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TV REPORTS
CALDWELL'S ECW TV REPORT 12/8: In-person live report on Christian & Yoshi & Shelton vs. Team Regal, Archer vs. Dreamer

Dec 8, 2009 - 11:25:11 PM
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Staff08Caldwell_120c_91.jpg
WWE - ECW on SyFy TV Report
December 8, 2009 - Year 4, Week 27 (Week 183 overall)
Taped in Houston, Tex.
By James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor


My TV report this week will be a little different without hearing the commentary from Josh Mathews and Byron Saxton being live inside Toyota Center for the ECW taping tonight. I'll offer some first-hand perspective on crowd reactions and my view of the matches from inside the arena rather than watching the TV presentation.

Prior to the ECW taping starting, Goldust came out for the dark match to start the taping. Kaval (Low-Ki) was his opponent. Kaval cut a promo about his discipline and knowledge making him far superior than the fans. Basically, C.M. Punk's "I'm better than you" promos with a twist. And Ki's deep, unique voice.

Dark match: Goldust beat Kaval at 3:52. Crowd was into the match with Kaval flailing around to sell for Goldust. He seems to have studied some Chris Jericho tapes on "playing to the top row of the arena." Goldust avoided a top rope double foot stomp, then hit the Final Cut suplex for the win.

ECW TV started with a ladder positioned center ring. The ECW Title belt was positioned above the ladder from the ceiling. They did some close-ups of the belt, then someone backstage sent word to a stagehand to polish the belt for a better shot. A stagehand then scaled the ladder rather quickly to polish it up for the tight opening camera shot to start the broadcast.

Josh Mathews was in-ring to set up ECW's match at the TLC PPV - Christian vs. Shelton Benjamin. Kozlov's music interrupted and he said he wanted a piece of Ezekiel Jackson. Jackson then came out with William Regal trying to run separation. Regal got down on his knees and begged them not to fight, which brought out Shelton Benjamin. Shelton's one-liner about the fans coming here to see action, not Regal on his knees, drew a reaction. The rest of his promo was a bit of a mess, even with Christian out on-stage to rub off some charisma. Yoshi joined them on stage as well. ECW GM Tiffany then came out to give Regal's team the option of a six-man tag or Kozlov vs. Jackson. The fans chanted, "Let Them Fight." If anything, the Kozlov-Jackson program is over with enough of the audience to where the chant started to catch on. Of course, they went to the six-man tag route, but it was a good test to see audience reaction to a possible Kozlov vs. Jackson match down the road. Kozlov's deciding vote - "I want six man" - drew some chuckles in the audience.

1 -- VANCE ARCHER vs. TOMMY DREAMER

It was interesting to see how the audience would react to Archer in his first long-form match on ECW TV. He attempted a leg drop with a big wind-up that drew a reaction when he missed Dreamer completely. It was a nice transition to Dreamer's comeback, including a slow-motion baseball slide dropkick. Dreamer then missed with a Dreamer DDT and Archer followed with the big boot and reverse DDT for the win.

WINNER: Archer at 5:06. Archer has some charisma WWE can cultivate, but he needs more time before he becomes a marketable top tier star on the ECW brand. A fine TV match for five minutes. (*1/4)

Earlier in the day: Paul Burchill (under The Ripper mask from Superstars) tried to convince Tiffany to give him a job. Tiffany said "The Ripper" isn't under contract. Burchill countered he could be under the New Talent Initiative. Gregory Helms then walked in and Tiffany booked a match for "The Ripper" vs. "The Hurricane" on ECW next week.

The enhancement talent for the next match walked to the ring in the darkened arena, then they aired a backstage segment. Zack Ryder and Rosa Mendes were having a moment, then a sweaty Tommy Dreamer interrupted for a word. Ryder said he was a huge fan of Dreamer back in the day, but now it's time for him to end Dreamer's ECW career. Dreamer said he's heard that one before. "Its over, Tommy," Ryder said before walking off with Rosa. Looks like there's a new program to get Dreamer back on TV consistently.

