Ruthless Aggression #7. Unforgiven (Sept 17, 2006) Part 2

Previously on On the Card: Decent matches so far. This is getting ready to be one of the best PPVs I’ve watched on this blog.

Cut to the match promo showing DX returning and embarrassing Vince McMahon like a bunch of children. Vince retaliates with ECW champ Big Show attacking DX and McMahon himself beating on DX, making them bloody in the process. Vince calls for Hell in the Cell and shows how bloody it can get. DX’s gloves come off. No more silly games. No more stupid gosh-for-darn pranks, this is the DX we want, the ones who are ruthless, dangerous and chop their crotches instead of spouting catchphrases. Fuck yeah.

Back in the arena and the Hell in the Cell is being lowered to the ring. The new version is twenty feet higher, apparently. Lots of stats.

Here comes the money! Shane O Mac comes down for his first Hell in the Cell, ten years before his great match against Undertaker at WrestleMania 32.

Big Show comes down next, taking his damn time because the man doesn’t want to overwork that heart of his. He really is a great big tall man. I love Big Show. He seems like a great guy to know.

It’s no chance! I love Vince’s theme tune. I really do. I hate Vince’s strut, though, that one that looks like he’s just taken a jaggy shite. JR tells us that this is the first Hell in the Cell at Unforgiven and the first one that is a handicap match. JR rhymes off the list of injuries that Hell in the Cell has committed including a cameraman injured in the first one (Badd Blood 1997) and Irish Referee Tim White’s refereeing career ended in 2002. He then rhymes off injuries caused to wrestlers, most to Mick Foley and most to that Hell in the Cell match at King of the Ring 1998.

Big pause before DX asks if we are ready and gives us seizures with their bloody intro package. Trips and Michaels are introduced as “The Game, Triple H and the Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels.” Shawn was in the first Hell in the Cell, the one where Kane appeared and ripped the side of the cell open. Vince is going mental and dying to get at DX but Big Show holds him back and jaws off to DX. Just before the bell rings, Michaels and Trips kick Big Show right in the balls. Good lads. He falls, knees buckled, looking like a parody of himself.

Handicap Hell in a Cell match: D-Generation X (Triple H and Shawn Michaels) def. Team McMahon (Shane McMahon, Vince McMahon and The Big Show) via pinfall in 25:04.

DX wail on the McMahons. Hell in the Cell and Steel Cage matches are difficult to watch due to the amount of metal in the way of the screen. Shane gets beat on the worst and is thrown out of the ring, closely followed by his father. Big Show is standing and we get stereo low blows from behind. JR quips, “There may be some swelling… I’ll never know if that’s the case.” Aye, right, JR. You’ll be in there with your wee glasses going, “Show us it, Paul. Christ, look at that. Is that… it’s like leopard print, isn’t it?”

Michaels and Trips beat on their McMahon separately. Shawn hammers on Shane on the apron and pulls on the rope, catapulting Shane into the cage side. Shane has slid beneath the ring bladed at some point and is badly bust on the floor so Shawn rubs his head against the side like a cheese grater. This is standard Hell in the Cell fare. Vince has bladed as well. And Trips pops him in the forehead before rubbing his head against the side, too. Jerry asks, “It doesn’t have to be like this, does it JR?” and JR replies, “Damn right it does! It’s Hell in a Cell!”

Big Show is away somewhere and Shane is thrown against the side of the ring. Trips has… a fucking screwdriver? And he is driving it into McMahon’s wound. JR says, “There are no rules… only victims.” In the ring, Show is up and Trips bodyslams Vince. Trips is knocked down by Show and he catches Shawn mid-air. Big Show has been out for about five minutes since his nut-shot and is now up and clearing house. He punches Trips and once again, Shawn is caught by Show mid-air. Trips is up and both DX men fling Show into the steel steps. “Steel has no conscience… much like a McMahon.”

Shawn beats on Shane as Trips crotch chops and knees Vince in the head. Show is back in the match and hitting lads. Shane knocks Shawn out of the ring, over the ropes, and what a shot it is. Shane takes the time to attack Trips. It is, much like previous DX matches, uneventful and forgettable so far. All of these men are just stepping through the spots. There is little story here. Trips is hit with a chokeslam and Team McMahon don’t even bother to pin him, opting to attack Michaels by standing near the edge of the Cell and lifting Michaels into a powerbomb position so his face cracks off the Cell side. In the ring, Shane is beating on Trips. Michaels has bladed now. We’re three for five in blades. Tenner says Trips will but Show won’t. Tenner. I’m good for it.

