Shannon: The ECW (9/16) Extreme Examination!

HeadLocker — Jay Shannon

HeadLocker: The ECW Extreme Examination for 9/16/2008

Our resident philosopher, Jay Shannon, looks at the highlights and lowlights of the Tuesday Night Delight, ECW

Tonight’s show came from Nashville, TN. The show opened with the credits and then headed straight to the fireworks that always open the show. The best announce team in the industry, Todd Grisham and Matt Striker, welcomed the home audience to the show.

Matt Hardy came to the ring to battle in the opening contest. Matt faced off against “Wildman” Mike Knox. That’s not his official nickname but he gets more Sasquatchian each and every week. ECW showed Matt Hardy winning the ECW title at Unforgiven. Striker confirmed that Matt Hardy would defend his ECW strap against Mark Henry at No Mercy.

Matt Hardy d Mike Knox
Non-title Match

The match really let Mike Knox shine. He used his power to keep Matt off guard for most of the match. Matt busted open Mike and went to the corner. Matt nailed a Reverse Neckbreaker and a Tornado DDT to set up the Twist of Fate.

Grade: B+

Jay’s Thoughts: Mike Knox deserved a chance to shine and he got it. I still think he’s going to join Snitsky, Warlord, Berserker and others in the What Went Wrong with their career? Club. Mike will help to push the top talent but it’s likely that he will never wear any gold, other than possibly the tag belts with a future partner. This match also served to showcase Matt Hardy’s push.

Mark Henry watched the match on a monitor in the locker room. Tony Atlas told Mark that Matt was looking good. Mark went off on Tony and reminded him that Matt didn’t beat him (Mark) for the championship. Mark then grumbled about the cheap shot by Finlay. He told Tony that the Irishman’s luck had run out. Miz and Morrison walked out of a freight elevator. They would join the party in the next segment.

ECW ran a promo for the Jeff Hardy v Triple H match at No Mercy. I stilll hope that Kozlov “takes out” Hardy and gives Triple H a real hard match. Kozlov is a sure lock for WWE Rookie of the Year.

ECW then re-ran the Red Cross promo.

Miz and Morrison came out for the next match. Miz battled Evan “Air” Bourne in the second match of the night. Evan didn’t like the odds of having both Miz and Morrison at ringside, so he called for someone to even up the odds. He got Ricky Ortiz. Ortiz was spinning his Rally Towel. Striker said that he didn’t like Ortiz (I agree with his thoughts).

Evan Bourne d The Miz

Miz kept Evan on the run for most of the match. Evan hit several high spots but kept coming up short to take the bout. Miz’s most spectacular move was a Thrust Kick that had Bourne tumbling backwards out of the ring. The end came when Morrison tripped Bourne from under the bottom rope. That brought Ricky Ortiz at warp speed. Ortiz flew off the steel steps and nailed a Flying Crossbody on Morrison. When Miz turned to check on his partner, Bourne used a Rolling Pin to take the win.

Grade: A-

Jay’s Thoughts: Miz really impressed me in this match. He is so much better than people give him credit for. The one thing that he really needs to do is split with Morrison. There is another thing that I would highly suggest: Get rid of that dumb Dirt Sheet thing. It’s dumb and boring. As for Bourne, he never puts on a bad match. He is going to go into the history books alongside people like Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Brian Pillman, 2 Cold Scorpio and Rey Mysterio as one of the best of the small men. I’m hoping Evan and Rey will eventually unite as a team to tear up the tag team division.

ECw went to the Raw Rebound. It centered on the Jericho World title situation. Jericho and C.M. Punk had a great Steel Cage match to open the show. Sadly, a lot of people were watching the Dallas Cowboys squeaking past the Philadelphia Eagle on ESPN. After the match, Mike Adamle began to talk to Jericho about his title defense at No Mercy. The identity of the number one contender was a running mystery for the whole show. Jericho suggested JBL and Batista should face off and the winner face Jericho, later in the night. Adamle said the JBL v Batista battle would happen, but Jericho had someone else to face…Shawn Michaels. Shawn revealed the stipulation of their title match. It would be a Ladder Match.

ECW’s newest star, Jack Swagger, strolled to the ring. He’s called the All-American American. Swagger faced TNA Alumni, Chase Stevens. I’m hoping that Andy Douglas will join Chase in the near future. The tag team division needs a serious boost. Jack so reminds me of a young Lance Von Erich/Ricky Vaughn.

Jack Swagger d Chase Stevens

The two men locked up and Jack used a Back Heel Trip tp take Chase down. Jack picked up Chase and hit a unique Body Slam. Chase slapped Jack as Matt noticed Chase’s tattoo. I didn’t get a clear look at it but it sure did have a TNA feel to it. Chase kicked and punched at jack but played up to the crowd. Jack then attaked and rushed Chase into the corner. Jack hit a Gut Wrench Suplex. Jack then nailed a Mr. Wrestling II Running Kneelift. Jack caught Chase with a Belly to Belly Suplex. Jack then picked up Chase and finished him off with the Red, White and Blue ThunderBomb.

Grade: B

Jay’s Thoughts: This match was far too short. I think Jack so needs a costume make-over. I was playing around with the character generator on my PS2 version of Raw v Smackdown 2008. I used the basic Stars and Stripes motiff. If he’s going to push the All-American angle then dress for it. I want to see Chase and Andy re-unite as The Naturals. I’m sure WWE would butcher their identities, but the tag division is in such desperate need of talent.

Finlay and Hornswoggle played backstage as they made their way to the entrance ramp. Finlay v Mark Henry was set to go, next.

Programming Note: ECW is moving to 9 PM in two weeks.

Mark Henry and Tony Atlas strolled to the ring. Mark was still angry about being blasted in the skull by Finlay’s Shillelagh, last week. ECW re-showed the attack. Mark had a goose egg on his head from the blow. The Finlay family made their entrance. They played up to the crowd.

Mark Henry d Finlay

Mark worked over the Irishman for most of the match. Tony Atlas attacked Hornswoggle. which brought Finlay in pursuit of the WWE Hall of Famer. While Finlay chased Atlas, Mark went after Hornswoggle. The ref turned to get Atlas out of the ring. Finlay then attacked Mark Henry with the shillelagh. Mark’s forearm seemed injured in the match. It wasn’t enough to prevent him for catching Finlay with the World’s Strongest Slam.

Grade: C

Jay’s Thoughts: I hate to see Finlay used as cannon fodder to push Mark Henry. Mark Henry is a good worker that deserves his time in the sun. So does Finlay. Finlay needs to challenge Santino for the I-C title. WIth the Raw/ECW talent sharing program, Finlay could easily take on Santino and end his undeserved I-C title run. This match was just too weak to serve as a main event.

Final Thoughts: ECW continues to try and put on a good show with almost no talent. This Talent Initiative angle has fallen flat. Turning ECW into a glorified extension of FCW isn’t helping anyone. ECW needs to bring in some new talent from Japan, Mexico and US/Canadian Indies to spice up the product. I’m wondering if the time shift in two weeks will give ECW a harder edge. Sadly, I doubt it. ECW will continue to trudge along until Sci-Fi gets bored and doesn’t renew them. They will like then head to the WWE Website for a few months, before joining the AWA, World Class, WCW, and so many others as just a memory that brings both smiles and tears.


–Jay Shannon
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