On paper back in 2006, I really wasn’t that into this show. Then I watched it live and had a TON of fun. I always remember it as being a fun event rather than a truly good event, so at the very least I’m hoping to have fun with this one still.
Match 1 – The Big Show & Kane Vs Carlito & Chris Masters – Tag belts match kicks off the show. Kane really steps it up for WM by hitting things like a DROP KICK that he never normally would go for, as well as a clothesline from the top rope to the outside! Show is going at a faster pace than usual as well, and all of these things result in the match being a really fun, albeit short opener. Masters & Carlito essentially get squashed lol, but in super fun fashion. Show takes a nice double flapjack bump for his whole 30 seconds or so as FIP lol. Masters counters Kane’s clothesline from the ropes with a Masterlock! Show breaks it up, but Kane is right back in the fire so to speak when he takes Carlito’s back breaker finisher thingy. Masters & Carlito try to take advantage of Kane being hurt and Show on the outside, but some miss-communication ends with Carlito getting chokeslammed and the tag champs retain. FUN FUN FUN. **1/2.
Match 2 – Matt Hardy Vs Ric Flair Vs Finlay Vs Lashley Vs Shelton Benjamin Vs RVD – MITB ladder match 2! Damn, Lillian looks FIIIINE. So this match has pretty much been the worst MITB ladder match for me for a very long time. Would have to watch some of the more recent ones to really compare it to them, but for now it’s the worst or at very least one of the worst imo. Can it do better on this watch though? It’ll have an uphill battle. Part of my dislike for this match comes down to who is in it. Flair, Finlay and definitely Lashley really shouldn’t be in ladder matches. Certainly not a MITB match which outside of the first is really build around spots. While all 3 men are involved in some spots in this one, they really can’t do what a lot of other guys can. Lashley would probably break if he took 2 or 3 big bumps, Flair would turn to dust, and Finlay… well Finlay is more of a “smash you in the face with a ladder” than a “jump onto you from a ladder” kinda guy. They just don’t FIT into these kind of matches imo, despite the fact Flair had a tremendous TLC match with Edge earlier in the year. But being singles allowed them to do more, whereas these big multi-man ladder matches are really just spot after spot after spot with each guy taking turns at jumping off shit lol. So moving on to the actual match. Spots and spots and more spots, with Flair taking a suplex off the ladder early on and being taken out of the match for a little while. Guess they realised this wasn’t really the place for him so he doesn’t come back until later. Didn’t like this match this time around still. Just doesn’t do anything for me. None of the spots really look that impressive, closest thing is seeing Flair at his age take a suplex off the ladder. There isn’t any kind of big story to the match either like the first one, so the match is just a bunch of somewhat unimpressive spots that we’ve seen a billion times in numerous ladder and TLC matches in the past. Some dumb spots too, like RVD being alone in the ring and doing a 5 star frog splash instead of trying to get the briefcase. But that doesn’t matter because he still ends up winning. Yawn. Not happy with the result lol. Not happy with this match. Gone down quite a bit, which I wasn’t really expecting. **.
Match 3 – John Bradshaw Layfield Vs Chris Benoit – US title time! JBL wants to win the title and beat Benoit so he can claim himself as THE greatest technical wrestler since he beat Eddie Guerrero for the WWE title, and now wants to beat Benoit for the US title. Shame they had to include Eddie into this since they were already spewing it at us for the WHC match. But that aside, Benoit Vs JBL is something I wanna see! 2 guys known for being pretty stiff in the ring. Usually ends up being pretty awesome :D. Benoit goes for a Crossface early, and it was great to see JBL try to counter it by locking his hands together, only for Benoit to smash the fuck out of them with his fist. I dig shit like that, in case you didn’t know by now :P. JBL seems to be focused on the back of the head and the neck of Benoit, which will no doubt help him to set up the Clothesline from Hell as well as take advantage of Benoit’s previously broken neck. JBL’s punches are epic too. Nothing fancy, just a big fat man throwing his fists into someone else’s face as hard as he can. Nice to see some similarities between the Finlay/Benoit/Regal matches here as well, mainly with the stiffness that I already mentioned, along with how everything they do feels like they really had to fight to do it. One instance is a superplex by JBL. Before he is able to hit it, Benoit tries to headbutt the fuck out of him first to get him away, but in the end JBL is successfully in hitting it. Pretty funny to see JBL hit the 3 Amigos (which in Keyfabe was disrespect, but in reality was nothing but respect for Eddie, as JBL was a friend of his), and then great to see Benoit bring them out as well to show JBL how they are REALLY done. More of the “fight to do anything” with JBL making sure Benoit doesn’t hit another German suplex on him, followed by the Clothesline from Hell being reversed into a Crossface which is reversed into a roll up (with ropes for leverage)! JBL beats Benoit, and becomes the greatest technical wrestler of all the times!!! Really liked this first time around, and I still really like it now. Plenty of what I like in a match, and hell, I’m even upping my rating a little! ***1/2.
