ECW December To Dismember 2006 12/03/2006

Oh boy, here we go.

This PPV’s reputation must precede itself by now but if you’re new here’s a summary of events leading up to this: ECW gets brought back as a third brand after a successful series of one-off PPVs, gets an hour on Sci-Fi and has it’s own PPV booked for December. Sounds OK, except all of two matches were announced (and one of them was inter-promotional): The Hardys re-uniting to wrestle MNM ”for one night only” and the Elimination Chamber main event. The Chamber is a hell of a gimmick when used right but it being dusted off to help this show hurt the PPV more than anything else, as stuffing the main stars in one match not only messed with the Big Show vs. RVD feud (which got pushed away for Lashley vs. Show, but still) but meant the rest of the card was full of more filler than a meal deal sandwich. Plus ECW On Sci-Fi straddled the line of aiming itself at old ECW fans whilst trying to introduce new stars, while also serving as a place where the Smackdown and Raw guys WWE didn’t want to fire but didn’t want to use could hang out. Which again, is OK on paper but guess what the majority of the crowd came to see? Also didn’t help that Survivor Series was the weekend before this as WWE went PPV crazy in 2006.

There’s a bunch of other things that go wrong but we’ll end this intro with the PPV poster and point out The Sandman doesn’t have a match.

We’re live in the James Brown Arena in front of 4,800 lucky fans. Opening video package again hypes up the evilness of the Chamber and nothing else. Then Joey and Tazz fall over themselves to put over the Chamber like it’s KISS on Nitro. Joey also blurts out ”tonight we’ll see a NEW ECW Champion crowned” so there’s that.

MNM vs. The Hardy Boyz

Like Wrestlemania XXX we’re getting half the main event out of the way first. The commentators remind us that it’s Hardyz vs. MNM for one night only, except they wrestled each other in the main event of Raw the next night and had multiple matches for the next few weeks and on PPV. Matt and Mercury start off with the light heavyweight feeling-out process. Mercury gets worked over as the crowd chants ”Nitro Sucks!” for old time sakes. Nitro gets kicked in the face as Styles compares the opening new minutes as two boxers jabbing away at each other and Tazz retorts ”it’s like that but different” to much guffawing. Hardys bust out their double-team moves they only did around this time like the double elbows and wheelbarrow slam. Nitro blocks Jeff’s jaw-breaker and MNM give Jeff their own double-elbow for two. Crowd chants ”She’s a crack whore” which is kink-shaming at it’s finest.

Nitro pretends to take a photo of Jeff before missing a standing Shooting Star Press. Matt tags in and manages a Splash Mountain for two. Melina traps the Green Power Ranger lookalike so he gets clotheslined by Mercury. MNM give Matt a double gut buster and isolate him in the corner, which lets Melina be on camera. With the ref distracted she squeezes her legs around Matt’s head which looks as crude as you’d think. Melina screams as MNM have the advantage (Tazz: ”She’s got a set of lungs on her”) but Matt comes back after turning a double-suplex into a neckbreaker. Ah no he doesn’t, MNM knock Jeff off the apron and do their own version of Poetry In Motion. They go for a Twist of Fate/Swanton but Matt knocks them both off and Jeff makes the hot tag and burns his house down killing his dog takes out MNM. Matt dives out of the ring and onto Mercury who does a Miz-esque job of catching him. Nitro dives over the ropes too so Jeff comes off the top and takes everyone out, getting a ”Holy S---” chant.

