The Botterm Dollar: WWE Vengeance 2006

THE INTRODUCTION

I watched Vengeance at a biker bar (and grill). I am not a biker. What I did notice about these bikers, however, is that they are all John Cena fans. When Cena made his appearance, the completely silent place when berzerk, and everyone chanted “Cena Cena Cena.” Folks, I am not making this up. I wish I had taken my video camera along so I could have captured this magical moment and shared it with you.

The John Cena demographic apparently stretches from women and children to bikers. Oh, and every biker seemingly had a kid, and every single one of those kids was wearing the Eddie Guerrero tribute shirt. One kid was wearing the Eddie shirt and a Rey Mysterio mask. Someone should have told the kid that the Smackdown PPV is next month.

Click this link.

THE GOOD

Blood: Did Vince get dared to have everyone bleed during this show? I know that Spirit Squad Johnny and Edge’s cuts were hardway, but someone really needs to make sure that Ric Flair doesn’t ever cut himself again. I know Flair has a tendency to bleed a gusher and his blonde hair makes it look all the more dramatic, but that was disgusting. When you’ve got blood covering not only your entire body but a good portion of the ring, it’s time to make sure you don’t cut so deep. Also, don’t do it on camera like you did tonight.

What Flair’s blade job did, though, was something that hasn’t been effectively done thus far: put Mick Foley firmly in the heel camp. I’m willing to bet that Foley doesn’t get a mixed reaction from here on out.

Kudos go to Spirit Squad Johnny for blocking out the pain from his obviously badly broken nose and not only continuing the match, but pulling out a classic KARATE KID gimmick that’s going to get over like gangbusters at house shows.

Oh, and SOCKO FLAIR was pretty great, too.

THE BAD

Senseless Booking: Flair and Foley pull off a two out of three falls match in seven minutes. Randy Orton defeats Kurt Angle just weeks after he’s been given a new shooter gimmick. Raw’s B-teamers make ECW’s top guys look like morons. Putting the Fake Kane in a PPV match when he’s proven to be nothing but inept. These booking decisions might seem to be trivial on the surface, but they’re a huge reflection of what is going on internally in WWE right now. Flair and Foley should have never been booked to go two out of three falls to begin with, because neither guy can go long enough to make it worthwhile. Putting Randy Orton over the new face of ECW shows that Vince cares more about getting his Raw pet project over than an entire promotion that could pass or fail depending upon how Kurt Angle is portrayed. Fake Kane can’t even step over the top rope without crotching himself, and he’s such a bad worker that he makes Glen Jacobs look like Ricky Steamboat by comparison.

The little things are what add up to create a big overall picture, and the picture I’m seeing in WWE is that nothing really matters except John Cena. He truly is the new Hulk Hogan; Vince is going to push him to the moon despite how it makes everyone else look, because he’s hugely over with a large percentage of WWE’s merchandise-buying fanbase. The crazy thing is that they’re actually doing the right thing by Cena; it’s the ancilliary stuff that is kicking them in the nuts.

They’re so focused on making sure Cena always looks strong that it comes across that they don’t care about anything else; to draw money, they need to have a range of characters that everyone is interested in. Smackdown is doing a much better job of this right now; they’ve got people invested in Rey, Booker, Lashley, Finlay, Regal, the midget, Great Khali and Kennedy. They might be the b-show, but at least they’re developing interesting characters across the board.

THE MVP

Edge: This guy carries himself like a true superstar in every sense, and it’s a shame they feel like they need to move the title back to Cena, because an Edge win at Vengeance could have given the WWE a ready-made money program this summer with Cena chasing him all the way to Summerslam. I haven’t seen an RVD match that I enjoyed this much in ages, and I give all the credit in the world to Edge for making his opponent look like an actual threat instead of someone who flips around the arena doing gymnastics spots.

THE MATCH RATINGS

Randy Orton vs. Kurt Angle: **
Umaga vs. Eugene: DUD
Ric Flair vs. Mick Foley: DUD
Benjamin vs. Nitro vs. Carlito: ***
Rob Van Dam vs. Edge: **1/2
Kane vs. Fake Kane: -***
John Cena vs. Sabu: *
DX vs. The Spirit Squad: ***

THE BOTTERM LINE

This show looked GREAT on paper. I didn’t foresee any way they could possibly screw this one up. They did it, though, by proving that everything that doesn’t relate to John Cena is nothing but an afterthought. By putting the Raw B-Team over ECW’s top guys, they completely emasculated any threat ECW might have posed. Yes, we know that Raw is the top show and that Vince isn’t going to let anyone hurt his baby, but at some point Vince needs to realize that he OWNS ECW. He OWNS the company, so there’s no need to bury them anymore. Vince seems to think that putting his guys over the ECW (or WCW) guys proves that ECW amounted to nothing in the first place, but obviously that’s a retarded way of looking at it when you own the company. If he keeps this up, it’s going to flame out, and he’ll have no one to blame but himself.

There were a few bright spots on the show, but the bad wrestling and crazy booking decisions completely overshadowed them and made for an underwhelming show that could have been so much more had they just spent a little time and effort booking it.

THE OVERALL SHOW RATING (OSR): **1/2
LAST OSR: TNA Slammiversary 2006: **