Ruthless Aggression #7. Unforgiven (Sept 17, 2006) Part 3

Previously on On the Card: Bloody Hell in the Cell, great send-off for Trish (though could have been better).

Cut to backstage where we see Randy Orton give hell to Trish saying that no one cares about her retirement unless they are Canadian, in which case, he states, they don’t have much of a life. Killer burn, Legend Killer. He then calls Trish a bitch. What the fuck, Randy? This is the cheapest of the cheap heat.

That said, the man has a great theme tune and he comes out to it, with the golden shower firing off behind him. A wee bit of bacne on him as well. Come on, Randy, I know that it’s a while before the Wellness Policy comes into effect (something that he failed twice) but… come on, bro.

Then Carlito comes down. No craic from the man. The arena is full of smoke from Randy’s Golden Shower as the bell rings for what is set to be a forgettable matchup.

Randy Orton def. Carlito via pinfall in 8:41.

Jerry asks that Carlito get angry that Randy called Trish a bitch, but that he must not lose his focus. Randy and Carlito lock up aggressively and Randy roars, “Come on!” receiving a big gob of spit from Carlito. Randy rolls out, gets in, dodges a moonsault by Carlito and a quick two-count. Randy fights back, rubbing his face with disgust, wiping the spit away. Some, “oooohs!” from the crowd as Carlito and Randy trade slaps. Potential botched moonsault where Carlito did not get enough of a launch from Bret’s rope and so he repeats it on the other side and has a much better result. Very close two count.

Orton is bust! How did he get bust? When did this happen? JR considers that it could be an internal injury. Randy sells it like he is knocked out, but it is only a ruse as Randy dropkicks Carlito out of the ring, beats him, rolls him back in and has a few quick pin attempts. Jerry really sells Randy’s dropkick and it is a lovely dropkick. We see the potential attack that bust Randy: Carlito’s elbow cracks Orton as he lands his moonsault. Randy gets Carlito in a headlock but he escapes. Randy hits a great powerslam but only gets the two count. Headlock city for a while. JR calls Orton, “obviously a handsome young man,” and that sounds about right.

Carlito fights his way back up, reverses a backdrop. Carlito hits the springboard shoulder barge and follows it with a fantastic clothesline. JR calls it a slobberknocker. Carlito attempts a pin, fails, and gets frustrated. Orton hits the running backbreaker, rolls into postion and calls for the RKO, battering the mat and shouting. RKO is reversed into a Backcracker. Carlito attempts a neckbreaker, lots of reversals lead him to climb the turnbuckle and as he springboards off the top rope, launching himself towards Orton, Randy spins and hits him with the RKO. As JR shouts, “Good God Almighty!”, Randy gets the pin in 8:41.

2016 comments:

Forgettable, boring, by-the-numbers match. Neither competitor feels like they’re into this feud and it is generally a slow match so that people can pee before the main event. That RKO though.

2006 comments:

Randy Orton.

Grade: B

The crowd copy Randy’s Legend Killer pose and JR tells us that Randy stole the match out of mid-air. He then calls him a “jackass”. They both lie and call it a “great match”.

Cut to a promo for our main event, the Tables, Ladders and Chairs match between Edge and John Cena. The stipulation is that if Cena loses, he is drafted to SmackDown. We see Edge and Lita chuck the Spinner Belt into the Long Island Sound. Edge gets his own Rated-R Superstar belt and Cena, predictably, fights back, throwing Edge into the Sound himself. Edge bays for Cena’s removal from Raw. Cena shows them the contract where he might go to SmackDown and will sign it if he gets another chance at the championship. Edge agrees, under two stipulations: that he names the place and type of match. John agrees and Edge names Unforgiven in Toronto, Edge’s home town as the venue and Tables, Ladders and Chairs as the match type, a match Edge has never lost. The video really shows the blueness of Cena’s eyes and the two lads beat on each other for a while.

Back to the Air Canada arena and… what? The champion comes out first? There’s a thunderous applause for our heel champ Edge. Jerry states that he has never heard anyone cheer for Edge. JR says that Edge went to a Toronto Bluejays game and Jerry says that no one would go to one of those games unless they were really trying to suck up.

