The Wrestling B Team is back in action!
Fri, 14 April 2006
by: Darth Bin Laden
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Sammy's intro: Hello Buttonholers, you gorgeous creatures. We didn't get this report as quickly as we'd like (again!), due to DBL having technical problems. But, like Gene Snitsky, it "wasn't his fault". Besides, if anything ever just went perfectly smoothly, I'd probably pass out from the shock. Fortunately though, our wrestling section lead, the Gimmick, had his Wrestlemania report up nice and promptly. Now it is time for the wrestling "B Team" to tell you what we thought. DBL has altered his format this time around, as you'll soon see. As usual, DBL's words are in regular font and mine are in italics. Okay... ring the damn bell!
Hello ladies and gentlemen, it's that time of year again, yes, it's WRESTLEMANIA! If you don't know what Wrestlemania is, it's the pinnacle of pro-wrestling. It's like Hanukkah if you're Jewish, like achieving enlightenment if you're Buddhist. It's like Christmas if you're Christian, believe in Santa or just love cashing in on the holiday spirit. Any pro-wrestling fan with an ounce of pride has to see this show.
Well, I almost missed it.
But let's forget messy details. It's Big Time in Chi-Town and there are some Mafioso who want Cena dead, so let's try to get this report going before the report winds up being a posthumous insult to his lack of ability.
(This isn't a straight-up recap, either. If you're looking for quality play-by-play type style, read the Gimmick's report. Even if you have already, you should read it again. Or, you could go with any of those other reports of inferior quality on the internet. Besides, if you're interested in Wrestlemania, I'd expect that you know the results by now anyway).
I'm glad you didn't miss the show. We can't have that! I watched it on the day and I'm always pleased when Vince puts the biggest one of the year on my Birthday. I can enjoy Wrestlemania more easily than any other wrestling event, because it makes me feel like a kid again.
All the star (*) ratings for the matches are from DBL. The only kinds of ratings that old Sammy uses are buttons that go to 11. Which isn't to say I have anything whatsoever against people doing otherwise.
So this time, we go with a new movie, and a new format. This one is a little closer to me.
THERE'S A RAW TAG DIVISION? TITLE MATCH: The Big Show and 'The Big Red Machine' Kane vs. Carlito Caribbean Cool and Chris 'Master of Masking Agents' Masters
This was an alright match, but poor booking in my opinion. Not that it mattered whether BigKane won or not, the titles are now on the waists of two generic male cheerleaders. Well.
It wasn't bad. I am glad they even had a tag title match on the show. The Spirit Squad are so good at their roles that I genuinely despise them. That's a compliment.
THE FORCE WAS WITH: Carlito. Whether you think he's a good wrestler or not, his facial expressions and body language in this match was priceless. Chicago seemed to like him. Kane also seemed on for this match, hitting a dropkick and a high-risk clothesline (although really, that shouldn't be unusual for a wrestler to be using wrestling moves).
I'm a Carlito fan. He's an excellent character and I think his wrestling ability is better than many people say.
THE DARK SIDE: Slow, relatively uneventful and lack of any real tag teams made this match next to useless other than setting up a Carlito turn, which really, would have been more interesting if they had the tag titles. (See: The Rockers)
I thought it was on okay opening match, with a few humorous moments. Certainly nothing special though. Sorry to be a wise guy, DBL, but The Rockers weren't tag champs when they split. In fact, even though they once did briefly hold the WWF tag straps, that reign is no longer "officially" recognised.
We see HBK backstage cutting an impressive promo (once again). What possible HBK will be present in the match if it isn't the early 90's HBK or the more recent HBK? Hmm.
I liked that promo. Nice work, Mr. Kid. You know, it isn't really important (because his performances are still always excellent), but I wish he'd cut his hair and change his theme music. I understand wanting to stick with tradition, but everyone needs to move on and he's been saying that himself an awful lot. Both those things seem stupid to me, for a man of his age and neither look good on him.
MONEY IN THE BANK 2 - SHELTON'S REVENGE - IC Champ Shelton 'Mamma's Boy' Benjamin vs 'Nature Boy' Ric Flair vs 'Mr. Monday Night' Rob Van Dam vs FINLAY vs Matt Hardy V2BETA vs Bobby 'Black Lesnar' Lashley
Once again, a very entertaining spotfest, with a few downers. Overall, not as good as last year, but given some of the talent involved, I was pleasantly surprised.
Plenty of fun, a few good stories going on at once and some very entertaining spots. I enjoyed this one very much. Though I'd agree it wasn't quite up to last year's standard, in terms of pure action.
