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Ring Crew Reviews: WWE Royal Rumble 2006

January 27, 2011 | Posted by Jack Bramma
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Ring Crew Reviews: WWE Royal Rumble 2006  

DVD Packaging: This is the Royal Rumble Anthology edition so it comes in different packages with 5 discs in each one. The fourth volume box is white with gold trim.

DVD Presentation: The menu is simple but it’s the same for every disc in the set. It has this triumphant fanfare playing over a brief montage from that year’s RR on the right half of the screen. The left half is the same as the box design except it’s white with gold trim.

Relevant Storylines: Flair does the usual awesome RR stint that lasts about 30 seconds and somehow winds up being more entertaining than the entire undercard. John Cena wants no part of Lita but Mickie James and Essa Rios might. JBL jobs clean in under 5 minutes on PPV and it’s not to Batista or Ultimate Warrior. Kurt Angle, no longer a ham sandwich, vows revenge on that little bastard Daivari and that big bastard Mark Henry.

Scheduled Card:
1. Open Invitational Six Way Texas Tornado Match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Funaki vs. Jamie Noble vs. Nunzio vs. Paul London vs. Gregory Helms vs. Kid Kash (c).
2. Mickie James vs. Ashley.
3. JBL vs. The Boogeyman.
4. Royal Rumble Match.
5. WWE Championship: John Cena vs. Edge (c).
6. World Heavyweight Championship: Mark Henry vs. Kurt Angle (c).

• Fairly typical video package until the awesome Rated “R” trailer for Edge kicks in and his reign. Plenty of quotables. Edge: “I am not some transitional champion!” because he was a transitional champ at this point. Cena: “You wanna get gritty? Well, we getting gritty Rated R Superstar!” because it sounds so ridiculous how he says it.

• The menu music that has been the same on every DVD in the anthology so far is finally identified. It is the 2006 RR music.

Open Invitational Six Way Texas Tornado Match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Funaki vs. Jamie Noble vs. Nunzio vs. Paul London vs. Gregory Helms vs. Kid Kash (c).. Champ’s out first even though there are SIX people in the match. That’s about as convoluted a name as Kevin Nash’s The Kevin Nash Open Invitational X Division Gauntlet Battle Royal at Bound for Glory. Noble kicks Funaki before the bell. Nunzio’s music is like a bad Snitsky remix. Series of roll ups to start with none getting a close pin because they keep getting reversed. This provides a cool visual if nothing else. Everyone gangs on Gregory Helms because he’s the only one from RAW. Kash peels off Funaki and hits a series of kicks but Nunzio breaks it up. Nunzio gets a hair neckbreaker but Noble breaks up the pin. Noble chops Nunzio in the corner and hits a powerslam for 2 then applies the armbar but Helms breaks it up. London hits a dropkick on Helms and then uses the momentum to flip over into a pin on Noble but Funaki breaks it up. That was beautiful. London with a bodyslam and a senton on Helms. This is kinda boring so far as it’s just 6 generic brawls in the ring. London tries an up and over headscissors in the corner but Helms tosses him. Nunzio with a Fameasser off the top for 2 as Noble breaks it up. Nunzio catapults Noble into the corner and Funaki hits a bulldog on the comeback but the pin gets broken up. Everyone is just too damn close together in the ring. Kash backdrops Nunzio over the top onto Helms and London. Noble hits a leg lariat on Kash but the pin is broken up. Funaki sends Noble off and he does a suicide dive onto Nunzio as Helms exits stage left on the bump. Funaki sends Kash into the corner and after a right goes up top but Kash dumps him to the floor. London hits a jumping back kick on Kash that sends him to the floor. London goes up top and hits the Shooting Star Press onto the lot of them and they barely stop his momentum before he hits the floor. Good spot but tough fall. London puts Kash back in but Helms headbutts London and hits a swinging neckbreaker off the top rope. Another cool move. Kash disposes of Helms with a dropkick and hits the dead level brainbuster on London but the pin is broken up. Everyone back in now. Kash with a neck/backbreaker on Nunzio for 2. The match has definitely picked up. Noble with a yazuka kick on Kash. Noble chops Funaki off the top and hits a fireman’s carry gutbuster and then applies a camel clutch dragonsleeper. Helms tries to kick him to break it up but Noble ducks and Helms just dumps him and hits the running enzuiguri on Funaki for the 3 to win it at 7:40. Boring for the first few minutes but did pick up. Ended up just being a random assortment of high impact moves. **1/4

