Mike Reviews: TNA Lockdown 2006

No real reason for this one, other than this pay per view was traditionally an April event and this is one of the few TNA shows I actually own on DVD. I can’t really remember why I purchased it either. Back in 2006 you could watch TNA events on The Wrestling Channel (A short-lived cable TV channel that showed wrestling and MMA) but I missed this event when it was on. TNA then started selling their DVD’s in England, with this I think being one of the first ones available, so seeing as I missed it the first time I decided to buy it.

I don’t think I’ve watched this show since I bought it and I have no idea what any of the story lines going in to it are either, so this should be an interesting journey for me. I’m not actually sure who was even booking TNA at the time of this show. I don’t think it was Russo because he came back later in the year. It may have been Dusty Rhodes if he hadn’t gone back to WWE yet, and if not him I think Scott D’Amore booked it at some stage possibly? If you know the answer then please share in the comments below.

Back in 2006 I was still sticking with the TNA product (I didn’t finally give up on it until a few years after this) and this was an interesting time for the company as they’d only recently secured a place on Spike TV and had also brought in Christian from WWE to be the top star of the company. As a big “Peep”, having Christian on their books gave TNA instant brownie points with me, and he’d won the title from Jeff Jarrett a couple of months prior to this show to thunderous cheers from the TNA audience.

Anyway, let’s set the way back machine 13 years and enjoy some Total Nonstop Action!

(I should point out that I poached all the pictures used here from the Across The Pond Wrestling review of the same show. Please consider giving their site a looksee)

Read moreMike Reviews: TNA Lockdown 2006

ECW On Sci-Fi #81 12/25/2007 (Retrospective)

ECW On Sci-Fi #81 12/25/2007

This is a retrospective episode with highlights of Lashley’s feud with The McMahons, New Breed vs. Originals and Morrison vs. Punk. It ends with with Tazz kicking Joey Styles into a Christmas Tree so this GIF saved you an hour.

Read moreECW On Sci-Fi #81 12/25/2007 (Retrospective)

ECW on Sci-Fi #29 12/26/2006 & #30 01/07/2007

It’s the last ECW of 2006 and…it’s a Best Of. Oh. Styles and Tazz present highlights of Cena vs. RVD, RVD vs. Show, Extreme Strip Poker (what?), Extreme Elimination Chamber, Lashley winning the title and the three-way from last week. At the end, Tazz gives Joey a Christmas present.

Styles: ”Are you sure? It says ”Michael Cole” on the label…and it’s ticking?”

Read moreECW on Sci-Fi #29 12/26/2006 & #30 01/07/2007

ECW on Sci-Fi #28 12/19/2006

Bobby Lashley and his incredibly generic theme music start the show. All respect to Jim Johnston but he’d been on borrowed time for years and I’m glad we know have CFO$. He grabs the mic. I’ve changed my mind, put his music back on.

Read moreECW on Sci-Fi #28 12/19/2006

ECW on Sci-Fi #27 12/12/2006

Recap of Lashley winning the title and beating Show in the rematch so our main event is Lashley vs. Paul Heyman’s Personal Enforcers. Neither man has a name or a face which is weird, along with the fact Heyman’s not on the show anymore. I’ll save you a Google Search, the guards were played by The Bashams, so no wonder they were covering their faces.

Read moreECW on Sci-Fi #27 12/12/2006

ECW on Sci-Fi #26 12/05/06

Edit: Well I finished typing this up, clicked PUBLISH and WordPress asked me to log in and wiped the fucker. I assumed it auto-saved but that’s probably my fault for playing too many video games. No wonder Meltzer used a typewriter for so long. So this will be a brisk recap because this show isn’t exactly The Wire.

Read moreECW on Sci-Fi #26 12/05/06

ECW on Sci-Fi #25 11/28/06

We’re in Buffalo, New York with no opening and December To Dismember is THIS SUNDAY NIGHT. Oh. Paul Heyman starts the show putting over the EXTREEEME Elimination Chamber. ”Inside the chamber it’s total anarchy” etc. He introduces the weapons that are going to be used in the Chamber and that takes a lot away from Heyman’s spiel as he gives us a chair, a crowbar (which gets an ironic ”holy shit” chant) and a table. What a weird way to sell a supposedly unique match by filling it with normal weapons. Oh and there’s a barbed wire baseball bat too, which makes the crowd chant ”we want fire” because it’s New York.

