As I’ve mentioned before, I’m currently working my way through every Raw, Smackdown and PPV from 2001 forward. I had decided prior to New Years Revolution 2006 that no matter the card, I was making it a network pick for the last two matches alone, both of which I was familiar with. It turned out that the entire card, as well as the build-up to it, was pretty solid.
Intercontinental Title match: Edge (w/ Lita) v. Ric Flair (c) – Hey, Ric Flair totally had the Intercontinental Title in the mid 2000s. He has to be the oldest title holder, right? Who else would it be? The lead-up to this match was actually centered around Flair’s arrest for road-rage after he pulled a guy out of his car and beat the shit out of him. Wooo!
I wish the reality era happened back when Flair was doing coke and sleeping with everything that moved. The story-lines would be more hardcore than ECW.
You forced my hand and sent me on a rampage throughout Wiki. Flair was apparently 58 at the time of this taping. Terry Funk cut it close, winning the WCW title when he was 56 (!!!), but alas, your winner always and forever…WOOOOO!!!
Edge debuted his in-ring show The Cutting Edge and spent every episode harshly making fun of Flair. This included Sgt. Slaughter and Michael P.S. Hayes coming out to the ring and telling him he had to stop. Edge asked Hayes where Terry Gordy was and then said,“Oh yeah…he’s dead.”
Edge is such a damn good heel.
Almost as good as Randy getting heat off of Eddie’s death. Heels utilizing dead-guy jokes are always a win.
But hey, the moment Stephanie McMahon mentions Eddie to Vickie Guerrero, everyone loses it…
Anyways, this match was way better than it should have been. I mean, sure, Edge…but this is late-era Ric Flair. Still, you have retro heel versus modern heel and it ends up being a solid clash. The match ends with Edge beating Flair with his Money in the Bank briefcase after Flair gave Lita the figure-four. When will Edge ever cash that thing in?
I always forget that Flair was a better wrestler than half the roster in his 60’s.
At this point, they cut to Angle, who delivers what is probably the ultimate heel promo. He says he wants us to lose the war in Iraq, thinks France is the best country ever, hates black people, and says if he could go back in time and tap anyone out, he would choose Jesus Christ.
Angle is a better heel than Flair. Yeah, I said it. My favorite heels are always the over-the-top ones. A guy wearing an American Flag singlet saying France is the best country ever is gold. Gold, I say!
Women’s Championship Match: Trish Stratus (c) v Mickie James – So the build-up to this was a few months of Mickie James coming on as a new Diva and being obsessed with Trish. Mickie is a pretty solid wrestler and certainly held her own with Trish. This could have been a great time to not only showcase Mickie, but to really give her an extra push by going over Trish. Instead, Trish kept the title. The crowd was really behind Mickie on this one and was even booing Trish. At this point, she certainly had the title for way too long.
I love Mickie. I really wish she would have lasted longer in the WWE. She had everything. Good match that told a great story. So, WWE is currently paying Eva Marie to “wrestle”, and not paying Mickie James to wrestle. National tragedy really.
DONT YOU REMEMBER SHES TOO FAT TO BE A DIVA /dead
Jerry Lawler v Gregory Helms – People complain that Raw relies too much on the WWE App. They show something during the break on the app, and then when they come back, they show the clip on TV. “The App sucks, why do they do that?” Well, they actually have been doing this a while, even back in ’06.
On Raw a week prior, a particular clip that previously aired on WWE.com was shown. That clip featured the newly turned-heel Gregory Helms calling out Jerry Lawler for making fun of him when he was The Hurricane. This of course leads to a match for whatever reason because why not? Typically, Lawler allows the heel to get a few moves in then celebrates with a win. This was no exception.
Triple H v Big Show – Like most Triple H feuds, this had a great set-up.
This match is one of the best examples of why Triple H is called the “cerebral assassin.” He really took his time working Show and avoiding that cast, to the extent that he finally got it off of him. After that, Triple H continues his trend of brutal PPV matches and simply takes Show down. A great match that starts slow, but methodical, and ends brutally.
Triple H is a genius at emphasizing brutality and not relying on high spots. Don’t get me wrong, I love a spot-fest just as much as the next guy. But there is something respectable about Trips making stuff that doesn’t hurt look like he murdered them simply because he told a story as setup…which is kind of what wrestling is. Kind of. And falling off ladders.
Shelton Benjamin v Viscera – A week prior, the worst thing to happen to Shelton Benjamin’s career happened: his mom showed up. Yep, this is the first PPV where the future Gold Standard shows up with his mom by his side. While it felt like forever, this gimmick only lasted a few months. Instead of actually reviewing this match, here are two fun facts about the actress who played Shelton’s mom: her voice was used to re-dub racist Tom and Jerry cartoons, and she also once co-hosted the AVN awards.