Matt delivers the Twist of Fate but Jeff misses the swanton as Nitro pulls Mercury out of the way. Nitro springboard dropkicks Jeff and this is probably a good a time as any to insert the obligatory ”how did Nitro not become a main event guy in WWE looking like sex personified and busting out cool moves that usually hit?” Real life sucks. Jeff gets isolated in the corner and takes a double-slingshot into the turnbuckle. Jeff gets stretched and takes an Eddy Gordo leg-drop from Nitro. MNM work over Jeff’s back, capitalising on his back after the missed Swanton. In a cool moment, Jeff sunset flips Nitro but Nitro tagged out so Mercury casually hits Jeff as he’s stuck in his own sunset flip. You don’t see enough cocky fuckers acting casual in the ring anymore. As Jeff makes a comeback, Mercury runs out and takes out Matt again so he can’t make a tag. MNM try another double-team suplex but Jeff runs up the ropes and takes out both guys with a Whisper In The Wind and finally tags in Matt. Matt runs in like a house on fire rough-shot over everyone and gets near-falls after the Side Effect and second rope AHHHH leg-drop. The Hardys get cocky and try that top rope powerbomb/neckbreaker on Nitro but Mercury’s like ”I’m right here, dammit” and not only knocks Matt off but ducks so Nitro can Frankensteiner Jeff off the top instead. What a well-oiled (in all senses of the term) team. MNM end up on opposite top ropes so the Hardys Superplex both men off. Jeff goes for a pin but Melina distract the ref. Melina grabs him but accidentally takes a flying dropkick by Nitro. Jeff tries for a pin from a schoolboy and it only gets two but Jeff sells a kick-out like Ziggler.

Mercury runs in and they plant Jeff with the Snapshot but Matt makes the save. MNM send Matt to the outside and try a Super Snapshot but Matt stops that too and plants both of with middle rope neckbreakers. Matt puts both guys on top of each other (Tazz: ”MNM sandwich, no peanut butter”) and Jeff finally ends the match with a Swanton Bomb.

Winners: The Hardy Boyz (Damn fine tag match with both teams looking impressive in an era where that was rare. Probably went a bit too long but I’ll let that slide because let’s face it, there’s not much after this. But from the tag cut offs and the double teaming, this was the best of old and new WWE tag team matches put together.)

Tazz and Styles again hype the Chamber and the ”crazy” fact that there’s weapons in the cage for the first time. In their heads it’s one cool thing + another cool thing = double cool thing, but in reality selling normal weapons as an addition to the already-impressive Chamber match is like selling a tank with fuzzy dice.

RVD gives his pre-recorded thoughts. He knows it’s a career-ending match but he doesn’t care. I think that was a bit too close to the truth.

Matt Striker vs. Balls Mahoney

Styles: ”Striker doesn’t want to teach anybody, he just wants to lecture them. He’s a condescending jerk.” After hearing about how Striker’s mouth would get him into trouble in WWE, the more this gimmick makes sense. Striker demands this be a Striker’s Rules match with no extremeness, jumping off the top rope or foul language. There’s no feud here, the last thing Striker did was feud with The Sandman and Balls was kind-of doing something with Kevin Thorn. So without anything to work with, the commentators make fun of Striker having a picture of his own face on the back of his tights. Tazz: ”You gotta wonder about a guy who wants to sit on his own face.” Striker takes over with basic arm-bars, hair-pulls and other exciting moves. It fits his character but the crowd doesn’t give a s--- and you can hear them actually groan when he slaps on a chinlock. Sign in the crowd sums it up:

At least after a few minutes of having his arm worked on, Balls can’t do his BALLS punches because his arm hurts. Sidewalk slam for two. Balls goes to the top so Striker crotches him, reminding us it’s Striker’s Rules. Crotching people isn’t against the rules anyway so ah whatever. Balls makes a comeback and ignores his arm to do more punches and backdrops Striker ”onto his own face-y ass”. Balls does some more punches with the bad arm because f--- it no-one cares and pins Striker after a Sky High.

Winner: Balls Mahoney (Perfectly acceptable house show match that had no business on a PPV. I was going to say ”well at least Balls sold his arm” but he gave up on that, as did the commentators. Tazz: ”I wonder if the face on Striker’s ass has bad breath?”)

Backstage Sabu is shown unconscious. He’s lifted onto a stretcher as the crowd guess correctly what’s happening and chants ”B-------.”

