SPORTS

Bobby Lashley
By Josh Modaberi, 27 January, 2015

Bobby Lashley is a former WWE and current TNA star with a background in amateur wrestling which has also helped him to excel in the mixed martial arts (MMA) world with Bellator.

As TNA embark on their seventh annual Maximum Impact Tour of the United Kingdom, which sees them host shows in Glasgow, Manchester and London, Lashley is the main man as the current TNA Heavyweight champion.

Lashley has fond memories of performing in the UK when he was with the WWE but this is going to be his first time across the pond with TNA and he is looking forward to stepping back inside a ring in Britain.

"The biggest thing that I will always say is that the UK crowds aren't spoiled," the grappler from Junction City, Kansas added. "I think in the United States we get spoilt, we can watch a wrestling show every night of the week.

"The UK fans they watch us on TV all the time and then when we come over once or twice a year they are ready. The good thing is we've had some time off before coming over here so we've been getting ready for the fans as well.

"I'm so excited about performing in front of packed houses and I know everyone who is part of this tour is looking to performing at their best and giving it their all. I think you're going to see three amazing shows, the energy level from the crowd and the energy we're going to bring to the table, it's going to be electric, it's going to be awesome."

This is Lashley's second spell with TNA and he feels he has improved leaps and bounds since his first stint with the Nashville based company.

"As a professional wrestler I feel I've progressed," he said. "The Bobby Lashley that is here today would look back at the Bobby Lashley of yesterday and say you need to go back down to developmental for a little bit and learn some stuff.

"I took some time to really do some Indy work and I really prepared myself well by working with some good guys. My work rate has gone up dramatically, some of the matches I've had since I've been back with TNA have been amazing, against the likes of Bobby Roode, Eric Young, Austin Aries and Jeff Hardy.

"I just want to keep proving to the crowd that there is a different element to me than what they saw before when I was just a big guy, I've got so much more to my arsenal."

TNA has this year seen the biggest change in the company's history moving from their previous home on Spike TV to Destination America but it is a move that the TNA Champion thinks will benefit both parties.

"I think Destination America is a great platform for TNA to be on," Lashley continued. "At TNA we're still building, Destination America is a small channel and is building. The one thing I really like about Destination America is that they're really on our side, they've got our backs big time and I'm really excited about that.

"I think they're going to really start doing some big things for us, they want everybody on their channel to be a star, so if they need to use one of their other shows to help us I think they will do it. We're all really excited to be working with Destination America and the opportunity they have given us."

A number of professional wrestlers have made the jump from wrestling over to the world of MMA including the likes of Batista and Brock Lesnar. Lashley has also made the jump but is doing both simultaneously and he has big plans.

"It's very hard doing both the wrestling and MMA at the same time," the 38–year–old explained. "The one thing I don't do is sleep because there is so much work involved.

"I had a minor debate with someone in pro wrestling because they said something negative about my MMA career but I told him I'm representing you guys because wrestling is one genre that hasn't taken off in MMA.

"In MMA circles they have the perception that wrestling is fake, so when I'm in an MMA cage I'm representing professional wrestlers. Right now I'm building a legacy that I don't think anyone else will be able to do, to fight and pro wrestle at the same time, by the end of this year I'm looking to hold both the TNA Heavyweight title and Bellator Heavyweight title."

The latest professional wrestler to make the jump over to the MMA world is former WWE Champion CM Punk who has signed a deal with UFC and Lesnar feels Punk will be a success in the Octagon.

"My motto is you can't be successful at just one thing," he continued. "Punk was extremely successful at wrestling and when you're successful at one thing you learn the motto and the motto is hard work. When Punk came to professional wrestling he didn't fit the model, he don't look like me or Brock Lesnar, but he broke every barrier to make it to the top.

"Punk in my opinion has been the biggest thing to happen to the wrestling industry in the last 20 years. He will use the same model that he used in wrestling and he will take that over to fighting, I know he's training with some people and he is having a great camp right now and he is going to prove a lot of people wrong.

"Nobody cares if Punk wins or loses, I care how he is going to show out there and he will earn a lot of respect from people. I'm excited to see when he fights, I'll be watching along with the other two or three million people that are going to buy the PPV and he s going to shatter records."
Lashley and the stars of TNA IMPACT WRESTLING are in Glasgow (January 29), Manchester (January 30) and London (January 31). Tickets are still available from gigst.rs/TNA15

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