Shannon: The (2/10) ECW Extreme Examination

HeadLocker — Jay Shannon

The (2/10) ECW Extreme Exam for

Our resident philosopher, Jay Shannon, looks at an exciting edition of ECW. One of the most anticipated returns in WWE history kicked off the show. Plus, the final trainee from the legendary Hart Dungeon came to ECW with the love of his life at his side.

ECW started with a look at the issues between Finlay and Jack Swagger. Hornswoggle had scarfed Jack’s ECW title belt. When Jack shoved the diminutive dynamo, his dad, Finlay, snapped. Finlay took the fight to Jack, the following week. Finlay ended Jack’s unbeaten streak, thanks to help from Hornswoggle and an over-sized shillelagh.

Jack Swagger strolled out to the ring. Jack did his little bounce thing, which caused him to drop the championship belt from his waist. Jack was missing his Lance Von Erich-like grin. Jack started to speak but the crowd booed him. Jack whined about being victimized and embarrassed. Jack started to go off on Teddy Long about having to face Finlay at No Way Out. Jack felt it was unfair that he had to fight Finlay. Jack said he would take out Finlay and the “real problem”. Jack called out Hornswoggle. Instead of the midget, Jack got one heck of a surprise…Christian!

Captain Charisma got an incredible pop as he walked from the back. Jack looked stunned as the Instant Classic walked confidently to the ring. Christian had some great new rockin’ theme music. Jack wanted to know what Christian was doing. The crowd was deafening in their chant for “Christian”. Christian said he was out to save Jack’s life. Christian made fun of Jack’s lisp, saying that he might electrocute himself…suffering succotash! I almost fell out of my chair laughing at that one. Christian called out to his peeps!

Christian said he came to ECW for the title. Christian issued a challenge to the winner of the Jack Swagger/Finlay title match at No Way Out. Jack said Christian would have to face him. Jack said that Christian wasn’t going to make the big splash that he wanted in ECW. Jack said that Christian was no threat to him. Christian showed him that he was, by smacking Jack in the forehead with the microphone. Christian walked up the ramp as Jack had a semi-meltdown in the ring. ECW went to break.

Jay’s Thoughts: I am so glad to see Christian taking his first steps back in the WWE away from his “brother”. It should be fun to find out if Christian is going to be a heel or a face. I would vote for heel. He’s decent as a face but he excels as a heel. A feud with Finlay would be good for both men.

ECW looked back at the arrival of Christian and his shot to the head of Jack with the microphone. Jack was having a hissy fit in the back. Jack said that he was taking the rest of the night off but Teddy let Jack know that he was scheduled to battle Christian in the main event.

In the ring, Tommy Dreamer waited for his opponent. Tommy was ridiculed by The Miz and John Morrison, last week. The tag champs did go a little too far when they talked about Tommy’s wife and kids. Miz nailed the Reality Check on Tommy. The Miz, along with John Morrison, walked from the back.

The Miz d Tommy Dreamer

Tommy hit a Bell to Back Suplex. Tommy then caught Miz with a Clothesline as Miz bounced off the ropes. Tommy planted Miz with the Running Bulldog. Dreamer hit a Sit-Out Spinebuster. Miz missed the Full Body Clothesline. Tommy took advantage and nailed the Hangman’s Neckbreaker, taught to him by Future Hall of Famer, Terry Funk. Miz got his foot on the ropes to break the count. Tommy sent for the D(reamer)DT but Morrison jumped on the apron to distract Tommy. Tommy ended up knocking Morrison from the apron. Miz caught Tommy with a new finisher, a Jumping Jawbreaker. I’m not sure what he’s going to call that move…other than effective.

Grade: B+
Jay’s Thoughts: Tommy comes out a few weeks back and swears that he has to win the ECW title by June 6th or he retires. So what does ECW do? They put Tommy on one of the worst losing streaks of his career. Someone please tell me how that makes any sense? Miz is a pretty good wrestler but he just should not be beating Tommy Dreamer. If Tommy doesn’t turn this stupid win streak around, then if he does take the ECW strap, it’s going to come off as a fluke.

The WWE Slam of the Week saw the debut, last week, of Jamie Noble on ECW. His Baptism by Fire came at the hands of The Boogeyman. After losing the match, Noble had to bail out to avoid getting a face full of worms.

Teddy Long and Tiffany talked in the back when Jamie Noble rushed in to complain about the Boogeyman and the worms. Teddy asked if Noble wanted a re-match against Boogey, which Noble refused. Noble began to brag about being the “big dog” over on Raw. Teddy dismissed Noble because he had a meeting with the two newest members of the ECW roster. Tyson Kidd (T.J. Wilson) and Natalya (Nattie Neidhart) came in to meet with Teddy. They talked about Tyson being trained in the legendary Hart Dungeon. Tyson has been Natalya long-time boyfriend/fiance. Tyson told Teddy it was time to send the Big Dog (Noble) back to the pound. Noble was dumb-struck.

Todd and Matt profiled the card at No Way Out. I’ve already set my DVR for the PPV on Sunday. Looks like a great lead-in to Wrestlemania.