I typically edit these things prior to posting, and I’ll have you know I left that paragraph exactly the way it was written. It’s perfect.
I’d be curious to know what the internet thought of this gimmick at the time. I can’t imagine it was anything good.
Speaking of AVN awards, next is a Bra and Panties match that was won by a Raw Diva’s Search contestant. Again, instead of a review, I’ll just give you some fun facts about the winner, Ashley.
Just kidding, there are no fun facts about her.
John Cena (c) v Shawn Michaels v Carlito v Chris Masters v – Finally, we reach the main event: an Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship. You’ll notice even before Cena and Michaels – the first two entrants – go at it, the “Cena sucks” chants start. This is one of the first PPVs where the crowd is not fairly anti-Cena. HBK beats up on Cena throughout the first few minutes, with Cena starting to take over right before the third entrant, Carlito, is released.
I keep forgetting they actually pushed Carlito.
It should be noted that earlier in the PPV, Carlito and Chris Masters made a pact to take out everyone before having it out between the two so someone fresh would get the belt. Carlito immediately gets pummeled by Cena, but eventually starts to dominate both him and HBK thanks to being the freshest entrant. Michaels and Cena begin to team up on Carlito, and all three end up laid out prior to the fourth entrant, Kurt Angle, showing up to a large pop.
Angle deals out a comical number of suplexes and quickly takes over the match, dealing out the most pain to Michaels while making use of the steel floor and cage. I really should have counted the number of suplexes Angle does in this match. Chris Masters shows up as the fifth entrant – right as Carlito is about to tap out of the ankle lock – and comes to his aid, as promised.
I counted… It’s a lot.
It doesn’t take long until Masters is in the ankle lock himself. Cena goes for an FU on Angle, but ends up in the ankle lock himself. He holds on long enough for Michaels to deliver Sweet Chin Music to Angle, and subsequently pinning him before Kane even gets in the match. By this point, the heels and faces have teamed up and it feels like a tag team match. Great clothesline by Cena to Masters during this portion.
Kane comes out with Cena and Michaels already laid out. He goes straight for Carlito and Masters. Kane throws out Carlito and beats on Masters. Following an unusual high spot from Kane, he goes on a choke slam spree, ended when he gets the Master Lock put on him. Carlito and Masters cooperate to keep Kane down on the ground as much as possible. Finally, they resort to stacking on top of him to pin him.
It now breaks down to Cena v Masters and HBK v Carlito, with Masters helping Carlito after he thinks Cena is down. Michaels gets his second wind and starts taking everyone, including Cena, out, laying him down with Sweet Chin Music. While Cena is out, Carlito and Masters eliminate HBK.
The duo goes after Cena but, of course, Cena overcomes the odds. Masters saves Carlito from an FU and, after going at it for a while, Carlito recovers. Once he’s back, they again beat on Cena until Carlito tricks Masters to put Cena in the Master Lock. Carlito then lands a low blow on Masters and rolls him up for a pin. Carlito then immediately loses.
Despite Cena ending up battered and bloody in the middle of the chamber, this show is not over. Vince McMahon decides to pop out, and history is suddenly made. For the first time ever, the Money in the Bank briefcase is about to be cashed in. This sets the precedent for most cash-ins, in that it is done at the most opportune moment for the holder of the briefcase. The crowd immediately comes back to life.
According to Edge on a past episode of Talk is Jericho, Edge gave Vince the cash-in idea while Cena was at his most vulnerable…post Elimination Chamber. Vince, however, was the one who decided that Edge should get the belt. When Vince takes the case from Edge, he mouths the words “prove me right.”
The “match” (if you want to call it that) is fairly quick. Cena overcomes the odds by kicking out of one spear, but isn’t able to get out of two. Edge gets the victory and the WWE Championship for the first time by cashing in at the right moment. Watching the crowd lose their minds is fantastic.
Of course, the next night, Raw had a segment that pulled ratings which haven’t been beaten since: Edge and Lita’s live-sex celebration.
WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?
This turned Edge into a Hall-of-Famer overnight. The cashing-in, that is. Not the live sex celebration.
Well, maybe that too.
After seeing so many cash-ins that occur at the most opportune moment for the contract holder, it seems obvious that all cash-ins should be that way. Well, at least for heels. But it was Edge’s idea that defined what the cash-in would become. Not a polite “Excuse me, I would like to have a match,” but a time to kick someone where it hurts the most when they’ve already been knocked down.
How integral was Edge to the concept of Money in the Bank? He was involved in the first six wins and/or cash-ins.
Wow, didn’t know that. Solid card with the highlight definitely being the cash-in.
Seriously, WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED???
Michael Edwards’ Grade: A-
Kevin Bowden’s Grade: B+
John Daigle’s Grade: B+
Average Grade: A
Next Time: Extreme Rules 2012