The SmarK Rant for WWE Unforgiven 2006 – 09.16.06
(Originally written 02.13.18)
Live from BIZARROWORLD, Canada, drawing 16,000 people and doing a respectable 307,000 buys.
Intercontinental title: Johnny Nitro v. Jeff Hardy
Jeff is back in WWE after what JR describes as “a previously undiscussed, mysterious absence for the past three years.” But he’s back and making an IMPACT.
They trade armbars to start and Jeff rolls him up for two and goes back to the arm. Nitro tries a neckbreaker and Jeff backslides him for two, so Nitro bails for some comfort from Melina. Back in, Nitro takes over with a cheapshot and pounds away in the corner, but Jeff dropkicks him into the other corner and hits him with a mule kick. Jeff goes up and Nitro bails to escape, so Jeff hits him with a baseball slide. Lawler notes it’s like “one of the Toronto Blue Jays, sliding into home.” Yeah, the Jays weren’t exactly sliding into home a whole lot in 2006. Back in, Jeff goes up, but Nitro dropkicks the knee and Jeff bounces headfirst off the mat so that Nitro can take over. Jeff fights back out of the corner, but Nitro goes to the leg as Melina shrieks. Jeff continues taking crazy Octodad-style bumps to sell the knee, and Nitro gets two. Nitro with a kneebreaker while the crowd chants “Nitro sucks”. Man, you thought VINCE had a hard time letting go of the WCW bias! Jeff fights out of a leglock, but Nitro clips him again and goes up with a missed moonsault. They fight for a rollup and Jeff wins that battle for two. Jeff makes the comeback with clotheslines and goes up for the Whisper in the Wind for two. He goes up again and Nitro tries to counter with a rana, but Jeff blocks him and follows with the swanton for two. Nitro goes for the leg again with a toehold, but Hardy escapes with a mule kick, only to have Nitro counter out of the Twist of Fate with another shot to the knee and an anklelock. Jeff makes the ropes and shoves Nitro into Melina, and a rollup gets two off that. Nitro goes up with a senton, but Jeff catches him with a powerbomb on the way down. He goes for the top again, but Melina hits him with her boot on the apron and Nitro gets the pin to retain at 17:45. A very oddly-built match, with Nitro cutting off the big comeback sequences with shots to the leg, and presumably Jeff doing the job to send a message. It was different. Not bad, just different. ***1/4
Meanwhile, Matt is still proud of his brother despite the fact that he’s a loser. LIta stops by for a reunion and buries the both of them, because she and Edge are champions and the Hardy Boyz are nothing.
Umaga v. Kane
JR calls this Umaga’s PPV debut, but he already beat Flair earlier in the year. Was he thinking of something else, I wonder? Is it like a reboot of the character? They slug it out and Umaga puts him on the floor with a clothesline, where Kane gets distracted by Armando Estrada and hit with a Flatliner by Umaga. Back in, Umaga pounds on him and hits the butt splash in the corner. Kane fights off the samoan spike and slugs away in the corner, but walks into the samoan drop. Umaga goes up and misses a flying splash of some kind, and Kane gets his own flying clothesline. Kane tries a chokeslam and Umaga counters with a spike attempt, but Kane tosses him out of the ring and they fight into the crowd for the double countout at 7:00. Well that went over like the proverbial fart in church. ½*
RAW tag team titles: The Spirit Squad v. The Highlanders
Wow, this might be the most specifically 2006 match ever put on PPV. I have literally never watched them wrestle before as best I can remember, and the only thing I know about them is that they got fired for showing up on camera at a TNA show. Tonight we have Mikey and Kenny representing the Squad, and the Highlanders work on Mikey’s arm to start, and then double-team Kenny in the corner. Robbie puts Kenny on the floor with a dropkick, but misses a dive and splats on the floor. The other Squad geeks beat on him and Kenny takes over with a chinlock in the ring while everyone in the crowd is either going for nachos or checking their Blackberry. They continue getting the “heat” on Robbie until Kenny misses a top rope legdrop and it’s “hot” tag to Rory. He clubs away while the Squad takes assorted bumps for him and the Highlanders hit a slingshot suplex on Mikey for two, but another Squad geek hits Rory and a facebuster ends it at 10:00 as the crowd groans. I don’t even mean metaphorically, I mean you could literally hear the crowd go “Uggggggggh” at the terrible finish with these losers retaining the titles. And apparently these guys were champions for TWO MORE MONTHS after this! *1/2
