Jack Swagger vs. Ricky Ortiz - Round 1
In the match (ECW recap here), both superstars looked good, but Swagger was just slightly better. There was no cheating involved as Swagger pulled off a clean win after beating up Ortiz outside the ring and then finishing him off. It definitely gives Swagger a huge push, and it may be a disappointing first loss for Ortiz. Matt Striker did make the point that John Cena was defeated in his first match ever, against Kurt Angle on Smackdown. So Ortiz losing 7 matches in is nothing to sneeze at. I still think Ortiz is capable of handing Swagger his first loss, unless Matt Hardy does so first. That said, Swagger has the making of a cocky ECW champion and it wouldn't be far fetched to see him take the belt. He also provides a heel that others can insult due to the lisp. Hopefully we see the Swagger vs. Hardy match at the Armgaddon PPV, and it's a good one, so that fans will renew their interest in the ECW product.
On another note, Teddy's assistant, Tiffany, definitely is smitten with Ricky Ortiz, as you can tell from her in-ring and backstage talk to hype him up. I'm going to bet she becomes Ortiz's ringside gal in the near future, and that Ortiz will feud with the other newcomer, DJ Gabriel. Makes sense as you'll have opportunities for a mixed tag match (Ortiz/Tiffany vs. Gabriel/Alicia Fox) as well as the two ECW divas feuding.
Overall the Swagger-Ortiz match definitely made for an exciting start to the show, to have a surprise match featuring two undefeated rising stars from the ECW. The two wrestlers' names even give the fight a boxing or UFC sound. If ECW can continue to set up these sorts of intriguing situations, it's definitely going to be a respectable WWE brand again, and considered less of a minor league for new stars.
Related Blog Entries:
ECW Recap 12.02.08
ECW's Young Stars Rising
WWE's End of 2008 Schedule