The ECW (12/29) Extreme Exam

HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
The ECW (12/29) Extreme Exam
Our resident philosopher looks at the end of an era, as it relates to ECW

Tommy Dreamer put it all on the line, this week. Also, the ECW Homecoming Tournament continued with the return of Matt Hardy and Evan Bourne.

This Week’s Episode: Tommy’s Farewell?

After a promo video for Matt and Evan, ECW rolled the opening montage.

Christian was introduced to the crowd. He joined Byron and Josh at the announce table for the EC Homecoming Qualifying Match. Matt Hardy came from the back to a huge pop. He was wearing a new Sgt. Pepper like jacket. His opponent was Finlay. Finlay is a former ECW star, as well.

Matt Hardy d Finlay
ECW Homecoming Qualifying Match

The Finish:

Finlay went for a Scoop Slam but Matt turned it into a Neckbreaker. Matt threw hard fists, including a Discus Punch. Matt missed a Clothesline and Finlay attacked the bad wheel, as it were. Finlay nailed a European Uppercut and then stomped Matt’s bad leg. Matt came back with the Side Effect for a two count. Matt hit a second Side Effect but still only got a two. Matt went for the Twist of Fate but couldn’t connect. Finlay went to the ropes and got yanked down. Matt went High Rent and missed a Moonsault. Matt barely kicked out in time. Matt caught Finlay with a Twist of Fate, out of nowhere, to advance to the Battle Royal in two weeks.

Grade: B+

Jay’s Thoughts: This match kind of destroyed the Old School v New School concept for these matches. Of course with the lack of new faces in ECW, ECW had to adjust to make this work. The match, itself, was decent but nothing spectacular.

Zack Ryder and Rosa Mendes walked backstage. They ran into Tommy Dreamer. Zack said Tommy should hang it up. Tommy said he was tired of losing to men like Zack, every week. Tommy said that if Zack were to beat him, later in the night, Tommy would leave ECW…forever.

Ezekiel Jackson came from the back in street clothes. ECW looked back at the battle between Jackson and Vladimir Kislev. Kozlov was banished from the Ruthless Roundtable. Jackson said he and William Regal wanted to eliminate the traitor, Kozlov. Jackson said Kozlov was a liability that derailed their plan to dominate EC. Jackson started to preach, until Kozlov’s music rang out. Kozlov hit the ring and took out Jackson, sending him over the ropes with a La Band era Clothesline. Jackson threatened Kislev but backed off. The crowd actually cheered Kozlov.

In the back, Christian came in to talk with Tommy. Christian said he believed in Tommy but didn’t know if this was a good idea. Tommy said he had something to prove. Christian said that, no matter what happens, Tommy was the Heart and Soul of ECW. Christian told Tommy that when he beats Zack, he would give Tommy a title shot.

Evan Bourne came out for the second EC Homecoming Qualifying Match. The crowd was happy to see the high-flyer. His opponent was Mike Knox, who was on some of the earliest “new” ECW shows.

Evan Bourne d Mike Knox
ECW Homecoming Qualifying Match

The Finish:

Evan tried to kick free but Knox pounded on him and went for a Stall Suplex. Evan Kneed Knox from the upside-down position. Evan with the Leaping Knee to the face. Evan went to the ropes and Knox left his feet to Crossbody Evan. Knox missed a Kneedrop. Evan hit a Flying Knee to the face and went to the Pentohouse. Knox stopped the Air Bourne. Knox tried for the Tornado DDT but Knox blocked it. Knox set Evan on the apron. Evan with a Crescent Kick to the face. He then scampered up top and hit Air Borne (Shooting Star Press) to advance.

Grade: A-

Next week, Mark Henry, Chavo Guerrero and C.M. Punk will try to earn their way into the ECW Homecoming Battle Royal. Backstage, Tiffany wished Tommy luck in his match.

After a look at Sheamus v John Cena on Monday night, Josh and Byron talked about the return of Bret Hart on Monday. In the back Yoshi Tatsu was trying to give Japanese lessons to Goldust. Goldy was having a real hard time understand. Croft and Barreta came up and made fun of Yoshi and Goldust, as well as Tommy. Goldust went off on the team in Japanese.

Tommy came out to a deafening pop. The main event was next.

Tommy stood ready for his opponent. Zack and Rosa came out to the pseudo-80s Boy Band intro.

