The Anderson Breakdown – WWE Vengeance
– As much as I enjoy the WWE’s new philosophy of WWE – Where Everything 1997 is New Again~!, I just didn’t have it in me to catch Vengeance live at my local sports bar last night. You might not realize this, but between UFC, TNA, ECW, and the WWE, Vengeance marked the fifth major PPV in the last six weeks. Couple that with the hectic new television schedule which often features first-run wrestling and UFC a staggering 6 out nights per week, and you could see how burn out could possibly set in.
Regardless — or irregardless, depending on your own personal preference — I still got my hands the show, and I have avoided all spoilers and net analysis up to this point.
For the sake of fairness and objectivity, I’ve brought along a friend to help me review the PPV. I must warn you though, he’s not exactly fond of RAW. In fact, if I can be perfectly honest with you, he downright loathes the WWE’s Monday Night programming. Many times, he falls asleep right in the middle of it. And don’t even get him started on TNA. Anyway, without further ado, your co-host for this fine review, Butterscotch, the Smackdown Bear.
I’ll do most of the reviewing myself, and Butterscotch will stick mainly to post-match thoughts. And to save myself some time this morning, I’m going to keep the actual recapping to a minimum and focus more on just general analysis. If you want to read a recap of the show, allow me to point you towards our fine recapper here at Inside Pulse. His column can be found here. Ten to one odds say that once I finish this review, I forget to come back and add that link. In fact, if you’re reading this line now, then I have indeed failed to include the link. To the recapper I fully intended to hyperlink, accept my sincere apologies. It’s nothing personal, just a simple slip of the memory. I’d link you right now, but I fear I’d see a screaming headline that would spoil the show for me. This friend, is why I shall wait.
Editor’s note: Don’t worry Ken, I got yo’ back!
Much like Dave Sahadi in TNA, Kevin Dunn (assuming he’s still doing the pre-PPV video packages) has the ability to put together video packages that can make just about anything look exciting and worth plunking down $40 for.
Randy Orton vs. Kurt Angle
You know, blame it on poor promotion or a lackluster attention span on my behalf, but I had no idea these two were even wrestling here tonight. Before I can really think about that too much though, Jim Ross compares Kurt Angle’s defection to ECW to “feeding strawberries to a pig.” I don’t have a clue what that means, but Jim Ross immediately sounds apologetic for saying it, so it must be harsh.
I should tell you that before this match even started, Butterscotch was already leaving the room and heading towards the kitchen for some porage. For obvious reasons, he didn’t seem too interested in watching these two go at it.
Even though Kurt Angle is in no physical condition to be throwing suplexes on the outside of the ring, and even though Randy Orton is in no physical condition to be taking suplexes on the concrete, Kurt Angle throws a german suplex on the outside anyway. The splat is pretty scary to hear.
Randy Orton applies about seventeen consecutive chinlocks, but unlike the rest holds of some other wrestlers, Orton actually wrenches them in and makes them mean something. Sure, it’s a bit of a boring hold at times, but Angle’s head was literally turning red, so the moves actually meant something. Contrast that with a guy like Samoa Joe. As much as I like Joe, pop in your Slammiversary tape and watch Joe’s armbars and rear-naked chokes. You can plainly see that the guy isn’t putting an ounce of pressure into the holds.
And speaking of Slammiversary, to the four or five of you who wrote me crabby emails demanding that, “If you don’t like TNA, DON’T WATCH IT! NO ONE’S MAKING YOU! JUST DON’T WATCH! DON’T! STOP CRYING AND DON’T WATCH!” I’d like to thank you for your revolutionary arguments. They’ve changed my life. For the better. In fact, I had literal tears of revelation and clarity rolling down my cheeks by email’s end.
