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HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
The ECW *7/14) Extreme Examination
Our resident philosopher runs down all the action and adventure on the Tuesday Night Delight, ECW.

ECW ran a quartet of fantastic matches, this week. Several of the new kids got to shine, while Vladimir Kozlov made his intentions known, as it relates to the ECW strap. Let’s take a look.

Last week, Christian was able to defeat Vladimir Kozlov to get a title shot at Night of Champions. Kozlov dominated the majority of the match, but an accidental contact with an exposed turnbuckle allowed Christian to detonate the KillSwitch.

ECW was in Miami, Florida for the night. Captain Charisma, Christian, opened the show. His opponent was “The Gold Standard”, Shelton Benjamin. Shelton has been having an on-going feud with Yoshi Tatsu, who would battle later in the night.

Shelton Benjamin d Christian

The Finish:

Christian shook out his sore arm. Christian threw hard fists on Shelton. Shelton missed his Windmill Kick and Christian sent Shelton onto the ropes. Some silly kids were shouting “6.1.9.” (Wrong superstar, Junior). Christian jumped onto Shelton’s back to drive the Gold Standard’s throat down into the ropes. Christian then hopped over the ropes and used a Inverted Hot Shot to stun Shelton. Christian hit an awesome Tornado DDT but couldn’t get the pin, partially due to the injured arm. Shelton went for the Fujiwara Arm Bar . Christian shifted his weight to try and get a pin. Christian hit the Slop Drop and went to the top rope. Shelton leaped up and hit the Flying DDT. Christian got free but his arm was injured. Shelton dove at Christian, who moved. Christian tried for the KillSwitch but Shelton easily powered out. Shelton ran the injured shoulder of Christian into the ring post. Shelton then hit Paydirt to take this outstanding match.

Grade: A+

Jay’s Thoughts: This match was great but it was a little confusing. Why book Shelton to take out Christian, this close to Night of Champions? It makes Christian look so weak going into the battle. Shelton deserves a run with the ECW strap. He’s had some decent success in the business and it’s high time that he reached the top pinnacle. As for Christian, I was actually thinking that Jericho would pick Christian to replace Edge in the tag team division. Since Christian’s battling Dreamer, I guess Chris will look for someone else (maybe, Kendrick?)

Kozlov actually grinned at the end of the match. He said “He is nothing”, talking about Christian. Matt and Josh then looked at last week’s match from Ezekiel Jackson. Gregory Helms interviewed Jackson. Jackson said that he was hired by The Brian Kendrick, because Brian needed him. He was not in Brian’s shadow and on ECW, he would dominate.

Katie Lea Burchill waited with her brother, Paul, for the next match. Paul faced off against Yoshi Tatsu. The Tokyoan came out to a huge pop.

Yoshi Tatsu d Paul Burchill

The Finish:

Yoshi punched his way free and went for the Rolling School Boy off the ropes. Paul hit a brutal Clothesline and the Samoa Joe-like Back Senton Splash. Paul went back to the Rear Chin Lock. Yoshi refused to surrender. Yoshi fought to his feet and Snap Mared Paul to the canvas. Yoshi hit a trio of rapid fire kicks and then yelled out in Japanese. (I’m just starting to learn the language, so I have no clue what he said). Yoshi Irish Whipped Paul to the corner. Paul elevated Yoshi over the ropes on the run-in. Yoshi hit a hard Fore-arm Smash but slipped on the top rope. (I’d be amazed if he didn’t have a hamstring tear from the landing). Paul took advantage of the bad landing and hit a Saito Suplex. Yoshi got to the ropes to break the count. Yoshi came out of nowhere with a Crescent Kick to end the match. Striker gets the Best Line of the Night award (“Are you Karate Kid-ding me?)

