WWECW Workrate Report: 7/9/09
So there seems to be some nostalgia lately for WWECW and I totally get it. Any fed that throws out weekly Finlay, Goldust, Mark Henry, Regal, Christian, and Matt Hardy matches and gives them plenty of time to work is something that I definitely miss. I liked that WWECW was booked in a vacuum as it gave it more of a WCW Sat. Night feel. I like Main Event, and I enjoy Saturday Morning Slam, but ECW had a real awesome feel and really did feel like it was booked separately from the other shows. That is pretty important because the matches have a little more weight than other syndie matches. You get the feel that weird things can happen like Yoshi Tatsu getting a push without Vince noticing. It brings me back to odd things like Stevie Night Heat with Stevie Richards coming up with a gimmick without office approval because nobody watched his show. In a day of micro-managed wrestling this is an important thing.
1. Nikki Bella vs. Katie Lea Burchill
Seems like kind of a horrible show to start off on when this is the match that leads things off, but then Nikki takes a giant bump to the floor to start and I shut my mouth. Nikki doesn't seem to be very good but it works for her as it makes her bumps way more dangerous (one spot sees her supposed to land on the apron but she ends up tumbling all the way to the floor), making Katie's backbreaker seem more brutal and taking a neckbreaker more painfully than most girls would take it. The match was only 3 minutes long but you've seen way worse Diva's matches than this.
2. Yoshi Tatsu vs. Shelton Benjamin
So...when did Shelton Benjamin get good? I don't remember liking his stuff around this time, and I know I didn't like his ROH stuff, but he was pretty great here as a smug methodical heel (as opposed to his usual role of black guy who jumps high, which has since been filled by Kofi Kingston). I mean there are not many 8 minute Shelton singles matches that I enjoy, but this was really good. Tatsu's comebacks were peppered in nicely and Shelton had a cool fighter's way of trying to block Yoshi's kicks. And when Shelton would cut Yoshi's offense off it was always followed by him actually selling prior damage! The fans were getting way behind Tatsu here and that's just further evidence that Shelton was working as an effective heel. Match was also worked in a way that whenever Shelton tried any of his high jumping antics, they would always backfire and would lead to Tatsu getting the advantage, but when he stuck to clubbing and throwing Tatsu around he stayed in control (he hit a vicious standing overhead belly to belly which is like something Dave Taylor would pull out). Only complaint was with his finisher, which was that awful jumping leaping DDT-ish faceplant-y sort of thing that always looks like he's taking the move and the other guy is not sure how to land. That needs to go.
3. Ezekiel Jackson vs. Jack Meridol
AWESOME squash match. Jackson just beat the snot out of this kid. All his clubbing shots sounded like Meridol was getting hit with a 2x4 and Zeke was tossing this guy around recklesssly and it looked awesome. He just plants Meridol with a urunage and my spine ached. Is Zeke even still employed by WWE? I haven't heard his name in over a year.
4. Vladimir Kozlov vs. Christian
Boy not quite 4 years later and this show is just a total graveyard of past WWE talent. Is Christian still with WWE? I don't remember the last time I saw him. This is a number one contenders match for Tommy Dreamer's title (boy the ECW title looks awful), and boy this match was awesome. I know Kozlov has been involved in matches I liked, but it seems like he had become a genuine good worker at this point (although Christian was really great at working TV matches during this period). The opening mat exchanges are all really good, and then Kozlov takes a great bump over the top to the floor after missing a charge. Christian was never one to allow somebody to top him with stupid over the top bumping, so a minute later Kozlov knocks him off the apron and Christian lands on his side in a nasty way. All Kozlov's offense looks cool and painful, especially his sit out torture rack that ragdolled Christian. Kozlov also leans into a missile dropkick head first and that's awesome. Match was really good.