(WARNING: IF YOU DO NOT LIKE PROFANITY DO NOT READ THIS BLOG… I HAVE A LOT TO SAY ABOUT THIS SHOW AND NOT MUCH OF IT IS GOOD)
So… you’ve read the title of this blog post, so let me not waste any more time and begin to describe to you this fucking wretched show… WWE ECW had at this stage been around for a few months as WWE’s third brand and attempt to revive the much loved underground promotion. And already it was beginning to die a death. I have always thought and many have said the same thing, if you called this brand anything but ‘ECW’ it may have done OK… but if ECW was well on its way to death row then this show was the night the letters E.C.W were put in the electric chair, AND given the lethal injection, AND had its head cut off.
Perhaps given what took place in the build-up to this show it should not come as a shock what happened on the night itself. Only two matches were officially announced for the show before it aired, and yet WWE still charged the usual $40 for people to see it. WWE sent out a promotional email the day before the show promoting TWO matches (the Hardys vs MNM tag and the main event) but adding that “ALL THIS AND MUCH MORE!”were to come on the show. Even on WWE.com MINUTES before the show began they had a grey table that had 8 spaces for possible matches in with only TWO being listed. According to the F4W Newsletter as of the afternoon of the day of the show the creative team in WWE knew of only FOUR matches that were to be on the show… so whoever came up with the idea of the other two matches on the card that took place… I have no words that are positive to say about them… This show pulled in 90,000 pay per view buys with 55,000 of them domestic buys in the USA which goes without saying is the lowest in company history before the WWE Network came into existence. I actually feel legitimately sorry for the poor souls who paid money to watch this abomination on their TV screens. I hope they received the necessary medical-aftercare.
On December 3rd 3006; the WWE ECW December To Dismember PPV took place. Professional Wrestling was never the same again, and the brand of Extreme Championship Wrestling official DIED!
A video package played promoting the EXTREME Elimination Chamber played to open the PPV. The theme song for the show was ‘Bodies’ by Drowning Pool. This may or may not have been the best thing about the show. I noted immediately that the upper deck of the arena on the far side (straight on from the entrance ramp) is closed off. The James Brown Arena in Augusta, Georgia was set up to seat 8000… it was reported that approximately 2300 people were here to endure this show, at least some of them didn’t have to pay for the horror. The Voice of ECW Joey Styles and former ECW Champion Tazz were the commentary team and so had the best (or in this case the dirt worst) seats in the house. It should be noted by the way that Styles opened up by stating that a ‘new champion would be crowned in the Extreme Elimination Chamber’ to which Tazz had somewhat of a… puzzled… reaction to, so we were already off to a tremendous start…
Our opening contest was one of the two pre-announced matches for the show. So as far as we knew this match was going an hour and a half…
Team Extreme (Matt Hardy & Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy) defeated MNM (Joey Mercury & Johnny Nitro with Melina)
So in December 2006 Jeff Hardy and Johnny Nitro were feuding for the IC title on RAW, Matt Hardy was on SMACKDOWN, MNM were a tag team together on SMACKDOWN, The Hardys were a tag team on ECW, and yet for ‘one night only’ (apparently) this match was opening an ECW PPV. Got all that? … Matt and Jeff were announced as ‘Team Extreme’ despite having ‘The Hardys’ on their titantron… The camera men seemed to be going out of their way to NOT shoot the crowd on the hard-cam side of the arena to avoid the many, many empty seats in that, and many other, parts of the arena. They did not dim the arena lights nor put the spotlight in the ring as they did for ECW TV, which of all the shows in the world it seemed sadly ironic not to dim the arena lights for THIS show. The crowd at various points called Melina a ‘crackhoar’, which was charming. As a match it was fine but it was every Hardy Boyz match you’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a bunch believe me. The crowd very quickly became bored, as was I, but did pop for Jeff and the stuff he did. Melina on the outside seemed to scream every now and then in delight when her guys gained an advantage, but it quickly became incredibly annoying. One of the highlights was Johnny Nitro accidentally dropkicking Melina off the apron in what was probably one of the bigger bumps in her career. As I’ve said this match was fine… we got three hot tags and they fit in a gazillion different moves and spots in the LONG time they had, but again I feel like I’ve seen this exact match from The Hardys a silly amount of times. Matt and Jeff did get the win after a double neckbreaker by Matt off the top followed by a Swanton by Jeff. It went TWENTY TWO MINUTES but if it had of gone 10 it would’ve been much better. On a regular PPV this match would be seen as average, on this PPV it was the best match of the show by a mile.
They plugged the Extreme Chamber and played an interview filmed for ECW.com with Rob Van Dam.
