Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net, starting today. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
December To Dismember
Date: December 3, 2006
Location: James Brown Arena, Augusta, Georgia
Commentators: Joey Styles, Tazz
Speaking of no effort on the undercard, of the five matches aside from the main event, one was announced. Yeah of a six match card, you were told two matches and still expected to pay the full price for the show. Now the good sign here is that the other announced match was the reunited Hardy Boyz vs. MNM (Joey Mercury and Johnny Nitro, a good young team and reminiscent of the Hardys.) but the lack of effort here does not bode well. Let’s get to it.
Naturally the opening video focuses on the Chamber and how amazing it is that there are WEAPONS in the pods now.
MNM vs. Hardy Boyz
Jeff is Intercontinental Champion coming in and fresh off a long feud with Nitro. MNM has Melina with them and this is the result of an open challenge issued by Matt and Jeff. Matt and Mercury start things off with Hardy getting in a shoulder before it’s time for a four man standoff. It’s time to work on Joey’s arm but it’s off to Nitro, who takes a hiptoss of his own. Everything breaks down again and something like a double belly to back suplex drops Mercury again. Joey finally gets in a shot to the ribs, only to have Johnny get caught in a Razor’s Edge into a sitout powerbomb.
Melina offers a distraction so Matt can get caught by a clothesline. The fans try to make this feel like ECW by shouting about various diseases Melina has but it’s just no the same. A quick headscissors from Melina has Tazz making jokes about her short skirt, as well as setting up a double faceplant for two on Matt. The announcers keep bickering and you can tell this isn’t going to be much of a show. It’s just clear that the effort isn’t here and it’s showing badly.
Jeff gets knocked off the apron and MNM gets to use some Poetry In Motion for some salt in the wounds. They go a bit too far though with an attempt at a Twist of Fate, allowing Matt to shove Joey into Nitro for a good old fashioned crotching. Jeff gets to come in for a sitout gordbuster on Mercury as the Hardys clear the ring. It’s time to fire off all the dives and the fans are actually interested for a change.
Back inside and Mercury takes the Twist of Fate, only to have Nitro pull him away from the Swanton. MNM starts in on Jeff’s back as the fans go even more insane for the good guys. A double whip sends him into the corner, drawing out another LOUD screech from Melina. Just to prove her worth, Melina flips off the fans like a true ECW woman should. I mean, she’s not actually on the ECW roster but it’s not like that roster was strong enough for a full pay per view anyway.
A backbreaker/slingshot elbow drop gets two on Jeff and we hit the chinlock, meaning it should be time for the comeback. Jeff kicks Mercury outside but he’s smart enough to pull Matt outside to break up another tag. Nitro shows some intelligence of his own by pulling Jeff back to the MNM corner, only to have a Whisper in the Wind take both of them down.
Now it’s the hot tag off to Matt for a wide variety of clotheslines, including one in the corner to really mix things up. The Side Effect gets two on Nitro as everything breaks down. Jeff can’t get a superbomb on Joey as Nitro makes the save, allowing Mercury to counter into a super hurricanrana.
The Hardys hit stereo superplexes but Melina gets on the apron for a distraction, only to get kicked down by Nitro by mistake. The Snapshot (flapjack/DDT combo) gets two on Jeff with Matt making the save, followed by a double cutter off the middle rope to drop Nitro and Mercury at the same time. The Swanton onto both of them at the same time gives Jeff the pin at 22:23.
Rating: B+. Even though the show is probably going downhill from here and the ending was a bit flat, this was a very cool version of the old tag team formula. You just don’t get that kind of wrestling anymore and it’s really fun to see them break it out every now and then. The Hardys would stick around for a bit on a nostalgia tour, including a few more matches against MNM. This would be one of the last big time MNM matches as the team would split soon after this with Mercury being released in March.
Rob Van Dam thinks the ECW World Title is worth the risks of the Elimination Chamber.
Matt Striker vs. Balls Mahoney
Striker is a former teacher who still wears argyle to the ring, making him one of the biggest heels in the new ECW. Mahoney is an ECW original and looks like a caveman in jean shorts. Before the match, Striker says he’s here to restore order in a violent society so this is going to be an Extreme Rules match.