Shane goes below the ring to get a trashcan and sets Trips up in the corner to hit a Coast-to-Coast. What a move. He crotch chops before hitting it and Trips’ ear is legit cut. Michaels is bleeding heavily at this point and, although Trips did not blade, four of the five men in the match are bleeding. Show is not. Shane sets up an elaborate steel steps situation where Shane can catapult Trips into the corner. Trips seems to have bladed for real, actually, and is not covered in blood. Christ of Almighty.

Vince calls for Show to hit Michaels with a Vader Bomb. Vince goes to pin Shawn but pulls him up before the ref hits three, asking Show to hit the backbreaker on Shawn before hitting him with a leg drop. Once again, Vince pins him but lifts his head before the three can be hit. Trips comes in and clears house, knocking Show out of the ring, beating on Vince and is about to hit the Pedigree when Shane lifts him and carries Trips about like he’s about to drop the Olympic Slam on him. When he finally does drop him, Trips has countered it into a reverse-RKO-style attack that JR calls a “Superstar Billy Graham-style backbreaker.” Fair play.

Michaels is up, attempts Sweet Chin Music but Shane catches his foot and Shawn hits the enziguri. Vince knocks Shawn to the ground and removes his trousers to get Shawn into the Kiss-My-Ass club. As Vince is being a pervert, Trips is in front of him, knocks him to the ground with a punch and is floored himself by Show. On the floor, Vince does his trousers up. Decency above all else. Vince goes to pin Vince but asks Show to splash Michaels first but Michaels pulls Vince into the path of Show. Distraught, Show retreats to the corner for a wee cry and has his testicles crushed once more by DX. I sense a theme here around the nether regions and I sense it is about to get far worse.

Shawn knocks Shane out of the way, attempts a kip-up, fails and attempts it again. Atmoic Drop followed by Spinebuster and Trips pops outside to get a steel chair for Shane. He sets the chair around Shane’s neck and Shawn hits a very gentle elbow drop on him. Shane begins to spit up blood! I could not find anywhere on the internet to confirm that Shane used a blood capsule, but the consensus is that he’s seen biting on one when rolling around after the elbow drop.

Big Show comes in and Jerry points out that Show isn’t bleeding. Show brings in the steel steps, has a wee roar to himself and lifts the steps over his head like an idiot. Trips smacks him in the tummy with the chair and Shawn busts him with a Sweet Chin Music. Show is over the ropes with his arse in the air and as Vince gets to his feet (after fresh blading) and faces DX, he winces, knowing what is coming next. DX expose Big Show’s arse, pulling down his singlet to expose it. Vince is less than impressed. JR says, “Billionaire buttplug!” and Vince’s head is shoved up Show’s arse. Great, great stuff. Ten out of ten, lads. You may all retire now; you’re not beating this by a long shot.

Show unceremoniously tumbles out of the ring and Trips gets the sledgehammer, throwing up the X sign as Shawn hits Sweet Chin Music and Vince falls to his knees as Trips cracks him in the back of the neck with the sledge! Luckily, he connects on a weak part of the wood and the head spirals off somewhere (hopefully a rubber head as well) and Trips gets the pin in 25:04.

2016 comments:

Ugh. Spotfest. No story. Garbage wrestling.

2006 comments:

Oh man, I love blood!

Grade: B

My tastes have obviously become refined because ten years ago, I would have called that shit Match of the Year.

The crowd rejoice as DX beat Team McMahon. Blood is everywhere. It is gruesome. We had two arses, numerous lacerations, at least four bladings, maybe more, two kayfabe neck injuries, one broken sledgehammer and no story. Replays of the worst spots of the match and the best. The ending was good. I’ll give them that. Shawn touches Trip’s bum as they leave.

Cut to a promo about Trish Stratus having her last match with the Fed. She decided to leave due to her mounting injuries and the fact that her mother was diagnosed with cancer. The promo is quite sweet and completely forgets the fact that she started off as a heel piece of ass for Test and Albert. There’s a fake drama about real drama as Lita “leaked” Trish’s retirement plans. We also see a gruesome suicide dive from Lita where she damn near kills herself. Trish and Lita are legit friends (Trish inducted Lita into the Hall of Fame) and it’s nice to see them square off in Trish’s last match. Lita is heeling it up loads. Great woman. Also, Trish has a hella Canuck accent.