And that Ladies and Gentleman was where everything ‘average’ on the good-bad scale ended. For the duration of what was still to come please adjust your scale to tell you where on the scale of bad-THE ABSOLUTE DRIVELING SHITS everything from now on ranks.
Balls Mahoney defeated Matt Striker in a ‘Striker’s Rules’ Match
Striker (doing his School Teacher gimmick) came to the ring dressed in the ugliest pink sweater you’ve ever seen. He introduced his opponent, then cut a typical condescending promo being anti-violence and anti-extreme. He said his match tonight was under ‘Striker rules: No eye gauging, no hair pulling, no moves off the top rope, and no foul language’. The camera kept zooming on Matt Striker’s arse… he had a picture of his own face on his wrestling shorts… After Mahoney came out and the bell rung the crowd was dead (please someone count how many times in this review I make a comment about the crowd being dead), they did though take great joy in chanting ‘Balls’. Watching this I could tell why Matt Striker eventually moved into commentary and well away from being a wrestler. I got a glimpse during this match that seemed to show the entire upper and most of the middle deck on the hard-cam side was either closed off or had a lot of empty seats… or both. Tazz said on commentary that Striker had a ‘facey ass’ which was my personal highlight of this match. Mercifully Balls ended the match and got the win with a sit out spinebuster. Was this a good wrestling match? Absolutely not. Both these guys in-ring absolutely suck and they very quickly after the finish moved on to the next segment… figures… The F4W review of this show said of this match “This sucked a cock”. In my opinion that would be being polite.
They showed CM Punk backstage. This would usually make me very happy, but I know what’s to come so I’m already sad.
They then cut to Sabu backstage who it appeared had been attacked, then Paul Heyman came in and asked what had happened. Heyman raised the point to the emergency officials that Sabu was in the main event tonight… As the segment closed the crowd can be heard chanting ‘bull-shit’… and so it begins…
Elijah Burke & Sylvester Terkay defeated ‘The Full Blooded Italians’ aka F.B.I (Little Guido Maritato & Tony Mamaluke) with Trinity
To be totally honest when Terkay came out with Burke my exact words were ‘who the fuck is that?’. It appears from some quick internet research that his very brief and forgettable run with WWE was the most noteworthy happening of his pro-wrestling career. Burke cut a decent promo before the match putting over their team, as I noted that the very upper deck on the side facing the hard-cam also seems to be closed off. Essentially Terkay was a big guy and the FBI were the perfect cannon fodder for him… but let’s just say Burke was the more charismatic one of this tag team (and that’s being generous). Little Guido by the way may be better known to some of you as Nunzio in WWE. The size difference between Terkay and Little Guido was absurd. The crowd chanted ‘get the tables’ which is code for ‘WE ARE BORED SHITLESS SO PLEASE DO SOMETHING EXCITING’. Elijah Burke got the win for his team with the Elijah Experience (a facebuster-type move). After the match Terkay got the heat with the Ryback suplex on Guido after the match… just as you could hear someone chanting ‘TNA, TNA, TNA’… which I think is app for the quality of this match. This would have been a throwaway segment and match on an episode of WWE ECW (not even a Raw or SmackDown)… this was on a PAY PER VIEW event …Yeah… this just sucked. Elijah Burke makes up for * of this match rating just for being him.
Sabu was shown being wheeled into an ambulance as a concerned RVD and CM Punk looked on. I think they were most sad at Sabu being put in an ambulance as it was symbolic of where the brand he spent many years nearly dying for was heading.
Daivari with The Great Khali defeated Tommy Dreamer
Just read again who was in this next match. Then decide what it was like and how fucking horrific it was. It was exactly like you’re imagining. Daivari cut a promo in his native dialect as he came to the ring with Khali, then ECW hero Tommy Dreamer came out to a half-decent reaction. I say it was decent, it was more decent for this crowd and the tens of hundreds of people that looked to be in it. After they tried to have a professional wrestling match for a little while Khali eventually interfered and the ref banned him from ringside. Yes indeed, the referee went out of his way to tell the only interesting thing about this match to go away. And then after that Khali seemed somewhat confused and/or was terribly acting and didn’t know what was going on (all whilst he was frowning and pointing at the ring). It seemed to take forever to get him to actually leave. And with Khali now gone so too went any level of enjoyment I could have watching this match. People could be seen leaving and some of those that stayed were shouting their displeasure at what they were seeing. TOMMY DREAMER THE ECW ICON got ZERO reaction when he did the big babyface comeback. The wrestling they tried to do was very basic and the crowd chanted ‘we want hardcore’… good luck with that… Daivari won after a roll up just as Dreamer was setting up for his finish. The Crowd died a death as a result and they weren’t anywhere near loud to begin with. This was boring as fuck as a match and the wrestling wasn’t much better. Thankfully to me at least Khali came back out with Dreamer after Daivari had left and he then did the double-arm Chokeslam to a helpless Dreamer onto the apron floor. They showed a stupid number of replays of this to really hammer home this crowd pleasing moment… Yes I personally, for all of my sins, enjoyed seeing Khali kill someone, but I don’t think having a giant monster come back out and beat up a guy who was a hero to a crowd already hating life by this point was the best of ideas. On the night ECW officially died an icon of the brand Tommy Dreamer was pinned by Daivari in a fucking abysmal match and then was pulverized by The Great Khali. Seems fitting on the night ECW was killed to literally try to do the same to its heart and soul. When THE GREAT KHALI is the only thing saving you from a DUD rating I think that says it all.
