ECW: Image-conscious about Lashley?
ECW World Champion Bobby Lashley makes his dominant presence—and some very strong opinions—known within the May 2007 issue of WWE Magazine (on sale now). Inside the publication's "Grapplers" section, ECW's "world dominator" flexes some verbal muscle toward a number of topics, including Mr. McMahon, stereotypes and the SmackDown Superstar he still holds a grudge against. However, it's his comments about the rebuilding of ECW in his image that lays down especially interesting groundwork for WWE.com—plus many constructive points-of-view from several Extreme Superstars.
"Bobby possesses all the tools of a champion. I'm really impressed with the guy," notes Tommy Dreamer, who fully understands what Lashley's saying in WWE Magazine. "It's a lot to have the company built around you. Being one of the guys that ECW was pretty much built around…there's a lot of pressure. But he's more than ready to answer the call. Hell, he already is answering it."
WWE.com doesn't dare repeat the Original's assessment to Elijah Burke, who believes the foundation of ECW is firmly grounded in New Breed soil. "I don't know where WWE Magazine has been for the last couple of months," he states sarcastically. "If I can recall, back in February Mr. McMahon came out [on ECW on Sci Fi] and declared that the future of the new ECW was one being Elijah Burke. Bobby Lashley may represent the brand as its champion at this time, but only one person has been designated to carry ECW into the future, and that is the Experienced One."
Marcus Cor Von reluctantly concedes that Lashley has done "a good job" as the current face of ECW. However, he's quick to pounce on the WWE.com voice recorder and re-emphasize the word "current." "Don't sleep on the New Breed," he warns, "because that's what ECW is all about. Don't sleep on The Alpha Male. The Alpha Male is what he says he is: The Alpha Male."
While he may eventually have to "persuade" Burke and Cor Von to come around to his way of thinking, Lashley has already won over objective observers like Tazz, who has followed the ECW World Champion's meteoric rise to the top since his SmackDown debut in late 2005. As an ECW alum and former champion, Tazz's Tuesday night color commentary remains steeped in tradition, though he also welcomes the infusion of next-generation Superstars who can offer an Extreme viewpoint.
"I think Bobby Lashley is a product of ECW, but ultimately a product of the WWE," he says. "If you're going to build any brand around someone—I don't care if it's Raw, SmackDown or ECW—Bobby's the perfect guy. He's obviously incredible, obviously powerful. He's obviously young and hungry…dedicated to being in shape, to training, to his athletic ability and intensity. He's got every ingredient you want to build a brand around.
"Personally," Tazz concludes, "I look at it this way: Bobby Lashley's the ECW World Champion, and an ECW guy. Raw and SmackDown might be jealous, but he's our guy."
If you want to read all of Lashley's comments in the May 2007 edition of WWE Magazine, you best save your strength to handle the lines at newsstands everywhere; this issue is sure to sell out fast.