Cut to the ring and Lita enters to her awful theme to no pop. As is tradition, the champ comes out first because Trish is leaving. JR takes the time to tell us the next PPV, No Mercy, October 8th.

The crowd bay for Trish and when the laugh hits, they pop. Great hometown pop. She gets lots of cheers and is due to win her seventh title.

WWE Women’s Championship match: Trish Stratus def. Lita (c) via submission in 11:34.

Big “Thank you, Trish!” cheer rises as Trish and Lita circle before locking up. Lita gives her a big slap, Irish whip to the corner and gets a clothesline for her effort. Trish stands on her hands, gets Lita’s head between her ankles and finally hurricanranas her after a while. Good job. Lita rolls to the outside and Trish attempts to get at her, finally jumping from the apron to Lita, slipping about on the mat where it has been mopped of blood after the Hell in the Cell. She hits Lita with the handstand-hurricanrana job and the pair roll into the ring.

In the ring, the pace slows down with simple strikes, wait time and rest holds. Trish’s tights are in danger of falling very low on her. Trish takes over when she beats on Lita in the corner and gets Flair Woos for Flair Chops. Lita goes to top rope and Trish once again hits the MaTrish Revolutions (that handstand headscissors takedown whose name I have been avoiding since it is silly and reminds me of disappointment) but the two grapple on the top rope before falling disappointedly out of the ring, landing awkwardly.

The ref starts the countout and the two girls scramble for the top rope with Lita pulling Trish off, goes for the moonsault – a scary moment for me as I worried about the wet boots from the mop water outside – but misses as Trish rolls out of the way. Trish goes for the pin but gets only two. Trish goes for the Stratusfaction but throws Trish out of the ring. That’s three ring-outs in twice as many minutes. Back in the ring, Lita goes for the pin and some cunt wolf whistles. Classy, boys. Classy as fuck.

Lita kicks on our girl Trish and JR has difficulty selling this break in the action so talks about the injuries sustained during the Hell in the Cell. To be fair, the last time Trish was in the ring, she damn near broke her arm, so there might be an injury here too. Lita taunts Trish and, with the greatest betrayal that only a Canuck can muster, she pops Lita right in the jaw and they roll about for a bit. Another pin attempt and another kick-out. JR sells the infamous “energy loss” from kicking out of a pin. If it is so hard to kick out, why aren’t matches just pinning combos?

Trish fights back, gets Lita in a neckbreaker and the ref starts a countout. JR thanks the armed forces (thank you for your service) and Trish finally hits Lita with a top-rope MaTrish Revolutions followed by a superkick that fails to get the three count. Lita goes for Twist of Fate, Trish reverses it into a Stratusfaction (springboard bulldog), Lita blocks it, Trish sunset flips her, Lita Aloha Arns before Trish gets the legs up to pin Lita and almost gets the pin before turning it into a Sharpshooter! Lita drags her sorry carcass to the ropes but Trish pulls her away and Lita taps out in 11:34.

2016 comments:

Is it the best women’s match ever? No, of course not, we have Melina vs. Alicia Fox to thank for that little classic. Is it the best women’s match so far? Undoubtedly. It was a better match for what it was – after the semi-main-event of Hell in the Hell, being the token women’s match of the card and having a returning and then leaving Diva – and it wasn’t as good as it could have been – both Lita and Trish are far better competitors than what we saw out there today… but as a final match for a woman in 2006, it was wonderful. Ten-plus minutes of tight, well-engineered wrestling with minimal rest holds, nice transitions and Lita taking the brunt of the beating as Trish goes out in her home town with style. Well done.

2006 comments:

Can women wrestle? Why don’t they wrestle more often?

Grade: B

Trish has a wee cry in the centre of the ring. God bless you, Trish., you’re a great woman. Thing is, though, we know that she is leaving the Fed. Lillian Garcia is having a wee cry, too and Jerry has shut the fuck up and just let JR kick ass as the only commentator.

On the Card will return on October 1st with the third and final part of Unforgiven 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.

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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.

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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.