HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
The ECW (5/26) Extreme Examination
Our resident philosopher looks at all the action in one of the best ECWs of the year.
ECW revved up for Extreme Rules. Their contribution to the show was announced. Plus, the trio of David Hart Smith, Natalya (Neidhart) and Tyson Kidd got their official team name.
Christian Cage brought the house to its feet when he arrive with his ECW title and mile-wide smile. Christian had something special to say. Christian started talking about a “dork that wouldn’t go away”. That person was Jack Swagger. Christian said after having Swagger interrupt his title match against Tommy Dreamer, last week, it was time to get things settled, once and for all. Christian called out Jack Swagger.
Swagger came out, offended that Christian felt Swagger’s time as a star was running out. Swagger said that he was going to take the ECW title at Extreme Rules. Tiffany made the match for the two. Christian made fun of Swagger for losing so often. Before Swagger could say too much, Tiffany sauntered from the back, looking sweet and sexy. Tiffany chided Swagger for not spelling out the full ECW title match at Extreme Rules. Tiffany explained that the match would be a Triple Threat, which also includes Tommy Dreamer. Swagger had a fit when Tommy came out. Swagger yelled that Tommy’s contract would expire the day before Extreme Rules. Tiffany explained that Tommy signed a one-day extension on his contract. The bottom line was either Tommy wins the ECW title or walks away. The match would be contested under Hardcore rules. Tiffany left the ring and Tommy tossed Swagger from the ring. Christian congratulated Tommy for his actions, only to find himself thrown out of the ring by Tommy. A new, fired-up Tommy Dreamer stared at his Extreme Rules opponents.
Vladimir Kozlov came out for a 2-on-1 Handicap Match. In the ring, Ross Taylor and Joey Munos awaited their fate.
Vladimir Kozlov d Ross Taylor & Joey Munoz
2-on-1 Handicap Match
Kozlov hit the Al Snow Locked Headbutts and then launched Munoz with an Overhead Belly to Belly Suplex. Taylor tagged in and kicked Kozlov, who was still on the mat from the Suplex. Taylor tried for a Flying Crossbody, only to be stopped cold by a Headbutt to the ribs…on the fly. Kozlov finished the match with his Iron Curtain Chokeslam/Powerbomb combo.
Jay’s Thoughts: Kozlov is getting better but he’s still not where he could be. The whole Siberian Cyborg persona needs a bit more tweaking, but it’s a good direction for him to go. I’m hoping that Kozlov will start focusing on someone with more of a name. Kozlov needs to face off against Finlay, Tommy Dreamer, Evan Bourne or someone of that level. Squashing no-namers, even in Handicap matches, doesn’t help to push him all that much.
Christian and Tommy were yelling at each other in the back. Tommy was upset that Christian ignored him out there. Tommy felt Christian disrespected him. The two men got into a heck of a fist fight until Finlay showed up. ECW went to break.
Matt Striker and Josh Matthews talked about how fans shouldn’t try what the wrestlers do. I completely agree with them. Love the wrestlers or hate them, please respect the fact that they spent years learning their trade. Don’t be foolish and try some of the backyard wrestling garbage that seems so popular. Without training, you could hurt yourself or someone else.
Mark Henry and Tony Atlas came out for the next match. Mark was set to battle Evan Bourne. ECW ran a Tale of the Tape, which really made Mark look unstoppable. Evan Bourne came out to a decent reaction from the crowd.
Evan Bourne d Mark Henry (by countout)
Evan used the knees to get free from the Extended Backbreaker and then hit several vicious kicks. Evan hit a Running Dropkick, off the ropes, to the back of Mark’s head. Mark attacked Evan in the corner with a had Headbutt. Mark backed up and went for a charge. Evan moved and then hit a Seated Enziguri to set Mark up for the Shooting Star Press. Mark had done his homework and scooted out of the ring. Evan went for a Moonsault from the apron but Mark caught him. Evan slipped free and rammed Mark’s head into the ring post. Evan came off the top rope with his Evan Sent Double Kneedrop move onto Mark, who was still on the outside area. Evan then jumped back in the ring, just before the ref reached 10. Mark Henry was counted out, so Evan got the win.
Jay’s Thoughts: Great to see Mark Henry get a chance to look good, for once. Mark was in charge for almost the entire match. His loss doesn’t make him look weak. Evan, on the other hand, got to shine with his moves, especially that awesome Evan Sent off the top ropes to the floor. The countout loss was perfect booking. Kudos to the writers for this one.
Mark lost his cool, after the match, and threw the ring steps around. Matt and Josh mentioned that Finlay has suffered an eye injury while trying to break up the fight, backstage. He would not be able to compete.
Tiffany was reading Christian and Tommy Dreamer the riot act about Finlay’s injury. Tiffany converted the main event to a 3-on-2 Handicap match. Tiffany was irate.
The Hart Dynasty (David Hart Smith, Natalya and Tyson Kidd) came to the ring. I like the name. Natalya wanted to give the crowd a history lesson. Natalya said that Tyson was the only true protege of Bret Hart. Natalya introduced David Hart Smith as the only son of the British Bulldog, Davey Boy Smith. She then introduced herself as the only daughter of Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. Natalya told the crowd that the three were part of something that no one else will be part of. She officially announced the trio as the Hart Dynasty. They would get their partner, after the break.
Jack Swagger was in the ring, as ECW returned. Tommy Dreamer then came out to a great reaction from the L.A. crowd. He waited on the floor for his partner, Christian. Christian wouldn’t lock eyes with Tommy but did with Swagger.
David Hart Smith, Tyson Kidd & Jack Swagger d Tommy Dreamer and Christian
3-on-2 Handicap Match
Swagger tagged in and went for a Side Bear Hug. Tommy reached for his corner but couldn’t get there. Swagger released the move and clocked Christian. Kidd tagged back in and stomped on Tommy. Kidd went back to the Rear Chin Lock. Tommy countered with a Back Suplex. Tommy finally made the tag. Christian hit a Back Body Drop on Kidd. Christian tried for the Killswitch but Kidd shoved out of the move. Christian hit the Pendulum Kick off the ropes to stun Kidd. Christian hit the Spinning European Uppercut off the ropes and then nailed a Missile Dropkick. Smith made the save. Tommy took out Smith with the Cactus (Jack) Clothesline, sending them both to the floor. Kidd stunned Christian with an Enziguri and tagged Swagger into the match. Swagger started to go for the Gut Wrench Powerbomb but decided to send him Christian into the ring post, instead. Swagger then hit the Gut Wrench Powerbomb to seal the deal.
Jay’s Thoughts: I hated to see Finlay sidelined. I hope it was more of a storyline injury than a real one. The action was top-notch. The stars each got their own time to stand out in this match. The match seemed only slight disjointed, so that’s why I gave it an almost perfect rating. I’ll be curious to see if Tommy can take the title at Extreme Rules. The Triple Threat just might steal the show.
After the match, Tommy attacked Swagger. Kidd and Smith went after Tommy. The Hart Dynasty nailed Tommy with the Hart Attack!
Final Grade: A-
Final Thoughts: Definitely an above average show. It wasn’t bogged down with recaps of all the other shows. The backstage stuff was kept to a minimum. The action was the focus, as it should be. The Hart Dynasty was allowed to shine. Kozlov worked well in the Goldberg Run scenario. Tommy Dreamer is finally getting the push towards the ECW title that he deserves, though it’s really late in the game. Tiffany even worked as the hard-nosed bosslady. One of the best ECWs in many months, in my humble opinion.
— Jay Shannon