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Monthly Archives: September 2009

I think it’s been long enough since I actually wrote something here.  Let’s go straight into a subject that’s been brewing over the past few weeks (and, for those of you who watch TNA, for years).

The gimmick Pay-Per-View is a very controversial subject indeed.  The wrestling community, be it the IWC, the regular fans, and even the writers backstage, are all at odds when it comes to this particular type of show.  For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, a gimmick PPV is a show where at least a few matches are all contested under one specific set of rules that deviate from the standard one-fall match.  If you want to get technical, the first ever gimmick PPV was Survivor Series.  I feel that, because it’s been around for over 20 years, that this PPV should be grandfathered in.  And besides, Survivor Series hasn’t focused on the elimination matches in years, so it really doesn’t even apply to this discussion.  TNA has one main gimmick PPV on its schedule, that being Lockdown, where every match is contested inside TNA’s answer to the steel cage, the Six Sides of Steel.  It has been maligned over the years for having every match be inside a cage, creating unrealistic expectations for the wrestlers to perform inside.  They are forced to take more punishment than usual just because the PPV has a gimmick attached.  On the plus side, the TNA cage matches are very rare, so Lockdown is a once-a-year affair.

WWE, on the other hand, has been getting very gimmick-heavy with its PPV shake-up over the past year.  There’s been Survivor Series, but I’ve already discussed that.  They’ve had One Night Stand for the past few years, which is now called Extreme Rules, where every match is some form of no-DQ, no-count-out match, usually with more stipulations like Last Man Standing or I Quit or Ladder Match.  You could even go so far as to say that Night of Champions is a gimmick PPV, with every match being a championship match (honestly, every PPV should contain only championship matches, and leave the other feuds for television).  But now we’re getting even more PPVs with these specific gimmicks attached, and it’s causing the importance of these gimmicks to lessen.  Three weeks ago was Breaking Point, where, as WWE puts it, “every main event match is a submission match.”  First off, stop trying to be like MMA.  You’re never going to be held on the same ridiculous plateau that MMA is on.  MMA fans will likely never accept pro wrestling as a legitimate sport, and pro wrestling fans (your typical fan, anyway) will not enjoy MMA, finding it too violent and bland, without flash or bang.  They might watch MMA to see Brock Lesnar or Bobby Lashley, but beyond that, your typical wrestling fan won’t enjoy MMA.  Second, if you’re going to advertise the PPV as “Submissions only,” then why not make every match a submission match and just get it over with?  When they say “every main event match,” they mean “the matches with the biggest draws.”  Which is why the only matches that will be subjected to this gimmick stipulation will be the two world championship matches and anything involving DX.  Which is exactly what we got at Breaking Point, and it’s going to be exactly what we get at Hell in a Cell, the next gimmick PPV coming up this Sunday.

Now, let’s talk about the PPV in and of itself.  The first time I heard that this was going to replace No Mercy, I thought it might be fun.  Every match inside Hell in a Cell.  Sure, HIAC isn’t all that it’s hyped up to be, but at least it usually provides an end to various feuds.  But there’s a big problem with having a PPV dedicated to it.  Matches like Hell in a Cell, TLC, I Quit, and the like, are special attractions.  There should never be more than maybe one or two matches a year of these types.  Why?  For business reasons and health reasons.  First, having one or two of these matches a year will heighten the anticipation for these matches and cause more people to consider purchasing the PPV, either live or on DVD when it’s released.  You’re also going to get a higher chance of selling out the arena you’re working at by putting a marquee match like Hell in a Cell at the top of the card, so more people are going to come to your show from further away just so they can experience this match first-hand.  Second, having these matches less frequently is going to keep your wrestlers healthier for a longer period of time.  If you have one HIAC match a year, yes, it’s going to headline the show, and the competitors are going to put on a hell of a show.  But they’re going to be hurting a hell of a lot, and might be at a greater risk for injury.  If you have three of these matches a year, that’s three times as many wrestlers put at risk for injury.  With WWE’s rosters stretched thin already, they should be avoiding any unnecessary high-risk matches that they can.  But now, with the Hell in a Cell PPV less than a week away, you’re putting eight mens’ careers in danger by putting them inside a giant cage, weapons-a-plenty under the ring, and the chance to fall 20 feet onto an announce table (okay, so nobody’s going to purposefully do what Mick Foley did, but the possibility is always there).  You’ve got three men in their forties, who, even though they’ve been in a large number of these matches before, are at greater risk for injury then their younger competitors.  You’ve got young guys who could potentially cut their careers short with one botched bump.  It would benefit WWE to limit matches like HIAC and TLC to once or twice a year, simply for health reasons more than anything.  Nobody wants to see Shawn Michaels or John Cena have to leave the arena with a broken leg or a fractured spine because they took a bad bump off the cage.  I honestly don’t want to see anybody hurt in the ring and have to end their career years early.  Putting so many peoples’ careers at risk is a dangerous idea, and it should be done as few times as possible.

Another problem with having entire PPVs based around a specific gimmick is that the match itself tends to lose the mystique and importance that usually surrounds it.  A Hell in a Cell match is an event by itself.  You don’t need three of them in one night.  It’s going to get bland.  You’re just going to watch an hour of cage matches in a row.  That’s not necessarily entertaining.  The point of a Hell in a Cell match is to watch two guys do things they don’t normally do inside a ring for 20 minutes, and end a feud that has been going on for months.  Hell in a Cell is the final nail in the coffin of a feud.  Or, at least, it should be.  By putting THREE HIAC matches on one card, you’re diminishing the importance of the match itself.  It will mean that the next time a HIAC match rolls around, people won’t care as much, because you’re obviously going to have them more often over each year.  Pretty soon nobody will care if a match is contested inside a steel cage or on the roof of the arena, because the match will become the norm.  And that is something nobody wants.

