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.

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EXTREME WARFARE REVENGE: Random Moment – Rob Van Dam On Dan Severn

This was something class that made me laugh looking back! Basically in an old WWF game I did, Rob Van Dam had to work Dan Severn on an episode of RAW. Sadly, Van Dam didn’t take too kindly to former WWF star and UFC fighter Dan Severn working to stiff!

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Hehe! There’s gonna be some backstage heat on that blue chipper Dan Severn!

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So yeah! A bit of an update. EWR content coming soon! Watch this space!

Follow @ArmbarExpress on Twitter!

Wrestling Flashback – Rob Van Dam Wins The WWE Championship

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2006 was a… odd year in WWE. Odd in that there was a lot of noise and buzz to get excited about, but not a lot of action. I mean, it was a momentous year with DX reuiniting, the Rey Mysterio underdog title reign etc. But ultimately, it didn’t pay off as well as WWE anticipated. Mysterio look incredibly weak as champion and DX wasn’t quite the same as it was before. And with the exceptions of like Kurt Angle vs Undertaker at No Way Out, there wasn’t a lot of marque quality matches to shout about in WWE at this time. However, one match that really stood out from this year was perhaps the genesis of the completely new direction for John Cena and the spawn of something that was supposed to be… EXTREMELY beautiful. Yes, it was the Hammerstein Ballroom. Yes, it was One Night Stand. And yes, it was Rob Van Dam vs John Cena for the WWE Championship.

With ECW coming back full-time, WWE had to do something in order to make seem as legitimate competition to RAW and SmackDown! So along with big-names like Big Show and Kurt Angle, they returned Rob Van Dam to the land of extreme. But there was one HUGE factor that made this move all the more interesting, RVD’s Money In The Bank contract.

RVD successfully captured the Money In The Bank briefcase at Wrestlemania 22, with the chance to cash in for any world championship at any time. But what made this cash-in all the more intriguing was the decision by Van Dam to let the champion he planned to cash-in on, John Cena, know in advance when the title match would take place – ECW One Night Stand 2006.

With the title match for the WWE Championship in the place, Van Dam had the chance to not only become the first ECW Champion of the new ECW but also win the WWE Title for the first time and hold both belts at the same time. John Cena was not gonna let that happen, but the Doctor of Thuganomics got more than he bargained for at the Hammerstein Ballroom.

Sometimes the crowd really does make the match. Sometimes a match can be considered a five star match, purely because of the fan response to it. Think of Hollywood Hogan vs The Rock at Wrestlemania 18. One of the most memorable matches in Wrestlemania history. A technical classic? Far from. But the fans didn’t care. The fans MADE that match extraordinary. The anti-Rock crowd and the extremely over Hogan set a new standard into fans cheering who they wanna cheer for, no matter if they’re the good guy or the bad guy. However, Van Dam vs Cena was not good vs evil and they just didn’t like the god guy, the fans just REALLY didn’t like Cena!

Cena had been booed at the Hall of Fame that year and was the less-than-favorable fan favorite in his match with Triple H at Wrestlemania, but these fans oozed with hate for Cena. A true indicator of a huge minority that disapproved of good old John Cena. These fans MADE this match.

However, I’m not taking away anything from Cena or RVD. This match was a very good match. Even if a lot of the match was just them standing and responding to the fans, there was a lot to like about this one.

Now the finish. The referee was down when the table was set up in the corner. As Cena was getting Van Dam up, a man in a biker helmet and jacket speared Cena through the table. Surprise, surprise, it was Edge!

Edge was the number one contender for the WWE Title for the Vengeance PPV and earlier on in the show, led an anti-ECW tirade with Lita and Mick Foley. So it was amazing how the ECW faithful had suddenly forgiven him with “Thank You Edge” chants! But this moment wasn’t Edge’s, it was Van Dam’s…

As RVD hit the Frog Splash and Tazz pretty much said “Alright, we’ll take it!”, there was no referee. That was when the creator of ECW, Paul Heyman, ran down to make the count and Van Dam was declared the winner.

Van Dam had won his first World title and what a night to do it on. This was a TRUE ECW moment, even if it was a WWE product at the time. At this moment, ECW was on top of the world, and Van Dam was the King of Extreme!

