This past Thursday night on TNA's live edition of Impact Wrestling from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Bobby Lashley defeated Eric Young to win his first TNA World Heavyweight Championship. After failing to capture the gold just a few days earlier as Slammiversary, he got a second chance in singles action against the champion and made the most of his opportunity.
This isn't the first championship Lashley has held, but it is his first in TNA. Lashley is a decorated MMA fighter, amateur wrestler and professional wrestler. Lashley won the NAIA collegiate national championship in 1996, 1997 and 1998 and earned NAIA All-American honors from 1995-1998.
While serving in the military, he won a silver medal (2002) and gold medal (2003) in the CISM Armed Forces Championships. He's a two-time heavyweight champion in mixed martial arts (once each in Shark Fights and Extreme Fight Night).
While in WWE, he earned Pro Wrestling Illustrated Rookie of the Year honors in 2005, was ranked No. 9 in the PWI 500 for 2007, held the United States Championship once and was a two-time ECW World Heavyweight champion. Lashley certainly has the hardware to dispel any doubts that he's a top-notch star.
Many are now wondering what this reign will mean for TNA this summer. TNA has announced that it will be running numerous televised tapings in New York City this summer at the Manhattan Center, with the first tapings taking place June 25-27. More shows were also announced for August 5-7.
These tapings will basically take TNA's television shows into the fall. And questions abound as to whether or not Lashley is the right man to hold the title going into New York City. Ring of Honor is prominent in the Northeast, so perhaps TNA would have been better off with a former Ring of Honor star as champion such as Austin Aries or Samoa Joe.
With rumors swirling about slow ticket sales, according to The Wrestling Observer (via Chris Cash Wrestle Zone), perhaps a former RoH star would have generated more interest with the New York crowds than Lashley. With the tapings this week, we'll find out soon enough if Lashley is the right man for the job or if TNA has a compelling feud in the works that will enthrall both the New York and the TV audiences.