Back to the match, as Angle dumps Randy Orton right on his head/shoulder with one of his pop-up top rope suplexes. Angle then hits about 10 consecutive suplexes and gets a couple of near falls. Randy Orton rips off the top turnbuckle, helpfully letting us know that anything that happens before the turnbuckle comes in to play, including Kurt Angle’s ankle lock, is completely inconsequential.
And as expected, the match ends several minutes later when Kurt Angle gets kicked headfirst into the exposed buckle and Randy Orton rolls him up for the pin.
Speaks volumes for the toughness of ECW wrestlers when your main wrestler can sustain multiple choke attempts, suplexes to the floor, and a variety of other hard-hitting moves, yet is rendered completely unconscious after having his head lightly touched against a 2 inch circular nut. Or perhaps it’s a bolt. Or perhaps a nut-bolt combination. Regardless, I just walked into the kitchen, pulled the toolbox out from under the sink, and touched my head to a similar nut. Nothing happened. No loss of consciousness. No heavy bloodless. And the only stars that I saw were from the box of Lucky Charms that I knocked off the top of the fridge this morning.
Overall, a much duller match than I would have expected out of these two:
“WHOO-AHHHHH!!!! Wut a couple of TURNCOATS! First, Kurt Angle turns his back on Smmmackdown to compete for that barbaric ECW!! And then WHOO-RRRANDY OR-TON is too afraid to return to the WWE’s WHOO-NUMBER 1 BRRRAND and runs like a chicken to that stinkin’ WHOO-RAWW!!
(Translation: Butterscotch ignored the match and ate porage).
– Vince McMahon cuts a quick, wonky promo about how the Spirit Squad will never truly be able to forget DX dropping green slime on them.
Then, in a sign of bad things to come, the camera pulls back and shows a small boy in a wheelchair waiting to talk to Vince McMahon. I honestly cannot foresee this going anywhere good.
Vince McMahon asks the young boy where his friends are. You know, says McMahon: The Rooster? The Alien? The “gay” strippers with “flopping genitalia.”
The audience is DEAD silent as Vince tells the small boy in the wheel chair to “shut up.” Vince then grabs the small boy’s wheel chair, tells him to prepare for a trip on the “highway to hell” and then runs him right into the wall.
Jonathon Coachman then walks in with a “penis pump” that DX left on the door (kewl!) and lets Vince McMahon know that a “family friend” wants to stop by and say hi. Coach says that this family friends is Vince’s number one fan, and of course, it turns out that the family friend was actually the boy in the wheel chair.
WHAT A SWERVE!
As we cut back to ringside, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are in stunned silence, with Lawler finally saying, “Uhhh.. … .. sorry.”
Umaga vs. Eugene
Man, wasn’t the world just dying for Umaga against Eugene during a $40 PPV. To make things even better, Eugene has brought along some friends: Jim Duggan, Doink the Clown, and Kamala!
You know, it’s a really dangerous thing when you book your entire company (Smackdown aside) around nostalgia. DX. ECW. Doink the Clown. Hacksaw Duggan. You’re basically telling your fans that you know your present product can’t compare to the past.
Anyway, Umaga finishes off Eugene in about 90 seconds, takes out Jim Duggan and Doink (knocking him right out of his wig) for good measure, and then inexplicably backs down to Kamala.
Judging from the announcing, it appears as if this is leading to a Umaga/Kamala program. Although the matches themselves are sure to suck, I’m at least happy that Kamala will be getting a payday. If you’ve listened to Kamala’s shoot interviews, he’s one of the most genuinely likeable guys in the world.
Fun fact: The Undertaker earned $500,000 for his PPV casket match with Kamala. Kamala got a whopping $3,000.
“WHOO-AHHHHH!!!! WHOO-RAWWW has such poor whoo-wrestling that they must bring in Doing the Cloo-own to improve their action! WHOO-WHAT a JOKE! On Smmmmackdown, General Manager Theo-door Long ONLY brings in the best! Like TOO-TATANKAAAAAAAAAA!!! WHO-AHHHH!!
