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HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
The ECW (8/11) Extreme Examination
Our resident philosopher looks at all the action and adventure in the Land of Extreme.

ECW has a brand new number one contender to the ECW title. He’s tough as nails. He’s not an American. It’s not Vladimir Kozlov.

The show opened with a look back at the Extreme Rules match, from last week, between Christian and Tommy Dreamer. Tommy lost the match after Christian used the KillSwitch to drive Tommy’s face into a metal car door…yes, a car door! It was an amazingly brutal battle that could have gone either way.

This Week’s Episode: The Royal Extremist

Zack Ryder came out for the first match of the night. ECW looked back at the horrid Karaoke contest between Ryder and Shelton Benjamin. Neither man could carry a tune in a bucket. Heck, they made Jillian Hall sound good…well, almost. Ryder and Benjamin got into a nasty little fight after the warbling stopped. Back to present time, Shelton Benjamin came out to face off against Ryder.

Shelton Benjamin d Zack Ryder

The Finish:

Zack went to the apron and then grabbed Shelton’s neck. Zack jumped off the apron, which brought Shelton’s throat down over the ropes. He sprang off the ropes and landed hard near the middle of the ring. Zack came back in and hit the Leaping Leg Lariat. Zack tried to finish off Shelton with the Zack Attack but Shelton powered out of the move. Shelton grabbed both legs to slingshot Zack to the corner. Zack landed awkwardly but recovered and went for a Flying Crossbody. Shelton Booted Zack on the way down and nailed the Horizontal Powerbomb into the corner. Zack staggered out of the corner and Shelton struck Paydirt to take the win.

Grade: A-

Jay’s Thoughts: These two kids are going to cornerstone the future of the WWE. Shelton will likely be named alongside greats like Ernie Ladd, Ron Simmons, Tony Atlas and Junkyard Dog as one of the greatest African-American wrestlers of all time. He will actually transcend that to be named as one of the best all-around wrestlers of this generation. Ryder will likely find himself compared to men like Rick Martel, Randy Savage and Shawn Michaels for being dynamite in a smaller package. Both men will hold gold (or platinum) in the future.

Gregory Helms interviewed Paul Burchill, or tried to. Paul made fun of Helms’ alter-ego, The Hurricane. Helms tried to talk about Burchill’s match with Yoshi Tatsu. Helms suggested that Burchill was an idiot and Paul thrashed him. Helms came up to his knees with a strange green glint in his eyes. (OK, maybe the glint wasn’t actually there, but it sounded so Green Lantern-ish).

The Siberian Syborg, Vladimir Kozlov, stomped from the back for the next contest. His victim, this week, was Kevin Brooks. Brooks weighed in at 174 pounds. Kozlov probably eats more than that for breakfast.

Vladimir Kozlov d Kevin Brooks

Brooks rushed around the ring to avoid Kozlov. Brooks went for the Go Behind but Kozlov easily Hip Tossed the Flyweight. Kozlov Thrust Kicked Brooks and then grabbed him in a Front Face Lock. Kozlov tossed Brooks into the corner. Kozlov threw a hard shoulder in the corner as the fans chanted “You Can’t Wrestle!” (I thought this was Canada, not Philly?) Kozlov showed the crowd that he did have some grappling skills as he lifted Brooks into the Ventura BodyVise. Kozlov launched Brooks with an Inverted F-5. Kozlov then lowered the Iron Curtain to take the easy win.

Grade: C

Ezekiel Jackson walked slowly to the ring. Jackson stared at Brooks and Kozlov. Jackson lifted Brooks and hit his Mon-Star finisher. Kozlov lifted the downed victim and hit another Iron Curtain. Kozlov then left the ring as Jackson looked slightly confused.

Jay’s Thoughts: Again, what the heck is ECW planning with Kozlov and Jackson? I really would like to see them unite as the next big tag team. A feud between the two wouldn’t really help either man. ECW’s Dual Goldberg Streaks situation with Jackson and Kozlov is rather amusing.

ECW looked at HHH’s search for Shawn Michaels in Texas. Shawn was working as a fry cook…excuse me…executive chef in a corporate dinner in San Antonio. The whole series of segments turned into a classic set of D-X vignettes. Shawn finally agreed to reform D-X for a match at SummerSlam against Legacy.

Matt Striker promo’d the D-X v Legacy match at SummerSlam.

The Bella Twinscame out to serve as the special ring announcers for the next match. The Canadian fans cat called and whooped for the hot sisters. The brought out Paul Burchill, with his sister, Katie Lea Burchill. The twins then introduced his opponent, Yoshi Tatsu.

Yoshi Tatsu d Paul Burchill (by DQ)

The Finish:

The crowd helped motivate Yoshi. Yoshi got free and hit several strong Fore-arm shots. Yoshi then went C.M. Punk on Paul with numerous hard kicks. Yoshi broke out an odd Rolling Snap Mare that took both of them to the canvas. Yoshi came up and hit a Crescent Kick to Paul’s face. Yoshi only got a two count. Yoshi sent Paul to the ropes but dropped his head. Paul Field Goaled the jaw of Yoshi but the Japanese sensation caught Paul with a Flying Leg Lariat. Yoshi missed a Kneedrop but Paul sold it, anyway. Yoshi then went to the ropes, where Katie Lea struck him in the back. The ref saw it and called for the bell.

Grade: B

Jay’s Thoughts: I’m just amazed at the popularity of Yoshi Tatsu. He is this generation’s Great Muta, only much more popular than Muta ever was. Burchill is a great mid-carder that looks to be setting up a nice little feud with The Hurricane. Yoshi will get his training in ECW and then move to one of the big two to earn some gold.

