TV REPORTS CALDWELL'S ECW TV REPORT 2/24: Christian vs. Swagger; not-so-obvious reason for Christian returning to ECW brand, Pirate vs. Boogey vs. Original
Feb 25, 2009 - 12:46:02 PM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch.com assistant editor
WWE's ECW on Sci-Fi TV Report
February 24, 2009 - Year 3, Week 38 (Week 142 overall)
Taped in Nashville, Tenn.
The show opened with a video package posing the question of whether Christian will take Jack Swagger's ECW Title tonight. Coincidentally, Christian is now in the ECW intro video package.
Announcers: Todd Grisham and Matt Striker hyped Swagger vs. Christian and created enthusiasm that they've been looking forward to this match all week long.
1 -- D.J. GABRIEL (w/Alicia Fox) vs. MARK HENRY (w/Tony Atlas)
The dancing dude D.J. Gabriel is back on TV. And he looks much more muscular than when he was on TV last month. Grisham showed why he's surpassed Michael Cole by referencing a conversation he had with Tony Atlas earlier today that this won't be Dancing with the Stars. Adding a pre-match word or two from the involved parties enhances a match so much. Well done. Mark Henry threw up a concrete wall on Gabriel earlier on, then Gabriel landed a double axehandle from the second rope. Gabe wanted a top rope splash, but Henry caught him in mid-air for the World's Strongest Slam and the win.
WINNER: Henry in 3:00. Competitive match, but shows where Gabriel is on the depth chart. Perhaps Gabe vs. Ricky Ortiz in a loser leaves town match is imminent.
Video package: Evan Bourne returns to ECW... Ring intro: Tyson Kidd came out with Natalya. That makes for three weeks in a row they've linked a Bourne video to a Kidd match. Grisham even put Kidd and Bourne in the same sentence, wondering if Kidd can live up to Bourne's high-flying on ECW.
2 -- TYSON KIDD vs. MATT BOYCE
Kidd went to the mat early on to ground Mr. Boyce, who reminded me of Sugarfoot Alex Payne complete with Jeff Jarrett's early career golden locks. Wilson landed an arsenal of kicks before slapping on a mid-ring submission hold. Wilson shouted at the ref to ask Boyce if he wanted to head to the showers, but Boyce refused to submit. Kidd then decided he would land his signature springboard elbow smash for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Kidd in 3:00. Nice match to show Kidd's arsenal of moves, which Striker drew attention to during a replay. Looking forward to an imminent Kidd vs. Bourne feud.
Raw Rebound: Video package focused on the Triple H vs. Randy Orton feud that led to a game of Tom & Jerry at the end of Monday's show.
Already in the ring: Tommy Dreamer. He pumped himself up, then Paul Burchill came out with Katie Lea for a singles match. Grisham pointed out that Dreamer is 0-4 since declaring his quest for the ECW Title. So are the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl, but they still show up every season hoping J.P. Losman is the QB of the future. (Apologies to our New York fans.)
3 -- TOMMY DREAMER vs. PAUL BURCHILL (w/Katie Lea)
Dreamer with an early clothesline taking Burchill to the floor, then Dreamer stared down Katie Lea. Perhaps he was thinking back to piledriving women in ECW. Burchill went on the offensive, but he couldn't score a pin. Dreamer then made a comeback and hung Burchill upside down in the corner. Dreamer fired himself up, then missed with the basement dropkick when Katie pulled Burchill out of harm's way. Suddenly, Boogeyman grabbed Katie from under the ring and his music played. Lights flashed in the ring, and in the confusion, Burchill accepted the Dreamer DDT. Dreamer then made the cover for the win. He celebrated an actual victory and they stayed with the moment for a while to try to sell the victory as legit rather than a tainted victory with help from Boogey.
WINNER: Dreamer in 4:00. Nice to see them give Dreamer a win, but it sucks that after four weeks of just-inches-away losses, he picks up a forgettable victory with help from Boogey. At least the announcers sold the victory and ignored the interference assistance, so that helps Dreamer as his program moves along.
Backstage: They showed Christian Cage walking down the hallway with a smile on his face. Christian vs. Swagger up next.
Video package: They focused on Kane. In the absence of a conscious, is all hope lost when facing the Big Red Machine? Kane's on ECW next week. Perhaps special ref for Burchill, the Pirate, vs. Boogeyman, the Boogeyman.
In-ring: Christian Cage came out first for the ECW Title main event match. Grisham said Christian came to ECW to test himself against the young talent in ECW. Nice way of phrasing it. Swagger then danced out to the ring showing off his ECW Title belt. I imagine Brock Lesnar would do the same thing with the UFC Hvt. Title if he could. ... Tony Chimel handled the formal ring intros. Christian was billed from Toronto. None of that "by way of Toronto though, and, or around Florida" or any of that from TNA. Swagger lost the smile and focused on Christian pre-match.
4 -- ECW champion JACK SWAGGER vs. CHRISTIAN -- ECW Title match
Swagger held control early, so Christian took a breath, collected himself, and ripped off a round of chops on Swagger to slow down the young champ. Early history lesson from Striker, who said the WWE, NWA World Title, and ECW Titles have all changed hands in Nashville. Odds are not in Swagger's favor, Striker said. Christian knocked Swagger to the floor at 3:00, then he nailed a leaping splash from the top rope. Nice spot. Let's grab a commercial.
Back from break, Swagger was in control and he stomped down on Christian's chest. He then knocked Christian to the floor, but Christian made it back inside the ring before a ten count. During an intense exchange at 10:00, Striker made a subtle Street Fighter reference, saying this is like Ryu vs. Ken. Swagger landed a nice combo of a running shoulderbreaker into the corner turnbuckle, then running across the ring for a powerslam. Christian was in jeopardy going into another break.
Christian made his comeback out of the break. Grisham said Swagger was "eating punches like cotton candy." Yum. Christian went up top at 17:00 for a dive, but Swagger moved. He followed with a Northern Lights Suplex for a two count only. Christian escaped the gutwrench powerbomb finisher, but he walked into a belly-to-belly suplex while selling a left arm injury. They battled up top, and Christian knocked Swagger to the mat before nailing a top rope diving headbutt for another two count. Crowd gasped for another nearfall.
At 20:00, Christian scored with a swinging DDT, but he came up favoring his right arm, so Swagger kicked out when Christian was able to make a cover. Christian tried the Unprettier, but he couldn't execute it with the injured arm. Swagger capitalized with the gutwrench powerbomb and scored the pin for the win. Afterward, both men rested on the mat before Swagger came up pounding his chest exclaiming victory.
WINNER: Swagger at 20:40 to retain the ECW Title. Excellent TV title match. (Not to be confused with a TV Title match, which would be a welcome addition to ECW for a Kidd vs. Bourne feud.) In any event, Christian looked very sharp and refreshed in his second "spotlight" match back in WWE after defeating Swagger in a shorter TV match two weeks ago. Great back-and-forth action. One of the things to remember about Christian is that he was a locker room leader when he left WWE a few years ago. I think the decision to put Christian on ECW was partially made to give him a chance to be a veteran guide for the younger stars on the ECW brand before he's placed in a higher position on Raw or Smackdown. Someone who has plenty of experience, but who the younger wrestlers can relate to more than someone like Finlay. It helps that Christian delivered a great performance against Swagger to earn some respect as a leader of the brand only three weeks into his TV return. (***1/2)
We welcome your 0-10 score and comments on this show for an "ECW Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. To contribute your thoughts on ECW TV, click here.
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