The SmarK Rant for WWE New Year’s Revolution 2006
– Ha, bet you didn’t think you’d see me do this one, huh? Well, neither did I, but the strongly polarized reaction to the show online led me to think that I should review it and thus tell people what to think. You can thank me later. Also, I have a friend who is craving attention, so visit her blog so she’ll stop bugging me about it.
– Live from Albany, NY.
– Your hosts are Joey Styles & Coach.
– Opening match, Intercontinental title: Ric Flair v. Edge. Edge jumps him from behind and backdrops him out of the corner, but gets chopped down and backdropped. They brawl out as Flair chases Lita, but Edge suplexes him on the floor to take over. Back in, and he pounds away and choking follows. He grabs a chinlock and slugs him in the corner, but Flair makes his comeback with chops until getting dumped on the floor. More chops out there and back in for a kneedrop, showing how wise Flair’s turn was from an in-ring standpoint — at this point, Flair is more watchable when taking a beating and making the occasional comeback than he would be carrying the offense. And then history, right here in this match of all things, as Flair goes up to the top rope, fights off a slam attempt, and then hits his axehandle from the top! First time I’ve seen him do that in his current run. And now, whoo, we go to school, but Lita runs into the school and the bell rings, but only metaphorically. OK, that one got away from me. Anyway, Flair puts her in the figure-four, but not metaphorically, and Edge hits him with the Magic Briefcase for the DQ. (Flair d. Edge, DQ, 7:16, **1/4) The match was looking OK-ish, but didn’t actually go anywhere or have a finish or minor details like that. Goth Lita is kinda cute, though.
– Kurt Angle lets us know that he’s not a big fan of “the black people” and he’d make Jesus tap out, and yet the people would still cheer him. And they DO. He’s right, you see. Just turn the damn guy face already.
– Women’s title: Trish Stratus v. Mickie James. Happy anniversary Trish, as this match marks her first year as champion, showing how dead this division really is. In a weird touch, Mickey “Jay” Henson is the referee. Trish grabs a wristlock and blocks a counter to get a one-count. James tries a headlock, and when Trish reverses, James uses the boob grab to throw her off. Trish takes her down and they trade bridges, but Trish blocks a rana for two. Trish bails, but nothing comes of it. Back in, and they slug it out in impressively aggressive manner. The best part is that they’re throwing forearms, which look real when done by women, instead of punches, which look fake. James goes up and Trish tries to counter with the handstand rana, but it’s blocked, so Trish boots her out of the ring instead. She tries to follow with a baseball slide, but Mickie moves and Trish goes splat. Back in, Trish gets the Thesz Press and fires away with HARD chops, and this time gets her rana. Spinebuster gets two. She just keeps adding cool new stuff. James comes back with a stiff kick and follows with Trish’s own bulldog. Too much stalling, however, means that it’s only a two count. Trish tries her own version of the bulldog, then ducks a kick and finishes with her own. (Trish Stratus d. Mickie James, Chick Kick — pin, 7:19, ***) I could’ve watched another 5:00 of that, as it was stiff and entertaining as hell.
– Jerry Lawler v. Gregory Helms. Pretty cool new look for Helms, which is totally decimated by being involved in this loser feud. Helms gets an armdrag to start and slugs away in the corner, but gets hiptossed. Lawler backdrops him for two and slugs him down, as Helms ends up on the floor. Back in, Helms gets a legdrop for two and a sideslam for two. This match is already dying a slow death. Suplex times three gets two. Chinlock time as we run through every basic wrestling move in the book, and a snapmare gets two. Even more painful is Coach running through Bobby Heenan’s 20 year old schtick. Helms dumps him and sends him into the post, and gets a missile dropkick for two. King comes back with his ridiculous spinning punch. Note to Jerry: It’s 2006, join us, won’t you? Although the cartoonish nature of the move is apropos considering the opposition. Helms counters the piledriver and goes up, but King pushes him off and finishes with the fistdrop. (Jerry Lawler d. Gregory Helms, fistdrop — pin, 9:32, 1/2*) Way too long, wrong guy goes over, no one cares, yada yada.
– Meanwhile, Mrs. Benjamin sets the racial equality movement back 30 years and meets Viscera, who even gets entrance music when he walks into a cafeteria. Well you knew they’d go that route eventually.
