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.) 

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2006

(2012 Scott sez:  I saw this one live in the theatre at the time, but didn’t do this rant on it until a couple of years later.  So there’s not likely to be much in the way of extra comments here, sorry.)  The SmarK Retro Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2006 – Live from Miami, FL. – Your hosts are Joey & King & Tazz & ColeCruiserweight Texas Tornado open: Kid Kash v. Funaki v. Jamie Noble v. Nunzio v. Paul London v. Gregory Helms I don’t even remember Kash as champion, but then I was paying very little attention at this point anyway. Everyone gangs up on Helms because he was apparently from RAW at this point, and guys trade highspots. Noble with a powerslam on Nunzio into an armbreaker, and London dropkicks Helms and lands on Noble for two. London tries a headscissors on Helms in the corner, but gets dumped, and Nunzio hits the Sicilian Slice on Helms for two. Kash dumps Nunzio onto a couple of guys, but Noble hits him with a leg lariat for two. Noble adds to the pile outside, leaving Funaki and Kash in the ring, but Kash tosses Funaki as well. London sneaks in and superkicks Kash out, then hits everyone with the shooting star press to the floor. Back in, Helms hits London with a neckbreaker from the top, but Kash breaks up the pin. Kash with a brainbuster on London for two, and a backstabber on Nunzio for two. Noble with an exploding gutbuster on Funaki and into the dragon sleeper, but Helms breaks it up, hits the Shining Wizard on Funaki, and wins the title at 7:38. Messy but fun. *** Meanwhile, Randy Orton and HHH draw numbers for the Rumble, and HHH gets the worst of it. Meanwhile, Mickie James just wants Trish Stratus to know that she loves her. Well, who doesn’t? Mickie James v. Ashley Massaro God, I forgot about the “spunky tomboy” image when they were still pushing Ashley down our throats. Mickie was very much the lesbian stalker at this point, which was tremendous, and Trish is the special referee with a very special referee outfit. When Trish wears tiny shorts, it works. When Shawn Michaels does, not so much. They do a silly lockup battle to the floor, and back in Ashley gets a rollup for two. Mickey gets frustrated and bails, so Ashley follows with a shitty clothesline from the apron. Back in, Ashley hammers away in the corner with ridiculously unconvincing punches, but James nails her from behind and works on the leg. Mickie dumps Ashley and follows with a baseball slide. Back in, a fisherman’s suplex gets two. Ashley comes back with horrifying punches, which actually leads Joey Styles to be forced into saying “she’s got a great right hand.” Jim Ross used to say that about jobber Bob Cook and you at least believed it. Ashley is no Bob Cook. This just keeps GOING and getting worse as Ashley makes her pathetic comeback, but Mickey rolls her up in the corner for the pin at 7:44. And Ashley can’t even do THAT right! 1/2* Even the crowd had turned on Ashley by the end of this.  (2012 Scott sez:  On the bright side, at least now women aren’t hired because of their willingness to do Playboy.)  Meanwhile, Big Show draws his number, although his hand is too big to fit in the drum and Candace has to help him. Rey also draws after dedicating the match to Eddie Guerrero, and apparently Eddie still has a sense of humor. JBL v. The Boogeyman JBL lets the Boogeyman have his way with Jillian Hall to distract him and then attacks, and they fight to the floor. Boogey no-sells most of it and they head back in, where JBL chokes him out with the wrist tape. Clothesline from Hell misses and Boogey finishes with the pumphandle slam at 1:47. WTF was that? DUD Meanwhile, Vince meets Shelton Benjamin’s mama in a hilarious bit of hilarity. There’s another angle that went nowhere. Royal Rumble: HHH is #1, and Rey Mysterio is #2. Rey dominates and hammers away in the corner, but 619 is interrupted by Simon Dean at #3. (2012 Scott sez:  That loser gimmick stuck around for a whole YEAR?!) Simon tries to toss Rey with no luck, but HHH lays him out and gets rid of him at 2:36. Rey goes back to beating on HHH again and gets the broncobuster, but Psicosis is #4. I still can’t believe that “Mexicools” was a real thing. Psi and Rey team up on HHH, but Psi turns on him and hits him with a uranage faceplant. He tries to put him out with a powerbomb, but Rey reverses and eliminates him at 4:50 with a rana. Ric Flair is #5 and that’s an immediate showdown with HHH. Flair chops away and gets a backdrop out of the corner, but walks into the facecrusher. Flair responds with a ballcrusher, however, so HHH goes to the eyes and then backdrops a charging Flair out at 6:48. Big Show is #6 and he hates HHH as well, for reasons I don’t remember these long 4 years later. But Michael Cole assures me that a sledgehammer was involved, so I’m sure it was very memorable and awesome. Show pounds on HHH in the corner and gets a sideslam, then teases throwing him out before slamming him instead. Coach is #7. And he’s out at 9:38. (2012 Scott sez:  That should have been the extent of his involvement in the 2005 Rumble.)  Show again teases slamming HHH out of the ring and then doesn’t. He chokeslams HHH and Bobby Lashley is #8. He slugs it out with Big Show and gets a backdrop, then boots him out of the ring. Under the ropes, though. Kane is #9 and he slugs it out with Lashley and then puts him down with a big boot. Lashley suplexes him in return and hits him with the Dominator, and everyone is out as Sylvan Grenier is #10. I don’t remember him as a single either. Lashley chucks him at 14:55, but turns around into a double chokeslam from Kane & Show, and he’s out at 15:19. Kane and Show melt down and slug it out, and apparently they were tag champs at this point, which I vaguely remember but I don’t remember how they got the belts off them.  (2012 Scott sez:  That would be via the Spirit Squad, I believe.)  They choke each other on the ropes, and HHH smartly dumps them both at 16:28. Carlito is #11 and he goes after Rey and then HHH, and hits Rey with the backstabber. He fights off HHH long enough for Chris Benoit to be #12. Apparently he won the Rumble in 2004 and then went on to win the belt at Wrestlemania, but I can’t find that anywhere on WWE.com. Michael Cole is such a liar. Benoit suplexes the shit out of everyone and makes Carlito tap to a crossface, but that of course means nothing. HHH breaks it up and tries to suplex Benoit out, and they fight for the suplex in a good sequence until HHH puts him on the top and Benoit comes in with the diving headbutt as a result. Booker T is #13 and goes right for Benoit, but gets tossed at 21:39 as a result. So Benoit goes back to beating on HHH as Mercury is #14. I have to say, there’s a lot of Wellness violations in that ring right now. (2012 Scott sez:  Well technically HHH isn’t eligible to be tested, but point taken) Mercury does pretty well for himself, but Benoit hits him with a suplex to stop the rampage. Not much going on and Tatanka is #15. This was a weird surprise entry, and he actually stuck around for a while for reasons I can’t fathom. He chops away on some people as I wait for the chop showdown with Benoit, but it’s not coming. Benoit’s dedication to annoying HHH is nice to see. Nitro is #16, and now with MNM at full force I don’t think anything can stop them. MNM teams up on Tatanka while Carlito tries to get Rey out without success. Trevor Murdoch is #17 and we get another elimination tease from Rey, this time via HHH. Eugene is #18 and he goes right for Murdoch with an airplane spin, but makes himself dizzy and gets laid out by a Rey bulldog. Animal is #19, once again showing that nostalgia + nepotism = a powerful combination. (2012 Scott sez:  Frankly I’m shocked that they haven’t put Animal back on TV to heat up the Big Johnny stuff.)  Way too much deadwood in there now and even the announcers are complaining that we need to clear things out. RVD is #20 and that should help. And indeed he runs wild, dumping Animal at 34:12, before Orlando Jordan is #21. His reaction is almost as big as the one he got on TNA Impact. But that might have just been the pedophiles in the crowd, I’m not sure. Does NAMBLA have a Miami chapter? Chavo is #22, but really Eddie can’t bless TWO people in the match, because he goes up and HHH sends him to the floor at 37:20. Obviously the dead understand the concept of midcarders, too. Matt Hardy is #23 as Rey & RVD team up on HHH but can’t get rid of him. Tatanka is gone at 39:15 via MNM, and Super Crazy is #24. Finally some star power, as Shawn Michaels is #25 and will hopefully clean house. He pulls Murdoch out at 42:01, but then gets sucked into the Bore Zone like everyone else. Chris Masters is #26, back when people still saw him as someone worth protecting. Hardy and HHH try to eliminate each other with no luck, and Viscera is #27. He squashes Matt Hardy and violates him, then tosses him at 45:40. Geez, raped and thrown out of the ring, there’s no justice.  (2012 Scott sez:  If he does go to jail, he’ll at least have some practice.)  Shelton (and Mama) are #28 as Benoit tosses Eugene at 46:22. And yet Orlando Jordan is still in there wasting our time. Doesn’t he have an underage boy to statutorily rape? (2012 Scott sez:  Allegedly.)  Goldust is #29 as the 90s nostalgia parade continues with little payoff. Randy Orton is #30, back when he still had hair, untattooed skin and body fat. He quickly powers Benoit out at 49:19 and hits Vis with an RKO, which allows Masters and Carlito to dump him at 49:51. Carlito turns on Masters at 49:55 to get rid of him. Goldust gives Carlito Shattered Nuts and then takes an awkward bump out from an RVD kick at 50:40. Orton puts OJ out at 51:03. Shawn and HHH have their showdown, but MNM attacks HBK. Shawn gets rid of them both at 52:29, however. Shelton lays him out with a high kick, but gets superkicked off the apron at 53:03. Those two had some mad chemistry together. So now Vince comes out to further his nonsensical feud with Shawn, distracting him long enough for Shane to come in and put Shawn out at 54:08. (2012 Scott sez:  You know, as entertaining as the WM match and ensuing feud with DX turned out, I still have no earthly idea what they were even fighting ABOUT.  Like, can someone sum up in a sentence what the issue was?) Shawn gets a superkick on HHH before leaving, though. Carlito beats on RVD and gets kicked out at 55:23, so… Final Four: Rob Van Dam, HHH, Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio. At that time there was a real case to made for any of them to win. Except for RVD. Rey and Rob reunite their team and destroy the former Evolution, but RVD goes up and gets knocked off at 56:51 by Rey, accidentally. Like I said, anyone except for RVD could win. HHH and Orton wisely team up against Rey, but he hits them with a double DDT and gets them both in 619 position, then hits it and follows with the senton on Orton. HHH lays him out with a clothesline right after, but Orton powerslams HHH. He sets up for the RKO, but walks into a spinebuster instead. HHH goes after Rey…and gets flipped out at 60:04. So we’re down to Orton v. Rey now, but sore loser HHH sends Rey into the stairs to seemingly assure victory for Orton. Orton tries to slam Rey out, but Rey hangs on and wins the Royal Rumble at 62:00. I really liked the storyline with HHH trying to be 1992 Ric Flair, but then it fell into the usual Rumble trap of piling midcarders in there and grinding it to a halt without a payoff. ***1/2 RAW World title: Edge v. John Cena This is their first “real” match in a series that currently sits at 300,000 and counting. Cena pounds Edge and gets a clothesline to put him on the floor, but Edge pulls him out for a quick brawl. Back in, Cena with a sideslam for two. Edge bails and hides behind Lita (at her hot slutty mess peak here), but Cena of course won’t hit a woman and Edge gets the cheapshot. He follows with a baseball slide to put Cena into the front row. Back in, Edge pounds away with knees on the ropes and chokes him down. They slug it out and Edge gets a leg lariat for two and follows with a german suplex, then puts him down with a standing dropkick and out to the floor. Back in, Edge with a missile dropkick for two. They fight for a superplex and Cena sends Edge to the mat and follows with the legdrop for one. Edge charges into the corner and Cena almost gets an FU, but Cena reverses to a rollup for two. Edge puts him down with a big boot and goes up again, but Cena rolls through a bodypress and gets two. Edge with a sleeper, but Cena powers him into the corner to break. Edge sets up for the spear instead, but hits the turnbuckle and walks into a Cena DDT for the double KO. That’s not what this match needed. Cena makes the comeback with the backdrop suplex and Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Lita has the ref distracted. Probably with her awesome rack. (2012 Scott sez:  Even age and an arrest record can’t take that away.)  FU and STFU finishes at 14:00 to give Cena the title back, however. They’d have awesome matches in the future, but this wasn’t one of them, as it was ultra generic heel offense from Edge and basically just a way to get the belt back on Cena. **3/4 Meanwhile, Josh Matthews or Todd Grisham or whichever one he is calls Edge a “transitional champion”, showing that he has no idea what that term means. Smackdown World title: Kurt Angle v. Mark Henry Yeah, this gets the main event slot. Mark Henry has Daivari with him in another angle that I don’t remember and probably went nowhere. Angle slugs away on Henry, but tries a bodypress and gets dumped. Back in, Angle tries a facelock and gets dropped on the top rope as a result. Henry with the big splash for two. Cole gets really excited about that. It’s a fucking big splash, Cole. Henry goes to the bearhug to really ramp up the pace, but Angle hiptosses out of it. He goes up and gets caught again, but slips into an anklelock attempt. Henry pounds him down with the clubbing forearms, but Angle pulls out a german suplex and the Angle slam for two. Anklelock, but the ref is bumped. Angle gets rid of Daivari with a chairshot and goes low on Henry. Two chairshots get two. Oh come on. No one gives a shit about Henry, just end it. Angle undoes a turnbuckle, sends Henry into it, and rolls him up to retain at 9:19. Pretty terrible even by Angle’s declining standards that year. * Undertaker returns to close the show, destroying the ring with his mystical powers (no, really) and setting up a pretty great main event against Angle the next month.  (2012 Scott sez:  I definitely did not see myself turning into a supporter of Mark Henry years later, but here we are.)  The Pulse This is definitely one of the weakest and most forgettable Rumble cards top-to-bottom, setting up a weak and forgettable Wrestlemania in turn. Recommendation to avoid.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2006

