The Raw after WrestleMania is always full of surprises. Be it the setup of the classic rematch of the Rock vs John Cena feud, or be it the Ziggler’s cash-in for the World Heavyweight title, it has always been the most speculated edition of the Raw over the entire year.
This year too, there were some good and bad things pertaining to the surprises. But the one return that had been talked about for months now, (NO not Rey Mysterio), finally did happen. Interrupting Elias’ concert, there was a familiar theme played, and the crowd erupted in a vocal unison, following two words being flashed on the titan Tron: BOBBY LASHLEY.
Now, Lashley is no newbie to the squared circle, much less WWE. He made his return after eleven long years, when we last saw him wrestle back in 2007. But who is this Bobby Lashley, the fans are going so over for. Now for the hard-core wrestling fans and for those following the WWE brand from way over in the past, this isn’t a new face. But for those, just tuning in, here is why this name made such a huge splash on the Raw after WrestleMania.
Bobby Lashley began his wrestling career by signing a developmental contract with WWE. He was assigned to the development territory Ohio Valley Wrestling, where he was known as Blaster Lashley, and was a member of the Bolin Services stable. On September 23, 2005, he made his main roster debut on SmackDown! In his first match, he defeated Simon Dean. His pay-per-view debut was at No Mercy, where he defeated Dean once again. Lashley went on to defeat numerous superstars both on SmackDown! and Raw. Later that year he was dominating the Raw Superstars, while representing team Smackdown at Survivor Series, showcasing various “power moves”. A chokeslam from Kane, who was on the apron, caused Lashley to be eliminated, thus ending his undefeated streak after almost 3 months.
On January 6, 2006, Lashley became the first SmackDown! wrestler to qualify for that year’s Royal Rumble. Following the Royal Rumble, Lashley began a feud with John Bradshaw Layfield leading up to a match at No Way Out, where Lashley suffered his first loss in singles competition, largely due to interference from Finlay. This prompted a feud between Lashley and Finlay, which notably included a lumberjack match, which Finlay won after using a shillelagh.
Lashley competed at his first WrestleMania (WrestleMania 22) in the Money in the Bank ladder match – which was won by Rob Van Dam. As Booker-T was being crowned during his coronation, Lashley speared him. This resulted in a feud with the newly named “King Booker”, to whom he lost the final match of the King of the Ring tournament. Lashley won his first professional wrestling championship by defeating JBL for the United States Championship, which he lost to Finlay a little less than two months later. Shortly after losing the United States Title, a physician declared Lashley unable to compete, stating that during an annual exam. Lashley returned a couple of weeks later to the SmackDown! roster to continue his feud with King Booker and went on to earn his first match for the World Heavyweight Championship at No Mercy against King Booker.
On November 14, 2006, Lashley moved to the ECW brand. He debuted on the brand by making a surprise appearance to sign a contract for the final spot in the Extreme Elimination Chamber match for the ECW World Championship at December to Dismember. At the PPV, he eliminated both Test and The Big Show by pinfall after a spear to become the new ECW World Champion, thus making him the first African American in ECW history to win the title.
Raw; injury and departure (2007-2008)
On the June 11 episode of Raw, Lashley was drafted from the ECW brand to the Raw brand as part of the 2007 WWE draft. As a result of the move, Lashley was stripped of the ECW World Championship by Vince McMahon. He took place in a challenge match against Mick Foley, Randy Orton, King Booker and John Cena for the WWE Championship at Vengeance: Night of Champions which Cena won to retain the WWE Championship. Lashley became the number one contender for the WWE Championship by winning the “Beat the Clock” challenge. At The Great American Bash, he lost to Cena and after the match, they shook hands as a sign of respect. This was Lashley’s final WWE pay-per-view appearance.
Later during that year, Lashley was defeated by Mr. Kennedy. During the match, Lashley was “injured” after Mr. Kennedy kicked Lashley’s shoulder into the ring steps. This marked Lashley’s final match in WWE.
Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (2008)
After Lashley was released from WWE, Lashley returned to independent wrestling by appearing at AAA’s flagship event Triplemanía XVI. Lashley would go on to appear in many independent promotions, such as World League Wrestling, Fusion Pro Wrestling, Inoki Genome Federation.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2009-present)
Lashley made an appearance at Total Nonstop Action Wrestling’s Lockdown pay-per-view. TNA announced that he had signed an official contract with the company. Kurt Angle introduced Lashley as the newest member of the Main Event Mafia. Lashley entered the ring and hugged Angle while the rest of the Mafia held a beaten Mick Foley. Angle then told Lashley to finish off Foley but as Lashley prepared to spear Foley, he turned on Angle and cleared the Mafia from the ring, thus making him a face. At No Surrender, he defeated Rhino with a knockout punch.
After No Surrender, Lashley began a feud with Samoa Joe. After teaming with Team 3D in a winning effort against Rhino and The British Invasion on the edition of October 1 of Impact!, Joe assaulted Lashley and choked him out with a rear naked choke. At Bound for Glory, Lashley defeated Joe in a submission match. The following month at Turning Point Lashley’s winning streak in TNA came to an end, when Scott Steiner pinned him in a Falls Count Anywhere match following a shot with a steel pipe. Later, Lashley and Kristal turned heel after requesting their immediate releases from TNA in order for Lashley to fully concentrate on his MMA career. Lashley went on to attack random wrestlers until he was granted what he wanted. He was fired from TNA, shortly afterwards.
Early MMA Career
Lashley then went on to an undefeated streak in MMA, which stopped at 5-0, when he was defeated by Chadd Griggs at a promotion called Strikeforce. Jis MMA record stands at an impressive 15-0, in which last eight fights resulted in him being the victor!
Lashley returned to TNA at Lockdown in Miami, Florida, answering Ethan Carter III’s open challenge after his scheduled opponent Kurt Angle could not wrestle due to an injury. Their rematch, once again ended in a no contest after an interference by Willow who attacked Carter. Lashley defeated Eric Young to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, his first title in TNA, making him the first African American in TNA history to win the title as well as his third world championship reign overall. At the tapings for the edition of October 28 of Impact Wrestling, Lashley lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Bobby Roode.
F, thanks to interference from MVP, King, Samoa Joe and Low Ki, as well as Eric Young turning on Roode. MVP attempted to present Lashley as the centerpiece of his The Beat Down Clan, while referencing the trio of themselves and King as the foundation of the BDC, Lashley refused to become a part of this new group, however, and decided to leave, only to be attacked by the other members, turning Lashley face in the process. Lashley was a member of Team Angle at Lockdown, defeating The Beat Down Clan. Lashley later lost the TNA World Heavyweight Championship to Kurt Angle. Lashley received a rematch for the title, but was again defeated by Angle. Sometime later, Lashley finally defeated Drew Galloway by knockout in a Tap Out or Knockout match for the title, starting his third reign as the TNA World Heavyweight Champion. At Destination X, Lashley defended his title against Eddie Edwards, the X Division Championship was also on the line. However, the match was a no contest when Mike Bennett and the debuting Moose attacked him. Lashley defeated James Storm in a title vs. title match to retain the TNA World Heavyweight and X Division Championships and win the TNA King of the Mountain Championship, after which he was confronted by Aron Rex. He lost the TNA World Heavyweight Championship to Eddie Edwards. Lashley defeated Moose to determine the number one contender to the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, but failed to regain. At Total Nonstop Deletion, Lashley got another chance to regain the title, but the match ended in a no-contest.
At the Genesis episode special of Impact Wrestling, Lashley defeated Edwards in a 30-minute Iron Man match to become a four-time TNA World Heavyweight Champion. On the March 2 episode of Impact Wrestling, Lashley lost the TNA World Heavyweight Championship to Alberto El Patron. However, due to El Patron’s controversial victory, the championship was returned to Lashley, leaving his title reign uninterrupted. In light of TNA’s name change, the belt was renamed the Impact Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship. At Slammiversary XV, Lashley lost his title to Alberto El Patron in a unification match with the GFW Global Championship, which became one of last few appearances on the promotion.
Bobby Lashley Return to WWE 2018
On the April 9 episode of Raw, the night after WrestleMania 34, Lashley made his return to WWE for the first time since July 30, 2007, where he attacked Elias.
And thus comes to full circle, the story of a future Hall of Famer, who much to everyone’s excitement, will be participating in WWE. It remains to be seen, where he’ll land after this week’s shakeup, but wherever he lands, he has “unfinished business” with almost everyone on the roster, and we are surely excited to see how this spans out now for the beloved wrestler!