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Monthly Archives: June 2009

So apparently the 2009 Draft was not the only occasion where wrestlers were being swapped between brands willy-nilly.  Donald Trump decided to, as Mr. McMahon loves to say, “Shake things up a bit,” so before his tenure as Raw owner ended, he instituted a 15 person trade across all three brands.  At least, that’s how the storyline goes.  Now, 15 people have new homes, and I thought I might as well give you my take on what’s transpired.  Don’t be surprised if my sentiments echo that of Mike Siciliano, who wrote an article about this very topic that’s posted on Wrestleview.com, and he’s got some great insight into the picks.  I don’t necessarily agree with all of his opinions, but I do see where he’s coming from on a lot of his points.

Raw’s Acquisitions:

Gail Kim – I’d hoped she would have been moved back in the Draft, to have a feud with Melina.  Well, Kim’s on Raw now, but Melina’s on Smackdown, so we’re deprived of what could have been one of the greatest feuds between women of all time.  I’d suppose that Raw has more competent competition for Gail, so she’ll have more opportunities to be on TV, instead of just being buried on Smackdown.  She’s got tons of talent, and should have some great matches with the likes of Beth Phoenix and Mickie James, who I pray wins the Diva’s Title off Maryse come Night of Champions.

Alicia Fox – so Michelle McCool wins the Women’s Title at The Bash, and suddenly her accomplice is moved to Raw?  If anything, why not back to ECW where she could rekindle her role as a manager/valet for DJ Gabriel, who in all likelihood will be gone from the company soon, which is a shame since I saw some major upside in Gabriel.  Fox will likely be the new Jillian Hall.  Not to say she’s going to be a bad singer.  I mean she’ll likely be the new female jobber on Raw.  Which is too bad.  You hate to see that to people who just recently entered the ring as competitors.

Jack Swagger – He should have been traded back to FCW.  This guy is nowhere near ready for the big show, let alone television at all.  He’s yet to show me any promise of being a good in-ring competitor, and the lisp is going to destroy any credibility he has on the mic.  Unless he really gets his act together soon and starts improving in the ring, I’d expect him to turn into a Matt Hardy-like “jobber to the stars.”  You remember back when Matt Hardy was the “jobber to the stars” back in 2006, right?  I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see Swagger fill this role, albeit badly at best.  He needs to learn to stop engaging in what I like to call “Swagger Tactics,” where he (as the heel) doesn’t allow the face any glimmers of hope until his alloted time is up.  The great heels allow very small windows of opportunity to the faces several times in a match, in order to get the crowd hot and, if done very well, desperate for the face to finally build some momentum and make that last ditch effort.  Swagger never allows any tension to build, so whenever the face does start coming back, it’s just an awkward transition where he just seemingly stops being an unstoppable force.  Someone really needs to tell him that if he hopes to make it any higher in this business.

Evan Bourne – Color me surprised when I heard his music as Randy Orton’s first opponent on Raw.  I was hoping he’d get more accomplished in ECW before being moved, but let’s hope his meteoric rise to the top continues.  His match with Orton was strange, but also entertaining, as, to my recollection, Orton has never really faced a great high-flyer like Bourne.  They just look so out-of-place together, but it worked, because Bourne is a stellar worker and a great talent who, if he plays his cards right, could end up being the next Rey Mysterio or even the next Jeff Hardy.  He needs some mic time so we can make sure he can put two sentences together, and once he shows us he can, we’ve got a main eventer in the making.

Mark Henry – ECW got trashed in this trade, huh?  Three of the five upper mid-carders/main eventers get moved to Raw.  And the way Henry acted on Raw, it seems as though they’re going to push him as a babyface for the first time in seemingly forever.  Which should prove to be interesting how they try to make him look like a face when facing opponents who are 150 pounds lighter than he.  It’s been done with Khali and Big Show, and it never looks convincing.  Will it be the same with Henry?  Who knows?

Smackdown Acquisitions:

Matt Hardy – I suppose his failure of a heel turn is over.  And if it isn’t, why is he back on Smackdown?  If Jeff is still staying with WWE, what are they going to do?  Rehash their silly feud from earlier in the year, or turn Matt face again and have an awesome feud between the Hardys and the new Unified Tag Team champs, Edge and Jericho?  So many questions, and no answers to speak of.  I guess we’ll have to wait until Friday night to find out what Creative is planning to do with Matt.

Finlay – Yet another upper card talent gone from ECW.  Talk about getting stripped of its talent…at least Finlay’ll get more exposure on Smackdown, and if he turns full heel, he can have a wicked awesome feud with Rey Mysterio over the IC Title.  Unless Matt Hardy beats him to the punch.  I would have expected Finlay to have an ECW Title reign, even if it was only for a couple of months.  His career’s got to be winding down, and it’s only natural to give a guy who’s been so dedicated to the company these past few years one run of glory before he retires.  Will he win a World Championship?  Doubtful, but it’d be great to see the Irishman hold gold at least one more time before he hangs it up for good.

The Hart Dynasty – If The Hardy’s don’t unite for the 43rd time, expect these three to win gold soon.  Smith and Kidd will be tag champs before the end of the year, and you can bet Natalya will win gold soon to make up for the huge flub Creative made when they didn’t make her the first Diva’s Champion.  There is almost limitless potential for these three, and if their cards are played correctly, they could be just as good, if not better, than the Hart Foundation.  With Kidd as the leader, Smith as the enforcer, and Natalya as the schemer, you’ve got one hell of a stable.  If Smith and Kidd get to take on Edge and Jericho, expect a barn-burner.  I look forward to that.  Or, hell, I’d absolutely love to see Smith and Kidd face the Hardys for the tag straps.  I’m looking forward to seeing what these three will get in the near future.

ECW Acquisitions:

Goldust – Looking back at my column about the 2009 Draft, I noted that I thought Goldust would move to Smackdown.  Well, he did move, but it was to ECW.  How will he fare there?  ECW was decimated by this trade, and is in desperate need of heels, so perhaps it’s time for Mr. Dustin Runnels to turn once again.  He isn’t Hornswoggle’s protector anymore (in fact, nobody is), so he’s free to be as bad as he wants to be.  I would not be surprised to see all three male ECW acquisitions become ECW Champion one day.

William Regal – I actually called this pick back in my 2009 Draft column.  I figured he’d move in the Supplemental Draft.  Well, my dreams have come true, albeit a few months late.  Regal is the perfect guy to tear ECW apart and make it his bitch.  I haven’t seen Regal wrestle more than five minutes for what feels like years.  I think if anyone in the company deserves a world title reign, it’s Regal.  Regal and Kane.  Talk about paying your dues.  I was hoping to maybe see Regal or Finlay become the mentor to the Hart Dynasty, like Flair was for Evolution.  But it looks like that won’t happen.  Still, I’d expect Regal to immediately become a contender for the ECW Championship, and he and Dreamer can have an all-out bowling-shoe-ugly brawl.  And it will be awesome.

Shelton Benjamin – Well, his decline continues.  And I’d bet that Charlie Haas’ days are numbered as well.  It’s kind of sad to see a career run its course so quickly.  Benjamin’s been in the business for what, six, seven years?  Is he already on his way out?  He never really did become as great as his potential showed.  His best feud was with Rob Van Dam back in 2006, to my knowledge, and he’s been on a slow burn to obscurity since.  I don’t know if there’s much left for Shelton to do, and unfortunately, if he doesn’t get the job done in ECW, he may be future endeavored sooner rather than later.

The Bella Twins – I think this is probably the shortest amount of time it’s taken anyone to be on all three brands.  They’ve only been on TV for about 10 months, and have run through Smackdown, Raw (for about two months), and now are on ECW.  I don’t know what this says about them, but there’s nothing for them to do in the land of Extreme.  Unless they start on-screen dating a tag team, I don’t expect them to have anything to do there at all.  Especially since ECW has no other women on the show.

Well, those’re my opinions, and I’m sticking to them.  At least until I’m proven wrong.  I hope that some of these people get their fair share, and I hope ECW doesn’t become the crap it was back in 2007.  Perhaps it’s time for a new crop of young guns to emerge on the scene, and space is merely being cleared for their entrances.  I guess we’ll have to watch to find out.

At least, I’ll write down what I can remember…the whole show just kind of became a blur.  And no, I wasn’t drunk.

I got to Arco around 3:20 PM.  There were already a good number of people milling around outside, buying crap and generally trying to not stand directly in the 300 degree heat.  I eventually headed over to one of the lines that was forming, maybe 15 minutes later.  For the next 25 minutes, I was extremely glad I’d brought a large water bottle with me, because it was fucking scorching hot out there.  When we finally did get inside, there was a nice rush of cool air.  I was determined not to buy the severely overpriced food, so I didn’t even get another bottle of water or anything.  I probably should have, because I think I’m dehydrated even now.

Anyway, when I finally got down to the floor to find my seat, I was directed to a different area than I was expecting to go to.  Instead of sitting right next to the entrance ramp, I was instead directed to the next area over.  Now, if you can picture in your mind for a moment the typical layout of a WWE event, I can tell you exactly where I was.  Imagine the entrance ramp is on the left-hand side of the floor plan.  I was in the section at the very bottom of the floor area.  The place was so stuffed with chairs that every time someone had to walk past me, I had to get out of my seat and walk out of the row just so they could walk past.  It was that cramped.  I sat next to an older guy who was a definite mark, but he was nice and funny, so I had a good time jawing with him about various things.

The dark match began at about 4:40, earlier than I’d expected.  R-Truth’s music came blaring over the speakers, and we all joined in chanting, “What’s up!” at our appointed time.  He faced Shelton Benjamin, who was (as expected) heavily booed.  Though there was the occasional fan yelling R-Truth sucks and Shelton’s the man.  The prototypical IWC fanboi.  R-Truth won in about three minutes with his crazy flying spinny elbow thing.  They should have been allowed about five more minutes, in order to make up for having started the show five minutes early.  There were some promotional videos for movies and video games, and Lilian sang the national anthem.  The guy I was sitting next to had a real crush on her, which I found a little funny.  But that’s just me.  I forgot to mention that before she sand the national anthem, she introduced the announce teams.  JR and Todd Grisham came out first, JR to a huge ovation and Grisham to a pretty heavy chorus of boos.  Then Josh Matthews and Matt Striker from ECW got a decent ovation.  Keep in mind that none of these guys came to our side of the ring.  Finally, Michael Cole waled out solo to a huge boo, and he was the only person I got any contact from, since I was sitting in the second row, I had to stretch my arm way out and he tapped the tips of my fingers.  I love that the IWC hates him.  I’m not sure why, though.  And finally, Jerry Lawler walked out to probably the biggest pop for the announcers.  He snubbed our side, as everyone else had.

