TV REPORTS CALDWELL'S ECW TV REPORT 12/29: Complete coverage of Tommy Dreamer saying good-bye, Evan Bourne and Matt Hardy return
Dec 29, 2009 - 10:10:24 PM
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WWE - ECW on SyFy TV Report
December 29, 2009 - Year 4, Week 30 (Week 186 overall)
Taped in East Rutherford, N.J.
By James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor
The WWE show started with Josh Mathews introducing the ECW Homecoming matches set for tonight, then ECW champ Christian came out with the title belt to start the show. Mathews incorrectly said Christian is the longest-reigning champion in WWE, but that honor goes to Michelle McCool, who has held the Women's Title since June and Christian has held the ECW Title since July. Anyways, Christian joined Mathews and Byron Saxton on commentary for the opening match.
In-ring: Matt Hardy came out first for an ECW Homecoming match. Finlay was out as his opponent. Finlay had a cup of coffee on ECW during his career, so this isn't much of a Homecoming.
1 -- MATT HARDY vs. FINLAY -- ECW Homecoming match
Mathews explained the rules of the deal where the winners of the eight qualifying matches will be in a battle royal on Jan. 12. Winner gets ECW champ Christian at the Rumble. Early on, Hardy shoulder a left knee injury and the ref checked on Hardy to see if he wanted to compete. Finlay then targeted the knee to begin his attack. To fill time, Christian went back to the Edge & Christian days for a history lesson on sitting in on commentary when the Hardys were Hardy Boyz. Contained in Christian's commentary was another name-drop for Jeff Hardy on WWE TV. Hardy made a comeback at 3:00 on one good knee, then Hardy yanked Finlay off the second rope for a two count. Hardy then went to the corner for a top-rope moonsault, but Finlay moved and he followed with a cover for a two count. Finlay then slowly picked up Hardy, but Hardy surprised him with a Twist of Fate for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Hardy in 5:00 to advance to the ECW Homecoming. Slow, sluggish match. Hardy selling a knee injury gave him an "out" for the plodding pace to the match, but the highlight of the match was Christian on commentary. (1/2*)
ECW Homecoming: Kane, Ezekiel Jackson, Vance Archer, Yoshi Tatsu, and Hardy are in with three slots remaining. Up later: Evan Bourne vs. Mike Knox. We have to revisit that feud?
Backstage: Zack Ryder had his arm around Rosa Mendes walking down the hallway. Ryder then approached Tommy Dreamer to tell him it's over. He told him to "hang it up." Dreamer grimaced and said he's tired of losing to guys like Ryder each and every week. He said Ryder is nothing more than a catchphrase and a stupid haircut. Dreamer grabbed Ryder around the throat and told him if that he wants it so bad, then beat him tonight and he'll leave ECW forever. Ryder ran away with Rosa, leaving Dreamer huffing and puffing.
Raw plug: They aired a video package with a very hard sell for Raw on Monday. "This is the Monday Night Raw you cannot miss," said the voice-over man. Cue up the Bret Hart video recapping his "shocking departure" and return after 12 years. "The biggest Monday Night Raw ever," the voice-over man added. They're saying Chris Jericho's career is also on the line. Well, not really, just that Jericho is off Raw for good if JeriShow loses the tag titles.
[Commercial Break. During the break, another ad for TNA Impact on January 4 against said Raw aired. It's on, folks.]
In-ring: Ezekiel Jackson's music hit and Big Zeke walked out to the ring in street clothes - jeans and a black muscle t-shirt. They rolled footage from two weeks ago when William Regal sided with Jackson over Kozlov. In the ring, Zeke smiled and began his promo. He said two weeks ago, they decided to rid themselves of a traitor by being a weak link in a strong and powerful chain. Jackson said their goal was to dominate ECW. Unfortunately, Kozlov became a liability as is written in the book of Ezekiel: "The end has come and it has come against you." Suddenly, Kozlov's music interrupted and he marched down to the ring for a confrontation. Kozlov grunted and ran Jackson over the top rope. Jackson grunted on the floor. Kozlov grunted from in the ring. Jackson grunted again. He then smiled and told Kozlov he's going to get it while Mathews said on commentary he wants to see these two fight. Keep it down, Josh. Jackson left to the back and Kozlov threw his arms in the air victoriously...and he grunted again. It's good, basic writing, but the problem is the audience has no reason to buy into the characters here. It's just...well...awkward.
