D-Generation X Returns
On June 24th, 2006, the original D-Generation X, Shawn Michaels and Triple H, made their return to Pay-per-view programming for the first time since WrestleMania 14. This was the beginning of them working as a team in the ring, and not just outside it. Before this, back during the Attitude Era, D-X mostly worked separately. I mean, Triple H would go to ringside with Chyna to cheat for Shawn Michaels, but they weren’t wrestling many tag matches. That changed on this June night in 2006, at the Raw sponsored Pay-per-view, Vengeance.
This event was fairly packed, actually. It started with another rematch between Kurt Angle and Randy Orton. Months earlier, Angle had broken Orton’s ankle with an Ankle Lock (storyline). It put Randy out of action for a bit, but he returned to answer Kurt’s calls for an opponent at ECW One Night Stand 2006. He’d go on to lose to the only Olympic Gold Medalist in the history of the WWE. Their match at Vengeance was the blow off match of the feud. They went twice already, and Angle picked up both wins. The in-ring psychology was easy for this: Orton didn’t want to lose three in a row, and he didn’t.
Up after Orton and Angle, it was time for Umaga and Eugene to run down the clock a bit. This was nothing more than a filler match. Anyone who has seen either of those two guys wrestle once, just once, knows there was no way Eugene was going to beat Umaga. The match was on for less than two minutes.
The next match was fairly disappointing: Mick Foley vs. Ric Flair in Two out of Three Falls. I get that Flair wasn’t at his best around this time. He felt almost out of place, like he wasn’t anywhere close to the Nature Boy of old. Thing is, Flair and Foley could have gone for a lot longer than seven minutes, especially in the type of match they were in. I enjoyed what we got out of it; I just think that Ric Flair vs. Mick Foley should’ve been a whole lot better.
With that out of the way, we come to a surprisingly solid Triple Threat: Johnny Nitro vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Carlito for Shelton’s Intercontinental Championship. These were three of the most athletically gifted young wrestlers in the locker room, at the time. Nitro and Carlito especially were being looked at as the future of the company. Obviously it didn’t work out like that, as Nitro, or John Morrison, whatever you call him, is one of the worst actors I have ever seen.
And Carlito, from what I’ve heard, was just a giant, arrogant asshole that never wanted to put the work in. He would’ve much rather smoked weed and floated by on natural talent. Nitro ended up with the IC Title at the end of this, which would be the highest achievement he’d reach in his WWE career. I’d count his ECW Heavyweight Championship reign, but knowing that Paul Heyman did not want ECW back and hated what it became has mostly invalidated that time-span for me. Though, I suppose I should mention how Paul helped CM Punk get some spotlight on him through that version of ECW. Silver linings and what not…
Now we come to the WWE Championship match: the challenger, Edge took on the Champion, the whole f–king show, Rob Van Dam. This was a great match between two of my favorites. I feel like I should address the fact that RVD 4:20 not only won the WWE Championship, but he got to retain it against one of Vince McMahon’s fastest rising stars. At this point, Edge was the biggest heel in the WWE. Everywhere he went, he would get the fans into it. They loved to hate him. They also loved RVD for the history he had put in. I’m talking everything from ECW to winning the WWE Tag Team belts with Kane. As a face, he was over as all hell, so it made sense for him to beat Edge.
He lost it not very long after, however, on an episode of Monday Night Raw. The storyline reasons are irrelevant, at this point. RVD lost the WWE Championship because he was arrested for “drug” possession. Drug is in quotations because it was marijuana, and I mean, come on. How can it be illegal if it helps make Peyton Manning a ton of money?
After RVD and Edge, it came time for Kane vs. Kane. No, that’s not a typo. For me, the obvious first place I went was Undertaker vs. Undertaker at SummerSlam 1994. I couldn’t help but think about that, the whole way through. The match itself was ok. It didn’t have the luster of the battle of the Undertakers. There were no outside personalities or anything. No Paul Bearer or Ted DiBiase. It was simply Kane versus the future Luke Gallows, who was behind the mask. Imposter Kane got the win here, but would be run out of the company not long after by the original.
Now we’re down to the final two matches of the night: John Cena vs. Sabu in an Extreme Lumberjack match and DX vs. The Spirit Squad in a five-on-two handicapped match. Cena and Sabu was phenomenal. Even if you don’t like him, John Cena has got a huge pair on him. He went out there and stood face to face with ECW, Paul Heyman, and their absolutely rabid fan base. He didn’t do it just once, at One Night Stand. No, he did it on a number of occasions to help get the re-emerging ECW over with the newer WWE fans.
This match had to have helped. Sabu is one of the ECW legends, and good God, he really is a crazy person. Just absolutely insane. Thankfully for John Cena, he was also about a thousand years old in wrestler years. So he was certainly toned down. The addition of the Raw and ECW lumberjacks made this match extremely easy to work. Every time that John landed on the outside, he was taken apart by the ECW lumberjacks. Same as when Sabu went- well, I’m sure you get how a lumberjack match works. It only lasted a little less than seven minutes, but it was about as good as an Extreme Lumberjack match could be.
Finally, we come to the Main Event of the evening. There was absolutely no suspense in this match. There was never any way that the Spirit Squad was going to beat DX.
HBK and Triple H are two of the biggest stars in the history of the business and the other guys are five male cheerleaders. I remember watching this when it aired. It got by entirely on the nostalgia of seeing the two charismatic degenerates back together again. Were they anywhere near as fierce or dirty as they were back in the Attitude Era? Well no, but that wasn’t the point. The point was for them to have fun, and for the audience to, as well.