Match 4 – Mick Foley Vs Edge – Hardcore match! Great feud, that would go on to evolve with the two of them teaming up to fight ECW that leads to a rather epic 6 person tag at One Night Stand 2006. Oh and plenty of great promos too. Man, Foley looks FAT as hell coming to the ring, and wearing a weird shirt too, despite having his cactus t-shirt and trademark red plaid. Hmmm… I smell something fishy! Foley dominates at the start, but Edge quickly comes back with the help of LITA on the outside handing him weapons! SPEAR! This one is over! But wait, Edge is hurt! What happened? Ahhh, the strange shirt was covering up the fact Foley wrapped barbed wire around himself in order to counter the spear! Kinda like Bret and Goldberg in WCW, only with 100% more barbed wire! Both men bleed, and we get plenty of good old fashioned HATE~! combined with some sick bumps, and even LITA bleeds and takes some great bumps, something I highly doubt we’d see the likes of the Bella Twins and Funkabitches take. Helps that LITA actually had passion for the business and genuinely wanted to be in it and be in it as a WRESTLER of course. Unlike a lot of hardcore matches, this one isn’t just random spots for the hell of it. Both guys wanna destroy each other, and the progression of the weapons and spots that are used is done perfectly. When the likes of a cookie tray doesn’t work too well, the barbed wire bat comes out. That doesn’t work, so outcome the thumbtacks. And then when that doesn’t work… it all leads to the big finish with a flaming table! Everyone knows this spot, and it’s a fucking great spot, with Edge spearing Foley off the apron and right into the table that was set on fire! BUT not only that, I totally forgot that earlier in the match, Edge sprays the lighter fluid ON FOLEY! So a Spear off the apron through the flaming table, and this one is over. Incredible match. Always thought it was great, and now I like it even more! Tremendous stuff from both men AND from LITA! She plays a big part in the match from handing Edge weapons, taking bumps, bleeding, and setting the table on fire. Practically nothing to hate about this match tbh. ****1/2.
Match 5 – Booker T Vs The Boogeyman – Bollacks to this. NO.
Match 6 – Trish Stratus Vs Mickie James – Switching to my unedited version of this match! Loved their match at NYR 06 (was probably the MOTN for that PPV lol, or at least even with HHH/Show), and I never thought this was as good until my last watch where I thought it was better. Build up was great; Mickie was awesome as the psycho lesbian heel. Think AJ but without PG constraints, and going after the divas rather than the men lol. Trish is fucking pissed after all the shit Mickie has put her through in the last couple of months, and man does she beat the fuck out of poor Mickie early on. Great spot where Trish catches a kick from Mickie and pushes her down into the splits position then kicks her in the head. But a kick is what puts Mickie on top when Trish misses a chick kick on the outside and ends up kicking the steel ring post, and thus begins Mickie’s attack on the leg. Mickie is great at working over the leg, just being crazy and violent with the whole thing. Crowd are firmly behind Mickie, mainly because she was just too fucking AWESOME to boo at the time rather than Trish being shit. Great selling of the leg from Trish as she makes a comeback, and Mickie is great at constantly using the injury to gain control. So why did I get out my unedited version of this show to watch just this match? Well because WWE edited it (duh), and they edited out some awesome LESBIAN related stuff! MICKIE GRABS TRISH’S CROTCH AND LICKS HER FINGERS. Great finishing stretch to this match, with some hard hitting moves by WWE diva standards. Finish is great too, even though they fucking edited it. Mickie kicks Trish in the injured leg, then goes for Stratusfaction, but the injured leg buckles on Trish and Mickie can’t perform the move, so she nails Trish with a Mick Kick and wins the title! WWE edited the Stratusfaction claiming it to be a botch, but honestly it worked perfectly into the match even if it was. Awesome match, great performance by both of them. ***1/2.
