I’m going through these old shows and figured I’d share my notes. This counts as content, right?
Jack Swagger vs. Fit Finlay (No. 1 Contender match)
Ah, young Swagger. Back when he had ‘future champ’ written all over him. Wait, he…oh.
Finlay’s the smiling veteran who turns green (with black stripes) if you touch his kid.
The match goes fifteen minutes. It’s so old school compared to Raw during this time and it has a big match feel…for the first match on the C show. I love ECW 2009.
Swagger wrestles like a…wrestler too. Early on in his career they were emphasising his amateur background which is always good as he works Finlay’s shoulder and they construct a match around that. Also helps he’s against Finlay who could have made Hornswoggle look like Peter Dinklage. Horny gets involved so Swagger hurls the fucker into the barricade outside. He then Doctor Bombs Finlay for the clean pin and looks like the best new star ECW had produced.
Alicia Fox vs. Katie Lea
Speaking of new stars, here’s DJ Gabriel and Alicia Fox. They didn’t do much outside of dance but you’d think Gabriel’s physique would have won an IC Title.
Burchill was one of those guys that came along at the wrong time. He briefly teamed with Regal on SmackDown before switching to a pirate gimmick and got over. But in a story that’s now infamous, because Vince lives in a bubble and was unaware of the Pirates of The Caribbean films, he didn’t think anyone would cheer a pirate and changed his gimmick to bland beard man. To be fair, pirates went around stealing, killing and having sex with things so maybe Vince had a point.
But yeah, at this point Burchill and Lea were just ‘there’. Shame really. But it could have been worse, they very briefly teased an incest gimmick that was thankfully dropped.
By the time it took you to read all that, Lea won.
Lea would become the time-travelling space lesbian Winter who drugged Angelina Love in TNA in 2010. That happened.
The Boogeyman vs. Brett Barnes
ECW was the only brand using jobbers, rather than making jobbers of people.
And here’s Boogeyman, the only black guy to use blackface.
It’s a squash, which is just as well.
Matt Hardy vs. Mark Henry (ECW Title)
Hardy and Henry spent the best half of 2008 feuding because Matt was over as fuck and they had crazy chemistry together. Hardy had some of Henry’s best matches, which helped things as Henry was only given the belt because of Michael Hayes calling him the n-word.
Anyway, this is the feud-ender so both men can move on to other things, so it’s a quick Greatest Hits compilation of their previous matches.
Matt wins clean with the Twist Of Fate and gets cheered despite doing his silly Air Traffic Controller dance.
DJ Gabriel & Alicia Fox vs. Paul Burchill & Katie Lea
Dancing Brit isn’t happy with Dirty Brit as his lass beat wor lass last week. It’s a discussion outside of a Fish ‘n’ Chip in Newcastle.
Mixed tag but the good guys aren’t that interesting and neither are the heels so it’s forgettable stuff. DJ picks up the win with a Flying European Uppercut though.
Tommy Dreamer comes out in a suit and tie to tease retirement. HAHAHAHA, oh that Dreamer. He’s aware of his losing streak and unless he picks up his game and wins the ECW Title, he’s going to leave when his contract expires. Dreamer is best as a beloved punching bag, so crowd a good reason to get behind his matches. You can’t blame Tommy though, he did get beat up by Colin Delaney a lot in 2008.
The Boogeyman vs. Sammy Savard
Another squash, but it’s for the best. If Boogey wrestled longer than two minutes even the guys selling popcorn would riot.
THE MATCH. Swagger out-wrestles and out-impresses Hardy who’s more used to the over-the-top moves and yelling than working an arm for a few minutes. I should point out the commentators are Todd and Striker when they were both great. Both sing the praises of either wrestlers. You could say it was surprising that Hardy lost to a new guy with no feud…but you’ll see.
After a great match, Swagger dumps Hardy on an exposed turnbuckle and plants him with the Doctor Bomb for the title.