The show started off with the usual huge pyrotechnics show, which is one of the events I did not enjoy whatsoever during the show.  That pyro is way too loud.  It’s about the only reason I was glad I was shifted from right next to the entrance ramp to the side.  But I don’t think 20 feet would have made it any louder, really.  Still, it was one of the main reasons that, if WWE came back to town, I probably wouldn’t attend.  That was just way too loud.  And one of the strange moments occurred here, because I’m used to hearing voices talking over the screaming crowd.  But it was just us the whole time.  No JR, no Striker, no anybody.  And Tony Chimel was standing in the ring, so we knew the ECW Championship Scramble match was first.  Actually, he informed us just before the show started that it would be the opener.  The rules had changed so that new wrestlers would appear every three minutes instead of every five minutes, so as to shorten the match in order to get everything in under three hours.  So the match lasted 14 minutes instead of 20.  When all five guys were in the ring, it was utter chaos.  I hadn’t even realized Tommy Dreamer had scored the last pinfall with about a minute left.  I thought Swagger had won.  I know the details because I *ahem* acquired the PPV and watched that match last night.  I must admit, Swagger’s stupid move when he tried to toss Dreamer…somewhere…was a hilariously bad moment, and the crowd was merciless.  Now, I don’t know if it was just the people around me (I think it was, actually), but a lot of them sounded like IWC people, because a few of them were cheering Swagger, and one guy was viciously verbally attacking Dreamer for the entire match.  Not sure why he hated Dreamer so much.  Anyway, the match was chaotic as hell.  People were going nuts when Mark Henry started climbing the turnbuckles, hoping he’d do a triple backflip shooting star press off the top rope onto everyone, but Swagger, in typical Swagger fashion, ruined that for us too.  I noticed after waching the match again that the only man not to hold the ECW title at one point in the match was Christian.  I pray that he’s not being buried already.  Of course, by losing the ECW Title to Dreamer three weeks ago, he already seems to have begun his slide back into mid-card doom.  This was probably the weakest Scramble match on record, but Dreamer won, so it wasn’t all bad.  And since I’m also going to go ahead and cover my picks with this, I’m 1 for 1.

The second problem in going to a live event is that any backstage promos that take place are going to be difficult to understand, since they’re blasting the voices through the PA system.  So when someone, such as Theodore Long, says something that garners a pop, the next five or six seconds of dialogue are completely missed because the crowd is cheering.  So we don’t get the entire conversation.  And since this was a very backstage-heavy show, chronicling the difficulties Mr. Long is going through, I missed a lot of his conversations with Edge, Mr. McMahon, Jericho, and the Colons.  I’ll have to watch the show to find out what all was said.

From what I can remember, the Jericho/Mysterio match was probably the best match of the night overall.  When you’ve got two real veterans in a match who you know can work like crazy, you’re bound to get a great show out of them.  And these two didn’t disappoint.  I think this match had the two best spots of the night.  The first was Mysterio’s beautiful slingshot-split-legged moonsault onto Jericho, which was a treat to see since I don’t think there’s been one of those since Rob Van Dam was employed by WWE.  And the second was Mysterio getting caught with a Codebreaker after another slingshot into the ring.  The second spot was memorable for one very important reason: it’s the first time I can remember that anyone has managed to take an elevated Codebreaker perfectly.  Every time someone jumps off a turnbuckle or a ring rope, only to get hit with a Codebreaker, the timing is off, and either Jericho lands on the mat before his opponent has landed and has time to react to the move, or his opponent lands and starts to fall before Jericho has fully performed the move, and both men end up landing on the mat at the same time.  Mysterio took it perfectly, and I have to commend both of them for making the spot look perfect and look like Jericho was actually going to unmask Mysterio.  But WWE has to keep its large young fan base, so Mysterio had a great trick up his sleeve…or, in his case, his mask, and managed to pull off the victory.  I was expecting a DQ finish so Jericho could keep his title and Mysterio could keep his mask, but Mysterio won with a clean pinfall to become the Intercontinental Champion for the second time.  I’m taking this as a winning pick, since I did say Mysterio would win.  So I’m 2 for 2 so far.

We got a pretty long break with no in-ring action after this, as (according to the Wrestleview website, which was kind enough to link to this little blog when I sent in my live report giving them the dark match result) there was a video for Summerslam, highlights from the commercial-free Raw, a quick video of HHH getting his leg taped up, a promo between Jericho and Teddy Long, and a video package about Dolph Ziggler.  One other strange thing I’d like to mention is that, during the video packages, the announcer voices sounded strangely higher than they actually are.  Maybe two or three semi-tones higher.  I don’t know if they were playing back something recorded on a different tape or what, but it was strange to say the lease.  Especially to hear Todd Grisham sounding like a prepubescent boy.

The Ziggler/Khali match was what it was.  The one thing that really stuck out for me was the entirely unexpected return of Kane.  I went nuts.  That is, I went nuts after the pyro went off and I could feel the heat from…I’d like to say maybe 60 feet away.  It was absurdly loud, and really hot as well.  But I cheered like crazy to see Kane back after being off TV for weeks.  I suppose that means he’s going into a program with Khali.  And Ziggler snuck in after the Kane attack to pick up the victory.  I don’t think anyone saw this coming, but I’ll take my lumps and accept defeat with the pick for this match.  2 for 3.  I keep saying it, but it’s true: there are good things in store for Nick Nemeth, alias Dolph Ziggler.  They even stuck the word “perfection” into his new theme song.  If that isn’t even more of an homage to Mr. Perfect, I don’t know what is.

I will not, however, take a loss for the tag team title match.  There was no way to predict that Edge and Jericho would be inserted into the match.  And once they were, it was beyond obvious that they were going to win.  I was hoping for the Hart Dynasty to be added, but I was happy to see Edge.  He had siad earlier that this was the first PPV in a long time that he wasn’t a part of, and I’m glad Teddy Long obliged and put him in.  The match was kinda blah, mostly Legacy dominating Primo.  One guy was screaming at Primo, telling him to (and I quote) “Go back to Mexicoooooooo!”  I suppose someone corrected him, because after about a half dozen times of yelling this, he then yelled, “Or Puerto Ricoooooooo!”  There were a couple of funny chants going on during the match.  One for “We want Christian!” and an “Edge and Christian” one as well.  I’m sure that got onto the broadcast, because it seemed to echo throughout the arena.  Long story short, Edge speared Carlito and Team Ego became the new Unified Tag Team Champions.  Funny how a month or so ago they were put into a tag team together and nearly tore each other apart, and now they’re the best of friends.  I guess it’s because they’re tag champs now.

By the way, I’ll be posting pictures of the show soon, once I sort through them all.  I took a ton of pictures, and unfortunately, probably 90-95% of them are unusable, thanks to a lot of blur happening.  I’ll post the good ones after I finish writing this, maybe tomorrow.  I’m only writing this now because I remembered I got a couple of good shots of Edge and Jericho holding up the tag titles.

There was a backstage promo with Legacy, and a lot of people around me were thinking this was Dibiase’s face turn because he walked away from Orton.  And he’d turn face to promote his movie.

The Women’s Championship match was pretty decent.  Not surprising considering you’ve got the two best divas on Smackdown gunning for the title (coincidentally, I watched part of ROH’s Seventh Year Anniversary Show, and watched a great match between Brent Albright and Claudio Castagnoli (a few of you may remember Albright back when he went under the name Gunner Scott in WWE for about a month)).  Anyway, we had the fairly typical womens’ fare, and the seemingly typical “Melina gets tied up in knots” submission move, which I tried to take multiple pictures of.  I was, however, fairly disappointed that McCool walked away with the championship.  As far as women deserving the honor of “First woman to win both the Women’s Championship and the Diva’s Championship,” Michelle McCool is not at the top of the list.  I’d say she’s…oh, about fifth or sixth.  The honor should probably have gone to Mickie James, who I was also disappointed was nowhere to be seen.  And it’s another loss for me.  2 for 4 (2 for 5 if you’re counting the tag match, which EVERYONE was wrong in predicting).

The Punk/Hardy match was pretty darn good.  At least, until the seemingly huge botch near the end where the incompetent Scott Armstrong seemed to count to three after Hardy’s Swanton Bomb connected, and Hardy’s music started playing, but the ref was waving it off as a two count.  That got the biggest heat of the night, for sure.  People were desperate for Hardy to win the match.  The crowd around me was very mixed.  A lot of Hardy chants and a lot of Punk chants as well.  If Punk really does turn fully heel, he may be the next great heat magnet.  The end was a farce, as Armstrong, after being kicked in the back, waited several seconds before disqualifying Punk instead of automatically DQ’ing him.  He really is a terrible referee and needs to be fired.  The pop Hardy got for attacking Punk after tha match was absolutely huge.  Probably a tie for the biggest of the night.  The crowd was nearly deafening.  Will Hardy return, or is he actually taking time off?  I suppose we’ll have to wait until Friday to find out.

Oh, and 3 for 5 on picks.

I think the biggest disappointment of the night was the Cena/Miz match.  At that point, the show had been going for around 2 hours and 10 minutes, and they had to have enough time to cram in the Three Stages of Hell match and still stay under three hours total, so this match got the royal screwjob in terms of time.  And this had the best build of any match tonight.  The whole thing was squandered in a short, boring match with a predictable outcome.  Cena wins, makes Miz tap out, and stands tall the victor yet again.  I think if they didn’t have so many backstage promos, this could have been entertaining.  But it seems like they had to cut the match short because they were running over on time.  As for picks, 4 for 6.

Forgot to mention that Cena also got a tie for the biggest crowd reaction of the night, though there was a thicket of boos among the higher-pitched cheers.  And when he tossed his shirt out into the audience, I think someone might have gotten hurt trying to grab it, because I heard a few chairs crashing, and when I looked back, there was a guy laying on the floor.

The Three Srages of Hell match was, rather obviously, the last match of the night.  HHH finishes the three-way tie for biggest pop of the night with his entrance.  The first fall was the usual fare you get in a HHH/Orton singles match.  The finish, however, was not, as HHH smacked Orton with a chair.  The assault continued, and HHH gave Orton a pretty sick-looking Pedigree on the floor for the second fall.  We’ve had two falls in about five minutes.  Thank goodness the stretcher match lasted longer than those two matches combined.  There was a pretty awesome highlight when HHH got crotched on the security wall and fell into the crowd right in front of me, and if you watched the PPV, you can see me on screen for about five seconds.  If you’re wondering, I was the big fat hairy guy just standing there and watching.  The stretcher portion of the match was pretty entertaining, except for that a large portion of the fall was up on the entrance ramp, near the finish line.  There was a huge pop when HHH pulled out his sledgehammer he’d hidden up near the top of the ramp, but I didn’t realize it until he was beating Rhodes and Dibiase (who apparently had had a change of heart in an hour and a halfs’ time) with it.  A couple of minutes of scuffling around, and Orton winds up winning and retaining his title.  But HHH got the last laugh as he brained Orton with the sledgehammer afterward.  A crotch chop and that’s how the show ended.  5 for 7 in picks (5 for 8 if you’re a stickler).

