April 1, 2009
Philip DiLiegro

ECW TV Report for March 31, 2009
Taped 3/30 from Dallas

Christian & Finlay v. Mark Henry & Kane
Kane got Christian in trouble early and hit a body slam. He missed an elbow drop and they essentially repeated the whole sequence over again. Kane took control with power stuff but missed an elbow drop. This time, Christian hit a missile dropkick off of the second rope and tagged out. Finlay did some work on the arm, later double-teaming with Christian. Kane later took control with a shoulder tackle as the match went to break. Returning, the heels apparently now had the heat on Finlay. Henry and Kane kept the advantage for a while doing little of note other than trying for a couple of near falls. Finally, caught a charging Kane with a kick, followed by a DDT. Christian received a hot tag but his run didnít last long. Kane connected with an uppercut and tagged in Henry. Christian slipped out of the worldís strongest slam. He and Finlay then both drop kicked Henry low. As they went for Kane next, Henry came back with a double clothesline sending Finlay out. Christian tried to sneak up top but came crashing down into the worldís strongest slam. Henry covered for the win. Afterward, Henry cleared the ring and posed alone. For some reason, I foresaw Matt Striker comparing the heel team to Paul Bunyan and Babe the blue ox, but it didnít happen.
There was nothing objectionable about this one segment or anything, but I am pleased to say that the build for money-in-the-bank has mercifully concluded.
Henry(x) & Kane d. Christian(o) & Finlay, Pin, 10:04, **.

Vince McMahon was formally announced as the man inducting Steve Austin into the Hall of Fame on Saturday.

From this point on, ECW became very much like those thirty minute previews that would air on television right before a pay-per-view. It was pretty much a never-ending array of clips highlighting the build to WrestleMania. Up first, they went over the John Cena-Big Show-Edge feud. Clearly, they are going in ascending order in terms of quality.

We then had highlights of the Shawn Michaels-Undertaker feud.

Up next, they focused on the Triple H Ė Randy Orton feud, so this was basically the last segment of Raw all over again.

Brie Bella v. Nikki Bella
Brie, the babyface, went for a quick rollup. Sadly, her sister kicked out. They did some rolling on the mat and Brie (the face) couldnít bring herself to do ground and pound her sister. That didnít last as Brie hit two arm drags and a snap mare takedown. Matt Striker explained the biological difference between fraternal and identical twins as Nikki hit a short suplex. She worked a rest hold as the crowd grew restless. Brie came back with two drop kicks and a sloppy bulldog. The tag teams on the outside began to get into it. The distraction allowed for Nikki to roll up Brie for the win. This match was actually markedly better than I expected.
I know no one cares about this feud, but if one of your key matches on Sunday is brother against brother, isnít it silly to have another sibling against sibling feud going on simultaneously?
Nikki d. Brie, Pin, 3:29, ĺ*.

Since pretty much nothing happened on this show, I wanted to go on the record with my predictions for WrestleManiaís buyrate. To me, whatís more important than the answer is the process of getting at an educated guess. Last year, I cited the fact that the show had failed to sell out and declining house show business as evidence to suggest a buyrate well below the previous yearís (a pretty good Royal Rumble buyrate led me to hedge my bets). I predicted one million buys in this space last year which left me 5.5% off the actual amount. I was quite happy with that, particularly considering almost everyone else missed high. Looking at the hard data this year, itís pretty clear that things do not look good for WWE. The event has yet to sell out, which is really a far worse indicator than last year considering the venue. Houston is a larger metropolitan area, has a far stronger wrestling history and has a stronger wrestling presence (WWE still does well above-average TV ratings in the area) than Orlando. Reliant Stadium is also a far superior venue to the Citrus Bowl, with a far stronger corporate base. The Royal Rumble buyrate dropped 22% year-to-year, which is another very discouraging sign. Looking back at the December and November shows and we see further drops of 15-20% from the past year. The lone objective positive is that WWE has not lost any ground on the house show circuit. Of course, I donít have to tell anyone reading this the buildup for the show has been very underwhelming from a touch and feel point of view. This is driving doom-and-gloom projections of under 700K worldwide buys. I definitely see where that kind of projection is coming from; personally, this will only be the second WrestleMania I donít order in 20 years of being a fan (the other being the dreadful 1997 show). However, I will defer a bit to the objective numbers and say this WrestleMania will do 770,000 worldwide buys. I knocked 20% off for the year-to-year declines in pay-per-view numbers and a little more off because of the poor ticket sales in Houston. That gets me to just over 800,000 buys with my own personal distaste for the booking and buildup accounting for the rest of the difference. Thinking further on it, itís pretty sad that thereís as much intrigue in how much the buyrate will fall than there is in what happens on the show.

wordpress stats plugin