There were two Elimination Chamber matches in WWE in 2006. The first one was covered in the last review I did about New Year’s Revolution 2006 and then WWE decided to bring it back for the first ECW PPV after they relaunched ECW in the summer of 2006.
The show was called ECW December to Dismember. I reviewed it two years ago and gave the whole show a 2 out of 10 score, which is about as low as I’ve ever gone for a PPV.
The Story Going Into The Match
Big Show was the heel ECW Champion that had the support of ECW’s authority figure Paul Heyman. Bobby Lashley just started on the ECW brand a few weeks before this show, so he was pushed as a new face of the show. On the ECW show leading up to the PPV, Show beat up Lashley with the help of Test, who was a heel also. The others in the match included Rob Van Dam and CM Punk, who won qualifying matches to be a part of it.
The sixth man that was supposed to be in the match was Sabu. He was replaced by Hardcore Holly, who was a heel. They took out Sabu with an injury angle with Holly as the replacement because Vince McMahon felt he would fit the match better and they wanted another heel in there.
WWE ECW December To Dismember
December 3, 2006
The James Brown Arena in Augusta, Georgia
Bobby Lashley was interviewed by Rebecca Dipietro. I barely remember her, but she’s hot, so of course she was qualified to work for WWE because that’s all that mattered especially in this era. A video package aired showing all of the obstacles that Lashley has had to deal with in the last few weeks. Lashley said that nothing is going to stop him.
The ECW Champion Big Show was shown walking backstage with Paul Heyman, Test and Hardcore Holly behind him.
A video package aired for the main event with the six men featured in it, including Sabu, who is out of the match.
Analysis: I remember watching this show live and thinking why is the main event starting so early? This video aired at the 90-minute mark in a three hour show.
Paul Heyman walked out with two dudes dressed in riot gear to protect him. Heyman looked up at the Chamber above him. He said this will be your main event of the evening. He spoke about how Sabu missed his opportunity to enter the chamber. Heyman said the day of Sabu, Sandman and RVD has come to an end. He called ECW a global phenomenon and that this is the crowning achievement of Big Show’s career.
Analysis: It was just a promo to set up the main event and upset the crowd because Heyman was the heel that was in charge of ECW.
They lowered the Extreme Elimination Chamber. The announcers went over the rules. They showed weapons in the Chamber including a barb wire bat, a table, a chair and a crowbar.
The order of entrants for the Elimination Chamber: ECW Champion Big Show with the barb wire bat, CM Punk with a steel chair, Test with a crowbar and Bobby Lashley with a table. He’s arguably the biggest face in the match, yet he barely got a reaction. That means that Rob Van Dam and Hardcore Holly start the match. Paul Heyman was watching from ringside.
Extreme Elimination Chamber Match For The ECW Championship: Big Show vs. CM Punk vs. Test vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Hardcore Holly
Pre-match notes: Big Show was the heel champion with Test and Holly as allies. The faces were Punk, Lashley and RVD.
The announcers for the match are Joey Styles and Tazz.
RVD and Holly begin the match as the clock counts down from five minutes until the third man gets in there. Holly’s the heel here. Outside the ring, RVD went for a leaping attack off the top, Holly moved, RVD landed on the cage and then missed a diving attack. Cool spot by RVD. Holly slammed RVD on the steel outside the ring. Holly missed an attack, so he was out on the steel. RVD did the Rolling Thunder spot where he ended up jumping over the top to splash Holly. Holly suplexed RVD back into the ring.
The #3 entrant in this match is CM Punk, who was a popular young babyface at the time. The crowd cheered loudly for him. Punk threw a chair at Holly and nailed a springboard clothesline on RVD. RVD threw the chair at Punk’s head to knock him down. Punk nailed a leg drop on the back of RVD’s head onto the chair. Punk whipped RVD head first into the chair wedged against the turnbuckle. RVD was bleeding above his right eye. Holly slammed Punk into the cage. Holly dominated both guys for the next couple of minutes including a superplex by Holly on Punk. Van Dam was a bloody mess. He nailed a kick on Punk to knock him down.
