HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
The (1/20) Extreme Examination!
Our resident philosopher, Jay Shannon, takes a look at the Royal Rumble lead-in edition of ECW
ECW opened with a video promo for the new ECW champ, Jack Swagger. It showcased how Swagger took the ECW title from Matt Hardy in perhaps the greatest match in new ECW history. An exposed turnbuckle was Matt’s downfall. Jack dropped Matt on the turnbuckle and then used the Gut Wrench Powerbomb to seal the deal.
Matt Hardy came out to talk with Todd Grisham. Todd asked Matt about what occurred last Friday night on Smackdown when Jeff was firebombed by his entrance pyros. The re-ran the explosions, several times. It was very tough to watch that. Todd asked for an update on Jeff’s condition. Jeff had first degree burns from the accident. Todd asked if Matt thought it was an accident or not. Matt said it was not an accident but wouldn’t comment further.
Todd then turned to the subject of Jack Swagger. Matt threw major respect to Jack Swagger. Matt said Jack was much better than he originally thought. When Matt started to talk about their rematch at the Royal Rumble, Jack sauntered to the ring. He was grinning even more than usual. Jack showed off his new title to a chorus of boos.
Todd congratulated Jack for winning the ECW title. Jack told Matt that he wouldn’t be able to take the title from him (Jack). Jack called himself the new face of the franchise. Jack said if Matt thought he would take the title from jack, then Jeff (Hardy) wouldn’t be the only one going down in flames. Matt snapped and tore into Jack. He smacked Jack, who hit the floor. Matt went out to the floor and ripped into Jack with a fury like Matt hasn’t shown in the past. The refs came out and restrained Matt. That allowed Jack to get one good cheap shot in on Matt. Jack scampered to the back as ECW went to break.
ECW was almost live from Chicago. Ricky Ortiz made his in-ring return after an extended break. The crowd was hot for Ortiz. Ortiz was served up jobber Adam Evans as his victim for this squash.
Ricky Ortiz d Adam Evans
The two men locked up and Ricky Used a Side Headlock Takeover to fling Evans to the mat. Ortiz nailed a monstrous pair of Headbutts. Ortiz then Power Whipped Ortiz to the corner and hit a bone-jarring Bodyslam and a Side Backbreaker. Ortiz showed a new fire as he pounded on Evans and Dropped a pair of Big Kneedrops. Ortiz planted Evans for a Snap Belly to Back Suplex. He then hit the Duggan Tackle on Evans. Ortiz brought our the Rally Towel before finishing off Evans with the Big O Splash.
Jay’s Thoughts: Ricky Ortiz really could use a good heel turn. His loss to Jack Swagger, a few weeks ago, really derailed his forward momentum in ECW. Ortiz is a decent wrestler but he’s on the wrong brand.
Ortiz thanked the Chi-Town Crowd for their support He reminded them to Rally Up! Ortiz left the ring and gave his Rally Towel to a young kid at ringside. Todd Grisham and Matt Striker then talked about the Tommy Dreamer speech from last week. Tommy gave himself an ultimatum: Win the ECW title by June 6th or retire. Tommy questioned whether he still had what it takes. If he couldn’t win the title by 6/6, he would retire.
Teddy Long talked with Tommy in the back. Teddy said he would have given Tommy a title shot at anytime he wanted it. As Tommy and Teddy talked, Paul Burchill walked in. Paul dissed Tommy by saying some people still had a career worth saving. Tommy came back with “Some of us have careers that don’t need saving”. The two were ready to throw down until Teddy stepped between them. Burchill demanded a rematch with D.J. Gabriel. Teddy Long told Burchill that he didn’t get to demand anything. Teddy said Burchill would have a match, against an opponent of Teddy’s choosing. Teddy told the Burchills to “get ta steppin'”. Paul’s match was next.
Paul and Katie Lea Burchill waited in the ring for Paul’s opponent. He got the chance to face…The Boogeyman. Boogey gyrated through the golden and crimson fog. Paul looked stunned at the appearance of the Wizard of Worms.
Boogeyman d Paul Burchill (by DQ)
Boogey got free from Burchill and hit a pair of Clotheslines. Boogey whipped Paul to two different corners, hitting Flying Splashes in each. Boogey went for the Pump Handle Powerslam but Katie Lea ran in and kicked the legs of Boogey. That caused a DQ loss for her big brother.
