Ruthless Aggression #9. Cyber Sunday (Nov 5, 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 November 5, 2006, the PPV Cyber Sunday aired. It was a Raw PPV, and the first Raw PPV since Unforgiven way back in September. 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.

Cyber Sunday 2006

Log On. Take Over.

Alright! Now we’re talking! Now that is a tagline worth fighting for! And the poster featured the diminutive Maria stepping into an old CRT monitor over what looks to be a keyboard without symbols. The gimmick of Cyber Sunday was that fans could vote online for different stipulations to each match, which was moderately exciting.

Let’s jump right into it. The DVD has mouse icons to select your match. Great stuff. Bit disappointed that they are pointing in the wrong direction, however, but I can let that slide today, WWE. The opening video informs us that over 10 million fans voted online during Cyber Sunday. We get to choose the partner, adversary, rules, challenger, special guest referee, which title is on the line. It ends with the line, “Come see what you’ve created!”

That’s passing the buck a little there, Mister World Wrestling Entertainment. If the card is shite, don’t blame me. I don’t even think I voted.

Raw presents WWE Cyber Sunday and the big pyro tells us that it has begun! Loads of signs out there today as Jumping Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler invite us to the US Bank Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio for the very first, most interactive PPV of all time, ever, so far. 7,000 in attendance, which is a low number, but with 228,000 PPV buys, I don’t think many people will be weeping. Jerry is actually on the laptop when JR tells us that 14.5 million people have voted. Christ alive. If only even ten percent of that number bought tickets, it would be a great day. Unfortunately, little over 1.5% seemed to buy tickets. My maths might be off on that because I’m not a huge nerd.

The camera pans to my legit favourite Spanish Announcers (I know that’s a bit of a controversial statement in this day and age, but I stand by it) Hugo Savinovich and Carlos Cabrera. If you just watch Savinovich when Cabrera is speaking, it is hilarious. He looks like a man who knows little Spanish outside of what he learnt in school and he is trying to piece what Cabrera is saying together from simple sentences… and then he just explodes with wonderful, fluent dialogue AND THEY AREN’T EVEN CUT OFF THIS TIME. PRAISE BE.

(Note: Before the PPV began, there was a dark match featuring Super Crazy and Rob Conway. It lasted about three minutes.)

First match is featuring Umaga. The crowd cannot care less. They boo, they roar, they bellow. Umaga is the “host” of the match and his “guest” is to be chosen and voted by the audience… from a list of three. So, basically, the result will never change because the challenger (or “guest”, if you prefer) will always win or always lose. This is just deciding who gets a payday and who doesn’t. It would be interesting if all three wrestlers backstage get the payday as they would have to turn up, get into gear, warm up, run over a match with Umaga and then one would do it… unless the voting was rigged and these people were told in advance whether or not to come in either because the people in charge of the voting pulled the results early or didn’t give a shit about the results and just pulled the choice from their asses. Either way, you’d be furious if you travelled for hours, sat around backstage, got suited and booted and then ended up having to go home empty handed… let’s watch and find out.

Todd Grisham and Maria are up by the Titantron to announce the results of the votes. Maria, fresh from her adventure into Cyberspace, has no idea how to dress. He tells us nearly 15 million votes were cast. Maria rocks through her lines as best she can despite her obvious brain injury. Backstage, we see the three lads up for it. We have Kane, my one-time favourite wrestler, at this moment in time just a big bald baby; Chris [REDACTED] Benoit, the US Champ, standing there and planning his eventual fall into WWE-imposed obscurity; and Sandman, who is a cunt.

They ask for a drumroll. They get one. The results are in, over 14,300,054 votes worldwide (which means the total number of votes has to have been 14,300,055) and the winner is Kane with 49%! Well done K-

Wait, what the fuck? Let me look at those results more clearly. Sandman got 28%? And [REDACTED] got 23%? What the fuck? Who wouldn’t want to see my boy, Canuck Crossface himself?

Wrestling makes no sense sometimes.

Kane does an evil wee smile and moves from backstage towards the ring. The pyro goes off as our boy, the Undertaker’s evil demon brother makes his way to the ring for some more pyro. Double pyro.

Umaga (w/ Armanda Alejandro Estrada) def. Kane via pin in 8:39.