It’s time for #4 at the 10 minute mark and it’s time for Test. Test nailed Punk in the ribs with the crowbar. Then Test rammed the crowbar against RVD’s bloody head. RVD nailed some clotheslines and kicks on Holly followed by a hard chair shot to Test’s head. RVD nailed a dropkick into the chair on Punk as Punk was against the turnbuckle. With Punk in a lot of pain, RVD nailed a Five Star Frog Splash on Punk and pinned him. The crowd hated that.
CM Punk eliminated by Rob Van Dam
Analysis: I remember that elimination when I saw this live and I hated it. Punk was the future – the young star they could build around. He shouldn’t have been pinned first when they have others out there who were simply midcarders. This was a Vince McMahon booking call rather than Paul Heyman’s choice. More on that later.
Test set up RVD for a big boot, but then he hit Holly with it. The ref counts one…two…stops…Holly doesn’t move and the ref says it’s three. So even though the ref’s hand didn’t hit the mat three times in a row, Holly is out. That looked so awkward. There was a mistake somewhere in there. Holly’s eliminated.
Hardcore Holly eliminated by Test
Analysis: Somebody messed that up. The ref Mickey Henson must have thought that Holly was supposed to kick out, but Holly just stayed there. The storyline is that Test turned on his partner Holly even though they’re supposed to be on the same page.
RVD jumped off the top rope and nailed a jumping kick on Test. RVD went on top of Big Show’s pod to do an attack, but Show grabbed his feet. Why climb up a pod where a guy is standing? Because he’s not smart. Test nailed RVD with a chair shot to the rib and then he slammed RVD to the mat. Test went to the top of the pod and hit a flying elbow drop onto the chair, which was good enough for the pin to eliminate RVD. There was 45 seconds until the next man entered the match. The fans hated that too.
Rob Van Dam eliminated by Test
Analysis: At least the spot to eliminate RVD was well done. That was an impressive elbow drop. I’m not sure about the booking decision to have RVD eliminated by Test. It was probably done that way to shine more of a spotlight on Lashley as the remaining babyface in the match. If RVD or Punk was in there the fans may focus on them instead of Lashley.
Bobby Lashley is the #5 man against Test. Two of the dudes in the riot gear took out the ref that was going to unlock Lashley’s pod. That meant that Lashley was stuck in the pod. Lashley used the table to break through the cage on the top of the pod. Lashley climbed up the top of the pod and nailed a clothesline off the top rope on Test. Lashley whipped Test into pod doors a couple of times. Test got the chair, took too long and Lashley nailed a boot to the face. Lashley with a snap suplex. The crowd isn’t reacting to much. Lashley nailed Test with a crowbar shot to the ribs. Lashley hit a Spear on Test to eliminate him.
Test eliminated by Bobby Lashley
Lashley had about a minute to wait until Big Show entered. Heyman gave Show a pep talk.
The final entrant at #6 is ECW Champion Big Show. Show looked really out of shape especially compared to now – he is in much better shape today. He had the barb wire baseball bat with him while Lashley had a steel chair. Show attacked with the bat, but Lashley blocked it with the chair. Lashley was able to avoid an attack as he nailed Show in the ribs with the chair. Lashley sent Show’s head into the cage. The camera cut away from Show and that led to Show doing a blade job as he was busted open. Lashley whipped Show into the pod. Show tossed Lashley back into the ring with Heyman yelling “finish him off” at Show. Clothesline by Show. Lashley countered a Chokeslam into a DDT. Lashley went for a jumping attack, but Show caught him. Show wanted a powerslam, Lashley slipped out of it and Lashley hit a Spear. Lashley covered for the pinfall win at the 25-minute mark.