(2012 Scott sez:  I saw this one live in the theatre at the time, but didn’t do this rant on it until a couple of years later.  So there’s not likely to be much in the way of extra comments here, sorry.)  The SmarK Retro Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2006 – Live from Miami, FL. – Your hosts are Joey & King & Tazz & ColeCruiserweight Texas Tornado open: Kid Kash v. Funaki v. Jamie Noble v. Nunzio v. Paul London v. Gregory Helms I don’t even remember Kash as champion, but then I was paying very little attention at this point anyway. Everyone gangs up on Helms because he was apparently from RAW at this point, and guys trade highspots. Noble with a powerslam on Nunzio into an armbreaker, and London dropkicks Helms and lands on Noble for two. London tries a headscissors on Helms in the corner, but gets dumped, and Nunzio hits the Sicilian Slice on Helms for two. Kash dumps Nunzio onto a couple of guys, but Noble hits him with a leg lariat for two. Noble adds to the pile outside, leaving Funaki and Kash in the ring, but Kash tosses Funaki as well. London sneaks in and superkicks Kash out, then hits everyone with the shooting star press to the floor. Back in, Helms hits London with a neckbreaker from the top, but Kash breaks up the pin. Kash with a brainbuster on London for two, and a backstabber on Nunzio for two. Noble with an exploding gutbuster on Funaki and into the dragon sleeper, but Helms breaks it up, hits the Shining Wizard on Funaki, and wins the title at 7:38. Messy but fun. *** Meanwhile, Randy Orton and HHH draw numbers for the Rumble, and HHH gets the worst of it. Meanwhile, Mickie James just wants Trish Stratus to know that she loves her. Well, who doesn’t? Mickie James v. Ashley Massaro God, I forgot about the “spunky tomboy” image when they were still pushing Ashley down our throats. Mickie was very much the lesbian stalker at this point, which was tremendous, and Trish is the special referee with a very special referee outfit. When Trish wears tiny shorts, it works. When Shawn Michaels does, not so much. They do a silly lockup battle to the floor, and back in Ashley gets a rollup for two. Mickey gets frustrated and bails, so Ashley follows with a shitty clothesline from the apron. Back in, Ashley hammers away in the corner with ridiculously unconvincing punches, but James nails her from behind and works on the leg. Mickie dumps Ashley and follows with a baseball slide. Back in, a fisherman’s suplex gets two. Ashley comes back with horrifying punches, which actually leads Joey Styles to be forced into saying “she’s got a great right hand.” Jim Ross used to say that about jobber Bob Cook and you at least believed it. Ashley is no Bob Cook. This just keeps GOING and getting worse as Ashley makes her pathetic comeback, but Mickey rolls her up in the corner for the pin at 7:44. And Ashley can’t even do THAT right! 1/2* Even the crowd had turned on Ashley by the end of this.  (2012 Scott sez:  On the bright side, at least now women aren’t hired because of their willingness to do Playboy.)  Meanwhile, Big Show draws his number, although his hand is too big to fit in the drum and Candace has to help him. Rey also draws after dedicating the match to Eddie Guerrero, and apparently Eddie still has a sense of humor. JBL v. The Boogeyman JBL lets the Boogeyman have his way with Jillian Hall to distract him and then attacks, and they fight to the floor. Boogey no-sells most of it and they head back in, where JBL chokes him out with the wrist tape. Clothesline from Hell misses and Boogey finishes with the pumphandle slam at 1:47. WTF was that? DUD Meanwhile, Vince meets Shelton Benjamin’s mama in a hilarious bit of hilarity. There’s another angle that went nowhere. Royal Rumble: HHH is #1, and Rey Mysterio is #2. Rey dominates and hammers away in the corner, but 619 is interrupted by Simon Dean at #3. (2012 Scott sez:  That loser gimmick stuck around for a whole YEAR?!) Simon tries to toss Rey with no luck, but HHH lays him out and gets rid of him at 2:36. Rey goes back to beating on HHH again and gets the broncobuster, but Psicosis is #4. I still can’t believe that “Mexicools” was a real thing. Psi and Rey team up on HHH, but Psi turns on him and hits him with a uranage faceplant. He tries to put him out with a powerbomb, but Rey reverses and eliminates him at 4:50 with a rana. Ric Flair is #5 and that’s an immediate showdown with HHH. Flair chops away and gets a backdrop out of the corner, but walks into the facecrusher. Flair responds with a ballcrusher, however, so HHH goes to the eyes and then backdrops a charging Flair out at 6:48. Big Show is #6 and he hates HHH as well, for reasons I don’t remember these long 4 years later. But Michael Cole assures me that a sledgehammer was involved, so I’m sure it was very memorable and awesome. Show pounds on HHH in the corner and gets a sideslam, then teases throwing him out before slamming him instead. Coach is #7. And he’s out at 9:38. (2012 Scott sez:  That should have been the extent of his involvement in the 2005 Rumble.)  Show again teases slamming HHH out of the ring and then doesn’t. He chokeslams HHH and Bobby Lashley is #8. He slugs it out with Big Show and gets a backdrop, then boots him out of the ring. Under the ropes, though. Kane is #9 and he slugs it out with Lashley and then puts him down with a big boot. Lashley suplexes him in return and hits him with the Dominator, and everyone is out as Sylvan Grenier is #10. I don’t remember him as a single either. Lashley chucks him at 14:55, but turns around into a double chokeslam from Kane & Show, and he’s out at 15:19. Kane and Show melt down and slug it out, and apparently they were tag champs at this point, which I vaguely remember but I don’t remember how they got the belts off them.  (2012 Scott sez:  That would be via the Spirit Squad, I believe.)  They choke each other on the ropes, and HHH smartly dumps them both at 16:28. Carlito is #11 and he goes after Rey and then HHH, and hits Rey with the backstabber. He fights off HHH long enough for Chris Benoit to be #12. Apparently he won the Rumble in 2004 and then went on to win the belt at Wrestlemania, but I can’t find that anywhere on WWE.com. Michael Cole is such a liar. Benoit suplexes the shit out of everyone and makes Carlito tap to a crossface, but that of course means nothing. HHH breaks it up and tries to suplex Benoit out, and they fight for the suplex in a good sequence until HHH puts him on the top and Benoit comes in with the diving headbutt as a result. Booker T is #13 and goes right for Benoit, but gets tossed at 21:39 as a result. So Benoit goes back to beating on HHH as Mercury is #14. I have to say, there’s a lot of Wellness violations in that ring right now. (2012 Scott sez:  Well technically HHH isn’t eligible to be tested, but point taken) Mercury does pretty well for himself, but Benoit hits him with a suplex to stop the rampage. Not much going on and Tatanka is #15. This was a weird surprise entry, and he actually stuck around for a while for reasons I can’t fathom. He chops away on some people as I wait for the chop showdown with Benoit, but it’s not coming. Benoit’s dedication to annoying HHH is nice to see. Nitro is #16, and now with MNM at full force I don’t think anything can stop them. MNM teams up on Tatanka while Carlito tries to get Rey out without success. Trevor Murdoch is #17 and we get another elimination tease from Rey, this time via HHH. Eugene is #18 and he goes right for Murdoch with an airplane spin, but makes himself dizzy and gets laid out by a Rey bulldog. Animal is #19, once again showing that nostalgia + nepotism = a powerful combination. (2012 Scott sez:  Frankly I’m shocked that they haven’t put Animal back on TV to heat up the Big Johnny stuff.)  Way too much deadwood in there now and even the announcers are complaining that we need to clear things out. RVD is #20 and that should help. And indeed he runs wild, dumping Animal at 34:12, before Orlando Jordan is #21. His reaction is almost as big as the one he got on TNA Impact. But that might have just been the pedophiles in the crowd, I’m not sure. Does NAMBLA have a Miami chapter? Chavo is #22, but really Eddie can’t bless TWO people in the match, because he goes up and HHH sends him to the floor at 37:20. Obviously the dead understand the concept of midcarders, too. Matt Hardy is #23 as Rey & RVD team up on HHH but can’t get rid of him. Tatanka is gone at 39:15 via MNM, and Super Crazy is #24. Finally some star power, as Shawn Michaels is #25 and will hopefully clean house. He pulls Murdoch out at 42:01, but then gets sucked into the Bore Zone like everyone else. Chris Masters is #26, back when people still saw him as someone worth protecting. Hardy and HHH try to eliminate each other with no luck, and Viscera is #27. He squashes Matt Hardy and violates him, then tosses him at 45:40. Geez, raped and thrown out of the ring, there’s no justice.  (2012 Scott sez:  If he does go to jail, he’ll at least have some practice.)  Shelton (and Mama) are #28 as Benoit tosses Eugene at 46:22. And yet Orlando Jordan is still in there wasting our time. Doesn’t he have an underage boy to statutorily rape? (2012 Scott sez:  Allegedly.)  Goldust is #29 as the 90s nostalgia parade continues with little payoff. Randy Orton is #30, back when he still had hair, untattooed skin and body fat. He quickly powers Benoit out at 49:19 and hits Vis with an RKO, which allows Masters and Carlito to dump him at 49:51. Carlito turns on Masters at 49:55 to get rid of him. Goldust gives Carlito Shattered Nuts and then takes an awkward bump out from an RVD kick at 50:40. Orton puts OJ out at 51:03. Shawn and HHH have their showdown, but MNM attacks HBK. Shawn gets rid of them both at 52:29, however. Shelton lays him out with a high kick, but gets superkicked off the apron at 53:03. Those two had some mad chemistry together. So now Vince comes out to further his nonsensical feud with Shawn, distracting him long enough for Shane to come in and put Shawn out at 54:08. (2012 Scott sez:  You know, as entertaining as the WM match and ensuing feud with DX turned out, I still have no earthly idea what they were even fighting ABOUT.  Like, can someone sum up in a sentence what the issue was?) Shawn gets a superkick on HHH before leaving, though. Carlito beats on RVD and gets kicked out at 55:23, so… Final Four: Rob Van Dam, HHH, Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio. At that time there was a real case to made for any of them to win. Except for RVD. Rey and Rob reunite their team and destroy the former Evolution, but RVD goes up and gets knocked off at 56:51 by Rey, accidentally. Like I said, anyone except for RVD could win. HHH and Orton wisely team up against Rey, but he hits them with a double DDT and gets them both in 619 position, then hits it and follows with the senton on Orton. HHH lays him out with a clothesline right after, but Orton powerslams HHH. He sets up for the RKO, but walks into a spinebuster instead. HHH goes after Rey…and gets flipped out at 60:04. So we’re down to Orton v. Rey now, but sore loser HHH sends Rey into the stairs to seemingly assure victory for Orton. Orton tries to slam Rey out, but Rey hangs on and wins the Royal Rumble at 62:00. I really liked the storyline with HHH trying to be 1992 Ric Flair, but then it fell into the usual Rumble trap of piling midcarders in there and grinding it to a halt without a payoff. ***1/2 RAW World title: Edge v. John Cena This is their first “real” match in a series that currently sits at 300,000 and counting. Cena pounds Edge and gets a clothesline to put him on the floor, but Edge pulls him out for a quick brawl. Back in, Cena with a sideslam for two. Edge bails and hides behind Lita (at her hot slutty mess peak here), but Cena of course won’t hit a woman and Edge gets the cheapshot. He follows with a baseball slide to put Cena into the front row. Back in, Edge pounds away with knees on the ropes and chokes him down. They slug it out and Edge gets a leg lariat for two and follows with a german suplex, then puts him down with a standing dropkick and out to the floor. Back in, Edge with a missile dropkick for two. They fight for a superplex and Cena sends Edge to the mat and follows with the legdrop for one. Edge charges into the corner and Cena almost gets an FU, but Cena reverses to a rollup for two. Edge puts him down with a big boot and goes up again, but Cena rolls through a bodypress and gets two. Edge with a sleeper, but Cena powers him into the corner to break. Edge sets up for the spear instead, but hits the turnbuckle and walks into a Cena DDT for the double KO. That’s not what this match needed. Cena makes the comeback with the backdrop suplex and Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Lita has the ref distracted. Probably with her awesome rack. (2012 Scott sez:  Even age and an arrest record can’t take that away.)  FU and STFU finishes at 14:00 to give Cena the title back, however. They’d have awesome matches in the future, but this wasn’t one of them, as it was ultra generic heel offense from Edge and basically just a way to get the belt back on Cena. **3/4 Meanwhile, Josh Matthews or Todd Grisham or whichever one he is calls Edge a “transitional champion”, showing that he has no idea what that term means. Smackdown World title: Kurt Angle v. Mark Henry Yeah, this gets the main event slot. Mark Henry has Daivari with him in another angle that I don’t remember and probably went nowhere. Angle slugs away on Henry, but tries a bodypress and gets dumped. Back in, Angle tries a facelock and gets dropped on the top rope as a result. Henry with the big splash for two. Cole gets really excited about that. It’s a fucking big splash, Cole. Henry goes to the bearhug to really ramp up the pace, but Angle hiptosses out of it. He goes up and gets caught again, but slips into an anklelock attempt. Henry pounds him down with the clubbing forearms, but Angle pulls out a german suplex and the Angle slam for two. Anklelock, but the ref is bumped. Angle gets rid of Daivari with a chairshot and goes low on Henry. Two chairshots get two. Oh come on. No one gives a shit about Henry, just end it. Angle undoes a turnbuckle, sends Henry into it, and rolls him up to retain at 9:19. Pretty terrible even by Angle’s declining standards that year. * Undertaker returns to close the show, destroying the ring with his mystical powers (no, really) and setting up a pretty great main event against Angle the next month.  (2012 Scott sez:  I definitely did not see myself turning into a supporter of Mark Henry years later, but here we are.)  The Pulse This is definitely one of the weakest and most forgettable Rumble cards top-to-bottom, setting up a weak and forgettable Wrestlemania in turn. Recommendation to avoid.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2006

