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Monthly Archives: October 2009

Originally, I was planning to call this episode of Rantables “The Elephant in the Room,” but after some thought, I think the current title is more appropriate.

I abstained from talking about the Jeff Hardy situation because everybody else was talking about it.  And most people had the same opinions on the subject.  Initially, I agreed with them, going so far as to believe that he would never work in wrestling again.  But then I thought about what exactly he was charged with, and realized that it’s all just drug charges.  If you haven’t read Peter McWilliams’ book, Ain’t Nobody’s Business if You Do, I’m telling you to go read it.  You don’t even have to buy it; it’s online for free viewing at this website:

http://www.mcwilliams.com/books/books/aint/toc.htm

If you don’t want to read the entire book (though I highly suggest you do) but do want to understand my point, just skip to the chapter on drugs in Part III.  I bet your outlook on these crimes will change after you read this.  Anyway, why am I getting all weird and preachy?  Because Jeff Hardy’s crimes were consentual and victimless.  He’s the only person partaking in this, and unless he has another personality who is forcing him to take these, he knows the risks of said drugs and is willing to risk the side-effects in order to enjoy what he gets when he takes a vicodin (some time without physical pain).

All of this is a prelude to the newest elephant turd in the punchbowl, known to many as Hulk Hogan signing a deal with TNA.  Now, I’ll tell you straight up that I don’t give two shits about TNA in the first place.  I find their booking pathetic and confusing, many of their main eventers to be washed up old geezers wanting to relive their glory days from 15-20 years ago, and I think that holding down those who have actual talent and can be the future of this business just to appease some fourtysomethings to be reprehensible.  Now, you take the ultimate liver of the past, Hulk Hogan, and you give him wads of cash so he can stink up the joint?  Wow.  If he ever steps inside the ring to wrestle a match, I would bet that the death of TNA would follow soon after.  Why?  It’s simple.  If you’re taking however many minutes every week of your two hours on television and dedicating it to a guy in his fifties whose in-ring talent disappeared ten years ago and who can barely move on account of the rampant steroid overuse back in the 1980’s, you’re taking that time away from both the people who CAN still wrestle AND you’re taking time away from the fans, who could be enjoying themselves with a match featuring guys trying to be the present and future of the industry.  If you give Hogan a ten minute match with anyone (and it’s more than likely going to be one of the other older guys), you’re telling every young guy backstage that it doesn’t matter how many dues you pay, how many bones you break, how much blood you shed, because Hogan will always be more important than you.  Yes, he pretty well single-handedly brought wrestling into the mainstream back in the mid 1980’s, and without him, there probably wouldn’t be a TNA.  Well, there might, but it sure as hell wouldn’t have a national television deal.  But the guy is over the hill.  He might be good in a commissioner-type role, with limited television time.  But if he’s onscreen for more than a few minutes every week, he’s wasting our time and the time of guys like Sabin and Shelley, Jay Lethal, Christopher Daniels, AJ Styles, Frankie Kazarian, James Storm, Eric Young, and all the guys who should be leading TNA into a new decade.  Instead, you’ve got Hogan, Angle, Foley, Sting, Scott Steiner, and Kevin Nash ruling the company and cutting out everybody’s on-screen time.  Oh, right, and Eric Bischoff too.  Great.  If Hogan wrestles in TNA, I would bet you that TNA goes under within a year.  They have to play this very carefully.  It could give them a huge bonus in the ratings, or it could end them.

One thing I’m really curious about is if some of the younger guys feel like jumping ship, knowing that their screen time will be cut short every week.  I’m betting Nigel McGuinness (I refuse to call him by his ridiculous new name) is kicking himself for signing with TNA right about now.  And I’m betting Bryan Danielson is glad he waited for a WWE contract.  I’m curious if any of the guys whose contracts are expiring are planning not to resign specifically because Hogan’s now with TNA.  I wonder how many people will get cut just to cover Hogan’s salary.  I’d bet that quite a few of the less important guys will get cut.  Guys like Trevor Murdoch…or Jethro something, whatever his TNA stage name is.  Hell, WWE resigned Lance Cade.  Maybe they can resign Murdoch and put them back together.  I thought they were a great team, and they might be able to bolster the WWE tag team division, which is preparing for a major blow to what’s left of its ranks come Survivor Series.

Speaking of, Survivor Series’ main events are set, and I couldn’t be more bored with them.  Cena vs. HHH vs. HBK?  Snore.  Taker vs. Show vs. Jericho?  Meh.  All these matches are going to do is split up DX and JeriShow.  And you’ve got to believe that Legacy is not long for this world.  With those three teams done for, what’s left for the tag division?  Let’s see…you’ve got Cryme Tyme, the only tag team in WWE that’s been together for more than six months.  You’ve got the Hart Dynasty, probably the strongest tag team in the company that doesn’t look as though it’s splitting up any time soon.  And you’ve kind of got MVP/WSM and Kozlov and Jackson, but MVP/WSM is just kind of a strange conglomeration that happened and isn’t a real tag team.  And Jackson and Kozlov are just lackeys for Regal, who needs an ECW Championship run more than anything else.  So bringing back Cade and Murdoch would definitely help the near-dead tag team division.

On an entirely different note, I’m glad to see WWE FINALLY took my advice and moved Matt Striker to Smackdown while Jim Ross is out.  He had another fantastic show tonight on Smackdown.  And his replacement on ECW, Byron Saxton, did very well on his first night on national television.  Yes, there were several very large gaps of silence, but he’ll get the timing down soon.  He’s very intelligent and he knows what he’s talking about.  He’ll only get better as the weeks go by.  As will the new ECW ring announcer.  People were really down on her those first couple of weeks.  But wouldn’t you be scared shitless if you had to do these announcements in front of 15,000+ people?  I bet you would be.  And she’s putting a little personality behind the entrances now, unlike her first couple of weeks.  She’s getting better.  She’s already screwing up less than Lillian, so that’s something.  I’d also like to congratulate Christian and Yoshi Tatsu on a fantastic main event on ECW.  You guys pulled out all the stops, and Tatsu proved any doubters wrong.  He’ll be a champion someday, probably within the next year or so.  Tyler Reks, on the other hand…not so much.  Ditto Eric Escobar (though I do love saying his last name and drawing it out to ridiculous lengths…try it, it’s fun!), and I am bored already of Drew McIntyre.  His voice sounds like a 12-year-old chain smoker.  That isn’t charismatic.  Oh, how I long for the days of the manager and his stable!  I’d also like to thank Cryme Tyme, Mickie James, Layla, Michelle McCool, and Natalya for completely wasting my time.  I would actually like to thank Beth Phoenix for giving us probably the best women’s match of the year in her squash match.  I can’t remember the last time we had a female jobber on WWE programming.  She did really well in getting the crap kicked out of her by Beth.  Though I would bet that it might have been edited.  Who knows.

And as far as Survivor Series goes, besides the two championship matches, I’ll bet there’s going to be a Kofi vs. Orton match and a Batista vs. Rey match.  Speaking of Batista, did anyone else think that nearly all of his promo with Rey was shot in a studio with a black background using low shots to give us the illusion that he was at the show?  It sure looked that way.  And I’m still hoping for a Miz vs. Morrison elimination match.  We’ll see how it develops.

