But first: Unforgiven!
Matt Hardy vs. The Miz vs. Chavo Guerrero vs. Mark Henry vs. Finlay (ECW Title Scramble Match)
Matt and Miz start and local lad Miz gets a big pop (called a ”mixed reaction” by Todd). Miz misses the clothesline charge in the corner which Matt turns into a slingshot powerbomb. Miz stuns Matt’s face off the top rope as we go to the chinlock and nothing much has happened so far. Striker explains Pat Patterson came up with the concept of the Scramble Match. It’s hard to tell if Striker is being serious with his facts so I don’t know if that’s true. Miz connects with the Reality Check but Matt rolls outside so by the time Miz rolls him in it’s only a two-count.
Chavo is next and he sends Miz outside on a wild charge and pins Matt after the Frog Splash to become the CURRENT ECW CHAMP.
That needs a better name as he’s not the actual champ, he just has possession of the title. It took years for some people to stop counting these as actual title reigns. Miz connects with the corner clothesline for two but Chavo busts out a sweet-arse running Liger kick.
Matt graps with Chavo but Miz knocks them both down with a crossbody to cheers. Matt recovers to nail both of them with the nifty bulldog/clothesline combo and pins Chavo after a Side Effect to become INTERIM CHAMP.
Matt chinlocks Chavo and waits for the next dude which is the technically-still champ Mark Henry. Everyone gangs up on him in the corner so Henry can do the RARRRR shove and send them all flying in one of my guilty pleasures. Henry beats the shit out of everyone and casually slams Chavo to become the CURRENT CHAMP BUT HE’S ALREADY THE CURRENT CHAMP SO DID HE JUST PLAY HIMSELF CHAMP.
Everyone does their best to attack Henry but he bounces everybody off him. To show how impressive Henry was during this time he gets a pop for a BEARHUG on Chavo. Matt tries to sneak-attack but Henry applies a bearhug on him too as they both wait the clock out.
Finlay immediately starts on Henry and DDTs him for a two-count and Henry’s kick-out is so strong it puts Finlay back on his feet. Fit doesn’t give a fuck so he DDTs him again. Finlay gets a bearhug so Hornswoggle distracts Henry, allowing Finlay to bop him with the shillelagh. Matt assists Finlay in dumping Henry’s body in the River Avoca and he thanks him by nailing Matt with the Emerald Fusion to become the DISPUTED CHAMP.
Less than 3:40 on the clock so Miz dropkicks Finlay to the outside. Miz tries to lick the bones of still-dead Matt but he turns it into a Twist Of Fate to regain the ROH TROPHY.
Mark Henry struts back into the ring and as him and Matt stare-off, Chavo Frog Splashes the corpse of Miz behind them. Sadly Matt sees it and breaks up the pin, but that was a great spot. Mark tries to pin Miz but Matt breaks the pin. Mark slams Chavo and Finlay but Matt breaks up the pin each time. Miz rolls up Matt but Henry kicks him in the face because he’s The Miz. Chavo tries a crossbody but Henry easily catches him for a slam and Matt plants the fuck out of him with a sit-out dropkick to the back of his head. Yeeesh. Finlay tries for another Emerald Fusion but Henry again stops someone else pinning Matt. A minute left and everyone goes for pins at a crazy pace with Miz and Chavo getting launched outside but it eventually turns into a dog-pile with no-one getting any momentum and the time expires.
Winner and NEW ECW Champion for real-real: Matt Hardy (A fun first draft for the Scramble Match. There were times when it was obvious they were stalling for time but the crowd were into it and Henry looked like Jonah Lomu throughout. Plus it gave a way of Matt beating Mark without Matt beating Mark so their feud can continue so no issues here. And at least Henry got to lose his title in a match he was in unlike poor CM Punk whose title reign was mercy-killed later this night.)
We’re in Milwaukee with the new ECW Champ
and lana. Matt thanks the crowd for always being behind him and he wants to become the greatest ECW Champion ever. Henry comes out, tells him he wants his rematch and immediately starts beating him up. I love ECW Henry. Matt ruins it by sending Henry outside and giving Tony a Twist Of Fate before scarpering.
