Continuing the run-through of this lovely little show. Part one here!
Recap of Hornswoggle stealing the ECW Title and returning it to Jack Swagger…only for Swagger to strike Hornswoggle and cause Finlay to beat the American out of him. So we’ve got Swagger vs. Finlay for tonight!
But first here’s Paul Burchill vs. Tommy Dreamer
Dreamer’s doubting himself and considering retirement. Retirement angles are always funny to watch years after they happen. Right Terry?
Burchill’s still a generic, ”I’m tough, me” character with no momentum, so if Tommy can’t pin him, he’s fucked.
Burchill gives him a DVD (not The Best of Dreamer) and pins him. He’s fucked.
Dreamer looks really sad and has a few tears, which I think is his Trademark move in 2K15.
Jamie Noble returns backstage and tells him he’s taking (the traitor) Matt Hardy’s place and he’s here to save the show. Well he’s a redneck so after he’s stole it he’s gonna try and fuck it.
The Miz & John Morrison come out for a match…but Dreamer’s still in the ring looking sad. Morrison just destroys him verbally:
”You’re so old and slow you can’t even get out of the ring before the next match starts! I bet if there was a cheesecake backstage you’d be moving quicker!”
Miz calls him the anti-Ric Flair as people can’t wait for him to retire and that the only people who don’t want to see him more than the crowd are his wife and kids. This causes Dreamer to try to attack both men but they easily thrash him.
Man, those put-downs were brutally funny. Miz and Morrison are two big fishes in a small pond that is ECW. Even if they didn’t wrestle when they said they were. Cough.
Noble waits for his first opponent which is…The Boogeyman.
The Boogeyman vs. Jamie Noble
A bit more competitive than the usual Boogeyman match but let’s not shit ourselves here. Boogey wins after somehow overcoming Noble’s chinlock.
A hype video for Shane McMahon vs. Randy Orton airs, complete with Shane McMahon’s air punches.
Quick, bring back Boogeyman!
Jack Swagger gets a chance to do an interview for tonight’s main event. Why don’t they do that on Raw now? Rock used to do that on every Raw and SmackDown and it would sometimes be better than the match. Swagger’s decided on sounding pissed off during interviews and he sounds good. Sadly that wouldn’t last.
Jack Swagger vs. Fit Finlay (Non-Title)
The rematch! Swagger’s pissed off because he was humiliatied by a dwarf dressed as an Irish Stereotype. To begin with though, Finlay’s just amused by Swagger as he keeps on grinning until Swagger takes him down. Then Finlay’s smile disappears and shit’s on. Commentators do a great job of emphasising both men’s positives without going overboard and also without getting distracted or talking about Randy Orton or something. Both wrestlers are fairly even until Swagger throws away Finlay’s stick to prevent cheating like last time. Then Hornswoggle appears and smashes the back-up shillelagh (which sadly wasn’t a mini-shillelagh) over Swagger’s ankle and Finlay drops him with the Emerald Fusion for the pin and Swagger’s first pin-fall loss.
Great match, not on the same level as the first one due to being a lot shorter and the finish being about the good guys cheating to beat the bad guy, which would have worked better if Swagger was trying to cheat and they overcame it. But I’m nitpicking.
Recap of the Finlay vs. Swagger feud brings out Swagger with the title…which then falls off Swagger’s waist as he’s beating his chest.
Swagger gets promo time and thankfully like last week he sounds pissed off and not-crap. He calls out Hornswoggle so he can finish him off but instead a certain somebody returns to WWE…
…and the commentators uncharacteristically ruin it. Striker and Grisham were a great team who helped the on-air product so I don’t know what the hell the dead-panned ”it’s Christian” was supposed to achieve. I can only guess they were trying for a ‘stunned silence’ reaction rather than shouting ”OH MY FUCKING GOD IT’S FUCKING CHRISTIAN.” Either way, I remember this pissing off a lot of people at the time.
It didn’t help that Christian was (allegedly) supposed to be the guy who feuded with Jeff Hardy (turning on him at Royal Rumble 2009) but the story goes that because everyone with an internet connection guessed it was going to be Christian they had Matt Hardy turn heel on Jeff instead. So Christian returned on the C-Show rather than straight into a main event feud, which was another reason people were pissed at this.
