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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.

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