December to Dismember (2006)
|December to Dismember (2006)|
Promotional poster featuring The Sandman
|Tagline(s)||You Better Watch Out...|
|"Bodies" by Drowning Pool1|
|Promotion||World Wrestling Entertainment|
|Date||December 3, 2006|
|Venue||James Brown Arena|
|December to Dismember chronology|
December to Dismember (2006) was a professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which took place on December 3, 2006 at the James Brown Arena in Augusta, Georgia. Professional wrestling is a type of sports entertainment in which theatrical events are combined with a competitive sport. 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 ECW brand: storyline expansions of the promotion where employees are assigned to wrestling brands under the WWE banner. Despite it being an ECW brand pay-per-view, wrestlers from the Raw and SmackDown! brands also worked on the pay-per-view.2 Its name was derived from the December to Dismember event held by the original Extreme Championship Wrestling in 1995.
The main attraction on the event card was an Extreme Elimination Chamber match for the ECW World Championship. It featured wrestlers fighting in a ring surrounded by a steel structure of chain and girders. The six participants were defending champion Big Show, Bobby Lashley, Rob Van Dam, Hardcore Holly, CM Punk and Test. Lashley won the match and the ECW World Championship after pinning Big Show following a spear.3 The featured bout on the undercard was a tag team bout between The Hardys (real-life brothers Matt and Jeff) and MNM (Joey Mercury and Johnny Nitro), in which The Hardys were victorious.4
The event had an attendance of 4,800 and received about 90,000 pay-per-view buys, with 55,000 of them domestic buys—the lowest buyrate in WWE history.56 Although it was scheduled to be held again in 2007, the show was canceled after all pay-per-view events became tri-branded, which meant that there would be pay-per-view events with the entire roster on two consecutive weeks.7
Outside of the weekly ECW on Sci Fi broadcast, one of WWE's primary television programs, the pay-per-view received little buildup on either the Raw or SmackDown! television shows, as WWE concentrated more on the Survivor Series pay-per-view that aired one week prior to December to Dismember.8 At this time, the main storyline on the Raw brand featured tag teams D-Generation X and Rated-RKO,9 and the main storyline on the SmackDown! brand featured Batista and World Heavyweight Champion King Booker.10 The buildup for December to Dismember began in the middle of October, six weeks before the event occurred.11 This was the only ECW brand exclusive pay-per-view produced by WWE before the decision was made to include wrestlers from all three brands on all pay-per-views.12
The main event at December to Dismember featured an Extreme Elimination Chamber match. On the October 24, 2006 episode of ECW, Rob Van Dam won an opportunity at the ECW World Championship by defeating Big Show in a ladder match.13 Van Dam traded in this championship opportunity at the December to Dismember pay-per-view.14 Authority figure Paul Heyman authorized Van Dam's decision by adding him to the Extreme Elimination Chamber contest along with five other wrestlers, including the champion, Big Show.15 The remaining four participants for the match were decided through standard wrestling matches. The first person to qualify for the Elimination Chamber was Sabu, who defeated Kevin Thorn on the October 31, 2006 episode of ECW.15 The following week, CM Punk and Test qualified by defeating Mike Knox and Tommy Dreamer, respectively.16 The final place was to be given to Hardcore Holly in a contract signing segment on the November 14, 2006 episode of ECW. As Holly was making his way to the ring, however, Bobby Lashley, a wrestler from the SmackDown! brand, attacked Holly and signed the contract himself to gain the sixth and final place in the Extreme Elimination Chamber.17 Although the six spots in the bout were filled, Heyman announced a contest between Van Dam and Holly in an Extreme Rules match on the November 21, 2006 episode of ECW, with the stipulation that if Van Dam lost, Holly would get his spot in the Extreme Elimination Chamber; Van Dam however, won the match.18 Van Dam continued his momentum into December to Dismember as he, along with team members Sabu, Lashley, John Cena and Kane defeated the team of Big Show, Test, Umaga, Finlay and Montel Vontavious Porter in a 5-on-5 elimination tag team match. The match took place at the Survivor Series event.19 On the final episode of ECW before December to Dismember, Van Dam defeated Sabu. Later in the show, CM Punk faced Test, but both men were counted out in their bout. In the main event, Big Show was disqualified in his match against Lashley as Test and Heyman's Security Force (Doug and Danny Basham) assaulted Lashley, causing the disqualification.20
