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

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

The Ruthless Aggression Era was a time when the WWE roster was so huge and so varied that they had no way of continuing storylines each week on their two main shows – RAW and Smackdown – and so they created the draft where wrestlers and announcers would be drafted onto either one of the two shows. Smackdown wrestlers would not (usually) be able to appear on Raw or interact with Raw wrestlers and vice versa.

Ten years ago, on April 1, 2007, WrestleMania 23 aired. It was a WWE PPV, the first one since Royal Rumble back in January. Personally, the PPV came at a time where I had grown weary with professional wrestling, confused by the sheer number of wrestlers and unwilling to spend so much time per week watching hours of footage and trawling through shows, replays, promos and matches. I simply watched the PPVs. Over the next few weeks, I will review this PPV from the perspectives of a fan looking back at it after a decade as well as my original thoughts as a younger man watching it at the time.

WWE WrestleMania 23

All Grown Up.

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

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

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

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

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

Fucking jingoistic bollocks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2017 comments:

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

2007 comments:

Fucking Kennedy. Why did it have to be Kennedy?

Grade: B

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

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

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

Oh, Kennedy,

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

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

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

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

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

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

2017 comments:

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

2007 comments:

Oh Kane, how far have you fallen?

Grade: F

Khali chokes Kane, gets some extra heat and leaves.

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

Ruthless Aggression #14. Royal Rumble (Jan 28, 2007) Part 1

Ruthless Aggression #14: Royal Rumble – January 28, 2007.

The Ruthless Aggression Era was a time when the WWE roster was so huge and so varied that they had no way of continuing storylines each week on their two main shows – RAW and Smackdown – and so they created the draft where wrestlers and announcers would be drafted onto either one of the two shows. Smackdown wrestlers would not (usually) be able to appear on Raw or interact with Raw wrestlers and vice versa.

Ten years ago, on January 28, 2007, twentieth Royal Rumble aired. It was a WWE PPV with superstars from its Raw, Smackdown and ECW brands, the first of its kind since Survivor Series in November 2006. Personally, the PPV came at a time where I had grown weary with professional wrestling, confused by the sheer number of wrestlers and unwilling to spend so much time per week watching hours of footage and trawling through shows, replays, promos and matches. I simply watched the PPVs. Over the next four weeks, I will review this PPV from the perspectives of a fan looking back at it after a decade as well as my original thoughts as a younger man watching it at the time.

Royal Rumble 2007

No tagline this time either, though the poster did show lots of WWE superstars photoshopped in doing all their different finishing manoeuvres and hulking up for the camera.

The opening shows a bit of a flashback of the last twenty years of Rumbles, with big winners like Rock, Stone Cold, Shawn Michaels and Trrrrriple H. The announcers remind us that the winner of the Rumble goes to headline Wrasslemania. We see all the competitors having a bit of a fight. Kennedy vs Batista is involved, as well as… Bobby Lashley vs. Test? In what universe would anyone want to watch that? And Cena vs. Umaga for a Last Man Standing match? Didn’t Cena just beat Umaga at New Year’s Revolution? Where could this feud possibly go from here? And who cares? Oh, we saw Umaga beatdown Cena with the help of two other men. So that’s why it’s happening, because Umaga mercilessly hit Cena when he was down.

(Note: Before the PPV began, there was a dark match featuring JTG (with his Cryme Tyme ally, Shad Gaspard defeat Lance Cade (who was with his partner, Trevor Murdoch). Very exciting.)

Bad CGI’d road to show that it is the Road to Wrasslemania. Big pyro goes off and the arena fills with smoke and signs. Jumpin’ Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler invite us to the AT&T Centre in San Antonio, Texas. Ten years previous, the Royal Rumble was in the Alamodome for Rumble ’96 (and they will return there this year – tomorrow night, in fact – for the Royal Rumble 2017. We have 13,500 people in attendance tonight (less than the 16,000 the year previous) and 491,000 PPV buys at home (less than the 550,000 the year previous). Jerry can’t wait but I can because Moustache Michael Cole and Cunt JBL are infroduced as the announcers for Smackdown and Tazz and Joey Styles announce for ECW. Tazz says, “Notwithstanding that,” and wears sunglasses inside because he is an idiot. We don’t get introduced to any foreign announcers because fuck ‘em.

