Rob Van Dam may have been robbed of the win on Tuesday night in a Triple Threat Match on ECW on Sci Fi, but the night got much better for the ECW Original moments later as he learned he was the No. 1 Contender to the ECW World Title.
Though Test pinned Sabu for the win after RVD's Five-Star Frog Splash in ECW on Sci Fi's main event, Van Dam was chosen by the ECW fans in an ECW.com poll for a title opportunity. His match with Lashley for the gold will take place when live action returns to ECW on Sci Fi a week from Tuesday.
"I expected it," Lashley admitted. "Rob Van Dam is a big crowd favorite."
The newly crowned fighting champion said he welcomes the challenge and he can't wait for the match.
"I would love to say that I'm wrestling somebody who I hate because there are definitely some people who I dislike and I want to get my hands on them and rip them apart," Lashley explained.
Friend or foe, Lashley is still the one man who stands between RVD and the championship and the ECW Original will be going at full force.
"It's been a long time coming," RVD said. "The ECW World Title belongs to me. That's why they voted. Not only because I work harder than anybody else to entertain them. Not only because I got all the moves. Because I'm what they pay to see."
RVD was champion at the inception of the ECW brand. That reign ended when Paul Heyman called the three-count in RVD's match with Big Show on July 4 in Philadelphia. The battle has gone down as one of the most controversial decisions ECW fans have ever witnessed.
Heyman's actions against RVD didn't stop there. During Van Dam's entire run for revenge against Big Show, he had to face obstacle after obstacle. Even the six-man Extreme Elimination Chamber Match was another roadblock for RVD, who initially was set to clash with Big Show in one-on-one action.
While RVD has his arguments as to why he deserves to be ECW World Champion, Lashley didn't exactly win the gold by luck. Since charging into ECW, Lashley pinned the 500-plus-pound Extreme Giant Big Show and battled in a Handicap Match against armed security guards. Winning the Extreme Elimination Chamber Match at December to Dismember was only the beginning. Through everything, no one has been able to stop him. RVD hopes to be the first man to slow Lashley down.
"I finally got my opportunity coming up, my shot at the title," RVD said. "What do you think I'm going to do about that? I'm going for what's mine; the ECW World Title belongs to Rob Van Dam."
When ECW on Sci Fi kicks off the new year, ECW fans will see one of the all-time great Extremists take on the hottest new addition to the roster in the ECW World Champion. Lashley anticipates one of the best matches in ECW history, but in the end, he vows the title will go home with him.
"I just won the title and I'm not letting it go," he said.
The title belongs to Lashley now, but who will it belong to as 2007 gets underway? Be sure to watch ECW on Sci Fi a week from Tuesday at 10/9 CT to find out.