After the show ended, Orton slowly got to his feet and held his title aloft for a couple of minutes while the announce teams got their things together and left.  JR came by our way and was shaking hands, but I guess my hand wasn’t stuck out far enough, because he snubbed me.  Not cool.  But the guy next to me got lucky because Lillian passed by our way and he asked her for a picture, and she obliged, which I thought was very classy of her to take just a few seconds to appease a single fan.  Once they were gone, the arena emptied except for those of us waiting around to take our chairs home.  Those of us who paid a hefty price to get these floor seats got to take our chairs with us.  But it took a very long time for the Arco staff to get set up, so we started just pulling our chairs apart and filing towards the guy who signed our tickets to show that we could take the chairs home.  Which, according to one Arco staff member, was not protocol.  But we all just ignored her and did it anyway.  It was about 8:30 by that time and we were getting impatient.  So here I sit, a day later, with a chair with a picture of Jeff Hardy on the seat, and a lighter wallet (and some sore legs from the constant standing up and sitting down I had to do thanks to some people in front of me deciding to stand for most of the show).

So how was the show?  Pretty good overall, though I think I was concentrating more on taking pictures than actually watching the matches.  If they came back to the city I live in, I probably wouldn’t go back.  The pyro was way too loud, the backstage promos were garbled and unhearable (it’s a word now), and the crowd was srange and fickle, at least where I was sitting.  Also, it was a big loss to not hear any commentating, espeically with a Smackdown-heavy show (including the dark match, there were five Smackdown matches, three Raw, and one ECW).  I missed JR’s commentary.  I think with the overload of a PPV, I’ll probably record Raw and watch it another day, because I can’t fathom watching any more wrestling for at least a day or two.

Thanks for reading this giant massive entry (especially any new readers from Wrestleview.com), and I’ll update again with some pictures, and then we’ll be back into the usual swing of things.

Well, this PPV has shaped up surprisingly nicely for two weeks of actual match creation.  I guess that three hour Raw and the commerical-free Raw gave extra time to create and promote more matches than two regular shows.  8 matches, 6 of them championship matches.  I almost don’t miss not getting Night of Champions.  So, let’s run down the card and churn out some picks for tomorrow.

No DQ, No Countout Match – Dolph Ziggler vs. The Great Khali

When I first heard about this match on Thursday, they just announced it as a regular match.  The No DQ/No Countout stipulation was, I guess, added shortly thereafter.  And that stipulation will save this match from being a total waste of time.  We all know Ziggler’s on the rise (somehow after being completely buried on Raw), and he loves using dirty tactics, so I’d expect him to attempt to use chairs, trash cans, and everything else hidden under the ring to get the big man off his feet.  I doubt Ziggler will be able to hit his finisher on Khali, seeing as how Khali is a bumbling train-wreck of a wrestler (no disrespect in case he sees me in the audience and tries to choke me to death).  I wish that they would have put another Edge/Morrison match on the card in place of this, but at least I’ll get to see the possible reincarnation of Mr. Perfect.  As far as the match goes, it’s going to be ugly as sin, and Ziggler’s going to literally throw everything at Khali, but Khali’s penchant for no-selling will give him the victory in the end, quite possibly on top of a trash can.

Winner: The Great Khali

John Cena vs. The Miz

I’ll admit, I wasn’t a fan of this feud when it first started brewing just after Backlash.  But Miz has shown that he’s a heat magnet, not a chick magnet, and he’s managed to create and keep this feud smoldering with his mouth alone.  Now we get to see if he has the skills to be a singles wrestler.  And he’s got the chance against the one guy who can pull a good match out of anyone.  Cena even pulled two decent matches out of Khali last year or possibly the year before…I forget how long ago these things happen.  Anyway, I can’t truly picture Miz winning unless Big Show decides to stick his nose where it doesn’t belong yet again and screw up the whole match.  But if he gets caught, it’s a DQ victory for Cena.  I’d expect Cena to beat down Miz pretty badly, and win by DQ somehow.

Winner: John Cena by DQ

Women’s Championship Match – Melina vs. Michelle McCool

Arguably the two most talented women on Smackdown are going to have one more go-around for the Women’s Title.  Melina took a really nasty shot to the face this past Friday on Smackdown, and she looked like she was crying real tears when McCool kicked her shortly into the match.  I hope she’s okay.  I’m expecting a pretty fast-paced match with a lot of neat moves and a couple of crazy contortions on the part of the current champ.  McCool keeps boasting that she’s going to be the first woman to ever hold both the Diva’s Title and the Women’s Title.  I don’t think that’s going to happen at The Bash.

Winner: Melina

Unified Tag Team Championship Match – Primo and Carlito vs. Legacy

I’m looking forward very much to seeing Primo live.  This kid is a house of fire and he’s supremely talented with limitless potential.  He’ll likely never get to hold a world title in WWE, but he probably will deserve one down the road.  As far as this match goes, the build has been okay, but Rhodes and Dibiase have done nothing original in terms of helping build the feud.  The just insult the Colons’ hair and proclaim themselves to be the handsomest guys in the locker room.  That was cute back in 1986, but not today.  At first, I thought this was a lock for Legacy to win, but with the way the HHH/Orton feud has been building, I’m not so sure.  Also with Dibiase in The Marine 2, which is being released sometime soon, I believe, usually WWE doesn’t like to promote heels in starring movie roles, so perhaps this is the beginning of the end for Legacy.  Which is a shame, because they had tons of potential to be a great stable.  Especially when they had Manu and Sim Snuka.  But they dropped those two and now it looks like they’re going to be eclipsed by another stable.  A stable that I’d bet is next in line for the Unified Tag Team Championships.  Bet on The Colons vs. The Hart Dynasty soon.

Winners: Primo and Carlito

Intercontinental Championship vs. Mask Match – Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio

I am continually amazed at how well Jericho can keep a feud going long after I would have expected it to end.  He’s relentless in his pursuit of the perfect wrestling show.  Which, somewhat ironically, is not the company he currently works for.  Anyway, this feud has been awesome, and you knew it was going to culminate in a title vs. mask match.  You also know that there is no way in hell that Mysterio is unmasking…again, anyway.  He’s way too over to have his gimmick taken away from him, and likely always will be way over with the fans.  I don’t know if the stipulation counts DQs or count-outs, but I’d expect one of those so Mysterio can keep his mask and Jericho can keep his title.  As far as who wins…it’s a toss-up.  I’ll just say, for the sheer and utter hell of it…

Winner: Rey Mysterio by DQ

ECW Championship Scramble Match – Tommy Dreamer vs. Christian vs. Finlay vs. Mark Henry vs. Jack Swagger

Swap Evan Bourne in for Mark Henry and you’ve got the sleeper match of the night.  Still, even with Henry in the match, this should be a great match.  Everyone in this match has a grudge against nearly everyone else.  Dreamer’s got grudges against Christian, Finlay, and Swagger, Christian’s got grudges with Dreamer, Finlay, and Swagger, Swagger’s got grudges with Dreamer and Christian, Finlay’s got grudges with everyone, and Henry’s just angry.  This should be exciting, fast-paced, and filled with tons of action, especially near the end.  I enjoyed the Scramble matches at Unforgiven last year, and this should be no exception.  As for the winner, I think the heart and soul of ECW needs to hold his title a little longer to solidify his legacy in the business.

Winner: Tommy Dreamer

World Heavyweight Championship Match – CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy

Punk’s going the slow burn route to Heelsville, which is fine.  It’ll set up a great feud with John Morrison down the line.  So you already know my pick.  But there are other factors contributing to this decision.  First, Punk needs a legitimate title reign to prove that he made the right choice in moving from ROH to WWE.  And SOMEBODY needs to hold on to a world title for more than six weeks.  We’ve yet to have one since the year began (save Jack Swagger’s embarassment of a title reign), and Punk should be the guy.  I’ve also read reports that Hardy wants to take time off after The Bash.  So unless WWE is going to lure him back with another title reign, I’d expect Punk to walk out of Sacramento still holding his title.

Winner: CM Punk

WWE Championship Three Stages of Hell Match – Randy Orton vs. HHH

I am so glad this isn’t a traditional one-fall match between these two, because they’ve shown in the past that their singles matches are, in a word, butt-fucking-ugly.  Yes, that’s one word.  With this added stipulation, it makes things far more interesting, and far, FAR more entertaining for us, the fans.  You know that WWE won’t deprive us of a stretcher match, so this match is going down to the last fall.  And, if the Colons retain their titles, I don’t see good things on the horizon for Randy Orton as WWE Champion.  Because he may very well not be.  Or the entire thing could be a huge swerve and HHH could join forces with Orton, laying down on the stretcher to allow Orton to win.  I just don’t know, really.  If that does happen, though, I’m taking credit for the idea.  This is actually a pretty tough match to call, so I’ll just…man, this is tough.  Too many possibilities.  Okay, I’ll just pick Orton to retain, but there’ll be some shady dealings involved in the match.  And let’s hope MVP gets his shot at the title sooner rather than later.

Winner: Randy Orton

Okay, there you go.  I’ll be at The Bash tomorrow.  If you order the show, you may see me.  I’ll be in the second row right next to the entrance ramp.  I’ll be the big fat sweaty guy with long hair and glasses.  I know that doesn’t narrow it down much, but I’ll probably be in the middle of a sea of kids, seeing as how most of the people around the entrance ramp are kids.  Lovely.  I’ll be back either late tomorrow or early Monday with a full recap of the events that transpire at The Bash, so until then, stay tuned.

Three more matches have been added to the card for The Bash since last I wrote here.  And one has been updated from mediocre to awesome.

Firstly, the HHH/Orton match will now be a Three Stages of Hell Match.  We haven’t seen this in years.  We’re getting a 2 out of 3 falls match where the first fall is a traditional match (boring), the second fall is a Falls Count Anywhere match (pretty cool) and the third fall will be a stretcher match (awesome).  These two had a surprisingly good Last Man Standing match tonight on Raw (or, for those of you reading now but havint seen the match yet, WILL have a good match tonight).  I realized that when these two lock up in a regular singles match, they stink up the joint, but when you put thim in a match with a stipulation, they can put on a pretty entertaining match.  Their Last Man Standing match last year, if Orton hadn’t broken his collarbone shortly into the match, would have been considered pretty entertaining.  And this should be a lot of fun as well.

