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 August 20, 2006, the PPV SummerSlam 2006 aired. It was a cross-promotional PPV, and the first of its kind since WrestleMania 22 back in April. Personally, the PPV 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. 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.
The Biggest Party of the Summer
It is a wildly generic tagline. The poster is just as bad and shows Trrrrrriple H and Shawn Michaels wearing aprons and chefs hats with very long sausages in prongs (HHH’s sausage is significantly longer than HBK’s). Behind them, all the superstars are badly photoshopped in front of a pool, all smiling and having fun. The thing is this: they must have done a SummerSlam photoshoot because all the pictures are actual images of wrestlers, not, like, their faces Photoshopped onto other people’s bodies (especially because the guy doing the Photoshop is not talented whatsoever) but if they did a photoshoot separately… by not just get everyone together to pose? Why take a dozen pictures and then mush ‘em together? Would the wrestlers be unhappy that, for example, John Cena is front and centre with D-X while the Spirit Squad is a tiny pixel in the background? Weird. Wrestling is weird.
Promo package telling us that SummerSlam has been the biggest party of the summer for 19 years. Then it’s highjacked by DX and shows the DX vs. McMahon rivalry. We see King Booker and his mad wife Sharmell force Batista to kiss his foot, which Drax did not like at all. Cena and Edge are roaring at each other as well. Back at the last Raw PPV, Vengeance on June 25, RVD retained his championship against Edge. A week later, Edge would defeat RVD on Raw and went into SummerSlam the champ. Cena is very unhappy about that.
Overly complicated graphics package to show that SummerSlam is Raw, Smackdown aaaaand ECW. The SS symbol just reminds me of a cool, refreshing drink of summer soda. We are live, however, in Boston, Massachusetts, home of the Founding Fathers, of revolution, of independence and Fallout 4. There are 16,168 in attendance with a reported 541,000 PPV buys! That’s less than last year’s 18,158 in attendance and 650,000 buys, but well done nonetheless. We have a selection of announcers, referees and commentators. To introduce us is Maggle Cole and Cunt JBL for SmackDown! They are joined by Tony Chimel as ring announcer. Raw has the dream team of Jumping Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler with Lilian Garcia as ring announcer. Finally, Screeching Joey Styles and Sunglasses Indoors Tazz with Justin Roberts as ring announcer for ECW. As always, they are joined by the fantastic Spanish announcers, Carlos Cabrera and Hugo Savinovich. That is a startlingly long list of announcers and the Spanish announcers aren’t even introduced! What?
(Note: Before the PPV began, there was a dark match featuring Carlito and Rob Conway. Carlito put on one of the best matches in Vengeance back in June and did not deserve this relegation.)
619 music hits and down comes former WWE champeen, Rey Mysterio. He’s facing it up and hands an absolutely astounded young lady his chain. Her face is priceless. I love it when wrasslers do stuff like that. He’s here to fight Chavo Guerrero, who screwed the chance Rey had to defend his championship against Booker T back in the Great American Bash. Vicky Guerrero is not happy about the whole thing, which is fair enough as the link between Rey and Chavo is Eddie, Vicky’s late husband. Cunt JBL calls Rey a “Disgrace”.
Cut to a promo showing Rey and Eddie being best friends. In both their books, they talk about each other a lot, obviously both of them being Luchas and breaking into the notoriously difficult American market when you’re not 6 foot 5 and 250 lbs.
Chavo comes out and we have a promo package for him and Eddie showing the best moments of their relationship. Comedy gold. Eddie looks so ripped in each of the packages. Chavo has come out of retirement for this one match. Rey dives towards Chavo and Little Naitch Charles Robinson rings the bell to start the match.
Chavo Guerrero def. Rey Mysterio via pin in 11:58.
You can almost smell the betrayal in the air as Rey batters on Chavo in the corner. Chavo hits Rey with a great uppercut. Rey does a springboard moonsault, caught by Chavo and Guerrero flies through the ropes. Rey jumps over the top rope and Chavo dodges into the ring, followed by a second suicide dive. Rey is in the corner, kicking Rey’s head, almost removing his mask in the process. Both JBL and Maggle are really making Rey, the babyface, out to be a bastard. You’re supposed to be putting him over, God dammit.
A couple of reversals and Rey gets his head bounced off the turnbuckle. Great backdrop from Chavo followed by an Eddie dance. The crowd boo him and chant, “Eddie! Eddie!” Rey’s mask gets punched off by Chavo! The cameras stay away from Rey’s face as he puts the mask back on. Well done, big man. Chavo goes to the top rope, however, and both men are up there with an embarrassingly ineffective bulldog off the top rope. Rey’s mask is still giving him trouble. Both men are up and Chavo gets a dropkick to the knee followed by Rey hitting a springboard crossbody. Drop tow hold reversal and a “Keep Khali off TV!” sign behind the boys. It quickly disappears.
Rey is back up to the top rope and Chavo goes for a super backdrop again, is reversed into an electric chair to hurricanrana that puts Chavo onto the ropes. Rey hits a wee 619 and Chavo springs about the place. Rey attempts to do a springboard seated senton followed by a hurricanrana and both ment are thrown outside, punching each other like a pair of headcases.
