Arena Reports 7/15 WWE SNME HOLT report: Second detailed in-person report including off-air happenings
Jul 18, 2006 - 2:34:00 PM
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WWE Saturday Night's Main Event
July 15, 2006
Dallas, Tex. at American Airlines Center
Live on NBC
Report by Clinton Fitch, PWTorch correspondent
The taping started at about 6:00 p.m.; the actual show was scheduled on TV for 7:00 pm. When the first dark match started, people were still coming in. By the time SNME actually started, though, the place was completely packed. First time I've been to a wrestling show that sold out! Cool!
Before the proceedings, two video vignettes aired on the Tron, one with Wrestlemania 22 highlights, the other from the past two Tribute for the Troops events (both available on DVD from WWE!).
(1) Paul London defeated Rene Dupree. This was pretty good! Paul London, being from Austin, was over with the crowd. Both wrestlers had great energy. London didn't pull out that sweet-lookin' dropsault at all, but he did nail a nice springboard dropkick on Dupree. He won the match by rolling up Dupree in a flip pinning predicament for three. London forgot to take his Tag Team belt with him when he left the ring; the ring announcer slid it across the ring for him to pick up, as if to say, "Hey, buddy! Ain't'cha forgetting something?". Guess that would be classified as an unintentional illustration of how much the WWE Tag Team titles actually mean. When you have to actually remind the champion to take his belt with him, it doesn't really look good…
After the match, all of the commentators made their way to the ring to their respective theme music. J.R. and the King got the biggest pops of them; JBL was booed hugely as he two-stepped to the Smackdown! announce table.
Before the show started, the ring announcer introduced Dallas' own Kevin Von Erich, who came out to the entranceway and acknowledged the fans for a couple of minutes. He got a pretty good pop, and threw the patented Von Erich claw in the air before heading off.
The night started with Hulk Hogan and his daughter Brooke coming to ringside. The reaction was huge as soon as Hogan's music hit. My friend went to get some food right before this; neither one of us expected Hogan to start the show. I felt bad that he missed the big entrance, but he got back in time to see the rest of the segment. Hogan handed the mic off to a very surprised Brooke, who told the Dallas crowd what an honor it was for her to be standing with her dad in the ring. Hogan sang Brooke's praises to the crowd, but was interrupted by Randy Orton, coming to the ring bearing a rose. He came into the ring with a mic and "very respectfully" offered the rose to Brooke, then said that since Hogan was a legend and that Orton was a "legend killer", he "very respectfully" challenged Hogan to a match at Summerslam. Hogan accepted, and Orton simply left. He winked at Brooke at ringside, though, and Brooke seemed more than a little smitten.
(2) Rey Mysterio & Lashley, & Batista defeated King Booker (w/Queen Sharmell & the "Court Jester" William Regal), Finlay, & Mark Henry in a six-man tag match. Booker's entrance took almost ten minutes, with Booker addressing his "subjects" the whole way down the ramp and William Regal repeating "All Hail King Booker!" over and over. My friend was hilarious; every time Regal said that, he raised his hand and went "Haaaaiiillll!" He got more than a few looks from the fans sitting near us. The pop for the returning Batista was DEAFENING. The sold-out AA Center was on fire for The Animal, and frankly, so was I. During the match, Finlay's "little bastard" came out from under the ring while the ref was distracted and they beat on Mysterio with Finlay's shillelagh. That got Booker's team the upper hand, and they isolated Rey for a good while. My friend, who's always been a fan of Booker, was cheering him whenever he was in the ring, which drew some more angry looks and a comment or two. I thought it was damned funny. He leaned over and told me, "I'm probably gonna get my ass kicked when I leave here." We both had a laugh at that. Marks are fun to play with, aren't they? Mysterio eventually managed to tag in Batista, but Booker had the ref's attention and he didn't see the tag. Rey scrambled around the ring, crawling under Finlay's and Booker's legs, until he got to Batista and tagged him. Batista cleaned house on the King and his "court", with the crowd eating up every moment. Finally, he went all Ultimate Warrior on the ropes, then put the thumbs up, then down, signaling for the Batista Bomb. The crowd was in a frenzy; Booker crawled to the ropes and sought aid from Sharmell and Regal. Rey came out of nowhere and hit the 619 on Booker, and he stumbled into the Batista Bomb. Batista pinned Booker for the win. That sequence was a bit awkward; after Batista signaled for the end, he sort of stood there for several seconds waiting for Mysterio to hit Booker. Oh well…the good guys won and we all got to see Batista wrestling again. He was definitely a bit rusty, though. I wonder how much of the rust he shook off tonight, because he's got that huge PPV match with Henry next Sunday. But anyway, for being out of action for 6 months, he's in great shape, and performed a little bit better than expected. Lashley was less than a factor in this one, and didn't contribute much. Disappointing, ‘cause he's one of my favorites.
