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ECW: Tuesday Nitro era begins
By MATT MACKINDER - SLAM! Wrestling


This report will contain minimal mention of the Chris Benoit situation, as it seems to change (and not for the better) on an hourly basis. I think we here at SLAM! Wrestling have already done an exceptional job in covering the Benoit family tragedy.

What this report will have is a full and honest recap, as always, of ECW. The show must go on.

By the way, in case you forgot (and likely have), Johnny Nitro is now the face of ECW after winning the ECW title Sunday at Vengeance.

The very alive Vince McMahon opens the show stating that aside from right now, there will be no mention of Benoit and that tonight's show is the first step in the healing process. Tonight's show is dedicated to those affected by the Benoit tragedy and WWE will do what it does better than anyone else in the world, and that's entertain us. Wow. Cue the applause.

WWE champion John Cena hits the ring to a huge pop in San Antonio. It's his first appearance on ECW in more than a year says Joey Styles.

Match # 1 - WWE champion John Cena vs. ECW champion Johnny Nitro

OK, good. No Kevin Federline. Cena and Nitro mesh well and like others have said, Nitro is very underrated. He seems very focused here and on his game. The match has a good pace, too. Cena hits all his signature moves and shrugs off several Nitro punches late. Nitro counters an FU into a springboard front kick, but Cena rallies with a top-rope legdrop and gets Nitro to tap quickly to the STFU.

Winner via submission: John Cena

A pretty stellar 17-minute match. It was an actual wrestling match with no outside garbage. More applause.

The sound of bagpipes is heard and out comes...Rowdy Roddy Piper! Hot Rod says ECW isn't hardcore until you date some woman he did. He says you're not hardcore until you lose your hearing from a dog collar match. He starts to say something about 1985 and Paul Orndorff, but is interrupted by Matt Striker and a guy wheeling down a birthday cake. Striker tells Piper he's his favorite of all-time and that today is his birthday (hey, me too!). Striker asks Piper to sing "Happy Birthday" to him. Yeah, REALLY extreme. Piper and the crowd oblige and this silly segment ends with Piper shoving the cake in Teach's face.

The Boogeyman's music is next and he comes out from under the ring. Striker tries to run, but Hot Rod tosses him back in the ring, where a sit-out choke bomb KO's Striker. Then the worms come out, blah, blah, blah, into Striker's mouth, blah, blah, blah. You've seen this a million times before.

A video package for The Miz is on the screen now. So?

Nitro is backstage and says he lost to Cena because he has a cold and a fever, but that it will never happen again. A cold? Fever? Yeah, too extreme for me...

No. 1 Contender's Match - 2 Out of 3 Falls - CM Punk vs. Elijah Burke

Fall # 1 - Punk goes up top, but gets crotched by Burke. Hanging from the turnbuckle, Burke rocks Punk with the Elijah Express to take the first fall.

Winner via pinfall: Elijah Burke

Fall # 2 - Punk almost gets counted out, but Burke tries to bring him in with a suplex from the apron. Punk lands on his feet and schoolboys Burke from behind for three.

Winner via pinfall: CM Punk

Fall # 3 - Several near falls in this impressive sequence. Every roll-up is countered (think Hog Wild '96 with Benoit and Dean Malenko shown last night) and eventually Punk nails Go To Sleep on Burke to get a shot at Nitro.

Winner via pinfall: CM Punk

Punk looks skyward and says something before posing in the ring. Nitro comes down and sarcastically applauds Punk. The show ends with a staredown.

This was probably one of the better ECW shows in a long time. See what happens, Vince, when weak storylines and thrown out the window and you let the guys wrestle?

Applause.


MACKER'S MAILBAG

JOHNNY NITRO!?!?!?! They have GOT to be kidding me.

--Mike Humphrey, Kansas City, Mo.

I'm sure with the tragic loss of Chris Benoit and his family, the last thing the writers in Stamford are concerned about are storylines, but when the shock and mourning are over, here's how I'd play out Vince's return.

Since the WWE doesn't accept storylines, I though I'd send mine to the next best place - SLAM Wrestling! (Shameless Mick Foley-type prop)

Have the guy who is playing the FBI investigator ‘arrest’ Vince for perpetrating a fraud and after a fake hearing, send him to jail for 24 days, then build up a Paris Hilton-type frenzy outside of WWE headquarters where he cries as he’s going to jail.

Work in Linda, Shane, Stephanie in waving him off and have various WWE superstars visit him “in jail," including Stone Cold, Mick and Mr. Socko. Have Ron Simmons walk by the cell and "DAMN," etc.

He gets his one call a day from Coach. He (complains) about missing his creature comforts - just about every WWE superstar could take part. Put him in an orange jumpsuit with "MR. MCMAHON" stenciled across the back or "WWE1," whith a heavyset female prison guard who takes a 'liking' to him, or you get a group of the WWE heels plan some screwy ‘prison break’ to bust out the boss.

You could take this in all kinds of directions. He comes out as an even bigger heel due to his embarassment, or a face having payed his dues and seeing the error of his ways.

Could be just what the company needs – a little humor at a dark point in time.

--Ted Beaumont, Boothwyn, Penn.




Have a beef, comment, question about ECW? Email Matt at mackindermedia@yahoo.com and your comments will be posted in Macker's Mailbag each week. Please include your name (or initials) and hometown. Submissions may be edited for grammar, spelling and punctuation, but not for content.