• Meanwhile, Vince namedrops Louis Farrakhan and determines he’ll be running the number lottery with Victoria, Torrie Wilson, and Candace Michelle’s help. Orton up first and he’s excited about his number. Triple H is next and calls Orton, “Mr. Destiny,” and Jim Belushi just rolled over in his hammock at that one. Triple H asks Torrie Wilson to open her box and Candace Michelle to hold his ball. Right. Then he draws a number and is pissed and demands his ball back. Orton exists saying he’ll see Triple H out there or maybe he won’t. Solid segment.

• Next, we see Trish backstage and Mickie James tells her she loves her before she heads out to ref the next match.

Mickie James vs. Ashley. Trish is special guest referee and women’s champ. Trish is gorgeous here in the ref top. POWER STANDOFF TO START! MJ wins the lock up. Ashley with something that could loosely be defined as a shove. The lockup takes them to the floor and they shove some more. A “We Want Puppies!” chant 10 seconds in. Back in, they do an arm wringer reverse spot as Ashley slowly does La Magistral for 1. She tosses MJ by her arm and now with another arm wringer. Styles: “Ashley is very technically sound.” Yes, of course. MJ gets the troll yell of frustration and takes a breather. Ashley follows out and WHATACLOTHESLINEBYASHLEY as Styles is being forced to emulate McMahon. Ashley with rights in the corner and as Trish breaks it up MJ attacks her from behind. MJ with a single leg Boston Crab and then boots her to the floor. MJ then drives Ashley into the ring post stomach first. MJ with a baseball slide on Ashley and more boots and a bridged Perfectplex for 2. King and Style playing up the Trish/Mickie storyline and MJ’s “obsession.” MJ with a bow and arrow but Ashley breaks it up with WHATARIGHTHANDBYASHLEY. Ashley with tepid boots. All right, let’s take this shit home. Ashley with a couple of hair tosses and gets a crucifix for 2. Styles selling this weak crap as effective is embarrassing. Ashley botches a spear as the crowd turns on her. In the corner, MJ counters with a powerbomb for the 3 at 7:36. Started out passable but quickly went south due to Ashley’s limitations and trepidation. 1/2* Post-match, MJ hugs the disinterested Trish. King: “You can’t celebrate with the referee!”

• Next, we see Gregory Helms chatting on WWE.com.

• Vince wants to see the divas’s tattoos and Show offers to show his as he draws his number. Rey is next and they start playing up the Rey doing it for Eddie angle. It’s a nice gesture but exploitative at the same time.

JBL vs. The Boogeyman. JBL has Jillian Hall sans facial growth with him because Boogeyman already ate it. BM smacks a clock over his head, gets some pyro, and has a shaman’s staff complete with voodoo curse smoke. Pre-match, BM eats and does the Atlanta Falcon Dirty Bird. Cole: “Then he does that… that… SHAKING THING!” JBL shoves Jilian into BM and she begs off and he goes into full mount and threatens her with worms. JBL sneaks him from behind but Boogey fights it off with the power of the rooster strut and tries a right but JBL pulls him to the floor where Boogey hilariously oversells the bump with an unneeded forward roll. JBL sends him into the stairs and the announce table as he continues to no sell and then eats a big boot with another forward roll bump. Back in, JBL shouts for Jilian to distract the ref and he does this IN FRONT OF THE REF WHILE PULLING THE TAPE OFF HIS WRISTS. GODDAMMIT. The ref stupidly walks away and JBL chokes BM with the tape. Boogey no sells again and gets the two handed choke before JBL pokes him in the eye and hits some rights and tries the Clothesline from Hell but BM ducks and JBL eats post. A boot that JBL no sells and a Meltdown later and Boogey is blown up and gets the emphatic 3 at 1:54. This pile of shit doesn’t deserve a DUD. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s the worst match I’ll ever review but definitely so far. -***.

• Next, Vince’s ego trip continues with the divas as Shelton Benjamin and his mama draw a number and he promises to eliminate HBK from the RR. Melina and MNM are in and each draw numbers and they are neutral about them and they also promise to toss HBK.