Karie Lea got on the apron to distract Yoshi. Paul attacked Yoshi and stomped on him in the corner. The ref had a heck of a time holding Paul back. Suddenly, the music of The Hurricane sounded. Hurricane flew off the ropes with a Crossbody. Hurricane hit a Thesz Press and pounded away at Paul. Hurricane had a more rocker look than before. The wild green hair was replaced by Goth black. Yoshi bowed in respect to the resident super-hero.

The Burchills were in Tiffany’s office to have a tantrum about Hurricane. Tiffany told Paul not to give her an ultimatum. She said that she would handle it. She then dismissed the siblings.

Back in the arena, Tyler Reks came down to battle. The Pulp Fiction-esque music rocked the house. Tyler’s opponents was Tom James. I’m not sure if he’s related to either the Divas champion, Mickie James, or the Armstrong/James family. He looked more like Riff Raff (from Rocky Horror) meets Konnan.

Tyler Reks d Tom James

The two locked up and Reks Arm Dragged James to the mat. Reks moved James to the corner. James came out fighting with hard punches. Reks LeapFrogged James and then hit a Flying Clothesline. Reks sent James into the corner and then worked over James’ left shoulder, including cranking away with a Hammerlock. Reks hit several shots and then Flapjacked James. Reks nailed the Springboard Missile Dropkick to take the win.

Grade: B-

Jay’s Thoughts: I like Reks, even though I don’t see him really making it to a Triple H, Bret Hart, Steve Austin level. He’ll be at the level of a Crush or Dustin Rhodes. He’ll have moderate success but just won’t make the top tier. Sorry, kid. Please, prove me wrong.

It was the Popcorn Run segment of the night. Yes, Abraham Washington was back for more of his amateur comedy routine. The Canadian fans loved him just about as much as the U.S. fans do. Washington tried to get a Foley Pop by pushing the hometown. Washington got a 1960’s-era racist shot in on hockey (A bunch of white men striking a black object with sticks). Washington wished Hulk Hogan a happy birthday.

Washington called out “The Elephant Man”, Christian. Captain Charisma got the biggest pop of the night. The Peeps were in full force for the ECW Champ. Christian called Washington, Arsenio (Hall). Washington ran a clip of last week’s title match between Christian and Tommy Dreamer. After the clip, Washington wanted to know if Christian and Tommy were still friends. Christian said that they were absolutely still friends. Washington started making shots at Tommy’s weight. Christian came back to diss Washington by saying that he promised Washington that he didn’t have to come on Washington’s lame talk show. Christian warned Washington that if he talked trash about either Tommy or Christian, he (Washington) would need a dentist. Christian said he was ready for any challenge. Washington threw aside several of his note cards (probably more lame jokes). Washington then introduced the new number one contender to the ECW title…”Master” William Regal. Regal came out to tell Christian that he hasn’t seen Extreme, yet. Regal advised Christian to watch what he planned to do to Christian’s friend, Dreamer, next.

ECW ran a promo saying that D-X would take over Raw, next Monday.

William Regal d Tommy Dreamer

The Finish:

The two exchanged hard fists, with Tommy getting the edge. Tommy came off the ropes and Clotheslined Regal off his feet. Tommy kicked Regal in the ribs and tried to set for the D(reamer)DT. Regal spun out of the hold and yanked on Tommy’s hurt arm. Regal missed with his Knee Trembler finisher. Tommy planted Real with the Sky-high Anderson Spinebuster. Tommy placed Regal in the Sullivan Tree of Woe and hit the Hesitation Dropkick. Tommy caught Regal with a Scoop Powerslam. Regal got his foot on the bottom rope to avoid the three. Regal went to the apron. When Tommy charged, Regal brought the bad arm down over the top rope. Regal came in an nailed the Knee Trembler to finish off the former ECW Champ.

Grade: A-

After the match, Regal trapped Tommy in the Regal Stretch. Christian rushed down to protect Tommy from the barbaric submission move. Regal stared at the carnage he caused in the ring as ECW faded to black.

Jay’s Thoughts: What, exactly, has William Regal done to deserve a title shot? Stayed clean for an extended period of time? I thought that only worked for Jeff Hardy? I guess Kozlov is left out in the cold. Regal was supposed to come across as the barbaric crusader that took his quest for the title as serious as Arthur’s search for the Holy Grail. In reality, Regal comes across as a second-rate Graham Chapman. I expect him to battle the Black Knight and go for the limbs. (Check out Monty Python and the Holy Grail if that reference didn’t quite make sense). Regal just isn’t the wrestler he was 10-15 years ago. He’s slow and clumsy. He will not be able to pull a decent match if he battles Christian at Summerslam. The bookers better toss in Dreamer, Kozlov or someone else. If it’s just Christian v Regal, it will end up as the dark match. Heck, Primo v Carlito will be more entertaining.

Final Grade: B-

Final Thoughts: Thankfully, Abraham Washington was kept to a minimum, this week. I do tend to agree with Arnie Katz that Washington is supposed to get on people’s nerves (That’s not an exact quote, but close). He was almost necessary, this week, to unveil Regal’s role in the title picture.

As for the action, I feel it was above average. Reks, Tatsu, and the other young guys are providing a solid future for ECW. I look forward to a few new faces, likely after Summerslam. There are quite a few kids down in Florida who are just itching for a chance to make their famous families proud.


–Jay Shannon’
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