Christian was getting ready for his match when Hornswoggle ran in, acting goofy. Finlay welcomed Christian to ECW. Finlay said Christian would have to go through Finlay for the ECW title, after Sunday. ECW went to break.

ECW ran a great video package for Evan Bourne. Bourne is almost ready to return from his ankle injury. Bourne is coming home to ECW.

Tyson Kidd and Natalya walked out together. Tyson had a pink Maple Leaf on his black trunks. I guess that’s a tribute to the pink and black of the Hart Foundation. I know Wilson/Kidd was originally set to team with D.H. Smith and Natalya as the New Hart Foundation. Smith tweaked out and a lot of people are not happy about it. I have to admit to being disappointed by Smith’s failure. Tyson’s opponent was Bao Nguyen.

Tyson Kidd d Bao Nguyen

Matt talked about Tyson being the final trainee in the Hart Dungeon. Kidd with a Go Behind. Bao turned into a Hammerlock. Kidd moved Bao to the corner and hit a Back Elbow and Snap Mared Bao out. Kidd hit two brutal kicks and an Inverted Atomic Drop. Kidd then dropped Bao with a Jumping Spin Kick to the nose. Kidd kicked the head of Bao as the ref checked on the Vietnamese grapple. Bao reversed an Irish Whip but fell victim to several kicks and a Flying Dropkick. Kidd then hit a Springboard Elbow Drop/Guillotine Leg Drop move. Kidd made the easy pin.

Grade: A
Jay’s Thoughts: I have to admit it, I hate name changes. T.J. Wilson works his tail off for years to establish himself only to have creative throw it all out the window. Now that I’ve vented, let’s look at Kidd. He definitely upholds the tradition of the Hart Family. He’s quick, agile and smart. Unless he self-destructs (like D.H. Smith and Teddy Hart), Kidd should really have a long and successful career in the WWE. I do hope that they pull a Matt Sydal thing and give Kidd a name change. May I suggest…Wilson Hart? Wilson/Kidd was kind of adopted by the Hart family, why not play it up? The only problem with that is that they’d have to be careful with the relationship between Wilson and Nattie. Does anyone else foresee a D.J. Gabriel/Alicia Fox v Tyson Kidd/Natalya feud in the near future?

After the match, Jamie Noble came out to applaud the debut of Tyson Kidd. Striker made me smile as he referred to Natalya as Anvilette. Now there’s a name she could really run with.

The Raw Rebound looked at Undertaker v Orton. Orton bragged that nothing could stand in his way. I think this is leading to a match at Wrestlemania between Randy Orton and Triple H (Steph’s better half). I could see Orton going after Steph, only to have Triple H stepping in to remind Orton that he (HHH) is family. Orton was about to be Tombstoned by ‘Taker when Legacy ran in. Shane McMahon attacked Orton and then Legacy. Shane hit the Coast to Coast on Ted DiBiase Jr. That move never fails to impress the heck out of anyone who sees it.

The ECW Champ, Jack Swagger, came out for the Main Event. Jack looked a bit nervous as he entered the ring. The smile was long-gone from his face. Christian, again billed from Toronto, Canada, arrived for the battle. It’s good to see Captain Charisma back in the ring wars in the WWE. He did well in TNA, don’t get me wrong, but he is so a WWE guy.

Christian d Jack Swagger
Special Challenge Match

Christian really slapped and beat on Swagger in the early part of the match. Swagger would make various comebacks, only to have them squashed by Christian. The ending was contraversial but pleasing to the fans.

Swagger missed the Avalanche Splash in the corner. The two men ended on the apron. Swagger went for a German Suplex off the apron but Christian blocked it. Christian slid in between the ropes and rocked up and kicked Swagger off the apron. Swagger slammed into the announce table with a thud. swagger then threw christian into Finlay and Hornswoggle. Swagger rolled Christian back into the ring and hit a Big Boot. Swagger removed the ring turnbuckle. Swagger lifted Christian for an Electric Chair but Hornswoggle rushed up to distract the ref. Finlay clipped the knee of Swagger with the shillelagh. Christian then finished off the All-American, American with the Unprettier.

Grade: A
Jay’s Thoughts: Well, Jack Swagger gets to join the Ricky Ortiz Club. A great star with amazing potential shot down in flames. Yes, Swagger still carries the ECW Strap, but for how long? I’m expecting him to drop the belt to Finlay on Sunday. From there, Finlay will face off against Christian for the belt (most likely after Wrestlemania). I’m expecting Christian to head into the Money in the Bank match at Wrestlemania. He’ll likely join Edge, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase and a couple of others. Christian got a good start in ECW. I look forward to the next few weeks to see how things go.

Final Grade: A-
Final Thoughts: ECW is looking a little brighter, this week. Kidd, Natalya and Christian helped to boost the sagging roster. ECW is starting to go through another slight building phase. I hope that Joe Hennig and a few more of the FCW crew make their way into ECW soon. ECW really has the potential to be a decent brand.

–Jay Shannon
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(2/112009)