Read moreECW on Sci-Fi #25 11/28/06

ECW on Sci-Fi #23 11/14/2006

We’re in Manchester, England (looks like the 02 Arena but by the time you’ve read this it’ll have changed it’s name again. Probably the Angry Birds Arena by now). Tazz is recovering from knee surgery so Elijah Burke joins Joey Styles on commentary. It’s where he’d end up ten years later and it means he’s not wrestling so good call.

Read moreECW on Sci-Fi #23 11/14/2006

ECW on Sci-Fi #21 10/31/2006

Paul Heyman reminds us Rob Van Dam defeated Big Show in a ladder match to win a title shot whenever he wanted. RVD has chosen December To Dismember but Heyman has the right to choose the type of match so he makes it an EXTREEEME Elimination Chamber match. Ah, so that’s how we ended up with that. Heyman was trying to fuck over RVD but missed and hit the fans instead.

Tonight’s main event is The Big Show & Test vs. Rob Van Dam & Hardcore Holly. It’s Halloween so everything’s in Spooky Vision.

Read moreECW on Sci-Fi #21 10/31/2006

ECW on Sci-Fi #19 10/17/2006

It’s a Double Main Event tonight as we get The Big Show vs. Rob Van Dam plus The Sandman vs. Matt Striker in a Singapore Cane On A Pole Match.

The Cane match is opening the show so you know it’s a big deal. It’s like Wrestlemania X.

Read moreECW on Sci-Fi #19 10/17/2006

ECW on Sci-Fi #16 09/26/2006

We’re in Tulsa, Oklahoma and our main event is The Sandman vs. Big Show. That’s out of nowhere, like the rest of the headline feuds on this program as WWE juggles Show as both a world-beater and a large arse for Vince to be thrown in.

Read moreECW on Sci-Fi #16 09/26/2006

ECW on Sci-Fi #15 09/19/2006

Heyman starts the show by introducing Smackdown World Champ King Booker & Queen Sharmell to the EXTREEEME Parking lot. This will give Booker some ” half-arsing a match for a lesser promotion” experience for when he joins TNA next year.

No main event graphic so here’s a GIF from last Sunday’s Unforgiven 2006 instead.

Read moreECW on Sci-Fi #15 09/19/2006

ECW on Sci-Fi #14 09/12/2006

We’re live at Madison Square Garden and instead of a main event graphic, we get Paul Heyman on the mic. He sucks up to the crowd and they buy it until Heyman swerves them. I take it they’ve not been watching this show then? Heyman thanks himself, mocks the crowd for wanting RVD & Sabu and tells them they’re all welcome for his success. ECW was all Heyman’s ideas and vision, dammit. Sabu has enough of this and bum-rushes the ring. Paul does a wobbly runner so Sabu kills Generic Security Number One with an Arabian Facebuster. Heyman’s not happy so he makes it Sabu vs. Big Show EXTREEEME RULES for the ECW title tonight. Wait why would you give someone a title match as a punishment? And the one good thing this show has done the last few months is emphasise how Sabu has the advantage when objects are involved. Huh. Anyway Sabu dives on the security guys to end the segment (and logic) as the commentators flip their lids about how the ECW Title is being defended on the holy grounds of Madison Square etc.

And here’s the big graphic!

Read moreECW on Sci-Fi #14 09/12/2006

ECW on Sci-Fi #7 07/25/2006

Tonight, ECW is honoured to present the annual Big Show vs. Kane match. There’s been more guest stars in the last few weeks of ECW than Cannonball Run.

We’re in Detroit, Michigan and the hosts are Joey Styles (nerdy scientist) and Tazz (the thing the nerdy scientist turns into when he’s bitten by a radioactive orange).

Read moreECW on Sci-Fi #7 07/25/2006

ECW on Sci-Fi #6 07/18/2006

Saturday Night’s Main Event gets recapped. Sadly it’s one of the ones from 2006.

Big Show and Great Khali teamed up to beat up The Undertaker so Undi’s making an appearance tonight against Show. Well the show’s only an hour-long so if he does that promo about leaving him in the desert the match will only twenty seconds.

Read moreECW on Sci-Fi #6 07/18/2006

ECW on Sci-Fi #2 06/20/2006

Heyman’s 99th invasion of Raw is recapped with an un-named big titted vampire reading tarot cards (so you know you’re watching the Sci-Fi Channel). RVD gave Edge a Five Star Frog Splash and Sabu put Cena through the announce table so it’s RVD & Angle vs. Orton & Edge.

We’re in Albany, NY with Joey Styles & Tazz commentating. One of these men got slapped by Rob Van Dam and the other one KO’d JBL.