Royal Rumble. This was the year it was moved to the middle of the show so UT could return at the end of the PPV by floating in on the one of the Wrestlemania I little rings and get a title shot through hand gestures. Video package is better than previous years as it showcases more people. Chris Masters, Bobby Lashley, Matt Hardy, Rey Mysterio, Showster, Triple H are treated as big threats and Benoit-Booker-Orton and HBK-Vince and RVD-Carlito-Kane are treated as main feuds or collisions to look out for. The Spirit Squad out first. I loved this gimmick; it was a shame they were such jobbers. They do a cheer and then accost Lilian Garcia until she announces to give them a hand.

• Trips gets 1 and Rey is number 2 and driving a version of Eddie’s car. I’m just not a fan of this vicarious angle. Eddie chant at the bell as Triple H wants to make sure he has Rey’s attention. They soak it up and Rey hangs on with a side headlock. He gets sent off but runs through Trips’s legs and dropkicks him down, more kicks, and a springboard crossbody. Off a whip, he gets a flying headscissors and mounts in the corner with right hands. Trips picks it up and tries to dump him but Mysterio lands on the apron and shotguns back him, hits a springboard dropkick but whiffs on the 619. All Rey early as 90 seconds later Simon Dean is next and Triple H clothesline Rey down. Dean calls Trips off and jumps Rey to boos. He tries to toss him and then tries to celebrate with Triple H. I don’t think Simon Dean has ever watched a RR. Trips just punches him to cheers and Rey of course landed on the apron and gets the seated senton and they toss Simon. Triple H sincerely tells Rey they should work together and Rey agrees and Triple H immediately jumps him from the front, no cheapshot. Awesome. Rey fights back with kicks and dropkicks Trips into the second turnbuckle. Rey with a Bronco Buster as Psicosis is next at 2 minutes interval. Hmm. Wonky clock. Psicosis goes for Rey again and then hits the spinwheel kick on Triple H to crickets. Rey and Psicosis do the bulldog/legdrop combo spot on Trips. Psicosis with a TKO facebuster on Rey then does the Cactus Jack “bang, bang” taunt for some reason. Psi tries to Razor Edge Rey to the floor but he counters with a huracanrana to eliminate Psicosis. Trips with a spinebuster as Flair is next and he wants a piece of Triple H’s ass due to their great but largely one-sided feud in late 05. They slug it out to Woos throughout the building. Flair with a backdrop and a strut. More chops and right hands. Trips with a jawbreaker but Flair counters with the testicular claw. Trips goes to the eye and then Flair goes to the eye better and Triple H backdrops him to the floor. WTF. Why does Flair always last like only a minute during the 2000s? Showster is next and he’s got business with Trips too for stabbing him in the eye with a pen. Triple H runs into a headbutt and Rey hasn’t been doing ANYTHING other than laying around for a while. Show chops the hell out of Triple H and headbutts Rey. Triple H runs into a sideslam. Show does the triplicate elbows as Coach is next. He goes for Showster as the crowd chants “You Suck!” Show casually chokes him over the top. Show press slams Trips. Alright, let’s go. Match slows down with Show on offense and no one else. Show with a Choke Slam on Triple H as Rey continues to lay around and Bobby Lashley is next. Always felt like Lashley didn’t give wrestling enough of a chance or maybe the other way around. He could have been huge, despite a charisma vacancy. Show and Lashley square off as Rey continues to do jack shit and now Trips is selling too but at least he’s taken a move in the last 5 or so minutes. Lashley runs into a choke but he slips out and gives Show a knee and then hits a huge backdrop on Show. He does the troll yell and kicks Show to the floor through the ropes. He whips Rey into the ring post and I suppose that’ll buy him another 10 minutes of selling. Kane is next and he was tag champs with Showster at the time before their very timely break-up due to May 19th. Too much laying around for my taste so far. Kane and Lashley now square off. Shouderblocks go nowhere for both. Lashley with another troll yell but runs into a big boot. Lashley hits an overhead belly to belly release suplex and press slams Triple H and hits the Dominator on Kane. That’s pretty impressive. Lashley with another troll yell and no eliminations to his credit. Idiot.

