Bobby Lashley defeated The Miz on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw to become WWE Champion for the first time in his career. Lashley's win also puts him in a very special place in the WWE history books. The 44-year-old professional wrestler is now the third Black WWE Champion in the company's history. The other two are Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Kofi Kingston.
When it comes to Black professional wrestlers who have won major WWE Championships, Lashley joins a small group. When the World Heavyweight Championship was in WWE (2002-2013), Booker T (known as King Booker at the time) and Mark Henry won that title. Booker T became World Heavyweight Champion in 2006 and held the title for 126 days. Henry became champion in 2011 and held the title for 92 days. The World Heavyweight Championship was retired in 2013 after being unified with the WWE Championship.
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Before the World Heavyweight Championship, the WCW World Heavyweight Championship was part of WWE after the company bought WCW in 2001. This means that WCW records belong to WWE, and the WCW World Heavyweight Championship became a major title in the promotion. Ron Simmons became the first Black WCW World Heavyweight Champion by defeating Big Van Vader in 1992. Simmons was the fifth WCW World Heavyweight Champion and held the title for 150 days. Booker T became the second Black WCW World Heavyweight Champion in 2000 and would win the title four more times in a one-year span. The Rock would beat Booker T for the WCW title in August 2001 and would win it again in November of that year after losing the belt to Chris Jericho.
At that time, The Rock was one of the top stars in WWE, winning the WWE Championship six times. After his WCW title reigns, The Rock would go on to win the WWE title again in 2002 and in 2013 when he makes a big return to the company. Six years later, Kingston would become WWE Champion at WrestleMania 35 and became the first African-born pro wrestler to win the title
Lashley's title win comes over 15 years after making his WWE debut. During that time, Lashley has won secondary titles in WWE, became a four-time Impact World Heavyweight Champion and win 15 MMA matches. He will now look to have a very long and dominant run as champion.