ECW: Reviewing a great year
MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling
Tonight on ECW on Sci-Fi: It was a big year in the Land of Extreme. Some of WWE's biggest breakout stars got their break inside an ECW ring this year. Now it's time to reflect on the effort of WWE's most consistently solid brand of 2008. Should be a good one!
And we are TAPED! from the WWE Studios in Stamford, Conn. 2008 Slammy Award Winners for "Announce Team of the Year" Todd Grisham and Matt Striker are our hosts. This show is presented in WWEHD (TV-PG,V).
We start the show out in the beginning of 2008, specifically Chavo Guerrero's pursuit of the ECW Championship, culminating in his win over CM Punk in late January.
From my ECW on Sci-Fi report from that night: Prior to the introductions, Tony Chimel informs us that this will now be a No Disqualification match (whatever happened to Extreme Rules?). Styles is incensed, of course, thinking that Edge and Vickie Guerrero had something to do with it ...
Guerrero works on Punk's upper body, eventually hitting the Three Amigos. From there, he heads to the top for the Frog Splash, but Guerrero aborts out of it when Punk moves.
Punk catches Guerrero on the rebound and drops him onto the exposed turnbuckle. As Chavo drifts back toward Punk, he lifts him up and hits GTS. But before he can go for the cover, Edge darts from the commentary table and hits the spear.
Both men are down now. Guerrero slowly crawls to Punk and applies the cover. One, two, THREE!
We check out Punk playing a member of a Mariachi band, where he smashed Chavo with a left-over Jeff Jarrett guitar (sadly, it didn't have "Don't piss me off" on it) followed by the absolutely epic Gulf of Mexico match, where Punk sent Chavo into the Gulf with the GTS. Exciting business.
Despite the loss, we take a look at the ascent of CM Punk to winning the World Heavyweight Championship on Raw in late June. We start with him winning Money in the Bank and then his winning of the title.
Next up is Kane's year.
Of course, Kane won the ECW Championship at WrestleMania 24, first winning a battle royal in the pre-show and then defeating Chavo Guerrero in an eight second squash to win the title.
From there, Kane "left carnage in his wake" says Striker until he met Mark Henry and The Big Show at Night of Champions. Striker takes us into his classroom, explaining how huge those three are.
Then we get a video package of the match from Night of Champions, which culminated in Henry's first ECW Championship. We follow that with a Henry video package of his destruction during the course of the year.
From my Night of Champions recap: They give up and that and continue to go at it. Kane heads to the top for a flying clothesline but is caught in the choke slam, which only gets two as Kane gets the shoulder up. Show goes to the top rope for some reason and Kane hits a big superplex. While he's down from the move, Henry hits the World's Largest Splash for the 1-2-3.
The two biggest highlights of ECW throughout 2008 are up now, as we see the best of World Tag Team Champions John Morrison and The Miz.
We start out with some highlights from The Dirt Sheet and a small video package.
Now we go to Cyber Sunday where Morrison and The Miz met Cryme Tyme.
This is our first actual match highlights of the show, as we get a healthy dose of Morrison and Miz showing their tag team prowess until Shad gets the hot tag. He comes in, but a Miz kick to the back of the knee sets up Shad for the Moonlight Drive, giving Morrison and Miz the win.
We move on now to Matt Hardy, who Grisham and Striker say had the best year of anyone in ECW. Hardy won the United States Championship at Backlash and won the ECW Championship in the ECW Championship Scramble at Unforgiven.
From my Unforgiven report: With all the men in the ring, pinfalls are being broken up all over the place. Henry is hitting the World's Strongest Slam on everyone, but each pin attempt is being broken up. Finlay goes for the Celtic Cross on Hardy but eats a big boot from Henry instead. Henry hits the big splash on Miz, but is broken up.
Under a minute to go and Hardy is still champ. He is running around like a mad man trying to keep everyone clear. He sends Miz to the outside, then Guerrero. It is literally a mad scramble at the end, but time runs out!
How it's time to talk about one the brightest newcomers in WWE this year, Evan "Air" Bourne. Of course, Bourne won the Best Finishing Maneuver Slammy Award. Of course, Grisham brings up how Striker ate the Shooting Star Press earlier this year, just like he did with the Go To Sleep earlier in the show.
We now go back to Cyber Sunday for Matt Hardy's ECW Championship defense against Evan Bourne.
From my colleague Andy McNamara's Cyber Sunday report: ECW GM Theodore Long and his assistant Tiffany come out to announce Matt Hardy’s opponent. And the winner is ... Evan Bourne! Well I am shocked that Bourne received 69% of the votes, my money was on Finlay. Bourne looks tiny even in comparison to Hardy. ‘Air’ Bourne tries several flash pin variations and is in charge until he sends Evan to the outside with a hard forearm. Bourne delivers an incredible standing flip onto a laid out Hardy ... wow that was high. We are told that although Evan is only 5’6” he can still dunk a basketball. This contest has an interesting dynamic as Hardy, who usually plays the role of underdog, is not only the favourite, but also a heel. Bourne is able to kick out from back to back Side Effects, and then hits a spinning heel kick on Matt as he came off the second turnbuckle. Hardy narrowly rolls out of the way from the shooting star press, and on the second try delivers the Twist of Fate. This was an amazing match.
Next up is an extended Tribute to the Troops recap.
Now it's time to talk about some of the young talent that went through or is still with ECW -- Kofi Kingston, Ricky Ortiz, DJ Gabriel, Jack Swagger. Sadly, no mention of Braden Walker. Striker tries to imitate Gabriel's dance and asks Grisham to reel him in like Alicia Fox does. HA!
We go off the air with a great video package set to ECW's theme song.
That was a nice little review show to be certain. Sadly, there was little to no mention of one of the men who made ECW great this year, Mike Adamle. To compensate, I have found a little something something to fulfill that need. Check it out here. It is awesome.
I can only think great things will be in store for ECW in 2009. Happy Holidays, everybody!
E-mail Matt about ECW, wrestling, MMA or hockey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and hometown. And if you're interested in mixed martial arts, check out Matt's weekly podcast -- Lights Out Radio, where a preview of Saturday's UFC 92 will be posted later this week. Should be a good one!.