Being as old in mind and body as I am (I’m only 23, but I mentally feel like I’m 50 some days), a New Year’s Resolution has always seemed a little bit odd of a concept to me. I’ve never been one to go with a mainstream fad or really celebrate much of anything, really. Valentine’s Day, New Year’s, St. Patrick’s Day, all of those holidays are just another day for me, for the most part. In a way, I suppose this makes me a bit jaded. This time around, I’m going to actually try to do a resolution, and this is the start of one of the many I’ve set for myself. My resolution, or goal, if you’d rather, is that I want to write one article about wrestling per day. That’s it. Sometimes I’ll write more than that in a day, but with the amount of it that I currently watch, and the constant ideas that I have from watching it, it would seem like a shame to not put the pen to the paper. So, over the course of the next 365 days, I will be presenting a new series here called Grappling With The Past, in which I talk about topics that I’ve come across in my re-watching of WWE content. I’ve been embarking on a massive re-watch of 2006 to present WWE content, spanning from pay-per-views, RAW, and SmackDown episodes. In doing so, I’ve come up with multiple topics to discuss, multiple matches to examine, and a whole host of other things that just cloud up my mind for no apparent reason.
So…what’s on the menu for our maiden voyage? As you’ll recall above, I mentioned starting in 2006 with my re-watch project. Now, 2006 in WWE was a really odd time with, for lack of a better word, dull programming. Sure, it had enough established stars and action to grab your attention every now and then like a desperate ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, but did it really have the ability to keep your eyes on it and only it? The answer, in layman’s terms? No. In re-watching 2006 RAW, in particular, I’ve noticed a pretty significant gap. SmackDown flourished in the meanwhile, as they always seem to do at RAW’s expense, but that’s a story I’ll get to another time.
What really gets me, though, is how RAW managed to have some of the oddest, and quite frankly, dumbest storylines I’ve seen in a while. Let’s start with one of the major storylines heading into 2006 from the previous year: Shawn Michaels vs. Vince McMahon. Ah, yes, the classic WWE tale of the Devil Incarnate, Vincent Kennedy McMahon, trying to prove that anyone who steps in his path will be met with scorched earth. I’ll spare you the majority of the details here, as most of the promos and details of this feud are actually downright awful and pathetic. If you want the cheat sheet, you’ve come to the right place. In short, Shawn Michaels went out of his way to deliberately make Vince McMahon’s life a living hell, as he’s done to Michaels several times. This lead to a rather one-sided affair at that year’s WrestleMania 22 in Chicago, in which Shawn Michaels bloodied and brutalized the WWE’s Chairman of the Board, putting the finishing touches on the vile McMahon with an elbow drop from the top of a ladder while McMahon was on a table. You’d think that after suffering such an incredible beat down, Vince McMahon would realize that maybe, just maybe, he ought to take his ball and go home, right? Yeah, well, this is WWE, so we have to remember that because something like that MAKES SENSE, it’s not an option, at all. Vince McMahon goes one step further, concocts a brilliant idea for that year’s Backlash pay-per-view: Shane & Vince McMahon vs. Shawn Michaels and….God, in a No Holds Barred match. Yes, you’re reading that right, GOD.
At this point, even I have to wonder what in the holy high hell Vince McMahon is thinking. Who in their right mind…oh, right, I think I just answered my own question before I even asked it. Vince McMahon has obviously not been in his right mind in a while, and so this seemed like a perfectly harmless way to go about things, right? I mean, who could possibly get upset at using the end all be all of major organized religion for the purposes of advancing a poorly written television feud? As it turns out, a lot of people. Vince must not have had his crystal ball in proper working order on this one, as it seemed to just tune people out of the feud more than anything. Vince would go on to play god himself, forming his own religion and just generally being an unlikable bag of garbage that nobody has the heart to take outside because it has the worst odor imaginable. I’m just going to go ahead and go with the QuickNotes to summarize the rest of the feud here, because it truly is one of the most god-awful and mind numbing things I’ve ever willingly sat through. Vince McMahon enlists the Spirit Squad, they humiliate Shawn Michaels. Triple H is then the next chosen target, he’s also targeted by the Spirit Squad. Michaels and HHH decide that they’re apparently tired of male cheerleaders whipping the crap out of them, and so they decide to do the only logical thing and re-form D-Generation-X.
Hm, then again, maybe logical isn’t the exact word I’d go for. If anything makes LESS sense than this entire feud did, it’s easily the aforementioned reformation of DX. In the world of WWE, I’ve grown to accept a lot of things, but the idea of two men who hated each other’s guts and had a habit of destroying each other every time they stepped into the ring together just suddenly putting all of that aside because of male cheerleaders? Count me out on this one, ladies and gents. Call in a detective, because I can’t solve the mystery on this one for the life of me.