HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
The (4/21) ECW Extreme Examination
Our resident philosopher, Jay Shannon, hops the Big Pond to look at the lead-in to Backlash episode of the Tuesday Night Delight, ECW.
ECW brought the Extreme to England, this week. Hornswoggle said his farewells to his father, the fans and the Black Brand. Kozlov got to show his stuff and Jack Swagger and Christian signed the paperwork for their title match, Sunday.
Josh Matthews and Matt Striker welcomed the crowd to ECW.
Hornswoggle and Finlay got a huge pop as they arrived in the O-2 Arena. Hornswoggle was in his regular outfit, while Finlay was in street clothes. The crowd booed when Finlay talked about Hornswoggle leaving ECW to head to Raw. Hornswoggle took the mic from his dad. He actually spoke! He wanted to wrestle! The crowd busted loose with a “Horn-swog-gle” chant. Finlay asked Tiffany to put Hornswoggle in a match. Hornswoggle went to say something else but The Anvilette, Natalya, and Tyson “Stampede Kid” Kidd came out.
Kidd was the last trainee in the Hart Dungeon. Kidd made fun of “the little midget”. Kidd said good riddance. Finlay called Kidd a “Teletubby” and a “Midget”. Natalya said that Bret Hart lied when he called himself “The Best There is, The Best There was and the Best there ever will be”. That catchphrase should describe Tyson. (Gotta think the next family reunion is going to be a little less jovial). Natalya opened her mouth to say that she could beat Hornswoggle. Hornswoggle ran up and nibbled away at the rather cute backside of the Pink and Black Princess.Natalya was livid and demanded to fight Hornswoggle. ECW went to break.
Hornswoggle d Natalya
Natalya taunted Hornswoggle diminutive size. Natalya Pie-Faced Hornswoggle, several times. Hornswoggle bit the butt of Natalya and then Speared Natalya. Hornswoggle hit the Bombs Away as Kidd jumped on the apron. Hornswoggle threw his jacket at Kidd. Finlay ran around and tripped Kidd. Natalya went to check on her paramour, which allowed Hornswoggle to School Boy Natalya for the Upset Win of the Decade.
Jay’s Thoughts: I should have been irritated by this kind of silliness. Truthfully, I loved it. I so want to see Hornswoggle play up the comedy schtick on Raw. Raw has gotten far too serious, as of late. I hope WWE isn’t foolish enough to try to put over Hornswoggle as an actual wrestler. To do that, he would need to go to Smackdown and battle Rey Mysterio (almost the same size). I foresee a Hornswoggle/Vickie angle. Hey, Vickie is or was (storyline) preggers. Hmmm? Maybe Hornswoggle will make Finlay a grandpa.
I was, however, highly offended by Natalya basically spitting in the face of her uncle, Bret, by giving his mantra to Tyson Kidd. Kidd is a good, even great, wrestler but he will never fill the boots of his mentor and (possibly someday) uncle. Natalya was big time out of line with the remark. I’m sure that Bret will whine about it in his Calgary Sun column, down the road.
The Finlay Family danced with some little kids in the ring.
Josh talked about the Tower of London crossing the river Thames, which he mispronounced.It is pronounced like Tim’s.
In the back, Natalya grumbled to Tiffany about Hornswoggle. Tiffany put her foot down and told Kidd and Tyson that they couldn’t storm into her office. Tiffany made the match for Superstars of Kidd/Natalya v Finlay/Hornswoggle. Tiffany dismissed Kidd and Natalya so she could get ready for the contract signing between Christian and Jack Swagger.
The Raw Rebound looked back at the No-DQ match between HHH and Randy Orton. HHH and Orton went back and forth in this one, until the other four combatants in this Sunday’s main event showed up. HHH actually seemed to have the match won but when Rhodes and DiBiase threw a monkey wrench into all the plans, he fell victim to the R-K-O.
Josh and Matt ran down the Backlash card.
The crowd popped huge as Evan Bourne made his entrance for the next match. Evan would be in action, after a quick break.
Evan waited for his opponent, The Ripper, Paul Burchill. Paul had his lovely sister, Katie Lea, at his side.
Evan Bourne d Paul Burchill
Paul went to the kidneys. Evan ducked the Clothesline and hit a Jumping Knee that sent Paul to the outside. Evan caught Paul as he came back in with an odd twisting pin attempt. Evan caught Paul with had kicks. Paul planted Evan with a Running Uranage. Evan was too close to the ropes to be pinned. Paul got the crowd clapping for him. Paul missed a charge in the corner and was almost pinned. Evan climbed the ropes but got caught. Paul set Evan for an Electric Chair but Evan turned it into a Reverse Hurancanrana. Evan nailed the Shooting Star Press to take the hard-fought victory.
Jay’s Thoughts: I really expected Burchill to take this one, since it was Burchill’s home turf. The WWE has failed with its use of Paul Burchill. He should have been drafted to Raw where he could have worked a program with MVP over the US title. He could have pushed the British taking back the colonies angle. Sadly, he ends up as Push Fodder to the next big star.
