The last WWE pay-per-view of 2006 was called Armageddon, which was mostly a Smackdown brand show with some John Cena presence to try to boost interest. It was the seventh time WWE had used the Armageddon PPV name and the third straight year it was a Smackdown brand show.
This was the fourth WWE PPV between November 5 and December 17, which is over a seven-week span. Four PPVs in seven weeks sounds crazy especially before WWE Network was costing us $9.99 per month. Back in 2006, most PPVs went around $35-40 depending on where you lived, so they were asking a lot from WWE fans to try to support the product. As I have said in my other reviews from the second half of 2006, it was not a strong period for WWE.
This show did a decent number (for WWE in 2006) on PPV with 239,000 buys. I say decent because it did better than No Way Out, Backlash, Great American Bash, Cyber Sunday, No Mercy and of course, that awful December to Dismember event. Doing a better number than those other events could be credited to John Cena being in a tag team with Batista in the main event. Normally a tag team main event isn't going to draw, but at least it felt fresh since they were on opposite shows.
I think fans that were watching at the time will remember one thing from the show more than anything: Joey Mercury's facial injury. I'll cover that in detail when we get to the TLC match.
All of the photos below are WWE.com images that appeared on their website at the time.
December 17, 2006
From Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia
This show was TV-14 with an “S” for Sexual Content on WWE Network. That’s not a surprise considering the divas segment on the show.
The opening video package focused on the big matches on the show: Kane vs. MVP in an Inferno Match, The Undertaker vs. Mr. Kennedy in a Last Ride Match and Batista/Cena teaming up against Booker/Finlay in the main event tag team match. They billed it as a “triple main event” built around those three matches.
The pyro went off, the crowd was loud and it was mostly full in the arena in the Richmond Coliseum. The announce team of Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield welcomed us to the show with Cole saying it was a historic night. The Spanish announcers were at ringside too.
The Inferno Match was up first with the flames surrounding the ring. Montel Vontavious Porter made his entrance first with some reluctance on his face as he checked out the flames around the ring. JBL complained about this match taking place and saying they had to move the announce table and fans back about four feet for their safety. MVP got in the ring as the flames continued to shoot up.
A video package aired showing MVP being signed to Smackdown, he asked for competition and Smackdown GM Teddy Long gave him Kane as competition. MVP complained about it, Long said he’ll be fired if he doesn’t do it and that led to the match. JBL complained about Long making MVP do this match and said he needs to be removed from his job.
Kane was next with a smile on his face. When he was outside the ring, he did his pyro pose leading to the flames going higher. The announcers made references to the first Inferno Match taking place eight years earlier with Kane and Undertaker at Unforgiven 1998.
Inferno Match: Kane vs. MVP
Pre-match notes: Kane was the face and MVP was the heel. The only way to win this match was to set your opponent on fire.
It was just Kane and MVP in the ring with referee Jimmy Korderas on the floor. Kane worked over MVP with punches followed by a back body drop while the flames were bigger when MVP hit the mat. Kane whipped MVP into the corner leading to a clothesline to the back. Kane set up MVP up on the turnbuckle right above the fire, MVP shoved Kane down and the flames went up to nearly hit MVP, who came off the top with a cross body block. MVP with a running kick to the face followed by a clothesline and Kane sat up as the crowd cheered. When MVP bounced off the ropes, Kane hit him with a kick to the face and Chokeslam. Kane took off a turnbuckle pad to expose the steel. Kane grabbed the turnbuckle, put it on the fire and held the burning turnbuckle. MVP punched Kane and tossed the turnbuckle outside the ring. JBL said that the ropes were melting as MVP hit a neckbreaker. MVP kicked Kane close to the ropes, MVP with a sliding kick, but he stopped himself before he hit the flames. Kane with a clothesline. JBL went into one of his rants as Kane hit two corner clotheslines followed by a sidewalk slam. MVP punched Kane in the face, he went up top and Kane pushed MVP over the top into the announce table, so MVP was on the floor. Kane went up top and hit a jumping forearm to the chest. They were both on the floor. MVP nearly put Kane into the flames, then MVP was nearly put into the flames and Kane with a boot to the face of MVP. When MVP tried to crawl under the ring, Kane pulled him out and punched him. They were on the steel steps, Kane choked him, then slowly pushed MVP’s back into the flames, so MVP was on fire to give Kane the win at 8:14.
