ECW has now become a vehicle to make Bobby Lashley a superstar. Vince McMahon is determined to make Lashley look as strong as possible. The new idea is to make Lashley into an unstoppable, dominant champion. The ECW brand is now the catalyst that gives Lashley the credibility to be one of the company’s top stars. ECW as a concept is pretty much dead, only surviving because they have a television commitment on Sci Fi to live up to. The main point of the brand is that when it’s all over, Lashley can be moved over to one of the other brands and be seen as an equal to the other world champions.
Considering that WWE wants Lashley to look as strong as possible, that pretty much explains why Lashley beat Test cleanly the week before their match at the Royal Rumble. Also, McMahon had given up on Test as being taken as a serious contender by the time of their 1/23 match. His future as an ECW headliner seems to be in doubt, especially considering that Gene Snitsky has taken his place. McMahon was trying to overcompensate for Lashley’s lackluster performance at the 1/16 show. After seeing that show, which featured a three-way match between Lashley, RVD and Test, McMahon became so enraged that he vowed that the show would never be aired live again. He also exclaimed that there wasn’t a single guy on the ECW roster that knew how to work. Although, he’s probably changed his mind since then as the show has been live the past few weeks. McMahon was particularly upset about the main event as he felt that Lashley sold too much when he’s supposed to look strong. Arn Anderson, who was the agent for the match, took heat for how bad it was laid out. However, Anderson said that the problem with the match was that Test and RVD insisted that they get their trademark moves in, and thus there were a lot of spots in which Lashley had to sell.
In regards to the 1/23 match with Test, even though many in creative felt the time for the blow-off was at the PPV, there were no disagreements from the creative team on Test losing the match when the finish was brought up. A sea of “yes men” nodded in approval for the finish.