Read moreECW on Sci-Fi #2 06/20/2006

RVD in 2006

Hi Scott, If RVD and Sabu hadn’t got pulled over in 2006, what were the plans for RVD and the titles?  I assume he would probably still have lost the WWE Title fairly soon to transition into Cena/Edge over the summer but what about the ECW belt?  Would he have kept it until December To Dismember? Were there any plans for either title or was he just a transitional champ in both cases? Welcome to the afternoon session of post-dated madness!  Yeah, there was no chance RVD was keeping that WWE title longer than he did.  They didn’t trust him and didn’t want him as champion and I think he was losing it anyway, but it just got moved up a couple of weeks from “soon” to “right fucking now”.  They barely even trusted Edge with that thing, so I doubt RVD would have been given the ball.  The ECW title loss was the one where it was a more direct result of the pot bust if I’m remembering correctly.    All indications seemed to be that he was going to get it for the long haul and screwed it up.  It wouldn’t have mattered because once Heyman left they were gonna go with their own pet projects like Lashley anyway. 

Yearly Review: 2CW 2006

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Squared Circle Wrestling (2CW) is a popular independent wrestling company that primarily runs its shows in the Upstate New York area. The company made its debut on April 8th, 2006 and has provided many memorable moments throughout the years. Many are not aware of the dream matches and hidden gems that have occurred in areas like Syracuse, Watertown, Rome, Binghamton, Rochester, Elmira and Oswego.

Lets take a look at the rise of 2CW through the years, starting at the beginning.
06
Spike Dudley vs. Zaquary Springate III & Isys Ephex 

Many times independent companies rely on a veteran wrestler in the early stages of its existence to help put over the local talents. For 2CW, that guy was Spike Dudley. On July 5th, 2005, Spike was released from his WWE contract and ventured off onto the independents. Spike would be part of the first show to take place on April 8th, and his exposure would continue when he returned to television with Total Non-Stop Action on April 13th.

Spike’s impact on 2CW was immediate.

His first feud was with local wrestler Zaquary Springate III. Springate was a snob from England and put down the New York area any time he could. In what had to be a surprise, Springate was victorious over Spike in the main event of the first show, Living on the Edge.

Springate is a graduate of trainer Killer Kowalski and often holds his own in the ring, as evident by his victory over Spike.

Their feud would continue to the second show on May 8th, which saw Spike gain a victory in a Syracuse street fight.

Afterward, Isys Ephex came out and brutally attacked Spike Dudley to set up a second feud for the former ECW/WWE star. It would take Ephex roughly four times to put Spike through a table because the table wouldn’t break. Tables not breaking for the company would become a common theme.

The third show was the promotions biggest show to date as it happened at the OnCenter. Ephex and Dudley were the main event and the bout was contested with the stipulation of a tables match. Spike prevailed by managing to put Ephex through the table with a double stomp. The feud between these two would not be over.

They would meet again at the fifth show, fittingly named Unfinished Business on September 16th in Syracuse. The trend of violence between Isys and Spike continued as they competed in a dog collar match. Ephex would earn the biggest win of his 2CW career, by pinning Spike after a Burning Hammer on a chair. Afterward, Spike wanted a death match at the next show while Isys wanted a pure wrestling match.

They wouldn’t meet at the next show in Utica due to Spike obligations with TNA, who had Bound For Glory the same weekend that year.

Spike would return for the last show of the year which was again in Syracuse. This time, Isys and Spike would compete in a thirty minute ironman match. Spike would lose the match seventeen falls to two. Not because Isys was that much of a dominate force, but rather because Spike refused to follow the rules and got himself disqualified fifteen times. Regardless, Isys had two victories over Spike and his stock in the promotion was on the rise.

Killer Steves vs. All Money Is Legal
Steve Mckenzie and Steve Kruz compromised the team of the Killer Steves while K-Murda and K-Pusha were known as All Money Is Legal. Murda and Pusha had actually garnered some success prior to arriving in 2CW having appeared for Combat Zone Wrestling, Jersey All Pro Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Unplugged and NWA Cyberspace, which had a loose association with TNA.

Anyway, these four guys would be continually fighting for quite sometime and in 2006 they were involved in matches with each other on six of the seven shows. When it came to straight tag team matches, they had four matches with each team getting two victories. At the time, 2CW didn’t have much depth in the tag division, but more times than not, AMIL and the Steves put together entertaining bouts. They were the pioneers to what the tag division would eventually consist of.

