25 June 2006
"Victim" by Eighteen Visions
Charlotte, North Carolina
The Great American Bash (2006)
Vengeance Night of Champions
Spectrum Center, Charlotte, North Carolina, United States
Vengeance (2006) was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which took place on June 25, 2006, at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was the sixth annual Vengeance event. Eight professional wrestling matches were featured on the event's card. The buildup to the matches and the scenarios that took place before, during, and after the event were planned by WWE's script writers. The event starred wrestlers from the Raw brand: a storyline expansion of the promotion where employees are assigned to a wrestling brand under the WWE banner.
The card featured eight televised matches, including two main events which resulted in Rob Van Dam defeating Edge to retain the WWE Championship and D-Generation X (DX) (Triple H and Shawn Michaels) defeating Spirit Squad (Kenny, Johnny, Mitch, Nicky, and Mikey) in a 5-on-2 Handicap match. One bout was featured on the undercard, in which John Cena defeated Sabu in an Extreme lumberjack match, which featured superstars from the Raw and ECW brands at ringside.
Vengeance grossed over $400,000 in ticket sales from an attendance of 6,800 and received 320,000 pay-per-view buys, which helped WWE increase its pay-per-view revenue by $21.6 million compared to the previous year. When the event was released on DVD, it reached the number one position on Billboard's DVD Sales Chart. The professional wrestling section of the Canadian Online Explorer website rated the entire event a 6.5 out 10 stars, higher than the 2005 event rating of 6 out 10.
The event featured eight professional wrestling matches with different wrestlers involved in pre-existing scripted feuds, plots and storylines. Wrestlers were portrayed as either villains or fan favorites as they followed a series of tension-building events, which culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches. All wrestlers belonged to the Raw brand – a storyline division in which WWE assigned its employees to a different program, the other two being SmackDown! and ECW.
On the TV premiere of ECW on Sci Fi, Paul Heyman awarded Rob Van Dam the ECW World Heavyweight Championship (which was later simply known as the ECW World Championship), thus making Van Dam a double champion, holding both the ECW and WWE Championships. Edge and his girlfriend, Lita, then interrupted Van Dam's celebration. Edge, who was the #1 contender for the WWE title, informed Van Dam that they both had a lot in common, as they're former Money in the Bank winners and former WWE Champions. Edge concluded with giving Van Dam some kind words, in which afterwards he speared Van Dam. On the June 19 episode of Raw, in retaliation, Van Dam attacked Edge, just after defeating Ric Flair. The next night on ECW, RVD and Kurt Angle defeated Edge and Randy Orton in a tag team match when Van Dam pinned Edge after a 5-Star Frog Splash.
At Backlash, Raw's previous pay-per-view event, The McMahons (Vince and Shane) defeated Michaels and "God" in a No Holds Barred Tag Team Match, with help from The Spirit Squad (Kenny, Johnny, Mitch, Nicky and Mikey). Throughout the weeks on Raw, Michaels got revenge on both Vince and the Spirit Squad. On the May 22 episode of Raw, The Spirit Squad injured Michaels' left knee. Then, McMahon ordered Triple H to "break Michaels' skull", with a sledgehammer. Instead, Triple H attacked the Spirit Squad, thus turning face. Two weeks later, McMahon booked Triple H in a gauntlet match against the Spirit Squad. In the match, Kenny grabbed a steel chair and inserted it on Triple H's left knee, similar to what the group did to Michaels. Mitch, who was the only member not participating in the match, was thrown out from the backstage curtain by Michaels. After this, he joined Triple H in the ring as they began to beat down the four members of the group. This saw Michaels and Triple H reform D-Generation X since their teased reunion in 2002. That same night, McMahon booked the Spirit Squad and D-Generation X in a 5-on-2 Handicap Match for Vengeance. Two weeks later on Raw, DX marked their return, humiliating the Spirit Squad and dumping green slime onto them and embarrassed them afterwards, by beating them.
On the TV debut of ECW on Sci Fi on June 13, a brawl broke out between Rob Van Dam and Edge. Edge, who stormed through the ECW crowd, was attacked by John Cena, who Edge cost the WWE Championship at ECW's One Night Stand, sought revenge against Edge. After the attack, Cena went to ringside where he knocked ECW Representative Paul Heyman unconscious, after Heyman awarded the pinfall win to Van Dam at One Night Stand. After the attack, Heyman announced that all ECW superstars would be at Raw the next week. The next week on Raw, Heyman appeared with ECW superstar, Balls Mahoney, who was booked to face Cena, who won after he made Mahoney submit. After the match, ECW superstar Sabu, who in the premiere of ECW on Sci Fi won a 10-man Extreme Battle Royal, to face Cena at Vengeance, attacked Cena. Sabu assaulted Cena in which he performed a leg drop on Cena, diving onto him and putting Cena through the Raw announcers' table. The next night on ECW on Sci Fi, Cena appeared in the ECW locker room, challenging Sabu to an Extreme lumberjack match, for which Sabu accepted.