Evan continues to look amazing in the ring. He has all the skills needed to be a top star. He’s going to have an almost impossible hill to climb to get that done in ECW. He’s another one that deserved a move in the Draft. Smackdown would have been such a good home for him. He’s one of my favorites of the new generation of wrestlers. I hope Evan gets a shot at the winner of the Christian/Swagger title match. I have a scary feeling that he is going to end up doing the David and Goliath thing with Kozlov.
By the way, where the heck is William Regal? He wasn’t on Raw, ECW or Smackdown for this tour. That’s almost unheard of. Is he in trouble with the office, again? I’m just saying…
ECW ran a video piece for Vladimir Kozlov. Kozlov talked in a mix of Ukrainian, Russian and English. Kozlov wants a championship in ECW. Kozlov would get another victim…next.
Vladimir Kozlov made his entrance to a chorus of boos. His victim was local boy, Frankie Sloan. Sloan is the British Commonwealth Champion. Before the match, Kozlov rambled in Ukrainian, Russian and English about being superior.
Vladimir Kozlov d Frankie Sloan
Kozlov tossed Sloan like a salad and broke out the Al Snow Headbutts to the chest. Kozlov sent Sloan to the ropes and hit the Headbutt to the chest. Kozlov hit the Uranage Powerbomb to seal the deal on this quick squash match.
Jay’s Thoughts: Welcome to 1983. The Squash Match was a staple during the re-birth of the WWF. Barry Horowitz, S.D. Jones (May his soul rest peacefully), Duane “Gillberg” Gill and others would get their butts handed to them, each and every week. ECW has brought that time-honored tradition back to help push Kozlov. Guess what? This isn’t 1983. This kind of blatant pushing of a mid-level star is an insult to the fans. Kozlov is quickly slipping from a Nikita Koloff level to that of the Russian Assassins (Remember them? Very few do.) The WWE really dropped the ball with Kozlov.
Tiffany stood in the ring, looking very pretty. She welcomed everyone to the contract signing for the ECW title match at Backlash. She called out Captain Charisma, Christian, for the signing. The Peeps were loud and proud for the Canadian Superstar. After soaking in huge amounts of love from the crowd, Christian stood and waited for his opponent.
Tiffany then introduced Jack Swagger, who strolled out in a gray suit with a really ugly yellow “power tie”. Swagger sat the belt on the table and grinned at Christian. Tiffany asked both men to take a seat. They stood and looked at each other before sitting down. Tiffany said that both men who have the chance to make final comments.
Christian signed the contract quickly and shoved it over to Jack. Jack took the mic and wondered why Christian didn’t take shots at him. Jack wanted to know if Christian had anything to say. Christian remained silent. Jack then signed the contract and the two men stared at each other. Jack said that a new class of athletes had taken Christian’s place during his three year absence from the WWE. Jack gave Christian credit for becoming the number one contender to the ECW title. Jack said that he was stronger, faster and bigger than Christian. Jack suggested Christian knew he couldn’t beat Jack. Christian remained silent. Jack said that Christian remained silent because he knew Jack was right.
As Jack started to leave, Christian finally spoke. Christian said Jack was wearing the same suit he wore to his high school graduation. Christian said that all the barbs wouldn’t do anything for him. Christian said that Jack could run his mouth and he (Christian) would focus on making Jack the “biggest, fastest, strongest EX-champion”. Tiffany thanked both men as Jack taunted Christian with the Platinum and Leather belt. Jack threw the belt in Christian’s face. Christian popped Jack, who came back with a Clothesline. Jack then hit the Gut-Wrench Powerbomb to send Christian through the table. Jack picked up his belt and held it high.
Segment Grade: B
Jay’s Thoughts: Christian is so on the wrong show. Maybe WWE is punishing Christian for his run in Florida with TNA, but Christian actually seems lost in the ECW shuffle. Considering how few people that they actually have, Christian is in deep trouble. He should dominate Swagger on Sunday, but I have the feeling that Swagger will retain his title. With an upcoming push (maybe) for Tommy Dreamer, the belt needs to stay on a heel. The only other option is for Christian to take the belt on Sunday and have Kozlov take it the following Tuesday. That would be even more devastating to Christian’s career.
Final Grade: B+
Final Thoughts: Well, ECW did good with the whole Hornswoggle v Natalya battle. I kinda envied Horny getting to nibble Natalya’s shapely tush. (Just a touch of Dirty ol’ Man slipping out). The Evan v Paul match was excellent. The Squash was pathetic. The contract signing, while needed, should have opened the show, not closed it. Evan v Paul was a pleasant surprise. A definite mixed bag of fun and torture for the fans. I am happy to see the ECW title get defended on Backlash, since the WWE basically spat on the brand during Wrestlemania, making Jack Swagger a Lumberjack during the dark match for the tag unification.
ONe last thing before I go, I want to send my thanks out to the guys over at OWW Radio. I had a great time talking TNA with them. Maybe I was a bit hasty in saying Team 3D was better than the Road Warriors.
– -Jay Shannon