That would normally mean anything goes but Matt means an extreme enforcement of the rules, meaning no eye gouging, no hair pulling, no maneuvers off the top rope and of course no foul language. The announcers rip on Striker for having his face on his trunks and I can’t help but agree. It’s a great heel tactic though. Mahoney goes for the leg to start but settles for a cross armbreaker to send Striker over to the ropes.
Matt sends him shoulder first into the post and starts in on the arm, making sure to pull the hair behind the referee’s back. We hit the armbar for a bit before Mahoney gets crotched on the top. A Fujiwara Armbar (with Matt shouting TAP) shows more intensity than Striker has ever had about anything but Mahoney gets the rope. It’s comeback time with a side slam and backdrop, followed by a sitout spinebuster for the pin on Striker at 7:22.
Rating: D. So not only are the matches being announced that night, but it seems that the booking is being made up on the fly as well. This should have been the most basic story imaginable with Mahoney beating him in a straight match before Matt cheats to win. Instead we get a clean pin after a few minutes of arm work. As usual it’s not the worst match in the world as the arm work was fine, but this could have been on any given TV show instead of a pay per view.
Sabu has been attacked and is put on a stretcher. The BS chant drowns out the medics and the next theme music.
Elijah Burke/Sylvester Terkay vs. FBI
Burke is better known as D’Angelo Dinero in TNA, Terkay is a big man with an MMA background and the FBI (Full Blooded Italians) are two smaller guys named Guido Maritato and Tony Marinara, both ECW originals. The Italians also have the gorgeous and scantily clad Trinity in their corner. Guido and Burke, in a hat, start things off as Joey tells a drooling Tazz to take a cold shower. Burke is taken to the mat and Guido steals the hat like a true villain, though he’s on the good team here.
It’s off to Terkay to beat Marinara down in the corner and throw Guido over the top onto his partner. Fans: “YOU STILL SUCK!” Guido fights out of Burke’s chinlock but eats running knees in the corner, followed by an STO for two. Another chinlock is broken and the tag brings in Marinara to clean house as the fans are just GONE. The Italians kick out Terkay’s legs but he forearms Tony into the Elijah Experience (the Stroke) for the pin at 6:42.
Rating: F. What am I even supposed to think about this? Burke and Terkay were a nothing team with Terkay being released in about six weeks. The FBI were just another pair of token ECW originals with Guido being nothing more than a jobber and Mamaluke being released on the same day as Terkay. Another bad match here and I’m losing the little faith I have in the show.
Terkay lays Guido out post match.
Sabu is taken away in an ambulance.
Daivari vs. Tommy Dreamer
Daivari has Great Khali (7’2, 420lbs) in his corner. This is a rematch from a recent episode of ECW where Dreamer beat Daivari by DQ when Khali interfered. An early distraction lets Daivari hammer away, only to be knocked outside. Back in and a suplex drops Daivari but Khali low bridges Tommy to the floor. The referee sees it though and ejects the giant like you might see on any given episode of Raw.
That’s one of the major issues here: the matches don’t feel like something worthy of a pay per view. Like I said, this was originally on TV and the rematch doesn’t feel special in the slightest. Dreamer gets caught in a chinlock as the fans want hardcore. Good point actually as we haven’t had anything besides a regular match so far, again missing the point of ECW. Another chinlock keeps the match going and he puts Daivari in the Tree of Woe for the running dropkick. Dreamer’s DDT is loaded up but Daivari grabs a rollup and tights for the pin at 7:22.
Rating: F+. If there’s a point to this show besides making ECW look like the most worthless show that has ever existed, it’s sailing over my head. It’s a bunch of bad matches (save for the opener, which had four people not on the ECW roster) with no stories and weak TV finishes. Dreamer being on the show made sense but you can’t even put him in a hardcore match to give the fans a little something? Apparently not because that might be entertaining and that’s clearly not the goal here.
Post match Dreamer chases Daivari up the ramp but runs into Khali, who chokeslams him on the stage for something more interesting than almost anything else on the show tonight. Medics check on Tommy, who says he can’t feel his feet.
Paul Heyman has found a replacement for Sabu: Hardcore Holly. The audience audibly groans. Not boos, not yells, not shouts, but groans in pure disappointment. That should not be happening on a wrestling show but can you blame them?