Hell in a Cell: Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon & Big Show v. HHH & Shawn Michaels
D-X attacks Show with a double nutshot as the crowd reminds the babyface Shawn that he screwed Bret. D-X brawls with the McMahons outside and Shane meets the steel, drawing our first blood of the match. Vince also heads into the cage and you just know he’s not gonna waste a chance to gush all over the ring. HHH finds a screwdriver and digs it into Vince’s cut, but back in the ring Big Show returns from nursing his groin and clears the ring. D-X teams up and sends him into the stairs (“the sinful steel has no conscience,” notes JR. Good to know.) Back to the beating of the McMahons, but Big Show takes over for the heels again by headbutting HHH down via the injured ear. He heads out and powerbombs Shawn into the cage, which is sinful and thus completely against everything Shawn stands for. So back in the ring and the McMahons team up on HHH while Shawn bleeds on the floor. Shane gets the Van Terminator and HHH is bleeding from the ear yet again. Outside, Shane catapults HHH from the stairs and into the cage, as the match has just ground to a halt while they literally stop and set up spots. Show hits Shawn with a pump splash, giving Vince two, but he picks Shawn up. Show with the cobra backbreaker, but Vince picks him up again at two. HHH comes back and tries a Pedigree on Vince, but Shane breaks it up with a torture rack of all things. WTF? Shawn puts Shane on the floor with an enzuigiri, but Vince clobbers him from behind and wants to have a Kiss My Ass Club meeting. Really? During a Hell in a Cell match? HHH breaks that up, but Show lays them out, and then accidentally splashes Vince in a contrived spot. D-X posts Show to get rid of him, then they destroy Shane with an atomic drop/spinebuster combo, setting up Shawn’s flying elbow onto a chair. Show recovers as this match has gone way past the expiration date, and he does that stupid spot where charges while holding the stairs and lands facefirst on them as a result. Shawn superkicks him to end his night, but Vince won’t stay down. So D-X yanks the unconscious Show’s tights down, and shove Vince’s face into his ass for the big blowoff spot. And of course, a superkick into the sledgehammer (which breaks impressively) ends this insipid feud once and for all at 22:45. I don’t even know what the point of the “new, giant Cell” was, because they barely used it outside of a couple of spots where guys got rammed into it for color. It’s nice that they blew it off so completely, but this match was overly long and really dull and didn’t need Big Show except for the Kiss My Ass spot. ***
WWE Women’s title: Lita v. Trish Stratus
This was a weird dynamic, because it was promoted as Trish’s retirement match, so everyone figured that Lita was winning somehow, or at least leaving with the belt. Lita slaps her around to start, but Trish runs her into the corner for two and takes her down with the spinning headscissors and a Thesz Press off the apron. Back in, Lita catches her with a cheapshot and beats her down, then goes to a chinlock and drops Trish on her neck to cut off a comeback. They fight to the top and Trish brings her down with a headscissors as they both land on the floor. Back to the top again, and Lita tosses her back into the ring by the hair, but Trish comes back with a bulldog attempt. Lita blocks that to send her to the floor, and back in for two. Lita with another chinlock, but Trish makes the comeback with the high kick for two. Bulldog is blocked with a cradle attempt, but Trish turns her over into the Sharpshooter, and Lita taps at 11:30 to send Trish into retirement as WWE Women’s champion. Lita retired two months later to fully end that era of the women, and replacement Mickie James was never able to carry things in their place. Decent match, not exactly a classic or anything. But good for Trish, who made her money, then got out of the business alive and became successful as a yoga trainer on her own terms afterwards. ***