Kane goes after Estrada on the apron and Umaga takes the time to run and attack Kane like the coward he is. Kane and Umaga smack and slap each other senseless and Kane hits a few great right hands there followed by a choke on the turnbuckle. The ref tries to break it up and Kane goes after him. Umaga headbutts Kane and JR points out that Umaga, as a Samoan, must have a very hard cranium. Good old fashioned hard-headed foreigners. Umaga hits Kane with a great belly-to-belly suplex and Kane does his brother’s sit-up but Umaga kicks him back down. As Kane is getting up, he hits a few right hands and runs the ropes only for Umaga to hit a spinning heel kick on him.

The crowd chant for Kane and he rallies, hitting the Irish whip and Big Boot but getting a facebuster for his effort. Great “Remember, Remember, the fifth of November” sign in the crowd (V for Vendetta came out earlier in the year, so I doubt we have some British history buffs in Cincinnati tonight) as JR mentioned that Umaga cannot really wrestle: “he can brawl, but can’t wrestle.” Big words, JR. Wait til the Samoan Bulldozer gets wind of that. You’re fucked. JR points out that he knows Umaga likes to hurt people and King says that Estrada likes to watch. Kinky.

Lovely body slam from Umaga and the big lad goes to Bret’s rope to hit the flying headbutt but Kane kicks out. Umaga berates the referee for not counting quickly enough. JR mentions the thickness of Umaga’s thighs and Jerry says, “ain’t seen legs like that since the Brontosaurus died out.” Umaga hits a Rikishi-like arse-attack. On the outside, Umaga attempts the Samoan Spike but Kane dodges and the thumb hits only a ringpost. Kane takes over with some lovely offence including a throw into the steel steps, neck shots, a ten-punch in the corner that goes over and above. Kane then headbutts Umaga and hits the clothesline. Umaga looks fucked and a second clothesline puts him onto the ropes but Umaga reverses an Irish whip, hits the Samoan drop and as he is celebrating, Kane sits up, gets ready for the chokeslam but Umaga rakes the eyes. Backdrop and Kane calls for… wait… is he going top-rope? You know that’s bad news. Estrada goes to push him off, but is thrown off himself. Kane goes airborne with a double-axe-handle-nothing and Umage spikes him once in mid-air and once again for the pin in 8:39.

2016 comments:

Probably one of the better Umaga matches I’ve seen. Kane has a habit of putting on average matches and his gimmick is far better than his skill as a wrestler, but he had a great match here. Good opener.

2006 comments:

How do they let the cheating manager by the ring each and every time? Don’t they ever learn?

Grade: B

Umaga celebrates by looking at the crowd and then going to Spike Kane again but he escapes before that is possible. Estrada’s hair is mental. Umaga’s winning streak is impressive considering his stupid gimmick and even worse finishing move.

Cut to the Big Show backstage. He bumps into Queen Sharmell who tells him that being the Champion of Champions isn’t the best thing… it’s keeping the status quo. She suggests that if Show’s title is on the line or Booker’s title is on the line, he and Booker should unite to ensure that it does not change hands… but if John Cena’s title is on the line… well, it’s just everybody for himself then, isn’t it? Big Show says that Sharmell is the most beautiful queen he has ever seen (and she is lovely) but he does not trust either Sharmell or Booker. He is about to copy Rock’s “take that x, shine it up real nice and stick it-“ but Sharmell walks off.

Cryme Tyme come out. Wasn’t a huge fan of Cryme Tyme because they seemed like what a white person thought black people were like, but apparently the guys, JTG and Shad Gaspard, were down with it because they were actually parodying what a white person thinks black people are like. This is very meta. I can’t really think too hard about this.

Then out comes the World’s Biggest Love Machine, Viscera and Charlie Haas. Of course, Viscera is also the world’s biggest botch machine. Wasn’t Mark “Sexual Chocolate” Henry supposed to be using this gimmick? Didn’t he get Mae Young pregnant and she gave birth to a hand? So many questions, none of them involving Big Daddy V. I always had a soft spot for Viscera.

The Highlanders are here! Jerry attempts a Scottish accent and JR uses the term “referendum”, which is due to cause tears amongst the Scots.

Droning guitar and out come Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch. There isn’t much to say about them other than the fact that they’re from Texas… maybe? They’re a cheap Smoking Gunns, that’s all I have to say.

Cut to Maria and Todd. Todd reminds us of the match that happened seconds ago and that he doesn’t even know what type of match this is going to be. Maria does. It’s a tag team match. Well done, love. She is excited, though, so excited! So excited that Todd needs to remind her how excited she is. Why is she excited? Because the options are… Fatal Four way… Tag Team Turmoil… or Texas Tornado.

