This was originally written in September 2016, which was about ten years after it took place.
Unforgiven 2006 featured talent from WWE’s Raw brand with the main focus being on rivalries between WWE Champion Edge and John Cena as well as the McMahons ongoing battle with Degeneration X.
It was also a historical show because it was the end of Trish Stratus’ six-year run as a full-timer in WWE. This was her retirement match in her hometown of Toronto. She did return to do some matches in the years that followed, but this was the end of her wrestling career as a full-time performer.
This is also a rare show where there’s a TLC match on the same card as a Hell in a Cell match. It was the end of two major feuds. Let’s get to it.
Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario
September 16, 2006
The show began with a video package highlighting the key feuds going into the show. It’s Edge defending the WWE Title in a TLC match against John Cena and Vince & Shane McMahon along with Big Show against Shawn Michaels & Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match.
The Raw announce team of Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are ringside for the show.
It begins with the IC Title with Johnny Nitro defending the gold against Jeff Hardy. Nitro (later named John Morrison) was the heel champion with Melina looking great like usual and Jeff Hardy received a big ovation. Hardy had just come back to WWE after three years away. JR called it a “previously undiscussed three-year absence from WWE,” which is a weird way of saying it.
Intercontinental Championship: Johnny Nitro (w/Melina) vs. Jeff Hardy
About 30 seconds into the match, the announcers talked about Melina’s cleavage. Hardy grounded Nitro with some armdrags as they started off at a slow pace. When Nitro got some offense, Melina did her shrieking to piss off the fans. Lots of stalling in the first few minutes. Nitro took control briefly, but then Jeff nailed a dropkick and the ten punches in the corner. Nitro bailed to the floor, so Hardy nailed a baseball slide dropkick. Hardy did his run the rails move leading to a clothesline on the floor. Melina freaked out about it. She’s hot, but some of her acting was bad. She was guilty of overacting at times. Hardy was on the top rope, so Nitro dropkicked him and took control. Great bump by Hardy. Nitro slammed Hardy’s left knee into the mat. Lawler speaking about Melina: “You’ve got to love a girl that’s a screamer.” Nitro worked on the left knee on Hardy some more. Nitro rammed Hardy’s left leg into his own leg. When Hardy tried a comeback, Nitro clipped the back of his leg. Nitro up top, he went for a corkscrew moonsault and Hardy moved.
Hardy got a pinfall attempt. Hardy nailed a couple of clotheslines. Hardy went up top and hit his Whisper in the Wind spinning crossbody block to take down Nitro for two. When Nitro went for a top rope attack, Hardy held onto the ropes and Nitro went crashing down. Hardy nailed a Swanton Bomb off the top rope, he was slow to cover and Nitro got his foot on the ropes. Hardy with a mule kick. Nitro grounded Hardy again with a leg bar until Hardy was able to roll to the ropes. Hardy kicked Nitro away as Melina was on the rope, so Nitro inadvertently bumped into Melina. Hardy got a rollup for two. Nitro off the top rope and Hardy hit a Powerbomb to put him down. The ref was looking at Nitro, so Melina hit Hardy in the head with her boot. Nitro covered for the pinfall win after 17:36 of action.
Winner by pinfall: Johnny Nitro
After the match, JR delivered this line: “I’m sure she’s spent ample time on her back.” Classy! Haha.
Analysis: *** A solid opening match to put over the heel champion with Melina factoring into the finish, which was no surprise. Hardy had a lot of the crowd support, but he was still returning from being away after three years. In 2008/09 he was as popular ever. Nitro was a heel on the rise. They told a decent story with Nitro working on the left leg of Hardy for much of the match, but it’s not like Nitro had submissions moves that he used in matches. It made the psychology seem a bit off in that sense. If they were to cut five minutes it would have been a better match. It seems like they went longer to fill time more than anything.
They showed Smackdown GM Teddy Long in a skybox. The story was that if Cena lost his title match then he would move to Smackdown.
Jeff Hardy was greeted by his brother Matt Hardy, who told Jeff he was proud. The Women’s Champion Lita, along with her cleavage, showed up to say Jeff is a screw up and that Matt will never be a champion. She told them to watch her match as well as Edge’s match later.
