PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.
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Former GFW World Champion Bobby Lashley took part in Global Force Wrestling’s weekly conference call on Tuesday, hyping GFW’s Destination-X themed episode of Impact on Thursday night and his match with Matt Sydal. Lashley was also joined by American Top Team owner Dan Lambert, discussing his work as a wrestler and MMA fighter, and American Top Team’s stance that Lashley should focus more on MMA before his window of opportunity in the sport closes.
Lashley said he and Lambert were discussing when his next fight for Bellator might be, but he was targeting a fight soon.
On American Top Team preferring that Lashley stick to MMA …
“I think everybody just wants me to make some kind of decision. There’s a huge opportunity in Bellator right now, especially in the heavyweight division, and I’d feel really confident going against any of those guys but in order to do that I probably have to pay a little more attention into my MMA training. Maybe I’ll need to get down there and stay into camp a little bit more, focus a little bit more on that if I want to be the champion, which I have the opportunity to do.
“I think (my coaches) are just trying to say ‘Hey, you have a lot of opportunity here’ and, like we talked about before, there are big money fights out there for me also. You’ve got Fedor out there, and talking about cross promotion, I’d love to fight Brock if I got the opportunity and anything else out there.”
American Top Team’s Dan Lambert on Lashley wrestling and fighting …
“I’m trying to think of a diplomatic way of putting it because I’m a wrestling fan myself, I’m friends with Jeff Jarrett and I’ve got a lot of respect for the company so I don’t want to be the guy disrespecting pro wrestling and telling Bobby what’s better for him. I’ll wait for him to make his own decisions but I’ve been biting Bobby’s ear a little bit because I think his window of opportunity, as it relates to MMA, is not gonna stay open quite as long as his window of opportunity in wrestling. I think he needs to focus on which one he can make the most money on and which one he can make the bigger splash in right now. In my opinion, that’s MMA.”
Dan Lambert on Mayweather/MacGregor and Jon Jones challenging Brock Lesnar …
“I think people are going to go where the money is. Obviously Mayweather and MacGregor is huge and it’ll be one of the biggest pay-per-views of all time. I know there’s lots of guys at our gym, including Junior Dos Santos, have already started calling out professional heavyweight boxers. People wanna go where the buzz is and wanna see the matchups that are gonna pay the most amount of money. I would not be surprised at all, based on the success of the show coming up, if we don’t at least see more guys calling each other out. Whether those fights come to fruition, I guess that’s up to the promoters and how hard the fans want to see it.”
On GFW suspending Alberto El Patron and stripping him of the GFW World Title …
“If we go out there and do something we have to hold ourselves accountable for the things that we do. The company has to do what they have to do. It’s an unfortunate situation. I don’t know all of the details because I try to stay out of that. My business and my contract says for me to be a performer and do that part, not to do any of the backstage or office stuff. The one thing I do know is, who needs the title? That’s me. Give me my title back. I could care less what’s going on with him. I’m just here to compete and now there’s an open title. That’s what I’m focussed on.”
On his match this Thursday against Matt Sydal at GFW’s Destination-X themed episode of Impact …
“It’s a different matchup for me than I’m used to, with him being so small, but his being a high-flyer is going to be exciting for people.
“I just had an opportunity to go to Toronto this past weekend and get in the ring with one of the guys that mimics Matt Sydal – a guy by the name of ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey. It’s almost the same style that I had to wrestle so I got my little extra practice in to get ready for Matt Sydal. I’m gonna go out there looking to murder him and he’s gonna try and stay away from me and get something over on me.”
On wrestling Kurt Angle in his final TNA match …
I’ve done a lot of things in wrestling – big pay-per-views all across the world, from WrestleMania to everything else – but I put that match all the way at the top. Not at the top of everything, but I think it’s my top two or three. Reason being, I’ve always looked up to Kurt. I was watching him when I was in high school wrestling and Kurt was winning nationals in college.
“When I went to college and was winning national championships, Kurt was winning the World and Olympic championships. I just kind of followed him all the way up.
“Afterwards, when I was at the Olympic training center, Kurt came to there to do a vignette and Kurt is the one that found me. He said, ‘You ever think about professional wrestling?’ We talked for a little bit and I passed my number on. The rest is history. He’s the one that got me into professional wrestling.
“For 12 years I was in pro wrestling, Kurt and I never crossed paths. When I went to WWE, he went to TNA, when I went to TNA, he stepped out and was fighting, he came back and I was out and then I finally came back. This whole time he mentored me along the way, we would always talk to me on the phone and we’d talk about different matches and what to do and he’d just help me out with the politics of wrestling. Actually having an opportunity to wrestle him, towards the end, that was the one thing that I was pulling for so hard. I was telling them ‘if Kurt is getting ready to retire, you gotta get me in the ring with him.’ It was incredible. We had two big matches in each time it was like you were in the ring with your teacher. I like Kurt’s style, I mimic Kurt’s style to a certain extent so to me it was amazing.”
On how his MMA training has affected his pro wrestling style …
“Everybody is out there learning the same thing and doing the same thing, and with having an MMA background, I throw some of that into my matches. I go for a lot more submissions, I’m doing more striking, as opposed to just professional wrestling stuff. That gives the crowd something different to see and it gives me the edge. I enjoy fighting but if I don’t use my fighting in my wrestling then I’m doing myself a disservice.
“Wrestling has changed over the years. Before it was the big guy and bodybuilder look, now it’s completely changed. A lot of the wrestlers across the board are more athletic. That style is very similar to my MMA style so I don’t necessarily train for professional wrestling anymore. With MMA, you have your strength & conditioning and with wrestling you’re gonna use your various strikes and grappling, everything like that. My wrestling and MMA training is basically the same but, of course, when I have a fight coming up I’m gonna ramp it up a little bit and work a little bit more in depth on striking or something that will suit my fight but I don’t try to switch back and forth any more.”
On how his wrestling schedule changes his MMA training …
“It’s mostly just with sparring. Going into a taping, we’ll ramp down my sparring because I don’t want to spar heavy going into a set of tapings. Then it’s the same thing for when I get back from a taping, we’ll start slow with sparring because I know after being on the road and taping for Impact, it’s going to be hard to go right back in and spar right away. But my strength and conditioning and all my other training stays the same. It’s just my sparring.”
On his concussion history and if he is worried about the affects of CTE …
“I’ve had no documented concussions. I try to take care of myself as much as possible. One thing you have to take into consideration is that it’s professional wrestling and you know it going in. There’s dangers to every profession and our particular profession, concussions is one thing. I can go and fight, take one punch and have a concussion and start having issues with it or I can wrestle my entire career and never have a concussion. It’s just a hazard of the business.
“My ex-girlfriend was a cheerleader and they say cheerleading is the most dangerous sport out there. If you do your research, it’ll say there’s more cheerleading accidents than any other sport. Are we gonna stop cheerleading because there’s concussions in there? Then you look at rugby, and even soccer. Soccer guys are running into each other, you take one good fall on the ground and he’s concussed so would you have soccer players wear helmets? These are some of the things that we can find out that there are these problems in different areas and we can do whatever we can to prevent those problems but some problems are just inevitable. It’s combat sports, it’s gonna happen. There’s always gonna be fighting, there’s always gonna be wrestling, always gonna be football, always gonna rugby, cheerleading. The best things we can do is look at prevention and find some ways to detect it a little bit sooner. That’s the only thing we can do to lessen the big problems.”