Bluejays slam!

Boos fill the arena, followed by “Cena Sucks!” chants from the crowd. As Cena’s music hits, the boos are cacophonous. He’s the face but he is getting super heat. JR explains the rules: no DQ, match continues until one of them gets to the top of the ladder and retrieves the championship. Lillian Garcia introduces the match. Cena gets heat and fingers from the crowd. Edge gets a hella pop. Jerry equates it to the Stanley Cup, which is a… hockey thing? I do not follow sports.

The bell rings and we’re off…

Tables, Ladders and Chairs match for the WWE Championship/Cena’s contract to SmackDown: John Cena def. Edge (w/ Lita) via pinfall in 26:28.

Cena and Edge circle each other for a while before locking up. Headlock and boos for Cena. John is launched into the ropes, returns with a shoulder barge. He does it once, twice, thrice and the two men run the ropes before Edge slaps him. Ground and pound for a while before Edge hits the swinging neckbreaker. He goes outside, gets a chair and is thwarted by Cena who gets him back into the ring and hits a lovely fisherman suplex on Edge. The crowd is very pro-Edge and it shows. Edge hits a great DDT on Cena and rolls out, getting the ladders off a table, setting up the chairs to face one another. Edge attempts a suplex, reversal, Cena attempts a suplex and hits a reverse DDT instead.

Edge gets the ladder in the ring and climbs up it with such speed that it is obvious he’s not going to win. Cena knocks the ladder over and Edge knocks him down. Edge sets a table up, cracks Cena’s face with the ladder and jumps off the barricade to dropkick the ladder into Cena. JR calls it a “Home Depot dropkick.” In the ring, Edge runs at Cena with the ladder as a battering ram. Cena dodges and hits Edge with a hip toss, throwing him onto a ladder. Cena sees the tables outside the ring and attempts an FU to the tables. Edge counters and lands on the Apron. Cena attempts to launch him off but Edge fights back. Edge rises to the turnbuckle but falls upon it, balls first. Cena slides the table into the ring as JR considers the plural of apparatus: “apparatuses… apparati?”

In the ring, Cena sets the table up in front of Edge and gets ready to superplex him off the top rope. Edge fights back and hits a botched sunset-flip-to-powerbomb by landing on his arse instead of his feet. Crowd audibly exhale disappointedly. Edge and Cena attempt to get the spot back and hit a powerslam through it. It’s okay. Jerry states that the botched spot was purposely done by Cena to avoid injury. Edge hits a second botch as he runs up a ladder leaned against the turnbuckle, catching his foot and just launching himself onto Cena, the ladder slipping away from under his feet.

Edge has a chair I do not think that any attempt with a foreign object in this match has worked… until now. Edge hits Cena with the chair. He then sets Cena’s head on another chair like a little pillow and is about to hit him with another chair when Cena escapes and hits a flip-to-cutter combo. Crowd has the audacity to claim that Cena can’t wrestle, which is a lie. Cena opens a ladder, guillotines Edge’s head between the legs and then applies the STFU to Edge. Edge taps, but it is for naught because this match is no DQ. Cena batters Edge with the ladder and sets up the Three Stooges ladder spot but instead FUs the fucking ladder onto Edge.

What the fuck John Cena.

Cena hits the… is it still called the Killswitch? The spin-out powerbomb. He hits that, anyways and goes for the Five-Knuckle Shuffle, sees the ladder, considers it and finds it wanting. He climbs and launches the Five Knuckle Shuffle off the ladder. Psychopath. He throws a table into the ring, content to beat on Edge rather than win the match. As he sets up the table, Edge grabs a chair with the help of a referee and cracks Cena in the head. He lays him on the table like a lover, returns to below the ring and pulls out another table, by Christ. Off-topic: have they ever run out of tables in a match? Wouldn’t it be interesting if they had an homage to the famous ECW chair spot where the crowd chuck chairs into the ring? Edge sets the table up on the table, over Cena’s body. Edge ascends the turnbuckle and Cena escapes his table cage without disturbing the tables, jumps up and punches Edge off the turnbuckle. JR suspects that Cena was playing Possum.

