Ruthless Aggression Era #1. Backlash 2006 (April 30, 2006) Part 3

Previously on On the Card: Backlash 2006 was heating up with a decent RVD vs Shelton Bejamin match and a regrettable Big Show vs. Kane match. Can we start some momentum heading into our two main events?

Tony Hawk intro and promo package to show how Vince and Shane came to battle Shawn Michaels and God. Great recap of the WrestleMania 22 match between Vince and Shawn. Vince announces McMahonism, the theology of the future. Vince dares God to strike him down and we see the ring posts spark as he approaches them. Lots of horizons and suns and biblical quotes. Garbage.

Here Comes the Money hits and my boy Shane O Mac pops out. He’s wrestling in shoes, baseball tops and jogging bottoms. I love Shane McMahon. I once had a childhood friend named Shane McMahon, but it was pronounced differently. No Chance hits and old Vinnie Mac swaggers down the ramp like an asshole. JR mentions that he does not want to go to Hell for any reason. Vince takes the mic and announced “one of… well, the only tag team partner Shawn Michaels will have tonight… God!” There is spot on the Titantron, harp music and the spot moves towards the ring slowly. Vince stops the spot halfway down the ramp and tells off the spotlight. McMahon reminds God that it is the WWE and that he must “get jiggy with it.” Funky music plays, God’s spot continues its descent, the world gets dumber as Vince dances. JR says, “someone call 911.”

The spot circles the ring and enters the ring. Vince quips, “The hell is that? He snuck up behind me.” Vince makes the ref to check God out and see if he has any illegal weapons. Vince then reveals that the match is now No Holds Barred. Praise be the name of Vincent Kennedy McMa-

FUCK THAT, HBK’S MUSIC HITS.

Shawn has still got it. Ten years after Shawn won the WWF Champrionship in a 60-minute Iron Man Match with Bret Hart, he still has it. What a guy. He falls to his knees, pyro hits and the women are still mental in the crowd. JR says, “you might as well say it… a handicap match!”

Vince, on the mic, threatens that Shawn “and God are gonna go straight to hell!” and gets a slap for his trouble.

The McMahons def. Shawn Michaels via pinfall in 19:57

I will refuse to count this as anything other than what it is: a handicap match. That is not because I’m an Atheist or even that I’m a diehard Christian, but just that the gimmick is weak on the ground. We get it, Vince, Shawn is a Born-Again Christian and you’re trying to antagonise him. Good job. Let’s move on.

HBK beats on Vince for a while, Shane tries to break them up and gets a wallop for his trouble. Shane gets a great back body drop and HBK hits a cross-body suicide dive over the top rope. Shane and Shawn go over the top rope but HBK holds on, pulls himself back in and hits the senton suicide dive. One minute in and Shawn has jumped out twice. HBK chant rises as the man himself walks Shane up the Titantron. The pair swap punches and Shane gets HBK into a piledrive, walks back to the steel grate and gets flipped by HBK. Vince turns up with a chair and HBK beats him down. He then throws Shane into the spiked decorations at the side of the Titantron, spins and hits the cross-body on Vince, knocking them both off the Titantron and onto a pad on the floor. HBK regrets the jump a split second before his feet leave the floor.

HBK is up and climbing up to the Titantron and there is Shane to crack him with a steel chair shot to the face. Shane goes to check on his daddy. The camera follows him so that Michaels can blade. By the time Shane makes his way back to the ramp, HBK is bust open and bleeding all over his chest. JR states that Vince is “losing his mind… in my opinion.” HBK is rolling about, the blood is on Shane’s shirt and the pair of them are selling each shot. Great arm drag takedown into the security wall by Shane. Back in the ring, Michaels is jumping from each shot Shane gives him. Vince is back at ringside. Shane is beating on Michaels like a madman. Great backdrop from the Boy Wonder. Shane goes to the top turnbuckle and goes for a great elbow but Michaels rolls out of the way. Shawn starts punching back, Vince is waiting for the tag… even though it is a no-holds-barred match.