Sylvan Grenier is out at 10. Sylvan wants to make peace with Lashley and work together. Lashley agrees like an idiot and Sylvan like an even bigger idiot jumps him from behind. Lashley no sells and tosses him but he turns around into a double Choke Slam from Kane n Show. How do those big “hosses” manage to sneak up on you? They toss him and now the MegaPowers collide yet again as Kane and Show slug it out. How long before they do the double choke spot and fight over the slam? Show runs into the big boot and YES YES!! It’s the dreaded double choke spot of doom that damn near destroyed the business at KOTR 99. Triple H sneaks both and tosses them. Carlito is next to a big pop. How they blew it on this guy will never cease to amaze me. He has boots for all of them as Rey hasn’t moved into about a decade but gets a big boot on Carlito and flips over him. Rey tries the wheelbarrow bulldog but Carlito counters with a backcracker. Triple H sneaks Carlito and goes to the eye with a thumb. Awesome. Subtle heel cheating is not done enough in the RR. Carlito comes back with a kick and a right. Benoit is next and he’s always got beef with Triple H. Triple H tells Carlito to get ‘im. Benoit chops both down and Rey. Release German on Rey and more chops. Release German on Triple H and another on Carlito but he lands on his feet but runs into the Crippler Crossface. Triple H breaks it up and sends Benoit into the turnbuckle for the Bret Hart bump. Triple H tries to suplex Benoit over the top but he lands on the apron and they tease suplexes about 10 times. Trips just sets him on the top as Rey continues to do nothing. Benoit with about a dozen headbutts and hits the flying headbutt off the top. Benoit with chops on Carlito. Booker T is next although he’s not at a 100% due to a groin injury. That’s why Orton replaced him in the Benoit series. Booker goes for Benoit but Benoit comes back with chops and tosses Booker unceremoniously. Rey shows signs of life with a dropkick on Carlito. Benoit chops H as Carlito goes to Rey’s eyes. Carlito with a backbreaker on Rey. Joey Mercury is next with Melina directing traffic. Mercury with a jawbreaker and a Bluechipper dropkick on Carlito. He gets a charge in the corner. Benoit hits a German on Mercury but he grabs the ropes to stop the rolling trio and hits a falling DDT on Benoit. Tatanka is next and everyone kind of stops. Tatanka with tomahawks on Carlito and chops on Trips. Mercury jumps him but he gets chopped down. The crowd gives Tatanka a FSU/Atlanta Braves cheer. Rey hits a couple dropkicks on Carlito with the aid of the ropes. Johnny Nitro is next and he tries to save Mercury by jumping Tatanka but no go. He gets chopped down as well. Benoit almost tosses Triple H but he hangs on to the apron. Carlito tries to toss Rey but he hangs on. Carlito puts him on the top rope and chops him down and Rey looks to go tumbling to the floor but he hangs on. That’s the first entertaining thing Rey’s done in like 20 minutes. Trevor Murdoch is next. MNM works over Benoit as Triple H tries to shitcan Rey with enthusiasm but Rey hangs on. It’s almost like he sensed Rey wasn’t doing much and decided to throw him a bone. Rey with a dropkick to Trips’s legs and another to his chin on the drop. Eugene is next and he offers a shake to Trevor but he tries taking Eugene down with jabs. Eugene with a Hogan taunt and a airplane spin on Trevor. Mysterio with a double wheelbarrow bulldog on Eugene and Trevor. Road Warrior Animal is next and he hits a double clothesline on MNM and a powerslam on Triple H and he’s kinda blown up already as his shots are loosing steam. Too many guys in the ring not doing much. MNM try to toss Rey but he hangs on.