Mike Knox/Kelly Kelly vs. Kevin Thorn/Ariel
Knox is a big guy with a beard and Kelly is his blonde bombshell girlfriend, though she has a thing for CM Punk. She even wishes him luck in the Chamber tonight. Thorn is a vampire enthusiast and Ariel is his…..I guess girlfriend. Again no real story here other than two pairs who had nothing else to do. The guys start things off with the first significant contact coming over a minute in as Kevin gets in some right hands. Knox’s clothesline doesn’t have much effect as Thorn grabs a chinlock. They’re just letting the crowd die here every second the women aren’t in there.
Kevin charges into a boot for two and Knox slowly pounds away before grabbing a front facelock. The hold is driven back into the corner for the tag to Ariel, meaning Kelly has to come in as well. Aries chokes a lot including a boot version in the corner which is nothing more than an excuse for an upskirt shot. It would be even better if Kelly actually sold any of this. Knox walks away instead of tagging in, leaving Kelly to take a choke legsweep for the pin at 7:43.
Rating: F-. Only because this was somehow even worse than the other matches. Kelly was gorgeous and the crowd loved her but she was one of the worst “wrestler” I’ve ever seen. Ariel was trying but if this is the best she has to work with, there’s not much else she can do. Absolutely horrible here with a lame angle to end things.
Post match Ariel keeps choking Kelly until Sandman (ECW legend) comes out for the save.
Bobby Lashley (basically Brock Lesnar minus charisma) isn’t worried about Paul Heyman stacking the deck against him.
We recap the main event, which as usual is basically just a video about the Chamber and people talking about how extreme the match will be.
Here’s Paul Heyman, flanked by his nameless personal security, for a chat. Heyman talks about how Hulkamania will die with Hulk Hogan and the WOOs will die with Ric Flair but thanks to him, ECW will live on forever. That brings him to the Chamber, which Sabu will not be participating in because of his injuries. However, tonight is about the new generation of ECW and not about the old stars like Sabu or the Sandman. Tonight we see the crowning jewel of the ECW Champion the Big Show, the biggest star ECW has ever seen.
The Chamber is lowered.
ECW World Title: Hardcore Holly vs. Test vs. CM Punk vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Lashley vs. Big Show
Show is defending and each pod has a weapon included. They don’t really try to hide the fact that Show, Holly and Test are on the same team here. Holly and Van Dam start things off with a slow pace (fair due to the nature of the match) until they head outside where Van Dam springboards onto the cage wall in a very cool looking spot.
Unfortunately he misses his dive off the cage and clotheslines himself on the top rope, leaving Holly to stand around. Holly goes up top and dives into a raised boot, allowing Van Dam to hit Rolling Thunder over the top and onto the cage floor. A suplex sends Van Dam back inside and Holly gets in his great looking dropkick for two. CM Punk comes in third and smashes Holly with his chair. Van Dam picks the chair up and pelts it at Punk’s head to stop him cold. Punk’s face says something like “Ok that really hurt.”
Van Dam tries his legsweep but Punk hits something like a Fameasser onto the chair to draw some blood. The bloody head is sent into the chair in the corner, only to have Holly swing Punk head first into the cage wall to take over again. Things slow down again until Holly grabs a top rope superplex on Punk with Van Dam coming in for a near fall. Rob superkicks Punk to break up a bulldog on Holly (makes sense in a way) and it’s Test with his crowbar in fourth.
Test goes after Punk and Van Dam but leaves Holly alone to go along with the plan. Van Dam comes back with chair shots to the villains’ heads, followed by a running dropkick to send the chair into Punk’s head as well. The Five Star Frog Splash eliminates Punk at 12:35, taking at least half the air out of the arena as well. Punk was the HEAVY crowd favorite here and having him go out first after getting beaten up more than anything else is another middle finger the crowd after way too much of the same throughout the night.
In an awkward moment, Test turns on Holly with a big boot for two but the referee says it’s a three anyway, putting Holly out at 12:45. Van Dam goes on top of Big Show’s pod but Show reaches through the roof to grab his foot, allowing Test to throw him off for a big crash. An elbow drop off the pod onto the chair onto Van Dam is enough for the elimination at 14:00 and OH MY the crowd is not happy.
I don’t mean they’re booing or anything but they just completely turn on the show (not hard at this point) because we’re down to Lashley, Test and Big Show for the title in the most un-ECW match you can imagine. If there was ANYTHING the fans could still cling to on this show it was the hope that Van Dam or Punk could win the title but instead it’s Punk out first and TEST eliminating Van Dam. Yes Test, the same guy who was nothing for years in WWE and was even released for a while, is the one that gets rid of the most popular guy left in the match.
