— VultureHound Mag (@VultureHound) January 28, 2015
This Thursday the annual Total Non-stop Action Wrestling Maximum Impact Tour 7 rolls back into the UK, with stars such as Bobby Lashley, Kurt Angle, Matt Hardy and others putting their bodies on the line for the entertainment of the British fans. Prior to the tour hitting the road, we were lucky enough to catch up with current TNA World Champion Lashley and chatted all things TNA, MMA and a little bit of Bobby’s former life at another certain wrestling promotion.
This is your first time on the TNA tour in the UK?
Yes it is!
Are you looking forward to experiencing the TNA crowds in the UK?
Oh yeah, absolutely. We know that we do some really big numbers out here, and we have a great fan-base who I think are ready for us and we are ready to come down and do it.
There are a few British guys on the roster, and a few that have probably been out here on the TNA tour before. Have they told you what to expect?
Not quite, all I know from the few people that I did talk to is that it is going to be a really lively crowd. Which is the best thing I could hear, because we go out there to perform. We are looking forward to it, if it’s a good crowd then the show should be that much better.
Dixie has announced that the first show in Glasgow will feature a Battle Royal to determine the number one contender for title which you will then defend in Manchester on Friday night, is that correct?
Yes, that’s what is supposed to happen.
In your mind is there anyone you’d like to come out of that match and end up facing? You’ve had a recent rivalry with MVP and the Beat Down Crew, so anyone you’d like to be facing on Friday night?
No, not necessarily. I think anyone that comes out of the match, will be a worthy opponent. I’m ready for whoever comes out of it, I think that the way that things have been going whoever comes out of that is going to be a little bruised up and beaten up a little, but they’ll still be ready to fight Friday night.
Last time we saw you on TV in the UK you’d just had a Street Fight with MVP, is that a rivalry you think is going to continue for a little while?
I have no idea, I hope it stays for a little bit and we can do something with it and it has some legs in it because it’s a very interesting thing going on. So if we can prolong that for a little bit, and build something out of it then I think we’ll get a really big pay-day out of it.
You are now on your second run with TNA, are there any matches or rivalries that stand out to you as your best?
I think all the matches with Bobby Roode have been incredible, everything we’ve been doing has been going great so I would put those at the top.
I was reading an article on the creative side of things within TNA, and the amount of input that the roster get compared to the WWE. Do you have a lot of room from expression, and are your ideas welcomed in TNA? Is that the case? Do you have much freedom in creating and developing character?
I think we have a little bit, but at the end of the day if that’s not the direction they want to go in then those ideas aren’t necessarily going to fall on deaf ears, but it isn’t going to be reciprocated as much as you might want. But they are always open to hear what we have to say, but if it isn’t in-line with what they’ve got going on they’ll let us know, but there is always a good open line of communication that start with.
You’re current rivalry has just led to you turning from heel back to a face, as a performer do you prefer one or the other because arguably you can get a stronger fan reaction as a heel but obviously it is a negative reaction. Or do just aim to feed of the crowd either way?
I feed off the crowd either way, I think my style is that I fight so if I fight a good-guy then it is going to look a little heelish, and if I fight a bad-guy the crowds going to like you a little more. So to me it is either way, whatever works.
Moving outside of TNA, you have your MMA career. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on CM Punk entering the MMA world, and how you think he’ll do having personally experienced both?
I think he’s going to do great, I think the guys going to go out there and show the world that he deserves to be there, I think he’ll put in the work to be there and he’s going to show everyone that it’s his time.
Carrying on down the MMA route, you were schedule to fight in Bellator in February which you’ve had to pull out of because of injury, is that something that is still on the cards and just a case of you having to recover?
Yeah, yeah we’ll definitely have that fight sometime down the road. We just have to fix things with me, I’m not in too bad a shape. I’m already back in training, ready to look at booking the next fight.
