A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Our 2006 African-American Wrestler Of The Year
NEW JERSEY — In 2005, Shelton Benjamin took the honor of being my African-American Wrestler of the Year. Well, much like that decision, this one was not a hard call to make. In 2006, there was one man who dominated the scene in not one, but two brands.
His college and military pedigree that preceded him has carried him well into the professional ranks. For some reason, I think that he’s not done winning titles, as he won two in 2006.
His name is Bobby Lashley.
Currently the ECW Heavyweight Champion, Lashley has found himself as the face of what once was a dead entity, as ECW was dismembered several years back. However, the company has been resurrected by Vince McMahon, with a slighty toned down product.
In any event, it doesn’t look like Mr. Lashley will be slowing down at all, as he has defeated such opponents as the Big Show, King Booker, and Finlay, among others.
It was on May 26, 2006 when the Colorado native defeated John Bradshaw Layfield for the WWE United States title, cementing his spot on the wrestling map.
From there, Lashley would become the first African-American world champion in the history of Extreme Championship Wrestling on December 3rd, when he took out the aforementioned Big Show in Augusta, Georgia.
Are there bigger mountains to climb for this massive superstar? As I have witnessed with Vince McMahon over the years, anything is certainly possible. I will say that I don’t see a serious contender to replace Lashley for 2007, unless someone makes a very surprising impact.
With the current crop of guys right now, when you look at Cryme Tyme, Elijah Burke of ECW, Ron Killings of TNA Wrestling, and the previously mentioned Shelton Benjamin, nobody comes close to Lashley’s charisma and appeal.
So, it will be very interesting to find out which one of these guys can step up their game, or who can crash the party, and steal the spotlight.
In the meantime, congratulations, Bobby Lashley. Much luck to you in ’07, and continue to carry the torch.