WWE SmackDown/ECW Live Event
North Charleston, SC – July 18th, 2009
Report by Prowrestling.net, Jack Hunter
1. Finlay defeated William Regal. Man, I love William Regal. Great heel. Good, solid opening match with Finlay (does Finlay ever have bad matches?) and the crowd ate it up. One question though – if the crowd is chanting “U-S-A!, U-S-A!” at Regal when he’s fighting Finlay, who are they cheering for? Isn’t Finlay supposed to be from Ireland? Finlay wins after hitting Regal with the shillelagh.
2. Melina and Eve Torres defeated Katie Burchill and Natalya. A decent women’s match. Probably the least reaction from the crowd all night, other than the usual “she’s hot” sort of stuff.
3. Ricky Steamboat defeated Drew McIntyre. The match did not disappoint. This is “Flair Country” down here in South Carolina and the Nature Boy’s most storied opponent got the reaction you might expect (from me also). After the bell rang, Steamboat cut a cool, ’80s style promo on McIntyre, saying “this old dragon has enough fire to light up your butt tonight!” About a 20 minute match with everyone in the crowd around me amazed at how good Steamboat looked. Apparently, the Dragon is dying his hair black now, and of course, he won. Everyone was pleased.
4. John Morrison defeated Dolph Ziggler. These guys are only going to keep getting bigger. Good wrestling, great personalities, and the crowd was into it. Morrison appeared at a Nissan dealership earlier in the afternoon for an autograph signing and an estimated 400 people showed up. They ran out of 8X10s.
5. Kane vs. Great Khali. Big pop for Kane and Khali’s entrances and the match was OK considering the big man participants. It was interesting to hear the crowd reaction to Kane – who was obviously playing the heel – still cheer for him. They didn’t boo Khali. They just refused to boo Kane. I honestly don’t remember who won, lol.
6. Tommy Dreamer defeated Christian to retain the ECW Title. The match was solid and Dreamer is a real class act. A father and his kids sitting next to me had been lucky enough to get their pictures with Dreamer earlier in the evening backstage. When Dreamer came out, he pointed the kids out in the audience and they went nuts. Very cool. Good face vs. face match, with Dreamer retaining. Christian joined hands with Tommy after the match.
7. Cryme Tyme beat The Hart Dynasty. This match also went over big. I was excited to see Tyson Kidd in action and he didn’t disappoint. WWE has something very valuable in Cryme Tyme, whose ability to entertain at house shows really shined through (Team 3D does the same thing at TNA house shows). They had the crowd in the palm of their hand, and when Shad hot-tagged JTG, the pop blew the roof off. Excellent, fun match, with Cryme Tyme getting the win.
8. C.M. Punk defeated Jeff Hardy in an Extreme Rules match to retain the World Hvt. Championship. This match tore the house down (outside of Rey and possibly Cena – depending on the locale – does anyone get a louder pop than Hardy right now? Batista, maybe?). After Punk won the extreme rules match, Hardy clobbered him and hit the Swanton bomb. The crowd went bonkers.
Notes: This was the best WWE house show I’ve been to at the North Charleston Coliseum since 2004, when Ric Flair vs. Chris Benoit headlined. Very fun. Also, the crowd was much larger this time than the last house show in December. With portions blocked off, it looked close to full than not (our coliseum holds about 13,000). I believe advertising “the best value in entertainment” and “tickets start at only $15” probably made the difference – along with Hardy’s popularity.
If the current line-up of the Smackdown house show rolls through your town, you should definitely go. You won’t regret it.