Analysis: *3/4 This was more of a specialty match, so the rating doesn’t matter that much. It was promoted as a match where somebody would get burned and that’s what happened. Kane getting the win was the right call because the Inferno Match was his thing and MVP had controversial wins over Kane prior to this. It was Kane’s revenge. They did a good job of teasing some near finishes during the match, but it wasn’t that interesting.
Post match, MVP was freaking out about being on fire, so he ran around the ring, went to the ground and some WWE personnel sprayed his back with a fire extinguisher. MVP collapsed in the aisle to sell the fire. Kane went back into the ring, did his usual poses and the flames went higher. JBL ranted about how crazy that was and complained about Teddy Long for booking this match.
The Smackdown women Jillian Hall, Kristal Marshall, Layla and Ashley Massaro were hanging out in Teddy Long’s office. Long said he had a special guest. Long said he had Santa Claus and the women were all excited. Long said that the four of them will compete in a Naughty or Nice Lingerie Contest. The fans cheered. The women were excited. Everybody is happy.
Analysis: I’m sure it will be a riveting segment.
The announcers were back on screen with JBL complaining about seeing MVP collapse because he was burning alive. They replayed MVP being put on fire by Kane and JBL continued his ranting by saying that Teddy Long should be arrested. Cole said they didn’t know if MVP was conscious or what degree the burns are. They replayed Kane setting MVP on fire several more times.
The four teams entered for the WWE Tag Team Championship match. The champions Paul London and Brian Kendrick were up first with Willian Regal and Dave Taylor next as the challengers. It appeared as though that would be the match, but it was changed.
Teddy Long showed up saying he’s still in the Christmas spirit. He said that the Divas lingerie contest is coming up later. Long said he had another present for us right now. Long said this will be a Ladder Match and some guys that were part of the crew, along with referees, brought some ladders toward the ring. Long said he has added two more teams to this match.
The MNM team of Johnny Nitro, Joey Mercury and Melina made their entrance with Cole noting they were three-time Tag Team Champions. JBL wondered what happened if MNM won the titles since Nitro is on Raw and Mercury is on Smackdown, but there was no answer. Melina went to the back.
The fourth team was Matt and Jeff Hardy with Jeff as the Intercontinental Champion. They went under a ladder on their way to the ring. Big pop for them as one of the most popular teams in WWE history.
Analysis: This was a random, thrown together match to try to add something special to the card. It was a good idea to do it because fans love ladder matches.
Ladder Match for the WWE Tag Team Championships: Paul London and Brian Kendrick vs. William Regal and Dave Taylor vs. MNM (Johnny Nitro and Joey Mercury) vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff Hardy)
Pre-match notes: London and Kendrick along with the Hardys were faces while Regal/Taylor and MNM were heels.
The four faces dumped the heels out of the ring so that the face teams could have a staredown. London with a hurricanrana on Jeff, then the Hardy came back with a double team slam on Kendrick. Nitro and Regal stomped away on Matt. The fans were chanting “Hardys” for the popular brother duo. Regal with a release German Suplex on London. MNM grabbed ladders as Regal hit a suplex on Kendrick. The Hardys attacked MNM, so the Hardys brought the ladders into the ring. Taylor and Regal tossed the ladders out of the ring. Matt attacked Regal and Taylor with a ladder. Jeff hit the Poetry in Motion attack on Taylor followed by MNM hitting the Snapshot on Taylor. London and Kendrick with a double superkick on Regal. Hardy with an elbow drop off the ropes onto Regal. Kendrick with a dropkick that knocked Nitro out of the ring. Matt whipped Kendrick into a ladder that Jeff threw at Kendrick and Jeff hit a dropkick on Ladder. The Hardys set up a ladder, but London dropkicked Jeff to knock him down. Nitro tried a springboard attack, but London moved and Nitro crashed to the mat. Mercury knocked down everybody in the ring with a ladder. Mercury climbed a ladder, Kendrick stopped him and then Hardys teamed with London/Kendrick to toss Mercury off the ladder onto Nitro on the floor. The Hardys went after Regal on the floor. Matt pulled Kendrick off a ladder to stop a climb. Hardys whipped Kendrick into a ladder against the turnbuckle, but then London avoided a corner attack, Jeff hit a ladder and Kendrick hit a jumping heel kick on Matt. When London tried to set up a ladder, Matt hit him with a clothesline. Matt with a neckbreaker on London. Nitro hit a suplex on Regal on the floor. London with a dropkick that sent Hardy onto a ladder, so Kendrick followed up with a double foot stomp on Hardy while he was a ladder. Mercury whipped Kendrick into the steel ring post. MNM hit a double team gutbuster on London. Nitro set up two ladders in the ring along with Mercury, which led to something gruesome. MNM teased a double team suplex on Jeff, but Matt saved his brother. That led to Jeff jumping off the top rope, he hit the top of a ladder and it swung back up (like a slingshot) right into the faces of Nitro and Mercury. This is where things went bad because Mercury’s face was cut up badly immediately after getting hit that ladder. His face was a bloody mess. There was blood all over his face and chest with blood pouring from Joey’s face. The replays look brutal too.