Match 7 – The Undertaker Vs Mark Henry – The Undertaker had a pretty good year overall in 2005, thanks to his feud with Randy Orton. His 2006 started off good too, as he had a near 5 star match with Kurt Angle at No Way Out for the title. Then it went downhill, starting with this match. Henry had cost The Undertaker the WHC in a rematch with Kurt on Smackdown, so this match was made, and for some reason it was turned into a casket match. This match didn’t have the best of feuds behind it, but at least they did a good job of building Henry up as a decent threat (though nobody in their right mind thought he would win lol), having him beat Angle in a non title match, put Angle through a table, take out Batista, and even put The Undertaker through a table. So at least they were half trying :P. ‘Taker does a good job of selling for Henry, really putting over his strength. The theme of the match seems to be “can The Undertaker knock Henry down?”, as he keeps hitting big clotheslines, and even Old School, but fails to take down the World’s Strongest Man. Fun spot with Henry going for his Body Guillotine, where he goes through the ropes too, but The Undertaker moves and Henry goes right through the ropes and lands in the casket! He looks terrified at first, but gets his bearings and drags The Undertaker in the casket, and they have a brawl while being inside the casket. Impressive spot with The Undertaker hitting his corner Last Ride spot, finally taking Henry down, which causes Michael Cole to bust a nut. This is then followed by an even more impressive spot, as The Undertaker hits his signature top rope drive, clearing the casket too, and landing on Mark Henry! The Undertaker then shows us HIS strength, as he picks up Mark Henry and Tombstones him! All that’s left for him to do is roll Henry into the casket, and this one is over. Like the majority of WrestleMania 22, this is an extremely fun match. It’s not one of his best, but it’s still got “watchablilty”, and a number of memorable spots. The match told a nice simple story, with The Undertaker trying to overcome the power of Henry and just take him off his feet. **1/2.
Match 8 – Shawn Michaels Vs Vince McMahon – We had a hardcore match earlier, now time for a no holds barred match! Difference? They can’t pin each other outside the ring lol. Gotta love all the names they have for essentially the same match. STREET FIGHT. EXTREME RULES MATCH. NO DQ. FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE. HIT EACH OTHER WITH WEAPONS AND THE REFEREE WON’T DO ANYTHING. McMahon has the most awesomely terrible power strut ever. Poor King and JR. HBK throws Vince on them. What a nice guy he is! He also uses some cable to choke Vince out. BORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN. HBK goes to hit Vince with his Muscle and Fitness Cover, and JR just screams “HIT HIM IN THE HEAD WITH IT AND SHOVE IT UP HIS ASS!”. JR rules. The Spirit Squad aka Dolph Ziggler and the others who all quit the business show up and attack Shawn while Vince recovers. Shawn buries them. So Dolph hasn’t exactly moved up much since then lol. So Shawn takes care of the SS, allowing Vince to sneak up behind Shawn and gain a little advantage until he goes for a superkick of his own which doesn’t go well and Shawn is back in control. JR is awesome on commentary, screaming for Shawn to pretty much murder Vince lol. His voice is awesome too, a mix between Gordon Solie and Lance Russell (JR’s voice gets gravelly when he gets angry or really excited), which is probably why I like him as much as I do lol. SHANE JUST GOT HIS AS BURRIED IN HIS DAD’S CRACK. Which made no sense because it was his head, but sounded awesome anyway lol. In case you can’t figure it out, Shane McMahon came to help his dad. He gets his face shoved in Vince’s ass, then gets handcuffed to the ropes and beaten with a kendo stick then is forced to watch HBK destroy his dad. BORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN. Vince bleeds, gets hit with weapons, superkicked, and then the final blow is an elbow to Vince who is inside a trash can on a table. Great spot, and the DX chop got a massive pop (and would again later in the night which got people buzzing about a DX reunion which ended up happening). Tremendously fun match with HBK basically squashing the shit out of Vince in the best way possible. And then Vince giving Shawn the middle finger while being stretchered away is great along with JR’s call of the whole thing. ***.
