ECW on Sci-Fi: November 25, 2008
by Samoa Rowe
-Tonight, Tommy Dreamer attempts to wipe the smile off the face of Jack Swagger. They will collide in an extreme rules match. A good video package opens the show.
-They are airing from Providence, RI. Our hosts are Todd Grisham and Matt Striker.
Tommy Dreamer vs. Jack Swagger
Face palm shove by Swagger sets the tone for the match. Swagger targets the back. Dreamer reaches for a kendo stick and connects with some blows. Dreamer hits a chair assisted body slam. The fight heads to ringside where Swagger reverses an Irish whip into the ring post. Swagger tosses some weapons into the ring but Dreamer dives off the apron, driving a trash can into Swagger’s midsection. Back to the ring, Dreamer connects with a chair shot and props it in the turnbuckles. Northern lights suplex by Swagger gets a cover for 2. Dreamer reverses a hard Irish whip, but Swagger reverses a bulldog, sending Dreamer crashing head-first into the propped chair. Cue the commercial.
After the break, Swagger crotches Dreamer on a chair. Swagger uses the kendo stick to attack Dreamer’s injured leg. Swagger wraps the chair around Dreamer’s leg and pulls on it, which is actually pretty cool. Swagger is proving himself to be a capable talent. Dreamer is able to reach for a kendo stick and drives it into Swagger’s back repeatedly to escape. Cover by Dreamer gets 2. Dreamer cracks a can lid over Swagger’s skull. Dreamer takes the kendo stick and tries to use it for a pump handle slam. Swagger blocks and knee lifts the head. Swagger positions Dreamer on a trash can and attempts the Vader bomb, but Dreamer dodges. Swagger hits the can hard. Swagger is placed in a tree of woe (with a trash can by his face) and Dreamer drop-kicks the head. Dreamer sets up a table. More kendo shots from Dreamer, but Swagger blocks the final blow and connects with a belly to belly suplex. Cover by Swagger gets 2. Dreamer blocks and nails the DDT for 2.5. Lid shots by Dreamer, but Swagger drop toe holds him into a chair. Swagger power bombs Dreamer through the table! This allows Swagger to make the cover for the win at 10:25 (shown). Dreamer made Swagger earn that victory, this was full of satisfying action, ***.
Winner: Jack Swagger
-John Morrison and The Miz are backstage putting themselves over with a variety of self-proclaimed nicknames. They put over how great Survivor Series was. According to them, the best part of Survivor Series was when they debuted their matching outfits. They are interrupted by the Boogeyman. Miz and Morrison run for the hills while Boogeyman enjoys some delicious worms.
-Grisham and Striker talk to ECW Champion Matt Hardy. They ask about Jeff Hardy’s condition following Survivor Series. Matt says Jeff is at home recovering, but he doesn’t need to speak for him. Jack Swagger interrupts and declares that he’s going after the ECW title.
-Hornswoggle can’t reach a candy bowl, and he’s suddenly surrounded by Mark Henry and Tony Atlas. Henry tells him to pay close attention to what he does to Finlay in their match tonight. Henry throws the candy and storms off. Poor Hornswoggle is distraught.
DJ Gabriel (with Alicia Fox) vs. Jared Ganum
Gabriel and Alicia have an obnoxious dancing gimmick. Gabriel debuted last week against Sal Rinauro, and he’s got another jobber of the week tonight. Gabriel dominates with a headlock. Striker explains that Ganum was trained by Spike Dudley, how interesting. Gabriel breaks out a giant swing, which you don’t see often in a WWE ring. Ganum is tossed to ringside, and rushes back into a cravat. Ganum works a hammerlock, but Gabriel reverses into a suplex. Gabriel connects with a couple of leg sweeps and a slam. Flying European uppercut by Gabriel gets the win at 2:46. He’s never going to get over with this gimmick, but DJ Gabriel has some nice moves, *.
Winner: DJ Gabriel
-Todd Grisham interviews Alicia and Gabriel in the ring. He asks Alicia about her arrival on ECW, since she was last seen helping Edge plan his wedding on Smackdown. Alicia explains that she worked overseas and met Gabriel and brought him back to ECW. Gabriel says they are both passionate about winning. They continue to dance in an over-the-top fashion. It’s good that neither of them seem to worry about looking foolish in public.
Mark Henry (with Tony Atlas) vs. Finlay (with Hornswoggle)
This is a grudge match, as Henry wants revenge for a previous loss to Finlay, where the #1 contendership was at stake. Hot start with aggressive blows from Finlay. Finlay charges into Finlay and gets knocked down hard. Finlay clubs off Henry but gets planted with a head-butt. Henry stands on the chest, risking a DQ. Neck vice by Henry. Henry grabs Finlay’s shillelagh and throws it away from the ring. Finlay targets the back of the head but runs into a power slam. Henry misses a splash and rolls to ringside to recover. Finlay leaps off the apron, but Henry catches and drives him into the ring. Scoop slam by Henry at ringside. Cue the commercial.
After the break, Henry is working a neck vice in the ring. Henry pushes Finlay into the ropes and clubs the back. Henry continues to target the back and returns to the neck vice. Finlay kicks the leg but Henry returns the favor. More neck vice excitement. Henry freshens things up with a chinlock. Finlay reverses with a chin breaker and drop-kicks the head. Cover by Finlay gets 2. Henry rebounds with a hard Irish whip and a corner splash. Finlay is tossed to ringside, and Atlas forces Hornswoggle into the ring. Finlay grabs a shillelagh and saves Hornswoggle with a blow to the knee (the ref missed it while dealing with Atlas). Finlay rushes to ringside to save Hornswoggle from Atlas. Henry jumps Finlay, driving him into the barricade. Henry and Atlas try to carry the son away, but Finlay nails both kidnappers with the shillelagh. The show just kind of ends there, I’d assume with a no contest at 8:51 (shown). Solid work from both men, **½.
Final Thoughts: It’s funny to think that a victory over Tommy Dreamer could mean that much in 2008, but the announcers and the booking made it seem like a huge accomplishment for Swagger tonight. If Swagger does go on to become a big star in the WWE, tonight’s extreme rules match will definitely go down as being an early highlight in his career. The seeds were planted for Swagger challenging Hardy, which could make for some interesting television, though it seems kind of sad that the ECW roster is so shallow that Swagger would already be a contender after really defeating only one mainstay. This was a perfectly solid episode of ECW.