Also announced last week is a Women’s Title match between Melina and Michelle McCool.  We all know these two can go at it, so this should hopefully be a fun Divas match.  I know I’ll be sounding like a chauvanist, but I’ll be looking forward very much to seeing Melina live and in person, and I’ll be getting a great close-up look at the greatest ring entrance ever.  I don’t, however, think that McCool deserves to be considered the first woman to ever win both women’s titles.  If anything, Melina or Mickie James should be the first to do so.  Still, it should be a nice match that I’m sure a lot of people will not be watching.  But I will.

There’s also going to be a Mask vs. Title match this Sunday.  Rey Mysterio is putting up his mask and his heritage against Chris Jericho’s IC Title.  This feud’s still got some legs, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this continued on into next month.  I look forward to seeing these two kick each other around.

And finally, tonight a match was announced between John Cena and The Miz.  We’re finally getting the match we’ve been waiting for for a while now.  We get to witness Cena beat the ever-loving shit out of Miz, which is worth something.

One notable name that’s been left off the card so far is Edge.  His match with John Morrison last week was an epic encounter, and I was really hoping that they’d stick these two together once again to appease the Smackdown fans.  I’d especially like it if they put this match on the Bash’s card.  But then there’d be eight matches and that might just be a little too much to squeeze into a traditional PPV timeslot of three hours.  I can still hope.  Mostly because I really would like to see both Edge and John Morrison live.  Also, I just realized that MVP’s been left off the card.  Three big names I was hoping to see are left off the card.  Yes, the rest of the card is pretty strong, but it would have made the event just that much better to see those three guys.  Hopefully there will be some action taken over the next four days and we’ll get to see at least one of them live.

So, as far as Raw tonight went, I have to say that it was pretty overwhelming to watch two solid hours of Raw with no commercials.  You could tell that they were inserting a lot of vignettes and lengthening promos in order to fill the time normally allotted to advertisements.  The opening Trump promo and subsequent Cena/Miz promo went 20 minutes.  There was a lot of stuff to absorb.  And then, just when things started to get interesting (Trump claiming every Raw will be commercial-free AND admission would be free AND a celebrity guest star every week instead of a GM), Vince McMahon struts down to the ring and “buys Raw back” for double what Trump “paid” for it.  So Raw won’t be commercial-free, admission-free, or have celebrity guests every week.  But we will get a GM eventually, and we got the Three Stages of Hell Match out of it.  So I’ll consider it a positive.  I wasn’t really looking forward to seeing Donald Trump anyway.  The man just turned 63, looks like he’s 75, and has the worst hairdo I’ve ever seen.  I’ve never found him entertaining in the least, so I’m glad the whole “owner of Raw” deal got killed tonight.  And maybe we’ll get to have the old Vince McMahon back, the evil dictator Vince McMahon we all have grown to hate over the years.  Raw (and the WWE) needs a major heat magnet now that Vickie Guerrero is gone, so who better to fill her shoes than the guy everyone has hated for 12 years?

I think I’m tapped out for the moment.  I’ll be back later in the week with picks for The Bash, and I’ll write up an (hopefully) extensive column about the goings-on at The Bash.  I’ll see you then.

I decided (at least this time) that I will, in fact, go to The Bash, if for no other reason than to spite WWE for putting together a PPV in two weeks.  I’m going to bo the hell out of the HHH/Orton match and try to start chants of “worst match ever.”  Because there’s no fucking way these two will ever have a good match.

So, with that said, let’s take a look at the card so far:

HHH vs. Randy Orton – WWE Championship Match – Donald Trump, the “new owner of Raw,” said that there was going to be a Last Man Standing match between these two next week on the “first-ever commercial-free episode of Raw.”  First of all: hasn’t Creative learned?  These two have no chemistry, and their last two matches absolutely bombed.  Crowds were actually BOOING these two at WM25.  When was the last time the main event of Wrestlemania was booed out of the building?  Probably never!  Because these two stink up the joint whenever they’re put into a match against each other.  If you surround them with four or eight more guys, then maybe we’ll have some fun, but one-on-one, these guys are as bad as any pairing I’ve ever seen.  If nothing else, why not give us fans in Sacramento the Last Man Standing match?  Then, at least we could watch these two garbage wrestle for 10 minutes before the REAL main event.

CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy – World Heavyweight Championship Match – This feud was botched from the moment Punk opened his mouth.  I was hoping he’d just turn heel and get the crowd furious at him for taking Smackdown’s main title away from the most popular superstar in the company simply because he’s a screw-up.  Yes, we’ve seen the angle before.  But with Punk as a straight-edge elitist douchenozzle heel, it would work wonders.  Punk’s worked this persona before in ROH (at least from what I’ve read), and it’s been one of the most effective tools in his arsenal.  But he took the pansy way out, saying simply, “I’m looking out for myself.”  Fuck that.  You took the title from Hardy because he’s a fuck-up and will never amount to anything because he’s abused drugs in the past and doesn’t deserve to be the champion of the people!  That’s what he should have said!  Keep in mind that this in no way reflects my own opinions of Hardy.  He was, and will always be, one of my all-time favorite WWE wrestlers.  He’s definitely in the top 5, all-time.  So this feud’s gotten off on the wrong foot.  And with rumors swirling about Hardy taking time off after The Bash, it all but guarantees Punk will win.  Unless they decide to give Hardy the belt for more than six weeks (or two minutes).  I’m still going to enjoy this match to hell and back, but I think Edge should have been involved anyway.

ECW Championship Scramble Match – Tommy Dreamer vs. Christian vs. Jack Swagger vs. Finlay vs. Mark Henry – I’m actually very happy about this match.  Well, most of it, anyway.  I loved the initial Scramble Match concept back at Unforgiven last year, though I thought that all five wrestlers should have started the match at the same time and gone for 20 minutes, not “two wrestlers start and another comes out every five minutes.”  That’s fucking lame.  However you look at it, this should be an awesome match.  Though I do have one question: why is Mark Henry in this match?  He’s done nothing to prove that he’s worthy of another ECW Title shot.  Every other man in this match has proven himself to be worthy of a title shot.  Even Swagger!  And you’ll never hear me say that again.  But Henry’s done nothing but squash Evan Bourne after Bourne won three straight weeks of matches.  Why isn’t he in the Scramble Match?  He’s much more deserving.

A word about Finlay.  When he smacked Christian upside the head this past Tuesday on ECW, I cheered my heart out.  Finlay, more than anyone else in the company save CM Punk, was in dire need of turning.  In this case, he desperately needed to turn heel.  And he sort of ended up doing so.  He bashed Christian’s head in, then later on smacked Dreamer around.  Then he hit Swagger, turning him into another lone-wolf tweener.  Bah.  I would have loved to see Finlay either team up with Swagger or maybe, just maybe, start leading the Hart Dynasty as their mentor.  Though they don’t really NEED a mentor, really.  I just hope that they give Finlay his old music back.  They MUST get rid of that ridiculous Hornswoggle music he’s had to walk out to the ring every night for months.  Hornswoggle’s gone and he’s got a new protector.  Time for Finlay to go medieval on someone.

Unified Tag Team Championship Match – The Colons vs. Legacy – Anyone who thinks the three members of Legacy aren’t walking out of The Bash as champions needs to have his or her head examined.  Orton’s guaranteed to win, since someone in the company needs to have a title reign last longer than six weeks.  I don’t believe it’s happened so far this year…except for Swagger’s disastrous ECW Title reign.  I’d rather just not think about that.  But no one has managed to hold on to either the WWE Championship or the World Heavyweight Championship for more than six weeks since the year began.  Well, I suppose there was HHH’s title reign until Backlash, but besides that, everything’s been in such a constant state of turmoil that it’s getting awfully difficult to watch WWE programming.  I saw that WWE is looking for more creative writers, and I’m thinking about tossing my name into the hat, just to see if a nobody can even get noticed by this conglomerate.  Anyway, back on topic, Rhodes and Dibiase have been decent over the past year or so.  But they’re not great.  Dibiase is a very old-school wrestler, and Rhodes never really does much of anything.  Primo and Carlito are fun as hell to watch on TV, so I’d imagine they’ll be fun to watch live.  But Legacy’s leaving The Bash as champions.

As far as the rest of the undecided card goes, I’d imagine there’ll be one more Jericho vs. Mysterio match, perhaps a US Title match between Kofi and…let’s say Matt Hardy, just for kicks, and there had better be at least one more match.  Probably a Women’s Title match.  I’d love to see Melina live, if only to see the greatest ring entrance in the history of wrestling.  I’d also hope they have Maria be the ref for the match as well.  Go ahead, call me a chauvanist.  At least I admit it.  If there are six matches on the card, they’d better be damned fucking good, because otherwise I’m not getting my money’s worth and I’ll have to use the chair I get to take home to bash some sense into the head of a Mr. Vincent Kennedy McMahon.  Here’s hoping the rest of the card shapes up quickly and is strongly booked for the 11 days they have left until the show.

I’m angry.  Yes, I know I come across as fairly uproarious during my normal writing here, but now I’m truly pissed.  Why, you ask?  Because WWE is fucking the fans in Sacramento out of a good show.  Oh, by the way, there may be some strong language, so to quote Team Four Star: “If you’re under the age of 18 and haven’t heard the word ‘fuck’ before…well, now you have.”  But back to the topic at hand.

Sacramento was announced months ago as the city where Night of Champions would be taking place, during a house show I wish I had attended.  I found out on, I believe, a Tuesday.  Tickets would go on sale that Friday, but according to Ticketmaster, there would be a special pre-order period on Thursday morning for those who signed up to receive the Ticketmaster newsletter.  I couldn’t pass up the chance to see  nine championship matches (oh, right, this was before the tag team titles were unified, just to give you an indication as to how far in the past this was), so I signed up, got an email with the special pre-order code, and was up early Thursday morning to make sure I would be able to order as soon as tickets went on sale.  I did, indeed, do so, and somehow managed to score a ticket in the second row of one of the sections directly surrounding the entrance ramp.  Now, if you don’t think that’s a good god damned seat, you’re out of your fucking mind.  I paid good money for it too.  Money I should have spent on utilities and food.  But I paid for it anyway, and a couple of weeks later, my ticket arrived in the mail.  I was beyond ecstatic.

Now, flash forward a month or two.  Wrestlemania 25 has come and gone, and there is one less title that’s to be defended at Night of Champions.  No problem, I think.  That’s still eight quality matches I’ll more than likely get.  Plus I get to thake my chair home.  Then, WWE announces that they’re switching two PPVs.  I find out that, of all the shows they could be switching around, they switch Night of Champions for The Great American Bash.  I almost just went on eBay and sold my ticket then and there.  I no longer wanted to go, because I wasn’t going to get eight championship matches.  But as the next few days passed, I thought about it more and more, and realized that getting to be a part of a PPV event was worth going to a show I wasn’t supposed to go to originally.  So I chose to keep my ticket and decided I’d go anyway.

