Live (albeit belatedly) from beautiful downtown Bakersfield ...
Was at the ECW show / SD taping last night. After the weirdness that was Raw last night (The W), I'm danm near giddy to report: Good, fun show!
-- Charles Evans (from OVW) d. Chavo: Unlike the jobber squashes of last night, this was a real match. Evans looked pretty decent, & was definitely working hard. Better than just decent presentation on the promo he gave -- overall he looked pormising. A little bit of confusion in the crowd about who should be the face & who should be the heel, but I'm thinking that was a Rey-apeshit crowd denying kayfabe.
-- Kane d. Mark Henry, by DQ: Kane doesn't always get the credit he deserves. He totally ran this entire thing, & got a pretty damn good match out of Mark Henry! Crowd did seem to appreciate his efforts.
-- Jamie Noble d. Nunzio: Nice little match. Considering that nobody takes Noble's character seriously, & that Nunzio gets so little face time, they did a good job & ran an entertaining match.
-- Joey Styles did the "Signs" segment live in the arena -- hey, he actually got the jokes on the signs! (I don't want to keep saying, "Unlike the mess at Raw last night", but ... yeah.)
-- Layla w/ Miz d. Kelly Kelly: I (also) hate to say that this "match" would have been much better were there mud involved. These girls are not ready to have a match, especially without somebody with some experience involved. And, why did it take Balls so long to get out there to the rescue?
-- Elijah Burke d. Shannon Moore: Excellent jobbing by Shannon, & I actually liked Elijah better than I usually do -- don't know if that's a live thing or just this match. (He's usually one of those guys that scares me.) Crowd was giving him more of a face reaction than heel -- is it just my imagination, or does ECW just have way too many tween-ish guys?
-- Meanwhile, Tazz is the in-ring moderator for the "kiss-cam". It's a dumb segment, but it certainly helps to have a clever commentator.
-- We got the Regal / Orton discussion of additional stipulatons for SurSer. Crowd was slightly confused that this was in the middle of ECW, but fine. (Shawn can't use the superkick, & Randy can't weasel out with an intentional DQ.)
-- Punk vs. Morrison: Johnny is improving in his authority & "compelling-ness" in promos -- he's getting there. Nice match overall, & good flashy spots. I think I'd really like to see a little more crispness & oomph on the "bread & butter" mundane stuff. (Feels to me like they kinda throw that stuff away, til they get to the flash.) Miz distracts Morrison by tossing his hat at Morrison - eh. (BTW, security retrieved the hat from the audience -- apparently Miz can't afford to give out souveniers.) The whole ensuing Miz hates Morrison, Punk hates Miz thing was kinda confusing, but fun in a random beatdown way.
Announcement of "Double Main Event" : Finley vs. Rey (crowd goes apeshit), & Khali vs. Taker, No Holds Barred (crowd goes wild).
-- Tag Team Royal, winner gets a shot at the TT titles later: -- Jesse & Festus -- Major Brothers -- Dave Taylor & Drew McIntyre -- Deuce & Domino -- Jimmy Wang Yang & Shannon Moore [[second appearance of the night]] Dogpile on Festus gets them out of the way straightaway. Taylor tosses Jimmy W.Y. eliminating him & Shannon. (And it occurs to me that from here on Dave Taylor is the only one in the ring who I'd call "experienced". Dave & Shannon (specifically) know that it's important to keep working & doing stuff -- there were a couple of intervals where, in spite of all those guys in the ring, there wasn't really much happening. Just an inexperience thing.) One of the Majors battles Taylor out of the ring -- & Taylor works the crowd superbly on his way out. (Among the best heelishness all night.) And finally one of the Majors (You'll tell me which did which when you get to see it on TV) pulls down the ropes as D&D attempt to double team him -- D&D eliminate themselves for a Majors Brothers win! (Happy beefy blondie boys. ;->)
-- Taped piece sets up ...
-- Michelle McCool w/ Chuck Palumbo vs. Victoria w/ Kenny: I've gotta say, Michelle is coming along. This was a damn decent women's match. (It didn't feel like the experienced wrestler was having to totally drag the rookie around, nor did it seem that the match would have benefitted from mud or feathers.) Both of the guys being good valets.