What are the differences? Fatal 4-Way is an elimination match. Tag Team Turmoil is that two tag teams start and when one is defeated, another takes its place until three teams have been eliminated. Texas Tornado is a schmoz.

The results are in… 50% to a Texas Tornado. And the schmoz begins instantly.

Texas Tornado Match: Cryme Tyme def. The Highlanders, Charlie Hass and Viscera, and Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch via pin in 4:28.

And what a schmoz it is. I used to love matches like this when I were kinder because they were so hectic and it looked like an actual fight. As I grew older and wearier, however, I stopped enjoying them as much and such is the case today, I assume. Cryme Tyme and Charlie Haas/Vicera are mid-ring while Highlanders and Lance Cade/Trevor Murdoch are outside. Shad and Viscera (“Big Vis,” as JR calls him) are mid-ring and Shad rolls away from a big Senton Splash from Viscera. JTG and Shad do a strange catapult job. Cade and Murdoch roll Cryme Tyme out after a sweet neckbreaker combo and The Highlanders come in, throw each other about for a while and take over the shift.

Very fast paced as both Cade and Murdoch are removed. Stereo suicide dives to the outside from the Highlanders. Haas and JTG are in the ring. Haas boots JTG in the head and the Cryme Tymer fights back with a lovely jumping dropkick. Charlie replies with a wonderful German Suplex. Shad is in with a Big Boot and Viscera defends his teammate. Shad has him beaten until Viscera Bossman Slams him. He then gyrates mid-ring. Sexy. Viscera barges both Haas and Shad in the corner and his booted out of the ring by stereo dropkicks from The Highlanders. Cade and Murdoch are in and beat Robbie with a pair of double team moves but Cryme Tyme slither in and both pin Robbie for the win in 4:28.

2016 comments:

Spotfest as all wrestlers roll through their team-ups. Not a lot of variation here other than Highlanders and Lance/Cade with Cryme Tyme and Haas/Viscera.

2006 comments:

Match of the year if they’d only had weapons.

Grade: C

Cryme Tyme wave to JR and Jerry. Sychophants. They then jump on the announcer’s desk and try to dance with the announcers. It is embarrassing. Jerry and JR fist bump and JR points out that Jerry’s laptop is missing BECAUSE CRYME TYME STOLE IT BECAUSE RACISM.

On the Card will return on November 12th with the second part of Cyber Sunday 2006.

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.

Ruthless Aggression Era #1. Backlash 2006 (April 30, 2006) Part 1

On June 23rd 2016, it will have been twenty years since the King of the Ring tournament where Stone Cold Steve Austin first uttered the phrases “Austin 3:16” and “And that’s the bottom line because Stone Cold Said so.” This event would kick-start the rise of Steve Austin and over the next few months, the WWF would move into edgier and more adult-orientated storylines that would form the backbone of the Attitude Era. That was almost twenty years ago, but ten years ago it was a different era entirely. Ten years ago, we had just had WrestleMania 22. John Cena had just turned 29 and he was only in his second title reign. The Rock and Steve Austin had left the company years ago, just after the WWF became the WWE. It was the handover from one generation to another and the Era has been titled “The Ruthless Aggression Era” by Vince McMahon himself.

Ruthless Aggression was a time when the roster was so huge and so varied that the WWE 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 30, 2006, the PPV Backlash aired. It was a Raw 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 Backlash 2006

Long Live The King

The tagline is a reference to Triiiiiiple H, who also features on the poster. Trips is in a Triiiiiple Threat Match with Rated-R Superstar Edge and my boy, Prototype John Cena. The Main Event is set to be fantastic in one way or another and the photo that they used of Trips is one where he is looking huge and very intimidating. As a Cena fan, I remember looking at this thinking that there was no way Cena was getting out of this alive.

(Note: Before the PPV began, there was a match that was shown on Sunday Night Heat that served as a pre-show match to build up hype for the PPV and get more PPV buys in. The match was Goldust vs. Rob Conway, which is a shame for Goldie because he is a fantastic talent and far better used on the main roster. His inclusion here mirrors how the Fed are treating him now – putting him in Battle Royales and pre-show or dark matches instead of putting him on the main card where he would be better served. To add insult to injury, the preshow match lasted minutes.)

