Retro Express – Summerslam 2008

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Previously on the Retro Express, I talked about Summerslam 2007. I questioned whether this PPV was able to live up to the high standards that fans expect from the second biggest show of the year. Now it’s time to do it again. At Summerslam 2008, we got two world title matches as well as two major grudge matches from RAW and SmackDown! Batista faced John Cena for the first time ever while Undertaker and Edge settled their year-long feud in a Hell in a Cell battle. Did this show deliver?

 

 

WWE SummerSlam

Date: August 17th 2008

Brand: RAW, SmackDown! and ECW

City: Indianapolis, Indiana

Attendance: 15,900

 

Jeff Hardy vs MVP

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One of the biggest criticisms of WWE commentary of the last five years is that the announcers are portrayed as less intelligent than the audience they are supposed to explain things to. Jim Ross was not like these modern-day announcers. He did his research and was on the ball, especially during this pay-per-view. Small stats like Jeff Hardy’s Summerslam record up until his match with MVP can make it seem like there’s a lot more on the line, even if there isn’t. There was a lot of little things like JR thanking the UK fans for staying up to watch the event. Being aware of the struggles of international audiences and rewarding them with little facts that would make the commentary seem worthwhile.

MVP kicked it off with a bell-to-belly on Jeff into the turnbuckle. We got pretty big “MVP” chants actually. Jeff hit the neckbreaker to try and turn the match around. There was a good counter when MVP countered a wheel kick with a simple kick to the gut. No flashy counter. He kept it as simple as possible by simply kicking the man in the gut. I don’t know why I’m giving this a lot of credit but even the simplest of moves can add to a match.

MVP went for the boot but Jeff countered it into a sleeper drop. Jeff hit the Whisper In The Wind. Jeff went to the top rope but Shelton Benjamin ran out. Jeff jumped on Shelton, which gave MVP the chance to recover in the ring. Jeff went for the Swanton Bomb but MVP moved out off the way and hit the Drive-By for the win. I thought this was fine for an opener. It’s just funny looking back in hindsight, because Jeff would go on to be a major part of the world title scene on SmackDown! for the next year.

Match Rating: **1/4

 

The lovely looking Maria interviewed Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix backstage. They were set to challenge for the Intercontinental and Women’s titles in a tag team match. Early on in the year, Santino and Maria were an on-screen couple. They had broken up since then, with Santino commenting that Maria had let herself go. Maria made fun of Santino’s unibrow, to which Santino claimed that he’d grown it for Beth. Awwww.

 

We then got the first mention of this pay-per-view WWE poll, asking whether Edge and Vickie Guerrero would get a divorce. This was a very hard period for the couple’s marriage. Edge had cheated on Vickie and Vickie’s revenge was to put Edge in Hell in a Cell. Edge went nuts and messed with Vickie on SmackDown! This vote ended up with 78% of the crowd voting that they would.

 

Mickie James (c) and Kofi Kingston (c) vs Beth Phoenix and Santino Marella for the Women’s Championship and Intercontinental Championship

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Let me start off by saying that Mickie James looked absolutely lovely here, as did Beth for that matter. There was a sign in the crowd that said “Santino stole my unibrow,” which I giggled to. Unlike modern-day WWE, the men could actually wrestle the women during inter-gender tag team matches at this point. It wasn’t like nowadays, when a female being tagged in forced the opposing man to tag out.

Kofi got the hot tag and ran wild. Kofi Kingston faked a dive, which saw Santino diving into Beth’s arms. Santino had some great trash talk during this match! Mickie James then ran wild and hit the Mickie-DT on Santino. Beth hit her with the Glam Slam out of nowhere to win the match and win herself the Women’s title and win Santino the Intercontinental title.

This was an OK match but it was really the moment of Beth and Santino both becoming champions that stood out. Beth had effectively fought Santino’s own battles for him and won him the Intercontinental title. The celebrations were great as Beth piggy-backed Santino to the back! Just great post-match celebrations from the heels!

Match Rating: *3/4

 

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We got Shawn Michaels coming out with his wife Rebecca. The storyline going into this segment was that Chris Jericho really messed up Michaels’ eye during their match at The Great American Bash 2008. Shawn came out to address the fans and thanked them for their support. He told the fans that the doctor had recommended that he walked away. He admitted that it was finally time to heed the doctor’s advice and walk away from the WWE. Rebecca’s acting during this was pretty damn great as she was brought to tears in the ring. I actually looked it up and it turns out that Rebecca was actually one of the old WCW Nitro Girls, where she performed as Whisper. With her experience in wrestling, it’s kind of understandable about why Rebecca was so good… other than watching Shawn that is.

A lot of the fans were literally brought to tears. This was how well this was all performed because the fans were legitimately thinking that this was the end for Shawn. There were even “please don’t retire” signs brought to the arena. This was all interrupted by Chris Jericho…

Chris Jericho said that Shawn was leaving because of what Jericho did to him and wanted Shawn to admit it. Jericho refused to leave the ring before he did it. He said that he wanted the last moment of Michaels’ career being to admit that Jericho put him out for good. Michaels said that he would but gave Jericho some advice. Michaels told Jericho to sit his family down and tell them that “daddy would never ever be Shawn Michaels.” Shawn and Rebecca were about to leave when Jericho pulled Michaels’ arm. He went to punch Shawn and inadvertently punched Rebecca.

Michaels was shaken by what just happened. This was one of those moments that showed just how great Shawn was. Shawn was initially filled with rage as the crowd is encouraging him to attack Jericho. After about 30 seconds of pure rage, Michaels couldn’t bring himself to do anything and just went back to consoling his wife. These were all true emotions as a lot of times, when something awful happens to your loved ones, your first instincts is to unleash hell on the culprit. At the same time, you can’t help but do nothing as you are fearing for the safety of your family. This was all incredible stuff.

The fans were all into this, which helped. The funny thing is that it was later revealed that Jericho ACTUALLY punched Rebecca during the segment. He accidentally legitimately punched her and Jericho has talked about how he and Shawn were both mortified after it all happened. They both told a story on Jericho’s podcast about it as they were both backstage with Rebecca. Shawn was walking her back up the entrance ramp and asking if Rebecca was OK, and Rebecca responded by saying that at least her teeth were still in! It gets better as when the three of them were backstage as Rebecca is getting looked at, she turns to Chris and says: “Is that all you got?”

Rebecca being a total trooper about the whole thing made it so much better in hindsight! This segment was so great and it leads to a great match at Unforgiven (which will be the next PPV I review on the Retro Express) and their No Mercy match. These two just knew what to do from that point on. Michaels’ promos were all on point. Jericho’s promos were all on point. Their contract signing on RAW that followed was great. This was all amazing television and thank god that this was eventually elevated to being a title feud, as it was the best thing going in all of WWE at the time.

 

Mark Henry (c) w/Tony Atlas vs Matt Hardy for the ECW Championship

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So right after one of the best PPV talking segments of all time, we got THIS wrestling match – if you even want to call it that. This was technically a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP match as Mark Henry defended the title against Matt Hardy. What happened was that Matt Hardy hits the Twist of Fate on Mark Henry. As Matt is about to win, Tony Atlas pulls Matt out of the ring and throws him into the steel steps which causes a disqualification. This match lasted 26 seconds and ended with a disqualification.

This sort of stuff wasn’t rare with the ECW title, as Kane actually won the title in 8 seconds from Chavo Guerrero earlier on in that year. However, this benefited absolutely nobody. You hurt Mark Henry, who was apparently already beaten in 26 seconds. You hurt Matt Hardy, who was taken out by a semi-retired former wrestler in Tony Atlas. 26 seconds for supposedly the biggest program for ECW. Unbelievable.

So Jeff Hardy made the save and hit a Swanton Bomb on Tony. The Hardyz then double-teamed Mark Henry and hit him with the double suplex on the outside. This actually got a big reaction.

Match Rating: N/A (Didn’t last long enough)

 

CM Punk (c) vs JBL for the World Heavyweight Championship

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Punk kicked off the match with the control. He unloaded with suicide dives and cross bodies. The commentators mentioned that CM Punk had watched Batman five times. I don’t know if they meant the original Batman film from the 1990s or the Dark Knight film that came out shortly before this, but I approve whatever film he watched.

JBL hit a fallaway slam from the top rope in order to take control of the match. JBL was very wobbly on the ropes which could have ended badly. Punk then made the comeback. Punk hit the running knee and bulldog, which JBL went down too early for. Punk went for the GTS but JBL countered it with a simple but effective clothesline. CM Punk’s springboard attempt was countered into a powerslam. CM Punk kicked JBL in the head, which saw them both crash down to the mat and clashed heads. JBL somehow landed on top of Punk, which led to Punk’s head being busted open.

In the end, CM Punk picked up the victory with the GTS. There was a fair amount of miscommunication during this match, including the clash of the heads from earlier on. These two worked at vastly different paces. They tried hard but it was just not to be.

Match Rating: **1/4

 

The Great Khali was warming up backstage, ahead of his big WWE Championship showdown with Triple H.

 

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The last time I reviewed a World Championship match that involved the Great Khali, I was critical to put it nicely. At Summerslam 2007, Khali and Batista had a REALLY bad match. This match involving Khali and Triple H was much better than that match. I don’t want that to suggest that Batista is a bad worker or anything. In fact, his match with John Cena would very much dispute that. However, it’s at least good to know that he somewhat improved in the year between world title matches at Summerslam.

There was insightful commentary from Jim Ross and Tazz, as JR was talking about the size difference between Triple H and Khali. He said something along the lines of “7’3 and 6’3 – you do the math.” Tazz’s response to JR’s height analysis was “I don’t like math.” Quite the banter from Tazz and Jim Ross…

The story of the match was that Triple H kept trying to do the Pedigree on Khali, but Khali was simply too big. Khali hit the two-handed chokeslam right off the bat. Khali tried a vice grip on Triple H to “you can’t wrestle” chants. Khali did the big chop. Khali elbowed Triple H in the face and Triple H dropped to the floor Ric Flair style. I don’t want to keep comparing this match to the Batista match mentioned earlier, but Triple H’s selling was much better than Batista’s. HHH’s selling actually did make Khali come as effective with his attack. Khali elbowed him and Hunter went down immediately. Whenever Batista sold something, he would stumble and THEN fall down. Interesting to think about. 

We got more “you can’t wrestle” chants, with Khali responding by putting Triple H in a nerve hold. Triple H fought out of it and hit his signature facebuster, which sent Khali into the ropes. Khali was tangled in the ropes but was still able to backdrop Triple H to the floor. Khali went for the Vice Grip. After Hunter fought out of it, Khali just went back to the grip. Triple H eventually successfully hit the pedigree to a big pop and he got the pin to retain the title. 

Obviously, the two world title matches on card were never meant to mean much. When you’ve got Batista vs John Cena for the first time as well as a Hell in a Cell, there wasn’t gonna be much pressure on these two matches to perform. They were two matches that featured a clash of styles, with the big man fighting the little man. The World title match was better than the WWE title match but  HHH/Khali was not terrible or anything. At least you can say that the match had a story to it, with Triple H trying to hit the pedigree on this big man. After fighting and fighting, Triple H eventually hit it and got a big reaction for it. There were “you can’t wrestle” chants to Khali but this match did a fine build-up to the big finisher spot in the end. They put over the Pedigree and the crowd were into the finish so in that sense, a thumbs up.

Match Rating: *3/4

 

John Cena vs Batista

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Anyone that has ever been a WWE fan will know that WWE are prone to hyperbole and for good reason. The WWE, in theory, have to try and convince you that the next big match coming up is an important match. In a lot of cases, to achieve this goal, they have to go completely over-board with putting the two men involved over. Even if you know that it won’t be the greatest match of all time, they will always claim that these matches will be historical matches. They did a tremendous job in trying to convince the fans that this match between John Cena and Batista would be an all-time classic. I would not go as far as to say that it was one of the best matches of all time but, after it was over, it ended up feeling like a very special match.

There was a mixed reaction for John Cena as usual. Cole and Lawler tried very hard to put this match over. The video package tried to promote the idea that these two were going to explode in their match but yet they started the match by doing a lock-up. This rivalry wasn’t that intense but a pet peeve of mine is when two guys, that supposedly hate each other, begin their big match with a regular lock-up.

Batista tried a Batista Bomb but Cena got out of it, which was followed by a big clothesline. Batista then started to work on the leg on Cena, with chop blocks, shinbreakers and Figure Four Leg Locks. It’s very strange for the big man to focus on the leg of the little man. Cena went for the FU but ended up launching Dave over the top rope. Cena did his comeback while selling his leg. Cena tried the FU again but Batista got out of it and hit a big boot. Batista unloaded with a series of shoulder blocks, followed by a clothesline. Batista hit the spinebuster. Cena got out of a Batista Bomb attempt with a simple leg DDT, following it up with an STFU. Jerry Lawler, with a rare glimpse of insight, noticed that he locked on the STFU in the same part of the ring where he made Triple H tap out at WrestleMania 22.

Batista reversed a FU attempt into a rear-naked choke, somehow giving us a foreshadowing of Batista doing MMA just before he returned to WWE in 2014! Batista hit the spear but Cena kicked out. We got an awesome spot where Cena reversed an Oklahoma Slam into a FU for a near fall. They battled on the top rope, getting the boo/yeah treatment. In a memorable moment, Cena went for the leg drop but Batista countered this into a Batista Bomb. This was the move that left Cena with a herniated disc and sidelined him for a while. Cena certainly looked in a lot of pain after the match.

Amazingly, that wasn’t the finish as Cena kicked out. Batista eventually hit one more Batista Bomb and won. A very good match between these two men. On paper, Batista and Cena really shouldn’t have been expected to have a match this good. However, they really did give it their A game. The catch powerbomb spot was pretty dangerous and led to an injury, which would be my biggest criticism. However, Cena soon came back from this and thank god that the injury wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

I don’t think the injury should take anything away from the match though and these two performed really well. A BIG THUMBS UP FROM ME! Second best match on the show by far…

Match Rating: ***1/2

 

Undertaker vs Edge in a Hell in a Cell match

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I mentioned that Cena vs Batista was the second best match on the show – this was undisputed best thing on the show. Undertaker and Edge had the final match in their really good feud from 2007 to 2008. They recapped all of this in the video package beforehand.

Undertaker took control at the start. Edge’s stable La Familia was watching backstage. Undertaker got the steel steps and leaned them on the corner, which set him up to do a snake eyes drop to Edge onto the steel steps. Very innovative stuff here. Edge then dropkicked and speared Undertaker into these steel steps. Edge got out two tables and then hit Undertaker with the steel steps. Edge stacked the tables on top of each other and tried to suplex Undertaker into them. Undertaker tried a chokeslam but Edge saved himself with a jawbreaker. Edge used a chair and got out a third table, setting it up in the ring. The stacked tables were still outside of the ring. Edge grounded Undertaker with two chair shots to the face and one to the back, which allowed him time to go get a big ladder.

The next spot was a callback to a segment on SmackDown! a few weeks before this. In the segment, Mick Foley tried to motivate Edge so he could face Undertaker in the Cell. Edge said “I understand” and then kicked Mick Foley’s arse. He ended the beating by jumping off a ladder with a chair into Foley, who was on a table. In a callback to that moment, Edge did the same spot and yelled “I understand” before crashing onto the Undertaker.

Edge tried a conchairto, but Undertaker stopped him by grabbing his throat. The two battled outside of the ring, where Edge speared Undertaker through the cell wall. That was an awesome spot as Undertaker was bleeding from the arm. They fought outside of the cell.

Undertaker took apart the announce table when Edge intervened, hitting Undertaker with the television monitors. I’ve seen the next spot several times but I always loved this. There were three announce tables for this show, for the three separate RAW, SmackDown! and ECW brands. Edge stood on one announce table, ran across to the second announce table and hit Undertaker with a spear, which sent them crashing into the third table. I thought this was a really well executed spot.

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After some brawling, they went back into the cell which got some boos. I guess a lot of fans were expecting Edge and Undertaker to go to the top off the cell after they got out of it. The funny thing is that Edge actually mentioned on Chris Jericho’s podcast that he wanted to end this match with a Tombstone on the top of the cell! What a scary spot that would have been!