Then, the pile of PPVs comes rolling in.  We get Backlash, Judgment Day, and Extreme Rules within six weeks of each other.  If you include WM25, that’s four PPVs in two months.  And none of them were all-around great shows.  Plus, Judgment Day was just a set-up show for Extreme Rules, which was overall fairly disappointing.  Sure, Tommy Dreamer finally won the ECW Title, and we had one hell of a ladder match, but as a whole, it was a disappointment.

And now we get to today, wherein I finish watching Smackdown from last night and realize how truly fucked The Bash (WWE dropped Great American because, I guess, they don’t want to associate themselves with WCW anymore…but if that’s the case, why keep the World Heavyweight Championship design exactly the same as it was back in the day?) and the people of Sacramento are.  Not only is the show getting less than two weeks of build thanks to the horribly timed “Three-for-all” three hour Raw scheduled for this Monday, but there is a free concert being promoted for before the show.  Adelitas Way (the band behind the theme song of WWE Superstars) and Rev Theory (the band behind Randy Orton’s theme song) are scheduled to perform at about 2 PM, nearly three hours before the actual show is supposed to start.  And I have one question for WWE: why are you fucking us over on so many levels?  You have three perfectly good title matches, so why waste them on a show not even two weeks before a major PPV event?  I would honestly pay to go to the show if the three world title matches were the three matches that are going to be on Raw.  As it stands, every match on the card for The Bash is going to be rushed to the point of pointlessness, and we (the fans) aren’t going to have a drop of emotional investment in any of the matches that will take place.  Sure, Raw might see a slightly higher rating thanks to having three championship matches, but The Bash will suffer.  It’s already agonizing watching what was going to be a dream show in the city I live turn into a farce, but watching WWE proudly fuck us in the ass while we watch (presumably with some sort of mirror or camcorder setup) is just a fucking nightmare.  Next thing you know we’re going to get matches like Dolph Ziggler vs. The Great Khali and Mike Knox vs. R-Truth, and Big Show vs. John Cena for the eleventy-billionth time.  And the almost too obvious kicker, yet another HHH vs. Orton tragedy waiting to happen.  I think I may just put my ticket up for sale anyway, because as it stands now, there’s no way in hell that The Bash is going to be a good PPV event.  No fucking way.

There was a PPV on, I believe, last year or the year before, that had two weeks of build.  And it turned out horribly.  So what makes Creative think that giving even worse treatment to a celebrated show like The Great American Bash is a good idea?  Huh?  I don’t even care if there’s a good chance I’ll be seen on TV.  I’ve been fucked before, but this time it really hurts.  If you want a ticket to The Bash in a little over two weeks, leave me a comment and maybe we can work something out.

I apologize for the lateness of my Extreme Rules results/analysis.  Real life got in the way.  Good real life, though, so it was worth waiting a day to write.

I’ll start with Extreme Rules, and then talk a bit about Raw and ECW since I essentially watched all three today.

United States Championship Fatal Four Way Match – Kofi Kingston (c) retains the title over MVP, William Regal, and Matt Hardy

This was absolutely necessary.  Kofi needs to establish himself as a strong champion, and defeating three other guys was a great way to start off his reign as the US Champ.  The match itself was actually not all that great.  Overall, it felt rushed, and because of that, there were many sloppy-looking moves.  Actually, I vaguely remember most of those mistakes coming from MVP.  It sort of made me start to doubt his chances at being a world champion.  Of course, when you’ve got four guys trying to get all their key moves into a 6 1/2 minute match (yes, I timed every match), then you’re bound to have some mistakes.  Not a great start to a PPV that looked awesome on paper.  But awesome on paper doesn’t always translate to awesome in real life.

Intercontinental Championship No Holds Barred Match – Chris Jericho wins the title from Rey Mysterio

Definitely one of the better matches on the card, and there’s no reason to expect anything less from these two.  A great back-and-forth match with lots of teasing and great psychology.  At around 13 minutes, this was the third-longest match on the card, and the length of the match gave both of these guys ample time to work to their heart’s content.  The finish was a touch weird, but Jericho did exactly what he said he was going to do, and unmasking Rey caused Rey to not kick out, so he the two most important items of his career within five seconds of each other.  Whether this translates to a mask vs. title match is anyone’s guess now.  I was initially expecting Jericho to win but to fail in getting Mysterio’s mask, so there’s nothing left for these two to do.  Who’s going to step up to the plate to face Jericho?  By the look of things, I’m guessing John Morrison.

And if anyone’s curious, I’m 2 for 2 in picks.  But this is where things start to go sour for my picks.

Samoan Strap Match – CM Punk defeats Umaga

I was not expecting this.  Probably nobody was.  Though now, after heading over to Wrestleview.com and getting caught up on all the events of the past three days (I don’t check the site until after I finish watching a PPV so as to not ruin the outcomes of any of the matches), I just found out that WWE released Umaga.  Lovely.  Or, as another story states, he quit the company.  Great.  One of the guys I was hoping to see at The Bash is gone from the company with no explanation.  I wonder what he’s going to do with all the tattoos of himself.  That shit is expensive to remove.  Unless he just wants to look like a psycho for the rest of his life.  Anyway, as far as the match itself is concerned, it was decent enough, but I seriously was not expecting Punk to win.  Of course, with the news of Umaga leaving, it makes all the sense in the world, as well as what happened later on in the evening.  9 minutes, by the way, and I’m 2 for 3 in picks.

ECW Championship Triple Threat Hardcore Match – Tommy Dreamer wins the title over Christian and Jack Swagger

This was, by far, the most emotionally charged and emotionally fulfilling match of the night.  Throughout the match, I was wondering who would finally get that final pinfall.  Each performer had a good reason to win the match, but the most important guy won out in the end.  A very satisfactory 9 1/2 minute match with a great reaction from Dreamer as he held the title aloft in the thick of the crowd.  It was great to see him win the ECW Title and not lose it the same night.  Oh, and it was also wholly satisfying to watch Swagger get the ever-loving crap beat out of him with trash can lids, a singapore cane, and a crutch at the end.

Miss Wrestlemania Hog Pen match – Santina Marella wins the title from Vickie Guerrero

This marks the third straight match I picked incorrectly.  The only good part about this was seeing Vickie get a face full of slop.  And watching Chavo get a bucket dumped on his head followed by Santina punching the bucket and crying out in pain was worth a chuckle, but otherwise I was entirely uninterested in this.  We got 2 1/2 minutes of rolling around in slop and Chavo almost falling on top of a couple of actual live pigs.  I’m betting WWE’s getting a nasty letter from PETA about the treatment of the pigs during their match.  PETA can go suck a donkey’s balls for all I care, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they stuck their noses in the slop of this match.

WWE Championship Steel Cage Match – Batista wins the title from Randy Orton

Upon the conclusion of this match, all I wondered was why was this match only 7 minutes long?  Then I find out just now that Batista apparently suffered a torn biceps…I’m guessing just shortly before the PPV match with Orton.  I have no idea how or when he did, but apparently he did, so that’s why they kept it so short.  It’s a little mind-boggling why they put the title on him for not even a day, then turn around and vacate the title so a winner can be determined next week on Raw.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  The match was okay.  About as decent of a 7 minute cage match as you can do.  Lots of Orton scurrying around trying to escape the cage, a few Batista power moves, and a Batista Bomb and that’s all.  That makes four straight matches I’ve picked incorrectly.

Submission Match – John Cena defeats The Big Show

My streak was snapped at four.  This match was slower than a snail drinking molasses, and about as interesting.  I found myself having to shake myself awake several times during this 19 minute snooze-fest of a match.  Big Show should just change his name to Big Slow because he moves around like a…something very slow.  Cena did his best to keep things entertaining, but it was mostly a failure.  I did, however, love two things about this match.  First (and this actually applies to all Cena matches), I love the way Cena takes bumps when he’s in the air.  For example, on Sunday, he tried a flying shoulder tackle on Show only to crash into Show and fall to the mat, as well as a Cena bulldog attempt where Show shoved him off.  Cena just has a great yell and he kind of flails when he’s airborne, and it’s hilarious and I love that.  And second (spedific to this match), I LOVED the finish.  Cena was ingenious in trapping Show’s leg in between the ropes and locking in a Crippler Crossface.  I was actually cheering as he started applying this combination hold, and I let out another cheer when Show tapped.  It was a glorious moment.  Big props to Cena for doing everything he could to make this match fun.  And for picks, I’m 3 for 7.

World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match – Jeff Hardy wins the title from Edge

Bar none, match of the night.  20 minutes of daredevil stunts and raw emotion.  Plus, the two spots of the night occurred in this match.  The spot of the night, no questions asked, was Hardy and Edge falling off a 12 foot tall ladder that was on the floor onto another ladder propped between the ring and the security wall.  Hardy took an especially nasty fall, with it looking like he overshot the second ladder and had his ankles get a little caught in the rungs of the ladder and get twisted around as he fell to the floor.  The second great and disturbing spot was Hardy executing his facebuster suplex on Edge onto an upside-down open ladder, and Edge landing on the ladder supports.  That was sick and twisted and I could feel Edge’s pain.  But the best part of the match was the finish.  Edge pulled in between two rungs of a 10 foot ladder up to his chest, facing up, watching Jeff Hardy take the title away.  It was a supremely beautiful moment.  Then the unexpected:

CM Punk cashes in Money in the Bank and defeats Jeff Hardy to become the NEW World Heavyweight Champion

As I heard the music, I was cheering, “They’re finally turning Punk heel!”  I’ve been hoping for that for months.  He’s much more limited as a face, as are most everyone.  But I’ve heard about Punk’s exploits in ROH as a major heel, and this can only end up good for him.  Plus, I remember someone on Wrestleview mention that a Punk/Hardy program would be perfect, with Punk being the elitiest straight-edge wrestler condemning Hardy’s past and Hardy being the noble imperfect warrior who wants redemption.  Although with reports of Hardy likely taking time off, this may not last long.  Still, it’s a storyline that writes itself.

Now, on to Raw.  Batista gets the royal beatdown to start the show, in order to get him off TV for a while so he can get his torn biceps fixed.  I saw a comment saying that Batista should face Mr. Kennedy in a best of seven match for the title of “Mr. Injury.”  I love the idea, but I don’t think they’d be able to make it seven matches without someone getting injured.  Anyway, the beatdown was convincing and not too overly drawn out like so many WWE beatdowns these days.

And for all the time guys like Orton hog the stage, you’ve got six men who get all of three minutes of air time.  This includes three extremely talents men who will never get anywhere in WWE simply because they’re smaller (in relative WWE terms) guys.  Chavo, Brian Kendrick, and Jamie Noble lose to the horrific joke team of Goldust, Festus, and Santino.  I just don’t get it anymore.