THE FORCE WAS WITH: Shelton Benjamin, for once again proving that he is not only the most athletic star in the WWE but also for showing us that he has indeed been tutored by the great Kurt Angle because nobody else could teach you to show that much disregard to your own health. And to Vince, for making the right decision to let RVD win the match.
Shelton is a gun, especially when he gets the chance to shine in bouts of this nature. RVD's victory was the right choice and boy did the fans love finally seeing him getting the win.
THE DARK SIDE: Flair and Lashley were inappropriate for this matchup. Flair at least got the crowd going and took a seriously dangerous bump for an old man, but Lashley should have taken Benjamin's sunset powerbomb like a man instead of having to get three guys to take him down. I understand he's strong, but please. He can't possibly be stronger than gravity.
I have to disagree here. The story of Flair aiming for one last chance at another title run was set up very well. The fact that ladder matches are not the kind of thing he's known for was an intentional factor. He's out of his element and everyone knows it, that makes the odds even greater and people really cared due to that.
As for Lashley, I don't really get the backlash towards him being in this match. Gimmick was having a go at him too, comparing him to Goldberg. Why? Not everyone who is bald and has big muscles is the same person. Sure, they share certain elements, but the "monster powerhouse" role is a traditional and well established one. Lashley has a legit wrestling background, a passion for the business and a clear desire to keep improving. He didn't go out and no-sell every move, then destroy everyone in 30 seconds. He didn't even win!
|"Mister Chair In The Back" |
Obviously he's still learning, but he just did what he was told to do and I thought he played his part pretty well. The guy that seemed most inappropriate for the match to me was Finlay. Like most internet wresling geeks, I'm a fan of his, but this style of match isn't really his forte and I thought you could see that pretty easily.
Backstage, Orton acts all important and Mean Gene mentions how crap Bob Orton Jr. was in comparison to other great 2nd generation superstars, like Eddie Guerrero. Not really, but he might as well have, I think I could handle the necrophilia if it was Mean Gene delivering a promo, not randy. Then the class of 2006 Hall of Fame is presented, sans Bret Hart. Whiny little bitch. He may have been a great wrestler, but I know women that hold grudges shorter than he does. Now its time for a real Canadian Man.
I think Gene was still drunk. So, DBL chose to go with the old "whiny bitch" Bret Hart cliché. Didn't you say he'd sold out by accepting the Hall of Fame induction (during which, I might add, he spoke in an extremely positive way)? So then, when he sticks to his word and doesn't show up on WWE programming, he's a whiny bitch? He's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. Spend a few minutes in the dungeon with the dude, if you can still call him a bitch after that, then I will be impressed.
"MIDCARD FOR MAIN-EVENTERS" US TITLE MATCH: Chris "Canadian Violence" Benoit vs John "Bradshaw" Layfield.
Seriously, if they called Chris "Canadian Violence" everyone but Kurt Angle would run away scared. You may not have known this, but Chris Benoit is the only man alive that Chuck Norris won't look directly in the eye, because one look from Chris Benoit can break every bone in your body and cause all your internal organs to collapse.
"Canadian Violence"- I like that, DBL.
THE FORCE WAS WITH: The title switch. I love Chris Benoit but JBL can elevate a title much better than Benoit can. Also, this match had Chris Benoit, who still managed to carry it to a watchable match, because he is Chris Benoit. Benoit has even carried Mark Henry to his best match; it was about 30 seconds long, and consisted mostly of Mark Henry trying to clothesline Benoit, who immediately turned that into the crossface and And... I'm not sure. That's all DBL had here, must of accidentally left the rest of his sentence at home
JBL as US Champ is a perfect fit. Benoit doesn't need a belt, because anyone with half a brain knows how awesome he is.
THE DARK SIDE: I too had high hopes, and unfortunately they weren't met. These two would have had a ripper of a match if they weren't held back, likely due to the Hardcore match and the No Holds Barred matches later on in the card. Also, I'm sick of Eddie being used for cheap heel heat. JBL was Eddie's friend too and this stuff just sickens me.
It was a bit of a let down, after all the glowing reports of their prior bouts. But, it wasn't bad. Just needed more time. JBL really impressed me. I do wish they'd lay off that Eddie stuff too.
"OH MY GAAAAAAAAAWD" HARDCORE RULES FIGHT: Mrs Foley's Baby Boy vs. Miss Dumas' Whipping Boy
Match of the Night. This match had everything. It had all the sick spots a hardcore fight should have, it had a decent story and it had Joey Styles on commentary.
