Ten Years After… WWE Saturday Night’s Main Event (March ’06 edition)

WWE Saturday Night’s Main Event

March 18th, 2006
Live from Cobo Hall in Detroit, MI
Announcers: Jim Ross, Tazz, and Jerry Lawler

Vince McMahon cuts a promo on behalf of his son Shane. Vince vowed to make Shawn Michaels’ life a living hell and tonight, Shane will kick HBK’s ass in a street fight. HBK says if he’s going to Hell, he’s taking Shane with him. John Cena & Triple H cut a goofy promo about how they’re fighting for the WWE Title in the main event of WrestleMania 22 but tonight, they’re tag team partners. Ruh roh. JBL’s name is not Earl, it’s JBL! He made a list of bad things he did in his life. #452. Challenging “Stone Cold” Steve Austin to a beer drinking contest and humiliating. A My Name is Earl reference? Holy 2006! My Name is Earl flamed out about as quickly as JBL’s run in the main event for WWE. Actually, almost at exactly the same time. Both called it quits in the Spring of 2009! Boogeyman eats worms and laughs. Not sure why Boogeyman got closing spot for opening montage of promos but Vince can have weird taste sometimes…

I like the call back to the original SNME with the quick montage of promos. Unfortunately, they didn’t bring back Animotion’s “Obsession” as the theme. JR is making his return to the booth after a five month layoff. BS! We kick off right away with a doozy, it’s a 3 on 2 match, pitting the competitors in Smackdown’s main event at WrestleMania 22 against the competitors in RAW’s main event at WrestleMania 22.

3 on 2 Match: Kurt Angle, Randy Orton, and Rey Mysterio Vs Triple H and John Cena
Tazz claims this is the first time that both titles have been in the same ring in WWE. I feel like JBL and Triple H interacted when they had the titles back during the buildup to WrestleMania 21 but maybe they didn’t do any in-ring segments.

Arena seems unusually smoky and it’s a bit hard to see the action, to be honest. This was a very smart choice for an opener. It’s hard to think of a match that’s both A. big enough to open up WWE’s return to network television (Yeah, I know UPN & CW were network but not on level of NBC) and B. Doesn’t give away too much of WrestleMania. Opening up with the WWE equivalent of an all star game was wise. It gives you unique mini-matches like Mysterio-Cena or Triple H-Mysterio or Cena-Orton. Yes, kids, there was a time when Cena Vs Orton was a unique match! This is not just crazy talk! We get the finish you’d expect from this match with both sides breaking down! Triple H walks off because he doesn’t want to help Cena. Rey doesn’t want to win cheaply. Orton RKOs Angle out of nowhere. Cena wins with a fluke rollup after blocking the RKO. Like an All Star game, there were some fun moments but ultimately, it didn’t really add up to much other than a chance to see some big stars interacting. **1/2

Announce team goes over this year’s WWE Hall of Fame Inductees. “Mean” Gene Okerlund, being inducted by Hulk Hogan. Eddie Guerrero, being inducted by Chavo Guerrero Jr, Chris Benoit, and Rey Mysterio. Verne Gagne, being inducted by Greg Gagne. Sherri Martel, being inducted by Ted DiBiase. And finally, Bret Hart being inducted by Steve Austin (hopefully wearing his Fock Fear cut off t-shirt that he’s wearing in stock photo used of him).

Backstage, Booker T moans & groans. HE HURT HIS KNEE! He can’t wrestle The Boogeyman tonight! Teddy Long is skeptical. Doctor says Booker can’t compete. Teddy Long says this Booker T-Boogeyman match is off! DAMN IT!

Now it’s time for The Cutting Edge, featuring special guest Mick Foley. A few weeks back, Edge hit Foley with a Conchairto. The two of them are facing off at WrestleMania 22. Edge says Foley’s no longer a Hardcore Legend, he’s a joke who relies on cheap pops. Foley barges out with thumbtacks. Edge sets a table on fire but it’s extinguished before someone can go through it. THIS AIN’T GONNA BE NO NICE KATIE COURIC INTERVIEW sez JR. Lita saves Edge from taking a bump onto the thumbtacks. Foley flashes THAT SICK SMILE after falling on the thumbtacks. Foley gets his revenge and smashes Edge’s head with a chair on the entrance ramp.

Edge Vs Mick Foley feud is a feud that was better than expected. Now maybe it was foolish for me to have low expectations since they’re both great wrestlers but Edge had just lost his World Title and Foley hadn’t really done anything good since the Orton feud (and really was embracing his transition from hardcore legend into goofy old man). However, both guys really made lemonade out of the lemons. Foley seemed motivated to put Edge over the top as the next great heel in WWE and Edge seemed motivated to give Foley his WrestleMania Moment. And how weird is it that Foley really only had ONE “WrestleMania” moment and it was at the tail end of his run? Anyway, we’ll probably discuss this more in a few weeks.

From the violent to the ridiculous as we get a video package for the Vince McMahon-Shawn Michaels feud. Now this WAS a feud, unlike Edge Vs Mick Foley, that felt pretty rote and a case of the writers being like “Well, which older main eventer HASN’T Vince feuded with?” VINCE SCREWED BRET AND HE’LL SCREW SHAWN MICHAELS TOO!