Paul Heyman was backstage and found Hardcore Holly and got him to be in the main event. The crowd booed. Fuck this shit.
NOW THEN… NOW THEN… NOW THEN… HERE WE FUCKING GO!!! STRAP YOURSELF IN BECAUSE THIS IS WHERE IT GETS GOOD!!!
Kevin Thorn and Ariel defeated Mike Knox and Kelly Kelly
The story of these two teams is Kevin Thorn and Ariel are vampires (yes just take it in and accept it). Mike Knox was a big hairy asshole and Kelly Kelly was his young and gorgeous girlfriend who was for some bizarre reason going out with a complete knobhead. Ariel is somewhat of an infamous figure in pro-wrestling folklore given her ‘colourful’ past and her ‘notable’ assets. So… I’ll tell you what happened in the match and then I’ll give you my thoughts. Kelly Kelly got a mic before the match and took the time to talk about CM Punk (who on the TV leading up to the show young Kelly had developed somewhat of a crush on), she wished him good luck in the main event. The match began with the two men having an exchange of lock ups and basic moves. Then the women came in and Ariel beat Kelly up. Kelly crawled over to get the tag, but Mike Knox walked out on her. The crowd actually reacted somewhat loud for this. Ariel then beat up Kelly Kelly some more then pinned her. After the match finished The Sandman came through the crowd and beat up Thorn with his cane all the way to the back of the arena. The crowd liked The Sandman. Now… here is everything I wrote on the page for my notes:
– Terrible lock ups from the 2 men in the match
– “Mercifully this match is over (mercifully for Kelly Kelly)” – Joey Styles
– Not even T&A could save this
– the t&a was as good as the ‘wrestling’ was bad
– THE FINISH WAS A LEG SWEEP?!?!
– I’D WATCH a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g over watching this again
– I’ve never heard a ppv crowd be so silent
– the ‘angle’ in the match got FIVE SECONDS of heat…
– WTF was this??
– the driveling shits
– an ABORTION
This was one of the worst professional wrestling matches I have ever seen.
Rebecca (don’t ask because I don’t know either) was backstage interviewing Bobby Lashley (Rebecca by the way had a score of -10 on the charisma scale and seemed to have the TV personality of a plank of wood). The interview segment included a recap of Lashley vs Big Show from ECW the previous week. The story is Heyman hates Lashley so Big Show and Test and Heyman’s goons beat him up.
We then saw Big Show/Heyman/Test/the goons walking backstage, before a video played hyping the main event.
Paul Heyman and his guards (literally two guys in black with black helmets if you were wondering) came to the ring. He ran down the rules and cut a promo before the chamber itself came down. During Heyman’s promo he said the line “The day of Sabu and the Sandman and Rob Van Dam has come to an end”. Hasn’t it fucking just. The crowd really shat on Paul during this and seemed to vent their anger at him for what his once great creation had become; Heyman said he’d topped himself tonight with the Extreme Elimination Chamber and a fan shouted ‘You Suck’, Heyman said that Sabu wasn’t in the chamber but Holly would be taking his place and the crowd chanted ‘BULLSHIT’, Heyman said that it was now the day of the Big Show and a fan screamed ‘Who’s going to retire next year’. When PAUL FUCKING HEYMAN the godfather, master and creator of Extreme Championship Wrestling is getting responses from the crowd like that you know hell really has frozen over and everything that ECW once represented was LONG gone.
Aside from them venting their anger at what they had witnessed personally towards the leader of ECW, this crowd by this point was D.E.A.D.!