We have the lovely little intro package showing the wrestlers throughout time performing, starting with some grainy footage, through to Andre the Giant, the first WrestleMania, Hulkamania (runnin’ wiiiiild, brother!), Mankind’s jump off Hell in the Cell, Shawn Michaels’ jump off the ladder, Ric Flair, The Rock, Stone Cold, working the whole way up to recent wrestlers that spin by too fast for us to see.

The show starts with a great shot of Vince, covered in blood, his eyes just peeking over the tip of the mat, his evil laugh echoing. He threatens Shawn Michaels, saying he will, “unleash the apocalypse” on him. Vince states that it will Shawn and God against Vince and “the product of my semen, my son, Shane.” How is it that Vince finds a way to alienate one section of the audience with potential blasphemy and then double down by talking about how Shane is a product of his semen? I am not entirely offended by this now because I know more about the product and know that Vince, in Mick Foley’s books, has stated that he will “do anything for a pop,” but I, personally, have a great respect for any religion that doesn’t charge entry and I know that Shawn was/is a Born-Again Christian and must have signed off on this type of thing before the match. Either way, bad taste in my mouth to start this PPV off. Lots of God puns being used. Vince talking about how Shawn broke his commandments, Shawn giving Vince his own personal hell, Vince saying how Shawn should worship at his feet, ending with a big, “Hallelujah!” from Vinnie Mac himself.

The Fed’s Spinny Championship is shown and we see Cena, Edge and Motorhead fan Trips with his Lemmy moustache. Every one of them make vague threats about what is happening at Backlash. John Cena calls them both bitches. This is a far better promo than the McMahon one.

Raw presents a bunch of cogs spinning around. Backlash begins and my God, the crowd are hyped. Everywhere you look, there are signs. People are on their feet, photos are flashing. It is the Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. We have 14,000 people in attendance with almost twenty times that watching at home (273,000 PPV buys for this event, apparently beating the amount set at Backlash 2005, but the numbers differ depending on where you look with most websites saying Backlash 2005 had 320,000 buys and Backlash 2006 had 220,000. The Wikipedia page does not give numbers for 2005 but says that 2006 was higher. Make of that what you will.)

Our announcing team is the legendary and iconic Jumping Jim “JR” Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler. Jim is wearing a suit and tie and Jerry is wearing what seems to be a matafor outfit. Behind them, a woman who does not know how to dress to a WWE PPV, fixes her boobs.

2016-04-24

Above: Dignity.

Good girl yourself. Be careful Sgt. Slaughter doesn’t pop over the barrier with a towel and knock you out, love. Our Spanish announcers and “Most Likely To Lose Their Table” award winners are Hugo Savinovich and Carlos Cabrera.

2016-04-24 (1)

The Spanish Announcers: A great bunch of lads.

Straight-up shoot fact: Savinovich was married to Wendy Richter, who was involved in the Original Screwjob with notable sex-trafficker and horrible person, The Fabulous Moolah.

The Spanish announcers are interrupted to cut to Chris Masters’ titantron video. He gets hella heat for his flexing and general douchiness. The announcers say nothing for ages, allowing the crowd to say it all. Masters looks great, but he has this smug face that makes you want to punch him. Roidy Magoo, by the way. We see how this feud started with Carlito spitting apples in people’s faces and Masters taking umbrage to being attacked from behind. Masters hits Carlito with the Masterlock, which is supposed to knock him out even though it doesn’t touch his throat at all. JR quips that the Masterlock is “unbreakable… seemingly.”

Jerry says, “So it’s come to this, has it?” JR calls him, “somewhat vain.” Masters is only 23 and he looks fantastic. Carlito comes out in his “Do you spit or swallow?” t-shirt, eating an apple and having a chat with the crowd. Little heat on Carlito. Close-up on a sign that says, “My Providence Students Are Cool!” with a picture of an apple… with attitude. Some guy behind him is taping the whole thing to sell on bootleg later, no doubt.

2016-04-24 (2)

The Attitude Era is over, guys, keep it clean.

Carlito def. Chris Masters via pinfall in 09:58

So the match gets started before Carlito can even remove his t-shirt and Masters does it for him, choking him with it before Carlito takes control and goes for a quick pin but only gets one count. Jerry and JR aren’t even talking about the match. They’re talking about the fact that God is Shawn Michaels’ partner. Masters hits Carlito with a high back body drop that looks like it hurts like hell. Masters follows Carlito about the ring, smacking him each time. Master goes for the gorilla press but Carlito escapes it and hits Masters with the Masterlock. Masters breaks it and JR quips that no one has been able to break the Masterlock thus far. And here, two minutes into a match, Masters does it to little fanfare. They really could have made that more exciting.

