Ruthless Aggression #16. WrestleMania 23 (April 1, 2007) Part 1

On the Card: Ruthless Aggression #16 WrestleMania 23 – April 1, 2007

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 April 1, 2007, WrestleMania 23 aired. It was a WWE PPV, the first one since Royal Rumble back in January. 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 few 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 WrestleMania 23

All Grown Up.

Ha ha! All grown up. Because, you see, it’s the old blood versus the new blood. Cena and Michaels. Batista and Undertaker.

If there is one thing I love about each year being a wrestling fan, it’s the Royal Rumble. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s WrestleMania. Yep, there, I said it. WrestleMania has so much hype surrounding it that it cannot help but disappoint. The best thing about Mania is normally the entrances and the crazy spots. The matches are sub-par, normally, and half of it is aimed at the people who don’t watch wrestling but want to see celebrities. I would hate, hate, hate to go to WrestleMania and be anywhere but the front row. I’ve seen pictures of the ring from the nose-bleed seats. It is no way to spend your money.

WrestleMania 23 was at a time when wrestling ratings were low but spending was high. Trying to recoup losses, WWE made ‘Mania as crazy as possible and called in some old friends and crazy matches to intrigue and entertain fans. Let’s see if it’s just a full undercard!

Old promo package showing the titles of the last twenty-two WrassleManias. We see Hogan, Andre, Warrior, Stone Cold, Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, Rock, Shane McMahon, Triple H, Eddit, Cena etc. There’s a big pop for the fact that WrassleMania is all grown up. Hey! That’s the tagline!

Here we are in Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan, the city that never stops stabbing, we join 80,103 people in attendance with 1,188,000 at home (higher than the 930,000 from the year before) as the Queen of Soul, Miss Aretha Franklin sings America The Beautiful with a whole fucking choir and a piano and shit. Lovely promo package showing some soldiers, bombers, mountains, a woman in a sea of soldiers, firemen, the statue of Liberty, Shawn Michaels, more soldiers on parade, John Cena, Maria, a bald eagle, Abraham Lincoln’s statue, more bombers and big pyro. USA! USA! USA!

Fucking jingoistic bollocks.

Cut to everyone in a corridor, being kids, saying one line each and looking into the camera. It’s actually a fucking brilliant promo package. It looks amazing. Except for the laughable bits with the women. You’re not champions, ladies.

Raw, Smackdown and ECW present WrestleMania 23! Big pyro hits and we are officially welcomed in by Jim JR Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler. The other announcers are Cunt JBL and Maggle Cole. ECW is here as well: Joey Styles and Tazz.

(Note: Before the PPV began, there was a dark match that featured Ric Flair and Carlito teaming up to defeat Gregory Helms and Chavo Guerrero. It was a lumberjack match and an excuse for some lads to get a WresleMania payday without doing much. They included: Viscera, Shad Gaspard and JTG of Cryme Tyme, Chris Masters, Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas of the world’s greatest tag team, Robbie and Rory McAllister of the Highlanders, Val Venis, Super Crazy, Johnny Nitro, Jim Duggan and Eugene, Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch, Kenny Dykstra, Daivari, Shannon Moore, Sylvain Grenier, Deuce n’ Domino, Paul London and Brian Kendrick who should really have been on the fucking show, The Miz, Vito, Scotty 2 Hotty, William Regal, Dave Taylor, Jimmy Wang Yang, Jamie Noble, Sho Funaki, Balls Mahoney, Stevie Richards, Little Guido, Cunt Bob Holly and Snitsky. Phew!)

The opening contest, as Lillian and her plunging neckline tell us, is for a contract to allow the winner to have a championship match at any time.

First down is Jeff Hardy, first appearance in five years. He hardly gets halfway down the ramp before Booker T comes down with his King gimmick and his mental wife Sharmell. What a guy. Thankfully, she does not hail him.