Okay, that’s enough of my jabbering for a while.  Time to go back and see how the progress on the patch for Champions Online is going.  They’ve got a free weekend going on, and I would have been playing it all day today, if the patch wasn’t still going.  I started it at around noon.  It’s been 11 hours and it hasn’t finished!  Cryptic Studios really bungled this up.  My three days of free playing time have dwindled to less than two.  Thanks, guys.  And with that, I bid you all a good evening.

So Bragging Rights has come and gone, as has Raw.  And we’ve received a dearth of new developments in the crazy-go-nuts world that is the WWE.  Let’s go through Bragging Rights results first, since that happened prior to Raw (obviously).

The Miz defeated John Morrison in a Champion vs. Champion Bragging Rights Match – Raw up 1-0

I honestly believed that Morrison would continue his enormous run and steamroll his former tag team pertner.  But apparently Creative had other ideas.  I know Miz has this huge potential upside.  But potential doesn’t win championships.  He’ll be good someday, but Morrison will be better sooner.  I’m a little puzzled as to why they gave Miz the victory.  Probably simply so he can brag about being the only successful Raw superstar on the entire show.  Something pointless like that.  And thanks to this (and the next match), I’m immediately 0 and 2 for picks.  On the plus side, it was a fun match and I wish for more bouts between these two.  I’d love to see a Miz/Morrison elimination match at Survivor Series.

Michelle McCool, Beth Phoenix, and Natalya defeated Melina, Gail Kim, and Kelly Kelly in a Bragging Rights Six Diva Tag Team Match – Teams tied 1-1

It was inevitable.  Whichever brand won the Miz-Morrison match would lose the Divas match.  Though, to be fair, the winners of this match were much more logical than the winners of the previous match.  Beth Phoenix and Natalya are far too good overall to lose to a team that includes Kelly Kelly.  Not that Kelly’s a bad wrestler.  She’s just the weakest actual wrestler out of all six ladies involved in this match.  Melina and Gail did their best, but Beth was ridiculously powerful and crushed them all.  And we’ve got some nice tension between the three Smackdown ladies, so we’ve got some Women’s Championship matches already in the works I’m sure.  I’d love to see Beth vs. Michelle, or Natalya vs. Michelle for some revenge, and I’d really love to see Beth vs. Natalya.  There’s an IWC women’s dream match right there.

The Undertaker defeated CM Punk, Rey Mysterio, and Batista in a Fatal Four Way Match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship

This is one of the worst types of matches you can get: a huge PPV main event for a championship that’s merely a vehicle for another feud that’s about to start.  Of course, the match itself was pretty standard fare.  It feels like most matches involving Taker these days are very by-the-numbers and stale.  His match with Punk at Hell in a Cell was a waste of time, and their submission match last Friday night was basically a carbon copy of their Breaking Point match except for the ref getting knocked out and no screwjob taking place.  This match was no different.  It seems like all of Taker’s matches these days go no more than ten minutes.  I would at least expect a Fatal Four Way to go a bit longer, since you’ve got other guys who can take the lead in the match.  Just toss Taker on the floor and let him sit out four or five minutes at a time, then have him clean house, hit a Tombstone on somebody, and win.  Simple and it still satisfies the fans.  I realize he’s getting up there in age and probably won’t work past Wrestlemania next year, but at least give the fans more than ten minutes of these four guys.

(Sidebar: I’ve been thinking about what I said last time about a storyline of Vince actively trying to screw Taker at Wrestlemania and ruin the perfect record, and it dawned on me today: I’m betting that the main event of Wrestlemania 26 will be Undertaker vs. Vince McMahon in a No Holds Barred Match.  This is even more likely thanks to the main event of Bragging Rights)

Anyway, Punk got his rematch on Friday, so he’s probably out of the title picture for a while.  And the big story coming out of the show was Batista’s heel turn, beating the crap out of Rey Mysterio after the match.  Batista has been needing a change for a while.  He’s gotten awfully stale.  A monster heel Batista will be a lot more fun than a gentle giant face Batista, that’s for sure.  And Rey brings out the best in Dave.  They had a match last year (I think), and it was the most entertaining match I’ve ever seen Batista in.  So Rey will be a perfect way to bring Batista back to the dark side.  I’m looking forward to their ensuing feud.

Team Smackdown (Chris Jericho, Kane, Finlay, R-Truth, Matt Hardy, David Hart Smith, and Tyson Kidd) defeated Team Raw (HHH, Shawn Michaels, The Big Show, Mark Henry, Hack Swagger, and Kofi Kingston) to win the Bragging Rights Cup for One Year

Vince and Creative made the absolute right call in changing up Team Smackdown just prior to the PPV.  Finlay, Truth, Hardy, and the Hart Dynasty showed why they should have been on the show all along.  There were also moments where I was wishing we could see several one-on-one matches between certain competitors.  Here, I’ll list some for you now: Finlay vs. HBK, R-Truth vs. Kofi Kingston, and Matt Hardy vs. HBK.  I just like the idea of these matches, especially the Finlay match.  I know those two have never faced off in a singles match, and I bet Finlay would have an awful lot of fun beating up Michaels.  I’d also bet that the Truth/Kofi match would be full of insanity.  Anyway, the match was basically your standard giant tag team match, full of double-teams, chains of finishers, and mega-brawls.  But I did not see the Big Show Betrayal coming.  I did, however, like it that it solidified Jericho and Show as the team of 2008.  Well, at least until Monday night…but still, it showed that Show didn’t actually care about Raw.  He cared more about himself over everything else.  I like that.  It shows independence from a man who’s been beaten down and humiliated far too often (including Monday night, but I’ll get to that a little later).  Anyway, Chris Jericho gets the pin and we’ll never, EEEEEEEVER hear the end of it.  Especially since it appears he’ll be clutching that Bragging Rights trophy until next year’s Bragging Rights show.  I wonder if he kisses his wife as much as he kisses that trophy…

And I’m 2 for 4 in picks.  I also correctly predicted that Team Smackdown would win Bragging Rights, so I’m taking that as a victory as well, though it wasn’t technically a pick for a match, so I’m not including it in the pick results (was that enough of a run-on-sentence for you?).

John Cena defeated Randy Orton in a 60 Minute Anything Goes Iron Man Match to win the WWE Championship

When the Undertaker fought Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 25, I was entirely without doubt that it would be called Match of the Year.  Now, I have my doubts.  These two had an absolutely epic encounter.  You would have to believe that anyone having a one hour match would pretty well have to bring the goods and have a damned good match, and these two delivered in spades.  They had a great opening 10-15 minutes, with both getting a decision and an absolutely awesome double pin.  I wonder why more people don’t counter the FU with a facebuster (I refuse to call the FU by its ridiculous new name; it will always be the FU to me).  Anyway, Orton had a very long control segment where he basically destroyed Cena three or four times, including that near-hit spot with the pyrotechnics.  I would imagine that that last explosion was very, very loud for the fans (I should know: the pyro at The Bash was absurdly loud).  But, as always, Cena came back and had a surprisingly long control segment of his own that included an awesome FU through the announce table.  It was a side of Cena we’ve never seen before.  It was like his performance at Breaking Point, but on crack.  He went about as crazy as Orton usually is in daily life.  And Orton…he looked about as crazy as Kurt Angle looks on every TNA show.  It was scary.  My only problem with the match was the ending.  When I saw Orton rearing back for the punt with over a minute left, I knew Cena was going to counter and win the match.  And lo and behold, my prediction came true.  Though I was rooting for Orton to hold on those last few seconds.  But, as usual, Orton proved that he’s a huge pussy and tapped out with four seconds left.  It’s okay, though, because I prefer having Cena as The Champ over Orton.  At least now Raw has a champion who’s not afraid to fight anybody and doesn’t need two lackeys to make sure he never loses his title.