The other main rivalry heading into December to Dismember was between brothers Matt and Jeff Hardy and MNM (Joey Mercury, Johnny Nitro and Melina). Unlike the Extreme Elimination Chamber rivalry, this one did not include ECW wrestlers and was only between members of the Raw and SmackDown! brands, making the event span all three WWE brands.202122 The buildup began when Nitro and Jeff began to feud over the Intercontinental Championship on Raw.2324 The two competed in several different types of matches, including a ladder match.9 The Hardys had just teamed up for the first time since 2002 on ECW, when they defeated Tony Mamaluke and Little Guido Maritato.18 At Survivor Series, The Hardys, along with D-Generation X and CM Punk defeated the team of Nitro, Rated-RKO (Edge and Randy Orton), Mike Knox and Gregory Helms.25 The next day at the December to Dismember press conference, The Hardys made an open challenge for the pay-per-view. Later that night on Raw, Nitro accepted the challenge, announcing the return of Mercury and the "one night only" reformation of MNM.21 That Tuesday on ECW, MNM attacked The Hardys after they won their match against Elijah Burke and Sylvester Terkay.20 Meanwhile, Voodoo Kin Mafia, a tag team from the Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) promotion, issued a statement via the TNA website stating that they accepted The Hardys' open challenge for December to Dismember.26 Voodoo Kin Mafia did not turn up at the event, and WWE never acknowledged the challenge. Only two matches were officially announced for the pay-per-view before it aired.227
The first match that aired was the tag team encounter between MNM and The Hardys. After a back and forth match, which lasted over 20 minutes, MNM performed a flapjack DDT on Jeff, a move that sees an opponent get pushed upwards in air by the tag team and then is forced to dive forward onto his own head. During a pinfall attempt, Matt interrupted and performed a double neckbreaker on MNM. Jeff then performed a Swanton bomb and pinned Nitro.2429 Next was Matt Striker versus Balls Mahoney in a "Striker's Rules" match, a match with "no gouging of the eyes, no pulling of the hair, no maneuvers off the top rope and, most importantly, no foul language".230 Mahoney won the match after he performed a spinebuster.229
After the match, Sabu was depicted as injured backstage and unable to compete in the Extreme Elimination Chamber match.3132 His place was taken by Hardcore Holly.2 In reality, however, it was rumored that Sabu had animosity surrounding him backstage and was said to be uninterested at television tapings. Rumors evolved stating that WWE viewed Sabu as being "useless" in normal matches and that he could only perform in matches that included "stunts and tables and they [WWE] don't respect him because of that". This was reportedly part of the reason he had been scripted to be easily defeated by Umaga on an episode of Raw a few weeks earlier.933 WWE chairman Vince McMahon wanted to put Holly in the match, so Lashley would have more villains to overcome. Heyman was legitimately unhappy with the decision, saying that Sabu's high-flying wrestling would be "the ideal showcase" inside the Extreme Elimination Chamber.27 The fans inside the James Brown Arena chanted "bullshit" during the segment.2
In the second tag-team match of the night, Elijah Burke and Sylvester Terkay defeated F.B.I. members Little Guido Maritato and Tony Mamaluke. Burke pinned Mamaluke after a Forward Russian legsweep on him.34 After the match, Terkay performed a Muscle Buster on Maritato.29 During this match, the fans inside the James Brown Arena chanted "TNA, TNA" (a reference to WWE's rival professional wrestling promotion, as well as two of their performers utilizing the moves of Jeff Jarrett and Samoa Joe, respectively).2 A standard match between Daivari and Tommy Dreamer followed. The Great Khali accompanied Daivari to the ring for this match but was ejected from ringside early on for interfering. Daivari won the match using a roll-up. Khali came back out after the match had ended and grabbed Dreamer by the neck and gave him a chokebomb. EMTs came out to help Dreamer up, but he got up on his own and headed backstage.22935
The next match was an intergender tag team match between Kevin Thorn and Ariel against Mike Knox and Kelly Kelly. Before the match began, Kelly Kelly was shown wishing CM Punk, her on-screen crush, luck for the main event. The finish of the match came when Knox walked out on Kelly Kelly, leaving her on her own in the ring. Ariel performed a legsweep, a variation of a takedown, on Kelly Kelly for the pinfall.29 Following the match, Ariel and Thorn then tried to attack Kelly Kelly, however, The Sandman interrupted and hit Thorn repeatedly with a kendo stick.236
The final match was the Extreme Elimination Chamber main event for the ECW World Championship. Before it began, Paul Heyman came out to the ring and explained the rules of the match and said that there was a weapon in each of the four different pods that housed the wrestlers.29 In a conversation backstage with Big Show before heading to the ring not seen by television viewers, Heyman revealed that for the first time in his professional career he was not motivated to give the promo.27 Rob Van Dam and Hardcore Holly started off the match, and one of the other four competitors entered every five minutes afterward. The first person to be released from his pod was CM Punk, who entered the match with a steel chair in hand. Test came out five minutes after Punk with a crowbar. Punk was the first person eliminated from the match when Van Dam performed a Five Star Frog Splash from the top turnbuckle. Moments later, Test charged at Holly and hit his head with his boot and pinned him. Van Dam was the third person eliminated by Test via a diving elbow drop from the top of a pod. When Bobby Lashley's pod was supposed to open, he could not get out of it because Heyman's Security Force had bolted the pod shut. Lashley used the table that was with him to smash the pod open, allowing him to escape. Lashley then hit Test with a spear to get a pinfall. Big Show was the final man to exit his pod and enter the match, with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire. Lashley blocked Big Show's swing of the bat with a folding chair and then threw Big Show into a pod, causing him to bleed. Lashley managed to turn an attempted chokeslam from Big Show into a DDT and then landed a spear to win the match and become the new ECW World Champion.329
