I'm aware that I owe quite a few reviews already, and plan to get caught up on all of them as soon as I possibly can.
Smackdown; February 9th; Tokyo:
Highlight Video of last weeks Iron Man Match with Chris Jericho nearly overcoming a four fall deficit, but Brock Lesnar hangs on to retain the title, and go to Wrestle Mania as champion.
Before Michael Cole or Tazz can speak, we see Ricky Steamboat in the middle of the ring, with a table set up, and red carpet on the canvas.
Ricky Steamboat: Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to represent Smackdown as it’s General Manager here in Tokyo.
Ricky Steamboat: And right now, it is time to make the Wrestle Mania main event … official.
Ricky Steamboat: So, it gives me great pleasure to introduce first, the challenger. He is a former Super J Cup winner in 1994, and a certified wrestling legend on every continent on any level. The 2006 Royal Rumble Winner, and #1 Contender to the WWE Champion at Wrestle Mania … I give you … CHRIS BENOIT!!!
**Whatever** Chris Benoit walks confidently onto the stage, raising his hands high in the air, getting a standing ovation from the Japanese fans, who remember Benoit from his days in Japan.
Benoit steps into the ring, and goes to each side saluting the fans, before shaking hands with Steamboat, and sitting down.
Ricky Steamboat: And now, his opponent for March 26th. He is the current reigning WWE Champion, a former King of The Ring, a former Royal Rumble winner, a previous main event winner at Wrestle Mania, and the man who retained the championship last week in the sixty minute Iron Man Match … BROCK LESNAR!!!!
**Here Comes the Pain** Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman step out into the arena, getting a good initial ovation, before the boos take over for the WWE Champion, and one half of the Wrestle Mania main event.
Lesnar walks to the ring, whilst Paul Heyman carries the WWE Championship belt behind. Brock climbs into the ring, and takes a quick look at a relaxed Chris Benoit, before smirking, and taking a seat himself.
The two men lock eyes across the table, with Benoit focused as always, whilst Lesnar grins, trying to goad Benoit by the facial expression alone.
Ricky Steamboat: Gentlemen, the contract has already been read and verified by your representatives. Now, all I need are the signatures. Chris, as the challenger, I’ll ask you to sign first.
Benoit slides the contract towards himself, and clicks the pen. He is just about to put pen to paper, when Lesnar pulls the contract away. He laughs at Benoit, who stares through the champion, as Heyman calls for a mic from Steamboat.
Paul Heyman: Chris. Think. Think clearly.
Benoit raises his eyebrow slightly.
Paul Heyman: Think about what you are about to do. The Main Event of Wrestle Mania awaits Chris. Think about the footsteps you could follow in from Royal Rumble winners into the Wrestle Mania main event. Yokozuna … Bret Hart … Shawn Michaels … Steve Austin … Triple H … Brock Lesnar.
Heat from fans for mentioning Lesnar.
Paul Heyman: You have the chance to join that list Chris. On the other hand, you could join the list of failures. Michaels in ‘95 … Rock in 2000 … Benoit in 2006 …
More heat for that comment, as Lesnar grabs the mic from Heyman.
Brock Lesnar: You people boo it, because the truth hurts. And the fact, of the matter Chris … is that you don’t measure up.
Benoit starts to breathe deeply.
Brock Lesnar: You don’t measure up Chris … height wise, reach wise, as a wrestler … hell, you don’t measure up to me as a MAN!!!
Benoit stands up, having heard enough. Lesnar though, stands up too, smirking again.
Brock Lesnar: What’s wrong?? Did I lie?? Are my facts wrong Chris?? Or have you won a major world championship in twenty years?? Or have you main evented Wrestle Mania before?? My memory eludes me. Remind me of anything you’ve accomplished in twenty years, please. Because Chris, the fact is, within twenty weeks in this company … not years … I was the W-W-E Champion.
Heat for Lesnar
Brock Lesnar: You’ve won no major accolades in two decades … I won the King of the Ring within two months. You’ve never beaten the best … and the best have never beaten me. It’s not me spouting useless crap … it’s a certified fact.
Benoit looks ready to snap, and Heyman takes the mic back.
Paul Heyman: Chris, you know I have the utmost respect for you, both as a person and as a technical wrestler. But Chris, for all your talent, drive and determination, it’s never been enough.