Before the event went live on pay-per-view, Val Venis defeated Rob Conway in a dark match.
In the first televised match, Randy Orton faced Kurt Angle. In the early stages both superstars took the advantage over one another. Angle controlled most of the match, as Orton tried to avoid Angle's assaults. Angle tried to perform a suplex on Orton off the ring apron, but did not perform the move. This was followed by Angle performing a belly to back suplex on Orton on the outside ring floor. Mid-way in the match, Orton attempted to perform an RKO by jumping and grabbing Angle's head to drive it over his shoulders, but he countered by pushing Orton to the turnbuckle. Orton took the padding off the turnbuckle, leaving it exposed. Following this, Angle began performing a series of belly to back waist lock suplexes on Orton. Angle then applied the ankle lock hold. Orton, however, flipped over and sent Angle face-first into the exposed turnbuckle. As he turned around, Orton performed the RKO, and covered Angle to gain the pinfall victory.
The next match was between Umaga and Eugene. Before the match got underway, Eugene invited Jim Duggan, Doink the Clown, and Kamala down to ringside. Umaga, who stood at 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m) and weighed 350 pounds (160 kg), used his body size to his advantage as he squashed, or easily and quickly performed moves on, Eugene. The match concluded with Umaga performing the Samoan Spike, a high speed thumb thrust to the throat of Eugene. Umaga pinned Eugene to win the match. After the match, Umaga attacked Jim Duggan and Doink the Clown.
In the next match, Mick Foley faced Ric Flair in a 2-Out-of-3 Falls Match. Foley gained the advantage after he executed a Double Underhook DDT. Foley then began to taunt Flair and took out Mr. Socko, a dirty sock puppet, dressed like Flair. Foley controlled most of the match, until he attempted to apply the Figure-Four Leglock, but Flair countered with an inside cradle over Foley to win the first fall. Frustrated, Foley grabbed a trash can from under the ring and brought it to the ring to hit Flair with it. But, Flair avoided the attacked, as he tripped Foley to apply the Figure-Four Leglock. At the end, Foley got disqualified when he hit Flair with the trash can. The referee awarded Flair the win. After the match, Foley attacked Flair with a barb-wired bat, leaving Flair busted open.
The fourth match was a triple threat match, for the WWE Intercontinental Championship, in which champion Shelton Benjamin defended the title against Carlito and Johnny Nitro. The match began with Carlito performing a springboard moonsault from the ring apron hitting both Nitro and Benjamin in the process. A spot in the match saw Carlito set up Nitro in a Tree of Woe, a move in which a wrestler suspends his opponent upside down on a turnbuckle, with the opponent's back being up against it, Carlito stood on the turnbuckle, in which Benjamin followed by jumping up with Carlito. Nitro lifted Benjamin on his shoulders and threw him down, while Benjamin dropped Carlito, making both men hit the mat. Later in the match, Carlito performed a backcracker on Benjamin. Nitro, who was thrown out of the ring, returned and removed Carlito from making the cover on Benjamin. He instead covered Benjamin for the pinfall victory, thus becoming the new Intercontinental champion.
Main event matches
The first main match was for the WWE Championship, in which champion Rob Van Dam defended the title against Edge accompanied with Lita. In the beginning of the match, Edge performed a sunset flip powerbomb on Van Dam outside the ring. Van Dam, however, managed to execute a crossbody on Edge inside the ring, resulting in the two landing on the outside of the ring floor. Both men took the upper hand in the match, until Van Dam was scripted to knock the referee unconscious. Edge took advantage, as Lita gave him the title. Edge tried to hit Van Dam with the title, but Van Dam dodged the hit as he performed a spinning kick on the title, resulting in hitting Edge's face. Edge, however, got the advantage as he attempted to perform a shoulder block takedown on Van Dam, while Lita propped a chair on a ring corner. Edge went for the shoulder block takedown, but Van Dam moved out of the way, resulting in Edge to crash head-first onto the chair. Capitalizing on the situation, Van Dam then performed a body splash from the top turnbuckle on Edge, which he followed with a cover and a pinfall, thus retaining the WWE Championship.
The sixth match was a singles match between Kane versus Impostor Kane. The match began with Impostor Kane executing a sidewalk slam on Kane, a move in which a wrestler stands side-to-side and slightly behind with the opponent, and reaches around the opponent's torso with his near arm across the opponent's chest and under both arms and places the other arm under the victim's legs. The Impostor tried to grab and lift Kane by the throat and slam him down into the mat, termed as a chokeslam, but Kane countered with driving Impostor Kane's head onto the wrestling mat. The match concluded with Impostor Kane performing a chokeslam on Kane and pinning him for the pinfall victory.
