Sunday 18 May 2014

Vengeance 2006 review

The trouble with wrestling shows nowadays is that out and out stinkers are so rare. Most current shows from any company not named TNA are either acceptable with few or no standout performances or very good affairs with a number of memorable matches and storyline developments. And sometimes, when writing about a wrestling show, you don’t want that. You want something that pushes you to the limits of endurance and shows you just how bad wrestling can get.

There are two answers to this. The first is to review TNA shows. I imagine that in years to come a lot of people will enjoy looking back and analysing the nonsense TNA currently puts out. But to do it as the company’s still in existence isn’t something I want to do. Because it’s depressing that a major company can exist and be as poor as TNA in 2014. Not paying much attention to it is about the only defence I have against it.

The other answer is to look back at old shows that are notoriously bad. I decided to go for this one, but I wanted to watch something and be surprised by the matches that were taking place and the results that cropped up in them. That could have made picking something pretty tricky, because can you can’t gauge a show’s likely quality until you know what’s on it.

Thankfully WWE produced a lengthy run of dismal pay-per-views in the mid-00s. You can pick out pretty much anything at random from around 2003 until 2008 or so and be pretty much guaranteed a rock solid unenjoyable experience.

That’s what I decided to do, and I selected Vengeance. For no other reason that it was readily available to watch. It will differ from my reviews of current events only slightly, in that I’ll take a break after each match to discuss where the guys involved are now. So, let’s get to it.

We start, as always, with a video package. This one focused on John Cena's problems with the concept of ECW, Rob Van Dam's feud with Edge, and DX's war with Vince McMahon and his troupe of male cheerleaders. I'll discuss all of that as we get to it. All you need to know here is that in June 2006 Rob Van Dam was the WWE champion, Edge was coming into his own as a dickish heel who would do anything to stay on top, John Cena had been the most pushed top act for over a year and resentment over that was beginning to bubble away with more vocal crowds, and Triple H and Shawn Michaels were frequently involved in "hilarious" skits featuring spray paint, slime, midgets, bare buttocks, and Jonathan Coachman.

On commentary in Charlotte, North Carolina were Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. Immediately noticeable is how JR can make a show prominently featuring the Spirit Squad seem exciting.

The first guy to enter the arena was a pre-sleeves Randy Orton with his old Burn in My Light music and gold curtain pyro entrance pose. Fans of his in-ring turnbuckle pose needn't worry. That was an integral part of his act by this point. He was representing RAW against ECW's Kurt Angle. This was during the period where Angle's music was remixed so people didn't get the chance to chant "You suck!" (although they still gave it a shot). I thought that was a stupid decision at the time and I still think so now. That kind of audience chant should be embraced.

This makes the match look far more lively than it was.
At this point you're probably thinking "Wow! Angle versus Orton opening a pay-per-view, that's pretty promising!" And you're not wrong. It should be incredible. But it wasn't. It quickly became obvious that both men had entered the match as heels and neither seemed particularly liked by the fans. That meant that the match took a while to warm up, something not helped by a focus on slow mat wrestling for the first few minutes. With nobody knowing who to cheer for and neither wrestler willing to embrace the good guy role the match didn't come anywhere close to meeting its potential. I'm not especially knowledgeable about Orton v Angle matches but I wouldn't be surprised if this was their worst encounter. And just to top things off Lawler seemed dead set on making anti-ECW gags every thirty seconds.

Despite all of this the crowd were loud throughout the entire thing. And things came together for the closing sequence, which helped. Orton was trapped in an ankle lock for a bit before reversing out of it, driving Kurt into an exposed turnbuckle (ah, the exposed turnbuckle, it's a classic) and giving him an RKO for the win.


What they did next:
Randy Orton: He’s been up and down the card but he’s never been too far away from the top. Other than a few tattoos, taunt variations, and entrance rejigs Orton has remained unchanged.

Kurt Angle: 2006 is the year Angle went spectacularly off the rails. WWE released him on August 2006 because they were concerned over his physical well-being and didn’t think Angle was willing to take things easy for his own safety. Angle has claimed he asked for a release because he was unwilling to work hurt. So both sides agree on the reason, just not on the topic of whether Kurt jumped or was pushed.

We all know the basic Angle story from there. He joined TNA and immediately had a stellar feud with Samoa Joe. He spent several years flipping between good guy and bad guy as his body continued to deteriorate. Like, really badly deteriorate. To the point where he looked like a frail old man. He’s currently making noises about leaving TNA when his contract expires and returning to WWE for one final, glorious run. It’s currently unknown whether or not WWE would have any interest in him as a performer.


