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.

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Ruthless Aggression #15. No Way Out (February 18, 2007) Part 4

Previously on On the Card: Booker was there and Kane was there!

Jesus, Kristal, would you please shut up? She’s talking to Batista now. He fucks up his promo. She asks him how Batista is going to trust Undertaker. We see footage where Taker chokeslams Batista. Kristal asks the Animal if he is intimidated. He says he’s not.

It’s Paul London and Brian Kendrick! And they’re not in the first match! There’s a stereo backflip mid ring.

Deuce ‘n Domino come out with Cheery in a cyan 50’s-style car. Cheery chews gun, wears roller skates and doesn’t wear 50’s clothes. Because… she’s a dope, I suppose.

Straight-up Shoot Fact: Deuce is actually James Snuka, brother of Tamina Snuka and son of the late Hall of Famer and alleged murderer, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka.

WWE Tag Team Championship match: Paul London and Brian Kendrick (c) def Deuce ‘n Domino (w/ Cherry) via pin in 8:07.

Yeah! Another tag match! Only seen two of them so far tonight.

Cunt JBL slags off Cole for losing his voice. Domino and Paul London start off. The two men slap each other before bouncing and running the ropes for a while. Brian Kendrick is called in and the pair double team Domino for a bit. London is back in and Deuce does a quick run-in. Stereo dropkicks and both DnD are out of the ring. London gets Domino in a headlock, Deuce is tagged in and hits a lovely backbreaker followed by a clothesline. Domino has bust his face open for some reason, I didn’t see it happen. Poor son of a bitch. London is bullied by the lads and Cherry watches on, popping gum and smiling.

Cunt JBL admits to being a bully. Domino has a lovely bloody mouth. He looks like Jaws. Lovely double-underhook suplex from Domino and poor London is getting his shit kicked in, taking the time and building to a hot tag. London gets thrown against the turnbuckle. More beating up in the corner and DnD hit a lovely double back body drop on London. The tag is not hot yet. The crowd is not behind it at all. He crawls to Kendrick but Deuce knocks him off before it can happen. London counters a sidewalk slam, attempts the tag and dodges the attacks, finally tags in Kendrick, who takes it to DnD, almost gets a pin. He kicks away at Deuce, gets a clothesline for his effort and Brian goes to top rope, there’s an attempt to an Electric Chair Clothesline, but Kendrick ducks it, does a roll up and gets the pin in 8:07.

2017 comments:

This could have been a great match, but they were only given eight minutes.

2007 comments:

Not as many flips as I would have wanted.

Grade: C.

Cunt JBL quotes Faarooq by saying, “Damn.” Fuck off.

On the Card will return on March 18 2017 with the fifth part of No Way Out 2007!

Ruthless Aggression #12: Armageddon (Dec 17 2006) Part 1

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.

Armageddon 2006

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.

2016 comments:

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.

2006 comments:

Did you see your man’s arse get set on fire?

Grade: B

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.

2016 comments:

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.

2006 comments:

If Mick were in the match, it would have been best match.

Grade: A

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.

Ruthless Aggression #8: No Mercy (October 8, 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 October 8, 2006, the PPV No Mercy aired. It was a SmackDown! PPV, and the first SmackDown! PPV since The Great American Bash way back in July. 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.

No Mercy 2006

Once again, there was no tagline for this PPV. I’m beginning to feel like the tagline thing isn’t such a big deal. I should probably stop talking about it at the beginning of each of these PPV reviews, probably. The poster makes up for it, however, as it shows King Booker and Queen Sharmell standing over the body of a slain dragon. Great.

We see King Booker force Bobby Lashley to kiss his feet and Teddy Long sets up a fatal-fourway match to see who will be the new World Heavyweight champion. Batista, who fought Booker at SummerSlam and won by DQ, thus failing to win the belt and Finlay, sometime ally to Booker but recent enemy, are also in the match. Lashley loves his steroids. So does Batista, actually. The pair of them.

There’s actually no promo for any other match. We have The Undertaker battling Mr. Kennedy, we have Benoit vs. Regal, we have Rey vs Chavo with Vickie. Great matches, great storylines, but we focus on the main event. What you’re saying there is that the rest of the card is shit.

Overly complex CGI welcomes us to WWE No Mercy. Pyro hits and the smoke fails to clear as we are introduced to the RBC Centre, Raleigh, North Carolina. 9,000 people in attendance with 197,000 PPV buys, a drop from the 230,000 buys the year previous and the 232,000 buys at The Great American Bash. Your announcers are moustache-and-soul-patch Michael Cole who says that we are on the campus of North Carolina State University, on the Legendary Tobacco Road, which seems unhealthy for students, but there you go; and Cunt JBL who is sticking around despite his utter lack of talent. JBL says nothing of consequence, which should go on his headstone. They are joined by oft-forgotten and regularly cut-off Mexian commentators, mental Hugo Savinovich and Carlos Cabrera.

