REAL NAME: Franklin Roberto Lashley
6' 3", 250 pounds
BORN:July 16, 1976 in Colorado Springs, Colorado
NICKNAMES: The Real Deal, Blaster Lashley, Bobby Lashley, Lashley
WWE's newest powerhouse Lashley, born Franklin Roberto Lashley, has an extensive amateur background, having wrestled while attending Missouri Valley College. After a fourth place finish in 1995, Lashley would win national championships from 1996-1998. In 1997 and 1998, Lashley weighed in at 177 pounds and was the NAIA National Wrestling Champion. After college, Lashley joined the United States Army and continued his wrestling career while in uniform, becoming a two-time Armed Forces Champion and won a silver medal in the 2002 CISM World Championships, in which he competed against the best military wrestlers in the world. In 2003, representing the United States Army, he placed third in the Senior Men's Freestyle World Team Trials in the 96 kg weight division.
In Ohio Valley, Blaster Lashley clashed with the likes of Ken Doane and Robert Fury. By May 2005 however, he was on the road with the Raw roster, taking on Val Venis. He also worked dark matches before Raw and Smackdown, taking on Trevor Rhodes (later Trevor Murdoch), Johnny Jeter and, teaming with C.M. Punk, took on Rhodes and Lance Cade during the summer of 2005.
But Lashley's time in OVW wasn't finished yet as he returned in May to compete in the Ohio Valley Television title tournament. About the same time, he formed an alliance with Ken Doane, Mike Mondo and Kenny Bolin that came to be known as Bolin Services. On July 1st, they competed against Jim Cornette's Team OVW (which included Nick Dinsmore, Elijah Burke and Brent Albright). Lashley and Mondo also lost a "Coward Waves the Flag" match against Elijah Burke and Deuce Shade (who had Tommy Dreamer in their corner).
Lashley eventually grew disenchanted with Bolin Services, refusing to help Doane, who was OVW TV Champion, cheat to retain his title against Nick Nemeth. On September 28th, just five days after he debuted on Smackdown (with a victory over Simon Dean), Lashley fired Kenny Bolin. During a match against the Boogeyman several weeks later, Bolin and Dean Visk attacked Lashley, but Brent Albright made the save. Lashley continued to battle Bolin Services even as he made his initial appearances on Smackdown.
Lashley's initial appearances on Smackdown, meanwhile, made quite an impression. After his victory over Dean, Lashley took on several enhancement talent-level wrestlers before defeating Dean at No Mercy, forcing the fitness guru to eat 20 cheeseburgers afterwards.
Lashley made such an impact on Smackdown that, just weeks after his debut, he was part of the Smackdown team at the 2005 Survivor Series. After impressing the crowd with his power against Team Raw, Lashley was the first elimination, with Shawn Michaels getting the pinfall after a Kane chokeslam.
Back on Smackdown, Lashley feuded with Paul Burchill and William Regal (leading to a Lashley victory in a handicap match at Armaggedon, JBL (who defeated Lashley at No Way Out and is currently battling Fit Finlay, who cost Lashley the match at No Way Out.
Lashley was the surprise opponent of U.S. champion John "Bradshaw" Layfield on the May 23, 2006 episode of SmackDown! and won the title after a spear.
Finlay would use his shillelagh to steal the gold from Lashley on July 11 and after that, Lashley was in the mid-card on the Friday night show.
On the Oct. 27 SmackDown, Lashley and Tatanka were defeated by William Regal and Dave Taylor and Tatanka attacked Lashley on the floor after the match. A feud seemed imminent, but that never came to fruition.
In the United Kingdom for the Nov. 14 ECW show on SciFi, Hardcore Holly was about to sign the open contract to be the sixth and final member of the Extreme Elimination Chamber match at December To Dismember pay-per-view, but Lashley attacked Holly in the back, speared then-ECW champion The Big Show in the aisle and signed the contract.
Three weeks later on Dec. 3, Lashley and Big Show were the final two remaining in the Chamber match and Lashley won the title after yet another spear.
Lashley successfully defended the belt two nights later against Show, winning with a bodyslam.
Shortly thereafter, Lashley was put in a title program with Test and won via countout at the 2007 Royal Rumble.
Lashley was named as Donald Trump’s representative in the Hair vs. Hair match at WrestleMania 23 in Detroit. Lashley battled Vince McMahon’s rep, Umaga, and the loser of the match (McMahon) had his head shaved.
At Backlash, Lashley's ECW title reign ended when Umaga, Vince and Shane McMahon beat him in a handicap match where the man who made the pin (Vince) would be champ. Lashley regained the belt at One Night Stand, but had to relinquish the strap eight days later on Raw when he was drafted to the Monday night program.
Lashley was then put into a short program with WWE champion John Cena that culminated with Cena pinning Lashley at The Great American Bash on July 22.
It now appears that Lashley will start a feud with Carlito after Lashley thrashed Carlito on the July 23 Raw after having apple spit on him.
However, Lashley, who had been wrestling injured, was put on the shelf with a shoulder injury by Mr. Kennedy in a match on Raw just a week later. Dr. James Andrews performed surgery on Lashley's shoulder, but Lashley never returned to WWE, being released from his contract in early February 2008. That release came just over a week after Lashley said on his website that he'd asked to be taken off WWE's payroll. Lashley vaguely claimed "circumstances which are out of my control left me no decision but to leave the WWE."
It looked as though Lashley would follow in Brock Lesnar's footsteps when he announced he was training full-time to enter the mixed martial arts arena. He won both his fights, beating Joshua Franklin by TKO early in the first round in December 2008, and in March 2009, he defeated Jason Guida by unanimous decision. The latter fight might have been more notable for Ken Shamrock (Lashley's original opponent) testing postive for steroids and being replaced by Guida than the actual match itself.
Lashley surprised just about everybody when he made his return to pro wrestling, appearing at TNA's Lockdown. After a Lethal Lockdown Match between Team Angle and Team Jarrett, the lights went out and when they came back on, Lashley was standing on the entranceway. He pointed to the ring to a smiling Kurt Angle and worried looking Jeff Jarrett.
December 29, 2011: Bobby Lashley's two sides: MMA fighter, pro wrestler
July 16, 2009: Lashley: "I want to do both because I can"
May 16, 2009: Lashley keeps perfect record intact with quick win
May 14, 2009: Lashley turns to MMA
February 5, 2008: Bobby Lashley officially released from WWE
January 23, 2008: Is Lashley done with WWE?
March 31, 2007: Lashley's bowling fundraiser for a good cause
--- compiled by John M. Milner, Matt Mackinder and Richard Kamchen
BOBBY LASHLEY STORIES
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Bowl With Bobby Lashley charity event March 31, 2007, in Detroit
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