Heyman looks at Benoit sympathetically.
Paul Heyman: Look at this man. He is a monster. Made of stone, an Iron Man. Brock Lesnar, just last week, survived sixty minutes against Chris Jericho, yet he stands before you today ready for another hundred and twenty. He’s out of your league Chris, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of in that. Brock Lesnar, is in a league of his own.
More heat for Heyman.
Paul Heyman: You’ve got one chance to win at Wrestle Mania. And that’s the Crippler Crossface.
Paul Heyman: But lets look at the facts shall we?? I’ll admit, my client has submitted before. But - that was three years ago. Brock Lesnar has come an awful long way since then. Just last week, in the sixty minute Iron Man Match, this man before you, this beast, this carnivore, this animal, survived OVER ninety seconds trapped in a submission hold, known as the Walls of Jericho. One of, if not, THE single most painful submission manuovre in the wrestling world. NINETY SECONDS.
Heyman crouches down, and gages eye contact with Benoit.
Paul Heyman: And that, was after 58 and a half minutes of a gruelling wrestling match. Face it Chris … you CANNOT beat this man.
Benoit grits his teeth, as Lesnar takes the mic.
Brock Lesnar: That’s why you’re on the brink of a break down already. You know you don’t match up. You know you never will. Take this one opportunity to walk away, because I promise you, it’s your one and only chance. I will embarrass you in front of millions world wide at Wrestle Mania if you sign that contract, I will END you at Wrestle Mania.
Lesnar lowers his mic, and drops the contract back onto the table. Benoit takes a long look at the champion, before indicating for Lesnar to watch. Benoit signs the contract, and slams the pen down, before passing it across to a bemused Lesnar, who immediately signs too.
Steamboat looks over, nodding, before speaking.
Ricky Steamboat: It’s official. March 26th, MGM Grand, Las Vegas, the main event of Wrestle Mania Twenty Two will see the #1 Contender, Chris Benoit challenge WWE Champion, Brock Lesnar!!!
Fans pop. Brock Lesnar then gets up, and grabs the mic from the GM.
Brock Lesnar: And you are all welcome to join us on Pay Per View for the biggest public mauling in WWE history, when I, The Iron Man, Brock Lesnar, humiliate, and decapitate that excuse for a number one contender, and remain W-W-E Champion!!!
Lesnar gets in Benoits face, with Benoit grabbing the mic.
Chris Benoit: You’ve had your say Brock … now here’s mine. On March 26th, in Las Vegas, it’ll be you, and it’ll be me. No excuses, no second chances, on the biggest stage, in the biggest match of the year, for the biggest prize on this earth. Don’t expect for one moment Brock that I’ll be coming in anything less than 100%, don’t expect me to under perform, don’t expect me to be under prepared, and don’t expect me to lie down and take a beating from you.
I might be smaller, might be weaker, might have won less than you, might’ve lost more than you, but Brock, after twenty years of scraping, scratching and clawing for any scraps, I’m daring to dream. And Brock Lesnar, at Wrestle Mania, I dare to dream for my reality … for MY destiny!!
Fans pop, as Chris Benoit drops the mic, and steps right into the champion, not backing up an inch. Lesnar pushes Benoit, and Benoit pushes back, with that immediately sparking a brawl between the pair of them.
Security immediately storm the ring, with Steamboat having feared a brawl would take place and had a strong ringside presence to stop it. After a lot of struggle, the security guards split the two men up, dragging both in separate directions, before cutting to the commercial break.
Tajiri defeats Matt Morgan, after the Green Mist and a Roundhouse Kick, to give the fans a nice hometown hero win.
Backstage, Triple H is interviewed by Steve Romero about his match this Saturday against The Undertaker. HHH talks about the match, less about Taker, and more about himself, saying it’s a match to tide him over until the top officials decide which champion he will challenge at Wrestle Mania. He then says they couldn’t have the return of SNME without The King of Kings, as he is the top bill, and number one star, which is why he will main event WM too.
In a triple threat match, Matt Hardy overcomes Gene Snitsky and Maven, pinning Maven with a Twist of Fate, earning him a United States Championship Match at Wrestle Mania against whomever wins tonights main event.