Matt climbed the ladder, but London/Kendrick stopped him and London hit a belly to back suplex on Matt. There was another replay of Kendrick getting hit wit the ladder. Regal and Taylor used their powers to dominate. Taylor placed Kendrick on a ladder that was on a turnbuckle. While this was going on, I could see referee Charles Robinson talking to Nitro probably about the injury to Mercury and whatever they may have planned. Taylor with a suplex that sent Kendrick across the ring. Regal with a Dragon Suplex on London onto a ladder that was up against the turnbuckle. That was a brutal landing for London with his shoulder taking the worst of it. Regal did a slow climb while Taylor held the ladder, then Regal was terrified of climbing. Taylor’s slow climb failed because Kendrick knocked him down. They announced that Mercury was rushed to a “local medical facility” (they don’t say hospital) for help. Matt with a neckbreaker on Taylor and a Twist of Fate on Regal. Matt with a Twist of Fate on Taylor as well. Jeff Hardy set up a ladder outside the ring, he climbed up, then Nitro went back in the ring and dropkicked Jeff down. Cole said “hospital” when talking about Nitro without his partner so that’s nice. Nitro cleaned house with a ladder, then he jumped off the top with a ladder to the ribs of Regal. Nitro tried to climb up the ladder, Kendrick went after him, Nitro knocked him down and London hit a springboard dropkick to knock Nitro down. Matt was up the ladder with Kendrick and he hiptossed Kendrick down. London climbed up with Matt where Matt gave London a back body drop off the top of the ladder. Both men crashed to the mat. Jeff set up a ladder in the ring, Nitro went after him and Jeff hit a Sunset Flip Powerbomb on Nitro off the top of the ladder. That was huge. Matt climbed two ladders, Regal and Taylor pulled them away and Regal hit a running knee to the head of Matt. Regal did a slow climb, Kendrick worked over Regal with punches and Taylor pulled Kendrick down leading to a clothesline. London with a clothesline to Taylor to get him out of the ring. Kendrick went for a Sliced Bread like flipping neckbreaker, but he didn’t rotate enough and landed on his back. That was off a ladder so it was high up there. London climbed up a ladder at the same time as Matt, London knocked Matt down and London grabbed the two titles to win the match and retain the titles at 20:13. Big pop for that victory.
Winners: Paul London and Brian Kendrick
Analysis: ****1/4 This was awesome just as I had remembered it. I know the most memorable part of the match is the injury to Mercury, which I’ll get to in a bit, but there was some incredible action here. In terms of what I would change, it really didn’t need to be a four-team ladder match with Regal/Taylor involved. I know the story was that it was originally London/Kendrick vs. Regal/Taylor. I’m just saying it would have been even better if it was the other three teams. With that said, the Regal/Taylor story, about how they were out of place in this match, was done about as well as they could. It was obvious the Hardys were calling a lot of the match and setting up the key spots as veterans of the ladder match. London and Kendrick were awesome. Nitro had some cool moments before and after his partner’s injury.
After the match, London and Kendrick were on the floor selling their victory. JBL put over the match as being great and said that London/Kendrick deserved the championships.
There were replays of the key spots in the match including Joey Mercury’s facial injury that led to his left eye being shut immediately after he hit the ladder.
Analysis: A lot of people remember the Joey Mercury injury, so I’ve got more info on what happened at the bottom of this review.