The red carpet! The fur coats! The exposed cleavage! It’s MNM, showing Joey Mercury’s face from the attack at Armageddon, back in December 2006. Melina enters and shows her bottom. They reshow the attack that bust open Joey’s face in super sexy slow motion and-

Wait. Is Joey wearing a tongue piercing? You idiot! Keep all the things that can hurt your face away from your face!

Matt and Jeff enter and we see that Johnny Nitro took down Matt Hardy after he won a match against Joey. Absolute bastards, the lot of them. JR tells us that this match is unique because Matt and Joey are on Smackdown while Jeff and Johnny are on Raw so this is an inter-brand tag team match.

The Hardy Boyz def MNM (w/ Melina) via pin in 15:27.

No titles on the line here and both teams aren’t even in the ring before the bell goes. Woah woah woah, WWE, calm the beans, brother. The crowd bay for the Hardys and Matt and Joey attempt to enter but Johnny jumps in first before tagging in Joey. Matt apparently dislocated his jaw back at the attack on Smackdown, which is dumb of him to come into the ring then, huh? But then again, the Hardys aren’t the smartest boys. MNM work over Matt for a bit but he takes over for a second and tags in Jeffrey who does a little dropkick and attempts a pin from it. Joey knocks him into the corner and Johnny tags in. Jeff does an atomic drop followed by a double leg drop and attempts another pin. Calm down. Jeff tags in Matt.

Double clothesline and JR gets Jeff and Matt mixed up. Matt hits a lovely suplex to Joey and Johnny gets his head bounced off the turnbuckle followed by a swinging neckbreaker from Matthew. Johnny escapes, punches Matt who sells the jaw and tags in Joey. Joey looks great in that mask, better than normal anyways. Joey punches Matt, hurts his hand, tags himself out and Johnny works over Matt with weak and safe offence. Johnny attempts the pin and gets only a two. Johnny and Matt have a chat for a moment as we see a replay of Joey kicking Matt in the head. Joey is tagged back in and hit a double knee-shot as Melina screeches. Another pin attempt, another fail followed by a second of each. Joey beats mercilessly on Matt and follows it up with a clothesline that Joey sells as Matt’s jaw actually hurt him. I like that. Chinlock city for a while. Melina is squinting and needs glasses.

Mercury goes for a Bret’s rope elbow but fails and Jeff jumps in as Nitro follows and the pace speeds up. Hardy hits a lovely top-rope Whisper in the Wind and Joey breaks it up. Matt pops in, hitting a lovely suplex on Joey and a double suplex on Johnny. Both men go for the stereo top-rope attack with Johnny lifting his knees to foil Jeff’s splash, but takes Matt’s leg drop on the throat. Joey is tagged in and Jeff is hurt. A pin attempt fails mid-ring as Joey elbows him and JR gets Nitro and Mercury mixed up! C’mon, bro, get your names right!

Nitro and Jeff are in now, and Joey is tagged in as they do a double leg drop on Jeff. Melina tries to get them going and the crowd chant to raise Jeff to his knees and he goes for a lovely inside cradle, getting only a two but Mercury is angry about it and you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry. MNM hit the double gut-buster and Matt jumps in for some reason. Nitro and Jeff have some rest mid-ring as Johnny hits the scissors on Jeff to allow both men to relax and take some air in. The pair get into a scrum as Jeff aims for Matt, building up to the hot tag. Jeff gives Johnny a back body drop and tags Matt in but the ref doesn’t see it. MNM jump in when the ref is distracted and beat on him in their corner. JR reminds us of the rules, “Break on four, disqualified on five.”

Tag has been made but Jeff fights back, causing MNM to hit each other. Hot tag to Fat Matt who cleans house, lovely back body drop on Nitro and Matt bulldog-clotheslines the pair of them. Close pin attempt and Matt goes to Bret’s rope for a weak elbow. Two count. Jeff intervenes and the pair his Poetry in Motion twice. The second time, Nitro escapes and rolls up Matt for a close two-count. Matt hits the Side Effect, Twist of Fate on Nitro, Mercury runs Matt out but on the way through the ropes, he tags Jeff who hits the Swanton Bomb and gets the win by pin in 15:27.

2017 comments:

Once again, a fantastic curtain jerker by MNM and the Hardys.

2007 comments:

Not enough blood this time around, boys. Also, Nitro looks like Batman.

