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ECW on Sci-Fi: July 31, 2007
by Samoa Rowe

Since the Benoit tragedy went down, I’ve slipped on my reviewing a little bit. I’ve been sour on WWE, so I’ve been spending a lot of time watching Ring of Honor, which I’m at a point where I’d rather just sit back and enjoy instead of doing play-by-play and awarding star ratings to. But let’s see if I can’t get the ball rolling again with WWE reviews.

Tonight: Johnny Nitro, er, I mean John Morrison has issued an open challenge for a “15 Minutes of Fame” match. The idea is that if anyone can last 15 minutes in the ring with him, they get a shot at the ECW title. I thought the whole point of changing his persona to Morrison was to move away from the low rent, tabloid celebrity gimmick? Either way, the match could be interesting, so I’ll save my complaining for later.

Our hosts for the evening are Joey Styles and Tazz. They are airing from Phoenix, Arizona. -ECW Champion John Morrison makes his way to the ring. He “shushes” the crowd, so they can hear his strange poetry. He is the self proclaimed “new face of extreme.” He welcomes the crowd to join him in the palace of wisdom, or continue to be slaves of society. I like this gimmick. Morrison is ready for another “15 Minutes of Fame” challenge and wants to wrestle a great Arizona competitor, which gives him the opportunity to knock local athletes. His opponent is some local jobber.

15 Minutes of Fame challenge:
John Morrison vs. Joey Ryan

Morrison cheap shots with a kick to the midsection and hits the corkscrew neckbreaker to win in something like 10 seconds. No rating, this hardly even qualified as a beat-down.
Winner: John Morrison.

-Morrison asks if anyone else wants to challenge him. Many fans accept the challenge, probably knowing that they would never actually be picked. Tommy Dreamer answers the challenge! Dreamer tells Morrison that he’s been around longer than 15 minutes, and he wants to be the ECW Champion again. They are interrupted by Elijah Burke. Burke makes fun of Dreamer, calling him prehistoric, and that he’s 15 years past his prime. Burke thinks that being good looking is a qualification to be champion, which I’d have to guess that WWE would agree with. They are interrupted by CM Punk, who comes out to a nice ovation. Punk wants one more shot, and if he can’t last 15 minutes, then he’ll never challenge Morrison again. Morrison denies them all, citing that he “just wrestled a grueling match.” Since Morrison is a “fighting champion” he asks the three of them to have a triple threat match, with the winner getting a 15 minute challenge next week, for a future title shot. Morrison isn’t making it easy, eh? This was a suitable opening segment, as it’s nice to see the ECW title picture heating up amongst it’s actual roster, instead of the belt being defended against midcarders on the other brands.

Stevie Richards vs. Kevin Thorn
The graphic says “Steven” though he’s introduced as “Stevie” by the ring announcer. Last week Richards picked up a huge upset over Thorn. Can he repeat? I sure hope so! Thorn charges Richards into the ring posts in an aggressive fashion as the bell rings. Thorn wraps Richards up in the ropes for an illegal chinlock. Richards hits some kicks and a drop-kick. Thorn blocks the monkey flip, pushing Richards hard onto his back. Hard backbreaker by Thorn, who follows up by pulling Richard’s hair. That bastard! Chinlock by Thorn. Thorn breaks and sets Richards up into a torture rack and into the backbreaker. Cover by Thorn gets a close two. Thorn sets Richards onto the turnbuckle for a stiff kick. Thorn charges, but Richards rolls out of the way and rolls up Thorn for another upset victory at 3:20! The match was looking like a squash until the finish, but hurray for Richards winning a match in two consecutive weeks, *!
Winner: Stevie Richards

-Hype video for Viscera, er, I mean Big Daddy V. He’s coming up next, only on ECW! He loves nothing more than destruction, apparently. That’s funny, I thought he enjoyed sex.

-Hype video for CM Punk, putting a huge emphasis on how he doesn’t do drugs. With congress asking WWE for records of their wellness policy testing, I can’t say I blame them.

Big Daddy V (with Matt Striker) vs. three jobbers.
Viscera wipes out everyone with head butts and a military press, dropping one jobber onto another. Headlock take-down on the third jobber by Viscera. Samoan drop by the V-Man. Big Daddy piles all three men into a corner and hits a running splash. V slams all three of the jobbers into a pile in the ring and pins them all at once. Match was more entertaining than it sounds, 1/4*.
Winner: Big Daddy V

-Big Daddy V remains in the ring, looking grumpy even though he won, but he and Striker are joined by The Boogeyman, looking for revenge after being thrown into a chalkboard last week. Striker and V flee the ring, as Boogeyman dances around the ring. Boogeyman eats his dinner in the ring, as the heels leave without further incident. Yes, Boogeyman eats worms, how entertaining. I really hope this feud isn’t developing into a match for Summerslam.

