by Liam ORourke
So we’re back for the final three weeks of television as we build to SummerSlam, and Kurt Angle returns from suspension this week…
We start “Earlier Today” – Paul Heyman backstage tells everybody, “Angle is back tonight. I know you all want to kill him, and I do too. If he starts something with any of you, then by all means finish it. But I don’t want anybody touching Angle unless physically provoked tonight.” Little Guido speaks up and says this is stupid, asking why they’ve got to hold off. Heyman says, “I need him in the ring in the main event segment.” The guys don’t look happy. [1 min]
Intro Video [30 Secs]
MATCH: The Sandman Vs. Mike Knox. Stevie Richards is on commentary – Sandman wins. He canes Stevie too. Post-match, Sandman pours beer on Knox’s body. Punk watches on disgusted. Sandman challenges Punk to fight him one-on-one, but Punk backs down. [10 mins]
Kurt Angle arrives in the building. Everybody is staring daggers at him, but he knows he’s untouchable. Angle calls the onlookers punks, jabronis, and losers who will never accomplish anything, and walks off cocky, knowing he can’t be touched. [1 min]
We are backstage with Punk, on his own, after being shown up again. Punk is on a tirade about Sandman being every “absentee father” and “deadbeat husband” you’ve ever known, and that “these morons” cheer him like he’s better than him, like he’s special. “He’s the least special person in the business”. He storms off in a huff. [2 mins]
MATCH: Dreamer/Mahoney Vs. Credible/Snow – Credible pins Dreamer after Tommy spanks Francine. [7 mins]
Kelly is backstage with Shelly, who was watching. Shelly says she’s feeling better, but Balls told her to stay in the back for now. Trinity stops by and says neither of them belong in the ring. Shelly pouts at Trinity, but Kelly doesn’t care, and is excited because she’s finally going to complete her striptease next. [1 min]
Kelly is in the ring for the dance. Francine interrupts to yell about Dreamer spanking her. Kelly goes nuts at being interrupted – Catfight. Credible comes out and threatens to hurt Kelly, Dreamer comes out to defend and runs them off. Tommy, seeing that he always has to have his eye on both Credible and Francine, he proposes a mixed tag for next week. Kelly is giddy about being in a match. [4 mins]
Angle approaches Shannon Moore backstage. He tells him he spat on the title because it’s a “piece of garbage, representing a garbage company filled with garbage wrestlers”. When he eventually wins it, he’s “going to throw it right where it belongs – in the garbage”. Shannon shakes his head as Kurt walks off. [1 min]
MATCH: FBI Vs. Doring/Roadkill – FBI win. [5 mins]
Post-Match, Big Show comes out. “Sorry Guido – Boss’ Orders”. Show kills the FBI. Styles wonders what the deal is with Big Show and Heyman. Taz mentions the old Smackdown connection in 2002. [2 mins]
Heyman calls out Angle. Styles speculates on why Heyman has protected Angle tonight after everything he did. Taz isn’t happy and smells a rat. Angle wants the mic, but isn’t given it. Heyman cuts the mother of all promos on him: “The reason those guys didn’t jump you isn’t because I asked them not to. It’s because I told them something you don’t know, and I didn’t show earlier on. ECW has a spot on SummerSlam. And on that night, RVD is putting his money where his mouth is, and he will defend the ECW Title against you. And all of the ECW locker room will be sat in the front row at ringside, watching RVD kick your ass. And if you even think about pulling something, they’ll hop that rail and destroy you. Hell, they might do that anyway.”
Angle is livid, and grabs Heyman. but Van Dam runs out to fight. Angle dodges the Van Daminator and rolls to the floor. The ECW roster files in from the crowd and down the aisle to close in on Angle, who appears to be surrounded. The show ends with Angle looking for a way out, but as Styles screams, “We’re out of time! We’ve gotta go!”, we fade to black without seeing Kurt get beaten up, wondering what happened.[10 mins]
Booking Objectives/Synopsis: The worm turns on Angle without him being destroyed, and the match is made for SummerSlam. Show/Heyman intrigue continues after Guido lips off, and Kelly’s interruptions boil over to progress her into a match. Sandman pours beer on Knox, only one left. He challenges Punk, but no answer yet.
