Phil DiLiegro's ECW TV report



ECW TV Report for January 13, 2009
Taped yesterday from Sioux City, Iowa

DJ Gabriel & Alicia Fox v. Paul & Katie Lea Burchill
    Intragender rules apply, so it’s only man against man and woman against woman. Katie went for a knee lift but Fox swung around her a tried a quick rollup which got a near fall. She threw a one-legged drop kick which looked better this week than last. After a double tag, Burchill hit Gabriel with a stiff knee lift. He used a couple of more knee lifts  and a snap suplex to put Gabriel on the ground and went to a chin lock. Yes, he used a chin lock in a three minute tag match. By the end of the match, the two men would wrestle for a period of two minutes and twenty seconds. Is it asking too much for them to physically exert themselves for all of that time? Anyway, Gabriel hit a back suplex following a baseball slide which led to Katie making a save for Paul. The girls brawled to the floor, clearing the way for Gabriel to hit his flying European uppercut for the win.
    WWE seems to be into a habit of booking similar or the same matches two or three times in a row. At least, we didn’t have to sit through two awful disqualification finishes to get to this match.
Gabriel & Fox d. Burchills, Pin, 2:45, ¾*.
    WWE aired the excellent music video promoting Steve Austin’s induction into the Hall of Fame. They really should push the Hall of Fame more in advance particularly as it now has the opportunity to draw a full house at a 18,000 seat arena. Why not announce all of the inductees at least six weeks in advance and give the honorees a chance to cut promos on TV building it up?

    Tommy Dreamer came out dressed in a two-piece suit. He cut an effectively brief and somber promo saying how proud he was of his career. He credited ECW with making him the man he is today which led to a resurgence of the “ECW” chant. He admitted that he felt he no longer has what it takes to compete in ECW. His contract ends on June 6 by which he will either become ECW champion or retire. By the way, the One Night Stand pay-per-view is June 7 in New Orleans, so that date is not chosen by accident.    
Backstage, Tiffany and Ricky Ortiz were about to kiss before Hornswoggle ran in with Finlay chasing after him. So they were OK with kissing in front of a couple of million TV viewers but too embarrassed to be seen by Hornswoggle?

Boogey Man v. Sammy Savard
    Boogey no sold some stuff early on before connecting with a Beal throw. He hit a diving headbutt and an avalanche in the corner. Boogey finished with a pump handle slam. After the match, the jobber had to eat the worms.
    So Finlay has to act in a throwaway comedy sketch while Boogey Man gets to wrestle in a squash match. Shouldn’t those roles be reversed? WWE really has no place to go with Boogey Man as an extended push is a nonstarter and even the sight of a performer as bizarre and unique as this gets dull and repetitive after a while. The highlight of this match was Matt Striker making a reference to Earth, Wind & Fire’s Boogie Wonderland.
Boogey Man squash, 0:58

    Matt Hardy cut a brief promo saying he wasn’t distracted because off Jeff’s “incident” and that, while Jack Swagger is impressive, he hasn’t beat Matt Hardy yet and he isn’t ECW champion.
ECW Championship: Matt Hardy v. Jack Swagger
    They did some chain wrestling to start. Hardy got the better of the early exchanges with a northern lights suplex which led to Swagger taking a powder to the floor as the match went to an early commercial break. Returning, Hardy connected with a hip toss and a bulldog out of the corner. Matt Striker lets us know that Cloris Leachman (Mary Tyler Moore and more recently Dancing with the Stars) is a big Matt Hardy fan. But I’ve heard that Ed Asner favors Jack Swagger. Hardy followed up with a big boot as Swagger charged. Hardy went to the apron for a springboard but Swagger knocked him out to the floor with a forearm. Swagger followed Hardy out and rammed his shoulder into the post repeatedly. Back inside, Swagger used an arm bar to continue working the shoulder and connected with a single arm DDT for a near fall. Hardy teased a comeback but Swagger hit a roundhouse to send Hardy back down. The match went to a second commercial break. Returning again, Swagger was working the left arm. Hardy came back with a clothesline (with the right arm) and went to the top rope prematurely. Swagger went up as well and landed a superplex for a near fall. Swagger did some work in the corner and setup Hardy for a second superplex but Hardy countered into a sunset flip powerbomb. Somewhere in here, Swagger exposed the top turnbuckle pad which factored into the finish. Swagger came back with a shot to the gut and hit a belly-to-belly suplex. He tried to lock in his finisher but Hardy countered, somewhat awkwardly, into a side Russian leg sweep. A side effect led to a convincing near fall. Swagger shot back by going to work on the arm and hit a Vader bomb for a two count. Swagger worked an arm bar for a bit. Matt ended up backing out of a body slam attempt and into a headlock and then a reverse DDT. Matt striker called it the slop drop which was the Godwinns’ finishing maneuver over a decade ago. Matt tried for another comeback and was cut off. Swagger got Hardy up in an electric chair position a hot shot him forward onto the exposed turnbuckle. That led into the gutwrench powerbomb for the three count and Swagger’s first ECW championship. Quibbling a bit here, but using the exposed turnbuckle really should be a disqualification particularly when we have seen quite a few really ticky-tacky disqualifications on television over the last couple of weeks. On balance, this was an excellent television main event and serves as an effective lead-in into the rematch which will hopefully come at No Way Out.
This really should have been a featured match on the Royal Rumble. For one, the length of the match made necessary two commercial breaks which meant we lost over sevn minutes of match time. From a match quality standpoint, it will almost certainly exceed the Raw title match and has a set a fairly high bar for the capable Edge and Jeff Hardy to clear. Furthermore, WWE should really stress the ECW championship a bit more in order to distinguish it from the other non-world championships. Having it defended frequently on TV with one week builds is not an effective way to do so. Even the women’s championship match got more build and a slot on the pay-per-view. It’s still fairly early in his career and it’s difficult to separate a wrestler’s talent from his push, but you can not help but be impressed with Jack Swagger. Obviously, WWE feels the same to a certain extent as is evident from the push he has received over his first few months in the company and even dating back to his undefeated streak in developmental.
Swagger d. Hardy, Pin, 18:34, ***½.