(2) Carlito & Trish Stratus defeated Johnny Nitro & Melina in a mixed tag team match. Melina and Trish were both SMOKIN' tonight. Carlito stumbled a little on his way down the ramp...(got a little Captain in you?) This was a quick match, and ended when Melina and Trish got in a catfight outside the ring. Nitro snuck up behind Carlito and went for a hangman's neckbreaker, but Carlito countered it into a back-cracker for a quick pin.
The Tron cut to Mr. McMahon's office, where he was giving the Spirit Squad a pep talk for their Elimination match against DX. Vince brought up a surprise for DX, saying there would be a "holding cell" on either side of the ring. If a wrestler gets eliminated, they'll get put in their respective cell for the rest of the match. Hmmm…that explains what those cages suspended above the ring were for…During their conversation, the screen split in half, with DX on the other half. Triple H quipped, "Do you ever wonder what a guy like that is REALLY thinking?" The other side's audio was cut, and DX gave the conversation the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment. They changed the whole dialogue to McMahon basically ordering the Spirit Squad to take off his clothes and spank his bottom "until it's red". Their hand gestures even matched the "dialogue" without any delay, lending even more to the fact that this segment was anything but impromptu. Pretty funny stuff nonetheless…for college kids. I chuckled, but then remembered how old Shawn Michaels and Triple H actually are. Their audio was cut back on just as McMahon was saying, "And we'll never, ever be embarrassed by DX again! Let's go!" A fart noise went off as they left the office. Oy. Most of the fans laughed at it, so objective achieved.
(3) D-Generation X (Shawn Michaels & Triple H) squashed the Spirit Squad in a 5 on 2 Elimination tag match. Michaels and Triple H addressed the crowd before the SS came out, and did the whole "two words" routine. The SS got the jump on Michaels early, but he would battle out of the corner. After whaling on all the SS members with their own megaphone, Michaels surprised Mitch with the superkick and pinned him early to bring it to 4 on 2. Johnny came in to face Triple H, pulling out a black headband and doing some karate-type kicks and punches. (WTF, mate?) Triple H then asked for the headband, then tied it on and mocked Johnny's moves. (I wonder if that part was televised…?) After a brief exchange, The Game quickly ended Johnny with a spinebuster, making it 3 on 2. Kenny faced off against Michaels, but after getting smacked around, left the ring. Michaels chased Kenny up the ramp to the entranceway and beat on him some more, but McMahon came out from behind the sparkly curtain and leveled Michaels with a chair. (Only fitting; he is the Chairman of WWE Entertainment!) The crowd chanted "A-hole" at Vince while the rest of the SS ganged up on Michaels. HBK came back, though, and tagged in Triple H for some MIDCARD VIOLENCE on the SS. Triple H Pedigreed Kenny and eliminated him. Michaels came out and superkicked Mikey and put him out almost right after that. That left only Nicky, who ate a double-team from DX, a top-rope elbow and superkick from Michaels, and finally a Pedigree from Triple H to end the match. So the 40-year-old DX completely dominated five able young athletes…all right, whatever. DX is completely over right now, and I guess Creative figured this would make a big step in making sure they stay that way. I don't really know about that, but the fans loved it. Again, objective achieved. After the match, Vince, who was at ringside, tried to open the cell holding the SS. He got it unlocked, but turned around just in time to eat a superkick from a waiting Michaels and fall into the cell (and the SS). Vince tried to get out of the cell, but Michaels superkicked him back in again, and DX locked the cell. They crawled up on top of the cage and gestured to the crowd for several minutes. Triple H had thrown the key to the lock into the crowd, and they had to get some bolt cutters to get the lock open and let McMahon and the SS out. McMahon kicked one of the SS guys in the bottom on their way up the ramp. He was obviously furious at them for not being able to get the job done.
