Jim Ross worked with Bobby Lashley during the superstar’s first run in WWE, and he provided some behind-the-scenes details on why it didn’t work out for the performer. Speaking on the latest episode of the Grilling JR podcast, per WrestlingNews.co, the legendary announcer revealed that Vince McMahon lost patience with Lashley.
According to the commentator, McMahon has a tendency to listen to input from different employees. This often affects the chairman’s decisions regarding superstars, and their progress can suffer as a result.
“It depends on what input Vince is getting from the last person he talked to. I’m sure Bruce (Prichard) has experienced these issues where you think you have a gameplan, this is what we are going to do, and then somebody gets Vince’s ear that has an agenda and all of a sudden they cast doubt on the process or the decision making. It’s a trait of that company. Bobby did have some false starts and continuity issues. He was on again and off again.”
The Hall of Famer went on to say that Lashley’s early run was disrupted due to executives not being patient with his evolution. He was apparently very green when he entered the business, and he wasn’t familiar with it as a fan, either. However, the commentator believes that Lashley made some solid progress considering his lack of experience at the time. It just wasn’t enough to live up to the high expectations placed on him.
Lashley was also promoted to the main roster due to his military and amateur wrestling backgrounds. McMahon was impressed with these accolades, which is why he let the then-rookie bypass the development system after learning the basics. Ross was originally against the idea of promoting the superstar so soon, but he admitted that he felt the same way about Brock Lesnar’s push and that defied expectations in the end. Lashley is reportedly set to feud with Lesnar at a later date, suggesting that he’s also highly regarded these days.
The WWE chairman also chose Lashly and Umaga to take part in the Battle of the Billionaires match at WrestleMania 23 because he wanted to push both performers. The presence of Donald Trump brought a lot of media attention to the fight, but Lashley — despite emerging as the victor — didn’t receive most of the limelight.
Ross believes that the decision to have Steve Austin shave the loser’s hair hurt Lashley as well. He believes that they missed the opportunity to advance the rookie into a subsequent high-profile feud with the boss. If that happened, Lashley’s star might have shone brighter during his first tenure in the promotion.