There are a few wrestlers such as Brock Lesnar, who have done both wrestling and MMA, but focus on either one or the other. Whereas you seem to do both at the same time, does that make it more difficult? Wrestling has to take it out of you and then you’re going away and doing the MMA thing. Are you in a more difficult position than other fighters?
Yeah of course, it’s easier for some people when they have one thing going on but I just don’t have that liberty right now. I have to do what I have to do and make the best of it, and have been up until this point and I don’t feel I need to slow down I need to keep going. I have plenty of time to train, and Dixie is really good in allowing me time to train and do what I need to do so I can keep doing it all right now.
Onto the user generated questions, so these are questions that have come in through our website and twitter.
What is the TNA locker room like compared to the locker room in the WWE?
We have a very collegiate locker room right now, we are all working together we all have a common goal of making things better, and making the crowds just as enormous as possible. Since we just moved to Destination America in the US, we are just looking for Destination America to piggy back with us in order to blow this thing out of the water and think right now with everyone on the same page we’ll see some successes coming up this year.
Someone would like to know what your experience in Ohio Valley Wrestling was like, when you were wrestling under the name Blaster Lashley?
OVW, it was great! It was an opportunity to learn, and being but in a camp like where you can just learn full time is a blessing in itself?
Paul Heyman was famously sent down to OVW in a creative capacity, did you spend any time under Paul at all?
Heyman when he was writing for my last run in WWE, that’s where I really learnt a lot and we became really good friends. We spent a lot of time together, and we were able to sit down and talk and just get to know each other and it was just easy to write for me because he took that time to figure out who I was, and that was the one thing that I took from him. We aren’t all actors, we are sports performers and that’s what he understood. He said “I’m not going to write a character and have you perform, I’m going to figure out who you are and do it the other way round.” So you walk into the role of being you, so that was a cool thing I learnt from him.
Carrying on down the Heyman route, someone on our forum was interested to know what your thoughts on the original plans for the December to Dismember PPV Elimination Chamber were, as it is rumoured that they were changed quite late in the date.
I have no idea, I heard all kind of rumours after and people were bitching and complaining, I stay away from the politics. I don’t read dirt sheets, I just do what I supposed to do. They came to me and told me what they wanted my involvement in the match to be and that’s all I went by.
During a promo with John Cena you called him “Mr Hype-Man” was that a scripted comment, or was it ad-libbed moment.
We didn’t have any script leading up to that, I don’t think I’ve ever been handed a script so it was just when you are having an argument you say different things, and at the time that’s what I believed.
TNA seem to have quite an open policy in terms of wrestlers doing independent shows, with Bobby Roode even putting the title on the line at one of Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore shows. Do you have any plans for independent shows or anything like that? Or are you fully focused on TNA?
No, I’ve done a lot of independents. I’ve got one in Qatar in a couple of months, I’ll look at the time and if I have it open then I’ll always consider it, and if I don’t have the time then of course I won’t do it. So I just play it by ear, but I do take booking when they are available.
Qatar sounds quite interesting, it doesn’t seem to be the most wrestling centric country. Is it quite a big in Qatar?
It’s pretty big, and they put together some great shows and they get a lot of people coming to them. I like Qatar, and they guy that runs the promotion is a really good guy so I’m always open to work when he calls me.
What’s the worse thing you’ve ever put in your mouth?
There was this dish over in Thailand that I had, which was like cold squid in some brown gravy. It was horrible!
If you could have a super-power, what would it be?
What would you name your auto-biography?
You won’t believe this!
If you could only ever wrestle in one venue for the rest of your career, what would it be?
And finally, what was your first car?
Many thanks to Bobby, for talking time out of his busy schedule to talk to us, Lashley and the stars of TNA IMPACT WRESTLING are in Glasgow (Jan 29), Manchester (Jan 30) and London (31st Jan). HTTP://GIGST.RS/TNA15
— VultureHound Mag (@VultureHound) January 28, 2015