So, instead of fixing their foolish mistake, WWE is now introducing TWO MORE new PPV events for the end of the year.  The next PPV is Bragging Rights, which will be taking the place of Cyber Sunday, though apparently it’s going to retain the audience participation aspect.  Instead of just a bunch of matches with various fan voting deals, it’s going to be a kind of Raw vs. Smackdown show.  I’m guessing that they’re doing this solely to promote the Smackdown vs. Raw video game.  More marketing bullshit.  There’s no point to having a Raw vs. Smackdown PPV.  Sure, there are matches that some of us would enjoy watching (Miz vs. Morrison anyone?), but that can happen basically anytime, since the whole Draft issue and brand split is paper-thin at best.  I don’t think it’s necessary, and it’s definitely not going to have many championship matches.  Then, after Survivor Series, we’re getting a TLC PPV.  Haven’t we already had two or three of these matches already this year?  And several more ladder matches?  A PPV dedicated to this stipulation is unnecessary.  TLC is, I think, the most potentially dangerous match in WWE.  When you’ve got guys falling 15 feet off a ladder through ANOTHER ladder and down to the floor, the chance of serious injury is very, very high.  And since most of the people taking these ridiculous bumps are usually your most over guys (Edge, formerly Jeff Hardy, Mysterio, etc), you’re setting yourselves up for even more problems down the road.  Sure, 2/3 of the men I just mentioned aren’t going to compete in TLC, but you’re risking getting your currently over wrestlers (Punk, Taker, Cena, Orton, HHH, MVP, etc.) badly injured, and unless you can come up with some more guys to bring up from FCW, you’re setting up yourselves for failure.  If you put those six guys on the shelf right now, what happens?  Who moves up?  Do you bring guys from ECW over, and bring up guys from FCW who aren’t ready for the big arenas and TV time?  Do the guys who’ve been toiling in mid-card hell move up immediately, or do they get passed over for other guys who aren’t ready for the big time?  It puts WWE’s balls in a vicegrip, and every major injury tightens that vice just a little bit more.  Frankly, I hope these gimmick PPVs don’t last long, because WWE is putting their talented men and women at serious risk, and as a result, putting the company at risk of losing even more money.

Bottom line: keep the big gimmick matches to once a year, MAYBE twice, and keep the health and safety of your wrestlers your top priority.

I’ve got a couple more tidbits to talk about, and since I don’t think another column is required, I’ll put them here.

First, I’m getting really tired of John Cena’s miracle comebacks.  Can’t he for once just be left in a crumpled heap, loomed over by his competitors, unable to move for fear that he’ll get his chest stomped in?  Why does he always turn into fucking Superman after he’s gotten his back broken?  It’s ridiculous.  I know he’s the face of the company, and I genuinely like the guy, but the miracle comebacks have got to stop happening every week, and he really needs to focus one one character.  I’d prefer he either stick with funny Cena or determined, angry Cena instead of switching back and forth every week.  Stick to one persona.  If you’re going with Funny Cena, fine.  But remember, you don’t need to really focus on that, because we’ve got Santino Marella for comedy.  (Side note: Santino is really coming into his own as a great comedy wrestler.  I love his attempts at breaking the Masterlock, only to pass out a few seconds after that final angry push.)

I’ll admit I watched Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader just to watch Miz and Morrison compete.  I think WWE dropped the ball when it came to those two.  They had one of the most successful tag team runs in recent memory, and after their break-up, nothing.  Those two could have gone on feuding for a few weeks, ending in one of them banishing the other to a different brand or something.  Still, they were both entertaining on the game show.  I thought Miz’s energy was fantastic, and he was quite gregarious at times.  I actually enjoyed his segment.  Morrison was much more low-key, but still fun to watch.  Good for them for doing this.

Last thing: for those of you who watched ECW (or for those of you who don’t mind spoilers), how surprising was it that Yoshi Tatsu got the pinfall victory, over William Regal no less?  This has got to be a sign that Creative approves of Tatsu’s work and they’re getting ready to push him soon.  I won’t say he’s green by any measure.  But he’s still got a little work to do.  He’s a bit sloppy, and I have to imagine that the language barrier will limit him to a point.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching the guy compete.  He brings some crazy energy to the ring, and he’s using a bunch of indy moves, which should make the IWC happy.  Hearing Matt Striker yell out, “LARIATO!” and “Whoa, Roaring Elbow!” probably makes the smarks pee with happiness.  But he’s got a ton of talent.  Let’s hope he works on his delivery and smoothes out the rough edges, and he’ll be fighting for the ECW Title in no time.

Okay, I lied.  Speaking of lariats, this past weekend was the final ROH match for Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuinness.  I think they have a couple more indy matches left, but this means that they’re moving to WWE very soon.  I truly hope that they both get on the main roster immediately (or, at leat for McGuinness, time to heal his arms before jumping to the roster).  I am looking forward to the first Jawbreaker Lariat we get from Nigel, and hopefully we’ll get some Cattle Mutilation or a Triangle Choke or three from Danielson.  I also pray that WWE doesn’t give them alternate personas.  I hope they keep them who they are, much like they did with CM Punk and, to some degree, Evan Bourne.  Nobody wants a repeat of Scotty Goldman (though I did find him hilarious for the few short weeks he was employed) or Braden Walker.  Let them be who they are, not someone you think they should be.  Put Dragon in a feud with Regal, and watch the sparks fly.

So that’s it for now.  I’ll put up picks for Hell in a Cell once the final card is set.  Most of the matches should be good.  I’m just not keen on the gimmick itself.  We’ll see how it turns out on Sunday.  Until then…

Real life is crushing me.  I’m finding it extremely difficult to write about the topic I’ve dedicated this blog to when (A) I can’t get excited to write about anything, and (B) the product I usually talk about has degraded into utter shite over the past few months.  You know what I’m talking about if you’ve been watching.  This blog may just get put on hiatus if this downward trend continues.  I may stop watching WWE programming altogether.  It may very well all hinge on Raw’s guest host next week.  If he does anything stupid, I’m done for a while.  The idea that everything is nothing more than a publicity stunt nowadays sickens me, and I feel like I need to escape this faux-reality and live somewhere where I’m not bombarded by idiocy everywhere I turn.  Where that place is, I don’t have a clue.  It probably doesn’t exist.

