Franklin Robert "Bobby" Lashley (July 16, 1976) is an American professional wrestler, mixed martial artist, former collegiate amateur wrestler and former United States Army sergeant currently signed to Bellator MMA, where he is undefeated through five heavyweight fights. He was formerly signed to Impact Wrestling, where he is a four-time Impact Wrestling World Heavyweight Champion.
In TNA, along with his four reigns as TNA World Heavyweight Champion, Lashley is a one-time X Division Champion and one-time and final King of the Mountain Champion. He is also known for his time in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), where he is a two-time ECW World Champion and one-time United States Champion. Lashley is a six time world champion (2 ECW, 4 TNA) and currently serves as the face of Impact Wrestling.
Lashley attended Missouri Valley College, where he won three national college amateur wrestling championships between 1996 and 1998 and placed fourth in 1995. In 1997 and 1998, he was the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Wrestling Champion. He later joined the United States Army, where he continued to wrestle. He was training for the Olympics in 2004, when he suffered a knee injury while doing business at a bank where a robbery broke out. The injury ended his Olympic plans, and he went into professional wrestling soon after.
Pro Wrestling Career
World Wrestling Entertainment (2004-2008)
Lashley signed a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in 2004 and subsequently trained in its then-developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling under the ring name Blaster Lashely. While in OVW, he wrestled as a member of the stable Bolin Services. With his size and athletic ability, Lashley built up a string of victories in his OVW matches as well as his matches following his appearances on both RAW and Smackdown programs in the following year of 2005. In that same year Lashley made his Pay-Per-View (PPV) debut at No Mercy on October 9, defeating Simon Dean in singles action. Throughout the closing months of 2005 and moving into the following year, Lashley continued to score impressive victories in singles matches as well as other uniquely-styled matches.
United States Champion/Feud with Booker T (2006)
Lashley participated in the revived King of the Ring tournament held on April 21, 2006, the first King of the Ring in four years since won last by Brock Lesnar in 2002. In the first round, Lashley beat Mark Henry on the April 22nd edition of Friday Night Smackdown via count-out. He advanced to face and defeat Finlay on the May 9th edition of Smackdown, qualifying for the final round of the King of the Ring against Booker T. On May 21 at Judgment Day, Lashley lost to Booker T. This would start Booker's heel-run as he soon after, began wrestling as King Booker after having won the King of the King.
United States Championship
Lashley won the United States Championship in an impromptu match against the champion John Bradshaw Layfield announced by Rey Mysterio. The match lasted less than two minutes after Lashley immediately reported to the ring to wrestle JBL after the former champion had insulted and taunted Mysterio. This victory solidified Lashley's growing championship and main event push in the WWE.
As the US Champion, Lashley went on to face King Booker in a rivalry stemming from their King of the Ring match and fueled by Booker's egotistical outlook on Lashley, referring to Lashley as a "peasant". With a newly formed stable referred to as Booker's "Court" (consisting of Finlay and William Regal as enforcers and Sharmell as Booker's Queen and valet), Lashley faced uneven odds and faced his share of losses and hard-fought wins during the months of June and July 2006. Lashley formed a tag team with Batista, much to the fans' delight, adding further popularity to Lashley. They took on King Booker and his court on various occasions, scoring victories in handicap tag matches and even-team matches when Lashley and Batista joined forces with The Undertaker to defeat King Booker, Finlay and William Regal.
ECW/RAW Brands/Championship Matches (2006-2007)
When the WWE issued a revival of Extreme Championship Wrestling (more accurately a brand-extension of WWE called ECW) in 2006, Lashley competed at ECW's December to Dismember on December 3 in an Elimination Chamber match the fifth chamber match held at a PPV since its conception in 2002. The match was held for the ECW World Heavyweight Championship featuring Hardcore Holly, CM Punk, The Big Show, Test and Rob Van Dam, resulting in Lashley eliminating the Big Show in the closing mintues of the match. Lashley went on to successfully defend his new title against the Big Show in a rematch the following night on the December 4th edition of ECW on Syfy. During the remaining weeks of December and into the next year in January, Lashley successfully retained his title against his Elimination Chamber opponents in a variety of championship matches. During his first PPV title defense match, Lashley defeated Test at the 2007 Royal Rumble on January 28. Lashley continued his successful title reign crossing brands when he appeared on the February 5th edition of Monday Night Raw to face the challenge of Kenny Dykstra.
