The show started with Mike Adamle and Tazz plugging the fatal four-way match to determine the new #1 Contender to the ECW Title. … In-ring: Teddy Long was standing next to a brand-new ECW Title belt. Ooh, and they’re doing it in Philly. The belt looked like a really silver version of the Smackdown divas belt. Sans butterflies. Mark Henry then came out with Tony Atlas and held up the new ECW Title belt for everyone to see. Atlas said they are so happy to receive this new title. He said it all begins again tonight with a new ECW. Atlas said that title is about credibility and prestige because it is held by the world’s strongest champion, Mark Henry.
Atlas and Henry shared a laugh about Henry squashing Tommy Dreamer. Atlas said people who realize today is a new today will be rewarded. He then brought out Colin Delaney to accept their props. Colin strutted out with a classic goofy smile while Henry and Atlas smiled in the ring. Colin took the mic and said everyone wants to know why he turned on Dreamer. He said Dreamer was his friend and mentor, but it got him nowhere because he got beat up every night. Henry laughed at the thought of beating up Colin himself. Colin said that at the Bash, he saw a legend in the corner of the world’s strongest champion, then he saw Tommy Dreamer. “A washed up loser,” he said. Henry had a good laugh. Colin said Dreamer is the past, while Henry and Atlas are the future. He said if they need anyone to carry his bags or do anything, he’s on board.
Teddy Long interrupted and told Colin to hold up one second. Long called Dreamer the future because Colin is having a match with him tonight. Atlas wanted to talk things over, but Teddy cut him off. He said this is Philly. This is ECW. This is Extreme. Long called for a referee, then Dreamer’s music hit and Dreamer came out to the ring looking very determined. Colin looked very nervous about this. Atlas and Henry wished him luck, then they ducked out of the ring. Colin felt very alone.
1 — TOMMY DREAMER vs. COLIN DELANEY (w/ECW champion Mark Henry and Tony Atlas)
Dreamer quickly went on the attack in this one. Colin tried to make a comeback with fists of fury, but Dreamer cut him off in the corner and landed the basement dropkick. Dreamer then set up Colin for the DDT to win, but he paused for a second before smashing Colin into the mat. Dreamer with the pin for a decisive win.
WINNER: Dreamer in 3:00. Well, they didn’t get a whole lot of mileage out of Colin’s heel turn, except reinforce his character as a total loser. It was funny hearing Adamle and Tazz pile on, as if they had been waiting months to rip on Colin. (*)
Backstage: Miz and Morrison discussed the tag title loss at the PPV two nights ago. Morrison said it was Black Sunday and they weren’t even pinned because no one is capable of beating them in a straight tag match. Morrison and Miz then complemented each other on who’s hotter. I thought they were going to have a Beth-Santino moment for a second. They wished each other luck in the four-way #1 Contender match tonight.
Video package: They aired the Jenny McCarthy plug for SNME next Saturday to help fight autism. … Announcers: Chavo Guerrero and Bam Neely joined Tazz and Adamle ringside for commentary. Neely with the greatest hesitation handshake for Adamle. He showed more personality there than ever before.
2 — EVAN BOURNE vs. JAMES CURTIS
Hey, good to see Curtis back on the show with the facial hair of doom gimmick. Chavo tried to get his heat back for losing to Bourne last week because his mind was on other things, such as the Edge-Vickie wedding. Chavo said he can’t wait to get his hands on Bourne. Match started with Curtis working over Bourne in the corner before Bourne ducked a clothesline. He tried a monkey flip, but Curtis held onto the ropes to block. Interesting.
Curtis went back on the offensive and tried to wrench Bourne’s neck, but Bourne came back with a nice high-angle huracanrana in center ring. Bourne then laid out Curtis in the corner before hopping up top. He nailed the gorgeous Shooting Star Press to a strong crowd reaction for the pin and the win. Afterward, Chavo and Neely tried to corner him in the ring, but Bourne escaped for higher ground to leave the heels wanting to get their hands on him.
WINNER: Bourne in 4:00. That finisher is so sweet. Nice action here, although a bit slow at times with Curtis not a seasoned technician at this point in his infrequent ECW run. Fine for a Bourne showcase. (*)
Backstage: Finlay and Hornswoggle talked strategy ahead of Finlay’s opportunity in the four-way #1 contender match. They compared notes on shillelagh strategy, then Hornswoggle laughed it up.