Todd Grisham is in the back with Mick Foley. Although I haven’t enjoyed Foley’s interviews as of late as much as most, I actually thought this one tonight was pretty effective. Foley read right out of Flair’s novel, slammed the Nature Boy’s portrayal of him as a strictly hardcore wrestler, and promised to out wrestle him here tonight.
Mick Foley vs. Ric Flair – 2/3 Falls
Jim Ross says that, “Michael Jordan is the second most popular man here in Charlotte, right behind this man.” Nice quote. Flair gets a nice pop coming out, but nowhere near what’d you expect.
Huge “Foley Sucks” chant to start things out.
After some surprisingly nice chain wrestling by Flair (and predictably slow chain wrestling by Foley), Mick Foley pulls out a modified Mr. Socko. The sock puppet is adorned with a sparkly black robe, a whoo’ing mouth, and a puff of gray hair. The crowd temporarily forgets that they hate Foley and pop bigtime for the ridiculous, yet awesome, puppet.
Ric Flair comes off the top rope and seems to fall wrong. Flair sells the leg so well that I genuinely thought he might have blown out his knee. Foley went to work on the injured leg for several minutes, before Flair rolled him up to take the first fall.
Flair and Foley brawl into the crowd, where Foley gives Flair a painful-looking backdrop to the concrete.
Foley throws Flair back into the ring and does the tired old “pull the trashcan out from under the ring” routine.
Foley hits Flair with the trash can and draws the DQ, giving Flair the second fall and the win.
Foley is irate, so he goes under the ring, pulls out a barbed wire baseball bat, and just DESTROYS Ric Flair.
Ric Flair is left a disgusting mess, with blood just POURING out of his head. I’ve seen Flair pretty bloody in the past, but I honestly can’t recall him ever looking THIS bad.
The cameras cut to dozens of genuinely shocked, disturbed people in the crowd. Most are women, but a 30 year old man in the crowd is crying as well. Children look like they’ve just seen a dead body.
Even though the match itself was short and disappointing, the post-match angle was awesome. I’m thinking this is probably going to set up some kind of a hardcore match — maybe Hell in the Cell — between the two. Judging from Flair’s performance against Edge in that ladder match a few months back, that could be only good a good thing.
Carlito is backstage being interviewed by Maria. You know, people bitch and moan about the Diva Search, but if it produced Maria, it can’t be all that bad. Maria is seriously one of the most entertaining characters on the entire RAW brand.
As Carlito is answering her questions, Torrie Wilson walks up and asks if someone can help her rub lotion on her body. Carlito volunteers to “hold her puppies,” which predictably leads to Torrie handing her small dogs over to Carlito.
Carlito throws in some funny commentary as Maria and Torrie rub lotion on each other, finally saying, “… Now that’s cool,” before his entrance music hits. Carlito looks disappointed that he has to go to the ring and wrestle, but he drops the puppies, runs off, and Jim Ross goofily says, “… Oilus Interruptus.”
If Carlito could somehow find a way to harness his charisma and personality in-ring, he’d be gold. I kind of like the idea of a Carlito/Maria wacky babyface pairing as well.
Carlito vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Johnny Nitro
Although the Shelton/Carlito feud has been severely burnt out over the last year, the addition of Johnny Nitro and Melina into the mix definitely freshened things up.
Carlito was the real star of the match here tonight, and I’ve got to say, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Carliito look this good before. He was just flying all over the place during the match, with springboard elbows, and hurricanranas, and big selling of everything.
Johnny Nitro hit a crazy double-superplex on Carlito and Benjamin that drew a big “Holy Shit” chant.
Johnny Nitro pinned Shelton Benjamin, winning the Intercontinental Title, and marking the second time tonight that a wrestler supposedly being punished had won a high-profile match.
Fun match though.
Vince and the Spirit Squad are backstage. After several seconds of awesome Spirit Squad goofiness, Vince McMahon jumps in their faces and tells them to get serious.