I have no motivation to write anything more, so I may or may not be back.  If I am, you’ll be the first to know.

Well, I must say that Breaking Point was a hell of a lot better than I’d anticipated.  It was (with two exceptions) a great card, top to bottom.  And I had a pretty good pick record to boot.  So let’s go through the show, shall we?

Chris Jericho & The Big Show defeated MVP and Mark Henry to retain the Unified Tag Team Championship

No real surprise in the outcome, but it was still a damn good opener.  MVP’s apparently sporting a sleeveless look to go along with Henry, who now boasts the letters “WSM” across his back.  I really like these two as a tag team, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they kept feuding with Jericho and Show for a while to come, until they find a suitable team to take the titles away from Jericho and Show.  Who knows, if MVP and Henry show great chemistry, maybe they’ll be the next Unified Tag champs.  But for now, Jericho and Show are the top dogs in the lackluster tag division.  MVP is really showing off his athleticism, and continued to show so on Raw tonight, with slingshot cross bodies out onto the floor and all manner of awesome moves.  And Henry continues to hold the audience in the palm of his hand.  One thing I noticed right off the bat (and that continued throughout the night) was the inability for the Montreal audience to pick a side during several of the matches.  One minute they’re booing Jericho but cheering for Show, the next they’re cheering for MVP and Henry, then they’re booing Henry and cheering Jericho…I know that Canada is crazy when it comes to wrestling, but please, pick a side and stick to it!  Good opener for sure.

Kofi Kingston defeated The Miz to retain the United States Championship

To me, this was the sleeper match of the night.  For a match that had absolutely no build, and an audience that wasn’t expecting much of anything, these two had a damn good match.  I never thought I’d say it, but Miz did a good job as the heel tonight, and he and Kofi have great chemistry in the ring.  They somehow manage to feed off each other and their moves were fluid and made sense.  It wasn’t just a slapdash effort by these two.  They were the replacement for the Morrison/Ziggler match, and they lived up to that match.  While I can’t say that Miz is main event material anytime soon, he actually deserves his spot near the top of the mid-card, and I would bet that given proper build, he can pull the title off Kofi.  I actually wouldn’t mind seeing Miz as US Champion.  Wow, again, I never thought I’d say that.  It feels weird.

Legacy defeated DX in a Submissions Count Anywhere Match

Probably the biggest surprise of the evening for me.  This match was worlds better than their Summerslam snoozefest.  It had a frantic pace through the beginning, right up until HBK took the big bump onto the crash pad after getting tossed out of the audience.  Then it was divide and conquer time for Legacy.  This match had the same audience problem as the first match.  There were heavy “You screwed Bret!” chants throughout DX’s opening promo, and HHH made a joke about not knowing anything about it (despite many reports to the contrary), and basically making a joke out of the whole thing.  And then the crowd was heavily in Michaels’ favor during the match, only to boo him later on, then cheer for him, then boo Legacy when Michaels tapped out.  I will say one thing: I’m a total sucker for double submissions.  Lock some guy in a crossface/sharpshooter combo and I love it.  I wasn’t, however, expecting a figure-four-on-the-post/million dollar dream combo to finish the match.  That looked devastating and pretty awesome.  I’ll give both teams credit: they pulled out all the stops to entertain the fans last night, and it showed.  A fun little brawl with lots of crazy submissions and a good ending.

Kane defeated The Great Khali in a Singapore Cane Match

For being a blemish on the card, this still wasn’t god-awful.  Kane managed to chokeslam Khali, which basically just had Khali lift his feet up and fall backward, but still!  We also had lots of cane-on-body action, which provided great sound effects but probably minimal actual damage.  And we at least got a victory for Kane, who I hope will move on from this non-feud and onto bigger and better (figuratively, not literally) things.  What, I am unsure.  But anything’s better than a feud with Khali, who needs to retire soon or risk losing both of his knees.

Christian defeated William Regal to retain the ECW Championship

When you give these guys ten minutes, they give you pure gold.  Especially without the constant threat of Jackson and Kozlov outside the ring.  A fantastic back and forth affair, with Regal showing why he’s on the cusp of winning the ECW Title and Christian showing why he’s the top dog.  I cannot wait for these guys to lock up at Hell in a Cell.  I’d really prefer they lock up INSIDE the cage, but knowing how much Vince loves ECW, that probably won’t happen.  But you can bet that Regal’s going to win the title at some point soon.  If not, it will be the biggest waste of a stable in a while.  Budding wrestlers should watch these two fight, because it will teach them almost everything they need to know about how to work a match.  It’s as simple as that.

Throughout the Pat Patterson/Mister Ziggles segment, all I could think was, “Padding, padding, padding!  Filler, filler, filler!”  Honestly, you couldn’t just have the two main events be three minutes longer each?  Yeesh.  Giving the Taker/Punk match three to five more minutes would have made it a lot more entertaining.  But instead we get Pat Patterson, who is in all honesty a very entertaining individual, and Mr. Ziggles (thank you John Morrison), who seems wholly intent on ruining old mens’ lives.  I bet we’re getting Morrison/Ziggles at Hell in a Cell.

