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WWE New Year’s Revolution
January 7, 2006
-Having not learned their lesson in 2005, WWE continued to oversaturate their pay-per-view business with another unnecessary January show shoved onto the schedule before the Royal Rumble, and busting out the Elimination Chamber to justify it.
-From Albany, NY. Our hosts are Joey Styles and Jonathan Coachman.
Edge (with Lita) vs. Intercontinental Champion Ric Flair
There’s a fire breathing dragon hanging over the stage and we get Edge vs. Flair in the opener. So far, this show is already leaving the 2005 New Year’s Revolution in the dust. Coachman puts over Flair’s intensity by bringing up his most recent divorce and road rage incident. Way to make the talent shine, Coach. Edge sets the tone for the match by ambushing Flair from behind. It doesn’t take Flair long to come back with typical Nature Boy offense. Flair chases Lita into another ambush from Edge, who apparently woke up early enough to trick the Dirtiest Player in the Game. Edge suplexes Flair on the floor and proceeds to wear him down. Flair chops his way back into the contest and crotches Edge on the guard rail. Flair actually manages to deliver a chop block off the top rope after thumbing both Edge and Lita in the eye. Flair softens up the knee for the Figure Four, but Lita distracts. Flair back drops Edge to ringside and hip tosses Lita into the ring for a Figure Four. Edge breaks it by cracking the Money in the Bank briefcase over Flair’s head for the DQ at 7:16. This opener was pretty pedestrian stuff, but got the crowd going, **.
Winner via DQ: Ric Flair
-Flair is a bloody mess from the briefcase attack. Edge puts him down with another shot. That’ll teach Flair to respect women, no wonder he’s going through another divorce. This finish would build up to a Flair vs. Edge showdown on Raw that would be head’s and tails above anything on this show.
-Todd Grisham interviews Kurt Angle and Daivari backstage. Angle desperately tries to gain some cheap heat by saying he hopes America loses the war in Iraq, thinks France is the greatest country in the world, doesn’t like black people, and wishes he could make Jesus tap out. His point is that he can say anything, and the fans will still give him a standing ovation, simply because he is the greatest wrestler in the world. This was borderline hilarious.
-Flair is still bleeding in the ring and needs to be helped out. Alrighty then.
WWE Women’s Championship:
Trish Stratus © vs. Mickie James
This is the first big encounter between these two in a surprisingly well crafted long term story. Trish is in the midst of a lengthy title reign that started on this same event in 2005. Mickie offers a playful handshake and Trish answers with a confident, intimidating shake. They exchange holds and Mickie’s good mood seems to fade as Trish outwrestles her. Mickie shoves her crotch in Trish’s face in a prolonged head scissors spot, which seems to rattle the champion. Mickie nails a shoulder tackle, but Trish surprises with a drop toe hold. They exchange hard shots and counter one another on the turnbuckles. Stratus takes a nasty back bump on the floor after Mickie sidesteps her. Trish rebounds with a Thesz Press and throws more hard shots. The Stratus-sphere connects, and Trish follows with a spinebuster for 2! Mickie steals the Stratusfaction but is slow to cover and only gets 2. Trish retaliates with the Chick Kick for the win at 7:16. Impressive outing here, would have loved to see this get another few minutes and really become something special, **¾.
Winner and still Women’s Champion: Trish Stratus
-Maria Kanellis interviews herself about tonight’s Bra and Panties contest. Gregory Helms interrupts and demands to know why WWE is wasting time on Maria when he’s about to have his first pay-per-view match after dropping The Hurricane gimmick.
-Shelton Benjamin and Mama Benjamin arrive at the show. Shelton doesn’t know why he’s there since he doesn’t have a match, but his Mama is going to take care of that for him. This drove me crazy at the time, but now it’s just classic Wreslecrap.
-Edge doesn’t want to do the WWE Instant Access panel with Lita and storms off.
Jerry Lawler vs. Gregory Helms
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Helms was repackaged as a generic, too-cool-for-school type heel. He’s back to square one, as he has boring rock entrance music and gets a non-reaction from the crowd. They lock up and Lawler shoves Helms off from the corner. Helms scores an arm drag and focuses on Lawler’s midsection. Lawler turns it around with his punch-punch-punch-backdrop offense. Lawler finally gets a reaction from the fans by imitating the Hurricane and tosses a flustered Helms to ringside. Helms thumbs the eyes, and goes to work on the back with some power moves. Lawler powers out of a neck vice, but Helms snap mares him to retain control. Lawler takes a bad landing to the floor and gets whipped into the ring post. Helms takes a break to talk some smack on commentary. Lawler comes back with some jabs and knocks Helms off his feet. Helms suffers a fist drop but counters a piledriver. Lawler knocks Helms off the top rope and finishes with a flying fist drop at 9:30. So much for Helms’ push. Fascinatingly boring match here that seemed endless at times, *.
