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 #15. No Way Out (February 18, 2007) 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 February 18, 2007, No Way Out 2007. It was a Smackdown the first of its kind since Armageddon in December 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.

No Way Out 2007

No tagline this time either. The poster is The Undertaker in a dark hallway, looking through his eyebrows. Behind him is a barred door. The “No Way Out” at the bottom has chains on it. I see the subtle innuendo.

The opening is a slow walk through a prison. “Tonight, for these four superstars… There is no way out.” Vince says that there is going to be a tag team match between Cena and Michaels vs. Undertaker and Batista. He says this match is one the likes of which will never be seen before. It’s a match where there’s no trust between the tag teams. Nope. Never seen this before in my entire life ever.

We see some sort of labyrinthine hallway of doors and cells before we are told that SmackDown! presents WWE No Way Out. Just as the superstars are stuck in a prison of their own creation, we too are stuck in the fucking Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California where 14,000 people are in attendance with a buyrate of 218,000 at home, a tiny drop from the 220,000 the previous year. There’s big pyro and my heart stops as Moustache Michael Cole and Cunt JBL invite us to the detour on the Road to Wrasslemania. They say that this last-minute crap tag is the biggest main event in SmackDown history. We are about to be introduced to our Spanish colleages but Cunt JBL shouts racist things about hating bi-lingual places. I tell you what, I can’t wait to see the back of him.

Despite his racism, we see our lovely Spanish colleagues, Carlos Cabrera and Hugo Savinovich. A great pair of lads. They hammer on in Spanish for ages. What a pair of lads. Hugo ends it with, “Waaaaow!”

 (Note: Before the PPV began, there was a dark match featuring… Rob Van Dam against Shelton Benjamin?! What did either of them do to deserve that?)

Oh great, the first match is a six-man tag. Fucking Teddy Long and his love for tag matches. There will be four this evening. This… displeases me. The first one out is MVP, our boy with his big-ass legs and awesome pyro. He’s a great heel. We need someone like him. Cole says that this is, “a treat”, similar to how someone might give you fruitcake as a treat, which is neither a fruit nor a cake.

Big red carpet and down comes Mankin- sorry, it’s MNM. Joey is still rocking that mask, though. Fair play to you, big man. Take a bow. Melina is there with an ill-fitting top on. JBL quotes The Mask, which is not the first time. Melina lifts her legs onto the apron and we see her bottom. JBL: “Even you would like that, Michael.” Cole: “I… love it.” And now JBL likes Mexicans.

Hardys come out. Jeff is raving away there, winged off his tits. The annoucners really big up the match at Armageddon where the Hardys hit the leg drop and bust open Joey.

Down comes [REDACTED] Benoit. No big entrance for him. He just walks down and lifts his US championship belt. JBL gives off because Cole says, “Ohhhh my!”

Siz-Man Tag Team match: [REDACTED] Benoit and The Hardy Boyz def Montel Vontavious Porter and MNM (w/ Melina) via submission in 14:19.

No titles on the line here, no one cares. It’s a payday for the lot of them. Jeff and Joey maybe have beef over the ladder incident and although Johnny and Matt will stand up for their partners, MVP and Benoit are just along for the ride. Big “Hardy!” chant rises from the crowd as Joey and Matt square off. Cole bigs up the rivalry between MNM and Hardys as Melina screams at ringside. Joey gets a boot to the face and Matt hits the axe-handle nothing. Jeff comes in and goes for the pin instantly but gets naught. Matt is back in and Johnny is tagged. Lovely hip toss by Matt followed by slaps on the back. MVP tags himself in and goes for a dodgy bodyslam. Benoit is in and rips on MVP. Cole tells us that he has only one gear – fifth gear.

MVP fights back and a lovely snapmare and pin but gets nothing. MVP escapes, tags in Joey, who refuses. MVP is back in and gets tossed about by Benoit. Lovely snap suplex and pin attempt. Jeff is in and beats on MVP in the corner. Johnny scrambles about the place and gets a backwards enziguri and double leg drop to Johnny’s balls. Nitro slaps Hardy and they chase each other when Little Naitch’s back is turned. Crappy snapmare – crapmare – and Johnny is holding Jeff in a little spooning cuddle mid-ring. Jeff gets to his feet, batters Johnny in the midsection and Melina is frustrated that a pin attempt did not work. More chinlocks on Jeff. Chinlock city.