John Cena defeated Randy Orton to become the NEW WWE Champion

This was a great match that managed to do a whole lot with not very much.  There wasn’t a copious amount of weapons used.  There weren’t a ton of submissions.  There weren’t too many times where the ref asked if someone wanted to quit.  There was just a good, strong match that was built slowly and ended with a bang.  Cena sold his ass off during his beatdown, especially with those cane shots and that chair shot to his back.  I’ve never heard Cena scream like that before.  But Cena’s entire control segment was pure awesome.  The look on Orton’s face once Cena gained control of the handcuff keys, followed by Cena handcuffing himself to Orton, was priceless.  And the ending was great.  I loved how Cena and Orton worked with the crowd during those final moments, when Orton was reaching for the handcuff key and Cena was pulling back, when the crowd changed, “Let’s go Cena!” Cena pulled back, and when they chanted “Let’s go Orton!” Randy inched a little closer to the key.  But Cena finally won out, wrapped Orton’s handcuffed arm around Orton’s neck, and proceeded to choke Orton.  I would have liked Orton to give it another five or fifteen seconds before quitting, but you can’t expect perfection all the time.  Otherwise, things get boring.  But a damn good match, and in all honesty, this should have been the main event.

CM Punk defeated The Undertaker to retain the World Heavyweight Championship

Here’s where my rant goes.  There are two things that bother me about the relationship between the WWE and Canada.  The first thing is that Canadian fans STILL haven’t forgiven Vince for the screwjob on Bret Hart from TWELVE YEARS AGO.  Even Bret has forgiven Vince for that admittedly ugly moment in wrestling history.  The second thing is that Vince seems to love to rub this fact in the face of every Canadian WWE fan.  Every time they’re in Canada, and there’s a big event, there’s ALWAYS a screwjob moment, just to piss off the Canadian fans.  Vince loves to show how he’s the alpha male, and that he can rub Canada’s nose in the shit of the screwjob anytime he wants and he’ll always get a reaction from the crowd, which in turn will piss off the fans, and then get them to come back in the hopes that they’ll get avenged the next time.  But they never will.  It’s an awful never-ending cycle, and I honestly wish it would stop.  I’m really getting tired of WWE bringing up their past indiscretions, and I’m also getting tired of Canada being seemingly unable to let the past go.  But if one link disappears, then the other goes with it, and Vince no longer has a way to gain cheap heat in Canada and put more asses in seats to get him just a little bit more money.  Isn’t it sad when it’s always business that matters more than human emotion?

Okay, rant over.  Now I get to rant about how Scott Armstrong, the ref of this match and, I believe, every Punk match over the last few months, is so obviously playing Earl Hebner’s part in this, and will oh-so-obviously be Punk’s ally.  I’m not big on refs being biased to any wrestler, because it taints everything.  Special guest referees are one thing, as they’re always going to be biased in some way.  But having a regular ref being corrupt is different, and something I do not look forward to watching in the coming weeks.  I just wish that this had been a match where Punk could get himself DQ’ed and we move on to Hell in a Cell where Taker beats Punk to within an inch of death.  You know that’s going to be the case.

As far as the match goes, as I stated earlier, I think this match would have benefited tremendously from an extra few minutes of in-ring time, as it felt really rushed towards the end, during Taker’s final control segment ending in the Gogoplata.  And the whole reversal and screwjob finish also felt rushed.  They probably should have hurried Mr. Ziggles’ speech a bit so as to give this match a few extra minutes to build.  But what’s done is done, and we had another blemish on the card.  Too bad it was the last thing we saw.

So all in all, I was 5 and 2 with picks.  Pretty good, I’d say.

And I’ll just quickly talk about Raw, since I’ve gone on long enough: Batista’s being rushed back yet again, and moving to Smackdown, to try to fill the void left by Jeff Hardy’s likely permanent absence from wrestling.  The last time he was rushed back, he got injured again quickly.  Don’t they see that the same thing is very likely going to happen again, only on a different brand?  Having Batista on Smackdown will also hinder the eventual main event push of one John Morrison.  While he does deserve a strong Intercontinental Title reign, it’s only holding him back from unlocking his true potential.  It probably won’t matter too much.  Batista will probably get injured again within a couple of months and ACTUALLY have to retire this time.

CHAUVINISM ALERT!  Trish Stratus looked amazing, even moreso as a brunette now.  Yum.  And she still apparently has it in the ring.  I kind of love the fact that Beth Phoenix was originally going to be brought in BY Trish to mess around with Mickie James, but they seem to have forgotten that storyline since it was a few years back and Beth’s first run was cut short by a broken jaw.  But you kind of had to figure that Trish was going over in her hometown, so she pinned Beth.

Looks like we’re getting ourselves a good old-fashioned belt-stealing plotline for the Kofi/Miz feud.  Wonder how it’ll pan out.

We only have one more week of Lillian screwing up everything before she’s gone!  A Triple Threat #1 Contenders match for the Diva’s title, and only two women come out.  Wonderful.  I’m curious to see how Alicia Fox works with Mickie James.  Though I am a bit disappointed that the writers will put Trish over but bury Gail Kim, another Toronto native.  It boggles the mind…

Am I the only one who really liked Jericho and Beth as a team?  I think they’re perfect for each other.  Beth’s like the Big Show of the women’s division.  I really wanted to see her powerslam MVP, but that was not to be, unfortunately.

And Chavo finally admits defeat to Hornswoggle.  Let’s hope it sticks this time, and Evan Bourne can move on to likely face The Miz for the US Title in a couple of months.

That’s all I’ve got time for right now.  I’m not sure, but there may be a TNA PPV soon, so I’ll be doing my first TNA picks ever.  I’m not going to take them seriously, though, as I don’t take TNA seriously at all.  It’s a joke of a company at this point, so any picks I make should be taken with a desert of salt.  I’ll see you next time.

It looks like I’m going to forego the rest of my analysis on the entire WWE roster until further notice.  I wasn’t able to complete it due to extenuating circumstances (read: real life called), so I may do so at a later date.  Perhaps at the end of the year or so.  Besides, there are a lot of more interesting stories that have happened.  But I’m going to save that until the end, because Sunday is Breaking Point, and I have to do picks just to make sure that I have done them.  So here we go.