Last Week on ECW – The match at SummerSlam was made, and the roster closed in on Kurt, who is public enemy number one. When the show went off the air, Angle escaped. [1 min]
We cut to Heyman and RVD backstage. Heyman says, “We were this close, but at SummerSlam, there’s nowhere to run, and for everything Angle said about ECW, and for disgracing the legacy of the title, ECW will make him pay.” RVD tells Paul to calm down – he doesn’t want everybody to beat up Kurt for him at SummerSlam, he wants him all to himself, to prove that the best in ECW is better than Kurt. That’d be the truest victory of all. Heyman agrees, but wonders if Angle will even make it to SummerSlam. [2 mins]
Intro Video [30 sec]
MATCH: Sabu Vs. Little Guido – Sabu wins. Announcers use the match to discuss Big Show being stuck on the FBI last week after Guido’s comments to Heyman. [7 mins]
We get a reminder that Tonight we have – Dreamer/Kelly Vs. Credible/Francine [15 secs]
We are backstage with a nervous Kelly. We pan out to see Dreamer, who assures her it’ll be fine, but says he has to talk to somebody. Dreamer leaves the room, and the camera follows as he walks over to talk to Heyman. Dreamer asks: ‘What was that about last week with the FBI?’ Heyman says it has nothing to do with him, and why would it? – he told everybody the real plan off-camera. Heyman says he knows he’s not the most truthful person, but Big Show is the one lying, and he knows nobody will call him on it. He’s destroying people because he wants to. Heyman walks away, and the camera now follows him. Heyman passes Al Snow, who is holding the Head, but instead of “Help Me” written on the forehead, it now reads “Helped”. Al rants to Heyman, calling himself, “the Helper – the person who will teach everybody how tough the business really is.” He took it too easy on Tough Enough. ECW isn’t fun and games, it’s a shark tank, the land of Extreme, and he might have to do some bad things, but people will thank him in the end. He says every act is justifiable. Paul wishes him well, but is uneasy as the delusional Al as he leaves. The camera stays with Paul. Heyman then walks around a corner and bumps into Kurt Angle. Heyman freezes, as nobody is around, and asks Kurt when he got here. Angle tells him to calm down, but Heyman flips out and says, “Screw you – at SummerSlam, Van Dam is gonna kick your ass.” Angle says he can beat anybody one on one. But since everyone in ECW hates Kurt and will gladly outnumber him, he’s called an old buddy from his WWE days to watch his back to make sure he isn’t ambushed, and he wants Heyman to tell everybody else. Test walks into the shot, looking jacked. Angle and Test then leave the scene. [4 mins]
MATCH: CM Punk Vs. Roadkill, with Stevie on commentary again – Punk wins clean, Stevie is comically bandaged up from all the canings, and on commentary mentions it’s been hard to stay off pain pills. [5 mins]
Post-Match, Punk runs down the Sandman, and talks about how society has made a martyr out of a loser. He is accepting Sandman’s challenge to a match next week, so he can finally show everybody how his way of life is better than his, and better than theirs. [2 mins]
We cut to backstage, where we see Heyman and RVD talking in the distance, presumably relaying the info about Angle and Test being in the building. [15 secs]
Video on recent Dreamer/Credible history [1 min]
Credible/Francine promo on Dreamer and Kelly [1 min]
Rob Van Dam storms out, no music, belt in hand, says he’s just heard Angle is here and calls him out. He says after everything Kurt has done and said about ECW, he needs to have the guts to back it up. Angle appears and cheapshots RVD. Van Dam fights back. Goes to the top to hit a kick, but Test runs in and throws himself in the way to take the blow for Kurt. Locker room empties (Sabu/Balls/Doring/Roadkill/CW/Dreamer/etc) and chases Angle into the crowd. Test is prone in the ring, surrounded, and is utterly destroyed, ending with Sabu/RVD doing their top rope double legdrop through a table with Angle watching from the audience. “So much for Test”, says Taz. [8 minutes]
MATCH: Tommy Dreamer and Kelly Kelly Vs. Justin Credible and Francine – Dreamer pins Credible to win. [9 minutes]
Post-Match, Big Show’s music plays and he walks to the ring menacingly. Dreamer’s eyes light up, knowing that a shit-kicking is probably coming. Dreamer grabs the mic and yells at him that if he’s come for a fight he’ll get one, and tells Kelly to get out of the ring. Dreamer says that he may take an ass kicking, but if he’s here on the “Boss’ orders” again, then every punch he hits, he wants him to tell Paul Heyman that the next punch is coming for him. Dreamer throws the mic at Show and brings his fists up. Show picks up the mic and says, “Tommy…Paul Heyman is not my boss.” As Dreamer looks confused at Show, Kelly Kelly steps up and low blows Dreamer from behind. Show lunges forward and delivers a chokeslam. Kelly steps over Dreamer and takes the mic. “Finally…I’m in the main event, and I won’t be interrupted now. Hit the music!” Kelly then does the striptease she’s been wanting to do since the first show, taking her bra off with her back to the camera as the show goes off the air, Big Show watching with arms folded. [4 mins]
Booking Objectives/Synopsis: The big reveal of Kelly as Show’s boss, Test introduced and used in a way that satisfies hardcore ECW crowd, and the psychology of Angle as the outsider works by bringing in another obvious one. Credible/Dreamer blown off. Spotlight on Punk this week.