For the IWC, this also likely means no Cena/Taker at Wrestlemania 26.  I’m sure many people are disappointed that this isn’t going to happen.  I’m honestly okay with it.  I don’t think either man needs the win over the other.  Cena doesn’t need to beat anybody to make sure his legacy is intact, and Taker doesn’t need another win, ever, barring WM26.  I’m hoping Taker has a great match against whomever he faces, be it a heel Batista or Vince McMahon himself.

Overall, a pretty good show with an amazing main event.  If you didn’t get to see the show, but want to see what I’m talking about, I’d recommend at least renting the DVD to watch the Iron Man Match.

I just remembered another moment in the match I didn’t enjoy.  When Cena got his head cracked open, either from the monitor or the microphone, he got busted open legitimately, and Vince immediately sent trainers out to fix the situation.  Now, I know that you’re going for a PG rating, Vince, and apparently there are very strict rules about athletes bleeding in the state of Pennsylvania, but if you’re having what essentially comes out to an Extreme Rules Iron Man Match, somebody’s got to bleed.  You don’t normally see guys getting hit over the head with a monitor and NOT bleed.  So Vince had medics run in between one of the falls and glue his head shut.  It didn’t last terribly long, and Cena had to continually wipe the trickle of blood off of his head.  I wish he (Vince) would have just let it go, and paid whatever fines the Pennsylvania State Athletics Commission would have enforced upon him.

Okay, on to Raw.  The first really important thing we got was a huge victory for Kofi Kingston over Chris Jericho.  That was the first step in his movement up the card, which was enhanced even further by his actions later in the show.  Orton tossed him off the entrance ramp after Kofi’s win, so Kofi got some revenge by destroying the stock car that Rhodes and Dibiase bought and customized especially for Orton (NOTE: when Orton was staring rather lovingly at his airbrushed picture on the hood of his car, I kept saying that he’s the new Narcissist.  But unlike Lex Luger, Orton actually has talent).  I have to say, that segment pushed Kofi about a dozen spots higher on the Raw roster.  He showed genuine emotion, and he became a person instead of a caricature.  I’m really hoping they expand more upon the facade he played on the world for nearly two years: the fake accent, the wrong birthplace, everything.  If he continues on this road, he can become a complete and total badass, and I would really like that character change for him.  I hope he gets some new music and new ring attire to match this personality change.  And with a feud with Randy Orton imminent, he’ll only rise higher and higher on the Raw roster.  I think he’s almost ready for a main event push.  He just needs to show he’s more than the flippy-do guy who’s always cheerful.  He needs to show some more character development and he needs to show he’s got the wrestling chops to go with the big dogs on Raw, but once that’s done, he’ll be in line for a World Title shot.  He’s already on his way to proving the latter with a great match against Jericho.  I’m sure once he goes a few matches with Orton, we’ll see if he’s ready for a big push.

Let’s see…we had a mixed tag match with Santino, which is always a bonus for everyone.  But, unfortunately, the entire match was a lead-in for a segment with Hornswoggle getting a ceast and desist letter from DX for wearing their merchandise while on TV without giving them royalties or some such nonsense.  Which, of course, led to the end of the night, but that’s later on.  I still think Santino should get another title run and somehow actually manage to break a record for the longest-reigning whichever champion he ends up being.

We had a fun little promo with Cena and Legacy, and a fun little match between Legacy and MVP/WSM.  I really like MVP and Henry as a team.  I just wish it wouldn’t detract from their singles careers, which right now are in the gutter.  That needs to be fixed very soon.

Evan Bourne won a match for the first time in far too long.  Unfortunately, it was a count-out win, but a victory is a victory and I really hope it puts him in line for a US Title shot sometime after Miz has had his time to shine.  I’m betting there’ll be a multi-man match for the US Title featuring Miz, Bourne, Swagger, and somebody else.  Santino, perhaps?

Then we get the Raw debut of Sheamus.  He got called up to the big leagues awfully quickly.  Too quickly, I think.  He was on ECW for not even four months.  That’s hardly enough time for a guy to develop enough experience on national television.  Look at Swagger.  He barely entered ECW before they put the ECW Title on him, and that reign was a disaster.  Then he gets moved to Raw earlier this year, and he’s still being needlessly pushed.  Sheamus isn’t even that good in the ring or on the mic.  He just has an awesome entrance theme.  I fear he may cause some serious damage to the other wrestlers.  I hope he didn’t hurt Jamie Noble severely during their match tonight.  It wasn’t pretty.  Sheamus certainly benefits from the editing treatment.  He should have stayed on ECW.

And then we basically get the crucifiction of the Big Show.  We get it: he screwed his brand over.  But did he deserve the treatment he received just for a stupid trophy that, we all know, doesn’t really mean a damn thing?  I mean come on!  Everybody gets to crush him in the corner, then he gets hit by four or five finishers, and basically is disowned by Raw.  All while Jericho snuck away right at the beginning with the Bragging Rights trophy.  I will admit that Jericho’s facial expression while he was running away was absolutely hilarious and priceless.  He’s becoming a real favorite of mine specifically because of his facial expressions.  He’s making me believe what he says just by how he looks.  Not many people can do that in any acting profession, let alone WWE.  Anyway, the match was all just another feed-in for the guest hosts (some NASCAR guys they didn’t promote until the beginning of the show) to make the main event for Survivor Series: a Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship between John Cena and DX!

Wow…To quote the Miz, “Really?  Really?”  You basically kick Randy Orton out of the WWE Title picture for the forseeable future, and who do you replace him with?  MORE VETS?  Jesus Harold Christ on rubber crutches, Creative, GIVE US SOME NEW FACES IN THE MAIN EVENT SCENE!  I am sick and goddamned tired of seeing the same three guys wrestling for the WWE Title.  I’m pretty sure that there has been some variation of Orton, Cena, and HHH going for the title for the past year.  At least give us SOMEBODY new to the main event scene.  Elevate someone already!  Move Mark Henry and MVP up to the main event.  Put THEM in a title match with Cena.  THAT I would pay money for.  Not as much money as WWE charges for a PPV…or a DVD…but I’d pay money for it!  I would absolutely mark out for a Cena/Henry face vs. face match.  I would cream in my pants for a Cena/heel MVP match.  Put new people in the main event!  I don’t care about this match at all!  I was hoping for DX vs. Jericho and Show at Survivor Series.  If there’s one team that actually stands a chance to take the titles away from Jericho and Show, it’s DX.  But no, you’re giving us the same old shit yet again.  When will Creative step out on a limb and give somebody new a chance to shine?  Probably not until both HBK and HHH retire.  Sigh.

Oh, right, and we’re getting Taker/Show at some point, probably Survivor Series.  Yay.  Wait…no…what’s the word I was thinking of?  Oh, that’s right…meh.  Survivor Series is already looking weak and boring.  The undercard better be damned good!

Okay, that’s nearly 3,000 words I’ve written tonight.  I think that’s plenty for now.  I’ll be back sometime with new topics, new developments, and my oen personal brand of crazy, angry ranting that apparently you still enjoy reading.  So, until next time, keep reading and I’ll keep writing.