Zack Ryder d Tommy Dreamer
Career Threatening Match

Zack with a Side Headlock Takeover. Tommy reversed it into a Headscissors. Zack got free but Tommy took a Side Headlock Takedown to maintain his advantage. Zack got to his feet and sent Tommy to the ropes. He launched him with a Hip Toss. Zack missed an Elbow Drop. Tommy with a Hip Toss and an Arm Drag. Tommy reversed an Irish Whip and nailed the Running Bulldog. Zack kicked out at two.

Tommy with an Irish Whip. Zack tried Float Over but Tommy caught him and hit the Oklahoma Stampede on him. Tommy with a Pump Handle Back Suplex. Zack went to the floor. Tommy flew off the apron onto Zack. Rosa distracted Tommy, allowing Zack to hit the cheap shot. ECW went to break.

Zack with the Flying Kneedrop after releasing the Arm Bar. Zack slammed Tommy’s arm into the mat and then went stretched the arm backwards. Tommy whipped Zack to the ropes. Zack went for a Crossbody but Tommy caught him. Zack shifted his weight to further damage the arm with the Flying Armbar. Tommy kicked out easily. Zack pounded away on the injured arm of Tommy. Tommy revered an Irish Whip but missed the Shoulder Tackle, striking the post. It was noted that Tommy is the only person to hold both the original and new version of the ECW title. I thought RVD did, as well, but I double checked and RVD held the ECW World TAG titles, not the singles title during the original run of ECW.

Zack stomped on the injured shoulder of Tommy. Tommy moved when Zack charged and the youngster crotched himself on the middle rope. Tommy with the Funk Neckbreaker. Tommy with a Flapjack and Sit-out Powerbomb. Zack kicked out at two. Tommy went to the top rope but Zack tripped him. They fought on the ropes. Tommy blocked the Superplex and knocked Zack to the canvas. Tommy jumped off the ropes and took a boot to the ribs. Zack tried to finish Tommy with the Zack Attack but Tommy still had enough fight to block the move. Tommy with a Jackknife Pin for two. The two went back and forth with pin attempts. Zack nailed the Rough Ryder Leg Lariat but couldn’t get the pin. Zack pulled Tommy over and climbed the ropes. He ended up in the Sullivan Tree of Woe. Tommy did his trademark Hesitation Dropkick after the ECW salute. Tommy appeared to have won the match, after the D(reamer)DT but Zack had his foot under the ropes. Rosa taunted Tommy. Tommy pulled Zack out to mid ring and hit a Spinning Back Elbow for a two count. Zack rolled Tommy over to almost pin him. Tommy got free and rammed Zack into the corner. Tommy at Zack on the ropes and climbed up to join him. Tommy went for a Back Superplex but Zack spun, in mid-air, and slammed Tommy into the mat. The ref counted the three.

Grade: A

It dawned on Tommy that it was all over. The crowd applauded for Tommy, who snuck in a quick smile. Tommy talked about sitting in this very arena, with his best friend and father, as a kid. He saw Roddy Piper doing a live Piper’s Pit. Tommy thanked a lot of people, including the original and new ECW stars. Tommy said he had the passion to make it in EC and the WWE, and he did. Tommy began to cry (as did I) as he talked about all the great people. Tommy said the fans were “his family”. Tommy laughed about his kids talking about what their daddy did for a living. Tommy said he fell down a lot but he always got up. The camera cut to Beulah. and Tommy’s kids, in the audience. Tommy told the fans to keep fighting and be good to each other. Tommy told the fans that he loved them all. If he doesn’t go in the Hall of Fame, I will be both surprised and very angry. Tommy took off his EC shirt and left it in the ring. He walked over and picked up his girls. The crowd cheered for the kids and their daddy. That was one of the most touching scenes that I’ve seen in months. Tommy made the Raven Pose, one last time.

Final Segment : A++

Jay’s Thoughts: Normally, I just talk about the ending o fhte matches. Tommy deserved to have every move profiled in this final match. Tommy is my favorite wrestler and I hate to see him go out on the losing end. Honestly, this fits with Tommy’s character over the years. He has always been there to make others look good. He did just that, in spades, this week. Kudos to both men.

Final Grade: A

Final Thoughts: COnsider it the end of an era or the beginning of the next. Regardless of what you think of Tommy’s loss and banishment, you have to admit that this week’s show was one of the best in a long time. Thank you, Tommy, for all you have done for the business. You should be the first person nominated to the 2010 Hall of Fame.

— Jay Shannon
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