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ECW: Hardy, Swagger on collision course
By MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling


Tonight on ECW on Sci-Fi: It was nostalgic last week. This week, it might just be getting old. Matt Hardy and Mark Henry meet again in the main event while Finlay meets up with No. 1 contender Jack Swagger in the co-main event, as Hardy and Swagger continue on the road to meet for the ECW Championship. Should be a good one!

And we are TAPED! from New Orleans, La. 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).

Match #1 - Jack Swagger (Perry, Okla.) vs. Finlay (Belfast, Northern Ireland)

It's a give-and-take and a game of one-upsmanship early on. Finlay playfully mocks Swagger's trademark smile after hitting a move. Finlay gains the upper-hand with a hip-toss followed by a clothesline over the top rope. Hornswaggle comes out from under the ring and goes onto the apron and hits a crossbody on Swagger, knocking him down.

But it doesn't keep Swagger down for long, though, as he gets up and hurls the gloating Hornswaggle face-first into the barricade. Of course, Finlay no likey this and he comes to the outside and throws Swagger into the barricade and whips him into the ring apron and then into the post.

(Ads)

We're back and Swagger is working an armlock on Finlay, who is bleeding from the mouth. He continues to work it. Finlay gets out, but is sent right back to the mat courtesy of a big boot.

Finlay slips out of the ring to take a breather and Swagger follows, but Finlay turns the tables with some punches. He throws him in the ring, but Swagger turns it around on Finlay with a rather large clothesline.

Swagger puts Finlay in a corner and puts the boots to him and then hits a straight-arm DDT and follows that up with a knee lift for two. He goes back to work on a hammerlock. Finlay tries to get out, but Swagger lifts him up for a shoulderbreaker for two. Swagger hits the ropes and tries a running leg drop, but Finlay moves out of the way.

Finlay fires up with some clotheslines and the atomic butt drop for two. Finlay charges Swagger in the corner, but Swagger moves, sending Finlay flying shoulder-first into the ring post. Swagger rolls up him, but only for two.

Swagger goes for the Swagger Bomb, but Finlay reverses into a roll-through for two. Swagger goes for a belly-to-belly, but Finlay headbutts his way out of it and rushes him with punches in the corner. The referee pulls Finlay off and when he rushes back in, Swagger gets the knees up, sending Finlay staggering. Swagger sees his opening and doesn't miss it this time, hitting the Swagger Bomb for the fall.

Winner via pinfall: Jack Swagger

That was a very, very good television match. This Jack Swagger is going places.

(Ads)

Theodore Long and Tiffany are backstage when Swagger comes busting in. He says he told Long he'd beat Finlay. He told him he'd beat Tommy Dreamer. He told him he'd beat Ricky Ortiz, or anyone he puts in front of him, including Matt Hardy. Long keeps trying to say something, while Swagger finally demands when he gets his title match. Long tells Swagger that next week, he'll meet Matt Hardy for the ECW Championship. Should be a good one!

Match #2 - Katie Lea Burchill (Chelsea, England) vs. Alicia Fox (Ponte Verda, Fla.)

DJ Gabriel and Alicia Fox have one of the best gimmicks in the Fed right now.

Katie Lea is all over Fox early, but Fox comes back with some dropkicks and an ax kick, which Gabriel is playing along with on the outside. Fox goes to pick up Burchill, but Burchill pulls her into the ropes. Fox rebounds right into a backbreaker for the fall.

Winner via pinfall: Katie Lea Burchill

(Ads)

Match #3 - The Boogeyman (The Bottomless Pit) vs. Brett Barnes (Parts Unknown)

Boogey looks a little different this week. No colored face paint today, just black. Actually looks scarier.

Boogey hits a splash in the corner and finishes off his overmatched opponent with a powerslam.

Winner via pinfall: The Boogeyman

(Ads)

Match #4 - Matt Hardy (Cameron, N.C.) vs. Mark Henry (Silsbee, Texas)

Naturally, Henry works his impressive power offense in the early going, commencing a beatdown. Hardy tries to go to work, but Henry just chucks him out of the ring. Henry follows up and goes to throw Hardy into the post, but Hardy ducks out and throws Henry knee-first into the steel steps.

Hardy goes to work on the injured leg, but that doesn't last long, as Henry locks in a nerve hold. Hardy works his way up, only to eat a big boot. Hardy evades Henry in the corner and dumps him over the top rope. Tony Atlas gets involved, but Hardy punches him. Hardy then continues his climb to the top rope, where he hits a flying crossbody on Henry, sending both crashing to the floor.

(Ads)

We're back and Henry is working a Level-3 Randy Orton chinlock, as he took control during the break, slamming Hardy into the ring post. Hardy breaks free of the hold but a chinbreaker, but Atlas compels Henry with screams of "put the pain on 'em!" Henry steps on Hardy in the corner and goes to work on Hardy's head again, but Hardy elbows his knee to get away.

Hardy hits two chop blocks to finally takedown Henry. He goes off the ropes, but Henry gets up and explodes into him, sending both men flying to the ground. They trade finish-attempts, but Hardy hits a bulldog and goes for the Twist of Fate again, but Henry powers out. He goes for the World's Strongest Splash but misses and Hardy hits the Twist of Fate for the fall.

Winner via pinfall: Matt Hardy

We'll see you next week for what should be the best title match in the history of the new ECW.

E-mail Matt 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!.