Well, there have been some new developments in the Nigel McGuinness case.  I’m speaking as though it’s a trial, but it really shouldn’t deserve this much interest.  WWE says that Nigel failed a prescreening procedure.  Supposedly, WWE decided not to sign Nigel after they found out about his torn biceps and concussions he suffered while working in ROH.  Nigel is continuing to say that WWE was slow in getting an offer to him, and that he had a clean bill of health according to two doctors.  What really went on I’m sure we (the public) will never truly know.  I still think that both parties are going to lose out overall.  WWE is losing a tremendous talent, and Nigel is going to end up losing a ton of money and health benefits by not signing with the larger company.  But he doesn’t have to work as many days per year, and he’s getting national television exposure as opposed to a limited market that ROH’s TV deal had.  Plus, he’s starting his TNA career by beating the crap out of Kurt Angle, and that’s always a plus in my book.

Next, a quick update on Jim Ross.  If you haven’t heard, he won’t be calling Bragging Rights on Sunday.  And there is no timeline for his return.  This leaves a huge hole on Smackdown.  I thought that JR and Todd Grisham were beginning to gel very well as a team.  Now, with JR gone for the forseeable future, what does WWE do?  The one thing I hope they don’t do is keep bringing Cole and Lawler onto Smackdown.  There’s a reason you split the brands in the first place, Vince.  It was to give each show its own personality, its own flavor.  By putting the Raw announcers on Smackdown, you’re giving Raw an unfair advantage, at least as far as Bragging Rights is concerned.  I’m really, really hoping that Vince does the smart thing and puts Matt Striker on the Smackdown team for the duration, as he’s by far the most competent and entertaining announcer on any brand (besides JR, of course).  And with Striker, you wouldn’t have to have Cole and Lawler have to work two TV tapings every week.  Striker’s already at the Smackdown tapings.  Why not have him do both ECW and Smackdown?  It’s a great setup.  And besides, Striker and Grisham worked together for a while on ECW.  They had great chemistry.  It’s a perfect fit.  The only other smart decision Vince could make in regards to this is to bring back JBL to work Smackdown with Grisham.  That would truly be glorious.  I’m sure many IWC stalwarts would agree with me that that might be the most entertaining duo since JBL and Cole.  But knowing Vince’s hatred of ECW, he’ll make Striker wallow on Tuesday nights and probably put a three-man team together for the PPV.  It’ll likely be Cole, Lawler, and Grisham, and that’s it.  Which is a shame, since I think that Striker or JBL could provide untold amounts of awesome into that mix.  But we’ll have to wait until Sunday to find out.

And speaking of which, it’s time for Bragging Rights picks!

Raw vs. Smackdown Six Divas Match – Melina (c), Gail Kim, and Kelly Kelly vs. Michelle McCool (c), Beth Phoenix, and Natalya

Honestly, these are about the best possible teams from each brand you could have made.  The Raw Divas are all very talented and fun to watch, and the Smackdown Divas are excellent workers.  I’m not expecting much out of it, though, as it is a women’s match (no offense to any women reading this).  Vince doesn’t give them a chance to really shine.  Anyway, you’ve got to figure that the final Raw vs. Smackdown tally will be 2 to 1 in somebody’s favor.  Picking who wins will not be terribly easy, especially with the changes to Team Smackdown last night.  I’m going to say that the Raw Divas get the victory and give Team Raw a leg up on the competition.

Champion vs. Champion – John Morrison vs. The Miz

I’ve really been wanting to see this match ever since these two split up six months ago.  Both of these guys have been built really strongly the past couple of months, and it makes picking this match very difficult.  I’ll admit I completely marked out when Marty Jannetty ran down to the ring to face Miz last Monday night, but I knew he wasn’t going to win.  Still, it was nice to see him back.  I don’t expect him to wrestle again, though.  Anyway, I would love to see a long-term feud between these two guys, as I believe they both have the goods to have a long program.  I wonder if they have a great match tomorrow if they will, in fact, get a real feud on down the line somewhere.  Anyway, since I picked the Raw Divas to win their match, I kind of have to go with John Morrison to win this match.  I think he has more momentum and more potential.  He’s a main event star waiting to happen, and this win could boost him up to the upper echelon of Smackdown.  Miz will be a great mid-carder for a while, and could very well move up to the main event, but I think he needs a bit more polish than Morrison does before moving up the ladder.  Though Morrison’s finisher still needs work, as it’s far too unpredictable.  But now I’m getting into a different argument altogether.  Time to stay on track.

Raw vs. Smackdown Bragging Rights 14 Man Tag Team Match – Team Raw (HHH, Shawn Michaels, Cody Rhodes, Mark Henry, The Big Show, Hack Swagger, and Kofi Kingston) vs. Team Smackdown (Chris Jericho, Kane, Matt Hardy, R-Truth, Finlay, Tyson Kidd, and David Hart Smith)

There are reports that, upon seeing the two teams facing off on Raw this past Monday night, Vince McMahon thought Team Smackdown looked weaker.  I think I speak for everybody else when I say, “A-DUUUUUH!”  Cryme Tyme was fine, Ziggler was great, but putting two rookies on the team made Smackdown’s chances pretty well nil.  Drew McIntyre and Eric Escobar are nowhere near ready for the spotlight to be placed on them, Escobar in particular.  These two need a minimum of six months before they’re even considered to be on a PPV show.  And I’m certainly not the person to consult about fitness, but Escobar looks awfully out-of-shape for a guy who’s getting as big of a push as he’s receiving, what with having Vickie Guerrero as his valet/manager/plaything/what have you.  Anyway, with this new team, Smackdown actually has a chance.  What did seem odd was during the celebration that followed the match, Kidd and Smith were awfully chummy with the rest of the guys.  Is this a possible face turn for the guys, or were their endorphins just still flowing with the knowledge that they’ll finally get onto a PPV?  Either way, Team Smackdown is now filled with talented vets who deserve a PPV slot a hell of a lot more than rookies like Escobar and McIntyre.  Though I still think that MVP should have gotten a spot on Team Raw over Swagger.  I swear, the Hornswoggle curse just destroys careers left and right.  Anyway, this should be concentrated chaos at its best, with DX taking on JeriKane (oh, yeah, I went and said it), Henry and Show doing what they do best, and some great team moves from the Hart Dynasty.  I’d love to see Kofi and R-Truth go at it in a battle of flippy-do styles.  So who wins?  That’s a tough call.  Both teams have guys who can really benefit from a big win like this, and both teams have a legitimate chance to win.  I think it all boils down to the veterans.  Smackdown has five, Raw has four.  I’m betting either Rhodes, Swagger, or Kingston will end up costing Raw the victory somehow.  So I’m going to say that Team Smackdown wins and takes home the Bragging Rights.

And then we’ve got our two championship matches.  (Side note: I’m still unhappy that ECW doesn’t even get a title match for the second straight PPV show.  These guys are your future.  Why are you denying them a chance to see what it feels like to go live?)

World Heavyweight Championship Fatal Four Way Match – The Undertaker (c) vs. CM Punk vs. Batista vs. Rey Mysterio

The seeds for a Batista heel turn were planted last week on Smackdown.  Not last night, mind you, but in his match with Mysterio.  He looks like he’s over it, but I’m betting he isn’t.  I don’t expect him to turn on Sunday, but I’m betting it’ll happen.

