How many great WWE Title runs have there been? Notice I say WWE. Not WWF. Not WWWF. Not Big Gold Belt. WWE Title? I know the internet being the internet most will immediately point to CM Punk. Other than that? Can’t think of much. So sifting through all that you find a short yet bright spot on the title history. The time where Rob Van Dam was WWE Champion.
ECW One Night Stand 2006 (Hammerstein Ballroom)
WWE Champion John Cena vs Rob Van Dam
Vengeance 2006 (Bobcats Arena)
WWE Champion Rob Van Dam vs Edge(w/Lita)
Raw 6/26/06 (Crown Coliseum)
WWE Champion Rob Van Dam vs John Cena
Raw 7/3/06 (Wachovia Center)
WWE Champion Rob Van Dam vs Edge(w/Lita) vs John Cena
Raw 2/19/07 (Rabobank Arena)
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Edge vs Rob Van Dam
Cena was great in the One Night Stand match. I am not John Cena’s biggest fan. I am not a fan of John Cena at all. He deserves a ton of credit for how he worked that match. The whole thing was more Cena vs the Crowd and Cena played that crowd like a violin. The fans chant, “same old shit” and Cena comes off the top to the floor. They start chanting, “You still suck” and he just lifts that abomination of a belt he had. Cena and RVD brawl into the crowd. Cena grabs a sign that tells him to fuck off and puts it to RVD’s face before punching him. Oh does he get the crowd riled up doing this. They hate him so much, and for once that’s Cena’s actual goal. The look on Cena’s face when does that Five Knuckle Shuffle horseshit is priceless. RVD for his part plays a great plucky babyface here. Where I vociferously complained a few reviews back about Jericho in the LMS match with Hunter here RVD has several great comebacks and several hope spots that give his fans something to get behind. RVD never goes to long without getting something in. The old Ricky Steamboat rule. The babyface can’t go too long without fighting back somehow. The last thing with this one is the finish. The finish never bothered me. A lot of people looked at it as Vince protecting Cena With the benefit of hindsight, especially without the 24 hour fear that they were gonna strip RVD of the WWE Title and just make him ECW Champ (though for some weird reason he was only ever identified as “The Champion” by Lillian Garcia), this was totally a Heyman booked main event. Down to noted evil referee Nick Patrick coming in. Watch Taz’s big title win. Run ins galore. Watch any Raven vs anyone. Watch the vast majority of ECW’s big matches and it looks a lot like this one in layout.
The Vengeance 2006 match between RVD and Edge is one of the all time underrated matches. I loved it at the time, and I still love it now. Yet it has always surprised me how little love the match gets. RVD matches can get real sloppy. But when all of his stuff is on point RVD matches can be athletic wonders. This is the latter. The story of the match is that Edge thought it’d be easier to beat RVD than John Cena. Hence his run in at One Night Stand. Quickly RVD proves him wrong. Edge is very much showing off and being arrogant early on. He mocks RVD’s thumb thing. He has the smuggest look on his face. Especially when he rotates all the way around onto his feet from a Monkey Flip in an awesome spot. Then the back and forth begins wiping the grin off his face. Edge ducks and dodges a series of kicks only to get rolled up by RVD’s legs. RVD starts flipping off everything onto him brining Lita into the match. Edge starts throwing bombs. RVD starts throwing bombs. RVD is getting the better of it. Back and forth and the longer it goes the more Edge cheats until it bites him in the ass and he gets Van Daminatored with the Spinner Belt which busted him open. Then he spears a chair instead of RVD leading to the Frog Splash. So in the end Edge’s hubris thinking RVD was such an easier mark than Cena, and then Edge’s desperate cheating come to be his undoing . A great story. A great athletic display. A great match.
The TV matches were very different than the PPV matches. In one you don’t have the crowd reacting to Cena like Hammerstein. And in the other RVD had gotten busted and was in the process of losing matches before his suspension began. Plus Cena is nowhere near as good in the rematch on Raw as he was in the One Night Stand match. A lot of the stuff that was rubbing people the way with him at the time is very evident there. I had totally forgotten that terrible hip toss of his. A couple of points of interest in that match. The crowd was with Cena until the 5 knuckle shuffle. Once he put his hand up for it the crowd turned on him. And there is a great spot where Cena rolls out of the way of the 5 Star. Edge had done the same, but RVD had come out of the corner with the Rolling Thunder. RVD tries it here and Cena gets his knees up. Fun little story telling from one match to another. The three way is sorta okay. Weird psychology with two babyfaces teaming up on one heel. RVD works hard for a dead man walking. Bottom line really is skip the tv matches and watch the PPV matches.
Results and Ratings
ECW One Night Stand 2006
Rob Van Dam defeated WWE Champion John Cena via pinfall at 20:39 with the Five Star Frog Splash. Rob Van Dam won the WWE Championship. (Star Rating: ****1/4)
WWE Champion Rob Van Dam defeated Edge via pinfall at 17:54 with the Five Star Frog Splash. Rob Van Dam retained the WWE Championship. (Star Rating: ****3/4)
WWE Champion Rob Van Dam fought John Cena to a draw at 10:47 when Edge ran in (Star Rating: ***)
Edge defeated WWE Champion Rob Van Dam and John Cena at 11:16 by pinning RVD. Edge won the WWE Championship (Star Rating: **3/4)
Edge defeated Rob Van Dam via pinfall at 13:31 with the Spear. Edge advanced to the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at Wrestlemania 23. (Star Rating: ***)
Average Rating: ***1/2
That’s that then. Next time we say goodbye to a legend. Next Time: Genichiro Tenryu vs Shinya Hashimoto.