Feuds and Title Matches (2007)
Lashley began wrestling Umaga in several significant matches during his time on the ECW brand during the early months of 2007. Lashley's most memorable Wrestlemania debut came at Wrestlemania XXIII on April 1, in the form of representing Donald Trump in a "Hair vs Hair" match against Vince McMahon who was represented by Umaga with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin as the guest referee. Winning the match, Lashley, Steve Austin and Donald Trump joined in shaving off McMahon's hair.
After Wrestlemania, Lashley began feuding with the WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and his son Shane. The feud included stacking the odds against Lashley and making his wrestling life a complete hell including facing a three-on-one handicap match at Backlash on April 29 against Vince and Shane McMahon and Umaga. After winning the match, Lashley was forced into a Gauntlet Match the following night on the May 21st edition of Monday Night Raw. He defeated four opponents in singles action beginning with the superheavyweight Viscera, followed by a consecutive superheavyweight Umaga, then Shane McMahon and finally Chris Masters. Lashley ultimately was gaining momentum for a title match against Vince McMahon after having lost his title the month before. At One Night Stand on June 3, Lashley beat McMahon for the ECW title.
During the 2007 summer, Lashley joined in the title run for the WWE Championship held by John Cena. In contention also were Randy Orton and King Booker. In a Beat the Clock challenge, Lashley faced Shelton Benjamin, an opponent supported by King Booker to eliminate Lashley from the title run. Benjamin agreed with the condition he would be granted a title match when King Booker defeated John Cena. Lashley however, defeated Benjamin on the July 2, Monday Night Raw episode and broke King Booker's time, thus eliminating Booker from the contender spot. On the July 9th edition of Monday Night Raw, King Booker and Mr. Kennedy faced Lashley in an intended handicap match before Jeff Hardy volunteered to be Lashley's partner, making the match into a tag team outing. The team of Lashley and Hardy defeated King Booker and Kennedy. On July 22, at the Great American Bash Lashley unsuccessfully challenged John Cena for the WWE Championship.
Lashley's last match was on July 30, on Monday Night Raw against Mr. Kennedy. During the match, Lashey was "injured" when he was kicked shoulder-first into the ring steps. This was actually part of giving Lashley time off to have surgery on his shoulder from an injury sustained from Backlash, months earlier. Afterwards, Lashley was released from WWE on February 4, 2008.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2009-2010)
Lashley debuted on Total Nonstop Action Wrestling on July 21 in a tag match with Mick Foley against Kevin Nash and Kurt Angle. Lashley wrestled in singles and tag matches with Brother Devon and Brother Ray. He engaged in a brief rivalry with Scott Steiner before finally wrestling his last match on December 12 at TNAW Final Resoluation. In February 10, 2010, Lashley's profile on the TNA website was removed, confirming his release from the company. In an interview with Heavy Sports Lashley claimed that the release was legitimate and had been done in order for him to fully focus on his MMA career.
Independent Circuit (2010-2012)
On September 25, Lashley debuted on Inoki Genome Federation (IGF). His last IGF match was on March 20, 2013 against Kendo Kashin. Other promotions he wrestled for while on the Independent circuit include Juggalo Championship Wrestling (JCW), Family Wrestling Entertainment (FWE), Big Time Wrestling (BTW), Northeast Wrestling (NEW), Great Lakes Championship Wrestling (GLCW), Hart Legacy Wrestling (HLW), Resistance Pro Wrestling (RPW) and the World Wrestling League (WWL). On June 26, 2013, Lashley signed a two-year contract with the Japanese promotion Inoki Genome Federation (IGF) after winning the general elections.
Return to TNA / Impact Wrestling
The Beat Down Clan (2014–2015)
On March 9, 2014, 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. On the March 20 episode of Impact Wrestling, Lashley and Carter had a rematch that once again ended in a no contest after an interference by Willow attacking Carter.
