The SmarK Rant for WWE No Mercy 2006
- One of the cool things about 24/7 is that they not only show stuff from the past, but from the present, like PPVs on a 4-month delay, for instance. Hey, better to pay nothing and wait a while than $40 and get screwed by a bad show. And I'm a month late in reviewing this, as the current offering is Survivor Series 2006, but that's the beauty of a DVD recorder. I LOVE technology. (Thankfully I recorded a TON of stuff off 24/7 over the course of the few years that I had access to it, although cataloguing is not my strong suit so it’ll basically be a case of one day going to watch a random Boston Garden house show and having an episode of World Class stuck at the end as well. I love surprises like that! Also, for those of you super-obsessive ultra-nerds out there who keep track of this sort of thing, this was the first rant done where the formatting was 100% compliant with my current formatting, so I only had to cut-and-paste instead of the numerous changes I usually have to make with these things.)
- Live from North Carolina University.
- Your hosts are Michael Cole & JBL
Opening match: Matt Hardy v. Gregory Helms
Non-title match here. Lockup to start and Helms takes Matt down, but gets his doo rag knocked off as a result. Oh, now it's on. Funny how making Helms into a faux superhero with a catchphrase and merchandise did nothing for his career, but actually letting him win matches got him over. It's almost like it's rocket science or something. (Yeah, well he went crawling back to the Hurricane character like a drunk guy stumbling back into the bar for one last drink, and then in Helms’ case driving home on his motorcycle afterwards and nearly dying. Hang on, I think I lost my metaphor in there somewhere.) Helms gets a cheapshot and stomps away in the corner, but Matt suplexes him and wins a slugfest. Elbowdrop gets two. Matt puts him out with a clothesline and follows with a pescado. Back in, Matt yanks him out of the corner into a powerbomb for two, but Helms hotshots him to stop the rally. Neckbreaker gets two. Blind charge hits elbow, but Matt gets too frisky and tries to go up, which allows Helms to bring him down with a Russian legsweep for two. Helms locks the arms and throws knees on the mat, which would actually be a pretty wicked submission move, (Austin Aries would agree.) but it goes nowhere and he switches to choking instead.
They trade knees and Helms takes him down with a jawjacker for two. He takes Matt down with a wristlock/chinlock combo, but Matt escapes with an inverted DDT and they slug it out. Matt comes back with a corner clothesline into a bulldog for two, and that sets up the Yodeling Legdrop for another near fall. Twist of Fate is reversed for two and Helms follows with an Unprettier for two. Again, but he stalls and goes up, which allows Matt to catch him coming down and get the Side Effect for two. Another one as we go all Japan with the repeated finishers, and Matt goes up with a moonsault that hits knee. Shining Wizard misses and Matt rolls him up for two. Another try hits and gets two for Helms. They head to the top and fight up there, and Matt wins the battle but loses the war, as Helms crotches him on the top and then hits him with a knee strike to bring him down for two. Sweet. They fight for the finisher and Matt wins with the Twist, and that's finally enough.
(Matt Hardy d. Gregory Helms, Twist of Fate -- pin, 13:07, ***1/2) Started slow but they gave it time and it built very nicely, leading to a good finishing sequence. Sadly, it meant nothing and was forgotten the next day. (Just like Tammy Sytch’s rehab.)
Meanwhile, King Booker tasks Sir William Regal with making sure that he slays the three evil dragons tonight and ensuring his title remains in the kingdom.
Smackdown tag titles: Brian Kendrick & Paul London v. KC James & Idol Stevens
Man, James and Stevens sure didn't stick around long, did they? (Ah, but Idol Stevens was just waiting to grow out his awesome beard before returning as our intellectual savior Damien Sandow. DID I JUST BLOW YOUR MIND? Probably not.) Idol slugs on London to start, but gets caught with a rana out of nowhere and it's some double-teaming by the champs. JBL really goes for the Obscure Reference of the Week award by comparing the champs to Steve & Shaun Simpson. Who the hell is gonna remember THEM? (JBL compares EVERY team to the Simpson brothers. That’s his whole thing.) James comes in and also gets double-teamed, as London & Kendrick hold them off with spinkicks, and then dump them and follow with stereo dives. London goes up and gets caught by Faceless Diva #1 at ringside, and Stevens takes over in the ring with a chinlock.