There is much more between these two teams in future Yearly Review installments.

 
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Too Cold Scorpio vs. Slyck Wagner Brown, Slyck rises to the top of the heap. 

Slyck Wagner Brown had been a well traveled independent wrestler by the time 2006 rolled around. Slyck had worked for ROH in 2003/2004 and held the JAPW Heavyweight Championship during the same time. His most accomplishing feat was defeating Christopher Daniels at the ECW Arena to claim the 3PW Heavyweight Championship. That was around the time I had became a fan of Slyck and his ability in the ring.

Scorpio, as many know, was quite popular in the 1990s having spectacular matches with Sabu, Eddie Guerrero, and Dean Malenko. He was one of the first American wrestlers to highlight his high risk moves and the 450 splash that had never really been used previously.

Both men made their debut at the third show for the company, which was the OnCenter debut. Scorpio would get the win after 15+ minute match, but it made it clear that not only could Scorpio still go in the ring, but Slyck was something special and the veteran the company needed on every show.

They’d meet the following month at Unfinished Business and Scorpio won yet again in a no time limit match. Sure, Slyck lost both matches but he got an immediate boost in creditability from a crowd that hadn’t been exposed to the Underground King in person.

Some may have thought that Slyck would only be capable of great matches with established names but that was proven to be false.

Instead, Slyck had a competitive match with Dizzie, the leader of AMIL and perhaps the match of the year for 2CW when he defeated Isys Ephex in a great match that showcased both men very well.

While Spike Dudley was the biggest name for the company in terms of the drawing power, people were leaving the arenas remembering Slyck Wagner Brown. After just a handful of shows, Slyck was one of the top baby faces for the startup company.

Zaquary Springate/Gordy Wallace Feud
Shortly after his feud with Spike, Springate turned to his attention to the blue collar country boy, Gordy Wallace. Their issues started at the Unfinished Business show on September 16th. Wallace teamed with WWE Legend Tony Atlas, whom Springate had defeated at the OnCenter show in July. Springate viciously attacked Wallace with a steel chair and a barbed wire bat.

Their violent feud would see Springate win a no holds barred match in October and Wallace win a “front row brings straps match” in November. Their feud would continue in 2007.

Johnny Law Tries To Prevent Steve King From Entering 2CW
If the name Steve King sounds familiar, that would be because King was a former enhancement talent that was often on WWF television in the early 1990s putting over several of the top guys in the business.

King would be involved in a feud with Johnny Law, the resident cop for 2CW. Law didn’t want King in the company, but King would fight his way through security and eventually be involved with 2CW. They had a few matches, which saw King defeat Law rather easily.

Law did manage to get one win out of a handful when he hit King with a box full of donuts that also had a brick in it. Both men wouldn’t see much more 2CW action from here on out.

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Loca Vida vs. JD Love – It’s Only The Beginning 

Towards the end of the year, a feud that would become one of the longest feuds in 2CW history began. Loca Vida is a masked luchadore from Mexico… New York. JD Love was an overweight, flamboyant wrestler who’s wrestling gear would often not cover his chest and other areas.

Despite the odd pairing, the two had some kind of chemistry and their matches, while not great, were entertaining and the fans remained interested. Vida won two matches they had at the tail end of 2006, but the feud would take part for most of 2007.

Jason Axe Has An Attitude Change 
On the early shows for 2CW, Axe was a just a young kid working his way up the card. The very first show he just wanted to play his guitar for the fans and was beaten up by Johnny Law for doing so.

Axe teamed with WWE Legend King Kong Bundy in a losing effort against Zaquary Springate III and JD Love on August 18th.

The following month at Unfinished Business, Axe stated that he was the main event wrestler for the company. With the attitude change Axe traded wins with Ajax 820.

Axe refused to work the opening match at the November show. He would compete in a match where he took on two other tag teams. Axe actually won the match involving the teams of Dizzie & Ajax 820 and the Killer Steves.

2006 wasn’t much of a year for Jason Axe, but 2007 would be a breakout year for the “Main Event” Jason Axe.

Anytime a professional wrestling company starts up, the first year is always a rough time. Squared Circle Wrestling had its rough times but the pieces for the company and its future was put into place very early.

As you can see, 2CW brought in a few popular names such as Spike Dudley, King Kong Bundy, and 2 Cold Scorpio. They also brought in the New Age Outlaws for a one-time deal for the OnCenter show, which saw them defeat JD Love and Gordy Wallace.

Very few guys would be with the company after the first year, but it was evident that Slyck Wagner Brown was the top guy for the company in terms of ability.

