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411’s Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions Report: Bobby Lashley On His MMA Career, Winning The WWE Title, More

August 16, 2021 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
WWE Bobby Lashley Broken Skull Sessions

411’s Steve Austin: The Broken Skull Sessions Report: Bobby Lashley

-Original Air Date: 08.15.21
-Run Time: 1:35:15

-Steve Austin welcomes us to the show and his guest today is the WWE Champion, Bobby Lashley. Austin jokes he knows that Bobby is tired and Lashley says it’s cool as he doesn’t get tired anymore. We find out this is the day after RAW was in Dallas as they talk about being in front of a crowd again. Lashley loved that his first match back with fans was against Kofi because everyone loves Kofi.

-Austin wants to know when Lashley started shaving his head and he mentions it was in college. They agree it works for Lashley as it doesn’t work for everyone.

-Austin did research and notes that Lashley doesn’t make a bunch of headlines and that’s for all the right reasons. He rattles off that Lashley is big into meditation and is always looking for the next goal. He is also a fanatic about having his bed made. Lashley says he heard about how making your bed every morning starts your day on the right foot and Lashley took that to heart. Austin admits he tried meditation and didn’t last more than 30 seconds. Lashley says he has to find that peace to get things out of his mind. He also doesn’t want much TV and will power through audio books. Lashley says he was learning about real estate so he can get his license and he learned all he could about the Stock Market. He also does this an example for his kids and specifically his son that is also into learning all these things.

-Austin brings up Money in The Bank and how he throttled Kofi in their match. Lashley mentions that the question going into those shows was how the fans were going to react after months and months of The ThunderDome. He loves Kofi and he thinks the match did what it needed and set the pace for what is to come.

-They discuss intensity and what it means and they both agree that it doesn’t mean you are moving fast. Lashley mentions that most people don’t know what it feels like to be body slammed, but they know what it feels like to be grabbed by someone. Austin is teaching here as he speaks directly to the locker room in that rushing isn’t what it is all about. There should be urgency and a sense of trying to win. Lashley admits he likes the flipping stuff, but that obviously isn’t his style and wouldn’t work for him.

-Lashley talks about opening up more and being expressive. He grew up with the idea that he was a machine and to keep his head down and keep working and that alone doesn’t make you a top star in wrestling. He talks about growing up in a military family. His parents split and he was brought up to be a man because of his father, wrestling coach etc.

-Austin mentions Lashley is a 3 Time National Champion and 4 Time All American in collegiate wrestling. He had aspirations for the Olympic Team as well. Austin asks how he took all he had ad turned it into the style he has now. Lashley mentions when he first started a lot of the stuff he was doing was amateur stuff. He learned that it made him seem smaller as he was used to getting crouched in a wrestling stance. The Undertaker pulled him aside and told him to stand up straight as was big and impressive and needed the fans to see it. He talks about leaving WWE and working Indy shows and his goal was to learn pro-wrestling. Lashley says he was receptive to advice from any of the guys in the back like Taker.

-Austin says that Lashley lost his ego quick as he was fine with selling and not dominating which a lot of guys who come from a high amateur background have trouble with. Lashley says he never had an ego. He says that he is a guy that doesn’t instigate and he doesn’t push what he can do on anyone. Everyone knows what he can do, but he isn’t going to brag about it. He loves fighting and will fight anyone.

-They discuss Army life as Lashley says it was cool, but it wasn’t something he wanted to do forever. He spent all that time in college wrestling and when he was done, he asked his coach what was next. His coach told him to keep going and Lashley opted to take a sports management job. He got an invite to attend The National Championships in Vegas as a fan and the same person called him back to see if he wanted to wrestle in the event. Lashley told him no as he had been partying and having fun the last year. His coach told Lashley fine as he likely was too afraid to try anyway. Austin laughs and of course being so competitive Lashley took up the offer and did rather well as he won his first two matches before losing 4-2 to the guy who won the entire event.

-Next his Army coach called him to wrestle and they would pay off his student loans and he would have a job waiting for him. Lashley crushed all the physical activities in basic training and he killed it on the mat and that’s where he felt he had a chance to get to the 2004 Olympics.

