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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.