Bobby Lashley aspires to be the Brock Lesnar of WWE 10 years from now

WWE, Bobby Lashley (Photo credit should read AMER HILABI/AFP/Getty Images)
WWE, Bobby Lashley (Photo credit should read AMER HILABI/AFP/Getty Images) /

Bobby Lashley took the time to chat with Daily DDT about becoming United States champion for a second time, if he’s had discussions with Brock Lesnar about facing him, returning to WWE, The Hurt Business and more.

A new WWE United States champion has been crowned, and his name is Bobby Lashley,

Lashley’s latest accomplishment came at last Sunday’s Payback pay-per-view when he knocked off Apollo Crews in the opener to the event for the prestigious prize. It was another feather in the cap of the former ECW and Intercontinental champion, whose 2020 has been nothing short of stellar.

After starting the year in a dead-end feud with Rusev and a lackluster pairing with Lana, Lashley eventually found a new ally in the returning MVP. The duo later recruited Shelton Benjamin into their ranks and have been dominating Raw ever since.

The group, now collectively known as The Hurt Business, aren’t going to stop at the United States Championship, either. Lashley called his U.S. title win less of a culmination of his journey up to this point and more of a “good feeling” as well as a stepping stone to bigger and better things.

“It definitely pushes me in the right direction,” he said in an exclusive interview with Daily DDT over the phone last Friday. “Everybody’s looking for a little bit of approval or something from somewhere like the fans, the media, or somewhere. I feel like the United States Championship win told me, ‘Hey, you’re moving in the right direction,’ and that’s what I’m most proud of: moving in the right direction and still winning titles and still putting on good matches.”

Lashley was last United States champion over 14 years ago in 2006, when he won the title from soon-to-be WWE Hall of Famer JBL on SmackDown. The biggest difference between now and then, he noted, was that this time he doesn’t plan on losing it, even if that means breaking MVP’s one-year record as U.S. champ.

He’s largely been protected since partnering up with MVP and Benjamin, so it’s safe to say he isn’t wrong when he says that he’ll be in possession of that belt for quite a while. That can’t be considered anything but good news for the United States Championship, which had been treated like a total afterthought prior to Crews winning it back in May.

As determined as he is to make his second reign with it as meaningful as possible, he still has aspirations of becoming world champion someday after failing to beat Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship earlier in the summer.

“That’s something I haven’t really thought about, but yes, I can make that title great again and that’s one thing I want to do,” Lashley said. “I think the United States title and any title in wrestling is a huge title and a huge reward. Every one of them, like the 24/7 title, where you have one of the most entertaining people across the board holding that. Not only being entertaining, R-Truth is a real solid wrestler, man. He is really good. You’ve got your tag titles, the United States title, the Intercontinental title. There’s so many titles in wrestling right now, but the world titles mean the most. That’s where my sights are set completely.”

The Hurt Business, and specifically MVP, have played a major factor in Lashey’s recent success and how he’s been able to return to his roots as a force to be reckoned with. He and MVP have a history dating back to their time in IMPACT Wrestling together and, in fact, it was MVP who originally led Lashley to world title glory in the form of the Impact World Championship in 2014.

Prior to that point, there was a period from 2006 to 2008 that Lashley, MVP, and Benjamin were all in WWE together. Their bond is what makes The Hurt Business so special and is why they’re being extra selective with who they bring in next, if anyone.

“These are guys that are my friends,” Lashley said. “We all started out around the same time, Shelton a little bit before MVP and I. But when I first got in, there’s certain people that you just naturally gravitate to. Those two, we’ve always naturally gravitated toward each other. When we walk through a room, I look at him and he knows exactly what I’m thinking and we laugh. We can do those non-verbals because we’ve been friends for so long. I know what he’s thinking about, he knows what I’m thinking about. We have common interests.

“MVP came to some of my fights way back before I even came back,” he continued. “There’s just a natural thing about us hanging out. Before they even put us together, after we were finished with the show, MVP and I would go out to eat. Because we were in Orlando, there was nothing to do, so we’d go get something to eat and drink and just joke around. We would talk about the show and what we wanted to do and what we wanted to accomplish. That was like a regular thing that was going on with us.”

There was some speculation among fans early on that The Hurt Business had the potential to be the second coming of The Nation of Domination, but aside from the obvious, Lashley assures that there are minimal similarities between the two factions.

The Hurt Business are their own entity and so far have proven that with their reign of terror on Monday nights.

“The pairing started to naturally occur and we started talking about all kinds of stuff like how we wanted to be represented,” Lashley explained. “Everybody said, ‘Of course, you’re black guys, so you’re the Nation!’ We said, ‘Hold on a second. We are three black guys, but we’re businessmen.’ That’s why we’re The Hurt Business, not The Hurt Gang or The Hurt Mob or anything like that. We come in, and I’ve been doing this since I came into the wrestling business and I learned this when I originally started in 2003, you put on a suit and you walk in there because it’s a business. You conduct yourself like a star because you are a star, so we come in every day like that anyway.

“If I need to pull my jacket off and beat someone up in Raw Underground, that’s what I do,” he said. “If I need to take everything off and put on my wrestling gear and beat somebody up in the ring, that’s what I do. That’s where the commonalities come with us in that we both have the same frame of mind: we’re going to look good and do big things.”