Edge hit Undertaker with the ladder in the ring. Edge then hit Undertaker with a camera, which was a callback to when Edge cost Undertaker the world title during a Hell in a Cell match at Survivor Series 2007. Edge tried a spear but ran into a chokeslam. Edge hit the Edgecution for a near fall.

Undertaker tried a Last Ride into the tables on the outside but Edge got out of it and hit a spear. This got a near fall as well. Edge tried the ten punches spot in the corner, which almost never ends well when you’re facing the Undertaker! Undertaker hit the Last Ride. Undertaker tried to do some serious damage with a tombstone onto the steel steps but Edge countered. Edge tried the Undertaker’s Old School but Undertaker countered this with a chokeslam into the tables on the outside.

Then we got a bit of poetic justice, as Undertaker started using all of Edge’s own moves against him. He hit Edge with an awesome looking spear. Undertaker then hit Edge with the camera, which was revenge from earlier. Undertaker then did a conchairto of his own. Edge’s back was all cut open as Undertaker hit the tombstone and won.

Then Undertaker ended the night, when he chokeslammed Edge through the ring and into HELL! We got a weird graphic from this, as Undertaker was setting up the chokeslam from the top of the ladder which supposedly sent Edge to hell.

An absolutely incredible Hell in a Cell match. I think this will probably go down as one of my favourites. These two left it all out there and there was some great booking for this feud-ending match. I loved the callbacks to old angles featuring these two men. Undertaker got his revenge by giving Edge a bit of his own medicine. A lot of nasty spots were taken as these two ended their feud in a big way. Bravo to both men. I loved this match.

Match Rating: ****1/2

 

Overall, I thought the show was fine. If it were not for the Hell in a Cell match and Batista/Cena, I don’t think this PPV would live long in the memories of a lot of fans. There was nothing really special about the undercard, other than the Shawn Michaels segment and Santino and Beth’s double celebration. Other than that, there was not much to it. However, the final two matches of the show really bumped up the show. At the end of the day, it was a forgettable show up until the final two matches which could go down as two of the most memorable matches in Summerslam history.

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Retro Express – Summerslam 2007

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Summerslam has been established as the WWE’s second biggest pay-per-view of the year, being the Summer equivalent of WrestleMania in the eyes of some. With it given the nickname of the “biggest party of the summer,” there’s clearly a lot of pressure on it to succeed. In the 2007 installment of the show, with likes of Undertaker, Shawn Michaels and Edge all out of action as well as the show’s main event riding on the first ever title match between Randy Orton and John Cena, could it live up to the high standards set by previous editions of Summerslam?

 

WWE Summerslam

Date: August 26th 2007

Brand: RAW and SmackDown!

City: East Rutherford, New Jersey

Attendance: 17,000

 

Finlay vs Kane

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The first match was a SmackDown! grudge match between Kane and Finlay. Apparently this feud started when Finlay accidentally spilled coffee on Kane. Yes, THAT’S what instigated this feud. COFFEE. This was the Kane/Chris Jericho feud from 2000 all over again, which saw Kane go crazy.

Kane’s ribs were taped up after an attack by Finlay a few weeks beforehand, which leads me into an important point I’d like to make. If you’re going into a fight against a tactical fighter like Finlay, why would you make your injuries clear by taping up whatever wounds you have as you wrestle? I know this happens all the time in wrestling but a wise tactic to employ would be to try and make your opponent think that your ribs aren’t hurt so he might not target it. It always seems to me that Kane just put a huge bullseye on his ribs.

This proved to be true as Finlay targeted Kane’s ribs throughout the match. The match showcased some decent ring psychology as a result of the rib injury as Finlay used innovative but punishing methods in order to knock the wind out of Kane. I can tell you from personal experience that a punch in the gut is more punishing that it seems.

Kane was dominating early on though while continuing to sell his injury. Finlay’s offense include dropping Kane rib-first on the turnbuckle and doing a bonzai drop to Kane’s gut. As all this was going on, JBL on commentary turned his attentions to Batista vs The Great Khali for a solid minute. Finlay then went for a single leg boston crab. I was about to write in my notes about how this seemed out of place in terms of the psychology, until Finlay actually applied pressure to the ribs by standing on them while locking on this hold. That was a nice little touch.

Kane got back to his feet and delivered an enziguri. He is a big man, so seeing him pull that off is still cool. Kane started a comeback which led to WWE Cruiserweight Champion Hornswoggle coming out to a huge pop. Kane chased Hornswoggle and threw him into the ring. In one of the biggest hope spots of the show, Kane grabbed Hornswoggle for a double chokeslam alongside Finlay but both of them were able to evade it. We were SO CLOSE to seeing Kane chokeslam Hornswoggle! What a spot that would have been!

The finish saw Finlay undoing the turnbuckle. As the referee tried to fix this, Finlay got out his shillelagh but Kane blocked the attack. Kane tried to use it but the referee stopped him. As the referee threw the first shillelagh away, Finlay got another one and whacked Kane in the gut with it. Kane kicked out, hit the chokeslam and won.

A fine opener. I liked this, although I could have done without the comedy in the end with Hornswoggle. This is supposed to be a feud between two mean tough guys. Having Hornswoggle contribute to the finish off the match just took away some of the intensity of it all. Despite that, the crowd were into it for the finish which was good. A thumbs up for the opener.

Match Rating: **1/4

 

We had a Summerslam party going on, with Vince McMahon and the general managers for RAW, SmackDown! and ECW, as well as Jonathan Coachman. RAW was ran by William Regal, SmackDown! was ran by Teddy Long and ECW was ran by Armando Estrada. As sad as it is, this was Armando’s only appearance on the entire show. Vince talked about his illegitimate son (yeah, they were running with this angle at the time) when Santino Marella came in. He claimed to be Vince’s son and then left. United States Champion MVP walked in and buried Teddy Long’s efforts as the general manager of SmackDown!, as MVP was not booked. MVP asked to make an open challenge to Matt Hardy, who he was feuding with at the time. Vince gave it the OK. After Regal hinted at himself being Vince’s son, Vince and Coach began talking about being with women from the UK. All of this was very awkward stuff and none of this “party” was really entertaining at all, with the exception of a later segment involving Cryme Tyme which we’ll get to…

 

Umaga (c) vs Mr Kennedy vs Carlito for the Intercontinental Championship

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This was during the very brief face run of Umaga, as he took on the two heels in Mr Kennedy and Carlito. There was a fan in the crowd who wore a wig and a bag over his head with a sign saying “Carlito’s embarrassed brother!” One of the best gimmicks among the crowd during this show!

I also want you all to take into account that a big main-event run was initially being planned for Kennedy as part of the “illegitimate child” storyline involving Vince McMahon. This was prior to his suspension which ended his push but Kennedy was reportedly scheduled to be taking the WWE Championship from John Cena and going on to face Triple H at WrestleMania. Remember all of this as I discussed how the match went.

Kennedy and Carlito tried to from an alliance with Umaga to take out the other guy but Umaga responded by destroying them both. They tried double-teaming him which failed. Umaga went for his hip attack on Carlito when Kennedy distracted him, which led to Carlito dropkicking Umaga. A strange attack from Kennedy was when he did a running stomp onto Umaga, when the Samoan was laid on the steel steps. I don’t know why Kennedy needed to run to do the stomp when he could have just done it up close to have the same effect.

Carlito tried a roll-up on Kennedy but the referee stopped the count when Carlito’s hands were on the rope for leverage. Now, this is one of the great inconsistencies of WWE in terms of the triple threat. The triple threat match is supposed to be no disqualification right? Well if that was the case, then surely the referee was in the wrong the prevent Carlito from grabbing the ropes? I’ve seen this happen time after time but there appears to be no official stance on whether the referees should be stopping these pinfalls. It’s similar to grabbing the ropes when locked in a submission. It’s no disqualification but the wrestlers go for the ropes anyway. I know it’s a habit-thing but it’s just interesting to think about.

Kennedy hit Jeff Jarrett’s “stroke” finisher on Carlito but Umaga pulled him to the floor. Umaga did the diving headbutt onto Carlito and went for the splash, but Carlito was moved out of the way by Kennedy. Kennedy hit Umaga with the television monitor from the announce table. Carlito and Kennedy ganged up on Umaga and attempted to do a double suplex. However, they themselves were double-teamed by Umaga. The referee started to count the three of them as they were all laid out IN A TRIPLE THREAT MATCH! Jim Ross even stated on commentary: “Referee counting – I don’t know why!” At least Jim Ross didn’t try to cover up how stupid the referee was being. He’s acknowledging the match stipulation inconsistencies head on!

Umaga ran wild until Kennedy sent him to the outside by pulling down the ropes as Umaga hit them. Kennedy hit the rolling fireman’s carry on Carlito and went for the cover but Umaga simply stopped him, hit him with the Samoan Spike and pinned KENNEDY to retain the title.

If you have a triple threat match involving a big monster like Umaga, someone else that you’re looking to push as a main-eventer like Kennedy and another dude like Carlito, why would you beat Kennedy clean in the middle. What was the point in Carlito being there, if he wasn’t supposed to be the one eating the pin? It was not like Kennedy came so close to winning and Umaga stole the victory. Umaga destroyed these two men, hit Kennedy with the Samoan Spike and pinned him. Kennedy and Carlito came off as complete losers following this destruction from Umaga.

It is possible that the reason Carlito didn’t get pinned was because he was expected to feud with Triple H for Unforgiven following this. By that logic, then this would imply that WWE believed at the time that Triple H’s next opponent was more important than protecting a man scheduled for a title run. That’s some logic.

The match itself was not that great. I was not a fan of this match and I felt it was very slow and sloppy. While it is fun watching Umaga destroying people, I felt that this match should have been a lot more competitive than it ended up being.

Match Rating: *3/4

 

Rey Mysterio vs Chavo Guerrero

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This was Mysterio’s comeback match after ten months out of action. He was written off television when Chavo defeated him in an great I Quit match on SmackDown! Rey was back in action and you could tell that this was a completely different Rey Mysterio after ten months out with an injury. As surprising as this may sound, Rey looked way bigger than usual as he came out. He was painted all in silver for his entrance, which all completely disappeared as soon as the match was over.

After a few minutes of feeling each other out, Rey fired up and targeted Chavo’s knee. This was a call-back to the way Chavo had took out Rey in the I Quit match. Chavo quickly returned the favour and went after Rey’s leg. The key to the match was that Rey kept trying to go for his 619 finisher, but his leg kept giving out. Chavo Guerrero did a tremendous job in getting heat and wrestling as the heel. That’s one of Chavo’s greatest attributes as a wrestler. When he gets the heat on a babyface, he does it effectively.

Chavo went for a single leg boston crab and JBL immediately yelled “BALL GAME!” So for the record, JBL was constantly yelling out “ball game” as early as 2007. Chavo got caught up in the tree of woe and Rey started his comeback. In a spot which I’ll always love, Rey went for a moonsault but Chavo caught him. Rey then countered this into a DDT. I’ve seen Rey (and probably Chavo for that matter) perform this spot before and it almost always looks great.

Rey went for a splash but missed. Chavo hit the Gory Bomb but Rey kicked out. This was actually a great near fall and JBL was doing this hardest to try and sell the Gory Bomb, claiming that nobody had ever kicked out of it. Chavo went for the Three Amigos and he was about the deliver the third suplex, when Rey got out of it. I thought that Chavo’s knee “gave out” which would have worked into the story of the match, as Rey worked on Chavo’s knee throughout. Rey went for a 619 and finally hit it on his third try and pinned Chavo. A good match with basic ring psychology and a great story told. Rey was coming back from an injury and had to work through the injury in order to finally put away Chavo. This was solid professional wrestling.

Match Rating: ***

 

Todd Grisham interviewed King Booker. King Booker was set to face the returning Triple H. He congratulated Rey Mysterio on his victory but he still buried Rey’s comeback story. Booker told Triple H to take in his grand entrance as it would be the high point of his night. He vowed to make Triple H bow before him.

 

Beth Phoenix vs Maria vs Mickie James vs Melina vs Michelle McCool vs Jillian Hall vs Torrie Wilson vs Victoria vs Kristal vs Layla vs Kelly Kelly vs Brooke in a inter-promotional divas battle royal for a future Women’s Championship match

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Boy, was this ever something. I know there’s been several bad women’s battle royals over the years but this an ungodly mess. The thing is that I did a review of the fulfill your fantasy battle royal at Taboo Tuesday 2005, and that was actually a decent battle royal. That was a women’s battle royal done right and it had a structure to it. In this inter-promotional battle royal, it was quite the opposite.

Candice Michelle was the women’s champion going into this and her theme was remixed version of her original “What Love Is” theme. This was proof that the original is usually always the best as this remix was a dubstep nightmare. The song featured random air horns, sirens and a woman chanting “raise your hands up” in a song put together by someone that clearly had never done dubstep before. I’ve never been a major fan of dubstep and remixes like this but I promise you that all the great DJs in the music industry would be screaming if they ever heard this attempt at a “tune.”

Candice was sat on this movie set chair in front of the announcers, completely blocking their view. The way that Candice was watching this match seemed so unnatural that it almost seemed that she was acting while watching this match when she could have just… watched the match as if she were a fan to project much more interest from your character.

So the women all came out, the bell and thus began some of the scrappiest brawling I’ve ever seen. Kelly Kelly and Kristal spent a good several minutes in the middle of the ring, brawling in the typical cat-fight style. At times, it was almost as if these girls just froze in that position. As everyone else was doing “spots,” they were just… there. I understand that these two women weren’t the greatest workers in the world, but I expected more of a showing from them considering that this was for a WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH.

Beth was dominant from the get go, eliminating Brooke (who was in fact Miss Tessmacher/Brooke while in TNA) by throwing her to the outside. Looked like it sucked for Brooke. Layla and Maria were both eliminated, with Maria being eliminated by Jillian Hall. After brawling with Kelly Kelly for what seemed like an eternity, Kristal eliminated Victoria. Pretty shocking was the treatment of Victoria in this match. It would have been great if it came down to Victoria and Beth Phoenix in the final two.

Kristal was accidentally eliminated by Michelle McCool, after McCool tried to attack Mickie James. Wasn’t exactly the smoothest of accidental elimination spots. Beth and Torrie Wilson eliminated Kelly Kelly. Mickie’s hurricanrana elimination of Jillian Hall was messed up as Jillian was hung up on the top rope, so Torrie had to intervene to eliminate Jillian. At least at this point in her career, Torrie had the experience and in-ring awareness in order to improvise when things went wrong.

Melina eliminated Mickie James. Michelle was supposed to clothesline Melina over the top rope in order to eliminate but that got botched as well, so Torrie had to intervene again. Beth then eliminated Torrie which led to the final two of Beth Phoenix and Michelle McCool. Michelle was very green at this point in her career but they were still trying to push this woman as the top diva on SmackDown! Unfortunately, she was not really up to scratch at this point. Some very sloppy stuff here in the final two. Beth dumped her out of the ring to win the battle royal.

This was very sloppy stuff, with a lot of these women being very inexperienced at this point in their career. Unfortunately, these women were given a lot of time and spots to do which really hurt their image. Michelle, in particular, was not able to work to a great level. At least there was a good winner in Beth and she really did standout from the crowd, so at least she seemed like a credible threat to the Women’s Championship.

Match Rating: 1/2*

 

MVP vs Matt Hardy in an open challenge

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To show you just how much WWE cared about the women’s match, MVP’s music hit 30 seconds after Beth won the whole thing! MVP, in fact, reminded us that no matter how many women you brought out, nobody paid to see them! MVP was an awesome promo-cutter at this time and he was great with his feud/future tag team with Matt Hardy. MVP talked about drinking drinks that were suitable for a MVP like himself. He challenged Matt to a beer-drinking contest. Matt Hardy came out and Michael Cole mentioned that Matt and MVP were scheduled to challenge for the tag team titles on SmackDown! a few days later. Spoiler alert… Matt and MVP won the belts that night.