(2012 Scott sez:  I saw this one live in the theatre at the time, but didn’t do this rant on it until a couple of years later.  So there’s not likely to be much in the way of extra comments here, sorry.)  The SmarK Retro Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2006 – Live from Miami, FL. – Your hosts are Joey & King & Tazz & ColeCruiserweight Texas Tornado open: Kid Kash v. Funaki v. Jamie Noble v. Nunzio v. Paul London v. Gregory Helms I don’t even remember Kash as champion, but then I was paying very little attention at this point anyway. Everyone gangs up on Helms because he was apparently from RAW at this point, and guys trade highspots. Noble with a powerslam on Nunzio into an armbreaker, and London dropkicks Helms and lands on Noble for two. London tries a headscissors on Helms in the corner, but gets dumped, and Nunzio hits the Sicilian Slice on Helms for two. Kash dumps Nunzio onto a couple of guys, but Noble hits him with a leg lariat for two. Noble adds to the pile outside, leaving Funaki and Kash in the ring, but Kash tosses Funaki as well. London sneaks in and superkicks Kash out, then hits everyone with the shooting star press to the floor. Back in, Helms hits London with a neckbreaker from the top, but Kash breaks up the pin. Kash with a brainbuster on London for two, and a backstabber on Nunzio for two. Noble with an exploding gutbuster on Funaki and into the dragon sleeper, but Helms breaks it up, hits the Shining Wizard on Funaki, and wins the title at 7:38. Messy but fun. *** Meanwhile, Randy Orton and HHH draw numbers for the Rumble, and HHH gets the worst of it. Meanwhile, Mickie James just wants Trish Stratus to know that she loves her. Well, who doesn’t? Mickie James v. Ashley Massaro God, I forgot about the “spunky tomboy” image when they were still pushing Ashley down our throats. Mickie was very much the lesbian stalker at this point, which was tremendous, and Trish is the special referee with a very special referee outfit. When Trish wears tiny shorts, it works. When Shawn Michaels does, not so much. They do a silly lockup battle to the floor, and back in Ashley gets a rollup for two. Mickey gets frustrated and bails, so Ashley follows with a shitty clothesline from the apron. Back in, Ashley hammers away in the corner with ridiculously unconvincing punches, but James nails her from behind and works on the leg. Mickie dumps Ashley and follows with a baseball slide. Back in, a fisherman’s suplex gets two. Ashley comes back with horrifying punches, which actually leads Joey Styles to be forced into saying “she’s got a great right hand.” Jim Ross used to say that about jobber Bob Cook and you at least believed it. Ashley is no Bob Cook. This just keeps GOING and getting worse as Ashley makes her pathetic comeback, but Mickey rolls her up in the corner for the pin at 7:44. And Ashley can’t even do THAT right! 1/2* Even the crowd had turned on Ashley by the end of this.  (2012 Scott sez:  On the bright side, at least now women aren’t hired because of their willingness to do Playboy.)  Meanwhile, Big Show draws his number, although his hand is too big to fit in the drum and Candace has to help him. Rey also draws after dedicating the match to Eddie Guerrero, and apparently Eddie still has a sense of humor. JBL v. The Boogeyman JBL lets the Boogeyman have his way with Jillian Hall to distract him and then attacks, and they fight to the floor. Boogey no-sells most of it and they head back in, where JBL chokes him out with the wrist tape. Clothesline from Hell misses and Boogey finishes with the pumphandle slam at 1:47. WTF was that? DUD Meanwhile, Vince meets Shelton Benjamin’s mama in a hilarious bit of hilarity. There’s another angle that went nowhere. Royal Rumble: HHH is #1, and Rey Mysterio is #2. Rey dominates and hammers away in the corner, but 619 is interrupted by Simon Dean at #3. (2012 Scott sez:  That loser gimmick stuck around for a whole YEAR?!) Simon tries to toss Rey with no luck, but HHH lays him out and gets rid of him at 2:36. Rey goes back to beating on HHH again and gets the broncobuster, but Psicosis is #4. I still can’t believe that “Mexicools” was a real thing. Psi and Rey team up on HHH, but Psi turns on him and hits him with a uranage faceplant. He tries to put him out with a powerbomb, but Rey reverses and eliminates him at 4:50 with a rana. Ric Flair is #5 and that’s an immediate showdown with HHH. Flair chops away and gets a backdrop out of the corner, but walks into the facecrusher. Flair responds with a ballcrusher, however, so HHH goes to the eyes and then backdrops a charging Flair out at 6:48. Big Show is #6 and he hates HHH as well, for reasons I don’t remember these long 4 years later. But Michael Cole assures me that a sledgehammer was involved, so I’m sure it was very memorable and awesome. Show pounds on HHH in the corner and gets a sideslam, then teases throwing him out before slamming him instead. Coach is #7. And he’s out at 9:38. (2012 Scott sez:  That should have been the extent of his involvement in the 2005 Rumble.)  Show again teases slamming HHH out of the ring and then doesn’t. He chokeslams HHH and Bobby Lashley is #8. He slugs it out with Big Show and gets a backdrop, then boots him out of the ring. Under the ropes, though. Kane is #9 and he slugs it out with Lashley and then puts him down with a big boot. Lashley suplexes him in return and hits him with the Dominator, and everyone is out as Sylvan Grenier is #10. I don’t remember him as a single either. Lashley chucks him at 14:55, but turns around into a double chokeslam from Kane & Show, and he’s out at 15:19. Kane and Show melt down and slug it out, and apparently they were tag champs at this point, which I vaguely remember but I don’t remember how they got the belts off them.  (2012 Scott sez:  That would be via the Spirit Squad, I believe.)  They choke each other on the ropes, and HHH smartly dumps them both at 16:28. Carlito is #11 and he goes after Rey and then HHH, and hits Rey with the backstabber. He fights off HHH long enough for Chris Benoit to be #12. Apparently he won the Rumble in 2004 and then went on to win the belt at Wrestlemania, but I can’t find that anywhere on WWE.com. Michael Cole is such a liar. Benoit suplexes the shit out of everyone and makes Carlito tap to a crossface, but that of course means nothing. HHH breaks it up and tries to suplex Benoit out, and they fight for the suplex in a good sequence until HHH puts him on the top and Benoit comes in with the diving headbutt as a result. Booker T is #13 and goes right for Benoit, but gets tossed at 21:39 as a result. So Benoit goes back to beating on HHH as Mercury is #14. I have to say, there’s a lot of Wellness violations in that ring right now. (2012 Scott sez:  Well technically HHH isn’t eligible to be tested, but point taken) Mercury does pretty well for himself, but Benoit hits him with a suplex to stop the rampage. Not much going on and Tatanka is #15. This was a weird surprise entry, and he actually stuck around for a while for reasons I can’t fathom. He chops away on some people as I wait for the chop showdown with Benoit, but it’s not coming. Benoit’s dedication to annoying HHH is nice to see. Nitro is #16, and now with MNM at full force I don’t think anything can stop them. MNM teams up on Tatanka while Carlito tries to get Rey out without success. Trevor Murdoch is #17 and we get another elimination tease from Rey, this time via HHH. Eugene is #18 and he goes right for Murdoch with an airplane spin, but makes himself dizzy and gets laid out by a Rey bulldog. Animal is #19, once again showing that nostalgia + nepotism = a powerful combination. (2012 Scott sez:  Frankly I’m shocked that they haven’t put Animal back on TV to heat up the Big Johnny stuff.)  Way too much deadwood in there now and even the announcers are complaining that we need to clear things out. RVD is #20 and that should help. And indeed he runs wild, dumping Animal at 34:12, before Orlando Jordan is #21. His reaction is almost as big as the one he got on TNA Impact. But that might have just been the pedophiles in the crowd, I’m not sure. Does NAMBLA have a Miami chapter? Chavo is #22, but really Eddie can’t bless TWO people in the match, because he goes up and HHH sends him to the floor at 37:20. Obviously the dead understand the concept of midcarders, too. Matt Hardy is #23 as Rey & RVD team up on HHH but can’t get rid of him. Tatanka is gone at 39:15 via MNM, and Super Crazy is #24. Finally some star power, as Shawn Michaels is #25 and will hopefully clean house. He pulls Murdoch out at 42:01, but then gets sucked into the Bore Zone like everyone else. Chris Masters is #26, back when people still saw him as someone worth protecting. Hardy and HHH try to eliminate each other with no luck, and Viscera is #27. He squashes Matt Hardy and violates him, then tosses him at 45:40. Geez, raped and thrown out of the ring, there’s no justice.  (2012 Scott sez:  If he does go to jail, he’ll at least have some practice.)  Shelton (and Mama) are #28 as Benoit tosses Eugene at 46:22. And yet Orlando Jordan is still in there wasting our time. Doesn’t he have an underage boy to statutorily rape? (2012 Scott sez:  Allegedly.)  Goldust is #29 as the 90s nostalgia parade continues with little payoff. Randy Orton is #30, back when he still had hair, untattooed skin and body fat. He quickly powers Benoit out at 49:19 and hits Vis with an RKO, which allows Masters and Carlito to dump him at 49:51. Carlito turns on Masters at 49:55 to get rid of him. Goldust gives Carlito Shattered Nuts and then takes an awkward bump out from an RVD kick at 50:40. Orton puts OJ out at 51:03. Shawn and HHH have their showdown, but MNM attacks HBK. Shawn gets rid of them both at 52:29, however. Shelton lays him out with a high kick, but gets superkicked off the apron at 53:03. Those two had some mad chemistry together. So now Vince comes out to further his nonsensical feud with Shawn, distracting him long enough for Shane to come in and put Shawn out at 54:08. (2012 Scott sez:  You know, as entertaining as the WM match and ensuing feud with DX turned out, I still have no earthly idea what they were even fighting ABOUT.  Like, can someone sum up in a sentence what the issue was?) Shawn gets a superkick on HHH before leaving, though. Carlito beats on RVD and gets kicked out at 55:23, so… Final Four: Rob Van Dam, HHH, Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio. At that time there was a real case to made for any of them to win. Except for RVD. Rey and Rob reunite their team and destroy the former Evolution, but RVD goes up and gets knocked off at 56:51 by Rey, accidentally. Like I said, anyone except for RVD could win. HHH and Orton wisely team up against Rey, but he hits them with a double DDT and gets them both in 619 position, then hits it and follows with the senton on Orton. HHH lays him out with a clothesline right after, but Orton powerslams HHH. He sets up for the RKO, but walks into a spinebuster instead. HHH goes after Rey…and gets flipped out at 60:04. So we’re down to Orton v. Rey now, but sore loser HHH sends Rey into the stairs to seemingly assure victory for Orton. Orton tries to slam Rey out, but Rey hangs on and wins the Royal Rumble at 62:00. I really liked the storyline with HHH trying to be 1992 Ric Flair, but then it fell into the usual Rumble trap of piling midcarders in there and grinding it to a halt without a payoff. ***1/2 RAW World title: Edge v. John Cena This is their first “real” match in a series that currently sits at 300,000 and counting. Cena pounds Edge and gets a clothesline to put him on the floor, but Edge pulls him out for a quick brawl. Back in, Cena with a sideslam for two. Edge bails and hides behind Lita (at her hot slutty mess peak here), but Cena of course won’t hit a woman and Edge gets the cheapshot. He follows with a baseball slide to put Cena into the front row. Back in, Edge pounds away with knees on the ropes and chokes him down. They slug it out and Edge gets a leg lariat for two and follows with a german suplex, then puts him down with a standing dropkick and out to the floor. Back in, Edge with a missile dropkick for two. They fight for a superplex and Cena sends Edge to the mat and follows with the legdrop for one. Edge charges into the corner and Cena almost gets an FU, but Cena reverses to a rollup for two. Edge puts him down with a big boot and goes up again, but Cena rolls through a bodypress and gets two. Edge with a sleeper, but Cena powers him into the corner to break. Edge sets up for the spear instead, but hits the turnbuckle and walks into a Cena DDT for the double KO. That’s not what this match needed. Cena makes the comeback with the backdrop suplex and Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Lita has the ref distracted. Probably with her awesome rack. (2012 Scott sez:  Even age and an arrest record can’t take that away.)  FU and STFU finishes at 14:00 to give Cena the title back, however. They’d have awesome matches in the future, but this wasn’t one of them, as it was ultra generic heel offense from Edge and basically just a way to get the belt back on Cena. **3/4 Meanwhile, Josh Matthews or Todd Grisham or whichever one he is calls Edge a “transitional champion”, showing that he has no idea what that term means. Smackdown World title: Kurt Angle v. Mark Henry Yeah, this gets the main event slot. Mark Henry has Daivari with him in another angle that I don’t remember and probably went nowhere. Angle slugs away on Henry, but tries a bodypress and gets dumped. Back in, Angle tries a facelock and gets dropped on the top rope as a result. Henry with the big splash for two. Cole gets really excited about that. It’s a fucking big splash, Cole. Henry goes to the bearhug to really ramp up the pace, but Angle hiptosses out of it. He goes up and gets caught again, but slips into an anklelock attempt. Henry pounds him down with the clubbing forearms, but Angle pulls out a german suplex and the Angle slam for two. Anklelock, but the ref is bumped. Angle gets rid of Daivari with a chairshot and goes low on Henry. Two chairshots get two. Oh come on. No one gives a shit about Henry, just end it. Angle undoes a turnbuckle, sends Henry into it, and rolls him up to retain at 9:19. Pretty terrible even by Angle’s declining standards that year. * Undertaker returns to close the show, destroying the ring with his mystical powers (no, really) and setting up a pretty great main event against Angle the next month.  (2012 Scott sez:  I definitely did not see myself turning into a supporter of Mark Henry years later, but here we are.)  The Pulse This is definitely one of the weakest and most forgettable Rumble cards top-to-bottom, setting up a weak and forgettable Wrestlemania in turn. Recommendation to avoid.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2006