Matt is interviewed by Todd about Jeff Hardy going down in flames. He replies ”no, that’s just his career after going to TNA.”
Swagger emerges wearing a suit but doesn’t sound great on the mic. Surprising that the damage control people at ECW didn’t give him a manager. Anyway, Matt wishes Jeff a speedy recovery and gets into a pull-apart with Swagger.
Ricky Ortiz vs. Adam Evans
Ricky was a…wait, what did Ricky do again?
Ricky was mildly over due to having a towel gimmick but it didn’t go anywhere other than ECW and he was only used as a jobber on SmackDown after this. His other claim to fame is being the only guy to compete for the XFL and WWE. This is a squash, Ricky wins with a running splash. Yes.
Dreamer and Burchill meet backstage and Burchill rags on Dreamer for not having a career. You know you’re doing something wrong when Burchill’s calling you shit. He demands a rematch with DJ Gabriel from Teddy Long but Long ain’t happy with how Burchill spoke to Dreamer so he gives him a match with…
The Boogeyman vs. Paul Burchill
And gets squashed. Don’t mess with Long.
John Morrison vs. The Miz vs. Mark Henry vs. Fit Finlay (Fatal Four-Way)
It’s dubbed a Royal Rumble preview match, but it’s not over-the-top rules. It’s just a fun match and reminds us Miz & Morrison are on this show! And tag champions. With separate entrances. They were that good.
All the non-Irish guys beat up on Finlay until Henry tries it by himself and gets dumped outside. He just leaves, realising there’s nothing in this for him. Which is true! Finlay battles the champs as only he can and Horny interferes with a Tadpole splash. Finlay gives Miz the Celtic Cross but Morrison kicks him in the face…and pins Miz! Morrison poses and Miz looks pissed as the show ends.
Starts with Long and Swagger (sounds like Teddy’s tag team name for himself) and shows clips of Good-Guy Matt Hardy turning on his brother at the Rumble. Hardy requested his release to SmackDown and Long gives him it and wishes him a luck in the politely-insulting way that only Long could get away with. Swagger’s happy because he pinned Matt last night. See, while that storyline was just something to do for Jeff for a few months before Matt went back to being a good guy, it was a big deal for this show as he was the number one babyface. So who is going to replace him…?
Boogeyman runs out. OH GOD NOT HIM. Ricky Ortiz comes out after him. OH GOD NOT HIM (2). He offers Boogey a towel, but gets worms. Story of my life.
Backstage, Swagger finds his belt has been nicked. Long doesn’t care, so Swagger goes to find it himself. With Tiffany.
Paul Birchill vs. Fit Finlay
Good competitive match and Finlay makes Burchill bleed a bit because he’s Finlay. Fit thankfully wins.
Backstage again, Swagger asks Mark Henry if he took it. Henry replies with ”You think I took it? What if I did? Whatchu gonna do about it? NOTHING!”
Mark Henry vs. Tommy Dreamer
Dreamer’s re-enacting the Flair ‘lose or retire’, which is great because Dreamer’s best strength was taking a beating. And who better than Mark? Goes as well as you’d expect and Dreamer resists crying.
In the ring, Long, Tiffany and Swagger demand to know who has the belt. After a pause, Finlay drags it from Hornswoggle and gives it to Swagger, apologising. Finlay insists it was a mistake as if he wanted the title…he’d take it from him. Everyone in the crowd gives a nice ”yeah, he really would” reaction. Swagger gets the belt back and shoves Hornswoggle down which causes Finlay to IRISH UP and beat up Swagger. I love the element of Finlay’s character who will beat up anyone who hits his kid, even if his kid is a dick.
Overall: And that’s January for ECW. Not quite on the level as it was in 2008 just yet due to the lack of Miz & Morrison and Burchill and Ortiz are there because they haven’t been fired yet…but everything else is great. Tidy and great. Until it’s forced to do lots of mic work and comes off worse than before.
Match Of The Month: Swagger vs. Finlay