was then.
“Now, it seems like this society and way things are are a little bit different. Before, I was definitely babyface. Coming in, they said, ‘oh, Bobby’s a babyface. Military this, that, and the other’ – all the stuff. But I think this society’s a little different. I think this society’s more of — I’m a heel. I think the guys that are more engaging with social media, the guys that are more vocal [and] the guys that are more, I guess, in touch with the crowd, the crowd kind of takes to them a little bit more. My generation is a little bit of an older generation. Social media wasn’t the biggest thing.
“So, I’m not so big on social media. I’m not tweeting and going back and forth with people all day, everyday. I do a little post on Instagram from time to time, but I have kids, so when I’m at home, I’m usually either training or hanging out with my kids. So, I’m kind of a different animal right now. So since I’m not so in touch with the crowd via social media, I think that just naturally makes me a heel.”
Lashley was involved in many eccentric storylines, including his storyline with Rusev and Lana that was later dropped. Lashley said that his biggest focus during that run was figuring out why things were happening, and he came to the thought of WWE wanting him to loosen up and remove his serious demeanor.
“I had to figure out the why,” Lashley stated. “A lot of times, people don’t want to know the why, and I think part of the why for me was when I came back — here’s a couple things: one, they were like, ‘well, we want people to hate you.’ That’s good. But two, I think it’s just getting me to loosen up a little bit.
“I’ve trained so long with wrestling with anyone from Dan Gable, to my high school coach, [and] my college coach, and it was always shut up and train. I was always a shut up and train kind of person. I busted my ass and let what you do speak for you, and that’s how I was always growing up.
“I was a workhorse, and I was always a quiet person. I think when coming back, they’re like, ‘we need to embarrass him enough to break out of his shell’. And, I mean, singing [and] beating up my sisters [will do that].”
Lashley had spoken about how WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle helped him break out into pro wrestling. Corey Graves noted that Angle has been involved in many out-of-the-box storylines, and asked if Angle offered any advice for Lashley.
“Kurt offered some kind of advice, but it wasn’t advice people would think, like, ‘you need to go and tell them that you’re not going to do this.’ He was just like, ‘just have fun with it,'” Lashley recalled. “And I was like, ‘bro, do you see what I’m doing today?’ It was challenging at that time; I’m not gonna lie to you. When I first started, I started in the summer time. My kids weren’t at school, so my kids were going to the house shows almost every weekend.
“It was an adjustment for me. When I started this story, my kids didn’t even watch the show. They couldn’t watch the show. It was just the time for me to kind of pay my dues, but at the same time, what I thought about, also, in my first run, I left early. And I know that I had a lot of possibilities and I know that they had a lot of plans for me on my first run, but I left early. So, I said, ‘maybe this is a way of paying dues’. And it’s not like I haven’t paid dues before.
“It’s not just a thing to sell out and do whatever. It’s like, ‘I’m going to pay my dues and I’m going to show you that I’m here. And you can you can look at it this way.’ Some people have to eat s–t and then have to deliver burgers, or flip burgers, or something like that. You’re actually having to do it, and you get paid a tremendous amount of money to take care of your family and do things that you can’t on the outside of this.”
Lashley later talked about The Hurt Business. He talked about how he and MVP connected and wanted to run back their partnership that they had on IMPACT. He said that the goal for The Hurt Business is to not only beat people up but also to help elevate some of the younger talent they’re working with, like how the vets of his day did for him.
“It’s incredible because I think that the group that we have, it’s real,” Lashley said. “When MVP first came back, MVP had told me this – he was like, ‘when I first came back, it was really just to have that one match for my son’ because he had a son and his son didn’t see him wrestle before. He was like, ‘I really want my son to be able to see me wrestle live, under the lights, and everything like that,’ and he wasn’t thinking about coming back full time. But when he came back, he and I ate, and he was like, ‘man, me and MVP did something before.’ And I was like, ‘man, we gotta run that back.’
“So, I think me, and MVP, and Shelton, we’re kind of all in the same boat, and when we first got together, we were eating dinner every night. We were just all talking about putting this thing together, and The Hurt Business is basically guys that…. that kind of ‘tough man’ era coming back today to kind push what we have on some of these younger guys. But at the same time, we understand the business, and understanding the business is we’re going to beat you down and we’re going to be the bullies.
“But, I’m going to do the same thing that Booker did for me, and Finlay did for me, and JBL did for me, and Vince did for me, and Shane did for me, and Umaga did for me – told the story and beat a lot of peoples’ asses. But at the end of the day, the good guys are going to get over, and I think a lot of these guys, we have a really good opportunity to do some really good things for some of these guys. The Ricochet’s, the Apollo’s, the Cedric’s, all these and any other babyface in the company, because ultimately, we’re going to beat you down. But if you find that way to make it through us, I think we can put you over and make you good.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit WWE After The Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.