Singapore Kane Match – The Great Khali vs. Kane – Yes, I know I spelled it wrong.  I was being silly.  As far as the match goes, it boggles the mind how this feud has somehow managed to stay alive for such a long time.  I thought it was going to be a one-and-done type of deal, something that gets resolved the week after their first confrontation.  Instead, we’ve gotten a month and a half of this nonsense.  Well, really we’ve gotten much more than a month and a half, but this is the most recent iteration I’m speaking of right now.  Anyway, adding a stipulation to this match won’t make it any more entertaining to watch.  Khali needs to hang up his giant wrestling boots soon, or he’ll need robotic legs if he ever wants to walk again.  I doubt that Kane is going to be around much longer, either.  He is in his fourties, after all.  But he still has more upside, so I’m giving the win to Kane, and hopefully we’ll see the end of this feud.

United States Championship Match – Kofi Kingston (c) vs. The Miz – The Internet Wrestling Community is abuzz over The Miz, for reasons I don’t fully understand.  I like to consider myself kind of halfway between a true mark and an IWC smark.  A half-smark, if you will.  I read about backstage stuff and stories outside the realm of TV, but I have my own likes and dislikes, quite a few of which I’m sure are opposed to the IWC’s insanity.  Anyway, Miz has never been a favorite of mine.  I will give him props for improving dramatically over the last year or so, ever since he started teaming with the new Intercontinental Champion, John Morrison, and his new attitude is just what he needed to give him a push.  That said, I still don’t think he’s ready to be on top of the mid-card.  On the other hand, I did say that the first one-on-one match Kofi has with the title on the line, he’d lose it, and with absolutely no build to this, I’m betting it’s going to happen.  Kofi’s had a good run as US champ, but it’s probably going to be The Miz who pulls off the victory with his Skull-Crushing Finale (incidentally my current favorite finisher name).

Unified Tag Team Championship Match – Chris Jericho & The Big Show (c’s) vs. MVP and Mark Henry – We already know who’s going to win.  It’s the team with the mixed entrance theme.  It should be a damned fun match, though.  I would hope that this is the last match for both MVP and Mark Henry before they get their main event pushes, but I doubt that’ll happen.  Both of their pushes have been horrendously botched by Creative, and their characters have suffered greatly as a result.  MVP needs to go back to being a heel, as he was fantastic at that.  Henry I could continue seeing as a face, as he somehow has the entire audience in the palm of his hand whenever he’s in a match.  It’s amazing, really.  I’d love to see a Miz-Mark Henry match for the US Title, or watch Henry crush Swagger.  I’d also love to see an MVP/Evan Bourne match or six, but that won’t happen unless we get an MVP heel turn, which he is in dire need of.  Oh, right, the match.  Should be fun watching Henry match up with Show, and the others will provide their usual greatness.  But in the end, Jericho and Show will win and continue their reign of dominance over the nonexistent tag team division.

ECW Championship Match – Christian (c) vs. William Regal – No one has said whether this is a submission match.  If it is, I would have to think that Regal’s got the severe edge with his Regal Stretch.  Even if it isn’t a submission match, I’d expect to see Regal lock that in.  This has been an excellent feud, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a title change tonight.  If it isn’t a submission match, I’d give Christian a good chance to retain and move on to the next PPV against Regal.  But there haven’t been any specifics given out about this match.  I would think that, as a world title match, it would be a submission match.  But then again, this is ECW we’re talking about.  And we all know how much respect Vince has for ECW.  Actually, since the next PPV is the new Hell in a Cell PPV, I’m betting we’ll get an awesome match then, so I’ll give Christian the win, but he’ll probably only have the title for another three weeks.  What Christian does after losing the title, I have no idea.  But I am looking forward to Regal ruling ECW with an iron fist, crushing the weaker faces in his wrath.

Ooh, I just had a beautiful thought.  Regal’s next challenger: Bryan Danielson.  Would that just give the IWC a boner or what?

Submissions Count Anywhere – DX vs. Legacy – Another thing that hasn’t been fully explained about these submission matches: are they no DQ?  No count-out?  I would bet that this match is, but what about the World Heavyweight Championship match?  The I Quit Match is pretty obvious, but they haven’t really explained whether or not you can win or lose via DQ.  Anyway, I would bet that this is the beginning of the end for Legacy.  The Marine 2 is set to come out in December, and they have to build up Dibiase’s face turn, or I just won’t believe anything they do.  And Rhodes has been teasing a face turn as well.  So I’m betting the geezers will get the dupe on Sunday.  I hope that this match is better than their snoozefest at Summerfest…I mean Summerslam.  It should be, since they’ll probably fight all around the arena, tossing plastic garbage cans and hot dog carts at each other.  But DX is going to win this one.  And then we get to watch a couple of fourtysomethings dance around like 12-year-olds and make penis jokes for months on end.  Joy.

World Heavyweight Championship Match – CM Punk (c) vs. The Undertaker – This match is, by far, the toughest one of the night to pick.  Both Punk and Taker have great chances to win, and both are going to put on an awesome show for sure.  Now, this is where my confusion sets in.  Can you lose by DQ?  Count-out?  If so, do you retain your title like a normal match?  This has not been explained.  In the Punk/Matt Hardy match on Smackdown, there were rope breaks, so I would guess that you can be disqualified.  But will that happen on Sunday?  I was watching some On Demand videos earlier this week, and they were showing clips of the Bret Hart/Stone Cold match at WM 13, and there were no DQs.  Of course, Ken Shamrock was the enforcer, so that probably made all the difference.  So I’m betting that Punk can get himself disqualified but still retain his title, which is what I’m betting is going to be the case.  Both guys have excellent submission finishers, but I’m betting Punk gets intentionally DQ’ed, setting up a match between the two at Hell in a Cell.  So, Undertaker wins by DQ, and they move their feud on to Hell in a Cell.