Big Show eliminated by Bobby Lashley
Winner and New ECW World Champion: Bobby Lashley
Analysis: ** It’s hard for an Elimination Chamber match to be bad, but that’s what this was. Yes, it got two stars out of five. The thing is, this is the Elimination Chamber and even a regular one of these matches should hit the three-star level. Aside from a few cool spots from RVD as well as the top rope elbow from Test, this was a below average match that was very disappointing. The booking was poor because they really could have used this as a springboard to make CM Punk into a bigger star. Instead, WWE favored Bobby Lashley, who had the physique they liked even though he was never able to get the crowd support that Punk or RVD received. As for Show, his WWE deal expired two months after this and he took a year off. The goal of the match was to put over Lashley as the face of WWE’s third brand while getting him ready to be a star on Raw or Smackdown, but it didn’t work because it was a poor match. You can’t springboard somebody into stardom if the match designed to put them over is a disaster.
THREE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– This match is famous because it was the main event of one of the worst PPVs in the history of WWE. I reviewed the whole December to Dismember PPV a couple of years ago and rated it 2 out of 10. This match was all about building up Bobby Lashley as the face of ECW, but the match was boring and not that exciting at all. I also don’t understand why they would hold this PPV in August, Georgia instead of the northeast USA where the ECW brand was more popular. Weird.
– A big story about the match behind the scenes was that ECW’s main booker Paul Heyman was overruled in his decision making by Vince McMahon. What Paul wanted would have been better for the show, but Vince makes the final call and what we saw was what Vince wanted. Here’s how Heyman explained it to The Sun in 2008, so I’ll just share that here as well.
“I thought the undercard was horrible. I thought that the design of the show itself made no sense. I just felt that the entire layout of the show, the entire complexion of the event was a downer. I also thought that we were doing Bobby Lashley no favours the way he was going to win the title. Lashley winning the title, especially if you eliminate Rob Van Dam and CM Punk early, would be leapfrogging over RVD and Punk. Van Dam was the sentimental favourite, Punk was the kid that all the crowd was getting behind and they wanted to see the upset. If you don’t appease the need for the audience to see that new hero gets crowned like Punk did the week before at Survivor Series when DX let him say ‘Are you ready?’ then the audience will feel ripped off. If you don’t put that spotlight on Van Dam, with whom the paying customers have just taken this long ride back into the title chase, then the paying customer will feel ripped off. My opinion was to start the chamber off with the Big Show saying: “I’m a seven foot tall, 500lb giant, I’m gonna mow through every one of you.” And the first to take him on would be Punk. Playing to the fact that UFC is so hot and in the public consciousness, Punk chokes out Big Show in the first round of the Elimination Chamber, four-and-a-half minutes in, and now the champion is out. You know for a fact, before any two contenders lock up, I’m getting a new champion at the end of this match. Then, the first guy to come out after Big Show v Punk, would be Van Dam. You let Van Dam and Punk fight it out, and then you start feeding in the heels. Vince hated this. He especially hated the fact that Big Show liked it.”
Big Show wanted to put Punk over, but Vince hated that Big Show wanted to do that. It’s so weird. The ECW brand existed for a couple of years after this, but this event really was the death of WWE’s version of ECW in a lot of ways.
– The crowd reaction for CM Punk’s elimination told the story. He was the guy people wanted to win. When Lashley won, it just didn’t lead to a big reaction, nor did it seem like a big deal. This is an example when you make the wrong decision and it ends up being very costly for everybody involved.
FACTS & OPINIONS
Wrestler that lasted the longest: Rob Van Dam at 14:15.
Most Eliminations: Bobby Lashley and Test with 2 each.
Best Performers (3): Bobby Lashley, Big Show, Rob Van Dam
Most Memorable Moment: The crowd booing when CM Punk was eliminated. That really stands out to me.
Match Rating: ** out of five.
Ranking The Elimination Chamber Matches
Here are my ratings for the Elimination Chamber matches from best to worst on the five star scale.
Survivor Series 2002 World Heavyweight Title won by Shawn Michaels – ****1/4
New Year’s Revolution 2005 World Heavyweight Title won by Triple H – ****
New Year’s Revolution 2006 WWE Championship won by John Cena – ***1/4
SummerSlam 2003 World Heavyweight Title won by Triple H – ***
December To Dismember 2006 ECW Championship won by Bobby Lashley – **
Next up: No Way Out 2008 featured two Elimination Chamber matches, so those will go up in the order that they took place.
Thanks for reading.