McMahon is all, “DX IS A DISEEEEEEEEEEEEASE. A SOCIAL DISEAAAAAASE. LIKE THAT BIRD FLU. AND YOU GENTLEMAN ARE THE CURRRRRRRRRRE.”
Vince then picks up the Penis Pump, looks it over carefully, smiles, takes off his clothes, and runs to the bathroom.
Five seconds later, there’s a huge explosion.
The Penis Pump was GIMMICKED!
Vince is all, “DDDD-XXXXXXXXXXX!” and shakes his fist.
Ridiculous, yet funny.
Edge vs. RVD
Edge cuts an absolutely beautiful pre-match promo, telling the fans that the the “WWE title being in ECW is as ridiculous as the Stanley Cup being in North Carolina.” Edge then promises that when he beats RVD, he’s going to have another “live sex celebration,” only unlike the fine citizens of North Carolina, his won’t be “with his brother or sister.” Edge then punctuates the promo by doing one of those goofy tonge-flipping gestures of his.
The match itself was way better than I thought it would be. It wasn’t a classic by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a good match with great crowd heat and a ton of fun spots. In particular, I loved RVD crossbodying Edge all the way out of the ring.
As JR points out, “High risk can win it for you, or it can bite you in ass.”
Jerry Lawler responded, “Listen to you talkin’ bout sex JR.”
About ten seconds of utter, awkward silence followed.
At the halfway point, Edge powerbombs RVD hard right on top of the security railing outside. I’m honestly surprised that didn’t break Van Dam’s back.
We get a cool sequence were Edge and RVD trade punches in the ring, before Edge finally raises a Test-like big boot and flattens RVD.
After several minutes, the ref gets knocked out, allowing Lita to hand Edge the championship belt. Edge attempts to hit Van Dam with the title, but he springs to his feet and kicks it directly into Edge’s face. Unfortunately, the ref is still out cold.
Edge takes control and hits the Edgecution off the top rope. Edge revives the ref and comes as close as humanly possible to getting the three count, but RVD kicks out at the very last second.
Lita throws a chair into the ring for Edge, but Edge ends up missing the spear and running headfirst into the chair. RVD jumps up top, hits the frog splash, and gets the pin to a huge pop.
We cut to the back, where the entire ECW locker room is geekily chanting “RVD! ECW! RVD! ECW!” God, these guys are made out to look like such morons. Paul Heyman interrupts things and tells the ECW wrestlers that not only will there be ECW lumberjacks at ringside for the upcoming match, but there will also be RAW lumberjacks as well.
As Heyman walks out, the entire lockerooms again begins pumping their fists and cartoonishly chanting “ECW! ECW!”
Kane vs. Kane
You know, as much as I like RD Reynolds as a person, I can’t say I’m that big on the whole goofy “Wrestlecrap” thing. Yeah, I checked out the website and laughed just like everyone else about six years ago, but the site has had some unintended consequences over the years.
Because of sites like Wrestlecrap, alot of newer fans go around assuming that certain angles from the past sucked, when in reality, they were actually quite awesome.
While I can’t say that Kane vs. Kane has been anywhere near “good,” the original Undertaker vs. Undertaker angle was actually pretty damn cool compared to what the WWF was doing at the time. It was well-built, what crowd the WWF was drawing at the time was into it, and it was purchased by more homes than any Summerslam after it until the WWF caught fire in 1998.
I still remember the awesome promotional blitz for it as well, with billboards around town and AWESOME Undertaker vs. Undertaker art on the box of every Domino’s Pizza sold.
But because of sites like Wrestlecrap, you see all these tools running around saying, “Huh huh, it was Wrestlecrap! Huh huh!”
Same with the Black Scorpion.
The Black Scorpion scared the piss out of me as a kid, and as a kid, it was the HOTTEST thing going. All the Apter mags were speculating as to the Scorpion’s identity, everyone was talking about it, and kids were scared to death. Yeah, Flair stepping in as the Scorpion was a bit of a letdown, but the build itself was just awesome.
