ECW started off this week with a Royal Rumble preview match. It was contested under standard battle royal rules, meaning everyone was in the ring at the same time. The competitors were: Kane, Tommy Dreamer, The Miz, John Morrison, and Shelton Benjamin.
Kane eliminated Dreamer pretty quickly. Later on, he took out the tag team champions at the same time. Shelton Benjamin, who was dangling on the ropes, maneuvered Kane out of the ring using a head scissors takedown. Wow, this was a pleasant surprise!
Kane looked really strong here but, in my opinion, they did the right thing giving Shelton the win. It was a big moment for him. Maybe he’ll last for a while in the Rumble, which will make Raw and Smackdown fans notice him. (Wishful thinking, but it could happen!)
Kelly Kelly won the Best Body in ECW contest. Yawn.
Tazz mentioned that ECW was broadcasting in HD about 60 times during this segment. He humorously referred to Joey Styles as being “made for standard definition.” No idea what Kelly Squared, Layla, or Lena looked like in HD because I don’t have an HD set. And, even if I did, Philly’s Comcast isn’t carrying USA or Sci-Fi in HD. Bummer!
Kofi Kingston made his debut against a preliminary talent whose name I didn’t write down. I think he was wrestling under the name of David Owens. It was a nice back and forth match. It looks like Kingston’s unique style is still being developed, but kudos to him for trying different things. Kingston by pinfall after a modified enzeguri. Kofi will be very interesting to watch in coming months.
There was a really good video package highlighting some of the “magic numbers” and records in the Royal Rumble’s 20 year history. You could’ve shown this to a friend who doesn’t watch wrestling at all and they’d have been excited for the Rumble match.
The Great Khali squashed Colin Delaney, winning the match with a vice grip. This match wasn’t as humorous as the others. Looks like they’re trying to make Colin’s plight a bit more serious. I hope Colin gets signed to a full-time WWE deal.
Chavo Guerrero defeated CM Punk to win the ECW title, after an Edge spear laid out Punk. (The match was no DQ.) Afterwards, Chavo celebrated with Edge, Vickie, and The Edgeheads.
I am NOT happy about the title switch but, perhaps, a great Punk-Edge feud will come from this. Chavo doesn’t have a ton of contenders waiting for him on ECW’s largely heel roster, and his push to the title felt cheap and less than stellar. Let’s hope his reign is better than I’m expecting.
This week’s episode of ECW gets a 5/10…mostly because I’m bitter about the title change. Nonetheless, a good Royal Rumble build show.
Check back next week for another ECW take!
Kevin McElvaney is also a contributing writer for Pro Wrestling Illustrated and The Wrestler / Inside Wrestling. Send questions or comments to email@example.com.