Moving forward, 2CW would continually bring in top names, champions from other companies and dream matches never happening in any other promotion would take place in Upstate New York’s top independent company.


Notable Matches: 

2 Cold Scorpio vs. Slyck Wagner Brown – 2CW OnCenter
2 Cold Scorpio vs. Slyck Wagner Brown – 2CW Field Of Dreams
Slyck Wagner Brown vs. Dizzie – 2CW Unfinished Business
Slyck Wagner Brown vs. Isys Ephex – 2CW Field Of Dreams

 Notable Names Brought In:
Spike Dudley, Too Cold Scorpio, Tony Atlas, King Kong Bundy, Billy Gunn, Road Dogg

To learn more about 2CW, head over to their website www.2cwwrestling.com


For more wrestling columns and reviews, head over to WRESTLING RECAPS.

06-2

October Countdown: WWE No Mercy 2006

The SmarK Rant for WWE No Mercy 2006 – One of the cool things about 24/7 is that they not only show stuff from the past, but from the present, like PPVs on a 4-month delay, for instance. Hey, better to pay nothing and wait a while than $40 and get screwed by a bad show. And I’m a month late in reviewing this, as the current offering is Survivor Series 2006, but that’s the beauty of a DVD recorder. I LOVE technology.  (Thankfully I recorded a TON of stuff off 24/7 over the course of the few years that I had access to it, although cataloguing is not my strong suit so it’ll basically be a case of one day going to watch a random Boston Garden house show and having an episode of World Class stuck at the end as well.  I love surprises like that!  Also, for those of you super-obsessive ultra-nerds out there who keep track of this sort of thing, this was the first rant done where the formatting was 100% compliant with my current formatting, so I only had to cut-and-paste instead of the numerous changes I usually have to make with these things.)  – Live from North Carolina University. – Your hosts are Michael Cole & JBL Opening match: Matt Hardy v. Gregory Helms Non-title match here. Lockup to start and Helms takes Matt down, but gets his doo rag knocked off as a result. Oh, now it’s on. Funny how making Helms into a faux superhero with a catchphrase and merchandise did nothing for his career, but actually letting him win matches got him over. It’s almost like it’s rocket science or something.  (Yeah, well he went crawling back to the Hurricane character like a drunk guy stumbling back into the bar for one last drink, and then in Helms’ case driving home on his motorcycle afterwards and nearly dying.  Hang on, I think I lost my metaphor in there somewhere.)  Helms gets a cheapshot and stomps away in the corner, but Matt suplexes him and wins a slugfest. Elbowdrop gets two. Matt puts him out with a clothesline and follows with a pescado. Back in, Matt yanks him out of the corner into a powerbomb for two, but Helms hotshots him to stop the rally. Neckbreaker gets two. Blind charge hits elbow, but Matt gets too frisky and tries to go up, which allows Helms to bring him down with a Russian legsweep for two. Helms locks the arms and throws knees on the mat, which would actually be a pretty wicked submission move, (Austin Aries would agree.) but it goes nowhere and he switches to choking instead. They trade knees and Helms takes him down with a jawjacker for two. He takes Matt down with a wristlock/chinlock combo, but Matt escapes with an inverted DDT and they slug it out. Matt comes back with a corner clothesline into a bulldog for two, and that sets up the Yodeling Legdrop for another near fall. Twist of Fate is reversed for two and Helms follows with an Unprettier for two. Again, but he stalls and goes up, which allows Matt to catch him coming down and get the Side Effect for two. Another one as we go all Japan with the repeated finishers, and Matt goes up with a moonsault that hits knee. Shining Wizard misses and Matt rolls him up for two. Another try hits and gets two for Helms. They head to the top and fight up there, and Matt wins the battle but loses the war, as Helms crotches him on the top and then hits him with a knee strike to bring him down for two. Sweet. They fight for the finisher and Matt wins with the Twist, and that’s finally enough. (Matt Hardy d. Gregory Helms, Twist of Fate — pin, 13:07, ***1/2) Started slow but they gave it time and it built very nicely, leading to a good finishing sequence. Sadly, it meant nothing and was forgotten the next day. (Just like Tammy Sytch’s rehab.)  Meanwhile, King Booker tasks Sir William Regal with making sure that he slays the three evil dragons tonight and ensuring his title remains in the kingdom. Smackdown tag titles: Brian Kendrick & Paul London v. KC James & Idol Stevens Man, James and Stevens sure didn’t stick around long, did they? (Ah, but Idol Stevens was just waiting to grow out his awesome beard before returning as our intellectual savior Damien Sandow.  DID I JUST BLOW YOUR MIND?  Probably not.)  