2 -- TRENT BARRETA & CAYLEN CROFT vs. MARK FRANKS & DANNY VAUGHN

Vaughn was given a payday to basically stand on the apron and take a dropkick near the finish. Good work if you can get it. Meanwhile, poor Franks took a beating from the FCW call-ups. Barreta and Croft made quick work of the enhancement talent with the crowd understanding they were the wrestlers being featured since they were actually tan compared to the pale white enhancement talents. Cue up their "Vitamin C" theme music for the win.

WINNERS: Baretta & Croft at 1:50. WWE's just continuing to build up the new tag team. We'll see where it leads since the ECW tag roster is thin (actually non-existent) minus the feuding Kozlov and Jackson. (n/a)

For the "video segments galore" portion of the show, they aired a Tribute to the Troops video from last year's show for the live arena. The Raw Rebound followed with the live crowd in Houston booing the references to Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks. The crowd popped when Cuban was shown going through the table via Sheamus at the end of Raw last night.

After the announcers broke down the TLC PPV line-up ringside, Christian came out to the ring for the main event with the ECW Title belt hanging above the ring. Yoshi then came out an announced weight of 220 pounds. He sure is hiding those pounds. After a commercial break, Shelton Benjamin came out and WWE rolled a video package on the history of Christian and Shelton in TLC or ladder matches. It was a really good video package. Should have been the focus. William Regal then led out an unhappy Jackson, who wanted Kozlov one-on-one, and Kozlov for the main event.

3 -- ECW champion CHRISTIAN & SHELTON BENJAMIN & YOSHI TATSU vs. WILLIAM REGAL & KOZLOV & EZEKIEL JACKSON

The opening with Christian and Jackson was received well, especially Christian playing cat-and-mouse with Jackson to expose Jackson's "weakness" as a slow, sluggish brute. The heels then isolated Shelton Benjamin for a good while. One man in the crowd was determined to get a "Let's go Shelton" chant started. After shouting himself hoarse, the audience finally picked up on it. Sign Guy then started a slow-clap rallying clap for Shelton, who fought to his feet from a seated position and broke free from Regal. The spot where the referee doesn't see the hot tag to the babyface initially didn't draw a reaction because the audience saw it coming, but they booed when Christian and Yoshi sold their frustration with the ref to the top row of the arena. Eventually, Yoshi took a hot tag and the action broke down. Jackson then wanted a tag to Kozlov, but Kozlov hopped off the apron and started to leave. Jackson chased him down and they brawled ringside while Regal tried to restore order. In the process, Team Regal was counted out.

Post-match: Shelton did a leap over the top rope onto Team Regal that got the flashbulbs popping. Meanwhile, Yoshi disappeared from sight really selling an injury to his jaw/mouth. Christian then grabbed the ladder from the opening segment and set it up in the ring. He scaled the ladder to retrieve the ECW Title belt hanging above the ring, but Shelton suddenly popped to his feet and springboard leapt onto the ladder. You could see how gimmicked the ladder was when it buckled slightly, but absorbed Shelton like the ladder was made of rubber. Christian and Shelton then grabbed hold of the title belt and had a face-to-face, nose-to-nose stare down standing atop the ladder to close the show.

WINNERS: Team Christian at 12:01. The post-match was more important than the in-ring action, as the match was basically six minutes of Shelton selling for the heels. The closing image of Shelton and Christian on top of the ladder was a good sales pitch for the TLC PPV on Sunday. Not the best episode of ECW, but it was effective for advancing the PPV sales pitch and the TV storyline-driven feud between Kozlov and Jackson. (*3/4)

We welcome your 0-10 score and comments on this show for an "ECW TV Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. To contribute your thoughts on ECW TV, email to pwtorch@gmail.com using our Feedback form.


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