 (Note: Before the PPV began, there was a dark match featuring Jimmy Wang Yang and Sylvan. It was of little import.)

Out comes Fat Matt Hardy, all fired up on McDonalds and cocaine. Raleigh is near enough his hometown of Cameron, NC and, according to Google Maps, is little under an hour away by car.

Gregory Helms comes out, introduced as the “longest running Cruiserweight Champion.” We see a flashback to SmackDown where the men share low blows. Helms is not putting his belt on the line at this PPV out of spite towards Matt Hardy, the rascal.

Matt Hardy def. Gregory Helms via pin in 13:07.

The bell rings and the two men square off. Matt has a wee sticker on his nipple, there, like a wee plaster. Reportedly, it is due to an infection there, although one reputable blog claimed that he was growing a third nipple, which as we all know is false. If anything, it should be a fourth nipple, the third one being his brother, Jeff Hardy.

The two of them start off and Michael Cole already fucks up, mixing up Hardy and Helms. Helms, in a fit of anger, throws his doo-rag at Hardy and shouts at the crowd. Hardy hits a full nelson slam and Helms goes for a leg lock, getting shoved away. This match comes across already like it is a straight-up shoot fight, with lots of shoving, pushing, shouting. They finally do the test of strength and the heel Helms wins, booting Hardy in the back, choking him in the corner. Helms drags Hardy to the middle of the ring but his suplex attempt is denied and Hardy hits it before throwing Helms outside of the ring, suicide diving out himself. Great.

The boys are back in the ring and Matt is giving Gregory hell, a pin attempt followed by a four-punch in the corner. They never reach the lofty heights of ten punches. JBL sucks up to Vince on commentary as the two men in the middle of the ring take their time. Matt goes to top rope and hits a Russian Leg Sweep from the top rope. JBL states that such a move hurts the guy giving it as much as the guy taking it, which is true out of kayfabe but cannot be true in kayfabe because otherwise only an idiot would do it. Helms is choking Hardy again, really living up to his heel persona. He hits Hardy with a Codebreaker but only gets a two-count for his efforts. Hardy might have a bust lip.

JBL states that this match “means the world to both of these guys,” which is a bit of an exaggeration. Rest hold city followed by an attempted fireman’s slam reversal to a reverse DDT. The ref starts his ten count and the men are up, punching each other like madmen. Hardy takes over and hits the running bulldog to a two-count. Hardy hits the body slam, moves to Bret’s rope, hits the leg drop, calls for the Twist of Fate but it’s reversed and Helms is back in control with a close two-count. Helms hits another Nightmare on Helms Street/Eye of the Hurricane (spinning headlock elbow drop) followed by a third but is unable to get the pin. Michael Cole calls it, “an almost backwards DDT”. Fucking idiot.

Helms goes to the top rope and Hardy is to his feet, countering Helm’s top rope axe-handle nothing with a punch to the gut. Hardy hits three Side Effects and goes for the moonsault, but Helm’s knees are up. Helms goes for the Shining Wizard to a roll up. Another Shining Wizard, a close two-count. Helms sets hardy on the top rope and attempts a superplex but is thrown off. While Hardy gets steady for the Swanton, Helms chucks him onto the ropes where he smacks his nuts. Helms hits the top-rope Shining Wizard, lands badly. Helms goes for the pin but Hardy’s leg is on the rope. Helms goes for another Eye of the Hurricane, is reversed into a Twist of Fate followed by a pin for the win in 13:07.

2016 comments:

Good start. Lots of tiny botches though, like the boys were trying too hard to get all their spots out and weren’t being careful enough. Good thing no one got injured.

2006 comments:

Great, great match but not enough high flying from the cruiserweights.

Grade: B

As Hardy celebrates and almost falls into the crowd. Helms still has the Cruiserwight belt, but he has lost his pride.

Cut to Booker and Sharmell backstage. Sharmell attempts to calm her king down and is interrupted by “Sir Regal”. Regal and Booker do a great job of pretending that they are in a royal court. Booker calls his opponents in the Fatal-Fourway as “fire-breathing dragons” and calls Finlay a “fallen Knight”. Good times. Booker orders Regal to convince Finlay to be Booker’s ally. Regal disappears and Booker stares into middle-distance.

Back to ringside and Cole and JBL run through a badly-scripted interaction. The music hits and out comes Teacher Michelle McCool with KC James and Idol Stevens AKA Damien Sandow. He looks young, fresh, cared about. How times have changed. KC James looks like a roided-up Gangrel.

