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Bobby Lashley: More than just a discount Lesnar?

Bobby Lashley was one of the last amateur wrestlers recruited by WWE.  Possessing a physique resembling that of The Incredible Hulk, his appearance caused him to be brought up from developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling too early.  That said, he improved rapidly thanks to feuding with Finlay (possibly the best wrestler in the world at the time) and Booker T (in the best run of his career in due to having great opponents and being energized by how much having his wife Sharmell as a valet enhanced his act).  He was moved to ECW as a pet project of Paul Heyman, who suggested that he imitate Brock Lesnar in certain respects, such as his vertical leap to the apron ring entrance.

In the middle of a reign as ECW Champion, the rocket was strapped to his back as he was Donald Trump's representative at Wrestlemania 23 in Detroit against Umaga, representing Vince McMahon in a match where the "billionaires" put their hair at stake.  It was the biggest show in wrestling history, drawing 1.25 millions buys on PPV and bringing Wrestlemania back to stadiums after experimenting with running arena in top 10 markets for a few years (Vince McMahon believed that Wrestlemania 19 did below expectations on PPV because it was in Seattle, Washington).  This led to a feud with Vince McMahon where they traded the ECW title in gimmick matches.  He ended up being drafted to Raw for a few months in the upper-card before taking time off for shoulder surgery and recovery.  He never came back and requested a release from the company, believed to be unconditional except for barring him from publicly discussing any complaints he had about racisim within the company.

Aside from a one-off appearance for AAA at Triplemania in 2008, he turned his attention to MMA, working his way up through smaller promotions instead of taking Brock Lesnar's approach of debuting for K-1 and moving to UFC.  He's been undefeated so far and most notably defeated Bob Sapp this past June in a match seemingly made solely because of their similar looks as massively jacked up bald black guys.  Before the Sapp fight, he signed with TNA, pushed as a dual-sports competitor who's concurrently an MMA fighter and pro wrestler.

Will he benefit Strike Force?  Probably.  He's no Brock Lesnar (who was on top of WWE for a better overall period of business), but he was in the money drawing match at the biggest Wrestlemania ever, even if Trump often got his name wrong during his appearance plugging the show (calling him "Bobby Langley" or forgetting his last name, as well as calling him "a black gentleman who is the strongest man I have ever seen").  He seems like the opposite of Lesnar as far as personality goes, so it should be interesting to see how MMA fans react to him by comparison.  He's more well-known than most of their fighters, although probably less so than Gina Carano and the newly signed Dan Henderson.  He's definitely a good addition to the company.

After the jump, check out a video of the coolest thing that Lashley did during his WWE run.

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