On the May 15 episode of Impact Wrestling, Lashley made his return after running out to the aid of Eric Young, but instead hitting Young with a spear, and allying himself along with MVP and Kenny King, turning heel in the process. At Slammiversary, Lashley defeated Samoa Joe for challenging Eric Young and Austin Aries for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship in a Steel Cage match, but loses the match. Lashley defeated Eric Young on June 19 episode of Impact Wrestling 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. He defended the title on July 3 against Young. On June 25 (aired July 17) Lashley defended the title against Jeff Hardy. At Impact Wrestling: Destination X, on July 31, Lashley defended the title against Austin Aries, who had forfeited the X Division Championship for a title shot.< At No Surrender, Lashley successfully retained his title against Bobby Roode. On September 18, 2014, at the tapings for the edition of October 28 of Impact Wrestling, Lashley lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Bobby Roode.
Lashley regained the championship on January 7, 2015, thanks to interference from MVP, King, Samoa Joe and Low Ki, as well as Eric Young turning on Roode. On the January 16 episode of Impact Wrestling, 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, with MVP saying that the title belongs to the BDC, this turned Lashley face in the process. Lashley was a member of Team Angle at Lockdown, defeating The Beat Down Clan. On the March 20 episode of Impact Wrestling, Lashley lost the TNA World Heavyweight Championship to Kurt Angle. On the April 3 episode of Impact Wrestling, Lashley received a rematch for the title, but was again defeated by Angle.
Various feuds (2015–2016)
On the June 3 episode of Impact Wrestling, Lashley defeated Eric Young after Chris Melendez caused a distraction for Young. At Slammiversary, Lashley tag-team with Mr. Anderson against Ethan Carter III and Tyrus, in a losing effort. On the August 12 episode of Impact Wrestling, Lashley defeated Jessie Godderz in a qualifying match for the King of the Mountain match for the vacant TNA King of the Mountain Championship, which was won by PJ Black. On the August 26 episode of Impact Wrestling, Lashley competed in Four-Way match for a shot at King of the Mountain Championship which was won by Bobby Roode. On the September 16 episode of Impact Wrestling, Team TNA (Lashley, Drew Galloway, Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards and Bram) defeated Team GFW (Jeff Jarrett, Eric Young, Chris Mordetzky, Brian Myers and Sonjay Dutt) in a Lethal Lockdown Match. On October 4, at Bound for Glory, Lashley unsuccessfully challenged Bobby Roode for the TNA King of the Mountain Championship. During October and November, Lashley began competing in the TNA World Title Series for the new opportunity to win the vacant TNA World Heavyweight Championship, where he ended second in his block to successfully advance to the round of 16 where he defeated Drew Galloway to advance into the quarterfinals where he defeated Mahabali Shera to advance the semifinals, but however Lashley failed to qualify for the finals when he was defeated by the eventual winner Ethan Carter III.
Championship reigns (2016–2018)
On the March 8 episode Impact Wrestling, Lashley defeated Kurt Angle. After the match, he would continue to assault Angle until he was run off by Drew Galloway, Eddie Edwards and Ethan Carter III, thus turning heel once again. On the March 15 episode of Impact Wrestling, Lashley attacked Josh Mathews and D'Angelo Dinero. On the March 22 episode of Impact Wrestling, Lashley competed in a gauntlet match to determine the number one contender to the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, but he was eliminated by an interfering D'Angelo Dinero. On the April 5 episode of Impact Wrestling, Lashley defeated D'Angelo Dinero in a Street Fight. On the May 3 episode of Impact Wrestling, Lashley won a three-way match against Jeff Hardy and Mike Bennett to get a title shot for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship against Drew Galloway. However, on the May 15 episode of Impact Wrestling, Lashley failed to win the title in a Lumberjack match, after a disqualification. On June 12 at Slammiversary, Lashley finally defeated Drew Galloway by knockout in a Tap Out or Knockout match, 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. On the July 21 episode of Impact Wrestling, Lashley defeated Eddie Edwards in a Winner Take All Six Sides of Steel match to retain the TNA World Heavyweight and win the TNA X Division Championship. On the August 11 episode of Impact Wrestling, 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 TNA's newest acquisition Aron Rex, who observed Lashley from the ramp. On the September 1 episode of Impact Wrestling, he successfully retained his title against Mike Bennett. At Bound for Glory, he retains his title against Ethan Carter III. On October 6, he lost the TNA World Heavyweight Championship to Eddie Edwards. On the October 20 episode of Impact Wrestling, Lashley defeated Moose to determine the number one contender to the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, but failed to regain the November 3 episode of Impact Wrestling. At Total Nonstop Deletion, Lashley got another chance to regain the title, but the match ended in a no-contest.
