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COMMENT





ECW: Hardy shrugs off first night as champ
By MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling


Tonight on ECW on Sci-Fi: There's a new champion in the Land of Extreme. What's in store for Matt Hardy during his first night as ECW Champion? Only time will tell. Should be a good one!

And we are "LIVE!" from Milwaukee, Wis. Todd Grisham and Matt Striker are our hosts. This show is presented in WWEHD (TV-PG,V).

Ring announcer Tony Chimel kicks off the show by introducing the the NEW ECW Champion, Matt Hardy. Hardy hits the ring and wow, is that belt huge on his shoulder.

Hardy says this is a dream come true. He thanks all the people who have believed in him. He says it's his goal to become the greatest ECW Champion ever (EVER!!!) and he is then interrupted by the World's Strongest Former Champion, Mark Henry.

Naturally, Henry wants a rematch. Tony Atlas chimes and adds that if Hardy ever puts his hands on him again, there will be problems between them. Henry then attacks Hardy and tries to charge at him, but Henry low-bridges him. Atlas takes off his suit coat and again reveals the sleeveless shirt/tie combo that he's becoming known for and eats a Twist of Fate for dressing so ridiculously.

(Ads)

Match #1 - Evan Bourne (St. Louis, MO) vs. John Morrison (Los Angeles, Calif.)

This is a kinda-rematch from RAW when Bourne pinned Morrison in a tag team match on RAW.

Striker pretty much tells us he's voting Republican in the upcoming American presidential election, saying Bourne has bursted on the scene like Sarah Palin and The Miz is harder to listen to than Hillary Clinton.

A great start for both here. Morrison tries to counter a lot of Bourne's high-flying offense, with moderate success, but Bourne gets the upper hand when he hits a sweet hurricarana on Morrison on the floor.

(Ads)

Bourne is doing well when we come back, but he is ripped off the second rope by The Miz, allowing Morrison to gain the upper hand.

Morrison grounds Bourne. Morrison works a Level-3 Randy Orton Chinlock, but allows Bourne to get to his feet, but he puts him right back down. Morrison throws Bourne to the outside but doesn't do much with it, throwing him back into the ring and getting a two count. He goes right back to working a facelock. The crowd tries to fire him up but to no avail.

Bourne just can't catch a break for a while until he starts unleashing some kicks that floor Morrison. He hits a running back elbow in the corner and a jumping heel kick for two.

Bourne goes for a standing moonsault, but Morrison gets his feet right into the groin area -- and Striker certainly feels it. He's cringing about it seconds later.

Morrison goes for Starship Pain, but Bourne rolls out of the way. He climbs to go for the Shooting Star Press, but The Miz comes on the apron, so Bourne attacks him, landing on the apron. Morrison then hits his jumping kick from the second rope, flipping Bourne flat around and landing on his cheek on the apron. Morrison pulls him back in the ring and gets the cover.

Winner via pinfall: John Morrison

Bourne is still down in the ring and has to be helped out by the referee and the trainer.

(Ads)

Match #3 - Jack Swagger vs. Josh Daniels

Swagger is making his ECW debut, while Daniels is probably just a jobber. Swagger hits a nice gut-wrench suplex. He drives Daniels into the corner twice and hits a Blue Thunder Bomb (thanks Striker!) for the fall.

Winner via pinfall: "The All-American American" Jack Swagger

If you know who this guy is, please drop me a line.

Matt Hardy, Finlay and Hornswaggle are heading to the ring for their main event match against Mark Henry and Mike Knox when they are stopped by Ricky Ortiz, who hands them a Ricky O Rally Towel for their match. Awwwww, shucks, how nice!

(Ads)

Match #4 - Mark Henry (Silsbee, Texas) & Mike Knox (Phoenix, Ariz.) vs. Finlay (Belfast, Northern Ireland) & Matt Hardy (Cameron, NC)

Hardy and Henry start things out. Hardy tries to stagger Henry by running into him three or four times, but Hardy just shrugs him off and then belts him. Henry goes for a huge elbow drop but Hardy rolls out of the way -- and a good thing, too, because it probably would've killed him.

(Ads)

We're back and Knox is having his way with Hardy. Hardy hits a chinbreaker to get away and tags in Finlay, who comes in and cleans house on Knox. He clotheslines Knox over the top and goes after him. He bashes his head into the apron and throws him back in the ring. When climbing back in, Finlay eats a some leather, courtesy of a Knox boot to the cranium.

Knox tags Henry, who immediately locks in a Level-5 Randy Orton Chinlock. He tags in Knox, who goes back to work. Knox drags him into the corner where Finlay starts attacking both opponents, but he is quickly corralled by Knox, who locks in a front headlock followed by a short clothesline. He goes for a knee drop, but Finlay gets out of the way and tags Hardy.

Hardy hits a flying bulldog for two and 9/10 and gets up and hit the Side Effect. He goes to the top rope and hits a moonsault, but the cover is broken up by Hardy. Hornswaggle jumps in the ring, distracting the referee and allowing Finlay to crack Henry with the Shillelagh. This allows Hardy to hit the Twist of Fate for the win.

Winners via pinfall: Matt Hardy & Finlay

Another solid edition of ECW tonight, that's for sure. Evan Bourne is really gaining a ton of traction. He is one of the players making me forget about having CM Punk and Kofi Kingston on the show. This Jack Swagger character seems to have some potential, too. To me, ECW seems to be on the upswing.

One last note before I go -- the world of mixed martial arts lost a great warrior and champion Monday when Evan Tanner was found dead in the desert in California. Tanner was always one of my favorite fighters and it's a shame he is no longer with us. Wrestling is a sport that has lost so many popular performers so young and Tanner is the first big time mixed martial artist to pass suddenly. Hopefully this is something that neither fan base will have to go through often. RIP Evan.

Send Matt e-mail about ECW, wrestling, MMA or hockey at bishop20@msu.edu. Please include your name and hometown. And if you're interested in mixed martial arts, check out Matt's weekly podcast -- Lights Out Radio. Should be a good one!.