The Ruthless Aggression Era was a time when the WWE roster was so huge and so varied that they had no way of continuing storylines each week on their two main shows – RAW and Smackdown – and so they created the draft where wrestlers and announcers would be drafted onto either one of the two shows. Smackdown wrestlers would not (usually) be able to appear on Raw or interact with Raw wrestlers and vice versa.
Ten years ago, on May 21, 2006, the PPV Judgement Day aired. It was a Smackdown event and the calibre of matches and their content are drastically different to what we have now. Personally, it came at a time where I had grown weary with professional wrestling, confused by the sheer number of wrestlers and unwilling to spend so much time per week watching hours of footage and trawling through shows, replays, promos and matches. I simply watched the PPVs and I remember this one well. Over the next four weeks, I will review this PPV from the perspectives of a fan looking back at it after a decade as well as my original thoughts as a younger man watching it at the time.
WWE Judgement Day 2006
This PPV had no tagline, which is a nice way for the Fed to say that they didn’t give a rat’s ass about the damn show, which makes sense as Smackdown was (and still is) considered to be the B-Show with Raw being the A-Show. Not that the show is entirely populated by untalented wrestlers. If you look at the card, we have Benoit, Angle, Undertaker and Rey Mysterio… but we also have Cunt Bradshaw, Mark Henry and The Great Khali. The Lord giveth and he taketh away, especially now that Vince McMahon has defeated him in a tag contest (though God forfeited by leaving the arena).
The PPC starts with the Ruthless Aggression opener showing wrasslin’ through the ages. It moves into some wicked bible quotes. Can’t help but love a show that starts with bible quotes. You know they’re mean the business when Leviticus and the lads are involved. Who is it they’re pulling on today? Is it Matthew? Luke? I like a bit of Psalms now and again.
No, it’s Job 19:29. Wouldn’t be my choice, personally, but I can see how people would like it. Let’s give it a read… “…FEAR the sword; for wrath will bring PUNISHMENT by the sword, and then you will know that there is JUDGEMENT.”
Nice stuff. Personally, I think they just chose any old quote with the word “Judgment” in it, but then again, I spell it “Judgement” so I’m not really one to pick holes at things.
Fade to black and we see all the lads look dead serious and stare middle distance. The narrator asks if we are able to fulfil promises, dreams etc. It’s bigging up the Khali vs. Taker match, Angle vs. Henry, Lashley vs. T. Bradshaw was just a deplorable arse when he was heeling it up. He’s never really lived that down or grown out of it. It took Jerry Lawler years to stop being a dick on commentary and I suppose Bradshaw will get there eventually. But until then, fuck him.
CGI intro of lots of blades and chains and guillotines and so on. Looks like an awesome into to some medieval Doom clone. Some brilliant music from our boys Killswitch Engage. Michael Cole and Taaaaazz at ringside. Tazz wearing sunglasses indoors and Michael Cole with a depressing moustache. Cut to the Spanish announcers, Hugo Savinovich and Carlos Cabrera. Savinovich always looks like he has memorised a bunch of Spanish words and is just waiting for Cabrera to stop talking so he can spout them off. This month, it is “brutaaaal!”
Papparazzi come out and the red carpet is laid out for Cameron’s favourite wrestler, Melina. She is followed by Joey Mercury and Johnny Nitro, MNM. The lads are wearing fur coats with LEDs on them stating their names. Better than his and hers bathrobes, I suppose. They are also the Tag Team champions, although they’re giving those belts to anyone these days. Tazz pervs over Melina’s entrance to the ring. Is it necessary to have one lecherous announcer? Is that written into the very fabric of announcing? There’s an awful lot of choreography from Melina. She can’t just choose one pose, she pulls about sixty.
Paul London and Brian Bendrick’s music hits and the two masked loons sprint down to the ring right and hit stereo backflips. Very impressive. Music is shite, though. London and Kendrick are wearing PVC pants too big for them. Doesn’t Nitro look like British Bulldog? He does.