As soon as MVP said “beer drinking contest,” the fans started to figure out where this was going and chanted “We Want Austin.” Matt mentioned that MVP brought in a substitute, Evander Holyfield, to replace him in a boxing match with Matt at Saturday Night’s Main Event. Matt said he was going to do the same thing and that his substitute would be a beer drinking champion. The Austin chants grew louder and louder which is funny, because The Sandman was still employed with WWE I believe so it could have very well been him and it would have made sense! Austin was the man that came out though to a HUGE reaction.

This segment was so great as what you expected to happen ACTUALLY happened and it was still great. Matt Hardy even had a look in his face as if to say, “this is going to be great.” Steve Austin got in the ring and prepared for this beer drinking content by warming up! He was running the ropes, doing press-ups and doing star jumps as part of his warm-up! Austin then got out the beers… and then simply hit MVP with a stunner! It was all great, with MVP selling the stunner really well! Austin drank some beer and the people were happy!

Segment Rating: ***

 

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They showed a quick advertisement for WrestleMania 24, which was one the best WrestleManias of all time in my opinion. It’s funny because the logo they used in this advert (the one above) was not the one they ended up going with for the actual show. Interesting how plans change, even with the logos!

 

Next up came a legendary segment, as Cryme Tyme interrupted the general manager party backstage. Shad called Vince McMahon “Vinny Mac,” which disgusted the chairman! The tag team talked about Vince’s illegitimate son and that it could be one of them because Vince and Cryme Tyme both love money. This led to Cryme Tyme singing and dancing to their catchphrase “money, money, yeah, yeah.” Jonathan Coachman and Teddy Long both joined in as Cryme Tyme, Coach and Teddy began a circle of dance around the disgusted Vince and William Regal. JTG then put his hat on William Regal, which was apparently the hat of dance. I say this because after a few seconds of being bewildered by this hat, Regal started dancing with the others! This was not just like a reluctant dance from Regal. He went ALL OUT with his dancing and had such joy on his face! He gave us the jazz hands, he gave us a goofy smile and he gave us the rhythm. He went nuts! After Regal went into his own solo dance, the room went silent. Regal turned around to be confronted by Ron Simmons. Ron said “DAMN” and Regal was left gloomy, having realised what he just did.

This was a FIVE STAR wrestling comedy segment if I ever saw one. This is right up there with the segment on RAW, where Ric Flair played musical chairs. The whole ordeal backstage with all the general managers having a party was hard to sit through but when Regal went through with his dance, it was almost like all went right with the world. Regal has an incredible sense of comedy, coming from his own love of old British comedy. They should have just put the WWE title on Regal for that segment alone. What a great man William Regal is!

 

John Morrison (c) vs CM Punk for the ECW Championship

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This was the only ECW-exclusive match on the night. In a way I felt kind of bad for these two, as this crowd was just dead for this match. With the crowd coming off Steve Austin’s appearance and THAT segment with William Regal, and going into Triple H’s return as well as the two other world title matches, this was really was put in the death spot for the show.

Funnily enough, we got a “15 minutes of lame” sign from the crowd! For those of you that don’t know, John Morrison was running a weekly segment on ECW called the “15 minutes of fame,” where his opponent had to beat him in 15 minutes. In a way, this was like John Cena’s US Championship Open Challenge and gave a lot of ECW talent time. A very productive means to get talent over.

Despite the crowd not really being into the match, CM Punk got a big reaction as he was coming down. Scott Armstrong was the referee for this one, although I don’t remember seeing any of his signature dramatic two counts in this match! CM Punk pulled off a springboard dropkick, which was very cool. John Morrison did a very impactful neckbreaker on the ring apron. John took over with a series of uppercuts. There was a decent spot where Punk did a sunset flip on Morrison, with Morrison catapulting Punk into the turnbuckle. Punk was able to land on the top rope though and deliver a crossbody to Morrison. Good stuff!

Punk delivered a sweet looking enziguri. Morrison followed that with a slick reversal of the Pepsi Plunge, which he turned into a backbreaker. Morrison went for the Moonlight Drive, with Punk countering it to finally hit the Pepsi Plunge. Punk did a moonsault. Punk clotheslined Morrison off the ropes, which I’m always worried will wind up going badly wrong for the one taking the bump. Punk missed a hurricanrana and Morrison rolled him up, barely putting his feet on the ropes for the pin. This was a very lame ending to a decent match but there was a little bit of sloppiness to it from both men. I do remember the ECW title match where Punk won the belt being good though, so at least the chemistry between these two improved over time.

Match Rating: **3/4

 

They showed us a side-by-side shot of The Great Khali and Batista warming up for their World Heavyweight Championship match later on. It was funny as this was NOT the next match on the card!

 

Triple H vs King Booker w/Queen Sharmell

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Being the child that I am, I did snigger at a sign in the crowd which had “King Booger” on it! Triple H had an astonishingly grand entrance for his return match against King Booker, with a video being played which claimed that Triple H had been re-built. Triple H, has in fact, lived out his dream of being the Terminator several times in the WWE over the years. For all the Terminator references WWE has done over the years, you’d think they would have done Triple H vs Arnold “The Terminator” Schwarzenegger by now!

Triple H came out to the “King of Kings” intro before going into his normal theme song. Triple H fired up and then beat him up on the outside. Booker took over when Sharmell distracted Triple H. Hunter was distracted, which allowed Booker to do a dropkick to his knee. This played into his quadricep injury which forced Triple H out of action. This was then followed by Triple H delivering a chop block to Booker! Apparently, Triple H is immune to normal ring psychology!

Triple H locked on the Figure Four Leg Lock but Sharmell raked Triple H’s eyes to get Booker out of it. Triple H did the comeback and tried a pedigree, but Booker got out of it. There was a cool spot where Booker tried the scissors kicks which was dodged by Hunter and eventually led to the Book End for a near fall. Triple H quickly followed that up with the pedigree after ducking Booker’s side kick, to pick up the win. An alright match which served nothing more than to get Triple H his big comeback victory as King Booker would soon leave the company after this match. Triple H got a standing ovation from the announcers.

Match Rating: **

 

The Great Khali (c) w/Ranjin Singh vs Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship

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When you consider how much of a draw and how much a success a Brock Lesnar match can be, it’s a constant reminder that there’s no real certain way to book a great match. Of course there are elements featured in a number of matches that make them good matches but you don’t have to be a match that flows in a similar pattern to those matches to be a success. If Brock Lesnar proves anything, it’s that him simply hitting German suplexes on wrestlers throughout a match can still give you one of the most memorable matches of the year. He had two of the best matches of 2012 and 2015 with John Cena and Roman Reigns respectively, and they were both essential squash matches up until the finish.

This Batista/The Great Khali match was also essentially a squash match up until the finish. The difference is that Brock Lesnar beating up or “getting heat” on a wrestler for several minutes can still  be entertaining and draw you into the match as there’s an ever-constant fear that Brock could hurt his opponent. The Great Khali’s offense was NOTHING like Brock Lesnar’s. This attack by The Great Khali did not look painful. It did not look exciting. It did not look coordinated. It was not fun to sit through and it just kept going and going.

Khali beat up Batista and applied the nerve hold. Batista would try to attack Khali but get dropped, which led to Khali going back to the nerve hold. This just kept going on and it was like this as soon as the match started. Batista’s selling was also not too great at this point. I will mention this on future Retro Express reviews but throughout history, Batista working as a babyface and having to sell for a long period of time was very hard to watch. God bless Batista but his selling included getting hit, putting his hands up in the air and doing a Flair flop to the mat. Khali’s attack combined with big Dave’s selling was just a recipe for disaster… and it wasn’t like Khali’s selling was that good either.

Batista got out of Khali’s vice grip and hit the spinebuster out of nowhere. Khali then powered out of the Batista Bomb attempt. Batista tried something off the top rope but Khali caught him and hit a double-handed chokeslam for a near fall. The finish saw Ranjin Singh grab a chair for Khali to use. Khali picked up the chair… and used it. This caused a disqualification for a World Heavyweight Championship match AT SUMMERSLAM. It was not like they built up the disqualification either. Khali picked up the chair and used it successfully in his first attempt to get himself disqualified. A match completely void of entertainment which received a horrible finish for it’s trouble.

Batista took over in the post-match by hitting Khali with a spear. He just kept beating him and beating him with a chair to, at least, try to send the SmackDown! fans home happy.

When I reviewed the Teddy Long vs Eric Bischoff match from Survivor Series 2005, I was so appalled at the thought of that match having made it on a pay-per-view. I initially gave that match a rating of minus one and a half stars but after watching this Khali/Batista match, I was so wrong about that match. At least that match was booked with the knowledge that Teddy and Eric weren’t active professional wrestlers. I am actually going to change that rating for Long/Bischoff to a 1/4*, because at least Teddy was doing his best to entertain the audience by dancing. This Khali/Batista did NOTHING to entertain me and this was supposed to be a World Heavyweight Championship match featuring two of the best wrestlers that SmackDown! has to offer.

Match Rating: -*

 

Vince McMahon, Jonathan Coachman and William Regal were backstage for what was the final backstage segment from this Summerslam party. Apparently the storyline going in was that Vince expected to meet the woman that had given birth to his illegitimate son. As it turned out, the women that wanted to see him was Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young. Coach revealed that Mae Young wanted to have baby with McMahon and Mae leaped onto Vince, who was sitting on a sofa. This got no reaction from the crowd, as William Regal tried to wrestle Mae Young away – and this was quite the struggle for poor Regal.

Coach got Vince up and Vince complained about the taste that was left in his mouth. After a few seconds of licking the inside of his own mouth, Vince admitted that he kind of liked the taste after all. Coach said that this was disgusting to which Vince replied: “Old chicken makes good soup.”

Old chicken makes good soup huh?

 

John Cena (c) vs Randy Orton for the WWE Championship 

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I was not going into this match with a lot of hope. This was the first ever pay-per-view match between John Cena and Randy Orton and it would be the first of many, with their last pay-per-view encounter being in October 2014. Having been subjected to many Cena/Orton matches over the years, there was a severe lack of desire from me to see them battle again. That’s probably not fair to do, as I really should be going into this match as I was when I first saw it in 2007. This was the first time that these two wrestled in a big match situation and I should have treated this as if I was a watching it for the very first time. However, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to those matches.

With that said, this was actually a pretty good match and actually one of the better Cena/Orton matches I’ve seen.

Randy Orton was coming out with his “Burn in my light” theme song, which is in my top ten list of favourite theme songs of all time. I absolutely lovely this song. Jim Ross mentioned that John Cena was WWE Champion for 24 of the last 27 months leading into this match. That is an insane amount of time for one to be champion for, and it wasn’t until Jim Ross said that did I realise just HOW MUCH Cena was in the main-event title scene from the five years since he first won the WWE Championship in 2005. That is WAY TOO LONG – even if it is John Cena.

John Cena won the starting lock-up and took Orton over with a headlock, to THUNDEROUS boos. I would say that this crowd was 70% for Orton and 30% for Cena. Cena tried a STFU early on, but Randy got out of it. Momentum shifted back and forth until  Cena missed his signature shoulder block, which led to Orton locking on one of his vintage Randy Orton sleeper holds.

There were moves in the middle but for at least ten minutes, the match was just dominated by Orton leaned on Cena and applying this sleeper hold. Orton did some stomps and locked on the sleeper hold. Orton did a powerslam and went right back to the sleeper hold. Orton did a dropkick and went right back to the sleeper hold. It just kept GOING AND GOING until Cena eventually powered out. If you’re a fan of sleeper holds, than this was the match for you.

Cena did the comeback, hit the five knuckle shuffle but Orton got out of the FU attempt by elbowing Cena twice in the face and then dropping him with the backbreaker. Orton delivered the hangman DDT for a near fall. Orton tried an RKO but Cena got out of it, with this leading to Orton Irish-whipping Cena into the steel steps. A superplex struggle led to Cena delivering a leg drop to the neck of Orton. Cena went for the FU but Orton got out of it. Orton went for the punt kick but Cena countered it into the STFU. Orton got to the ropes and then delivered a RKO OUT OF NOWHERE! This got the nearest of all near falls and at the time, I remember buying this as the finish.

Cena then hit the FU and pinned Orton for the victory. A good match when all set and done. The constant sleeper holds by Orton did drain me but at least it got Cena the big pop for his comeback. They also did their very best to preserve the finishers of both men. Cena did kick out of the RKO but that was literally the only finisher, other than the STFU, that was executed. A change from future Orton/Cena matches, where they would do nothing BUT hit each other with finishers. It was a very slow burn but the finish made it seem that it all paid off. I was happy with this match when all said and done.

Match Rating: ***

 

This was not a strong Summerslam. For what it was supposed to be, it did not live up to the standards set by past and future Summerslams. There was nothing exceptional about this pay-per-view that made it seem like this event was anything other than all the other pay-per-views you saw throughout 2007. Maybe if Randy Orton won the belt in the main event, I might have thought differently. At least if you have that big moment that everyone remembers this show for, it’d at least go down as a memorable event. Steve Austin’s return, while great, didn’t seem that memorable to me as Austin did that with everyone back in the day. Triple H’s return and his match didn’t seem that memorable to me. The World Title match was something that I’ll go out of my way to forget. The WWE Title match will go down as the first of many Orton/Cena matches and as one of the better Orton/Cena matches for that matter, which isn’t saying much. There were two good, solid matches during this show, with the other matches ranging from decent to god awful. For a Summerslam, I expected more….

 

 

… at least we got William Regal dancing.

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Retro Express – Survivor Series 2006

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Survivor Series 2006 was the 20th anniversary of the annual Thanksgiving event. This was the first of its kind that featured the RAW, SmackDown! and ECW brands. The emphasis was on the Survivor Series elimination matches and WWE had to put on a show for a Philly crowd that was difficult to please. Could they give us a Survivor Series to remember?

 

WWE Survivor Series

Date: November 26th 2005

Brand: RAW and SmackDown!