James comes in with a flying knee to the back, which gets two, and hits the chinlock. Backbreaker gets two. Stevens gets an arm submission on the mat as the vanilla offense continues, and they keep London in their corner. KC misses a blind charge and Stevens is forced to yank Spanky off the apron and prevent a tag, but London escapes and makes it anyway. He dropkicks everyone , but Sliced Bread #2 is blocked while London nails Stevens with a tope suicida. James brings Kendrick down with a superplex for two, but London saves. Heel miscommunication allows Kendrick to get two, but Stevens sneaks in with a backbreaker on Kendrick for two in what I guess was supposed to be the big false finish. Meanwhile, a catfight at ringside between the two women who I couldn't pick out of a lineup if asked gets the crowd more excited than the match to this point, and Kendrick finishes James with a Sliced Bread #2 into a standing moonsault from London to retain. (Out of curiosity I checked Wikipedia and the women in question were Ashley Massaro and Michelle McCool. Just in case you care.)
(London & Kendrick d. James & Stevens, Kendrick Sliced Bread -- pin James, 9:34, **1/2) Never really got anywhere because the challengers were mostly of the punch-and-kick variety of offense, and I guess the fact that they went back to whence they came soon after this speaks to that. Cole & JBL spent the whole match putting the champs over, which also left little doubt as to the outcome.
Meanwhile, William Regal searches for Finlay, but finds Vito jumping rope instead. Hilarity ensues.
Teddy Long joins us with a birthday present for the Miz, who JBL burns by calling him a Terry Taylor wannabe. Oh, that's mean. To both guys, really. (And to think Miz would be headlining Wrestlemania just four years after this.) Long brings out Faceless Diva #3, who apparently won the Diva Search last year, and gives Miz a lapdance. (That would be Layla, in fact.) Well, that explains how she won. To the shock of no one, the giant birthday present opens and reveals Big Dick Johnson, which is apparently supposed to be hilarious. Have I mentioned how awesome it is that I can at least watch this crap for free instead of paying $40 for it like people had to do in October?
MVP v. Marty Garner
Yes, the screwing of the fans continues, as they debut MVP with a squash match on a PPV. He takes Garner down with a snapmare for two, but stops to work out. The crowd decisively turns on the match already, as MVP pounds him in the corner and gets a lariat. He finishes with Elix Skipper's Play of the Day.
(MVP d. Marty Garner, neckbreaker -- pin, 2:27, DUD) JBL, despite being the heel announcer, completely buries MVP the whole match, which is kinda cool and probably why he was so effective in that role. I know the match was designed for fans to hate it and turn on it, but I like watching shows and ENJOYING matches, not being manipulated into reacting to them in ways I don't want. Also, MVP has the worst look for a supposed mid-to-top-level heel that I've ever seen, with his ridiculous outfit and cornrows. (I think that was supposed to be the point, or something, I’m not sure. The whole MVP thing went way over my head because as everyone knows, I live in the bubble and don’t watch sports outside of hockey, and I never got into him until he got really good and then quit right after.)
Meanwhile, the Regal-Vito saga continues, as Regal is showering for no apparent reason (I guess to clean off the ketchup and mustard from the last segment) and runs into a naked Vito, the result of which is getting put into a match with Chris Benoit.
Mr. Kennedy v. Undertaker
Another non-title match, as Kennedy was US champion at this point. (Ken Anderson was US CHAMPION!?! When the fuck did THAT happen? Why do I not remember this at all?) Wow, nothing makes me want to buy a show more than champions not defending their titles. Taker quickly goes after Kennedy, attacking him in the corner and chasing him to the floor for a quick brawl, and back in for a slam off an armbar that sends Kennedy running again. Taker sends him into the post to continue on the arm, but goes Old School back in the ring and gets yanked down by Kennedy to take over. Taker goes right back to the arm and tries Old School again, this time successfully. Flatliner gets two, and it's heartening that JBL actually calls it that. The more I hear him on commentary, the more I'm impressed. (Plus he climbs mountains too.)