Christian mocks Swagger’s lisp like The Great American WWE Bayface but he’s over like flies on shit so it doesn’t quiet the cheers. Sometimes it feels like the people writing WWE Babyface lines have no connection with reality. Mocking a guy’s physical disability? That’s what good guys do! Anyway, he challenges the winner of Swagger and Finlay tonight so overall not a great return for Christian. It was memorable, in the sense that people remember The Black Plague.
In hindsight, it made sense to switch Matt Hardy for a new ‘Big Star On A Small Show’ as Matt had brought respect to the ECW Title and brand, but was spent feud-wise. The ability to switch brands was great for WWE as it meant a guy could leave and do something completely different on another show after finishing a feud instead of seeing the same match every week because the only place for the guy to go is the unemployment office (which is why after the brand split it felt like we had a variation of Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Ziggler vs. Miz every week).
The Miz vs. Tommy Dreamer
Striker remarks that Miz and Dreamer are the same ability-wise. What a blow to Miz’s confidence.
Dreamer dominates until Morrison interferes and Miz’s jawbreaker finish ends it. Decent feud-filler, but I don’t remember Miz’s jawbreaker finish lasting long. Maybe they insisted Miz win with a finisher named after candy because he wrestling Dreamer?
Swagger backstage is told by Teddy that he has a match tonight against ”Christun” but it’s non-title. So Christian gets a non-title shot at Swagger tonight and a title shot against the champ after No Way Out? I’ve got a feeling they intended on having Christian debut after No Way Out but something happened and here he is.
They replay Noble losing to Boogeyman as the Slam Of The Week which segue-ways into Noble asking Teddy for a new match which segue-ways into Tyson Kidd making his TV debut accompanied by Natalya Neidhart! She puts him over like the best girlfriends.
It’s Finlay vs. Swagger at No Way Out, which I remember being a good PPV.
Tyson Kidd vs. Bao Nguyen
Bao had a minor fandom online, likely due to his name and Tenzan-esque hair. Kidd squashes him with his cool looking kick-kicks and finishes with a top-rope elbow. Noble stares at him post-match, meaning this show used a squash match to start a feud and giving you a reason to continue watching. This is why I enjoy this show, everything fits together like a good game of Tetris.
Christian vs. Jack Swagger (Non-Title)
They start off mat-wrestling and then Finlay shows up to commentate and throw them both off their games. He instantly mocks Swagger dropping his title belt during his entrance, good times. The match is all about putting over Christian as The New Matt Hardy and crowd is happy to accept that by being loud as hell. He kicks out of a Swagger belly-to-belly and the crowd loses it. On a kick-out! Swagger teases the Angle German Off The Apron That Never Hits but hurls Christian over the announce table and onto Finlay instead. Swagger tries to cheat with the exposed turn-buckle (which is how he won the title) but Hornswoggle interferes and Finlay twats Swagger so Christian can Killswitch Engage him for the win. Crowd goes nuts and that finish made a lot more sense than last week’s match. They read my comments from 2014! So that’s the ECW Champ with two clean losses. He’s got something to prove at No Way Out, etc.
No Way Out 2009
Fit Finlay vs. Jack Swagger (ECW Title)
The weakest of the three matches. Finlay got thrown into Hornswoggle by Swagger who was able to win with the Doctor Bomb. Good, but they lost their focus in the match and the feud, which got more about Hornswoggle than Finlay and then they did nothing with Hornswoggle. So, you know.
The Boogeyman vs. Paul Burchill
The show immediately starts with this. Boogey gets a win every week and Burchill only got to pin Sad Dreamer With The Bad Back And The Glass Eye…but Burchill gives Boogey a schoolboy as he goes to grab his worms and surprisingly gets the pin. Blimey! So Boogey’s been squashing people every week so he can…put over Burchill. Oh well.
John Morrison vs. Tommy Dreamer
Commentators shit all over Dreamer’s luck and career and weight. Every company Dreamer works for, they think of ways to get him emotional and beat up. We’re all voyeurs at heart. ”Tommy’s built his career on taking punishment” says Striker. Yeah, we like him but we love him when he’s crying.
He gets tossed off the apron onto the floor, which is a nasty bump for a guy being pushed as past-it.