I wasn't too sure how good this one would be, but I had fairly high hopes. It exceeded those hopes, by a substantial margin. I loved every second of it.
THE FORCE WAS WITH: The whole damn matchup. Every bump was awesome, Edge took it like a man (especially the thumbtacks spot, ouch) and Foley dealt it out like he hasn't done in many years. The weapon choices were nicely done, especially Foley's stash. The Barbed Wire Socko was brilliant, and it was refreshing to see a little psychology in a hardcore match up. The finish was friggen insane, and words just don't do a flaming table spear any justice.
It is unanimous. I agree on all counts.
THE DARK SIDE: Explain to me how Mick Foley didn't get hurt by that spear if he was wearing a barbed wire belt. If it was sharp enough to penetrate the front layer of clothing, then it's strong enough to penetrate the back. Little errors like this would rarely go unnoticed, but in a match that was so good, it stands out. And to echo what the Gimmick said, a hardcore rules match shouldn't me match of the night at the biggest Wrestling show of the year.
Because Foley can take the pain! Maybe. Okay, I dunno. It was sweet, so I don't care. (Good point though, all the same).
Post match, Edge looked like he'd been through hell and back, but I reckon Foley could've gone another 20 minutes if he'd really wanted to. That's the difference between a hardcore newbie and a hardcore legend. Take notes kids.
Edge was going out of his way to "get over" the fact that he'd just been through hell and back. While the brutal experience he'd just endured meant that it didn't require a whole lot of acting, it was 100% intentional. He should be praised for that. Mick himself has said as much.
Next up, one of the funniest backstage skits in recent memory, with Booker T and the cast of WWE's 'freaks' (Burchill, Eugene, Snitsky, OprahDust). Its been recapped many times, and I don't think any do it justice. Just see for yourself. Oh, and get DiBiase back on my TV screen. Bring him back to manage some young guys with stupid gimmicks, because Young Wrestler + Stupid gimmick + Ted DiBiase = Stone Cold Steve Austin. True, Stone Cold came about after the Ringmaster, but still, DiBiase had to have had a HUGE roll in teaching undoubtedly the biggest star in pro-wrestling history.
At first I thought the skit was going to suck, but pretty soon I was cracking up. Funny stuff. I don't quite agree with DBL's DiBiase/Austin comments, but that's okay.
FIRST "SHOULD'VE GIVEN THIS TIME TO THE TRIPLE THREAT" MATCH: - HANDICRAP MATCH: Mr and Mrs 5-Time WCW Champion vs. Mr Wrestlecrap
Next, please. I don't want Booker to suffer anymore. You just know they're dying to feud Boogeyman and Eugene though. Let them, I say. If you're going to waste talent, make it useless talent (read: Eugene is useless, Nick Dinsmore is not)
I said that I found Boogeyman funny, but I'd probably be sick of him before long. Well, now I'm officially sick of him. It seems the crowd was too, because this was about as quiet as they got all night.
THE FORCE WAS WITH: At least this 'feud' led to that hilarious backstage skit.
THE DARK SIDE: A grand total of the entire match. The time wasted on this should've been given to the WHC match. What was the purpose of this match? So Vince could touch himself over the Worm Kiss?
It was shit. Poor Booker T, what has he done to deserve this rubbish? I'll give credit where it is due though - Sharmell is excellent in her role. She's really added something to the Booker T package. I couldn't stand her when she first started accompanying him to the ring, as a "face", but now I find her very amusing.
THE CULMINATION OF THE BEST FEUD IN THE LAST FEW YEARS WOMEN'S TITLE MATCH: 'Strausfaction Guaranteed' Trish Stratus vs Mickie Friggen James
What a match. I expected a little entertainment and got way more than I bargained for. Two hot women, not only wrestling, but wrestling well, and telling a great story (complete with lesbianism for all you 13 and 30 year olds to touch yourselves over). The perfect way to wash away the aftertaste of the Boringman.
This was my second favourite match of the show.
THE FORCE WAS WITH: The matchup. It'll be a long time before a US Women's Title match ever hits ***** but this was easily ***. The psychology was great, especially on Mickie's side of things. As for the cheering of Mickie and booing of Trish, I say sure, the Chicagoans are the rebellious type, but soon Mickie will be getting pops like that everywhere. I think a combination of a refreshing character on a wrestler who is genuinely happy to be where she is have come together to start getting her over to monstrous levels. It's worked before with another wrestler, you may have heard of him, Dave Batista? Yeah.