Kennedy gets whipped around and clotheslined down for two, and UT pulls the turnbuckle pad off for good measure. They brawl outside again, and Kennedy still doesn't learn his lesson from last time, as Undertaker is again able to take him into the post and this time hurts the back. Back in, Taker gets two. Kennedy tosses him to buy time and attempts to take the countout, then recovers enough to DDT Undertaker on his way back into the ring. That gets two. Running choke gets two. Kennedy stomps away in the corner and follows with the face wipe, which gets two. Elbows get two. Kennedy makes another error, starting a slugfest, and Taker sends him out of the ring again. Taker legdrops him on the apron, but Kennedy catches him with a piledriver when they head back in. Zombie situp and Kennedy hammers him down for two, then goes to a chinlock. JBL really needed to smack Cole around for calling Kennedy's piledriver a tombstone.
They slug it out as JBL advocates "kicking him in the groin" to slow Undertaker down, but despite this advice Taker is able to come back with a corner clothesline and Snake Eyes. Legdrop gets two. Chokeslam is blocked by Kennedy and countered with a neckbreaker, which gets two. High kick misses and Taker gets his chokeslam, which sets up the Last Ride. Kennedy fights out of that, however, and rams Taker's head into the exposed turnbuckle. Nice continuity there. Kennedy goes up with the Kenton Bomb, and that gets two. Taker revives and Kennedy runs away for his belt, but gets slugged down by Undertaker, who uses the belt to draw the cheap DQ.
(Mr. Kennedy d. Undertaker, beltshot -- DQ, 20:35, **) This was shaping up to be a really good, old style heavyweight match until the shitty finish. They really should have cut it off shorter than 20 minutes if they were gonna do that ending, considering the match had no real big finishing sequence and just ended up being a lot of dull buildup and no payoff. (Much like Anderson’s career. High five! Anyone?)
Falls Count Anywhere: Chavo Guerrero v. Rey Mysterio
This whole storyline makes me wish they would have given the Kerwin White gimmick another few weeks to see if it clicked. Chavo slugs on Rey to start, but gets dropkicked and they fight on the mat. Rey goes up early and Chavo follows, but can't powerbomb him down. Both guys end up landing on the floor and they start fighting up the aisle. Chavo gains the advantage and tries to powerbomb Rey by the entrance, but Rey grabs onto the scaffolding of the set in a neat counter and takes Chavo down with a rana, for two. Over to the crowd, where Chavo sends him into the sideboards and Rey responds by whipping him into a railing. The railing appears to be there for no reason other than so that Rey can whip Chavo into it and then give him a guillotine legdrop, and they fight down the aisle. Rey tries the Rube Goldberg bulldog in an area with no room to do it, and Chavo swings him into the boards to counter, which gets two. Up the stairs we go, but Rey sends Chavo crashing back down again and follows with the senton off the railing. Chavo comes back with a clothesline as they continue their leisurely walking tour of the arena in lieu of having an actual match. Going "walk walk walk punch, walk walk walk punch" is not exactly the makings of a classic brawl. Over to the rear entrance, where Rey gets a 619 variation and finishes with a high cross off the bleachers.
(Rey Mysterio d. Chavo Guerrero, cross body -- pin, 12:12, **) Really kinda dull and unmotivated for a supposed grudge match, although I guess Rey having only half a knee was probably a factor. (How scary is it that Rey was falling apart six years ago, and he’s STILL doing the same shit today with even worse knees? This dude is gonna be in a wheelchair by the time he’s 40.)
Chris Benoit v. William Regal
This was of course Benoit's return from yet another lengthy injury. (HIs next injury would be of the permanent type.) They slug it out to start and Regal grabs a headlock, and that turns into a fight in itself on the mat. Regal tries going for the leg takedown, and they fight over a top wristlock before Regal gets his takedown. I should point out how unspeakably awesome it is that Regal has "Villain" on his tights. They trade bridges on the knucklelock battle and Benoit rolls into a bodyscissors. Note to Michael Cole: The name of the scissors move refers to the body part being attacked, not the body part being used. Thus, wrapping the legs around the body is a "body scissors," not a "leg scissors."