MVP is back in and distracts the ref while Johnny hits on Jeff. Nice suplex and pin attempt. Johnny is back in and hits Jeff with an attempted backdrop but Jeff hits Whisper in the Wind. Matt is in for the tepid tag and clears house, hits the bulldog from the corner, hits the Side Effect. Matt gets a backdrop from MVP and a snapmare followed by chinlock city. MVP hits the gutwrench and hits an elbow with theatrics. Benoit breaks up the pin. Mercury is in, getting the thumb in Matt’s eye like Umaga. Gimmick infringement. Melina goes to slap Matt but the ref turns around. Joey is in the corner with his team mates, beating on Matt. Nitro attempts the pin but gets nothing. Facelock city.

The crowd claps, attempting to get the hot tag up. Matt hits the clothesline, can’t seem to get to Benoit but goes eventually. Benoit clears house and hits a lovely suplex of Joey onto MVP followed by a double German suplex as MNM hold on to each other for dear life. Hardys hit Poetry in Motion. Matt hits the Twist of Fate but Cole calls it a side effect. Jeff hits the Swanton, Benoit gets the flying headbutt and MVP breaks up the pin. Jeff attempts a sunset flip on Nitro outside but fails. MVP tries to DQ Benoit with a US Championship to the face but Johnny breaks it up. Joey beats on Benoit and MNM go for the Snapshot, attempts the cover, fails and hits the crossface instead, getting the win in 14:19.

2017 comments:

Not a great curtain jerker and has crescendo booking with nothing happening for most of the match then everyone hits their finishers and the faces win.

2007 comments:

Why was Benoit there?

Grade: B

Backstage, the “vivacious” Kristal is there, forgetting her lines. “The wife of Eddie Guerrero… (legit pause of about five seconds)… Vicky Guerrero.” Christ, you’re a terrible woman. Big boos and big pauses again. Kristal and Vicky shamble their way through a shitty promo and awkward hug.

Cut to Finlay and Little Bastard as they cut a shitty promo on little people. Finlay tells Little Bastard to stay where he is. He refuses so Finlay puts him in a bin, which smokes and turns red. It turns out that Little Boogeyman was inside. Repulsive.

Back in the arena, it’s time for the Cruiserweight Open. It’s basically a shitty Royal Rumble.

Oh wait, no, I take that back. The first entrant is Scotty 2 Hotty. This is going to be the best match of the card, y’all haters can go fuck yourselves. Out comes the hyped up – and best – member of Too Cool.

Daivari’s music hits. He comes out with little fanfare but by gum he looks great. He was given such a shitty gimmick.

Cruiserweight Open for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Chavo Guerrero def. Gregory Helms (c), Scotty 2 Hotty, Daivari, Sho Funaki, Shannon Moore, Jimmy Wang Yang and Jamie Noble via elimination in 14:11.

A First Challenger Appears: Scotty 2 Hotty.

A Second Challenger Appears: Daivari.

NOTE: The times given for each elimination are how long the competitor stayed in the ring.

Daivari has an earring. The fool. Daivari goes for three pins in a row instantly, followed by a bodyslam and some punches to the face. Daivari gets some heat from the crowd for being Middle-Eastern. Racists. Scotty hits the facebuster and hits the WORM. Brilliantly awful move. He gets the pin from it.

Daivari has been eliminated by Scotty 2 Hotty in 1:39.

A Third Challenger Appears: Gregory Helms.

It’s the current Cruiserweight Champion! Down he comes to the ring, gets bopped a few times by Scotty and the pair of them trade blows in the corner. Scotty looks like he’s crying and gets a slingshot to the throat. Pin attempt and fail. The crowd bay for Scotty, but we know he’s done. He charges Helms into the corner, follows it up with smacks to the face and Scotty hits the backdrop, attempts another WORM, gives Scotty a knee to the face and the pin.

Scotty 2 Hotty has been eliminated by Gregory Helms in 2:06.

A Fourth Challenger Appears: Sho Funaki.

Oh no! It’s the sneaky Japanese!

Funaki slides in, wearing his Smackdown trunks, goes for the cross-body but Helms rolls through, grabs the tights, shows off Funaki’s arse and gets the pin.

Sho Funaki has been eliminated by Gregory Helms in 26 seconds.

A Fifth Challenger Appears: Shannon Moore.

Looking like a Jeff Hardy from some alternate universe, Shannon Moore rocks up with his Mohawk and mental makeup. The two roll out and Shannon hits a lovely springboard to hurricanrana. Shannon hits the spinebuster and pin attempt but fails. Shannon hits a lovely bridging pin followed by a jumping neckbreaker. Cunt JBL and Cole share homophobic remarks. Helms hits the superplex on Moore and a knee to the jaw followed by a pin.