-- Rey promo, with the crowd going extra-especially crazy when Rey drops into bits of Spanish. Uh, I'd say this is a Rey-centric crowd. (Duh.)
-- Jamie Noble (in *his* second appearance of the night) teeters between mac-ing on Vicki & insulting her, while trying to foist his new VHS video on her. ("Who doesn't like pie?" Uh, Vicki?) Noble ends up with his second match of the night, this time with CM Punk.
-- Finley vs. Mysterio, as the first ME: I can't convey how totally apeshit for Rey this crowd was. And Finley was completely happy to play as bad a bad guy as they wanted. Excellent match, with Rey getting banged around in a big way. WIldly bold booking decision to have Rey lose here -- kinda weirded out the crowd, who *assumed* that of course Rey would win. Earlier in the night Taylor was riling up the crowd -- Finley carried right on with that. I couldn't see the last bit of the match, but afterwards, they had the doctor out, & they had Rey's mask off, with a towel hiding his face. He walked out on his own, & hopefully he's all OK.
-- CM Punk vs. Jamie Noble (second match of the night for each): DQ, with run-ins by Miz then Morrison. Uh, not the best booking to have 2 of these run-in extravaganzas in the same (live) show. And a deadly booking spot, right after the big, hot Rey-Rey match. Everybody was working hard here, but maybe they didn't have much of a chance in this spot.
-- Batista out to talk about whupping Mark Henry's ass next week -- Dave hasn't forgotten that it was Henry who put him out for 6 months; with HIAC coming up soon, Henry has Batista in the wrong mindset. Hot promo -- exellent. And thanks, Dave -- as gorgeous as you look in your perfectly tailored suit, the tank top underneath is a wonderful thing.
-- MVP & Matt Hardy defend the TT titles against the Major Brothers (in their second match of the night): Everybody working hard, & I actually liked MVP here much more than usual. The Majors were definitely trying to make the most of the opportunity, & they didn't look bad. (They need some experienced opponents, but they were doin' good.) Weirdly short match though, with MVP actually finishing the match with the win.
-- No Holds Barred, Khali vs. Undertaker: Y'know, I've seen it a bunch of times, but the Undertaker entrance live is still really cool! Started slow -- not a suprise -- but Undertaker turned this way up toward the end. Not so much a chokeslam as a choke-shove, but it was still great.*Big* slam on Taker by Khali. And then a clean, submission win, center-ring, by Undertaker with a nifty leg triangle choke! One of those finishes that leaves the crowd completely "Ohmygod"! Excellent finish!
Not sure at which point y'all went off air ...
After appropriate posing by Taker, including staredown with JBL at announce desk, JBL jumps into the ring to taunt Taker & generally rile up the crowd. JBL tries a cheapshot; Taker counters that directly into a chokeslam, then follows up with a Tombstone. (I guess JBL's back is feeling better!) Crowd goes totally apeshit again. JBL scrabbles for a mic, & offers "Yo soy esta bueno." (to laughs) & threatens INS (to more laughs.)
Great finale to a really fun, very good, live show!
I had lunch at Wool Growers (woolgrowers.net) for lunch today. I swear Miz stole that sheep's hat! Pity Miz isn't bright enough to deserve it.
I found it interesting on the show last night when The Miz came in to attack C.M. Punk, Bradshaw didn't say a word. When John Morrison came in to do the same, JBL started talking again. It reminded me of how much he couldn't stand The Miz when he was on Smackdown.
I also really enjoyed seeing Festus last night, as this was the first time I've seen him and his character. I really have to start taping this show.
Also, since Jimmy Wang Yang is an asian-american with a cowboy gimmick, they should recall P.Y. Chu-Hi from the '80's and have him pair up with an american doing a samurai routine.
Some of Kurt's matches have had fucked-up finishes. He and Kane botched the finish in last year's Mania. The match wasn't very good, either. And in 2001, in the match where he dropped the belt to Rock (maybe it was No Way Out?