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HeadLocker — Jay Shannon

ECW (1/13) Extreme Examination!

Our resident philosopher, Jay Shannon, shares his thoughts on a history-making episode of the Tuesday Night Delight, ECW

The show opened with a major video package for Jack Swagger. It then went into the show titles.

D. J Gabriel and Alicia Fox danced in the ring before the opening mixed tag match. Their opponents were, of course, the British siblings, Katie Lea & Paul Burchill.

D.J. Gabriel & Alicia Fox d Katie Lea & Paul Burchill
Mixed Tag Team Match

Gabriel used a Baseball Slide while holding the arm to keep Paul off his game. Gabriel then hit a textbook Back Suplex. Katie Lea got involved in the match to prevent the tag. Fox came in and took out Katie Lea. Gabriel went to the ropes and hit the Dance Hall Daze (Spinning European Uppercut).

Grade: B+
Jay’s Thoughts: I really like D.J. Gabriel. I expect him to feud with Jack Swagger in the near future. More on that feud a little later. Burchill is a solid mid-carder. The Divas, well, they’re Divas. They have some decent wrestling skills but the truth is they are hormone-kickers for young men and older men who wish they were still young.

Todd Grisham and Matt Striker sent it to the video package which announced “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as the first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame, Class of 2009. I have to think that Jim Ross will do the honors of putting Austin in the Hall.

ECW returned with a video package about the Royal Rumble and Shawn Michaels’s association with JBL.

Tommy Dreamer in a full suit and tie came to the ring. The crowd showed major love to Tommy. Tommy said that he’s debated his decision for quite some time. Tommy’s voice cracked as he talked about being called the “Heart and Soul of ECW”. Tommy said his friends, his wife, his kids and the man he is today is all due to ECW. Tommy said he had to reflect on his life over the past few weeks. Tommy said that he wasn’t the same man that he used to be. Tommy said that he didn’t feel he had to what it takes to be in ECW, anymore. Tommy said that his contract expires on June 6th. Tommy said that he had to prove that he can still compete in ECW. To do that, Tommy needs to become ECW Champ before his contract expires. Tommy broke down into tears as he announced he would leave ECW if he can’t win the title. Tommy said he needed to have pride and respect.

Jay’s Thoughts: I’ve mentioned on many occasions that Tommy Dreamer is the wrestler I admire the most. Tommy loves the business and it shows. He doesn’t have the biggest win record in the game. He does have heart. He also helps push the talent. He is the best of the best. I hope to see him wear the Platinum and Leather belt before June.

ECW went to another video package for Jack Swagger.

After a promo for the Starrcade DVD, Tiffany and Ricky Ortiz started to kiss backstage. Hornswoggle came in and interrupted the smooch. Finlay chased after Hornswoggle.

Back in the arena, Boogeyman wiggled and strolled to the ring. He has Sammy Savard as his next victim.

Boogeyman d Sammy Savard

Sammy kicked and punched at Boogey. That simply made Boogey gyrate and attack. Boogey Bieled Sammy and hit a monster Headbutt. Boogey Whipped Sammy into the corner and then hit a Flying Splash. Boogey finished the squash with his Pump Handle Slam.

Grade: B
Jay’s Thoughts: Boogeyman is no Goldberg, but he’s getting the same Squash Run as the former World champ. The worms thing still creeps me out. I can watch zombies shred people in George Romero movies and laugh. Boogey breaks out the worms and I’m looking away. Go figure.

Todd Grisham sent it to the Smackdown Rebound. It focused on the Hit and Run accident on Jeff Hardy and his girlfriend. The ran the police car video. These “accidents and assaults” are really becoming disturbing. If Jeff were to actually get injured, the fans would blow it off as another bad stunt.

Matt Hardy was backstage. Todd asked him if Jeff’s accident distracted him. Matt said that the accident would have no effect. Matt then focused on Jack Swagger. Matt said that Jack hasn’t beaten him and wouldn’t. The match was set to go…next.

Before the main event, ECW ran a promo for Vince McMahon. Vinny Mac is due back on Monday. The video kept showing the firings by Vince. Is Steph next?

Jack Swagger strolled to the ring for his title shot. Jack soaked up all the negative feedback from the crowd. The mood switched completely when Matt Hardy arrived for the match. Who would take the match? Read on, my friends.