Tag Team Championship Match: Paul London and Brian Kendrick def. MNM (Joey Mercury and Johnny Nitro) (c) w/ Melina via pinfall in 13:43
Maggle Cole says 15,000 people in attendance. Bulldog Nitro screaming at London whilst nothing happens in the ring. Great running the ropes followed by Nitro tripping onto his face like a goon. London and Kendrick doing the revolving door of tag teams followed by a close two-count. Bulldog Mercury is in and gets a great hip toss onto his arse for another close two-count.
London is in and the two men in red parachute pants hit a beautiful hip toss followed by a crap elbow. Nitro and Mercury run to the outside and London and Kendrick hit a grrrreat suicide dive to the outside. Kendrick can’t remember which of the two men is legal and after a wee chat to them both, throws Bulldog Mercury in. Missed crossbody and Nitro is in control. Mercury is tagged in and Melina is screaming like a harpy. Big boos from the crowd, and for good reason. The referee is distracted and Melina gets London in head scissors on the apron. Ohhh! What a bitch!
London and Mercury run the ropes and bop heads. Nitro and Kendrick tag in and Kendrick runs roughshod over everyone with a bunch of missile dropkcicks, only to be knocked down with a Snapshot (elevated DDT). Melina has another ear-piercing screech and it’s only a two count as London breaks it up. A bunch of close counts as Kendrick is being held down by Nitro. Lots of rest holds too, with the match entering its seventh minute and both teams gassed. Kendrick gets a roll-up but Mercury is gabbing with the ref. Double leg drop and MNM are back in control.
Kendrick gets a delayed vertical suplex from Mercury, one that hurts his shoulder. With the dreads and the pink skin, the suplex just makes Mercury into a mini Bulldog each and every second. Melina lays some boots into Kendrick after some close counts, but the ref doesn’t see it. Nitro is tagged in and lays into Kendrick some more. This poor guy has taken a beating and the crowd are ready for some hot tag action. Mercury is back in, despite is sore shoulder and Melina talks away to herself. Lots of shots of the crowd reacting as well, it’s all very nice. Kendrick fights back and the crowd is with him. Mercury gets an accidental boot from his own partner and London is tagged in.
Standard hot tag fare here – London hits a bunch of punches, shoulder barges, irish whips etc, building momentum. He’s quickly double teamed but reverses it into a double clothesline and gets a close two-count. Nitro grabs him from behind and London hits a great dropsault – missile dropkick into a moonsault. He’s about to get the pin and then Melina jumps into the ring with her harpy scream. Why she isn’t sent out is beyond me. Kendrick is in and does a great suicide dive outside but Melina pushes Nitro out of the way. Nitro grabs London from the apron and – you can see this coming a mile off – Mercury goes to punch London but he ducks and bops his partner instead. Roll up and London and Kendrick get the pin in 13:43.
It was an okay match as far as tag matches go. Some good tense moments here and there, but it was too formulaic. London and Kendrick came across as the underdogs and so you knew that the hot tag was coming and how good it was going to be. They didn’t win because they were the best, they won because they made the tag team champions hit each other by mistake.
Fuck off, Melina.
MNM look so upset in the ring as London and Kendrick escape like cowards. Good job of selling the face win there, Fed. Big boos as the heels are left in the ring. Melina is upset as Maggle says that he is enjoying it. Melina beats on Mercury and he hits back. She slaps him and he grabs her wrist. Nitro beats on Mercury and now we don’t know who is face and heel as Melina kicks her defender in the face! Then the ref gets a boot between the legs. What the fuck is happening here? Should we like Nitro because he fought back against Heel Melina? Or should we like Melina and Nitro because they beat up Woman-Beating Mercury? The crowd are chanting, “Teddy! Teddy!” as Theodore Long, Esq. makes his way to the ring, only to be pushed on his arse.