(2012 Scott sez:  I saw this one live in the theatre at the time, but didn’t do this rant on it until a couple of years later.  So there’s not likely to be much in the way of extra comments here, sorry.)  The SmarK Retro Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2006 – Live from Miami, FL. – Your hosts are Joey & King & Tazz & ColeCruiserweight Texas Tornado open: Kid Kash v. Funaki v. Jamie Noble v. Nunzio v. Paul London v. Gregory Helms I don’t even remember Kash as champion, but then I was paying very little attention at this point anyway. Everyone gangs up on Helms because he was apparently from RAW at this point, and guys trade highspots. Noble with a powerslam on Nunzio into an armbreaker, and London dropkicks Helms and lands on Noble for two. London tries a headscissors on Helms in the corner, but gets dumped, and Nunzio hits the Sicilian Slice on Helms for two. Kash dumps Nunzio onto a couple of guys, but Noble hits him with a leg lariat for two. Noble adds to the pile outside, leaving Funaki and Kash in the ring, but Kash tosses Funaki as well. London sneaks in and superkicks Kash out, then hits everyone with the shooting star press to the floor. Back in, Helms hits London with a neckbreaker from the top, but Kash breaks up the pin. Kash with a brainbuster on London for two, and a backstabber on Nunzio for two. Noble with an exploding gutbuster on Funaki and into the dragon sleeper, but Helms breaks it up, hits the Shining Wizard on Funaki, and wins the title at 7:38. Messy but fun. *** Meanwhile, Randy Orton and HHH draw numbers for the Rumble, and HHH gets the worst of it. Meanwhile, Mickie James just wants Trish Stratus to know that she loves her. Well, who doesn’t? Mickie James v. Ashley Massaro God, I forgot about the “spunky tomboy” image when they were still pushing Ashley down our throats. Mickie was very much the lesbian stalker at this point, which was tremendous, and Trish is the special referee with a very special referee outfit. When Trish wears tiny shorts, it works. When Shawn Michaels does, not so much. They do a silly lockup battle to the floor, and back in Ashley gets a rollup for two. Mickey gets frustrated and bails, so Ashley follows with a shitty clothesline from the apron. Back in, Ashley hammers away in the corner with ridiculously unconvincing punches, but James nails her from behind and works on the leg. Mickie dumps Ashley and follows with a baseball slide. Back in, a fisherman’s suplex gets two. Ashley comes back with horrifying punches, which actually leads Joey Styles to be forced into saying “she’s got a great right hand.” Jim Ross used to say that about jobber Bob Cook and you at least believed it. Ashley is no Bob Cook. This just keeps GOING and getting worse as Ashley makes her pathetic comeback, but Mickey rolls her up in the corner for the pin at 7:44. And Ashley can’t even do THAT right! 1/2* Even the crowd had turned on Ashley by the end of this.  (2012 Scott sez:  On the bright side, at least now women aren’t hired because of their willingness to do Playboy.)  Meanwhile, Big Show draws his number, although his hand is too big to fit in the drum and Candace has to help him. Rey also draws after dedicating the match to Eddie Guerrero, and apparently Eddie still has a sense of humor. JBL v. The Boogeyman JBL lets the Boogeyman have his way with Jillian Hall to distract him and then attacks, and they fight to the floor. Boogey no-sells most of it and they head back in, where JBL chokes him out with the wrist tape. Clothesline from Hell misses and Boogey finishes with the pumphandle slam at 1:47. WTF was that? DUD Meanwhile, Vince meets Shelton Benjamin’s mama in a hilarious bit of hilarity. There’s another angle that went nowhere. Royal Rumble: HHH is #1, and Rey Mysterio is #2. Rey dominates and hammers away in the corner, but 619 is interrupted by Simon Dean at #3. (2012 Scott sez:  That loser gimmick stuck around for a whole YEAR?!) Simon tries to toss Rey with no luck, but HHH lays him out and gets rid of him at 2:36. Rey goes back to beating on HHH again and gets the broncobuster, but Psicosis is #4. I still can’t believe that “Mexicools” was a real thing. Psi and Rey team up on HHH, but Psi turns on him and hits him with a uranage faceplant. He tries to put him out with a powerbomb, but Rey reverses and eliminates him at 4:50 with a rana. Ric Flair is #5 and that’s an immediate showdown with HHH. Flair chops away and gets a backdrop out of the corner, but walks into the facecrusher. Flair responds with a ballcrusher, however, so HHH goes to the eyes and then backdrops a charging Flair out at 6:48. Big Show is #6 and he hates HHH as well, for reasons I don’t remember these long 4 years later. But Michael Cole assures me that a sledgehammer was involved, so I’m sure it was very memorable and awesome. Show pounds on HHH in the corner and gets a sideslam, then teases throwing him out before slamming him instead. Coach is #7. And he’s out at 9:38. (2012 Scott sez:  That should have been the extent of his involvement in the 2005 Rumble.)  Show again teases slamming HHH out of the ring and then doesn’t. He chokeslams HHH and Bobby Lashley is #8. He slugs it out with Big Show and gets a backdrop, then boots him out of the ring. Under the ropes, though. Kane is #9 and he slugs it out with Lashley and then puts him down with a big boot. Lashley suplexes him in return and hits him with the Dominator, and everyone is out as Sylvan Grenier is #10. I don’t remember him as a single either. Lashley chucks him at 14:55, but turns around into a double chokeslam from Kane & Show, and he’s out at 15:19. Kane and Show melt down and slug it out, and apparently they were tag champs at this point, which I vaguely remember but I don’t remember how they got the belts off them.  (2012 Scott sez:  That would be via the Spirit Squad, I believe.)  They choke each other on the ropes, and HHH smartly dumps them both at 16:28. Carlito is #11 and he goes after Rey and then HHH, and hits Rey with the backstabber. He fights off HHH long enough for Chris Benoit to be #12. Apparently he won the Rumble in 2004 and then went on to win the belt at Wrestlemania, but I can’t find that anywhere on WWE.com. Michael Cole is such a liar. Benoit suplexes the shit out of everyone and makes Carlito tap to a crossface, but that of course means nothing. HHH breaks it up and tries to suplex Benoit out, and they fight for the suplex in a good sequence until HHH puts him on the top and Benoit comes in with the diving headbutt as a result. Booker T is #13 and goes right for Benoit, but gets tossed at 21:39 as a result. So Benoit goes back to beating on HHH as Mercury is #14. I have to say, there’s a lot of Wellness violations in that ring right now. (2012 Scott sez:  Well technically HHH isn’t eligible to be tested, but point taken) Mercury does pretty well for himself, but Benoit hits him with a suplex to stop the rampage. Not much going on and Tatanka is #15. This was a weird surprise entry, and he actually stuck around for a while for reasons I can’t fathom. He chops away on some people as I wait for the chop showdown with Benoit, but it’s not coming. Benoit’s dedication to annoying HHH is nice to see. Nitro is #16, and now with MNM at full force I don’t think anything can stop them. MNM teams up on Tatanka while Carlito tries to get Rey out without success. Trevor Murdoch is #17 and we get another elimination tease from Rey, this time via HHH. Eugene is #18 and he goes right for Murdoch with an airplane spin, but makes himself dizzy and gets laid out by a Rey bulldog. Animal is #19, once again showing that nostalgia + nepotism = a powerful combination. (2012 Scott sez:  Frankly I’m shocked that they haven’t put Animal back on TV to heat up the Big Johnny stuff.)  Way too much deadwood in there now and even the announcers are complaining that we need to clear things out. RVD is #20 and that should help. And indeed he runs wild, dumping Animal at 34:12, before Orlando Jordan is #21. His reaction is almost as big as the one he got on TNA Impact. But that might have just been the pedophiles in the crowd, I’m not sure. Does NAMBLA have a Miami chapter? Chavo is #22, but really Eddie can’t bless TWO people in the match, because he goes up and HHH sends him to the floor at 37:20. Obviously the dead understand the concept of midcarders, too. Matt Hardy is #23 as Rey & RVD team up on HHH but can’t get rid of him. Tatanka is gone at 39:15 via MNM, and Super Crazy is #24. Finally some star power, as Shawn Michaels is #25 and will hopefully clean house. He pulls Murdoch out at 42:01, but then gets sucked into the Bore Zone like everyone else. Chris Masters is #26, back when people still saw him as someone worth protecting. Hardy and HHH try to eliminate each other with no luck, and Viscera is #27. He squashes Matt Hardy and violates him, then tosses him at 45:40. Geez, raped and thrown out of the ring, there’s no justice.  (2012 Scott sez:  If he does go to jail, he’ll at least have some practice.)  Shelton (and Mama) are #28 as Benoit tosses Eugene at 46:22. And yet Orlando Jordan is still in there wasting our time. Doesn’t he have an underage boy to statutorily rape? (2012 Scott sez:  Allegedly.)  Goldust is #29 as the 90s nostalgia parade continues with little payoff. Randy Orton is #30, back when he still had hair, untattooed skin and body fat. He quickly powers Benoit out at 49:19 and hits Vis with an RKO, which allows Masters and Carlito to dump him at 49:51. Carlito turns on Masters at 49:55 to get rid of him. Goldust gives Carlito Shattered Nuts and then takes an awkward bump out from an RVD kick at 50:40. Orton puts OJ out at 51:03. Shawn and HHH have their showdown, but MNM attacks HBK. Shawn gets rid of them both at 52:29, however. Shelton lays him out with a high kick, but gets superkicked off the apron at 53:03. Those two had some mad chemistry together. So now Vince comes out to further his nonsensical feud with Shawn, distracting him long enough for Shane to come in and put Shawn out at 54:08. (2012 Scott sez:  You know, as entertaining as the WM match and ensuing feud with DX turned out, I still have no earthly idea what they were even fighting ABOUT.  Like, can someone sum up in a sentence what the issue was?) Shawn gets a superkick on HHH before leaving, though. Carlito beats on RVD and gets kicked out at 55:23, so… Final Four: Rob Van Dam, HHH, Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio. At that time there was a real case to made for any of them to win. Except for RVD. Rey and Rob reunite their team and destroy the former Evolution, but RVD goes up and gets knocked off at 56:51 by Rey, accidentally. Like I said, anyone except for RVD could win. HHH and Orton wisely team up against Rey, but he hits them with a double DDT and gets them both in 619 position, then hits it and follows with the senton on Orton. HHH lays him out with a clothesline right after, but Orton powerslams HHH. He sets up for the RKO, but walks into a spinebuster instead. HHH goes after Rey…and gets flipped out at 60:04. So we’re down to Orton v. Rey now, but sore loser HHH sends Rey into the stairs to seemingly assure victory for Orton. Orton tries to slam Rey out, but Rey hangs on and wins the Royal Rumble at 62:00. I really liked the storyline with HHH trying to be 1992 Ric Flair, but then it fell into the usual Rumble trap of piling midcarders in there and grinding it to a halt without a payoff. ***1/2 RAW World title: Edge v. John Cena This is their first “real” match in a series that currently sits at 300,000 and counting. Cena pounds Edge and gets a clothesline to put him on the floor, but Edge pulls him out for a quick brawl. Back in, Cena with a sideslam for two. Edge bails and hides behind Lita (at her hot slutty mess peak here), but Cena of course won’t hit a woman and Edge gets the cheapshot. He follows with a baseball slide to put Cena into the front row. Back in, Edge pounds away with knees on the ropes and chokes him down. They slug it out and Edge gets a leg lariat for two and follows with a german suplex, then puts him down with a standing dropkick and out to the floor. Back in, Edge with a missile dropkick for two. They fight for a superplex and Cena sends Edge to the mat and follows with the legdrop for one. Edge charges into the corner and Cena almost gets an FU, but Cena reverses to a rollup for two. Edge puts him down with a big boot and goes up again, but Cena rolls through a bodypress and gets two. Edge with a sleeper, but Cena powers him into the corner to break. Edge sets up for the spear instead, but hits the turnbuckle and walks into a Cena DDT for the double KO. That’s not what this match needed. Cena makes the comeback with the backdrop suplex and Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Lita has the ref distracted. Probably with her awesome rack. (2012 Scott sez:  Even age and an arrest record can’t take that away.)  FU and STFU finishes at 14:00 to give Cena the title back, however. They’d have awesome matches in the future, but this wasn’t one of them, as it was ultra generic heel offense from Edge and basically just a way to get the belt back on Cena. **3/4 Meanwhile, Josh Matthews or Todd Grisham or whichever one he is calls Edge a “transitional champion”, showing that he has no idea what that term means. Smackdown World title: Kurt Angle v. Mark Henry Yeah, this gets the main event slot. Mark Henry has Daivari with him in another angle that I don’t remember and probably went nowhere. Angle slugs away on Henry, but tries a bodypress and gets dumped. Back in, Angle tries a facelock and gets dropped on the top rope as a result. Henry with the big splash for two. Cole gets really excited about that. It’s a fucking big splash, Cole. Henry goes to the bearhug to really ramp up the pace, but Angle hiptosses out of it. He goes up and gets caught again, but slips into an anklelock attempt. Henry pounds him down with the clubbing forearms, but Angle pulls out a german suplex and the Angle slam for two. Anklelock, but the ref is bumped. Angle gets rid of Daivari with a chairshot and goes low on Henry. Two chairshots get two. Oh come on. No one gives a shit about Henry, just end it. Angle undoes a turnbuckle, sends Henry into it, and rolls him up to retain at 9:19. Pretty terrible even by Angle’s declining standards that year. * Undertaker returns to close the show, destroying the ring with his mystical powers (no, really) and setting up a pretty great main event against Angle the next month.  (2012 Scott sez:  I definitely did not see myself turning into a supporter of Mark Henry years later, but here we are.)  The Pulse This is definitely one of the weakest and most forgettable Rumble cards top-to-bottom, setting up a weak and forgettable Wrestlemania in turn. Recommendation to avoid.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2006