Kristal Marshall was shown looking in a mirror ahead of the women’s lingerie competition.
Mike Mizanin aka The Miz made his entrance with Michael Cole shouting that Miz was undefeated. There were still blood stains in the ring from. JBL called Miz a jackass. The Miz said he was going to give The Boogeyman a reality check and then he did his stupid “hoo-rah” chant. Miz promos were bad in these days. It took a few years for him to improve. The Boogeyman entered with JBL saying he hopes he destroys Miz.
The Boogeyman vs. The Miz
Boogeyman with two clotheslines, Miz bailed to the floor and Boogeyman with an arm drag, clothesline and a body slam. Miz with a back elbow to the face, Boogey no sold it and Miz whipped Boogey into the ring post. Miz with an arm wrench followed by a clothesline and single-arm DDT. Boogeyman with a hair whip, back body drop and he whipped into the turnbuckle. Miz with boots to the face, he jumped off the top, Boogeyman caught him and Boogeyman hit a sitout spinebuster for the pinfall win. It didn’t look smooth, but it got the job done at 2:51.
Winner by pinfall: The Boogeyman
Analysis: 1/2* Bad match like every Boogeyman match. This was what you’d call a “come down” match after the exciting ladder match that preceded it.
Post match, Boogeyman celebrated with worms and he spit worms into the mouth of The Miz. JBL said it was disgusting, but he loved it because he wanted Miz to go away. Boogeyman ate some more worms to “celebrate” the win.
The duo of Jillian Hall and Layla were helping eachother get ready for the lingerie competition later in the night.
Chavo Guerrero and his manager Vickie Guerrero, in a neck brace, did a promo backstage. Vickie complained about how she has been through so much this year and her neck has been killing her for weeks. Vickie said that not only will Benoit lose the US Title, but he will get what’s coming to him. A replay aired of the spot where Vickie bumped off the apron at Survivor Series after Chavo kicked Benoit into the apron to knock Vickie down. The wrestlers made their entrance after that.
Analysis: The storyline wasn’t that interesting. It’s also hard for me to get emotionally invested in a Benoit storyline anymore.
United States Championship: Chris Benoit vs. Chavo Guerrero (w/Vickie Guerrero)
Pre-match notes: Benoit was the face champion, Chavo was the heel and Vickie was Chavo’s business manager.
Chavo attacked with punches before the bell, but Benoit came back with a suplex. Benoit with a back body drop, body slam and he wanted a Sharpshooter, but Guerrero kicked him away. Benoit with a catapult that sent Chavo over the top to the floor. Back in the ring, Benoit hit three German suplexes. They replaced the ring mat after the Mercury blood earlier, so that’s good. Benoit up top, Chavo stopped him and hit a superplex. Chavo with a hard whip that sent Benoit into the turnbuckle followed by Chavo with a dropkick to the back of Benoit to send him into the ring post. Chavo slapped on a chinlock, Benoit countered with a suplex, but Chavo landed on top for a two count. When Chavo went for a punch, Benoit cut the arm and slapped on an armbar, but Chavo broke the hold by getting to the ropes. Chavo with a forearm to the back followed by a belly to back high angle suplex and he did another suplex. Chavo set up Benoit upside down against the turnbuckle followed by a dropkick to the ribs. Benoit avoided a dropkick, so Chavo went sliding into the ring post. The fans were chanting for Benoit as he came back with chops to the chest and Chavo did an eye rake. Chavo with a vertical suplex, Benoit countered another suplex attempt and Benoit went on a German Suplex spree with eight in a row. The fans gave Benoit a big ovation for that as Benoit got a two count of it. Benoit went for a Sharpshooter, Chavo punched the leg to try to break free and Vickie grabbed the US Title. Vickie went into the ring, she fell down and Benoit teased putting the Sharpshooter on Vickie, but Chavo came back with a rollup for two and Benoit rolled through. Benoit slapped on the Sharpshooter and Chavo tapped out to give Benoit the win at 12:14.
Winner by pinfall: Chris Benoit
Analysis: *** Nice match from two guys that were very familiar with eachother. Benoit was one of the best wrestlers in the world and while Chavo wasn’t on the same level, he was still very good as well. As I said earlier, it’s just not easy to get invested in Benoit matches due to obvious reasons.
