November 12, 2008
Philip DiLiegro

ECW TV Report for November 11, 2008
Taped Monday from the UK (actually, it’s Manchester in the UK but promise not to tell anyone.)

Tommy Dreamer & Cryme Tyme v. Jack Swagger, The Miz & John Morrison
Miz and Dreamer began the match. Dreamer took the edge and JTG hit a sunset flip from the apron for two. A rocker dropper led to another near fall. JTG then hit two drop kicks on Swagger which were oddly no sold. JTG tagged in Shad who Striker dubbed the “modern day Ernie Ladd”. Well, if you are going to use hyperbole, go all the way with it. Swagger was sent out and Shad clotheslined Miz and Morrison behind him. He then gorilla pressed JTG onto Swagger. Dreamer hit a body press from the apron onto the former tag champs as the match went to break. Returning, Morrison held the edge on JTG with a chin lock. Miz came in to assist with a double gutbuster on JTG to score a near fall. Miz hit a side Russian leg sweep for two. Swagger tagged in a hit a suplex and a chin lock. JTG finally eluded Morrison and tagged in Dreamer. Dreamer hit a bulldog on Miz and a pump handle slam on Morrison. A melee broke out where Swagger hit the doctor bomb on JTG and dreamer hit a DDT on Swagger. The finish then came when Morrison countered out of Dreamer’s DDT attempt and into the moonlight drive.

The finish only serves to bury Dreamer further at a time when they want him to help get Swagger over. Except Dreamer has now lost clean two weeks in a row, including last week to Swagger, so what’s the point of the feud here? Isn’t it logical for Swagger and Dreamer to feud for one or two months, building up to a match where Swagger pins Tommy clean? Instead, they position Dreamer as a geek right from the get go so when Swagger is put over repeatedly, it doesn’t mean a thing. By the way, Matt Striker has been working in a pro-Republican partisan aspect to his announcing over the past weeks. That continued during this match when he took an out-of-nowhere shot at Minnesota Democratic senatorial candidate Al Franken, which would make more sense if Franken still didn’t have a realistic shot to win his race in a recount. He also said that Miz and Morrison were disappointed with Californians voting to not recognize homosexual marriages. “At least our voters got one thing right,” said Striker. As for the match, it was a perfectly acceptable opener with my qualms about the backward booking set aside.
Swagger, Miz, & Morrison(x) d. Dreamer(o) & Cryme Tyme, Pin, 10:23, **½.

Matt Hardy cut an ordinary promo backstage about tonight’s main event. They reaired last night’s piece on John Cena. These pieces really work in part because they are so different from anything else on WWE television. Triple H saying Cena wasn’t given anything, but that he earned it merits a shake of the head, though.

Mark Henry v. Oliver Biney
Henry pounded away and choked Biney on the ropes. Henry hit a clothesline and the world’s strongest slam to complete the squash. After the match, Todd Grisham asked Henry who would win tonight’s main event. Henry breathed heavily for a moment and just walked away.

Effective enough squash for Henry here. No match is ever boring with Matt Striker on commentary, though. He said Nicolas Sarkozy, Victoria Beckham, Jason Bonham (what a random threesome!) and other global celebrities were all aware of the magnitude of the night. That’s reminiscent of 1985 when Gorilla Monsoon and Gene Okerlund would falsely claim all kinds of celebrities were at WWF events at Madison Square Garden.
Henry squash, Pin, 1:29.

Matt Hardy v. Finlay
The two worked a lengthy collar and elbow tie up to begin. Matt Striker lets us know that Otto Wanz was the last European to hold a major world championship when working for the AWA in 1982. Finlay got the first edge about two minutes in after an elbow and a European uppercut. The crowd began dueling chants for both men. Hardy sent Finlay out over the top rope as the match went to an early break. Coming back, Hardy hit a clothesline in the corner and a bulldog for a near fall. Finlay powered out of the twist of fate and fired Hardy into the corner. He collided with Hornswoggle who was on the apron and the little guy began to sell his leg on the floor. Finlay checked on him allowing Hardy to get the drop. Both men fought on the floor for a bit where Finlay hit a short clothesline before going inside. Finlay held a chin lock inside. Back outside, Hardy fired Finlay into the barricade but Finlay rallied to fight off Hardy again. The match went into a second commercial break. Coming back, Finlay held the edge until Hardy hit a surprise side effect. That led to a two count and a second side effect and near fall. Finlay got twin near falls of his own off a roll up and backslide. A sit down led to another two count. An emerald frosion led to another, more convincing near fall. Finlay went up for a Vader bomb but Hardy caught him standing. Hardy then maneuvered into a rolling cradle for two. A moonsault from the top rope led to another Hardy near fall. Both men collided leading to a slow climb to their feet. Hardy then hit a surprise twist of fate for the pin and the end to a strong main event. After the match, the two men shook hands and embraced.

It was refreshing to see the announcers throughout the night and the match play up the significance of this match. You seldom see that with an ECW main event, so it made this one feel special. Of course, both guys delivered after the bell rang which helped as well. I do imagine that the match played better live because at home about six minutes of wrestling was lost to commercials. The crowd seemed to prefer Finlay particularly after they did the near falls so well that they actually believed he could actually pull off the title win. At the end, they cheered both wrestlers, though. This show had 23 minutes of wrestling (excluding what happened during commercials) out of a possible 48 or so. That’s a very high ratio and frankly as high as you can really get away with given ring intros and necessary break time in between matches. Considering both non-squash matches ranged from good to very good in terms of quality, this is a show to check out if you are a workrate-inclined wrestling fan.
Hardy d. Finlay, Pin, 20:02, ***¼.

Feedback is welcome at philfortyfour@yahoo.com.

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