I don’t know the exact reason why Sabu was removed from the match, I’ve heard everything from ”Sabu kept on f------ up a backstage promo so Stephanie had enough and removed him from the match”, ”they wanted three good guys and three bad guys in the Chamber” and ”Sabu was drunk.” Sabu made it clear on his YouShoot that he hated this period because they made him talk but that doesn’t seem a bad enough reason to bait-and-switch a main event guy who is renowned for his matches with weapons from…a main event match featuring weapons.

Elijah Burke & Sylvester Terkay vs. The F.B.I.

Oh this’ll bring the crowd up. Both teams have a 100% loss rate on Sci-Fi and again, there’s no feud or reason for this. Burke: ”Like a live animal in heat, we’ll leave our mark.” I bet Striker was scribbling that one down for future use. I need to point out how bad the guitar is in Burke’s theme music at the 0:53 mark. Guido takes off Burke’s cap and puts it on his own head. I point this out as there’s not much else. I love Guido and Mamaluke and it’s a shame their size kept them from much else post-ECW. Terkay The Man-Bear tags in and beats up Mamaluke but even the king of over-bumping can’t make Terkay exciting. Burke back in and the crowd has realised this is about making the new guys look good as Guido sells a knee-lift like he’s been shot and they stop reacting to the match. Burke at least shows potential with his swagger and mannerisms, Terkay looks like he’s bored existing. Burke with the double knees in the corner and the STO for a close-two and now the crowd is getting behind Guido by chanting ”Change The Channel.” And why is Guido making the hot tag to Mamaluke, the f--- is he going to do to Terkay, sell on him? Mamaluke gets in and manages some heat-less dropkicks on Burke and Terkay. Double flapjack on Burke gets a two-count but Burke immediately recovers and finishes Mamaluke with the Elijah Express.

Winners: Elijah Burke & Sylvester Terkay (There wasn’t much wrong with this but there wasn’t much right either. Terkay was bland and useless by WWE Big Hoss standards and it was clear to the genre-savvy fans what was going to happen, given how often The F.B.I. lost in ECW prior to 2000. So no-one wins.)

Post-match Terkay gives Guido a Muscle Buster, prompting ”TNA” chants.

Sabu is stretchered out. You’d think with all the stuff Sabu has gone through they’d pour a few pints of fake blood or draw a gunshot wound on his forehead or something to at least make it believable. RVD is there to give him encouragement. Or maybe he was asking Sabu to bring him back some morphinefrom the hospital.

Daivari vs. Tommy Dreamer

Well these guys at least have some slight background as they wrestled on the 11/14/2006 ECW in a match that went to a DQ. None of this is mentioned by the commentators but I try and forget Daivari matches too. Punch-punch-punch offence, Dreamer gets sent outside and Khali hurls him into the barricade. Ref sees it and sends Khali to the back. Daivari chinlocks Dreamer as a brief ”We want hardcore” chant starts. If this was anybody other than Dreamer this would be death. Dreamer makes a come-back with a scoop-slam into an inverted DDT. Daivari misses a dive off the top so Dreamer sticks him with the Tree of Woe and ”ECW” singalong with the crowd. Crowd starts getting behind the match because Dreamer is un-booable but Daivari school-boys him while holding the tights for the win.

Winner: Daivari (Daivari was never good.)

Post-match Khali does this to Dreamer:

The commentators put on their funeral voices and you can hear the fans blaring out ”This isn’t extreme, it’s entertainment!” and ”No-one cares!” Thanks for the effort Dreamer.

Heyman makes Hardcore Holly Sabu’s replacement. When we cut to the commentators, there’s a guy asleep behind Tazz.

