Thursday, 23 August 2012

PPV Review: WWE Summerslam 2006

TD Banknorth Garden, Boston, MA
August 20th, 2006

World Wrestling Entertainment brought the hottest party of the summer to Boston with some of the year's most compelling, intense storylines ready to come to ahead and bitter rivals looking to settle scores.

Here's what went down:

Rey Mysterio vs. Chavo Guerrero

Only in professional wrestling could a man's death be so exploited for profit in such a manner as the storyline between Rey and Chavo. Only in WWE, arguably, could that man's blood relative be cast as the bad guy in said story.

Yet such moral qualms about this tale aside, it's fair to say it culminated in a fantastic opening contest at Summerslam 2006, which saw both men going back and forth with some gripping, fast-paced, high-impact action, coming to ahead when Vickie Guerrero got involved and accidently cost Mysterio the win.

A great opening contest which fans hoped would set the scene for things to come on that hot summer's night.

Your winner: Chavo Guerrero

Backstage, King Booker talked with Sharmell about his upcoming title defence against Batista. Booker was arguably the most entertaining he's ever been during this royal phase of his career, and his mannerisms here were priceless, especially when Edge and Lita arrived on the scene and the two debated over who was the real WWE Power Couple.

Extreme Rules ECW Championship Match
Big Show (c) vs. Sabu 

Far better than any match involving Big Show really had any right to be, this was a decent little WWE-style hardcore match which didn't drag or disappoint in a way it well could have done.

A determined challenger, Sabu took it to his much larger opponent with a slew of chairs and tables and nasty-looking shots, felling the champion on more than one occasion yet failing to nail the win.

Ultimately then, it was Big Show who triumphed, planting his rival with a vicious chokeslam through a table to retain the gold.

Your winner and still ECW Champion: The Big Show

Heading to the back, latest Diva Search winner Layla was initially shunned by the other girls in the lockroom. However, their completely bitchy attitude was revealed to be a rouse and welcomed her to the team by, I kid you not, taking her into the shower for a spanking. As one of those typical male types, it was somehow one of the most pointless, and  arousing, things ever witnessed on TV.


Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Orton

It was really the crowds who made this match what it was, their energy and enthusiasm higher than any match before or after it on the card.

Though fair play to Orton and Hogan for keeping those same crowds riveted with a slow, building story, focussing more on pyschology and old-school storytelling than hard, non-stop action.

Far from a classic bout, this was nonetheless a good showing from both men, with the cocky young heel Orton taking it to the aging hero throughout, before Hogan found the will and strength to drop a leg and win the contest.

Your Winner: Hulk Hogan

Returning tot he back once more, Melina played a game of reverse psychology with Mick Foley as he prepared to face Ric Flair in an I Quit match. If Foley was having doubts about beating Flair before, he went to the ring fully confident thanks to Melina.

I Quit Match:
Ric Flair vs. Mick Foley

In an age when garbage promotions and ridiculously over-the-top gimmick matches had long since reached their peak, these two veterans proved that it was possible to beat each other senseless with all manner of flesh-ripping weapons and still tell a compelling story.

Make no mistake about it, Flair and Foley beat the living hell out of each other. Barbed wire, thumb tacks and trash cans all came into play, yet rather than simply plodding from one ultra-violent spot to the next, the two legends used what they had to deliver a great match.

Melina's involvement in the bout eventually led to Foley's downfall as the Hardcore Legend uttered the three magic words to prevent The Nature Boy from laying out Melina with a barbed-wire baseball bat.

A fine match, and one well worth tracking down.

Your Winner: Ric Flair

Prior to the next contest, Vince and Shane McMahon made a deal to have Umaga involved in their upcoming tag match.

World Heavyweight Championship Match:
King Booker (c) vs. Batista

There really isn't a whole lot of good one can say about this match; boring, forgetabble, and with barely anything going on to retain the crowd's attention, this was basically a snorefest from start to finish.

Throw in the cheap, DQ ending, and what your left with is by far the worst match on the card to this point.

Your winner by disqualification: Batista (King Booker retains the title)

Looking for a little back-up of their own, D-Generation-X got under the skin of a certain 'monster' (who was hidden from view), by telling him how Umaga, and not Mystery Hidden Wrestler, was regarded as the real monster in WWE.


Triple H & Shawn Michaels vs. Vince & Shane McMahon

With hindsight, I understand why this match was almost universally panned, most fans seeing not an entertaining contest which gave the fans what they wanted, but as DX burying 90% of the active roster and remaining completely unscathed.

Not in this writer's eyes.

Yes, Michaels and Hunter had little difficulty in overcoming the Spirit Squad, William Regal, Finlay and Mr. Kennedy who all made pre-match run-ins. Yet their triumph was only temporary; throw in a cameo from the Big Show, and what we actually had was DX taking a complete beatdown throughout the bulk of this affair.

The McMahons' 'tribute' to teams such as Demolition, Hart Foundation and Legion of Doom was an entertaining spot, the highlight of their over-cocky destruction of their heated rivals. Yet when the tides turned, the good guys prevailed, and an entertaining -if not classic- match came to a head with the good guys on top.

I'm perfectly happy with that result. It was a fun match, nobody (bar the Spirit Squad) was harmed in the long-run, and, in terms of storyline at least, the right thing happened.

Your winners: Triple H & Shawn Michaels 

After one last look at the gripping feud between Edge and Cena, widely regarded as one of Cena's best to date, it was time fo the two men to settle their differences in the ring.


WWE Championship Match:
Edge (c) vs. John Cena

By far one of the best matches on the card, this was a fitting way to push the dramatic feud between two of the WWE's calibre stars to the next level.

Both men gave it everything they had, knocking the hell out of each other in a hard-fought contest, with Cena coming within a hair of regaining the gold, yet it was Edge, with a brass-knuckles-assisted shot to the back of the head, who stole victory from the jaws of defeat.

Your winner and still WWE Champion: Edge

1 comments:

I have three things to point out about this event:

1.This was the first SummerSlam to not feature The Undertaker, since management knew that his planned Last Man Standing match with The Great Khali (which they did hold on the August 18th edition of SmackDown) would suck and take the grade for this show down a big notch.

2.Big Show was very unhealthy as he was bloated and tired-looking at this PPV. Regardless, he was still delivering the goods with weekly crazy brawls on ECW. The irony is that Big Show was finally being booked as an unbeatable giant champion, but it's too bad it came at a time when he seemed to be physically breaking down.

3.One important thing in the backstory for Flair vs. Foley was that throughout 2006, Foley maintained a blog on the WWE website and often mentioned Melina, claiming she was one of his favorite performers. Foley wanted to include her in this storyline, so as the weeks went on, he began to mention their friendship on TV. Melina would play a role here and the next night, but that would be the extent of it.

The major issue with this angle, along with the feud with Terry Funk and Tommy Dreamer two months earlier (which culminated at One Night Stand 2006), was that Foley seemed to really build up these angles in his mind, but when it came time for them to play out, they seemed random and out of place. This is especially true for his friendship with Melina that came off more like a creepy crush than any sort of plutonic friendship.

Now with that said, the ending where Foley quits just to save Melina's bacon really upset me because the I Quit match got off to such a hot start and was developing into a classic sick brawl, but the convoluted Melina stuff really messed it up. I understand what Foley was going for and know he was just trying to help elevate Melina, but it was hard to take this relationship seriously when it had hardly been mentioned on TV or established as something we should care about. This was hardly Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth.

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