Vince is tagged in and removes his belt. He starts whipping on Michaels and jabbering to himself. Cameramen by ringside. Brilliant match so far, but the pace has slowed after the initial spots. Vince asks Shane for a weapon and his son obliges by throwing in a trash can, cracking Michaels right on the head. Vince gets the mic and starts shouting at God in the corner, claiming that he is leaving Michaels alone in the ring. The cameraman even follows God. Vince threatens Shawn and goes for Sweet Chin Music but Michaels catches the boot and runs the ropes. Both men are down and Shane is knocked to the floor. Vince starts to stagger to his feet and Shawn does his patented kip-up, dodged a chair shot from Shane (which cracks Vince), knocks Shane to his feet. Another kip-up, an atomic drop and Michaels starts battering forearms on Shane, knocking him down, getting him up, knocking him down.

Big body slam and Michaels is on the top rope, dropping a fearsome elbow “onto the black heart of the crown prince of the McMahon Empire,” says our man JR. The crowd count to each stomp of the boot and HBK hits Sweet Chin Music on both McMahons before going under the ring to take out two tables. They’re slid into the ring and JR reminds us (as if we would forget) that this match is no DQ. The crowd chant “we want tables!” even though that tables are already there. Blind boys of Kentucky.

Shawn drapes Shane over the table and pops to the outside. Some lad in the crowd is wearing a Venom T-shirt, nice one. Michaels throws Vince inside the ring. Jerry says, “Looks like McMahon was… praying there. That couldn’t be the case, could it?” JR replies, “I don’t think he knows how. I think that would be foreign territory for him.” Both McMahons (the McMen) are on the tables and Shawn pulls a huuuuuge ladder from under the ring, pushes it in and gets it set up. It is damn near the size of the ring. The commentators say 20 feet. At one point, JR admits he is not a Home Depot guy and says that it must be 30 feet…. At least. From the size of Michaels (just over 6 feet), he is just under halfway the height of the ladder, so it must be around 15 feet or so, which is still a fearsome height. He clambers up it, gets ready and jumps… outside the ring onto the Spirit Squad.

Yes! The Spirit Squad, the Tag Team Champions are ringside, all five of the emerald cunts, or, as JR calls them, “The most annoying quintet in the WWE.” He fights back but the Squad take over and stomp Michaels, punch and beat on him. They jump into the ring and pull Shane and Vince out of harm’s way, dismantling the weapons in the ring. JR notices that, at this point, it is seven-on-one. The squad grab a limb each, throw Michaels into the air and smash him on a table. Vince crooks his leg and gets the pin in 19:57.

2016 comments:

As JR says at the end of the match: “That was bullshit.” And it was. The ending was garbage. At least let Michaels get the big spot or reverse it so that Shane elbows Shawn through the tables or something. The match was a shit sandwich – great spots at the start, great spots at the end and garbage in between. That said, the spots really upped the score somewhere into the stratosphere.

2006 comments:

Fucking love Shawn and Shane but Vince looks like a sausage.

Grade: B

JR apologises for his language. Jerry says, “the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit… Squad”. The referee shakes his head over Michael’s body. Vince shakes his big steroid arms.

Cut backstage to introduce my boy “the most controversial champion in WWE History” John Cena. Cena looks the same even though it’s ten years ago. In that time, he has won the championship a further thirteen times. His hands are huge. He relates the fact that he does not need to be pinned in order to lose the championship. He bigs up Lillian Garcia and says he’s going to keep the belt.

Matt Striker comes out to give everyone a lesson. He was, according to JR, fired for “conduct unbecoming of a schoolteacher.” He actually was a legit high school teacher. He’s a great guy on the mic and riles up the crowd about fried chicken, illegally recruited basketball players and their lack of education. As a teacher myself, this man has class. He introduces “one of the smartest men to ever come from Kentucky” and out comes… Eugene. Oh Christ.

