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KELLER'S ECW ON SCI-FI REPORT 2/24: Christian challenges Jack Swagger for ECW Title, plus Kidd, Dreamer, Henry, Burchill

Feb 24, 2009 - 9:05:53 PM
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By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

KELLER'S ECW ON SCI-FI REPORT
FEBRUARY 24, 2009
NASHVILLE, TENN.


-After a recap of the Christian-Jack Swagger feud, and then the ECW opening montage, Todd Grisham and Matt Striker introduced the show and hyped the main event ECW World Title match between Swagger and Christian.

1 -- D.J. GABRIEL (w/Alicia Fox) vs. MARK HENRY (w/Tony Atlas)

They joined Gabriel's ring intro routine near the end as he finished a dance mid-ring. Gabriel continues to remind me more of Adrian Street than anyone else. If he grew his hair out and softened up his physique, it'd be uncanny even on promos. Whatever legal supplement he takes should be handed out to pro wrestlers who can't get the look they want on WWE's Wellness Program, not to mention Major League Baseball players. He looks like he's right out of the pre-Wellness Program era, which when you look back at old tapes is remarkably different from top to bottom of the card (especially among mid-carders and lower). Gabriel dropkicked Henry early, but Henry brushed it off. Grisham referred to Gabriel's multi-colored trunks as "Rubix Cube-looking." I'd vote for "Tetris-looking" myself, moving the reference from the 1980s into the 1990s. A fan held up a sign: "I Love You Nash." Wrong taping. Henry won with a powerslam.

WINNER: Henry in 3:00.

STAR RATING: 3/4* -- Fine for a virtual squash.

[Commercial Break]

-The Evan Bourne vignette aired. Still no date for his return.

[Q2]

2 -- TYSON KIDD (W/NATALYA) vs. MATT BOYCE

Any fans dating back to the 1980s has to love this format, a throwback to when wrestlers got to win squashes to establish their key moves and get decisive wins. Speaking of the 1980s, Striker referred to Boyce as the third Mulky. I'd say more so a cross between Crazy Jonny Fairplay and a rookie Jeff Jarrett. Kidd took over after a minute with a barrage of kicks and punches and stomps. He finished Boyce with a jump spin sidekick and a springboard elbowdrop to the chest.

WINNER: Kidd in 2:00.

STAR RATING: * -- Good squash. Kidd looked good with his signature style offense. It seems with the placement of the Bourne vignette that a Bourne-Kidd feud may be coming up soon. I'm all for that. Those could be great TV matches if given proper time.

-A commercial hyped the Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy match scheduled for Smackdown.

[Commercial Break]

-WWE Fact: Last month over 100 million photos of WWE ringside action were viewed on WWE.com.

-A video package aired on the Triple H sit-down interview on Smackdown last week and a recap of last night's Raw show-closing angle with Legacy and Triple H.

3 -- TOMMY DREAMER vs. PAUL BURCHILL (w/Katie Lea)

Dreamer began aggressively and knocked Burchill over the top rope with a clothesline. At 2:00 Dreamer dominated, with Burchill hung upside down in the Tree of Woe. He went for a slidekick, but Katie Lea yanked Burchill out of the path. At that point she was yanked by her leg under the ring. Boogeyman's music played and he chased Vickie away. Dreamer then surprised a distracted Burchill with a DDT for the win. Grisham stressed that he gets to tout a Dreamer win for once.

WINNER: Dreamer in 3:00.

STAR RATING: * -- Good fast-pace with Dreamer showing good energy and aggression.

-They showed Christian walking toward the entrance tunnel backstage.

[Q3]

-A vignette aired on Kane returning to ECW next week for "a disturbing visit."

[Commercial Break]

-A video aired promoting WrestleMania 25.

4 -- JACK SWAGGER vs. CHRISTIAN - ECW Hvt. Title match

Grisham said Christian said he wanted to come to ECW to test himself against top young talent in ECW, and Swagger is just that. Swagger is one of those heels who you can't watch for more than ten seconds without wanting to boo him for being so obnoxious and dorky as he makes his way to the ring. He just hams it up with nothing held back, and that wide white-toothed smile just begs to be punched. They did a formal ring introduction for the title match. Striker billed Swagger at 6-6 and Christian at 6-2. I don't see a four inch difference. I'd guess they're 6-0 and 6-2 out of boots. After some traditional wrestling exchanges, Christian took control. He settled into his signature standing side headlock. Swagger powered out and lifted Christian and threw him into the corner where he jabbed his abdomen with his shoulders. Swagger said every major championship has changed hands in Nashville: In 2002, Undertaker won the WWE Title, the World Title changed hands at Starrcade in 1995, and in 1999 Masato Tanaka vs. Mike Awesome led to an ECW Title change. "History is not on the champion Jack Swagger's side tonight," he said. Not sure I buy his relational logic, but nice historical references. Christian ducked a charging Swagger at 5:00, then dove over the top rope onto him at ringside. They cut to a break.

[Commercial Break]

[Q4]

Swagger took control after the break with a forearm to the back of Christian's neck. Striker said Christian controlled the match during the break. Swagger shoulder tackled Christian off the ring apron to the floor. Christian charged at Swagger, but Swagger moved and Christian bashed into the ringside steps. Swagger settled into working on Christian's arm center-ring. He went into an arm stretch with his legs lodged against Christian's shoulder and armpit. Christian escaped and rolled into a side headlock. Swagger escaped into an elbow lock. Christian escaped with a headbutt. Swagger immediately spun Christian into a shoulder breaker. Nice chain sequence. Christian rolled to the edge of the ring and they cut to another break.

[Commercial Break]

-A commercial hyped Shawn Michaels vs. Vladimir Kozlov on Raw next Monday.

Back to the match, Swagger controlled the match with mat wrestling. Christian made a comeback at 18:00 and went for a top rope diving headbutt. Swagger moved. Swagger gave Christian a Northern Lights suplex, but Christian escaped before three. They countered each other, with Christian eventually scoring a near fall on Swagger at 20:00. Swagger went for a corner swing splash, but Christian lifted his knees and then hit a sunset flip for a near fall that popped the crowd at 21:00. Swagger met Christian on the top rope. Christian punched Swagger to the mat, then hit a frog splash for a very near fall. Christian followed up with a DDT, but Christian sold his arm being in great pain, delaying his cover. When he did make the cover, Swagger kicked out just before three at 21:00. Swagger threw Christian shoulder-first into the ringpost. Swagger escaped a backslide attempt, but Swagger turned it into a gut-wrench powerbomb and Swagger scored the clean pin.

WINNER: Swagger in 22:00.

STAR RATING: ***1/2 -- Really strong TV main event. The finish was a real endorsement of Swagger's star being on the rise as there was no interference or cheating, just a hard-fought win over a long-time established star. If Christian's not being punished for signing with TNA, I don't know what the story is. Christian will still probably end up utilized in a nice money-spot for a few years, but his early treatment indicates he's paying a price he wouldn't have paid if had instead been out of action for three years with an injury or semi-retirement on good terms with WWE. Swagger, though, deserves the win as he continues to evolve as a likely future main eventer. ECW continues to be a show you ought to be watching if you're not.


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