Fucking Finlay is next, shaming all Irish people with his bollocks.

CM Punk comes down with his electric guitar entrance. No Cult of Personality to be heard.

Kennedy! Fuck right off. The camera can’t have him at all. His mic actually falls from the roof. That’s quite cool, actually.

Ooooooh yeaaaah! It’s fat Matt Hardy. Jeff! Matt! Hardys! Hardyz! Team Extreme! Same match!

What? Randy Orton! Hey! There’s nothing in my way! Nothing gonna change what you done to me! Brilliant. It’s a great matchup already.

The other member of Rated-RKO turns up. Big Edgey. Down he comes, face on him. He’s desperate to kick the shite out of everyone tonight. The announcers put over tag team dissension.

Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Mr Kennedy def. CM Punk, Randy Orton, Finlay, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy and King Booker (w/ Queen Sharmell) via ascension to the heavens in 19:10.

Referees on the outside. All the men stare at the ceiling and then leave the ring. Kennedy and Randy pair off. Finlay takes his damn time, goes top rope and has a bowling ball spot, knocking everyone off. Edge gets a ladder, sets it up mid-ring and Matt pulls him down from it. Randy and Finlay take their place, punching atop the ladder until it falls over. Jeff goes up, damn near gets the briefcase until Kennedy takes him down. Outside, Booker goes for a ladder and finds a tiny stepladder. It is used by CM Punk as a weapon until Edge tosses it at his face and busts him wide open. Blood already.

The ladder is set up against the barricade like a bridge and CM Punk reverses a suplex to avoid being put through it. Booker cleans house in the ring and does a spinneroony before the Hardys knock him down. Matt hits a Side Effect on Edge and set up the ladder in a repeat of the Joey Mercury spot that opened it up but escapes and suplexes Matt onto it instead.

It’s Kennedy’s turn to be in the ring and sets Matt up for the Kenton bomb, bopping the back of his head off the edge of the ladder. Jeff hits the Swanton and both Hardys use the ladder to clear house. They both climb the ladder and fight each other on top. Finlay tosses the ladder over and batters everyone, clearing the house and lifting up the ladder before Edge spear him followed by Randy, Booker, Finlay, Matt, Jeff and attempts to spear CM Punk but he leapfrogs. Then we have a Three Stooges spot with CM Punk putting the ladder on his head and knocking the shit out of everyone.

Edge is alone and getting big boos when he leaves to get the biggest ladder. The announcers make penis jokes.

Edge lifts up the ladder and sets it near the briefcase. Randy is up and pushes the ladder – and Edge! – over, out onto the concrete. Jeff knocks Randy down, sets the ladder up and moves the ladder about. Matt sets up Edge on the ladder-bridge and Jeff decides not to climb the ladder to get the briefcase (it’s miles away anyways) and hits a dumb leg drop onto Edge. Lots of time spent focussing on these two men. Edge looks legit hurt and Matt looks worried.

Randy RKOs Matt then Finlay and Kennedy. He sets up a ladder – very small ladder – and slowly ascends it. CM Punk is up, hits Orton and sets the two ladders next to each other. Both men climb the ladders and the video cuts to Edge being “eliminated” by being sent out on a stretcher. Randy and Punk have a lovely RKO off the top rope but Randy is up to beat on Booker and sets up another RKO but booker reverses into a Book End and goes back up the ladder. Matt Hardy enters and so does Sharmell. He threatens to give the Twist of Fate to Booker’s wife if he doesn’t descend the ladder. Booker, to his credit, does, and gets a Twist of Fate for his effort. Finlay comes in, lifts the ladder, sending Matt flying. Finlay is bust open. He gives Matt the Celtic Cross on the ladder and sells it like it hurt him. It did not.