|Ring announcer||Justin Roberts|
Not long after December to Dismember, Big Show was offered a long-term contract extension by WWE, reported to be around $1 million a year. He turned it down, however, because he was burned out and hurting physically.22738 On the episode of ECW, which aired two days after December to Dismember, Show faced Lashley in an ECW World title rematch, which Show lost, thus ending their storyline feud.39 He was not seen on WWE television thereafter, and his contract was not renewed before it expired in February 2007.40
After the storyline feud with Big Show ended, Lashley entered a short program with Rob Van Dam, which led to Van Dam earning a title match on the January 2, 2007 episode of ECW. The match between the two ended in a No Contest after Test interfered during the bout.41 Test's interference led to a program with the champion, leading to a title match at the Royal Rumble, which Lashley won.42
Less than 24 hours after the pay-per-view, WWE announced on their official website that Vince McMahon had sent Heyman home, citing "slumping television ratings and a disgruntled talent roster as causes for Mr. Heyman's dismissal".43 Heyman and McMahon clashed on the plane to the North Charleston Coliseum.44 After a producers' meeting,44 Heyman was escorted from the Coliseum and sent home. Heyman was also immediately pulled from ECW's creative team. McMahon was attempting to put the blame on Heyman for the poorly received pay-per-view, and after a meeting with Vince and Stephanie McMahon, Heyman legitimately left World Wrestling Entertainment but remained under contract.444546 Heyman was against Lashley being booked to win the ECW Championship, however, McMahon stated that fans would be happy to see a new champion and a 10-minute celebration.274447 In an early 2008 interview with The Sun, Heyman stated how he would have booked the Elimination Chamber main-event, which included having Punk enter first and quickly eliminating Big Show via submission. According to the interview, McMahon disliked the idea, but Big Show liked the direction Heyman was heading, and was eager for the opportunity to "make" a rising star like Punk. Heyman also stated that he kept going to McMahon on the night of the pay-per-view to say that "The people are going to throw this back in our face".44 Upset at how the event turned out, Tommy Dreamer and Stevie Richards both asked after the event to be released from their contracts. Both requests were refused by McMahon and WWE's Vice President of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis.8
Critics had a negative reaction to the pay-per-view.484950 Slam! Sports rated the pay-per-view 4 out of 10 stars, stating, "the two matches that were promoted saved this thing from being a debacle".2 In the 2006 Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards, the event was voted the "worst major wrestling show of the year".51
|Dark||Stevie Richards defeated René Dupree28||Singles match||Unknown|
|1||The Hardys (Matt and Jeff) defeated MNM (Joey Mercury and Johnny Nitro) (with Melina)24||Tag team match||22:33|
|2||Balls Mahoney defeated Matt Striker22930||Striker's Rules match||07:12|
|3||Elijah Burke and Sylvester Terkay defeated The F.B.I. (Little Guido Maritato and Tony Mamaluke) (with Trinity)234||Tag team match||06:41|
|4||Daivari (with The Great Khali) defeated Tommy Dreamer235||Singles match||07:22|
|5||Kevin Thorn and Ariel defeated Mike Knox and Kelly Kelly22936||Intergender tag team match||07:43|
|6||Bobby Lashley defeated Big Show (c) (with Paul Heyman), Rob Van Dam, Hardcore Holly, CM Punk and Test23||Extreme Elimination Chamber match for the ECW World Championship||24:42|
(c) – refers to the champion(s) heading into the match
|Eliminated||Wrestler||Entered||Eliminated by||Weapon||Method of elimination||Time|
|1||CM Punk||3||Van Dam||Steel chair||Pinned by Van Dam after a Five-Star Frog Splash from the top turnbuckle||12:35|
|2||Hardcore Holly||1||Test||None||Pinned by Test after a running big boot||12:45|
|3||Rob Van Dam||2||Test||None||Pinned by Test after a diving elbow drop onto a steel chair from the top of Big Show's pod||14:15|
|4||Test||4||Lashley||Crowbar||Pinned by Lashley after a crowbar shot to the gut and a spear||19:42|
|5||Big Show||6||Lashley||Barbed wire
|Pinned by Lashley after a spear||24:42|
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Two shows are on my list for this category, one from November and one from December. Can you guess? Cyber Sunday and the ill-fated December to Dismember."
- "ECW in crisis as Heyman fired". The Sun. News Group Newspapers. 2006-12-07. Retrieved 2007-10-14. "For those of us who have had to sit through the slow and tortuous second death of ECW, though, it was to be expected. That sound at Sunday's awful December To Dismember show – between the crowd's chants of "where's my refund" and "bulls**t" – was the coffin being shut."
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