But he shakes it off because He’s Hardcore. Morrison shouldn’t be dropping him on the outside, he’s used to that. He should make him mat-wrestle instead, he’d be lost.
Miz gets dispatched early, so Morrison simply cleanly pins Dreamer instead. Ha! Hindsight’s funny, as everybody watching the product at this time predicted Morrison would move to the next level because of how good he looked and how well he flipped. And his tag partner would fade into obscurity, right?
Tyson Kidd vs. Camen Matthews
Grisham compares Tyson to Mike Tyson. He had relationship issues too. Tyson kicks Matthews then gets bored and finishes him with the top-rope elbow. Kidd looked like a star from his debut, shame it took them until 2014 to find something that made him shine.
Dreamer is backstage looking sad (no, really!) until Ricky Ortiz encourages him to rally up. They cut away before Dreamer is shown crying harder.
Mark Henry & Jack Swagger vs. Fit Finlay & Christian
Swagger’s shit-eating grin is a good look for him. He bickers with Henry before the bell, showing how far he’s come since he made his debut.
Christian and Finlay both have pins over the champ. Christian has the advantage until Finlay tags himself in, which Christian doesn’t like. Swagger ends up getting the advantage over Finlay. Henry gets in and Finlay has the advantage over him. It’s like rock-paper-scissors. Grisham on Henry: ”Here’s the man who can hammer nails into wood with his bare hands.”
Christian manages a diving headbutt, a move that no sane person should add to their repertoire but Hornswoggle tries to interfere on Henry before Finlay saves his life. In the confusion, Christian hits his finisher and pins Swagger again. Good match, put together well. It was only ten minutes long but felt like it could have gone twice that.
DJ Gabriel vs. Mark Henry
Remember DJ? He’s undefeated apparently, only having squash matches and disappearing for a month will help that. Striker: ”It’s like Suge Knight vs. one of the Jonas Brothers!” Fuck.
Striker also talks about Henry’s ‘methodical pace’ which when used by J.R. usually means the guy is slow and sucks, but because Henry’s booked so well in ECW it’s used as a positive. And to underline this, Henry casually ignores a top-rope attack by DJ and gives him The World’s Strongest Slam for the pin. THE DJ GOT HANGED.
Tyson Kidd vs. Matt Boyce
Back-to-back squashes here, which is a bad faux pas. Striker calls Boyce the third Mulkey brother. He loves ragging on jobbers. The most competitive of Kidd’s matches so far as Boyce gets a manly sunset flip before Kidd disposes him with a springboard elbow drop.
Tommy Dreamer vs. Paul Burchill
They hype this as a rematch, based on Burchill being stronger now he beat Boogeyman and Dreamer losing to Burchill before his er, big win. Every time Dreamer gets punched in the face a little dollar sign appears.
Burchill’s offence is dull as dishwater as it’s all kicking and punching so Dreamer at least gets to look good by busting out actual moves. Katie Lee moves Burchill from getting hit in the Tree Of Woe, but Boogeyman appears and chases her off, causing Burchill to get distracted and allowing Dreamer to get a DDT and the pin. Cool finish, Dreamer celebrates by crying. You’d think he’d be skinnier with the amount of water he lets out.
Christian vs. Jack Swagger (ECW Title)
Christian’s pinned him twice now so he’s earned this shot. Swagger rags on fans on the way down and looks like a star. What went wrong? Striker talks about Awesome and Tanaka trading the ECW Title in this very city but knowing his accuracy it was probably Bill Awesome and Paul Tanaka for the FCW Title.
Swagger has the advantage early on and knocks Christian off the apron and tosses him into the steps. Swagger impresses with the Arn Anderson ‘scoop slam onto the arm’ and then goes to work via armbars which is the story of the match. The two go nuts with their big moves until Christian finally gets Swagger into the Killswitch…only to tweak his arm and Swagger Gutwrenches the fuck out of him to retain. Great match before a very loud crowd. I don’t care if it’s audio-adjusted, it adds to a match that’s already good.
Overall: Not as good as January as everything seemed to get a bit messed up with Christian turning up, but that’s what re-writes will do. Swagger still looks great, as do Miz & Morrison, Finlay and Mark Henry. Dreamer doesn’t look great but that’s why we like him.
Match Of The Month: Christian vs. Jack Swagger