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By Mike Johnson on 2008-01-23 10:22:56

Former ECW champion Bobby Lashley, who was expected to return from his injuries this month, has parted ways with World Wrestling Entertainment, according to Lashley's official website.

Lashley, who debuted with the Smackdown brand in 2005, moved to the ECW brand in December 2006 with the idea that the brand would be built around him.  He received a huge promotional push and won the ECW belt at the December to Dismember PPV.

WWE's push continued featuring Lashley going right into a Wrestlemania 23 headline match against Umaga with Donald Trump and Vince McMahon as their respective seconds which was promoted heavily to the media due to Trump's involvement and the hair vs. hair stipulation that saw McMahon shaved bald in the center of the ring.

The Wrestlemania match led to a feud with McMahon where Lashley lost and regained the ECW title.  Lashley was drafted to the Raw brand in June 2007 and vacated the ECW belt.  He had been out of the ring since last July, when he finally took time off to have surgery and rehab rotator cuff and shoulder problems that had been nagging him for several months.

On the forum of his official website,, Lashley commented, "Circumstances, which are out of my control left me no decision but to leave the WWE. I can't go into details of this now but like I said before, sometimes people will hate you personally and try to destroy you, which has happened here. Evil has prevailed.  However like I said before, if you continue your struggle, doors will open around these people. You have not seen the last of me, so please don't stop your support. Add Bobby Lashley to the list of RECENTLY RELEASED!" 

Lashley, a former amateur champion who also served in the Army, originally signed with the company in 2003 and spent time in Ohio Valley Wrestling before being brought up to the main roster. 

Lashley teased a potential MMA interest on 1/16, writing, "I am not sure what I will be doing the next few months. I said I am in fighting shape because if I am not wrestling, I will be fighting. Wrestling is my passion but sometimes things are out of your control. The time off I've had was well needed and was not in vain. I had surgery in August, which was pretty serious. I had to have 5 connectors put in my shoulder to repair my torn labrum. I was slated to be out for 6 months but I think that diagnosis was for an average person. I’m ready for action and I have been for some time now. Whatever action that may be, I will be ready."

Lashley noted that he had just purchased a home in Parker, Colorado and that he expected WWE to acknowledge the release by the end of the week.  Word of his departure made its way around the WWE locker room at tonight's Smackdown and ECW taping. As of this writing, he is still listed on the Raw brand's roster page.

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