There was a shot of Ashley Massaro getting ready for the lingerie competition.
Cruiserweight Championship: Gregory Helms vs. Jimmy Wang Yang
Pre-match notes: Helms was the Cruiserweight Champion that was the champion since January 2006, so that’s 11 months going into this show. Yang was a face that was a cowboy redneck. They were both in WCW earlier in the decade. Those 3 Count vs. Jung Dragons matches were good!
I don’t know if Helms was sunburned or spent too much time in a tanning bed, but he was burned red here. Helms and Yang locked up with Cole defending Yang as a redneck while JBL complained about Yang’s ridiculous accent. Helms with a hard slap to the face. Yang came back with a back elbow. Yang with headscissors followed by a dropkick and a suplex for two. Helms took over with a dropkick that sent Yang into the barricade. Helms with a neckbreaker on the floor, which led to a two count. Helms with a leg drop. Helms grabbed a chinlock, Yang broke free and Helms dropped him with a back elbow. Helms with a backbreaker followed by an armbar. Yang with a hard chop to the chest, a back body drop that sent Helms over the top to the floor and Yang went up top with a cross body block on Helms on the floor. Back in the ring, Helms dropped Yang throat first into the top rope followed by another chinlock. There were fans chanting “boring” as Yang got a rollup. JBL pointed out the chant, he said that the fans are simply bloodthirsty and then Yang hit a clothesline. Yang with a running forearm, a running heel kick to the face and a missile dropkick off the top for two. Yang missed a corner attack, Helms moved and Helms hit a swinging neckbreaker off the top rope. That was impressive. JBL ranted about the fans again telling the fans to “get off their asses” and cheer. Helms to the top rope, he jumped off and Yang hit a spinning heel kick for a two count. Helms set up Yang on the top rope, elbows by Yang and he missed a corkscrew moonsault. Helms hit a jumping knee to the face like a Codebreaker (that Chris Jericho used as a finisher) and got the pinfall win at 10:51.
Winner by pinfall: Gregory Helms
Analysis: *** Good action with Helms controlling most of it as a heel in control, then Yang made the comeback and there were some believable nearfalls. The match wasn’t boring, but I understand why the fans chanted that because Yang was a weak challenger who was barely pushed in his WWE career. It was also a regular match after two gimmick matches earlier in the show.
Post match, Helms had blood coming out of his mouth possibly from a back elbow or a spin kick from Yang. JBL complained about the fans not applauding these guys for a great match.
Analysis: The commentary from JBL about the fans was interesting. A lot of times when fans chant “boring” the announcers will just ignore it, but JBL used it to complain about the fans. It was an interesting strategy that wasn’t that common on a WWE show.
A video package aired for The Undertaker vs. Mr. Kennedy in a Last Ride Match. Mr. Kennedy had controversial wins at No Mercy (disqualification) and Survivor Series (help from MVP) over Undertaker, so this was the likely final match.
There was a hearse that was driven into the arena. Mr. Kennedy made his entrance. He said he’s the future of Smackdown. Kennedy said that for the third time, he’s going to beat the Deadman because he is Mr. Kennedy…Kennedy.
The Undertaker made his entrance with a slow walk down to the ring that took about three minutes as usual. JBL mentioned that he’s been in a Last Ride Match with The Undertaker and it shortened his career.
Last Man Standing: The Undertaker vs. Mr. (Ken) Kennedy
Pre-match notes: The Undertaker was a face and Kennedy was a heel.
The rules: The only way to win the match is to throw your opponent into the hearse, which is by the entrance, and drive them out of the arena for his Last Ride.