Analysis: In the first 25 minutes of this show, we are reminded of how the women showed a lot more skin in this era before the company went PG in 2008.
Umaga made his entrance with JR saying that this is Umaga’s PPV debut and he’s undefeated. Umaga’s manager Armando Alejandro Estrada did a pre-match promo saying Umaga is the only monster in WWE, not Kane.
Analysis: I was a huge fan of the Umaga character and the way he debuted in the company. Estrada was the right kind of heel manager for him too. WWE needs more managers these days.
Umaga (w/Armando Alejandro Estrada) vs. Kane
There was some brawling early on. Umaga hit a spin kick, Kane sat up and was on the offense. Kane ripped Estrada’s jacket off. Umaga gave Kane a Flatliner on the floor. Umaga took control in the ring with a headbutt. Umaga nailed his running hip attack in the corner. The Usos do that move in WWE these days as a tribute to him since Umaga was their uncle. Kane fought back with a boot to the face followed by many punches. Corner clothesline by Kane. Umaga stopped the momentum with a Samoan Drop. Umaga missed a headbutt off the middle rope, so Kane went up top to hit his top rope clothesline. More brawling ended with Kane sending Umaga over the top to the floor. Kane with a clothesline outside the ring sent Umaga over the barricade at ringside and they were in the crowd. The bell rang to end the match by countout at 7:03.
Match Result: Double Countout
After the match was over, they kept brawling towards the entrance area until they stumbled to the back. The crowd booed that finish.
Analysis: *1/4 Poor match. Two big guys that didn’t really sell enough with a bad ending. Considering Umaga was undefeated, WWE obviously wanted to protect him. It would have been better if he just won this match instead of doing the countout finish. I have no memory of where this feud went after this.
Vince and Shane McMahon were backstage getting ready for their match. Big Show was in another room. Vince said that unlike the country of Canada that relies on allies to do all the work (crowd booed), he’s going to get in there. Vince said DX had “no chance in hell” of winning.
Analysis: A quick promo to show that Vince is overconfident like usual.
The Spirit Squad defend the tag titles against the Highlanders. I have no memory of this match at all although if you’re wondering, the Spirit Squad were heels and Highlanders were faces. Dolph Ziggler was Nicky of the Spirit Squad, but he’s not in the match.
World Tag Team Championship: Spirit Squad members Kenny & Mikey (w/Nicky, Mitch & Johnny) vs. The Highlanders (Robbie & Rory McAlister)
Robbie nailed a couple of headbutts to the arm of Mikey as the Highlanders were in control early on. Lawler wondered how you became a male cheerleader. Robbie nailed a suplex on Kenny. Rory with a shoulder tackle to the ribs of Kenny. The Highlanders continued to dominate as they worked over Mikey. Kenny went in there, but Robbie nailed a dropkick that sent Kenny out of the ring. Robbie with a dive to the floor, but Kenny moved so Robbie went crashing on the floor. The three guys on the floor teamed up to do a clothesline. The heels worked over Robbie to isolate him from his partner. Nice leaping forearm smash by Mikey. Double team move missed. Kenny tripped up Rory to prevent him from tagging in. Double team move by the heels and Rory made the save on the pin attempt. Kenny with a swinging neckbreaker. Kenny went for a top rope leg drop, but Rory saved Robbie from it. Hot tag for Rory against Mikey. Forearm smashes by Rory, then a flapjack, clothesline for two SS guys on the apron and he sent Kenny over the top to take out his buddies on the floor. Double team reverse suplex by Highlanders gets two as Kenny made the save. Johnny with a kick to the back of the head of Rory, Mikey with a facebuster and he covered for the win as the Spirit Squad won at the 8:59 mark.
Winners by pinfall: Spirit Squad
Analysis: *1/4 Boring tag match. The crowd didn’t care much other then when Rory received the hot tag. This was during a time period where the tag division in WWE, especially on Raw, was at its lowest point. The Highlanders never really made it far while The Spirit Squad were cheap heels that were treated like a joke for much of their run.