-Lashley was cutting down to 187 lbs and then moved up to 211 lbs as he felt better at that weight. He went to the bank one day and looking back he remembers three guys with bandanas standing outside. He didn’t think anything of it as he was getting money out of the ATM. He walked inside the bank and gun shots rang out. When the bullets started flying, Lashley took a dive to the ground. He says it felt like he was trying to push himself through the concrete. All he could think was this wasn’t how it was supposed to end. The robbers left and Lashley helped people up and realized his knee was the size of a softball. He ended up having a few surgeries on his knee and that closed the window on him getting to The Olympic Trials. Once you miss that window, you have to grind for another four years and there was no way he could do that.

-He back tracks as he talks about Kurt Angle coming to Colorado where he was wrestling with the military and they talked and he was marking out over meeting Angle. He admits to having Kurt’s Olympic win on tape and watched it all the time. Kurt told him he had a good look for pro-wrestling and gave him Gerald Brisco’s number. He didn’t want to try then as he still had the 2004 Olympic goal. That’s when the bank robbery happened and then two surgeries. He was laying on his couch after the second surgery and Brisco called him again. Lashley told them he needed some time while not admitting to his injury. He just rehabbed like crazy to get in good enough shape for the workout.

-We jump to OVW as Lashley was sent to Kentucky after signing his WWE contract. Austin asks Lashley his thoughts about going there and seeing wrestling at it’s core. Lashley talks about his try-out and it was him and Dolph Ziggler. Lashley thought the trial was going to just be an interview “and maybe I had to flex for them,” but Dr Tom had them running the ropes. Every night, he and Dolph would go to a local bar and have drinks and discuss things. Dolph was a massive pro-wrestling fan and they would also discuss amateur wrestling.

-Austin laughs at Lashley’s initial gimmick as Blaster Lashley as he wore fatigues and came out to KISS’ ‘God of Thunder.’ Lashley says he came in humble and wanted to keep his mouth shut and do whatever they wanted. He dyed his goatee blonde as down there you have too much time to think. His idea was to train for it like it was his Olympics. He was put with Kenny Bowlen and made sure he got in good with all the boys. They had shows on Wednesday night and did some other house shows. He got called into the office by Cornette and they told him about the Blaster Lashley character. His philosophy was that he was going to make it work. All the boys busted his balls about the character and would always call him Blaster. Fantastic! Lashley says all he could think about was the moves and making sure he didn’t hurt anyone.

-Lashley gets his first WWE match on SmackDown against Simon Dean and Austin puts over Lashley for having one of the greatest bodies in the history of the business. Austin felt Lashley got a good reception from the crowd. Lashley says he is naturally a very quiet person. Before he came up what helped was when Paul Heyman went down to OVW. Heyman called Lashley and told him to meet him at the local Denny’s. They talked and ate for 4 hours as Heyman told Lashley he can’t write for him because he didn’t know who he was. Heyman wrote a 2 month storyline for Lashley and it got over huge with WWE executives and Lashley barely had to do anything. The brass decided to put him on the road with Simon Dean and that was comfort as Dean was one of the guys training him. He wasn’t scheduled to start and then he saw his name on the board for a SmackDown match against Dean. Heyman was there and asked Lashley if he was ready. He told Lashley to not take himself seriously, but to take his job seriously.

-Austin loads up footage of Lashley getting a US Title Match on SmackDown against JBL. I completely forgot about all this stuff before his ECW run. Austin asks where Lashley came up with his pose and he laughs because he has no clue. It just came out one day when he was doing his entrance. Lashley does get a solid reaction from the crowd for being a young guy. Austin has always loved that Lashley sells and Lashely admits he was told that he sells too much sometimes, but to him that is the business. Lashley gets the win and is the New United States Champion! Lashley says all the emotions at that time were real because he was like a kid in the candy store. He was green as grass having people like Regal, Booker, Finlay, and Umaga lead him by the hand.

-They talk about Finlay and Lashley says that Fit just made him go out there and work. He talks about how Fit was small, but he worked like a giant and you could buy that he could kill Lashley. Lashley tells a great story about Finlay getting to use the shilleleigh on him the first time and he played around by tapping it off of tables. Lashley thought it was a rib as it was heavy and he didn’t know how this was going to work, but when Fit swung, it barely touched him while looking great on TV. Fun stuff!