Idol slugs on London to start, but gets caught with a rana out of nowhere and it’s some double-teaming by the champs. JBL really goes for the Obscure Reference of the Week award by comparing the champs to Steve & Shaun Simpson. Who the hell is gonna remember THEM? (JBL compares EVERY team to the Simpson brothers. That’s his whole thing.)  James comes in and also gets double-teamed, as London & Kendrick hold them off with spinkicks, and then dump them and follow with stereo dives. London goes up and gets caught by Faceless Diva #1 at ringside, and Stevens takes over in the ring with a chinlock. James comes in with a flying knee to the back, which gets two, and hits the chinlock. Backbreaker gets two. Stevens gets an arm submission on the mat as the vanilla offense continues, and they keep London in their corner. KC misses a blind charge and Stevens is forced to yank Spanky off the apron and prevent a tag, but London escapes and makes it anyway. He dropkicks everyone , but Sliced Bread #2 is blocked while London nails Stevens with a tope suicida. James brings Kendrick down with a superplex for two, but London saves. Heel miscommunication allows Kendrick to get two, but Stevens sneaks in with a backbreaker on Kendrick for two in what I guess was supposed to be the big false finish. Meanwhile, a catfight at ringside between the two women who I couldn’t pick out of a lineup if asked gets the crowd more excited than the match to this point, and Kendrick finishes James with a Sliced Bread #2 into a standing moonsault from London to retain.  (Out of curiosity I checked Wikipedia and the women in question were Ashley Massaro and Michelle McCool.   Just in case you care.)  (London & Kendrick d. James & Stevens, Kendrick Sliced Bread — pin James, 9:34, **1/2) Never really got anywhere because the challengers were mostly of the punch-and-kick variety of offense, and I guess the fact that they went back to whence they came soon after this speaks to that. Cole & JBL spent the whole match putting the champs over, which also left little doubt as to the outcome. Meanwhile, William Regal searches for Finlay, but finds Vito jumping rope instead. Hilarity ensues. Teddy Long joins us with a birthday present for the Miz, who JBL burns by calling him a Terry Taylor wannabe. Oh, that’s mean. To both guys, really. (And to think Miz would be headlining Wrestlemania just four years after this.)  Long brings out Faceless Diva #3, who apparently won the Diva Search last year, and gives Miz a lapdance. (That would be Layla, in fact.)  Well, that explains how she won. To the shock of no one, the giant birthday present opens and reveals Big Dick Johnson, which is apparently supposed to be hilarious. Have I mentioned how awesome it is that I can at least watch this crap for free instead of paying $40 for it like people had to do in October? MVP v. Marty Garner Yes, the screwing of the fans continues, as they debut MVP with a squash match on a PPV. He takes Garner down with a snapmare for two, but stops to work out. The crowd decisively turns on the match already, as MVP pounds him in the corner and gets a lariat. He finishes with Elix Skipper’s Play of the Day. (MVP d. Marty Garner, neckbreaker — pin, 2:27, DUD) JBL, despite being the heel announcer, completely buries MVP the whole match, which is kinda cool and probably why he was so effective in that role. I know the match was designed for fans to hate it and turn on it, but I like watching shows and ENJOYING matches, not being manipulated into reacting to them in ways I don’t want. Also, MVP has the worst look for a supposed mid-to-top-level heel that I’ve ever seen, with his ridiculous outfit and cornrows.  (I think that was supposed to be the point, or something, I’m not sure.  The whole MVP thing went way over my head because as everyone knows, I live in the bubble and don’t watch sports outside of hockey, and I never got into him until he got really good and then quit right after.)  Meanwhile, the Regal-Vito saga continues, as Regal is showering for no apparent reason (I guess to clean off the ketchup and mustard from the last segment) and runs into a naked Vito, the result of which is getting put into a match with Chris Benoit. Mr. Kennedy v. Undertaker Another non-title match, as Kennedy was US champion at this point. (Ken Anderson was US CHAMPION!?!  When the fuck did THAT happen?  Why do I not remember this at all?)  Wow, nothing makes me want to buy a show more than champions not defending their titles. Taker quickly goes after Kennedy, attacking him in the corner and chasing him to the floor for a quick brawl, and back in for a slam off an armbar that sends Kennedy running again. Taker sends him into the post to continue on the arm, but goes Old School back in the ring and gets yanked down by Kennedy to take over. Taker goes right back to the arm and tries Old School again, this time successfully. Flatliner gets two, and it’s heartening that JBL actually calls it that. The more I hear him on commentary, the more I’m impressed.  (Plus he climbs mountains too.)  Kennedy gets whipped around and clotheslined down for two, and UT pulls the turnbuckle pad off for good measure. They brawl outside again, and Kennedy still doesn’t learn his lesson from last time, as Undertaker is again able to take him into the post and this time hurts the back. Back in, Taker gets two. Kennedy tosses him to buy time and attempts to take the countout, then recovers enough to DDT Undertaker on his way back into the ring. That gets two. Running choke gets two. Kennedy stomps away in the corner and follows with the face wipe, which gets two. Elbows get two. Kennedy makes another error, starting a slugfest, and Taker sends him out of the ring again. Taker legdrops him on the apron, but Kennedy catches him with a piledriver when they head back in. Zombie situp and Kennedy hammers him down for two, then goes to a chinlock. JBL really needed to smack Cole around for calling Kennedy’s piledriver a tombstone. They slug it out as JBL advocates “kicking him in the groin” to slow Undertaker down, but despite this advice Taker is able to come back with a corner clothesline and Snake Eyes. Legdrop gets two. Chokeslam is blocked by Kennedy and countered with a neckbreaker, which gets two. High kick misses and Taker gets his chokeslam, which sets up the Last Ride. Kennedy fights out of that, however, and rams Taker’s head into the exposed turnbuckle. Nice continuity there. Kennedy goes up with the Kenton Bomb, and that gets two. Taker revives and Kennedy runs away for his belt, but gets slugged down by Undertaker, who uses the belt to draw the cheap DQ. (Mr. Kennedy d. Undertaker, beltshot — DQ, 20:35, **) This was shaping up to be a really good, old style heavyweight match until the shitty finish. They really should have cut it off shorter than 20 minutes if they were gonna do that ending, considering the match had no real big finishing sequence and just ended up being a lot of dull buildup and no payoff.  (Much like Anderson’s career.  High five!  Anyone?)  Falls Count Anywhere: Chavo Guerrero v. Rey Mysterio This whole storyline makes me wish they would have given the Kerwin White gimmick another few weeks to see if it clicked. Chavo slugs on Rey to start, but gets dropkicked and they fight on the mat. Rey goes up early and Chavo follows, but can’t powerbomb him down. Both guys end up landing on the floor and they start fighting up the aisle. Chavo gains the advantage and tries to powerbomb Rey by the entrance, but Rey grabs onto the scaffolding of the set in a neat counter and takes Chavo down with a rana, for two. Over to the crowd, where Chavo sends him into the sideboards and Rey responds by whipping him into a railing. The railing appears to be there for no reason other than so that Rey can whip Chavo into it and then give him a guillotine legdrop, and they fight down the aisle. Rey tries the Rube Goldberg bulldog in an area with no room to do it, and Chavo swings him into the boards to counter, which gets two. Up the stairs we go, but Rey sends Chavo crashing back down again and follows with the senton off the railing. Chavo comes back with a clothesline as they continue their leisurely walking tour of the arena in lieu of having an actual match. Going “walk walk walk punch, walk walk walk punch” is not exactly the makings of a classic brawl. Over to the rear entrance, where Rey gets a 619 variation and finishes with a high cross off the bleachers. (Rey Mysterio d. Chavo Guerrero, cross body — pin, 12:12, **) Really kinda dull and unmotivated for a supposed grudge match, although I guess Rey having only half a knee was probably a factor.  (How scary is it that Rey was falling apart six years ago, and he’s STILL doing the same shit today with even worse knees?  This dude is gonna be in a wheelchair by the time he’s 40.)  Chris Benoit v. William Regal This was of course Benoit’s return from yet another lengthy injury.  (HIs next injury would be of the permanent type.)  They slug it out to start and Regal grabs a headlock, and that turns into a fight in itself on the mat. Regal tries going for the leg takedown, and they fight over a top wristlock before Regal gets his takedown. I should point out how unspeakably awesome it is that Regal has “Villain” on his tights. They trade bridges on the knucklelock battle and Benoit rolls into a bodyscissors. Note to Michael Cole: The name of the scissors move refers to the body part being attacked, not the body part being used. Thus, wrapping the legs around the body is a “body scissors,” not a “leg scissors.” Benoit starts chopping and follows with the german suplex, then headbutts Regal down to bust him open and adds another suplex. Diving headbutt gets two. Yeah, they