Raw Rebound: They focused on the Punk vs. Batista activity leading to JBL’s interference in the main event title match. They also went heavy on the Batista vs. Cena show-closing stand-off.
Backstage: Teddy’s assistant, Tiffany, was hanging out with Ricky Ortiz DaBone. They talked some marketing, then Ortiz said he’s tight with John Elway. Teddy Long interrupted and said his hair was just like Ricky’s in 1974. Ortiz then decided to pitch some merch ideas for Teddy to get started on. He came up with a nick name of Ricky Ortiz, “the Latin Assassin.” Long told him to slow his roll and win another match. Ortiz said it’s undefeated. He paused and gave that ta-da! smile, which prompted giggles from Adamle from the announce position. Long told Ricky he has his second match next week. Ricky excitedly walked away at that news.
Announcers: Mike Adamle giggled it up, then Tazz made fun of his face. Adamle segued to a video package on Mike Knox, the Snitsky, if you will, of ECW.
Backstage: Matt Hardy was staring into our souls. Hey, Matt, good to see you on ECW. Hardy said he has a huge opportunity tonight. He recapped losing the U.S. Title at the Bash, but tonight, a new door is open. Hardy said he’s kicking the door wide open tonight. And he’s going to Summerslam to face Mark Henry after winning tonight.
In-ring: The Miz came out first for the main event four-way match. Finlay then came out with Hornswoggle by his side. Adamle and Tazz plugged ECW in Hershey, Pa. next week. Hershey will always be linked to Heidenreich covered in Hershey’s chocolate and sharing a giant Hershey’s bar with kids ringside. There’s no escaping that imagery. John Morrison and his environmentally-friendly ring jacket came out next, followed by Matt Hardy.
3 — THE MIZ vs. FINLAY (w/Hornswoggle) vs. MATT HARDY vs. JOHN MORRISON — #1 Contender match to ECW Title
Miz and Morrison quickly found themselves on the floor to start the match. Finlay and Hardy had a brief stare down, which led to a lock-up and test of wills. Miz and Morrison took advantage to attack them from behind to set up a mini-tag match. Real nice exchange leading to a four-man stand-off as they cut to a break.
They had a series of nearfalls out of the break, with Adamle having one of those moments where he got lost without a map trying to keep up with the rapid-fire action. Morrison then knocked Finlay to the outside and went after Hornswoggle, but Finlay smashed him across the back and clotheslined Morrison over the guardrail to the front row. Finlay followed to the front row, but Morrison chucked a brew into Finlay’s face. Miz then came to Morrison’s aid and they set up a big catapult-into-clothesline-into-elbow-smash on the floor to presumably KO Finlay.
[Q5 — over-run]
At the top of the hour, Miz and Morrison re-entered the ring to double-team Hardy in center ring. Morrison told Miz to check out Finlay, then he suddenly rolled up Hardy for a nearfall. Miz, stunned, turned back around to find Morrison trying to sneak one in. Hardy tried to take advantage of the disagreement with a roll-up on Morrison, but Morrison kicked out and Miz clotheslined Hardy. Miz and Morrison decided to work together, but Hardy fought them both off when Morrison accidentally kicked Miz in the face. Hardy smashed Morrison with the side effect, but Morrison kicked out. Finlay suddenly re-entered the picture and nearly pinned Hardy, but Morrison broke it up. Finlay cleaned house with a major burst of energy, then he came off the second rope with a missile dropkick on Morrison for a nearfall. Whew.
They took it home with Hardy nailing a double bulldog on the tag champs. Finlay then nearly scored a pin on Hardy with a big clothesline, but Hardy kicked out. Finlay wanted the Celtic Cross on Miz, but Miz hot-shot him across the top rope. At 17:00, Hornswoggle got involved, which temporarily gave Finlay control until Morrison smashed him in the face with a kick. Morrison wanted a big springboard kick on Hardy, but Hardy kicked him in the gut in mid-air and hit the Twist of Fate on Morrison. Hardy with the pin for the win.
Post-match: Hardy pumped his fist in jubilation. Henry and Atlas then came out on stage. Henry held his ECW Title for Hardy to get a good look, then Hardy stared him down to close the show.
WINNER: Hardy in 18:00 to become #1 Contender. That, my friends, was a heck of a TV match. Probably the best ECW TV match we’ve seen this year. Good energy, nice counters, crowd involved, good finish, and desperation/sense of urgency from all four men trying to get their hands on an ECW Title that was presented strongly on TV tonight. Excellent conclusion to the show. (***1/2)
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