John brings out the Big Ladder and pops it into the ring. JR questions its height, as is tradition. Cena begins to laboriously ascend the ladder, taking his damn time as Edge climbs up the other ladder and spears Cena off. Good lad yourself. Cena coughs as if his midsection is damaged. He’s a great lad. Edge is up the ladder and Edge jumps. Cena catches him and attempts an FU but Edge grips to the ladder so it is transitioned into a thrown powerbomb into a ladder. Cena gets a chair, batters up and hits Edge with a weak, weak, weak, white, white guilt, milquetoast shot to the head. Disappoint, Cena.

John climbs the ladder at a snail’s pace and he could win… but wait… there are still some tables left! Who will break these t-

Oh, it’s Lita. Lita pops in, lifts the entire ladder (no mean feat) and Cena falls from it, out of the ring, onto a forgotten table. What a great fall. The man could be dead. He’s probably not, but still.

In the ring, Edge is taking his time getting up the ladder. Cena is climbing to his feet and Lita is there to hit Cena with the chair, but, in his haste to hit the mat, Cena accidentally tips Edge’s ladder, launching Edge to the outside where he barely hits a table. That could have gone very badly. JR calls Lita an “evil bitch.” Cena FU’s Lita, a usually heel move if not for the fact that Lita is the worst. John resets the tables and pops out to grab Edge, pauses, says, “What that fuck am I at?” to himself and sets the ladder up, climbs it for the win, gets to the top and Edge climbs up the other side. Two men battle atop a ladder, trading blows beside two stacked chairs and Cena hits Edge with the FU, just tossing him off like a ragdoll, grabs the belt and gets the win in 26:28. It is a bittersweet victory.

2016 comments:

Was it a good match? No. There was little psychology and storytelling despite the fact that Cena is one of the best in the business at both. Was it a good TLC match? Of course, there were some great spots, fantastic foreshadowing, sick bumps and minimal injuries and botching.

2006 comments:

Edge just lost his first TLC. I have no words.

Grade: A

Good main event, bros. Cena’s victory is one that comes after both men paid hefty prices. Cena doesn’t even celebrate, just runs to his dad and gives him a hug. I like John Cena. He walks out, is sprayed with a drink by some cunt in the front row. Come on to fuck, boys. You’re letting the side down. Some replays of the best spots, all involving drops through tables from ladders. The final spot involved Edge falling right on his arse, legdropping a table, which probably didn’t help his back problems, I tell you what.

The Go Home Stats.

Man of the Matches: So many decent matches, actually, with Bs across the board, other than the main event TLC match. It is because of this that I give the Man of the Matches as a joint effort to John Cena and Edge for obvious reasons.

Woman of the Matches: It is refreshing to see a decent women’s match as well and with that, in honour of her stellar run, I would be remiss if I did not offer the Woman of the Matches award to Trish Stratus.

Montel Vontavious Porter Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence: Trish Stratus.

Best Spot: Springboard flying jump to RKO combo.

Hatches: Jeff Hardy, The Highlanders.

Matches: Trish Stratus defeated Lita to claim her seventh and final WWE Women’s Championship. John Cena defeated Edge for his third WWE Championship. Johnny Nitro retains the WWE Intercontinental Championship and The Spirit Squad retain the World Tag Team Championship.

Dispatches: None.

Closing Statements: A pleasant Raw event. As the brand split was coming to an end shortly after this PPV (the final Raw PPV would be New Year’s Revolution in January 2007 and the final SmackDown PPV would be No Way Out in February 2007) it is clear that the lads and ladies are seeing PPVs as a time to show off… especially because there is no guarantee that they will be on one in six months.

On the Card will return on October 8th with the SmackDown PPV No Mercy 2006.

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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 #7. Unforgiven (Sept 17, 2006) Part 1

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

Ten years ago, on Sept 17, 2006, the PPV Unforgiven aired. It was a Raw PPV, and the first Raw PPV since Vengeance back in June. 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.