Todd "The Tool" Grisham came out to give away some autographed Great American Bash T-shirts for answering trivia questions about past WWE events in Dallas. (These segments end up on WWE.com Unlimited.)
The Tron showed footage from the Diva Bikini Bullriding Tournament earlier in the night. Now, when the fans saw that, we all collectively looked at each other and went, "What the HELL? When was THAT?" (Y'see, what had happened was, they filmed that segment earlier in the AFTERNOON, before anyone was let into the arena. That was truly disappointing, and more than confusing, for the fans who paid good money to see Divas in bikinis.) Todd Grisham, who was at the entranceway, informed us that Victoria and Michelle McCool were in the finals, and they would face off on the mechanical bull later on. I'm sure a lot of folks were livid to find out that revelation.
(4) The Great Khali (w/Daivari) came out to the ring. Damn, that guy's huge! Daivari jawed with the crowd about how dominating Khali is and how he'll destroy the Undertaker in the Punjabi Prison Match at the Great American Bash. Suddenly, The Big Show's music hit, and the ECW Heavyweight Champ made his way to the ring with Paul Heyman. Oh, WHUH-OH! THIS oughta be good! Show came out and touted for the tenth time this week about how he's the only wrestler in history to hold the WCW, WWE, and ECW Heavyweight Championships during his career. He tripped over his words in the beginning, though ("…the WC-Title—the WCW Title—thank you very much"), which drew a chuckle from me. He went on to say, though, that someday, they would have to find out "who the one true giant is". Now THAT would actually be pretty cool! But Show said he wasn't there for that; he was there to "put Khali over". He told Khali how Khali has completely dominated the Undertaker, but he was cut off by the Undertaker's theme music. The place went apey, and Taker lumbered to the ring in his wrestling gear. Oooh, Deadman came to fight! He did his whole entrance, then stared down Khali and Show. Show begged off, and Taker went after Khali with punches. Khali, ever the great actor, no-sold every one, but Taker eventually knocked him over the ropes and out of the ring. He turned toward Show, who begged off again. Taker went toward the outside, but Show suckered him with a shot to the back. Show went to work on Taker, but he battled back, and grabbed Show by the throat for a chokeslam. Khali had made it back into the ring by this time, and Taker grabbed his throat as well. The crowd popped as if he could actually pull something like that off. Show grabbed Taker's throat, and Khali followed suit. Show and Khali dropped Taker with a double chokeslam and left him lying in the ring. Taker, after several minutes, quickly did his patented sit-up and gestured toward the ramp. (I doubt that part made it to TV.)
On the Tron, Todd Grisham caught up with Show and Heyman backstage and asked for a word about what just happened. Show went on to plug ECW on Sci-Fi, and challenge Undertaker to an ECW Heavyweight Championship match on their next show. Oh boy! I wonder how the ECW faithful will react to the legendary Taker coming to their "house".
Cut to the parking lot, where Randy Orton was conversing with Brooke Hogan. The Tron showed footage of Brooke's debut music video for her single "About Us". The video looks completely ridiculous, and Brooke is trying very hard to be original while completely ripping off pre-K-Fed Britney Spears. Anyway, don't tell her dad I said that…back to Orton and Brooke. Hulk comes on the scene, very loudly slapping Orton on the back. Hogan got between the two and curtly told Orton, "See you at Summerslam, brother." Orton politely backed off, "Yes, sir. No problem, sir." Gee, I wonder what's coming next…Hulk ushered his smokin' hot daughter into the car, muttering, "It never ends…" As Hulk made his way to the other side of the car, Orton launched from off-camera and RKO'ed the Hulkster onto the car trunk. (OH MY GOD! I NEVER SAW THAT COMING!) The crowd went "Ohhhhh!" when that happened. (Okay, so did I, but it was nonetheless expected.) Orton leaned down and stared at Hogan as Brooke tended to her dad. Brooke tried to act as if she had no idea what just went on and asked Orton what happened to him. Orton simply smiled evilly at Brooke, got up, and walked off. This was absolutely hilarious, and definitely built up the upcoming match.