The video package aired for the Hell in a Cell 2 on 3 tag match. Vince had a long issue with Shawn Michaels from WrestleMania 22 earlier in 2006, Triple H ended up turning face to join up with Michaels again and Big Show showed up to help the McMahons.
Analysis: The return of DX was pretty fun, but what WWE didn’t tell you is that Hunter was married to Stephanie McMahon in real life. They didn’t acknowledge their real life marriage until around 2009. That meant that Hunter was tormenting and fighting his father in law without WWE telling the audience about their family ties.
Shane McMahon made his entrance first. He was 36 years old at the time. Big Show was the ECW World Heavyweight Champion at the time. Vince McMahon was dressed in all black. He was 61 years old for this match. Shawn and Hunter entered to the DX theme song.
The only thing I remember about this match is that it was really long.
Hell in a Cell: Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon & Big Show vs. Degeneration X (Shawn Michaels & Triple H)
Shawn and Hunter kicked Big Show in the groin right away. I heard a “you screwed Bret” chant already, likely at Shawn even though it was Vince too. Shawn and Hunter beat up the McMahons, then they went back in the ring and hit another low blow. Michaels sent Shane into the side of the cage. Shane was busted open. The camera cut away from him, so he did the blade job off screen. Hunter threw Vince into the cage, Vince was down, camera cut away and when it was back on him, Vince was bleeding too. Hunter raked Vince’s face against the cage. Triple H used a screwdriver against Vince’s head. That’s nasty. Back in the ring, Hunter slammed Vince. Big Show was back up as he slammed Michaels down and tossed Hunter over the top to the floor. The DX guys double teamed Show by tossing him into the cage as well as the steel steps. Hunter with a knee drop on Vince that didn’t even connect. Show was back up to take control and Shane even got some offense in with a clothesline that sent Michaels to the floor. Big Show was on the floor with Shawn, he picked him up and sent Shawn face first into the show. Shane was yelling “open him up” so of course Shawn was bleeding when he got up. Show launched Michaels into the cage. Shane got a trash can, Show held it in front of Hunter’s face against the turnbuckle and Shane went up top for the Coast to Coast dropkick. Triple H’s left ear was bleeding from that. The heels were in control with Shane hitting Hunter with a clothesline outside the ring. Shane sent Hunter into the cage with a slingshot as Hunter’s whole face was bleeding. Hunter was really bleeding a lot. Vince had this shocked look on his face as the crowd reacted with an “ohhh” and a bit of a laugh. Show hit a Vader Bomb splash on Shawn. Vince covered for two and picked up Shawn saying he wanted to humiliate him. Show with a Cobra Clutch backbreaker, then a leg drop to the throat and Vince did a two count where he pulled Shawn up again.
Hunter was back in there as he sent Show out of the ring, hit a facebuster knee attack on Vince, Shane picked up Hunter and hit a spinning neckbreaker on him. Everybody was out in the ring. Michaels nailed an enziguri kick on Shane, but Vince was there to hit Shawn with a clothesline. Vince pulled his pants down for a Kiss My Ass club moment for Shawn. Yes, that’s what really happened. Hunter stopped that with a punch to Vince. They did this cheesy looking spot where Show missed a splash on Shawn and he actually hit Vince. Hunter and Shawn double teamed Show by sending him groin first into the ring post. Michaels with a forearm on Shane, then an atomic drop and Hunter hit a spinebuster. Hunter put a chair around the neck of Shane, so Shawn went up top and hit a flying elbow drop into the chair. Shane was bleeding from the mouth as JR busted out the “internal injuries” diagnosis for Shane. Show knocked both DX guys down and brought in the steel steps. Triple H with a chair shot to the stomach of Show to trap show against the steps and then a chair shot to the steps. Show is bleeding from the head as well. Michaels hit the Superkick on Show, who was stuck against the ropes after that. Vince made evil faces at both DX guys. Shawn and Hunter pulled down the pants of Show, which his why he was trapped against the ropes. The crowd cheered the thought of Vince kissing Show’s ass. DX grabbed Vince by the head and shoved Vince’s head into Show’s ass. JR: “Vince McMahon’s head literally up Big Show’s ass.” Then Show bumped to the floor. Michaels with a Superkick on Vince. Hunter nailed Vince in the back with the sledgehammer, which broke the sledgehammer. Hunter covered his father in law for the win at the 25:04 mark.
