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HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
The ECW (9/22) Extreme Examination
Our resident philosopher takes a look at an action-packed episode of ECW that took one man to the next level and entertained the entire WWE Universe.

Zack Ryder got his first shot at the ECW title. The Tormentors continued to inflict pain and destruction onto their hapless foes. All this and the return of (sigh) The Abraham Washington Show.

This Week’s Episode: Not-so-Easy, Ryder

After a quick discussion of the ECW title match, ECW went straight into the Abraham Washington Show. Tony Atlas was back to be the only person to laugh at Abraham Washington’s horrid jokes. Abe pushed himself as Tony cackled. Abe brought out Sheamus. Sheamus, looking like an extra from Gangs of New York, took a seat. Abe made fun of Sheamus’ pale skin. Sheamus called the show “Sanford and Son“. Abe brought up Sheamus’ issues with Shelton Benjamin. Tony started laughing and calling Sheamus a “leprechaun”. They went back to talking about Shelton. Sheamus said he eliminated Shelton from the Battle Royal, last week, as repayment for the week before.

Sheamus then brought out Shelton Benjamin. The two men stared at each other. Abe tried to keep the two apart. Abe called Shelton “Hootie” (a reference to a singing contest a few weeks back). Abe then made fun of Shelton’s hair. Shelton was amazed that Abe’s show hasn’t been canceled yet (I ask myself the same question). Shelton tried to explain the concept of teamwork to Sheamus. Sheamus accused Shelton’s people of stealing and taking the easy way out. Sheamus said Shelton knew nothing about honor. Shelton said he did some research on Sheamus’ background. He brought up pictures of Bozo, Ronald McDonald, Carrot Top, Wendy (Thomas, and Pippi Longstocking. He claimed Ronald was Sheamus’ papa. This was so similar to what Cedric the Entertainer did on Monday night. Shelton got in Sheamus’ face as Tony and Abe tried to calm him down. Shelton turned to look at Tony, which allowed Sheamus to jump Shelton. The two flew over the furniture on the ramp. Tony came to Shelton’s side to talk him down. I’d personally love to see Tony Atlas ditch his Ed McMahon gimmick to become Shelton’s manager.

Segment Grade: C-

“The Ripper” Paul Burchill came out for the first match of the night. Katie Lea Burchill was at her brother’s side. ECW looked at the issues between Paul and The Hurricane. The crowd popped as Yoshi Tatsu came out in his Misawa green tights.

Yoshi Tatsu d Paul Burchill

The Finish:

Paul went back to a modified Rear Chin Lock to weaken Yoshi. Paul caught Yoshi with a Full Nelson Bomb (aka a Bubba Bomb). Paul didn’t release the Full Nelson after impact and wrapped his legs around to turn it into a variation to the Kokina Clutch. Yoshi wiggled free from the lower part of the submission hold and got to his feet. He walked the turnbuckles to flip over and almost pin Paul. Paul was forced to release the Full Nelson or get pinned. Paul took exception to the unique move and blasted Yoshi’s back. Paul hit a European Uppercut and went for an Irish Whip. Yoshi reversed the whip into some close quarters kicks. Yoshi ducked a Clothesline and hit a Back Spin Kick to Paul’s ribs. Yoshi took down Paul with the Rolling Headlock. He followed that move with a Crescent Kick to the chest. Yoshi went up top and hit a Spinning Wheel Kick to almost get the three. No one could believe Paul kicked out of that move. Paul Kneelifted Yoshi and took him to the corner. The two fought on the ropes. Paul shoved Yoshi off the ropes and continued to climb the ropes. Paul hit a Flying Kneedrop…for a two! Paul tried for a Scoop Slam but Yoshi fought free. Yoshi surprised Paul Burchill with the Tajiri Kick to take the win.

Grade: A+

Jay’s Thoughts: This was a fantastic match to “really” kick off the show. Both men showed why they are two of the best in the business. Paul should get full pops for helping push the young guys. A few months back, I wondered if Yoshi would be the next Tajiri or Kung Fu Naki. I think he will follow in the footsteps of the original Japanese Buzzsaw.

Matt Striker and Josh Mathews talked about how Zack Ryder got his title shot by winning the Battle Royal.

Zack was interviewed in the back. Zack said he makes his opportunities. He was confident that he would become the new ECW champion, later in the night.

Gregory Helms waited in the back to try and interview Paul and Katie Lea Burchill. Katie went off on Gregory for playing mind games. Paul jumped helms and beat him down. Paul then warned his sister to stay away from Helms/Hurricane.

William Regal escorted Ezekiel Jackson and Vladimir Kozlov to the ring. Their victims, err…opponents, were Dustin Brady and Brandon Young.