A Kurt Angle Wrestle Mania video plays, just hyping the Olympian ahead of his match with Bret Hart on March 26th. Once the video ends, we see Kurt talking about Bob Backlund, and his history with him, along with Brets history including their encounter at WM 11. Angle then says that next week, just like Neidhart, he will break another ankle on the road to Bret Hart.
Wrestle Mania Recall - XIX - Vince McMahon takes on Hulk Hogan in a match ‘20 Years in the Making’. Despite interference from Roddy Piper, Hogan wins the match.
Chris Benoit defeats Sylvain Grenier in a short match, just to give Benoit another fairly emphatic victory, via submission to the Crossface. After the official word has been made…**********
**Here Comes The Pain** Brock Lesnar enters the arena, holding the WWE Championship over his shoulder. He stands at the top of the ramp, holding a mic, as Benoit intensely stares at him.
Brock Lesnar: Chris, what you said earlier has been running through my head now for a long time. You dare to dream. And it’s given me an idea. How about this Saturday Night, on NBC, I shatter your dream, and give you a harsh reality check.
Benoit looks intrigued.
Brock Lesnar: You see, what I’m proposing for you and I to take up a challenge, to see the difference between us in the ring. And that, is a Five Minute Challenge. You get five minutes to beat as many wrestlers as possible, and so do I.
Benoit raises his eyebrow, possibly expecting a hitch.
Brock Lesnar: And then Benoit, we get to realise just how big a mountain you have to climb on March 26th. I’m gonna run through wrestlers like wildfire. In five minutes, I’ll beat twenty guys, one by one. And you, Chris, you get to try and follow that feat. And I promise you wont!!!
Brock Lesnar: Then, the world will realise that you cant cut it with me at Wrestle Mania, including you. Benoit, you’ll realise that you’ll be climbing a mountain not yet discovered, bigger than Everest, and that mountain … is ME!!!
Lesnar drops the mic, and holds his hands out, trying to goad Benoit, but Benoit stands in the ring, nodding, accepting the challenge.
We then cut backstage, where Matt Hardy talks with Paul London, when The Cabinet pass by. Jamie Noble goes face to face with Paul London, holding the CW Title in his hands.
Jamie Noble: Take a good look. Not only at the belt, but the name plate. Jamie … Noble. Paul, expect that name plate to stay the same after Saturday Nights Main Event … hell, expect the title to be renamed after Jamie Noble.
Noble pulls away, and London speaks up.
Paul London: Hate to ruin your plans Jamie … but Londons Calling … and he wants that title to back around his waist. This weekend, I’m going to do something you couldn’t … and that’s win that championship … ALONE.
Noble looks furious, and storms off, with The Basham Brothers following. Meanwhile, JBL stops at Hardy, looking the new U.S Title #1 Contender up and down, before grinning, then letting out a cackle of laughter. He shakes his head, then walks off, still laughing.
We return to the arena, with Chris Jericho already in the ring, having the Highlight Reel set up for tonights show.
Chris Jericho: WELCOME TO … TOKYO IS JERICHO!!!!
Fans Pop. Jericho smiles for a moment, but that smile fades very quickly.
Chris Jericho: Of course, its great to be back here in Japan, but I’ve got to be honest, right now, I’m … depressed.
Fans go pretty silent.
Chris Jericho: Last week, I lost to Brock Lesnar, which ended my dreams of a Wrestle Mania main event for another year. No excuses, no crying over spilt milk, fact of the matter, the bottom line, is that I lost, and Wrestle Mania will be a whole lot different than I expected it to be for me.
Mixed response from the fans.
Chris Jericho: And tonight, on the Highlight Reel, there is no guest. Think of this Highlight Reel, as ‘An Audience with Jericho’. You’ll be hearing my thoughts out loud, and some might be good, some might be bad, and some might be just plain ugly.
Fans strangely pop for no reason.
Chris Jericho: What next for Chris Jericho then?? WWE Championship is out of the picture … World Championship is all tied up right now … same goes for the United States Championship … I don’t want to share the spotlight with anyone to challenge for the Tag Team Titles … so winning a title belt at Wrestle Mania is something to rule out.
‘Y2J’ chant starts around the arena.
Chris Jericho: So what’s left?? Should I turn up this Saturday Night and issue an open challenge to any superstar, Raw or Smackdown to face me at Wrestle Mania Twenty Two??
Chris Jericho: That sounds good … but junior, its just too passe for the Ayatolla of Rock and Rolla!!!