Winners by pinfall: Shawn Michaels & Triple H
Analysis: **3/4 It was a long match that dragged on too much, so my memory of it was accurate. There were some silly spots that hurt the match in terms of intensity a bit. I get why they did it because it was the end of a long rivalry in a setting that promotes violence That’s the story they went for from the beginning of the match with Vince and Shane blading within two minutes. You don’t see that anymore. Add in Michaels and Hunter also bleeding fairly early in the match. Things have changed in WWE these days with the lack of blade jobs due to the PG rating, which is fine with me. Part of the story was humiliation, which is why they did the spot with Vince getting his head shoved into Big Show’s ass. The crowd loved that moment. No surprise that DX won since it was a blowoff match. It was a definitive ending to a long feud.
Post match, EMT’s and doctors showed up to help Vince and Shane. Credit Shane for selling that final blow with the chair because he had this look on his face like he was totally out of it. Vince and Shane were both wheeled out of there while DX celebrated the win.
Analysis: It was important to end it that way because it put over the idea that it was a destructive ass kicking.
A video package aired about Toronto’s own Trish Stratus, who announced that she would retire at Unforgiven. She was a six-time Women’s Champion going into this match with Lita, who was the cocky heel champion.
Lita walked out first. Trish received a huge ovation from the hometown crowd.
WWE Women’s Championship: Lita vs. Trish Stratus
Trish did a headscissors spot early on. Trish nailed a diving attack on the floor. The mats outside the ring were all wet with water after all of the blood in the HIAC match that was before this. Lita was able to slow Trish down in the ring and applied a chinlock to keep her grounded. Lita pulled her down with a hair whip. Lita was on the top, Trish went for the headscissors, Lita blocked it, they slapped eachother on the top rope and both of them went tumbling down. They battled on the apron again with Lita slamming Trish to the mat. Lita up top, she went for a moonsault and Trish moved out of the way leading to a two count for Trish. Lita countered the Stratusfaction by dumping Trish outside the ring. Lita followed up by aggressively working on Trish in the ring. Trish came back with some punches, but Lita stopped her momentum with a Russian legsweep that earned a two count. Trish nailed a neckbreaker to create some space. Trish did her handspring headscissors takedown out of the corner. Trish hit the Chick Kick to the head for a two count. Trish went for Stratusfaction into a rollup for a two count. Trish stepped through for the Sharpshooter, the crowd went wild and Trish applied the Sharpshooter. It didn’t look that great to be honest, but it got the job done. Lita tried to crawl to the ropes, she couldn’t do it and Lita tapped out to end the match at the 11:34 mark.
Winner by submission and New Women’s Champion: Trish Stratus
Analysis: ***1/4 A really good match that built up to the finish well. Trish was the ultimate face here while Lita’s heel work was really good too. I liked Lita more as a heel although both women had a lot of success in either role. Trish didn’t use the Sharpshooter during her career, but any Canadian wrestler can do that move in front of a Canadian crowd and it’s going to lead to a huge ovation. The spot worked really well as an ending to the match. They had a lot of chemistry thanks to working with eachother a lot in their careers.
Post match, Trish was really emotional holding the Women’s Title as she held it up in the air for the appreciative crowd. Her good friend Lilian Garcia was in tears at ringside while Ross and Lawler were standing up applauding for Trish. She was truly soaking in the moment in her hometown. She blew kisses to the crowd as JR said there was nobody any better.
Analysis: I remember being surprised that Trish was going to retire because she was in WWE for about six years and I expected her to stay longer. I was also sad because she was my favorite. Trish was nearly 31 years old at the time. Then again, there was nothing else more for her to do.
There was a shot of Teddy Long getting ready for the main event.
Randy Orton was interviewed by Todd Grisham. Orton said nobody really cares about Trish’s retirement unless you’re Canadian and it means that you don’t matter. Orton bragged about winning the World Title in Toronto two years earlier, then called Trish a bitch, then trash talked Carlito saying Carlito would be his…bitch.
Analysis: There was a story with Trish and Carlito being a storyline couple, so that was the tie-in to this match. It was way to turn Carlito face even though he was better as a heel.