Intro Video [30 secs]
Styles says that tonight we’ll see CM Punk Vs. Sandman, a sit-down interview with Kelly Kelly and Big Show to explain last week, and RVD and Kurt Angle have vowed to come face-to-face, one-on-one, ahead of their match this Sunday at SummerSlam. Styles and Taz remind us about Test being destroyed last week. [1 min]
MATCH: Balls Mahoney, Roadkill and Danny Doring Vs. Al Snow and the FBI – Shelly returns, Al continues his quirky gimmick, coming out in a “Get Help, Get Head” T-Shirt. Balls gets the win over an FBI member when Al ditches them, saying they are beyond help. [7 mins]
We get a video recap of the CM Punk/Sandman feud, ending with the reminder that the match is tonight. [2 mins]
We have a sitdown interview with Styles talking to Kelly and Big Show. Kelly explains the angle. She wanted to be a star on ECW. She tried to strip on the first 2 shows and got interrupted. So she got a manager’s license and hired the Big Show. Week 3, Show pinned the Zombie fast so Kelly could dance next, but she was interrupted. Week 4, Show pinned Al Snow fast, and Kelly was up next, but was interrupted. Week 5, she was trying to talk to Heyman about her own segment, and Dreamer interrupted her and she didn’t get to dance at all, so she stuck Show on him. Week 7 she had car trouble, so she asked Big Show to wait for her in case she made it in time. Week 8, Trinity said she didn’t belong in the ring, so she sent Big Show to kill the FBI. And Week 9, she got the chance to finally be the star. So Dreamer got laid out, and she did her thing. Everybody thinks she’s a dumb blonde, but everybody else is dumber than her. She plays spoiled ditz the whole time, with video of the events she’s talking about playing over top.
Styles asks Show why he has chosen to associate himself with Kelly. Show says that the elephant in the room is that nobody wanted him in ECW. The original ECW fans didn’t want him there, the wrestlers don’t want him there, and he’s a natural outcast anyway. But he wanted to be in ECW because he has faith in Paul Heyman. But when Show didn’t get booked on the first two television shows, he thought about getting a manager to help, so he did. It’s a partnership of mutual benefit. He’ll do what his boss says, simple as that. [5 mins]
We are backstage with Punk, Knox and Stevie. Punk says it’s the big showdown at last, and that it’ll be exit light, enter night for The Sandman. [1 min]
Kurt Angle Video Package – shows his entire quest to destroy ECW, with footage from him being there in 1996, One Night Stand 2005, and all his acts since. Showcase the Gold Medal win, with Angle voiceover talking about knowing ECW is trash, and he will win the title and realise his goal of castrating ECW’s legacy by throwing it in the garbage at SummerSlam. [2 mins]
Backstage, Heyman is surrounded by riot squad security talking to RVD. Heyman explains that he’s hired security to make sure things don’t get out of hand tonight – this is one of the biggest matches in ECW history, and wants to make sure it gets to the ring at SummerSlam. He asks RVD how he feels, who is positive. Heyman reminds him how important winning is, says he always believed in RVD, and he needs him to pull through more than ever. RVD says he’s the “Whole F’n Show”. [2 mins]
Sandman cuts a promo, drinking a beer, saying Punk has pissed him off, and it’s time to pay the tab. [1 min]
Punk Vs. Sandman intros [2 mins]
MATCH: CM Punk Vs. Sandman – CM Punk wins. Crazy brawl – run-ins from Stevie and Knox, all get bumped or caned, but Punk catches him for the win. [10 mins]
Post-Match, Punk isn’t satisfied just to win, and tells his crew to pick Sandman up and grabs another beer bottle, a callback to previous weeks. Sandman ducks and Punk bottles Knox. Sandman fights off Stevie, and canes Punk. With Punk down, Sandman pulls out the beer and finally pours it over Punk’s body. [4 mins]
Recap the outcome and post-match of Punk/Sandman [1 min]
RVD video package – showcases what an abnormal athlete he is, with RVD voiceover talking about how Angle is a special breed of athlete, but nobody does the things he can. [2 mins]