Winner: Jerry Lawler
-Trish bumps into Lita at the Instant Access set and they share a tense staredown. Mickie frolics in and breaks up the moment, seeming eager to resume her friendship with Trish.
-Mama Benjamin isn’t happy with the quality of the catering and complains. The lights turn red and Viscera struts in. Apparently, Big Vis would like a piece of Mama Benjamin. For some reason, Mama Benjamin doesn’t’ like being sexually harassed and tells him off. Vis didn’t realize that she was Shelton’s mama but doesn’t back down from trying to get some action. To make a long story short, this is leading to a match, where the guy standing up for his mother’s honor is the heel and the Glen Quagmire-like sex hound is the babyface.
Triple H vs. World Tag Team Champion Big Show
Since I skipped the prematch hype video, I don’t remember why these two are feuding, but then again I don’t really care. Big Show is wearing a cast that will surely be used as a weapon, a detail that hasn’t escaped Triple H’s attention. They go on to have an exciting, fast-paced match, with unpredictable back and forth action and… just kidding, it plays out exactly how you’d imagine it. Big Show gets a hot start and dominates the early going. Right on cue, Triple H arranges for Show to miss a cast shot and hit the ring post. HHH then goes into Storyteller mode and methodically works over the injured hand. To his credit, Show does a wonderful job selling the injury. Show shoves off HHH and counters with a forearm to the head. Sidewalk slam by Show, but his hand prevents a quick follow up. Show is unable to hit a choke slam and accidentally clocks the referee in the face when HHH ducks. Triple H goes for his sledgehammer, but Show breaks it in half. Technically, that makes the hammer more dangerous, as now it has pointy ends. HHH gets driven into the ring steps, but saves himself with a low blow and chair shot. Show prevents another chair shot with a big time spear. Show goes for the choke slam, but HHH hits him with a piece of broken sledgehammer. HHH nails the Pedigree and gets the pinfall despite a slow count at 16:09. They took their time, but every moment of this match contributed to a clear, focused story that they were trying to tell. A good example of getting a lot out of doing relatively little, *** for a match I wasn’t expecting to like is high praise.
Winner: Triple H
-Carlito visits Chris Masters in the locker room. Carlito points out that all of their opponents in the Elimination Chamber have been WWE Champion, but that’s only because no one has given either of them a shot. Carlito proposes an alliance to take out the competition to ensure that some new blood wins the title. Masters likes the sound of that.
-Shelton and Mama Benjamin call out Viscera. Mama cuts a frigging HILARIOUS promo demanding that Viscera come get his ass-whupping. I can’t believe this crap used to piss me off.
Shelton Benjamin (with Mama Benjamin) vs. Viscera
This was during Viscera’s run as a pajama wearing, Hugh Hefner wannabe love machine, which was about a thousand times scarier than his leather-donning heel run. Mama Benjamin is relentless with her smack talk during the match, but Shelton suffers a one arm spinebuster. Mama shields her son long enough for Shelton to regroup and throw some shots, but Viscera retaliates with an open hand shot. Shelton catches Big Vis with a knee lift and builds some momentum with shots to the knee. Viscera counters with a Samoan drop. The real star of the match, Mama Benjamin, threatens to get the belt for Shelton if he doesn’t turn this around. Frankly, I’m astonished that Mama Benjamin never got a run as Raw GM. She‘s hilarious, with lines like “You better whip him, or I’m gonna whip you!” Viscera caps off his comeback by dry humping Shelton, but misses a falling head butt. Mama nails Big Vis with her purse, and Shelton ends it with a spin kick at 7:49. The match was a complete train wreck and worth seeking out for comedic purposes, ½*.
Winner: Shelton Benjamin
-My VOD stream froze at this point, so I skipped to the next chapter. If I missed an unintentionally hilarious Cena promo, I apologize.
Bra and Panties Gauntlet Match:
Maria Kanellis vs. Candice Michelle vs. Torrie Wilson vs. Victoria vs. vs. Ashley Massaro
Man, you have four barely-trained model divas and somehow VICTORIA gets grouped in with them. What a world, what a world. I almost can’t believe that at 30 years old, I’m about to recap this bullcrap, but here we go. Candice starts against Maria in a singles situation, and every time a diva is stripped to her underwear, a new diva will appear. Candice is still a one trick pony here, doing her Go Daddy dance. They exchange sloppy offense and remove each other’s tops. Candice goes for a fancy head scissors over the ropes, and Maria strips her tights at 2:18. Torrie throws a suplex and nearly loses her bottom when Maria counters a roll-up. Awful back hand spring elbow by Torrie, followed by a botched drop-kick from Maria. Torrie loses her top, prompting a cat fight. Torrie accuses the referee of copping a feel, allowing Maria to finish stripping her at 5:00. Victoria, clearly too good for this crap, storms the ring and puts a hurting on poor little Maria. Victoria pulls off Maria’s tights at 6:20. The Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young show up (and the crowd pops louder for them than they did for the half-naked babes). Cue the stripper music, and Mae voluntarily undresses, and a section of fans with their "Thumbs Down" signs capture the moment perfectly. Satisfied, Mae and Moolah are about to leave, but Victoria ambushes them. The old timers aggressively pulls Victoria’s top off, and this segment has reached a new level of awkwardness. Young and Moolah leave, and Ashley Massaro trots to the ring. Ashley blocks the Widow’s Peak and pulls down Victoria’s tights to win the whole match at 11:05. Nothing like a hard-fought, well deserved victory. Ashley celebrates by stripping down. I think I lost 5-10 IQ points from watching this, seriously, I’m not sure I remember how to do math. Anyhow, let’s call this -** and move on with our lives.