I’d also like to take the time to write about what I think are going to be the plans for Undertaker leading up to Wrestlemania.  I have this strange feeling that Vince McMahon’s TV character is going to want to try to prevent Taker from winning at Wrestlemania 26.  It just feels like the next five months are going to be Vince trying to destroy Taker, then put him in a match in Arizona against somebody where the odds seem entirely insurmountable.  This whole screwjob angle, and the return match last night all scream that Vince is up to something dastardly.  I really hope that Taker bucks the odds and manages to foil McMahon’s likely plans anyway, because if Taker loses at Wrestlemania, I’ll stop watching WWE programming altogether.  (I’d also like to mention that I’ve trolled the Wrestleview forums, and some people are talking about Taker’s match at Wrestlemania 26 in Arizona and how he’s returning to Death Valley.  Please, do your homework; Death Valley is in Southern California, not Arizona.  Don’t be an idiot.)

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, how do I pick this match?  If Punk wins, it’s as though Taker’s title reign never happened.  Note to Vince McMahon and WWE Creative: Just because you have a PPV every three weeks doesn’t mean you HAVE to have a title change every show.  You should have title matches every PPV, just don’t have them change hands every time.  It tarnishes what little reputation the titles have left if anyone can walk in and win the title three weeks after somebody else just won it.  It makes all of your champions look weak.  Okay, sorry about that mini-rant.  It just needs to be said.  Anyway, you can basically cut Mysterio out of the World Title picture entirely.  He just returned from a drug suspension not a month ago, and now he’s in a World Title match?  It doesn’t make any sense.  Anyway, he’ll probably be fodder for Punk.  And I can’t honestly believe that Batista will ever hold a title again.  He’s far too injury-prone to hold a title for very long.  His forst World Title reign will likely be his most prestigous and strongest.  So it comes down to Taker and Punk.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they kept this feud going all the way to WM 26.  They can play off of each other quite well.  Actually, now that I think about it, none of these four really need another World Title reign.  We need some new faces in the main event scene, on both Raw and Smackdown.  Just for the sake of picking someone, I’ll say The Undertaker retains his title, and lives to fight another day.

WWE Championship “Anything Goes” Iron Man Match – Randy Orton (c) vs. John Cena

Cena’s already said goodbye to Raw.  So this match feels like a formality at best.  This is terribly unfortunate for one big reason: if Cena does, in fact, end up losing, then I would feel like the entire point of this epic match was moot.  We’re basically having an hour of our lives wasted on a result that was quite obvious well before the match even took place.  And if Cena somehow manages to win, what does Orton do?  It’s been stated that if Cena wins, Orton won’t get another title shot as long as Cena is the champion, so if Cena holds the title for more than a month, is Orton going to move?  I don’t know.  I wish WWE’s writing wasn’t so chaotic and weird all the time.  What they really should have done was have Cena beat HHH last Monday so it looks like he’s still got a strong chance to pull off the victory against Orton on Sunday instead of having him lose and look like he’s never coming back to Raw.  It makes the entire Iron Man Match seem pointless.  Why not just have Cena move straight to Smackdown and partake in the World Title match?  I don’t like the booking here, obviously.  Anyway, I’ll go with logic here and say Randy Orton wins and retains his title.  Unless Dibiase comes out and decides to go ahead and forget what he did last Monday night.  Yeesh.  Even if this is a great match, it all feels so pointless.  I’m not sure I can watch it.  Well, I probably will, but unless it’s REALLY good, I likely won’t enjoy it much.  Which is a shame.  I still think they should have saved this match for Survivor Series.

And there you have it.  Picks for Bragging Rights.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go check my mail.  Besides, I’ve written over 2,200 words so far.  I think it’s high time I stop writing.  I’ll be back in a couple of days with Bragging Rights results and other various items, I’m sure.  See you then!

Is that enough topics for one column?  I’m sure it’s plenty.

First off, I didn’t yet watch Bound for Glory.  But I did acquire it, so at some point I’ll get around to actually watching it.  I’ll give results off of Wrestleview, since I read them before I even acquired the show.

X Division Title Ultimate X Match – Amazing Red defeats Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, Suicide, Homicide, and Daniels to retain the X Division Championship

Apparently there was a family emergency regarding Elijah Burke, so he wasn’t able to compete.  But they got one hell of a team to take his place.  I’ve seen a few Motor City Machineguns matches, and they’re one of the most fluid tag teams I’ve ever seen.  They’ve got an incredible number of double team moves, and they’re ridiculously athletic.  Why they’re constantly buried is beyond me.  Anyway, I also heard that Daniels took a pretty serious bump, but he’s okay, so that’s definitely a good thing for TNA.  I would imagine this was a spotfest, like most X Division matches are, and it’ll probably be fun to watch.  But Red manages to retain over some very impressive competition.  Props to him.

Taylor Wilde and Sarita defeat The Beautiful People to retain the Knockouts Tag Team Championship

All I can say on this is that I’m 2 for 2 in picks so far.

Eric Young defeats Kevin Nash and Hernandez to become the NEW Legends Champion

While I can’t quite say that EY has achieved “Legend” status quite yet, he’s actually won some gold, and I say great.  He deserves it after that whole ridiculous Super Eric gimmick.  And they took the title off Nash, which is a huge plus in my book.  Unfortunately, I lost out on that pick, so I’m 2 for 3.

The British Invasion wins the TNA Tag Team Championship and Team 3D wins the IWGP Tag Team Championships in Full Metal Mayhem

While I didn’t necessarily get either of these picks exactly correct, I did predict that the Brits would win something, so I’m kind of taking that as a win.  On the other hand, 3D gets the IWGP titles back.  Seeing as how I’m sure Japan would like their titles back, it would only make sense for the guys who won it initially to give it back.  So 3D wins them back.  Again, probably a good spot-fest, but I’ll be the judge of that when and if I get around to watching the show.

ODB defeats Awesome Kong and Tara to retain the Knockouts Championship

Don’t really have anything to say besides I missed another pick.  That’s three straight matches I’m wrong.

Bobby Lashley defeats Samoa Joe

Now this I probably should have expected.  TNA is probably hedging their bets on a guy who’s not only mostly unproven, but wants to double dip in MMA as well, which could get him seriously hurt if he’s not careful.  Or he faces someone who actually provides a challenge.  Anyway, Joe falls further down the ranks as usual, and suddenly I’m 2 for 6 in picks.

Abyss defeats Mick Foley

Will this be the return of The Monster?  I don’t really know.  But I’ll be interested to read the spoilers to find out.  Also, apparently Daffney suffered a broken arm during the barbed wire plank spot near the end of the match.  It’s too bad.  She was my favorite Knockout.

Kurt Angle defeats Matt Morgan

I’m betting TNA reads my blog, then decides to go the opposite way of my picks.  Either that, or they’re making stupid decisions.  Whatever.  2 for 8.

AJ Styles defeats Sting to retain the TNA Heavyweight Championship

No real surprise here.  Sting’s ready to retire.

Overall, I went 3 for 9 in picks.  Just goes to show you how well I know how TNA booking goes.  Maybe I was thinking too positively and I should pick the way TNA writers pick.  That is, IF I do TNA picks again.  It seems like an awful lot of work for absolutely no payoff.