Kennedy tried running away, but Undertaker caught him and kicked him out of the ring. Taker gave Kennedy a hip toss onto the Spanish announce table, but it wasn’t enough to break the table. Undertaker launched Kennedy off the table onto the side of the ring apron. Taker choked Kennedy, then he charged with a running boot, Kennedy moved and Taker bumped over the top to the floor. Kennedy went for a running attack off the apron, but Taker caught him and drove him back first into the steel ring post. Taker put Kennedy on his shoulders, then went near the hearse and Kennedy shoved Taker into the hearse. Kennedy opened the back of the hearse, but Taker fought him off with a kick to the head. They went back to ringside with Taker sending Kennedy into the steel steps at ringside. The referee Charles Robinson was in the ring with them even though the only way to end the match was by using the hearse. Taker with a leg drop on the apron like he had done so many times. Taker set Kennedy onto the top rope and Taker did a superplex off the top, which is not a move he did that often. Taker tossed Kennedy over the top to the floor. They were in the aisle again with Kennedy slapping on a sleeper hold that brought Taker to the floor and Taker sold it like he was knocked out. Kennedy dragged Taker into the back of the hearse, he closed the door and JBL said “he’s done it” even though you have to drive the hearse to win the match. Kennedy went to the driver’s seat, but Undertaker was there to knock him down with a punch. That was a cool spot. Undertaker was back in control as he whipped Kennedy into the steel ring post and into some steel steps at ringside. Kennedy came back with four chair shots to the ribs. Kennedy brought a chair into the ring with a chair shot to the back and a chair to the head. Taker back up, so Kennedy hit him in the head again and Taker back up one more time. Taker did use his hand to block those chair shots as best he could. Kennedy ran to the entrance, Kennedy climbed onto the Armageddon stage that was about 15 feet high. Undertaker signaled for a Chokeslam, but Kennedy kicked him in the groin and Kennedy tossed Undertaker off the stage onto a platform below. The Undertaker landed on some padding that was there, but it still looked impressive because it was a 15-foot high drop. There were several replays of the big spot.
Kennedy opened the hearse door. Kennedy dragged Undertaker to the back of the hearse with fans chanting for Taker while JBL claimed this could be the end of Undertaker’s career. Kennedy put Undertaker in the back of the hearse. There was a driver’s came inside the hearse and that allowed us to see Undertaker sit up in the hearse and he grabbed Kennedy out of the hearse. That was cool even though it was a bit cheesy with the face that both guys made. The crowd popped big for that. Taker hit Kennedy in the back with a steel chair. Taker had a steel pipe, he swung it, Kennedy ducked and Taker hit the glass of the hearse. Taker with a stiff chair shot to the head and Kennedy did a blade job leading to him getting busted open. Taker with a boot to the face. Undertaker put Kennedy on the roof of the hearse and gave him a Chokeslam on the roof of the hearse. It did not break the roof of the hearse. Undertaker gave Kennedy a Tombstone piledriver on the roof of the hearse. Taker tossed Kennedy into the back of the hearse that had a lot of broken glass in it. Taker has to “drive the hearse out of the arena” according to Cole, so he drove it backstage, which was enough to win this match. It went 19:18. JBL: “I am so glad that wasn’t me.”
Winner: The Undertaker
Analysis: ***1/4 It was pretty good for an Undertaker gimmick match. Some of these gimmick matches are silly, but this one worked and it felt like the end of the rivalry. Undertaker took the big bump, yet still managed to come back for the win. In most Undertaker matches, he was not usually the guy that did the big bump like that. Since Undertaker lost to Kennedy twice before (in controversial fashion), it was obvious he was going to win even though a win by Kennedy would have helped him long term. The idea behind a feud like this is that Kennedy would be elevated just by feuding with Undertaker and I think he was.
They aired replays of The Undertaker’s big moves to win the match. The announcers talked about it with JBL putting open how brutal that was and he said you never recover from something like that.
Analysis: The Undertaker had a very good 2006 for matches and 2007 would be even better with the Royal Rumble win, followed by a long feud with Batista. He was in his early 40s at this point and performing as well as he ever did. The second half of the 2000s was my favorite run of The Undertaker's career.
King Booker and Finlay talked in the locker room. Finlay said he’s not going to double-cross Booker because they’re a team. Booker said he’s not going to double-cross him. Queen Sharmell said they need eachother and she’s sure that neither one of them will double-cross the other. Finlay said it’s all good. Finlay said he’s got the luck of the Irish, the little guy and all Booker has is Sharmell. Finlay left.
Naughty or Nice Diva Lingerie Contest
Santa Claus made his entrance tossing some gifts into the crowd as they showed faces of little kids looking happy about seeing Santa. There was a Santa promo saying he wanted to stop at Armageddon because it’s been cold at the North Pole, but they are going to heat things up tonight, so now it’s time for the Naughty or Nice Diva Lingerie Contest.
The Smackdown women made their entrance with Kristal Marshall up first, 2006 WWE Diva Search winner Layla, Jillian Hall and Ashley Massaro.
