WWE United States Champion Bobby Lashley says he’s the most confident he’s been since winning the title in August 2020. The enforcer stands strong alongside MVP, Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander in the Hurt Business, a stable currently performing on WWE’s Raw. The group has had some internal squabbling of late, but remains a tight unit on the program.
Lashley’s next challenge for his gold belt comes at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, where he defends against Keith Lee and Matt Riddle. Before the triple threat match, we sat down with the imposing superstar to talk about his recent success and mindset going into WrestleMania.
WWE has been giving Hurt Business the freedom to run with the ball. How does that feel?
Bobby Lashley: It’s magic. As a group we go out together, have a couple of drinks, come up with different ideas and hang out. We’re friends. I think the fans really feel what we’re doing is real. People are getting behind us and it feels good.
There have been times in the past when successful groups were disbanded for whatever reasons. Are you worried that could happen to the Hurt Business?
No. Sometimes when we disagree, it’s just being brothers — you have little spats. There’s no chance we’re breaking up.
You’ve been working with Keith Lee. Do you see a lot of yourself in his trajectory?
Now that you say that, I kind of do. When I first came in, I was a major player. Then I hovered. At certain times I faced John Cena, Booker T. and JBL [John Bradshaw Layfield], but I never broke through to get that world title. Keith has earned respect from a lot of people. He has been going out there and doing everything he has to do. I think he’s the kind of person who might need a little Hurt Business in his life to take him to that next level. He is ready to breakout, as are others.
You mentioned John Cena; I remember when you crossed paths at theGreat American Bash2007. Why do you think things didn’t build off of that opportunity?
To get a world title on WWE, it takes time. For me, I don’t mind that I didn’t get to break through to the next level then. It makes my fan base really want me to get there more now. When people are given things, I don’t think they work as hard for what they want.
Along with the Hurt Business, there’s Bianca Belair winning the Royal Rumble this year, New Day doing well — what’s it like seeing so many people of color getting their time to shine?
With wrestling, there’s someone for everyone. If you’r a young Black kid, you have a lot of people to look up to right now. I’m not saying you can’t look up to someone of a different color, but you can say, “OK, I can see myself in him a little bit more.” That’s across the board. My family’s multicultural. At the same time, I hope to be a positive role model for Black kids who are watching me.
You also have a strong mixed martial arts background and so does fellow former MMA star Matt Riddle —what’s it like in the ring?
I know I can beat his ass and he can keep going. All the gloves are off when he walks in. He almost broke my ribs kicking me in the side once. It’s fun out there. I love combat. I’ve done it all my life.
If you were a WWE recruiter, who would you try to sign from the MMA?
Josh Barnett for sure. He has that Hurt Business style. King Mo has been doing some wrestling things. He would do well. [Daniel] Cormier has expressed a lot of interest. I’d like to see him make that jump.
After so many months of not performing in front of a crowd, how do you feel about WrestleMania in April welcoming back some fans?
I just had a treadmill put in my damn dining room. I’m training like Rocky. I’m working with a strength and conditioning coach. Some people take it as another event, but it’s bigger than that. On top of that, we haven’t had live events for so long, so we haven’t had those reps in front of fans. That means you have to do a little more training. Everyone is going to want to put on the best show they can. It’s WrestleMania season. It’s exciting.
WWERaw, Mondays, 8/7c, USA Network
WWEElimination Chamber, February 21, 7/6c, Pay-Per-View and WWE Network