By Gerry Strauss
You may not like his style. You might not support his decision to align with MVP. You might disapprove of his cold, business-like demeanor. Let’s face it: there are a million reasons to dislike the current TNA Heavyweight Champion Lashley.
Unfortunately, you have no choice to respect him… because he’s just that good.
Just ask anyone whom has watched him train. From his high school and college days to the present day, Lashley’s always been regarded as a freak athlete… a powerhouse whose agility is well beyond that of most competitors his size. It seems clear that the TNA World Champion was simply born with genetic physical gifts beyond that of most human beings, yet he’s never relied on them. Instead, his insane workout regimens suggest a desire to push himself well beyond his god-given capabilities. When an athlete is that good, but remains hungry to be that much better, he just might be unbeatable.
Just ask anyone who coached, faced or witnessed him compete in an amateur wrestling match. From the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics to the U.S. Army, Lashley was absolutely dominant within the amateur ranks. A surefire Olympic success story until a freak injury kept him out of the running, Lashley’s three national championships and countless other accolades serve as a reminder that he owned the mat well before he owned the ring.
Just ask anyone who stepped into the octagon with him. Enhancing his on-the-mat skills with submission and stand-up striking techniques, Lashley’s multifacteted offense and dominating power made him an instant force to be reckoned with upon entering the MMA cage in 2008. Accumulating an impressive 10-2 record over five years, his experience in MMA not only amplify his aggressive edge, but it gave him new weapons to unleash upon his challengers in the pro wrestling ranks. Preparation for his upcoming September 5th Bellator debut should only serve to sharpen his skills, and that's bad news for TNA's top contenders.
Finally, ask anyone who ever faced Lashley inside a professional wrestling ring just how good he is... how tough he is... how deceptively quick he is. Ask Samoa Joe. Ask Jeff Hardy. Heck, ask Eric Young, the man who Lashley decisively beat to claim the championship gold. They'll all tell you the same thing, which is that it doesn't matter who Lashley aligns himself with. It doesn't matter if he ever smiles or not. It doesn't matter if he's a nice guy. All that matters is that, until someone can actually beat him (and who knows if that's even possible), Lashley is your TNA World Champion... like it or not.