On the January 5 episode of Impact Wrestling, Lashley failed to regain the championship in a three-way match who also involving Ethan Carter III, after an interference of Davey Richards. At One Night Only: Live!, Lashley defeated Davey Richard. The following week, he defeated Ethan Carter III in a Last Man Standing match for be the number one contender to the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, at Genesis, which he defeated Edwards in a 30-minute Iron Man match to become a four-time TNA World Heavyweight Champion. On the January 12 episode of Impact Wrestling, At the last he successfully retained his title against Josh Barnett, who challenged him last week. On the March 2 episode of Impact Wrestling, Lashley lost the TNA World Championship to Alberto El Patron but it was a controversial victory for Alberto El Patron and then the belt returned to Lashley. On the April 20 episode of Impact Wrestling, Lashley retained his title against James Storm, after Ethan Carter III hit James Storm's head with a beer bottle while the referee was unconscious.
At Slammiversary XV, Lashley lost his title to Alberto El Patron in a unification match with the GFW Global Championship. He later announced that he is (kayfabe) quitting wrestling to focus on his MMA career. This went into a feud against Moose where American Top Team were involved. At Bound for Glory, Lashley and King Mo defeated Moose and Stephan Bonnar in a Six Sides of Steel.
On January 14, 2018, Lashley left Impact Wrestling.
Lashley graduated from Missouri Valley College in 1999 with a degree in Human Service Agency Management. He is also a former sergeant in the United States Army, where he continued wrestling. Lashley was set to compete for the 2003 Olympic games before suffering a dream-ending injury while at a bank that was robbed.
Lashley has a daughter, Kyra, who was born in 2005. In 2007, Lashley opened up a shop that sells health smoothie drinks. He dated former WWE Diva Kristal Marshall. The couple had a son, named Myles in July 2008.
In July 2009, Lashley announced the launch of The Lashley Network. The Lashley Network of websites comprises his official gym, his official nutrition store, and his social networking website. In a press release for the launch he stated that he is keeping his name out in the television media and on the internet so he can reach his goal of being the top fighter in MMA.
In March 2010, Lashley announced the grand opening of his new gym in the Denver, Colorado area titled American Top Team Altitude. The facility will serve as a gym such as popular chain Gold's Gym and will also showcase MMA events.
Lashley was featured in the 2010 video game EA Sports MMA.
In May 2010, Lashley announced the opening of his new MMA Management company Lashley Management. Lashley, along with co-founder Judith Sussman, represent current and future MMA fighters.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- "The Dominator"
- "The Real Deal"
- "The God of Thunder"
- "The Boss"
- "The Destroyer"
- Entrance themes
- "God of Thunder" by Kiss (OVW)
- "Hell Will Be Calling Your Name" performed by Mercy Fall and composed by Jim Johnston (WWE)
- "Blow Me Away" by Breaking Benjamin (AAA)
- "The Boss" by Dale Oliver (TNA; 2009–2010, 2014)
- "I'm Me" by Lil Wayne (Independent circuit)
- "Domination" by Dale Oliver (TNA, 2014–present)
- "Return of the Ronin" by MVP (TNA; Used with MVP)
Championships and accomplishments
- Amateur Wrestling
- Armed Forces Championship (2 times)
- Missouri Valley College National Championship (1996, 1997, and 1998)
- NAIA National Wrestling Champion (1997, 1998)
- Military World Championship Silver Medalist (2002)