-December to Dismember PPV: Here we go! Lashley is covering his head as Austin brings up the show. Lashley never read any dirt sheets and just lived in the moment and knew nothing about the hate for him and what happened at the show until years later. Lashley doesn’t know the story, but he thinks the idea was some people were pushing for CM Punk to win it. Lashley just showed up to the arena and was told that he was going over and Austin says he was always mentioned that when he get your name called, you aren’t going to turn it down.

-Austin says he isn’t a fan of Elimination Chamber matches and Lashley says once he got in there he thought it was cool. Austin appreciates the take Lashley has on the match and likes that he has an optimistic take on things. Lashley, “I just don’t get mad. It’s not me.”

-Austin talks about how you had this great looking, All American athlete as the ECW champion and at it’s original core, ECW was about blood, beer, and hardcore wrestling. Lashley just showed up as the champion and did what he could to represent as The Champion.

-WrestleMania 23: Not the Main Event, but Umaga (w/ Vince) vs Lashley (w/Trump) in a loser’s second loses their hair match was easily the most hyped match of the show and the reason it did so many buys. I mean, you have Donald Trump, Vince McMahon, and Steve Austin as just pieces of the match while Umaga and Lashley had to handle the actual match. Austin says that when they were in the match, he and Vince kept staring at each other thinking the match was dying because there was no noise from the crowd. Austin explains the sound just went straight up in the air and when you watch it back the fans were with them. Austin always appreciated that Vince will do anything to make an angle successful and that meant having his head shaved that night.

-Lashley loved Vince’s ability to get heat and how creative he is. Vince told Lashley he was going to give it all back to him in the end and that is the real genius behind Vince. He knows that in the end he is going to get embarrassed and he takes his ass kicking.

-Great American Bash 2007: Lashley gets moved from ECW and gets to face John Cena for the WWE Title. Lashley says he remembers hearing people thinking he was getting the Title from Cena. They play video from the match while Austin and Lashley break things down. Austin explains that 6 months after this match, Lashley was gone from WWE. Austin loved when Cena would do the top rope leg drop, but told him that he needed to stop it because he was going to regret it in 15 years. True that and go ask Hogan about dropping legs over and over again. Austin is always great watching this matches because dude is still a fan and he explains things so well, while also marking out as a fan. I could go for Lashley/Cena again. They laugh at the weak way Cena applied the STFU and Austin says he always told Cena he needed to tighten things up with the hold. Cena wins with the AA off the top rope. Lashley tore his labrum during the match and the options were to do surgery or keep going and do surgery down the line hoping it doesn’t get worse. He opted to keep going as he was in the middle of a big ring.

-As mentioned 6 months later, Lashley is gone from WWE and does some Indy shows before ending up in TNA and we get still photos courtesy of George Tahinos. Lashley says WWE was focused on making stars and TNA was about wrestling and even the women they had were wrestlers vs. models the WWE had. Lashley wanted to do Indy shows and learn what the guys who worked hard to get to OVW had told him about. It was his chance to learn to work and he had fun doing things like ranas and whatever he could learn. He feels his work rate picked up in TNA as well.

-Next they touch on Lashley’s MMA career. He was doing Indy shows and was heading to Japan to work with Inoki, but had in the back of his mind he wanted to fight MMA. He went to American Top Team in Florida to train and Dan Lambert was a huge wrestling fan. He and Lambert became friends and he did one MMA match before heading to TNA. He told Dixie Carter that he wanted to do both and Strike Force offered him a contract. TNA then came to him and told him he couldn’t do both. He was called into office and Bischoff and Hogan were there as they were brought in and they didn’t want Lashley doing both, so they agreed to part ways and shook hands. Lashley then went to Strike Force a bit and then Bellator was on SPIKE as was TNA and they agreed he could do both and that led to his second TNA run.

-Austin asks him how he took to getting punched in the face as some people don’t react well. Much like some guys don’t react to that first bump in wrestling. Lashley says for him he it was the reverse as he had to get comfortable with the idea of punching someone in the face. That sounds like Lashley as he seems like a nice dude. Lashley says getting hit didn’t bother him and he barely felt it and only realized how hard he was hit after the fight when things started to hurt and bruise.

-Lashley talks about taking up boxing and learning while he was in the military as the boxing crew was next door to the wrestling crew. Austin asks if all the muscle mass affects his ability to punch and Lashley says that he looks big, but he is flexible and loose. He knows some guys are so huge in the shoulders that their punches are short and different.