Finlay is bust badly, having difficulty getting up. And then Hornswoggle comes in. Oh God. He goes up the ladder himself to help Finlay. He’s nearly there and Kennedy is in, up the ladder and shouting at Hornswoggle. Little Bastard slaps Kennedy and gives him a lovely rolling senton from the ladder. Finlay throws the ladder straight at Kennedy’s face. Finlay is climbing, inches away when Punk dropkicks the ladder and sends him off. Punk sets up the ladder, he could win this, there are no others in the ring… until Kennedy comes in and the pair exchange blows. Punk kicks Kennedy and the blonde bastard picks up a ladder, throws it, repositions the ladder mid-ring and gets the briefcase to win the Money in the Bank in 19:10.

2017 comments:

Good opener. High-octane, lovely spots, setting the scene and getting a little blood in already. Only downside is that not everyone in the match was equally used, especially Finlay (apart from the end), Punk (who seemed to just fill in when no one was available), Edge (in, out, shake it all about) and Jeff Hardy (who did one spot and left).

2007 comments:

Fucking Kennedy. Why did it have to be Kennedy?

Grade: B

Kennedy runs out of the ring and up the aisle, away from the ring, happy to be shot of the place. Some great replays of the last few minutes. Hornswoggle took a great hot on the ribs, boy.

Cut to the theatrical release of The Condemned with Stone Cold Steve Austin. The release was basically like a wrasslin’ match. Lots of cheering and that.

Backstage, Todd Grisham is speaking to Mr. Kennedy, who is inspecting his briefcase as if to ask, “How does this open?” and, “Where are the sweets? I was promised that sweets would be inside.”

Oh, Kennedy,

He interrupts Todd, congratulates himself and sends a message to the lads in the back with gold because Kennedy has a contract to kill any of them… with a referee and ring permitting, of course. He is, after all, Mr. Money in the Bank… Bank.

Cut to Baby Batista promo where our boy Dave talks about his childhood. Is it legit? Is it kayfabe? We may never know. He says he has a focus – wrasslin’ – and it’s his passion. That and going to space.

It’s time for the piss break match as Khali enters to a silence. Fuck off. You’re no good and you’re pushed to be better than Taker. Nonsense. He’s fighting Kane and not even Jobber to the Stars can help this nonsense.

Big pyro and down he comes, walking with a purpose and big chubby belly on him. He gets into the ring, smiles creepily and the bell rings.

The Great Khali def. Kane via pin in 5:31.

Khali pushes Kane to the ground and the Big Red Machine sells it like a shotgun blast. Kane boots him in the nuts, runs the ropes and Khali says no. Chop attempts from the Punjabi Playboy and Kane goes flying. Kane gives Khali a wee guillotine, gets a clothesline for his efforts. JR and King are trying to put over this match and failing. Khali hits the Vulcan Nerve Pinch and Kane fights to his feet. The crowd are dead. No interaction with them. Khali has Kane in the corner and chokes him for a bit. Kane fights back, gives Khali big right hands and is tossed back. Kane goes top rope, attempts a clothesline and a boot. Khali gets stuck in the ropes, tied up like Andre. Kane goes under the ring, gets a hook and chain – like the ones used in See No Evil! – and it hooks onto the ropes. Khali rips off the turnbuckle pad and Kane uses the chain to hit the low blow. Big body slam from Kane and there’s a huge pop! WrestleMania 3 callback! Andre! Hogan! Kane! Khali! Kane and Khali shake chokes for a bit until Khali chokeslams Kane, puts a foot on his chest and gets the pin in 5:31.

2017 comments:

I love Kane and this was guff. Other than the body slam and the pop, this was a waste of time.

2007 comments:

Oh Kane, how far have you fallen?

Grade: F

Khali chokes Kane, gets some extra heat and leaves.

On the Card will return on April 8 2017 with the second part of WrestleMania 23.

Ruthless Aggression #13: New Year’s Revolution (Jan 7 2007) Part 1

Ruthless Aggression #13: New Year’s Revolution – January 7, 2007.