– Mr. Stephanie McMahon v. Big Show. Sign in the front: “HHH Is Overrated” Boy, that’s some current and biting commentary there. Joey hints at the big announcement on WWE.com but doesn’t actually say what it’s about, because HHH and Steph aren’t in continuity. I mean, come on, they’re married and he’s fathering her child, isn’t it time they just came out and had them be a couple again? So anyway, HHH avoids the PLASTER OF DEATH to start, but gets chopped. Funny bit as Show goes “Ssssh” and some guy uses the silence to yell out “You suck, Big Show!” Joey, meanwhile, picks up the endless thread of every ass-kissing yes-man announcer before him, noting that “you have to see Big Show live to appreciate how BIG he is!” Once again, I’ve seen Big Show live on at least a dozen occasions, and he still sucks. Show drops an elbow and HHH bumps around for him, but catches him with a knee, only to get posted on the floor. Show takes a swing with the CAST OF DOOM, but hits the post and it breaks. HHH works on it and breaks it open, and thus Show has no protection. Nor, apparently, does HHH. Just when I thought the well of ragging on HHH had run dry, water floods in again. So we go to work on the broken hand and HHH sends him to the floor and rams it into the stairs. Show is in tears. Pussy. In the absence of all other evidence, HHH has at least fathered offspring, so he’s manlier. HHH goes after the hand with a top wristlock and Show is all “Waaaaah, my hand hurts!” HHH comes off the top and Show punches him to stop him, but the crowd is clearly no longer interested in sympathizing with the big crying pansy giant. And this is a crowd who cheers the guy that wanted to make Jesus tap out, so think about THAT. Show comes back and the ref gets bumped and it’s sledgehammer time. Show breaks it in half with the power of his punch (Isaac Newton, resurrected from the dead and comped a front row seat, has a sign that says “Ummm, No.”) and he keeps fighting. Show’s pride gets the best of him, however, and he tries to break HHH’s hand in retaliation, allowing the King of Kings (just ask him, he’ll tell you so) to go low and hit him with a chair and stuff as this rapidly turns into a Jeff Jarrett main event. My concern, meanwhile, once again lies with the poor ref, who has been unconscious for a good 3:00 now and must be in need of immediate medical attention. Big Show, finally cluing into what he should have done 10 minutes before, tries using the LEFT, unbroken, hand to chokeslam HHH. Well, it’s not like they call him “The Smart Show” or anything. However, another shot with the sledgehammer and it’s KICK WHAM PEDGIREE and thankfully it’s over. (HHH d. Big Show, Pedigree — pin, 16:12, **) Plodding and dull, and the stuff with the hand turned into the usual low blows and weapons from HHH. They try the “Walk of respect while the audience applauds his guts” thing with Show, but the audience boos him instead. Ha.
– Shelton Benjamin v. Viscera. At this point, I stop and flip over to Spike to watch the Sabin/Styles/Daniels v. Generation Next six-man on Impact, which was ***1/4 and put me in a good mood. Shelton tries a wristlock, but gets overpowered and kicked low. Vis follows with a spinebuster, and Shelton bails. He hides behind Mama and tries a sneak attack, but shockingly this doesn’t work. Back in, he opts for kicking Vis in the head instead, and that works. Flying clothesline gets two. He goes to work on the leg, but walks into a samoan drop. Mama’s motivational techniques at ringside would be funnier in a different time and place. Vis comes back with an elbow for two. Bossman Slam and it’s time to ride Space…er, Brokeback Mountain. If you’re reading this in like 2010 you’ll probably be all “Huh?” but that’s a chance I have to take for my art. A splash misses and Mama uses her loaded purse to set up Shelton’s dragon whip for the pin. (Shelton Benjmain d. Viscera, spinkick — pin, 7:48, 1/4*)
– Meanwhile, the epic Vince-Shawn confrontation continues.
– And hey, that Wrestlemania promo is BIG-TIME…lame.
– Bra & Panties Gauntlet. We start with Maria and Candice Michelle, who might have the worst name in wrestling for someone who wants to be intimidating. This reminds me of my wife’s friend, who shall go unnamed, but who wants to name her first child Trevor-Ray. As a first name. Maria quickly loses her top, but recovers and gets Candice’s top off. Candice tries a Tarantula, but Maria catches her and takes the shorts off to eliminate her. So that brings out Torrie, and they’re fighting to get into each others’ pants. Torrie gets the world’s worst handspring elbow and they head out and back in. Maria sneaks the top off, but gets speared. INTENSITY! No “Catfight!” from Joey? Torrie argues with the ref, and Maria takes her pants. I gotta say, for someone who’s booked to be so stupid, Maria is the only one thus far to actually wrestle the match with the goal of stripping her opponents in mind. That’s actually, dare I say, interesting psychology. Sadly, it goes down the tubes as Victoria is next out and squashes her in short order. Then it gets worse as Mae and Moolah come out and take it from comedy match to total trainwreck. Mae starts stripping and then they take Victoria’s shirt off but get it caught on her bra and everyone stumbles around until the seniors leave. Finally Ashley is the last one out, and she quickly takes Victoria’s pants to win at 11:05. Ashley is worthless and shows how much of a fluke Christy Hemme getting better truly was.