I like Eugene. I have a soft spot for him. Is he a great wrestler? No. Is he the underdog? Yes. Is he an offensive stereotype? Oh fuck yes.

Striker makes fun of Eugene and says he can’t spell his own name. He gives the chalk to Eugene, dares him to prove Striker wrong and spell his own name. Striker makes fun of Ashley Judd. Eugene reveals that he has not spelled his name and, instead, under “Matt Striker” he wrote, “loves poop” which is fair enough.

But who among us is not a closet poop fan? Let he who is without sin cast the first poop.

Striker really heels it up and claims that he is not a coprophiliac. Eugene starts up a “You love poop” chant. It’s 2006, guys. Come on.

Eugene has found a booger in his nose and threatens to eat it. Striker bravely stops him and Eugene thanks him by giving him the booger. Then stunners Striker while JR sells some BBQ sauce by the side. “It’ll take more than my barbeque sauce to make that feel good.” JR is crying ringside. Tony Hawk intro of the main event and it needs a main event promo to introduce it. We see the HHH vs. Cena match from WrestleMania 22 where Cena retained the belt after tapping Trips out. At the Monday Night Raw after WrestleMania, bust-face Edge says that he and he alone is worthy of the WWE Championship. We see HHH beating Cena, then Cena beating Edge then Edge beating HHH. Like some bastard game of rock-paper-scissors, these men are all starter Pokémon in this main event match.

Edge’s best theme with the lyrics plays and out he comes with Lita. They’re both great. I love Edge and Lita looks one hundred percent. Edge is taking big breaths and Trip’s The Game hits. Out he comes, taking about half an hour to walk thirty feet and drink half a bottle of water. And he spills half of it on the ramp. Hunter, there are children in Afric- you know what? Forget it. You wouldn’t care anyways. Big sign of “On Your Knees, Dog.” Poor kid holding the comma. Triple H, not happy with wasting an entire night walking to the ring, now finds that he cannot get down from the turnbuckle. Poor tucker. Trips chews on some tobacco as well.

John Cena music. The man himself raps it. Out he comes, shouting at the crowd, all hyped up on muscles and hustle. He has the same love/hate split as he does now. Personally, I love Cena and can’t get enough of the man. The wrestler is okay, but John Cena the man is a hero, a real-life superhero.

WWF Championship Triple Threat match: John Cena (c) def. Edge w/ Lita and Triple H via pinfall in 17:33

Match begins and the three men get a Mexican standoff started first. Edge speaks for a while and removes himself from the ring, leaving Cena and Trips to beat each other up. Fast shoulder presses followed by a quick suplex and a pin attempt broken up by Edge. Trips hits Cena with an inverted atomic drop and a high knee followed by a second pin attempt broken by Edge. Cena and Trips punch the shit out of each other for a while and the two men turn to stare at Edge, pulling him into the ring and start a game of punch-tennis where Edge is the ball. The Rated-R Superstar is outside and John and Hunter beat on Edge for a while, bouncing his head off the announcer’s table.

Edge is rolled back in but then the Triple Threat resumes with Trips throwing out Cena and going for Edge. The two men go at each other for a bit and seems gassed. Cena pulls at Trips’ legs, bouncing his face off the apron. Cena goes top-rope and for the first time in history, no one stops him. He hits the splash on Edge followed by a spinout powerbomb that leads to a Five Knuckle Shuffle attempt before Lita pulls on the ropes, flipping Cena outside. Trips is back inside the ring and hits Edge with the running knee. He goes for the pin and gets nothing but a two-count.