Grade: A-

Jay’s Thoughts: I really think Yoshi has the chance to be the biggest Japanese superstar in the WWE’s history. He will eclipse Funaki and Tajiri, easily. He may become the WWE’s version of The Great Muta. Starting him on ECW was a brilliant move. He will get plenty of training before moving over to either Smackdown or Raw. I see a potential WWE or World champion in Yoshi. Burchill continues to work well as a performer who helps to train and push new talent. He deserves much more credit than he usually gets.

Josh and Matt pushed the fact that ZZ Top would be next week’s Guest Host on Raw. Tyler Reks came in to talk to Tiffany. Reks wanted to debut on ECW, next week. Tiffany thought it was a good idea.

The Bizarre One, Goldust, arrived for the next match. Striker compared Goldy to Gorgeous George, Ricky Starr and Adrian Adonis. Goldy faced off against Zack Ryder. Zack still reminds me of a young Rick Martel. I think the kid has a chance to, one day, be a top champion.

Zack Ryder d Goldust

The Finish:

Goldust went to the top rope but got caught by Zack. Goldust tried to punch his way out of peril but Zack came off the ropes and drove Goldy’s throat down into the top rope. Goldust fell all the way to the arena floor. Zack wen tout and rolled Goldust back into the ring. Zack hit a Face Wash after a failed pin attempt. Zack went for the Rear Chin Lock. The crowd rallied for Goldust who got to his feet. Zack reversed an Irish Whip. Goldust caught Zack with a Snap Powerslam. Goldust got in several hard shots to the face. Zack sent Goldy to the ropes but Goldust came off with the trademarked Golduster Uppercut. Goldust hit an Inverted Atomic Drop and a Clothesline to drop Zack to the canvas. Goldust went to the middle rope and hit a Bionic Elbow to Zack’s skull. Goldust tried to cinch in the Front Face Lock but Zack escaped and scooted to the corner. It was a trick to lure Goldust into the corner. Zack drove Goldy’s face into the middle turnbuckle. Zack finished off Goldust with the Zack Attack.

Grade: A-

Jay’s Thoughts: Zack Ryder is never going to reach the level of a Triple H or “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, face it. I do think the kid is going to have a long and successful run with the company. He will definitely hold some gold in the WWE (likely the US or I-C title). He is so much like Rick Martel, it’s creepy. I expect him to come out with the Fly Sprayer o’ Doom with his version of Arrogance in it. Honestly, the break with his “brother” Curt Hawkins was the second best thing that could have happened to him. The move to ECW was the first. His win over Goldust would be considered an upset in most circles. I think that sells Zack short. Goldy’s not exactly in his prime but he’s still a good competitor. Zack is young, strong and agile. I think his win is a good showing of just how good Zack is. Time will only make him better. Whoever holds the ECW strap around Survivor Series just might have to tend with the WooWooWoo Master, Zack Ryder.

ECW went straight to the Raw Rebound. It focused on Seth Green’s Guest Hosting of Raw. I like the guy. He gave the Monday night crowd six hot Divas in bikinis, a clip of the new Robot Chicken and a great main event against Randy Orton. HHH and Cena traded barbs as they got Seth primed for the main event. During the actual match, Triple H grabbed his sledge hammer and came close clocking Cena with it.

Matt and Josh talked about the strange appearances of the Hurricane, over the past few weeks. He’s saved several hapless and helpless victims of freak accidents.

The Celtic Warrior, Sheamus, arrived for the next match of the night. The ultra-pale redhead came out to battle jobber, Roman Cornell. Cornell was a local Miami kid. Sheamus grabbed the mic and talked to Roman in Gaelic and English. Sheamus wanted to know if Roman thought he could stand in his path. Sheamus said he would be the next big star in ECW.

Sheamus d Roman Cornell

The two men Collar and Elbowed to start the fight. Sheamus dropped Roman with a Shoulder Tackle. Sheamus pounded on Roman and drove a knee to the kid’s head. Sheamus ran Roman into the corner and threw repeated Fore-arms. Sheamus lifted Roman onto his shoulder but Roman slipped free. Roman got a kick to Sheamus’ face. That seemed to ignite the wild Irishman. He hit a Bicycle Kick to Roman’s chest. Sheamus finished off Roman with the Uranage Backbreaker. That move really needs a better name. I’ll work on that for next time.

