Bobby Lashley has had no shortage of monikers throughout his 16-year career in pro wrestling. He has been called “The Almighty,” “The Destroyer,” and the “The Dominator,” just to name a few.
But those are now all secondary to his newest title: WWE Champion Bobby Lashley.
“I promised myself that this would happen,” says Lashley. “There have been times when I didn’t know if this was going to come, but I worked my ass off and refused to be denied. Now that we’re here, it’s surreal.”
Lashley defeated The Miz by submission during the main event of Monday night’s Raw. At the age of 44, he finally begins a well-earned—and long overdue—run with WWE’s most prestigious belt. And since the bout was a lumberjack match, Lashley’s coronation took place alongside friends and peers.
“Seeing so many people ringside—like Ricochet, Elias and Braun—that meant a lot,” says Lashley. “I’ve shared moments with all of them. Sharing it with Shelton, Cedric and MVP, that’s very meaningful, too. I’ve had so many calls and messages—I heard from my college wrestling coach, my high school wrestling coach, even people I trained with in Japan. It’s been amazing.”
The title celebration continues back home Tuesday evening in Colorado, where Lashley will share the moment with his three children.
“The three of them, they’re my life, my driving force,” says Lashley. “I wrote a long message to them before the match last night, and I can’t wait to share it with them [Tuesday night].”
Lashley has transformed himself into a performer unlike any other in the industry, bringing an incredibly realistic in-ring presentation to his work. He is also especially grateful for those beside him, particularly on-screen partner and longtime friend MVP.
“It’s like we both won the title,” says Lashley. “I wouldn’t want it any other way. He’s a friend, a very important part of my career, and the fact that he was beside me last night was perfect.”
The history of the WWE Championship has a rich lineage, but it does not offer much representation throughout its history. Lashley is proud to help change that as he carves his name into WWE history.
“I went into professional wrestling believing that the world title would be my world medal,” says Lashley, who won three national titles as a collegiate wrestler. “This has always been my goal. Even when times were tough, I didn’t stop. I never stopped, I kept working to get better. My dad taught me hard work, and I’m teaching that to my kids. And it’s true—the harder I work, the luckier I get.”
Next up for Lashley is the build to WrestleMania, where he will enter WWE’s signature event as champion and likely square off against Drew McIntyre. The two will bring a hard-hitting, smash-mouth style to the card, perfectly blending the past together with the present era of professional wrestling.
“If I fight Drew at WrestleMania, then damn right, we’re going to kill it,” says Lashley. “That’s the match I need to prove the type of champion I will be. We won’t be pulling punches, we’ll be going all out. Give us the chance, it will be everything and more.”
Lashley is allowing himself a few moments to celebrate, though that time is fleeting. The son of a drill sergeant, Lashley eagerly returns Wednesday morning to his disciplined training regimen—two separate workouts are already scheduled—all in pursuit of a new goal: creating a title reign that stands the rest of time.
“The work is now just beginning,” says Lashley. “I have wanted this opportunity for a long time, and I’m going to ramp this up like you’ve never seen before.
“[Wednesday] morning, I’m right back on the grind. I can’t wait to get started.”