Well, disappointing as it was, the finals of the Bikini Bullriding Contest took place. Michelle went first, and held on for 12 seconds. Victoria came out wearing a hybrid cowgirl…Indian…outfit…thing (still smokin', though, I might add), and she managed to hold on for…7 seconds. Enthralling. Vicki was mad as hell, and took it out on the bull and Michelle's yardstick, breaking it over her knee. So we get to see two Divas for a total of about two minutes. I found myself wanting my money back right then.
Maria came out in her cowgirl outfit (yes, she was in the contest "earlier" too…DAMN IT!) for the Kiss-Cam segment.
(5) Sabu defeated Stevie Richards in the ugliest ECW Extreme Rules match in TV history. Richards didn't get an ounce of offense in, which was expected. Sabu Smashmouthed Richards with the chair, then did his patented chair-launching spots. (He completely missed a springboard moonsault, hitting Richards in the gut with his legs. Wasn't that how Kurt Angle put Hardcore Holly out of action a while back?) Sabu then employed a table from under the ring and planted Richards on it. He dragged the table across the ring, but with Richards on top of it, one of the legs collapsed. Sabu stopped there, grabbed a chair, and climbed the ropes. He launched off and…sort of…smashed the chair over Richards' head. Since the table was already broken, I guess that was all Sabu could think of to do. He pinned Richards, then after the bell gave Richards an Arabian Facebuster with the chair for good measure (probably to try to make up for the blown table spot). He pulled his patented knitting needle out of his boot and went after Richards with it, but the ref held him back. Yeah…that was Fugly with a capital "F". Seeing it live was painful to watch, and didn't do much to promote ECW as anything but a chair-swinging, table-smashing joke. (But hey, maybe that's what they're after anyway!) On a positive note, Sabu set a television record for pointing to Heaven the most times during a public appearance. I lost count at 15.
(6) John Cena defeated Edge (w/Lita) by DQ in a WWE Heavyweight Championship match (Edge retained the Title). A video package hyping Cena & Edge's rivalry was shown on the Tron. Cena came out to a mixed reaction. Quite a few people booed him; surprising, seeing how most other venues in Texas have cheered the roof off the place for him. Wichita Falls was Chain Gang HQ when I went to that show! Well, anyway, the teenybopper girls in the row in front of us, at least, as well as most of the rest of the female fans, went ape-stuff at the first note of his entrance music. Edge got mostly boos, but a few cheers as well (of course, they were "whoever's-fighting-Cena" cheers, but cheers nonetheless). Lita, of course, was absolutely slammin' in the shirt she was almost wearing. As I do every week, I shouted, "DAMN, LITA!" and seeing her live, even from a distance, made my whole month. The announcer waited to introduce the two until after they were both in the ring, to give it a true "championship" feel. Edge kissed his belt (what, he didn't LICK IT?) before the match got underway. Cena and Edge started off slow, and Edge applied a surfboard (read: "rest hold") about 3 minutes into it. Ho hum. I stared at Lita for most of the beginning, then things started picking up. Cena and Edge started trading punches; a lot of the fans got in on the fun by yelling "Boo!" every time Cena punched Edge and "Yay!" every time Edge punched Cena. Surreal…Cena eventually got the upper hand, and quickly went into his finishing sequence (shoulder block, Proto-Bomb, Five-Knuckle Shuffle). The crowd went nuts, the Cena fans clearly overpowering the anti-Cena contingent. Cena landed the FU and went for the pin. At two, Lita pulled the ref out of the ring, and his head bounced off the safety rail. Cena was enraged. He stared Lita down, but as he moved toward her, Edge was perched for a Spear. Cena turned around, and ducked out of the way just in time. Edge crashed into the buckles, fell to the mat, and Cena locked on the STFU. The roof was coming off the place. The ref came to and crawled back in the ring, but Lita pulled him outside again and bitch-slapped him. The ref had enough at this point and called for the bell just as Edge tapped out. Cena, as well as many in the crowd, thought he had just won the title. (He didn't see Lita's second interference going on behind him.) The ref