ECW On Sci-Fi #81 12/25/2007 (Retrospective)

ECW On Sci-Fi #81 12/25/2007

This is a retrospective episode with highlights of Lashley’s feud with The McMahons, New Breed vs. Originals and Morrison vs. Punk. It ends with with Tazz kicking Joey Styles into a Christmas Tree so this GIF saved you an hour.



This looks like a good enough reason to type up that guide to ECW On Sci-Fi 2006-2007 someone asked for so you don’t have to watch endless Test/Knox/Holly vs. ECW Original matches. Quotes are my own.

Best Matches

Kurt Angle & Rob Van Dam vs. Randy Orton & Edge 04/04/06

RVD looked like a guy who could do cool moves, Orton looked like a prick, Angle looked like a WRESTLING MACHINE and Edge looked like the ultimate opportunist. The closing minutes were one, long sequences of smooth wrestling. Definitely the best thing so far on this show.


The Big Show vs. Ric Flair (Extreme Rules, 07/11/06)

I was expecting a car crash but I really enjoyed this. The story of Flair needing weapons to knock Show down was so effective that they were able to break the fans’ hearts when Flair finally managed it only for Show to immediately get up, angrier than ever. Show looked like Brock fucking Lesnar, Flair showed he was able to get hardcore for the rematch with Foley, everyone wins. Best thing this show has produced since the RVD & Angle vs. Edge & Orton tag match, once you get over the surreal scene of Flair using a barbed wire baseball bat in ECW.

Hardcore Holly vs. Rob Van Dam (Extreme Rules, 09/26/06)

Hell of a match and moment for ECW on Sci-Fi. Holly and RVD work well together anyway so this was going to be at least good but with the added bit of violence and manliness from Holly this felt like Holly’s break-out match, had he not been wrestling for the company since 1995. Half-way through the match the crowd was convinced nearly every big move was going to be the finish but they just kept on going and going.

The Hardys vs. MNM (December To Dismember)

Damn fine tag match with both teams looking impressive in an era where that was rare. Probably went a bit too long but I’ll let that slide because let’s face it, there’s not much after this. But from the tag cut offs and the double teaming, this was the best of old and new WWE tag team matches put together.

Rob Van Dam vs. Lashley

This was the best ECW match since Hardyz vs. MNM. RVD and Lashley worked well together and even though I remember Lashley being greener than goat shit during this time, here he looked as impressive as WWE saw him through their protein-goggles.

Lashley vs. Hardcore Holly (Steel Cage, 02/27/07)

OK not a work-rate classic or anything but this really helped Lashleymania and the hype for Wrestlemania 23 with DAT FINISH.

The New Breed vs. ECW Originals (Extreme Rules, 04/03/07)

The match they weren’t allowed to have at Wrestlemania. Ten minutes of weapon-assisted spots with everyone getting a real chance to look good as opposed to the contractually obligated spots at Wrestlemania with no time to breath. Easily the best ECW on Sci-Fi match since the RVD vs. Holly series, no wonder it gets the love. Even The New Breed looked credible for Punk to think ”hey, maybe I will join!”

CM Punk vs. Elijah Burke (2/3 Falls 06/26/07)

Easily the best Punk vs. Burke singles match and an early snapshot of what ECW matches would turn into by 2008 with long, story-driven matches.

John Morrison vs. CM Punk (Last Chance, 09/04/07)

Morrison and Punk had several PPV and TV matches but there was always an excuse why they didn’t hit the high levels you’d expect. Either both men would enter sloppy performances on TV or the PPV match would be treated by the crowd and company like a downer match (which they usually were) rather than a blow-off etc. However, with Morrison’s suspension for the Sports Pharmacy scandal imminent, both men had an absolute belter with all the planets aligning for them to deliver the match both men had been trying to have for months.

Any Big Daddy V squash

After months of Knox, Test, Thorn, Snitsky etc. matches, V’s squashes are fantastic. 90% action and 10% titty.

——

Worst Matches

The Extreme Battle Royal

I hated this. I hated the commentators hyping cookie trays being used in a battle royal by THE NEW BREED UNLEASHED as a crazy concept, hated the shitty spots, hated the realisation that the majority of the roster are there to make up the numbers and hated Sabu only winning because Big Fucking Guido of all people assisted him like Sid at Rumble ’92. But apart from that it was alright.


Batista vs. The Big Show 08/01/06 (the one with the crowd chants)

Well we had the acrobats, the fire eaters and the strongmen earlier on the show so we may as well end with the clowns. Very entertaining for the wrong reasons.

Rob Van Dam vs. Sabu (Ladder Match, 08/15/06)

Sabu said in his YouShoot that he stopped trying in WWE after the drug bust. You’d never know watching this. There were some nice and very painful looking moments in the match but the botches, sloppiness and stupid ending fuck this match out of the enjoyment zone for me.