Shannon Moore has been eliminated by Gregory Helms in 2:02.

A Sixth Challenger Appears: Jimmy Wang Yang.

This has been a great match so far… for Gregory Helms. It’s okay, though, our resident redneck is down to kick some arse and take some names. Lovely standing moonsault and “yahoo!” from Jimmy Wang Yang. He goes for the ten-punch and fails. Lovely roll-up and Wang Yang hits the side-Russian leg sweep followed by a weird submission. Top-rope moonsault that misses and Helms knocks him down. Jimmy Wang Yang hits the hurricanrana and gets the pin.

Gregory Helms has been eliminated by Jimmy Wang Yang in 1:49.

A Seventh Challenger Appears: Jamie Noble.

Before Noble comes out, Helms hits the neckbreaker, laying Jimmy Wang Yang out. Noble goes for the pin as Gregory Helms watches on. Big slaps from Noble and another pin attempt. Lovely body slam and leg drop and Cunt JBL keeps talking despite the fact that no one wants him here. Chinlock city. Awkward Irish whip and Noble attempts the pin but fails after Jimmy rockets into the turnbuckle. Jimmy stunners Noble and hits the Atomic Drop. An almost pin after a dropkick. Suplex attempt and Noble escapes, hits the spinning leg kick. Jimmy goes to the top rope and slaps at Jimmy. Goes for the superplex but Jimmy says no and hits the top-rope moonsault for the pin.

Jamie Noble has been eliminated by Jimmy Wang Yang in 3:43.

Jimmy Wang Yang is the Winner of the WWE Cruiser-

Ohhh, Chavo!

An Eighth and Final Challenger Appears: Chavo Guerrero.

Whaaat? A surprise entry? Christ!

Chavo jumps in and the pair of them square off before Chavo hits the side-suplex and boots on Jimmy. Roidy Guerrero attacks Jimmy and takes a spinning leg kick to the face. Chavo is sent out over the top and Jimmy goes to the top-rope, hits a monstrous cross-body, rolls Chavo in, hits a missile dropkick but Chavo counters and hits the Three Amigos, goes to the top, gets mega boos for attempting the frog splash but Jimmy hits a top-rope Hurricanrana, almost gets the pin. He goes top rope again but Chavo is there to stop him. He is knocked off the top rope. Jimmy attempts the corkscrew moonsault, Chavo dodges, hits the Frog Splash and the pin.

Jimmy Wang Yang has been eliminated by Chavo Guerrero in 4:07.

Chavo Guerrero is the Winner of the WWE Cruiserweight Open and new WWE Cruiserweight Champion in 14:11.

2017 comments:

I don’t understand the point of this. Is there a feud developing here? Who is supposed to go over? Had Helms squashed everyone but just been barely able to put Jimmy Wang Yang away and Jimmy had fought Jamie for a good few minutes followed by a tough match with Chavo, I can understand it. Add six minutes onto the runtime and add that into the last three bouts and I can get it: Jimmy Wang Yang is good enough not only to put away a tired Gregory Helms, but also fight toe-to-toe with Noble and Guerrero before he finally loses. Then Helms would go over – a tough champ who put away all other challengers – and Jimmy would go over – he beat the champ – and Chavo would go over – he beat the tired winner. But… it was a clean finish. Jimmy just lost. And who wants to see Chavo with a belt? No one.

2007 comments:

I like Jimmy Wang Yang.

Grade: B

Disappointing, both for the fans and the wrestlers. We already hate Chavo. No need to make us hate him more. I see that Vicky isn’t there to congratulate him. Obviously they’ve split up and expanded their evil into other areas of the Fed. Replays of the win. Cole calls him disrespectful and the crowd can’t give less of a shit about him.

On the Card will return on February 25 2017 with the second part of No Way Out 2007!

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

Ruthless Aggression #5: The Great American Bash – July 23, 2006.

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

Ten years ago, on July 23, 2006, the PPV The Great American Bash aired. It was a SmackDown! PPV, and the first SmackDown! PPV since Judgment Day in May. Personally, the PPV came at a time where I had grown weary with professional wrestling, confused by the sheer number of wrestlers and unwilling to spend so much time per week watching hours of footage and trawling through shows, replays, promos and matches. I simply watched the PPVs. Over the next four weeks, I will review this PPV from the perspectives of a fan looking back at it after a decade as well as my original thoughts as a younger man watching it at the time.

The Great American Bash 2006

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016 comments:

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

2006 comments:

I hope these teams fight forever.

Grade: A

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

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