The biggest announcement of the evening came shortly thereafter, when Vickie Guerrero said that she was resigning as GM of Raw, to quite possibly the biggest pop in years.  Then Edge came to the ring and announced that because she was no longer in a position of power, he was divorcing her, and finally admitting that he only became involved with her because it would guarantee him plenty of championship opportunities.  Edge got to be a face for one night.  Good for him.  The segment was actually pretty well-done, leaving Vickie screaming in the middle of the ring, with nothing to her name.  In reality, she gave her notice to the company and is leaving to spend more time with her family, which is the right decision.  Though I don’t think WWE will ever find another heat magnet quite like her.  Now Edge can move on on Smackdown and we have an opening for the Raw GM.  I wonder who’ll take over…

Oh, yeah, and Triple H returned.  Whee.  Less TV time for everyone else!

ECW was pretty entertaining.  Dreamer looked happy as hell with the title over his shoulder, and the opening segment was well-done, though I do not believe at all that a powerbomb through a table would take Tommy Dreamer out of any match, ever.  And Tiffany declares afterward that the ONLY choice is to put Swagger in the main event as Christian’s tag partner?  What about, oh, I don’t know, ANYONE ELSE?  Well…looking at the paltry ECW roster, the only other wrestler who’d fit with Christian is Finlay, and who knows where he is.  Probably had to tape a match for Superstars or something.  Actually, Christian’s only other choices were DJ Gabriel (whom we haven’t seen in months), Ezekiel Jackson (whom we also haven’t seen in months), Paul Burchill, and Zack Ryder.  Great choices.  Yeesh…

The Evan Bourne/Tony Atlas match was about as good as you would expect for a Hall-of-Famer facing off against a ridiculously quick face.  It was decent, but Bourne had to tone down the offense in order to make sure Atlas could keep up.  The Kozlov handicap match was what it was, except for the very odd giant smile plastered across Kozlov’s face.  I thought I heard some cheers, too.  Are they trying to turn him face?  Because no one would actually cheer for him after the destruction he caused on Smackdown for a year.  I found it very strange.

The main event was great.  Tyson Kidd and David Hart Smith are improving every week and looking more like champions in the making.  Smith will probably be a champion first, but Kidd is the more deserving athlete.  Tyson has all the tools to be a great champion.  If only he didn’t screech so much during his matches…anyway, Christian made the Hart Dynasty look like a million bucks, and Swagger was a jackass as usual, costing his team the match at the end and attacking Christian after the match ended, only to have Tommy Dreamer run (yes, run) down the ramp, cane in hand, and smack Swagger four or five times.

And next week there’s a three hour Raw with all three world championships being contested.  Cena, Show, Orton, and HHH will face off to determine the new WWE Champion, and Tommy Dreamer defends the ECW Title against Christian.  No word on the Smackdown side of things, but let’s presume it will involve CM Punk somehow, and I’m guessing Jeff Hardy and/or Edge.  I just have one teensy little thing to say about this:

WHY NOT WAIT TWO WEEKS?  You’re having a PPV event in less than three weeks, and you’re having ALL THREE TITLES up for grabs not two weeks from it?  Why not just have all of these matches at The Bash and not deprive the fans in Sacramento who are going to the show of three great matches?  HUH?  I swear, if we get another HHH/Orton match at The Bash, I’m just not going to go.  Why can’t we have Dreamer vs. Christian at The Bash, or a tournament over the next two weeks to determine the two participants for the WWE Title at The Bash?  Have an 8-man tournament, with Cena, Show, Orton, HHH, and four other guys.  Let’s say…MVP, Miz, Kendrick, and…Festus?  Just make it obvious who’s going to win.  Here, I’ll even do my bracket for fun.

First round (which takes place next week on Raw):

Cena vs. Miz, Cena wins

Show vs. Festus, Show wins

Orton vs. MVP, tossup who wins

HHH vs. Kendrick, HHH wins

Second round (the following week):

Cena vs. Show

Orton/MVP vs. HHH

Finals (at The Bash):

Winners of the semifinals

Doesn’t that seem a hell of a lot more logical?  I know that there isn’t a GM to make this decision, but it seems a lot more fair to the guys who are trying to get into the upper portion of the card.  I’m sick of the same four or five guys at the top all the time.  Inject some new talent at the top!  Put MVP up there, but turn him back into a heel.  He was so much more entertaining as a heel.  Let Miz actually DO something in the ring.  Give Kendrick an honest shot at something.  And…well, there are others, but they’ll never get a main event shot because of lame gimmicks or some other hindrance.

See how easy that is?  I should be the Raw GM.  Better yet, I should run the Creative team.  Then maybe we won’t get this ridiculosity that takes on the form of a plot.  And give the folks in Sacramento something to look forward to instead of just the same old shit.

I swear if the card sucks for The Bash, I’m not going.  I’ll get my money back for the ticket I purchased, come hell or high water.  Let’s hope that the card shapes up decently enough in the next couple of weeks.  Until then, keep reading, and I’ll keep writing.

These are going to be short and sweet, because I got five hours of sleep last night and I’m fucking tired.

“Miss Wrestlemania” Hog Pen Match – Vickie Guerrero (c) vs. Santina Marella

I hope that this is the end of the Santina character.  Santino needs to move past this atrocity and go back to being funny and entertaining as a comedy wrestler, not a joke.  Yes, there’s a difference.  I’d expect plenty of interference by Chavo, and Vickie Guerrero will retain her pointless title.

Samoan Strap Match – CM Punk vs. Umaga

I see that WWE is trying to forget that Umaga ever spoke English, since in their video on Smackdown this past Friday, there were no shots of him speaking, only of him tying Punk upside down in the tree of woe and beating him senseless.  With Punk winning their match on Friday, it’s almost guaranteed for Umaga to win.  Besides, he needs the win more than Punk in order to solidify himself as a contender.  I expected their last match to go three minutes and it went 15, so I’m hoping for a brutal match, with the strap being used quite often.

US Championship Fatal Four Way Match – Kofi Kingston (c) vs. MVP vs. William Regal vs. Matt Hardy

This is a very important match for Kofi.  If he can take out his three main challengers, he’ll solidify himself as a legitimate midcard star.  Which is a hell of a lot better than I can say for a lot of other guys working for Vince these days.  Kofi needs to win, because otherwise his match with MVP on Monday night was pointless.  If Regal or Hardy is going to win today, why not have them win the qualifying match two weeks ago on Raw and then beat MVP this past week?  It just wouldn’t make sense.  And MVP doesn’t need to win the title back, because he’s moving on up into the main event.  Kofi Kingston is my pick to win, so he can show that his Intercontinental title run wasn’t a fluke.

Intercontinental Championship No Holds Barred Match – Rey Mysterio (c) vs. Chris Jericho

This should be a barn-burner of a match.  I was thinking about the term “No Holds Barred,” and it made me wonder why that translates to “Hardcore Rules.”  It doesn’t necessarily condone the use of weapons or illegal strikes.  It just allows illegal holds (like choke holds) to be used.  But I’m sure WWE won’t ever bother to make that distinction, because it probably thinks its fans don’t know what a hold is these days.  And they’re probably a little bit right.  But enough of my rambling.  Both of these guys have a legitimate chance to win/retain the IC Title.  If Rey retains, he’ll show that he is here to stay as the top of the Smackdown midcard, and if Jericho wins, then everything he’s been saying these past few weeks was right.  Whether he gets Mysterio’s mask is another thing entirely.  I don’t think that WWE will ever unmask Mysterio, especially with as much time as he’s got left on his contract.  This is actually kind of tough to call, so I’ll just pick Chris Jericho to start his ninth run as Intercontinental Champion.  Though I don’t really like the pick.  But that’s good, because Creative has somehow made it difficult to pick who I think is going to win.  That’s a sign of a good build for a match.

Submission Match – John Cena vs. The Big Show

On paper, this sounds like a great match.  We saw how Cena couldn’t lock in the STFU at Judgment Day, so how is he going to make the giant submit?  Well, all he has to do is knock Show out with a few dozen chair shots and then slap on the STFU.  Or use something different.  I cannot honestly see Big Show winning this match.  He’s stuck in creative limbo, and probably will be until he retires again.  I’m not expecting much out of this match save a win for John Cena.

ECW Championship Triple Threat Hardcore Rules Match – Christian (c) vs. Tommy Dreamer vs. Jack Swagger

This is the best built match on the card.  Each man has an honest and legitimate chance to win the title.  Christian has lookes strong, especially in his hard-fought victory over Tyson Kidd this past Tuesday.  Dreamer is the sentimental favorite, as if he doesn’t win, he’s retiring from in-ring competition, and Swagger…as much as I hate to admit, may very well have a chance to win, simply because I wouldn’t put it past WWE Creative to have Swagger pin Dreamer and coast on the notoriety that he made Dreamer retire for a while.  I hope that doesn’t happen.  It’s logical and it’s exactly the type of thing that the WWE would do.  I’m going with my heart over my brain on this one and I’ll say Tommy Dreamer somehow pulls off the win and pins Swagger to win his final ECW Championship.  Lord knows the man deserves it more than just about everybody employed by WWE these days.

World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match – Edge (c) vs. Jeff Hardy

I’ll call this to be match of the night right now.  Edge and Jeff have incredible chemistry, and have worked with each other on and off for over 10 years now.  If this is going to be the blowoff to their decade plus long feud, I’d expect one hell of a match.  And ladders are the perfect environment to do it.  I was hoping for a TLC match, if only to “officially” bring tables and chairs into the match.  There will likely be both anyway.  As far as the pick goes, it’s tough to decide.  Jeff Hardy’s definitely the sentimental favorite, but Edge has yet to deliver a truly solid World Title run so far this year.  As much as I want to see Hardy win and realize his dream for the second time, I just don’t think that this is his time.  There are new faces coming up quickly, and they deserve their shots as well.  And there isn’t a better heel to take your shots against than Edge, so I’m picking him to win.  Expect a lot of sick spots and awesome moves from atop very tall ladders.  I may evey squee a few times during this match.

WWE Championship Steel Cage Match – Randy Orton (c) vs. Batista

This is one of those odd cases where the build is strong and done very well, especially with Flair and the rest of Legacy getting involved.  But unlike the ECW Title match or the IC match or even the WHC match, this one seems much more predictable than the others.  Batista just isn’t world champ material any more.  Orton may not be the face of the future, but he’s the best Raw has right now.  At least until MVP comes out of nowhere and takes the WWE title away.  I’d expect this to be a pretty great match as well, including some interference from Flair, Legacy, or both, and maybe even the return of HHH.  Let’s hope he puts his return off until after The Bash, so we won’t get any possibility of another HHH/Orton match for a while.  Unless HHH comes back as a heel.  That might be interesting.  He’s been a face for nigh on three years now.  Perhaps it’s time for a change.  However it goes down, Randy Orton is going to retain his WWE Championship and stay the champ for at least the next three weeks.