Grade: A-

Jay’s Thoughts: I really like this kid. He may be paler than Casper the Ghost but he’s talented as can be. With a little polish, Sheamus could be a contender for the ECW Strap. I’d really love to see the kid get moved to Smackdown and teamed with Finlay to form an Irish-oriented tag team. Sheamus could benefit, beyond words, if his training could be augmented with guidance from the Belfast Brawler.

The Extreme Rewind looked at Kozlov v Christian from last week. Kozlov had the match won but contact with an exposed turnbuckle left the Siberian Syborg vulnerable to Christian’s KillSwitch. Matt and Josh then promo’d that Abraham Washington would return, next week, (oh, joy) to interview Tommy Dreamer and Christian.

Vladimir Kozlov then came out for a very short Main Event. Matt called Kozlov, the “War Machine” (I’m sure Rhino’s thrilled to hear that). Tommy Dreamer then came out to a fantastic pop.

Vladimir Kozlov d Tommy Dreamer
Non-title Match

The Finish:

Tommy lured Kozlov into a Drop Toe Hold. The big Russian fell into the ropes and then rolled over to land on the canvas. Tommy hit a Low Dropkick to the face. Tommy hit a Flying Clothesline off the middle rope. Kozlov hit a Kneelift that seemed a little low and then lifted Tommy up in the air. Kozlov dropped Tommy across the top rope. Kozlov Steam Rolled Tommy and then hit the Al Snow Headbutts. Kozlov hit the Trapped Arm Belly to Belly (ala Scott Steiner). Tommy managed to kick out. Kozlov grabbed a Reverse Bear Hug to work on the ribs. Tommy fought free, only to catch a boot to the face. The two went to the outside. Kozlov set Tommy against the ring post and went for a Crescent Kick. Tommy moved and Kozlov kicked the post, full force. The two rolled back in the ring. Tommy hit a Mr. Wrestling II Kneelift. Tommy tried for a Figure Four but Kozlov kicked him off. Tommy bounced off the ropes and tried for a JackKnife Pin. Kozlov barely kicked out. Tommy ducked a Kozlov Clothesline and hit a Neckbreaker. Tommy went to the top rope but Kozlov fell into the ropes to crotch Tommy. Kozlov kicked Kozlov in the face and flew off the ropes. Kozlov hit the Headbutt to Tommy’s chest. Kozlov then dropped the Iron Curtain to take a win over the ECW Champ.

Grade: A

Jay’s Thoughts: Kozlov may not be the next ECW champ but he will, one day, wear the strap. Creative has seriously fumbled Kozlov’s career during his run. They’ve turned him into another Nikita Koloff. He has all the talent needed but poor booking has killed his momentum. The same was true for Nikita, 20 years ago. Koloff never won the big one, though he tried, several times. Koloff went from the Russian Nightmare to a jobber for Vader. Kozlov is teetering on the same razor-thin edge in his current run in ECW. If he fails to get the ECW Strap, he needs to leave the WWE and consider a new occupation.

Christian ran out to save Tommy from a Neck Vise from Kozlov. Christian accidentally struck Tommy, after Kozlov went to Christian’s eyes. Kozlov Headbutted Christian’s chest and then left the ring.

Final Grade: A

Final Thoughts: Thank the stars that we weren’t forced to endure another long, boring Abraham Washington segment. We won’t be so lucky, next week. ECW reminds me of one of my old students, let’s call him Tony. Tony was a potential A Student but didn’t put in the effort necessary to earn the grade. He wanted to take the easy road and just accept whatever grade he got. He barely got out of high school and was working a dead-end job, last that I heard. ECW’s kind of the same. They have the ability to put on a show like this one, every week, but continues to drift back to the mediocre drivel that we have to suffer through. Abraham Washington is just one example of the luke warm product that ECW often presents.

— Jay Shannon
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