raised an ecstatic Cena's hand, and the ring announcer shouted, "Here is your winner…as the result of a disqualification…John Cena!" As soon as Cena heard the big "D-word" (and I don't mean Dallas…YES! GOT IT IN THERE!), he fell to the mat on his knees and looked as if his dog just died. Classic throwback wrestling moment. As we all know, the title can't change hands on a DQ, hence Cena's dejection. As if that weren't enough, he turned around just in time to eat a Spear from Edge. Edge grabbed the belt after recuperating at ringside and started to leave, but a royally pissed-off Cena dove over the ropes on top of him. Lita took off to another corner of ringside as Cena whaled on Edge, then Cena started clearing off the ECW announce table. THAT can't be good…Cena bashed Edge's head in with a monitor, then looked over at Lita. Lita begged Cena not to come over, so Cena turned his attention back to Edge. He picked Edge up in another FU and looked over at the announce table. The crowd popped, but Cena shook his head in an apparent change of heart. He started walking away with Edge on his back, then stopped, crawled up the ringside steps, and sported a wicked grin. He then launched off the steps and FU'ed Edge through the table. Cena posed for the crowd for several minutes, and as he left, Lita finally tended to her beau. Eventually Edge and Lita left, the ring announcer reminding the crowd that he was still the champion.
DARK POST-MAIN EVENT MATCH
(1) The Undertaker defeated The Great Khali & Umaga in a handicap match. This was after the SNME taping, and it was a quick one. The crowd popped big for Taker again. Khali sold Taker's shots even less than earlier. Umaga sold pretty well for Taker, though, and worked okay in the ring with him. Taker ended up winning the match by knocking Khali into the ropes, causing them to tie him up. He picked up Umaga for a Tombstone, but bodyslammed him instead and gave him a legdrop off the ropes. I guess his back was still feeling that double chokeslam from earlier, but he didn't sell it; it looked more like he thought better of it before he delivered the Tombstone. Three count later and it was over. Taker took quite a few minutes after the match to take a breather in the ring. He leaned on the ropes for a long time and looked out at the crowd. He looked more like a tired old man than a phenom at that point, truth be told. But that's okay; he's been in this business for longer than most wrestlers are, and still gives his all in every match. I couldn't tell he was hurting for most of the dark match (at least, until the end). Eventually he did his classic one-knee pose in the middle of the ring before leaving.
NOTES: Overall, my friend and I had a complete blast. It was the first time I'd ever been to a televised WWF or WWE event, and it was a big thrill. I wasn't close enough to get any decent pictures, but the memory of it will be in my head forever. And who knows, we might've just made it on TV! I made sure the show was DVR'ed off of cable before I left for Dallas, so we'll see.
Some of the matches could've had a little more action, and most of the fans were really disappointed that we didn't get to see the whole Diva Bullriding thing. Hogan starting the show was a big surprise; I don't think anyone expected him until later in the show. I haven't seen Hogan live since the 80s, so of course that was a huge mark-out moment for me. Cena vs. Edge was less than stellar, but still a pretty good match, especially the dramatic end with the FU off the steps through the table. Cena should probably win the title back at the next RAW PPV with the heat he's getting.
Personally, I can't wait for Big Show vs. Khali. I look forward to expecting a huge display of power, then being horribly disappointed at their collective lack of ability to work a match. Call me masochistic…It's hard to imagine Big Show carrying anyone, but he's gonna have to against Khali.
Hogan vs. Orton…eh. Orton will probably go over him, and the buildup to the match will likely be more exciting than the match itself. I'll be surprised if Hogan beats him. He's retired and has absolutely nothing else to prove other than he put another young punk in his place and saved his daughter from his wiles in the process. Hey, wait a minute…okay, I take it back. Hogan takes it in a thriller. Shyeah.
Welp, that's all from here.
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