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South Philly Screwjob
"Controversial" would be an understatement for tonight's episode of ECW on Sci Fi. In the birthplace of ECW, Philadelphia, a new World Heavyweight Champion was crowned in an absolute stunner when ECW newcomer Big Show, with help from Paul Heyman, pinned Rob Van Dam to claim the richest prize in all of Extreme Championship Wrestling. Also, Kelly gave a special salute to our great country, Test made an impressive ECW debut, and Sandman caned the "holy hell" out of a fatherly imposter.
The huge news on this night though was not the caning of a fake holy man, but that of the double cross which was as unexpected as the return of ECW itself. Former ECW owner and current figurehead Paul Heyman turned on his close friend Rob Van Dam, allowing Big Show, an ECW newcomer, to become an unlikely ECW World Heavyweight Champion.
The match itself was every bit the brawl that ECW fans had expected. The action was intense early on, spilling into the ringside area and even into the crowd. Big Show spent a good portion of the match bullying the Champion, making full use of his overwhelming size advantage and keeping Van Dam off his feet, where he does the bulk of his damage.
Eventually, Van Dam was able to battle back, unleashing his high-flying arsenal and array of martial arts kicks to take control of the massive Big Show. After Rolling Thunder failed to get a three-count, Van Dam attempted to get extreme. On this night, getting extreme may have been Van Dam's downfall.
RVD went to ringside to retrieve his trademark chair, but the move immediately backfired. Show slapped the chair out of Van Dam's grasp and threw the Champ down with a powerful Chokeslam. The challenger went for the cover but Van Dam kicked out before Referee Mike Posey's hand hit the mat for the three. The cover would turn out to be Posey's final one of the evening, as Big Show took out his frustrations by viciously assaulting the defenseless referee.
Van Dam capitalized on Big Show's momentary lapse in focus, countering a powerbomb attempt with a chairshot, and then hitting the mammoth extremist with a Van Daminator, setting the scene for one of the most shocking moments in ECW history.
The ECW Champion ascended the turnbuckles, and hit a soaring Five-Star Frog Splash, further proving the theory that nobody gets higher than RVD. With no referee in sight, Paul Heyman made a mad dash to the ring, leading many to believe they were witnessing the sequel to One Night Stand. Heyman counted to two…but stopped short of three, creating an image of pure betrayal as the ECW Champion stared into the eyes of his former boss.
Heyman's turn created all the distraction that Big Show needed to recover, as the giant returned to his feed and put Van Dam away for good. Big Show leveled RVD with a chair, and then a final devastating Chokeslam on to the chair, covering the fallen star as Heyman counted to three. (watch the video)
The hardcore Philadelphia fans looked on in stunned amazement, peppering the ring with water bottles and debris as the man who they spent years supporting turned his back on them for an ECW outsider.
Following the match, ECW.com attempted to get comment from Paul Heyman regarding his actions. Heyman refused to comment on his own behavior, but did issue an official ruling. "As of this moment, Rob Van Dam has been suspended for 30 days". (more on the suspension)
Looking back through the evening, one has to wonder…Was the match and the outcome that followed the product of an ingenious plot between Big Show, and the evil mastermind himself?
ECW on Sci Fi went on the air with Heyman addressing the ECW audience. He acknowledged RVD's rough road over the last few days, but re-iterated that Van Dam was still ECW Champion. "Unfortunately, it's true. Last night on RAW, RVD lost the WWE Championship in a most controversial fashion. But, Rob Van Dam is still the ECW Champion… a champ that has displayed more pride, passion and ambition than any champion before him."
Before Heyman could finish, he was interrupted by Big Show, who demanded a shot at the ECW gold. "Paul, you said that if I made the jump to ECW, I would get a title match…I'm not asking, I'm demanding a title match, tonight."
Later, RVD visited Big Show in his locker room. "You challenged me for a shot at the title tonight? I like that". With those words, RVD delivered a thunderous slap to Big Show's face, leaving Show with not a look of anger, but a smile, seemingly indicating that he was enjoying the path on which things were headed.
Minutes later, Van Dam made a final fateful visit with Heyman. After a brief motivational talk, RVD convinced Heyman to reluctantly make the match. In addition to green-lighting the match, Heyman eagerly added a special stipulation: Extreme Rules, which was seemingly a set up for the chaos that occurred at the conclusion of the evening's events.
Earlier in the evening, Kelly celebrated her freedom by providing the crowd with a special 4th of July Expose. The exhibitionist seemed very comfortable doing her patriotic duty to make the fan's heads rise. While she was all smiles showing off her well kept figure, her boyfriend, Mike Knox didn't show the same enthusiasm. Repeating last week's antics, Knox again broke up Kelly's performance, covering the young Vixen with Old Glory and ushering her off stage before she could honor America with her birthday suit. (watch Kelly's salute)
Afterwards, Knox headed back out to the ring to face his opponent, Little Guido Maritato. Before the match, Knox chastised the Philadelphia crowd, calling them "perverts" for taking pleasure in his girlfriend's presentation. While he was busy worrying about people gawking at Kelly, Little Guido went on the offensive, but was eventually overpowered by the much larger Knox. The ECW newcomer finished off Guido with a modified STO to record the victory.
Also on this week's ECW on Sci Fi, Test made his ECW debut in impressive fashion. The big man mauled Al Snow from bell-to-bell. Test attacked the ECW veteran with a variety of violent blows, leaving Snow helpless on the mat. For Snow, who only managed to muster small offensive jabs, Head was of no help. Test finished the fan-favorite off with a brutal swinging neck breaker to get the win. Afterwards, adding insult to Snow's certain injury, Test grabbed Head and punted it into the crowd, putting an exclamation mark on his ECW in-ring debut, letting the other Extremists know he's a force to be reckoned with in the new ECW. (watch Test' debut)
While Al Snow suffered a beating, someone posing as a man of the cloth suffered a thrashing at the hands of The Sandman. The imposter hopped from his seat and grabbed the microphone. The faker lashed out at the fans and viewers for enjoying a show that included so much "violence, language and sex", even suggesting that ECW had no business on being on TV. His harsh words soon lost meaning however, as he admitted to being an imposter that lied as a way to gain access to the house mic. After getting his thoughts off his chest, he took his seat among the rest of the "sinners" to ride out the remainder of the "filthy" show. As soon as he took his seat, the phony holy man got the wholly crap smashed out of him when The Sandman made his way through the crowd and pulled him out of his seat, blasting him in the head with his Singapore cane.
The Sci Fi viewers were also introduced to another ECW newcomer this week. The man known as C.M. Punk introduced himself to the ECW fans, proclaiming himself to be straight-edge and addicted to wrestling. (Meet C.M. Punk)
After Heyman's suspension of Van Dam, what will the ECW representative turned traitor have in store for next week's edition of ECW on Sci-Fi? What will Big Show have to say about the events that transpired? The only way to find out is to tune in to next week's show, live at 10/9 CT on the Sci Fi channel.