Bobby Lashley defeated Big Show (C), Test, Rob Van Dam, Hardcore Holly & CM Punk in an Extreme Elimination Chamber Match to win the ECW World Championship
Big Show was billed at 507 pounds. The crowd is DEAD. Punk got a decent reaction, one of the few all night. Big Show got hold of a barbed wire bat, CM Punk got a steel chair, Test got hold of a crowbar, Lashley had a table in his pod. Hardcore Holly (who was booed a little) and RVD began the match in the ring with the other 4 men in pods waiting to enter. Although Punk and to a lesser level RVD got pops coming out overall the lack of crowd reaction for these entrances was absurd. So Van Dam and Holly started the match which was about as much a clash of styles as you could get… included in their exchange was RVD doing his Rolling Thunder move to Holly onto the steel (which looked like it was pretty grim to take), and later Holly hit the stiffest dropkick you’ve ever seen right in Rob’s face… so 1-1… After 5 minutes had gone in the match (it felt like it had been going on for double that) it was time for the first pod to open and another participant to join and hopefully improve the dreadfully dull action. Joyfully for the crowd their favourite CM Punk was that lucky individual, and there was a spot not long after where RVD threw a chair at Punk and the crowd loved it. RVD tried to monkey flip Punk onto a steel chair but he fucked up the move and the crowd let him know all about it… ‘you fucked up, you fucked up…’ … (this is a crowd at an ECW show letting ROB VAN DAM know he had made a mistake… if ever it was obvious this was WWE ECW you could tell from that crowd response alone). Although Punk later got his own back busting Van Dam open with a chair not long afterwards. Although it was fun to see RVD and Punk go at it the match itself was largely boring at this point to me, and the facial expression of the ECW Champion Big Show in his pod looking on reflected a similar mood. The crowd displayed their clear enjoyment of the match by chanting ‘Test’s a faggot’ which was… interesting… Test just so happened to come out next and went on a rampage with a crowbar, including him clawing away at RVD with the weapon and busting him open some more (to their credit this was a gruesome looking spot). So… you’ll remember the various points in this blog where I’ve stated my own and the live crowd in the arena watching this show and the love shown towards CM Punk… well guess what??? Yes of course RVD hit the 5 star and pinned and eliminated first…. CM PUNK! Great way to make the people even more UTTERLY MISERABLE having to watch this shower of SHIT of a show!!! Not long after their was a really weird moment where Test hit a big kick to Hardcore Holly’s face and looked to have pinned him, but Holly seemed to have kicked out, but both guys seemed to suggest it was a 3 and told the ref so, and despite the fact the ref himself had not counted a 3 told Holly to leave anyway… it was a mess to say the least. The time between Punk going out and Holly getting ‘pinned’ was about 10 seconds. And as if eliminating CM Punk wasn’t bad enough they then took Van Dam out by having Test hit an Elbow Drop from the top of a pod onto a prone RVD (whom had a chair on his face at the time). This was a fun spot but booking wise this match was just getting worse and worse. Naturally the crowd booed and chanted ‘bullshit’. There was even a chant of “where’s our refunds?” … and what was a largely boring match that had some decent talent in it had now lost the two most over guys in the match by a MILE and solid in-ring worker like Bob Holly who MAYBE could’ve held it all together… nice… The goons that worked on behalf of Paul Heyman then stopped Bobby Lashley getting out of his pod when it was supposed to be his turn, so then Lashley used a table to smash the chains at the top of his pod and then climbed through the top of it to get to to Test (this got next to no reaction despite appearing to be the big babyface-superhero spot)… and quickly after that Lashley speared poor Test before Big Show was even out of his pod… christ… “This is bullshit” was the response from the crowd… they booed some more and I think chanted this was boring… I wonder where and how this will end… We had to wait for a full two minutes of the two men just staring at each other with Show still inside his pod, which may not sound like a long time but when absolutely NOTHING is going on aside from two men looking at each other ahead of a showdown that we all know is only going to end one way and nobody cares about… suddenly two minutes seems like twenty… And then yes, Show came out from his pod with a barbed wire bat in hand. He tried to use it only for Lashley to block the attack with a steel chair, and then the bat got stuck in the chains of the cell, which was typical at this stage. Lashley then just beat his ass and even launched him through one of the Plexiglass pods. Big Show was busted open at this stage as Paul Heyman did his most OTT acting possible as he screamed ‘Run for your life’ and later ‘Fight for survival’. Big Show somewhat rallied and tried for chokeslam only for Lashley to counter and turn it into a DDT. And as the soon-to-be champion babyface was about to overcome the evil monster the crowd were chanting ‘Let’s go Big Show’… good job guys… And finally we were all put out our misery as Lashley ducked under a clothesline, hit the spear and got the pin. Bobby Lashley is your new ECW World Champion… and the crowd… well they did not go wild let me just say that.