Mickie's twat claw. That was my favourite moment, easily.
THE DARK SIDE: Everything was going perfectly until the botched ending. Trish may have been still selling the leg but you could tell something went wrong (Mickie's face gave that much away) and it probably stopped the match from going to ***1/2.
You really dig those * thingys don't you DBL? It was unfortunate they messed up the finish, but I didn't think it was such a big deal. They recovered quickly and the crowd popped big-time for Mickey's victory, so they obviously managed to forgive that minor slip up too.
And just to verify, I was on the Mickie bandwagon before it was cool, back when she was working with CM Punk in TNA. Who, I hear you ask? Don't worry, you'll find out soon.
Well, congratulations to you, I suppose.
SECOND "SHOULD'VE GIVEN (some of) THIS TIME TO THE TRIPLE THREAT" MATCH: Undertaker vs 'The World's Most Useless Man' Mark Henry
Oh yeah, MARK HENRY is stopping the Undertaker's undefeated Wrestlemania streak. Next year, it will be UT vs Edge, because there is no way UT is letting somebody else hold his accolade. Nobody, I repeat nobody, is taking this away from Mark Calloway. I mean, would you give a 14-0 record at the biggest stage of them all away?
Last year, I wanted 'Taker to lose, but didn't mind when he won, because the match was a beauty. This year, I (like everyone else) knew he'd win and I was happy for him to do so. I actually quite liked this match, but I have no real idea why. It wasn't very good.
THE FORCE WAS WITH: At least UT pulled his finger out and pulled off a nice tope suicida. Although, there are about a dozen cruisers in the back who can be way more impressive.
|White men can jump. But only if they are zombies. |
Dude, come on! Undertaker is nearly 7 feet tall and he's no spring chicken either. A cruiser doing a move like that is one thing, but seeing a man of that size and age pull it off so well is another matter all together.
THE DARK SIDE: This match was way too long; even fast-forwarding through it seemed time consuming. 7 minutes of this should have gone to the Triple Threat.
Again, I liked it fairly well. But I won't argue because, by all regular standards of judgement, it wasn't a good match.
EMPLOYEE'S FANTASY MATCH: BEAT UP THE BOSS, NO HOLDS BARRED: The Chairman Vincent 'Kennedy' McMahon vs 'The Heartbreak Kid' Shawn Michaels.
The match that was step one in setting up the main event at Wrestlemania 23 - Vince McMahon vs God. Don't believe me? Look at the first event announced for Backlash. Regardless, this was how PPV squashes should be done. Vince hit about a 4/10 on the Great Muta Scale, and HBK took the Chairman to school; Old school. HBK kicked Vince's ass, then kicked some cheerleader ass, then some more of Vince's ass, then Shane-O-Mac's ass, and finally Vince's ass, for good measure.
I had no prior interest in seeing this match. Zero. But, I liked it. Well done, you two silly old bastards.
THE FORCE WAS WITH: SUCK IT!!!!!! HBK pulling out the old DX chop before dropping that massive elbow from a guesstimated 12 feet above the ground into the trash-head himself Vinnie K before a big superkick was all this match needed. Is old HBK coming back? If The Almighty signs with the WWE, will HHH still be King of Kings? Will JBL still be the wrestling god? Will D-X become Disciple Generation X? Will I ever run out of hypotheticals? Who knows?
Heaps of great little touches from all involved. A first rate arse kicking.
THE DARK SIDE: It wasn't overbooked enough. Only 6 guys running in? Come on Vince. We all expected at least 11. And we expected Bret. I don't care if some people thought that would have been a bad idea or not. I wanted to see it, and even if I'm part of the minority, who cares? Vince doesn't listen to the majority anyway. See: John Cena.
Who is "we"? I never expected Bret.
RATING: *1/2 for the wrestling, **1/4 for the emotion and psychology, so, call it ***3/4
Much better than I thought it would be. Top quality violence and a great effort from both guys.
THAT TRIPLE THREAT MATCH I KEEP SAYING NEEDED EXTRA TIME: Kurt "The Wrestling Machine" Angle vs Royal Rumble winner Rey Mysterio (complete with crappy live band) vs Smackdown's only Main Event Heel, The Legend Killer Randy Orton.
This was a good match, with the feel good finish of the year. Rey won the Rumble, so this should have been last, and it should have got the full 30 minutes it deserved. But alas, I can't change things. One day, I will. I promise.