WWE Championship “I Quit” Match – Randy Orton (c) vs. John Cena – Remember what I said earlier about the beginning of the end for Legacy?  Well, this will be another huge blow to the strongest, and yet also weakest, stable on Raw.  The way John Cena has been built these past few years, there is no way I can honestly believe he’ll ever quit in a match.  Well, maybe if Orton was threatening to punt Cena’s dad in the head a couple dozen times.  But other than that, I would bet you money that Orton would say it before Cena (NOTE: I will not actually bet anyone money on this).  The match itself will likely be fun and awesome, with lots of (I hope) weapons.  Tables and such.  But in the end, what’s good for the company is to have the face of the company at the top of the food chain.  John Cena is going to win, and put a second nail in the coffin of Legacy.

So thore are my picks.  I was going to write a long, rambling post about the whole Jeff Hardy situation, but chances are if you read this blog, then you read other blogs as well, and they’ve probably already documented all the details of this whole debacle.  I might come back in a day or two with my thoughts on the matter, but for now, I’ll just let you know that this has basically destroyed any chance he has of picking up where he left off with WWE.  He’s done.  I’ll be back in a couple of days with Breaking Point results, and, if I’m feeling frisky, I’ll write about the Hardy situation.  See you all then.

With Breaking Point a mere four days away, I thought I would go in an entirely different direction and go through the entire WWE roster and give quick thoughts on each person, if they’re on the rise, if they should be future endeavored, and other lovely topics worthy of discussion and whatnot.  So here we go.  Let’s start with Raw.

Batista – I hope his big announcement next week is about him returning to action soon.  The guy’s been so injury prone over the last three years that if he were to rush back again, I would think that when (not if) he gets hurt again, it’ll end his career for good.  He’s stated in interviews a few months back that he has one, maybe two years left in him.  For a guy that’s only been in the business for about seven years, that’s not even close to impressive.  He’s just another heavyweight who got a push because of his looks.  I hope the announcement is about him taking a backstage role for a while until he can safely return to the ring for probably four to six months before retiring for good.

Big Show – I cannot tell you how much this Tag Title reign has helped Show out.  Now, we’re no longer tortured by his sluggish movement, his limited mobility, and shrinking moveset.  We get a few big power moves, then he switches off to Jericho for the longer control segments and mini-builds during matches.  It’s the perfect setup for Show, who’s appearing on both Raw and Smackdown.  The less in-ring work he does, the better for the audience.  He and Jericho will hold the tag titles for a long time, and hopefully bring some prestige back to a championship that’s been dumped on for such a long time.

Carlito – I was honestly hoping that he was going to be Chris Masters’ partner in the main event against DX last Monday night, and reunite a halfway decent tag team from a few years back.  But of course we get Orton again.  Carlito’s silly emo look to go along with his heel turn isn’t really helping him move up the ladder of success much.  I can’t see him doing much of anything now that he and Primo have gone their seperate ways.  Just jobs here and there.  I actually wouldn’t be surprised if he gets released before the calendar year is up.

Chavo Guerrero – People are saying that Chavo should be happy he’s on TV every week getting a paycheck just to lose to a midget.  I don’t think I could do that for very long.  Yes, Chavo was never a world champion, and yes, he probably never will be, but you really should respect the Guerrero family.  At least give Chavo something other than a loss to Hornswoggle every week.  If for nothing else, for Eddie.  I don’t know how he does it every week.  Probably because WWE is dangling enough cash in front of his face.  Hell, if they paid me $5,000 a week to get embarassed by a midget on a weekly basis and probably have the easiest job in the company, maybe I’d do the job.  By the way, that’s just a rough estimate; I have no idea how much Chavo actually makes.

Chris Masters – Had he been victorious in his match against DX last Monday night, it would have been a huge rub for yet another musclebound moron who doesn’t honestly deserve a main event push.  I wonder if his past Wellness Policy violations have carried over to this current run, because if they do, Masters had better be damned careful.  He’s already been suspended twice (to my recollection), and a third violation is immediate termination.  It wouldn’t surprise me if this happened.  As to where he’s going…who knows?

Cody Rhodes – Rhodes and Dibiase MUST win at Breaking Point this Sunday if they want anybody to take them even somewhat seriously as competitors.  Alas, they’re facing DX, so they’re probably going to lose again and fade into nothingness.  Which is too bad.  They both had potential to be good singles competitors.  But poor booking has turned them into punching bags that don’t deserve to lick the boots of most other WWE talents.

Evan Bourne – Looks like he’s moved on to being Hornswoggle’s newest protector.  I’m really getting tired of this whole affair.  Bourne is an extremely talented individual, capable of things no one else in WWE can perform (or, if nothing else, are too afraid to attempt).  Bourne needs to distance himself from the midget as soon as possible if he ever hopes to be taken seriously again (see Mark Henry).  His stock is on the rise, but this whole Hornswoggle debacle is putting a damper on his push.  He needs to stay focused and fly solo again.

Festus – The walking gimmick hasn’t been seen since, I believe, his “talent competition” with Jillian Hall.  Good riddance to a character that should never have been seperated from his handler in the first place.  Drew Hankinson, the man behind the gimmick, is actually quite talented inside the ring, and if he’s repackaged into something a little more awesome, he may have a chance in this business.  Otherwise, he’s doomed.

Hack Swagger – I will continue to deride Swagger until he is taken off the main roster.  He just doesn’t have all the pieces to be a true WWE superstar.  He’s an amateur wrestler who had no other prospects on the horizon, so he gave WWE a shot and got lucky.  I hope his luck runs out soon.

Jamie Noble – I bet ROH would welcome him back with open arms seeing as how their two biggest talents are now WWE property.

