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HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
The ECW (12/6) Extreme Examination
Our resident philosopher looks at the lead-in to TLC edition of ECW

William Regal tried to put the pieces of his shattered alliance back together, this week. Also, a “new” masked man made his official ECW debut. Plus, Vance Archer and Barreta and Croft continued to show why they are the hottest new stars in ECW.

Byron Saxton welcomed the fans to ECW and sent it to the ring where Josh Mathews waited by a ladder. He explained the ECW title match between Christian and Shelton Benjamin. Josh was cut off by Vladimir Kozlov, who stormed to the ring. He demanded that Ezekiel Jackson come out and face him like a man. He began to rant in Russian.

After a few moments, Ezekiel Jackson rushed the ring and the two started shoving each other. William Regal ran out to try and keep them for tearing each other apart. Regal begged the men to put their differences aside and join together. Shelton Benjamin came out and yelled at Regal. Shelton started a “Let them Fight!” chant. Kozlov and Jackson were more than willing but Regal would not allow it. Regal warned Shelton to watch his words, due to the 3-on-1 disadvantage.

Enter Christian and Yoshi Tatsu. Christian told “Bill” that the sides were now even. Christian pulled a Foley Pop by pushing Houston, the home of this week’s show. Christian didn’t want Shelton to have any excuses for not giving him his best on Sunday. Kozlov started screaming in Russian. Christian’s response: “That’s what she said”. Too funny. Shelton said the Ruthless Roundtable could “Man Up” and face him, Christian, and Yoshi. Regal reminded Shelton that he had no power to tell them what to do.

In a perfect Lenny/Squiggy moment, Tiffany showed up and said she did. Tiffany said the Ruthless Roundtable can team up and face Christian, Shelton and Yoshi or Kozlov and Jackson can finish off their battle. Regal wanted to team. Jackson wanted to rip Kozlov apart. Kozlov was allowed to cast the deciding vote. Regal talked with Kozlov to sway his vote. Kozlov chose the six man. Jackson wasn’t happy about it.

Native Texan, Vance Archer, came out for another battle. This week, he got to face my favorite wrestler, Tommy Dreamer. Tommy got a great pop from the Houston crowd.

Vance Archer d Tommy Dreamer

The Finish:

Tommy rolled Vance back in the ring. Tommy started up the ropes but Vance slammed into the top rope. Tommy straddled the ropes. Vance punched Tommy and set for the Superplex. He didn’t get it as Tommy battled back and pushed Vance off the ropes. Tommy hit a variation of the Frog Splash to get a two count. Tommy called for the D(reamer)DT but Vance pushed out. Vance used the Big Boot to drop Tommy. Vance hit his Inverted Powerspin DDT to take the surprise win.

Grade: A-

Jay’s Thoughts: Finally, Vance gets the chance to face somebody with some talent. I still don’t think he’s going to get out of the blocks with WWE, which is a shame. He kind of fits into the same position as Crush, Matt Morgan, Test, Sean O’Haire and Shawn Stasiak.

Byron and Josh talked about the arrival of a new masked man, called The Ripper. On last week’s Superstars show, Ripper rushed out and attacked The Hurricane. In the back, Tiffany talked with The Ripper and his female sidekick, Beautiful Nightmare. Oh, puh-lease. Tiffany called him “Paul” but he played it up that he was not, in fact, Paul Burchill. Gregory Helms then walked in. Tiffany mentioned that neither The Ripper or Beautiful Nightmare had a contract. Tiffany said if The Ripper could defeat Hurricane, he and Beautiful Nightmare would get an ECW contract. Whatever.

Rosa Mendes and Zack Ryder cooed at each other, backstage. Tommy Dreamer walked up and Zack made fun of him. Zack said Tommy was so done. Zack said he wanted to end Tommy’s career, once and for all. Woo, Woo, Woo.

Trent Barreta and Caylen Croft came out to face this week’s jobbers, Mark Franks and Danny Vaughn
Trent Barreta and Caylen Croft d Mark Franks and Danny Vaughn

Croft started the match against, I think, Vaughn. Croft moved his opponent to the corner and kicked away. Barreta took the tag and hit a Flying Fore-arm. He nailed a Running Back Elbow and threw his victim to the corner. Croft tagged back in and hit a Sky-High Dropkick and a Legdrop. Croft with a Scoop Slam. Barreta tagged in and Leaped over the ropes. he then kicked his opponent in the head. Barreta missed a Kneedrop. Barreta Dropkick the other guy off the apron to prevent a tag. The local guy (Vaughn?) Irish Whipped Barreta to the corner. Croft took the blind tag. Barreta and Croft hit their Flying Knee/Clutch combo. I just know that they are going to call it something cheesy the Walkthrough.

Grade: B

Jay’s Thoughts: Croft and Barreta in ECW is like hubcaps on a tractor. It just doesn’t work. They need to be on a show that actually has a tag team division.

It was time for the Raw Rebound. It focused on Mark Cuban running the show. he actually turned out to be one of the better Guest Hosts. He took on the role of Guest Ref for Kofi Kingston v Randy Orton. Cuban used a warp speed count to get payback after six years. Orton had hit an R-K-O on him in 2003. Cuban then set up a Championship Showdown between Sheamus and John Cena. Sheamus took down Cena and then put Cuban through a table!

Byron and Josh ran down the updated TLC card.

Christian arrived for the main event. His ECW title was suspended above the ring. Christian soaked up the Peep-u-lation. Yoshi then bounced out to join his partner. ECW took a quick break.

ECW looked at how their title has been ignored for the last few PPVs. Christian and Shelton Benjamin will face off, Sunday, in a Ladder match. Christian felt that they could steal the show on Sunday. The piece ran numerous video clips about both men’s experiences with various Ladder matches. Christian looked up at his title belt. Shelton Benjamin then joined the faces triad. Christian applauded his partner/opponent.They waited for the Ruthless Roundtable.

Christian, Shelton Benjamin and Yoshi Tatsu d William Regal, Vladimir Kozlov and Ezekiel Jackson
Six-Man Tag team match

The Finish:

Jackson took the tag and choked Shelton with his boot. Jackson with a Suplex but only a two count. Regal tagged back in. Regal walked around and taunted his opponents. Regal missed a Clothesline and Shelton nailed the Lethal Injection Backbreaker. Yoshi took the tag, as did Jackson. Yoshi hit a series of high-impact kicks and a Dropkick to the knee. Yoshi then turned to blast Regal and Kozlov. Jackson with the Running Clothesline. Kozlov wouldn’t take the tag and chose to walk off. Jackson went after him and attacked him on the ramp. regal screamed at Jackson and told him to get back in the ring. The ref kept counting and reached 10.

Grade: B+

Jay’s Thoughts: Decent match, lousy ending. ECW needs to just get on with it and split up Kozlov and Jackson.

After the match, Shelton hit a Tope Suicida on Regal and Jackson. Christian and Yoshi found a ladder on the other side of the ring. Christian slid the ladder in the ring and set it up. The ladder was HUGE! Christian Springboarded off the ropes and bent the ladder. The two men met at the top and screamed at each other, a good 15 feet above the ring.

Final Grade: B

Final Thoughts: The rumors are running rampant that ECW’s days are numbered. WWE is thinking about turning Tuesday Nights into a showcase for all new talent, no veterans. I hope if they do that, Tommy Dreamer gets to go out as the final ECW champ. Just my two cents on that. As for this week’s show, it was mediocre.

— Jay Shannon
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