The returning RVD is out at 20. RVD with clotheslines for MNM and kicks and punches for everyone else. Carlito has been hiding behind the ringpost in the meantime in a great spot. He hits a spinwheel kick on Trips and a roundhouse on Animal. He and Benoit square off and he gets Benoit with a mule-kick. He does his taunt and tosses an attacking Animal. Carlito jumps RVD and they square off for a while. Orlando Jordan draws a picture of a circle for his taunt. Way too many people in the ring. Eugene makes nice with Rey and tries to toss Murdoch. RVD with some kicks on Carlito. Triple H offers Eugene a handshake and Eugene accepts it and then Triple H boots him low. Awesome. That’s a simple spot but the RR doesn’t need to be a goddamn TLC match in terms of complexity. Just do some cheap heel heat (cheat, poke the eyes, betray people, low blows, take a breather under the ropes, etc.) and try not to blend in to the background. RVD tries to shitcan Carlito but he hangs on with one hand. Chavo is next and he also gets Eddie chants. Chavo with some offense on all and an alley oop on Rey and a flying headscissors on RVD. Eddie with a 3 Amigos on Mercury. Chavo goes up top an points toward the sky but Triple H tosses him to boos and then everyone jumps him. Murdoch calls out RVD from across the ring for some reason. Matt Hardy is next. MNM jumps him due to their feud. He hits Side Effects on both of them and Twist of Fate on OJ. 12 people in the ring now. RVD and Rey try to toss Triple H but he hangs on to the apron. Tatanka comes off the top but MNM cut him off and hit the Snapshot and toss him. Super Crazy next and he goes up top and hits a flying crossbody on MNM from behind. Triple H with a nice DDT on OJ as Carlito gets hung out to dry by Nitro and Rey tries to dropkick him off the apron but again Carlito hangs on. HBK out at 25. He’s got rights for everyone. After he cools down, he does the corner turnbuckle spot off a Murdoch whip but then lowers the bridge and dumps him. Carlito tries to sneak HBK and that goes nowhere. Chris Masters is next but we don’t get the director’s cut of his entrance which use to last a good 2-4 minutes. Trips tries to toss Matt Hardy but he hangs on. H doesn’t give up but Hardy sneaks him instead and almost tosses him tiwce but H hangs on. Triple H then steals the Road Dogg strategy from 2000 and hangs on to the bottom rope. Awesome. RVD tries to pull him out and Triple H pokes him in the eye. HBK tries to eliminate Carlito with a headscissors as Viscera is next. There hasn’t been a worthwhile exchange in a while. Vis with a Samoan drop on Hardy and then hits a splash. Rey almost dumps Mercury but he hangs on. Vis runs into a big boot and Matt tries a TOF but he gets tossed. Shelton Benjamin and Thea are next. He goes for Carlito as Benoit tosses Eugene. Vis almost dumps OJ as Nitro goes low on Rey. Time to dump some dead weight. Benjamin with his spinning gamengiri on Triple H and Goldust is next to crickets. He hits inverted atomic drops on MNM. Carlito almost dumped but he hangs on. Vis with an open hand chop on OJ. Triple H tries to backdrop Shelton but he lands on the apron.

Orton is 30 as there are FOURTEEN people in the ring. That’s enough for two and a half clogged cruiserweight title matches. After a struggle, Orton tosses Benoit. That’s the guy that needs to get eliminated? Not OJ or Viscera or Goldust or Masters? At least it made sense because Orton and Benoit had a mini feud going. Orton with an RKO on Vis. Goldust goes low on Nitro. Masters and Carlito toss Vis and then Carlito tosses Masters to a big pop. I was a fan of that tag team. Goldust preps the low blow field goal on Carlito and hits it. RVD hits a spinwheel kick on Goldust but he’s too far away and Goldust has to toss himself. OJ with rights on Orton but he gets tossed. Carlito and Shelton tease a suplex spot on the other side and both almost eliminate each other. MNM tries to toss Rey as HBK hits the flying burrito on H and the kip up with rights but MNM jump HBK. They prep the Snapshot but HBK goes to the eyes on Nitro and tosses Mercury but he hangs on. HBK tosses Nitro and sends him into Mercury to dump him and then hits a Cactus clothesline on Nitro and skins the cat back in. Nice sequence. Shelton with a enzuigiri on HBK. HBK tosses him to the apron and then hits Sweet Chin Music to eliminate him. Vince is out next and successfully makes it to the ring without tearing both quads. Vince talks smack to HBK as Shane comes out of the crowd to toss HBK. See, those eliminations make logical sense because they are obvious callbacks to the lottery number drawings and people trying to do McMahon’s bidding. They have reason and emotion behind them and the crowd cares as opposed to when RVD tosses Goldust. Anyway, Shane dances around and then HBK tries to chase him off. Triple H tries to cut him off with a Pedigree but gets reversed and eats SCM. Carlito with a hybrid flapjack on RVD. RVD hits a mule kick off a counter to toss Carlito.