John Cena – Poised to become the next WWE Champion, which will probably help the merchandise sales and boost profits overall.  Randy Orton’s had enough time at the top, and he’s gotten stale.  Though this would be to the detriment of most faces ready to take the next step towards the main event scene, it all comes down to business in the end, unfortunately, and many talented guys will get thrown under the bus for the sake of bigger profits.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Cena.  I laugh at all the Cena haters and the smarks in every crowd and on every forum.  I love that they all hate him because they think he has an extremely limited moveset, or that he only appeals to young children and women, or that they only think he’s popular because he sells merch.  You just kind of have to accept the fact that Cena is the best talker in the company today, and his in-ring work is right near the top of the list, behind only guys like Undertaker and Jericho as far as telling a story is concerned.  Take your lumps and accept the fact that Cena isn’t going anywhere, and as long as he’s around, WWE’s profits will always be better than they would be without him.  He’s just doing his job.

Kofi Kingston – If I’m not mistaken, Kingston is now the longest-reigning champion in all of WWE.  I’m pretty sure of this, at least.  And as long as he keeps getting put into random multi-man matches, he’s going to keep his title (sidebar: does anyone else find it hilarious that a man born in Ghana portraying a Jamaican wrestler is the United States Champion?).  The next one-on-one title match he has, he’ll probably lose it.  Let’s just hope he doesn’t lose it to Carlito or Swagger.  He’s still fun to watch, but still bad at selling when it’s his turn to take over the match.  People don’t seem to mind, though.  As long as we’ve got one flippy-do guy holding a title, it’ll keep the smarks quiet for the most part.

Mark Henry – His first night on Raw, when he pinned Randy Orton, I thought he was going straight to the top of the company.  Then he started helping out Hornswoggle.  Now he looks like a giant tomato with his red singlet, and doing tag matches with MVP in an entirely pointless feud with Jericho and Show, whom we all know will be tag champs for the next year or two.  It seems like Hornswoggle is tainting anyone who helps him out.  First Finlay, who still hasn’t recovered and is jobbing on Smackdown, then Goldust, who’s jobbing to a musclehead on ECW, then Mark Henry, who went from the greatest win of his career to fighting in matches that honestly don’t matter since we all know that the champs will win every time.  I feel bad for Henry.  He was poised to become one of the top faces in the company.  Now he’s plummeted to the lower mid-card, just like his current tag team partner, who I was going to segue into, but The Miz ruined everything.

The Miz – I thought moving him to Raw was a mistake.  I was mostly wrong.  He entered into a feud with John Cena, thought he was better than Cena, then had a terrible match with Cena at The Bash.  Then, he got “fired,” returned, beat Eugene in Eugene’s one and only return match, and is now angrier and finally has a legitimate finisher.  I love the Skull-Crushing Finale, mostly because of its name and because I thought of it first.  But I won’t sue WWE, because I have no case against them other than, “I thought of it first!”  Whatever.  Miz is standing pretty strong in the mid-card, and probably will stay there for a long while.  He might have a chance for the US Title, but not against Kofi.  Or maybe he does.  Who knows?  Either way, he’s certainly improved from some reality TV reject to a halfway decent WWE competitor, so I give him props for that.

MVP – See Mark Henry, only minus the midget.  MVP comes to Raw after the Draft.  His first act of business: talk down the WWE Champion and seem poised to be Orton’s next challenge.  Then he has to lose the US Title because one person holding both singles titles on one brand is (in WWE’s mind) outrageous and foolish, and he hasn’t recovered.  It’s the whole face turn thing.  He’s just not as entertianing as a face.  Sure, he’s got more lenience to do the crazy moves like slingshot cross body blocks onto the floor, but his character has suffered tremendous damage and it may not be fixable.  I do wish he would turn back heel and be better than us again.  I miss that.

Primo – If the Cruiserweight Championship was still alive, Primo would be a prime contender for the title (see what I did there?).  He’s fast, agile, and he’s got a tun of crazy flippy-do moves that wow an audience.  But he’s stuck at the bottom of the barrel because he’s not Vince’s prototypical superstar.  He should look elsewhere where his talents would be appreciated and savored.  In almost any other company, he could be a world champion.  But in WWE, he’s a nobody who they can pull out for squash matches and still entertain the crowds with some awesome aerial maneuvers.

Randy Orton – Legacy looks to have run its course.  Dibiase’s movie is coming out soon, Rhodes is acting all weird, and Orton is the most pussified champion in recent memory.  He can’t do a damn thing on his own anymore, and when Rhodes and Dibiase leave, he’s a sitting duck for the first guy to cross his path.  Whether it’s Cena this Sunday, or someone else down the line, Orton’s title reign is not long for this world.  Then maybe he can grow some hair, stop looking like a serial killer, and spend some time with his family instead of creeping us out and kicking people in the skull every week.

Santino Marella – Mister Vignette.  He’ll never be taken seriously as an in-ring competitor ever again, but at least he provides some comic relief during various segments involving the Raw guest hosts.  He’s kind of the WWE’s ambassador to the celebrity world…kinda.  His prospects for world championships are a bit lower than a snake’s belly, so don’t expect him to be pulling five star matches out of his ass anytime soon.  But he’s found his calling, and unfortunately for Colt Cabana, there’s only room for one jester in WWE.

Shawn Michaels – Same shtick for 12 years, which is exactly how old he’s acting now in DX.  Sigh.  What happened to the Shawn who battled Chris Jericho for most of last year?  What happened to the Shawn Michaels who had the match of the year against the Undertaker?  I suppose things just ebb and flow with time.  He’ll be back to being the Showstopper once DX merch sales slow down.  Which they never will, because people eat up the DX bits like they were cheese curds (if you’ve never eaten cheese curds, trust me on this one, and do yourself a favor and go eat some).  I was never a big fan of HBK’s work, and I don’t expect him to be around for too much longer, so he’d better get what he wants done soon before his retirement match, whenever that will be.