Edge runs at Trips and the Game hits him with a fucking beeeeautiful spinebuster. Edge lands a reversal badly on his ankle and runs the ropes. Trips gets Edge into a sleeper hold and the crowd chant for our man Cena. Cena lifts both Edge and Trips for the FU and Edge hits him with a spear. Cena is hurting and Carlito Jr. is outside the ring there. Edge gets Trips into position for the catapult to the turnbuckle and Hunter takes the time to blade. As soon as he hits the ring post, he spins and shows off his blood. Good man yourself. He is bust wide open and is set to bleed like a motherfucker when he’s thrown on the announcers table. Trips gets a DDT from Edge, but the table doesn’t break. Trips is really badly bleeding right now, steams of blood dripping from his huge forehead, pools of it outside the ring.

Inside, Edge and Cena are going at it. Edge hits Cena with a spear and the crowd only care about Trips. Cena gets Edge into the STFU and the Rated-R Superstar is ready to tap. Both men are screaming, Edge is clawing his way to the ropes and Triple H’s hand stops Edge from tapping or grabbing the rope and busts Cena with the microphone. Trips cracks Edge with a brutal headshot that probably leads to Edge’s retirement years later. Trips is in the ring and a drop toe hold from Cena leads to the STFU on trips. His face is a crimson mask. My favourite spot as the ref lifts Trips hand and lets it drop once, twice, thr- NO! TRIPLE H STOPS HIS HAND FROM FALLING. HE’S STILL IN THE GAME. THE GAME IS IN THE GAME. GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY.

Triple H lifts Cena up, crawls to the rope and breaks the hold. Cena is up and poised to hit the FU but Trips reverses, gets ready for the Pedigree and Cena hits another drop toe hold and another STFU. Edge is up, he’s on the top rope, he’s ready to jump and Cena is up, punching Edge, falling back, knocking the ref senseless. From the top, Cena gets Edge ready for the FU when Trips is up, gets Cena in the electric chair, falls back and all three men hit the canvas.

Lita is in with a steel chair. She runs at Trips and he spinebusters her. What a fucking champ. Trips has the chair up, he decides not to hit anyone, exits the ring and gets… THE SLEDGEHAMMER. His head is just bloody, the poor bastard. Cena is getting up when Edge spears Trips out of nowhere. He has the sledgehammer now, goes to beat Cena and gets lifted for an FU. Trips low-blows Cena, Edge falls out of the ring and a Pedigree attempt turns until a roll-up by Cena for the one-two-three.

2016 comments:

Simple and effective mayhem. You were left guessing with each manouever. No one got their big move off, which seems like a cheap match, but then everyone goes over and everyone gets heat. If Cena had hit someone with the FU or Trips hit the Pedigree and they tapped out then Cena or Trips would look weak. In this match, it was really between powerhouses Cena and Trips. Edge was the plucky underdog and got off a bunch of powerful spears, did not get pinned and lost clean. Even Trips lost because Cena was quick-thinking as opposed to better. Great fucking match.

2006 comments:

I hope wrestlers just bleed forever.

Grade: A

Trips stops Cena’s celebrations with a sledgehammer attack and then goes to beat up the ref and Edge for good measure. Big cheers from the crowd, Trips hits the crotch chops and his music blares. The King still reigns and his big roid-belly is covered in red, red blood. Trips really looks fucked. I’m surprised he doesn’t fall off the damn ramp, the psycho. Some replays of the last seconds in the ring. JR: “Mah Gawd, what a triple threat match. Mah Gawd what a night!”

The Go Home Stats.

Man of the Matches: Déjà vu here, but Shawn Michaels. That man was on from start to finish. He took a hell of a bump off the top of that ladder and his match was held by him. Cena and Edge and Trips did a good job, but Shawn took the lion’s share of his matches.

Woman of the Matches: Not many to choose from here, with the only one women’s match. I’d have to give it to Trish Stratus, though. Wrestling with a dislocated shoulder? You’re hard as fuck, wee girl.

Montel Vontavious Porter Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence: Shawn Michaels.

Best Spot: Michaels tackling Vince off the stage.