Unforgiven 2006

There was no tagline this time either, though it seems that taglines are a relic from the past. It is nice that WWE is moving forward rather than focussing on old, broken, useless things to achieve ratings, he said pointedly.

After ye olde wrasslin’ video, we see Vince’s big angry face as their reign of pranks continue: spray-painting a green DX on the side of an airplane and spray-painting a green DX on the side of a limo. This forces Vince to order the Big Show to join him and Shane in Hell in a Cell versus Hunter and Shawn at Vengeance. We see Edge being angry at John Cena and calling for a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match with the big man with the stipulation being that if Cena loses, he must go to Smackdown. There are five other matches on the card including Kane and Umaga, that match that was teased at the SummerSlam match between DX and the McMahons and Trish Stratus making her big PPV return against Lita (who was absent from the promo). And the thing is that the DX/McMahon match is mid-card. It’s not even co-main event!

Pyro hits we see the jam-packed Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. 16,105 people in attendance, almost twice that of last year’s Unforgiven which had 8,000 in attendance and is about equal to last month’s SummerSlam, which had 16,168. 307,000 PPV buys, a huge boost from the 252,000 buys last year. Our announcers are Jumpin’ Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler. Jerry mentions something about a home field advantage, which is funny because at first glance, unless someone is a secret Canuck (the greatest betrayal), the only Canadians on the card are Trish and Edge. JR introduces the Spanish announcers, the incomparable Hugo Savinovich and Carlos Cabrera. As usual, they are cut off because Johnny Nitro and Melina are more important than the Hispanic population.

 (Note: Before the PPV began, there was a dark match featuring Super Crazy and Shelton Benjamin. Upset that these two amazing players are off the main card. I will see if any of these matches are equivalent to even one minute of Super and Shelton.)

Generic music hits and down rocks the curtain twitcher Johnny Nitro with Melina. Melina does not seem to know who to manage these days, but if we get to see Johnny work then I’m okay with that. The red carpet is rolled out, the cameras are flashing and Gorilla Position is behind a huge big UNFORGIVEN sign so they have to awkwardly step around it. Johnny Nitro won the Intercontinental Championship at Vengeance in an absolutely fantastic match with Shelton Benjamin and Carlito. By Christ, it was great. JR is appalled by the “symbolism of the Intercontinental Belt dangling,” between the legs of Johnny as it gets kissed by Melina.

Hardy music hits and out comes mental Jeff, doing a weird dance and probably winged off his nut, as is Jeff’s wont these days. Brother loves his drugs. JR mentions Hardy’s unexplained absence where he was released from the Fed for: erratic behaviour, drug use, refusal to get help, looking shabby, lateness and no-showing events. He went to the indie circuit and then TNA before returning to the Fed… until he would fail drug tests and eventually leave for TNA in 2010, never to return to the Fed (so far). Jeff is squaring up to Johnny, one of his legit best friends. The crowd cheer for Hardy. It’s very nice.

WWE Intercontinental Championship match: Johnny Nitro (c) (w/ Melina) def. Jeff Hardy via pin in 17:36.

In the ring, Johnny and Jeff are locking up, pushing each other into the corner. A boo rises when Johnny tries to escape. Brilliant arm drag from Johnny. Both guys are great lads and big friends so this match is going to be great. Just as I say that, Johnny botches a backdrop reversal. JR calls Melina evil. Great arm drag from Jeff and Johnny pushes him into the corner. Irish whip to the other corner, Jeff jumps when he hits the turnbuckle. The smoke from the pyro has not cleared yet. Another arm drag takedown from Jeff. Jesus, man, arm drag city. Melina screams. Fuck off. Backslide from Jeff followed by double leg drop to Johnny’s navel and Johnny calls for a time out and shouts at the crowd.

Back in the ring, Johnny beats on Jeff in the corner and he tries to jump over Jeff, fails, gets a dropkick and a ten count for his trouble. Melina is holding her chest in pain as if she, herself, was hurt. Maybe Melina and Johnny have some sort of ET-style bond? Jeff goes up top and the crowd start to cheer. They know that a Swanton is coming… but so does Johnny and he rolls out. Jeff hits a baseball slide through the women’s rope and follows it up with a run across the barricades to a cross-body. He goes top rope and Nitro dropkicks Jeff’s legs! Brilliant. Then he gets Jeff into some sort of knee lock.

