Judgment Day 2006: Looking For The Next Big Thing
Date: May 21, 2006
Location: US Airways Center, Phoenix, Arizona
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz
Just looking at the card, this is a terribly boring show. This is in the period for the WWE where they were kind of searching for what their next big thing would be but it wasn’t there at all. Cena would win the world title for a year in the fall and ECW was just about to be resurrected. The main event here is Rey vs. JBL for the Smackdown Title. See what I’m up against? Let’s get to it.
The opening video is about accepting your fate and the judgment you will face when everything is done. Standard stuff for this show. Tonight is the final of the King of the Ring. I forgot about that. It’s Booker vs. Lashley.
The weird part about this show is that the theme song is This Fire Burns, which would be Punk’s music eventually but it means nothing here.
Smackdown Tag Titles: Paul London/Brian Kendrick vs. MNM
MNM have the titles here. Melina does her usual sexy entrance. MNM has lost 5 times in a row to Londrick. How in the world are they still champions then? Nice pop for the challengers. London vs. Nitro (Morrison) to start us off. London speeds things way up and the crowd is white hot. The challengers tag in and out very fast as they work the arm of Nitro.
Mercury comes in and finally takes over a bit. Shoulder block gets two for Kendrick. Londrick clears the ring and it’s high spot time. Mercury comes back in and avoids a big cross body to give MNM the advantage. Melina lets loose the screams. You can hear Morrison’s push dying with every one. She throws a head scissors on London for two.
We hit the chinlock as I guess the future straightedge masked man needs a breather. Collision puts both guys down and it’s a double tag to bring in Kendrick and Nitro. Snapshot to Kendrick (elevate DDT) gets two as London saves. Good thing the referee glared at him in between the 1 and 2 counts to make sure he made the save. Morrison throws a chinlock on Kendrick as we reset things again.
Delayed vertical suplex by Mercury gets two on Kendrick. It’s the old school style of “what do we have to do to beat this small man???” which is always good. Off to another chinlock as London plays cheerleader. I’d prefer Melina but I’ll take what I can get. Nitro poses on a cover for two and gets all ticked off. This would be similar to the AGGRESSIVE Morrison we saw a few weeks ago.
Chinlock #4 goes on as it’s pretty clear they got a bit too much time in this. Kendrick gets a reversal to send Mercury into Morrison and it’s hot tag London. After cleaning house he gets a dropsault to cover Nitro but Melina comes in and screams for the save. No touching, just stuff with the mouth. Works for me. They can’t get the suplex/hold the foot pin to work so Kendrick totally misses a huge dive and THUDS on the floor. Sick sound too. MNM tries some double teaming but HEEL MISCOMMUNICATION lets London get a jackknife pin on Mercury to give them small dudes the tag titles which they would hold about 11 months.
Rating: B. Good match here to be sure but the amount of resting hurt it. This would be a higher grade if Nitro or Mercury was a bit better in the ring but pretty good other than that. Nitro would get a lot better of course while Mercury just kind of floundered for a long time. Melina and the screaming was good too. Fun opener and the crowd was into it the whole time, which is the idea.
Melina blames Mercury post match and slaps him. The guys go at it and she kicks Mercury in the head. This is the end of the team I guess. The referee gets a swift kick in the balls too. The pull apart brawl goes on for awhile as Teddy Long goes down also.
We get a King of the Ring moment, which is Bret winning the 93 tournament, which I believe was his second.
Finlay vs. Chris Benoit
These two had a 20+ minute match on Smackdown in the quarterfinals where Finlay cheated to win. LOUD Benoit chant to start us off. They lock up and that is one of the more intense versions you’ll ever see with them heading to the floor without breaking the tieup. Back in the ring and they stare each other down with Benoit being aggressive as is his custom.
With the staredown still going on Benoit grabs the legs and tries the Sharpshooter in a nice attempt at a quick win. We hit the mat where Finlay gets to show off a bit which isn’t something you see often out of a brawler like him. We’re in the chinlock early but it’s been a decent opening so I can live with that. This is about technical stuff anyway as they’re moving around while on the mat in this now headlock. There’s a big difference between that and sitting there in a chinlock.
Finlay backs off to buy some time to solid heat. Benoit chops away and we hit the mat again with Finlay taking over. Finlay fires off a European uppercut into the back of Benoit. That’s a new one. Benoit slaps the tar out of Finlay, sending him down and here comes our favorite psycho. Knee lifts and chops all around as Benoit hammers him down. Backbreaker gets two.
Back to the grappling as this is going to be a long one. In a nice sequence, Benoit has a chinlock on but ever so slowly shifts the arm into position for the Crossface. Notice what he did there: he tried to make Finlay get caught in the hold rather than throwing it on. That’s thinking and showing that Benoit has strategy going for him at the same time. Very good sign there.
