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HeadLocker — Jay Shannon

The ECW (11/25) Extreme Examination for 11/2

Our resident philosopher, Jay Shannon, takes a look at the Tuesday night Delight, ECW.

This week’s ECW featured the next step in the Jack Swagger/Tommy Dreamer feud. D.J. Gabriel got another chance to shine. Finlay would also battle Mark Henry.

ECW opened with a look at the on-going Jack Swagger v Tommy Dreamer feud. Jack has trash talked about Tommy for weeks. Tommy took Dreamer into the World of Extreme during this week’s episode.

The camera panned around the ring, showing numerous “toys”. Tommy was already in the ring. Jack Swagger then made a seriously cocky entrance and stared at the Hardcore Legend, Tommy Dreamer.

Jack Swagger d Tommy Dreamer
Extreme Rules Match

This match really showed off the talents of both men. They used just about everything, except the kitchen sink (which has been used in the past). The match had numerous close calls. Both men hit some of their best matches on each other. The end was as follows:

Tommy tore into Jack with a kendo stick. Jack caught the cane and planted Tommy with a Belly to Belly Suplex. Jack yelled “I’m going to show you how we do it in Oklahoma”. He tried to set Tommy in the Oklahoma Stampede, but Tommy got loose. Tommy nailed a rather weak DDT. Jack kicked out at two. Tommy grabbed the bent trash can and slammed it into Jack’s skull. Jack used a Drop Toe Hold to send Tommy’s face into a steel chair that was set up near the corner. Jack dragged a stunned Tommy Dreamer to the center of the ring. Jack hit his Gut Wrench Powerbomb to send Tommy crashing into the table that Tommy had set up earlier in the match. Jack covered Tommy to take the win.

Grade: A+ (kudos to both men)
Jay’s thoughts: If this was the end match of their feud, both men should be proud of their showing. Tommy has always been fantastic at helping others get over. He succeeded in grand style with Jack Swagger. Jack also gets much credit for listening to Tommy and following his lead. Compare this feud and Tommy’s feud with Colin Delaney. Barring Jack leaving early or being released, I suspect that Jack Swagger just might become the next big superstar in the company. I see him as the Bob Backlund of the 21st century. I always seriously respected Backlund’s talent.

ECW returned with a look at Survivor Series. Edge is the new WWE Champion. It was time for the weekly message from Miz and John Morrison. They ran down all their nicknames. They have enough collective names to fill several smaller federations. They called Edge “The Weirdo with a Beard-o”. Cute. Miz and Morrison were bragging about their matching outfits when The Boogeyman showed up. Miz and Morison hit the bricks at warp speed.

Todd Grisham teased Matt Striker about the time Boogeyman making Striker eat worms. Todd then talked with Matt Hardy. Matt said that Jeff was home recovering from the attack in the hotel over the week-end. Jack Swagger strolled up and told Matt that now that he was done with Tommy Dreamer, he was coming for Matt’s ECW title.

Hornswoggle was trying to reach for a bowl of candy in the backstage area. Mark Henry and Tony Atlas walked up and began to tease the diminutive sidekick. Mark said that candy wasn’t good for him and Mark Henry wasn’t good for Finlay. Mark said what he was going to do to Finlay was going to be anything but sweet. Henry then tossed the candy to the floor and walked off.

ECW then ran a promo for the upcoming Slammys episode of Raw. That show comes to everyone in 2 weeks.

D.J. Gabriel and Alicia Fox danced around the ring. I have to say that their dancing was the gyrational equivalent of amateur night at the Karaoke bar. Gabriel’s opponent grinned at the sexy Alicia Fox. That grinned disappeared when the bell rang.

D.J. Gabriel d Jared Gaynum

Jared was trained by Spike Dudley. The match was a glorified squash to push Gabriel. Jared gave just enough defense to make the match decent. The ending of the match was pretty typical:
Gabriel cranked away with a European Headlock (thanks to Matt Striker for the name of the move). Jared punched his way loose and locked in a Hammerlock. Gabriel got free and hit a fantastic Suplex. Gabriel caught Jared with two quick legsweeps and then hit a sideways version of Abyss’ Shock Treatment. Gabriel went to the corner and hit his Flying European Uppercut off the ropes. Striker passingly called it the Dance Hall Daze.