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 January 7, 2007, the third and final New Year’s Revolution aired. It was a RAW PPV, the first of its kind since Cyber Sunday in November 2006. 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.

Armageddon 2006

The Revolution Continues…

Aww yiss. The poster shows Trrrrrriple H and Shawn Michaels in period garb, dressed like the Founding Fathers. They are holding a badly photoshopped DX-claration of Independence with their signatures at the bottom and DX sprayed over it in green. The tagline suggests that their feud against Vince isn’t over.

There are fucking CGI dragons at the start! And they’re breathing right into your face! WWE Raw presents New Year’s Revolution, as a real metal dragon bursts out pyro and JR reminds us that it is 2007, but has no time to introduce himself or Jerry “The King” Lawler before the Intercontinental championship begins…

But wait, a promo hits, showing Randy Orton and Edge kicking seven shades out of DX, busting them both open. Triple H welcomes Rated-RKO to “The Other Side”, which is a bunch of comics about cows.

We cut to Umaga, destroying everyone in his path, facing John Cena later for the WWE Championship.

(Note: Before the PPV began, there was a dark match featuring Vladimir Kozlov and Eugene, Which Kozlov won. This is his second dark match in a row, one being on Armageddon 2006.)

Back in the arena, the Steel Cage has dropped and Lillian Garcia reveals the rules: the only way to win is by pinfall, submission or leaving the cage.

MNM’s music hits and out comes Johnny Nitro with Melina. The lads botch the red carpet at the start and the cameras attempt to introduce JR and Jerry, but keep knocking back to the ramp, where Nitro and Melina are walking down. Jerry mentions that Johnny Nitro’s name is up there with K-Fed. Really? He also mentions that there was a K-Fed vs. Cena match on New Year’s day, which would have been RAW Monday 1st January 2007, obviously.

Hardy’s music hits and down comes Jeff, the Intercontinental champion. What a lad. What a high, high lad. Hardy is right in the cage, jumping up to the top of the cage, sitting there and jumping down.

The match is about to begin, but we haven’t yet been introduced to our broadcast colleagues, or to the Spanish announcers. It takes place in the Kemper Memorial Arena in Kansas City, Missouri, with a total of 10,000 in attendance (the maximum attendance for the arena is actually 18,344, but that was lowered for this PPV, probably because they couldn’t sell all of the tickets) and 220,000 PPV buys at home, much less than the 294,000 from the previous year. Still, the money made from the event was more than last year with $107 million rather than the $95 million from 2006.

Steel Cage Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship: Jeff Hardy (c) def Johnny Nitro via leaving a cage in 14:49.

The crowd bays for Hardy instantly and the two men circle each other. Hardy makes the crowd clap and Johnny starts taking control, working on Hardy’s lower back. Hardy fights back, stomping Nitro into one corner and Irish whipping him into the other. Hardy goes for a ten punch and reaches all ten before Nitro collapses. Hardy goes for the cover but Nitro escapes. Nitro then reverse-flapjacks Hardy. Melina screams as Hardy gives the facebuster suplex but Nitro replies with a springboard kick to the face. Lots of covers in this match, almost like they think that a steel cage match will end by either pinfall or submission.

Lovely lariat and mother men are on the ground. Hardy crawls toward the cage door but is dragged back by Nitro. Hardy goes to climb out and Nitro grabs him before dropkicking Hardy’s legs. Melina screams again, the loud bitch. Hardy is caught between the cage wall and the ring ropes and Nitro is really going to town on him. Nitro goes to escape, but Hardy catches him and the two men fall as Hardy dropkicks Nitro off. Hardy landed on his hip but reverses an Irish whip into a sprint up the cage wall. Nitro reverses this into a botched super backdrop where he lands on his feet before falling back. Looks a bit guff, being honest. Hardy flapjacks Nitro into the steel cage and tries to climb it.