– Elmination Chamber, RAW World title: John Cena v. Kurt Angle v. Shawn Michaels v. Kane v. Carlito v. Chris Masters. Joey endears himself to his core audience, I’m sure, as he declares that this match is more hardcore and brutal than anything he’s seen in 7 years as ECW’s voice. He must be a ventriloquist, because otherwise it’d be impossible to talk with Vince’s cock wedged down his throat all the time. Michaels is course the first guy in, and he starts with Cena, who gets an amazingly bitter reaction. Shawn works the arm to start, but gets slugged down, which draws MEAN boos. Not even good-natured jeering, but real hatred. That’s cold, man. It takes some specific hatred to even boo individual punches. Shawn whips him into the corner for two. Shawn then calls a reverse into the corner, while standing in front of the camera, and lo and behold that’s what happens. You’d think he would stop doing that after all these years. Cena clotheslines Shawn out of the ring, as Carlito is next into this thing. He attacks Cena to a babyface reaction, but dives at Shawn and misses. He comes back with a Flatliner on Cena for two, and slams Shawn off the top for two. Carlito suplexes both guys to control things by himself, but Shawn rolls him up for two. Cena slugs away and now I think the crowd is just booing him because everyone else is doing it. Cena & Shawn double-team Carlito with a flapjack, giving Cena two. Another double-team and now it’s Angle time! German suplexes for everyone! It’s a Boxing day sale! Do Americans get that reference? Anyway, Shawn gets suplexed onto the steel, as does Carlito, and Angle catapults Shawn into the cage. Blood results. Angle sends him into the plexiglass for good measure, but Cena makes the comeback. Angle suplexes him to the delight of the crowd, and then goes after Carlito. The Angle Slam is reversed, but the anklelock is not, and Carlito has to hang on until Chris Masters enters the match to save him. He cleans house and tries the Masterlock on Angle, but that’s not smart. Anklelock time, but Cena breaks, so Angle puts HIM in the move instead. The crowd goes apeshit for that, but Shawn superkicks Angle to break…and pins him at 13:39? What’s up with that bullshit? Carlito and Masters work Cena & Michaels over with their lame offense, and Shawn eats cage as the Shitty Wrestler Alliance beats on Cena. The match is definitely feeling a gaping void already without Angle. Kane is last into the match and cleans house, but gets caught by Masters on the top. He gets the clothesline anyway and chokeslams both victims. Carlito and Masters continue their guerrilla warfare and overwhelm him, but he no-sells it. Finally Masters presses Carlito onto Kane, and they dogpile him for the pin at 19:26, beyond even Kane’s zombie powers to save himself. I should note that most of Shawn’s output thus far has been lying around and bleeding, which is why the match isn’t great or anything. Carlito & Masters work Shawn over, but he comes back with the flying forearm and fights them off. Flying elbow for Cena, but he’s got nothing left. And indeed, hitting the superkick takes the last out of him, and Carlito & Masters again jump him and quickly hit Carlito’s finisher on him for the pin at 23:36. Interesting strategy there, actually. Sadly, it leaves John Cena against Carlito and Chris Masters for a major title. Cena comes back against all odds, as usual, and now the crowd is cheering Chris Masters to win the WWE title. Think about THAT. Cena tries the FU on Carlito, but Masters breaks. He DDTs Cena on the steel and they go to work on him with a double suplex and double backdrop suplex off the middle rope. It appears to be Masterlock time, but Carlito turns on his partner with a low blow for the pin, and then Cena rolls up Carlito for the pin to retain at 28:27. I hate rollup finishes in major matches, especially when there’s TWO of them. Shawn did nothing here and Angle didn’t have a chance to do anything, so the results weren’t great. (Cena d. Angle, Michaels, Carlito, Masters and Kane, rollup — pin Carlito, 28:27, **3/4)
– But then the REAL interesting story happens, as Edge cashes in his Money in the Bank contract after carrying it around for months, handing Vince the briefcase in a symbolic and important moment, giving us one more match.
– RAW World title: John Cena v. Edge. Edge charges in and attacks, and gets two. He pounds Cena down and gets a spear, for two. Should have finishes, although another one DOES finish, and we have a new champion. (Edge d. Cena, spear — pin, 1:45, DUD) The King whines that Edge stole the title, but he won it fair and square according to the rules of the story. I think this is going to be one of those memorable moments that exceed the memory of the crappy show that preceded it, regardless of how lame Edge’s title run turns out and how quietly he jobs back to Cena at the Rumble. It legitimizes the MITB stipulation and elevates Edge to main event player in one fell swoop. Now he just needs a new belt.