The Hardy Boys reunited, yet again, to open up ECW. Taking them on was the team of MVP and Kennedy – who are also no strangers to working together. This match was a downsized version of the six-man tag from Raw, but it was still fun to watch. It featured some good teamwork from the brothers Hardy early on, before Jeff was tagged in and beaten up for a while.
After a commercial break, Jeff managed to tag in a fresh Matt, who really took it to Kennedy. Itâ<80><99>s interesting to see that, two nights in a row, theyâ<80><99>ve teased Matt vs. MVP without having the two tie up once. Jeff was tagged back in, and made a Swanton attempt but…OUCH. Nothing but canvas, as Kennedy maneuvered out of the way. MVP was tagged back in, and all the energy left the match.
Donâ<80><99>t get me wrong, I love MVP. Honestly, I think heâ<80><99>s one of the best promo guys in all of wrestling right now, and a definite future main eventer. Still, after all that excitement, MVP soon had Jeff locked into the second sitting abdominal stretch of the match. Iâ<80><99>m not any kind of authority on how a wrestling match should be laid out, but that single change of pace sent me from the edge of my seat back to my previously worn butt groove.
The contest came to a finish when Kennedy knocked Jeff out of the ring, where he landed HARD. MVP pulled Jeff back in and made the three count.
The most interesting thing to come from this whole segment was the boutâ<80><99>s aftermath. Matt and MVP began arguing about the fall Jeff had taken. MVP said it wasnâ<80><99>t his fault. Kennedy came into the ring with a chair, ready to attack the Hardys. MVP prevented him from doing so, thereby protecting Matt and Jeff. This was a really cool way to show the shades of grey in MVPâ<80><99>s character.
Originally scheduled for this weekâ<80><99>s ECW was a different tag match altogether. Kane and Rey Mysterio were set to face Finlay and Big Daddy V. Plans were changed for as-yet-unknown reasons, when Big Daddy V couldnâ<80><99>t make it to the ECW tapings. Instead, we got Kane chokeslamming Matt Striker. Kane needed to be on the show, but surely this couldâ<80><99>ve been a one-on-one match. Striker is a great in-ring talent who rarely gets to compete.
Another shrunken version of a Raw tag match: Michelle McCool and Kelly Kelly (Blondes) vs. Melina and Layla El (Brunettes). This, too, served a purpose, promoting Survivor Series and giving a bigger spotlight to the two faces. (Mickie James, in my opinion, shined the brightest on Raw.) McCool, Kelly, and Layla are all showing considerable improvement in the ring, and this was a solid back and forth match. In the end, though, the old addage was true, and blondes did have more fun on this weekâ<80><99>s ECW. McCool dodged a splash from Melina, then hit a Chick Kick variation, which was actually not a variation at all, for the pin. Thereâ<80><99>ll be a 10 Diva tag match at Survivor Series, which will include the four girls we just saw.
The main event was a rematch from last Fridayâ<80><99>s Smackdown: CM Punk taking on Jamie Noble. Man, this was a terrific match! Itâ<80><99>s a shame that John Morrisonâ<80><99>s and The Mizâ<80><99>s guest commentaries were so loud they often detracted from what was going on in the ring. I do have to admit, though, that I cracked up when Morrison described the threat he posed to opponents. â<80><9c>What if Jesus knew kung fu? Thatâ<80><99>s what theyâ<80><99>re dealing with.â<80>
Noble and Punk have experience wrestling each other, and not just on last weekâ<80><99>s edition of Smackdown. In fact, Noble (wrestling under his real name, James Gibson) won the ROH World Title from Punk in 2005. On ECW this week, the two put forth a wonderfully executed, pure wrestling match. There were some great counters, as well as a few choice high impact moves. And, letâ<80><99>s face it, CM Punk is a really smart wrestler. Noble had worked his left arm for most of the match so, when it came time for Punkâ<80><99>s knee lift / bulldog combo, Punk shifted the headlock into his right arm before going for the takedown. Itâ<80><99>s little touches like this that remind us of what we just saw…in this case, all the time Noble invested into working over Punkâ<80><99>s arm.
The matchâ<80><99>s end came when Noble went for what, presumably, was to be a Tiger Driver, and Punk countered into the Go to Sleep. Winner: the champ, by pinfall. After the pin, Miz and Morrison hit the ring, each laying out the victor with his signature neckbreaker variation.
All in all, this was a really tight show. It was filled to the brim with matches, which is a rarity in both WWE and TNA, nowadays. Both the first and last bouts really delivered – especially the main event. I canâ<80><99>t, for the life of me, figure out why Noble isnâ<80><99>t being put into the ECW title match at Survivor Series. He has as good a feud going with Punk as both the challengers, after last week and tonight. He always works his tail off, and heâ<80><99>s consistently entertaining to watch. So, if Noble isnâ<80><99>t going to be in that match, maybe he should be moved to ECW after the pay-per-view. Iâ<80><99>d really like to see Morrison turn face, then feud with Miz. Meanwhile, Punk (assuming he keeps the title this Sunday) could defend against Noble for a while.
As with all things, weâ<80><99>ll see. But weâ<80><99>re still in the current week and, as such, itâ<80><99>s time to rate this weekâ<80><99>s episode of ECW. The biggest question for most any week-of-the-pay-per-view broadcast: how did it do at building the upcoming event? The answer: pretty well. About as well as Raw did (a good thing), while wisely using matches instead of promos. This is more ECWâ<80><99>s style, after all. On a 1-10 scale, this weekâ<80><99>s show gets an 8.0.
Iâ<80><99>ll be back here next week, with my take on the November 20th broadcast…when we might be looking at a new ECW champion. â<80>~Til then…donâ<80><99>t forget to read Offbeat Shenanigans, down in the Editorials section!
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