One of wrestling’s biggest mysteries over the last couple years was the appearance by Bobby Lashley in TNA. In non-competitive spots, the wrestler-turned-MMA fighter appeared seemingly without rhyme or reason for the Nashville-based company on a couple occasions. The wonder over these apparent one-offers may soon be solved, as TNA has announced that Lashley, as of this weekend’s Victory Road PPV, has officially signed with the company.
The announcement came Thursday morning via tnawrestling.com and interviews on various ESPN radio shows.
Lashley’s contract is structured so that he can continue to build his MMA career. Thus far, the former WWE United States and ECW Champion is undefeated, with victories over Bob Sapp among others.
“I want to do both because I can. TNA is giving me the opportunity to compete in both sports which I have a passion for,” Lashley said in the TNA announcement. “I will bring MMA fans to wrestling and wrestling fans to MMA.”
Lashley first appeared for TNA at the Lockdown pay-per-view in April 2009 briefly walking out on stage as the show came to a close. He made a couple similar appearances on Impact.
Lashley entered the world of pro wrestling with WWE in 2005 and quickly gained a solid reputation. His size and wrestling style drew comparisons to former WWE Heavyweight champion and current UFC Heavyweight title holder Brock Lesnar. He quickly rose through the ranks and by the time of his departure from the Fed, Lashley was a two-time ECW champ and a one-time US title holder. His matches included bouts with John Cena and Big Show.
After leaving WWE, Lashley made a one-off appearance for AAA before making his TNA debut. By this time, Lashley had already started his MMA career, having beaten Josh Franklin at Mixed Fighting Alliance’s event “There Will be Blood”. Other victories have come over Jason Guida and Mike Cook.
Lashley’s background in wrestling and fighting includes two championship years in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. He also competed while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.