Bit of a promo for the Lashley vs. T match later on this evening. Maggle says that the King of the Ring match (the very one that Bobby and Booker are in later) has catapulted superstars to elite status, which is not really a true fact. The winners of the KotR include Randy Savage, Bret Hart and Stone Cold, but also include Mabel (Big Daddy V) and Bad News Barrett, who the Fed love so much that they just fired, just over a year after he was crowned King of the Ring. We see Bret Hart beat Bam Bam Bigelow. Then we see the King of the Ring throne, sceptre, robe etc.
Music hits and The Rabid Wolverine, Chris Benoit (who?) arrives down the Tron, covered in REDACTED and CENSORED signs. Not really, but that’s what the Fed wants from the murder-suicider. Which is fair enough, considering what he done, but (and this might come as a bit of a peculiar thing to say) Benoit was a fucking good wrestler. He had problems, yes, and it’s a shame that they only came to light after the deaths of his family, but let’s not take away that the man was brilliant at the job that finally killed him.
He’s billed from Atlanta, Georgia, despite the fact that he is clearly Canadian. Wolverine was Canadian. Finlay’s music hits and my neighbour Fit Finlay comes down with his shillelagh. Benoit is roidy Magoo here, but he had turned 39 the day before, so he’s allowed a bit of human growth hormone with his cake, surely.
Chris Benoit def. Finlay via submission in 21:10.
Benoit’s big barrel chest looks so unnatural. Little Naitch Charles Robinson is the referee today and he’s watching these two men walk each other about the ring. Maggle is telling Tazz about how good a wrassler Benoit is as the two men go to the outside, walking each other about for a while. Benoit can’t seem to be able to close his mouth. The two men stand nose to nose and butt heads for a while before Benoit goes for the legs. This match is set to be a great mat-based match, which is not exciting to watch, really, but can build the suspense so much.
Benoit is in control and has Finlay on the ground. Benoit is a great face here, like Stone Cold, one that is so near to being a thug. Finlay pretends that Benoit thumbed his eye and uses the distraction to get the jump on Benoit. Final is in control now, getting a short-lived “Finlay sucks!” chant. Both Finlay and Benoit have gaps in their teeth, which makes sense as they’re both rough bastards. Finlay is shouting at Benoit and finally the Wolverine takes over, battering the shite out of my neighbour. Great backbreaker and a two-count. This is real wrestling, not the type of wrestling I got into back in the day, but one that I like now. Big rest hold, though, super long. Shame on Benoit.
The thing is, these two men really excel in using their strength and expertise to win the match. Finlay takes a shot to Benoit’s eye and a couple of pins for the two-count. Finlay gets Benoit in some sort of odd arm-stretch/head/neck/twist-combo. Some lad in the crowd goes absolutely mental. Finlay turns it into some legal-choke move where he uses Benoit’s own arm to choke him with it. Benoit fights out of it, goes for the elbow drop and misses. Finlay is back in control. Benoit’s trunks say 4 REAL, which is X-TREME. He goes for the flying headbutt and misses. The two men lie about for a while.
Benoit goes for the sharpshooter and Finlay escapes, jumping to the outside to get a chair. Benoit does a mental baseball slide, cracking Finlay in his nuts. He hits the flying headbutt and only gets a two-count. Finlay fights back and Irish whips Benoit into the turnbuckle, followed by an odd neck-hold into a pin that gets a two. Finlay roars, “Count faster!” to the ref. Lots of neck hits and Benoit’s lip is bust a bit, but no blood. Finlay sits on Benoit and apparently it’s a good move. The match has become slow-paced strikes instead of mat-based now and the crowd are chanting away. Maggle tells us that the fans are “jacked up tonight!” Just like Benoit, then.
Lots of shots of the crowd having a good time. I’ve never seen so many reaction shots of the crowd. Obviously the editor wants to show people having a good time. Either that or someone is farting around on the hard cam. Finlay is still in control and annoying Benoit by kicking his head. This is going to backfire!