City: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Attendance: 15,400

Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter, Dusty Rhodes and Ron Simmons w/Arn Anderson vs Kenny, Johnny, Mitch, Nicky and Mikey in a Survivor Series elimination match
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Flair and Simmons both got big pops when they were coming out. Arn Anderson was in the legends’ corner wearing one of his vintage golf shirts. Ron “cleared house” until he was tripped by one of the members of the Spirit Squad. This lead to a very strange “spot” which gives us the first two eliminations. Ron Simmons followed Mitch around the ring which led to Ron and Arn trapping him. Arn threw Mitch into the ringpost which led me to believe that Ron would be disqualified for what Arn did to Mitch. Instead, Ron was actually eliminated because he was COUNTED OUT alongside Mitch. I thought this was an absurd ruling because surely Arn did the illegal move before the referee finished his count. Also, I don’t even remember the referee finishing his count while the Ron/Mitch/Arn spot was going on. I may have to go back and watch the match again but I SWEAR that I never heard the referee finish his count. I guess he could have whispered it to himself!
Jim Ross was trying to explain all of this on commentary but I think even he was baffled by all of this. To add to the confusion, Arn Anderson was thrown out as the Legends’ manager. Arn sold this ruling tremendously by the way! This led to the fans chanting “bullshit” as this took up a good two minutes of the match to sort all of this out. Not a great start.
Every member of the Spirit Squad was wearing their overalls except, if I recall, Nicky. As mentioned in past editions of the Retro Express, Nicky ended up becoming Dolph Ziggler. In this match though, Nicky was in full Ziggler-mode with his selling! After a spot with Sgt Slaughter, where the veteran fooled the youngster with a handshake, Slaughter began body-slamming Nicky over and over. Slaughter locked on the Cobra Clutch but Johnny ended up dropping him from behind with a kick. This lead to Nicky PINNING Sgt Slaughter.
Dusty Rhodes then pinned Nicky with an elbow drop. When watching this now in 2016, it seems a bit funny to see someone lose to a simple elbow drop. I know The Rock’s finisher is the People’s Elbow but surely one standard elbow drop shouldn’t beat people right? However, Dusty beat people all the time with this in his prime! It’s just also funny that Nicky lost to an elbow drop when as Dolph Ziggler, he hits wrestlers with ten repeated elbows as signature moves and can only get a two count!
Kenny pinned Dusty when he ducked the Bionic Elbow and rolled him up for the pin. This left Ric Flair alone to face Johnny, Mikey and Kenny. Flair pinned Mikey with an Atomic Drop and a pin which saw him with his feet on the ropes. Ric then pinned Kenny with the Small Package and made Johnny submit with the Figure Four Leg Lock and won the match for his team. The Spirit Squad beat up Ric Flair after the match. My biggest question was WHERE WERE THE LEGENDS when this happened? Not a fan of this match. I guess when you combine bad booking with five old wrestlers that could barely move and the Spirit Squad, you shouldn’t get your expectations up.
Match Rating: *1/2
Chris Benoit (c) vs Chavo Guerrero w/Vickie Guerrero for the United States Championship
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This was a fine match. Benoit worked very hard and Chavo looked really good as the heel getting the heat on him. Vickie Guerrero kept getting involved. Benoit made the comeback with the triple German suplexes. Chavo got some serious height on these suplexes. JBL began giving us a analogy on cheating in matches which he was able to somehow relate to picking up women in a bar. Chris Benoit kicked out of Chavo’s Frog Splash to a surprisingly big reaction. Vickie got knocked off the apron and the key to the finish was that Benoit was showing care for Vickie on the outside. While he was doing this, Chavo rolled him up. Benoit countered this into a Crossface and made Chavo tap out.
Match Rating: **3/4
I have to really give JBL some credit for being so great in 2006 as a commentator. You wouldn’t think it by hearing him in 2016, but he was fantastic during this pay-per-view. He would go on some of the greatest rants while on commentary and was allowed to just go completely nuts. It was tremendous to hear him when he could just unload like this.
Edge and Lita were backstage being interview by Todd Grisham. Lita was wrestling her last match that night, defending her Women’s title against Mickie James. Lita told Todd that she wasn’t going to change her mind about retiring. She said she was going to beat Mickie James and gave some spiel about wanting respect from the fans. Edge cut a promo about Team Rated RKO’s match against Team DX. He talked about beating up the Hardy Boyz for years and called CM Punk an ECW reject. As this was going on, Cryme Tyme went into Lita’s locker room. When Edge was done, they came out with a box. JTG told Todd that he never saw anything and left.
Lita (c) vs Mickie James for the Women’s Championship
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Having watched this match back again, I think it’s safe to say that this will be one of my most memorable women’s matches of all time. The sad thing is, I will not be remembering this match in a positive way. The match itself was pretty decent and there were some good aspects to this match which really made it stand out. However, I will never forget just how badly Lita was treated by the WWE and the WWE fans on this night.
Now a lot of people will say that this was fitting considering the characters of everyone involved. I understand all of that. However, this was still Lita’s last night with the company. WWE’s idea was to have the fans get as much abuse in as they can on Lita before she left and she was a trooper for putting up with this. Jerry Lawler actually said on commentary that he was going “to get in all that he could” about Lita and he was making jokes throughout the match about her. My biggest issue is that not every fan in the company remembered Lita for the gimmick she had during the last few years of her career. There were fans who were generally going to miss Lita and there was even a big “Thank You Lita” sign which I saw. I saw one at least but there were probally more.
As it turned out though, the WWE had been CONFISCATING signs which gave Lita praise that night. The idea that WWE wanted Lita to be remembered in such a fashion and was willing to get rid of any signs which gave her some credit for the many years of blood, sweat and tears that she gave for them is one of the most disgraceful things WWE has ever done. Jerry Lawler made a point later on in the show about how the fans should chant and cheer for whoever they wanted. In reality, it honestly looked liked they were punishing the fans for thinking in ways that they didn’t want them to think. I think that is just wrong, especially considering that you saddled Lita with this gimmick for well over a year.
Anyway, there were some awful chants from the crowd. Lita and Mickie actually had a decent match, which I don’t think many fans would remember. They had a decent little women’s match. There was an interesting spot when Lita locked on the sleeper hold and jumped on Mickie’s back for a while. Lita’s pretty tall compared to Mickie, so this looked unique. Mickie pulled off a nice barrage of kicks including a sweet-looking roundhouse. Mickie went for an hurricanrana but Lita dropped her on her face. Mickie kicked out of Lita’s moonsault to a big reaction. Lita went for an Impaler DDT but Mickie countered, which saw Lita land pretty hard. Considering her previously neck problems, that was worrying. Mickie hit the Mickie-DT to win the title. Good match considering everything that happened.
Match Rating: **1/4
Lita told Lilian Garcia to give it up for the “greatest women’s champion of all time.” Nobody did which upset Lita. Lita called the fans disrespectful. This lead to Cryme Tyme coming out. They were selling all of Lita’s stuff. They were selling things like dildos, bras and vaginal yeast infection medication. I’m not making this up. They were actually selling all of this on WWE pay-per-views ten years ago. Then we got a pretty disgusting moment when JBL wanted to buy a pair of Lita’s panties RIGHT AFTER Cryme Tyme just sold yeast infection medication. JBL paid $100 but didn’t get any change, with Cryme Tyme throwing her panties into the crowd. JBL was angry and wanted his money back.
That was the end of that. It’s so astonishing when looking back on this in hindsight. Obviously all the stuff with Lita and Cryme Tyme was all horrible and disgusting. The funny thing is that if you showed these fans in 2006 a segment from the “divas revolution” ten years later, they’d be begging for Lita to not retire.  Thankfully for Lita, she would be given a much better send off years later. She did wrestle again at RAW 1000 and she was even inducted into the Hall of Fame. Thank you Lita indeed.
They showed a clip of Michael Cole interviewing Batista backstage. Batista was scheduled to wrestle King Booker in a title match. Cole asked Batista about having to relinquish his World Heavyweight Championship at the start of the year but Batista didn’t reply. Cole asked a bunch of other questions and got no response. They showed a replay of Booker hitting Batista with the “Royal Scepter.” Batista eventually broke his silence, simply saying “I am leaving tonight World Heavyweight Champion.” A few minutes with questions by Cole and a clip from SmackDown! lead to seven words from Batista to build up the main-event of the show. Lovely.
Team DX (Triple H, Shawn Michaels, CM Punk, Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy) vs Team Rated RKO (Edge, Randy Orton, Johnny Nitro, Mike Knox and Gregory Helms) in a Survivor Series elimination match
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CM Punk got a really big reaction when he came out, as did DX. I made the point earlier about all the Lita signs that were taken down. Keeping that in mind, there were some signs which I couldn’t believe were allowed to stay up. The first I noticed was not a bad one or anything. However, it simply read “Nitro = Ratings.” Apparently, there were some big Johnny Nitro fans in the crowd or some old WCW Nitro fans! Whether he was a ratings grabber will be left up for debate.
Team DX were having fun with the crowd before the match started. The Philly crowd was great for this match which really did help. There were some BIG chants for CM Punk. CM Punk even asked the crowd if they were ready. DX did their spiel and told everybody to suck it. Then the heels came out. I couldn’t stop laughing during Gregory Helms’ entrance and it was for his entrance theme. This version of his theme saw Gregory Helms say his name first in such a great way, putting a lot of emphasis on the “Helms” part of his name! I don’t know why I found this to be so funny!
Rated RKO came out with a really cool sounding mash-up theme, as Orton did his pose on the apron. Triple H tried to get Kelly Kelly to show her breasts but Mike Knox got all mad. Shawn super-kicked Knox and quickly eliminated him. This lead to Shawn asking “Who was that?” Triple H simply replied by saying that “He was in the match.”  This was a tremendous burial of poor Mike Knox!
There was an awesome spot with Shawn Michaels and Johnny Nitro, with leapfrogs and stuff. Shawn then slid out of the ring and cuddled Melina, who was not aware that he was cuddling him and thought it was Nitro. They both turned around, with Melina shrieking and Shawn yelling “aaaah.” Shawn’s reaction was magnificent!
It was pointed out that Nitro and Jeff had been in a ladder match on RAW a few days before. Despite this, both men were wrestling in this match and were apparently fine. They weren’t selling that previous ladder match one bit. On the same night that Lita retired, they apparently had to get in a spot with Matt Hardy fighting Edge. Matt Hardy got busted open early. Punk got the hot tag to a big reaction. Punk tapped out Nitro. This saw Team DX have a two man advantage at this point. Jim Ross referred to the Chicago-born Punk as “Young Mr CM Punk.” This made me laugh.
Randy Orton hit the RKO on someone but Shawn Michaels broke up the pin. Triple H got the hot tag. Shawn Michaels and Jeff Hardy did a double dive to the outside with JR referring to the both of them as “Team Extreme.” Matt Hardy eliminated Helms with the Twist of Fate/Swanton combination from the Hardyz. Rated RKO tried to walk out but the Hardyz brought them back into the ring. Shawn superkicked Edge and pinned him. Orton tried to escape through the crowd but they brought him back to the ring. DX hit the Superkick and Pedigree to eliminate him. It was a clean sweep for Team DX.
This was a squash match but it was a pretty entertaining squash match. I think the only man that was really buried following this was Mike Knox. Nitro and Helms at least put up a fight of some sort. Rated RKO were main-eventers anyway, so it wasn’t like it killed any careers or anything. Thumbs up from me. I enjoyed this match.
Match Rating: ***
In case anyone was wondering, this was not the first time where there was a complete clean sweep in a five-on-five Survivor Series elimination match. There were a few in the 1990s. In 2014, there was actually a clean sweep when Team Alicia Fox defeated Team Paige.
Mr Kennedy did an interview with Kristal. Kennedy was scheduled to face the Undertaker in a first blood match. Kennedy said that this was the biggest match of his career. His interview was cut off by MVP. MVP noticed that Kennedy had vaseline all over his face. MVP bragged about beating Kane in a steel cage match. MVP said that he had Kennedy’s back.
Mr Kennedy vs Undertaker in a First Blood match
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Kennedy undid three of the turnbuckles during the entrances. Taker beat up Kennedy and they brawled for a while. There was a lot of head-based offence at the start of the match, which made sense with the stipulation of the match. I remember watching a number of first blood matches were the two wrestlers would just do move after move during the match until the last few moments of the match where they would start target the head! Undertaker and Kennedy were trying to bust each other open early.
With that being said, there was one spot where Kennedy was dropped groin-first onto one of the exposed turnbuckles. One of my major complaints about Kennedy was the fact that he took this move and Kennedy sold by yelling “ooooooh” with a low-pitched voice. I was not a fan of his selling.
Kennedy was busted open in the mouth but MVP came out and wiped his mouth with a towel before the referee noticed. Despite doing this, MVP threw Kennedy back into the ring. Kennedy yelled “oooh” again and he yelled this as if he were Tarzan. MVP came back in and went to hit Kennedy with the chair but he hit Undertaker and busted him open. The referee noticed and called for the bell.
Think about this for a moment. MVP wanted to screw over Kennedy (which was apparently revenge from SmackDown!, when Kennedy screwed over MVP) by initially throwing Kennedy into the ring and then trying to bust him open with a chair. So if MVP’s goal in this match was for Kennedy to lose, why didn’t he simply rat him out for bleeding from the mouth when he came out with the towel? Why did he wipe away the blood when he could have just told the ref that Kennedy was bleeding?
So the fans were booing. MVP ran away as Kennedy beat up Undertaker after the match. Kennedy’s winning announcement was cut off by the Dead Man. Undertaker smacked Kennedy with a chair and “wrapped the chair around the skull” of Kennedy. Taker hit the Tombstone Piledriver and took off his glove to beat him up some more. JBL, being as awesome as ever, then began to berate Teddy Long for what Undertaker was doing!
There were some really bad portions of the match but I can’t hate it or anything as they at least gave us a good post-match beatdown from Undertaker.
Match Rating: **
King Booker was backstage with Queen Sharmell. He vowed to beat Batista and acted all kingly.
Team Cena (John Cena, Sabu, Rob Van Dam, Kane and Bobby Lashley) vs Team Big Show (Big Show, Umaga, Finlay, MVP and Test)
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What’s funny about this show was that despite the ECW announcers not being there, the ECW referee was there and officiating this match! Test looked jacked in this match. There were a few beauties in terms of signs that I noticed. There was a sign which said “Umaga ate my turkey” which was followed up with a “RVD and Sabu are innocent” sign. I guess they were referring to the DUI incident that the two of them had in July 2006. I don’t know how much impact that sign could have several months after the incident!
The SmackDown! referee took Finlay’s shillelagh. There were big pops for Cena and RVD. Kane’s pyro scared Sabu. Cena took it to Umaga early on. This upset Umaga who went crazy and attacked all of Team Cena with a television monitor. This caused Umaga to be DQd. The heels took over and Rob Van Dam was busted open in the mouth. RVD and MVP seemed to mess up an enziguiri. Kane chokeslammed MVP as Cena was arguing with the referee. RVD hit the Frog Splash and pinned MVP. Test pinned RVD with the big boot to eliminate him.
Lashley speared Test on the outside and Sabu pinned Test with a springboard DDT in the ring. Big Show pinned Sabu with a chokeslam. The crowd popped for a showdown between Kane and the Big Show. The chokeslam struggle between the two of them was interrupted by Hornswoggle, who I believe was going by “Little Bastard” at this time. Finlay hit Kane with the shillelagh and Show capitalised to pin Kane. Big Show got a pop for powerslamming Cena. Jim Ross mentioned that Finlay had a “PhD in cheating.” Having studied and worked at a university, I’m curious to see if such a course exists!
Lashley got the hot tag while Cena got boos. Hornswoggle was thrown into Cena, with Lashley spearing Finlay. Lashley pinned Finlay which meant it was down to Cena and Lashley taking on the Big Show. There was an awkward looking double DDT on Show by Cena and Lashley. They followed it up with a much better looking double suplex. Lashley shoulder barged Show which led to Cena FUing Show for the win. Lashley and Cena were the sole survivors.
This was slightly better than what I was expecting. One of the commentary highlights from this show was Jim Ross saying that “We will see a lot more of Lashley at Survivor Series down the road.” It was funny because this was the last time that Lashley ever appeared at Survivor Series! Lashley had left the company by the time that Survivor Series 2007 rolled around! Sorry JR. You were wrong this time!
There was one more sign I noticed before the World Heavyweight title match which said “Discharge the Marine!” I wonder who that is directed to!
Match Rating: **1/2
King Booker (c) w/Queen Sharmell vs Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship. If Batista lost, he would not get another world title match as long as Booker was the champion.
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There was actually a really good video package for this match, with the exception of the fact that they didn’t mention the “last chance” stipulation in it at all. Fortunately, Teddy Long explained it before the match started. He also ruled that if Booker got himself DQ’d
or counted out, Batista would win the championship. Why this was announced on the pay-per-view and not on SmackDown! beforehand is a mystery. I guess it’s for the best, as they probably wouldn’t have mentioned that on the video package either!
There were some more great crowd signs, with a big “BOB” sign being hard to miss. There was also a sign which I noticed that said “Santa isn’t real.” I could only imagine what’d happen if you tried to get this sign into the arena if this was in 2016! You’d be ruffling some serious feathers!
King Booker made his entrance, to which JBL told Michael to “look at the pinkie.” During this long intro, JBL compared King Booker to William Wallace. Batista finally cut off the entrance by attacking him on the entrance ramp. There were “let’s go Booker” chants. Batista went for an early Batista Bomb but Booker rolled out of the way. Booker tried to leave but Sharmell reminded him that he couldn’t get counted out. Booker then took over.
I felt that there were some weird pacing issues between Batista and Booker. Batista was very slow and it seemed that Booker was too quick for him at times. Not the smoothest of matches.
King Booker gave Batista a side-kick which knocked him off the apron. Batista did the comeback to some boos. There was a “We Want Lesnar” sign. Batista did a top rope shoulder barge. Batista hit the Batista Bomb but Booker got the bottom rope. Sharmell threw the belt to Booker. Batista went for a Batista Bomb on Sharmell. As the referee was distracted, Booker tried to hit Batista with the belt but Batista ducked. Batista hit Booker with the belt and won.
It was a very boring match but Batista had a hell of a celebration! It’s hard to believe that this match was picked as the main-event and the fans really weren’t invested into the match until Batista won. This gets a thumbs down for me.
Match Rating: *3/4
This show was pretty darn boring at times. Even with a world title change, it seemed like nothing special really happened on this show. The crowd was great for the majority of this show but the show itself just didn’t live up to their expectations. The World title match was underwhelming and there was not one match that I would consider to be really good. The most entertaining match of the night was essentially a squash match! I would not want to watch this pay-per-view again. Not one of the stronger Survivor Series events in the now 30-year history of the pay-per-view.

