TV REPORTS CALDWELL'S ECW TV REPORT 9/1: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels WM25 and ECW happenings
Sep 1, 2009 - 10:05:04 PM
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WWE - ECW on SyFy TV Report
September 1, 2009 - Year 4, Week 13 (Week 169 overall)
Taped in Cleveland, Ohio
By James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor
The WWE show started with ECW announcers Josh Mathews and Matt Striker plugging the "piece of art" from this wrestling industry with Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker's encore presentation from WrestleMania 25.
In-ring: Shelton Benjamin came to the ring for the opening match. I have no idea if he's heel or face tonight. They showed a replay of last week when Shelton and Zack Ryder had dissension in their odd couples tag match pairing. Zack Ryder then came out to face Shelton. Shelton's face tonight. Ryder was wearing a sheer lingerie piece over his ring gear. Um...okay. Striker told us not to be fooled by the attire - Ryder's a tough guy. Yeah, thanks.
1 -- SHELTON BENJAMIN vs. ZACK RYDER
Shelton missed with an early Stinger Splash and Ryder capitalized with a neckbreaker for a two count. Ryder grounded Shelton on the mat with a reverse chinlock and shouted at no one in particular that Shelton's nothing. Shelton broke free, then hopped over the top rope to the ring apron. He waited for Ryder to turn around, then he nailed springboard Blockbuster. Nicely done. He followed with the Pay Dirt facebuster for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Shelton in 4:00. Okay TV match. Really wish they would give these guys more than four minutes to put together a compelling TV match. Ryder had some offense early on to look somewhat credible, which the announcers put over in the post-match replays. (*)
Announcers: Striker and Mathews said Ryder has been impressive since the New Talent Initiative. Segue...Sheamus vs. Goldust. They showed last week's match when they ended with a double count-out. Striker then announced tonight's main event will be a re-match with No DQ, No Count-outs. Nice to see them really position this feud as a big deal. Could have used pre-show hype, but this will suffice.
Abraham Washington Show: Cue up a drumroll. Tony Atlas is now doing the intros for Washington. Out came Washington with an over-the-ear mic. He shook hands with Atlas and did his Arsenio Hall fist pump. Go away heat from the crowd early on. Washington joked that he's happy to be here in Cleveland, which no one ever says. He said Arsenio Hall happens to be from Cleveland. He called out AHall by saying "Coming to America" sucks. Atlas's entire role is to cackle at the jokes like Michael Cole watching a Chavo-Hornswoggle segment. Washington said he's the most entertaining thing to come to Cleveland since LeBron James.
Washington finally got around to welcoming out his guest, Gregory Helms. Helms came out in a suit with his hair pulled back in a ponytail. Washington said he's all about getting down to the hard-hitting, serious questions. He said everyone wants to know the truth that he is...The Hurricane. Helms didn't react. He said he's just Gregory Helms. Atlas cackled off stage. Helms wasn't amused. He said he was a two-time Cruiserweight champion. Newer WWE fans just asked, "Cruiserwhat championship?" Helms said he's just Gregory Helms. Washington said he's a Lying King. Chuckle from Atlas. Washington then welcomed out Paul Burchill and Katie Lea to join the proceedings.
Burchill, dressed in jeans and a leather jacket, wanted to know what Washington is doing wasting his time on Helms. Oh, and by the way, he beat him last week on Superstars. Burchill said he's going to keep beating him if he continues to insult everyone's intelligence. Suddenly, the Hurri-Cam appeared on the big screen. Obvious pre-tape. Hurricane said the only insulting thing is Burchill trying to take credit for a victory. Helms said he's on assignment, but he'll be on the show next week with a challenge for Burchill. Do you accept? Back to the stage, Burchill just put his hands on his hips in disgust. He got in Helms's face and said he's tired of his games, so he'll see him next week. Burchill's look and tone has improved thousands of times. Looking very Triple H-esque. Burchill and Katie slowly walked away, then Washington wrapped it up with Atlas cackling along. Helms just stood there selling frustration that no one is believing him.
Taker video: They aired a video package on Undertaker with wrestlers talking about him from a studio taping. John Cena called Taker the Clint Eastwood of the business. Anyone for a WM 21 movie trailer? Triple H, MVP, Rey Mysterio talked him up. Hunter said it's like stepping into the ring with a legend. Cue up old-school and recent clips of Taker. Vince McMahon voice-over from when he was an announcer with the giant shoulder pads. Cena said the annual WM question is who is going to challenge the streak this year? ... Mathews and Striker plugged the Taker-HBK encore presentation up later.
Backstage: They showed Kozlov and Ezekiel Jackson walking down the hallway with #1 contender William Regal following close behind. Kozlov and Jackson teaming up for the first time up next.
In-ring: William Regal led the Ruthless Roundtable to the ring for a squash match. Already in the ring were Jim Parks and Mike Tolar. Going to be a tough night at the office. They showed a replay of Christian losing to Regal last week with the RR's help.
2 -- EZEKIEL JACKSON & KOZLOV (w/William Regal) vs. JIM PARKS & MIKE TOLAR
Kozlov and Jackson just methodically tagging in and out of the ring delivering a beating early on. Jim Parks was shouting instructions from the apron and Jackson grew tired of his encouragement to Tolar, so he chucked him into the ringpost. Jackson delivered his uranage, then Kozlov politely asked for a tag. Jackson obliged and Kozlov delivered his Iron Curtain uranage for the easy pin and the win.