(2012 Scott sez:  I saw this one live in the theatre at the time, but didn’t do this rant on it until a couple of years later.  So there’s not likely to be much in the way of extra comments here, sorry.)  The SmarK Retro Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2006 – Live from Miami, FL. – Your hosts are Joey & King & Tazz & ColeCruiserweight Texas Tornado open: Kid Kash v. Funaki v. Jamie Noble v. Nunzio v. Paul London v. Gregory Helms I don’t even remember Kash as champion, but then I was paying very little attention at this point anyway. Everyone gangs up on Helms because he was apparently from RAW at this point, and guys trade highspots. Noble with a powerslam on Nunzio into an armbreaker, and London dropkicks Helms and lands on Noble for two. London tries a headscissors on Helms in the corner, but gets dumped, and Nunzio hits the Sicilian Slice on Helms for two. Kash dumps Nunzio onto a couple of guys, but Noble hits him with a leg lariat for two. Noble adds to the pile outside, leaving Funaki and Kash in the ring, but Kash tosses Funaki as well. London sneaks in and superkicks Kash out, then hits everyone with the shooting star press to the floor. Back in, Helms hits London with a neckbreaker from the top, but Kash breaks up the pin. Kash with a brainbuster on London for two, and a backstabber on Nunzio for two. Noble with an exploding gutbuster on Funaki and into the dragon sleeper, but Helms breaks it up, hits the Shining Wizard on Funaki, and wins the title at 7:38. Messy but fun. *** Meanwhile, Randy Orton and HHH draw numbers for the Rumble, and HHH gets the worst of it. Meanwhile, Mickie James just wants Trish Stratus to know that she loves her. Well, who doesn’t? Mickie James v. Ashley Massaro God, I forgot about the “spunky tomboy” image when they were still pushing Ashley down our throats. Mickie was very much the lesbian stalker at this point, which was tremendous, and Trish is the special referee with a very special referee outfit. When Trish wears tiny shorts, it works. When Shawn Michaels does, not so much. They do a silly lockup battle to the floor, and back in Ashley gets a rollup for two. Mickey gets frustrated and bails, so Ashley follows with a shitty clothesline from the apron. Back in, Ashley hammers away in the corner with ridiculously unconvincing punches, but James nails her from behind and works on the leg. Mickie dumps Ashley and follows with a baseball slide. Back in, a fisherman’s suplex gets two. Ashley comes back with horrifying punches, which actually leads Joey Styles to be forced into saying “she’s got a great right hand.” Jim Ross used to say that about jobber Bob Cook and you at least believed it. Ashley is no Bob Cook. This just keeps GOING and getting worse as Ashley makes her pathetic comeback, but Mickey rolls her up in the corner for the pin at 7:44. And Ashley can’t even do THAT right! 1/2* Even the crowd had turned on Ashley by the end of this.  (2012 Scott sez:  On the bright side, at least now women aren’t hired because of their willingness to do Playboy.)  Meanwhile, Big Show draws his number, although his hand is too big to fit in the drum and Candace has to help him. Rey also draws after dedicating the match to Eddie Guerrero, and apparently Eddie still has a sense of humor. JBL v. The Boogeyman JBL lets the Boogeyman have his way with Jillian Hall to distract him and then attacks, and they fight to the floor. Boogey no-sells most of it and they head back in, where JBL chokes him out with the wrist tape. Clothesline from Hell misses and Boogey finishes with the pumphandle slam at 1:47. WTF was that? DUD Meanwhile, Vince meets Shelton Benjamin’s mama in a hilarious bit of hilarity. There’s another angle that went nowhere. Royal Rumble: HHH is #1, and Rey Mysterio is #2. Rey dominates and hammers away in the corner, but 619 is interrupted by Simon Dean at #3. (2012 Scott sez:  That loser gimmick stuck around for a whole YEAR?!) Simon tries to toss Rey with no luck, but HHH lays him out and gets rid of him at 2:36. Rey goes back to beating on HHH again and gets the broncobuster, but Psicosis is #4. I still can’t believe that “Mexicools” was a real thing. Psi and Rey team up on HHH, but Psi turns on him and hits him with a uranage faceplant. He tries to put him out with a powerbomb, but Rey reverses and eliminates him at 4:50 with a rana. Ric Flair is #5 and that’s an immediate showdown with HHH. Flair chops away and gets a backdrop out of the corner, but walks into the facecrusher. Flair responds with a ballcrusher, however, so HHH goes to the eyes and then backdrops a charging Flair out at 6:48. Big Show is #6 and he hates HHH as well, for reasons I don’t remember these long 4 years later. But Michael Cole assures me that a sledgehammer was involved, so I’m sure it was very memorable and awesome. Show pounds on HHH in the corner and gets a sideslam, then teases throwing him out before slamming him instead. Coach is #7. And he’s out at 9:38. (2012 Scott sez:  That should have been the extent of his involvement in the 2005 Rumble.)  Show again teases slamming HHH out of the ring and then doesn’t. He chokeslams HHH and Bobby Lashley is #8. He slugs it out with Big Show and gets a backdrop, then boots him out of the ring. Under the ropes, though. Kane is #9 and he slugs it out with Lashley and then puts him down with a big boot. Lashley suplexes him in return and hits him with the Dominator, and everyone is out as Sylvan Grenier is #10. I don’t remember him as a single either. Lashley chucks him at 14:55, but turns around into a double chokeslam from Kane & Show, and he’s out at 15:19. Kane and Show melt down and slug it out, and apparently they were tag champs at this point, which I vaguely remember but I don’t remember how they got the belts off them.  (2012 Scott sez:  That would be via the Spirit Squad, I believe.)  They choke each other on the ropes, and HHH smartly dumps them both at 16:28. Carlito is #11 and he goes after Rey and then HHH, and hits Rey with the backstabber. He fights off HHH long enough for Chris Benoit to be #12. Apparently he won the Rumble in 2004 and then went on to win the belt at Wrestlemania, but I can’t find that anywhere on WWE.com. Michael Cole is such a liar. Benoit suplexes the shit out of everyone and makes Carlito tap to a crossface, but that of course means nothing. HHH breaks it up and tries to suplex Benoit out, and they fight for the suplex in a good sequence until HHH puts him on the top and Benoit comes in with the diving headbutt as a result. Booker T is #13 and goes right for Benoit, but gets tossed at 21:39 as a result. So Benoit goes back to beating on HHH as Mercury is #14. I have to say, there’s a lot of Wellness violations in that ring right now. (2012 Scott sez:  Well technically HHH isn’t eligible to be tested, but point taken) Mercury does pretty well for himself, but Benoit hits him with a suplex to stop the rampage. Not much going on and Tatanka is #15. This was a weird surprise entry, and he actually stuck around for a while for reasons I can’t fathom. He chops away on some people as I wait for the chop showdown with Benoit, but it’s not coming. Benoit’s dedication to annoying HHH is nice to see. Nitro is #16, and now with MNM at full force I don’t think anything can stop them. MNM teams up on Tatanka while Carlito tries to get Rey out without success. Trevor Murdoch is #17 and we get another elimination tease from Rey, this time via HHH. Eugene is #18 and he goes right for Murdoch with an airplane spin, but makes himself dizzy and gets laid out by a Rey bulldog. Animal is #19, once again showing that nostalgia + nepotism = a powerful combination. (2012 Scott sez:  Frankly I’m shocked that they haven’t put Animal back on TV to heat up the Big Johnny stuff.)  Way too much deadwood in there now and even the announcers are complaining that we need to clear things out. RVD is #20 and that should help. And indeed he runs wild, dumping Animal at 34:12, before Orlando Jordan is #21. His reaction is almost as big as the one he got on TNA Impact. But that might have just been the pedophiles in the crowd, I’m not sure. Does NAMBLA have a Miami chapter? Chavo is #22, but really Eddie can’t bless TWO people in the match, because he goes up and HHH sends him to the floor at 37:20. Obviously the dead understand the concept of midcarders, too. Matt Hardy is #23 as Rey & RVD team up on HHH but can’t get rid of him. Tatanka is gone at 39:15 via MNM, and Super Crazy is #24. Finally some star power, as Shawn Michaels is #25 and will hopefully clean house. He pulls Murdoch out at 42:01, but then gets sucked into the Bore Zone like everyone else. Chris Masters is #26, back when people still saw him as someone worth protecting. Hardy and HHH try to eliminate each other with no luck, and Viscera is #27. He squashes Matt Hardy and violates him, then tosses him at 45:40. Geez, raped and thrown out of the ring, there’s no justice.  (2012 Scott sez:  If he does go to jail, he’ll at least have some practice.)  Shelton (and Mama) are #28 as Benoit tosses Eugene at 46:22. And yet Orlando Jordan is still in there wasting our time. Doesn’t he have an underage boy to statutorily rape? (2012 Scott sez:  Allegedly.)  Goldust is #29 as the 90s nostalgia parade continues with little payoff. Randy Orton is #30, back when he still had hair, untattooed skin and body fat. He quickly powers Benoit out at 49:19 and hits Vis with an RKO, which allows Masters and Carlito to dump him at 49:51. Carlito turns on Masters at 49:55 to get rid of him. Goldust gives Carlito Shattered Nuts and then takes an awkward bump out from an RVD kick at 50:40. Orton puts OJ out at 51:03. Shawn and HHH have their showdown, but MNM attacks HBK. Shawn gets rid of them both at 52:29, however. Shelton lays him out with a high kick, but gets superkicked off the apron at 53:03. Those two had some mad chemistry together. So now Vince comes out to further his nonsensical feud with Shawn, distracting him long enough for Shane to come in and put Shawn out at 54:08. (2012 Scott sez:  You know, as entertaining as the WM match and ensuing feud with DX turned out, I still have no earthly idea what they were even fighting ABOUT.  Like, can someone sum up in a sentence what the issue was?) Shawn gets a superkick on HHH before leaving, though. Carlito beats on RVD and gets kicked out at 55:23, so… Final Four: Rob Van Dam, HHH, Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio. At that time there was a real case to made for any of them to win. Except for RVD. Rey and Rob reunite their team and destroy the former Evolution, but RVD goes up and gets knocked off at 56:51 by Rey, accidentally. Like I said, anyone except for RVD could win. HHH and Orton wisely team up against Rey, but he hits them with a double DDT and gets them both in 619 position, then hits it and follows with the senton on Orton. HHH lays him out with a clothesline right after, but Orton powerslams HHH. He sets up for the RKO, but walks into a spinebuster instead. HHH goes after Rey…and gets flipped out at 60:04. So we’re down to Orton v. Rey now, but sore loser HHH sends Rey into the stairs to seemingly assure victory for Orton. Orton tries to slam Rey out, but Rey hangs on and wins the Royal Rumble at 62:00. I really liked the storyline with HHH trying to be 1992 Ric Flair, but then it fell into the usual Rumble trap of piling midcarders in there and grinding it to a halt without a payoff. ***1/2 RAW World title: Edge v. John Cena This is their first “real” match in a series that currently sits at 300,000 and counting. Cena pounds Edge and gets a clothesline to put him on the floor, but Edge pulls him out for a quick brawl. Back in, Cena with a sideslam for two. Edge bails and hides behind Lita (at her hot slutty mess peak here), but Cena of course won’t hit a woman and Edge gets the cheapshot. He follows with a baseball slide to put Cena into the front row. Back in, Edge pounds away with knees on the ropes and chokes him down. They slug it out and Edge gets a leg lariat for two and follows with a german suplex, then puts him down with a standing dropkick and out to the floor. Back in, Edge with a missile dropkick for two. They fight for a superplex and Cena sends Edge to the mat and follows with the legdrop for one. Edge charges into the corner and Cena almost gets an FU, but Cena reverses to a rollup for two. Edge puts him down with a big boot and goes up again, but Cena rolls through a bodypress and gets two. Edge with a sleeper, but Cena powers him into the corner to break. Edge sets up for the spear instead, but hits the turnbuckle and walks into a Cena DDT for the double KO. That’s not what this match needed. Cena makes the comeback with the backdrop suplex and Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Lita has the ref distracted. Probably with her awesome rack. (2012 Scott sez:  Even age and an arrest record can’t take that away.)  FU and STFU finishes at 14:00 to give Cena the title back, however. They’d have awesome matches in the future, but this wasn’t one of them, as it was ultra generic heel offense from Edge and basically just a way to get the belt back on Cena. **3/4 Meanwhile, Josh Matthews or Todd Grisham or whichever one he is calls Edge a “transitional champion”, showing that he has no idea what that term means. Smackdown World title: Kurt Angle v. Mark Henry Yeah, this gets the main event slot. Mark Henry has Daivari with him in another angle that I don’t remember and probably went nowhere. Angle slugs away on Henry, but tries a bodypress and gets dumped. Back in, Angle tries a facelock and gets dropped on the top rope as a result. Henry with the big splash for two. Cole gets really excited about that. It’s a fucking big splash, Cole. Henry goes to the bearhug to really ramp up the pace, but Angle hiptosses out of it. He goes up and gets caught again, but slips into an anklelock attempt. Henry pounds him down with the clubbing forearms, but Angle pulls out a german suplex and the Angle slam for two. Anklelock, but the ref is bumped. Angle gets rid of Daivari with a chairshot and goes low on Henry. Two chairshots get two. Oh come on. No one gives a shit about Henry, just end it. Angle undoes a turnbuckle, sends Henry into it, and rolls him up to retain at 9:19. Pretty terrible even by Angle’s declining standards that year. * Undertaker returns to close the show, destroying the ring with his mystical powers (no, really) and setting up a pretty great main event against Angle the next month.  (2012 Scott sez:  I definitely did not see myself turning into a supporter of Mark Henry years later, but here we are.)  The Pulse This is definitely one of the weakest and most forgettable Rumble cards top-to-bottom, setting up a weak and forgettable Wrestlemania in turn. Recommendation to avoid.