Hatches: Technically all of the wrasslers in the PPV are hatches as they appear for the first time on this blog, but none are legit hatches as they have wrestled in the Fed before now. Still, I will name them thusly: Carlito, Chris Masters, Umaga, Ric Flair, Mickie James, Trish Stratus, Rob Van Dam, Shelton Benjamin, Big Show, Kane, Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, Shawn Michaels, Kenny, Johnny, Mitch, Nicky, Mikey (Spirit Squad) Triple H, Edge, John Cena. The managers were Armando Alejandro Estrada and Lita. We had Maria and Todd interviewing, Candice in the background and Jumping Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler on announcing duty along with the wonderful and shaken Lillian Garcia.

Matches: Rob Van Dam wins Shelton Benjamin’s WWE Intercontinental title and both Mickie James and John Cena retain.

Dispatches: None.

Closing Statements: It was not as bad as I remember it being, although it might be because I fucking loved the last match, which is what a bad PPV should have. PPVs should be like pizza, I suppose. Even if it’s shite, let it end with a bang.

On the Card will return on May 21 with the Smackdown PPV Judgment Day.

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Ruthless Aggression Era #1. Backlash 2006 (April 30, 2006) Part 2

Previously on On The Card: We had a disappointing start to Backlash 2006 with Carlito getting the win over Chris Masters, Umaga squashing Ric Flair and the Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James match being called short due to injury. Let’s hope the second half fares better…

Lillian introduces the Winner-Takes-All match for Shelton Benjamin’s Intercontinental Champiosnhip belt and Rob Van Dam’s Money in the Bank contract. Shelton comes out, wearing sunglasses indoors like a damn fool. Jerry makes some quip about being pushed around and JR says, “How could he? That’s a hernia waiting to happen.” Brilliant stuff from the iconic pair. RVD’s music hits and we get the biggest pop of the night for Mr. Money in the Bank.

Money in the Bank used to be a WrestleMania ladder match until it was given its own PPV in 2010. RVD won this Money in the Bank championship at WrestleMania 22. He has spraypainted it with a dragon on the side because RVD likes weed, presumably.

Shelton makes the ref take off his glasses for him, the douche. JR and Jerry talk about Dr. Hiney, the evil proctologist and Nurse Slobberknocker. For those of you who don’t remember that – keep it that way. JR replies with, “Was that good television or what?” which probably got him in heat with Vince.

Winner-Takes-All match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship and Money in the Bank Contract: Rob Van Dam (MITB) def. Shelton Benjamin (c) via pinfall in 18:42

ECW chant from the crowd as the bell rings.

Shelton Benjamin cracks RVD in the head and is smug about it. RVD is the clear face here. Arm twist is reversed by Shelton as we flips off the ring ropes. The two men go for a show of strength but give up half way through. The men run the ropes and jump about for a while. Van Dam does some body scissors to pin Benjamin. RVD’s eye is bust from the slap earlier. A lot of slow movement and then a flurry of activity. Benjamin rolls to the outside and a POOP DOGG sign is visible. Brilliant. Snoop Dogg, but, oh you get it.

The men are in the ring together again and Jerry says that the match is still in the “feeling out” stage. JR mentions that RVD is his own man and an individual, unlike, presumably, everyone in Kentucky. Did you hear that, Kentucky? JR just burned you bad. Another jumping spin kick and RVD has Shelton on his back. He rolls out and RVD suicide dives to the outside. Another ECW chant. Unnecessary. RVD is on the apron and Shelton sunset flips over the rope to powerbomb Van Dam to the outside. Pin and two-count.

Shelton beats on RVD’s back with a couple of manoeuvres. Cameramen on the other side of the ring as well. Gosh I miss those lads. Weren’t they great? Really made it seem like a sporting event. JR thanks all the countries in the world. JR mentions that Benjamin does not seem to be in “mistake mode”, which is a mode I wish I could turn off on myself. It would make washing up a lot easier. Benjamin does a mid-rope bronco buster on RVD and another chant rises as the pair enter chinlock city. JR thanks us for inviting him into his life, presumably as he sells us some of his BBQ sauce and tells us his problems. More chinlock city follows.