If you go and watch this on the WWE network, the total running time of the show is 2:14:23. WWE charged $39.95 for people in the USA wanting to order it at the time. You absolute FUCKERS! After the show outside the arena there were reports of a huge fight that broke out in the parking lot. Reports say it was between ‘rednecks and punks’, but because all the Police were on the other side of the arena there was nobody to break it up. So witnesses said the people would fight, look around for police suspecting possible arrest, realize no Police were coming, and then carry on fighting. Someone who was at the show told Bryan Alvarez of the F4W website that this fight was quote ‘far better than the Elimination Chamber’.
After the show went off the air the Big Show was in the ring, and being he was born around 17 miles from the arena the show was in, he got a standing ovation and chants of ‘Thank you Show’. Big Show was offered a new lucrative contract by WWE in the wake of the event, but declined the offer due to burnout and generally feeling beat up. On the next Tuesday’s ECW TV show Big Show lost in his title rematch to Lashley and wouldn’t be seen again on WWE TV until the No Way Out PPV in 2008 where he would begin the build to his famous WrestleMania match with boxer Floyd Mayweather. The new ECW World Champion coming out of the show, Bobby Lashley, after getting through the Big Show rematch had a short feud with Rob Van Dam, before successfully defending his title against Test at the Royal Rumble PPV the month after. And then would be announced as Donald Trump’s hired gun in the Battle of the Billionaires extravaganza at WrestleMania 23… and the rest is history. But the person who’s working-life was most altered by this show was not the soon to be semi-retired Big Show, not the newly anointed champion Bobby Lashley. If this was the night the remaining essences of the original ECW died, then the brand’s founding father Paul Heyman wasn’t just caught in the crossfire, he was ripped to shreds.
After watching all he once created figuratively die at his very hands Paul Heyman cut a promo in the ring after the show was off the air. He said Big Show would get his rematch on the next ECW TV episode. The F4W newsletter reported that Heyman was “crying and passionate and ended the promo by walking off screen, and one source said it appeared to be a meltdown in process”. It seems to me from looking into this further that although Heyman DID write the PPV (including the main event and all the eliminations and the decision to take out Sabu, whom at this stage was really not in a good way health-wise), it was strongly dictated to him what should be the end result of the main event. Imagine being a sports coach and being told the tactics and game-plan you as the coach HAVE to play, see how that ends up… Essentially Heyman wanted CM Punk to win, and expanded on this in a 2008 interview where he explained his idea was to have Punk come into the match first, and very quickly tap out the then champion Big Show, before going on to win the whole thing. Big Show was apparently all for the idea of making Punk into a star, but Vince McMahon thought otherwise. Heyman even apparently told McMahon on the night of the show that the fans wouldn’t like what he had planned, but of course we know what happened, and we know how it was received.
The history between Paul Heyman and WWE & Vince McMahon has seen Heyman have many different positions and dealings with the company, and seemingly just as many clashes, disagreements and acrimonious splits with Vince. When WWE bought back ECW they made the call to place Heyman in charge… but of course, Vince had to get his two-pence in… and as you can imagine it, as always, didn’t end well. Not long after December To Dismember ended WWE put up a statement on their website saying that Vince McMahon had sent Paul Heyman home as a result of “slumping television ratings and a disgruntled talent roster”. It has been widely reported since that the two came to heads on a plane ride to the an arena for an upcoming show, and after the production meeting was over Heyman was escorted out of the arena and thus immediately fired from the ECW creative team after Vince had blamed Heyman for the terrible feedback the PPV had received. Shortly after this, following a meeting with both Vince and Stephanie McMahon, Heyman went home from the company but remained under contract. The meeting apparently was much of what you’d expect; Vince and Heyman going back and forth, Vince angry at the PPV being terrible and Heyman countering with complaints about the limits Vince put on him as ECW’s head. As with every case of this sort in history Vince MCMAHON got his way, and Heyman was sent home. Although Vince and the WWE persisted for some years after this with the idea of ECW being a 3rd brand to go along with Raw and SmackDown the show would go through many, MANY personnel changes in the big on screen roles and backstage creative positions, but it never EVER got even close to being a respected 3rd brand. The final episode of WWE ECW would air on February 16th 2010. It was replaced in its time-slot by a new reality/competition based show in an attempt to find the next big WWE star, the new show would be called ‘NXT’.
In the 2006 Wrestling Observer Newsletter year-end awards, WWE ECW’s December to Dismember PPV was voted the “worst major wrestling show of the year”.
This was THE worst WWE PPV I have ever seen.