Winner: Ashley Massaro
-Shelton Benjamin and his mama share a tender moment at the Instant Access panel.
WWE Championship (Elimination Chamber):
John Cena © vs. World Tag Team Champion Kane vs. Chris Masters vs. Carlito vs. Kurt Angle (with Daivari) vs. Shawn Michaels
Kane won a Beat the Clock Challenge to earn the last entrant spot. John Cena starts against Shawn Michaels, whom Vince McMahon ordered be the first entrant. Bell rings and this crowd HATES Cena. This is before the “Let’s go Cena/Cena sucks!” dueling chant became a thing, so the anti-Cena voices are mostly drowning out his fans. HBK seems to hate Cena too and slaps him across the face before taking the fight to the platform. Cena takes a beating and earns loud boos for kicking HBK on the turnbuckle. The “fearsome” Carlito is unleashed and catches Cena with a drop-kick and overshoots on a back senton onto Michaels on the steel platform. Carlito’s hot streak continues until Cena and Michaels catch him with a double flapjack. Carlito gets a rope break (LOL) on a Cena cover and then suffers a double back drop. Kurt Angle joins the match and goes on a German suplexing spree! Michaels takes an unfortunate suplex over the ropes and onto the platform. Angle catapults Shawn into the wall, busting him open (via blade job). Angle dominates the competition, until Chris Masters joins the match and saves Carlito from an ankle lock. A fresh Masters gets a hot start, slamming anyone (not named Carlito) who comes near him. Angle stops Masters’ momentum with an ankle lock, and manages to counter Cena into the hold as well. Michaels surprises Angle with SCM for the elimination at 13:51! The crowd doesn’t hate that result as much as I would have guessed. Carlito and Masters work together to take control. The fans are ready for Kane, who gets a typically hot start. Kane drops Michaels and Cena with choke slams, but Masters saves Carlito with a Master Lock attempt. Carlito returns the favor with a Backstabber on Kane, who pops right back up. Kane suffers a double DDT and both Masters and Carlito pin him at 19:17. Masters picks apart Cena while Carlito works over Michaels. HBK finds his second wind and rolls through both rookies in a comeback. Shawn catches Cena with the flying elbow. Cena eats SCM, but Carlito and Masters jump him before a cover is possible. Carlito delivers a spinning neck breaker on Shawn for the elimination at 23:27. Cena is alone against Masters and Carlito, so you just know where this is heading. Cena makes the Superman comeback to epic crowd hatred. Masters clotheslines Cena onto the platform and follows with a DDT. Masters helps Carlito up so they can resume beating up a freshly bloodied Cena. Carlito orders Masters to administer the Master Lock but it’s a setup for Carlito to low blow his friend and pin him with a Backstabber at 28:00. Cena catches Carlito for the pinfall at 28:14 to retain the title. This is a hard match to rate, as some parts were very good, but other segments dragged on. The booking here didn’t work either, as Cena looked ridiculous playing underdog hero to a hostile crowd, and Carlito and Masters simply didn’t belong in this spot. Averages out to about ***¼.
Winner and still WWE Champion: John Cena
-Before Cena can even start to celebrate, Vince McMahon shows up on the stage and reveals that Edge is cashing in his Money in the Bank contract.
John Cena © vs. Edge (with Lita)
The crowd is absolutely jazzed for this! Edge pummels Cena and gets a few near falls. Edge nails the Spear but friggin’ Cena kicks out. We get it, he’s tough. Edge hits a second spear and wins the title at 1:46. I’d say that over the last nine years, this moment has become something of legend.
Winner and new WWE Champion: Edge
Final Thoughts: This was a total middle of the road show, though much of the enjoyment came at marveling at the Wrestlecrap. Edge winning the title was a great moment and resulted in a surge in TV ratings, but sadly his momentum and reign would come to an end 3 weeks later at the Royal Rumble. I’m giving this Thumbs in the Middle because it ends on a strong note.
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