As if all that wasn’t enough, we have a minute to kill because Test has no one left to fight. Lashley is supposed to come in fifth but Heyman’s security guards don’t let him out of his pod, meaning we have even more waiting around. Lashley finally uses his table to break through the roof of the pod (not that impressive when you remember Big Show did the same thing a few minutes earlier) and kicks Test away to almost no reaction.
Test is sent hard into a pod door as we might as well just have the villains walk out and let Lashley have an even longer celebration. The chair is kicked into Test’s face as the crowd isn’t even bothering reacting to anything. A spear pins Test at 19:42 but for some reason there’s over a minute left on the clock so let’s wait around even more because WWE can’t tell time.
Lashley kills time by dragging the table out of his pod and throwing it at Show’s pod. Show FINALLY gets in with his barbed wire baseball bat but Lashley blocks a bunch of swings with a chair. Another swing gets caught in the cage wall (with Show clearly shoving it further in) and we’re down to a regular fight.
A shot into the cage has Show busted open and Lashley throws him through a pod door. Heyman is panicking as Show tosses Lashley over the top and back inside but the chokeslam is countered into a DDT. Back up and Show misses a charge, setting up a spear to give Lashley the title at 24:40. Show’s total time in the match: three minutes and forty four seconds.
Rating: F-. What else is there even to say about this disaster? Actually there’s a very interesting backstory to this and it explains a lot. At this point, Paul Heyman was helping to write ECW TV and he had a rather different vision of what this should have been. Instead of Lashley winning like this, Heyman was going to put the title on Punk, who would have lasted throughout the entire match and eliminate Big Show early on (to his credit, Big Show was completely on board with the idea and more than ready to put Punk over). This makes even more sense when you consider Show had his title rematch two days later and then left for a year.
On top of that, the match was really pathetic with career midcarders Holly and Test taking up spots instead of putting someone young in there who might get a rub out of the thing. Sabu really would have been perfect here as he excelled in this kind of crazy hardcore environment but instead we had Holly, who wasn’t even a factor in the match. This whole thing was a disaster and a perfect way to end one of the worst major shows ever.
A quick celebration takes us out after less than two hours and fifteen minutes on the air.
Overall Rating: F. You could actually make a case that during the main event, at the moment that Van Dam was pinned, the original ECW was finally buried once and for all. It certainly wasn’t alive and well but it was still something that people wanted to believe in. Van Dam being eliminated, or instead this show as a whole, was the WWE saying no more because we’re doing this our way now.
If you need more proof just look at the rest of this show. Aside from a good opening match (again, between people not on the ECW roster) and the at least somewhat interesting idea of the main event, there was nothing on this show that mattered with four matches in the middle not even advertised with a bunch of people who wouldn’t even be on the roster in about six weeks.
On top of that, this show was one week after Survivor Series 2006 and two weeks before Armageddon 2006, as in the two full fledged WWE pay per views for November and December. This show was designed to be a disaster and the results aren’t shocking as the show only drew 90,000 pay per view buys, the lowest of all time until the WWE Network changed the pay per view model entirely.
One more note on the show itself: this isn’t the wrestlers’ fault. They were stuck in a horrible situation and had to make the best of it. Yeah the wrestling was horrible for the most part but there was no story or reason for having most of the matches. You can only go so far with those limitations and it showed badly here. That’s on the booking though and not the talent itself.
The original ECW died here and that’s really how it seems WWE wanted it that way. Heyman looked at this show and flat out told Vince that it would bomb. He would be promptly sent home and didn’t appear on WWE TV for over five years. Now I certainly get the idea that ECW wasn’t exactly in line with what WWE wanted to do, but the fans who still watched and supported the show didn’t deserve this kind of treatment. It felt like WWE punching the fans in the stomach and then spitting on them so Vince could laugh at ECW, before becoming ECW Champion in April.
This show is on the shortlist for worst show of all time and it’s really hard to come up with something to top it. They knew this was going to be bad and didn’t even deliver a full show (remember that it ran less than two hours and fifteen minutes with a total of match time of an hour and sixteen minutes) to the fans who actually paid to see it. This was an insult to the fans and I feel sorry for people who actually wanted to see this because WWE certainly doesn’t think much of them.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. His latest book is KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
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