WINNERS: Kozlov & Jackson in 2:00. Set-up for the post-match. It was pretty unique to watch the two big monsters just politely tag in and out without exerting much effort. Nice dynamic. (n/a)
Afterward, Regal put Tolar in the Regal Stretch mid-ring. Not even a scratch on his fine suit. (Seems like a set-up for Christian vs. Regal in a Submissions match at the PPV.) Suddenly, Christian's music hit and the ECW champ came out on stage in dress clothes. No title belt. Christian sneered down at Regal from the stage, so Regal told him to come on down and get a fight. Christian said he's not coming alone. Cue up Tommy Dreamer's theme music. Striker said Christian has friends in low places. Dreamer slowly walked out in street clothes. Two dudes ready for a fight. Regal just laughed himself silly. "This is your grand plan, Tommy Dreamer?" Regal asked Dreamer if he's gone mental.
Regal calmed down and said they would be making the biggest mistakes of their lives if they step to the ring. Christian thanked Bill for the tip, then Dreamer pulled out two Kendo Sticks for their back-up. RR met them on the entrance ramp and the fight was on. Christian and Dreamer blasted RR with stick shots, then Regal bailed to avoid Christian. Regal held back Kozlov and Jackson as Christian and Dreamer stood their ground in the ring. Regal led the RR back down the ramp to fight another day. Regal nodded that they got this one, but that's only one battle.
Shawn Michaels video: Showed Michaels raising his arms to the heavens, then Chris Jericho was shown calling HBK one of the greatest performers in history. Big Show said he's nuts. Hunter said HBK doesn't take "no" for an answer and doesn't back down from a fight. They showed HBK taking out Ric Flair at WM24. Up next: HBK vs. Taker from WM25. Sure beats a Raw Rebound.
Backstage: ECW GM Tiffany was shown on-camera. She introduced "one of the most acclaimed matches in WWE history" - Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker.
Video package: They set the stage for HBK vs. Taker with a poetic voice-over on a battle between Heaven and Hell. Cue up the music video presentation of the match that aired on the NBC special on Saturday night. They showed the highspots leading to Taker almost breaking his neck flying over the top rope and cameraman Sim Snuka not being in position to break the fall. They showed the awesome nearfalls with Michaels kicking out of the Tombstone, then Taker kicking out of the superkick. WWE included various crowd reactions. I remember standing on the floor live for this match and there was a camera crew dedicated to taking fan shots in our section the entire match. They obviously knew ahead of time they had something special. Really nice production with the visuals, balance of background music, crowd reactions, interjecting Jim Ross's commentary when necessary, and the various camera shots from "live feed" to "movie filtered." Very nice take on the match.
Smackdown plug: The Undertaker returns to Smackdown on Friday night.
Backstage: They showed Sheamus and Goldust on a split-screen walking down the hallway before tonight's TV main event.
Next week: Striker announced Christian & Dreamer vs. Jackson & Kozlov on next week's show. Probable we'll also get a title match announcement for the PPV next week.
In-ring: Sheamus came out first for the TV main event. Goldust came out second without any shenanigans, just a serious demeanor for a serious match.
3 -- GOLDUST vs. SHEAMUS -- No DQ, No Count-out match
Aggressive start, then Sheamus shoved Goldust into the corner and told him that he's nothing. Sheamus then slapped Goldust across the face and Goldust responded with a hard slap of his own. Goldust then hit a dropkick that sent Sheamus to the floor. Sheamus tried to leave, but Goldust ran him down with a hard clothesline. Goldust in control on the ramp going to break.
Back from break, Sheamus was in control before knocking Goldust to the outside. Kids on the front row screamed at Sheamus for taking it to their temporary hero. Sheamus then bent Goldust's back around the ringpost to inflict damage. Sheamus glared at the fans ringside, then slid back into the ring for a cover and a nearfall. Sheamus then settled into a mat hold with the crowd getting behind Goldust to make a comeback.
[Q5 -- over-run]
Match continued at the top of the hour with a "Let's go Goldust" chant. This program has definitely connected with the audience thanks to nice TV build. Formula for the Raw mid-card that has yet to be followed. Goldust broke free at 10:00 and they entered a dueling slap fest. Goldust then fired off the ropes with a hard clothesline and an atomic drop. Goldust with a flying bulldog. Not much facepaint left at this point, then Goldust walked into a kick to the knee. Suddenly, Goldust rolled up Sheamus with a small package for a two count. Goldust nailed a powerslam, but another two count only. Sheamus then rolled to the outside to take a breather. Goldust answered with a running clothesline off the ring apron. Sheamus suddenly rammed Goldust into the ringpost. Both men seemed winded and the match came to a brief halt.
Back in the ring, Goldust fired himself up and landed straight right hands. Goldust with a Natural bulldog attempt, but Sheamus threw him away and stomped a mudhole in Goldust. Sheamus then drove a knee into Goldust's throat. Crowd needed a boost and Goldust landed a trademark uppercut, but Sheamus fired off a bicycle kick out of nowhere. He followed with his big Irish Curse backbreaker across his knee. Sheamus with the pin for the clean win. That's called elevating a young talent. After they replayed the highspots of the match, the camera focused on Sheamus celebrating with a heel smile on the floor to close the show.
WINNER: Sheamus in 13:00. Very good TV match by WWE's standards. Crowd has definitely bought into this feud and they were into the action. As I said in the match report, this is the formula for the Raw mid-card if they want to develop some stars on a bigger stage by focusing on a one-on-one feud. Match seemed to peak around 11:00 when both men appeared to be winded, but they finished strong with a nice flurry of offense from Sheamus to win the match. WWE is obviously very high on Sheamus, who is delivering a breakthrough performance in this feud with Goldust. Well done. (**3/4)
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