If you were to ask me what I thought the match of the year was in 2006, I’d tell you it was this one. Strong contenders include Kurt Angle’s matches with Samoa Joe and Undertaker this year, but this match had the good in-ring action, a quality finish and a fanbase that just made this moment magical. And it was a true game-changer for the Cena character. Gone was the idea that Cena was beloved by all. The only thing that was beloved at that moment was ECW…

WWE RAW results: Slammys take over RAW as TLC is just six days away

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Following a number of intern general managers in charge of the show, things got changed up a notch with the annual Slammy Awards to reward the very best WWE had to offer this year.

And it kicked off with Slammy host Seth Green being introduced by Jerry Lawler. Seth was cut off by The Miz and Damien Mizdow acting all Hollywood buddies with Green. Green responded by putting Mizdow over, referring to him as an A-Lister rather than Miz. Of course, the crowd popped. And of course, Miz got upset. While Mizdow stuck the role, he couldn’t help but signal Seth to “call him” before he departed off the set and again on Twitter later on!

Green stuck around to announce the nominees for the “This Is Awesome” moment of the year, including Daniel Bryan occupying RAW and Stephanie McMahon getting arrested. But before the winner was announced, Dolph Ziggler took on Mr Money In The Bank Seth Rollins. This was a very short match but these two do have good chemistry. However, I have to say the ending seemed to make Ziggler seem weak as the stooges got involved, causing Seth Rollins to hit a simple curb stomp for the victory. Not to down-grade the Curb Stomp but considering how much Ziggler went through at Survivor Series, this loss did Ziggler few favours leading into his ladder match with Luke Harper at TLC.

Getting back to the award, it was Sting’s debut at Survivor Series that got the “This Is Awesome” slammy, which prompted Seth to do his best “angry-heel” impression by calling out Sting for getting rid of the Authority. He accepted the award of Stinger’s behalf.

Kofi Kingston represented the “New Day” as he took on Stardust, following the promo cut on the New Day by Gold and Stardust on SmackDown! On paper, this is a very appealing match. But with limited time on television to perform, there was little either man could do to really deliver. The match had a real bland ending to it as well as Kofi got the pin off a crossbody,, giving the New Day to win. Two members of the New Day will fight the Golden duo on the TLC pre-show and I do hope that whoever’s in the match for the New Day, along with Gold and Stardust, get a chance to do a lot more to really put on a show. It’s also a chance for WWE to sell the New Day gimmick, as it seemed not a lot of people were really interested in it tonight. Few people got in with the “New Day” chants and it’ll be a hard deal for WWE to sell. Let’s see if they can do something to spice things up.

One of my personal favourite general managers of all time, “Big Johnny” John Laurinaitis returned to WWE to present the Surprise Return of the Year slammy. I already have a problem with the naming of the award. It just bothered me that they called it the “Surprise” return of the year as all the nominations, except The Rock, had their returns announced beforehand! But anyway, the Ultimate Warrior fittingly won the award.

We had a good little backstage back-and-forth from Paul Heyman and Seth Rollins. Seth threatened to cash in Money In The Bank on Heyman’s client WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar, while Heyman suggested that Rollins focus on making sure John Cena is put in the past before he can become the future of WWE. The segment pretty much set in motion a Slammy win for Lesnar later on.

NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte had a chance to shine on RAW for the first time as she took on Natalya in a non-title match. Better than your average divas match on RAW, but nothing particularly interesting. Natalya got the win with husband Tyson Kidd trying to steal the spotlight. Good to see these women on the show

Santino presented the award for the “OMG Shocking Moment of the Year”. Despite the likes of Seth Rollins selling out the Authority being on the list, nothing could top Brock Lesnar conquering Undertaker’s undefeated Streak at Wrestlemania. But before Paul could cut a promo, Bray Wyatt made his way down to the ting. You know if you’re cutting a Paul Heyman promo that something good should happen.

A solid promo as usual by Bray Wyatt hyping up his TLC match with Dean Ambrose leads to Dean making his way into the arena in an ambulance. He attacks Wyatt, declaring that he would become the monster and would eat Bray alive. Not much said by Dean but not a lot needed to be said – war is coming this Sunday at TLC.

Jerry Lawler returned to the stage to present the Diva of the Year. AJ Lee ended up winning, which I’m not so sure was the right choice. But regardless, AJ did a tremendous job in putting over losing nominee Paige her acceptance speech as well as the likes of Emma and a number of NXT divas. AJ’s looking to the future but stated her desire to become to rule as the queen of the division. Nice little promo from Lee. In spite of all the CM Punk chants which tried to ruin this moment, AJ cut a good promo and did an awesome job putting over a lot of the divas.