Evan Bourne vs. John Morrison
Bourne teamed with Rey Mysterio to beat Miz & Morrison on Raw last night which is amazing considering he’s got less than six months experience and isn’t a Roidy Magoo. Morrison tries to overpower Bourne but he’s too quick and connects with a spinning leg kick for two. Striker tells us Miz is as annoying as Hilary Clinton (Striker’s ham-fisted politics references are as annoying as Bush Sr. raising taxes.) Bourne flies outside to connect with a frankensteiner because he’s great as we go to break. Back in, Miz trips Bourne on a springboard attempt so Morrison can chinlock the twunk (got a lot of love for using that term last week) and kick him on the apron. JoMo drops Bourne on the top rope and goes back to chinlocking. I don’t think Morrison is used to being the bigger man in a match, his offence is the same as if he were wrestling Mark Henry. More chinlocks and launching Bourne outside and then another chinlock and jesus. You’d think Morrison would have plenty of gas (cough). Backbreaker for two and then a chinlock/surfboard combo to really mix it up. Crowd have died so Bourne has to make his own comeback. Running Frankensteiner sets up a big kick for two. Jumping pinning Frankensteiner gets another two. Standing moonsault lands on knees but Bourne moves out of the way of Starship Pain. Bourne tries for the SSP but Miz gets on the apron allowing JoMo to murder with a flying chuck on the apron.
Winner: John Morrison (Morrison dominated in a way to get sympathy for Bourne but JoMo’s idea of that is ”spam the chinlock” and right now the crowd only cares about Bourne’s moves and if they’re not getting those then they don’t make noise. Hopefully this turns into a feud though.)
Recap of the Knox & Finlay feud. The word ”physical”is thrown around a lot.
Jack Swagger vs. Josh Daniels
The debut of the All-American American! Right now he’s Biff Tan-Bed and nothing else but Striker puts over his collegiate background as he hurls the former ROH dude around like it’s nothing. Swagger gutwrenches Josh and despite having no look the crowd pops for the onslaught. Swagger pins Daniels after a Blue Thunder Bomb after zero offence from the other guy and crowd goes ”ooooo.”
Winner: Jack Swagger (Swagger may have not had the look yet but after seeing Walker and Spears die on their arses, Jack looked impressive. I’m glad someone backstage realised the key to getting new guys over is have them batter the fuck out of people.)
Ricky O gives Hornswoggle a rally towel for good luck. He loves it. Could you actually buy those or were they a rib on new wrestlers breaking etiquette by asking for merch before they’d been assaulted by JBL?
Matt Hardy & Finlay vs. Mark Henry & Mike Knox
Matt immediately punches Mark in the head and Mark gives him the ”the look” before trying to choke him. Matt is learning Mark more and more so he gets a few shots in before he gets bodied. Matt is countering more moves the more he wrestles Mark, which is rewarding to watch every week. Mark counters a Twist of Fate into a slam and a big jumping elbow. A second one misses and we to break in a weirdly-timed moment. When we return, Knox is chinlocking Matt but that doesn’t last long. Finlay tags in and batters Knox with clotheslines, Earthquake stomps and Finlay Rolls before sending Knox outside. Finlay continues beating hi up outside as crowd chants E-C-DUB. Knox gets a sneaky big boot as Finlay enters the ring so he can tag out to Henry. Henry and Knox stomp Finlay and keep him down, knowing if he wakes up he’ll kill them like the Dead Men of Dunharrow. Hornswoggle manages to get the crowd behind his killer dad wriggles to make the tag to Matt who can’t knock the hairy man with strikes but gets a bulldog off the second-rope for a near-fall. Matt lands a moonsault but Mark makes the save and it all breaks down. Hornswoggle runs in to distract the ref so Finlay can knock a shillelagh over Henry’s head again and Matt gets the Twist of Fate for the win.
Winners: Matt Hardy and Finlay (Both in-ring stories of Matt learning more about Mark the more he wrestles him and Finlay twatting Knox because he doesn’t like him were intertwined here for a decent match.)
Overall: Another enjoyable episode in a long-run of them with nearly everything on the show meaning something while giving a reason to watch every week.
Obviously the Scramble Match was such a success they…did one other match a few months later before leaving it in the vault with Eric Escobar, presumably because they were sick of telling fans NO BRIAN KENDRICK DOESN’T COUNT AS A FORMER WWE CHAMPION, STOP ADDING IT TO WIKIPEDIA.
I’ve been Maffew and you can ready about my trip to Starrcast & All In right here.