December 23, 2008
Philip DiLiegro

ECW TV Report for December 23, 2008

WWE elected not to tape a new episode of ECW this week, so they put on a year-in-review show instead. Todd Grisham, Matt Striker and their Slammy award hosted the show from WWE studios in Stamford, CT. They began by showing highlights of CM Punk winning the ECW title from John Morrison in September of 2007. That led into the first highlight of the show which was Chavo Guerrero’s championship win over Punk on 1/22. On this show, they presented the matches in the style that they do every one of their video packages with overdubbed music and quick cuts from spot to spot. Here’s my original review of the match.

ECW Championship Match, No Holds Barred: CM Punk v. Chavo Guerrero
Edge is again on commentary for this one. The stipulation was announced just seconds before the match as we’re getting the stacking the deck against the babyface storyline once more. CM Punk used the exposed turnbuckle early on. Later, Punk hit a kick to send Chavo out to the floor and followed him out with a plancha. Chavo battled back and countered into a front suplex onto the steel steps. Chavo earned a near fall in the ring and then went into an abdominal stretch which at least makes sense as far as the psychology goes. CM Punk made his comeback out of nowhere with his array of knees and a bulldog, earning a two count. Punk went for a move off the top rope but Chavo caught him coming down sloppily in the ribs. Chavo hit the three amigos but Punk came back with a hot shot onto the exposed turnbuckle and the go to sleep. Edge ran in and made the save with a spear. Chavo then gradually crawled over and covered Punk for the victory as Vickie, the rated Rmy, Edge and Chavo celebrated. I cannot believe they rewarded Chavo for weeks of poor performances with a championship belt. Even if the plan is to transition CM Punk to Smackdown for a feud with Edge, they should have come along with another way to do so. It’s somewhat trivial at this point, but this was by far the best that either of these men has looked working together.
Guerrero d. Punk, Pin, 6:26, **½

These two wrestled something like eight times on television or pay-per-view over a three month period with surprisingly poor results. Consider that this **½ match was the best of the bunch of matches they had.

They showed highlights of ECW’s CM Punk winning the money-in-the-bank ladder match at WrestleMania and then winning the championship from Edge on Raw. In retrospect, that title win meant very little as Punk is no higher now than he was back in March. Plus, even as champion, Punk was never positioned as stronger than the number three babyface on Raw.

They showed highlights of Kane winning a battle royal at WrestleMania to become number one contender to the ECW championship. I have zero recollection of that match. Later that night, Kane defeated Chavo in less than thirty seconds to become champion. Matt Striker then broke out his chalkboard to discuss the triple threat match between Kane, Mark Henry & Big Show at Night of Champions. This gave us our first Mike Adamle call of the night. Henry won the championship that night (in what was an awful match, rated at ½*) and they aired a music video putting him over.

They aired a piece promoting the Dirt Sheet and the team of Miz and Morrison. They actually showed stills of Miz and Morrison winning the tag team championships in Hamilton, ON. They then aired surprisingly prolonged highlights from the match between Miz and Morrison and Cryme Tyme at Cyber Sunday. Dave Meltzer rated this match at ** and Bryan Alvarez had it at *½.

The next segment focused on Matt Hardy. They began by showing his return to WWE after an injury by costing MVP the money-in-the-bank match at WrestleMania. They briefly showed his US title win over MVP at Backlash. They then aired highlights from the scramble match at Unforgiven where Matt Hardy first won the ECW championship. Dave Meltzer rated this match at **¼.

They showed some clips of Evan Bourne’s shooting star press including him hitting it on Matt Striker. They finally got to airing clips from a good match as they moved to Matt Hardy v. Evan Bourne from Cyber Sunday. Bourne won the fan voting to enter this match over Finlay and Mark Henry in a landslide. Even from the clips, you could tell this was a strong match. It was chosen as the best match on the Cyber Sunday card by Wrestling Observer readers and was rated at ***½ by both Dave and Bryan.

They aired the same footage seen on Raw about last week’s Tribute to the Troops show. The show closed with a quick montage of the new superstar initiative. Matt Striker did a pretty funny DJ Gabriel impersonation. The only thing to add on my part is that of all the matches that were featured in depth on the show, only one actually aired on ECW. It strikes me that your best of show should focus more on matches that actually took place on the show so that you advertise it well. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Feedback is welcome at philfortyfour@yahoo.com.

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