Backstage Vince McMahon was having one of those one-sided recap conversations that used to be so popular with WWE heels (and that have recently started to go out of style with behind the times TNA heels). He was telling someone about how the Spirit Squad would never forget DX dumping green slime on them on RAW. I'd like to imagine it was Linda and that it's how she and Vince communicate. Someone knocked on the door so Vince wrapped up his convo. You'd assume the person knocking would be a wrestler. Perhaps the Spirit Squad seeking advice before their match or a mid-carder like Charlie Haas asking for an ill-defined "opportunity". Or maybe DX, come to play more "hilarious" pranks on the boss.

It was none of them. It was a young lad in a wheelchair. Vince assumed it was a DX prank and referenced some of their comedy gold (including roosters, space aliens and corporate genitalia). Then he got angry and heeled the kid out of his office. A crash was heard, the implication being the kid was harmed. He wouldn't appear on the show again so we'll never know his fate.

Coach wandered in to make a poor segment worse. In 2006 Coach was regularly paired up with Vince for comedy segments like this one. Despite being routinely bad they held a certain appeal thanks to Coach's willingness to do and say pretty much anything and Vince's ability to perform funny facial expressions. Here Coach handed over a penis pump he'd found lying outside and revealed that the young kid in the wheelchair was a close family friend he'd invited to the show who considered Vince his idol. Sadly they didn't explain why a kid of about eight considered Vince McMahon his idol. That could have been excellent.

Match two featured another surprise mid-00s highlight: the combo of Umaga and Armando Alejandro Estrada. Umaga, a savage-inspired character who could only be controlled by Estrada, had debuted a few months earlier. The man behind the gimmick had previously been best known as Jamal, half of the sloppy but still underrated 3 Minute Warning tag team. He'd mostly been winning squash matches until this point. It was the Alexander Rusev push for 2006.

Umaga was facing Eugene. That's not a sentence anyone ever wants to read. Ever. Under any circumstances.

The monster that is Eugene, finally slain.
Because Umaga was unstoppable at this point and Eugene, well, was not unstoppable, Eugene had found himself some backup. While that was a sound idea all he'd been able to drum up was Jim Duggan, Doink the Clown (yeah really, Doink the clown in 2006) and Kamala (sadly without Kim Chee or Harvey Wippleman). And then a match happened. It was not pleasant. But it was quick. Umaga squashed Eugene with the Samoan spike (a thumb to the throat which, against all the odds, became an over finish). Just to illustrate how dangerous Umaga was he obliterated Duggan and Doink after the match. Estrada made him walk away from Kamala though. Which was absolutely the right call. A young upstart 33-year-old shouldn't be facing a legend like Kamala unless it's been advertised beforehand. You don't give a quality meeting like that away unannounced.


What they did next:
Eugene: By this point the Eugene character was on a downhill slide. As an adult with special needs he had been introduced as the nephew of Eric Bischoff in 2004 and quickly become insanely popular. He’d managed to stay relevant into 2005 but by this point crowds had become tired of him and it’s hard not to see why. He was a one note, exploitative character that had a limited shelf life. His future held an ill-conceived heel turn and contract termination.

Umaga: To this surprise of anyone who remembered his time as a member of 3 Minute Warning Umaga became a very reliable upper mid-card singles act. His undefeated streak would continue until the end of the year, at which point he would enter into a feud with Cena, which included a Last Man Standing meeting at the ’07 Royal Rumble which still stands as one of Cena’s greatest matches.

Umaga would also go on to win the Intercontinental championship and enjoy feuds with names such as Jeff Hardy, Batista and Triple H. Not bad for a guy who had been released in 2003 for being involved in a bar fight and generally not being very good. Umaga was granted a contract release in 2008 following a disputed Wellness Policy violation.

He died of a heart attack in December 2009.


Backstage Mick Foley spoke to Todd Grisham. This was during Foley’s infamous feud with Ric Flair. Basically, Fley and Flair didn’t like one another. As in they really didn’t like one another and had gotten into screaming matches backstage over things that they’d written about each other in their biographies. Foley had criticised Flair for being a poor boss and booker in WCW. Flair had labelled Foley a “glorified stunt man”, almost certainly as revenge for the cracks Foley had made about him. Both men had large egos and were not willing to back down.