Grade: A

Cut to Teddy Long and The Coach as they pick numbers for the Rumble. Edge comes in, meets Kelly Kelly who tries to rock her way through her six lines. Edge slags her off, asking if her parents named her twice so she wouldn’t forget. Randy Orton comes in, Edge’s Rated-RKO teammate, who says he will not hesitate to toss Edge over the top rope. They draw their numbers and Edge says he will show Randy his if Randy will show Edge his. Booker T comes in and asks if they actually said that. No laughs.

Tazz and Styles introduce the next match: Test versus Bobby.

Cut to promo for the match where Test looks like every inch the Roidy Magoo that he is. He struts about with his big roidy belly and kicks people in the face for a bit and says he’s better than Lashley and RVD and all the rest. He see Lashley his arse and win a match, winning a title, though Test steals the belt because apparently that’s how championships are won in ECW. Fuck the rules, wha?

Back in the Arena, Test comes out, looking awful. C’mon, man. At least try to hide your illegal drugs. Even Jeff did a better job than that.

Bobby’s music hits and here is a man who hides his anabolics. Big pyro hits with Bobby in the middle of it. Isn’t that cute? He thinks that he’s the Undertaker. He is not. And he does a vertical jump. Christ, he thinks that he’s the Brock Lesnar too. Very cute. Big dude with an afro in the front row on the hard cam, by the way. Looks great, big man. Fair play.

ECW World Championship match: Bobby Lashley (c) def Test via pin in 7:18.

Test and Bobby lock up and go for a wee walk around the ring. Test pins bobby into the corner, slaps at him and Bobby spears him in return. Test grabs the ropes and drops Bobby, laying into him and dealing elbows in the corner. Bobby hits Test with a great T-bone suplex and follows it up with a stalling suplex, throwing Test down so hard he needs to have a wee lie down outside the ring. Tazz tells us that, “It is well documented that Test always has something underneath his sleeve,” and that “something” is “throwing Bobby into the turnbuckle from the apron.” Pin attempt and fail.

Test and Bobby have a wee sit down and Test is super gassed. He tells Bobby to shut up. Lashley is fighting to his feet and gets Test in the shoulder but Roidy Magoo fights back and stunners Bobby’s arm in response. Tazz says, “rotator cuff,” like a dope. Test works the shoulder. More sitting. Armbar City over here. Lashley finally breaks out, charges Test, gets an elbow, gives the Canuch a huge back-body drop and charges him in the corner over and over. Lashley gives Test a gorilla press but drops him because of damage to his arm. Test hits the big boot, fails to get a pin and huffs. Test lifts Lashley up for the Fireman Slam but is tossed out. Test then takes the countout to big boos, walking away from Lashley. The bell rings.

2017 comments:

Awful.

2007 comments:

Poor Test. He’s not long for this world.

Grade: D

The crowd chant “ECW!” as Bobby pulls Test back in, beats him up and raises his hands in the air. Boo, the pair of yis.

We see a replay of what caused the countout – a clothesline. Depressing. Sign Guy is there, though, so that’s nice, I suppose. Bobby is pissing with sweat.

On the Card will return on February 4 2017 with the second part of Royal Rumble 2007.

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

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

The Ruthless Aggression Era was a time when the WWE roster was so huge and so varied that they had no way of continuing storylines each week on their two main shows – RAW and Smackdown – and so they created the draft where wrestlers and announcers would be drafted onto either one of the two shows. Smackdown wrestlers would not (usually) be able to appear on Raw or interact with Raw wrestlers and vice versa.

Ten years ago, on January 7, 2007, the third and final New Year’s Revolution aired. It was a RAW PPV, the first of its kind since Cyber Sunday in November 2006. Personally, the PPV came at a time where I had grown weary with professional wrestling, confused by the sheer number of wrestlers and unwilling to spend so much time per week watching hours of footage and trawling through shows, replays, promos and matches. I simply watched the PPVs. Over the next four weeks, I will review this PPV from the perspectives of a fan looking back at it after a decade as well as my original thoughts as a younger man watching it at the time.

Armageddon 2006

The Revolution Continues…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016 comments:

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

2006 comments:

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

Grade: A-

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

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

First out is our boys, the Highlanders!

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

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

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

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

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

A Challenger Appears: Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Super Crazy.

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

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

A Challenger Appears: Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch.

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

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

A Challenger Appears: Cryme Tyme.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ruthless Aggression #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.