Kevin McElvaney’s Take On ECW: January 29, 2008 Edition

Kevin McElvaney

Whenever I’m faced with the task of defending ECW to to someone – whether it be a friend or a visitor to this very site – I sometimes wonder why I even bother. After all, the show is nothing like what we were told to expect when it was introduced. Many argue that it’s a repetitive creature, showcasing the same matches and angles week after week after week. Just when I’m starting to believe such hype, an episode like last night’s airs and puts my doubts to rest.

Skeptical fans, I submit this simple truth to you: five matches in one hour.

That’s right. FIVE matches. In addition to video recaps, hype packages, and the night’s main event segment. When do you remember seeing such tightly polished production on a wrestling program? If you watched the January 29 ECW, that’s when. And it’s not the first time we’ve seen this from the purple brand, either. Let’s take a look at what went down.

The night’s opening bout pitted Kane against Shelton Benjamin. Kane used his usual arsenal of slams, strikes, and intimidation, while Shelton attempted to work over the Big Red Machine’s legs. Just when it seemed that Kane was about to end Shelton’s ECW undefeated streak, he did – but by count-out. Shelton abandoned the match after being nailed with a big boot.

This ending has been used quite a bit in the past couple years but, still, it was an easy way to keep Shelton’s no-pin streak in tact without resorting to disqualification.

After that, it was Kelly Kelly against Victoria. Layla El and Lena were at ringside, providing color commentary. Kelly held her own, even pulling off an impressive satellite head scissors and, moments later, a huracanrana. The match ended when Victoria countered Kelly’s offense into the Widow’s Peak for the pinfall. Afterwards, Layla and Lena helped Vickie attack Kelly.

Kelly Kelly is really getting better in the ring week by week, and this might’ve been her best match yet. Also, it was nice to see a heel get a clean win which didn’t make the good gal look really weak.

Colin Delaney was back out, even more bandaged than he was last time. I am loving this angle.

His opponents were The Miz and John Morrison, who dominated him in a handicapped match. Delaney’s only offense came from dodging a pair of running splashes from his opponents.

Miz and Morrison hit their signature neckbreakers on Delaney, then pinned him. After the match, they attacked him again, but Delaney was saved by none other than Tommy Dreamer.

If Colin Delaney hasn’t yet been signed to WWE, it seems he’s about to. Under Dreamer’s wing, he’ll probably get a decent push on ECW – which, even while not under contract, he’s already managed to do – and, fingers crossed, the two could make a run for the tag team titles.

CM Punk bounced back from his several week slump by defeating Elijah Burke. These guys are very familiar with each other inside the ring, so this was a lot of fun to watch. Punk won the match in a few minutes with the Go to Sleep.

Match four saw Kofi Kingston’s second in-ring appearance for the ECW brand. Last week, I was left wondering if, maybe, Kofi had been called up to WWE a little too soon. It was my first time seeing him wrestle and, although he was competing very creatively, some his offense looked a little awkward. (Not, of course, that I could’ve pulled any of it off myself. Just saying…)

Whatever made Kingston appear not ready last week can probably be written off as opening night jitters, because he was very impressive this week. In fact, dare I say, he reminds me of a young Rob Van Dam. His offense is very innovative and, even the moves which are common to wrestling look markedly different when Kofi performs them.

I was also really excited to see Kingston’s opponent was Rob Eckos. Eckos competes for Delaware’s ECWA (home of the annual Super 8 tournament). I’d become aware of him last year when covering him for a story in The Wrestler, and he’s a real talent in his own right.

The finish of the match came when Kingston hit his double limb legdrop, followed by a single motion enzeguri. Kofi Kingston by pinfall in an impressive outing.

After five matches (count ’em), it was time for the night’s main event segment. Chavo Guerrero came out to participate in a fiesta, celebrating his recent successes and ECW title win. He was accompanied by a mariachi band. Chavo wound up dancing, while the band played.

Of course, it turned out that one of the guitar players was CM Punk in disguise. Punk spun around, then leveled Guerrero with his guitar, laying him out. Punk looked at the camera, then removed his hat and fake mustache. The crowd went absolutely nuts.

It’s saying something that such a silly segment can feel so important when done with the right wrestlers. The ending of the show left me wanting to see more.

I think I’ve addressed all of the things I loved about last night’s ECW pretty well. That’s why I hesitate very little to give the show a 9 / 10 for this week. The only thing that could’ve possibly made it better would’ve been an excellent, main event quality match in the night’s final segment. Then again, there’s only so much you can fit on one broadcast.

Great job, ECW!

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