Sport WWE champion Bobby Lashley seeks his Hell in a Cell moment ahead of Sunday's clash with Drew McIntyre
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For months, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre have shared the spotlight while battling over the WWE championship. That long history could well come to an end on Sunday when Lashley defends the title against Bobby Lashley inside Hell in a Cell. According to the stipulations added to the match, should McIntyre lose, he can never again challenge Lashley for the title, which would bring an end to a rivalry that has seen the men battle in three straight pay-per-view events.
Lashley's run as champion has been the fulfillment of potential and expectations that date back to 2005. Now, he will step into Hell in a Cell for the first time in his career, marking another milestone in his impressive run.
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Lashley told CBS Sports that he understands the weight of the moment and the seriousness of one of WWE's most dangerous matches, but is still taking his standard approach to his job -- all while avoiding asking for the advice of those who have entered the Cell before him.
"You know, it's all the same to me, man," Lashley said. "I train for everything and I expect anything. This is going to be a tough one because I already feel the pains on my body. This is important. This is super important for Drew and myself because we've been fighting for such a long time and that WWE championship is so important right now. It's important for me and the legacy of everything that I've put in and it's important to him for making a name for himself and solidifying himself in history. Right now, in that, we're both willing to do anything. It's going to be crazy, it's going to be rough and I expect to be in a lot of pain on Monday but that championship is worth it.
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"I've always been a student of the game so I'm always watching videos and watching tape of what the other guys have done. I don't want to hear how they felt because it's obvious. And I don't want to hear it's worse than it actually is. I'm going to prepare for the worst and go out there and just know what to expect. There's a lot of damage that can be caused to a person's body."
Hell in a Cell also marks the final WWE pay-per-view event to be held inside the ThunderDome, WWE's virtual fan experience that has become their home during the COVID-19 pandemic. July's Money in the Bank event will be held in front of a live crowd as WWE returns to live touring.
"It's going to be different and special in that sense, but it's going to be more special once we're able to bring the fans back in," Lashley said. "We're going to give them a good show here. But, of course, when you have fans back, that's going to take it another notch up. I like it, I mean, that's another piece of history where you can write that we were one of the last."
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WWE is also looking to make SummerSlam an even bigger spectacle than normal in August, placing the event in Las Vegas' Allegiant Stadium. A win for Lashley on Sunday would seem to secure that he would be one of the headliners at the summer spectacular, something Lashley is targeting as yet another important moment in his career.
"I think in all the many years that I've wrestled, I've never had a SummerSlam moment," Lashley said. "So, it's always going to be big. It's going to be huge, man, the first big show with fans coming back. Vegas in an incredible stadium like that? Everything is lining up in a way that makes that perfect. I'm not going to say it's bigger than Mania, but I can say that every new PPV that comes along seems to get bigger and bigger. It does feel a little bit like that kind of WrestleMania card."
Before SummerSlam, however, is Hell in a Cell. The match has come to be defined by spectacularly risky falls -- though far safer in modern times than when Mick Foley narrowly avoided serious injury in his two now-historic tumbles from the top of the Cell in 1998.
Asked how he could put his own stamp on the iconic match, Lashley admitted the need to have his own moment that displays the sacrifices he is willing to make to be at the top of the WWE mountain.
"I think it's just enduring and having that moment," Lashley said. "I think everybody has had that moment. Whatever that moment is, it shows your sheer toughness. Whether you win or lose, you have that moment in Hell in a Cell that you can relive and say, 'This is what I went through. This is what I was willing to do.' I think that's the biggest thing. If you look back at the biggest Hell in a Cell moments, that was the real staple, showing what you're willing to do to get that title, win or lose."
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