Former WWE Superstar Bobby Lashley was a guest on The Chad Dukes Wrestling Show this (Nov. 11) evening where he discussed his fledgling mixed martial arts (MMA) career, his recently opened gym outside of Denver, CO and what he thought about a potential fight inside the cage with fellow former professional wrestler turned possible MMA fighter Dave Batista.
Naturally the conversation turned to what Lashley thought of a return to the squared circle. In particular, who his ideal opponent would be. Here's what he has to say:
"That's a tough one ... I think on the WWE side - I think as crazy as this sounds - this isn't saying it because this person is on the top or anything like that but I think Triple H is someone that I would really like to work with."
Nothing wrong with that, I can assure you. Triple H -- despite what some of his detractors would have you believe -- can bust his butt in the ring when motivated and usually has a keen wrestling mind as he idolizes past greats like Harley Race and Ric Flair.
If Lashley were to return to the profession he willingly left nearly half a decade ago, why go back for peanuts? Why not go back and take on a modern legend in the sport and make big bucks off of it?
The answer is there's no reason he shouldn't. But his reasoning behind his pick is what troubles me. Lashley stated he didn't pick Triple H simply because 'The Game' is a top star so why did he?
Find out after the jump.
"The reason why is because he has that attitude, that aggression, that I like. And I think with professional wrestling you ... have to actually look the part ... He looks like someone that if you crossed him in an alley you wouldn't want to ... pick a fight with him. I think that pro wrestling has fallen away from that a little bit ... and I think Triple H has a tough look."
Triple H has a tough look?
Well, of course he does, his character is supposed to be tough! His character is a guy that grows awesome facial hair, carries around sledgehammers, and rocks out to Motorhead. He has nicknames like 'The Game' and 'The Cerebral Assassin.' He has a tough look because he HAS to look tough.
Lashley didn't stick around long in the wrestling business and you can see why. He clearly doesn't understand it. There are guys like Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Daniel Bryan, and CM Punk who love wrestling. They absolutely cherish the artform. They are men who would have been completely lost without the sport and likely can't remember a time that they didn't want to be wrestlers.
Then there are guys like Bobby Lashley who is as big as they come with muscles that have their own muscles who get picked out in a gym and thrown inside of a ring. He didn't grow up wanting to be a pro wrestler. He didn't make home videos of himself with cardboard championship belts or busting out suplexes on his friends.
He fell into the business after a knee injury ruined his Olympic hopes and almost immediately got scooped up by the WWE. And within a year and a half, he was involved in one of the biggest and most media-friendly angles alongside Vince McMahon and Donald Trump.
You know the one, where Trump threatened to buy WWE and the two settled their score at WrestleMania 23? Of course, the businessmen didn't step inside the ring, they had wrestlers represent them. In McMahon's corner was Umaga while Trump chose Lashley.
Lashley then left the company amidst rumors that a certain member of the creative team was being less than racially sensitive. For that, I can't blame Lashley. But during his time with the company, everything was handed to him. He didn't have to learn a thing about the business.
So when he talks about how wrestling has fallen away from guys with a 'tough look,' he simply doesn't have a leg to stand on. There have always been wrestlers with tough looks and there always will be. Those guys are needed, plain and simple. But so are the pretty boys, so are the giants, so are the guys who make up in heart what they lack in size.
Lashley's involvement in MMA reinforces the thought that the guy doesn't have any passion aside from having a thick wallet. Pro wrestling has been on the decline for several years while the UFC and other fight promotions have been on the upswing. So it would only make sense that he would jump ship to that realm of combat sports. And judging by his performances so far, it seems obvious that he is more concerned with keeping his impressive physique intact than actually adapting it to better suit his needs inside the cage.
And let's not even touch his cash grab with TNA.
Professional wrestling hasn't fallen away from anything. It simply doesn't fit whatever mold Lashley has in his head. If he made it to WrestleMania 23 looking the way he did, then everyone should follow suit. Sorry, Bobby, it simply doesn't work like that.
But you wouldn't know because you're not a professional wrestler. And you never were.