Nick’s ECW Review 8-5-08: “Striker Strikes Hard”

Nick Paglino


What’s up wrestling fans? It’s time, once again, to take a look at the Tuesday Night Fight known as ECW on Sci-Fi. I’m going to take this opening bit here to congratulate Matt Striker for giving one of the best debut color commentary performances I have ever seen in professional wrestling. This guy is as articulate and knowledgeable as it comes. He did his homework last night and it showed. For what it’s worth, I say get rid of Tazz and keep Striker, because he was not only well-spoken, but he added professional flare to the show that made me feel like I was watching an important sporting event. That said, let’s take you back to the action last night from Atlanta, Georgia.

We began last night with a tag team match featuring Chavo Guerrero and Bam Neely vs Evan Bourne and Ricky Ortiz. Bourne is just nuts. I can’t word it fancier than that. This guy has so much intensity, in-ring ability, and charisma that I am predicting that if his size does not become too much of an issue backstage he’s going to be on Raw or Smackdown within months. As for the match itself, it was a great way to start off the night. Fast paced, evenly matched, with all four guys putting their best foot forward. I like Chavo and Bam as a tag team. It would be interesting to see them competing in the tag division on either Smackdown or Raw, although I am hesitant to recommend that ECW lose anymore talent at this time. Out of a possible 9 stars, I give this opening bout 6 stars.

Back from commercial break and Mike Knox is standing in the ring with a mic. Someone was wearing their bad idea jeans when they decided to put Knox in the ring with a microphone. This guy is very rigid on the horn and his performance is not very believable. I buy him as a legit tough guy since his appearance gives it away, but once he opens his mouth I seem to lose interest. I think Mike Knox is an interesting performer, and he could work well on the WWE roster, he just needs to improve at a quicker rate, because he’s not a rookie anymore. After some brief (and 100% true) words about Finlay’s status as a “frolicking Irishman,” the “man who used to fight” hit the ring and confronted Knox. I think this will lead to a great match between these two guys as both have a similar style that I think will compliment one another. Much like the budding rivalry between William Regal and Jamie Noble on Raw, I hope this develops into something that will last longer than one or two matches. The more intense the feud becomes between Knox and Finlay, the stiffer their matches can become, not to mention it will keep Finlay out of tag team action with Hornswoggle.

Next up was a “do or die” match pitting Tommy Dreamer against Armando Estrada, where Armando had to win or he would be forced to leave ECW. This was a fun match. Nothing great to speak of, but it served to keep Armando on ECW and concluded his quest to receive a contract. He can now focus on being a full time ECW member and let’s hope creative works well with him. One funny spot saw Colin Delaney actually dive over the announce table when Dreamer came after him. Of course he ultimately interfered and Estrada was able to pick up the win with a roll up. 4.5 Stars.

Back from commercial break and Armando and Colin are in the locker room where Armando thanks Delaney for his help. They are interrupted by General Manager Teddy Long and he tells Colin that next week on ECW he will go one-on-one with Tommy Dreamer in an extreme rules match. Hilarious reaction from Estrada when he simply looks at Colin and says “I gotta go shower.” Here’s what I like about creative’s direction with Delaney: he helps people who have no interest in returning the favor. He’ll appear in anyone’s corner to help that person defeat Dreamer, but once Delaney is the one in trouble, he’s on his own. It makes the heels look like real parasites and makes Colin look useless. I like it.

Next up is our wrestling main event of the evening Braden Walker vs James Curtis. I don’t understand what’s going on with Chris Harris. Yes, I blame WWE for dropping the ball and not promoting his debut like they are doing with Ron Killings, but at some point you have to take the ball you’ve been given and run with it. Harris is a multi-time tag team champion, one hell of an in-ring talent, and since he’s debuted in ECW he looks like he’s never wrestled a match in his career. We all know he’s let his physique go, but to add to that he has dropped the intensity that he used to have in his TNA days. His ring work last night against Curtis looked weak, and he used the most basic wrestling maneuvers as offense. Harris is above this. There is no way a man of his stature and ability should be on the receiving end of “boring” chants from a live crowd. This guy needs to step up quickly before his ball completely deflates. 5 Stars.

It’s now time for our main event “segment” of the evening, a live edition of The Dirt Sheet featuring The Miz and John Morrison. I have to admit this was a lot funnier than I thought it would be. Tony Atlas’ bit on the TitanTron was well-deserving of applause. Kudos to Atlas for letting Miz and Morrison basically call him a money-grubber. After the former Tag Team Champions insulted Henry a bit, The Champ and Atlas hit the ring as they had heard enough. Miz and Morrison groveled a bit, then started in on Matt Hardy. This prompted Version 1 to hit the ring and both challenger and champion cleaned house. I thought it was a really great idea to have, as Striker pointed out, “circumstances make for strange alliances,” as it once again showcased Henry and Hardy as the top dogs on ECW. I know I have been hard this Summerslam match, but I have to say it’s being booked much better than the other two title matches, and for my money, may be the dark horse of the three.

Overall, this was a decent edition of ECW, with a solid opening tag match and some nice story line progression. Beyond the beginning and the end, however, it felt somewhat bland. Out of a possible 9 stars, I give ECW on Sci-Fi 5.5 Stars.

Nick’s Notes:

-The Grish and The Strike made a great team last night. I’d keep this duo going, because they can only get better from here.

-Morrison is hilarious. His delivery is great. I say it every week, and I’ll keep saying it until he gets his due, but this is one guy that’s ready for the “A” show, whichever one that happens to be right now. (wink,wink)

-I think it’s a good thing that I don’t know whether Raw or Smackdown is the “A” show right now, it shows that both creative teams are firing on all cylinders.

-The problem is, however, if Raw is “A” and Smackdown is “A,” ECW is still “C.”

-I think Mike Knox’s beard is starting to grow a beard.

Thanks for reading, and as always please send any and all feedback to VOWNick@gmail.com

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