The curious case of WWE Superstar Bobby Lashley- 6ft 3 behemoth still struggling to stamp authority
When Bobby Lashley debuted in 2005, hopes were sky-high for the wrestler to make it big in the WWE. Lashley was a big-muscled monster who could dominate every wrestler in the company and even had the backing of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. He was a National Amateur Wrestling Champion, a four-time All-American while winning also having a military background. Lashley went on an undefeated streak after his debut and even became the United States Champion in his rookie year.
He moved to the ECW brand and became their top champion. Then the infamous ‘Battle of Billionaires’ happened and Lashley was selected by current US President Donald Trump to represent him. It was a career-high as Lashley main-evented WrestleMania 23. However, it wasn’t the kickstart of a successful WWE career but a highpoint before a low. Only a year later, Lashley was released by WWE.
He went into the independent circuit, grinded hard, and improved his wrestling skills. Lashley even amassed an impressive 15-2 record in his MMA career. After a 10-year hiatus, Lashley returned to the WWE with high expectations. Fans expected a showdown with Brock Lesnar on his return. But those expectations are still expectations.
Two years after coming back, Lashley is still struggling to find his feet in the WWE. He is far away from a match against Lesnar. He is in a much-maligned storyline with Lana which hasn’t provided him the impetus that he is seeking. In his 15-year wrestling career, Lashley hasn’t won a WWE Championship. But why is that? Why is Lashley is struggling to reach the top of the mountain?
WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross has explained on his podcast ‘Grilling JR’ that Lashley has always received a ‘start-stop’ booking in WWE. Ross also suggested that someone influenced Vince’s perspective about Lashley.
“It depends on what input Vince is getting from the last person he talked to. I’m sure Bruce (Prichard) has experienced these issues where you think you have a gameplan, this is what we are going to do, and then somebody gets Vince’s ear that has an agenda and all of a sudden they cast doubt on the process or the decision making. It’s a trait of that company. Bobby did have some false starts and continuity issues. He was on again and off again. I think there was a lack of patience in how good Bobby was progressing and how much he was progressing.’’
Ross further stated Lashley was getting better in the ring and the expectations for him to a top-notch wrestler at the start of his career was a lot to ask for.
‘I thought it was a nice pace. He started getting more comfortable in the ring. Again, you’re not getting a guy that has an extensive pro wrestling background. He couldn’t tell you who Bruno was, or Bobo Brazil or who was the Junkyard Dog or Dick Murdock. He would not have known those things. So, a green guy is in graduate school and he got advanced very quickly to get to the graduate school level. It is challenging for anybody including a great athlete like Lashley.”
Lashley fought Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship at Backlash. But he lost the match and another opportunity to win the WWE title. 44-year-old Lashley again called out Lesnar for a match. It remains to be seen if that match comes to fruition.