Bobby Lashley will play a major part in Monday’s episode of Raw as he is set to marry Lana.
Since returning to WWE in April of 2018, Lashley has enjoyed success in programs with Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman, but he has yet to reach the top of the card. WWE’s creative team has dedicated significant time to this story against Rusev, which has the potential to lead to main-event opportunities.
Lashley spoke with Sports Illustrated hours before Raw airs live on the USA Network, discussing the wedding storyline, comparing the differences between working with Lana and Lio Rush, as well as touching on his relationship with Paul Heyman.
Justin Barrasso: You have dedicated the majority of your adult life to perfecting your craft in wrestling. Did you ever imagine that your two most memorable storylines would be with Donald Trump at WrestleMania 23 and now a wedding with Lana?
Bobby Lashley: You never know what’s going to happen in this wrestling business. The Donald Trump thing was huge, it was enormous, and this one is going to be another crazy experience. I never know what to expect, but I’m riding the wave.
Barrasso: While a love affair with a married woman is typical for Hollywood, it is still a bit risqué for WWE in 2019. But have you noticed any extra attention, or hate, directed at this storyline with you and Lana because it portrays an interracial couple?
Lashley: Yes, I’ve experienced a tremendous amount of hate. We as a society come out and we’re anti-bullying, anti-hate, anti-this, anti-that, but I think we actually pick and choose who we hate and bully.
Because everybody still knows me, and knows what I do and what I’m capable of doing—what I’ve done in my career as far as the military, being a single father, putting myself through college, graduating with honors, and I could keep going. But I received a tremendous amount of hate here across the board personally for the things that, I guess, I do. It’s all over the board.
It’s from the fact that this is interracial, because I’ve had guys saying the n-word to me and, ‘I’m going to kill you, we’re going to get you when you come down south.’ I just kind of sit back and laugh about it. I’ve even experienced some people that are in the business of wrestling—tweeting things and posting pictures, and I just sit back and laugh. A lot of times we feel that the person being hated on or being bullied should be a frail person. But now you take somebody like myself and Lana, who is a gorgeous woman, and we don’t look like the typical people that are bullied.
I’m glad I have thick skin. Because if I didn’t have thick skin, some of the things that I’ve had to experience would be very difficult to take.
Barrasso: One of the brighter sides of working with Lana is that it has given you the chance to have a prolonged feud with Rusev.
There are few athletes in the entire wrestling industry with your physique, strength, and versatility, but Rusev is also incredibly strong and multi-skilled in the ring. What has it been like to work with him?
Lashley: I think he’s incredible. Everything that’s going on has pumped him up a lot more, too. In-ring, it’s been phenomenal working with him.
Looking through the roster, I look for people I actually want to challenge. When I started out in the business, I looked for people ready to fight. Some of the people that I started out with in the business, like Finlay, Booker, JBL, Big Show, it was a fight every day. The good thing is, I can get that back with Rusev.
Some of the guys that I go out there in the ring with, you can’t really beat them up that bad because they’ll fall apart. But somebody like Rusev, he can go. That’s why I’m excited about having more matches with him. He wants to fight, and I’m ready to fight. That’s all I’ve done my entire life.