Final Four: RVD, Orton, Triple H, and Rey. Rey wants to team up with RVD. Rey and Trips pair off as does Orton and RVD. Orton goes to the eye but eats a kick to the face. RVD and Rey hit double leg drops on H and then a combo leg drop and Rolling Thunder on Orton to a huge pop. RVD heads up top for the 5SFS but Triple H crotches him. Rey with a head of steam toward H but he ducks and catapults Rey into RVD who careens to the floor. Triple H and Orton agree to go after Rey to boos. They send him off but eat a double DDT. Rey with dropkicks on both and sets up Orton for the 619. Triple H tries to cut him off but he gets headscissored into the ropes next to Orton. Rey hits the 619 on both. He goes for the seated senton on both but Trips ducks and Orton eats it. Triple H clotheslines Rey down WITH AUTHORITY! Triple H runs into a powerslam from Orton and THE VIPER IS COILED! He tries the RKO but gets countered into a spinebuster from H. Triple H goes for Rey and tries a spinebuster out of the corner but Rey counters with a huracanrana to send Trips to the floor and eliminate him to one of the loudest pops I’ve ever heard. Triple H is in disbelief. He pulls Rey to the floor, sends him into the stairs, and then puts him back in the ring to huge boos. Orton gloats at his fortune. Orton gets him in the Bulldog powerslam position and sends him toward the ropes but also gets reversed into a huracanrana and eliminated for Rey to win it at 62:13.

• Rey’s performance sounds more impressive than it looked. There’s a grotesque amount of laying around from Rey in the middle 40-45 minutes. Triple H does it some too at the opening stretch but he’s at least “selling” for Show, Flair, and Kane. In fact, Triple H’s performance is probably the most unsung performance in the history of the RR. He was in there for over an hour and carried the load in terms of feuds and interactions for the first 20 minutes with Flair, Show, and Benoit. Also, he livened up some dead spots with awesomely blatant bastardery like more should. But he didn’t come in first or second or eliminate a ton of people or have a major feud coming in or out and he didn’t set any time record so his performance isn’t mentioned much. In totality though, this RR is underwhelming — a lot of dead spots, too many times where the ring is full or close to it for little reason. Some nice interactions and mini-feuds (H/Show, H/Flair, Show/Lashley/Kane, MNM/HBK and HBK/Shelton even though they lasted 30 seconds, Carlito/Masters and Carlito/RVD) but they didn’t take up enough of the match. ***1/4

• Backstage, MJ thanks Trish for doing the right thing. Trish says she did what she had to do and MJ says of course because love each other. MJ exits leaving Trish flummoxed.

• Meanwhile, Deano Machino, Chavo, and Benoit congratulate Rey on his RR win. Edge and a pair of tits interrupt that we eventually see are Lita and run Mysterio down.

WWE Championship: John Cena vs. Edge (c). The importance of this 3-ish week title run cannot be overstated for both guys and the MITB stipulation. First, it validated the gimmick and showed they were serious about it. Second, it raised Edge’s profile as a legit main event force and rewarded his great heel work from 2004 onwards, although it wouldn’t be solidified until his second reign after RVD was pulled over with Sabu and his subsequent feud with Cena. Third, it was a release valve for the anti-Cena animosity. I honestly think that if Edge had not won the belt at NYR 06 Cena would have been hated and still hated much more than he was/is. I vividly remember a series of RAW episodes in late 05 where every opponent against Cena including heel midcarders were getting cheered more than him because of certain fans aversion to his character and ring work. After beating Christian, Jericho, Angle, being booked like someone with superpowers against a jobber Carlito on RAW after the 05 draft, Cena was approaching X-Pac heat from a growing portion of the audience. Just listen to the crowd pop at the possibility of World Champion Chris Masters at NYR 06 which speaks much more to Cena than Masters. I’ve never felt like it was Cena’s fault so much as booking him against more entertaining guys who incidentally exposed Cena’s newfound face blandness and wrestling liabilities and limitations. You have to understand that from WM 21 until ONS II Cena held the title all 14 months outside of one three week period and this was it. Without this 3 week break from Cena’s reign, I don’t know if Cena or the WWE ever makes significant inroads against the portion of the audience that didn’t like him.

