Ruthless Aggression #12: Armageddon – December 17, 2006.
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 December 17, 2006, the seventh Armageddon aired. It was a SmackDown! PPV, the first of its kind since No Mercy in October. 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 End… Is Only The Beginning
Oh yeah. That’s a tagline and a half. Seems like a movie tagline. Oh, it’s good. I like it. Ten out of ten. The cover has Batista dressed up like one of the Road Warriors or something. Very snazzy.
After ye olde wrasslin’ video, there is – would you believe it – a biblical promo package which defines the word “Armageddon”. We see the MVP vs Kane Inferno Match which involves one opponent setting the other on fire. Then there’s a bible verse and a promo for the Last Ride match where Undertaker and Kennedy fight to throw the other into a hearse. Another definition and we see the team of Batista and Cena get ready to fight Booker T and Finlay. It’s a triple main event! Which, of course, means no mean event. Of course, one of these main events takes place… first. Huh.
(Note: Before the PPV began, there was a dark match featuring Vladimir Kozlov and Scotty 2 Hotty. Yeah, of Too Cool fame.)
Big pyro and we are told that the end is here. Moustache Michael Cole and Cunt JBL invite us to the Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia, for the final PPV of 2006. A measly 8,200 people in attendance with a total of $423,500 in ticket sales at the door. Total PPV buys of 239,000, which is down from the 320,000 in 2005. JBL talks about the Inferno match but who gives a fuck because there’s a green-haired kid standing behind my boys, Hugo Savinovich and Carlos Cabrera, who actually chat for ages before Tony Chimel interrupts them.
MVP’s music hits and out comes the man himself, who has even more pyro behind him as he enters the arena. Around the ring, there is an odd contraption that the flames roll from. As he walks about the ring, the flames shake scarily. We see a promo for MVP as he jobs out boys left and right. He was desperate for competition and got our boy Kane. MVP kicked Kane in the balls and Teddy Long, upset with this, made the inferno match. Kane racks up losses to MVP Kane is livid. We have a flashback to the first Inferno match with masked Kane.
Back in the arena, the air is thick with smoke already. It is about to be roasting up in there. Big pyro from Kane and he comes down with the worst theme tune he had since the start of his career. He raises his hands and the flame contraption burns higher. What a lad. JBL calls him a bastard. Fuck off, JBL. The flames burn higher and the bell rings as MVP falls to his knees.
Inferno Match: Kane def. MVP via combustion in 22:33.
Well, let’s get into this piece of shit quickly. Kane hits the big boot, throws MVP into the corner and the crowd apparently cheer and ooh and aah as MVP climbs to the corner and regrets it. Each big bump makes the flames burn higher. MVP crawls about and is beaten down. Kane gets MVP into the corner and is about to hit the superplex when MVP fights back, flames jumping. MVP throws Kane down, but he just sits up. Michael Cole reminds us that the competitors cannot leave the ring. Kane calls for the chokeslam and the flames burst. Cole then calls them, “the exclamation point.” Yes, Cole. We got it.
Kane removes the turnbuckle covering and leans over the flames to set it alight. As Kane goes to hit MVP, he drops the cover. MVP lands on it briefly, but quickly takes and chucks it out to safety. Kane has MVP in the corner and beats him without mercy. He who is without mercy now pleads for it. Lovely Bossman Slam from Kane. Cunt JBL speaks for a while though no man cares.
Kane shouts at MVP in the corner and gets a punch for his efforts. MVP goes to the top rope and is pushed off onto the floor. Kane then goes to the top rope and actually jumps! The two men fight and struggle to push the other into the flames. Why does Kane like fire so much? He was burned as a child! Crazy stuff. Kane has the hand on MVP’s throat and pushes MVP into the flames, burning his arse where he has fire-retardant pants on, giving Kane the win in 8:14.
I was thinking it was going to be a shitshow, but it was actually good. The whole gimmick of an Inferno match requires that the wrestlers be a bit more careful with one another, and they were. The entire piece was a well-rehearsed piece of very dangerous theatre and because there was a clear and present danger there with the flames, the audience were rapt, knowing that at any point, one of the two of them could be hurt.
Did you see your man’s arse get set on fire?
MVP runs up the aisle before men with fire extinguishers put him out. It’s actually pretty fucking awesome. We see replays. It’s fun. Cunt JBL gives off that no human being should be set on fire… he seems to forget about his time as a crucifier back in the day.
Cut to the ladies in Teddy’s room. We have Forgettable Girl 1-4 and Teddy Long. Teddy tells them that there’s going to be a Naughty or Nice lingerie contest. Who gives a fuck?
Back in the arena, Cunt JBL ruins the craic.