Heyman is in the ring, the ECW roster in the front row as they will be at SummerSlam. RVD is out. Angle is called out, but stops in the aisle and says there’s no way he’s walking into such an obvious trap after everything he’s said and done, and what happened to Test. He says to Heyman that if he wants him in there, one on one with RVD, then let those security guys Paul was with earlier walk him to the ring. Heyman says yes, and they escort Angle down and surround the ring as Kurt enters. Heyman exits. RVD tells him he’s going to kick his ass and beat him at SummerSlam to show that everything he’s said and done is bullshit, and that as good as Angle thinks he is, he’s going to find out he’s not better than ECW’s best, and it’ll eat him alive. He cuts a pro-ECW speech about passion and heart, and that’s more than Kurt can handle. Angle says he meant everything he said – ECW sucks, the roster sucks, Van Dam sucks, and he’s going to humiliate him and the company in one night and kill it for good. He says that as good as RVD is, he’s no Kurt Angle. Kurt praises RVD’s loyalty, but says loyalty can be bought, like this security staff. And as many skills as RVD has, he doesn’t have eyes in the back of his head. RVD turns around, and one of the riot squad is in the ring and hits a big boot, revealing Test. Angle and Test beat the hell out of Van Dam, as the ECW wrestlers hop the barricade, fighting with the riot squad to get past. Heyman is leading the charge. Taz joins in to try and get through, and the show goes off the air with the manic scene of Angle and Test beating the hell out of Van Dam with the insane brawl around ringside, and Styles screaming that it’ll be one-on-one, with no security to stop the roster at SummerSlam. [8 mins]
Synopsis/Objectives: The Punk/Sandman feud is blown off in essence, with Punk winning and Sandman getting his last laugh in defeat. It can be revisited down the line, but the war is over. Kelly’s explanation frames her and Show for the future. The final angle is heavy to ramp up the heat on Angle’s anti-ECW stance right before SummerSlam, with strong video package build for this Sunday.
***Where do we go from here?***
At this point, it’s nigh on impossible to properly book going forward without knowing what is working, who is getting over and who isn’t. The logical end to the story at SummerSlam is for Test to try to get involved, the ECW guys get him, Sabu puts him through a table and RVD pins Angle clean in the middle.
From there, Angle can detour into a feud with Sabu. If Punk is over enough, we can move to him and Van Dam for the World Title feud. Dreamer/Big Show is obvious. Sandman and Credible can also pair off.
Snow explains that he started his “Get Help, Get Head” campaign with Balls because he reminds him of Al in 1998 in ECW – fans chanting a double entrendre at a wrestler accompanied by a plastic object. He knows that Balls’ story doesn’t end well. If it sticks, Al goes over in the end and moves on to somebody else.
The only character I haven’t introduced is Kevin Thorn, and think it’s a bad idea to do the Vampire gimmick so early on. If they’re going to dedicate time to somebody unknown, then it might as well be an ECW original like Credible that at least one segment of the audience will accept. Much like the Zombie, there is a place for that type of gimmick, but people have a more critical eye and certain expectations early, so don’t do it then, do it after Summerslam. Additionally, with focus on Credible and Snow, Thorn’s spot isn’t readily available anyway.
But that’s another story to tell on another day.
I’ll let you be the judge. Honestly, there’s no way this is worse than what they did. The real relaunch was scattershot thinking, panic booking, illogical cross-promotion, poor roster choices and some bad luck thrown in for good measure. Of course, in real life, it isn’t always as easy.
But what do you think? Is the above closer to what you were hoping for with the New Breed Unleashed?