Nick’s ECW Review 7-29-08: “Henry Raises [Then Breaks] The Bar”

Nick Paglino

What’s up wrestling fans? It’s Tuesday night, I mean, Wednesday night, so I guess that means it’s time for a belated review of last night’s edition of ECW on Sci-Fi. Since the draft last month I have really been down on ECW, and I think the show has suffered greatly from a lack of talent and a lack of focus. However, tonight’s episode gave me the indication that WWE is trying to put something together here, and for the first time in a long while I saw genuine structure and an overall attempt at creating a complete one hour show. Let’s head back to Hershey, PA for a look at all of the action.

Last night started with a highlight package of Matt Hardy’s big win in the fatal four way contest from last week. This took us right into Hardy hitting the ring and Mark Henry interrupting him. The two then had a nice segment where Mark Henry displayed his incredible strength by bending a metal bar in half. This guy may be a terrible wrestler, but there’s no denying his power. I am, however, getting a little tired of ECW using super heavyweights as the champion because it seems to create the same David and Goliath story over and over again. It was nice when you had talent like Morrison, Punk and Chavo holding the strap because it promoted competitive wrestling matches instead of an obvious underdog trying to beat a guy who can bend a steel bar in half. This time around, Matt Hardy is the challenger, which makes the story seem even more redundant as Hardy is one of the ultimate underdogs in WWE. I wish good things for Hardy, and hope he wins the title at Summerslam, but given his track record in the company I just don’t see that happening. Nevertheless, ECW started off with a nice opening segment between champion and challenger.

Back from commercial break and it’s time for our first contest of the evening, Ricky Ortiz vs Chavo Guerrero. There was some bizarre booking going on in this segment. I’m not sure if they are trying to get Ortiz over as a legitimate winner, or as a guy who picks up fluke victories and claims he is undefeated. If it’s the latter, then it seems like he’d be a heel, but creative seems to be pushing him as a face. This was a boring match, to say the least, with Ortiz hitting a couple standard moves and Chavo using rest holds throughout. What I liked here, though, is the budding rivalry between Evan Bourne and Chavo. This match seemed to setup Bourne and Ortiz vs Chavo and Neely, and it’s good to see these new talents actually being used in formidable feuds as opposed to throw away squash matches against jobbers. I will have to say, however, that Ortiz needs to step up his in-ring game if he wants to compete with guys like Bourne and Guerrero. Out of a possible 9 stars, I give this opening bout 4.5 stars.

After the match we cut backstage to the locker room where we saw Colin Delaney ask the champ and Atlas why they didn’t have his back in his match against Tommy Dreamer last week. I have to admit I like where they’re going with Delaney at the moment. Obviously no one would ever want Colin on his “team,” so it makes sense for Henry to use him when he needed him against Dreamer, and then dump him soon after. Without Dreamer or Henry though, I don’t know what kind of future Colin can have in ECW, because I don’t think he will work as a lone singles wrestler.

Back from break and it’s time for our second bout of the evening, an apparent handicap match featuring Finlay and Hornswoggle vs The Miz and Morrison. What else can I say here that I haven’t said a million times? I don’t like Hornswoggle. It makes no sense that Finlay would use him as a tag partner. That said, there were two things I really liked about this segment. One is that Morrison actually countered Horny’s attempt at a hurricanrana. I’m tired of seeing guys actually sell Horny’s offense. Come on, Colin Delaney would kick swoggle’s ass in a heartbeat, so I’m supposed to believe that Morrison can’t? I like that they went with a more realistic approach to this match. Secondly, I liked that they seem to be moving Finlay into a feud with Mike Knox. Not that I like Knox all that much, but Finlay works better as a singles wrestler as opposed to a comedy duo with Hornswoggle. Although I’m sure Horny will still help the Irishman with his usual “shenanigans,” this is at least a step in the right direction. Finlay has gone soft, it’s time to see the man that loves to fight again. 6 stars.

We jumped backstage again after the match and Matt Hardy was approached by Braden Walker, aka Chris Harris. This was a cool bit. I liked that Hardy referred to Delaney as a “wildcat,” and Walker’s ambiguous tone seemed like he couldn’t wait to turn his back on Matt. It will be interesting to see where Walker goes from here.

It’s now time for our main event of the evening, Matt Hardy vs Colin Delaney. While this wasn’t much of a match, it did it’s job which was to put over Hardy as a credible number one contender. If WWE is smart, they will allow Hardy to keep fighting Henry until he eventually wins the title. ECW hasn’t had a long standing rivalry for the title since Chavo and Punk were feuding, so it’s about time they put one into action. Matt is a great title chaser, and this feud could work if they allow it to take its time. Both Henry and Hardy look like legitimate stars of the brand, so creative is doing well so far. 4 stars.

Overall, this was a solid edition of ECW. The wrestling may have been lacking, but what I liked the most was the fact that everyone on the roster got a decent showing. You had appearances by Ortiz, Bourne, Walker, Knox, as well as actual feuds being established within the mid card. Yes, the show needs work, but the work they did last night showed that at the very least creative is aware of its faults. Out of a possible 9 stars, I give last night’s edition of ECW 5.5 Stars.

Nick’s Notes:

-So I guess the sign of a great announcer is when you notice he is doing a great job. Therefore the sign of a decent announcer is when you don’t notice him at all. The latter was the case for Todd Grisham. Is he great? No. But until he called Morrison the Salmon of Sexy I didn’t know he was there. Salmon? Really? Was that supposed to be a joke or does WWE really have an aversion to hiring literate announcers?

-If WWE hired Tony Atlas to be the mouthpiece of Mark Henry, why is he worse on the mic than the champ? Seriously, Atlas needs to take the cotton balls out of his mouth.

-They were in Hershey last night, I’m surprised no one made a Henry/Chocolate remark. I bet Adamle would have, his wrestling history knowledge is extensive.

-Where has Estrada been? I hope he sticks around, I think he has a lot of potential.

-It seems as though Miz and Morrison are finally finished with Finlay and Swoggle. I would like to see these two go their separate ways. ECW and Smackdown should make a trade, where Morrison winds up on Friday nights and can accelerate his singles career.

Thanks for reading, and as always, please send any and all feedback to

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