Impact Wrestling is about to start their seventh annual tour in the UK with dates in Glasgow (29th January), Manchester (30th January) and finally London (31st January) and fans will be joined by the TV cameras for filming of several episodes of Impact.
It's fair to say that wrestling fans in the UK are looking forward to the events. Along with nine, yes nine, home grown British talents on the tour, they'll be joined by a stacked roster of the best wrestling talent that's likely to hit the UK this year.
One of TNA's biggest hitters on the tour, is none other than the current World Heavyweight Champion and MMA crossover fighter, 'The Destroyer' Bobby Lashley.
When GiveMeSport were offered the chance to meet up and interview him, the decision to do so only took seconds!
Probably about as long as we'd last in the ring with him...
GMS - Thank you for joining us today Lashley, We wanted to start by welcoming you back to the UK and hope you're enjoying your visit so far.
Lashley - Thanks for the welcome, I'm enjoying my visit so far we've had a lot of media but I have been able to drive round and see some of the sights London has to offer, really cool so far. I get more time around shows to take everything in.
GMS - What can fans expect from the Maximum Impact Tour this year?
Lashley - For starters a really good tour, all the guys are rested up and ready to go. Pumped for this tour for some time and ready to deliver.
GMS - Dixie Carter tweeted out they'll be a surprise or two, any clues?
Lashley - I have no clue, I didn't even see the tweet. I'll be making some calls now to find out!
GMS - Slightly more serious now, what can Impact do to attack the WWE's dominance of the pro-wrestling market?
Lashley - I think right now that we're building in the right direction and I don't want to say they are declining but they are at a bit of a standstill. Getting mixed reactions, while thats happening, we're rising up. I think that in the future it will get to a point where there will be a little bit more competition between the two.
GMS - You've had two runs in TNA, what are the differences between now and then?
Lashley - Yeah, my first run I wasn't completely right and wasn't able to give it 100% like I wanted too. I had some time inbetween to wrestle a bit and this time had more chance to settle in. And this time it has been a lot better, my work rate's been a lot better as well as getting to work with some top guys. And I'm pretty proud to holding that title for TNA right now.
GMS - What if any are the differences between TNA and WWE for a wrestler?
Lashley - You know here I like the cohesive unit and everyone is on the same page, no real back stabbing and none of that politics that usually go on, especially in the wrestling business. I know that everyone coming here is like we're about to blow this show outta there. Everyone is on the same page with that. People will enjoy the things we do and in the long run they'll be a shift
GMS - Can pro-wrestling return to the heights of the late 90's, and if so how?
Lashley - There is a possibility, we just need to go a little bit more mainstream, aim to take in the mainstream audience and thats when the numbers start going up.
GMS - TNA enjoy a roster stacked full of talent, who can be the next breakout star?
Lashley - Yeah, I think we have several guys who can do the cross over and its not just one we have several who can do it. We're all young and working together. I know that Destination America are wanting to work with us a lot to have that cross market effect.
GMS - Which of the younger stars would you like to face in the main event scene?
Lashley - Yeah there are a couple guys, of course Gunner! If he gets the right building then he'll be up there. I'd also like to work Anderson, we got to work a bit back in the WWE and now we're both here, I want that match up also. I'm keen to meet the British Boot Camp guys and I'm sure they'll be doing something on these tour shows.
GMS - Are the fans likely to see Roode Vs Lashley IIII?
Lashley - Yeah, there is a possibility and it may well happen on the tour, give the fans the match up the fans are looking for.
GMS - Moving on to the world of MMA now, what if any differences in training do you undertake between the two sports?
Lashley - Yeah the training is slightly different and for the most part, I get to train the same. I hit on each part as a athlete. As a MMA I do a lot of condition work, the same is needed for wrestling.
GMS - You are the most successful crossover star between wrestling and MMA, how do you think new UFC signing CM Punk will fair in MMA?
Lashley - I think he'll do great, he's had plenty of time to train. Once he has got all of the training in. I believe he'll go out there and show the crowd that he is ready for it and I think he'll earn a lot of respect for doing it. I know a lot of people will be watching, I know I will!
GMS - Have you ever thought of using an MMA submission move in your wrestling move set?
Lashley - Yeah, I have a couple and I need to pick one thats works in pro wrestling.
GMS - Any superstitions you have prior to your TNA or Bellator matches?
Lashley - Yeah, one thing is usually do is grab my shirt and take a deep breath, the reason I do this is there's a certain smell to it. Its a certain smell that triggers my mind and I bring it to my fights to put me in that mind frame.
GMS - Has anyone in the locker room been brave enough to prank you?
Lashley - *Laughs* Err no, I don't think that will happen. I will definitely think I will keep my eyes open, I have been fortunate that it's not happened and it can certainly stay that way.
GMS - Do you feel that wrestling fans are a harder bunch to please nowadays?
Lashley - Yeah, kind of the more things people can see we want to continually change our game. Fans have seen almost everything so we are going to start mixing things up and that's what the games about. For instance Kong Havok has been built well and I'm looking foward to that one.
GMS - Anyone in wrestling past or present who'd be your dream opponent?
Lashley - I'd say Kurt, he's the one who bought into the business and mentored me on my way in and up to this point. He's the one I've wrestled with and we've never had an opportunity to wrestle each other. It would be one hell of a match and he can still go in the ring, without a doubt.
GMS - Any goals in the MMA World?
Lashley - One thing I'm going for this year is that Bellator title, I want to hold the TNA title at the same time. I want to be first to hold both titles at the same time.
GMS - Lastly, we here at GMS would like to wish you well and hope you and the TNA roster enjoy you time in the UK.
Lashley - Thanks man, I really appreciate that and the whole locker room can't wait. Don't miss the tour this year.
GMS would like to take the opportunity to thank Bobby Lashley for spending time and answering our questions, prior to the TNA UK tour shows.
Bobby Lashley is on TNA's Maximum Impact tour of the UK, stopping off in Glasgow (29th) Manchester (30th) and London (31st) of this month.
Limited tickets are available and can be BOOKED HERE.
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