Retro Express – WWE Unforgiven 2006

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Unforgiven 2006 was a pay-per-view which I thought way too highly of when looking back in hindsight. It was not like this was a pay-per-view which was bad or anything. If anything, it was just as good as any other average pay-per-view around the time. However, there was a lot of buzz about this particular pay-per-view which I don’t think WWE were able to live up to at the end of the day. This was a show with a lot of memorable moments but the matches that stood out never really stood out as greatly as it probably should have.

WWE Unforgiven

Date: September 17th 2006

Brand: RAW

City: Toronto, Ontario

Attendance: 16,105

Johnny Nitro (c) vs Jeff Hardy for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
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I honestly couldn’t remember who won this match when I watched this pay-per-view at the time. I remember that Jeff did beat Nitro for the title not long after he returned to the company. However, I couldn’t remember if it was on RAW or if it was at Unforigven. I knew that he was the champion going into RAW’s next pay-per-view Cyber Sunday so he must have won it shortly after this.
This was Jeff’s first pay-per-view match back with WWE and he got a huge pop. Nitro wasn’t particularly bad during this time period but this was around the period where Nitro was only just starting to break out on his own. I don’t want to say that wrestling a tag match is easy but in a tag team situation with MNM, Johnny had the help from Mercury and other tag teams to help break up the matches a little. In this situation, Nitro was on his own and he had to be able to work a long match with Jeff. And this was a LONG match. They gave Jeff and Johnny 17 minutes but it honest to god felt like half an hour.
The match wasn’t particular bad but it was unfit for the styles of Jeff and Johnny. They had Nitro get the heat on Hardy for about 75% of the match which was done in the most dragged out way possible. Johnny was given way too much time to get the heat on Jeff. This was proven to be true, as the match actually started out with the fans getting into it with Jeff taking over with arm drags (by the way, Nitro got some serious air-time on these arm drags!). However, by the end of the match as Jeff was making his “comeback”, the fans in Toronto had been taken completely out of the match and there was little reaction until Jeff went for the Swanton Bomb.
Jeff did a lot of wild selling as usually. Nitro drop-kicked Jeff, while Jeff was on the turnbuckle, which resulted in Jeff landing side first on the ropes. That could have ended really badly. Nitro worked over Jeff’s leg for a really long time. Jeff was leaning on the ropes and Nitro kicked in the leg, which resulted in Jeff doing a huge flip and landing on the mat. The next time I watch UFC, I’ll have to see if any of the kicks to the leg will cause one of the fighters to do a flip. What a moment that would be!
Nitro went for the Corkscrew off the top but Jeff moved out of the way. Ironically, Nitro landed on his leg which looked pretty awkward. Jeff started his comeback but as mentioned earlier, the crowd were never really able to get into it until he went for the Swanton. It seemed like a very awkward comeback, with both wrestlers working at very different speeds it seems. Jeff hit the Swanton but Nitro got his feet on the rope. Nitro was kicked into Melina and Jeff went for the roll-up, which was kicked out of by Nitro. Melina then hit Jeff with her boot and Nitro got the pin to retain the title.
I hated this finish for a number of reasons but the biggest issue is the fact that Nitro simply pinned him off the smack with Melina’s boot. Maybe if Melina were to have hit her with the sole of the boot, it would have been enough to put Jeff away. However, at least Nitro should have been able to put his finishing move over. The commentators did try to put Nitro over on commentary and Nitro was able to stay in the match after the Swanton. However, it’s not like anything Nitro ever did led to him winning the match. It’s not like the ten minutes of Nitro working on the leg of Hardy led to the finish. They could have easily done a finish where Melina hit Jeff in the leg with a shoe and then Nitro hit Jeff with his finisher (which I think was the Super Kick) and won. At least the heat Nitro got on Jeff would have been enough to lead to the finish. However, this finish just struggled to get anyone over greatly.
It’s funny because I actually remember hating the finish of a match between Rusev and Dolph Ziggler last year, because Summer Rae had accidentally hit Rusev with her shoe. At least in that finish, Ziggler hit the Zig Zag after the shoe toss in order to win the match. Nitro wasn’t given any of that which hurt his cause.
It was an alright match but it was just a boring match. The ring psychology was there with Nitro working the leg but it just took me out of the match. He just got a bit too much heat on Jeff before the finish. This match should have been a lot shorter. That’s probably the biggest thing that was wrong with this. Putting this on for 17 minutes was just not the way to go.
Match Rating: **1/4
SmackDown! general manager Teddy Long was in the crowd. He was sat in one of the expensive seats all by himself! He was in attendance as if Cena had lost in the main event, Teddy would have Cena signed to his show.
Jeff Hardy was met in the back by Matt Hardy, who was on SmackDown! at the time. I was going to ask why Matt would have been on the RAW PPV but I guess it does make sense with Matt wanting to cheer his brother on. Lita walked in which resulted in the most awkward stable reunion of all time. If you’ll recall, this took place just over a year after the Matt, Edge and Lita incident happened. However, that was not the main reason about why this angle was awkward. You could tell this was an segment that Lita really didn’t want to do, as she felt so uncomfortable when calling Jeff a “screw-up.” She vowed to beat Trish Stratus and said that Edge would beat John Cena to send him packing to SmackDown!, just like he sent Matt packing when he beat him in a Loser Leaves RAW match. Very uncomfortable segment to sit through.
Umaga vs Kane
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The match wasn’t really that bad until the finish, we’ll get onto later. Armando Estrada cut a great promo before the match started. I truly believe that if Armando was brought back by WWE to manage Braun Strowman tomorrow and Armando was given the same gimmick he was given in 2006, Braun would get so over. Armando’s greatest attribute was that he was able to get the fans invested in his client like a good manager should. He didn’t need to cut greatest promo of all time or anything. The best part of his arsenal was his introduction, which everybody at this pay-per-view joined in with. He was so awesome.
The match started off strangely when these two big monsters decided to start the match by engaging in an angry lock-up. I don’t want to bash this match for actually showcasing some traditional wrestling but this really didn’t fit the styles of Umaga and Kane. These two should be starting off the match by just clobbering each other, going blow for blow. That would have helped portray the intensity of these two big men rather than just doing a simple lock-up.
Umaga got the heat on Kane. Umaga even did the Shining Wizard at one point. Kane made the comeback and the fans got really into his comeback. To add to the point I made earlier, Kane just punching away at Umaga in the turnbuckle really got Kane over as these were some impactful looking hits. Now granted, Umaga was usually a great seller back then. However, the point is that it added a lot more to the match more than if these two were to have a standard match. I also liked how Kane’s comeback was effective that it caused Armando’s hat to come off! I repeat, Armando Estrada was so awesome!
Kane hit a dangerous looking belly-to-belly on Umaga which sent him flying over the top rope. Kane and Umaga went into the crowd which caused both men to get counted out. Count out finishes do suck when you put them on pay-per-views but if you follow them up with either an interesting spot or some new development in the feud, you can get away with doing it. However, WWE didn’t give us any of that. Kane and Umaga simply brawled to the back. You expected something big to happen but nothing did. Up until the finish, this was a fine match though.
Match Rating: **1/4
Mr McMahon and Shane McMahon were hanging out backstage, watching a clip from RAW where Vince beat Triple H. He talked about wanting to be “kicking ass and taking names” in their Hell in a Cell match later. He said he was going to play an active role in the match. He buried Canada and basically vowed to decimate DX.
They plugged the theme song of the show, which was “Run” by Days of Fire. I actually liked this song a lot but I was put off a little when Jerry referred to Days of Fire as his new favourite band. Yes, Jerry Lawler was suddenly transformed into a metal rock fan with this new track by Days of Fire. I don’t think Jerry was telling the truth here!
The Spirit Squad (c) vs The Highlanders for the World Tag Team Championship
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This was the closest the Highlanders ever came to winning the tag titles. It’s a shame because I actually liked the Highlanders in this match! It’s just their mannerisms in the ring. When they kept yelling at each other during the match, at least you could tell that they were actually invested in their own gimmick. At least they would go out of there to have fun with their characters, which a lot of wrestlers these days in WWE don’t. They were so into their character that their tag-ins came in the form of slapping each other in the face!
Rory McAllister was the bald one in the Highlanders, with Robbie being the one with long hair. In fact, Jim Ross actually made this clear as soon as they came out! It’s funny as Jim Ross cleared up which Highlander was which for me right away even though they’ve got two different looks, yet Michael Cole never addresses which Uso is which on RAW until one of them gets tagged in during the match.
Mitch and Kenny were the Spirit Squad members involved in this match. They all held the belt at the same time as part of the freebird rule. Even though he came out with the belt on, Nicky (a.k.a. Dolph Ziggler) wasn’t involved in the match. Nothing really exciting about this one. There was on spot where Robbie tried to do a suicide dive to the outside but he hit the floor. The finish was Johnny doing a jump kick on the apron which was followed up by a facebuster by Mikey for the win.
There was really nothing to this match. There was nothing really about this match that really screamed “pay-per-view quality.” It was just a regular tag team match that you would have seen on RAW every week at the time. I will say that the Highlanders sort of seemed like a Scottish version of the Ascension! It’s like if they took Viktor and Konnor from the Ascension and gave the Highlanders gimmick. The chances are, they would have probably had the same result!
Match Rating: *1/2
 
Mr McMahon, Shane McMahon and Big Show vs Shawn Michaels and Triple H in a handicap Hell in a Cell match
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I’ve seen a lot of people online call this the worst Hell in a Cell match of all time which I totally disagree with. I’m going to go on a bit of a tangent here. The whole point of a Hell in a Cell match is for people to use the cell as an offensive ally. The match usually acts as the finale to an intense rivalry, which was the purpose of this cell match. This feud has gotten to a point where all the McMahons, Big Show and DX wanted to do was beat the hell out of each other. If they were to have just had a regular match in that cell, it would have come off so badly. Also if they were to have a simple match, what would be the point of the cell?
This is a huge reason why I do not think highly of the Undertaker/Triple H Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania 28. Those two hardly ever used the cell in their match which took away from the intensity of it. Triple H and Undertaker had built their careers around the Cell so them not using it seemed to ignore the significance of the stipulation. They needed to batter each other just like the McMahons, Show and DX all battered each other.
To summarise this in the best way possible, this was the best you could have done with people like Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon and Big Show having to work a 20 minute Hell in a Cell match. There were some things that did take me out the match which I’ll get to later.
The highlight of the introductions though was Jim Ross calling Vince “Satan’s role model.” DX low-blowed Big Show which does actually tie in to one of the issues of the match. A lot of DX’s attacks on the McMahons and Big Show were very comedic, which took away from the intensity of the storyline. After Vince had beaten DX with a pipe on RAW a few weeks beforehand and everything Vince had done to them in this storyline, Triple H and Shawn Michaels should want cold-blooded revenge. Instead, they would have moments like Vince McMahon kissing Big Show’s backside which was absurd when considering that this was in fact a Hell in a Cell match.
Shawn and Vince both got “You Screwed Bret” chants. DX low-blowed Big Show a second time. I did like some of the ways DX were beating on the McMahons though. Shawn used the ropes to launch Shane into the cell wall. Vince and Shane bled early. Triple H used a screwdriver on Mr McMahon. This was a case of deja vu for me as one of the last old WWE pay-per-views I watched before this was Survivor Series 2005, where Triple H did the exact same thing to Ric Flair!
Big Show got back into the mix and the heels took over. Shane hit Triple H with the coast to coast which involved a trashcan. DX tried a comeback but the heels cut them off. Shane looked like he was trying either an Angle Slam or a backbreaker but he was struggling to keep Triple H up for the move. I don’t know if Triple H was sand-bagging him (which seems very unlikely) or if Shane was just struggling to get him up.
Vince tried to induct DX into the “Kiss My Ass” club but DX avoided it. Big Show tried to do a big splash to Shawn but Shawn pulled Vince in the way. DX did the comeback. Shane was taken out after Shawn did an elbow to him, with a chair wrapped around Shane’s neck. They took out Big Show and left him hanging on the ropes. They then proceeded to shove Vince’s face in Big Show’s backside. DX won with a Super Kick by Shawn and then a sledgehammer shot by Triple H which actually broke the hammer.
This was an OK match. This was not the worst Hell in a Cell match I ever saw but I did feel that the heel heat was a bit too long in this match as well. Big Show, Vince and Shane getting the heat on DX was quite boring a lot of the time. However, the match accomplished what it was supposed to. The good guys got their revenge on the heels and finished them once and for all, which was a fine way to end the rivalry. This was probably the highlight of the DX/McMahons rivalry as a whole.
Match Rating: ***1/2
Lita (c) vs Trish Stratus for the WWE Women’s Championship
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This match was very much a treat at the time considering the state of the women’s division for the next decade. Unfortunately, this was also Trish’s retirement match. This was a very fitting end to her career, being able to go out in style by winning the Women’s title in Montreal. This crowd loved Trish and this was all fine to watch.
I cannot say that this was the greatest match between Trish and Lita, as I remember them having a fantastic match on RAW in 2004. However, these two worked very hard. Trish worked a  lot harder than she probably should have, considering this was supposed to be her last match. This was evident as she would take bad bumps to the apron and onto the floor.
The finish was great. Throughout the match, Trish kept going for the Stratusfaction, but Lita kept countering it. In her third attempt, Trish reversed into a sunset flip. This was an awesome spot as from a storytelling perspective, it was clear that Trish knew that Lita was just going to keep countering the bulldog. Trish had to think of something new and she did. There’s so many matches nowadays where the babyfaces would try to do the same move over and over again until it worked. Good improvisation.
Lita countered it into a pin but the ref saw Lita’s hands on the rope. Trish countered that into a sharpshooter, which got an incredible pop from the crowd. Lita tapped out and Trish won the belt on her way out. Lillian Garcia was actually in tears when Trish celebrated.
This was a great women’s match and the two women worked very hard. The crowd was really into it so thumbs up from me.
Match Rating: ***
Randy Orton was being interview by Todd Grisham. A little off-topic but does anyone remember the interview Todd did with John Cena around this time where he turned heel and hoped that Cena would lose the title? That was fantastic stuff!
The promo Orton cut seemed a bit odd. Orton claimed that nobody cared about Trish except Canadians. He called Trish a bitch and said that he would make Carlito his in their match later. Orton did a good job in gaining the heel heat but something just felt off about the whole promo.
Randy Orton vs Carlito
 