The RVD has a camel clutch applied to him and JR says that the Iron Sheik is nowhere in sight. Benjamin still focussing on RVD’s lower back and the match has slowed to a crawl, nay, a stop. Van Dam fights back for a while and escapes a T-Bone suplex, moving into Rolling Thunder which Benny-Boy jumps up to catch him and reverses into a Samoan drop. Two-count and RVD finds himself on the turnbuckle getting slaps from Benjamin. Attempt at a superplex and RVD throws him off. Banjamin executes a wonderful vertical leap from the canvas to the top rope to finish his superplex. Still only good for a two-count. Chinlock city again and Benjamin reminds Rob that he is tired. Irish whip but RVD holds onto the ropes as Shelton dropkicks air and lands on his arse. Lots of clotheslines and RVD hulks up, springboarding to knock Benjamin down and finally executes Rolling Thunder but only gets a two-count.

Van Dam bodyslams his opponent, does a few flips and finally goes for the five-star frog slash but Benjamin rolls out of the way, DDT’s Van Dam and another two-count because of a foot on the rope. Two more pin attempts, two more two-counts. Benjamin is frustrated and walks to get the Money in the Bank briefcase. Van Dam fights back and gets hit in the face for this. Shelton does for the lariat off the top turnbuckle and Van Dam reverses it into a pin. Another two-count and Van  Damn gives Shelton the hurricanrana. Benjamin has the briefcase again and RVD takes it off him, tosses it to him and kicks him in the face. Five Star Frog Splash and Van Dam wins the Intercontinental Championship and retains his Money in the Bank contract in 18:42.

2016 comments:

Good match with a lot of pauses. Both men were gassed and without that break in the action, it would have been a great match with some nice spots.

2006 comments:

Man, I hope Benjamin and Van Dam fight forever.

Grade: B

JR tells us that Benjamin ate Van Dam’s briefcase (with some delicious JR BBQ sauce). “My God, athleticism.” Rob Van Dam has a wee walk around the ring for a while. Replays of the finish of the match. JR is still wearing the full suit and some woman in the back has a baby. Another Tony Hawk intro to show Big Shirtless Kane and Horseshoe Moustache Big Show. The promo starts with a replay of recent match where the Spirit Squad defeated Kane and Big Show to become Tag Team Champs. Kane has a flashback and when the two men have a rematch, Kane goes ballistic and they lose the damn match. Kane is looking great at this point in time, he has such a great swagger, looks terrifying. I am a huge Kane mark. I have a soft spot for him unmatched by any wrestler of past or present. Even Mankind, a character and performer who I have the utmost respect for and would quickly name as my favourite wrestler if ever asked, does not hold a candle to Kane in my eyes. I cannot describe or explain my love for him. It might be his power, the image of him with the mask on, his backstory or the fact that Glenn Jacobs just comes across as a genuine, lovely gentleman. I do not know. All I know is that fuck Big Show right now because he is fighting Kane.

To Big Show’s credit, he comes across as the face here. Kane is enraged by the mere mention of May 19th, even turning against Lillian Garcia and Big Show himself. Slow piano music plays as Kane looks more like his brother, the Undertaker, as he grips Big Show’s throat and goes to chokeslam his old tag team partner. Creepy wavy filter of Kane going ballistic and dragging on Big Show’s eye. Backstage, Big Show looks really infuriated about this. It is revealed that the May 19th insanity is because Kane’s new movie, See No Evil is coming about around then. Big Show reveals that he was also in a movie (The Waterboy) and he didn’t act the same way. He seems very upset about this. Big Show states that even if Kane’s goldfish died or puppy ran away, his actions would be unacceptable.

By the ring, Lillian Garcia is announcing from the outside, afraid to get closer in case the Big Red Machine goes ballistic again. Pyro hits and the worst of Kane’s entrance theme hits, the one where the guitar only has a high E string and vocals. A fan in the crowd has a May 19th sign to annoy our man Kane. Big Show’s theme hits and out he comes, storming towards the ring. Big Show looks huge, probably a bit overweight as well, not looking nearly as sweet beside our boy Kane.

