ECW TV report by Phil DiLiegro

ECW TV Report for September 30, 2008
From Green Bay, Wisconsin
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    Teddy and Tiffany brought out Matt Hardy and Mark Henry for an opening interview. Apparently, they plan on actually hyping the brand’s PPV main event this week. Henry began by saying that Matt has a tough week ahead of him with the three way on Smackdown and the match on Sunday. That line sounded too much like a Michael Cole-esque plug as opposed to a heel promo. Hardy acknowledged it would be a tough week but looked forward to the challenge. He called Tony Atlas a “Hall of Famer who sold out” and knocked Henry. Long stepped between the two men at that point bringing out Miz & Morrison. Why are they watering down the main promo with other wrestlers? Anyway, Miz & Morrison wanted those nerds Ortiz & Bourne. They then led a “nerds” chant which was funny. Teddy Long made a six man tag match for the main event.

Jack Swagger v. Lenny Lane
    Yes, this is (presumably) the same Lenny Lane who was a WCW regular in 1998 and 1999. Matt Striker likened him to Buck Zumhoffe. Swagger worked out of a headlock, did some basic grappling, and hit a gutbuster. After a running knee lift, Swagger won quickly with the blue thunder bomb. Tommy Dreamer came out after the match to prevent further damage.
Swagger d. Lane, Pin, 1:21, squash.

Tommy Dreamer v. Mike Knox
    Knox begins with a knee and a shoulder tackle and then sends his opponent into the corner. Dreamer tried to fight out but Knox put him down with a big clothesline as Tommy was flying off of the second rope. Knox hit a big knee drop for a near fall. Knox then went to a chinlock. Dreamer fought out and made his comeback beginning with a bulldog and a swinging neckbreaker. An elbow drop led to a two count. Dreamer then connected with a drop toe hold in the corner. He set up for a big charge in the corner but Knox moved away and Tommy hit the ring post. Knox went to his finisher, the Knox out, and covered for the three count. After the bell, Swagger came out and hit his gutwrench powerbomb on Dreamer. Who could care about a Swagger-Dreamer match after we just saw basically get squashed by Mike Knox and the laid out by Swagger.
Knox d. Dreamer, Pin, 3:01, *.

    The announcer spent an extended amount of time running down the No Mercy card. They also spent time promoting the My Network TV debut this week. That’s certainly understandable given the need to promote both of those events well, though it has led to a very light first forty minutes of this show.

Matt Hardy, Evan Bourne & Ricky Ortiz v. Mark Henry, The Miz & John Morrison
    They would take commercial breaks during the introductions and at the 5:30 mark or so during the main event. Bourne and Miz began the match. Miz used his weight advantage in the corner and hit a shoulder block out in the center. Bourne came back with a roundhouse kick allowing him to tag in Ortiz. He hit a quick suplex but Miz fell into his corner and tagged Morrison. Ortiz landed a back body drop and tagged in Bourne. Of note, Ortiz never left the center of the ring really during this segment letting the heels do 90% of the work.  Bourne tried for another roundhouse kick but it missed and Morrison followed with one of his own. Miz & Morrison did some double teaming before Miz went to the chinlock. Bourne got out quickly with a huracanrana and made the hot tag to Matt.  He landed a couple of clotheslines and a side effect on Miz. He then slipped out of a Morrison bulldog attempt and connected with a double clothesline. Mark Henry then tried to come in as the referee separated things. Coming back from another commercial, Hardy dropped Morrison with a lariat and worked a hammer lock. Then, Hardy tagged in Ricky Ortiz. Ortiz kept working the left arm with, well nothing, before tagging out. Bourne and Hardy combined for a whisper in the wind which went uncalled by Todd Grisham. Ortiz tagged in and did nothing before tagging in Bourne. After some mat grappling, Ortiz tagged in. He wasted the advantage so Morrison finally tagged in Henry. The former champion hit a clothesline and a head butt. Henry then tagged in Miz who went to a chin lock. Matt Striker name dropped King Mabel. Ortiz scored a sunset flip but Miz hit a lariat to restore control. Morrison set up for a camel clutch but Ortiz powered out into an electric chair. The Miz got the tag and denied Ortiz one. Miz then retagged in Morrison. Morrison did little in working over Ortiz. Morrison denied a tag to Hardy but Bourne got one and came in with a huracanrana from the apron. He then hit two round kicks and a spinning back kick. He hit the double knee lift off of the top rope necessitating a save from Miz. It all broke loose at this point until Bourne was left with Henry in the ring. Henry fought off some leg kicks and connected with the world’s strongest slam. He then pinned Bourne to win the contest. This concluded one of the more uneventful ECW shows in a long time. The need to continually push both Friday and Sunday left the show a bit short on original content. The show went off the air very abruptly, promptly at the top of the hour.
Henry(x), Miz & Morrison d. Hardy, Bourne(o) & Ortiz, Pin, 17:30, **¼.

Final Analysis: One staple of WWE booking, relatively new when considering the forty-five year history of the company, has been hyping an upcoming pay-per-view main event through one or more tag team matches on free television. With rare exceptions, this style of booking, designed to boost interest, has the opposite effect. That could not have been made clearer than on the past two weeks on Raw. In the Shawn Michaels-Chris Jericho feud, WWE had a rare instance of a match with palpable believable disdain between the men. So giving away the physical encounter on free television works against that tension. The novelty of the match disappears and promos where the face talks about how badly he wants to win and gain revenge on the heel fall flat. Particularly when the match itself resembles every other match on the card; consider the notion that each man would abide by the silly and oft-broken rules of tag team wrestling when they “hate” each other. Would we expect the incensed Shawn Michaels to let a tag rope prevent him from going after Jericho? Another issue of these matches is that they often reinforce the idea that match outcomes do not matter. Rarely does a storyline or a character get affected by a win or a loss in these matches. Rarely do I even remember two to three weeks after the fact who won the match, not that WWE makes it matter. There’s also the fact that this kind of match is becoming such a formula that it happens every month on seemingly all three brands. Any booking technique used that often will fail. The idea behind the matches is that by putting big stars in the main events against one another WWE will help ratings. But no nominal .2 increase in a show’s ratings is worth sacrificing pay-per-view buys (or live event tickets sold). Once again, WWE is missing the forest for the trees.

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