Mike Knox & Kelly Kelly vs. Kevin Thorn & Ariel

Thorn & Ariel were doing little on TV but Knox/Kelly/Punk was a thing that’s been going for months on TV and really should have ended on this show. This match was voted Worst Match Of The Year 2006 on various sites but I don’t remember it being that bad, pretty sure it was voted as being the worst thing on this show. Judging by what I’ve seen on Sci-Fi, none of these wrestlers are ready to be taking on each other on a PPV. Thorn with the factory-default offence we just got from Daivari. Punches, chinlocks, back-drops it’s all here. Then Thorn takes over and it’s the same s--- again! Knox throws in a clothesline or two and then it goes back to punches. Commentators don’t even try to disguise the fact they don’t care so they ogle Kelly and Ariel instead. Elbows and big boots by Thorn and Knox and back to another chinlock again. Ariel is getting cheered by the crowd for showing her arse so she shrieks and carries on. Ariel tags in so Kelly comes in now. Ariel kicks her and makes sure to stretch her legs so the crowd can see her full range of fan-service. Kelly is getting attacked so Tazz explains she’s not really a wrestler. So why is she- ah forget it. A lot of ECW females would show off their tits and ass but the majority of them had characters and also knew what they were doing in the ring. Ariel spends five minutes kicking Kelly and dancing a sexy vampire dance. Kelly goes for the tag but Knox…walks out on her. Knowing Knox, Kelly is going to beat her next week. Ariel gives Kelly a choke-trip and that’s enough for the pin.

Joey Styles: ”Mercifully, this match is over.”

Winners: Kevin Thorn & Ariel (I was wrong, this was like drinking hot lead. No-one was ready for this match, not the wrestlers nor the audience. Never mind ”acceptable house show” match, this would have got heckled out of a working man’s club.)

Post-match The Sandman makes the save with canes and beer. Why wasn’t he in the Chamber?

Rebecca ”still sounds like Nicole Bass on NyQuil” DiPietro interviews Lashley. Oh the f------ dream team. Lashley is going to win the title and zzzzz.

Heyman’s out here to kill time. He continues to take credit for everything ECW created as a loud fan asks ”Where’s the Franchise?” They’ve made no effort to censor any of these loud fans on the Network in case you were wondering. Heyman reminds us Sabu is out and adds that he would have liked to have seen that. Apparently Heyman really *did* want Sabu in this match as he knew Sabu would flourish in it. He follows with ”the days of Sabu and RVD and The Sandman have come to an end” and adds this is the new age of the global face of ECW. I don’t want to look too much into comments, but given Heyman got into a big argument with management after this show, I can’t help but think some of that was an apology to the fans/f--- you to the company. Or maybe I’m over-reading. But he was right, the new brand was bigger than RVD, Sabu & The Sandman who were all gone the following year and the brand continued (and got better) until 2010.

Highlight was Heyman saying Big Show was the future of ECW and another loud fan shouting ”he’s retiring next year.” Stupid fan. He retired next week.

EXTREEEME Elimination Chamber Match For The ECW Title: The Big Show vs. CM Punk vs. Test vs. Hardcore Holly vs. Lashley vs. Rob Van Dam

The build for this match was ”Show is champ and this PPV needs a big gimmick so let’s stuff everyone in the Chamber” which took away from the RVD vs. Show feud that had been going on since RVD lost the title months ago. Then Lashley got transferred to ECW so there was some star power and I guess someone said ”hey why not have Lashley win instead?”, thus ignoring what the majority of people came to see. Crowd barely reacts to Lashley during his entrance which is ominous. Two guys to begin with a new one every five minutes.

Holly and RVD start off which is fine, given their long feud. Holly takes RVD around the outside of the chamber until RVD dives off the top rope but misses Holly and lands in the chains like Spider-Man, only to miss another move and end up dunked on the top rope. Holly slams RVD in the steel and goes for a flying nothing, which is a bizarre spot to do in the Chamber. While he’s down, RVD flies with Rolling Thunder over the ropes and onto the steel. These two are bringing it but the crowd isn’t making much noise. They don’t even react to Holly’s Greatest Dropkick In All Of Wrestling.

