Dead ringer

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January 30, 2007

On the first extreme stop of the Road to WrestleMania, ECW World Champion Bobby Lashley was victorious over Test for the third time in two weeks, but the champion’s celebration was curtailed by the menacing gong that signaled the grim appearance of The Phenom.

Moments after Lashley exploded through Test, Undertaker arrived and buried the Impact Player’s bruised body into the ECW mat with a chokeslam. The 2007 Royal Rumble winner then stood eye-to-eye with ECW’s fighting champion, who stood unwavering in the haunting face of the Deadman. (WATCH)

The final image ECW fans were left with on Tuesday night was Lashley peering deep into the ominous eyes of the individual who might be the next challenger for his ECW World Title. Monday night on Raw, Undertaker appeared to have possibly targeted WWE Champion John Cena as his opponent at WrestleMania 23. Could Undertaker have the intentions of facing Lashley for ECW gold on April 1? Or could it even be SmackDown’s own World Heavyweight Champion Batista?

If the live sold-out crowd in Houston couldn’t appreciate the unexpected arrival of The Phenom, they may have enjoyed Mr. McMahon’s heralded first-ever appearance on ECW on Sci Fi. The WWE Chairman made his way to the Land of the Extreme to continue his brand of fan appreciation, but he certainly didn’t seem to appreciate the backbone of ECW: its Originals. In fact, he said they – and anything having to do with the original ECW – “suck.”

As he prepared to make a few changes in ECW, Mr. McMahon’s disparaging interaction with Sandman, Sabu and others didn’t seem to leave a delightful taste in the mouth of the Extremists. Later, when the Chairman exposed ECW fans to the man he called “the future of ECW” – Elijah Burke – a slighted throng of Originals took extreme exception.

After Burke and McMahon posed for a photo opportunity, Tommy Dreamer, Sabu, Balls Mahoney and Sandman all swarmed the ring and leveled the McMahon-endorsed, brash Burke. Though it was arguably the biggest night in Burke’s young career thus far, ultimately, Burke learned a very valuable (and painful) lesson in the roots of ECW. (WATCH)

Also, coming off an arduous fight in the 30-man Royal Rumble Match, Rob Van Dam collided with Hardcore Holly. The Alabaman Extremist endured every kick RVD could muster and after slamming Van Dam shoulder first into the steel ring post, Holly executed the Alabama Slam for the victory – just as he did weeks ago against CM Punk.

Speaking of the straightedge Extremist, Punk suffered the ill fate of injustice on ECW on Sci Fi as Matt Striker used the ring ropes to earn a tainted victory over Punk.

Finally, the Sexiest Women on TV heated things up on Tuesday night as ECW Die Hards were teased by the hot steps of Kelly Kelly, Layla and Brooke: Extreme Exposé.

Want to see all the action of ECW on Sci Fi? Check back with ECW.com's Hardcore Hangover throughout the week for all these matches and more.

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