Randy Orton v. Carlito
This seems like an odd choice for a match this high up the card. Were they really going all-in with Carlito as a babyface? I mean, Orton was coming off eating the big legdrop, brother, so clearly he was going over here. They fight for the lockup to start and Carlito spits in his face for not being cool, which sends Orton running. Back in, Orton goes to the eyes and pounds away on the mat to take over, but Carlito hits a pair of springboard moonsaults for two. And somehow Orton’s mouth gets busted open from those. Orton dropkicks Carlito off the apron (what, no “STUPID STUPID STUPID!” from him as well?) and back in for the Garvin Stomp. The replay shows that indeed Carlito elbowed him in the mouth while hitting the moonsault. And we go to CHINLOCK CITY for a bit before Carlito makes a comeback with a clothesline for two. Flapjack gets two, but Orton puts him down with a neckbreaker for two. RKO is blocked with a backstabber, but Carlito takes too long and a second RKO finishes at 8:18. Nothing earth-shattering to this one. **1/2
TLC match, WWE World title: Edge v. John Cena
Storyline here is that this is Cena’s LAST SHOT and if he loses, he goes to Smackdown. So the crowd completely turned on Cena here, which is commonplace today but was considered (by Vince) to be a strange, unexplainable reaction at the time. Hence, Toronto was dubbed BIZARROWORLD by the announcers. The crowd viciously boos all of Cena’s shoulderblocks to start, then hugely cheers Edge’s neckbreaker. Edge grabs a chair, but Cena escapes and gets a fisherman’s suplex, but misses a charge and Edge hits an Implant DDT. He sets up a pair of chairs and follows with an inverted DDT onto them, then dropkicks a ladder from the outside onto Cena’s face in the corner. Cena comes back and throws Edge into a ladder, but can’t put him through a table outside. Edge fights back from the apron and goes up, but Cena crotches him and brings a table in. Edge powerslams him through it and Cena bails, so Edge runs up a ladder in the corner and dives onto Cena. That was kind of terrifying. Back in, Edge tries the Con-Chair-To, but Cena ducks out of it and hits the Flashback neckbreaker onto the chair. He slams a ladder onto Edge’s back and hooks him in the STF, using the ladder for leverage, but that obviously doesn’t count. John runs a ladder into Edge’s face and then suplexes it onto him, then decides to climb the ladder and deliver a five knuckle shuffle off of that. He sets up a table and takes too long doing so, so Edge just puts him down with a chairshot and puts him on a table. And then he grabs another table, sets it up on top of the first one with Cena in between, and goes up. Sadly, Cena escapes that predicament and sends Edge flying into the railing. Cena gets yet another ladder and actually makes the first climb attempt of the match 18:00 in, but Edge climbs another ladder and spears him off. He climbs and tries a bodypress onto Cena, but gets caught and powerbombed into the other ladder as a result. And we were shocked when Edge was forced into retirement by neck injuries 5 years later. To the floor, where Cena just busts him with a weak chairshot and heads back in for another climb, but once he gets to the belt, Lita runs in and tips over the ladder for her man. Cena goes flying through a table on the floor, and Edge climbs, but Lita hits Cena with a chair and he accidentally falls into the ladder and tips Edge over and through a pair of tables on the floor. Cena hits Lita with an FU to pretty much end the Edge-Lita storyline for good, and the two guys slug it out one last time on top of the ladder before Cena delivers an FU off the ladder and through the stacked tables. And that’s all for Edge, as Cena regains the WWE title at 25:20 and proceeds to hold it for an entire year. Cena was looking particularly grumpy in victory for some reason, and basically just stomped back to the dressing room with the belt. Hell of a match in the midst of a very blah time for the company. ****1/4
I actually found this show kind of dull outside of the spectacle of the Hell in a Cell match and the main event. But hey, as a free show on the Network to watch on a Tuesday afternoon, you could do a lot worse. I’d call it an easy recommendation, but it’s not as momentous or great as it’s sometimes hyped up to be.