For some reason somebody in WWE thought it would be a good idea to turn the real life hatred into a storyline. It’s a logic that had worked in wrestling many times before (I’ll give the lazy examples of Hart and Michaels’ feud and the fact that Austin and Rock really didn’t like each other when they started working together). The trouble was that Flair and Foley were both physically knackered. They both relied heavily on shortcuts and their opponents making them look good. Plus Foley had turned heel a few months before and had been doing his best work as a face for years at this point. And, y’know, Flair was pretty much one of the most natural heels ever. It was obvious from the start that match quality was going to be poor. Things only got worse when Foley and Flair started cutting insider promos on each other that only people who follow the inner workings of pro wrestling (which is a minority in WWE’s fan base) and things that had happened around a decade earlier. That this got televised shows you what sort of company WWE was during this period. Everything about it was a spectacular mess. But it remains incredibly watchable stuff because of just how low things got.

At Vengeance they were booked in a two-out-of-three falls match because Foley wanted to prove he was a wrestler and not a stunt artiste. Being held in Charlotte meant that Mick was going to definitely be playing the bad guy, a role I’ve already said he was ill-suited for at this point. Because North Carolina is Flair country. Woooooo!

First the factual stuff. Flair won two falls to none. He got the first fall off an inside cradle as Foley went for a figure four. Then Foley got disqualified when he used a trash can (or, if you will, a rubbish bin) while trapped in the hold himself.

Mr Sockoooooo... Nah doesn't work. Sorry.
The match was a mess. The promise that Foley would outwrestle Flair, which had been a significant part of the build-up was gleefully ignored. Which was disappointing because it could have been an interesting story: Foley actually managing to surprise 'Naitch' and push him to his limit, forcing him to pull out every cheat in his arsenal (which in Charlotte would have gotten a great reaction) would have been an interesting story that’s wasn’t (and isn’t) seen much in WWE. It's not actually that surprising though. I’ve already said both guys were passed their respective peaks and incapable of working a match without shortcuts (which here included a special Mr Socko designed to look like Flair). What we got was what both men were capable of in 2006.

Foley smashed 'The Nature Boy' with a barbed wire baseball bat after the decision. Flair bled. A lot. He was helped to the back but didn't really make out he was in any particular pain despite being drenched in his own blood. It came across as Flair wanting to prove he could play the hardcore hero better than Foley.


What they did next:
Mick Foley: He jumped to TNA and filled a variety of roles, including on-air authority figure and champion. He returned to WWE when he realised how terrible TNA was. He dressed up as Santa a few Christmases ago and acted as the GM of Saturday Morning Slam before it was unceremoniously cancelled. He spent the rest of his time making special appearances on RAWs and pay-per-views before letting his contract expire, opting not to re-sign because he felt he wasn’t being paid fairly for video game licensing.

Ric Flair: He joined Foley in TNA. He mostly worked as a manager there, representing guys as far apart on the quality scale as Gunner and AJ Styles. He wrestled a few times but the less said about that the better. The most noteworthy part of Flair’s TNA run, at least for the purposes of the show we’re talking about here, was that he resumed his rivalry with Foley. They were getting on better by then but both were older, so the match quality balanced out at around the same level.

Since his return to WWE last year Flair has made various appearances on pay-per-view expert panels, episodes of RAW and at the SummerSlam Axxess event. He was hammered at pretty much all of them. In fact he was so out of control at SummerSlam that Jim Ross was fired for failing to control him (yes, you read that correctly). Oh, and he also pulled the classic Flair trick of burying someone he disliked. In this case it was Daniel Bryan, the day before he was due to defeat John Cena for the WWE championship.

Basically, Ric Flair has continued to be Ric Flair. Woooooooooooo!!


This got pay-per-view time.
In the back Maria and Carlito discussed coolness and paradoxes. Then Torrie Wilson showed up in a bikini. Carlito held her puppies as she and Maria went off to rub baby oil on one another, something that was actually shown and given time on a pay-per-view. Carlito provided some commentary on that before his music hit. Things like this used to happen all the time. We didn't even question why Torrie was prepping for a photo shoot in the middle of a pay-per-view. It was a more naive time.

'Caribbean Cool's' match was a triple threat for the Intercontinental championship. His opponents were Johnny Nitro and champ Shelton Benjamin. Carlito was by this point a bland babyface. Nitro was still doing his red carpet entrance with Melina and was just starting out on the cheap heat route of blocking particularly revealing shots of his scantily clad girlfriend. Shelton Benjamin was probably even more bland than Carlito but was trying to hide it by wearing sunglasses and loud shirts to the ring.