Survivor Series Countdown: 2006

(2011 Scott sez:  There is no 2005 rant.  I think it was Cena v. Angle or something like that, I honestly forget.) The SmarK Rant for WWE Survivor Series 2006 – Weekly turnover on 24/7 is coming soon, so I figure I should get this one wrapped up while I could. – Live from Philly – Your hosts are Michael Cole, JBL, Jim Ross, and Jerry Lawler. They should just promote JBL to RAW and let him do all the PPVs with Jim Ross.  (2011 Scott sez:  Or they could have him come out of retirement and do a crappy run with Cena before retiring again.  Whatever.) Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter, Dusty Rhodes & Ron Simmons v. The Spirit Squad It’s like Slaughter gets thinner every year he’s retired. He should have  retired years before he did, I guess. Simmons starts with Mikey and easily overpowers him to start, catching a powerslam and fighting off all the Squad members. Mitch trips him up, but makes the mistake of bumping into Arn Anderson on the floor, resulting in a trip into the post. However, the low speed chase means both Simmons and Mitch are eliminated early. And AA gets tossed. Oh, that’s just excessive. So now it’s Slaughter against Nicky, and Sarge offers a handshake before clobbering him with a series of slams. This brings Dusty in for his first WWE PPV match in, like, 15 years, as he and Flair trade off on the kid and Sarge finishes him with the cobra clutch without breaking too much of a sweat, but Johnny sneaks in with a high kick and puts Nicky on top to eliminate Slaughter. Nicky is still toast, so Dusty drops the big fat elbow and pins him. Dusty gets worked over in the Squad corner, as I’m a little confused here — was this 5-on-4? Because there’s two eliminated on the Squad side and 3 guys left. Or was Mitch just there to cheerlead, pun intended? Anyway, Kenny tries to slug it out and gets flipped, flopped, and flown, but recovers by rolling him up and holding the tights for the pin. So Flair is alone against the three Squad members. Mikey pounds away in the corner, but Flair pins him in the corner to get rid of him. Kenny backdrops him and drops an elbow, but Flair cradles for the pin to even things up. This leaves Johnny, and I wouldn’t be betting on the Squad at this point, kids. Johnny grabs a headlock, but Flair turns that into a kneebreaker and you know what comes next. (Flair’s team d. The Spirit Squad, Flair figure-four — submission Johnny, 10:29, ** Sole Survivor: Ric Flair) Given the severe limitations of the legend side and what a joke the Squad were by this point, this was about as good as it was going to be.  (2011 Scott sez:  Ugh, my new format rants.  Glad I dropped that.) US title match: Chris Benoit v. Chavo Guerrero Common sense here said that Chavo should have gone over if they wanted to use this stupid angle to do anything meaningful with Chavo. Benoit gets a backbreaker to start and throws some chops. The video package makes me wish that they could bottle Vicki’s acting ability and turn it into a finishing move, because anyone watching her in these vignettes generally begs for mercy. Chavo fires back with forearms, but Benoit elbows him down for two. Chavo opts for the direct approach and beats him up in the corner, but it’s Benoit, he likes it. A crossface quickly results, but Vicki puts Chavo’s leg in the ropes. Benoit with the backdrop suplex for two, but he charges and hits the post. Chavo follows up with a backdrop suplex of his own and goes to a top wristlock, and follows with a dropkick for two. Chavo smacks him down again, but gets cocky and Benoit fires off the rolling germans and goes up. More wackiness with Vicky, as she grabs his leg and delays him long enough for Chavo to move. JBL suddenly goes off on a hilarious rant about how Chavo cheating is like finding a "hot chick on the road and sleeping with her — it doesn’t count if you don’t get caught, Michael!" If they put him on color commentary before giving him the World title in 2004, I never would have uttered a word of complaint. Chavo gets the frog splash for two and shoves Benoit into Vicki for two, but Benoit calmly reverses into the crossface and Chavo taps. (Chris Benoit d. Chavo Guerrero, crossface — submission, 8:23, **1/4) Nothing really exciting here, as Chavo was all about the stomping and Benoit pretty much dismantled him barring all the cheating from Vicki. The Vicki stuff just really, really bothers me and it hampers my enjoyment of matches involving Chavo as a result. Cole gets a good barb back at JBL, calling him a "1985 color commentator". Nice one, Michael.  (2011 Scott sez:  Holy cow, the Vickie Guerrero experiment looks fucking BRILLIANT in hindsight, given how cheap they were able to get her and what she meant to the product.) Meanwhile, Edge and Lita go for the cheap heat in Philly and Cryme Tyme sneaks into her dressing room and steals her laundry while Edge cuts a promo. WWE Women’s title: Lita v. Mickie James Lita, starting to look her age, smartly retired young and on top. Mickie, although probably the best worker that the division has left at this point, has been a much duller character since the stalker aspect was abruptly dropped. That’s not to say she’s even a good worker. Mickie hammers away on Lita in the corner to start, but Lita takes her down for the fake looking punches on the mat. Lita tosses her around while the fans turn on the match already, which is not a record for Philly, but pretty close. Mickie tries a headscissors, but Lita drops her on the mat and throws a kneelift that misses by a foot. Hey, I’m not asking for UFC-type contact here, but Trish set the bar pretty darn high and it’s silly to pretend otherwise. Suplex gets two. The fans do the good old "She’s a crack whore" chant for Lita, who responds with another suplex for two. Lita grabs a sleeper, but Mickie makes the ropes. The ref should test the arms of the people at ringside to see if they’re about ready to pass out, too. Lita goes up and splats on the mat, but Mickie stupidly buys the oversell and tries to go up herself. Lita brings her down with a suplex, and they slug it out, and Mickie makes the comeback. High kick gets two. Suplex gets two. Mickie goes up and Lita slams her and goes up to finish with the Litasault, but it only gets two. DDT is blocked by Mickie and she cradles for two. Lita rolls her up for two. Rollup by James gets two, reversed by Lita for two. Implant(s) DDT finishes for Mickie to end Lita’s career and give her the title. (Mickie James d. Lita, DDT — pin, 8:20, *1/2) I give it * for the finishing sequence and 1/2* for the gratuitous and frequent shots of Mickie’s ass. (2011 Scott sez:  I now add an automatic * to any Velvet Sky match for the same reason.  Her ring entrance alone generally keeps her out of the negative numbers.)  Lita’s bad night continues as Cryme Tyme brings out her stuff and sells it to the front row. Lita’s irritation at her stuff going for cheap is pretty funny. JBL tries to buy her panties for $100, so they keep the money and toss the underwear into the crowd. Given this exit, I’m really shocked Trish got the departure she did. Meanwhile, Michael Cole has a probing and revealing interview with Batista, who says nothing the entire time, thus improving his promos by 200% right off the bat. Shawn Michaels, HHH, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy & CM Punk v. Randy Orton, Edge, Johnny Nitro, Gregory Helms & Mike Knox One of these things is shittier than the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong. So I bet Chris Warren didn’t think he’d be making royalties off the D-X theme again, although knowing the WWE legal team he’s probably not anyway. Funny bit to start with HHH convincing Kelly to flash while covering Shawn’s eyes, which results in Knox running in to defend her and getting superkicked. Buh-bye. Shawn: "Who was that guy?" Ha! It’s funny because it’s true. So with the comedy out of the way, Shawn trades leapfrogs with Nitro and mugs for the camera with Melina (OK, comedy mostly out of the way), then brings Jeff into the match. Drop sleeper and it’s over to Matt, which sets up a double-team for two. Helms comes in and dodges a flying Matt, leaving him set up for the heel team to work over. Punk gets the tag and throws knees on Nitro to a huge reaction in the same match with HHH, and the next month gets totally depushed. Coincidence? Anaconda vice gets rid of Nitro. Edge goes after Punk, and a cheapshot from Orton gives the heel team the advantage. Orton gets the dropkick for two. Helms takes him down and throws his own knees while working a facelock. Orton comes in and trades shots before hitting the RKO, but Shawn saves. Edge sets up for the spear, but hits the turnbuckle instead, and it’s hot tag to his HHHoliness. Knees for everyone! Helms looks to be the lucky recipient of the KICK WHAM PEDIGREE while the Hardyz get rid of Team RKO, but HHH decides to let the Hardyz finish with the swanton instead. Really, it was inevitable either way. Speaking of inevitable, the tag champs look at the numbers and decide that math is the better part of valor and walk out, but get dragged back in again. Edge takes a superkick and he’s gone, but that allows Orton to run away again. And again, he gets chased back in, and it’s KICK WHAM ELIMINATED. (Team DX d. Team RKO, HHH Pedigree — pin Orton, 11:34, ** Sole Survivors: Everyone) This was fun, if not a high-level technical match or anything. And to answer Jerry Lawler’s question, yes, several teams have survived completely intact, most notably Rick Martel’s team in 1990 and Undertaker’s team in 1995. I’m pretty sure there’s been others. First Blood match: Undertaker v. Mr. Kennedy I can’t really recall occasions where the First Blood stip has actually produced a good match, and the only good match I can think of, which just happened to be a First Blood match, is Steve Austin v. Kane from 1998 when Austin was on fire. Taker attacks to start and they immediately brawl on the floor, and Kennedy gets the worst of that. He retreats into the front row and UT tries headbutting him open, to no avail. Taker fires off the big boot, but gets sent into the stairs and Kennedy slugs away, but makes an ill-advised leap and gets caught. Taker drives him into the post and starts working on the back, and they finally head into the ring. Taker puts him on top, which was previously de-turnbuckled by Kennedy, and a superplex further punishes the back. Kennedy goes low, which reminds me: I think the Iron Sheik should make a comeback and start specializing in First Blood matches. Because really, it doesn’t specify WHERE the blood has to come from, and lord knows when he fucks his opponent up the ass to humble him there’s gonna be blood. Speaking of the blood being able to come from different sources, Kennedy goes low again and bails to regroup, which reveals blood coming from his internal organs via his mouth, but MVP slips in and wipes it up with a towel. Then turns on Kennedy and tosses him back in. That’s not very sportsmanlike! Taker pounds away in the corner while JBL notes that you don’t bleed internally unless something bad is wrong. Tell that to Ken Shamrock — he seemed to suffer internal injuries in every damn match during his WWF run. Kennedy and Taker slug it out while MVP brings a chair in, and that results in Taker doing a gory bladejob and the ref getting knocked out. That’s a hell of a chairshot. The ref returns and calls it for Kennedy. (Mr. Kennedy d. Undertaker, chairshot, 9:24, *1/2) At least this one didn’t run 20 minutes, but this stip does nothing for me, much like Inferno matches, casket matches, Buried Alive matches, and many others. It just doesn’t lend itself to telling an effective story, and really there’s only one storyline ever used: Babyface busts open the heel but the ref doesn’t see it, something nefarious happens to the face, heel wins without really winning. Come to think of it, has a babyface EVER won a First Blood match? Taker absolutely destroys Kennedy to get his heat back.  (2011 Scott sez:  Holy shit, Undertaker put over MR. KENNEDY?  The dude who wouldn’t even lay down for Brock Lesnar on the first go-around?  How did Ken Anderson fuck up this gig so badly?)  MVP, Test, Umaga, Finlay & Big Show v. Kane, Lashley, Rob Van Dam, Sabu & John Cena. Cena goes nuts to start, pounding Umaga and elbowing Finlay down, then brings in RVD. Umaga doesn’t take his early problems well, as he grabs a monitor and goes nuts, drawing a DQ early. The faces clean house, but John Cena is OUT, once again faced with impossible odds and all sorts of adversity to overcome. When we get going again, Finlay and Test work RVD over in the heel corner, and Test blocks a bodyblock attempt with a backbreaker. Finlay stomps away and drops an elbow, and MVP comes in for a chinlock before Rob rolls him up for two. Rob has apparently suffered non-fake internal injuries and is bleeding from the mouth and hobbling around the ring. Rob fights off Finlay with a spinkick, but Test trips him up. The ref gets distracted, however, allowing Kane to chokeslam MVP and Rob finishes him with the frog splash. Now would be a good time to tag. Sadly, Test cuts him off with the big boot and he’s gone. Sabu rolls up Test for two off that, and Lashley spears him as they head to the floor. Back in, Sabu drops the leg on Test and DDTs him to finish. Well, there’s no clotheslines to beat guys yet, but we’re in the ballpark. Show chokeslams Sabu and pins him. Can’t complain about the slow pace in this one. Kane comes in and they choke each other out, and Finlay clubs Kane behind the ref’s back and Show chokeslams Kane and pins him. Show powerslams Cena, who has more odds to overcome, and Finlay hammers him. Back to Show, for more of the forearms that club, and Finlay adds a shoulderblock in the corner. Cena catches him with a boot, however, and makes the hot tag to Lashley. Exploder gets two on Finlay. It’s BONZO GONZO and everyone clotheslines each other, and since it’s a Survivor Series that should mean all of them can be pinned. Finlay tosses his midget at Cena, and that allows Show to boot him while Lashley pins Finlay off-camera. This is a mess. Show is 2-on-1 against Cena and Lashley, and they double-team him with a DDT and Cena gets two. Double suplex and five-knuckle shuffle has the crowd booing, and Cena again overcomes the un-overcomeable and finishes Show with the F-U. (John Cena’s team d. Big Show’s team, Cena FU — pin Show, 12:35, *1/2 Sole Survivors: Lashley and Cena) This reminded me of the weird mixed-up tag match in 95 with Shawn Michaels and Ahmed Johnson as the survivors. Lashley does nothing for me, whereas Johnson at least had intensity and charisma. Match was really rushed and did nothing for anyone. Smackdown World title: King Booker v. Batista If Batista loses he doesn’t get another shot at the belt, which everyone took to mean that he loses and then has to win the Royal Rumble, because really that would be the logical way to go about it. Batista won’t even let him into the ring before he attacks, which is treatment not befitting a King. Booker slugs back once they start the match properly, but Batista gets a suplex and goes for the powerbomb early. Booker books it out of there, but Sharmell talks him into heading back in. Batista gets a backbreaker for two, and follows with a short clothesline, times three. That gets two. Booker comes back with a weak hotshot, clearly dropping Batista on his side while Batista sells a throat injury, and follows with the slingshot under the ropes. Batista again clearly overprotects himself on camera. Batista + Selling = BAD. Booker superkicks him for two and slugs away in the corner, then goes to the eyes and follows with a corner clothesline. Bad sequence sees Batista coming back with a sideslam, as they seem to be having trouble with the simplest moves out there. Jackhammer gets two. A Bossman slam gets two. Odd choice there. Looked bad, too. There’s just no chemistry here with these guys. They slug it out on the apron and Booker superkicks Batista into the railing to take over. Back in, he gets two. JBL accusing Teddy Long of being racist against Booker is yet another great line. Cole just lets it go. Sidekick from Booker gets two. Booker hits the royal chinlock, but Batista comes back with a belly to belly and his stunning array of clotheslines. They head out and Booker hits the stairs, and back in for a flying shoulderblock from Batista that gets two. Ugly spinebuster gets two. Booker comes back with the Bookend and Batista can’t even take THAT properly, and that gets two. Axe Kick is countered with the Batista Bomb, but Booker is too close to the ropes. Sharmell gives him the title and distracts the ref, but Batista gets it, hits him with it, and gets the pin and the title. Way to cheat there, cheater. (Batista d. King Booker, beltshot — pin, 13:57, *) Batista used up all his goodwill with me LONG ago, and working with a guy like Booker, who only works up to the level of his opponent, completely exposed him worse than I’ve seen since his comeback. Slow, sloppy, poorly booked, just generally awful.  (2011 Scott sez:  Yeah, but Batista would get much more awesome later on.) The Pulse: While a couple of the matches were fun in a light-hearted way, this isn’t a show that inspires you to run out and buy the DVD or anything, and the main event was terrible. There’s nothing good enough for a recommendation on its own here, so recommendation to avoid.