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This was a decent match between Orton and Carlito. I was not expecting much from this but I did remember the finish of the match which was incredibly executed. The thing about Carlito is that I’ve listened to a number of old Bryan and Vinny Shows as of late going as far back as 2005. The common trend I noticed when listening back to 2005-2006 editions of the show is that Bryan Alvarez was hugely critical of Carlito. It’s funny because I’ve done a few Retro Express reviews from within that period. In the matches Carlito wrestled in, Carlito was fine.
He was not the greatest worker of the night or anything but there was not a lot of things he messed up. He did mess up one of his springboard moonsaults, where he landed with his elbow slamming into Orton’s face. Orton was actually busted open from the mouth with that botch, with Orton seemingly very annoyed at Carlito.
They continued on for a while. Carlito was still busting out all of these springboards to very little reaction. The finish saw Carlito going for another springboard move with Randy catching him with an RKO in mid-air. Orton made the cover to get the win.
This gets a thumbs up for me. It didn’t blow my mind but these two men worked hard. You have to give them credit for that as Carlito was often flacked for not trying hard enough in the ring. The finish was also tremendously pulled off by both men and it really did add to the match as the finish was be the big thing that a lot of fans remember.
Match Rating: **3/4
Edge (c) vs John Cena in a TLC match for the WWE Championship
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I mentioned that Teddy Long was in attendance earlier. He was there because if Cena lost, Cena would be signed to SmackDown! I actually want to break down the logic of this. Teddy was ecstatic because he may be about to get John Cena from RAW as long as Cena LOST his match. From a storyline perspective, wouldn’t it hurt the SmackDown! brand if Cena had lost before coming into the roster?
This TLC match was a great thing to end the pay-per-view with. After months of this feud between Edge and John Cena, Cena finally defied all the odds to win the WWE title in Edge’s hometown and in Edge’s signature match. This was great and simple storytelling, with an appropriate finish to the feud.
John Cena was heavily booed by this Montreal crowd. Both men took some hard bumps. What’s funny after watching this match is the balancing act from WWE to protect John Cena from getting badly hurt but also having him take big bumps himself. If John Cena were to have taken little to no bumps during the match, it would have not gotten Cena over that greatly by the end of the match. However, they did have Cena take some huge spots including getting pushed off a big ladder by Lita and going through the table on the outside. That’s important as the crowd was never going to get behind a babyface that never “paid their dues” by taking a lot of punishment. The fact that Cena did though just made Cena look like a proper badass. Those fans in Montreal ended the night thinking “I hate Cena but he took a hell of a beating.” That’s what gets babyfaces over in modern day professional wrestling. That’s how Roman Reigns eventually got over when he won the WWE World title on RAW. Sadly that period of overness didn’t last long for poor old Roman.
Both men took some nasty hits during this. Edge hit the reverse DDT on Cena onto the chair, which I believe is a lot more painfully than it looks. Edge was innovative as usually in this TLC match, coming off the barricade and dropkicking the ladder in John Cena’s face. There was one bad botch where Edge was going for the sunset flip powerbomb on Cena but Cena held onto the ropes for too long. It was not as bad as the sunset flip spot that Kurt Angle and Scott Steiner once tried in TNA, which ended up being the finish off that match! That was actually followed up by “that was weak” chants from the Impact Zone! The TLC botch was followed up by Edge powerslamming Cena through the table!
Edge ran up the ladder to jump at Cena which seemed like a bit too much effort, when he could have just gotten on the apron or the turnbuckle which would have had the same effect as him running up the ladder. Cena hit the Throwback on the chair. Cena did a ladder guillotine on Edge which also looks way more painful than it seems. Cena followed it up with the STFU with Edge wedged in the ladder.
There was one really stupid looking spot which did take away from the seriousness and intensity of the match. Cena decided that he should give the ladder a FU onto Edge, which was one of the daftest looking things I’ve seen in a TLC match. Why did Cena have to do a move on the ladder when he could have just hit Edge with the ladder? It was more done for comedic purposes, which didn’t fit the intensity of the match and the storyline for that matter. Cena shouldn’t be messing around by giving Edge this move.
Edge responded with a hard, and I mean HARD, chair shot onto Cena. If you guys ever wondered why they banned chair shots to the head, this is why! I commend Cena for taking such a hard chair shot as it looked proper nasty. Edge hit the spear from one ladder to Cena on another ladder which was a much milder version of the Edge/Jeff Hardy spot from Wrestlemania 17. Cena powerbombed Edge onto the ladder. Cena looked like he was going to win when Lita showed up, who pushed Cena off the big ladder which saw him go through the table. That was the spot mentioned earlier.
Cena got back into the ring and Lita hit Cena with the chair. The only problem was that Lita’s chair shot caused Cena to stumble into a ladder that Edge was climbing, and Cena pushed Edge off it and through another table. Cena FUd Lita to take her out of the equation. It was down to a spot where two tables were stacked on top of each other. Edge and Cena battled on the top of a ladder and Cena hit the FU off the ladder and through the two tables. Cena took down the title and won the match.
This was a home run for WWE in terms of ending the feud on a high. There was a lot of issues with this match like the botch mentioned earlier. However, it was as good of a TLC match as you would have gotten out of Edge and Cena at the time. It actually exceeded my expectations at the time and it really did just work so well.
Match Rating: ****1/4
Overall, the pay-per-view was saved by a very eventful second half. The first few matches were very forgettable but it really did pick up with the Hell in a Cell match. There were very memorable aspects about the final four matches, even with Randy hitting the RKO counter on Carlito. This will go down as the show where Vince McMahon competed in a Hell in a Cell match and got his arse kicked. This will go down as the show where Trish Stratus retired after one of her greatest matches ever. This will go down as the show where John Cena hit the FU on Edge and put him through two tables. As a memorable show, this was successful as the most important matches were memorable. It’s not such a tragedy that the Highlanders vs the Spirit Squad wasn’t.
I will not be as bold as to say that this was the best pay-per-view of 2006. There were a number of pay-per-views that surpassed it. However, it’s very plausible to suggest that this was possibly one of the best RAW exclusive shows of the year. RAW came off looking really strong following this pay-per-view, which was really important going into new storylines. Now granted, not all of the storylines that followed were too great. However, fans in 2006 would have been filled with buzz knowing that there would be new storylines to dig into. If you can get your fans excited like that with a pay-per-view, you did a damn good job.
THUMBS UP FROM ME!

Retro Express – Vengeance 2006

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If you wanted to see D-Generation X kicking ass and having fun while they do it, Vengeance 2006 was the pay-per-view for you. If wanted to see two legends collide as part of a heated personal feud, Vengeance 2006 was the pay-per-view for you. If you wanted to see RAW and ECW go to war in a series of matches, Vengeance 2006 was the pay-per-view for you. If you wanted to see all of this compressed into a three hour wrestling show, this was the pay-per-view for you. However, while there was a lot going on at Vengeance 2006, there was a shortage of substance. You got a lot of matches that sounded appealing on paper but rather disappointing in execution.

However, it was not as if this show didn’t have it’s fair share of bright moments along the way. Let’s run down the show.

 

WWE Vengeance

Date: June 25th 2006

Brand: RAW

City: Charlotte, North Carolina

Attendance: 6,800

 

Randy Orton vs Kurt Angle

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This was the first of three RAW vs ECW Matches at Vengeance, with Randy Orton representing RAW and Kurt Angle representing ECW. This was also the rematch from their match at ECW One Night Stand 2006, which Kurt won.

I was not a fan of this match as I thought that it was pretty boring considering that these two were supposed to be top stars at this time. There were boos early on when Randy was hesitant to lock-up with Kurt. Kurt tried a German suplex off the apron to the floor but Orton escaped. Despite this, Kurt hit a simple German suplex him onto the floor anyway. It must have really sucked for Orton to take that.

Angle then suplexed Orton back into the ring. I laughed a lot more than I should have when Kurt was going for a lock-up and Orton simply poked him as he was sizing him up! Randy Orton locked on the vintage Randy Orton headlock for a really long time. I can’t remember what lead to the conversation going in this direction, but Jim Ross told the viewers that the ECW referees were “doing community service!” In case you were wondering!

Kurt Angle then did the belly-to-belly suplex off the top rope which looked awkward as Orton wasn’t really ready for it when he was on the top turnbuckle. After this, Orton undid the turnbuckle itself. Angle then proceeded to hit eight consecutive German suplexes onto Randy Orton. I’ve got to give Kurt a lot of credit as it looked like it was extremely difficult to pull off and it seemed that it took a lot out of Kurt. Even before he did the German suplexes, Kurt seemed a bit gassed to me.

The finish was that Kurt went for the ankle lock but Orton reversed it and sent Kurt flying into the exposed turnbuckle. Orton hit the RKO and beat Kurt Angle. I liked the finish which did bump up the match a little. However, it was rather boring up until that point. I’d hate to say that about a Kurt Angle match but that was the case.

Match Rating: **1/4

 

Vince McMahon was backstage and on the phone, telling whoever was on the other end that “Vengeance is mine sayeth Mr McMahon.” What happened next was when you realised that Vince was a completely different league of his own as a fictional character. A DX fan came in on a wheelchair. What happened next was that Vince McMahon then proceeded to berate a disabled child on pay-per-view.

It really shows you how much the times have changed for WWE. There was an incident last year when Triple H was mean to a little kid in the front row and he apologised to him right away. Vince, on the other hand, was not holding back! After this berating of the handicapped child, Vince grabbed the wheelchair and promised to take him on a “highway to hell.” He pushed this kid as far as he could down a hallway!

Jonathan Coachman, Vince’s right-hand man at the time, came in and told him how he had a family friend that wanted to meet Vince. It turns out that it was the kid in the wheelchair. I honest to god believe that there has been only a select few of fictional villains that have been written to be as evil and crazy as Mr McMahon was at around this period! Vince was such a great heel that you couldn’t help but laugh at him! There will never be someone quite like Vince McMahon!

 

 

Umaga vs Eugene w/Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Doink the Clown and Kamala

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This match, and what happened afterwards, was something else. Umaga came down with Armando Estrada. The fans joined in when Armando told them who he was. Apparently, Eugene said that he was bringing some friends with him to fight Umaga. Armando told Eugene that he could bring Superman, Spiderman, Aquaman and Wonder Woman but he can’t stop Umaga. All of this superhero talk is very fitting right now considering the superhero movie line-up for 2016!

Now when introducing a number of guys, you’d think that the one that will get the biggest reaction would be saved for last. Big example recently was when Steve Austin was the last of a trio of legends introduced at WrestleMania 32 to take down the League of Nations. Austin was obviously going to get the biggest reaction. Eugene introduced Hacksaw Jim Duggan first and he got, by far, the biggest reaction out of the three legends Eugene brought out! Eugene brought out Doink the Clown and then Kamala, with neither man getting a reaction. Hacksaw started “USA” and “Eugene” chants as the match started. Umaga beat up Eugene for a while and hit the Samoan Spike for the win. My first thought after this was “Why were the legends even out there?” As it turns out, they were out there to get beaten up after the match by Umaga (except Kamala). So Eugene’s plan was apparently for the legends NOT to help him during the match but to try and jump Umaga after Umaga had destroyed him. I know it was part of Eugene’s character to not be smart but it was not like any of the announcers mentioned how stupid of a plan this was.

Kamala was the one that scared away Umaga, which actually got a pretty big reaction. It was just so funny to me to see Kamala be the one to scare away Umaga after the match after Umaga mauled three men.

This was essentially a squash match. This seemed like a big waste of pay-per-view time to me. The legends brought in provided nothing to the match. Umaga looked like a chump for backing down from Kamala, in my opinion. I suppose if you just wanted to see Kamala, Doink and Hacksaw Jim Duggan then I suppose this match was a success.

Match Rating: ½*

 

Todd Grisham interviewed Mick Foley. Foley read something from Ric Flair’s book. If you’ll recall, there was real-life heat between Mick and Ric over what Ric had written about Mick. Ric had called him a “glorified stunt-man” and Mick vowed to out-wrestle Ric Flair in their 2 out of 3 falls match.

 

Mick Foley vs Ric Flair in a 2 out of 3 falls match

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Boy, was this ever something. The match was in Flair’s hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. There was a “If Flair Loses, We Riot” sign in the crowd. Flair’s family was even there including a young Charlotte in the crowd. Future Divas Champion Charlotte was actually in the crowd for Vengeance 2006!

There were a number of “Foley sucks” chants which were RARE in WWE. It’s like when Undertaker got booed on RAW last year. It was just one of those things that you’d never expect to hear.

The match was very slow-paced. Mick Foley could barely move. Ric Flair was approaching his sixties when this match took place. The match lasted six minutes but it honestly felt like it was going for twenty. It actually astonishes me that TNA decided that putting this match together a few years later was a great idea. Did anyone in the company not look at this match, the physical conditioning of Ric and Mick and question whether this match was a good idea?

Foley hit the double arm DDT. Foley whipped out Mr Socko, who looked like Ric Flair. Flair grabbed Foley in the nuts and did his comeback. Flair successfully jumped off the top. Foley took over and went for the Figure Four Leg Lock. Flair countered it into the roll-up for the first fall. Flair did another roll-up after the first fall and both of these roll-ups looked so freaking slow.

Flair whipped Foley into the steel steps. This was a probably a lot more painful than it seemed for Foley. They brawled into the crowd and Foley back-dropped Flair onto the floor. It’s shocking how many drops to the floor Flair was taking in the later years of his in-ring career. Foley brought out a trashcan, but this was not no disqualification. Flair went for the Figure Four but Foley hit Ric with the trashcan. Flair won the second fall as Mick was disqualified. Foley continued the attack and hit Flair with the barbed wire bat. Flair started bleeding like crazy. The referees and road agents came out to try and stop Foley. We actually got a small “Foley” chant followed by a BIG “Foley sucks” chants! Mixed messages!

Match Rating: *3/4

 

Maria interviewed Carlito. Maria gave us her theory on the “cool paradox” which baffled Carlito. Carlito simply stated that nothing could be cooler than him winning the Intercontinental Championship next. Maria questioned Carlito’s claim which led to Torrie Wilson appearing dressed in a bikini. Torrie asked someone to help with putting baby oil on her for a photo shoot. Torrie asked Carlito’s to hold her puppies, which were in fact her two dogs. Maria ended up rubbing the baby oil on Torrie with Carlito giving commentary during the whole thing and simply stating “That’s cool.” Torrie ended up rubbing Maria with baby oil. This was interrupted by Carlito’s music playing for his Intercontinental title match and Carlito was upset about leaving. This was a great few minutes with Maria and Torrie. They both looked stunning here.

This was where the logic part of my brain started to take over. As I was watching Torrie rub baby oil on Maria, my first thought was “Why did Torrie need to rub baby oil on Maria?” I UNDERSTAND that sometimes you have to not think about wrestling logically and this was CERTAINLY one of those situations, but something just didn’t seem right to me!

 

 

Shelton Benjamin ( c ) vs Carlito vs Johnny Nitro w/Melina for the Intercontinental Championship

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This really was a great match. The three men did try hard for this one. I forgot how bad Shelton’s entrance attire was around this time. Shelton was wearing sunglasses, jewellery and Hawaiian shirts on his way down to the ring which I thought made him look so stupid. I don’t understand the mindset of the person who looked at Shelton and thought, “This guy needed to wear sunglasses down to the ring.” This was not the look for a future main-eventer. This was the look of a complete geek.

There was still some blood in the ring from the Foley/Flair match. Melina checked on Nitro for a while during a good portion of the start of the match. Nitro tried to attack but was backdropped by Carlito while Carlito had Shelton in a head-lock. Nitro threw Carlito into the ring-post and said “That’s Cool.” Carlito did a springboard senton dive to the outside on Nitro and Shelton to a incredible big pop and even “Holy Shit” chants.

The crowd were really into this match, especially when Carlito did a hurricanrana in the ring. Shelton hit the T-Bone Suplex on Nitro to the outside. There was a quality spot where Nitro monkey-flipped Shelton into a Carlito dropkick. This spot was sensationally surpassed by what came next. Carlito and Nitro were battling on the top rope and Nitro was hung upside down. Shelton then jumped onto the top rope to battle Carlito and was going for a superplex. Then Nitro leapt up and launched both men with a spider German suplex. That was awesome and got, BY FAR, the biggest reaction of the night.

Carlito did his comeback after selling for 30 seconds following the big suplex spot. I honestly think that Carlito should have sold for a much longer period of time after taking the brunt of the move. Carlito did the double reverse elbow springboard onto Shelton and Nitro. Carlito hit the backcracker but Nitro pulled Carlito out of the way and stole the pin. This was the best match of the night at this point by a huge mile. This was where the pay-per-view really started to turn around. Great stuff. This was a fun match.

Match Rating: ***1/4

 

The Spirit Squad were involved in a “Destroy DX” huddle when Vince walked in. He gave the Spirit Squad a pep talk. Vince called DX a disease like a bird flu and told the group to cure it. Vince took a “Pistol Pump” into the bathroom, which was in fact a penis pump. This was not PG in the slightest! There was an explosion in the bathroom with Vince coming out with green spray all over his face. You really can’t make this stuff up.

 

Rob Van Dam ( c ) vs Edge for the WWE Championship

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Edge cut a promo where he buried North Carolina. He compared them to ECW. Edge promised a live sex celebration when he won. Again… not PG in the slightest!