Match 9 – Kurt Angle Vs Randy Orton Vs Rey Mysterio – World Heavyweight Title match time. Eddie died so they gave Rey a big push. He won the RR, then lost his title match to Orton at NWO, then randomly got put back in the match because… Eddie died? Oh and Angle is the champ, but he doesn’t matter in the match lol. So lots of people were pissed at this time with the Eddiesplotation going on. Can’t blame them, BUT it is stupid to claim that the ONLY reason Rey got a push is because of Eddie’s death. Sorry, but Rey was gonna be getting a big push at some point anyway. He spent the first half of 2005 dominating Eddie in matches (winning wise), and was HUGELY over, and was rumoured to be in line for a big push anyway. Then Eddie past away, and decided to push Rey at that time in memory of Eddie (and let’s face it, who would you rather have the push; Rey or Chavo Jr? Yeah, thought so. So shut up). This match is… well, pretty terrible. Under 10 minutes, and it’s just a total SPOTZ match and nothing more. Both Orton and Mysterio look weak by tapping out to Angle, only with the ref down which was stupid. They just do moves and nothing more. Looks spectacular, but has absolutely nothing else going for it, and moves on their own mean dick. Rey wins the title, goes on to have a shitty booked title reign. *.
Match 10 – Candice Michelle Vs Torrie Wilson – NO.
Match 11 – John Cena Vs Triple H – WWE Title Match! Entertaining entrances. BEHOLD THE KING. THE KING OF KINGS. CM PUNK AS A CHICAGO GANSTER. Love how they glorified the MURDERING GANSTERS for Cena. Cena tries to look all cool and menacing dressed in a long coat like Gangsters did back then… but I can’t take him seriously in those 3/4 shorts or whatever the fuck they are called. WEAR SHORTS OR WEAR TROUSERS. I miss HHH’s Lemmy Moustache. And his long hair. He looks stupid with short hair. I miss Cena’s… uhhh… yeah he’s been the same for far too long, and none of his look actually looked good. Cena gets booed out of the building, and HHH is over as fuck as a face. They acknowledge it on commentary (makes a change from today, right lol?), and put a nice spin on it saying that “traditional” wrestling fans are cheering HHH because he’s more of a “wrestler” than Cena is. Complete fucking bullshit but I appreciate what they were trying to do, especially given the build for this match that was essentially HHH claiming that Cena CAN’T beat him because he isn’t as good a wrestler as he is. JR at least says how it annoys him that Cena gets called a bad wrestler when he isn’t. Fans chanting “you can’t wrestle” at Cena makes me lol. Though that being said, I was probably agreeing with them back in 06. Atmosphere is awesome for this one. Just a perfect example of a “big fight feel” match in wrestling. They work the story of HHH being a better wrestler by having HHH control Cena and come up with a counter every time Cena tries to get on a roll. Meanwhile Cena sticks to the very basics of what he is capable of; big punches, suplex and backdrops. Ref takes a low blow, and out comes Mr Sledgehammer and down goes Mr Cena! 1…2… KICK OUT! HHH can’t seem to beat Cena with wrestling, and now he can’t even beat him with a sledgehammer! HHH is off his game now, and Cena tries to take advantage with an F-U! HHH kicks out, so Cena goes out of his depth with a cross body. He misses, HHH tries for a Pedigree… and Cena counters with the STFU! So much for not being as good a wrestler as HHH! The Game taps out, and Cena retains the title! Great match. Atmosphere certainly helps it, along with the excellent JR commentary. Then we have the great story of HHH being the better wrestler, so Cena despite being the champion has to fight from the bottom right from the get go, and as the match goes on he gets better and better and eventually proves the game wrong by out wrestling him and making him TAP THE FUCK OUT. ***3/4.