And it does as Benoit slaps my neighbour but Finlay fights back and pretty soon Benoit is down. The tension has been lost in the match. Finlay gets a “Finlay sucks!” chant and another close two-count. The crowd is bored now. Benoit has lost his teeth. He is probably going to have a big comeback, a lucky break and that will lead to the win. Like clockwork, Benoit gets Finlay into two German suplexes followed by an enziguri that knocks Finlay outside. He goes for the shillelagh and it is knocked away by Benoit and turned into another German suplex to the floor. Little Naitch begins to count.
Finlay is on the apron and Benoit suplexes him in, followed by two more. Maggle reminds us that this is something Eddie did. Benoit goes to the turnbuckle but Finlay is up and fighting back. Benoit is outside and Finlay barrels him into the barricade. They go back into the ring and, with little tension, Benoit gets Finlay in the crossface for the tapout in 21:10.
The start of this match was probably the most tense I have felt watching a wrestling match in years. So good. It devolves into something less impressive later and the end-up is that the match as a whole is underwhelming. We didn’t get the Frog Splash that Benoit was hinting to. As soon as Benoit went for the crossface, he got it and Finlay tapped out in less than a second. If the end of the match had the same tension as the beginning, it would have been amazing. As such, it was okay.
I love Benoit. I hope he wrestles forever.
The crowd go bananas as Benoit celebrates. This was a feud match, so his win means nothing in the long run. Tazz tells us that, “you can bet your bottom dollar that Benoit respects Finlay after that,” which is nonsense because Finlay did nothing but cheat the entire match. Why would anyone respect that? Benoit, all hopped up on muscles and butt injections, looks like a monster in the ring.
Cut to a reminder of WrestleMania 22 and the great matches. You can buy a DVD of it, if you want. It blanks out Vince’s middle finger, but not the blood.
Jillian Hall ties her boots and we see the beginning of the feud as Melina and her fight over the makeup table. Chriiiiist.
Jillian comes out to a big pop. Her shoulders are back and she looks thrilled to be here. Cut to Superstar Billy Graham in the audience, who looks like he might have haemorrhoids. Melina comes out with Nitro, who instantly goes to Jillian and shouts at her. The ref spends no time in removing him, which is something he should have done back in the first match!
Jillian Hall def. Melina via pinfall in 04:18.
This is a match that should not happen. Neither of these women are talented enough to have any sort of match at all (even if one of them is half of Cameron’s favourite match ever). The entire point of women’s wrestling is to show women wrestling. It is not for titillation any more as we have the internet. It is not to fulfil some feral love for catfighting as we have had the Jerry Springer show for months. Neither of these women are good wrestlers. They should not be given the airtime.
The match is just lots of rest holds and complaining. The crowd wolf whistles. Botched Irish whip and Melina screams. Melina hits the double-knees to Jillian (something that Sasha banks does now) and hits a Bret’s-rope-double-axe-handle-nothing. Face to the turnbuckle. Crap roll-up. Jillian wins.
I’ve said enough.
I’ll get myself a cup of tea then, I guess.
This sham of a match is made even worse by the fact that the pin is contested by Melina because she grabbed the rope. And the feud between two crap women continues. Crystal is there on the ramp, ready to ask Melina a question. She takes almost exactly one minute to ask her this question: “It hasn’t been a good night for you, has it?” This is, apparently, a question that is on “each and everyone’s mind here tonight.” Melina replies with, “you bitch!” and the two fight. I’ll go get myself another cup of tea then, I guess.
When I come back from my cup of tea, Cunt JBL is there, being a cunt as usual. JBL bigs up Rey, saying that he defeated Khali, Kane and Mark Henry, which is something that no one should be proud of, even someone two feet tall like Rey. JBL shouts off camera at someone and it’s Chavo Guerrero Jr! JBL drops Eddie’s name (Eddie died about six months earlier and his name was still being used to generate heat). Chavo’s lines are hidden behind the deafening roars of the audience.
On the Card will return on May 28th with the second part of Judgment Day 2006.