Jay’s Thoughts: How low has your career dropped when you have to job to Boogey? Ask Paul Burchill. Boogey is just a bargain basement Papa Shango with a worm fetish. Burchill has all the skill in the world. Burchill really needs to take an early out from his WWE career and head to TNA, where he just might be appreciated.
After the match, Boogey turned his attention to Katie Lea. Boogey turned and Clotheslined Paul over the ropes. Boogey then grabbed Katie as she tried to escape. Boogey dragged her back into the ring and freaked as Boogey brought out the worms. Paul grabbed Katie and yanked her from the ring. Boogey went to the floor and laid some worms on the announce table and then gobbled down a few Nightcrawlers of his own. Yuck.
Grisham sent it back to Raw from Monday Night. Vince showed up and allowed Chris Jericho to plead his grievance against Stephanie McMahon. Stephanie made Chris beg for his job. He had to apologize to Steph and the fans. It was major humiliation for the former Y2J. Randy Orton then came out to demand an apology from Stephanie for slapping him earlier in the night. Vince demanded an apology from Orton, when Orton called Steph “basically worthless”. When Orton wouldn’t apologize, Vince prepared to fire him. Orton then attacked Vince. Orton nailed the Orton Punt to Vince’s skull.
Striker and Grisham ran down the Royal Rumble card, as it currently stands. There is still question as to whether Jeff Hardy will be able to battle on Sunday, although he is booked to face Edge. I’m thinking that one of three men is going to win the Rumble (Orton, C.M. Punk or a surprise entrant–Shawn Michaels). ECW then ran the numbers for the Rumble. I will have my full Royal Rumble predictions by the end of the week.
John Morrison came out for the main event, solo. he did his typical Slow-Mo-Intro. This was a Fatal Four Way match. Next out was the other half of the tag champs, The Miz. ECW took a quick break before the other two men arrived for the battle.
After another plug for the Mr. Kennedy film, ECW returned with the arrival of Mark Henry. He had Tony Atlas at his side. The final entrant was the Belfast Brawler, Finlay. Hornswoggle was at his “father’s” side.
John Morrison d The Miz & Mark Henry and Finlay
Fatal Four Way Match
All four men really got a chance to shine in this match. There were numerous near falls through the match. The ending was a surprise to everyone, especially the one who got pinned. How’s how it ended.
Finlay went for a Roll-up on Morrison. Miz made the save. The tag champs hit a Double Gut Buster on Finlay. Morrison pounded away on Finlay. Miz then Paint Brushed Finlay. Tony Atlas checked on his mentee, Mark Henry, who had been knocked from the ring by the tag champs. Mark Henry walked away from the match. Finlay hit a Double Bulldog on Miz and Morrison. Hornswoggle flew off the top rope with the Tadpole Splash on Morrison. Finlay hit Bombs Away on Miz. Finlay sent Miz to the corner and threw a huge Shoulder Thrust into the ribs of Miz. Finlay hit the Emerald Fusion aka Celtic Cross on Miz. Morrison rushed in and prevented Finlay from getting the pin. Morrison then pinned his own tag partner. Miz looked on in complete surprise as he realized that his own partner had pinned him after nailing Finlay with the Knee Strike to the head.
Jay’s Thoughts: Mark Henry really disappointed me with his walk out on the match. It made him look like a big cry-baby. Mark will end up tossed out of the Royal Rumble in quick fashion, count on it. Miz and Morrison really looked great in the match. The ending was fantastic. Morrison showed what a good sleaze is, when it comes to wrestling. For him to take the pin, after eliminating Finlay was classic. Could the tag champs be on the verge on implosion? I hope not. WWE finally got the recipe correct on this team. They have the potential to join The Midnight Express, Brain Busters (Anderson/Blanchard), The Hollywood Blonds and others as one of the top heel teams of all time. Finlay continued to look impressive, as always. He and Tommy Dreamer are the foundation that the new ECW is built on.
Final Grade: B-
Jay’s Final Thoughts: Well, after last week’s super show, this one was a major letdown. The main event was the saving grace. It’s twist ending was great. Ricky Ortiz did finally show a little bit of excitement in his match. ECW definitely wanted to play it safe, heading into the Royal Rumble. I’ve never been a fan of playing it safe.
I’ll be back with you in a day or two with my predictions for the 2009 Royal Rumble. The show looks great. If you have Dish Network, they are offering a package deal for Royal Rumble, No Way Out and Wrestlemania. Be sure to check it out.