Johnny has one of Jeff’s leg and Hardy goes for the enziguri, misses and Johnny smashes his knee off the mat, goes for the pin and gets only a two. Johnny then beats on Jeff’s leg as Melina screams some more. An Irish whip fails because Jeff sells the leg so well and stumbles before hitting the rope. Good man, Jeff. Melina screams some more. Johnny jumps over the top rope, battering Jeff’s leg as he lands. Jeff is caught in some modified leglock, close to the ropes and doesn’t bother breaking it. Botched drop on Jeff’s knee and Nitro gets boos. The pace has really slowed down and the crowd tell Nitro that he sucks. JR agrees with them.

The pace is so very slow and the match is so very long that the audience can be forgiven for not getting into it. As Jeff fights back, the crowd rouses but Johnny knocks Jeff to the ground with a shoulder barge onto his knee. Johnny attempts a corkscrew moonsault and botches it, landing badly. However, to get the heat back, both men are up and uninjured. Quick pin and count of three. Both men are sandbagging their moves and Hardy hits a corkscrew moonsault of his own, landing it as best he can for a quick pin and two-count. This is what the crowd want: death defying risk-taking moves. Nitro goes for the top-rope hurricanrana, Jeff holds on and follows it up with a Swanton Bomb but doesn’t get the pin as Nitro’s foot is on the ropes.

Jeff goes for Twist of Fate but is countrered. Despite the fact that both men are friends, they are just screwing each other over with this match. Nitro works on Hardy’s knee and the crowd chant, “Let’s go Hardy! Let’s go Nitro!” Jeff gets to the rope, kicks Nitro away and he hits Melina on the apron by mistake. Nitro hits back, hitting the flying huricanrana that Jeff reverses into a powerbomb. Melina cracks Jeff in the face with her boot as the ref’s back is turned and Johnny Nitro gets the pin and win in 17:36.

2016 comments:

Unnecessarily long opening match for what it was. Neither of these men are great psychologists in ring and their style is fast, high-flying and high tension. It should have been near fall after near fall, almost a spotfest, but it was an attempt to make a main event match with a screwy ending. Very disappointed in both these men.

2006 comments:

The Hardys should never do singles matches and should never do matches that don’t involve ladders.

Grade: B-

Melina is selling her hurt leg as Nitro retains and Hardy loses. Replays of Nitro’s win and Hardy looks proper upset.

Cut to John Cena in The Marine with Robert Patrick and John Cena is blackface which is slightly racist. Not much to be said there.

Back in the ring, Teddy Long has his own seat in the skybox.

Bakcstage, Fat Matt Hardy congratulates Jeff for a good match. Lita turns up and rubs Jeff’s loss, her upcoming match against Trish and Edges upcoming match against Cena in both their faces.

Straight-up Shoot Fact: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a man in possession of a girlfriend in wrestling must be in want to make her a wife lest she plays around and vice versa. I refer you to Sunny who cheated on Chris Candito until his death, or Triple H cheating on Chyna with Stephanie. In the case of the Matt/Lita/Edge storyline, Lita was with Matt and cheating on him with Edge. The WWE responded by firing Matt as both Lita and Edge were popular. After going to ROH, Matt returned and turned the real-life drama into a storyline. Edge, reportedly, hated hurting Matt and didn’t enjoy the storyline. It’s hard to feel bad for him because of what he did but it takes two to tango… or three in this case.

Cut to the ring and we see the Hell in the Cell above the ring. Out comes Umaga, the talentless and slightly racist fuck along with Armando Alejandro Estrada. Umaga is undefeated. AAE has the mic and introduces himself and the crowd chant along with him. Umaga rabbles into Estrada’s face. Estrada makes fun of our man Kane by asking the crowd if they believe that he is a monster. He bigs up Umaga as being a monster. JR makes fun of him, saying, “That may have neem the world’s longest introduction.”

