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Swagger cut a promo saying he was undefeated in college (not true) and in ECW. He put over his win over Tommy Dreamer last week and asked Teddy Long to formally name him the number one contender. Long and Tiffany came out. Long didn’t name him number one contender and instead Tiffany offered up Ricky Ortiz as another option. I don’t like that option. Ortiz came out and made fun of Swagger’s lisp. Long made a match between the two.
Ricky Ortiz v. Jack Swagger
Swagger hit a slam off of a waist lock. Ortiz came back with a couple of drop kicks as the match went to break. Returning, Ortiz held Swagger with a headlock. Swagger broke out and took the advantage. Matt Striker pointed out that John Cena lost his first match, but that these guys are undefeated. He didn’t mention who Cena lost that match to (Kurt Angle). Nothing happened for a bit until Ortiz came back briefly with a drop kick and flying shoulder block off the middle rope. He went for the big O splash but missed. On the outside, Swagger clotheslined Ortiz. Back inside, Swagger connected with the doctor bomb to win.
The right undefeated wrestler went over here. The announcers, particularly Matt Striker, did a fine job trying to make this match seem important by playing off both men’s undefeated stature. But the crowd was dead throughout. That speaks volumes about how little WWE has made wins and losses mean over the past few years. Consider that last night on Raw, WWE had Chris Jericho tell Randy Orton that nobody remembered how he [Orton] beat John Cena at WrestleMania. That’s really appalling when you think about it: that WWE would admit that the outcome of its biggest match of the year had no staying power. What’s more concerning is that there’s plenty of truth in the statement.
Swagger d. Ortiz, Pin, 8:31, *.
Backstage, Tiffany wished that Ortiz had won the match until MVP walked in (and not a moment too soon). Long kept saying how MVP had been a disappointment since he signed him to that big contract. It led to a Matt Hardy-MVP match in the main event.
They aired a promo for Mr. Kennedy’s new film Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia. Perhaps because they were in the District of Columbia, WWE spelled Colombia, the country, correctly on the graphic this week.
Finlay came out and called out Mark Henry to finish what they started last week. Henry, on the top of the ramp, complained that Finlay cost him a chance at the ECW championship. He threatened Finlay and Hornswoggle in particular. He challenged the two to a tag match at the pay-per-view against himself and Tony Atlas. Finlay wanted Henry right now but Henry persisted. Hornswoggle wanted the match, so Finlay accepted. This segment was pretty good for what it was. By the way, according to the invaluable historyofwwe.com, Tony Atlas’ last WWE match was on September 13, 1991.
They replayed last night’s DX promo shilling the elimination chamber toy. The biggest selling point seemed to be that the chamber is difficult to assemble which strikes me as counterproductive. Likewise, counterproductive is airing this segment in juxtaposition to the serious angles Shawn Michaels and Triple H are currently involved with.
DJ Gabriel v. Josh Daniels
We saw more dancing to begin the segment. It strikes me that Gabriel would benefit from some more distinctive entrance music. Gabriel worked some mat work early on. He hit a leg sweep out of the corner and went to the giant swing. Gabriel connected with a double underhook suplex and the European uppercut off of the middle rope for the win.
Gabriel looked pretty good for the second straight week. It will be interesting to see his first match against a pushed wrestler. By the way, Todd Grisham called a spinning back elbow: “something out of mixed martial arts, some kind of kung fu or something.”
Gabriel squash, 2:27.
Matt Hardy v. MVP
This match is non-title. The announcers reminded us of the feud these two had several months ago. Grisham also mentioned that MVP’s last win was on August 29. Hardy hit a quick side effect for a two count. MVP then took a powder. Hardy followed him out, threw MVP back in and connected with a double-axe handle off of the top rope. After another near fall, Hardy went to a chin lock. MVP slipped out of a twist of fate as the match went to break. Coming back, Hardy hit a clothesline out of the corner. Hardy missed a charge and MVP booted Hardy to the floor. MVP went to a rest hold as the crowd rallied behind the ECW champion. A suplex led to another near fall. MVP went for a cover off of a snap mare and then another cover. He dropped an elbow and went for another cover. Hardy came back with a reverse DDT for a near fall. He hit a legdrop off of the second turnbuckle for a near fall. MVP landed a high kick for another two count. He went for the playmaker but Hardy countered into the side effect. He then landed the twist of fate to extend MVP’s losing streak. As Matt Striker said, “just when you think you’ve got all the answers, Matt Hardy changes the questions.” That is a memorable line from a great Roddy Piper promo circa 1984.
This match told an interesting story with MVP constantly going for near falls, even after the most simple of moves. The idea was that MVP was very anxious to end the losing streak. Though the match started slow, it finished strong enough that it continued this show’s streak of consecutive weeks with at least one good TV match. Again, the match featured effective commentary with both Striker and Grisham putting over the history between the two men.
Hardy d. MVP, Pin, 13:39, **½.