Both men are on the top rope and Hardy Russian leg sweeps Nitro off. Hardy climbs onto the turnbuckle and Nitro climbs on Hardy to help himself up. From the top of the cage, Nitro sunset flips Hardy, turning it into a powerbomb where Jeff’s head bounces off the canvas. Johnny starts to climb and makes it to the top before Jeff is on his feet. Johnny’s legs get caught in the cage, sending him into a tree of woe, which legit looks like it really fucking hurts. I cringe just looking at it. Melina takes her belt off and whips at Jeff by the cage side. Nitro takes advantage and dropkicks Jeff. Both men down.

We have a wee lie down as one red hat jerk in the crowd jaws off to Melina. It’s real to him, dammit. Nitro goes for a lariat and Jeff turns it into a cross body before hitting the Swanton Bomb from the top rope. Jeff goes for the cover yet Nitro’s leg is on the rope. Didn’t think that rope-breaks counted in a cage match as it is no-DQ… but maybe that only works with the submissions? Jeff hits the back body drop and Nitro once again makes his way to the top of the cage. Nitro is on the edge and about to fall off when Hardy attempts a super Twist of Fate and botches it. Nitro does not know what to do and begins a climb to the top again. Jeff is crawling towards the door but Melina is blocking it. Nitro’s foot is on the door when Jeff kicks the door open, wishboning Nitro on the top of the door, allowing Hardy to leave and retain the championship in 14:49.

2016 comments:

Great curtain jerker again by these two fantastic lads, despite the fuckups.

2006 comments:

It’s rare to start a PPV with a steel cage match but I’m glad it did.

Grade: A-

Todd Grisham is backstage and speaking to Randy Orton and Edge, the World Tag Team Champions of Rated-RKO. Todd asks them why this feud with DX is so personal. Edge tells him that DX reformed to have fun and Rated-RKO formed to take them down. Randy agrees, telling Todd that Rated-RKO are fighting for their future, which is funny because Edge doesn’t have many years left in his future as he would retire four years later in 2011 after WrestleMania XXVII.

Back in the arena, Lilian introduces a special bonus match: Tag Team Turmoil! I hate TTT. It’s a shitty Royal Rumble for tags. The winner becomes number one contenders for the tag team belts.

First out is our boys, the Highlanders!

Then, the World’s Greatest Tag Team: Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin. Both have dragons on their backs, obviously loving the dragons here at New Year’s Revolution.

Tag Team Turmoil Match for the number one contender for the WWE Tag Team Championship: Cryme Tyme def Lance Cade and Trevor Murdock, The Highlanders, The World’s Greatest Tag Team (Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas) and Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Super Crazy via elimination in 19:03.

Hoo-boy, this is going to be… a match.

Charlie Haas and Robbie start off. Charlie is thrown into the corner and both Highlanders double suplex him before having a lovely Irish whip dodge ending with a weak drop toe hold. JR takes the time to describe the difference between the Highlanders: Rory is older and bald, Robbie is younger and hairy. Shelton Benjamin jumps over Charlie’s back to land on Rory’s arse. Shelton is tagged in and delivers a knee to Rory. A lot of green glow sticks in the crowd making the DX symbol. Rory is in a chinlock but soon fights out of it. Shelton attempts a bodyslam but Rory falls on him and the two men struggle for a moment before Robbie gets the hot tag, clearing house. Robbie gives Charlie a lovely back suplex and is aout to be thrown into the right when Charlie rolls out. As Rory gets Robbie back, Shelton sneaks up, hits a lovely superplex on Robbie and gets the pin.

The Highlanders have been eliminated by The World’s Greatest Tag Team in 5:10.

A Challenger Appears: Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Super Crazy.