Locker room: Christian walked up to Tommy Dreamer to see what's up. Christian asked Dreamer if this is really what he wants. Dreamer said Christian came back here to prove something and he has something to prove himself. Christian said he loves Dreamer like a brother that no matter what happens tonight, he will always be the heart and soul of ECW. Dreamer choked back the tears and said he still wants a re-match. They slapped hands and Christian told him he's got it if he beats Ryder.
Smackdown plug: Will Drew McIntyre's party continue on New Year's when he defends the IC Title vs. John Morrison on New Year's night? Solid video focusing on Morrison vs. McIntyre.
2 -- EVAN BOURNE vs. MIKE KNOX -- ECW Homecoming match
Bourne checked in at 183 pounds. Knox at 293 pounds. Mathews filled us in that Knox studies kinesiology in his spare time. Before the bell sounded, Bourne could visibly be seen asking the referee, "four?" to see how much time they had in the ring. The bell sounded and the good doctor lifted Bourne in the air, but Bourne took both of them over the top rope to the floor. Knox then rammed Bourne into the guardrail and returned to the ring. The ref reached a perilous seven count, but they cut to a replay, so you knew Bourne would make it back in the ring. Back in the ring, Dr. Knox went to work on Bourne's neck to dissect the human anatomy. Bourne then came back with kick strikes, but Knox ran him over with a splash near the ropes. Bourne blocked a pin attempt by grabbing the bottom ropes, though, then smashed Knox in the corner. Bourne wanted Air Bourne, but Knox crotched him. Bourne came back with a
WINNER: Bourne in 4:00. Well, we knew it was going four minutes after Bourne clued in the audience pre-match. Good win for Bourne. I don't write that sentence very often. Anyways, Bourne is back in the win column advancing to the Homecoming in two weeks. (*)
Next week: C.M. Punk vs. Chavo Guerrero vs. Mark Henry in one of the two remaining Homecoming qualifying matches.
Backstage: ECW GM Tiffany wished Tommy Dreamer good luck as he walked down the hallway. Dreamer smacked his fists together and went on walking.
DVD plug: Going into this break, they plugged the "Marine 2" movie coming out today. Raw plug, then Smackdown plug, and now Marine plug.
Raw Rebound: They focused on the WWE Title match from last night and all of the happenings between champ Sheamus and challenger Cena leading up to the match. The Rebound lasted longer than the match itself. They heavily focused on the ref DQ'ing Cena, which, based on the heavy focus on Earl Hebner...er...ref Chioda, seems to coincide with Bret Hart returning to Raw next week as guest host to complete one order of business related to the WWE Title situation.
Announcers: Mathews and Saxton debated the key points on Cena-Sheamus. They followed with talk on Bret Hart as the guest host next week on Raw, appearing on WWE TV for the first time in over 12 years.
Backstage: Yoshi Tatsu, in a sharp suit, was shown talking to Goldust and trying to teach him Japanese. Goldust was failing miserably here on purpose. Barreta and Croft then interrupted and asked what's Japanese for future Unified tag champs. They mocked Tommy Dreamer and Goldust defended Dreamer. Barreta said he's dead weight around here and it's time to get his type off the show. Goldust then spoke Japanese rather well to insult B&C. Goldust and a happy Yoshi walked off, then Croft tried to translate that they're afraid of them. Yeah, bro.
Well, WWE is obviously setting in motion the youth movement on ECW here. Apparently Christian will play babysitter until he's eventually moved to Raw or Smackdown. I say babysitter because it's frustrating that virtually every new young, under-sized heel on the roster plays the same arrogant, cocky, know-it-all, sophomore-in-high-school character. There's just no depth to these characters, which partially explains why they don't get over.
