January 7, 2009
Philip DiLiegro

ECW TV Report for December 29, 2009
From East Rutherford, New Jersey

The show began with Christian coming to ringside to do commentary for the ECW Homecoming Qualifiers. He ribbed Byron Saxton by calling him Bryant Gumbel.

Finlay v. Matt Hardy
They finally announced what happens after the eight qualifying matches conclude. Apparently, the ECW Homecoming finale is an “over-the-top-rope challenge” with the winner facing Christian. How that’s different from a battle royal I don’t know. They started by working off of a headlock. It picked up when Finlay swept the leg from Hardy off of the middle rope. Finlay slammed Hardy on the middle rope to work the middle rope. Hardy countered a back suplex into a reverse DDT. Christian had an interesting line saying that most people would say that Hardy has had a disappointing 2009. That’s sadly true for both of these guys. Anyway, Hardy connected with two side effects each leading to a near fall. He then swept Finlay’s leg off of the middle rope for a near fall. Hardy then missed a moonsault off of the top rope. Hardy came back with the twist of fate for the sudden victory. So, Hardy becomes the fifth wrestler to advance forward in this tournament.
Hardy d. Finlay, Pin, 5:24, **.

Backstage, Tommy Dreamer ran into Zack and Rosa. Zack started mocking Dreamer. Tommy came back and said that Ryder was nothing but a catchphrase and a bad hair cut. He then said that if Ryder beat him tonight then he would leave ECW forever.

In the ring, Ezekiel Jackson said that he and Regal rid themselves of the weak link in their chain – Vladimir Kozlov. He quoted the Book of Ezekiel when Kozlov interrupted. The two men did a hilarious confrontation light on contact but full of both men screaming.

Backstage, Christian offered Tommy Dreamer a rematch for the title if he won tonight and said he was the heart and soul of ECW.

Evan Bourne v. Mike Knox
I’m reminded of the Lanny Poffo-Mike Sharpe feud of 1986 for some reason. Knox started with a big kick and overpowered Bourne in the corner. Bourne managed to get up the ropes and take Knox over the top rope with a head scissors. On the outside, Knox kept the advantage by ramming Bourne into the guard rail. After they teased a countout, Knox leveled Bourne with a clothesline as he entered the ring. After a chin lock, Bourne made his comeback slipping out of a suplex and conencting with a knee lift. Knox came back with a really low crosbbody for two. Bourne came back with a drop kick but was caught on the top rope. They jockeyed for position there which led to Bourne falling to the apron where he connected with a head kick. Bourne then reclimbed the ropes and hit the shooting star press for the victory.
Bourne d. Knox, Pin, 4:15, *¾.

Next week, CM Punk, Mark Henry and Chavo Guerrero return to ECW to compete in qualifying matches.

They had a throwaway segment with Yoshi Tatsu, Goldust, Barreta & Croft. The punchline was Goldust yelling at the heels in Japanese.

Tommy Dreamer v. Zack Ryder
Ryder connected with an arm drag but quickly missed an elbow drop. Tommy then reversed an attempt at an Irish whip and connected with a bulldog. Dreamer then followed that up with a running powerslam for another two count. Tommy hit a gut wrench suplex which sent Ryder out to the floor. Tommy then followed him out with a cannonball roll. After both men sold for a moment, Rosa came over and stepped between the two men allowing Ryder to ram Dreamer into the ring post. The show went to commercial. Returning, Ryder held the advantage on the mat. Back standing, Ryder connected with a single-arm DDT. Ryder then rammed Dreamer into the ring post. Zack tried a baseball slide in the corner but Tommy got out of the way. Tommy then hit a neckbreaker, flapjack and power bomb for a two count. Ryder then crotched Dreamer going up top. Tommy shook off Ryder but was caught coming off of the middle rope. Ryder went for the Zack attack but Tommy countered. The men then exchanged four or five near falls in succession on the mat. Ryder came back with the rough Ryder leg lariat for a near fall. Ryder tried to go up top but Dreamer caught him and put him in the tree of woe. Tommy connected with the baseball slide and a DDT for an apparent three count. But the referee noticed Ryder’s leg outside of the ring and called off the fall. Tommy dropped an elbow drop and went for a near fall. Ryder countered into a cradle of his own for a two count. Both men headed up the ropes and Tommy tried for a belly to back suplex but Ryder landed on top of Dreamer for the victory. That was a good match to go out on.
Ryder d. Dreamer, Pin, 11:10, ***.

After the match, Dreamer received polite applause from the crowd as he took in the moment. He then recapped in great detail his first time in this arena when he came with his best friend and father to see a WWF show. He said that it was his dream since he was nine years old to be a wrestler and that he was proud to have made it in ECW and WWE. Clearly emotional at this point, Dreamer thanked the fans whom he considers his family. They then showed his wife and twin daughters at ringside who were in tears. He concluded his speech and laid his shirt in the ring. He then carried his daughters in his arms up the aisle waving goodbye to the crowd. At the end, Tommy won over pretty much everyone who wasn’t responding when he started. That’s really saying something since WWE’s pitiful booking and perpetual going back on stipulations (i.e. Chris Jericho will never be on Raw again) makes it hard for anything on their shows to come across as believable. Knowing history, it’s unlikely that this will be Dreamer’s last match or even his last match in WWE, but at that he had himself a successful career by any measure and deserved a nice moment like this.

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