It’s not often that you can take a 10-year hiatus with a company and not miss a beat but that’s been the case with Bobby Lashley. During his first run with WWE from 2005-08, Lashley won three championships as he was a two-time ECW World Champion and a one-time United States Champion.
Lashley then departed to compete in MMA and work some other pro wrestling promotions only to return in 2018. Since his return, Lashley has won another three championships including two Intercontinental Championships and is currently the United States Champion for a second time.
Much changed in the WWE locker room and in the pro wrestling business has a whole between these two stints and Lashley compared his two WWE runs in an interview on Busted Open.
“I think a lot of it in the locker room. I think right now, they focus a little bit more on the show – the show aspect of it, versus the competition and the fight,” stated Lashley. “I was having matches with JBL, Booker, Mark Henry, Benoit. All of these different guys and it was a contest. It was a competition. It looked like we were in there battling and it was just a different style.”
“Right now, I think there’s a lot of focus on the other things. The theatrical parts of wrestling. It’s a good thing. You got to change with the times. So, you get a little bit of both and that’s what I think we’re dealing with in The Hurt Business.
“The Hurt Business, we’re trying to bring back that old hurt you, beat you up style wrestling, and stick it in what they got going now.”
Lashley’s comparison of eras is much tamer than the one the Undertaker made recently when he called the current WWE product “a little soft.” But the business has certainly changed although there are some holdovers from a prior era including Shelton Benjamin who had a seven-year break from WWE before returning in 2017.
Lashley and Benjamin did lock up a couple of times in their first stints with WWE – including being part of a Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 22. But now, the two are side by side in The Hurt Business and Lashley talked about working alongside Benjamin.
“I love working with Shelton because we both have that similar style. We both got that wrestling background. Shelton’s smooth, man. That’s one reason why we wanted him in. All of us have a tremendous amount of potential to do something big in the company. We need that opportunity. So collectively, we’re kind of forcing that opportunity,” said Lashley.
Yet another person who had a lengthy absence from WWE before returning is Brock Lesnar. His first run ended before Lashley’s first WWE run began and the two then never met during their respective second runs. Lashley was asked about the potential of getting in the ring with Lesnar and gave his opinion on why it’s never happened.
“I like the Brock matchup, but I heard it’s not happening several times and I don’t know why. Maybe he’s not coming back, maybe he has other focuses in the company. I don’t know. I like the matchup,” stated Lashley.
“Another person I’d like to tangle with is Braun. Braun’s always a huge deal. One person that can disrupt stuff in The Hurt Business and I loved fighting him the first time.
“There’s so many other guys in the company that I’m trying to match up and figure out who’s going to work. So, I’m open to all suggestions right now.”
The current World Champions in WWE are Drew McIntyre who holds the WWE Championship and Roman Reigns who holds the Universal Championship. Lashley has taken on both before as he lost his only singles match to McIntyre and split a pair of matches vs. Reigns.
If given his pick, he was asked which champion he would want to face at WrestleMania.
“That’s a hard one. Roman’s at the top of the pile. He’s the guy, but at the same time, Drew is on a roll too. So, you can’t really go wrong with either one of them,” stated Lashley. “I’d like to fight with Drew. I like fighting with Roman. I’d like to fight with either one of them.
“That’s a hard decision to make because either way, you’re going to have a great match. It’s going to be what you need. I wouldn’t even know who I would pick.”
<em>If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open w/Bully Ray with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.</em>