Speaking of cutting good promos, John Cena actually did a good job hyping up his match with Big Show. He mentions Vince McMahon saying on Steve Austin’s podcast that all the stars needed to step up and John said he would step up to take care of the “traitor” Big Show.

Now we move on to Erick Rowan vs Luke Harper. First of all, where was the hype video for this match? A match as highly-anticipated as this was, should have had like a mention from commentary a lot sooner. Not that the match was designed to be a big deal – Luke Harper got disqualified early on from hitting Erick Rowan with a ladder. The brawl that ensued was nice to see to make up for the extremely short match. I would love it if this two started a huge program soon. This has potential.

The LOL moment of the year was awarded by Adam Rose, who was acting heelish declaring that he should have hosted the Slammys. Despite by demands on Twitter that the Hornswoggle vs El Torito WeeLC match should have won this, Damien Mizdow reeked the awards. But of course, The Miz had to take all the credit for Mizdow! Anyway, Miz and Mizdow would still be in action later on (which begs the question of whether we saw Mizdow and Miz a little too much?)

The same old Rusev and Lana routine was replayed as Swagger looked to avenge Zeb Colter after Rusev “broke his leg”. This segment actually made Swagger look real stronger against Rusev. But I just hope he looks strong in their match at TLC.

Ryback teamed with the Usos to take on Kane, The Miz and Damien Mizdow. Even though this was Damien’s third time on the show, the fans still wanted Mizdow! And Mizdow was a delight to watch! The highlight was Damien flipping over to imitate a suplex onto the Miz! Mizdow also threw himself out when Miz was thrown out which was funny. This six-man tag team match was actual a decent match, despite being a bit short. However, having said that, It was a lot a longer than most of matches on this show! So I give these guys credit.

Ricky Steamboat awarded Match of the Year, which was given to the Team Authority vs Team Cena Survivor Series match. Like most of Twitter at the time, I believe that The Shield’s match with the Wyatts at Elimination Chamber should have been a nomination and it should have won. But regardless, Ziggler was able to accept it and cut a nice promo about his performance at the PPV.

AJ Lee v Summer Rae was a decent but short match, which has been the story for a lot of these matches tonight. It’s a shame, because a lot of these matches had the potential to be a lot better if given the appropriate TV time.

Rob Van Dam, looking mighty dapper in his suit, presented the Extreme Moment of the Year which went to Chris Jericho jumping off the cage onto Bray Wyatt. Interesting to note, Jericho was announced as next week’s guest host. I dig that. Jericho’s back on television and he would be part of a highly-energetic RAW just after TLC.

Booker T awarded the final award of the night. He awarded the “Superstar Of The Year” award. I’m surprised Randy Orton was not a nomination for this award when the likes of Daniel Bryan, who had wrestled for about five months before being injured, were. It’s a shame that Orton didn’t get a mention, but maybe it was WWE trying not to draw attention to Orton while he’s away. Shockingly to me, Roman Reigns won the award. He’s had a great year though, and he put everybody on notice that he would be back soon.

The main event featured John Cena taking on the man that knocked him out at Survivor Series, The Big Show. I realized this just before the match. This was the exact same main event as the RAW before TLC from two years ago, when Show took on Cena and the Shield broke it up. The match itself was not a show stealer to say this least, with the match being really slow paced. A few big feats of strength from Cena got the fans popping including backdrops and Attitude Adjustments. Seth Rollins broke up the pin causing a disqualification. Eventually a huge brawl broke out. The likes of Ziggler, Rowan and Harper came out with remnants of the Authority and Team Cena brawling. There were a lot of good spots in this brawl actually, with Big Show chokeslamming Erick Rowan on the steel steps and Ziggler pushing Rollins off a ladder. In the end, Seth Rollins stood tall after delivering a Shield-like powerbomb to Cena with help from Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury. A good way to end RAW.

I think if you were tuning into RAW this week wanting more of the in-ring action, I think you were let down this week. A lot of the matches were very quick and not given nearly enough time to make an ever-lasting impression. However, I do think this Raw did a good job with hyping up TLC this Sunday which was one of its main objectives. The big brawl at the end especially gave this RAW some redemption as Tables, Ladders and Chairs arrives this Sunday!

2013 NoDQ.com Awards – My Vote For… 2013 Babyface/Heel of the Year

Two birds, one stone. Wrestling fans, I’m Tom Robinson. In one post we will be examining the NoDQ.com awards for the Babyface of the year and the heel of the year.