What's most striking looking back at this match now is that the three all seemed like they were going to be something significant for WWE at one point or another and yet none of them managed it. They were victims of the mid-00s lax approach to star building. If these guys, as they were back then, debuted in today's system they'd stand a far better chance of being helped to the top, because while the current system is far from perfect it is at least structured to give new guys a chance at getting over. The quality of the match demonstrated they all could have achieved far more during this period had they been allowed to just go to the ring and wrestle their metaphorical socks off more frequently. They put on a great match and the crowd were into it. That sounds like an ideal second tier championship match to me.

Nitro won the championship (his first reign) off a Carlito back cracker on Shelton. The two losers looked upset while Nitro spent an she standing around grinning and posing at the top of the entrance ramp.


What they did next:
Shelton Benjamin: Independent circuit, Ring of Honor, and New Japan.

Carlito: Independent circuit and the WWC.

Johnny Nitro: Became John Morrison. Independent circuit, stand-up comedy, film directing, and continued dating Melina (which makes him the winner).


Backstage we found the Spirit Squad screaming at one another about destroying DX. Then Vince entered and joined in, because no young pups are out-hollering the boss. The Squad left so Vince had a look at the penis pump box Coach had handed him earlier. In a toile, which was probably for the best. Nobody needs to see that much of Vinnie Mac. An explosion was heard and then he came out with some green paint lightly dabbed on his face.

"That damned DX!" said Vince, like a character from a rubbish 70s sitcom. What would those crazy DX kids do next?!

Out at ringside Jerry Lawler said we'd just witnessed a booby-trapped penis pump. His laughter indicated that this was one of the most spectacular things that had ever happened to him.

A video package reminded us of RVD's Money in the Bank win and cash-in on Cena at the One Night Stand show. Van Dam won that match after interference from Edge. 'The Rated R Superstar' made an appearance on ECW's TV show to say he respected RVD and looked forward to tearing the house down with him. But then he speared him, because mid-00s Edge was full of dick moves like that. He also had boob job Lita at his side. There was a lot to like about him.

Edge cut a pre-match promo about how the Stanley Cup (a hockey award of some prestige) was won for North Carolina by Canadians, comparable to how he'd beaten Cena for 'Mr Monday Night'. Then he claimed he'd win the gold and have a live sex celebration afterwards. RVD didn't get to respond, but he was introduced simply as "the champion" by Lilian Garcia, which was something.

A rare excuse to put up a picture of RVD as WWE champion.
This match is not as well remembered as it deserves because of the reasons Van Dam would end up losing the title. It's famous for the reason why he lost it. A few weeks after the match RVD would test positive for a substance banned by WWE's Wellness Policy. If you're familiar with Van Dam's past you can probably hazard a guess as to what that substance was. That violation meant Rob had to be written off TV for thirty days. His reign as a double champion was cut short. The decision was made that he'd lose the WWE belt to Edge on the July 3 RAW. The next night he dropped the ECW strap to Big Show.

But we're concerned with Vengeance. The match the two men had here was excellent and showed that Edge had been sincere when he'd said he wanted to steal the show. They packed an incredible amount into their eighteen minutes: tonnes of counter wrestling, plenty of moonsaults, and a satisfying number of big bump spots. Particularly impressive moments included a sunset bomb to the floor from Edge to Van Dam, a cross body over the top rope down to the floor from RVD, an Edge power bomb onto the crowd barrier, and Edge countering the tumbling senton into a power slam. Plus all the usual spots you'd get from both, which is a fair few. The match stands as an example of why RVD originally became popular and why Edge made it as far as he did. Van Dam won a cracker of a match with the Five Star frog splash. Edge had speared a chair and knocked himself out seconds before.


What they did next:
Rob Van Dam: RVD was another guy who made a jump over to TNA. He was booked fairly well for a year or two, capturing the TNA world championship in decent storyline which quickly became a mess. Inevitably TNA lost interest in him and he drifted down into the mid-card. He left last year, after being given the X Division championship for literally no reason at all, and returned to WWE at Money in the Bank. He’s not done anything major yet and I don’t think he will. But at least he’s getting pay now. That’s nice for him.

Edge: Between 2006 and his unexpected in retirement in 2011 Edge became one of WWE’s premier talents. His list of accomplishments include multiple WWE and World Heavyweight championship reigns, being the de facto lead figure on SmackDown for years on end, and giving Undertaker one of his finest Streak matches ever. 2006 was the breakout year for ‘The Rated R Superstar’ and he would go from strength to strength.