This was a pretty good match. There were some cool-looking spots like Edge landing on his feet after a monkey flip, which is impressive considering the fact that Edge is 6’5. It was a very good start to the match with some nice exchanges. Edge did a sunset flip powerbomb on Rob Van Dam TO THE FLOOR. This was pretty dangerous looking and RVD is a trooper for taking that spot. Edge took over. Jerry Lawler was talking about Edge and Lita which saw Jim Ross cut off Jerry and say (and this is a quote): “Is everything in your life about sex?” I was brought to tears after Jim Ross said this and his follow up line was “We’re in the middle of a WWE Championship match and you want to talk about sex?” Moments like this were why Jim Ross was so tremendous on commentary.

Rob Van Dam hit a cross-body on Edge over the top and to the outside. Rob Van Dam and Edge were both great wrestlers in the fact that they were willing to put their bodies on the line in order to get the best they could out of a match. It’s very unadvisable for wrestlers to take bumps like these but they took all kinds of hard bumps during this match. RVD went for the barricade leg drop but Edge moved out of the way.  Edge threw Rob Van Dam to the outside, with RVD landing hard. Edge powerbombed RVD onto the barricade. RVD did a comeback and went for the Frog Splash but Edge moved out of the way. RVD improvised and went for an altered version of the Rolling Thunder where he landed on Edge’s back.  RVD went for the wheel kick but he hit the ref. Lita got the WWE title for Edge but RVD hit the Vandaminator with the belt. Lita stopped Rob from doing the Frog Splash and Edge hit a hanging DDT similar to what Orton usually does. The referee crawled to make the count but Rob kicked out. Lita held up the chair, with the plan being that Edge was going to spear Rob into the chair but Rob moved and Edge went face first into the chair. RVD took advantage and hit the Frog Splash for the win.

Good match which really should have went on last when looking back in hindsight. Both men tried really hard and it was a shame that the WWE title match played third-fiddle to Cena/Sabu and DX/Spirit Squad as it was much better than both of those matches.

Match Rating: ***1/4

 

The ECW roster celebrated RVD’s win with the chant of “RVD, ECW” until Paul Heyman showed up. He told the roster that it was “one down and one to go” which apparently meant that Kurt Angle’s match with Orton meant nothing to ECW! He gave the ECW lumberjacks a pep talk going into the Extreme Lumberjack match later on in the show.

 

Kane vs Impostor Kane

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This was the one downside to the second half of the show. The Kane vs Impostor Kane storyline was pretty ridiculous, which I think everyone, including Kane, will agree. However, their match wasn’t actually that bad. It was not great if you looked at the star rating I gave it. However, it was certainly not the worst match on the show. That’s a fact. It was just very boring and part of a storyline which got zero heat.

Kane tried to unmask the impostor with the crowd chanting “take the mask off.” Lawler tried to claim that everything Impostor Kane did was exactly like the real Kane which was completely false as Impostor Kane wrestled nothing like the real Kane other than when he hit the chokeslam and did a sit up. It’s funny because when WCW did the angle with the Impostor Sting that had joined the nWo, this Sting actually wrestled like the original Sting did! Impostor Kane tried his best but his attacks looked nothing like the real Kane’s.

There were some boring chants. I’ll give the match credit in that it gave us an interesting and unusual finish. Impostor Kane caught real Kane as he was coming off the top rope and hit the chokeslam, pinning him as clean as a sheet. WOW.

Match Rating: **

 

There were actually rumours that Glenn Jacobs (a.k.a Kane) was actually contemplating retirement around the time. In order for the Kane character to live on, they came up with the idea to bring in a new Kane to debut and to have it be revealed that the Glenn Jacobs “Kane” had imprisoned the real Kane many years ago, stealing his identity. Thankfully, Kane decided against retiring and these plans never came into fruition because this storyline got hardly any heat.

Fun Fact: the man that actually played “Impostor Kane” was in fact Doc Gallows. This is the same Doc Gallows that would go on to become Festus and eventually Luke Gallows in WWE. He became D.O.C. as part of Aces and Eights in TNA and then became “Doc Gallows” in Japan. Now this man is coming back to WWE as a much bigger deal than he was when he left. Good for him!

 

 

John Cena vs Sabu in an Extreme Lumberjack match

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The video package for this was put together really well. The ECW lumberjacks came out first followed by Sabu, with the RAW lumberjacks coming out followed by John Cena. Sabu jumped Cena during his entrance.

Then there was a very stupid moment, in terms of the booking of this match. Cena threw Sabu into the RAW lumberjacks and the lumberjacks just threw him back in. Sabu then threw Cena out into the ECW lumerbjacks and the lumberjacks just kicked the crap out of him and Sandman hit him with a Singapore cane. This made the RAW lumberjacks come off as complete idiots as they just stood there as Cena was getting his arse kicked by the ECW guys. Jim Ross made a comment saying that there was nothing anyone can do about it as it is extreme rules. Actually there was. Instead of just standing there, WHY DIDN’T THE RAW LUMBERJACKS JUST ATTACK THE ECW LUMERJACKS? The RAW and ECW guys got into a brawl during the match anyway, so why didn’t they stop Cena from getting beat up by attacking the ECW stars? The RAW stars looked like complete idiots.

Sabu did his triple-jump chair moonsault and the Arabian Facebuster. As mentioned, a brawl kicked off between the lumberjacks. Cena got involved and hit the FU on Stevie Richards into the crowd. Sabu attacked Cena with the chair and did one of his crazy chair throws into Cena’s face. A table was set up and Sabu was going for a dive but Cena cut him off by hitting him with a Singapore Cane. Cena FU’d Sabu through the table on the outside. Cena got a “You Fucked Up” chant after Sabu landed on his backside on the edge of the table. Sabu tapped to the STFU. Cena won.

It had only been two weeks or so since ECW was brought back full time, and it had already lost credibility coming off of Vengeance. RAW won two out of the three inter-promotional matches and Sabu tapped out to Cena. This was not a great night for ECW.

It was a decent match though, despite some questionable booking.

Match Rating: **3/4

 

RVD confronted Cena backstage and praised Cena for confronting the ECW locker room a week before and for taking the verbal abuse at ECW One Night Stand. He offered him a rematch for the WWE title on RAW the next night which Cena accepted.

NOTE: The match between RVD and Cena on RAW ended in a disqualification, when Edge jumped Cena. This lead to a triple threat match a week or two later, when Edge ended up winning RVD’s WWE Championship.

 

DX (Shawn Michaels and Triple H) vs Spirit Squad (Kenny, Johnny, Mitch, Nicky and Mikey)   

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DX got special fireworks for their entrance. Triple H and Shawn Michaels decided who was going to start with a good old game of rock, paper and scissors. Michaels chopped the hell out of Mitch. Mitch’s response was to throw perhaps the worst punches in professional wrestling history. These punches made Shane McMahon’s punches seem go great.  Things started breaking down at it appears that Johnny from the Spirit Squad got legitimately punched in the face during this as he was bleeding from the nose.

In one of the lamest parts of the show, Johnny got involved and put on a karate bandanna. This “scared” Shawn Michaels into tagging Triple H. Johnny then started demonstrating karate moves until Triple H punched him in the face. This lasted for at least a minute and it is a minute I cannot take back unfortunately. This made it onto a WWE pay-per-view. Think about that.

Triple H pulled down Johnny’s trousers to reveal… the rest of his gear. Mikey pulled an awesome face when Shawn Michaels dropped him on the barricade. To put into perspective how much of a joke this stable looked, it took four men to Irish whip Triple H into the steel steps. Shawn got the hot tag and dropped the elbow. As he was tuning up the band, the Spirit Squad got involved. They pulled out Shawn and Kenny hit him with the chair while the referee’s back was turned. Jim Ross pointed out that the referee couldn’t see it, which is why he couldn’t disqualify the Spirit Squad. I’d just like to point that HE COULD HEAR IT! Couldn’t have he just turned around, seen Kenny with the chair and Shawn Michaels down, and put two and two together?

The Spirit Squad took over as Mikey did a springboard bulldog using the trampoline. For a brief moment we got a dream match as Shawn Michaels took on Nicky, who would later become Dolph Ziggler. Shawn did a double elevating DDT to Johnny and Mitch. Triple H got the hot tag and ran wild. Mikey tried to do a springboard senton to Shawn Michaels, but Shawn moved out the way and Mikey launched himself into the rest of the Spirit Squad. Kenny was left alone in the ring with Shawn and Triple H. Triple H and Shawn both hit their finishers on two members of the Spirit Squad and got the pin. DX dominated the stable afterwards and DX had Mitch kiss Triple H’s arse. Vince McMahon congratulated them and told them that he would see them on RAW.

The match was what the fans wanted and they were popping big time for DX. It was rather childish at times but it worked with this crowd. It was a success as far as what it set out to accomplish but I’d hardly call it main-event worthy. It did seem a bit too cheesy to be a believable PPV main event but nevertheless, the crowd loved it.

Match Rating: **1/4

 

I have seen far worse pay-per-views in my life time than this one, but this seemed like a pay-per-view that should have been a lot better in execution. When you have the likes of Mick Foley, Ric Flair, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Edge, Rob Van Dam, Kurt Angle and Randy Orton all on the same show, you’d expect something much better. With that said, there was only one match which was really bad and that was the Umaga vs Eugene match. Everything else seemed fine but only a few of those matches seemed pay-per-view fine.

Retro Express – Taboo Tuesday 2005

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here. Welcome to the first edition of the Retro Express. It’s a brand new feature to the blog, with a new edition going up every Saturday. The Retro Express will see me review some old pay-per-views and wrestling events from the past. I’ve been looking forward to doing this. I bought a lot of old WWE PPV DVDs recently and I’m going to be going from there, reviewing these shows every week.

For the time being we’ll be going chronologically and we’ll end up probably jumping around after a while. We’re going to be kicking things off with Taboo Tuesday 2005. This was a RAW-exclusive show, which saw the fans vote on different matches. This was legitimate fan voting and you could vote on things like which wrestlers would get title shots or the stipulations of matches.

This took place during the SmackDown! vs RAW feud, with RAW general manager Eric Bischoff cancelling a SmackDown!-exclusive match at WWE Homecoming. This, and a SmackDown! vs RAW brawl at the end of the show, led to a tag team match being announced with the fans getting to decide SmackDown!’s participants. WWE Champion John Cena was also embroiled in a feud with Kurt Angle, with a third participant being voted in by the fans in their triple threat title match. Along with that, Triple H was feuding with Ric Flair after turning on him at the Homecoming.

Anyway, let’s get to it…

 

WWE Taboo Tuesday

Date: November 1st 2005

Brand: RAW

City: San Diego, California

Attendance: 6,000

 

Rey Mysterio and Matt Hardy vs Snitsky and Chris Masters

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This was Joey Styles’ WWE debut as a commentator. He had appeared at the ECW One Night Stand event but this was the first time that Joey showed up on a proper WWE event where he really had to fit into the sports entertainment realm. I thought he did a fine job in this pay-per-view. He actually mentioned that this was supposed to be a one-off appearance from him but he was made the permanent RAW play-by-play commentator shortly after this, so I’m guessing he really did impress WWE during this.

The promoted match was Edge and Chris Masters against two members of SmackDown! Matt Hardy and Rey Mysterio won the vote to get into the match, which was highly expected. Matt and Rey both got really big pops, with Rey being the San Diego home town hero. Edge backed out of the match but made sure to bury everyone on the show before he left! He buried Matt and Rey, he buried RAW and buried the fans. He said he didn’t care about what the fans voted for and that he only cared about himself. So apparently, he didn’t care about Lita who was standing right next to him!

It was kind of a bummer that Edge was pulled from this match as Edge being in was the main reason why Matt Hardy got as many votes as he did. Matt probably would have been second anyway, but it did add to the promotion of the match. Snitsky was his replacement.

There was two referees for this match, one from RAW and one from SmackDown!. This was an average tag match. There was a decent looking spot where Chris Masters countered Rey’s bulldog by just slamming Rey into the ground. Matt got the hot tag and ran wild for a bit. There was one really botched spot where Matt was attempting a superplex on Snitsky but Snitsky couldn’t properly get up from it. Therefore Snitsky came crashing down to the mat in a dangerous-looking manner, with it looking like a top rope DDT. Matt didn’t seem happy with this as he was angrily shaking his head afterwards.

I’ll have to give Matt credit because he was good in this match and tried his hardest to get a good match out of Snitsky and Masters. Matt tried to fight them both off, with Rey just laying on the ropes and watching on! Masters locked on the front face-lock on the ground, where Masters kept slamming his knee on the mat. It was strange because Masters’ knees were nowhere near Matt’s head but Matt kept selling as if Masters hit him with them. A bit of miscommunication on that one.

There were “We Want Christian” chants. I actually think this was the show where Christian left WWE so at least people cared about him while he was on his way out. Rey got the hot tag. The fans went nuts. There was one cool spot where Snitsky countered Rey Mysterio’s tornado DDT and shoved him into the Masterlock from Chris Masters. That was pretty awesome and really well executed. Rey was able to push Masters to the mat with his shoulders down. The SmackDown! referee made the count but the RAW referee stopped him. There was some weird botchy looking sunset flip that Mysterio tried on Masters. The fans were really into the match for the finish. Mysterio hit the 619, Matt hit the Twist of Fate and Mysterio hit the splash for the pin.

I liked this match. Mysterio and Matt Hardy were a great babyface team and the chemistry was there between them. I would call this match slightly better than average. It was disappointing that Edge wasn’t wrestling but these four gave us the best match they could so I can’t complain. You could tell that Matt and Rey were both really trying hard for this. This gets a thumbs up from me. Good job!

Match Rating: **3/4

Mick Foley had a backstage segment with Maria. Mick and Maria got their costumes mixed up. Maria then started to undress in front of Mick to give him his clothes back. Maria told him to have a nice day to which Mick responded with “I think you’ve just given me one.”

 

Rob Conway and Tomko vs Eugene and Jimmy Snuka

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This wasn’t all that great. The fans voted for Eugene’s tag team partner. There is one thing which I want to mention when they were about to announce the winner. They did camera shots of the three options, which were Jimmy Snuka, Kamala and Hacksaw Jim Duggan. I was never able to vote for the Taboo Tuesday events but if I were to have voted on this one, Hacksaw Jim Dugggan would have gotten my vote by leaps and bounds. Anyway, he was the highlight of this announcement when the camera cut to him and he simply said “I want to beat somebody up!” That was awesome! Hacksaw is a loud and proud man!

Snuka won the vote with 43% of the vote. Jimmy really didn’t do anything in this match until the finish. Eugene did his usual antics. Joey Styles couldn’t help but mention REPEATEDLY that Rob Conway had a picture of himself on his trunks. Styles said that this reminded him of Rick Rude. One of the rare instances where you could ever compare Rob Conway to Rick Rude!  Eugene turned Conway inside out with the clothesline. Snuka got the hot tag, which was really more like a mildly warm tag. He and Eugene headbutted Conway a few times. Snuka hit the Superfly Splash and pinned him. Tomko attacked Snuka after the match. Hacksaw ran down to the ring and Kamala wobbled down to the ring. Hacksaw and Kamala beat up the heels.

This was hardly a grand spectacle but it was your typical legend spotlight match in WWE. It was poor but it wasn’t a total disaster. There was not a lot they could have done with this at the end of the day. Snuka could do little other than to hit the Superfly splash and do headbutts. What else did you expect from him in 2005?

Match Rating: *1/2

 

Mankind vs Carlito

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At around this point in the show, I noticed the dramatic rise in Todd Grisham’s voice when going through these choices! It was just great as when he was doing it, it was reminding me of when he used to tell “it’s time for the MAIN EVENT” on the show “Bottom Line.” I always loved it when he would yell that and he actually yelled it out when he was going through the main event vote! That was awesome.

The vote was between Mick Foley’s personas, with Mankind winning the vote with 52%. Let me talk about the video package they aired AFTER the votes were announced. This happened a few times during the show. The video package they showed still promoted the options as if the fans could still vote on them. Obviously they couldn’t, which made the timing of the video packages seem way off. For this one, they showed a promo from RAW where Mick was acting like all three personas despite the fact that Mankind had already been announced as the winner.

For this match, it might not have seen like a big deal. However, they also did this with the WWE Championship match later on. After Shawn Michaels was voted into the match, they showed the video package also promoting Kane and the Big Show (who were the other options in the voting). Shouldn’t they show these video packages BEFORE the voting results were announced?