Hacksaw is gassed already. He delivers mental punches to Shelton and shouts his damn “Hoooooo!” every five seconds. Hacksaw gets beat on by Charlie as the crowd bay for Super Crazy. Shelton chokes Duggan with the ring ropes and eventually he fights back, hits the tepid tag and Super Crazy is in, hitting dropkicks, snapmares and a standing moonsault, which is impressive considering his size. He goes to jump top rope but Shelton knocks him out with a punch and Charlie pins him.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Super Crazy have been eliminated by The World’s Greatest Tag Team in 3:57.

A Challenger Appears: Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch.

And now we see the two teams that people came to see. Cade takes over, beating on Benjamin and easily lifting up Shelton and slamming him down. Murdoch looks like a Hillbilly. Maybe that’s his gimmick. Shelton is getting beat on and Murdoch gives him the big boot over Cade’s head. Then we have a lovely rest hold. As Murdoch moves to face the hard cam. Cade gives Shelton the neckbreaker and gets only two-counts, sadly. Cade gives Murdoch a lovely Atomic-Drop-into-Leg-Drop onto Shelton Benjamin. Shelton goes for the hot tag and Haas is in, cleaning house. Murdoch hits a lovely T-Bone suplex where he doesn’t even drop. Haas goes for a submission move and Cade jumps off the top rope with an axe-handle-nothing and Murdoch pins him for the elimination.

The World’s Greatest Tag Team have been eliminated by Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch in 4:39.

A Challenger Appears: Cryme Tyme.

Yo yo yo yo! It’s Cryme Tyme! Brooklyn Brooklyn!

Shad and JTC turn up and Shad clears house before tagging in JTG, who gets thrown onto Cade. Mudoch is tagged in and JTC his knocked out of the ring. Cade calls him back in, goes for the pin, fails, and argues with the ref. Cade gives JTG another few punches and throws him against the turnbuckle. Murdoch gives JTG a bunch of chokes and another toss into the turnbuckle. Cade covers for Murdoch, who is choked by the tag ropes. Cade gives JTG a lovely punch and he goes down like a sack of spuds. Murdoch is in, taking over and punching JTG until there’s a lovely roll-up and the ref’s back is turned. Typical refs. Never watching.

Murdoch is taking over and JTG has been on the receiving end of his punishment for a while. Murdoch goes from Bret’s rope and gets countered, leading to an almost-hot tag that never comes as Cade knocks Shad off the apron. JTG escapes a double suplex and Shad is tagged in, clearing house for ten seconds before being knocked down. Shad lifts Cade up for a Samoan Drop after escaping a double team and the pain double-neckbreaker Cade for the pin in 19:03.

Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch have been eliminated by Cryme Tyme in 6:51.

Cryme Tyme are the new Number One Contenders for the Tag Team Championship!

Cryme Tyme celebrate and JR takes away from the win by saying that they had an advantage because they were the last team in the match.

On the Card will return on January 14 2017 with the second part of New Year’s Revolution 2007.

Ruthless Aggression #4: Vengeance (June 25, 2006) Part 1

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 June 25, 2006, the PPV Vengeance aired. It was a Raw PPV, and the first Raw PPV since Backlash 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.

Vengeance 2006

There was no tagline this time either! Huh. I did not see that one coming. The poster shows Cena and Edge staring lovingly into each other’s eyes as the DX symbol is spraypainted over them. Simple and effective.

After the old “remember what wrasslin’ used to be like” video, we have everyone’s favourite start to a PPV: dictionary definitions of the title! As we hear what the word “vengeance” means according to Webster or whoever (the source, regrettably, is not given) we see Cena getting beating by Edge, Sabu and RVD. Then Edge beats on RVD. Vince makes the Spirit Squad cause DX to reunite and they subsequently spraypaint Coach’s butt. They love their butts, the DX boys. Cant’s get quite enough of the deviancy, being honest with you. They also drop green slime in the middle of the ring. Shawn Michaels does an absolutely terrible job of spraypainting a DX symbol onto a piece of glass hanging over the camera.

(Note: Before the PPV began, there was a dark match featuring Val Venis and Rob Conway.)