Randy Orton vs. Carlito
Orton was in his usual cocky heel role while Carlito is the face. Orton was aggressive early, so Carlito spit in his face. Orton bailed to the floor and Carlito came back with a dropkick for two. Orton with a thumb to the eye, but Carlito came back with a springboard senton and a Lionsault gets two. Orton is bleeding from the mouth, which is an accidental case of blood in this case. Orton nailed a dropkick while Carlito was on the apron, which sent Carlito into the barricade outside the ring. They replayed the spot where Orton’s mouth got busted – it was an elbow from Carlito when he hit the Lionsault. Chinlock by Orton. Powerslam by Orton gets two. Another chinlock by Orton. Carlito with a springboard back elbow, running knee and a couple of clotheslines get two. Another two count by Carlito as he sent Orton face first into the mat. Orton hit his modified backbreaker to slow him down. Carlito with a backstabber. Carlito went to the middle ropes, two kicks to the face, he jumped off the top rope and Orton nailed him with a RKO out of midair! Nice. That was great. Orton covered for the win at the 8:41 mark.
Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton
Post match, JR said: “Orton can be a jackass, but that was an amazing move.” Correct.
Analysis: **1/2 It was an average match with a great finish. I had forgotten about the RKO out of the sky. Orton was a main event level performer that was without a great feud at this point, so they just paired him up with Carlito. I think WWE made a mistake turning Carlito face because as I said he was much better as a heel. It was a case of Carlito getting cheered a bit as a heel, so WWE turned him and he lost what made him cool (pun intended) in the first place.
The video package aired to set up Edge defending the WWE Title (it had the Rated R logo on it) against John Cena in a TLC Match. If Cena loses, he’s already signed a new contract with Smackdown. The deal was that Cena gets the title shot only if he accepted Edge’s terms, a TLC match in Edge’s hometown of Toronto. The story is that Cena’s never had a TLC match while Edge never lost a TLC match.
Analysis: The rivalry was really good with them having multiple high profile matches. Edge became a main eventer in early 2006 when he cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase on Cena to become WWE Title. Cena got the title back, but the rivalry didn’t end. They had a big match at SummerSlam in Boston (John Cena’s hometown) that Edge won because Lita cheated to help him retain. The stakes were raised by making it a TLC match. I was pretty excited heading into this one.
The WWE Champion Edge received a huge ovation from the Toronto crowd because he grew up near Toronto. He was the heel in the storyline, but not in this match. No sign of Lita with him. John Cena was booed by the majority of the Toronto crowd.
As you probably know, the match only ends when one man climbs the ladder to retrieve the WWE Title hanging above the ring. The crowd was strongly rooting for Edge as the introductions took place. There was a “Cena fears workrate” sign in the crowd. I don’t really agree, but it’s different at least.
WWE Title Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match: Edge vs. John Cena
They brawled early on as Cena hit shoulder tackles, Edge with a hard slap, Cena punched him and Edge nailed a neckbreaker with the crowd cheering for that. Cena avoided a chair shot and hit a suplex. Edge avoided a corner charge and hit the Edgecution DDT. Edge opened up two chairs in the ring, Cena went for a move, Edge slipped out and hit a reverse DDT onto the chairs. That looked rough. Cena knocked Edge down when he climbed a ladder, but Edge came back with a clothesline. Edge hit a dropkick off the barricade while a ladder was set up against Cena’s face. A ladder was set up against the turnbuckle, so Cena hit a hip toss that sent Edge onto the ladder. Cena teased putting Edge through two tables outside the ring, they brawled on the apron, Edge nailed a forearm and Cena tripped him up on the top turnbuckle. Loud “Cena Sucks” chant from the crowd. They did a spot out of the corner where it was going to be an Edge powerbomb through a table, but they messed it up. With the table still there, Edge gave Cena a powerslam through the table. Cena was on the floor, so Edge ran across a ladder that was against the turnbuckle and jumped over the top to take him out. That was risky because he almost fell when trying to step on the ladder.