Masters goes over the top rope, Carlito spits on him and then hits the suicide dive over the top rope. Referee Mike Chioda starts counting the lads out and the crowd counts along with him. It is clear that they could not give a damn about this match and who can blame them? It has no tension. It’s two men who are arguing over an apple, essentially. Even JR is bored, reminding folks at home that this match is only for one fall. No point in worrying. It will be over soon. The crowd chant something that I cannot understand and Jerry tells us that, “The fans here are voicing their opinion and they think this match sucks.” It is a nice change from announcers these days who cover up the chants from the crowd.

Near fall, leg drop, near fall and Masters drags Carlito about the ring by the hair. He gets Carlito into a neck lock and Carlito fights back and is knocked to the ground for it. More neck locks. JR tries to sell Masters’ repeated use of neck locks and attacks to the head as a “precursor to the Masterlock,” but we’re not getting it. Masters goes for the Masterlock and Carlito escapes, turns it into a roll-up for a two-count. Carlito tries a springboard elbow onto Masters and the two men are reeling. Carlito fights back, builds up momentum, hits a lovely dropkick to Masters’ kneecap. Carlito goes for the pin and the referee hits one, two… he goes for the three and Masters doesn’t kick out. The referee stops for a whole second, looks at Masters and then and only then does the hulking idiot kick out. I know that he’s 23 and young, but surely to God the man can count to three?

The crowd aren’t happy with that. Carlito just wants the match to end and as Masters goes to backdrop Carlito from the top turnbuckle, Carlito turns it into a moonsault that Masters takes the hit from a whole foot ahead of Carlito.

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Check out the miss on that.

Carlito goes for the pin and gets a two-count. JR says that “Carlito hit the moonsault. Don’t know how much of it he got. Masters never met a mirror he didn’t like.”

Carlito goes for the Backcracker, the pin and lifts his legs onto the ropes to get the pin in 09:58.

2016 comments:

This match was the drizzling shits. They could have made Masters the furious powerhouse and had him dominate Carlito for five minutes, unfazed by his attacks, hitting the wee man with a bunch of semi-powerful moves, playing with him before Carlito makes the comeback. That’s what we wanted here. What we got was a slow-paced match where both men were gassed within minutes and in the end, Carlito had to cheat to win. That’s fine, but give him a reason to cheat. By the end, he had complete control of Masters. The legs on the rope were unnecessary.

2006 comments:

I live in Ireland so watching this live would have meant that I was awake at 2AM. Well, it’s good to know that I can get a few minutes of sleeping in before the real PPV starts.

Grade: D

The crowd is bored as we see some replays of the last few minutes. Shot outside beautiful Kentucky. JR says that it is the “Horse capital of the world” and neatly segues into, “Here’s a handsome young filly, Maria.”

Cut to our girl Maria, who starts off by saying, “What an exciting night here at Backlash! Some of you may not have been too happy with Masters’ victory over Carlito, but let’s hear what you had to say about who’s going to leave Lexington, Kentucky the WWE Champion.”

What.

Maria, for fuck’s sake, girl.

I don’t know if this interview was pre-taped or not, but you’d like to think that the guys backstage would at least cut the first ten seconds out so it makes sense. If it was live, then… Maria is dumb as shit, I guess.

Maria says the names of the three guys in the main event match, doesn’t wait long enough for the crowd to react and then the video package of kids and men reading off cue cards. A military man (thank you for your service) says it’s his birthday. Fair play to them. Back to Maria and Lita comes in to snap Maria’s bra. Lita slags off Kentucky. Lita says that the crowd have been calling her a ho and that she has kept her mouth shut-

Maria interrupts to tell Lita that she’s heard Lita’s mouth is kept pretty wide open. Ohhhh snaaap! Lita asks Maria, “Want me to knock you out? No? So shut up.” She then doubles-down by saying that her and Edge are going have sex and the crowd is a bunch of no-sex, sexless no-sexxers. Very mature, Lita, and with God in attendance as well.

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So excite.