To check out my other NoDQ.com award posts, click here… https://thearmbarexpress.wordpress.com/category/nodq-com/

Let’s kick things off with the Babyface of the year…

Babyface Of The Year nominees are….

  • Daniel Bryan
  • John Cena
  • CM Punk
  • Chris Jericho
  • AJ Styles
  • Rob Van Dam

Now in order for me to decide which one of these was the babyface of the year, I have to decide which of these connected with the fans better, which of these got the better reactions and which of these did the best job at evoking the preferred reaction. Same rules apply to the heel of the year as well. And in my opinion, no-one has been more over with the fans than Daniel Bryan and Daniel knew all he had to do to get a reaction was shout “YES!”. As far as I’m concerned, Daniel Bryan wins this by a huge mile.

Winner: Daniel Bryan

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Heel Of The Year nominees are….

  • Bully Ray
  • Triple H
  • Dixie Carter
  • Brock Lesnar
  • Paul Heyman
  • Stephanie McMahon

Same rules apply here. Which of these guys did the best job at trying to evoke the reaction they desired and who actually got the best heat out of the six? There are a bunch of great contenders here. Triple H can be a REALLY good heel on his best day, but having just turned heel once more in the summer he still needs to let loose. It feels like he’s holding back by trying to play his corporate role too much. Someone like Paul Heyman knows how to evoke fan reactions. I mean he helped CM Punk A LOT with the means of getting heat. I mean, for someone as popular as CM Punk face or heel, for Heyman to get Punk as much heat as he did was simply incredible. Paul was as incredible a heel this year as he is every other year. For me, Paul Heyman wins.

Winner: Paul Heyman

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2013 NoDQ.com Awards – My Vote For… Comeback Of The Year

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Keep rollin’,  rollin’, rollin! My name is Tom Robinson and we continue with the NoDQ.com Awards list with Comeback Of The Year. The nominees are….

AJ Styles – The Phenomenal One missed the first couple of months of 2013, having taking a hiatus from TNA after losing a match which barred him from having a TNA World Title match until Bound For Glory. He returned in March, not choosing an allegiance of face or heel and just being a lone wolf in the battle between TNA and the Aces And Eights. AJ qualified for the Bound For Glory series after knocking off Kurt Angle and just made it to the final four of the tournament. AJ won the tournament after defeating Austin Aries in the semi-finals and Magnus in a final – securing a date with TNA World Champion Bully Ray at Bound For Glory.  AJ captured the world title at Bound For Glory. After winning the belt, AJ walked out of TNA and took the belt with him around the world.

Goldust – Goldust returned at the 2013 Royal Rumble in a one-time appearance, but was eliminated by his brother Cody. However, the brothers put their differences aside after Cody was fired from WWE in September. Goldust fought WWE Champion Randy Orton in an attempt to get Cody’s job back, but was unsuccessful. Goldust teamed with brother Cody to face The Shield at Battleground with not only their jobs on the line, but their father Dusty’s job on the line. Fighting for the family cause, the brothers defeated The Shield and would beat them again to capture the WWE Tag Team Titles! This was Goldust’s first title reign in more than 10 years!

Rey Mysterio – Rey Mysterio started off the year competing in the 2013 Royal Rumble, but was eliminated easily by Wade Barrett. Despite fighting hard to keep fit, his injury worries never seemed to stop this year. He missed the vast majority of 2013 with injury and it wasn’t until November when he returned to WWE television, helping the forces of light in the battle against The Wyatts and The Real Americans. But even then, he still seemed to be limping. Despite this, Rey has fought through the pain and the master of the 619 is back to stay from the looks of things!

Rob Van Dam – After leaving TNA following his loss of the X-Division Title, Van Dam found himself to be a free agent again after 3 years with TNA. But it wasn’t long until RVD made his long-awaited return to the WWE at Money In The Bank. And RVD showed no signs of slowing down as he showed he was still able to steal the show having some quality matches with the likes of Chris Jericho and Alberto Del Rio. While he finds himself not with the company right now, he might be set for a return in the near future!