Chris Jericho: In actual fact … it seems like Y2J has plenty of avenues to go down, doesn’t it?? Many of opportunities to get a prime position at Wrestle Mania … with a number of big superstars yet to have a match lined up... ... ... Well … ... in actual fact, I have ONE option … ONE choice … ONE avenue … and no more.
Fans go quiet, unsure what to think.
Chris Jericho: If Chris Jericho cant be WWE Champion at Wrestle Mania … or challenge the WWE Champion at Wrestle Mania … then he’s going to do the next best thing. Three words … watch, this, space.
Jericho stands onto the middle rope, and leans over, staring into the camera, with an almost sadistic grin, appearing to end a fairly out of character promo.
Michael Cole: Folks, Chris Jericho appears to have a mission at Wrestle Mania, but Tazz … what the hell could it be??
Tazz: I know just about as much as you do Cole … but one thing is for sure, I cant wait to find out what it is. Wrestle Mania is coming baby!!!
AMW successfully make a defence of their newly won WWE Tag Team Titles against The System Success, with Chris Harris nailing the Catatonic on Simon Dean for the winning three count.
Promo Video for Saturday Nights Main Event.
Michael Cole: It’s this Saturday Night folks!!! The WWE returns to NBC for the first edition of Saturday Nights Main Event in fourteen years!!! Raw and Smackdown will combine for the last time, before Wrestle Mania, and with so many guys under one roof, egos will clash, and many simmering rivalries are set to explode!!!
Tazz: I cannot wait Cole. I remember watching Saturday Nights Main Event so many times in the past. Its gonna be a blast this weekend.
Michael Cole: And what a line up we have too. First of all, it’s a Showcase of Talents, as Raw faces Smackdown, with our very own Triple H facing a long term enemy of his, The Undertaker!!!
Tazz: They have a heck of a history Cole, and expect Triple H and The Deadman to leave it all in the ring this Saturday Night. Both will have points to prove, with Triple H vying for a Wrestle Mania main event, and The Undertaker will want to issue a statement heading to Wrestle Mania where he attempts to continue his winning streak.
Michael Cole: Trish Stratus defends the womens championship in one of three title matches this weekend, facing the challenge of Lita.
Tazz: They have a relationship based on trust Cole, but neither will want to roll over when that title belt is up for grabs.
Michael Cole: A very special edition of Carlitos Cabana Tazz, as The Rock, who may walk into Anaheim as the United States Champion, will come face to face with Shawn Michaels!!!
Tazz: Two combustable elements right there. It started off as a back and forth insult exchange, but recently, this issue has become pretty damn personal.
Michael Cole: And along with the return of Stone Cold Steve Austin, Smackdown will offer a Cruiserweight Championship Match, as Paul London might just complete a miserable week for The Cabinet, as he challenges Jamie Noble for the title.
Tazz: That’s a long time coming Cole. Paul London lost the title to Jamie Noble via a stipulation, where he didn’t even lose to Noble, but now, Paul London has the chance to right that wrong.
Michael Cole: The main event from Raw will be a steel cage match, pitting World Champion John Cena, against the Gold Rush runner up, Edge. Can Edge prevail after a bitter loss to Randy Orton this week on Raw, and set up a rematch at Wrestle Mania, or will we see John Cena vs. Randy Orton for the second time at Wrestle Mania??
Tazz: Either way Cole, the winners are gonna be the fans. They get Cena vs. Edge inside a cage, and they then get either Cena or Edge vs. Orton at Wrestle Mania. Win, win, win.
Michael Cole: And of course, who can forget the announcement from earlier tonight, that Brock Lesnar and Chris Benoit will attempt to out do one another, with both of them getting five minutes to gain as many wins as possible against a number of wrestlers.
Tazz: Big test for both men, which will no doubt shape the coming weeks on Smackdown, and give one of these men a huge psychological boost, going into Las Vegas on March 26th.
Michael Cole: It all goes down, this Saturday Night, on NBC!!!
**Longhorn** JBL enters the arena in his limo, as we fade out to a commercial, before the main event.
Main Event: United States Championship Match:
John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield vs. The Rock
Long main event, with the Cabinet being ejected from ringside before the bell, as The Rock tries to fight them off on his way to the ring. This leaves JBL on top early on, but The Rock soon comes back into it, and tees of on JBL with right hands, eventually sending the champion over the top rope, to the floor with a clothesline, heading into a commercial.