Extreme Strip Poker (10/10/06)

I’ll let Wrestlecrap cover this one due to the PG-13 tits bothering the advertisers on this site. The Flair vs. Show match with the blood and barbed wire doesn’t contain a warning on the Network, but this one does. It was never mentioned again and I’m sorry for bringing it up.

December To Dismember (apart from the Hardyz match)

I think I typed enough about this when I watched it so here, knock yourself out. That’s a recommendation by the way.

Test vs. Lashley (Rumble 2007)

Test obtained this match by stealing the title from Lashley then losing to him clean on the show before the PPV, because Test had failed a drugs er test and they were getting the last bit of mileage out of him before he left.

Chris Benoit & CM Punk vs. The New Breed (06/12/07)

Want to see a really fucked-up finish? During the weird time when the referees were apparently paid more by WWE to enforce the rules and end the match via count-out or whatever, The New Breed spend too long double-teaming and the ref DQs them. It’s clear to even the blindest of fans it’s not supposed to be the finish so worth a watch for a cringe-sesh.

The Miz vs. Balls Mahoney (08/07/07)

Uglier than a robber’s dog.

John Morrison vs. The Boogeyman (14/08/07)

Having Boogeyman and V on ECW is fine as they’re kept in their own separate freakshow division but there’s a world of difference between having V murder Punk and Boogeyman having a competitive match with Morrison. The worst bits of both men were here, Morrison’s sloppiness and Boogeyman’s everything. You can’t put oil and water together and expect sesame seed oil.


Kelly Kelly vs. Layla (11/27/07)

Easily the worst match to air on ECW on Sci-Fi to date, neither woman looked trained and no move was executed properly. Absolute rotten shite, it this match was an Iron Maiden album it’d be Virtual XI.

—–

Good Runs

Kurt Angle’s last run in WWE (for a while) as The Wrestling Machine is on another level compared to the rest of the product and it’s a damn shame it ended prematurely. Angle’s a blast head-butting guys like Justin Credible and I didn’t enjoy his low-impact style at the time but have grown to enjoy seeing him school guys like Orton and RVD with ease.

CM Punk. To really appreciate how welcome Punk was on this show, go back and watch some of the guys-the-other-brands-didn’t-want and character and modern appearance. His image alone could have sustained him enough but if there’s one guy who benefited from using ECW On Sci-Fi to transition from indie-style to WWE-style to great success, it’s Punk. From almost making The New Breed storyline watchable (which would have been enjoyable if they hadn’t gone through months of storyline in one month) to selling for even Kenny Dykstra, Punk made this brand his own.

Rob Van Dam was the backbone this show relied upon until CM Punk came along. Even after the drug bust that removed any chances of him main eventing, RVD was still busting his arse and getting twenty good minutes out of Test  or a fun ladder match with Big Show.

Brad Armstrong’s brief run on commentary got Tazz and Styles to step up their game and managed to work in one-liners like ”Moore looks like he brushes his hair with a C4”. Shame it didn’t last longer.

Marcus Cor Von, the wrestler formerly known as Monty Brown, would find his groove once they realised he was really good at squashes and main event matches but was only OK at mid-card nothing matches. His sudden departure will forever mean people will include him on What Could Have Been lists because of his charisma and POUNCE finisher.

Contrary to what I remember reading on websites and magazines at the time, Lashley was a good fit for this show. Near the end of 2006, there were around five bad guys working for evil Heyman and only RVD and can’t-be-arsed-Sabu fending them off in the main event program. The show needed a new guy to get a big push and Lashley used the show to improve and deliver different, super-charged matches and popped the crowd big-time. It’s a shame his push replaced RVD & Sabu’s but in fairness, after the drug bust there was no chance of them buying real estate on Mount Olympus again. Vince McMahon himself showed up on ECW to help put over Lashley and they had a bunch of fun segments like this, even if a bunch of people were incredibly put off by Vince winning the title (even though ECW hadn’t been ECW since 2001 (or 1998), bad guy Vince REALLY pissed off some people and not even Lashley winning it back could help things.)

—–

Bad Runs

Mike Knox. I think every time I’ve insulted him while reviewing these shows, at least one person has chimed in with YEAH BUT HE GOT BETTER. Well that’s later and this is now. Knox was so green, cumbersome and dull to watch these past two years it’s a wonder they didn’t book him as a hedge. He was also bad enough that he made Test look reformed by comparison so we can blame Knox for Test vs. Lashley too. Knox was absolutely deserving of that comedy elimination spot at Series 2006.

René Duprée’s bizarre re-emergence on TV as a sexy man with ”firm pecs and no moustache” trying to be the most hardcore of ECW wrestlers deserves a re-watch if your copy of Inland Empire is scratched. Oh and we also got a one-night return of LA RESISTANCE out of nowhere, in a brand with no tag division.