Chris Jerich0 – At the start of the year, Chris Jericho shocked the world as he returned as entrant number 2 in the Royal Rumble. Having not been in action since August, Jericho showed no signs of ring-rust and was able to last 40+ minutes in the Rumble match. Jericho was able to make the final three of the Elimination Chamber match at Elimination Chamber as well. While suffering a undeserved loss to Fandango at Wrestlemania, Jericho got his revenge at Extreme Rules with a mid-air codebreaker for the ballroom dancer. Jericho would leave again at July, but not without giving us some 5 star matches with CM Punk and a stellar match with Rob Van Dam on RAW!

Chris Sabin – In May, Chris Sabin returned to TNA after 24 months of injury rehabilitation. It had been a long road to recovery for Sabin, not to mention that his tag team partner Alex Shelley had left TNA during that period. But Sabin seemed stronger than ever as it took him a month after his return to win the X-Division Champion at Slammiversary. Sabin would cash-in the title for a World Title match with Aces And Eights leader Bully Ray on IMPACT. Defying the odds, Sabin continued the precedent set by Austin Aries the year before by cashing in the title to successfully win the World Title for the first time! While his reign did not last long, Sabin’s hunt for gold didn’t stop as he would go on to capture the X-Division Title again at Bound For Glory. Despite not being X-Division Champion anymore, Sabin has a new-found drive for glory in him and 2013 has been a year Sabin will never forget.

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This is a tricky one because each of the six contenders all have legit claims to the award.

  • AJ had been nowhere near the TNA World Title after he lost it 3 YEARS earlier. And out of nowhere, AJ seemed to be one of the biggest things going in wrestling let alone TNA!
  • Goldust coming back actually seemed like a legit comeback after so many years away from active wrestling. I mean not only that but he helped Cody got over and actually won his first title in 10+ years. Great year for him.
  • Rey Mysterio had been battling injury all year and there were many people (including myself) who had been encouraging Rey to call it quits and retire before he got himself REALLY hurt. But Rey was still persistent. Rey was still fighting for his career and now he’s back ready to prove us wrong.
  • Rob Van Dam’s comeback generated a lot of buzz because it had been like 4 years since he was in a WWE ring.
  • Chris Jericho’s comeback was a shocker and pull-off really well.
  • And Chris Sabin had been battling with injuries for 2 years and he came back and won the TNA World Title.RAW_1069_Photo_274_crop_north

So it is tricky to decide. Probably the hardest one to decide in my opinion. I’m going to go with Rey Mysterio purely because of the fact that Rey was still fighting after all of the injuries and the doubters saying he should retire. He’s still determined to keep his career alive and you have to respect that. I think the return itself was a bit flat, I think the story behind it did sway me. I wasn’t actually gonna pick Rey until I thought about his struggle to comeback and I think that will be everyone’s deciding factors.

Winner: Rey Mysterio

Chris Jericho – Was He Ever “The One” In WWE?

NOTE: The following post is part two of a three-part series. The first part can be seen at this link.

Previously on the blog, I discussed whether Rob Van Dam was ever the “one” in WWE. This came after Triple H cut a promo on Daniel Bryan about why he would never be a star in WWE. Triple H said…

“Here’s the thing, Daniel.  I’ve seen guys like you come and go a million times.  Guys like Jericho, Edge, Rob Van Dam.  All guys that are very talented, don’t get me wrong.  Top guys!  Very popular!  But not ‘the one.’  Never were they ‘the one.’  And maybe nobody wants to say this, but it needs to be said: It’s a fact.  If any of those guys had been the face of the WWE back in the day, we’d all be working for Ted Turner right now.

You think you’re playing in the big leagues, kid?  You have no idea.  You step inside that Hell in a Cell and I have a feeling you’re gonna prove to the world that you’re a B+ player.”

Last time I talked about whether I thought Rob Van Dam was ever “the one”. Now it’s time to talk about Chris Jericho….

Chris Jericho

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Chris Jericho’s debut in WWE was monumental. When he debuted in 1999, joining from WCW, it had a huge impact. He confronted The Rock on his first night. That tells you quite something about how much stock they had in Chris Jericho. He kind of squandered for a while until he won the WWF Intercontinental Championship. It was then a gradual rise for Jericho from mid-card to the main event. Jericho was doing all the right things in the ring and on the mic, and the fans were well behind him. However, it was hard for Jericho to properly get a break considering the main event talent already there. It was going to be hard for Jericho to compete with Undertaker, Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin for the main event spotlight. He finally got his first major break as a main-eventer during the Invasion angle in 2001.