The tag team champs appear first, sliding out and getting little applause. Regal and Taylor soon follow. Dave Taylor looks to be at least one hundred years old. Teddy Long comes out and tells all the players that there will be a Lingerie contest. No cunt cares. He then informs everyone that the tag match will be a ladder match… and some ladders appear, as if to punctuate the sentence. He then reveals that two teams have been added to the match: MNM (with Melina), who are apparently back together; and The Hardys, who the crowd are already clamouring for. When the two daredevils come out, the crowd go bananas. The Hardys pose for a while before the bell rings
Ladder Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship: Paul London and Brian Kendrick (c) def. William Regal and Dave Taylor, MNM (w/ Melina) and The Hardys via ascension in 20:13.
The matchup is underway and already there’s a schmoz. Everyone is chucked out except London, Kendrick and the Hardys. London (white pants) gets a jawbreaker and the Hardys hit a lovely swinging backdrop on Kendrick. Regal, Taylor and MNM come back in, desperate to slow the match down to a crawl. Regal and Taylor aren’t really known for their skill in a ladder match but if they’re rough enough, it shouldn’t matter.
This match is so hectic and hard to write about, I’m just going to hit the big spots. Lovely Poetry in Motion in the corner followed by a Snapshot. All four teams are in the ring now as well as three ladders. Jeff doesn’t know what to be doing with himself. Kendrick and London are thrown out, leaving only the Hardys. Matt Irish Whips Kendrick into the corner where Jeff waits with a ladder to throw it into his face. Nitro jumps into the ring and misses the ladder. Joey Mercury has the ladder, goes up it and is inches away from winning when Hardys and Kendrick/London lift the ladder up and toss him into Nitro on the outside.
Hardys set up a ladder in the corner and whip Kendrick, then London into it. Attempt at Poetry in Motion but London moves. Double suplex from London and Kendrick to Matt. Matt tosses London off the ladder and then does the same to Kendrick. On the outside, the other two teams fight but no one cares. Matt goes to suplex London but he fights back. Matt falls onto the ladder and Kendrick stops him from the turnbuckle. MNM hit the double gutbuster on London and the pace slows as the two men set up the ladders for a superplex spot onto a ladder. Jeff is top rope and Matt helps him fight off MNM. Jeff jumps onto the ladder and, like a see-saw, one end propels upwards, cracking Joey Mercury with a legit injury to the face.
Straight-up Shoot Fact: Although we have seen many legit injuries on this blog – some serious and some superficial and many more self-inflicted – this one is legit dangerous and could have ended far worse for our boy Mercury. He received five stitches on the inside of his nost and fifteen on the outside of his nose and cheek. His eye swelled shut pretty much instantly and he received four fractures on the inside of his nose including his orbital bone.
Like a tap, blood streams from our man Mercury. He is crawling backstage as the match continues, the camera moving back and forth when necessary. In the ring, the action never stops. A replay shows the ladder hitting Joey, his body remaining static and his head moving unnaturally from the force of the shot. Christ of almighty. This is wrestling, I suppose.
Taylor tosses Kendrick onto a ladder and Regal German suplexes London onto it. The crowd cheer for the Hardys as Regal rises up the ladder. He stops, terrified of heights and Taylor takes his place. Great storytelling here. If Regal goes to the top rope and then steps down because of his vertigo, this would be perfect. Jeff brings another ladder in as Matt hits two Twist of Fates on Taylor and Regal. Just as Jeff is about to jump, Nitro baseball slides the ladder, knocking Jeff off. Nitro has the ladder and bulldogs it onto Regal. Cunt JBL says that he now likes MNM. He’s still a cunt, but now a gloryhunting cunt. A glorycunter.
Nitro goes to the top of the ladder and London dropkicks him. Matt goes up a ladder and tosses boys off left and right. We have London vs. Matt at the top of a ladder, inches from the belt. Matt gives him the back body drop and Jeff appears with a ladder, climbing but too far away from the belts. Jeff sunset flips him, hitting a powerbomb and essentially legdropping the canvases. Matt sets up two ladders and Regal and Taylor move them apart, wishboning him. The two powerhouses set up the ladder to great boos. Regal goes a bit higher, overcoming his fear of heights, and Kenrick is up, punching at Regal until Taylor drags him off. Kendrick attempts the Shiranui and does not land it. Potential botch two of the night.
London is dragging himself towards the middle of the ring. Matt Hardy is back in, and London just… gets the belts in 20:13.
Great match except for the beginning and the end. The teams were great at parts, but, the parts did not mesh together as well as they should have.
If Mick were in the match, it would have been best match.
The winners celebrate, the losers go to the hospital and we see Joey Mercury’s face erupt.
On the Card will return on December 24 2016 with the second part of Armageddon 2006.