The highlight of the commentary from this was Jerry Lawler asking “What is it when you have multiple personality disorder?” and Joey Styles simply replied with “You have multiple personalities.” Joey Styles being on top of his game as usual!

I’ll actually talk about Joey Styles for bit because I thought he did a great job during this pay-per-view. However, I thought Joey was probably more excited than he probably should have been for this match. This match did not scream excitement to me. Then again he showed more excitement in this one night than Michael Cole and JBL have in the last year, so I can’t fault him greatly for that.

Mick Foley was very slow in this match. Carlito wasn’t too great and even put on this awful looking sleeper-hold on Mick. Mick reversed it and started his comeback. Mick did the elbow drop to the outside and hit the Double Arm DDT. Mick followed it up by using a Mr Socko that was styled to look like Carlito. Mick won the match with it.

The fans were excited for this to a degree. I thought it was pretty bland and I REALLY shouldn’t be saying that about a Mick Foley match. I think the issue was that at this point in his career, Mick had been through a great deal and was very slow at this point in his life. Therefore, him doing a normal match with Carlito was just not going to have a great effect. Mick needed a lot of smoke and mirrors to help cover up his immobility a little. The whole match was really about Mick, so he needed to be presented well. If this was given a no disqualification stipulation or something, I feel this might have been much better. That’s why Mick was able to have such a good match with Edge in the hardcore match at Wrestlemania 22. Mick having a singles match with Carlito of all people just didn’t look good.

Match Rating: **

 

Eric Bischoff was on the phone when Vince McMahon arrived. Vince was excited to see the RAW vs SmackDown! match but it had already happened. My only issue with this, from a storyline perspective, is that how did VINCE MCMAHON not know the result or the position of the match on the card? I know it was all a part of a joke but it’s just interesting when thinking about the logic of the whole thing. Vince was very upset with Eric for RAW losing on a RAW-exclusive pay-per-view and Eric claimed that Teddy Long was cheating. Vince was sick of hearing Eric’s excuses and told Eric that he wasn’t going to help him. Vince told Eric that he was on his own and told Eric to “go do something about it.” This was your typical angry Vince promo I guess.

As mentioned, Todd Grisham was going through the voting for the main event. The scheduled main event was John Cena defending the WWE Championship against Kurt Angle and someone voted in by the fans. The choices were Shawn Michaels, Kane and Big Show. Shawn won with 46% of the vote. Really no surprises about the voting. Shawn’s awkward reaction after being voted in was so awesome when stood next to these two angry monsters!

 

Lance Cade (c) and Trevor Murdoch (c) vs Kane and Big Show for the World Tag Team Championship

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As consolation for not being voted into the WWE title match, Big Show and Kane were given tag title shots against Trevor Murdoch and Lance Cade. At the time, the announce table for RAW was positioned to the right of the titantron. This resulted in the announcers being right next to the fireworks as they are set off. This was Joey Styles’ first time experiencing this. When Kane came out, Joey just shouted and I mean SHOUTED, “Good lord, that’s hot!” Joey then said “I think I just crapped my pants!” The funny thing is that I would probably have a much worse reaction to sitting right next to the flames when Kane came out!

Joey started doing the “what” gimmick at the start of the match. I was rather annoyed by this. Trevor Murdoch’s in-ring mannerisms were pretty great during this match. At the start of the match, Trevor was stuck between Big Show on the outside and Kane in the ring. This resulted in Trevor throwing a temper tantrum in the ring in the same manner as a child! Joey called Kane a “sportsman” for picking up Trevor by the throat. That was pretty funny.

What was great about Big Show and Kane beating up Lance Cade is that Trevor Murdoch sold this beating better and he was on the apron! Big Show did two slaps to the chest of Cade. After the second slap, Kane did a little backwards shuffle to the ring post! Seeing KANE of all people do this put such a smile on my face.

Kane’s reactions were great too. Kane was just stood on the apron laughing as Big Show was beating Cade and Murdoch. Some people will argue that Kane looked a bit too “human” in this match but at least he was having fun while he was out there. If the talent is enjoying the match itself, then at least it shows that they’re into it. That gives it a boost when the people in the match are enjoying it, even if it does break character a little.

Kane got in a big boot which somehow managed to hit Lance Cade in the leg. Cade and Murdoch hit the “Sweet and Sour” on the outside to start getting the heat. Big Show got the hot tag. Trevor Murdoch started staring at the Big Show in the ring as Kane was making his way to the top rope for a clothesline. Trevor then turned to Kane and screamed, “Awwwww!” They totally should have done something with Trevor back in the day!

Kane and Big Show hit the double chokeslam on Lance Cade for the win. They became World Tag Team Champions. Trevor got a double chokeslam himself during the post-match interview. This was a fine match. The crowd were into it and I was into it. I thought that Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch didn’t get enough heat on Kane for Big Show’s hot tag to have a greater effect. I think that if Cade and Murdoch weren’t going to get a lot of heat on Kane and Big Show, then it should just been an outright squash. At least if they did that, Cade and Murdoch could argue that they were unprepared for Kane and Big Show. Then at least, Cade and Murdoch wouldn’t have looked so bad.

Regardless, I thought it was a decent match. This night needed a title change to show the fans that their vote could actually have a lot of impact. Then again, Kane and Big Show weren’t actually voted in the match! They caused an impact but it was not by design I guess!

Match Rating: **1/4

 

Vader was “working out” backstage when Goldust showed up. Jonathan Coachman gave them both a pep-talk as he was set to face Batista later on in the show. Yes, Coach gave VADER AND GOLDUST a pep talk! Let that sink in. Coach said this was going to be the start of great things and that soon enough, he would win the WWE Championship.

Todd Grisham revealed the votes for the “Fulfil Your Fantasy” match. The entrants for this match were Women’s Champion Trish Stratus, Mickie James, Victoria, Candice Michelle, Ashley and Maria. The fans got to decide what the women were wearing. Lingerie won with 43% of the votes. This was the part of the show when I somehow came to the conclusion that Todd Grisham sounded like Chris Evans from the One Show and the new Top Gear. I don’t know if any British fans have thought this when watching back at Todd Grisham’s finest moments. It was mostly when he was yelling where I drew the comparison. Very strange.

 

Batista vs Jonathan Coachman w/Goldust and Vader

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The stipulations for this match was no holds barred, verbal debate and an arm-wrestling content. No holds barred won by a landslide. This was a shame as I would have loved to have seen a verbal debate! The match started with Goldust and Vader in the ring and Coach on the apron. Goldust did some great over-selling when being punched in the face repeatedly by Batista! They managed to overwhelm Batista in the corner. Yes, two old-timers were able to overwhelm the WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION Batista. Even though SmackDown! won the opening match, it did suck that the brand’s champion was reduced to being briefly out-matched by Vader and Goldust of all people.

Goldust started using the kendo sticks as the heels took over. Coach started whipping Batista in the back with a belt. Batista made the comeback and the crowd loved it. Batista started whipping everybody with the belt. He hit a big spinebuster on Vader and an awful-looking one on Goldust. He hit Coach with the Batista Bomb to get the win.

I’d put this match over the Snuka/Eugene vs Tomko/Conway match only because the crowd was a lot more into it. The crowd does play a big part my opinions of a match and they cared about Batista here. With that being said, it was not too great. Vader did not look in good in-ring shape at all and Goldust was certainly not at his best in this match. However, the fans still got into it which does add to the whole deal for me. Maybe it’s fairer to put in on par with Snuka/Eugene vs Tomko/Conway, since it wasn’t the fault of the likes of Eugene and Conway that the fans weren’t into their match. For this match, the biggest redeeming quality was the reactions of the crowd.

Match Rating: *1/2

 

Todd Grisham interviewed Shawn Michaels. Michaels felt great to be voted into the WWE title match later and to be the “popular kid in school.” Kurt Angle interrupted and tried to form a partnership for the triple threat. He tried to entice HBK with the prospect of finally settling their feud by taking out Cena. It was actually a very compelling pitch by Angle! Shawn said he’d think about it.

 

Trish Stratus (c) vs Maria vs Ashley vs Mickie James vs Victoria vs Candice Michelle in a Fulfil Your Fantasy Battle Royal for the Women’s Championship

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I have to give all the credit in the world to Victoria in this match. A report came out a few months ago about how Victoria was being considered for the WWE Hall of Fame. Now granted a lot of names for women going in were brought up, including Mickie James for that matter. For Victoria, I wasn’t sure whether I’d call her career “Hall of Fame worthy” and whether she’d be a good pick. This match made me realise what a fool I had been.

Victoria put on an incredible performance during this match and did everything she could to make this seem like a legitimate match. Now usually, the quality of these sorts of matches don’t really matter as it’s really put together to be eye candy for the fans. Victoria wanted the match to stand out on its own merit and it did. Trish and Mickie also worked very hard during this, but Victoria played a prominent part in the structure of the match. She worked her arse of and it made me realise how great Victoria had been during her career and how much she cared about putting on a good match. If you care about putting on the best performance you can, that amounts to a lot in my book. All of a sudden, this match was transformed into a legitimately good match between some of the best women of the roster.

There were a few issues and limitations with the women involved but it was still a decent match considering what the purpose of the match was supposed to be. Maria came out to, what would end up being, Alicia Fox’s theme. Caught me off guard. The storyline going in was that Mickie James was Trish’s biggest fan so she was helping her idol. They worked together to eliminate Maria.

Ashley eliminated Candice after Candice started dancing on the apron. Victoria catapulted Ashley over. The finish saw Mickie spear Victoria through the ropes to cause both women to hit the mat. Remember that for women’s matches, eliminations through the ropes counted. This meant that Trish won. Mickie had sacrificed herself to help Trish retain the title. The spot did look like it hurt both girls like. They both landed funny and Mickie was holding onto her arm afterwards.

Trish was interviewed after the match by Todd Grisham. Mickie James cut her off to talk about how great Trish was. Mickie was so great in this role as a super fan! They could have done this storyline with anyone but they went with Mickie, who just suit the role really well.

It was a decent match mostly because of the work by Trish and Victoria. The other girls did OK and didn’t really mess anything up and it was fine.

Match Rating: **

 

Ric Flair (c) vs Triple H in a Steel Cage match for the Intercontinental Championship

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The options for this were a regular match, submission match and a cage match. The cage match got 83% of the vote. That was the match that Flair begged for on RAW a few weeks ago so there was no surprises.

Flair got the advantage early on. Triple H took over and he got the heat on Ric Flair for a LONG time. He busted open Flair by smashing him head-first into the cage. Flair was stuck between the ropes and cage when Triple H splashed him him. It was kind of funny seeing Triple H doing a Stinger Splash!
Triple H continued to decimate Ric Flair. Triple H went to escape but Flair cut him off. They battled on the top rope until they both fell down on the ropes. There was a lot
of “groin-based” attacks in this match. Triple H got a chain from the top of the cage. He tried a fist drop off the top rope with the chain but Flair put his foot up. Flair went for the Figure Four but Triple H hit him with the chain. Triple H went for the Figure Four but Flair was able to counter it. Triple H went for it again but Flair kicked Triple H into the cage. This was where the match turned around for Flair.

Triple H was busted open and Flair bit him. Joey Styles said that “Payback was a bloody bitch.” Something not quite right with what he said! Flair worked on the quad that Triple H tore previously as stated by Joey Styles. Flair went for the Figure Four but Triple H threw the ref over Flair. Flair tried to escape. This led to Flair SUCCESSFULLY jumping off the top rope! I marked out when Flair landed it in one of the rare instances where Flair successfully jumped off the top.

Flair low-blowed Triple H and tried to go through the cage door. Triple H stopped him but Flair brought a chair back into the cage with him.Triple H tried to use the chair but Flair grabbed Triple H by the nuts for a worryingly long time. Triple H went for the Pedigree but Flair back-dropped Triple H onto the chair. Flair hit Triple H with the chair three times and then escaped. I thought this was a bit of an anti-climatic finish but it was a pretty great match. It was boring at times but it was definitely one of the best matches of the show. They were going with the angle that Flair kept getting back up and getting back up and it worked in getting Flair such a big reaction when he won. It was a fine cage match.

Match Rating: ***1/4

 

John Cena (c) vs Kurt Angle vs Shawn Michaels in a triple threat match for the WWE Championship

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There were a few boos for Cena early on. If you’ll remember from earlier, Angle had tried to form a partnership with Michaels. Too prove how much of a heel he was, Angle turned on Shawn Michaels in the first two seconds of the match!

There were small “Cena sucks” chants and the negative reactions for Cena slowly grew during the match. There were a lot of people that loved Cena as well though and I’d think it was pretty much 75% for Cena to 25% against Cena. Mostly a pro-Cena crowd with the exception of the times where Angle and HBK eventually teamed up on Cena.

It was obvious to everyone that Michaels was getting voted into the match but there were signs that there wasn’t a great deal of communication between all three men. There were a few spots that were slightly botched up. There was surprisingly some between Angle and Michaels when they were brawling at the start. Angle was going for the spot where Michaels was supposed to miss with the punch and Angle would hit the German Suplex. However, Michaels didn’t really follow through with his attack so it seemed like they messed up. It wasn’t a major spot to mess up but it’s interesting when considering that Michaels was the big favourite to get voted in.

John Cena threw Angle over the rope and Angle was somehow able to land on his feet. I mentioned miscommunication earlier on and this was clear when Cena did a horrible job in selling a clothesline for Shawn Michaels. Angle took over with suplex after suplex which got a huge reaction. There was an awesome sequence when Angle went for the Angle Slam on Michaels, but Michaels reversed it into the sunset flip. Kurt reversed that into the Ankle lock  and Michaels pushed Kurt into Cena who went for the FU. Angle then pushed Cena into Michaels, who went for the Super Kick. Cena caught the leg and clotheslined Michaels. Awesome spot where all three men went for their finishers and they all looked good during this little portion of the match.

HBK and Angle started to team up on Cena to huge reactions, as mentioned earlier. They threw him into the ring post. They double-suplexed him face first onto the announce table. That took Cena out of the ball-game for a while.

It was down to Angle and HBK and it turned into a very nice wrestling match between the two of them. HBK and Angle immediately attacked each other and Kurt eventually took over. Angle hit the knee lift and Shawn jumped into the air as part of an awesome oversell from the Heartbreak Kid. Angle hit a top rope Angle Slam but Michaels kicked out. Cena did a comeback and got a big pop and some boos. Cena went for the five knuckle shuffle but Angle stopped him and pulled him out of the ring. Michaels then pulled off a diving rolling senton to the outside which looked wacky and awesome at the same time!

There were suddenly big “let’s go Angle” chants. Angle belly-to-belly suplexed Michaels to the outside. Cena hit the five knuckle shuffle on Angle and went for the FU but Angle locked on the Ankle lock. Cena kept trying to kick Angle off of him but Angle kept it locked on. Michaels went up to the turnbuckle and did an elbow drop to break it up. The issue is that Michaels took forever to get up on the turnbuckle and do the move. As Angle had this ankle lock on Cena for about a minute, Cena could have easily tapped out and Michaels hardly went up to the top with any immediacy. Michaels super-kicked Angle and Cena hit the FU on Michaels to win the match.

This was a good main event. Michaels and Angle worked hard. I cannot say that this was a strong performance from Cena as there was a few spots where Cena looked off to me. When you’re in there with guys like Michaels and Angle, it did make up for these botches. I think this was probably the best match of the night and it was a good way to end the show.

Match Rating: ***3/4

 

Taboo Tuesday was an OK pay-per-view. The main event and Triple H vs Ric Flair were the two highlights that really stood out but there were a few underrated matches in this show. I enjoyed the divas match and the opener. I could have done without Batista/Coach and the tag match with Eugene, Snuka, Tomko and Conway, but at least the crowd was into those matches to some degree. The crowd was mostly fine. Probably an enjoyable experience if you were there in the building. To me, not that strong of a pay-per-view but Taboo Tuesday was never really considered to be a big pay-per-view. My expectations going in wasn’t great but it did slightly surpass them. Not a bad show at all.