Kane’s pyro hits and the man himself walks down, weighing a few more pounds than he normally goes, but still looking great. I like Kane. He stares at Umaga and the bell rings.

Kane vs. Umaga ends in double count out in 7:03.

JR says that this might not be a “Brisco/Funk classic with arm drags and headlocks,” and it is a true statement. Kane and Umaga start off beating each other and Kane hits Umaga with a big boot, Umaga replies with a jumping heel kick, to which Kane sits up supernaturally like his brother. Kane is knocked out of the ring but is so tall he lands on his feet. He bullies Estrada for a while, stealing his jacket, and gets by a Russian leg sweep. Umaga is quite fast this match and is showing off his best. In the ring, Umaga beats on Kane for a while, getting him in the corner to batter on his face. Umaga then hits Kane with a running stinkface. Estrada is on the apron and calls for the Samoan Spike but Kane fights back, forced into the corner by Umaga, where he gets punched before finally getting Umaga in the corner and slapping the shit out of him.

Estrada has lost his hat.

Kane has difficulty knocking Kane down and gets a Samoan Drop for his trouble. Umaga threatens to hit the Samoan Spike off the top rope but Kane sits up in time, followed by a flying – yes, Kane goes to the top rope – clothesline. Kane grips Umaga’s throat, almost gets a chokeslam and the two scrap before Kane hits a belly-to-belly and throws Umaga out of the ring. The two fight into the crowd and the ref rings the bell to end the match by countout but until the match is officially ended, I’ll keep watching. The two men right over to the Titantron and smack each other backstage.

2016 comments:

A surprisingly good match from Umaga. He is still protected and you can see that either Kane would have won or Umaga would have had to get screwy, from the way the match was going. The countout was a crap way to end it. If the referee’s count had been important and the crowd would have counted along and maybe Kane and/or Umaga would have considered returning to the ring for the win but fought on because they hate each other, it would have been better, I like it for what it was, though.

2006 comments:

A good match… from Umaga? What next? A black president? Oh ho ho ho, what a silly concept.

Grade: B

Backstage, Vince is watching an episode of Raw where he pinned Triple H after whacking him over the head. He is very proud of himself. Vince asks Shane what the name of PPV is and he replies with “Unforgiven,” and Vince says, “It’s not WWE Forgiven, is it?” Vince slags off the entire country of Canada and then quotes his own theme song.

Cut to live in Toronto, outside the Air Canada Centre and a promo for the theme song for Unforgiven. Jerry says that they’re his favourite band and JR replies with, “I’m down with that, dog.” Classic JR. Vintage JR.

Cut to the Spirit Squad intro. They come out, jumping and hopping about to crazy sparklers. JR calls them, “Five boils on the tailbone of life,” which is harsh words since one of those boils is my boy Dolph Ziggler and I will have no mean words said about my boy D-Ziggles.

Straight-up Shoot Fact: Confusingly, as well as there being a SmackDown Championship (World Heavyweight Championship) and a Raw Championship (WWE Championship), there were also tag belts for SmackDown (WWE Tag Team Championship) and Raw (World Tag Team Championship. Why they didn’t just keep Raw with the World belts and SmackDown with the WWE belts is beyond me. In addition to that (and bear in mind that the next bit is confusing as shit) there was the Undisputed WWE Championship (before it became the WWE Championship) and the WWE Women’s Championship. Raw got the Intercontinental and European Championship and SmackDown got the Cruiserweight Championship and the Hardcore Championship before getting the United States Championship later. Then ECW got the ECW World Heavyweight Championship. Later, SmackDown made the WWE Diva’s Championship… Then the tag belts were unified as the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship before being renamed the WWE Tag Team Championship and then the Women’s Championship became unified with the Divas Championship and then, finally, the World Heavyweight Championship was unified with the WWE Championship to become the WWE World Heavyweight Championship (before becoming the WWE Championship in June of this year). Then there were a few renames and the introduction of the WWE Universal Championship. You got that?

Great sign in the crowd saying “Sissy Squad”. JR explains that Freebird Rules states that although all five members of the Spirit Squad are technically holders of the Tag Team Championship, only two may defend it at any given time.