Anyway, on to more important things.  First off, Nigel McGuinness has signed with TNA.  The story goes that WWE was slow in getting a contract to him, so he signs with TNA.  While I know it’s foolish to believe any story that comes out of the wrestling world, if this has any shred of truth, Nigel is screwing himself.  TNA has no interest in pushing him or anyone else who isn’t an old fart.  The best he can hope for is a lower mid-card feud or possibly joining the British Invasion.  He’ll be making far less money, and though he won’t have to work as many days per year, he also won’t get nearly as much exposure as he would had he waited for a WWE contract to surface.  This is also a big loss for WWE as I would have bet on an awesome program between Nigel and William Regal.  And with this development, one has to wonder about Bryan Danielson.  Is he going to stick it out and actually sign with WWE, or is he going to follow suit and sign with TNA and receive a ridiculous new name (Nigel’s new name is Desmond Wolf…really?).  I hope Danielson actually signs with WWE.  Then HE can have the feud with Regal.  And the IWC can cream its pants.

Next, it appears that Booker T won’t be resigned with TNA when his contract expires in November.  People are saying it has a lot to do with his unwillingness to job to younger talent.  And he’s also saying that he wants to go back to WWE, and that they’re considering signing him.  I have one word for WWE: NO! If you have any decency, just let the guy retire.  There’s no need to resign a guy in his mid-40s who’s unwilling to job to younger talent.  Booker is solely in the business for the money now, and giving him boatloads of it just so he can help himself just teaches him that because he’s a veteran, he can get whatever he wants.  Booker doesn’t need more money or title reigns.  His legacy is already cemented.  He just needs to retire already.

Next, I finally found out that the reason JR wasn’t at the last Smackdown tapings was because he had a Bell’s palsy attack.  He’s also going to be missing this week’s Smackdown show.  I really hope that he’ll be okay following this latest attack.  He really is the greatest announcer of all time, and losing him would be a huge loss for Smackdown.  I also must discuss last week’s announce team of Michael Cole and Todd Grisham.  You do not have two play-by-play guys announce a show.  It gets VERY old, VERY quickly.  Plus, I feel like Grisham is like Cole Jr.  They have many of the same mannerisms and they often have huge gaps of silence.  Josh Matthews is also guilty of this, but he has Matt Striker to cover him up.  What I don’t get is why isn’t Striker filling in for JR?  Striker is, BY FAR, the best color commentator employed by WWE right now (if you exclude JR’s conversion from play-by-play to a pseudo-color commentator), and he’s worked with Grisham before on ECW.  They were a great pair back then, and Striker would bring a much more informed broadcasting ability than either Cole or Lawler.  If I were Matt Striker, I would probably be a little incensed that Cole and Lawler are going to Smackdown to fill in for JR.  You know what should happen if JR has to retire?  Bring back JBL.  Having him berate Grisham on a weekly basis would make my Fridays just a little bit brighter.  I wish JR all the best and I hope he recovers swiftly.

Now, for the matter of John Cena.  With the way that they’ve been treating the buildup to his match with Randy Orton this Sunday, it almost feels like the match is a formality.  With the announcers hammering into our skulls that “THIS COULD BE CENA’S LAST MATCH EVER ON RAW!” every 15 seconds during Raw last night, followed by a loss to HHH (gee, what a surprise…), and his subsequent actions in the ring, I’m finding it really difficult to believe Cena has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the Iron Man match on Sunday.  If he’d beaten HHH, it would be much more difficult to figure out what’s going to happen.  But with the loss, it’s as though they don’t neven need a match.  Cena’s leaving Raw, and that’s it.  He’ll go to Smackdown for sure.  But a small part of me really wants to see him on ECW.  I don’t know why.  Anyway, it feels like their match at Bragging Rights just turned into the most predictable match of the century, and now I’m not looking forward to it as much.

Speaking of Raw, Snoop Dogg was a decent guest host.  But you could have put anybody else in his place and had the exact same show.  Ted Dibiase proved that, yes, you can have more turns in a month than Eric Young.  Randy Orton continues to be the weakest WWE Champion of all time.  Swagger continues to receive a push he doesn’t deserve.  Marty Jannetty makes a completely random appearance and gets his skull crushed by The Miz.  And we got a preview of the 7 on 7 match at Bragging Rights.

ECW…Yoshi Tatsu is getting an ECW Title match next Tuesday.  He and Zack Ryder had what I would consider a very good match to start the show, which was actually a little surprising considering Tatsu’s been kind of hit-and-miss so far since his debut earlier this year.  But he’s probably the most talented guy out of the New Superstar Initiative, and the most over guy of the bunch as well.  Should be an interesting match with Christian next week.  Which only goes to show you that, once again, we’re NOT getting an ECW Title match at a PPV.  Come on, guys, it’s been nearly two months since we’ve had an ECW Title match on a PPV!  I know Vince hates the show, but at least throw the fans a bone once in a while.

We also got Chris Jericho scouting the ECW locker room, trying to replace Cryme Tyme with (probably) Jackson and Kozlov.  Or probably some other heel team on Smackdown.  Say…the Hart Dynasty?  And, just to show that there can be great matches on ECW, we got a Christian/Jericho match, which was awesome.  And Christian got the pinfally victory, which to me was a huge win.  It might mean that once Christian drops the ECW Title, he may actually get a chance to move on to bigger and better things.  Perhaps a reunion with Edge?

Okay, I’m done speculating.  I’m also done looking at this blinding white screen.  I’ll be back later in the week with picks for Bragging Rights, and if any news breaks regarding any other prominent wrestlers, you can bet that I’ll have an opinion on it.  Until next time.

I stated a while back that I was going to start doing picks for TNA PPV shows just for fun, seeing as how I don’t watch the product on account of it’s an embarassing mess of a television show and a wrestling company.  I quite simply forgot to do picks for the past few shows because, well, it doesn’t really matter.  But this is their signature PPV, and I figure why the hell not actually go ahead and do picks.  So here you go.  Remember, these are not to be taken with much seriosity in mind.

Knockouts Tag Team Championship – Taylor Wilde & Sarita (c’s) vs. The Beautiful People

Whoa, TNA has a women’s tag division?  How long have I not been paying attention to them?  Oh, right…anyway, the worst thing about this match is that it isn’t the competitors who are making the headlines, but rather the antics of one Lacy von Erich.  I’m not going to get into details, since I don’t know them, but suffice to say that she’s kind of a bitch backstage, probably because she thinks her name automatically gives her more credibility than other people.  Which I hope isn’t really the case, because it doesn’t matter who your parents were, if you aren’t talented, nobody wants you around.  Prove that you’re worthy of the legacy of the von Erich family and maybe somebody will take you seriously.  For now, let’s just say that Wilde and Sarita retain, simply because I know nothing of the other competitors.

Knockouts Championship Triple Threat – ODB (c) vs. Awesome Kong vs. Tara

ODB scares me.  Kong scares me.  Tara scares me, but in a slightly better way.  When in doubt, go with who scares you most.  And in this case, it’s Kong.  Awesome Kong wins and becomes a 57 time Knockout champion.  Or however many times she’s won it.  I don’t keep track of these things.