Next in is CM Punk w/ chair. Chair to Holly, springboard clothesline to RVD and the crowd is happy to see him. Punk tries throwing the chair at RVD but he’s been doing that for years so he throws it back. Monkey Flip onto a chair isn’t 100% clean so the crowd boos it but really, you’d try to block that as much as possible. F------ fans, pointing out mistakes. They do a Tribute To Jerry Lynn sequence, ending with RVD taking a leg-drop. Punk tries to kill RVD with a chair in the corner and Holly swings Punk into the chain with a powerbomb for two. Crowd is more interested in chanting ”Test’s a faggot”. Well s---, you wanted a hardcore match with ECW guys and now you’ve got it you’re doing this? McMahon was right, he knows what fans want better than they do. Holly gives Punk a Superplex for two. RVD’s bleeding and now the crowd’s chanting for him. Ah so that’s what it took.

Test in now w/ crowbar. So two inanimate objects then. Test sticks RVD with the sharp end before taking a Van Dam chair shot. Baseball slide with chair to Punk sets up the Five Star Frog Splash and that eliminates Punk. Big cheer then a realisation of ”oh wait no NO” from the crowd. Test gives Holly one of those Unlimited Power boots we’ve heard so much about for two…wait, three? Well, the ref counted two, Test talked to the ref and that’s Holly gone. Even Tazz is shouting ”But he kicked out!” until someone in his ear shouts ”shut up”. RVD comes off the top rope with a kick and tries to jump off Show’s pod but Show grabs him, allowing Test to throw him off the pod. Test then flies off the pod with a big arse elbow to eliminate Rob Van Dam.

”Hey let’s get rid of the fan favourites so the crowd will cheer Lashley triumph over the bad guys” – some management guy who probably helped put together Rumble 2015. Crowd is f------ livid and start chanting ”B-------”, ”TNA” and ”Where’s Our Refunds.”

Lashley’s time now (and in fairness, there was a cheer for him) but Heyman’s masked security blocks his pod from opening.  So Lashley uses the table to snap the chains above the pod to escape. That was like a Broken Sword puzzle. Top rope clothesline knocks down Test and Lashley sends him flying through pod windows. Test chokes Lashley for a bit because his Unlimited Power supplies must be empty. Lashley sticks him with the crowbar and pins him after a spear. Mild ”This is b-------” chant once the crowd realised they’re getting Show vs. Lashley, something they spent two weeks hyping.

Show’s in with his barbed wire bat, which gets stuck in the chains straight away. Lashley man-handles Show for a bit and then awkwardly poses to silence. He keeps on doing it until it turns into boos and realises it’s time to stop. Show gets dumped through a pod window.  Show tosses Lashley into the ring and tries a chokeslam but it gets turned into a DDT. Crowd is chanting for Big Show now but it doesn’t mean anything as Lashley spears Show for the win and the title.

Winner: Lashley (The first half of the match wasn’t bad and did their best to give the level of violence you’d expect from a PPV with ”dismember” in it’s title, but once the good guys were taken care of and the cynical fans realised what was going to happen it was over. And Holly got eliminated by a two-count.)

Overall: Well with two announced matches, you could hardly say the PPV ”disappointed” as that would mean you went in with expectations. Pretty good opening tag match aside, it is belief-beggaring that a company who understood PPV as well as WWE would release one as badly put-together as this. Who knows, maybe it was supposed to fail so Heyman could be blamed and thus removed and whoever took his place could bask in the glory of running the C-Show. It’s more believable than ”WWE f----- up the thing they do best.”

What’s weirder is that there was enough time and wrestlers to put on a properly hyped two hour PPV, they just didn’t. Adam Wright posted a non-Elimination Chamber card on the last post. It’s not Heat Wave 1998 but it was built on storylines and matches from TV:

ECW Title – RVD vs Big Show
Lashley vs Test (No1 contenders match)
Hardys vs MNM
Punk vs Knox (winner gets Kelly Kelly)
Hardcore Holly vs Sabu
The Sandman vs Matt Striker
Kevin Fertig & Ariel vs Dreamer & Beulah

Dunno where he’s getting Beulah from, but you get my point: They had the tools to make a house but decided a shed was good enough.