Rebecca DiPietro. If you’re reading that name, scratching your head trying to remember her don’t worry. She was a backstage interviewer for a few months but had neither the ability, voice, grace or anything other than looking good on a PNG to be memorable. She sounded like Nicole Bass with on Nyquil.

Shannon Moore would show up backstage somewhere dingy dressed in full punk gear, say something like FIGHT THE POWER and that would be it. I have no idea how this was supposed to help him get over. Punk eventually showed up and slapped him so if the whole point was to get Punk look good than fair enough.

I forgot Daivari was in ECW until I typed this up. So unremarkable he doesn’t deserve a screenshot. Someone who does is Sylvester Terkay, so you can go ”ohhhh right that guy.”

It’s amazing to think The Sandman got a run with WWE that lasted two years and was even drafted to Raw towards the end (which had to be a rib on someone, possibly the audience). Here’s an example of Sandman’s wrestling skills when sober.

Snitsky was sent to ECW to shave himself despite clearly having sensitive skin and gave us all boring, blotchy matches while squashing everyone with a very-lame looking Big Boot finisher. Then after months of this, he was sent to Raw and immediately lost to Cena.

Kelly Kelly, oh here we go. From her debut on the first episode as ”an exhibitionist that struggled to remove her bra”, having to fawn over Mike Knox, having to fawn over CM Punk, having to fawn over The Miz, having to fawn over Balls until trying to be an actual swear-to-God wrestler, Kelly’s easily the most consistently awful thing on ECW on Sci-Fi from 2006 to 2007. I’ll give her a pass on the Miz/Balls storyline as the crowd’s into it but if you have an IQ higher than your microwave you’ll fast-forward.

—–

Also Of Interest

The WWE vs. ECW Head To Head Special is on the Network and it may not have all-amazing matches but the atmosphere is unreal as Tazz & Styles do their best to rile up Lawler and Ross so make sure to add that to your watch-list if you’re bored of re-watching One Night Stand 2005 & 2006.

Sabu vs. The Big Show was actually well-booked on TV as the crowd were more than happy to cheer for the crazed table-smashing ECW original against the evil WWE-representative. In an ideal world, Sabu would have beaten Big Show on PPV to win their feud but sadly a few things got in the way. Sabu’s sloppiness (especially at Summerslam 2006) and Big Show being booked as The McMahon’s monster as well as ECW Champ, meaning the title wasn’t always defended on PPV. Maybe if someone else had taken that role, Sabu would have beaten Show at Unforgiven or December To Dismember. But it just wasn’t meant to be, Sabu stopped trying (him in non-hardcore matches was something else) and eventually left. However if you want proof their TV feud was good watch their match from the 08/22/06 edition.

Johnny Nitro turning into John Morrison was the best career choice he made since leaving Melina, every promo from his debut is worth listening to and his ridiculous bragging gelled brilliantly with CM Punk (”I look like a champ. You look like a Blink 182 groupie who cried himself to sleep because he couldn’t get backstage.”) Oh and the introduction of the Fifteen Minutes Of Fame match is a tremendous too.

Stevie Richards brief push and feud with Kevin Thorn was better than expected and also resulted in him being involved in the Elimination Chase. GM Armando booked Richards, Thorn, Dreamer and Burke in a four-way one week with the person taking the pin/submission removed from the three-way the following week and so on until there was one number one contender remaining. Sweet idea, needs stealing. The three-way and four-way were worth watching too.

For the funniest match in ECW on Sci-Fi history (for the right reasons) please watch Tommy Dreamer dressed as Paul Heyman vs. Nunzio dressed as Dracula. Oh it’s the same episode as the MONSTER MASH BATTLE ROYAL that I can’t tell if people like ironically or like honestly anymore.

And right now in 2008 ECW on Sci-Fi, Morrison and Miz have started teaming and are already the highlight of the show as the Smackdown/ECW talent exchange means long-term development goes out the window so SD guys can bump the ratings up and get the Sci-Fi execs off WWE’s back. They have the character, talent and ability to know when to let the opponent’s beat them up and vice versa. Which is impressive considering they started teaming up because they couldn’t stop having bad singles match with each other.

——

If nothing else, I’d like to thank the good writers on this site for taking all the other shows/periods of history so I chose this particular chair to sit on at The Blog Of Doom table. The WWE Network adding these shows towards the end made me look important (”hey maffew, someone in WWE must read these!” as if WWE guys are looking around wondering what to upload). On a selfish level I have appreciated the various ”hey you can actually write” compliments I’ve received from people so that alone will make me want to continue these into 2008 (which I have on DVD from tape-trading years ago for those Mike Adamle specials) so thanks for reading and sticking around.

If you have any more questions or opinions on this period of ECW on Sci-Fi, now is the time to do it as I’m off to ICW by the time you read this.