-Lashley talks about training with Cain Velasquez and how they got into it going to take downs and they had to stop as nobody could get one. He mentions Cain is one of the most calm yet explosive fighters. He was impressed by Cain and Cormier training and he thinks had not wanted to go back to wrestling he could have made a career of it in MMA.

-Lashley talks about the differences of stepping in front of a crowd in MMA vs Pro-Wrestling. He mentions in Japan they respect MMA guys are warriors and wins and losses don’t matter as much. Here is the US you get killed by fans if you lose a fight and he mentions CM Punk and how he felt bad that fans tried to take everything away from him because he lost.

-Austin wants to know what happened in the Chad Griggs fight. Lashley says that people want to knock off the pro-wrestling guy to prove a point. Lashley hates making excuses and felt like crap heading into that fight. He was sent to a doctor to get an IV because he was dehydrated. He went through the fight and he was murdering the guy after the first round and then thinks went black. The match was stopped because he wasn’t answering the ref. He ended up going to the hospital and he was diagnosed with mono. He doesn’t want to take anything anyway from Griggs because he won the fight and got a UFC contract from it. Lashley wanted a rematch and offered to pay to fly the kid in and it was a no as Griggs wasn’t having any of it.

-TNA Part II: Lashley says MMA was more money because he got paid big checks for just three fights. He was getting six figure checks and they were taking care of him. Lashley made the call to TNA and they shattered his ego as they said they didn’t have anything for him and WWE said the same. Then TNA called him out of the blue for a one time PPV shot and the crowd went crazy for him and TNA gave him a new contract. He was put in a stable with MVP, and Kenny King. They were going to put the Title on MVP and have Lashley as his muscle, but MVP blew his knee out. So MVP became the mouth piece and Lashley was the champion while Kenny was the one who took the bullets for the team. He knows this is when fans started to see a different side of him.

-He talks about working with Matt and Jeff Hardy, Bobby Roode, Drew and Samoa Joe. Austin loved the matches with Joe. Austin admits he didn’t catch a lot of TNA when it happened, but went back to watch and appreciates it more today. Austin mentions how things just kind of work out as The MSG incident cost HHH King of the Ring and he got it, while MVP blowing out his knee opened the door for Lashley.

-They talk promos and Lashley says he felt solid with his promos in TNA because there was no pressure. They had fun as a group where they would film shows for the week and then take a bus and have fun during the weekend. He remembers cutting promos on Kurt and it felt safe and comfortable.

-Lashley mentions he had a fight for Bellator a week after a PPV match with Bobby Roode. He thought he tore his shoulder during the match and was worried as Bellator told him to be careful in the ring as they were advertising him. It worked out and he rehabbed well enough to get to the fight. He would often tape TNA and then run back to MMA training.

-WWE Return: Lashley says he always wanted to get back and keep in contact with HHH. There was a mass exodus of TNA and they were having financial issues. Lashley was being paid a good bit and his contract was coming up in June and he didn’t want to be low balled and he explained if he was released now (Feb) it would free up money to get other guys signed. He asked them to give him a window to speak with WWE and he would come back to discuss with them. They gave him the okay and HHH was all about bringing him back just after Mania and that was good enough for Lashley. He went back to TNA and they shook hands and let him walk. That actually sounds like grown adults doing business, so good on all parties involved.

-They talk about business and Lashley says he is straight forward and if TNA had said no, he would have been fine and given them his all until the contract ended. In the end it’s just business and they had every right to say no if they wanted to.

-Austin throws to footage of Lashley making his WWE return by interrupting ELIAS. They discuss the pop and Lashley says it wasn’t a Stone Cold pop, but it was good. Austin knows what Lashley was thinking when he came through the curtain as you are terrified that nobody will remember you. “Welcome Back” chant before he murders Elias.

-Lashley mentions he was gone 11 years and Austin asks about the boys in the back. Lashley says it was a whole different locker room and he was just a fly on the wall. He would talk to the people he knew and just tried to blend in. The locker room he was used to was filled with boys who drank and party and this one was all about video games. HA! “I don’t know any video games.” I can only imagine some of the Attitude Era games dealing with a locker room full of video game players.

-Lashley says the heel turn was his idea and he was begging for it. He was a heel in TNA and he was okay with coming back as a baby face, but the crowd started to change. Lashley told Vince to just let him beat people up and go for the title. In his mind he is the heel as fans want a face that entertains and he is a hard worker that just smashes people. He wanted to be made credible so that he could help make other guys like JBL and Booker T helped him. He talks about working with Apollo and Riddle and how they are doing big things now.