X Division Championship Ultimate X Match – Amazing Red (c) vs. Suicide vs. D’Angelo Dinero vs. Daniels vs. Homicide

I’ve always wondered what would happen in a Suidice vs. Homicide match…anyway, Red probably has the best chance of bringing a little prestige back to the X Division, despite the utterly pathetic way he won the title.  I actually watched a few minutes of Impact a couple of weeks ago, and saw Red’s match with Samoa Joe.  Whomever does the booking in TNA should be shot.  You can’t think of a legitimate way to have Amazing Red win the title off of Samoa Joe?  Really?  Come on, this is wrestling, where anything should be possible, but thanks to piss-poor booking, most things never even get a chance to happen.  So we get clusterfucks like their match.  Whatever.  Elijah Burke…I mean D’angelo Dinero hasn’t improved at all since he left WWE, so he’s out.  Daniels is probably still going to get punished for that DUI he received (I may not watch TNA, but I still read the news stories), and Suicide and Homicide are probably going to cancel each other out, leaving one man left.  Amazing Red retains the X Division title and maybe, just maybe, injects some energy into this flailing division.

TNA & IWGP Tag Team Championships Full Metal Mayhem Match – Booker T & Scott Steiner (c’s) vs. The British Invasion (c’s) vs. Team 3D vs. Beer Money

I have no idea what Full Metal Mayhem means, but it sounds kind of violent.  I think this is a two-fall match or a ladder match or something, so whichever team gets whichever belts is the championship team.  I have no idea, really.  Booker and Steiner need to just retire.  Their best years are far behind them.  3D is probably going that way soon as well.  That leaves the other two teams.  People have been raving about Beer Money for quite some time now, so they’ll probably win something, and The British Invasion has a gladiator, so they have to win something.  I think the Brits are the IWGP champs, so let’s say they retain their titles, and Beer Money wins the TNA tag titles.  Why not?

Legends Championship Triple Threat – Kevin Nash (c) vs. Eric Young vs. Hernandez

I believe I also saw Nash’s match a couple of weeks ago against whomever it was.  He, of all people, needs to retire most of all.  He can’t move around in the ring AT ALL.  It’s kind of embarassing to put a title on a guy who can’t even do a proper Irish Whip.  But this is TNA, where nothing makes sense and every old guy wins!  EY and Hernandez will cancel each other out, and Nash will retain, because neither Young or Hernandez will ever get a fair shake in TNA, ever.

Monster’s Ball Match – Abyss vs. Mick Foley

I’ve said from the first time I saw Abyss that he was a Mick Foley ripoff.  This was a couple of years ago, mind you.  I still didn’t watch TNA, but what little of it I DID see, I realized this.  Not to take anything away from Abyss, as he’s got the hardcore balls to do some crazy shit.  Not quite Mick Foley deathmatch crazy, but crazy nonetheless.  Foley, on the other hand, is too old to be really good anymore.  He really shouldn’t be doing any hardcore matches at this point in his career, as he could suffer severe injuries that could actually cripple him.  Abyss is still (relatively speaking) young, so his poor body can withstand a few more hardcore matches.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Foley win simply so he can have one more win on his resume.

Submission Match – Samoa Joe vs. Bobby Lashley

Lashley was one of my favorite WWE wrestlers back in 2006-2007.  Then he never really improved beyond that point, and never really learned to sell properly.  Then he leaves WWE, says he wants to start an MMA career a la Brock Lesnar, has a couple of fights, then moves to TNA but says he wants to continue his MMA career concurrently.  Too much on your plate, sir.  Pick a career path and follow it.  If you want to try to tread the thin line between wrestling and MMA, you can sure try.  But nobody’s going to like or respect you.  Wrestling fans will hate you because you’re risking your health in MMA, and MMA fans will hate you because you’re participating in a fake sport.  It’s a no-win situation.  Oh, right, the match.  Lashley has no submission holds I know of, so Samoa Joe wins by default.

Kurt Angle vs. Matt Morgan

Angle needs to disappear, and Morgan has never shown me anything the least bit impressive (what little of his matches I’ve seen).  So this match means nothing to me.  I’ll say Morgan wins, simply because I think the TNA brass thinks he’s the future of the company.  Which I’m sure is what Vince McMahon thought of him four years ago.  Whoops.

TNA World Heavyweight Championship – AJ Styles (c) vs. Sting

All the IWC bitching and moaning finally got through to TNA, and they made Styles their champion after years of embarassing skits and gimmicks.  I know why he deserves the title.  I’ve watched a few of his matches, and he is really phenomenal.  But this title reign feels strangely like that of Christian’s current ECW Title reign.  It’s almost as though the major champion of the brand isn’t the main focus of the show.  It’s strange, really.  You would think that the guy holding the most important piece of hardware on TV would be higher in profile, but it just doesn’t seem that way.  Still, Styles is a very deserving champion, and I for one am glad he took it away from Kurt Angle back whenever that was.  Anyway, I’m betting 2010 is the year of retirement, and Sting will be one of those guys.  He doesn’t need another title reign, just like I said that the Undertaker didn’t need another title reign.  But apparently WWE brass didn’t hear me.  I’m betting most other people will agree with me that Sting doesn’t need any more big wins in his career.  He’s done enough.  AJ Styles retains his title and moves on to bigger and better things.

Well, there you have it.  My first ever TNA picks.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this not-entirely-taken-seriously post.  I may do them more often if you liked it.  And you’re getting another picks column next week with Bragging Rights.  Or, as some people are calling it, Team Raw vs. Team Who?  I’ll see you when I see you.

First, I’d like to issue a fond farewell to Captain Lou Albano, who passed away recently.  You entertained me during my youth as Mario on the Super Mario Bros. Super Show, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Now, on to today’s topic.  Let it be known that the best ideas always come after the moment has passed.  The same evening I wrote column #50, I thought up this idea.  It would have provided a nice celebration for having written 50 of these.  You know how everybody and their mother has, at some point, thought about their “dream card?”  Where you take all of your favorite wrestlers and put them together in one enormous supershow dedicated entirely to your enjoyment?  We’ve all made them.  Well, I thought, why not turn that idea on its ear and make your Nightmare Card, where every match is an abomination and a travesty in your eyes.  I think it’s a fun idea, especially to see who other people have deemed unworthy of a career in wrestling.  So, without further ado, here is my Nightmare Card!

(A quick note about this card: for the purposes of creating this card, I am vacating any championships I feel need to be vacated, and there are no brand restrictions, so as to create maximum disappointment.)

Opening bout – Rosa Mendes vs. Brie Bella vs. Nikki Bella for the Women’s Championship

Everyone knows that Rosa is gawd-awful in the ring, and the Bellas have no charisma to speak of whatsoever.  So this is a lose-lose for pretty much everybody who watches it.  I will say now that most of these matches will have to be fairly lengthy, since there aren’t too many matches.  So this will go on for a good 10-12 minutes of agonizing botches and ugly missed spots, ending with probably another botched finisher (much like Melina’s Divas title win over Jillian on Raw) and having Rosa Mendes win the now entirely worthless Women’s Championship.  What a way to start a show.

And to further the torture of the fans…

Layla vs. Jillian Hall for the Diva’s Championship

I know that basically nobody watches WWE programming to watch women compete in bouts of athleticism and whimsy.  They go for the T&A.  So why not give them the opposite of that?  Layla has improved in the ring, but she’s still about as entertaining as a week old bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup, and Jillian…well, I don’t really have to explain my reasoning here, do I?  Anyway, because this is my Nightmare Card, where the least deserving people win, I’m putting Layla over to become the entirely pointless Diva’s Champion.

Believe me, it actually gets worse from here.