came to fight tonight. Over to the apron and Regal tries to suplex him out, but Benoit throws knees to block and attempts his own suplex off the apron. Regal counters with a DDT on the apron, and gets two back in the ring. The stiffness continues, as Regal throws knee into a straight punch to drop Benoit, and Benoit fires back with chops into a Sharpshooter attempt. Regal kicks him in the face to escape. Running knee gets two. Regal gets a bizarre abdominal stretch, with a dragon sleeper added in, and it looks mighty painful. Benoit beats him up in the corner to break and CHOPS THE CUT. Oh, come on, that’s gold. Regal jumps on his gut with a kneedrop and gets two, and stretches Benoit on the mat. Benoit makes the ropes, so Regal kicks him in the head and gets two. Bow and arrow submission, which Benoit slugs out of, and they fight over a full-nelson until Benoit gets a dragon suplex, into the crossface. (Chris Benoit d. William Regal, crossface — submission, 11:15, ***1/2) Kinda surprised that the finish came so soon, as I thought they were just getting warmed up out there. Another 10 minutes and it would have totally stolen the show and been a Match of the Year candidate. Meanwhile, Regal has to report to his royal Bookerness that he has failed in his quest to find Finlay, but Finlay finds them anyway. Finlay emphasizes that he wants a fight, and Booker blames Regal. Smackdown World title: King Booker v. Lashley v. Finlay v. Batista. I think Booker has the advantage in that he at least has two names. Hey, that’s as valid an analysis as anything in a worked sport. This was original supposed to be Booker v. Lashley, which probably would have produced the lowest buyrate in history had they not panicked and changed it. Everyone goes after Booker to start, but Finlay decides to start fights and dumps Lashley, then lays out Batista. Booker forges an alliance with Finlay and they work on Batista in the corner, but Lashley saves and catches Booker with a spinebuster for two. He slugs away, but Finlay yanks Booker out of the ring to save him again, and together they ram Lashley into the apron to get rid of him for a while. They should form a team, actually, given that burst of cooperation — they can call themselves Black Irish! (Still could be used for Sheamus and Kofi or any number of people.)  Back in the ring, they pound on Batista in the corner and Finlay clotheslines him, then turns on Booker and clotheslines him, too. BUT WHAT ABOUT BLACK IRISH? Finlay gets rid of Batista and goes after Booker, ramming his throat into the apron and buttdropping him for two before Batista saves. Finlay smoothly takes Batista down with a Fujiwara armbar while Booker rolls out to recover,and Finlay even holds on through a samoan drop by Batista. Lashley saves, so Finlay takes HIM down with a leglock, seemingly determined to single-handedly carry this thing. Booker saves with a superkick and gets two on Finlay, but Batista chokes him down. Booker fires back with a nice sidekick for two, but Batista sideslams him for two. Lashley dumps both guys, but since it’s not a Royal Rumble he doesn’t win yet. Finlay tries attacking, but Lashley fights him off and presses him. However, the Little Bastard makes his appearance and nutshots Lashley, giving Finlay two. Booker saves, but covers Lashley himself for two. Booker and Finlay, unable to agree to disagree on who gets the pin, fight it out in the corner until Batista returns to pound on both of them. Corner clothesline for Finlay and a Jackhammer for Booker, and only Lashley is left standing now. They do the staredown like it’s Hogan and Warrior or something, but it’s not like they have any history. Batista spears him for two and works him over in the corner, but Lashley comes back with a spinebuster. Batista ends up bleeding off that fairly innocuous sequence, and Lashley snaps off a nice belly to belly and dumps him with a clothesline. Finlay returns and gets dumped, but Booker sneaks in with a Bookend on Lashley and gets two. Lashley cradles for two. Booker with the flying forearm for two. Axe kick is broken up by Finlay, who bowls Booker over with a clothesline for two. Batista returns with a spinebuster for everyone and opts to hit Finlay with the Batista Bomb, but Lashley stupidly spears Batista away and Booker steals the pin on Finlay to retain. (Booker d. Lashley, Finlay and Batista, pins Finlay, 16:53, ***1/4) The four-way format actually allowed them to do several short matches instead of one long one, and the small bursts of power stuff actually ended up being quite effective. The Pulse: Sure, no one bought the show, but this was actually quite a good PPV, with a shocking number of ***+ matches spread across the card and only one real clunker, and even that was short. Check this one out on DVD. Recommended show.  (I literally don’t remember anything I just read about.)