With that said, a few more people take exception to some of the things I say in my ECW takes. That’s fine…after all, what good would it be if we all liked and disliked exactly the same things? Still, I’d like to clear up my approach to the weekly takes, for those of you who are unsure of the direction I’m coming from.
1) ECW on Sci-Fi is NOT the original ECW, and I refuse to grade it relative to the original product. Yes, we all miss the real thing, but it’s not fair to those working on the current brand to burden them with such comparisons.
2) ECW is NOT on the level of Raw and Smackdown. First of all, it’s a one hour show. It’s given far less resources, a crappier timeslot, and, in some cases, talent which is unused on the bigger two brands. As such, I will never grade ECW relative to Raw and Smackdown. Instead, I grade it on its own standards. Still, it just so happens that, even given the limited amount of resources the ECW brand has, it manages to do a few things Raw and Smackdown can’t.
I’m glad I got all of that off my chest. Keep in mind that I’m grading these shows relative to the potential which ECW might achieve. For instance, you might not think a Shelton Benjamin promo was good. Let’s face it…he’s not up to a Ric Flair level when giving interviews. That’s fine, because I’m analyzing his progress, what I liked and disliked about the promo, etc. rather than his delivery.
Even after this long preface, you’re still free to disagree with me as openly as you’d like. Simply email me and let me know what you thought of this week’s show.
Aaaand breathe out. Here’s the weekly recap.
The opening segment, as usual, set up the night’s main event contest. Elijah Burke interrupted a heartfelt Ric Flair promo, first praising the Nature Boy and then provoking him. Shelton Benjamin came out and did much of the same thing. Eventually, the two heels double-teamed Flair. CM Punk came out for the save. Yes, I should’ve seen it coming but, caught up in the moment like the seven year old boy who’s still somewhere inside of me, I didn’t. As such, I literally cheered out loud when Punk came to Flair’s aid. A mark? You betcha.
Backstage, Armando Estrada told Burke and Benjamin they’d be teaming up against Punk and Flair in the main event. Shelton looks so much more comfortable in backstage sketches than on the mic in front of the crowd. Burke is equally at home either way. A small detail showing these two backstage, but important in showcasing their characters just a bit more.
Kofi Kingston wrestled once again, this time besting indy wrestler Jason Riggs – not to be confused with Jason Biggs, pie lover and star of the film Loser. Kingston won the match with what Joey Styles termed the “Jamaican Buzzsaw” kick, and what one of my readers told me is alternately referred to as the 540 kick and “Cool Runnings” (by Kingston while in OVW). Thanks Mike!
After the match, Joey Styles interviewed Kingston, who talked about how he always stops trouble in paradise. He called ECW paradise. I hear Jamaica is a lot nicer than ECW, but then again, I’ve never been. Nice match, nonetheless.
There was an update on Hornswoggle’s medical condition, following the beatdown he received on Raw. Horney is fine, kids. On a funny side note, my parents have recently taken to watching Raw, themselves. And, after watching this week’s cage match with my dad, my mom asked me if “that guy killed that leprechaun.” Oh Mom, you mark.
The Miz pinned Colin Delaney. Morrison and Dreamer were both at ringside. You know, I kind of thought Delaney would be getting the win tonight, but it’s good that he didn’t. They seem to be emulating the Mikey Whipwreck storyline from the original ECW here and, if that’s what they’re doing, they can go a long way building Delaney up as an underdog before finally giving him a big win.
Once again, a cheap plug. CHIKARA’s annual King of Trios comes to the former ECW Arena in South Philly the weekend of February 29th. Yours truly will be there, and Colin Delaney will be competing (alongside his “twin brother” Jimmy Olsen).
Kelly Kelly said that she was happy for Maria posing in Playboy, and that she’d like to pose for Playboy, too. Why do I think we’re a year or less away from seeing that happen?
They showed footage of the Stevie Richards-Joey Styles interview discussing Richards’ many throat surgeries. Richards defeated James Curtis (aka KC James) by pinfall, using the Stevie-T. Great to see Stevie back on ECW!
The main event match – pitting Ric Flair and CM Punk against Elijah Burke and Shelton Benjamin – went through a commercial break. Ric Flair’s career wasn’t on the line, being as this was a tag match. I don’t really understand why that would be, especially because Flair’s won every tag match he’s been in since this angle started, but hey.
Solid match, which made everybody in it look good. Flair won it for his team, after making Burke submit to the figure four leglock. Tazz and Joey Styles really put over what an honor it was to see soon-to-be Hall of Famer, Ric Flair, compete on ECW TV.
The show was a little bit heavy on the main event segment, given the build at the beginning of the show and how the match went through a commercial break. That really eats up a lot of the show.
On the other hand, what the heck am I talking about? This is Ric Flair, during the most important storyline he’s had in years. The amount of time is absolutely justified, and I liked most of what I saw during the rest of the show, too.
The February 19th ECW gets a 7.5 out of 10.
While I’m posting this, I’d like to remind any of you who’d be interested in doing so to email me your votes for the worst storyline in wrestling history. Votes will be tallied and included in a special edition of Offbeat Shenanigans, which goes online later this week. No Katie Vick, Beaver Cleavage, or D-X / Vince antics, as I already covered them in my most recent column.
Kevin McElvaney is also a contributing writer for Pro Wrestling Illustrated and The Wrestler / Inside Wrestling. Send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.