• Cena’s entrance includes a literal stairway to heaven (or the rafters) to drive home the point of who’s the star of this show. It’s this kind of grandiose theatricality that is nice until you realize it by definition buries the other guy, ya know, the WWE champion in this case. Also, it’s the kind of gesture that shows how much effort the company can put forth when they want to and makes you wonder why they don’t do it for guys who need it as opposed to people who are already given every booking advantage at every turn. Things as simple who gets pyro, to who gets backstage interviews, to who gets to wear streetclothes during interviews to the more obvious such as who gets talk show segments, video packages, managers, t-shirts and other merchandise separate people in the audience’s perception. Does Cena really need the Jefferson Starship, his own personalized world title belt, an army of clones ala Eminem, or a mustang at Wrestlemania to help him get over? You could ask the same question of others (Taker, Triple H, Hogan, etc.), I just happen to be picking on Cena at the moment.

• They circle to start as a subtle “Cena sucks” chant starts up. Lock up takes them into the corner as Edge gives him a knee during the break. Cena gets a clothesline coming out of the corner to boos. Edge takes a breather and pulls him to the floor. Cena comes back and smashes Edge in to the apron. Back in, Cena runs for Edge but gets pulled into the turnbuckle. Cena comes back with a whip and a sideslam for 2 to boos. Cena sends Edge off but he takes a low road and a breather to the floor. Cena follows and scares Lita off and sends Edge into the apron and the stairs. Edge escapes to hide behind Lita. Cena wants no part of Lita but Edge shoves her into Cena and then spears him into the stairs. Epic cowardly heel action. Back in Edge taunts as a prepubescent “Cena” chant starts up. Edge works the count and baseball slide kicks Cena over the barricade as the ref checks on Cena and now restarts the count about 5 seconds late. This is the worst refereeing scandal since Dave Barry cost Jack Dempsey a boxing championship in 1927 against Gene Tunney. Cena gets back in at 14 or if you’re Mickey Henson 9. Edge chokes away with the knee to a mixed reaction and steals Cena’s taunt. Edge with a Batista boot and more choking. “Let’s go Cena” chant, not yet dueling. Edge with a spinwheel kick for 2. Edge goes to the dreaded waistlock. Edge with a vertical suplex and then rakes the eyes. Edge with a Bluechipper dropkick and soaks in the cheers. This is such a bizarre crowd due to Cena’s polarizing effect. Edge knocks Cena to the floor and sends him into the stairs. Edge’s coy dismissal of the ref is great here. Edge hotshots Cena into the barricade as Styles tries to play up Cena’s selling and hurt arm. Remember that for a moment. Back in, Edge goes up top and hits the missile dropkick for 2. Edge covers again for 2. Styles tries to smartly bring up the psychology again behind favoring the arm but stops himself because Cena has already stopped selling it. Styles decides to cover for Cena by saying it was the other arm. Edge takes him down with a clothesline. Edge puts him on the top rope but Cena shoves him off and goes for the top rope FameAsser but wipes out. Edge covers but Cena gets his foot on the ropes. Edge working the jabs and taunts some more to another mixed reaction, although increasingly becoming cheers. Cena sends him off into the corner. Edge tries up and over but Cena catches him in a fireman’s carry to set up the FU. Cena counters by gouging the eyes and gets a roll up for 2. WHATAFRONTKICKBYEDGE follows. Edge goes back up top. He goes for a crossbody and hits it but Cena rolls through for roll up at 2. Cena gets a head of steam but runs into a sleeper. He tries to fight it but Edge cinches it in with a bodyscissors. Now, cue the dueling chants that took over RAW in late 05. Cena decides to no sell and Hulk up and drives Edge into the corner. Edge counters with a boot and tries a Spear but Cena dodges and hits a DDT and they do the double KO spot. Both up at 8. Cena with a shoulderblocks and some clotheslines. To his credit, he does sell the arm. He hits the Proto-bomb and the 5 Knuckle Shuffle but Lita gets on the apron. Cena threatens violence against women but dodges and cons Edge into it instead. Cena picks him up for the FU and hits it and locks in the STF for the tap at 13:48. Not up to the level they would achieve in chemistry later. Despite dominating the majority of the match, it didn’t take much for Cena to shrug off all that offense and to put Edge down like a heel in a RAW 10:00 semi main. There weren’t even any false finishes which is standard for title matches now. **1/2