After the commercial, we return with Rock now in full control over JBL. He comes close with a few near falls, before Layfield comes back after exposing a turnbuckle, which Rock ran right into, allowing JBL to roll him up for a near fall. Layfield takes over for a short period, coming close with a swinging neck breaker. This match breaks down on the outside again, with Rock fighting back. JBL tries to leave through the crowd, and save his title by count out, but the referee decides to waive the count out ruling, and allows the match to break down further. Rock takes too long though in beating on Layfield, and this allows JBL to score with a low blow, with the referees attention diverted elsewhere. Bradshaw takes Rock onto the announce table, and goes for a power bomb, but Rock doesn’t go up for it, and pulls himself free, rakes the eyes, and NAILS A ROCK BOTTOM!!!
Both men are spark out after the Rock Bottom through the table for a few moments, with Rock eventually the first to recover, and slowly, he climbs back into the ring, whilst JBL tries to crawl AWAY from the ring, going into the crowd, again trying to keep his belt anyway he can!!! Now, as the referee tries to get JBL back into the ring, we see Luther Reigns come from the entrance way, sprint into the ring, and goes to clothesline The Rock out of his boots, but Rock somehow manages to duck it, and hit’s a spine buster on Reigns!!! Now, The Rock throws off his elbow pad, and looks to go for the Peoples Elbow, running off one side, runs off the other, comes back … AND EATS SWEET CHIN MUSIC!!!! SHAWN MICHAELS!!! HBK stands over Rock, smiling, and looks around, soaking up the boos.
Meanwhile, in the crowd, we now see Cade and Jindrak helping Layfield back to the ring, with the referee looking confused. HBK drags Luther from the ring, and they hide by the apron, as the DX Duo help JBL into the ring, where Layfield rolls onto The Rock, and the referee, who looks bewildered, but has seen nothing can only count the pin fall, 1...2...3!!!
Winner: John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield
JBL lucks himself into another title defence, keeping the belt one more time, whilst DX gather at the top of the ramp, congratulating each other on a job well done. The Bashams run to the ring, and help their leader from the squared circle, with JBL hugging the title belt.
Meanwhile, The Rock comes to his senses in the ring, and realises what has happened. He drags himself up a little, and hangs by the second rope, looking up the ramp at a smiling DX, with HBK mockingly waving at The Great One, before mouthing ‘See You Saturday’, just like Rock said to him on Monday night.
END OF SHOW
Official Card for WWE Saturday Nights Main Event:
Date: 11th February 2006
Location: Arrowhead Pond; Anaheim
Event Music: P.O.D; Lights Out
World Heavyweight Championship; Steel Cage Match:
John Cena vs. Edge
Cruiserweight Championship Match:
Jamie Noble vs. Paul London
Womens Championship Match:
Trish Stratus vs. Lita
Raw vs. Smackdown; Showcase of Talent:
The Undertaker vs. Triple H
Race Against Time; 5 Minute Challenge:
Brock Lesnar and Chris Benoit each have one five minute period to scores as many pin fall or submission victories as they can.
With Guests; Shawn Michaels and The Rock
And The Return of Stone Cold Steve Austin
Feel free to leave predictions for the show, which I hope to post on Friday, and will be posted in the form of a Raw or Smackdown. Full promos, recapped matches. Also, I'll be debuting the first few match banners for Wrestle Mania which have kindly been made by Chain Gang Red.
Current Card for WWE Wrestle Mania XXII:
Date: 26th March 2006
Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena; Las Vegas, Nevada
Event Music: Shinedown; Shed Some Light & Atmosphere
WWE Championship Match:
Brock Lesnar vs. Chris Benoit
World Heavyweight Championship Match:
John Cena OR Edge vs. Randy Orton
United States Championship;
John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield vs. Matt Hardy
Match of the Millennium:
Kurt Angle vs. Bret Hart
Tyson Tomko defeated a local jobber
The Hurricane defeated Antonio
The DX Duo defeated Roadkill & Danny Doring
Batista defeated Rhyno
Funaki defeated William Regal
A.F.A defeated The Basham Brothers
Chris Jericho defeated Lance Storm