Big Show and Kane via no contest in 09:30

Kane hits Show and gets a gorilla press for his trouble. Big slap in the corner from those frying pan-sized hands of the beast. Kane goes for Big Show’s eye and gets told off by the ref. Big Show is taking control and follows the monster outside to chuck him in again. Some of the crowd chant May 19th at Kane and Jerry, the king of being a cunt, claims that it is unsportsmanlike to attack eyes despite the fact he eye-dragged for his entire career. Kane hits Show’s head off the ring post and the two giants hang around for a while. JR says Big Show must be “at least 520 pounds… lose a biscuit or two from that.” At the moment, Show is 450, which means he was 70 pounds heavier than he is now. By Christ.

Kane beats on Show for a while, runs the ropes and hits the big man with a jumping clothesline. JR and King debate the significance of May 19th without giving any definitive answer. JR calls Kane a “perplexing individual” and that his life is “somewhat unique”, which is an understatement. The crowd are dead during the match, to the point where the kids in the background are playing with the Titantron, putting the belt on their heads. Big Show picks up Kane and gives him a great overhead fallaway slam. He calls for the chokeclam and the crowd pop. The chokeslam is countered… or the arm is weakened. No replay to explain. Big leg drop from Show and a two-count.

JR says, “this has not been a pretty match. This has not been a catch-as-catch-can classic.” Another understatement from the man himself. A great high powerslam from Big Show and he looks at the crook of his finger in an attempt to get Kane back for scratching his eye. The lights go red and Kane’s own voice comes through the speakers to remind Kane that “May 19th… it’s happening again, Kane… you can’t stop it.” Big Show is worried as his former friend is beating his head. The crowd is silent. They don’t give a good God damn about this. Big Show leaves and gets a chair from ringside, probably to beat his friends over the head to fix him and by Christ, he does. What a smack. Big Show looks upset as the lights come back on. He leaves and gets big boos. Kane sits up, big old gap-toothed grin on him. The match isn’t called off, doesn’t officially end, no winner is given, it just… segues to Vinny Mac in his Jesus room, walking around.

2016 comments:

My favourite character and my favourite giant-based wrestler make a shitty match together. But not the worst match on the card, sadly.

2006 comments:

I liked it better when he had that mask on.

Grade: D

Vince is walking through his room, psyching himself up like a testosterone-fuelled orange. A cough and Candice appears, wearing a dress that leaves little to the imagination. She complains about the smell and Vince claims it is a new fish-based cleaning product. She says that she has a chest cold and that Vince, being God, can lay his healing hands upon her.

Straight-up shoot fact: Candice was on the cover and nude pictorial in the April 2006 issue of Playboy, which would have come out just before this PPV. It would lead to a “Playboy Pillow Fight” at WrestleMania 22 between her and Torrie Wilson. It was the second to last match on the card, after a Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton and Kurt Angle match and before a John Cena, Triple H match. Yeah. Think about that.

Vince debates this ethical quandary for a second and then, in a gentlemanly manner, places his hands on Candice’s head. She reminds him it is a chest cold and asks him to lower his hands. He places his hands on her shoulders and she asks for lower. He grips her waist, making gravelly nonsense noises and she asks for higher. She starts having convulsions and the pair of them roar in holy orgasmic bliss. Shane comes in to remind Vince that they have a match coming up. Candice flails away on the couch and rolls to the floor, barely missing the glass coffee table.

JR and Jerry do not seem to care for what they saw. Jerry claims Vince “has the power” like some sort of bastard He-Man and JR just asks, “what the hell was that?”

Next week we have the two main events: McMahons vs Shawn and God; Cena vs. HHH vs. Edge. Do not miss it.

On the Card will return on May 14th with the third and final part of Backlash 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.

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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.