Kristal Marshall danced first and she looked great, of course. She was married to Bobby Lashley for a few years. Good for him especially after seeing that. Layla had more of a bikini like outfit. She would have the most successful WWE career of these four women. Jillian Hall was next in a Mrs. Claus like outfit and she even touched the outside of her bra. Nice hand placement. Ashley was last with the announcers plugging her Playboy issues. Ashley got the best reaction from the crowd.
The fans were asked to cheer for their favorite. Ashley got the best reaction, but Santa said that the winner is everyone. Santa took off his costume and revealed that it was Big Dick Johnson, who was former WWE creative team member Chris Dejoseph. Layla, Ashley and Jillian danced with Johnson while Kristal left.
Analysis: There’s not much to analyze here. They are four gorgeous women and it was just done to get their Big Dick Johnson comedy routine on the show. The No Mercy PPV two months earlier also had a segment with him while Layla was also in lingerie. It makes me sad watching Ashley being so full of life here and then knowing she committed suicide earlier this year.
The video package aired showing the build up to the World Heavyweight Champion Batista teaming up with WWE Champion John Cena against King Booker and Finlay. Batista was allowed to pick his partner, so he picked Cena.
Analysis: The real reason Cena was picked was because PPV buyrates for Smackdown PPVs did poorly in 2006, so they figured Cena’s presence would help. As noted above, Cena's presence likely did help since Armageddon did beat some other PPVs in 2006 in terms of buyrates.
King Booker made her entrance with Queen Sharmell with Sharmell shouting “All Hail King Booker” on the way to the ring. It was pretty funny when she said it to a kid in the crowd and the kid showed her the middle finger in response. Finlay was up next and he shook hands with Booker.
John Cena got a big pop for his entrance as the WWE Champion. JBL complained about Cena being there saying he’s “not one of us” since Cena was from Raw not Smackdown. Cole said Cena was invited there from Batista and JBL said that Cena was not welcome. Batista also got a nice ovation from the crowd as he entered with the World Heavyweight Title around his waist. The crowd grew louder as Cena posed with Cena in the ring.
Analysis: A tag team match main event isn’t that interesting, but the crowd response to Cena and Batista was very loud. You can’t ignore that the fans were excited about this pairing.
They used that image on the WrestleMania 23 promotional material.
John Cena and Batista vs. King Booker (w/Sharmell) and Finlay
Pre-match notes: Cena and Batista were faces while Booker and Finlay were heels.
Cena took down Booker with an arm drag, Batista tagged in and Finlay tagged in for his team. Batista had his left arm taped up. Finlay jumped off the middle ropes, Batista caught him and punched him in the face. Batista with a slingshot into the top rope leading to Finlay’s back hitting Batista’s knees. Batista picked up Finlay off the ropes leading to a Muscle Buster slam for two as Booker made the save. Booker tagged in and Batista hit a sloppy clothesline for two. Cena tagged in, Booker with a thumb to the eye and kicks to the ribs. Booker worked over Cena with chops, Cena came back with a bulldog and the spinning slam. Cena hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle fist drop. Cena picked up Booker, but Booker got out of it and Cena tripped him up teasing the STFU and Finlay broke that up. Batista went after Finlay. Booker was handed the scepter from Sharmell, so Booker hit Cena in the throat with the scepter while the referee was making Batista leave the ring. Booker with a jumping kick to the jaw for two. Finlay back in with a clothesline. Finlay with a small package for two. Finlay hit Batista, the referee was distracted and Little Bastard (Hornswoggle) tried to kick Cena, but Cena moved and Bastard kicks himself in the head, so Finlay kicked him out of the ring. They replayed the kick to the own head. That was the funniest thing on the show. Booker back in with an armbar, Cena got out of it and Cena hit a DDT.
Batista got the hot tag with a running powerslam on Finlay, a Spear on Booker and a Spear on Finlay. Batista with a clothesline on Booker, he tossed Finlay into Booker then Finlay got a hold of Batista. Booker with a superkick attempt, Batista moved and Booker kicked Finlay by accident. Batista with a spinning sidewalk slam like Big Boss Man’s finisher. Finlay went back in, so Cena hit him with a belly to belly suplex. Outside the ring, Finlay hit Cena with a clothesline. Finlay with a chair to the leg of Batista that the referee didn’t see. Batista hit a spinebuster on Booker and Batista hit a Batista Bomb on Booker for the pinfall win at 11:29.