Yet people try to act cool and smart by bashing the Scorpion angle.
GOSSSSSSSSSSSH, it makes me ANGRRRRRRRRY!
Anyway, Kane vs. Kane, the match, SUCKED.
The crowd was FUNERAL SILENT during this match. It seemed to go on forever, nobody cared, and the (fake) Kane casually pinned Kane for the win.
John Cena vs. Sabu
ECW’s entire locker room is out to lumberjack the match. RAW, showing just how seriously they take the ECW threat, counters with such lumberjacks as Val Venus, Viscera, and Trevor Murdock.
We get about four minutes of back-and-forth action, before the ECW crew just starts destroyed John Cena on the outside. Cena gets a chair thrown right at his head, creating a sickening thud.
The ECW crew lays John Cena out on a table outside as Sabu prepares for the triple jump moonsault. At the very last minute, Cena pops up from the chair and cracks Sabu across the head with the Singapore cane.
Cena crawls back inside the ring, lifts Sabu up for the FU, hesitates, and then walks over to the ropes and FU’s Sabu over the top rope through the table.
Cena drags him back in, slaps on the STFU, and Sabu taps clean.
John Cena celebrates in-ring with all the RAW jobbers, and Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross declare victory over ECW.
As awesome as John Cena is (no joke — he’s the man), the WWE is booking ECW into the ground, the exact same way that they buried WCW five years ago.
Short, watchable match.
“JOHN CENA, WHOO-FORMER SMMMMACKDOWN SUPERSTAR, IS THE TRAITOR OF ALL TRAITORS!! NOW, INSTEADING OF FEUDING WITH THE SMMMACKDOWN SUPERSTARSSS OVER THE WHOO-REAL WORLD TITLE, JOHN CENA IS ON WHOO-RAW, GETTING WHOO-RAZZZZZED BY FANS, WHOOO-RAZZZZZZZZZED LIKE HE DESERVES TO BE!”!
A wacky video promoting Summerslam aired. All the Superstars were having a fun summer BBQ, and needless to say, wackiness ensued. Booker T and Sharmell went to dig into the Spaghetti and found the Boogeyman’s head under the platter. DX were running around squirting people with condiments. And at the end, Kurt Angle, after condescendingly claiming “you call THIS a party?”, is pie-faced by an unknown person. It could have been Sting, but unfortunately, no goozle accompanied it, so I don’t know about that.
We get another counterproductive ECW segment, with RVD congratulating John Cena on the win and rambling for several minutes about how large his balls are.
DX vs. The Spirit Squad
DX make their way to the ring and go through their usual pre-match routine. You know, I’m not one for judgement, nor can I particularly stomach judgemental people, but Shawn Michaels does seem like a bit of a hypocrite for taking part in all of this DX nonsense. If he’s too morally convicted to play a heel, how is he ok with running over screaming about sucking another man’s weiner.
Nevertheless, the crowd is eating this DX stuff up big time, so I guess we’ll be seeing it around for awhile.
The match itself lasted about 20:00, and although it was entertaining and well-wrestled, ultimately, we’ve been seeing so many variations of Triple H/Shawn Michaels vs. The Spirit Squad for the last two months that it certainly didn’t feel like a PPV-caliber main event.
Johnny was probably the highlight of the match for the Spirit Squad. I didn’t catch what happened, but within two minutes of the match, he appeared to have a severely broken nose. Blood was just pouring out of his nostrils, but he just no-sold it, tied a headband around his head, and went into his awesomely wacky martial arts act.
If you’ve seen RAW in the last few weeks, you can probably visualize this match without me getting too detailed. The Spirit Squad did a lot of five-on-one work, usually isolating Triple H, and after a few minutes, Shawn Michaels would get the hot tag and clean house. There were a fair amount of trampoline spots, a few scattered chants of “Triple H,” and your usual Spirit Squad goofiness.