Generic rock hits and down run the Tag Team champs, Brian Kendrick and Paul London with bad-jogger Ashley Massaro, who looks amazing but has less talent than clothes on. Little Naitch is the ref and holds the belts aloft to signal the start of the match.

WWE Tag Team Championship match: Paul London and Brian Kendrick (c) (w/ Ashley Massaro def. KC James and Idol Stevens (w/ Michelle McCool) via pin in 9:35.

Stevens starts off with London and the man in pink beats on the man in white in the corner. London hits a beautiful flying head scissors and tags in Kendrick to deliver stereo kicks to Idol’s heads. Revolving door of tag teams as the champs tag in, beat on Idol, tag out and wait for a bit. Stevens finally takes over and tags in James but it doesn’t take long for the champs to beat on him for a while. Idol attempts to jump in but gets a kick to the tummy for his effort. The challengers are thrown out of the ring and stereo suicide dives to either side of the ring. Good stuff, boys.

Stevens and Kendrick are in the ring but as London attempts to go in, he is harassed by McCool and James, falling to the outside. Stevens gets London in the old headlock but it doesn’t take long for London to hit the sunset flip, some Aloha Idol and eventually lose the advantage. James is working on London in the ring and there is some chinlock city in the centre of the ring followed by an absolutely brutal backbreaker. Stevens is back in and London is being tossed about like a ragdoll. Mrs. Undertaker watches from the outside as Stevens roars to some unknown god. London fights to his feet, lays the boots into Stevens, goes for the hot tag, but is literally dragged kicking and screaming to his opponent’s corner. James takes control once again and is rewarded with a head to the turnbuckle for his effort. London is going for the hot tag but once again he is denied by the heel challengers.

London escapes a double team, gets the hot tag and Kendrick cleans house in predictably high-flying fashion. Stevens sabotages the runnin’ wild, brother, but London suicide dives through Bret’s rope to knock him to the outside. Superplex from Stevens to Kendrick but only gets a two-count. Double team attempt from the challengers but it is beaten away by Kendrick and a pin attempt is thwarted by McCool casually placing James’ foot on the rope. As Ashley gives off on the apron, Idol hits a high-impact backbreaker on Kendrick but only gets the two count. Michelle once again attempts to interfere but Ashley runs to her, starting a caaaaaaat-fiiiiiiight. Ugh.

Stevens and James attempts a double suplex on Kendrick but he is saved by London and the two lads clean up, getting the pin in 9:35.

2016 comments:

Very fast paced, no storyline and unnecessary women. This match was brilliant without the inclusion of McCool and Massaro. In truth, they took away from the match and that is a shame. They should have been kept for less-talented teams than these two. Kendrick and London continue to be God’s gift to tag-team wrestling.

2006 comments:

I am sick of these motherfucking women taking away from my motherfucking wrestling.

Grade: A-

Ashley beats on Michelle as the champs celebrate in-ring. We see a replay of the last few double-team moves including an impressive shooting-star press from London off Kendrick’s back. JBL has the gall to say, “that reminds me of the old APA, flying around everywhere!” which is bollocks because the APA were a shite tag team whatever way you slice it and I doubt JBL has jumped for joy never mind off another man’s back.

On the Card will return on October 15 with the second part of No Mercy 2006.

Ruthless Aggression #5: The Great American Bash (July 23, 2006) Part 1

Ruthless Aggression #5: The Great American Bash – July 23, 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 July 23, 2006, the PPV The Great American Bash aired. It was a SmackDown! PPV, and the first SmackDown! PPV since Judgment Day in May. 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 Great American Bash 2006

There was no tagline this time either, though it doesn’t surprise me as SmackDown! is the B-show. The poster shows Batista roaring as an American flag surrounds him. Despite the fact that I am an Irishman living in Scotland, I chose to review this on July 4th which is Independence Day in America.

After the video to remind us that we’re watching men hit each other, the American flat waves, sparkling in the breeze. The announcer tells us that America is the land of the free where everyone is able to chase their wildest dreams. We then see images of Khali (an Indian who does not speak English), The Undertaker (a zombie from Death Valley), Booker T (a black man pretending to be a king), and Rey Mysterio (a tiny Mexican). All colours, nationalities, creeds and genders are shown here. And by “all”, I mean, “more than just white men”.

The announcer then tells us that Khali hails “from the jungles of India” and tells us that he is Undertaker’s “greatest challenge” which is an honest-to-God lie. We see Booker T heel it up with his mad wife and Rey appears as the announcer tells us that it will be the “most captivating event of the night,” which is also a lie.