On a side note, and something I find just a touch coincidental, I was visiting Wrestleview.com to get the card for Extreme Rules, and I saw the headline “Serious Injury at June 6 CZW event.”  Now, I’m not a big fan of the ultraviolent side of wrestling, of which CZW is a big part, but when you see a headline like that, you have to look.  Apparently Nick Gage severed a main artery while taking a bump onto a light tube, and got sliced open from armpit to hip.  And it took an hour for him to get taken to a hospital, because they were out in Bumfuck, Delaware and for some reason waited until the show had ended to airlift him out.  It’s times like these that I wonder why guys put themselves through such horrific conditions just for a little notoriety.  I’ve never watched any CZW, but after hearing about this, I likely never will.

I’ll probably be back tomorrow with the results of the Extreme Rules PPV and tell you how I did with my picks.  And if I’m feeling like it, I’ll tally up my picks for the year and find out how I’m doing.  See you then!

I haven’t done one of these little analysis pieces in a while, so I figure it’s high time for me to, in fact, do one of these little analysis pieces.  I’m going to look back at the 2009 Draft picks, and I’m going to look at what I said about each draft pick and see whether or not I was right with my opinions about how the move would affect each wrestler in question.  So let’s get started.  I’ll do the Supplemental Draft picks first, just for fun.

Mr. Kennedy to Raw – That sure didn’t last long.  Ah, well.  I stated back on April 17th that he was too injury-prone to make much of an impact, and I guess I was right.  Though I didn’t think he’d be gone from the company so soon.  Ah, well.  Sometimes you end up losing overall.  Which reminds me, I’m going to do another piece about the group of wrestlers who have been let go by WWE over since 2008.  The list is ridiculously long, so the article will probably also be quite long.  That article won’t be written for a little while, so you have time to prepare for it.

Cryme Tyme to Smackdown – They haven’t exactly gotten any Tag Team Championship opportunities since moving brands.  It isn’t like they were ever serious contenders, anyway.  I see great potential in JTG, but he just needs to be more of himself and less of a character.  And he needs to drop the big lug Shad.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Shad.  But he’s barely improved since he was brought up to the big leagues, and that was a couple of years ago.  JTG has shown consistent improvement over the last couple of years, and is a legitimately entertaining wrestler.  He’s got some great high-flying skills that would serve him very well if there were a Cruiserweight division or an X Division for WWE.  But they’ll probably just do silly skits until they’re released again.

Alicia Fox to Smackdown – She’s barely benefited from the move, while DJ Gabriel has disappeared entirely off of TV.  Which is a shame, because I saw some talent in Gabriel.  But he’s gone, and we have the leftovers to deal with.  A. Fox, as JR likes to call her, has a bit of talent as a wrestler, but she’ll probably never go anywhere.  She’s not nearly as good as the rest of the Smackdown Diva roster.  Or, at least, she’s not as talented as Melina, Gail Kim, or Michelle McCool.  She’s about as good as the rest of the Divas, which is to say not very good.  Better than Layla and Eve, maybe not quite as good as Maria.  She’ll circle the drain for a while, I bet.

The Colons to Raw – An entirely superficial move, since they’re competing on all FOUR WWE TV shows.  Who’s going to step up to the plate and take those titles away from them?  At this point, the top contenders are Rhodes and Dibiase and The Hart Dynasty.  Personally, I’m pulling for the Dynasty.  But Primo and Carlito have enjoyed some pretty tremendous success as tag champs.  Primo’s a legitimately entertaining guy to watch, and should be a Cruiserweight champion someday…oh, wait…well, maybe he’ll get a chance as a US or IC champ one day.  Carlito’s gotten about as good as he’ll ever get, so he’ll linger in the mid-card for a good while, I bet.

Mike Knox to Smackdown – I know I keep saying it, but it bears repeating: HOW DOES THIS BASTARD STILL HAVE A JOB?  He had potential back in 2006 when he was Kelly Kelly’s domineering boyfriend and didn’t look like John Goodman’s evil twin.  The guy has very little in-ring talent and no charisma.  He really should be gone from the company.  That is, unless he loses about 30-40 pounds and shaves.  But I don’t forsee that happening, so let’s hope he’s gone soon.  I pray he isn’t going to be on the card for The Bash.

Ezekiel Jackson to ECW – Gone from TV entirely.  There can only be one unstoppable freak per show, and ECW already has Vladimir Kozlov.  And since Jackson makes Kozlov look like Bret Hart, Jackson had to go.  I wonder where he is…

The Bella Twins to Raw – We saw them, what, maybe twice since they were drafted, and then they disappeared again.  It’s a shame for them.  They were decent in the ring.  I still think that the ball was seriously dropped when no explanation was given as to whether or not they had split from MizMo and the Colons or if they were back to being best friends.  It’s as though WWE Creative thinks that we forget things really easily if they just gloss over them quickly enough.  Like Umaga speaking perfect English a couple of weeks ago.  Umaga spoke?  What?  I didn’t see that.  It must never have happened.  Also see: Chris Benoit.

Candice Michelle to Smackdown – Haven’t seen her, doubt we will.

Zack Ryder to ECW – I’m surprised that both Hawkins and Ryder are still employed.  But I guess Ryder was willing to take on a stupid gimmick just so he could continue getting a paycheck.  He cut his hair, put insane amounts of gel into it, and is wearing a strange half-long tights half-short tights setup and keeps saying, “Woo woo woo.”  Annoying, but he’s on TV and he’s pulling in a paycheck.  He isn’t going to get far with the gimmick, especially on a show with so many people higher up on the food chain.

Chavo Guerrero to Raw – At least he’s been given more to do than push Aunt Vickie around in her wheelchair.  In fact, Chavo’s been behind some of the matches on Raw, and he’s been manipulating Vickie seemingly every week.  So, while he’s still jobbing in the ring, he’s doing a lot more behind the scenes, and I kind of like it.  I’m hoping for a hostile takeover of Raw by Chavo, kicking Vickie to the curb, and putting someone more entertaining in charge, like William Regal.

Ricky Ortiz to Smackdown – Another case of the “one and done” mentality.  He was on TV I believe twice, using the exact same gimmick he was using on ECW, only now as a heel gimmick of being a pushy, annoying motivational-speaker-type character that won’t garner any hear or get him over at all.  He’s lost in the shuffle and will probably get “future endeavored” soon.  Which is too bad.  He had some good in-ring charisma and a decent in-ring moveset.  But such is the way when Creative has nothing for you to do.

Layla to Smackdown – Great, another talentless bimbo polluting the Smackdown Diva locker room.  I swear, if some of these girls spent half as much time working on their in-ring skills as they did on their makeup, maybe the WWE women wouldn’t be thought of as such a joke.  I know that improvements don’t take place overnight, but when you don’t improve in over a year, something is terribly wrong.  Layla is sloppy, limited, and has no sense of psychology.  She just needs to be a valet or something.

Hornswoggle to Raw – I guess we found out who his new protector is.  But Goldust?  Really?  That makes so little sense it makes my head hurt to think about it.  So I’ll stop.  But I can’t, because they’re a tag team now, too.  And they’re winning.  How pathetic is that that legitimate tag teams are getting pushed to the side in favor of a sideshow act?  Brian Kendrick and Jamie Noble lost to these guys on Superstars, and you’ve got to wonder exactly how Kendrick and Noble feel about this.  I’m sure they don’t care so much since they’re making money off of it, but still…it’s got to hurt their sense of pride to lose to a midget and a guy with a character from 1996.  I’d imagine the Hornswoggle train will be pulling into its final station soon.  At least I hope it will.  And if Hornswoggle makes an appearance as a wrestler at The Bash, I’d consider not going.

David Hart Smith to ECW – Looks like the Hart Dynasty trigger was finally pulled, and it’s paying dividends for ECW.  Kidd and Smith are wrestling 15-20 minute matches every week against guys like Christian and Finlay, and they’re looking damn good in doing so.  I really hope these guys are the team to take the tag gold from Primo and Carlito, because they need as much legitimacy as they can get.  They’re already really high in my book, but they could always be better.  I’m really looking forward to watching these three develop into a powerhouse faction, and eventually move to another brand where they will dominate.

John Morrison to Smackdown – Though I’m still not big on the face turn, Morrison’s taking the most of the opportunity, showing off how much skill he really has as a singles competitor.  He’s actually improved tremendously since his last singles run as ECW Champ back in 2007.  He’s getting over, big time, and there’s no time like the present to start giving him main event matches.  If Edge retains the World Heavyweight Championship tomorrow at Extreme Rules, I’m hoping Morrison is the next guy to get a shot at the title.  He’s got nowhere to go but up, especially after his win over Shelton Benjamin on Smackdown yesterday.

Natalya to ECW – The Hart Dynasty is here to stay.

Festus to Raw – This move doomed the careers of both Jesse and Festus.  Jesse hasn’t been seen on TV since the Draft (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), and Festus has been in a singing competition with Jillian…and won.  I don’t think he’s even been in a match on Raw.  Both of these guys need new gimmicks fast, because they’re going to be on the chopping block otherwise.  And they shouldn’t be.  Maybe if Jesse gets released, he can go to TNA, The Land of WWE Rejects, and succeed there.  He’d be a great X Division star there.

Dolph Ziggler to Smackdown – Quite possibly the biggest surprise of the Supplemental Draft, Ziggler’s actually getting some semblance of a push, which is nice considering I said he was circling the drain back a couple of months ago.  He’s had a short but high-profile feud with MVP, and now he’s (hopefully) just finished a rather pointless mini-feud with the Great Khali.  I really hope Creative has something in store for this guy, because he’s got the goods to make it big.  He had great chemistry with Jericho in their tag match on Superstars.  Perhaps it might be wise to invest in that potential opportunity…

The Brian Kendrick to Raw – Three words: Circling The Drain.  He’s been nothing but a joke since moving to Raw, losing multiple times to Primo and Carlito and this last Thursday losing to Goldust and Hornswoggle…blech…leaves an awful taste in my mouth.  If he doesn’t get a serious push soon, I’d bet he’s going to move to TNA or to ROH, where they love him oh so much.  Maybe he’ll re-team with Paul London (if London can stop being a weirdo, which likely won’t happen).  I don’t expect much for Kendrick any time soon, though I wish he would get something for his efforts.  A Cruiserweight title run would be nice…if there still was one.