Back to the ring, Armando Alejandro Estrada, a Palestinian man playing a Cuban manager, speaking in the worst Cuban and in English with the worst Cuban accent ever. He presents Umaga, who walks out in his slightly racist Samoan gimmick. Umaga is actually Samoan (and unlike The Rock, is actually a cousin of Roman Reigns and uncle to the Usos and brother to Rikishi, though none of those things are worth boasting about) so you can assume that he signed off on this gimmick and allowed it to happen understanding that it was not very sensitive to Samoans.

Straight-up shoot fact: Armando Alejandro Estrada is really name Hazem Ali, is legitimately Palestinian and used to be known as Osama in OVW. There, he was a bodyguard for Muhammad Hassan, the 100% Italian man who was really named Mark Copani from Syracuse, New York. It’s funny how wrestling changes ethnicities to play to stereotypes.

Umaga comes to the ring, huge and scary. We see promos showing Umaga really manhandling Ric Flair who, at the time, was 57 years old. Umaga is not wearing shoes and that is just fine. Ric Flair’s music hits and the crowd pops for him. Flair is not wearing elbow pads or knee pads because he is fucking insane. Umaga runs to meet him on the ramp and beats Flair down, rolls him into the ring and the referee hits the bell to start the match officially.

Umaga def. Ric Flair via pinfall in 03:29

You can see by the timing that this match is going to be a squash. Surely Umaga can get more props and heat from defeating an able opponent? Ric Flair is a fine wrestler, no one is arguing that fact, but he was not an active competitor in the ring and was wheeled out once every couple of months to shout, “Wooooo!” and jog about the place in his pants. Umaga is essentially bullying a man who will likely have pugilistic dementia in a few years.

Flair is supposed to be the face here and he rakes Umaga’s eyes and hits him with a low blow to gain control. Lots of Flair chops and Umaga fights back, knocking him down with a throat shot. The fight rolls onto the floor and they repeat the chops again. Flair has control and goes for the figure four but Umaga reverses it, gets Flair into the tree of woe and headbutts him. Umaga does an old Rikishi arse-attack and hits him in the throat with his thumb, pinning Flair for the pin in three and a half minutes.

2016 comments:

Umaga is actually dead now, he passed away three years after this match and Ric Flair is still alive. It’s nice to know that he got matches in with someone like Flair, even if they were God-awful.

2006 comments:

Please retire.

Grade: D

Armando Alejandro Estrada has a wicked face on him and the biggest cigar I have ever seen sticking from his mouth. They both stand around Flair, celebrating despite the fact that Flair got little offense in other than a couple of slaps. Jerry says that Estrada won’t be at Raw because of “one of those illegal work stoppages.” Nice one, King. Very classy. JR reminds everyone that Umaga will be there.

Cut to Vince showing off his guns. Vince is three years older than Flair and looks about twenty times better, though he has been in the ring far less than Ric and loves his steroids a lot more. Vince reminds Shane that the match is Shane and Vince versus Michaels and God. Vince says, “You leave God to me,” to which Shane nonchalantly replies, “Oh, He’s all yours.” Vince says that there is nothing God can do that Vince cannot. To show this, he pours water on the floor and stamps in it. He asks Shane what he just saw and Shane replies, “You making a mess.” Vince, happily exclaims, “I’m walkin’ on water!”

Vince has another trick for Shane, who seems embarrassed by this whole thing. Vince then mumbles his way through his next bit: the bread and the fish. He chucks the fish away and does the same to the bread. Shane tries to hurry him along, “Okay, you ready to go?” Vince tells him to wait and then says, “Now!”

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Pictured: Miracles.

A bunch of stagehands start throwing bread and fish at the McMahons as Vince proclaims, “It’s bountiful! It’s bountiful!” followed by, “Holy mackerel!” The camera pans to Shane, who takes a sip of his water which is now wine. He walks offstage. End crappy promo. JR asks, “can it get any more bizarre?” Jerry replies, “Now Vince can forgive his own sins.” There is a moment where the two men wonder and what their lives have become before moving on.

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So many .JPG

JR introduces the next match: The WWE Women’s Championship match featuring a super-JPG of a completely mental looking Mickie James and Trish Stratus. The graphic looks like it was made in a mid-2000s Tony Hawk game and I’m surprised it isn’t followed by the words XTREME and RADICAL. We see WrestleMania 22 and how Trish lost her belt with Mickie grabbing Trish between the legs. Very firm grab it was too. JR says that the two ladies are dressing alike and Jerry, a man who knows his way around being creepy, states that Mickie became Trish’s stalker.