Stereotypical Scottish music plays and down come The Highlanders, Robbie and Rory McAllister. As an Irish person living in Scotland, I have a great love for Irish and Scottish wrestlers (and am a huge fan of ICW, although I do not get to see them as much as I would like). They are billed from Oban, Scotland (which is a nice area) and weigh thirty-five stone, apparently, which is silly as Scotland uses the Metric system, so the men should have been weighed as 221kg. But sure.

The Highlanders are sold as the dumb foreigners. They rub their beards and point to the crowd and mutter incoherent words. I’m surprised they don’t have a fear of fire and carry women about over their shoulders. Rowdy Roddy Piper personally endorsed them as well, so you know they’re good as he doesn’t like anyone… other than Pat Patterson (allegedly).

World Tag Team Championship Match: The Spirit Squad (Kenny and Mikey) (c) w/ Mitch, Johnny, and Nicky def The Highlanders (Robbie and Rory McAllister) via pinfall in 8:59.

How much are we betting that this will be a screwy ending? Because only two of the Spirit Squad are wrasslin’ and the rest are outside, with our boy Dolph “Nicky” Ziggler on the apron already to give some support to Mikey in the ring. I’m not going to lie to you, I can’t tell these boys apart. Rory and Mikey (possibly) start off with Rory hitting a quick sunset flip but barely getting the two. They grapple and circle the ring for a while with Rory taking over quickly. There is a “foreigner has a hard head” spot where Robbie leans over the ropes and Rory tosses Mikey into the corner, hitting their heads and receiving no pop. Pin attempt and a two.

Rory twists Mikey’s arm and Robbie is in to give a number of headbutts to Mikey’s elbow. Rory hits a double axe handle nothing off the top rope and Robbie hits a jumping headbutt to Mikey’s already injured elbow but the SS member escapes and tags in Kenny. Double-team shoulder barge by the Highlanders and we have a repeat followed up by a revolving door of attacks in the corner with two slingshot nut shots.

Both Highlanders go to double team Kenny and he tags out so they beat on Mikey instead. Robbie is pushed into the corner where Kenny comes in and Robbie attempts a suicide dive through the ropes, is thwarted and… what did I say? He is beset upon by the rest of the Spirit Squad. Alas, this attack does not claim the win and the Spirit Squad beat on Robbie mercilessly. Great alley-oop moonsault by the Spirit Squad and Robbie gets hit by a great clothesline from the SS. Seeing as the Spirit Squad are male cheerleaders, it is nice and refreshing to see them using lots of athletic double-team moves on their opponents and using each other to propel their bodies into their enemies. Robbie is hit by a great double-team shoulder barge and Robbie is saved by Rory.

Robbie is going for the hot tag but gets naught from the Spirit Squad as they stop him at each turn. Kenny goes for a leg drop from the top rope and both teams go for the hot tag. Rory runs roughshod over the Spirit Suqad, sending them outside and hitting Kenny (I think) with a double slingshot inverter suplex which looks lovely. The Spirit Squad cheat an unknown member from the outside hits Rory from behind to get the pin in a weak 8:59.

2016 comments:

I know that I am biased, but I like the Highlanders and I don’t think that this match was particularly the best demonstration of their abilities as a tag team. Despite the Spirit Squad’s pain-in-the-ass demeanour, I like them too and I think they are brilliant as heels. This match was fun, had good psychology and was only let down by the pathetic, rushed ending.

2006 comments:

Scots? In America? What next? Women with the vote?

Grade: B

The World Tag Team champions win and celebrate and the foreigners leave angry. Nicky is really hamming it up and good job by him. JR says, “No matter where you’re watching this match, the math is the same,” in reference to the Spirit Squad’s five vs. the Highlanders’ two. JR is angry that the tag team champs are five male cheerleaders.

JR introduces the next match, one that he claims we have bought this PPV to see, one he describes as, “The most dangerous match in the history of the WWE, that is no exaggeration.” We see the old matchup card where all members have about five seconds of animation before freezing.

On the Card will return on September 24th with the second part of Unforgiven 2006.