-Lashley told MVP that he wanted to bring a toughness back to the locker room. That led to The Hurt Business and Lashley says it helped his confidence as it let him tell the story of who he was. He didn’t want them to be seen as thugs because he is a businessman outside of WWE. His goal was to bring the old school style back that guys like Booker T and JBL had. MVP was the mouth piece as he wanted him to be a combination of Don King and Suge Knight. They wanted to bring some guys in and Shelton was chosen because they were friends. They needed a young buck and Cedric was perfect for the spot.

-He took baby steps in pitching the idea to the office. The Hurt Business came from American Top Team and Lashley made sure to call them to get their blessing and they were all for it. MVP returned at the Rumble and Lashley pitched the group to him and then to Paul who always loved MVP. They didn’t want to mention they had a similar group in TNA. The office like the idea and wanted to make a shirt and Lashley said how about “The Hurt Business” and he was stunned it made it through. He then wanted to add Ricochet and Apollo. He really wanted Apollo on the team and the office made the decision to have them feud with The Hurt Business and then made the decision to add Cedric.

-They talk about MVP’s cane and Lashley laughs that it is a shoot and that any time MVP gets hurt, he wins a title. He told MVP that if he gets hit by a car, then he is probably getting booked to go over Roman for both titles. Awesome!

-RAW: Lashley murders Miz to win the WWE Title. Austin and Lashley both gush over Miz as they each say that he works hard and gets it. Lashley always says if you don’t like Miz you are just jealous and Austin agrees. Lashley wishes they had a crowd because the story was so hot and Miz was great throughout the entire show. Lashley admits he didn’t sleep from a couple days after winning the title. His family is from Panama and people from the country were calling him to take photos holding up the title in front of their flag. He didn’t know if the day was ever going to come and it as just amazing and cool. Austin points out that moment is a shoot and Lashley agrees as it shows and proves you are at a different level.

-WrestleMania 37: Lashley loves being in the ring with Drew because he brings the best out of you. They were part of a tag team against The Shield and realized they had a great natural intensity and they knew what they could do from their matches in TNA. He brings up the rain delay and he told the office if needed they would fight in the backstage to buy time. He felt Drew needed someone like him as a follow up from the previous year when he ran through Brock. Lashley says that he feels it cemented him and Vince loved him and his aggression.

-Next they discuss Goldberg and Lashley says he is a Goldberg fan. He loves the intensity and says he takes things personally when he is out there. He has a feeling they are going to have a good match. He is amazed to get the match with Goldberg and he wants to get more matches with guys that were former world champions. He wants to get Booker out of retirement and “Stone Cold Steve Austin has one more match in him.” That gets a laugh from Austin.

-Austin says he was hoping to have a career that ran to how long Lashley is now. Lashley feels he still has a lot to show and prove. He wants to be one of those names that you always think of when you think of a World Champion. He mentions the idea of a match with Brock and he doesn’t know if Brock is going to be come back. He thinks it would be a good opportunity for Brock to come back and face him. He wants to fight as long as he can and he wants someone to tell him when he seems a step slow. He will then examine things and step away if he is slipping. He enjoys what he is doing and gets up at 5:30 AM every day. He doesn’t put junk in his body and is a work out machine and feels he has another 5 years left in him.

-They talk about the expectations of getting into the wrestling business. He tells a story of his early run and being in Spain walking around in a tank top. He doesn’t view himself as being big and a kid and mom were walking by him and the kid grabbed his leg, hugged him, and started crying. He told his mom that Lashley was a super hero and that blew Lashley’s mind. He always thought what they did was just a little thing until he had people calling out his name and wanting pictures.

-Austin wraps things up and thanks Lashley for coming out for the show.

-This was great and probably my favorite episode that featured someone from the current roster. You don’t get much from Lashley and he hasn’t had a bunch of Network specials about him, so this touched on a lot of things I didn’t know about the man. The 90 plus minutes just flew by and I was wanting more by the time they were finished. I always appreciate they have no issues discussing TNA as it only adds to the story of these men and women. Definitely check this one out and you will get a greater appreciation and respect for Lashley. Thanks for reading!