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COMMENT





ECW: Brand now has a presence at Mania
By PHIL DILEGRO - Live Audio Wrestling


ECW comes to us from the Windy City of Chicago tonight, and we learn of the plans for ECW at WrestleMania, plus establish another participant in the Money in the Bank match at the really big show.

Extreme Rules, Tag Team Championship: The Miz & John Morrison v. Colin Delaney & Tommy Dreamer

Can someone posit any kind of reason for why there are two versions of the tag team titles? They did an opening right out of the early '80s where the champions entered the ring and were only introduced after their entrance music ended. I actually prefer this way of doing it. As the heels were double teaming Dreamer, Colin came off the top rope with a crossbody. Dreamer then cleaned house, sending both of the champions to the floor. That led into Delaney hitting a moonsault plancha onto both heels!! Dreamer was wiped out on the floor, and the heels, not selling that last move at all, botched a double team in the ring. Colin then went to work with a kendo stick and Dreamer came in with a garbage can lid. The heels made a comeback as they gained control of the kendo stick. They hit a double team on Colin but Dreamer retook the advantage with the trash can lid. Dreamer then gave Colin a Chicago Bears helmet so they could hit the Wazzup on Morrison (havenít seen that one in years). As Colin eluded Mizís charge, the faces planted both heels in the tree of woe. After two DDTs, both Miz and Morrison survived by reaching the ropes. Dreamer went to superplex Miz, Morrison attempts a save, and Colin hits an electric chair while Dreamer got the superplex. That led to a loud ECW chant. After a brief rest, Morrison shoved Colin to the floor as he attempted a tornado DDT. Morrison then hit a super-impressive moonsault from the apron with a garbage can onto Colin. Back inside, the heels double teamed and put Dreamer through a table to win the match.

OK, this was no technical masterpiece and the match was largely bereft of selling. But on the whole, this was very entertaining and fast-paced; moreover, both teams came out of the match stronger than they were coming in. I imagine most people would want to see these four wrestle again. How often does WWE accomplish both of those two goals at once? Without hyperbole, there has not been a single segment featuring any of the three Raw main event wrestlers anywhere near this good.

Miz & Morrison d. Delaney & Dreamer, Pin, 8:21, ** 1/2.

Armando Alejandro Estrada announced a 24-man battle royal at WrestleMania where the winner would immediately face Chavo Guerrero for the championship. He then introduced Great Khali, who will be in the battle royal.

Stevie Richards v. Great Khali

Joey Styles actually reminded us that Khali won the WWE championship in a battle royal, which I had totally suppressed in my mind. As for the match, Khali hit the tree slam and won in 19 seconds. Mike Knox then attacked Richards after the bell with a guillotine legdrop and a reverse DDT. Joey Styles actually referenced Knox attacking Richards after the bell last week, as seen by dozens on WWE mobile.

Kofi Kingston v. Deuce

Kofi took the upper hand early on but was caught with a jawbreaker. Deuce then held a brief advantage before Kofi came back with clotheslines and his splash in the corner. He connected with a double legdrop but failed on a monkey flip. No matter, he won soon thereafter with the Jamaican buzzsaw. Iíll reiterate my opinion that Kingston is not a good enough worker to pull off this gimmick of him being a super-athlete.

Kingston d. Deuce, Pin, 3:12, 1/2 *.

They aired a bizarre video package on Floyd Mayweather-Big Show that began with hip-hop music and culminated with overly dramatic music as they finally showed the gorilla press. Ultimately, Mayweather as a heel is the best way to go but WWE was not entirely wrong to have reservations about having David play heel to Goliath. I still do not see how this works as a match and Iím still highly skeptical of its drawing power.

CM Punk, who got a large hometown pop, cut a short promo backstage.

Festus v. Elijah Burke

Festus charged into the post early and Burke went right after the shoulder with an arm bar. Burke followed that with a dropkick to the shoulder. Festus made his comeback with a splash, chicken kick, and won with an FU where he drops his opponent backwards instead of off to the side.The wrong guy went over here as Burke deserves better than WWE offers him. This show has largely gone in the wrong direction after the strong opener.

Festus d. Burke, Pin, 1/2 *.

CM Punk v. Big Daddy V

The winner qualifies for the Money in the Bank match at WrestleMania. Shelton Benajmin did guest commentary for the match: I cannot recall the last time a wrestler added to the match in that role and I doubt Shelton can end the drought. He may be marginally better than Morrison & Miz or Chavo, though. Not a good start as Shelton botches Gorilla Monsoonís old line about horseshoes and hand grenades. Punk connected with a few leg kicks to start but walked right into a sidewalk slam. V did nothing of note while in control, just chops and stomps. Punk ducked a charge in the corner and followed it up with knees and a dropkick. He actually tried for a go to sleep but V collapsed on top of him. V then went for something and went out to the floor as Punk yanked down the top rope, leading to the quickest countout win ever. Nothing match, but itís good to see Punk get one foot out of the grave. Punk hit a go to sleep on Matt Striker and did the staredown with Shelton as the show faded to black.

Punk d. V, Countout, 3:53, No stars.

Final Analysis: As for this weekís show, you had one strong segment and a bunch of largely indifferent ones which actually makes for a decent outing for this brand. It is worth noting that it is good that ECW now has a noticeable presence on WrestleMania with one-third of the Money in the Bank participants and now a match (actually two) to call its own. Of course, the match will be positioned low on the card (only the womenís match will mean less), but having nothing at all on the show would send a horrible message to the dwindling audience that this show still has. Also, WWE does deserve some credit for having seemingly the whole card laid out three weeks in advance and the key matches were named weeks before that. The overall build for the show, particularly for the Raw three way, has not been exemplary by any means, though.

Feedback is always appreciated at philfortyfour@yahoo.com.