Although Bobby Lashley has since downplayed his WWE release, claiming it was an amicable and mutual departure, a little digging suggests the MMA fighter left the wrestling business due to friction with then lead writer Michael Hayes, who at the same time was exposed for making racially clumsy comments.
In an archive of his Myspace page immediately after his departure in January 2008, Lashley wrote:
“Circumstances which are out of my control left me no decision but to leave the WWE. I can’t go into details of this now but like I said before sometimes people will hate you personally and try to destroy you which has happened here. Evil has prevailed however like I said before if you continue your struggle doors will open around these people.”
WWE only acknowledged Lashley’s release on February 4, 2008.
At the time of his release the former ECW Champion was recovering from injury. A couple of months earlier while still rehabilitating the his girlfriend Kristal Marshall was released from her Diva’s contract. Some sources at the time suggested she refused to do a sexually charged storyline and was let go for being uncooperative and got labelled as having a “bad attitude”.
In an interview with the Voice of Wrestling Radio show, Lashley said he had been cleared to wrestle for some time before his departure, but there was little interest from management to bring him back.
“Without speculation as to who that was, the person in charge at the time of writing me back into the show was Michael Hayes. He said he didn’t have anything for me. To make a long story short, or ‘this is what we’re going to say,’ I decided not to come back because and was going to pursue other interests. I can tell you I personally don’t like the guy”.
Around the same time Michael Hayes was punished for making a racial slur in front of Mark Henry.
Former ECW honcho Paul Heyman discussed the Lashley situation in a UK Sun blog. He claimed one unnamed writer would refer to Lashley as “Black Lesnar”, which although may have been in reference to his in-ring comparisons to Brock Lesnar, isn’t the best choice of words for a public traded company to use for a black wrestler.
Heyman explained that WWE’s archaic creative team had once came up with a “modern day Sergeant Slaughter named ‘Army Sgt. Lashley’” and a “Mr T character screaming I Pity The Fool” for Lashley.
What this all suggests is that Lashley walked out on his contract due to friction between him and the creative team.
The former WWE star currently has a 2-0 MMA record, with one by knockout. It is unlikely he’ll return to the WWE any time soon.