Benoit starts chopping and follows with the german suplex, then headbutts Regal down to bust him open and adds another suplex. Diving headbutt gets two. Yeah, they came to fight tonight. Over to the apron and Regal tries to suplex him out, but Benoit throws knees to block and attempts his own suplex off the apron. Regal counters with a DDT on the apron, and gets two back in the ring. The stiffness continues, as Regal throws knee into a straight punch to drop Benoit, and Benoit fires back with chops into a Sharpshooter attempt. Regal kicks him in the face to escape. Running knee gets two. Regal gets a bizarre abdominal stretch, with a dragon sleeper added in, and it looks mighty painful. Benoit beats him up in the corner to break and CHOPS THE CUT. Oh, come on, that's gold. Regal jumps on his gut with a kneedrop and gets two, and stretches Benoit on the mat. Benoit makes the ropes, so Regal kicks him in the head and gets two. Bow and arrow submission, which Benoit slugs out of, and they fight over a full-nelson until Benoit gets a dragon suplex, into the crossface.
(Chris Benoit d. William Regal, crossface -- submission, 11:15, ***1/2) Kinda surprised that the finish came so soon, as I thought they were just getting warmed up out there. Another 10 minutes and it would have totally stolen the show and been a Match of the Year candidate.
Meanwhile, Regal has to report to his royal Bookerness that he has failed in his quest to find Finlay, but Finlay finds them anyway. Finlay emphasizes that he wants a fight, and Booker blames Regal.
Smackdown World title: King Booker v. Lashley v. Finlay v. Batista.
I think Booker has the advantage in that he at least has two names. Hey, that's as valid an analysis as anything in a worked sport. This was original supposed to be Booker v. Lashley, which probably would have produced the lowest buyrate in history had they not panicked and changed it. Everyone goes after Booker to start, but Finlay decides to start fights and dumps Lashley, then lays out Batista. Booker forges an alliance with Finlay and they work on Batista in the corner, but Lashley saves and catches Booker with a spinebuster for two. He slugs away, but Finlay yanks Booker out of the ring to save him again, and together they ram Lashley into the apron to get rid of him for a while. They should form a team, actually, given that burst of cooperation -- they can call themselves Black Irish! (Still could be used for Sheamus and Kofi or any number of people.) Back in the ring, they pound on Batista in the corner and Finlay clotheslines him, then turns on Booker and clotheslines him, too. BUT WHAT ABOUT BLACK IRISH?
Finlay gets rid of Batista and goes after Booker, ramming his throat into the apron and buttdropping him for two before Batista saves. Finlay smoothly takes Batista down with a Fujiwara armbar while Booker rolls out to recover,and Finlay even holds on through a samoan drop by Batista. Lashley saves, so Finlay takes HIM down with a leglock, seemingly determined to single-handedly carry this thing. Booker saves with a superkick and gets two on Finlay, but Batista chokes him down. Booker fires back with a nice sidekick for two, but Batista sideslams him for two. Lashley dumps both guys, but since it's not a Royal Rumble he doesn't win yet. Finlay tries attacking, but Lashley fights him off and presses him. However, the Little Bastard makes his appearance and nutshots Lashley, giving Finlay two. Booker saves, but covers Lashley himself for two. Booker and Finlay, unable to agree to disagree on who gets the pin, fight it out in the corner until Batista returns to pound on both of them.
Corner clothesline for Finlay and a Jackhammer for Booker, and only Lashley is left standing now. They do the staredown like it's Hogan and Warrior or something, but it's not like they have any history. Batista spears him for two and works him over in the corner, but Lashley comes back with a spinebuster. Batista ends up bleeding off that fairly innocuous sequence, and Lashley snaps off a nice belly to belly and dumps him with a clothesline. Finlay returns and gets dumped, but Booker sneaks in with a Bookend on Lashley and gets two. Lashley cradles for two. Booker with the flying forearm for two. Axe kick is broken up by Finlay, who bowls Booker over with a clothesline for two. Batista returns with a spinebuster for everyone and opts to hit Finlay with the Batista Bomb, but Lashley stupidly spears Batista away and Booker steals the pin on Finlay to retain.
(Booker d. Lashley, Finlay and Batista, pins Finlay, 16:53, ***1/4) The four-way format actually allowed them to do several short matches instead of one long one, and the small bursts of power stuff actually ended up being quite effective.
Sure, no one bought the show, but this was actually quite a good PPV, with a shocking number of ***+ matches spread across the card and only one real clunker, and even that was short. Check this one out on DVD.
Recommended show. (I literally don’t remember anything I just read about.)