With Stone Cold Steve Austin heading the alliance and the likes of Chris Benoit and Triple H being injured, it was the perfect time for Jericho to step up. He had a great feud with The Rock which led to Jericho winning the WCW Championship at No Mercy. Although this was a big win, Jericho could never really get on par with fellow WWF member The Rock as a face. In WWF’s mind, The Rock was the star of Team WWF.

This eventually led to Jericho attacking The Rock during the Survivor Series match, turning heel for almost costing Team WWF the match. Jericho’s transition into a bad guy was smooth but his win as the first Undisputed Champion was even smoother…

He beat The Rock and Steve Austin on the same night at Vengeance 2001 to become the Undisputed Champion. He was the champion of the company and that night was all about Jericho. However, 2002 proved to be a problematic year for him. Hell, 2002 proved to be a problematic year for everyone in WWF/E. For you see, the amount of stars that debuted or returned to the WWE in the next year was incredible. The nWo, Shawn Michaels, Scott Steiner, Hulk Hogan… this was really the beginning of the end for Jericho’s reign on top.

Chris Jericho was in the main event of Wrestlemania X8. That would have been great if his match with Triple H was not completely over-shadowed by The Rock vs Hollywood Hogan. Really, Jericho never stood a chance. As soon as Jericho lost the title and the rematch, it was back to square one…

During the brand extension, Jericho was initially drafted to SmackDown! His feud with Edge on SmackDown! in 2002 proved to be a big hit until Jericho was moved over to RAW. Jericho’s move was made to help with the RAW ratings. However, Jericho was not really treated nearly as well as he would have been treated on SmackDown! Jericho had a few World title shots and did feud with the likes of Shawn Michaels and Bill Goldberg. He won a few Intercontinental and Tag Team titles but he was never really in a top singles main event feud on RAW until June 2005, when he feuded with WWE Champion John Cena. Even their match at Summerslam 2005 was overshadowed by the likes of Hogan vs Michaels. As it just so happened, this feud ended up being Jericho’s last for more than two years. For you see, Jericho quit the WWE in August after wrapping up the program.

Two years later, Jericho returned to the WWE in a big way. He returned to “save” the WWE and confronted WWE Champion Randy Orton in November 2007. It was an incredibly big angle which got a huge reaction, but his feud with Randy Orton didn’t even come to a great end. What happened was that in their title match at Armageddon, SmackDown! commentator JBL attacked Chris Jericho to cause the DQ. And to add a bit of insult to injury, this wasn’t even the main event of Armageddon!

Until he turned heel in June 2008, Jericho was never truly able to recover. However, his heel turn and feud with Shawn Michaels changed everything. In what was by far the feud of the year, Michaels and Jericho were simply phenomenal together. It was compelling to see Jericho as a heel. In my eyes, Chris Jericho was the top heel in the company in the second half of 2008. His feud with Michaels even turned into a World title feud after Jericho won the World title. He was not the face of the company or anything, but he was certainly the top heel of the company. He was the star of RAW. WWE had been priming Randy Orton to return as the top heel in the company but this was Jericho’s time to shine. That run on top came to an end when he lost the World title to John Cena at Survivor Series 2008.

Jericho still continued to be incredible on RAW and then on SmackDown! when he was traded in 2009. He had a lot of incredible programs but he was still floating around in the mid-card to upper mid-card position on the card. Eventually, Jericho was rewarded for his hard work in February 2010. Chris Jericho defeated the Undertaker in an Elimination Chamber match to win the World Heavyweight Championship. This was all fine but Jericho would end up losing the title on an episode of SmackDown! only two months later after Jack Swagger cashed in Money In The Bank. By the way, Jericho’s World Title defence at Wrestlemania 26 was not the main event of that show either! I guess when the match card includes the epic rematch between Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker, no one would have even came close.

After leaving once again in September 2010, Jericho was not seen in January 2012. He came back as the odds-on favourite to win the Royal Rumble match. After all the hype that had went into this return, Jericho was beaten by Sheamus in the final two of the Rumble match. Regardless, Jericho was still entered into a WWE Championship program with CM Punk anyway. Chris Jericho and CM Punk had a great match at Wrestlemania 28, but the focus was once again on a match that wasn’t even for a title. The Rock vs John Cena. Sucks to be both men in that situation.

Jericho’s been a multi-time World Champion and has probably been one of the greatest workers of all time. However, Jericho was just very unfortunate during his times as champion. There was never really a time for Jericho to grab all the attention. Jericho was never really “the one” in WWE. However, he will truly go down forever as one of the best wrestlers in the world.