Winners by pinfall: John Cena and Batista
Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average tag team match that didn’t feel special in any way. The faces going over was the obvious outcome in this match. Cena was the face in peril, Batista got the hot tag and the match was over at that point. They should have made this a Tornado Tag Team Match or had some stipulation on the match to make it more exciting. The crowd was into the match, so I can’t complain about the reactions at all.
The team of Cena and Batista hugged as the winners of the match. They each held up their titles. Replays aired of the key spots in the match. Cena and Batista continued to celebrate in the ring. That was the end of Armageddon 2006.
This event had a run time of 2:42:49 on WWE Network.
EPILOGUE - The Joey Mercury Injury
Before I get to the final thoughts, the injury to Joey Mercury is something that needs to be addressed.
What happened to Joey Mercury? Here's how he explained it to WWE.com:
"I’ve shattered my nose around the bridge area. I have four fractures on the inside of my nose; I have 5 stitches on the inside of my nose and my cheek and 15 stitches on the outside of my nose and cheek. My left eye is swollen shut and I have continual internal bleeding from my nose and my eye. I remember everything. I never lost consciousness and I never passed out."
"I have nothing to compare it to; I’ve never been hit that hard in the face before. I’d have to say it felt like a hundred-pound steel ladder connecting with my face at one-hundred miles per hour; or going head first through a windshield of a car without a seatbelt on; maybe getting hit in the face with a baseball bat swung by Sammy Sosa."
The amazing thing was that Joey was back in the ring within a few weeks. The MNM story with the Hardys continued with matches at Royal Rumble 2007 and No Way Out 2007, which I’ll get to when I review those shows. Sadly, Mercury was released from his WWE contract on March 26, 2007, due to drug and alcohol problems. Mercury missed about six months in 2006 due to rehab, then he got this facial injury, so he was back on more painkillers and that made it tough.
This is what he said to SLAM Sports:
“Vince (McMahon) sat me down and said, ‘We’re not concerned about your work because we know you can pull it together for 30 minutes every night. We’re worried that you’re going to die.’”
“The WWE gave me every opportunity to get better and I’m the one who fucked up. I was going to die. I just turned 28, so in hindsight I’m glad they [released me], but at the time, no — I just wanted to keep on living the way I was living.”
“I’ve overdosed three times and I’ve wrecked ten cars — I’m fortunate to be above ground.”
In 2010, Mercury was back in WWE as part of the Straight Edge Society. A few years after that, he got a job working for WWE's developmental territory known as FCW, then he was a key Producer on the main roster and big influence on The Shield trio. In 2017, WWE released him and he works for Ring of Honor now.
Show Rating (out of 10): 7
I thought it was a very good show with several good matches around the three-star level as well as the excellent ladder match. This event is underrated in WWE history because I doubt many people think of Armageddon shows as being that great. They had several gimmick matches, all of them were enjoyable and the fans were into them.
The in-ring action carried Armageddon and I liked the way they had different kinds of matches throughout the show. JBL was trying to put this over as some all-time great PPV. It wasn’t that at all, but I still enjoyed most of it.
If Armageddon had a great main event then it would have been one of the better PPVs of the decade.
Best Match: Ladder Match for the WWE Tag Team Championships: Paul London and Brian Kendrick vs. William Regal and Dave Taylor vs. MNM (Johnny Nitro and Joey Mercury) vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff Hardy) (****1/4 out of 5)
Worst Match: The Boogeyman vs. The Miz (1/2*)
Five Stars of the Night
- Joey Mercury – I have sympathy for the guy that busted up his face in an amazing match.
- Paul London
- Brian Kendrick
- The Undertaker
- Mr. Kennedy
That was the last WWE PPV of 2006. The first half of the year had better PPVs, but at least they ended on a strong note with Armageddon 2006. I wasn't writing at all in 2007, so going through those PPVs will be fresh for me. Some of them are already done. Others will be very fresh. That was also the last full year where WWE was TV-14 because they went TV-PG in the middle of 2008.
Next up: It’s time to head into a new year with New Year’s Revolution 2007, which was not a good show for Triple H because he suffered a major injury.