It’s still a chinlock with a mild arm trap as Finlay has figured it out. Benoit opts for a crucifix instead for two. Big clothesline by Finlay gets two. When Finlay is covering him he drives his knee into Benoit’s face. That has to hurt. Still on the mat now with Finlay grabbing Benoit’s wrists and putting his feet on Benoit’s head to pull back on the arms. The Canadian fights off the Irishman with some Germans. I had to get that in there somewhere.
Swan Dive misses according to the replay. On the regular shot of it I thought Finlay got caught but I was proven wrong. Mark your calendars for that as it won’t likely happen again. Dragon Screw Leg Whip looks to lock on the Sharpshooter but Finlay kicks him off. For no apparent reason Finlay hits the floor to get a chair but Benoit gets a baseball slide to drive the chair into him.
Back in and the Swan Dive hits this time for two. Benoit gets caught in a Bret chest to the corner shot and Finlay blasts him in the back of the head with a forearm/clothesline for two. Finlay works the neck which is somehow still not healed apparently. Granted it’s been two weeks since Edge had to retire so maybe this isn’t the right time to say that. Earthquake splash gets two.
This is a very physical and hard hitting match which is exactly what you would expect from these two. Finlay throws on a combination hammerlock/Dragon Sleeper which is a new one. I like seeing those new holds as you spend so much time looking at them and wondering how much they’re hurting that you forget they’re mainly rest holds. Another shot to the back of the head puts Chris right back down.
Benoit is like screw it and fires off forearms (note to ROH guys: FOLLOW THROUGH WITH THE STRIKES!!!) but Finlay goes back to the arm to keep control. We go to the neck again as this has been mostly Finlay. A slam is reversed and it’s Rolling Germans Part Deux the Sequel Resurrection Returns and all other bad titles for sequels. Out to the floor and Finlay grabs that club that I don’t even want to try to spell but Benoit counters with a German on the floor. And people wonder why his brain looked like it was put in a blender on frappe.
Back in for Three Amigos which means about ten suplexes so far for Finlay. He does the Eddie chest pat but Finlay knocks him to the floor when he tries for the headbutt again. Another shot to his head as it goes into the barricade this time too. Finlay throws him into the post shoulder first but Benoit counters into the Crossface and we’re done after a twenty plus minute FIGHT.
Rating: B+. If you like brawls with technical stuff mixed in, check this match out. This was an incredibly physical match that had psychology all over the place as Benoit kept firing back with insane offense when he was in trouble and at the end it was enough to get the tap out. Very fun stuff here and the amount of time helped it a lot. Very good match and I’d bet on it being the best we get all night.
We recap Jillian vs. Melina. Jillian got fired by JBL so Melina was all mean to her and they had a fight with makeup or something.
Jillian Hall vs. Melina
Jillian is just a hot blonde with a big chest at this point and isn’t yet a singer. Billy Graham is here. Nitro is here with Melina and then he gets thrown out before the bell. Thesz Press by Jillian who is oddly face here. Hennig neck snap to Melina and we hit the floor. All Jillian so far. And never mind as Melina sends her into the steps as I lose all thought as I see that skirt of hers.
To anyone expecting anything beyond a TV Divas match here, why in the world are you here? Body scissors by Melina followed by a head snap as I’m just looking at Jillian in the shorts at this point to pass the time. Jillian gets a sunset flip out of the corner despite Melina grabbing the rope for the pin. It’s over at least.
Rating: D-. Jillian was hot and Melina was in her Pocahontas gear here so I can’t really say it fails. Just a TV match.
Krystal, the backstage interviewer, tries to talk to Melina post match. She’s WAY too perky and you figure out the rest. Krystal beats her up anyway.
JBL, who is AMERICAN and US Champion here, says he’s awesome and does his usual I AM AMERICA promo. Chavo pops up to an ERUPTION (what the…..) and JBL yells at him about Eddie or something. Chavo says Viva La Raza and might as well be giving out money to the fans.
Another KOTR moment which is Austin winning the crown and igniting a new era with his post match promo.
Cruiserweight Title: Gregory Helms vs. Super Crazy
Helms is in the middle of his year plus title reign and this is just another title defense. Crazy is part of the Mexicools here so he’s on a lawn mower because….well just because. An Arizona Diamondback is here. We get a Smokey Robinson reference for no apparent reason at all. Jackknife cover gets two for Crazy as does another rollup. La Majistrol gets two.