-The ladies of Extreme Expose do their little stripper show. I can’t believe it, but they are using a Michael Jackson song! I could be wrong, but this might be a new low for ECW. Afterwards, they introduce Mike Mizanin. The girls cozy up to The Miz, who puts himself over as being a chick magnet. The Miz sucks on the microphone and looks like a deer stuck in headlights. In other words, the man has never worked anywhere but WWE.

The Miz vs. Balls Mahoney
Okay, NOW the new ECW has hit a new low. Side headlock by Mahoney is reversed into a hammerlock, which is then reversed as well. Miz sends Balls through the ropes to the floor. Balls fights his way back to the ring, but Miz blocks a shot to the ring post. Miz trips Mahoney and pounds him on the second rope. Miz goes for the cover, but it’s easily broken up. Rest hold by Miz is quickly broken. Jabs by Balls, who has the crowd on his side. Neck-cracker swing by Mahoney gets a close two count. Mahoney misses a splash in the corner, and takes a neckbreaker from Miz, who gains the win at 1:50. The match was ass, DUD.
Winner: The Miz

-Tommy Dreamer gets his own hype package, featuring a lot of shots of Dreamer doing sickingly violent things in the old ECW. I don’t know how they can play these clips without making the home audience feel pissed off that the current show is so tame.

-Elijah Burke cuts a cocky backstage promo. He’s looking forward to taking out Dreamer and Punk tonight, and going on to become ECW Champion. I have a feeling that he’s in for a huge disappointment.

-Hype package for the returning Triple H. Why anyone watching ECW should care is beyond me.

Winner receives “15 Minutes of Fame” match:
Tommy Dreamer vs. CM Punk vs. Elijah Burke

Hey, we get a main event that doesn’t insult the legacy of ECW! I’m so proud of them! We head to a commercial before the match begins, so I’m assuming that the bell is ringing as I type this and that the match will be in progress after the break.

And I’m correct, as CM Punk nearly steals the win from Dreamer as the match continues. Dreamer dumps Burke into the ring and bounces his head off the turnbuckle. Dreamer plops Burke in place for a slingshot senton by CM Punk. Dreamer attacks Punk and slams him for a cover. Burke dumps Dreamer and attacks the back of CM Punk. Chinlock on Punk by Burke. Punk eventually counters with a back suplex. Drop-kick to the head of Burke by CM Punk, who then goes for the cover. Punk wrenches the wrist and nails some stiff kicks on Burke. Burke catches Punk charging him into the corner and dumps him over the ropes. Dreamer returns and fires away with punches on Burke. Dreamer plants Burke and gets a very close cover. We get a replay of Punk being dumped over the ropes, and we see that he hit the steps in sickening fashion. In the ring, Burke hits a side Russian leg sweep on Dreamer, and goes for the cover yet again. Burke positions himself into a headstand on the turnbuckle and drops an elbow on Dreamer. Punk interrupts and dispatches Burke on the floor. Punk attacks Dreamer with a sunset flip for a very close cover. Punk pushes Dreamer through the ropes, near Burke, and hits a suicide dive on both men! Punk looks as if he tweaked his knee though, that would be awful. Punk gets Burke back to the ring and hits a stiff kick for another cover attempt. Burke hits a small package and nearly steals the win. More stiff kicks by Punk, but Dreamer interrupts the cover. Back suplex on Punk by Dreamer. Dreamer covers Punk, but it only gets 2. Dreamer hits a DDT on Punk, but Burke breaks up the cover. Burke is bleeding by the mouth now, and hits a series of shots on both Punk and Dreamer. Burke stomps on Punk’s head, with assistance from the turnbuckles. Dreamer then traps Burke in a Texas Cloverleaf! Burke gets the rope, but Dreamer drags him into the center. Punk breaks it up with a hard kick to the back of Dreamer’s skull. Punk goes for the cover on Burke, but only gets 2. Tiger backbreaker by Punk gets another very close fall on Burke! Punk plants Burke on the top, but Burke fights him off. Dreamer picks up where Punk left off, and goes for the superplex. Punk catches Dreamer, and powerbombs him as well! Punk goes for the cover on Dreamer, but he KICKS OUT! WHAT!! Punk hits a knee to Burke’s face, but Punk is pushed into Dreamer, colliding head first. Punk then hits the Go 2 Sleep on Burke for the victory! Damn right! This was a pretty mundane triple threat at first, but it really picked up and had some wonderful false finishes, ***1/4!
Winner: CM Punk

-Afterwards, CM Punk and Tommy Dreamer share a handshake. Punk is heading into “15 Minutes of Fame” which is only slightly better than “7 minutes in heaven.”

Final Thoughts: The atmosphere surrounding John Morrison and the ECW title was very well done this week. Morrison is playing the new gimmick well, and managed to earn some crowd heat. The main event was very good, and saved my enjoyment of the show. The rest was squashes and the usual bull involving Extreme Expose. The good news is that this brand has some direction, even if it might be too little, too late.

Thumbs in the middle.

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