Mickie, who is the champ, comes out first, which is a bit silly. I know that Trish will get the bigger pop but still, she’s not the champ. Trish is over as fuck, coming out with a top that barely covers her… anything. JR says that Mickie “is in desperate need of some psychotherapy,” pauses for a moment before saying, “wouldn’t hurt any of us, quite frankly, but, be that as it may, Mickie’s a little manic and very unpredictable.” I would love it if JR kept this up every few PPVs, giving fatherly advice to the crowd. “See a doctor,” he might say, “If you’re coughing for more than a week, I’d get that looked at,” or, “Have you had an apple today?” Or even if he would gradually start giving advice as if he’s seeing a therapist himself, sometimes even asking Jerry about his father or something.

Of course, Jerry ruins it by saying, “I could volunteer… sessions.” I can tell this cunt is going to be absolutely awful to listen to this match although JR makes it worse by saying, “Couch time?” and Jerry says, “Couch time, of course.” Come on, boys, you’re making us look bad.

Mickie is really hamming up the fear of Trish here, slowly entering the ring and keeping her distance. The referee rings the bell as JR says that Trish is, “Toronto’s most beautiful gift to the WWE.”

WWE Women’s Championship match: Trish Stratus def. Mickie James (c) via disqualification in 04:03

Another short match, this one to please the gentlemen in the crowd. Having listened to Mickie James on Colt Cobana’s podcast and having met her when she was in Edinburgh for a match, I know that she was young and foolish at this time, wanting to be over but not really knowing how (the crotch-grab on Trish had gotten her in hot water with Vince who had called it “crass”) and this led to her being a bit more cautious this time around.

The ladies circle each other for a bit while the announcers make mental-health jokes. Keep it up, boys, you haven’t offended every minority yet. The ladies lock up and some great chain wrestling follows. Trish blows Mickie a kiss and dodges a clothesline by falling backwards, Bray Wyatt style.

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The face of fear.

This segues into a hand-stand to head-scissors combo that sends Mickie to the canvas. Some brawling to a dropkick and the two trade blows for a bit. Mickie is outside and Trish is on her, rolling her back into the ring, going to a pin.

Trish goes up for the 10-punch and gets three. I think this is the second time there has been a 10-punch this PPV. Trish falls badly and there is a lot of chat about Trish being a right-handed competitor, which seems to be a way for Jerry to get some simple raunchy chat in but doesn’t. Lots of near-falls as Trish deals with her sore arm.

Straight-up shoot fact: Trish actually suffered a legitimate dislocated shoulder after that bump and it would require rehab for six weeks, though she would still appear on screen.

Mickie is smart to jump on Trish and choke her, thus giving Trish the win, though she does not win the belt as it cannot change hands on a DQ.

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Unrelated image of what happens when people take pictures with a flash so close to the ring.

2016 comments:

Solid match and at just over four minutes, it was far better than the shite that the Fed put on most days, which is painful. Those four minutes were superior to anything the Bellas, Eva Marie, Summer Rae or Rosa Mendes have ever been in. Sad but true.

2006 comments:

Both the women were looking great, but by 2006, the world had found out that porn existed on the internet and came to watch women’s wrestling for the wrestling rather than the women. Still, good match.

Grade: B

It’s sad that the match that most fans would ignore was the best of the bunch. As Mickie runs into the back, Trish calls for the rematch. We have a replay of the fall and as Trish is knocked over, we see her hand shoot out to stop her fall and jar on the apron. Poor girl.

Cut to Maria. Let’s see if she fucks up her promo…

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Please don’t fire me, love Maria.

No, she actually apologises for her mistake and moves swiftly on to bring out our man Shawn Michaels. She asks if God will turn up tonight. Michaels says that he does not shove his Christianity down everyone’s neck (which is a change from Hulk Hogan’s “Say Your Prayers” and Jake “The Snake” quoting the Bible) but says that the Lord is with him always. The rest of the promo is about how it really is a handicap match because Vince can’t “hang” with HBK. Shawn says that he’s going to kick Vince’s ass and then slides off screen like a cartoon character with a hook around his neck. Weh-weh-waaaaah.

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Exit staaaage-left.

As Lillian is about to introduce the Winner Take All match between RVD and Shelton Benjamin, we will take our leave for this week. Next week, we will be looking at that match and the Big Show vs. Kane match. See you then!

On the Card will return on May 8th with the second part of Backlash 2006.