Crazy sends him to the floor with a clothesline and sets for a dive. Nick Patrick stops it so Crazy uses him for a springboard to dive anyway. LET THE ECW CHANTS RING!!! And never mind as a hot shot gets two for Helms as does a neckbreaker. Remember that whole “this is just a TV match” from the previous match? That isn’t the case here. This is the very different LONG TV match.
Suplex by Crazy gets no cover as we go back to more holds on the mat. Off to the chinlock as we hear about Crazy winning a triple threat to get here. No word on opponents or anything but I guess they don’t matter. Rollup gets two for Crazy as the fans are mostly deceased. Elbow misses for the champion and Crazy fights back a bit. For a guy named SUPER CRAZY he’s really not that insane.
Missile dropkick gets two. Moonsault misses as does the Shining Wizard for the champion. Spinwheel kick gets two as we’re totally killing time here. Helms gets about his 8th neckbreaker of the match for two. Helms finally gets a snake eyes and rollup with his feet on the ropes to end this.
Rating: D+. Rather boring match here as Super Crazy becomes the Scott Steiner of the Cruiserweights. What I mean by that is he used to be good and at this point he’s doing nothing but living off past glory with the same name and one or two of the same moves that are signature things. Nothing of note here at all and a rather weak match.
We recap Mark Henry vs. Kurt Angle. Henry is a monster heel here and has splashed Angle through a lot of tables to injure Kurt’s ribs.
Mark Henry vs. Kurt Angle
Henry sets up the announce table before Angle’s entrance. This was around the time that it was supposed to be Batista vs. Henry but Henry legit hurt Batista. Henry runs down the crowd and is really bad at it to say the least. Kurt takes over to start with a big rush of offense and we hit the mat which makes sense for Kurt to do so I can’t complain there at all.
Backdrop is countered by Angle into a sunset flip. Henry misses the drop down to Angle. I think it might have been a combination of him looking at Angle, yelling and then jumping as high as he could. Just a hunch though. To the floor and Angle tries a German through the table which doesn’t work of course.
Back in and it’s still almost all Kurt as he takes the leg out and throws on a hold. Tazz uses the eternally stupid line of “everybody is the same size on the mat.” No they’re not. Henry is still a lot bigger than Angle but he’s on the mat now. That doesn’t change the size difference. They get up and Kurt charges at him, only to get knocked down with ease.
Henry works on the back with various moves involving dropping down on the ribs with a lot of fatness. Kurt reverses the World’s Strongest Slam into a DDT though to reset things a bit. German sets up an Angle Slam which looked really bad as there was nothing special about it at all and it was really just a modified belly to back suplex. I mean it always is but this looked even worse.
World’s Strongest Slam hits but Kurt kicks out again. Henry, showing his offensive range, tries it again but gets reversed into the ankle lock. We hit the floor after a quick reversal and Henry sets for a splash on the table but Kurt rolls away. Henry instead splashes him against the post and wins by countout. Really?
Rating: D. Match was short and not very good on top of that. The ending made this a lot worse than it probably was but it saves both guys which helps a bit. Henry was just worthless though as he had no charisma and even less appeal. He was very boring but Vince kept giving him push after push for no apparent reason.
Post match Henry tries to splash him again but Kurt snaps and half kills Henry with a chair and the ankle lock w/grapevine. Angle Slam to the table but the table doesn’t break so Mark just falls off of it. BIG chair shot to the head and Henry goes crashing through the table.
Sharmell comes up to talk to Booker who likes the idea of being King. She lists off various kinds he’ll be better than such as Tut, Kong and Martin Luther.
Video on the King of the Ring, recapping who has been in so far etc.
King of the Ring: Booker T vs. Bobby Lashley
Booker beat Matt Hardy and got a bye to get here. Lashley beat Mark Henry and Finlay. Booker gets shoved down to start and they circle each other. I mean they circle each other A LOT. Lashley takes over with power shots and Booker can’t outmove him. A shoulder hits the post though and Lashley crashes to the floor. We go into the slowdown stuff here as Booker takes over on the arm.
Lashley fights back with a clothesline and stands around a lot. Sharmell interferes which gets them nowhere so they do it again and Booker takes over. Bookend gets a long two. This is rather boring stuff. Powerslam gets two for Lashley and the fans get WAY into it all of a sudden. Spinning heel kick sets up the axe kick for two. Lashley gets the spear but here’s Finlay with the club to Lashley’s head to let Booker hit the Bookend for the crown. He would win the title next.
Rating: D. I didn’t like this one at all for the most part. They felt like they were in the beginning of the match the entire time and it never worked for the most part. A D might be a bit low but at the same time I wasn’t thrilled with it in the slightest. It never got going at all and the whole thing was carried by Booker to say the least. At the time I never got the point of having Booker win but he was by far better at this point and in the long run it turned out to be the right move I think.