Pyro hits and the smoke fails to clear as we are introduced to Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis. 9,750 people in attendance with 232,000 PPV buys, a drop from the 337,000 buys at Vengeance. Your announcers are moustache-and-soul-patch combo’d Michael Cole and Cunt JBL, a sign of things to come as the two are still inseparable ten years later, despite the best efforts of both taste and decency. We also have mad Hugo Savinovich and Carlos Cabrera. As usual, they are cut off because who cares about the Mexicans? Certainly not the WWE.

 (Note: Before the PPV began, there was a dark match featuring Funaki and Simon Dean. Funaki, funnily enough, would later become the Japanese commentator and this would be Simon Dean’s final PPV match as he left to work with developmental shortly afterwards.)

Generic music hits and down rocks the WWE Tag Team Champions, Paul London and Brian Kendrick. They’re all garbed in purple with ninja hoods adorned with a skull motif. Very edgy, lads. I don’t think there is any part of the human anatomy that has been on more wrestling merch than skulls other than boobs or dicks.

Stereo backflips from the men. Cole calls them “strange dudes”. Cunt JBL says that they are from Pluto and then goes on a rant about the Spanish Announcers because he is a cunt. Jamie Noble and Kid Cash come out, chains around their necks, known as The Pit Bulls. Our referee here, Charles “Little Naitch” Robinson, is in Kid Kash’s face telling him to step the hell back.

WWE Tag Team Championship match: Paul London and Brian Kendrick (c) def. The Pit Bulls (Jamie Noble and Kid Kash) via pin in 13:28.

Kash goes for London’s legs and the two brawl for a bit in what looks to be a shoot scrap for a bit. Cole names all the people who have ever wrestled. Kash shouts in London’s face. Cunt JBL talks about how being in a tag team is different to being a singles wrestler. Kid Kash goes for a hip toss and London lands it, gains some momentum and gives a lovely takedown, tags in Kendrick and throws his partner at Kash. Noble gets tagged in and slaps Kendrick with a wonderful slap before getting a cross body.

London off the tag hits Noble with a dangerous double-leg boot to the back. London gets thrown into the corner and Noble takes control but London tags in his partner, clean house and hit the stereo dive between the ropes after a quick celebration. The crowd pop as bodies lie everywhere. Kendrick tries to jump off the turnbuckle onto Noble but Kash puts him off and The Pit Bulls take over. Cunt JBL likes it. Kash lifts Kendrick up by his hair and slams him down. JBL says, “It’s like being on the road, away from your wife: It’s only cheating if you get caught, pal.” Prick.

Kendrick hits Kash with a great hurricanrana and Noble goes to jump on him, but takes a ring rope to the balls. London takes both Nitro and Kash down with suplexes, London is on the apron, knocks Kash off and as he attempts to enter the ring, London gets booted to the outside by Nitro. Nitro stomps a mudhole in him and walks it dry but fails to get the pin. London gets a big clap as chinlock city lasts for an acceptable amount of time: less than ten seconds. Noble gets Kendrick in an ankle lock and Kash is in, rough as anything on London’s head and neck. Another wicked chop brings London to his knees.

Kash pulls at London’s trunks and both the Pit Bulls give London a stereo headbutt. The pace is slowing down right now and London is fighting back, aiming for the hot tag and Kash is kicked away, Noble is knocked to the ground and as Kendrick is about to get the tag, Noble pulls him off the apron. The Pit Bulls double team London and two great flips (one from Noble, one from London) get Kendrick in and he cleans house, rolling about and battering the Pit Bulls with ruthless abandon. Two count stopped by a hand on the ropes. Hurricanrana to pin attempt stopped by Noble. London comes in and breaks up an attempt at a double underhook powerbomb. Kendrick runs to the top rope and jumps out to hit Noble.

In the ring, London and Kash grapple as the latter attempts a brainbuster. Kendrick does a great sunset flip over the both of them and as Kash is Aloha Arning, trying to gain footing and not get pinned, London jumps up, dropsaults (dropkick/somersault combo) him in the chest and Kash is rolled up for the pin in 13:28.

2016 comments:

Fantastic start. Kendrick and London are great in this match and the only downside is Kid Kash’s stiff shots.

2006 comments:

I hope these teams fight forever.

Grade: A

Great start all together. It can only go downhill from here, it seems. The pair of them celebrate as Noble and Kash look on, angrily. London seems in genuine pain, especially from the chest where Kash dropkicked him.

On the Card will return on July 30 with the second part of The Great American Bash 2006.

Ruthless Aggression Era #2. Judgment Day 2006 (May 21, 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 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.

2016 comments:

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.

2006 comments:

Fuck off, Melina.

Grade: C

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.

2016 comments:

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.

2006 comments:

I love Benoit. I hope he wrestles forever.

Grade: B

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.

2016 comments:

I’ve said enough.

2006 comments:

I’ll get myself a cup of tea then, I guess.

Grade: F.

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.