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HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
ECW (9/1) Extreme Examination
Our resident philosopher looks at a mix of highlight reels and talk segments with a tiny amount of wrestling tossed in for good measure.

Goldust and Sheamus took their war to another level on this week’s show. Christian enlisted a little hardcore help in his war with William Regal and his Tormentors. Plus, Abraham Washington was back, paying a bizarre tribute to Ed McMahon.

This week’s Episode: When Irish Eyes are Glaring!

ECW emanated from Cleveland, OH. (Home of The Miz). Shelton Benjamin came out to open the show. He would face his new mortal enemy, Zack Ryder. The two had a major falling out, last week, during a tag match. ECW looked at the situation before Zack arrived. I still think Zack has the best new theme music. It was me all nostalgic for the 80s.

Shelton Benjamin d Zack Ryder

The Finish:

Zack shoved Shelton into the ropes but Benjamin came out with a kick to the ribs. After a pair of punches, Shelton Irish Whipped Zack and then Back Body Dropped him. Shelton Irish Whipped Zack to the corner and nailed the Stinger Splash. Shelton took a page out of Jay Lethal‘s playbook by utilizing 1/2 of the Lethal Combination (the backbreaker segment). Shelton sent Zack to the ropes but dropped his head. Zack hammered Shelton’s back and tossed him over the top rope. Shelton landed on the apron and waited for Zack to turn back around. Shelton slipped on the top rope but was still able to hit the Springboard Blockbuster. Shelton waited patiently and then struck Paydirt to take the win.

Grade: A-

Jay’s Thoughts: These two are becoming the foundation of the new and somewhat-improved ECW. They are both massively talented and have the ability to pull a great match out of a block of wood. To put them in the same ring is an almost certain recipe for success.

ECW looked at the battle that Sheamus and Goldust had, last week. Goldust and Sheamus would battle in a No-DQ, No Count-out match, in the main event.

Tony Atlas introduced Abraham Washington. Tony did his best Ed McMahon (R.I.P.) as he yelled out “Hereeeee’s Abe”. Washington found himself faced with a totally dead house. Tony kept doing the phony McMahon laugh as Washington rambled on. Abraham tried to get cheap heat by trash talking Cleveland. The crowd was hot, because they were bored with his schtick. Abraham insulted Arsenio Hall, who was from Cleveland. Abraham went way off topic with jokes about LaBron James.

After wasting tons of time and having to listen to Tony’s annoying cackle, Abraham brought out Gregory Helms. Abraham kept trying to accuse Gregory of being The Hurricane. Helms talked about the devastating neck injury that shelved him and turned him into a member of the broadcasting team. Washington then brought out his next guests, Paul Burchill and Katie Lea Burchill. Tony told Katie Lea that she looked hot (she did). Paul called Helms “a joke and a complete fraud”. Paul taunted Helms with the fact that Hurricane lost on Superstars.

Hurricane came on the Tron. He said that he was on assignment in Gotham City but would return, next week, to challenge Paul Burchill. Paul wasn’t amused but he did accept the challenge for a match with Hurricane, next week.

Segment Grade: D+

Jay’s Thoughts: For the first time in over 20 years, I actually felt sorry for Tony Atlas. He went from one of the top wrestling stars in the industry to playing second banana to a no-talent, annoying, loud-mouth that wastes so much TV time. How much longer is Washington going to be given so much on-air time?

As for the Burchill/Hurricane feud, it’s not bad but it is rather dull. Burchill is a great wrestler but he has such limited mic skills that he just falls flat. Katie Lea is rather fun to watch but she’s become almost mute in the last few months. Hurricane is now kind of like when Kyle Raynor took over the Green Lantern ring from Hal Jordan. I realize it’s still the same person in the lime green and black, but it just has a different feel.

Matt Striker then went from ridiculous to fantastic. He sent it to a video package about The Undertaker, the most respected man in wrestling, today. It was a fantastic piece that had snippets from just about every top star in the industry, praising the Dead Man. Backstage. the Tormentors walked, together, to the ring for their first match as a team.

William Regal, Vladimir Kozlov and Ezekiel Jackson walked confidently to the ring to face Jim Parks and Mike Tolar.