Alicia and Gabriel boogied after the match. Todd talked with the duo. Todd asked Alicia why she was in ECW. Alicia said she took her business over-seas, where she met D.J. Alicia said she called her friends to get them booked on ECW. Gabriel said that he and Alicia shared many passions, most importantly…the passion of winning. They started dancing, again.

Grade: A-
Jay’s Thoughts: It’s rare that I’d give a squash such a high grade. Jared and Gabriel really gave the crowd a good, if short, match. Gabriel is a rather fun character to watch. Having the luscious Alicia Fox at his side isn’t a bad thing, either. Six months to a year from now, I could see Fox taking Gabriel to Smackdown to go after Edge. The old scorned woman angle could be played out, as Fox was “run off” the show due to the affair thing with Edge. This is just a little armchair booking on my part, but it could seriously happen. Gabriel just might upset Edge for his WWE title, down the road.

Todd sent it to the Raw Rebound. It focused on the return of John Cena. It also showed clips of Jericho winning a Triple Threat match to become number one contender to Cena’s World title. Jericho came out to personally welcome Cena back. Jericho talked amazing amounts of trash about and to Cena. Jericho went a bit too far when he called Cena a liar and a hypocrite and a coward. John tore into Jericho with a fury unseen in many years. Cena shredded Jericho and finished him off with the STFU. Cena forced Jericho to pass out from the move.

DX ran their holiday promo. The promo was one of the funniest things that they’ve done in awhile. The entire skit was a glorified Informercial. They brought in Kelly Kelly, dressed in the new D-X basketball jersey. They also promo’d the new video game, Smackdown v Raw 2009. Shawn had fun butchering the names of the various game systems. Shawn threw her off the set. Triple H asked for his shirt back. The shirt flew back into frame. “Jingle Bells!”, Triple H exclaimed. HHH said “It is going to be a Merry Christmas!”

ECW next set up the special appearance of Ricky Ortiz on Cha$e. If you haven’t seen the show, it’s rather interesting. It’s a live action video game kind of thing. ECW showed a few clips from the show. Ortiz acted as a “Hunter”, trying to tag the players and eliminating them.

Mark Henry stomped to the ring. Tony Atlas was a few steps behind him. Mark had a look of confidence that was somewhat scary. The crowd came to their feet when the Finlay family came from the back. Finlay had his shillelagh in hand.

Mark Henry v Finlay (No Contest)

This was little more than a Saturday Night at the Old Top Rail (Dallas) bar fight. Both men used power to rock the other. The finish of the match was a bit disappointing for the crowd, but it was exciting.

Tony Atlas threw Hornswoggle into the ring. While the ref was admonishing Tony, Finlay retrieved another shillelagh from under the ring. Mark picked up Hornswoggle to use as a shield against a cranial assault (aka shot to the head). He left his legs vulnerable and the Irishman cracked the shillelagh into the left knee of The World’s Strongest Man. He dropped like a stone. Finlay caught Mark with a Missile Dropkick. Finlay noticed Tony Atlas threatening Hornswoggle. The proud papa left the ring, grabbed the shillelagh and walloped the daylights out of the WWE Hall of Famer. Mark then came out and jumped Finlay. Mark threw Finlay into the barrier. Mark and Tony tried to kidnap Hornswoggle. Finlay came back and attacked both kidnappers’ knees with his trusty shillelagh. The show faded out.

Grade: A-
Jay’s Thoughts: These two men are the true cornerstones of the current ECW product. They help others to get over and they push each other to new levels. As much as I personally dislike Tony Atlas, he is a good addition to Henry’s camp. The same can be said for Hornswoggle. I’d love to see either Finlay or Mark take the ECW title. Their matches deserve something more than a number one contendership prize.

Final Grade: A

Final Thoughts: ECW really pulled out all the stops for this show. They didn’t bog the show down with too many useless skits. The ones that they did use, with the possible exception of the Miz/Morrison self-glorification, were all useful or fun. ECW was at the top end of their rollercoaster, this week. If they could only even things out, the ratings would soar.

Side Note: I wanted to thank Arnie Katz for his kind thoughts over the recent loss of my wife, Linda aka Lynne. Arnie has been such a good friend. He helped me to smile between the waves of tears. Thank you, my friend.


–Jay Shannon
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