Back in the ring, Edge hit Cena in the back with a hard chair shot. Edge set up the Conchairto, but Cena tripped him up to avoid it. Cena with a flipping neckbreaker sent Edge face first into a steel chair that was on the mat. Cena applied the STFU on Edge while he was trapped in between the ladder. Edge tapped out, but it doesn’t mean anything in this match. Cena hit Edge in the face with the top of the ladder and then Cena slammed the ladder onto Edge. Spinning slam by Cena, then he teased a Five Knuckle Shuffle and stopped. Cena climbed the ladder and hit his fist drop off the ladder. Cena set up a table in the ring. Edge had a chair and nailed Cena in the head with a stiff chair shot. Ouch! There’s another thing on this show that you won’t see in WWE today. Cena was on a table, Edge put another table on him and went up top, but Cena punched him to stop that.
Cena grabbed a bigger ladder from under the ring. He set it up in the middle of the ring while Edge was still in the floor. Cena slowly climbed, Edge jumped off another ladder and hit a Spear to knock Cena down. Cool spot with the crowd cheering. Edge up the ladder, Cena got up, Edge jumped in his arms and Cena gave Edge a Powerbomb into a ladder that was set up in the corner. With Edge on the floor, Cena nailed him in the head with a chair shot although not with as much force as Edge hit Cena with. Cena climbed the ladder, got his hands on it and Lita showed up. Lita tilted the ladder so that Cena fell back backwards right into a conveniently placed table outside the ring. That’s a risky bump, but it turned out fine. Edge crawled back into the ring first. Cena got back into the ring as Edge reached near the top of the ladder. Lita hit Cena in the back with a chair, but Cena bounced into the ladder and that sent Edge crashing through two tables that were outside the ring (he missed the first one) outside the ring. Damn! That one looked bad too. Cena picked up Lita and hit the FU (later named the Attitude Adjustment) to send her out of the ring. Cena set up the ladder for the climb. Edge was able to crawl back up. Two refs were in the ring even though they wouldn’t normally be there in a match like this. What they were really doing was steadying the ladder for the big ending. Cena put Edge on his shoulders and gave him the FU through two stacked tables that they set up beside the ladder. Huge bump! One of the biggest bumps I’ve ever seen in WWE. This followed a crazy bump that Edge did outside the ring a few minutes earlier. Cena grabbed the title, looked down at Edge and brought the title down to win the match after 26:28 of action. JR: “Good God what a match!” Damn right.
Winner and New WWE Champion: John Cena
Analysis: ****1/2 That was an awesome match. I think it’s the best match these two ever had and they had a lot of good ones. I didn’t remember the match going 30 minutes. It makes me the appreciate the effort that both guys put in to deliver a classic matchup. That final spot was one of the most definitive endings to a WWE Title match that you’re ever going to see. Edge always got a lot of credit for coming up with creative spots in these kinds of matches, so I’m sure a lot of it came from him. Cena definitely played his part in making it a classic match as well. Lita was a factor in saving Edge, but she also played a part in costing Edge the match. She retired from WWE two months after this. Matches like this really helped to make TLC one of the best gimmick matches that the WWE does. This was one of the first Cena matches where he really proved that he could come up with awesome performances in big matches. It didn’t happen all the time, but he delivered in this case because Edge helped to bring out the best in him.
After the match, Cena hugged his father at ringside because his dad was part of the storyline with Edge attacking him earlier in their feud.
The crowd was mostly booing Cena as he left with the WWE Title. Some guy even threw a drink on Cena as he made his way up the aisle. Cena held up the WWE Title. There were replays that aired of the big spots in the match.
This event had a run time of 2:45:28 on WWE Network.
Five Stars of the Show
1. John Cena
3. Johnny Nitro
4. Jeff Hardy
5. Trish Stratus
This show gets an 8 out of 10.
I really liked it with an awesome main event that was one of the best matches of the year, the Trish/Lita match was well done with an ending that made the fans happy and Nitro/Hardy was pretty solid too. The only other part of the show that was memorable was Orton’s RKO finish on Carlito. Most of the rest of the card was forgettable.
The crowd was great for the whole show. They didn’t even cheer the heels that much, other than Edge, but that’s because he was a local guy.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading.
John Canton – [email protected]