In-ring: Tommy Dreamer walked to the ring for the main event. It's up next with Dreamer's ECW career on the line in the write-off angle.
Raw plug: "It's the Raw you cannot miss after Bret Hart left WWE 12 years ago 'never to return' ... until now." Heavy focus on Hart, Jericho's career, DX, and Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton. Well-done video package to hype Raw despite being heavy on hyperbole.
3 -- TOMMY DREAMER vs. ZACK RYDER (w/Rosa Mendes)
After Ryder made his way to the ring following the commercial, Dreamer went to work on Ryder while Rosa cried in anguish from ringside. The action moved to the floor where Dreamer clotheslined Ryder, who then used Rosa as a shield to take control of the action. Cut to break.
Back from break, the announcers spoke in code on whether it was wise for Dreamer to make this decision. Ryder continued to work over Dreamer, who then missed with a corner shoulderblock and Ryder went to work on the shoulder. Ryder tried a clothesline, but Dreamer ducked and landed a neckbreaker. Dreamer then went to the corner, but Ryder crotched him. He wanted the Zack Attack, but Dreamer blocked with a pin attempt for a two count. They followed with a series of pin attempts, but the exchange only resulted in nearfalls. Ryder then came back with the Rough Ryder drop, but Dreamer kicked out. This all seemed to happen in slow-motion, but it made for good drama.
Ryder then went to the corner for a moonsault, but Dreamer hung him upside down for one last "E-C-W" running basement dropkick after big build-up. "Vintage Tommy Dreamer," Mathews said. Dreamer then hit the Dreamer DDT and scored a three count, but Ryder had his foot under the bottom rope. The ref waved off the three count after Dreamer thought he had it won. Dreamer argued with the ref, but then went back to work. Ryder suddenly crucifix pinned Dreamer, but Dreamer kicked out just before three. Dreamer then took Ryder to the corner for a suplex, but Ryder fell on top of Dreamer on the way down to the mat. He made a cover and Dreamer flailed his arms to sell trying to escape the pin, but Ryder scored the three count for the win.
WINNER: Ryder in 13:00. Slow-motion action here, but very strong points for the drama with the multiple nearfalls and tension in the air for the imminent finish. Good final match for Dreamer in WWE, even if it wasn't the most aesthetically-pleasing. (*3/4)
[Q5 -- over-run]
Post-match: The announcers sold disbelief Dreamer is gone from ECW. After a replay aired, Dreamer took the mic and said he sat in this arena way back in the day for a Piper's Pit by Rowdy Piper. Dreamer transitioned right into a farewell speech, thanking everyone from the Original ECW, which drew cheers. Dreamer said it's been his dream since he was nine-years-old and it proves if you have passion for what you do, you can make it anywhere. He said he made it in ECW and he made it in WWE. Dreamer said he will miss many people in the organization before pausing to say he told himself not to cry.
Dreamer said these three letters mean a lot to me. He said they're supposed to address the fans as WWE Universe, but he considers the fans his family. Dreamer said one of his daughters is in kindergarten and she told her classmates her father falls down a lot, but her other daughter said he gets up a lot. They cut to a shot of Beulah on the front row holding their daughters. Tears were streaming. Dreamer said life is about getting down, then getting back up. He thanked the fans for their support, which drew a standing ovation from most of the fans. One fan on the front tried to lead an "E-C-W" chant, then Dreamer took off his ECW t-shirt and placed on the mat. He then grabbed his daughters on the front row and carried them in his arms up the entranceramp. They waved to the camera before Dreamer did one last "aaaaaahhh" pose on the stage. His music played on the way out with Dreamer disappearing in the back with his daughters, who notably were dressed in all-red for an HD-quality presentation.
JC: A memorable send-off for Dreamer and the unofficial end of the ECW brand on the final ECW TV episode of 2009. WWE still has the ECW Homecoming concept ongoing for the next few weeks leading to the Rumble, but this was symbolic of what's to come with the brand. It was nice to see WWE give Dreamer a proper send-off, even if he will be going to TNA.
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