Does comes our girl Vicky, shouting and grabbing at Chavo. We knew this would happen. Those Guerreros are mental. Vicky slaps Chavo, Rey jumps through the ropes onto him. Vicky is telling both men off and Chavo hits a Three Amigos (triple rolling non-release suplex) but Rey escapes before the third one can be completed. Mysterio then hits the Three Amigos… and there are boos from the crowd? What? Rey goes to the top rope, shouts a Vicky for a while and the woman knocks Rey off the top rope. Little Naitch doesn’t get the DQ, however. Chavo hits a brainbuster and frog splash for the win in 11:58.
I love Eddie and I love Vicky, but this match would have been far better with one than the other. Keep the tributes, keep the references, lose Vicky. I mean, I understand her point in the match and she represents Eddie here, but she was more trouble than what she was worth. If she had interfered by accident and was then removed by Little Naitch and the guys had wrassled for a minute or two more with Chavo getting the win due in part to Vicky’s interference, fine, but it cheapens his win and makes the ten minutes previous to her coming out seem inconsequential even though his best performance was after she arrived on the scene.
I miss Eddie.
A good start to SummerSlam 2006. Vicky leaves as Chavo looks on, confused. He is wondering why Vicky slapped him. How can she slap?
Cut to Booker T, holding the World Heavyweight Championship close to his chest. I love the King Booker/Queen Sharmell angle. It’s a licence to print comedy. Edge and Lita pop in with her boobs on show. Edge says that as he is the WWE Champ and Lita is the WWE Women’s Champ, they are more powerful than the King and Queen. He then makes a football reference or a baseball reference. I don’t know. I don’t follow sports. Booker makes a friendly wager: If Booker retains and Edge does not, Edge must come to SmackDown! to kiss Booker’s feet. Edge has a counter-wager: If Edge retains and Booker does now, Booker must come to Raw and be Edge’s servant for the night. Bit touchy there, boys, careful with that racial abuse.
Cut to Joey and Tazz bigging up the next match: Big Show vs. Sabu in an Extreme Rules match for the ECW World Championship. In a previous episode of ECW, Big Show arrived to screw up the contract ladder match for both Sabu and RVD. The winner of the ladder match would face Big Show at SummerSlam, but the seven foot fool accidentally helped Sabu win. (Slow trumpet sound as Big Show looks the camera and shrugs theatrically).
Sabu comes out, carrying a chair. He points to the ceiling, throws the chair about. Big Show’s music hits and the man comes out. Very little posturing here. Neither men are that over at SummerSlam as ECW is the C show. This is an Extreme Rules match, however, so no DQs or countouts.
Extreme Rules Match for the ECW World Championship: Big Show (c) def. Sabu via pinfall in 8:55.
Sabu wastes no time in chucking a chair straight at Big Show’s head. Good start, my man. He batters Show with chair shots and follows it up with an Arabian Facebuster but gets a two-count. Show literally chucks him off him and then takes over with big shots to the head and chest of Sabu. Massive bodyslam from Show and Sabu looks like he’s rapping on the ground. Big bear hug from show and Sabu bites Show’s nose, hits a massive lariat, is caught by Show and does a move that neither of the announcers know the name of (it was a fallaway slam). Sabu throws another chair at Big Show’s face followed by a second. He then drops the chair outside the ring like a fool and hits a chair-dropkick to Show’s face but it only gets a two-count.
Sabu pops underneath the ring and pulls out a table, ready for Show to go through… although how he expects a seven foot, five hunnerd pound monster to go through a table is beyond me. He sets it up in the corner, hits Big Show with one bulldog off the turnbuckle and another running bulldog off the chair. Crowd chant for ECW and it isn’t long until both men are up and executing an electric chair drop off the turnbuckle. Big Show goes to Bret’s rope and hits a Vader bomb on Sabu. The steel steps are removed and thrown into the ring by Show. He gets another table from under the ring and takes his time getting in to set up his weird concoction of who stairs bridged by a table. Sabu jumps up and runs to the ropes, steps on the table and makes it slip. He quickly fixes it before jumping at Show and getting a spinebuster for his efforts. Sabu completely no sells it… oh wait, it was a DDT apparently. Another table is set up and Sabu goes for another DDT but gets chokeslammed and Big Show retains his ECW Chapionship by pin in 8:55.
Garbage. No story, just jumping from spot to spot. Show was the only one who sold anything and that might be because he was genuinely tired. Back in the day, I probably would have loved an Extreme Rules match, but neither guys bled (not that extreme) and there were no spots to write home about. I respect Sabu for his dedication to the art of wrestling, but I hate that he can’t tell a story in the ring. This could have been a match where Sabu pulled out all the shots and hit Show with everything he could and it was either ineffective against the monster or Show’s superior height, weight and strength kept reversing Sabu’s attempts. They could have told a story here. They did not.
I love Extreme Rules matches!
Big Show is exhausted and slightly bust. Tazz bigs up the match even though it was a sub-par shitshow. The ref is rubbing his head as if to say, “Christ, how are we going to tidy this mess up?” None of the replays are exciting.
On the Card will return on August 27 with the second part of SummerSlam 2006.