Ted Dibiase – He could have been THE throwback wrestler.  He reminds me so much of a late 1980’s/early 1990’s-era WWE wrestler that it’s crazy.  But, like Rhodes, he’s been built poorly and weakly, and his face turn is imminent thanks to his movie career.  Besides, it looks like David Hart Smith is going to be the throwback wrestler for now.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley – When was the last time you heard that name?  Years, I think.  Anyway, HHH is stuck in DX mode and probably will be until Dibiase turns face and Legacy breaks up.  Does anyone else think we’ve had face HHH for too long?  I think this may have been the longest stretch in which he’s been of one consistent alignment in his entire career.  He’s been a face for about three and a half years.  It may be time for a change.  That would be a great change and a huge shift on Raw.  I wouldn’t mind seeing the Cerebral Assassin return.  Let Santino handle the comedy, and go back to beating people with a sledgehammer.

Okay, that went on far longer than I was expecting.  So I’ll probably break this into three seperate posts.  One for each brand.  And I’ve also come up with a (what I believe to be) fun and funny concept: a WWE drinking game.  I’m sure people have come up with their own, but I want to come up with a comprehensive drinking game that will guarantee you’re sloshed within 20 minutes.  This coming from a guy who doesn’t drink.  Should be fun.  See you later with the Smackdown and ECW roster, and Breaking Point picks later this week.

As we step into the post-Jeff Hardy WWE, one can only think that Smackdown is only going to struggle to find a replacement for him.  Mysterio’s departure due to violating the Substance Abuse policy is only temporary, and he’ll be back in a month, but Hardy is gone for a while.  He wants to do some other projects, including a reality show, and that’s fine.  But it’s going to hurt WWE as a product as a whole.  Not necessarily in terms of merchandising, as Hardy’s swag will likely sell in droves whether or not he’s competing.  And with a new Jeff Hardy DVD about to arrive on the shelves, the Jeff Hardy cash cow will continue to produce its sweet golden milk for a while longer.  But the fans who go to house shows and TV tapings will be losing out big time.  Now is when Smackdown and WWE needs a truly talented man to enter the fray, make his presence felt, and take the reigns as the #1 face on Smackdown.  Can anyone fill that void?  Well, sure, but he just won the Intercontinental Championship on Friday.

I really hope that John Morrison gets to keep the IC Title more than a week.  He worked his ass off to win it off of Mysterio on Smackdown.  Here’s a question for you to think about: when was the last time the Intercontinental Championship was given this much time to allow two supremely talented individuals show their craft?  When was the last time an IC Title match went through two commercial breaks?  I can’t honestly remember it ever happening.  Of course, my memory isn’t that great, and I’m pretty sure I’m getting sick again, so if you can remember another time when the IC Title was given this much prestige, feel free to correct me.  Anyway, this match gets my vote for match of the week and probably the Smackdown match of the year so far.  It could even challenge Taker/HBK at WM25 for match of the year, but that’s a longshot at best.  Anyway, John Morrison once again proved that he should be in the main event right now with a commanding performance, working so well with Rey Mysterio.  Though Mysterio can make just about anybody look great, this was the definition of a back and forth match.  Neither man looked stronger than the other at the end of the match.  It was just one single mistake that separated a Mysterio win from a Morrison win.  And that’s how it should have been in this case.  Keep Mysterio booked well for his return next month so he can pick right up where he left off.  And this win only boosts Morrison’s stock even more.  Once Punk is through feuding with Taker, I’ll bet Morrison’s next.

But this title change brings up some questions.  What does this mean for Dolph Ziggler?  He was pretty well poised to win the IC Title off Mysterio at Breaking Point.  What’s going to happen now that Morrison is champion?  Are they going to keep the belt on Morrison, or are they going to go through with their obvious plans and hand the title to Ziggler anyway?  I would think that after the match on Smackdown, they should keep the belt on Morrison for the forseeable future.  I kind of feel bad for Ziggler, who’s improved tremendously in the few months since he moved to Smackdown from the basement on Raw.  He’s had ample opportunities (and ample reasons) to win the IC Title, but things just seem to keep getting in the way.  Now, with Morrison as champion, what happens?  We know that Taker/Punk is going to last a couple of months, so does Morrison keep the belt he worked for 25 minutes Friday night to earn, or does Ziggler waltz in and take the title anyway?  I hope they keep the belt on Morrison just to solidify his legitimacy as a top-flight contender on Smackdown.  He needs some legitimacy before he takes on Punk for the title.  It’s at the expense of Ziggler, but maybe he’ll win in a few months.

I think that that match, as well as the ECW Title match, will be the matches I’m most looking forward to at Breaking Point.  We finally get the ECW Title match we were robbed of at Summerslam, and a title change is nearly imminent.  Regal as ECW Champ would change the landscape of ECW for a long time to come.  I said he’d be champ soon, and it looks like I’m getting my wish.

Now, on the other side of things, WWE has almost come to terms on a deal with another ROH stalwart.  Last week, they signed Bryan Danielson in what I have to say is a coup.  Danielson can step in right away, probably on ECW, and take on Regal once Regal wins the ECW Title, or he can head to Smackdown and take on all comers.  And this week, we find out that Nigel McGuinness is close to signing with WWE.  These two men have held the ROH World Championship for a combined 1,007 days.  That’s over a third of ROH’s existence.  Nigel has proven that he can hang with the best, and he can pull off some amazing stuff.  With a deal close to being done, he can finally get the medical treatment he’s needed for some time, and he can come back as a true force.  Someone on Wrestleview mentioned that he’s probably the most WWE-ready wrestler signed in a while, and I’d agree with that.  He just needs time for his arms to heal and then he’s ready to go.  Hell, if you put McGuinness and Danielson on the same brand, you’ve got one hell of a pairing.  If they both head to ECW, it may very well become THE show to watch.  I can’t wait for these two guys to get onto WWE TV and (hopefully) work their craft the way they’ve been doing for so many years in ROH.

Well, that’s about all I’ve got for this edition.  I’ll be back next time with a rundown of Breaking Point and my picks, and if I’m feeling frisky, a Top 5 or two.  Until then, keep on reading.