Vladimir Kozlov and Ezekiel Jackson d Jim Parks and Mike Tolar

ECW looked at how Kozlov helped Regal earn a title shot against Christian at Breaking Point. Kozlov Booted Tolar and then launched him with an Over-head Throw. Jackson tagged in and lifted Tolar for a pair of Side Backbreakers. Kozlov tagged in and Headbutted Tolar in the chest, after sending the kid to the ropes. Jackson tagged back in and hit an amazing Stall Suplex on Tolar. Jackson attacked Parks and ran him along the apron and into the ring post. Parks collapsed onto the floor. Jackson then nailed the Uranage Chokeslam. Kozlov demanded a tag and lowered the Iron Curtain on Tolar.

Grade: B-

After the match, Regal slapped the Regal Stretch on Tolar. That brought out Christian. Regal begged Christian to come to the ring. Christian said he would come to the ring, but not alone. The music of Tommy Dreamer rang out and the Innovator of Violence joined Captain Charisma. Regal laughed at the arrival of Dreamer. Regal warned Christian and Tommy that coming to the ring would be the biggest mistake of their lives. Christian called Regal “Bill” and explained that they brought equalizers…a pair of Singapore canes. Jackson and Kozlov rushed out and were whipped like government mules by the faces. Christian and Tommy made it to the ring and Regal pulled his charges back. The Tormentors made a strategic retreat.

Jay’s Thoughts: The Tormentors really should work up to a brutal battle against the Unified tag team champions. Jackson may be a bit green but he should be more than a match for Chris Jericho. Kozlov should be able to stand toe to toe with Big Show. I think the Tormentors could actually take the straps off the current champs. I actually see a potential for them to, eventually, be compared to other fantastic teams, like the Road Warriors and Team 3D. That’s many years off, but it just might happen. Regal would be better suited to give up the in-ring fighting and just stick to leading Jackson and Kozlov to victory. The upcoming feud between the Tormentors and Dreamer/Christian really needs a sixth party-goer. This would be a perfect time to introduce Joe Hennig or one of the other top FCW talents to help Christian and Dreamer.

ECW ran a video package on Shawn Michaels. That led into an extended segment about the Undertaker v Shawn match at Wrestlemania XXV. This was the same segment that ran during Saturday night’s special tribute show. It showed all the best moves, including the incredible Tope Suicida that almost ended “The Streak”, as well as ‘Taker’s wrestling career. The cameraman (Sim “Deuce” Snuka) was supposed to catch ‘Taker but didn’t. He did absorb some of the impact of the move but ‘Taker still struck the arena floor way too hard. That botched catch has been rumored to be one of the reasons that Sim Snuka was released from the WWE, shortly after Wrestlemania.

It was announced that next week’s main event would be Christian and Tommy Dreamer v Ezekiel Jackson and Vladimir Kozlov.

Sheamus then arrived for the main event. He got decent heat as he yelled at the Ohio crowd. Goldust then came down the ramp, tossing his robe and wig aside, before entering the ring.

Sheamus d Goldust
No Disqualification, No Count-out Match

The Finish:

Goldust used a really weak Snap Powerslam to send Sheamus onto his back. Both men were exhausted. Sheamus scooted out of the ring and tried to catch his breath. Goldust hit a Flying Clothesline off the apron. Sheamus came back to run Goldust’s back into the ringpost. Goldust then reversed an Irish Whip and sent Sheamus, chest first, into a different ring post. Goldust threw Sheamus back int eh ring and yelled at him. Goldust threw hard fists tot he face and set for another Bulldog. Sheamus threw Goldust off him and choked him with his knee. Sheamus picked up Goldust and sent him to the ropes. Goldust hit the Goldust Uppercut but Sheamus came back with a Bicycle Kick. Sheamus then took out Goldust with his finisher, now called the Irish Curse (A Uranage into a Backbreaker).

Grade: A

Jay’s Thoughts: Goldust deserves a ton of credit for helping to push Sheamus in his opening WWE feud. The wild Irishman could have floundered with some of the other talent, like Ricky Ortiz, but this feud pushed him ahead of just about everyone to come up from FCW in the last six months or so. This match helped to showcase just how strong Sheamus is. He did moves against Goldust that defied description. Give Sheamus 2 to 3 years and he will be wearing, at least, secondary gold on either Raw or Smackdown.

Final Grade: C

Final Thoughts: While the action was decent, ECW wasted over half the show with things that really didn’t have much to do with ECW. Between commercials, the umpteenth repeat of the Shawn/Taker video package and the Abraham Washington Show, I almost forgot that it was a real wrestling show. This week, the show was just boring. I spent the majority of the live run of the show working with my daughter in the kitchen. I could hear the television in the living room but really never felt the desire to ignore the cooking duties to watch the show.

— Jay Shannon
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