Backstage ECW wrestlers such as Roadkill, Stevie Richards and Little Guido celebrated their boy's victory with alternating chants of ECW and RVD. Then Paul Heyman sauntered in and told the locker room that they'd be joined as lumberjacks by some RAW wrestlers. He acknowledged nobody liked the decision but said it was happening anyway. Why, if nobody liked it?

At this point I was beginning to get worried that the show hadn't been as comedically bad as I'd hoped. Then, as if to prove me wrong, Kane's music played. And this wasn't just any Kane match. This was the Kane versus imposter Kane match. This is the sort of storyline that has routinely been thrust at Glenn Jacobs throughout his fifteen plus years as Kane. Basically Kane's gimmick had by this point become that anything too lunatic to be done to the Undertaker could be done to him. At this point that list included the famed Katie Vick necrophilia angle, a feud with Matt Hardy over who to marry Lita, and a feud with Snitsky over an aborted child .

The match was not a pleasant experience, for a number of reasons. Drew Hankinson, the man now known as Doc Gallows in New Japan, was not very good at this point. Neither was Kane, although he was at least a known quantity audiences were willing to react to. The biggest problem was that fans were not interested in the Kane v Kane angle, amusing themselves with chants of "Boring!" and "Take the mask off!" instead of reacting to things as WWE wanted. It's hard to blame them. It was never clear what Fake Kane wanted, what Real Kane stood to lose, why anyone should care who won and who lost, or where the story was heading. As it turned out the fake won with a choke slam and the cover Real Kane used to do after performing a Tombstone.


What they did next:
Real Kane: Any insane wrestling idea you can think of. And a bunch you can’t.

Fake Kane: Became Festus, then Luke Gallows, then DOC, then Doc Gallows.


At this point you might be wondering what the official theme song of Vengeance 2006 was. Well I'll tell you, because it was plugged at this point of the show. It was Victim by Eighteen Visions. Jerry Lawlerp loved it, so you know it was good.

The Cena v Sabu video package reminded us of Cena's hard night at the second One Night Stand event and subsequent feud with ECW at large. That's a feud, just so you know, that included Cena decking Heyman, wrestling a match on RAW with Balls Mahoney and getting put through the announce desk by Sabu. There were loads of shots of all the ECW guys hanging around together during the video. That included Tommy Dreamer and Sandman: who had once had a lengthy feud that included Sandman pretending he was blind so that he could attack Dreamer with a cane. But they're BFFs now LOL!

JR put over how tough and dangerous Sabu is not by pointing out the scars that crisscross his body or discussing the ridiculous death matches he'd been a part of but by saying he "allegedly" glued his wounds up after matches. It didn't destroy the myth of Sabu or anything as melodramatic as that but it didn't do the match any favours. Most people watching wouldn't have had a clue who Sabu was or why he was a tougher opponent for Cena than, say, Tommy Dreamer. It would've been nice if Ross had done everything he could to put him over as a madman who'd take himself apart in order to beat Cena. But for whatever reason he couldn't be bothered or was directed not to.

The RAW lumberjacks are a fascinating insight into the roster of the time. Names such as Rob Conway, Trevor Murdoch, Garrison Cade and, perhaps the epitome of this era of the WWE mid-card, Gene Snitsky were on offer here. If that doesn't excite you on a so-bad-it's-good level there's something wrong with you.

'The Homicidal, Suicidal and Genocidal Freak'... and Sabu
The setup was a mess. Cena had been booked as a valiant face taking on an entire company. But this was the beginning of fandom's turn on Cena, which meant people had not rallied behind him as fully as expected. Meanwhile ECW, which had a rep as the underdog fed, had been booked as a bunch of heels against Cena but were also being launched as their own show, meaning many of them had also had thoroughly babyface moments. Just to thoroughly confuse things the RAW lumberjacks stationed at ringside by Vince, to even the odds, were all heels (with the possible exception of Charlie Haas). So Cena, who was becoming firmly established as an unbeatable face, was taking on a roster of underdog misfits and was backed up by bad guys. Or, to put it another way, John Cena was working a Sabu style match with Sabu surrounded by a bunch of jobbers.

As wacky stunt matches go it was pretty satisfying. Cena and Sabu lobbed chairs at each other, the triple jump offence got an airing, Cena took some Sandman cane shots, and Sabu was FUed out of the ring through a table. Cena won with the STF as the RAW guys held back the ECW guys. Yeah, Sabu tapped out, something he's known for disliking. JR did at least emphasise the rarity of a Sabu submission. That was something, but it could have meant slightly more if Sabu had been established we the embodiment of insanity before the match began.

