WWE Champion Bobby Lashley recently spoke with Tony Maglio of The Wrap. Before his run with MVP and The Hurt Business, Lashley was in a storyline with Lana and Miro, fka Rusev, and he was asked if that storyline helped or hurt his run.
“Look, I’ve been in the business for about 17 years. And there’s a lot of people that watch the business for years,” Lashley noted. “But there’s only a few people that have been like a crucial figure in the business for a long time…I talked to people about it when I came back into wrestling and everybody knows my character. They know Bobby is tough, Bobby was in the military, Bobby has that wrestling national champion place in the world. So I’m a machine in that sense. But the one thing that I’ve never been able to do is just relax. And I think a lot of those storylines I did at the beginning was to really make me chill out and relax.
“This is a different day and age. Even though my character is rough, still I’m able to enjoy it a lot more. Before I was so machine, so locked in. It’s like, ‘Here, let’s throw in some storylines over here to make him feel completely uncomfortable and to be able to relax and then be able to come into something.’ And when I say that, I say that because a lot of the people looking at it got pissed off about it. I was going into it and I was a little taken back. But then when I sat back and I actually realized, because I had a talk with Vince, and he told me, ‘Man, I want you to just go out there and have fun.’ And that was one thing that you have to do. And a lot of times when you tell somebody to go out there and have fun, that’s not going to resonate, that’s not going to sink in.
“Then you have a bunch of us just beating people up even more. But to be able to loosen up, this is entertainment. We’re fighting, but it’s entertainment. So in order to have entertainment, you have got to be able to loosen up. Because the crowd can feel where you’re coming from. And even though I went into this real dastardly, mean character, people could feel it because I’m able to get in more touch with — I don’t want to say emotions and go straight into acting — but into that, just relaxing and having fun with the character. So I think everything that I did led me up to where I am now. So I think everything helped.”
Lashley was later paired with MVP. The two had worked together on Impact as part of the Beat Down Clan, and Lashley revealed who came up with the name “The Hurt Business”.
“It was me. I was thinking about this before, I was thinking about the whole thing before,” Lashley revealed. “Originally, a boxing coach that I had down in Coconut Creek at American Top Team. He used to always wear this T-shirt and I was like, man, that is incredible man, that needs to be in WWE because that’s my character. I just need a group. So I just loved it forever. And this was several years back, several, several years back, and I held onto it. And when we came, I was still holding onto it. And I was like man, I wanted to do something like that, but I need the right people involved.
“And then when MVP had that Royal Rumble, he was only going to do that, but when he was there, we had worked before and I told him, ‘Man, you know what character you are… you are kind of a mix between Suge Knight, and Don King.’ I said, ‘If you mix all those up that is you.’ And I told him about this and then me and him got together and he was like, ‘We can make a real little faction out of this.’ And of course we thought about Shelton (Benjamin), because Shelton wasn’t really doing anything, everybody knows how good Shelton is but everything really depends on timing and finding the right role for you. I was like, man we got to bring Shelton, because Shelton gets it. And then we needed a young boy to come up, and Cedric (Alexander) is phenomenal.
“But when we went to go look for The Hurt Business at that time, I was like, man, let’s try The Hurt Business, and we sent it in and then when it came back it shocked us. Like, what? Nobody has it? Nobody copyrighted it or nothing… And the merch guy came up to me and was like, ‘Bro, you’ll never believe it, it is open.’ I said let’s go, let’s start printing. And as soon as we put it out, the T-shirts went like crazy at the beginning. Black and gold, The Hurt Business, it was beautiful. And then our group just kind of formed from there. And then before I ran with it, I called my boxing coach down there at Coconut Creek and I asked for his blessing and he was like, ‘Use the name, just send me a few T-shirts.’ I said cool.”