Matt Hardy v Jack Swagger
ECW Title Match

After the extended introductions, the two men went at it. Swagger powered out of a headlock. Swagger used numerous amateur moves to take Matt off his feet. Swagger went for a Hammerlock. Matt spun into the move and Suplexed Swagger to the mat. ECW took a quick break.

Swagger was in control as the show returned. Swagger had a headlock but Matt punched free. Matt sent Jack to the ropes and then Hip Tossed him. Matt hit a Running Clothesline in the corner and a Bulldog. Matt went back to a Side Headlock. Striker talked about Cloris Leachman being a fan of Hardy. Grisham didn’t know who that was (Ok, now I’m feeling really old).

Swagger sent Matt to the ropes but the ECW Champ held on. Matt then kicked Swagger as he charged. Matt stepped out onto the apron and stunned Swagger with a Shoulder Block. Matt tried for a Springboard move but Swagger blasted him on the fly. Matt tumbled to the arena floor. The ref forced swagger back. Swagger did his best King Kong impression as he beat his chest and yelled.

Swagger went outside and attacked the injured left arm of Hardy. Swagger pulled the arm into the ring post. Swagger rolled Matt back in the ring and attacked the arm. Swagger tried to Keylock the arm but Matt held it. Matt ended up in the ropes and Swagger slammed Matt’s head to the canvas with a sickening thud. Swagger cinched in another Keylock. Jack missed a Power Driver Elbow. Swagger got a Yazuka Kick to Matt’s face. ECW took yet another break.

Swagger continued to work on Matt’s left arm. Matt kicked the face of Swagger off the Irish Whip. Matt hit a Clothesline on Swagger and went to the top rope. Swagger caught him and hit a Superplex. Both men were down and almost out. Swagger tried for a pin but only got a two. Swagger went back to work on the left arm of Matt Hardy. Swagger moved Matt to the corner and pounded away. Matt was placed on the ropes and pounded. Swagger went for another Superplex. Matt hit a Sunset Flip Superbomb off the ropes. Matt sent for the Twist of Fate but Swagger converted it into a Belly to Belly Suplex.

The top turnbuckle was ripped apart by the previous Superbomb. Matt reversed out of the Gut Wrench Powerbomb and caught Swagger with a Side Russian Leg Sweep. Swagger kicked out at two. Matt was still favoring his left arm. Matt hit a Running Clothesline with his right arm. Matt came off the ropes and nailed the Side Effect. Swagger kicked out at two. Swagger powered out of a second Side Effect. Swagger grabbed the arm of Hardy and dropped to the canvas. Matt’s arm was slammed into the shoulder of Swagger.

Swagger hit the Avalanche Splash off the ropes. Swagger tried to lock in the Fujiwara Arm Breaker. Matt fought out. Matt pulled out the old Slop Drop move for a two count. Matt went to the corner to catch his breath. Matt caught Swagger a Back Elbow and went to the top rope. Swagger grabbed Matt and looked to be going for an Electric Chair. Instead, Swagger dropped Matt onto the exposed turnbuckle. Hardy dropped like a stone. Swagger hit the Gut Wrench Powerbomb. 1—2—3!

YOUR WINNER (And New ECW Champion): Jack Swagger!

Grade: A+
Jay’s Thoughts: This was a fantastic match. Hardy looked impressive in this outing. The arm injury was the perfect way for Swagger to show dominance. The drop onto the top turnbuckle is a throwback to the 80s. Swagger adds a fresh feel to the title picture. He’s got D.J. Gabriel on the horizon as a contender. Tommy Dreamer is also going to challenge Swagger. Finlay will likely get a few shots, as well. Matt is now free to join Jeff on Smackdown to go after Edge and his cronies. This could lead to a Christian/Edge v Hardyz flashback match at Wrestlemania.

Final Grade: A-
Jay’s Final Thoughts: ECW was really a decent show. It had all the right elements: A fantastic Main Event, an acceptable squash match and a solid opener. The Tommy Dreamer speech was a real heart-ripper. I hope to see him win the ECW strap. It should be interesting over the next few months to see where Creative goes with that whole storyline. ECW is in a state of flux, right now. It’s starting to look like the Red-headed Step-child of the WWE just might start getting a little respect from the “parent” company. It’s about freeaking time.

–Jay Shannon
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