• Post-match, Edge storms off from an interview and his tits mouth off to a pair of boobs, Grisham and Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

World Heavyweight Championship: Mark Henry vs. Kurt Angle (c). This is the third year in a row that the RR fans drew the short straw in being relegated to the most craptastic main even feuds of the year (Steiner/Triple H, Lesnar/Holly). Pre-match, Angle tells Josh Matthews that he’s the greatest wrestler in the world and he can beat people in ways that haven’t been invented yet and he’ll take out that “little bastard” Daivari if necessary, which is funny because they were together less than six months before this. Angle’s reign had only recently begun after Batista had a legit injury and Angle switched brands to win a battle royale in an awesome moment, allegedly because Shawn Michaels declined to work Tuesday nights because of going to church and bible study. Angle’s music is the obscenely great extended remix. This is also when the fans “You Suck” chant began referring to his opponents and not him.

• Before the bell even rings, Cole calls it a “classic matchup.” Henry powers Angle into the corner. Angle wants to stay in the corner and Henry tries to pull him out but no go. Angle shoots for a single leg but no go. Angle with a waistlock and Henry tries to elbow out but Angle releases and ducks. Henry tries to corner Angle a few times and Angle escapes. He tries to punch Henry down but he grabs Angle’s fist and powers him down. He tries to drop an elbow but whiffs as Cole waxs poetic about how Henry’s legs are tree trunks and his arms are tree limbs which I suppose would make him a tree or perhaps an ent. I could see him as Treebeard. His methodical in-ring pace does mirror the labored elocution of The Gathering of the Ents.

Back to the match as Angle gets a charge but Henry catches him and hangs him out to dry by hotshotting him and then dumping him. While distracting the ref, Daiviri tells Angle carpe deez nuts as he lays the boots to him. Henry goes to the floor and tosses the stairs for no apparent reason. Back in, Angle with rights and tries a guillotine but Henry hangs him out again and kicks him. Henry then chokes him with a boot and stands on him in the old Andre the Giant spot. Henry with a splash and Cole pops a blood vessel selling the plausibility of the finish but no one gives a shit. Henry with a bearhug to crickets. This is the main event for God’s sake! You’d think the crowd was saving it for another match but that’s just how wrong this match was for the main. A “Let’s go Angle” chant is attempted and dies before it gets going. Angle hiptosses Henry to counter. Henry tries a charge but Angle counters with an elbow. He tries a crossbody off the top but Henry catches him. Angle slides out and rolls through for the Ankle Lock but Henry kicks him off. Angle tries the AngleSlam but Henry counters with a CLUBBINGBLOW. Henry tries a powerslam but Angle slips out and beasts him for a German. Angle hits the AngleSlam now but Henry kicks out at two. Angle with the troll yell and drops the straps for a pop. He gets the AnkleLock again but Henry kicks him off again and sends Angle into Charles Robinson. Angle gets a chair. Daiviri tries to distract but Angle lays him the fuck out with the chair. Angle tries one on Henry but he grabs the chair and cuts him off. He stupidly leaves the chair laying around. Angle low blows him and picks up the chair and pounds Henry with two brutal unprotected chairshots. Henry kicks out at 2 and no one believes it. Angle takes a turnbuckle pad off and drop toe holds Henry into it, school boys him, and grabs the ropes for leverage to get the 3 to retain at 8:37. Weakkkkkk. Not a horrendous match, just the wrong finish and the wrong place on the card and the wrong feud for a new face champ Angle. 1/2* Post-match, UT comes out driving a Conestoga wagon of a segway and points to his waist and hits some lightning and destroys the ring like the Black Scorpion thus leapfrogging the entire locker room to a title shot.

The 411: Never ever move the RR itself to the middle of the show. The rest of the show is mediocre to average to pitiful schlock. Watch only if you're a Rey Mysterio fan and/or a Triple H fan.
Final Score:  4.5   [ Poor ]  legend

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