Last week on Raw Talk, Lashley teased the possibility of The Hurt Business scouting a female member. When asked about it, he simply said that no one obvious name comes to mind as being a perfect fit for the group, but if any potential prospects can adapt the same fighting mentality that they have, then it wouldn’t be a difficult decision to welcome that person into their ranks.

“First off, we really have to define what The Hurt Business is to people because right now it’s a cool name with a cool t-shirt that’s on WWE Shop that you can pick up at any time,” he said. “We also have to take into consideration what The Hurt Business is. We are guys that have a different frame of mind. Yes, we can have great matches, but we’re really at the point in our career where we’re going to take what we want and take what we need and we’re going to fight for it.

“If we do find a female to put in the group or a 205 guy or anybody else,” he continued, “they have to have that same frame of mind. I really don’t know. There’s several people right now that we kind of have our eye on a little bit, but we’re seeing what they can do and how they can evolve or if they do fit in our group. The last thing we want to do is put someone in our group that doesn’t really fit the mold of what we’re trying to accomplish. That would be moving in the wrong direction.”

This title reign has been a long time coming for Lashley, who initially returned to WWE in April 2018 following a decade-long absence. He spent a significant amount of time in IMPACT and Bellator, both tenures allowing him to hone his skills and become the best performer he can possibly be.

Despite being gone from the company for so long, he was convinced he’d be back eventually. He went so far as to have it written into his Bellator contract that he could get out of it if and when WWE came calling, and sure enough, it did.

“I was ready for it because I knew it was going to happen,” Lashley said. “I say that not being cocky or anything like that. I posted something on my Instagram page, a book I’ve been reading and mind work I’ve been doing for some time now. It’s crazy, it’s The Power of Your Subconscious Mind. That’s what I was reading.

“The reason I bring that up,” he said, “is because I do a lot of mental work. Before getting into WWE, I was fighting with Bellator. When I went to sign with Bellator, I told them, ‘I need a clause in here that says when WWE offers me a contract, then I can at least pause this one or get out of this one so I have the ability to go do that.’ He goes, ‘Man, you’ve been out of the business for seven years. You really think you’re going to have the opportunity to go back?’ I said, ‘Yes! It’s going to happen.'”

He wasn’t handled all that well creatively early on in his return run, especially during that forgotten feud he had with Sami Zayn. By the fall of 2018, however, he found his footing as a heel, forged a friendship with Lio Rush and went on to win the Intercontinental Championship on two occasions.

Regardless of what happens going forward, Lashley is looking to make the most of everything he’s a part of, including this run with The Hurt Business. The reason being that he plans on this being his final hurrah in WWE and he wants to make such an impact that he’s the one Vince McMahon will be wanting to re-sign a decade from now to work with the talent of tomorrow, similar to the spot Brock Lesnar currently has.

“This is my last run, or at least this is my last run. Those guys [MVP and Benjamin] might try to do 10, 15 more years, but not me,” he joked. “I’m going to go out and hit it hard, but this is something I want to do. I want to be one of those guys that Vince can call back 10 years later and go, ‘Where’s Bobby at? Bring him back in here. Let’s have him fight, I don’t know, Ricochet because Ricochet’s now the world champion. Or I need someone to fight Roman [Reigns].’

“I’m always going to be ready,” he said. “I’m always going to be prepared, but this run is the one that’s going to make all that happen later. What I need to do right now is I need to go all out, swing for the fences, and win that world title. When Vince brings me back later, you can say former world champion Bobby Lashley. That’s what I want.”

Speaking of Lesnar, it’s no secret that Lashley has been longing for a one-on-one match against The Beast Incarnate for several years, even before coming back to WWE. Both are powerhouses and have backgrounds in MMA, so fans are aware that it’s a money match waiting to happen.

Unfortunately, according to Lashley, someone in Lesnar’s camp doesn’t seem to feel the same way. Although he hasn’t had any discussion with him about making that dream match a reality, he remains hopeful that it will sooner rather than later.

“The crazy thing about Brock and I is that we really don’t know each other,” he said. “I think I may have said three words to Brock ever. When I just met Brock two years ago when I first got back and it was in Saudi [Arabia], that was the first time we had ever crossed paths. Before that, I had never met him. The minute I started in WWE 17 years ago, I was always compared to Brock and never once had any kind of discussion.

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“Everybody’s been telling me, ‘Go talk to Brock!’ It’s not like he doesn’t know, but we don’t know what he’s doing right now because I’ve heard he’s out of the business,” he added. “I don’t know if that’s true. I don’t know if he’s going back to fighting or what, but the fans have been calling for it forever. I know there’s been some people on his side that have deflected it for whatever reason and for the life of me I don’t understand that, but I don’t think there’s any better of a match that can happen right now than he and I. Hopefully he hears it, he sees it, he thinks it and says, ‘Let’s make it happen.’ Because if he does, I’ll be ready for it and I think he will be, too.”

Catch United States champion Bobby Lashley every Monday night on WWE Raw at 8/7c, only on USA Network.