Booker is crowned which consists of him just throwing it on. Lashley spears him through the throne.
We recap Undertaker vs. Khali. Taker had been dominating and beat up Mark Henry so Daviari brought in Khali which was THE EXACT SAME THING they did in 1992 with Kamala, Giant Gonzalez and Harvey Whippleman. For no apparent reason they let Khali absolutely squash Rey in a non-title match. Khali beat up Taker and he disappeared, only to return tonight.
Great Khali vs. Undertaker
The gong gets a very solid pop as you would expect. Taker hammers away to start but gets nowhere at all. Scratch that as he gets sent to the floor. Khali tries the chop so Taker hammers away. And once again that gets him stuck on the floor. Nice job there dude. Cole turns into an Undertaker cheerleader as Taker gets a Stunner over the top.
You can tell this is a big match because Old School is countered. And of course, NO ONE has ever countered that before. I love revisionist history at time. Khali hammers away as well as he can, meaning this is really rather boring. Out to the floor again and Taker goes knees first into the steps. That looked painful beyond belief and people wonder why he wrestles like once a year anymore.
Back in and there’s the chop that killed Taker deader than dead before. Khali puts the foot on his chest and Taker kicks out. Of course he sits up and here comes Taker. Old School hits and Khali is staggering. Taker pounds away and hits the jumping clothesline to tie Khali up in the ropes. Fans are rapidly getting into this. Daivari gets up on the apron but the referee saves him. Khali gets untied and the chokeslam doesn’t work. A pair of chops sets up a boot to the head, allowing Khali to put his foot on Taker’s chest and get the clean pin. Now THAT is putting someone over.
Rating: D-. And the match sucked. Did you really expect anything else? The crowd is legit shocked as they probably should be. Khali was supposed to have various PPV matches with Taker but one time he was wellnessed and the second the company flat out said he wasn’t good enough to be on live PPV in a last man standing match so they had it on Smackdown with Taker of course winning. After that, he wound up as world champion so there we are.
Video/trailer for See No Evil, which was the movie Kane was in.
We recap JBL vs. Mysterio. Rey won the title at Mania and said he’ll fight anyone at anytime. WWE then promptly had Rey get crushed by Mark Henry, Kane and Khali. What a great way to get your champion over right? This was supposed to be a bully angle I think but it wasn’t anything interesting because at the end of the day it was JBL vs. Rey Mysterio for the world title and that simply wasn’t interesting for a main event.
Smackdown World Title: John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Rey Mysterio
JBL is US Champion here. The fans chant for Eddie because he’s facing JBL here. I mean, he’s the reason Rey won the title after all right? They stare each other down and JBL lifts Rey up and puts him on the corner. JBL takes over as this is pure power vs. speed. 619 is avoided and we hit the floor. Seated senton takes JBL down and a top rope cross body gets two back in the ring.
Ten punches in the corner as Rey continues the dominance. In a nice heelish move, Rey points to a fan, allowing Rey to hit a baseball slide to JBL’s baseballs. Dropkick puts Bradshaw back on the floor where he gets the big boot to put down Rey and take over. Rey’s wife is at ringside so the ending is pretty clear here. JBL’s knuckles are bloody from hammering on Rey so much.
JBL hits Three Amigos to really rub in the insults. Rey is busted also and gets kicked to the floor. Fall away slam on the floor as the bullying thing continues. He fires off some clotheslines but these are from purgatory I guess as they’re not finishing moves. Rey is bleeding badly. Rey gets up and fires back which gets him nowhere. Off to a sleeper/chinlock by Layfield which he lets go in exchange for a cover for two.
They hit the corner again but Bradshaw can’t get a top rope belly to back suplex. Moonsault press gets two and they’re both down. Rey tries a Bronco Buster but runs into a boot to his Pelotas. 619 hits out of nowhere but JBL pulls the referee in front of him and down he goes. BIG powerbomb but there’s no referee. Naturally that gets two so down goes that referee also. JBL gets a chair which is kicked into his face. 619 and Frog Splash keep the title on Rey. Chavo comes out for the celebration.
Rating: C+. Match was ok but there were no shocks in this at all. They just did their thing out there and while the match was ok we knew it wouldn’t be JBL that ended the reign. It’s better than most TV matches but it’s not much overall. Paint by numbers might be a good description of this but it was still pretty good.
Overall Rating: C-. There’s some ok stuff in this but at the same time the whole thing felt like a very b-list show. This is a show that could have been an In Your House back in the day and probably would have been a lot better off that way too. Not much of a show but they tried at least. Benoit vs. Finlay is good but not must see. Weak show overall and not worth seeing at all, but it’s nothing horrible.
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