Charlie Haas to Smackdown – Haas got a nice shot in the arm (no pun intended) when he started teaming with Shelton again, and even if there aren’t long-term plans to keep them together, maybe he’ll have a little more TV time than he’s had the past few years.  Maybe.

Gregory Helms to ECW – Well, he’s the backstage announcer now.  I wonder if he’ll ever get back into the ring.  Let’s hope so.  I’d love to see him with a championship again, if only once more.

And now, the Main Draft picks.  I’ll make these shorter because I’ve prattled on long enough.

MVP to Raw – Now is the opportunity he’s been waiting for.  He just dropped the US Title to Kofi Kingston, and if he doesn’t win it back at Extreme Rules (which I pray he doesn’t), then he’s got a hell of a chance to be Randy Orton’s next major opponent.  I pray that MVP gets the chance to take on Orton at The Bash, and not HHH, because we’ve seen how bad the HHH-Orton matches are, and an Orton-MVP match would bring a great new feel into a stale main event scene on Raw.  MVP’s got the goods to be at the top of the mountain for a long time.  Let’s hope WWE sees this as well.

Big Show to Raw – Please, just get him off TV already.  He’s worse than Mark Henry nowadays.  He put on all the weight he lost last year, and then some, and he’s no spring chicken.  He just needs to hang up the boots and retire for good.  Just be Paul Wight.

Melina to Smackdown – Likely headed for a (hopefully) big feud with Michelle McCool, which is good for her.  Both ladies are very athletic and extremely talented in the ring.  They should put on a hell of a show whenever they meet one-on-one.  Toss Gail Kim in the mix and you’ve got a recipe for pure, unadulterated AWESOME.  Let’s hope there are some triple threat matches in the future for us.

Matt Hardy to Raw – He’s played the whiny heel about as well as you can do.  Much better than Swagger’s been doing for weeks on end.  And I’m sure once his hand is healed up, he’ll be a good competitor.  I wasn’t a big fan of the heel turn, and I still am not, but if he can actually make us believe that he is who he is when the cameras are on, then I’ll accept the turn.  I wonder if we’re going to get some MVP-Hardy matches in the future, only with the roles switched.

HHH to Raw – Got kicked in the head six weeks ago, and hasn’t been seen since.  Doesn’t matter to me.  The less HHH we get, the more other people get a chance to show that they deserve a chance at the top of the heap.  He hogs the spotlight way too much, and it makes it difficult for younger guys to get their shots at glory.  I pray we don’t get another HHH-Orton match at The Bash, because I might just try to sell my ticket instead of go see that train wreck waiting to happen.

CM Punk to Smackdown – He’ll use the Money in the Bank when he’s good and ready.  Hopefully when we’ve got a face champion so Punk can turn heel.  I’d love to see that.  He doesn’t need to win any matches, because he’s got an instant push in his hands, so it doesn’t matter what happens at Extreme Rules or any other time, because Punk is going to get his push when he uses the briefcase.

The Miz to Raw – The jackass heel returns.  He’s mildly entertaining in his whole pursuit of infamy against John Cena, but when these two actually meet, there’s honestly no contest, and once Cena buries Miz, there probably won’t be anything for Miz to do.  He better soak up the spotlight while it’s still there, because I don’t imagine it staying on him for long.

Kane to Smackdown – I hope Creative finds something for him to do, because Kane is one of my all-time favorites.  Maybe he’ll resurface and go for world title gold someday.  He deserves it more than anyone in the company.

Chris Jericho to Smackdown – He’s managed to remain at a main event level despite a huge shift in surroundings.  I’d imagine he’ll stay at the top for a while, probably until his body gives out.  But that may not be for a while.  I’m starting to come around to his character.  Not so much the promos, but his in-ring work is finally beginning to look really good.  At least, to me.  I’m expecting a great match at Extreme Rules between he and Mysterio.

Vladimir Kozlov to ECW – Another pointless monster heel push for Kozlov, probably followed by some losses and another disappearing act.  Kozlov is a one-trick pony, and I hate to say it, but his time may be running out in WWE.  Too bad.  He could have been pretty great.  But it was not meant to be.  If he wins the ECW Title at any point in the future I will be surprised.

Maryse to Raw – No one cares.  Just give Mickie James the title and be gone with Maryse.

Rey Mysterio to Smackdown – Rey’s benefited tremendously from the move.  He’s been in a high-profile feud with Jericho and he’ll likely be around in the mid-to-upper-mid card for a while to come.  Unless Jericho takes his mask, in which case I’m not sure what will happen.  But Rey’s brought a breath of fresh air back to Smackdown, and he’s relentlessly entertaining and likely will be for a while to come.

Okay, I’ve got to stop for now.  I’m at nearly 3000 words, and you’ve probably stopped reading by now.  So I’ll be back tomorrow with Extreme Rules picks, and once I see the show, I’ll talk about the results.  Should be a great show.  See you then!

I don’t believe I’ve ever said this before in the short time I’ve been writing these articles/blogs/columns/what have you, but this was a really solid week of WWE programming.  Every show had at least one memorable/great match, storylines were built strongly for just about every match at the upcoming PPV…the whole week was just all-around awesome.  Usually there are some serious stinker moments, but besides the Raw match on Superstars, this week was strong, and probably the best week of build I’ve seen for a PPV this year.  All for a PPV that in essence shoundn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

We’ll start with Raw.  The build for the Batista/Orton steel cage match was phenomenal.  A quick squash for Batista and a surprisingly well-done final segment with Flair and Orton.  I was expecting one of those boring, generic beatdowns that Randy Orton has gotten so good at, what with all the practice he got during his feud with HHH.  I wasn’t terribly looking forward to this match, mostly because I knew it was going to be the main event over the Edge/Hardy ladder match, which in all honesty SHOULD be the main event.  Well, I can still hope.  But this past week has made it a bit more interesting, especially with the whole Flair/ROH debacle now behind us, but still stinging in the eyes of the ROH fans, I’m sure.

Also we were treated to a classic US Title match, with Kofi Kingston defeating MVP for the championship.  This hopefully means one thing: that it’s time to move MVP up to the true main event.  His first night on Raw was hopefully a prelude to some matches with Randy Orton, and I pray that it culminates in a match between the two at the Bash in three weeks.  I’m really hoping this happens simply because I’ll be attending the show and I’m hoping to see some new faces in the world title pictures.  All three of them.  Anyway, back to the match.  These two had a great back and forth affair, and I was honestly surprised to see MVP drop the title so soon before a PPV.  There’s going to be a Fatal Four Way US Title match at Extreme Rules with MVP, Kofi, Matt Hardy, and Regal, and that should be awesome.  I hope this wasn’t just a way to get the belt onto Regal or Hardy and just give Kofi a 6 day reign as US champ.  Because I would have bought MVP losing to Regal this past Monday, no problem.  Or even on Sunday.  It all just remains to be seen.  I’ll do picks for Extreme Rules either tomorrow or early Sunday.  I’ve got a lot to think about for this show.

ECW – I must say, WWE is pushing the Hart Dynasty about as strongly as any faction I’ve seen in recent memory.  Tyson Kidd and David Hart Smith are getting 15-20 minutes to hone their craft on national television every week.  Smith is a very talented old-school wrestler, and he’ll only get better as time goes on.  But I have reason to believe that Kidd may be one of the most important young wrestlers today.  He has a near-seamless blend of old and new-school tactics in the ring.  He’s a great tactician, he’s a fantastic high-flyer, and he’s got great striking ability.  He’s got tons of talent all-around, and nowhere to go but up.  And with guys like Finlay and Christian around to help him grow, he may be, as his faction states, a true dynasty waiting to happen.  I’m not trying to blow his talent out of proportion, but if you watch him closely, you see a guy who is performing beyond his years, and will soon be one of the best wrestlers in the company as they move towards a more youthful roster.

The Dreamer/Burchill match was also pretty decent.  The ECW Title match is probably going to be the toughest match for me to pick for the PPV, because all three of the participants have a legitimate chance to win.  Even Swagger.  I’m going to have to do a lot of thinking about this match, and whomever I do end up picking will not be my only choice.  It should be a fun match to watch.  Even with Swagger participating.

Superstars had a great main event.  The Raw opener was pathetic.  I do wish they would just sideline Hornswoggle for good.  Yes, he’s good for a larf, but we have Santino for that.  He’s good for the kids, but we’ve got Mysterio for that.  We really need to stop pushing a midget with no real wrestling potential and let guys like Kendrick and Noble finally get what they deserve and have deserved for so many years.  Anyway, the Smackdown match was great.  Hardy and Killings (I’m just not going to call him R-Truth anymore) were on point, and I was severely impressed with the team of Jericho and Ziggler.  Ziggler’s improving every week, and he’ll be a champion soon, and I finally noticed, after months of complaining, that Jericho is much more savvy in the ring than I’d realized.  He’s a great in-ring general.  He can pace a match fantastically, much like Edge can.  He knows when to let the faces have a glimmer of hope before quashing it with a strong strike, and he’s great for building heat.  I’m looking at his performance a little differently now.  He had a great match with Killings on Smackdown today as well.

And for Smackdown, we had one hell of a main event.  We all know that Edge can deliver great matches, and we know that Rey Mysterio can deliver great matches, so why not put the two together?  You’re almost guaranteed a great match.  And this one did not disappoint.  These guys went nearly 20 minutes, and it was entertaining down to the last second.  The opening segment with Edge and Hardy was entertaining, as well as the Punk/Umaga match.  Though I think that the results of these various segments really exposes a lot of the winners for Extreme Rules.  Let’s hope we get a real feeling that maybe we’re getting some title changes on Sunday.

I’m also hoping that the next challenger for the World Heavyweight Championship is John Morrison, so I can see him fight for it at the Bash.  But that’s just me.

Speaking of the next WWE PPV, I am truly hoping that it isn’t a set-up show for Night of Champions, much in the way that Judgment Day was a set-up show for Extreme Rules.  I don’t want to see a bunch of matches that will just be done again three weeks later.  I’m also praying that they leave a few talents off the card.  Guys like Khali, Mike Knox, and Big Show.  You know, the big guys who can’t do anything with anyone.  If two or more of them are on the card, I may just forego the show entirely, because I wouldn’t be getting my money’s worth.

Okay, that does it for me for now.  I’ve got a couple of features planned for the next couple of columns/entries/whatever.  Besides my Extreme Rules picks, I’m going to take a look into the past, all the way back to April, and do some analysis on the 2009 WWE Draft.  Who won, who lost, and were the right moves made.  I may even do that tomorrow.  If I’m feeling frisky enough to do so.  Stay tuned for my Extreme Rules picks.  I gotta start keeping track of these picks, and see how I do over the rest of the year.  I’ll probably never get all of the picks right like I did at Judgment Day, but hey, I can always hope.  So I’ll see you next time, probably in a day or so.