November 6, 2008
Philip DiLiegro

ECW TV Report for November 4, 2008
From Orlando, Florida

I apologize for the delay in the availability of this report.

Matt Hardy v. Bam Neely
Hardy hit a side headlock takedown to begin. He landed a hip toss and clothesline for a near fall. Neely turned the tables with a kick to the back and a body slam. A legdrop scored for Neely as Matt Striker told us that the Minnesota native Neely was “certainly no Jake the Milkman Milliman.” It’s not often I laugh aloud at WWE television but that was such a moment. Neely caught Hardy off the top rope with a sit out uranage. He went for a vertical suplex which Hardy countered into a hanging neckbreaker. Hardy came off the top with a double axe handle and connected with the side effect. After a two count, Hardy connected with a tornado DDT for another near fall. Neely turned it around with a superplex for a near fall. Hardy then won clean after a twist of fate out of nowhere. This was a solid, well-worked opening match. I would argue that placing Hardy in an opener against an opponent well below him on the pecking order diminishes Hardy a bit as champion. That’s not the tact WWE takes with its top wrestlers on the other brands and it is a reason why the ECW championship lags far behind the other’s brands championships in terms of stature. Not that the ECW title can ever be equal to the others, but there are things WWE could do to do narrow the gap. I admit, that’s a minor quibble.
Hardy d. Neely, Pin, 5:48, **½.

Finlay and Hornswoggle came out after the break. Finlay wanted a title match which Hardy was about to accept until Mark Henry came out. Henry wanted the title shot. Finlay and Hardy then ridiculed Henry’s vote total for Cyber Sunday. Teddy Long came out and made the predictable number one contender’s match tonight. The winner faces Matt Hardy next week.

Ricky Ortiz v. Jon Davis
Matt Striker let us know that Davis was trained by Dory Funk, Jr. I wonder if Vince was yelling at him, imploring Striker to call him Hoss Funk? Ortiz landed a drop kick and missed a charge in the corner. Ortiz came away with a vertical and back suplex followed by a shoulder block off of the second turnbuckle. A small number of people in the crowd chanted “let’s go Davis” which is a bad sign for Mr. Ortiz as is the fact that no one else was chanting anything at all. Anyway, Ortiz then won with the big O. WWE must see something in Ortiz either because of his look and size or the fact that the he showed something in developmental. Clearly he has shown nothing since coming to television. After that memorably awful first match he had, he genuinely was fortunate to get a second chance in light of the short leash someone like Braden Walker (Chris Harris) was on. Ortiz has been nowhere near as bad since, but he still is a below average wrestler. I’m skeptical as to whether he has enough secondary skills (verbal skills, charisma, physique, etc.) to overcome that.
Ortiz d. Davis, Pin, 1:20, squash.

The announcers replayed and discussed Evan Bourne’s injury from last week’s show.

Jack Swagger came out to cut a promo on Tommy Dreamer. He grabbed a kendo stick and ridiculed Tommy Dreamer getting beat by Sandman years back. He pulled out the old ECW championship and made fun of Dreamer for holding the championship for only thirty minutes. He cracked on Beulah McGillicudy, revealing that she was Dreamer’s wife, and their children. Dreamer came out and ran off Swagger with the kendo stick.

Swagger’s delivery was painfully monotonous and dull here. To give you an idea as to how much this died live, there was a moment right after Swagger cracked on Sandman where you could audibly hear literally one man’s voice shout through the depth of silence saying “you’re making me sleepy!” And can you believe they scripted lines referencing angles that took place a decade ago in ECW? What percentage of the audience has any memory of any of that (I sure don’t).

Finlay v. Mark Henry
Striker compared Todd Grisham to Susan St. James at WrestleMania 2. They exchanged right hands and not much else during the first two minutes. Finlay caught a shot hardway somewhere in here. Henry went to work in the corner and hit a clothesline as the match went to break. Returning, Henry was working a trapezius muscle hold. The match continued to move along at a snail’s pace as the crowd stayed very quiet. Henry fired Finlay into the ring post and worked over the arm. Henry did more work in the corner before missing a splash. Finlay finally made a comeback after nearly ten minutes of selling. He went after Henry’s leg on the mat before Henry reasserted himself and sending Finlay to the floor. Hornswoggle distracted Henry allowing Finlay to hit a leg kick for an unconvincing near fall. On the outside, Henry rammed Finlay into the ring post. He dragged Hornswoggle in the ring but missed a splash on the little guy. That distraction allowed Finlay to sneak in with the shillelagh. One shot to the head and Finlay had earned a championship match next week.

That match was very, very slow and dull for about 90% of it. Like most matches, it picked up a bit at the end but on balance it was a really poor match. If nothing else, Hardy v. Finlay should be a strong main event next week. Though this match hardly did an effective job in building to that match.
Finlay d. Henry, Pin, 13:01, ½*.

Feedback is welcome at philfortyfour@yahoo.com.

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