The Tormentors v Dustin Brady and Brandon Young

Kozlov attacked Young and took him over with an Arm Bar. Young reached the ropes to force the break. Young got one punch into Kozlov’s face. That just woke up the Siberian Syborg, who shoved the Oklahoman into the ropes and Headbutted his chest on the rebound. Kozlov kicked Young into the corner and tagged out to Jackson. Jackson pounded on the back and threw Young into the corner post. Brady made the tag and Jackson helped him into the ring, with a Over-head Throw. Jackson Power Whipped Brady to the corner. Kozlov called for the tag. He stomped on Brady’s head and then lifted him for the Al Snow Locked-Arm Headbutts. Kozlov launched Brady with an Over-Head Release Belly to Belly. Kozlov kicked Young off the apron before returning to Brady. Kozlov lifted Brady and threw him into the corner. Jackson took the tag and hit a huge Clothesline. He then planted Brady with the Mon-Star Uranage Slam.

Grade: A-

After the match, Young rushed into the ring. Kozlov caught him and lowered the Iron Curtain on the local kid. The Tormentors aka the Ruthless Roundtable stood over their latest victims. .

Jay’s Thoughts: Big Show and Chris Jericho need to watch their backs. These two just might slip in there and destroy the Unified Tag champs. I look forward to Kozlov lowering the Iron Curtain on Big Show. Sadly, they won’t likely get a shot anytime soon.

Josh and Matt ran down the updated Hell in a Cell PPV card.

William Regal talked with Goldust. Regal reminded Goldy about their match on Thursday. Regal called Goldust a joke. Regal said he was going to show everyone on Thursday that he is the only one who deserves a title shot.

ECW went to the Smackdown Rebound. Teddy Long came out to talk about the “new” Montreal Screwjob that cost Undertaker the World title. Long restarted the title match after ‘Taker locked in the Hell’s Gate submission. Long said the plan was in place to keep the belt of Undertaker. Long apologized to ‘Taker for his actions. Teddy got tin the limo to leave, only to learn that Undertaker was driving the limo. Teddy was trapped in the smoke-filling limo. ‘Taker drove off as Teddy screamed for help.

Christian came out for the main event. Christian was wearing his new t-shirt. The Peeps were loud and proud for their leader. They were hostile, however, to the challenger…Zack Ryder.

Christian v Zack Ryder
ECW Title Match

The Finish:

Zack tried for what Striker now calls the Rough Rider Leg Drop (Flying Leg Lariat). Christian ducked and planted Zack with the Slop Drop. Christian then hit the Flashpoint (Slider Clothesline). Christian went to the High Rent District and hit the Missile Dropkick. Christian tried for a second one but Zack ran under him. Zack tried to take out Christian with the Zack Attack but Christian reversed it into a Slingshot into the corner. Christian went for another Springboard Sunset Flip but Zack dropped straight down and cradled the legs for the closest he’d come to a 3-count. Zack missed a charge in the corner and got blasted by the Pendulum Kick from Christian. Christian went up top and hit another Missile Dropkick. Christian got the crowd to clap along with him. Christian had a nasty cut on his ribs. Christian tried to detonate the KillSwitch but a Kneelift from Zack short-circuited it. Zack threw Christian out of the ring and then turned his back. Christian climbed the ropes and went for the Crossbody, but missed. Zack connected with the Rough Rider Leg Drop but could only get a two. Zack was totally frustrated. Christian tried, again, for the KillSwitch but Zack blasted the ribs to get free. Zack scooted to the corner and waited. He used a Double Heel Trip to set up a pin attempt. Even with his feet on the ropes, Zack still couldn’t get the pin. Zack argued with the ref and then tried for a Clothesline to Christian, who had gone to the ring apron. Christian ducked and used the Inverted Hot Shot to stun the challenger. Christian hit the Spiral European Uppercut aka the Morningstar. Christian pulled the KillSwitch to keep his title.

Grade: A+

Jay’s Thoughts: Congratulations to both men for one of the best matches in “new” ECW history. Zack has finally made it to the big dance. He is a legit contender to the ECW title, as well as being one of the top competitors in ECW. He’s come a long way since his days as one of the Major Brothers. He really has earned his spot in the company. Christian continued to make ECW exciting, each and every week. Again, way to go, guys!

After the match, William Regal stormed out with a microphone. Regal said the ECW title match was a farce. Regal said he was determined to become the number one contender to the ECW title. Christian attacked Regal and ran him out of the ring. Christian screamed at Regal that he had his shot.

Final Grade: A-

Final Thoughts: Despite having to deal with Abraham Washington, ECW put on a great show. The title match was amazing. Burchill v Yoshi was fantastic. Even the squash match had a superior feel to it. If you tune out the first few minutes of ECW, the show was just about perfect.

–Jay Shannon
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