Monday, January 29, 2007

ECW On Sci-Fi (23.01.2007)

I'm not sure why I noticed this but this was 14 years to the day of the ECW vs. WWA Battle Of The Belts show (Cactus Jack vs. Eddie Gilbert). Other wrestling events on January 23rd: WCW's Clash Of The Champions XXXII (Giant & Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage) and the WWF's 2000 Royal Rumble (Triple H vs. Cactus Jack). The more you know!

I haven't seen ECW for a few weeks but I found a small file-size mp4 (suitable for the iPod) and thought I'd give it a look since it's a breezy 40-minutes less commercials.

Over-The-Top-Rope Challenge: Rob Van Dam vs. Sabu vs. Tommy Dreamer vs. The Sandman vs. Kevin Thorn

5-ways are just weird. Watching these guys come out, I thought I was watching the old ECW until the arrival of Thorn, only they'd have done a King Of The Hill Battle Royal rather than this 'Over-The-Top-Rope Challenge' thing. That whacky WWE, always fixing what isn't broken. I remember when they just called it a Battle Royal and had done with it.

So they meander about doing nothing of consequence until Sabu stupidly uses his weight to leverage Dreamer out, leaving him in no-man's land and he goes too. Thorn then chucks Sandman leaving himself and RVD. Remember when Van Dam was the industry's hottest commodity and the next big thing before politics, sloppyness and fucking up derailed him?

Thorn loudly calls some spots ("I'm gonna try to throw you out!") and they do the relevant teases before Van Dam dumps Thorn over the top for a second time and wipes him out with a jumping kick from the top rope to win it at 5:02. Just a preview for the Rumble on Sunday, though none of them have a chance in hell of winning it. 3/4*

Marcus Cor Von vs. Wes Adams

This is just bizarre as Monty Brown is still The Alpha Male (and that's a great nickname) but is now the middle-class posh snob sounding Cor Von as opposed to the former SuperBowl superstar Brown. His entance music isn't a bad wrestling theme though I'm not sure it suits his gimmick. But then again, I'm not entirely sure what his gimmick is supposed to be.

This is a pretty high Impact! (nyuk nyuk) squash for Cor Von but it's completely heatless. Still, with his look, charisma and promo ability, he'll probably be a big deal and a title contender before the year is out. Here, the pounce (which doesn't look as good in a four-sided ring as it did in a six-sided one sets up an ungly-looking roll-through into a weak cross arm breaker for the submission at 1:48. Cor Von showed great character traits there.

- Next up, Kelly Kelly, Leyla El (isn't she supposed to be on SmackDown! or did her 'contract' come up?) and some girl I don't recognise (Brooke) come up for an 'Extreme Expose' where they dance around in bra and panties whilst Ice Cube rants away in the background. A little research brings me up to speed on Kelly having been dumped by Mike Knox last week, bringing about the return of her PG-13 stripper antics. This goes on until they're interrupted (by Matt Striker apparently, although the version of the show I saw made it look like they were stopped dead in their tracks by a promo piece on Test. Because if you need something bringing to a standstill , hype up Test I guess). Anyway, this achieved nothing since they cant show actually nudity and probably would have been better if they'd just felt each other up or something. I don't know.

CM Punk vs. Elijah Burke

Elijah does not impress me. He didn't in Ohio Valley Wrestling, and he doesn't in ECW either. As a heel, as a face, it doesn't matter - he's completely bland and unexciting. Matt Striker's commentary on the other hand is all kinds of fun, bringing the wit and trading barbs with Joey Styles and Tazz (who's not being an annoying prick for a change - I guess that stuff with Brad Armstrong forced him to pick up his game. Speaking of which - where the hell is Brad, anyway?)

Doing the drop-in insert promo for Punk was nice to see, and he gets to cut a promo about his first Royal Rumble this Sunday and you just know inside he's marking out big time. You can tell how much fun he's having as the 12-year old kid inside him lives out his dream. Unfortunately though, this is one of those notorious Punk matches where you just think "What the hell does anyone see in this guy?" Sometimes it just doesn't click for Punk and he ends up having very awkward, messy-looking matches and this was a mix of that and a mix of blandness from Burke. Interestingly, it seems the microphone on the ring must be turned up too loud tonight because you hear more spot calling as the referee guides Elijah on working a chinlock. And honestly, if you need help on sticking on a chinlock then you shouldn't be in the business full stop, never mind on international television.

They do some stuff, chinlocks, "CM Punk" chants, some roll-up stuff and Punk gets the pin at 8:51 which felt more like 15.

Bobby Lashley (ECW Champion) vs. Test

So this was previously announced as Lashley vs. Hardcore Holly (I'm not sure if that was a title match or not) to this Royal Rumble preview. Fine, you think. A chance to put some heat on Test (who's somehow risen to Triple H-like levels of nicknames as The Impact Player and God's Gift To ECW or something like that). But you'd be wrong as they go back and forth for 10:34 until Lashley finishes with a Davey Boy Smith-esque powerslam. Weird. I'm wondering if Test is in the doghouse or something since they realise the rematch wont add or detract a single buy for the Rumble and they just wanted him to lose twice. Or perhaps WWE is trying to be smart and do some left-field booking but really, this made no sense. Though I guess it gets a couple more decisive wins under Lashley's belt. As a match, I couldn't get interested enough to give it full attention but it seemed like a mix of back and forth power moves filled with a solid helping of boring. I assume the Rumble match will be much the same.

- So there you have it. I'm not sure why I actually came out liking this show. I guess the lack of commercials and it being cut down to 40 minutes instead of the usual 2 hour 20 minute drag of RAW, the fact I like CM Punk, Rob Van Dam, Marcus Cor Von and that I got to see the pleasant surprise of *gasp* ECW-related wrestlers on the ECW show were all factors. All that said, there wasn't much going on, as is usually the case with ECW On Sci-Fi, and the booking of that main event was just bizarre.


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