Survivor Series Countdown: 2006

(2011 Scott sez:  There is no 2005 rant.  I think it was Cena v. Angle or something like that, I honestly forget.) The SmarK Rant for WWE Survivor Series 2006 – Weekly turnover on 24/7 is coming soon, so I figure I should get this one wrapped up while I could. – Live from Philly – Your hosts are Michael Cole, JBL, Jim Ross, and Jerry Lawler. They should just promote JBL to RAW and let him do all the PPVs with Jim Ross.  (2011 Scott sez:  Or they could have him come out of retirement and do a crappy run with Cena before retiring again.  Whatever.) Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter, Dusty Rhodes & Ron Simmons v. The Spirit Squad It’s like Slaughter gets thinner every year he’s retired. He should have  retired years before he did, I guess. Simmons starts with Mikey and easily overpowers him to start, catching a powerslam and fighting off all the Squad members. Mitch trips him up, but makes the mistake of bumping into Arn Anderson on the floor, resulting in a trip into the post. However, the low speed chase means both Simmons and Mitch are eliminated early. And AA gets tossed. Oh, that’s just excessive. So now it’s Slaughter against Nicky, and Sarge offers a handshake before clobbering him with a series of slams. This brings Dusty in for his first WWE PPV match in, like, 15 years, as he and Flair trade off on the kid and Sarge finishes him with the cobra clutch without breaking too much of a sweat, but Johnny sneaks in with a high kick and puts Nicky on top to eliminate Slaughter. Nicky is still toast, so Dusty drops the big fat elbow and pins him. Dusty gets worked over in the Squad corner, as I’m a little confused here — was this 5-on-4? Because there’s two eliminated on the Squad side and 3 guys left. Or was Mitch just there to cheerlead, pun intended? Anyway, Kenny tries to slug it out and gets flipped, flopped, and flown, but recovers by rolling him up and holding the tights for the pin. So Flair is alone against the three Squad members. Mikey pounds away in the corner, but Flair pins him in the corner to get rid of him. Kenny backdrops him and drops an elbow, but Flair cradles for the pin to even things up. This leaves Johnny, and I wouldn’t be betting on the Squad at this point, kids. Johnny grabs a headlock, but Flair turns that into a kneebreaker and you know what comes next. (Flair’s team d. The Spirit Squad, Flair figure-four — submission Johnny, 10:29, ** Sole Survivor: Ric Flair) Given the severe limitations of the legend side and what a joke the Squad were by this point, this was about as good as it was going to be.  (2011 Scott sez:  Ugh, my new format rants.  Glad I dropped that.) US title match: Chris Benoit v. Chavo Guerrero Common sense here said that Chavo should have gone over if they wanted to use this stupid angle to do anything meaningful with Chavo. Benoit gets a backbreaker to start and throws some chops. The video package makes me wish that they could bottle Vicki’s acting ability and turn it into a finishing move, because anyone watching her in these vignettes generally begs for mercy. Chavo fires back with forearms, but Benoit elbows him down for two. Chavo opts for the direct approach and beats him up in the corner, but it’s Benoit, he likes it. A crossface quickly results, but Vicki puts Chavo’s leg in the ropes. Benoit with the backdrop suplex for two, but he charges and hits the post. Chavo follows up with a backdrop suplex of his own and goes to a top wristlock, and follows with a dropkick for two. Chavo smacks him down again, but gets cocky and Benoit fires off the rolling germans and goes up. More wackiness with Vicky, as she grabs his leg and delays him long enough for Chavo to move. JBL suddenly goes off on a hilarious rant about how Chavo cheating is like finding a "hot chick on the road and sleeping with her — it doesn’t count if you don’t get caught, Michael!" If they put him on color commentary before giving him the World title in 2004, I never would have uttered a word of complaint. Chavo gets the frog splash for two and shoves Benoit into Vicki for two, but Benoit calmly reverses into the crossface and Chavo taps. (Chris Benoit d. Chavo Guerrero, crossface — submission, 8:23, **1/4) Nothing really exciting here, as Chavo was all about the stomping and Benoit pretty much dismantled him barring all the cheating from Vicki. The Vicki stuff just really, really bothers me and it hampers my enjoyment of matches involving Chavo as a result. Cole gets a good barb back at JBL, calling him a "1985 color commentator". Nice one, Michael.  (2011 Scott sez:  Holy cow, the Vickie Guerrero experiment looks fucking BRILLIANT in hindsight, given how cheap they were able to get her and what she meant to the product.) Meanwhile, Edge and Lita go for the cheap heat in Philly and Cryme Tyme sneaks into her dressing room and steals her laundry while Edge cuts a promo. WWE Women’s title: Lita v. Mickie James Lita, starting to look her age, smartly retired young and on top. Mickie, although probably the best worker that the division has left at this point, has been a much duller character since the stalker aspect was abruptly dropped. That’s not to say she’s even a good worker. Mickie hammers away on Lita in the corner to start, but Lita takes her down for the fake looking punches on the mat. Lita tosses her around while the fans turn on the match already, which is not a record for Philly, but pretty close. Mickie tries a headscissors, but Lita drops her on the mat and throws a kneelift that misses by a foot. Hey, I’m not asking for UFC-type contact here, but Trish set the bar pretty darn high and it’s silly to pretend otherwise. Suplex gets two. The fans do the good old "She’s a crack whore" chant for Lita, who responds with another suplex for two. Lita grabs a sleeper, but Mickie makes the ropes. The ref should test the arms of the people at ringside to see if they’re about ready to pass out, too. Lita goes up and splats on the mat, but Mickie stupidly buys the oversell and tries to go up herself. Lita brings her down with a suplex, and they slug it out, and Mickie makes the comeback. High kick gets two. Suplex gets two. Mickie goes up and Lita slams her and goes up to finish with the Litasault, but it only gets two. DDT is blocked by Mickie and she cradles for two. Lita rolls her up for two. Rollup by James gets two, reversed by Lita for two. Implant(s) DDT finishes for Mickie to end Lita’s career and give her the title. (Mickie James d. Lita, DDT — pin, 8:20, *1/2) I give it * for the finishing sequence and 1/2* for the gratuitous and frequent shots of Mickie’s ass. (2011 Scott sez:  I now add an automatic * to any Velvet Sky match for the same reason.  Her ring entrance alone generally keeps her out of the negative numbers.)  Lita’s bad night continues as Cryme Tyme brings out her stuff and sells it to the front row. Lita’s irritation at her stuff going for cheap is pretty funny. JBL tries to buy her panties for $100, so they keep the money and toss the underwear into the crowd. Given this exit, I’m really shocked Trish got the departure she did. Meanwhile, Michael Cole has a probing and revealing interview with Batista, who says nothing the entire time, thus improving his promos by 200% right off the bat. Shawn Michaels, HHH, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy & CM Punk v. Randy Orton, Edge, Johnny Nitro, Gregory Helms & Mike Knox One of these things is shittier than the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong. So I bet Chris Warren didn’t think he’d be making royalties off the D-X theme again, although knowing the WWE legal team he’s probably not anyway. Funny bit to start with HHH convincing Kelly to flash while covering Shawn’s eyes, which results in Knox running in to defend her and getting superkicked. Buh-bye. Shawn: "Who was that guy?" Ha! It’s funny because it’s true. So with the comedy out of the way, Shawn trades leapfrogs with Nitro and mugs for the camera with Melina (OK, comedy mostly out of the way), then brings Jeff into the match. Drop sleeper and it’s over to Matt, which sets up a double-team for two. Helms comes in and dodges a flying Matt, leaving him set up for the heel team to work over. Punk gets the tag and throws knees on Nitro to a huge reaction in the same match with HHH, and the next month gets totally depushed. Coincidence? Anaconda vice gets rid of Nitro. Edge goes after Punk, and a cheapshot from Orton gives the heel team the advantage. Orton gets the dropkick for two. Helms takes him down and throws his own knees while working a facelock. Orton comes in and trades shots before hitting the RKO, but Shawn saves. Edge sets up for the spear, but hits the turnbuckle instead, and it’s hot tag to his HHHoliness. Knees for everyone! Helms looks to be the lucky recipient of the KICK WHAM PEDIGREE while the Hardyz get rid of Team RKO, but HHH decides to let the Hardyz finish with the swanton instead. Really, it was inevitable either way. Speaking of inevitable, the tag champs look at the numbers and decide that math is the better part of valor and walk out, but get dragged back in again. Edge takes a superkick and he’s gone, but that allows Orton to run away again. And again, he gets chased back in, and it’s KICK WHAM ELIMINATED. (Team DX d. Team RKO, HHH Pedigree — pin Orton, 11:34, ** Sole Survivors: Everyone) This was fun, if not a high-level technical match or anything. And to answer Jerry Lawler’s question, yes, several teams have survived completely intact, most notably Rick Martel’s team in 1990 and Undertaker’s team in 1995. I’m pretty sure there’s been others. First Blood match: Undertaker v. Mr. Kennedy I can’t really recall occasions where the First Blood stip has actually produced a good match, and the only good match I can think of, which just happened to be a First Blood match, is Steve Austin v. Kane from 1998 when Austin was on fire. Taker attacks to start and they immediately brawl on the floor, and Kennedy gets the worst of that. He retreats into the front row and UT tries headbutting him open, to no avail. Taker fires off the big boot, but gets sent into the stairs and Kennedy slugs away, but makes an ill-advised leap and gets caught. Taker drives him into the post and starts working on the back, and they finally head into the ring. Taker puts him on top, which was previously de-turnbuckled by Kennedy, and a superplex further punishes the back. Kennedy goes low, which reminds me: I think the Iron Sheik should make a comeback and start specializing in First Blood matches. Because really, it doesn’t specify WHERE the blood has to come from, and lord knows when he fucks his opponent up the ass to humble him there’s gonna be blood. Speaking of the blood being able to come from different sources, Kennedy goes low again and bails to regroup, which reveals blood coming from his internal organs via his mouth, but MVP slips in and wipes it up with a towel. Then turns on Kennedy and tosses him back in. That’s not very sportsmanlike! Taker pounds away in the corner while JBL notes that you don’t bleed internally unless something bad is wrong. Tell that to Ken Shamrock — he seemed to suffer internal injuries in every damn match during his WWF run. Kennedy and Taker slug it out while MVP brings a chair in, and that results in Taker doing a gory bladejob and the ref getting knocked out. That’s a hell of a chairshot. The ref returns and calls it for Kennedy. (Mr. Kennedy d. Undertaker, chairshot, 9:24, *1/2) At least this one didn’t run 20 minutes, but this stip does nothing for me, much like Inferno matches, casket matches, Buried Alive matches, and many others. It just doesn’t lend itself to telling an effective story, and really there’s only one storyline ever used: Babyface busts open the heel but the ref doesn’t see it, something nefarious happens to the face, heel wins without really winning. Come to think of it, has a babyface EVER won a First Blood match? Taker absolutely destroys Kennedy to get his heat back.  (2011 Scott sez:  Holy shit, Undertaker put over MR. KENNEDY?  The dude who wouldn’t even lay down for Brock Lesnar on the first go-around?  How did Ken Anderson fuck up this gig so badly?)  MVP, Test, Umaga, Finlay & Big Show v. Kane, Lashley, Rob Van Dam, Sabu & John Cena. Cena goes nuts to start, pounding Umaga and elbowing Finlay down, then brings in RVD. Umaga doesn’t take his early problems well, as he grabs a monitor and goes nuts, drawing a DQ early. The faces clean house, but John Cena is OUT, once again faced with impossible odds and all sorts of adversity to overcome. When we get going again, Finlay and Test work RVD over in the heel corner, and Test blocks a bodyblock attempt with a backbreaker. Finlay stomps away and drops an elbow, and MVP comes in for a chinlock before Rob rolls him up for two. Rob has apparently suffered non-fake internal injuries and is bleeding from the mouth and hobbling around the ring. Rob fights off Finlay with a spinkick, but Test trips him up. The ref gets distracted, however, allowing Kane to chokeslam MVP and Rob finishes him with the frog splash. Now would be a good time to tag. Sadly, Test cuts him off with the big boot and he’s gone. Sabu rolls up Test for two off that, and Lashley spears him as they head to the floor. Back in, Sabu drops the leg on Test and DDTs him to finish. Well, there’s no clotheslines to beat guys yet, but we’re in the ballpark. Show chokeslams Sabu and pins him. Can’t complain about the slow pace in this one. Kane comes in and they choke each other out, and Finlay clubs Kane behind the ref’s back and Show chokeslams Kane and pins him. Show powerslams Cena, who has more odds to overcome, and Finlay hammers him. Back to Show, for more of the forearms that club, and Finlay adds a shoulderblock in the corner. Cena catches him with a boot, however, and makes the hot tag to Lashley. Exploder gets two on Finlay. It’s BONZO GONZO and everyone clotheslines each other, and since it’s a Survivor Series that should mean all of them can be pinned. Finlay tosses his midget at Cena, and that allows Show to boot him while Lashley pins Finlay off-camera. This is a mess. Show is 2-on-1 against Cena and Lashley, and they double-team him with a DDT and Cena gets two. Double suplex and five-knuckle shuffle has the crowd booing, and Cena again overcomes the un-overcomeable and finishes Show with the F-U. (John Cena’s team d. Big Show’s team, Cena FU — pin Show, 12:35, *1/2 Sole Survivors: Lashley and Cena) This reminded me of the weird mixed-up tag match in 95 with Shawn Michaels and Ahmed Johnson as the survivors. Lashley does nothing for me, whereas Johnson at least had intensity and charisma. Match was really rushed and did nothing for anyone. Smackdown World title: King Booker v. Batista If Batista loses he doesn’t get another shot at the belt, which everyone took to mean that he loses and then has to win the Royal Rumble, because really that would be the logical way to go about it. Batista won’t even let him into the ring before he attacks, which is treatment not befitting a King. Booker slugs back once they start the match properly, but Batista gets a suplex and goes for the powerbomb early. Booker books it out of there, but Sharmell talks him into heading back in. Batista gets a backbreaker for two, and follows with a short clothesline, times three. That gets two. Booker comes back with a weak hotshot, clearly dropping Batista on his side while Batista sells a throat injury, and follows with the slingshot under the ropes. Batista again clearly overprotects himself on camera. Batista + Selling = BAD. Booker superkicks him for two and slugs away in the corner, then goes to the eyes and follows with a corner clothesline. Bad sequence sees Batista coming back with a sideslam, as they seem to be having trouble with the simplest moves out there. Jackhammer gets two. A Bossman slam gets two. Odd choice there. Looked bad, too. There’s just no chemistry here with these guys. They slug it out on the apron and Booker superkicks Batista into the railing to take over. Back in, he gets two. JBL accusing Teddy Long of being racist against Booker is yet another great line. Cole just lets it go. Sidekick from Booker gets two. Booker hits the royal chinlock, but Batista comes back with a belly to belly and his stunning array of clotheslines. They head out and Booker hits the stairs, and back in for a flying shoulderblock from Batista that gets two. Ugly spinebuster gets two. Booker comes back with the Bookend and Batista can’t even take THAT properly, and that gets two. Axe Kick is countered with the Batista Bomb, but Booker is too close to the ropes. Sharmell gives him the title and distracts the ref, but Batista gets it, hits him with it, and gets the pin and the title. Way to cheat there, cheater. (Batista d. King Booker, beltshot — pin, 13:57, *) Batista used up all his goodwill with me LONG ago, and working with a guy like Booker, who only works up to the level of his opponent, completely exposed him worse than I’ve seen since his comeback. Slow, sloppy, poorly booked, just generally awful.  (2011 Scott sez:  Yeah, but Batista would get much more awesome later on.) The Pulse: While a couple of the matches were fun in a light-hearted way, this isn’t a show that inspires you to run out and buy the DVD or anything, and the main event was terrible. There’s nothing good enough for a recommendation on its own here, so recommendation to avoid.