Backstage, Booker T and Sharmell gloat over Booker tricking Teddy Long and that doctor into believing he injured himself. Booker dances in nothing but a towel. Boogeyman pops out of nowhere and chases Booker T down the hall (as a confused Carlito, probably wondering why they flew him out for this, looks on). JR is aghast. BOOKER WASN’T INJURED AT ALL!

JBL and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s beer drinking contest opens the second hour. For some reason, we get the opening credits again. JBL badmouths Detroit’s earring wearing Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Fans agree with this but JBL says they elected him. HAH! Good one! JBL says Michigan’s labor unions are an EMBARASSMENT! OK, this isn’t one of your Fox News appearances, JBL! Austin barges out with the enthusiasm of a guy heading to a root canal appointment. JBL wants to do the contest back to back. JBL says he’s a real cowboy, not Brokeback Mountain! 2006! JBL tries to cheat but Austin catches him. JBL throws a beer in Austin’s face. JBL’s WrestleMania opponent Chris Benoit prevents JBL from running away. Austin douses JBL in beer then Stunners him.

This segment kind of encapsulates a lot of people’s problems with modern WWE. For WWE’s return to network TV, they relied on a lame, cash in appearance from one of their biggest stars to try and pop a rating, even if it was at the expense of one of their current top heels. I love Austin but boy, his first few years after retirement were awkward.

Victoria and Candice Michelle admire Candice’s Playboy cover.

Trish Stratus & Mickie James Vs Candice Michelle & Victoria
Lawler loudly lusts over Candice Michelle & Victoria. JR tells him to knock it off or he’ll be featured on Dateline. Love these shoohorned in references to NBC shows. And how bad was NBC in ’06 that two of the three shows mentioned so far were news shows? Mickie James is replacing an injured Torrie Wilson, who suffered a concussion. Trish & Mickie win in an extended squash. Mickie James never even tags in. Trish wins with a Stratusfaction. * After the match, Mickie wants to say goodbye. She goes to kiss Trish then goes psycho and beats her down. JR speculates that Mickie James might not be all there!

During the commercial break on WWE.com, Coach interviewed Mickie James. Mickie loved Trish but now she has to destroy her!

JR, Lawler, and Tazz run down the card for WrestleMania 22. Tazz has barely said anything all night. He could probably have been eating an Italian beef sandwich the entire night and no one would have noticed. They announce that Booker T Vs Boogeyman has been announced for the card. So I guess this show did move some storylines forward!

Mark Henry & Daivari stomp out. Mark Henry’s gonna call out The Undertaker…right here on NBC! Mark Henry is not afraid of The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania and he’s not afraid of a casket! Undertaker’s gonna do something to scare Mark right about now, yes? Yep! Here come the druids with the casket. JR says that this casket is like the one used many years ago on the late, great Yokozuna. I nearly spit out my Frappucino at this but I’m thinking/hoping JR is referencing Survivor Series 1994 and not Yokozuna’s actual funeral! Mark Henry’s wearing green trimmed tights. Maybe a shotout to it being St. Patrick’s Day Weekend? The Undertaker & Mark Henry brawl with Taker booting Henry into the crowd and tombstoning Daivari onto the casket.

Shawn Michaels is WALKING! Our main event is next.

Street Fight: Shane McMahon (with Vince McMahon) Vs Shawn Michaels
Needless to say this match quickly turns into a handicap match. Vince McMahon is a tortured Godless soul who wants to pass on those traits to his son! Shane McMahon takes a superplex off the top off a ladder through a table. Vince McMahon hits HBK with some super weak kendo stick shots. Shane looks like he’s contemplating on doing the Terry Funk ladder spot where he puts the ladder around his neck and spins around with it but decides to just hit HBK with it. You know I think I like this match a bit better than the HBK-Vince match but I guess we’ll see in a few weeks, for sure. Neither are great but this seems like the more fun trainwreck. Vince accidentally eats a Coast to Coast and goes a great, surprisingly somewhat understated sell of it. Shane wins via lame reenactment of the Montreal Screwjob. THEY SCREWED BRET NOW THEY SCREWED SHAWN! MICHAELS HAS BEEN CASTRATED OF HIS DIGNITY! THE MCMAHONS WILL PAY! *** Of course, I think it’s hilarious that Vince McMahon decided that the best person to close WWE’s first major network television special in a decade and a half was himself.

This was not a great way to re-introduce WWE to major network television. I don’t think this would sell any casual fans on WrestleMania 22. It’s a stretch that this would even be appealing to most hardcore fans.

WWE’s return to NBC just felt like a matter of convenience. NBC was desperate for cheap programming and WWE was desperate for exposure. It wasn’t like both entities were coming up on the rise as they were when they originally worked together in the mid ’80s. In fact, it was quite the opposite. There really wasn’t a need for Saturday Night’s Main Event in 2006. After a decade and half of RAW (which incidentally started almost right after SNME’s original run ended), the idea of “Marquee matches on free TV” wasn’t quite as appealing.

WWE gave some sort of effort and there were a few fleeting moments where it worked and almost seemed like it was the SNME of old. But for the most part, this show felt like a lame rehash of memories from better times in WWE history.

Written by Connor McGrath

Connor McGrath is a public access television show host and part-time amateur comedian, who resides in Portland, Maine. He contributes reviews of Northeast independent wrestling promotion, NWA On Fire along with occasional guest articles.

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