The seventh match was the Extreme lumberjack match between Sabu and John Cena. Before the match began, the ECW and Raw superstars made their way to ringside to take their place as lumberjacks. The match quickly began with Cena throwing Sabu out of the ring onto the Raw lumberjacks, in which they assaulted Sabu and threw him back in the ring. Sabu would later get the upper hand and throw Cena out onto the ECW lumberjacks, at ringside. Throughout the match, Sabu took the advantage over Cena as he performed a somersault leg drop, driving a steel chair onto Cena's face. Cena got the upper hand when he was able to counter a flying crossbody attempt by Sabu. Mid-way in the match, the ECW and Raw lumberjacks started brawling at ringside. At ringside, the ECW lumberjacks began their assault on Cena, after he was hit with a steel chair by Sabu. They laid his head on a table, in which Sabu attempted to perform a high-flying maneuver. The Raw superstars, however, gave Cena the upper hand to hit Sabu with a kendo stick in mid-air. Back in the ring, Cena lifted Sabu over his shoulders and threw him down on a table that was at ringside to execute the FU. Following this, Sabu was thrown back into the ring where Cena applied the STFU, a move in which the wrestler wraps his arm around the neck of the opponent in a sleeper hold instead of pulling back on the head of the opponent, in which Sabu submitted to and giving Cena the win.
The last match on the card was the five-on-two handicap match between D-Generation X (DX) versus the Spirit Squad. During the beginning of the match, Michaels quickly took control of Mitch, before tagging in Triple H. Johnny was tagged in the match, after encouragement from his team, to face off against Triple H. The match was then controlled by the Spirit Squad, after Johnny performed an enzuigiri on Michaels. Nicky, who was tagged in, distracted the referee, allowing the other squad members to pull Michaels out of the ring and hit Michaels with a steel chair. Back in the ring, the assault continued, as each member took the upper hand over him. Michaels came back after countering a double team maneuver and drove both Nicky and Mikey's heads to the mat. Michaels then tagged Triple H into the match. The match concluded with Triple H performing a Pedigree and Michaels performed Sweet Chin Music. Both Triple H and Michaels got the pinfall victory respectively over the Spirit Squad. After the match, the three remaining members tried to attack DX, but were unsuccessful in doing so.
On the July 3 episode of Raw, a triple threat match was booked between Rob Van Dam, Edge, and John Cena for the WWE title, after Van Dam made the stipulation. Edge, as part of scripted events, defeated both Van Dam and Cena to become the new WWE champion, after pinning Van Dam. The following night on ECW on Sci Fi, Van Dam lost the ECW title to The Big Show, after the Big Show received assistance from Paul Heyman, who declined to make the three-count for Van Dam, but instead gave the pinfall to the Big Show. Later on WWE's official website, it was announced that Heyman suspended Van Dam for 30 days without giving a reason. This angle was written after WWE suspended Van Dam for his recent drug possession arrest.
The following month at Saturday Night's Main Event, a title match was scheduled between Edge and Cena. Cena won the match by disqualification, after Lita interfered on behalf of Edge. A singles match was booked between Edge and Cena for the WWE title at Summerslam, with the stipulation that if Edge disqualified himself, he would have lost the WWE title. At SummerSlam, Edge retained the title after he hit Cena with a pair of brass knuckles, this occurred when the referee was not looking.
In a July episode of Saturday Night's Main Event, DX defeated the Spirit Squad in a 5-on-2 Elimination match. The McMahons (Vince and Shane) continued their feud with DX, as they became frustrated with DX's antics. McMahon scheduled a tag team match, where he would team up with Shane to take on DX at SummerSlam in August. Before the match got underway at SummerSlam, the Spirit Squad, Mr. Kennedy, William Regal, Finlay, and The Big Show all interfered on behalf of the McMahons. DX, however, won the match.
The Charlotte Bobcats Arena usually can accommodate 20,000, but the capacity was reduced for the event. This event grossed over $400,000 from an approximate attendance of 6,800 – the maximum allowed. It also received 320,000 pay-per-view buys. Vengeance helped WWE earn $21.6 million in revenue from pay-per-view events versus $19.9 million the previous year, which was later confirmed by Linda McMahon, the CEO of WWE, on August 31, 2006 in a quarterly result. The event received positive reviews. Canadian Online Explorer's professional wrestling section rated the event 6.5 out of 10. The rating was higher than the Vengeance 2005 event which was rated 6 out 10. The WWE title, Intercontinental title, and 5-on-2 handicap match were all rated an 8 out of 10. Additionally, the singles match between Kane and Impostor Kane was rated a 3 out 10.
The event was released on DVD on July 25, 2006. The DVD was distributed by the label Sony Music Entertainment. The DVD ranked number one on Billboard's DVD Sales Chart for recreational sports during the week of August 19, 2006, although falling thereafter. It remained in the chart for three months, until the week of November 4, 2006, when it ranked 17th.