I'm with DBL (and most people), it was fine, but it should have been longer.
THE FORCE WAS WITH: For the short time it got, it was still a very good match. It had a couple of slowish spots, but otherwise it was fast-paced, with some good near finishes, particularly with the ref missing both of Angle's ankle locks. It had the crowd needlessly frustrated, who were fully behind the Olympic Gold Medallist in this one. It added a sense of anticipation to the match even if you already knew the result.
I loved most of it, but was left wanting more. They deserved more time. Again, everyone has said that, but for good reason.
THE DARK SIDE: Firstly, the match was way too short. Secondly, Rey Mysterio winning the World Heavyweight Championship from a push which may or may not have been based on the late Eddie Guerrero. Kurt Angle was WHC, and should have been one of the central players from Day 1 of the build-up, but unfortunately he took backseat to what is frankly described by many as a necrophilic storyline. I completely agree. Please, WWE, RIP stands for Rest In Peace. Please let Eddie do so.
RATING: ***1/2 (losing big points over time constraints)
FINAL "SHOULD'VE GIVEN THIS TIME TO THE TRIPLE THREAT" MATCH: PLAYBOY PILLOWFIGHT - Candice Michelle vs Torrie Wilson.
Why is this here? Why is it after the Smackdown main event? I'm with Gimmick, I ain't even going to bother with this crap.
Same. I've seen boobies in person. I've even touched them! They feel like bags of sand (that's a gag from the movie 40 Year Old Virgin).
SON-IN-LAW GETS THE MAIN EVENT: WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
THE GAME Triple H vs Everybody's favourite Wrestler John Cena
This wasn't a wrestling match. It was a bizarre social experiment. A big thanks to the Chicago crowd for being such great catalysts. Everyone was anticipating this match, just to see how the crowd treated Cena. Oh boy was it good. It was like the Goldberg/Lesnar experiment from Wrestlemania XX. HHH still managed to carry it to something relatively watchable, but nothing of Main Event calibre.
This match was better than I was expecting. The crowd really made it, but I believe Trips and (especially) Cena deserve more credit for how well they played to them. I think it is fair to say that it wasn't up to WM maint even standards. There have been plenty of worse 'Mania main events though, if that's any consolation.
THE FORCE WAS WITH: The Chicagoans giving Cena exactly the kind of reaction a wrestler of such poor calibre as himself deserves. Cena needs to improve, he can't just keep having fancy entrances expecting to get the crowd to pop off that. He better drop that title at Backlash.
|Okay, DBL, there is the damn pic you asked for. |
Speaking of special entrances, HHH came dressed as Conan the Barbarian, and Cena as a Gangster. Why is this relevant? Because one of Cena's 'cronies' was none other than CM Punk! Look out for this guy folks, support him. He has the skills to go big, if the WWE lets him.
There are a shitload of wrestlers much worse than Cena. But most of them don't get pushed anywhere near as hard, so I can sort of agree with that. The crowd's reactions were great though and really helped keep the bout from getting too uninteresting. Cena and Trips did put plenty of effort into it. I've seen far worse, but, apart from the hot crowd, it just wasn't anything special either.
THE DARK SIDE: Cena won. No explanation necessary. He won with a crappy STS (that's not a misspelling, STS is Step-over Toehold Sleeper, which is where a wrestler chokes his opponent rather than applying a facelock). And the entrances were cheesy and crap. A terrible way to end the show.
I was glad Cena retained. Crazy, I know. I very much hope he loses the belt soon (and I suspect that he will), but I laughed when he won. Because I'm a bastard and I found it amusing that so many people were going to be pissed off about it. Sorry. The submission victory, however, was too much (even for me). You shouldn't have a guy as over as Triple H tapping out to a hold as poorly executed as that. It just looks ridiculous.
I won't bother making fun of the entrances. You have eyes.
ENTRANCE RATING: ***** (Purely for the appearance of CM Punk)
MATCH RATING: **
Thanks for reading folks, catch you sometime in the future. May the C4ce be with you.
Well done, DBL. Thanks for letting me share your article. Sorry I gave you crap a few times there; please don't take offence to my smart arse comments (I can never shut myself up). I'm looking forward to tagging with you again for the next B Team PPV report.
*Updated note: DBL and I shared a few emails about this stuff. We believe the next "big one" is Summerslam. That's still quite a way off. But the Gimmick will be covering all the shows between now and then (and SummerSlam itself, for that matter)- so Buttonhole's wrestling fans should continue to be looked after very nicely.*
by: Darth Bin Laden
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