The Latest on Bobby Lashley Returning to WWE

While we can't say for certain if he will be a surprise entrant in tonight's Royal Rumble, it looks like Bobby Lashley's return to WWE is imminent.

Lashley has been rumored for a return to the company where he first became a star ever since he wrapped up his dates with Impact Wrestling on January 14. Since that time, he has been negotiating with both New Japan Pro Wrestling and WWE about working for each promotion. According to Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio, Lashley is no longer talking with NJPW and is expected to sign with WWE any day now.

Meltzer went on to note that Lashley has been pitched a feud with Brock Lesnar which would occur following WrestleMania or later this year. That would make for a great story given both men have had success in the world of MMA.

The interesting thing about that is Lesnar has not been briefed on the feud, and according to his contract, all possible storylines are supposed to be ran by him first. Lesnar's contract with WWE expires shortly after WrestleMania this year, but he is expected to stay with WWE and sign a new agreement.

Lashley left WWE in 2008 following a heavy push, as he was expected to be a top player with the company for many years. However, he was granted his release early upon request due to creative issues with how his then-girlfriend (Kristal Marshall) was being booked on SmackDown, as well as backstage heat with Michael Hayes over some alleged racially charged comments from Hayes.

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Lashley was required to keep what happened with WWE under wraps as a condition of being granted his early release, but Marshall has spoken about what lead to Lashley requesting his release.

However, it looks like bad blood with WWE is in the past. Lashley spoke with Raj Giri of Wrestling Inc. in 2015 and said, "I'm still good friends with some people there. I've talked with Vince [McMahon] a couple times. Shane [McMahon] and I are pretty good friends, I talk with him from time to time. Dolph Ziggler, I talk to him from time to time. We just haven't really went that route (going back to WWE)."