Pyro goes off and the crowd go mental in the Charlotte Bobcats Arena, Charlotte, North Carolina, The Best Carolina. That’s right, I said it. 6,800 in attendance with 320,000 PPV buys at home. $400,000 from the gate alone with an average ticket price of around about $58. Close up on a homemade fan sign featuring the words “DX SUCK IT” in green sparkly glue. That’s right, arts and crafts are alive in Carolina tonight, I tell you what. Jumping Jim Ross and wife-beating Jerry “The King” Lawler on commentary this evening. Jerry is desperate to have the WWE title come back to Raw. Broadcasting with them this evening is our boys Hugo Savinovich and Carlos Cabrera. Guys in the background dance as Randal Keith Orton’s music hits and the smarmy motherfucker poses on the Titantron, golden shower of pyro exploding behind him. JR really spouts off the importance of this match – Randy’s second fight with Kurt Angle since he came back from that broken ankle. Cut to a lady in the crowd with an “RKO ME PLEASE” sign, singing along to Randy’s music. Come on love, you won’t survive an RKO. The man is a professional. Randy poses and the crowd’s reaction is mixed.

But then Kurt Angle’s music hits and no one questions the pop. Fuck yeah, Kurt Angle, one of my favourite lads. He’s wearing the same blood-smeared gumshield he was at ECW One Night Stand. Jerry tells him that he sucks, which is unfair, really. King then calls him “a former WWE superstar”.

Randy Orton def. Kurt Angle via pin in 12:50.

Bell goes and we get a lovely repeat of last month with Angle stalking Orton about the ring. Orton almost escapes through the ropes and Randy holds his hand out as if to say, “Woah, now.” JR points out that the crowd is not too pleased by this. Angle does for the double leg takedown and gets Orton in a hammerlock into a pin for a quick two. They grapple back and forth and Angle gets Randy’s ankle while he’s on the ropes. Angle dives onto the apron and attempts to German suplex Orton off the apron but Randy fights back. Angle Germans him once both are on the floor and the crowd chant “ECW! ECW!” King gives off to Angle and the Olympic Champion suplexes Randy back into the ring. The air is filled with smoke from the pyro.

Orton circles Angle and dropkicks him in the face before chucking him out of the ring. King calls the dropkick “A thing of beauty.” Angle is really roaring in pain. Cover in the ring for a two-count. Knee drop and another two-count. Chinlock city from Randy Orton but Angle reverses it into a modified Samoan Drop. Some punches and Irish whip to a shoulder barge. Another chin lock and the two men have a chat for a bit. A really long bit. Like, a minute. Orton uses the ropes to gain an unfair advantage. Angle is up to his feet and beating on Orton, runs the ropes and gets a knee to the face for his trouble. JR and King say that the ECW referees are on the work-release program completing community service. Lots of chin locks here.

Angle gives Orton an arm drag but he’s back down on the ground. Orton goes to the top rope, but Angle is damn near on the other side of the ring. Angle is up and gives Orton a belly-to-belly suplex from the top rope. Count out and the crowd is counting with him. Another belly-to-belly followed by another and an attempted Angle Slam but Randy escapes and gives a reverse backbreaker. Jesus, Randy. Angle has neck problems. Orton goes for the RKO and begins to undo the turnbuckle pad. Angle gives Randy a total of eight German suplexes, the last of which is released, throwing Randy outside.

Kurt jumps out to roll Randy back in, goes for the pin but gets two. Angle goes for the ankle lock but is kicked away by Orton. Randy checks the turnbuckle pad to make sure it is gone and receives another suplex. Angle removes his singlet straps and gets Orton in the ankle lock. Laborious crawl to break the ropes and Randy tosses the Olympic champ into the exposed turnbuckle, hits the RKO and gets the pin in 12:50.

2016 comments:

Great start from both Orton and Angle. Some nice ring psychology and foreshadowing with the exposed turnbuckle, though the payoff was less than impressive.