Overall though, from a strictly in-ring perspective, nobody will remember a thing about this match two weeks from now.
After about 20:00 minutes of decidedly RAW-like action, Shawn Michaels threw out the crotch chop, signalling a double finisher. Triple H hit the pedigree on one of the Spirit Squadders, HBK hit the sweet chin music, and then they did the old double-pin.
After the ref counted three, DX went ahead and punked out the rest of the Spirit Squad. Triple H picked one member of the Spirit Squad (Mitch) to leave in the ring, and then dumped the rest out.
Shawn Michaels hoisted Mitch to his knees as Triple H seductively pulled down the back of his trunks. As Shawn Michaels held Mitch at bay, Triple H began gyrating his ass right in front of Mitch’s face. Finally, Shawn Michaels fed Mitch’s face to the backside of Triple H, resulting in what can only be describe a forced prison rimjob.
The crowd went crazy, obviously COMPLETELY unaware of what they were actually going crazy for.
As the show was ending, Vince had a message for DX:
“I’ll see you tomorrow night!”
I’m torn on this whole DX thing. On one hand, it’s yet another example of the WWE using watered-down nostalgia as a way to avoid actually coming up with anything revolutionary or creative. It’s also, by 2006 babyface standards, incredibly gay. Not using that as a negative term, but simply an honest, descriptive one.
No other words accurately describe it.
I don’t want to offend anyone, but please, if you’ve got a better term for Shawn Michaels and Triple H gyrating around in woman’s haltertops, basing every segment they’re in around male asses, and repeatedly talking about sucking each other’s dongs, let’s have it.
But on the other hand, the crowd DOES like it.
I guess it’s a fun enough Summer program, but the whole Shawn/HHH vs. Vince McMahon thing needs to just go ahead and die already. It’s been going on for nearly a year now, and it hasn’t gotten anybody over. Why Triple H refuses to do a program with Edge, but will waste 6 months feuding with Vince, I’ll never understand.
A solid show that I will not remember a second of 48 hours from now. You can blame it on overexposure, or too much free wrestling on TV, or UFC hedging away a significant portion of the WWE’s domestic business, but ultimately, it all comes down to the writing. The WWE is doing the exact same thing creatively now as they were doing a decade ago. That’s never a good sign. Even worse, with three seperate shows and a staggering five hours of major free television per week, the WWE has just become a clusterf*ck of epic proportion.
And everybody’s running on a treadmill.
Nobody’s going up the ladder because nobody is really putting anyone else over. Carlito and Shelton Benjamin have had about 50 matches this year, with each man getting half the wins. Rey loses to everyone, but still keeps the title. Flair beats Foley but loses to Umaga. Edge hasn’t had a clean finish in months. Triple H and Michaels don’t need wins, nor do they need the Main Event position, but they take it anyway.
It’s just a big f*cking circle where nothing ever happens, RAW is, and you’ve got to think that ultimately, Vince is to blame.
It’s evident by the fact that every time Vince loses interest in Smackdown, it inevitably gets AWESOME.
If the WWE would simply decide who to push, and then DO IT, they would be the same star-making machine that they were for much of the 80’s and 90’s. And they need to change with the times.
Anyway, a decent, if totally inconsequential, show, but nowhere near the quality of the last Smackdown PPV.
Closing thoughts by Butterscotch:
“WHOO-AHHHHH!!!! ANOTHER FINNNE WHO-RAWW EVENT! WHO-WHEN IS THE LAST TIME WHOO-RAW PUT ON A GOOD SHOW!!! OH YES, I REEMEMBER THE DAY: OPPOSITE WHO-DAYY!!! IF YOU WANT WHOO-REAL WRESTLING, WHO-WATCH SSSSSSSSMACKDOWN, HOME OF THE TRUE SUPERSTARS!!!