Survivor Series Countdown: 2006

(2011 Scott sez:  There is no 2005 rant.  I think it was Cena v. Angle or something like that, I honestly forget.) The SmarK Rant for WWE Survivor Series 2006 – Weekly turnover on 24/7 is coming soon, so I figure I should get this one wrapped up while I could. – Live from Philly – Your hosts are Michael Cole, JBL, Jim Ross, and Jerry Lawler. They should just promote JBL to RAW and let him do all the PPVs with Jim Ross.  (2011 Scott sez:  Or they could have him come out of retirement and do a crappy run with Cena before retiring again.  Whatever.) Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter, Dusty Rhodes & Ron Simmons v. The Spirit Squad It’s like Slaughter gets thinner every year he’s retired. He should have  retired years before he did, I guess. Simmons starts with Mikey and easily overpowers him to start, catching a powerslam and fighting off all the Squad members. Mitch trips him up, but makes the mistake of bumping into Arn Anderson on the floor, resulting in a trip into the post. However, the low speed chase means both Simmons and Mitch are eliminated early. And AA gets tossed. Oh, that’s just excessive. So now it’s Slaughter against Nicky, and Sarge offers a handshake before clobbering him with a series of slams. This brings Dusty in for his first WWE PPV match in, like, 15 years, as he and Flair trade off on the kid and Sarge finishes him with the cobra clutch without breaking too much of a sweat, but Johnny sneaks in with a high kick and puts Nicky on top to eliminate Slaughter. Nicky is still toast, so Dusty drops the big fat elbow and pins him. Dusty gets worked over in the Squad corner, as I’m a little confused here — was this 5-on-4? Because there’s two eliminated on the Squad side and 3 guys left. Or was Mitch just there to cheerlead, pun intended? Anyway, Kenny tries to slug it out and gets flipped, flopped, and flown, but recovers by rolling him up and holding the tights for the pin. So Flair is alone against the three Squad members. Mikey pounds away in the corner, but Flair pins him in the corner to get rid of him. Kenny backdrops him and drops an elbow, but Flair cradles for the pin to even things up. This leaves Johnny, and I wouldn’t be betting on the Squad at this point, kids. Johnny grabs a headlock, but Flair turns that into a kneebreaker and you know what comes next. (Flair’s team d. The Spirit Squad, Flair figure-four — submission Johnny, 10:29, ** Sole Survivor: Ric Flair) Given the severe limitations of the legend side and what a joke the Squad were by this point, this was about as good as it was going to be.  (2011 Scott sez:  Ugh, my new format rants.  Glad I dropped that.) US title match: Chris Benoit v. Chavo Guerrero Common sense here said that Chavo should have gone over if they wanted to use this stupid angle to do anything meaningful with Chavo. Benoit gets a backbreaker to start and throws some chops. The video package makes me wish that they could bottle Vicki’s acting ability and turn it into a finishing move, because anyone watching her in these vignettes generally begs for mercy. Chavo fires back with forearms, but Benoit elbows him down for two. Chavo opts for the direct approach and beats him up in the corner, but it’s Benoit, he likes it. A crossface quickly results, but Vicki puts Chavo’s leg in the ropes. Benoit with the backdrop suplex for two, but he charges and hits the post. Chavo follows up with a backdrop suplex of his own and goes to a top wristlock, and follows with a dropkick for two. Chavo smacks him down again, but gets cocky and Benoit fires off the rolling germans and goes up. More wackiness with Vicky, as she grabs his leg and delays him long enough for Chavo to move. JBL suddenly goes off on a hilarious rant about how Chavo cheating is like finding a "hot chick on the road and sleeping with her — it doesn’t count if you don’t get caught, Michael!" If they put him on color commentary before giving him the World title in 2004, I never would have uttered a word of complaint. Chavo gets the frog splash for two and shoves Benoit into Vicki for two, but Benoit calmly reverses into the crossface and Chavo taps. (Chris Benoit d. Chavo Guerrero, crossface — submission, 8:23, **1/4) Nothing really exciting here, as Chavo was all about the stomping and Benoit pretty much dismantled him barring all the cheating from Vicki. The Vicki stuff just really, really bothers me and it hampers my enjoyment of matches involving Chavo as a result. Cole gets a good barb back at JBL, calling him a "1985 color commentator". Nice one, Michael.  (2011 Scott sez:  Holy cow, the Vickie Guerrero experiment looks fucking BRILLIANT in hindsight, given how cheap they were able to get her and what she meant to the product.) Meanwhile, Edge and Lita go for the cheap heat in Philly and Cryme Tyme sneaks into her dressing room and steals her laundry while Edge cuts a promo. WWE Women’s title: Lita v. Mickie James Lita, starting to look her age, smartly retired young and on top. Mickie, although probably the best worker that the division has left at this point, has been a much duller character since the stalker aspect was abruptly dropped. That’s not to say she’s even a good worker. Mickie hammers away on Lita in the corner to start, but Lita takes her down for the fake looking punches on the mat. Lita tosses her around while the fans turn on the match already, which is not a record for Philly, but pretty close. Mickie tries a headscissors, but Lita drops her on the mat and throws a kneelift that misses by a foot. Hey, I’m not asking for UFC-type contact here, but Trish set the bar pretty darn high and it’s silly to pretend otherwise. Suplex gets two. The fans do the good old "She’s a crack whore" chant for Lita, who responds with another suplex for two. Lita grabs a sleeper, but Mickie makes the ropes. The ref should test the arms of the people at ringside to see if they’re about ready to pass out, too. Lita goes up and splats on the mat, but Mickie stupidly buys the oversell and tries to go up herself. Lita brings her down with a suplex, and they slug it out, and Mickie makes the comeback. High kick gets two. Suplex gets two. Mickie goes up and Lita slams her and goes up to finish with the Litasault, but it only gets two. DDT is blocked by Mickie and she cradles for two. Lita rolls her up for two. Rollup by James gets two, reversed by Lita for two. Implant(s) DDT finishes for Mickie to end Lita’s career and give her the title. (Mickie James d. Lita, DDT — pin, 8:20, *1/2) I give it * for the finishing sequence and 1/2* for the gratuitous and frequent shots of Mickie’s ass. (2011 Scott sez:  I now add an automatic * to any Velvet Sky match for the same reason.  Her ring entrance alone generally keeps her out of the negative numbers.)  Lita’s bad night continues as Cryme Tyme brings out her stuff and sells it to the front row. Lita’s irritation at her stuff going for cheap is pretty funny. JBL tries to buy her panties for $100, so they keep the money and toss the underwear into the crowd. Given this exit, I’m really shocked Trish got the departure she did. Meanwhile, Michael Cole has a probing and revealing interview with Batista, who says nothing the entire time, thus improving his promos by 200% right off the bat. Shawn Michaels, HHH, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy & CM Punk v. Randy Orton, Edge, Johnny Nitro, Gregory Helms & Mike Knox One of these things is shittier than the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong. So I bet Chris Warren didn’t think he’d be making royalties off the D-X theme again, although knowing the WWE legal team he’s probably not anyway. Funny bit to start with HHH convincing Kelly to flash while covering Shawn’s eyes, which results in Knox running in to defend her and getting superkicked. Buh-bye. Shawn: "Who was that guy?" Ha! It’s funny because it’s true. So with the comedy out of the way, Shawn trades leapfrogs with Nitro and mugs for the camera with Melina (OK, comedy mostly out of the way), then brings Jeff into the match. Drop sleeper and it’s over to Matt, which sets up a double-team for two. Helms comes in and dodges a flying Matt, leaving him set up for the heel team to work over. Punk gets the tag and throws knees on Nitro to a huge reaction in the same match with HHH, and the next month gets totally depushed. Coincidence? Anaconda vice gets rid of Nitro. Edge goes after Punk, and a cheapshot from Orton gives the heel team the advantage. Orton gets the dropkick for two. Helms takes him down and throws his own knees while working a facelock. Orton comes in and trades shots before hitting the RKO, but Shawn saves. Edge sets up for the spear, but hits the turnbuckle instead, and it’s hot tag to his HHHoliness. Knees for everyone! Helms looks to be the lucky recipient of the KICK WHAM PEDIGREE while the Hardyz get rid of Team RKO, but HHH decides to let the Hardyz finish with the swanton instead. Really, it was inevitable either way. Speaking of inevitable, the tag champs look at the numbers and decide that math is the better part of valor and walk out, but get dragged back in again. Edge takes a superkick and he’s gone, but that allows Orton to run away again. And again, he gets chased back in, and it’s KICK WHAM ELIMINATED. (Team DX d. Team RKO, HHH Pedigree — pin Orton, 11:34, ** Sole Survivors: Everyone) This was fun, if not a high-level technical match or anything. And to answer Jerry Lawler’s question, yes, several teams have survived completely intact, most notably Rick Martel’s team in 1990 and Undertaker’s team in 1995. I’m pretty sure there’s been others. First Blood match: Undertaker v. Mr. Kennedy I can’t really recall occasions where the First Blood stip has actually produced a good match, and the only good match I can think of, which just happened to be a First Blood match, is Steve Austin v. Kane from 1998 when Austin was on fire. Taker attacks to start and they immediately brawl on the floor, and Kennedy gets the worst of that. He retreats into the front row and UT tries headbutting him open, to no avail. Taker fires off the big boot, but gets sent into the stairs and Kennedy slugs away, but makes an ill-advised leap and gets caught. Taker drives him into the post and starts working on the back, and they finally head into the ring. Taker puts him on top, which was previously de-turnbuckled by Kennedy, and a superplex further punishes the back. Kennedy goes low, which reminds me: I think the Iron Sheik should make a comeback and start specializing in First Blood matches. Because really, it doesn’t specify WHERE the blood has to come from, and lord knows when he fucks his opponent up the ass to humble him there’s gonna be blood. Speaking of the blood being able to come from different sources, Kennedy goes low again and bails to regroup, which reveals blood coming from his internal organs via his mouth, but MVP slips in and wipes it up with a towel. Then turns on Kennedy and tosses him back in. That’s not very sportsmanlike! Taker pounds away in the corner while JBL notes that you don’t bleed internally unless something bad is wrong. Tell that to Ken Shamrock — he seemed to suffer internal injuries in every damn match during his WWF run. Kennedy and Taker slug it out while MVP brings a chair in, and that results in Taker doing a gory bladejob and the ref getting knocked out. That’s a hell of a chairshot. The ref returns and calls it for Kennedy. (Mr. Kennedy d. Undertaker, chairshot, 9:24, *1/2) At least this one didn’t run 20 minutes, but this stip does nothing for me, much like Inferno matches, casket matches, Buried Alive matches, and many others. It just doesn’t lend itself to telling an effective story, and really there’s only one storyline ever used: Babyface busts open the heel but the ref doesn’t see it, something nefarious happens to the face, heel wins without really winning. Come to think of it, has a babyface EVER won a First Blood match? Taker absolutely destroys Kennedy to get his heat back.  (2011 Scott sez:  Holy shit, Undertaker put over MR. KENNEDY?  The dude who wouldn’t even lay down for Brock Lesnar on the first go-around?  How did Ken Anderson fuck up this gig so badly?)  MVP, Test, Umaga, Finlay & Big Show v. Kane, Lashley, Rob Van Dam, Sabu & John Cena. Cena goes nuts to start, pounding Umaga and elbowing Finlay down, then brings in RVD. Umaga doesn’t take his early problems well, as he grabs a monitor and goes nuts, drawing a DQ early. The faces clean house, but John Cena is OUT, once again faced with impossible odds and all sorts of adversity to overcome. When we get going again, Finlay and Test work RVD over in the heel corner, and Test blocks a bodyblock attempt with a backbreaker. Finlay stomps away and drops an elbow, and MVP comes in for a chinlock before Rob rolls him up for two. Rob has apparently suffered non-fake internal injuries and is bleeding from the mouth and hobbling around the ring. Rob fights off Finlay with a spinkick, but Test trips him up. The ref gets distracted, however, allowing Kane to chokeslam MVP and Rob finishes him with the frog splash. Now would be a good time to tag. Sadly, Test cuts him off with the big boot and he’s gone. Sabu rolls up Test for two off that, and Lashley spears him as they head to the floor. Back in, Sabu drops the leg on Test and DDTs him to finish. Well, there’s no clotheslines to beat guys yet, but we’re in the ballpark. Show chokeslams Sabu and pins him. Can’t complain about the slow pace in this one. Kane comes in and they choke each other out, and Finlay clubs Kane behind the ref’s back and Show chokeslams Kane and pins him. Show powerslams Cena, who has more odds to overcome, and Finlay hammers him. Back to Show, for more of the forearms that club, and Finlay adds a shoulderblock in the corner. Cena catches him with a boot, however, and makes the hot tag to Lashley. Exploder gets two on Finlay. It’s BONZO GONZO and everyone clotheslines each other, and since it’s a Survivor Series that should mean all of them can be pinned. Finlay tosses his midget at Cena, and that allows Show to boot him while Lashley pins Finlay off-camera. This is a mess. Show is 2-on-1 against Cena and Lashley, and they double-team him with a DDT and Cena gets two. Double suplex and five-knuckle shuffle has the crowd booing, and Cena again overcomes the un-overcomeable and finishes Show with the F-U. (John Cena’s team d. Big Show’s team, Cena FU — pin Show, 12:35, *1/2 Sole Survivors: Lashley and Cena) This reminded me of the weird mixed-up tag match in 95 with Shawn Michaels and Ahmed Johnson as the survivors. Lashley does nothing for me, whereas Johnson at least had intensity and charisma. Match was really rushed and did nothing for anyone. Smackdown World title: King Booker v. Batista If Batista loses he doesn’t get another shot at the belt, which everyone took to mean that he loses and then has to win the Royal Rumble, because really that would be the logical way to go about it. Batista won’t even let him into the ring before he attacks, which is treatment not befitting a King. Booker slugs back once they start the match properly, but Batista gets a suplex and goes for the powerbomb early. Booker books it out of there, but Sharmell talks him into heading back in. Batista gets a backbreaker for two, and follows with a short clothesline, times three. That gets two. Booker comes back with a weak hotshot, clearly dropping Batista on his side while Batista sells a throat injury, and follows with the slingshot under the ropes. Batista again clearly overprotects himself on camera. Batista + Selling = BAD. Booker superkicks him for two and slugs away in the corner, then goes to the eyes and follows with a corner clothesline. Bad sequence sees Batista coming back with a sideslam, as they seem to be having trouble with the simplest moves out there. Jackhammer gets two. A Bossman slam gets two. Odd choice there. Looked bad, too. There’s just no chemistry here with these guys. They slug it out on the apron and Booker superkicks Batista into the railing to take over. Back in, he gets two. JBL accusing Teddy Long of being racist against Booker is yet another great line. Cole just lets it go. Sidekick from Booker gets two. Booker hits the royal chinlock, but Batista comes back with a belly to belly and his stunning array of clotheslines. They head out and Booker hits the stairs, and back in for a flying shoulderblock from Batista that gets two. Ugly spinebuster gets two. Booker comes back with the Bookend and Batista can’t even take THAT properly, and that gets two. Axe Kick is countered with the Batista Bomb, but Booker is too close to the ropes. Sharmell gives him the title and distracts the ref, but Batista gets it, hits him with it, and gets the pin and the title. Way to cheat there, cheater. (Batista d. King Booker, beltshot — pin, 13:57, *) Batista used up all his goodwill with me LONG ago, and working with a guy like Booker, who only works up to the level of his opponent, completely exposed him worse than I’ve seen since his comeback. Slow, sloppy, poorly booked, just generally awful.  (2011 Scott sez:  Yeah, but Batista would get much more awesome later on.) The Pulse: While a couple of the matches were fun in a light-hearted way, this isn’t a show that inspires you to run out and buy the DVD or anything, and the main event was terrible. There’s nothing good enough for a recommendation on its own here, so recommendation to avoid.