2006 comments:

My God I hate Randy Orton but that RKO is masterful.

Grade: B

Randy celebrates and sells his damaged ankle as it shows replays of the win. Bravely, Orton rises to the top of the damaged turnbuckle and hits his legend killer pose, the cocky skitter. Orton, the courage of a thousand men, walks up the ramp with only one ref by his side.

Cut to Vince McMahon on the phone, cutting a promo about DX on his flip phone. A kid in a wheelchair in a DX t-shirt comes in and Vince starts to berate him, thinking the child is a DX prank. He tells the kid to shut up and threatens to take the boy on a “ride to the highway to hell” and throws the kid out the door with a scream and a crash. In comes Coach with a “pistol pump” that apparently was outside Vince’s door. Vince tells the Coach that he just made a DX joke backfire and Coach informs Vince that the kid in question was one of his close family friends who idolised Vince… until he threw him down a flight of stairs. I wrote this entire synopsis after seeing a minute of the promo. It’s that predictable. The crowd reacts when the punchline hits, however, but I’m going to assume that it was a fake reaction because the damn thing wrote itself.

Umaga’s music hits and he comes down with Armando Alejandro Estrada, who is not introduced. JR calls the 350lbs monster a “super heavyweight”. Armando gets the mic and laughs his way through a Paul Heyman promo. Lillian Garcia looks on, wondering what mistakes she made to get for her life to come to this point. Armando says that Eugene “the special little boy” is bringing his friends to the ring. He says that Eugene can bring Superman, Spider-man, Aquaman or Wonder Woman (“I hear she’s in town,”) but he won’t beat Umaga. This is nonsense of course. There’s no way there could be a triple crossover with DC, Marvel and WWE at the same time. Fanboy’s wet dream.

Eugene’s music hits and this is the third time I have seen him so far in these reviews, which is four times too many. This is his first actual match, though. Eugene dances and invites out “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan with a “Hoooooo!” Then Doink’s music hits. What the fuck? Apparently, this Doink is Steve Lombardi, the Brooklyn Brawler, not the original Doink who was Matt Osborn, or the dozen other Doinks that there have been including Jeff Jarrett, the Bushwhackers and Chris Jjjjjjjerichoooooo. The crowd couldn’t care less about Doink. But wait… there’s more… Kamala comes out! A gimmick just as offensive as Umaga. Down he comes, slapping his belly and joining the others ringside.

Umaga w/ Armando Alejandro Estrada def. Eugene w/ “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, Doink the Clown and Kamala via pin in 1:26.

Another Umaga match, another squash. Before the match even really begins, the crowd are loving the “USA! USA!” chants through the stadium. I don’t know who thought that a Eugene squash would make Umaga look more terrifying, especially considering the whuppin’ our boy Eugene got two weeks ago at ECW One Night Stand. But, here we are, ready to watch and be depressed. Umaga goes for Doink and Eugene defends his clown friend. The crowd chant a weak, “Eugene, Eugene!” as the man himself is knocked down. Another “Hooo!” chant and a second, “USA! USA!” Umaga charges at our boy Eugene and Estrada calls for the Samoan Spike to take Eugene down for the pin in one minute, twenty-six seconds.

2016 comments:

A dark time for wrestling.

2006 comments:

What is his appeal? And by “his”, I of course mean, “everyone in the ring”.

Grade: F

Duggan jumps in as Umaga brings Eugene to the corner to beat on him. Doink defends Duggan and gets a Samoan Spike for his troubles. Kamala slaps his belly for a while and Estrada tells Umaga to leave as Kamala is obviously mental. The crowd either boo Umaga’s cowardice or Kamala’s lack of beating. Kamala goes to check on Eugene as Mick Foley is interviewed backstage before his match with Ric Flair.

On the Card will return on July 2nd with the second part of Vengeance 2006.