Immediately after the match Cena wandered backstage and ran into RVD. They agreed to a title match on RAW. "Pack all you got, bro," were Cena's sage words of advice to Van Dam. He said stuff like that a fair amount back in 2006.


What they did next:
John Cena: For better or for worse he is still John Cena.

Sabu: Somehow managed to stay employed by WWE until May 2007, at which point he was released for unspecified reasons. He returned to working to working for smaller promotions and took some bookings in Mexico. The most significant thing I can remember Sabu doing since 2007 is facing Sami Callihan at a Dragon Gate USA (or possibly EVOLVE) show. Although he also made an appearance or two for TNA in 2010.


The pre-match video for DX v SS started out with Shawn Michaels' face being rubbed against Vince McMahon's bare backside. That's a fairly accurate snapshot of what RAW had been for a while at this point. Vince wanted to teach Shawn a lesson about not being disrespectful. So he roped in five cheerleaders and Triple H to rough him up. 'The Game' ended up turning face on his allies, refusing to smash his old pal's skull and instead jobbing out the Squad. Tripper was taken apart in a five-on-one handicap match, then Shawn Michaels returned the favour and made the save. The two officially reunited and embarked on a campaign of hilarity the likes of which WWE had never seen before. Everything was covered: Vince loves cocks gags, male stripograms, penis pumps, and graffitied magazine covers, it was all on offer.

Throw your hands up in the air and wave them around like you just don't care!
A five-on-two handicap match was inevitable. It was also a guaranteed way to bury five new talents. Not that the squad gimmick was destined for the top, but it could have been used to launch one or two guys into singles careers and another two into a tag team. But that wasn't a priority. The priority was relaunching DX as a nostalgia brand that could make periodic returns to WWE and bring in some merch sales.

More than any other PPV main event I can remember this one felt like a dark match that goes on after the end of RAW. The DX lads did their pre-match shtick and the audience went crazy for it. Then the Spirits came out to absolutely zero reaction. It should be noted that the Squad held the tag straps at this point. It gives you an idea of what sort of state the roster was in.

Had this been in the middle of the card it probably would have been fine. Completely forgettable, but inoffensive. Exactly what D-Generation X versus the Spirit Squad should be in other words. But it wasn't in the middle of the card it was the main event and as a main event it was not good. The psychology of the match was all off. Instead of worrying about the significant numbers advantage their opponents had Triple H and Michaels larked about and never seemed to be taking things seriously. That that hurt the Spirits' chances for advancement isn't the point. They weren't getting to the top under that gimmick anyway. The problem was that it made it hard to get into the match: if DX weren't taking a five-on-two situation seriously why should we? The finish saw Kenny take a pedigree and nicky take a sweet chin music for a double pin. Several minutes of posing then ensued before the broadcast finished.


What they did next
Triple H: Became Vince McMahon 2.0.

Shawn Michaels: Continued to be one of the best wrestlers ever. Then retired before he lost his touch.

This happened for a while.
Kenny: Finished up his feud with DX, returned to developmental and then returned to the main roster as Kenny Dykstra. Everyone thought he would be the member of the Spirit Squad that became a somebody. Everyone was wrong. Dykstra proved to be an athletic dude but didn’t have a good enough understanding of the character work pro wrestlers need to make it to the top to advance beyond the mid-card. He was outshone by…

Nicky: He became a caddy to Kerwin White then disappeared before returning as Dolph Ziggler. Maybe you’ve heard of him?

Mikey: He never received another crack at becoming a somebody in WWE. He was released in 2008. In 2010 he wangled himself a spot in Ring of Honor thanks to the reign of error instigated by Jim Cornette. He held onto his spot until 2013 before getting released. He now works mostly for Ohio Valley Wrestling. Presumably his work is enjoyed there.

Johnny: Um…

Mitch: … I’ve got nothing.


Final thoughts:
As mid-00s pay-per-views go this was nowhere near as bad as it could have been, or as bad as I was hoping for. Kane versus Kane and Foley versus Flair were bad but that was about it. The triple threat match and Edge v Van Dam were both great. The main event was more a peculiarity than an out and out failure. The Umaga v Eugene match avoided the bad bin by being about a minute and a half long and having Umaga destroy two other guys afterwards. Vengeance 2006 could have been a far worse affair than it was.

Next time I’ll try a SmackDown show. Those are the real stinkers.

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