Sheamus vs. Batista

This is your absolutely perfect example of what I’m betting Vince McMahon wishes his company could be like.  Two bodybuilders fighting each other in tiny underwear, not entertaining a goddamn person outside of him.  But he doesn’t care, because he owns the company, and only his opinion matters.  Anyway, these two guys do have one thing in common: they both have excellent music.  Actually, they have one other thing in common: they’re both terrible in the ring.  It’ll be an ugly-fest to watch these two.  And, because it’s my nightmare, Batista buries yet another younger competitor.

Now for the world title matches…

ECW Championship – Chavo Guerrero vs. Hornswoggle

In WWE’s version of Eric Young vs. Robert Roode, it’s “THE FEUD THAT WILL NOT DIE!”  Except this time, a title is on the line.  And not the Cruiserweight Title.  Oh, no, my friends.  The two least extreme competitors in WWE are facing each other for the ECW Championship.  While I realize that Chave is a former ECW Champion, it only bears a quick mention as he’s obviously not going to win it back.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Hornswoggle wins to become the NEW ECW Champion.  Good lord.

There will then be a 15 minute ceremony to retire the Unified Tag Team Championships, thereby banishing tag team wrestling from WWE forever.

World Heavyweight Championship Fatal Four Way – Mike Knox vs. Carlito vs. Ezekiel Jackson vs. Tyler Reks

ARGH!  My eyes!  They’re burning!  What an awful collection of “talent” we’ve got assembled here, folks.  A fat guy, a weeping willow, a roided-up freak, and a no-talent airhead.  Knox’s appearance has caused many people to write him off as a talent, and they’re all correct.  He hasn’t improved in the ring in months, and he honestly should have been fired after the whole steroid debacle a couple of years back that more than likely caused him to look like an out-of-shape lumberjack.  Carlito hasn’t improved in years, and his hair has turned from springy and fun into what I can only describe as a weeping willow.  He hasn’t entertained a soul in about three years, and doesn’t deserve any titles, let alone a contract with anyone.  Ezekiel…if you need any explanation as to why he doesn’t deserve a title of any kind, you’re an idiot.  But if you want proof, watch his match with Goldust from ECW this past Tuesday night, and you’ll understand.  And Reks…he’s had the most lukewarm start to his career since Scotty Goldman and Braden Walker, only he’s less talented inside the ring.  Yeah.  So, expect a 15 or so minute suckfest with the least deserving man winning.  That’s right: Ezekiel Jackson wins the World Heavyweight Championship and proceeds to embarass the company with his total lack of skill.

And now, the Main Event!

WWE Championship Iron Man Match – The Great Khali vs. Hack Swagger

I had to put my two least favorite guys in the main event, didn’t I?  So there you have it.  Everyone knows why Khali should never enter a wrestling ring for the rest of his life.  And I’ve been railing on Swagger for months now, and nobody seems to listen.  People actually enjoy watching his matches, and that boggles my mind.  Wake up and smell the bullshit!  He’s barely talented in the ring, has no sense of wrestling psychology, and can’t cut a promo without everybody making fun of his speech impediment.  He doesn’t exactly have any charisma, either.  I do hope that more people come around and see the truth.  He really doesn’t deserve to be famous by any means.  But, as stated before, since this is my Nightmare Card, it’s pretty obvious who’s going over here.  Hack Swagger wins the WWE Championship, and I stop watching WWE programming altogether.

And there you have it.  The worst card I can think of right now.  I had thought of the main event a few days ago, but most of the rest was thought up as I wrote.  Though that last sentiment I expressed is entirely true: if Swagger ever wins a world title, I’ll stop watching their programming, because it would show that Creative clearly has their collective head screwed on wrong.  The only thing that could make this show worse was if it was Wrestlemania, and The Undertaker was involved in the main event, and was pinned by Swagger, ending his undefeated streak and forcing him to retire.  I would just boycott WWE for good if that happened.  Hell, I’ll boycott them if Taker ever loses at Wrestlemania.  I’m dead serious.

Okay, that’s it for me.  I’ll be back sometime.  And feel free to create your own Nightmare Card.  I’d enjoy seeing what other people think about when they think of wrestlers they hate.  Until next time!

I was hoping to have a more special topic for my 50th column, but I suppose I’ll have to wait till the 100th.  There are subjects that need to be discussed that are more important than some silly list or whatever that I can write about.  So here’s a list of things that need to be discussed.

First, there’s the matter of Bragging Rights.  There are a few things that are already bothering me about the show, not the least of which is two huge main events that in all likelihood should have been saved for Survivor Series.  You’ve got the Fatal Four Way match for the World Championship (which requires its own paragraph) and the Iron Man match between Cena and Orton.  I’ll discuss those later on, but it bears mentioning that Bragging Rights is a brand new show, not one of the Big Four.  If nothing else, the Iron Man match should have been saved for Survivor Series.  It’s shows like that that need a really big main event, and an Iron Man match is the perfect way to end a show and a feud.  As I talked about a few columns back, gimmick matches need to be used sparingly or the fans will start to think of them as old hat.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they pulled the Iron Man card for the last chapter of Cena/Orton.  I just think they’re using it too soon.  What to do in the interim between Hell in a Cell and an Iron Man match I do not know, but something should have been done to save Iron Man for Survivor Series.  The match is going to be awesome, for sure.  We all know Cena can go an hour.  Just refer back to his match with Shawn Michaels on Raw back in April of 2007.  They fought each other for almost an hour, and managed to work about for different matches during the course.  It wasn’t an Iron Man match, but it certainly elevated my opinion of both men.  Iron Man matches usually do the same.  I’m expecting a phenominal match out of these two, and if they fail to impress me, who knows what may happen.

Now, as far as the World Title is concerned, I have one major issue with this.  What have Batista and Rey Mysterio done to deserve a title shot?  All Batista has done is return from his latest injury, and Rey just returned from a drug violation.  Double standard much?  You get plenty of other guys who get suspended for drug violations or are out with an injury for months, and they don’t immediately get world title matches.  Why do they get it?  They lost their match at Hell in a Cell.  If that constitutes a world title shot, then Cryme Tyme, MVP, and Mark Henry should have all received title shots.  I honestly believe that the latter two DO deserve world title shots, but they’ll probably never get them.  It’s a shame.  Mark Henry as WWE Champion would be a real sight.  Anyway, I’m siding with CM Punk on this one.  He should get a one-on-one match with the Undertaker at Bragging Rights, and if you want a multi-man match, save it for Survivor Series and make someone EARN their spot in the main event.

Now, on to some good news.  As predicted weeks ago, we’re getting Miz vs. Morrison at Bragging Rights.  I don’t understand why Kofi won at Hell in a Cell only to lose the next night, but then again I’ll probably never truly understand the mind of a WWE writer.  Anyway, this is a definite match I’ve been wanting since they split up the best tag team of the 21st century, and now that they’re both champions, now is the perfect time to see how far they’ve progressed.  They’re both doing extremely well as singles competitors right now, both booked strong.  This is going to be the match I look forward to most at the PPV.

I was going to discuss the 7 vs. 7 tag match which is taking place at Bragging Rights, but we only know half of the competitors, so I’ll wait until the lineups are set.  I will say, however, that I am disappointed that both MVP and Evan Bourne were excluded from the Raw team in favor of Kofi and Swagger.

And I might as well talk a little about Raw.  There was apparently a Divas trade that happened.  There’s the big move with Melina going back to Raw and immediately winning the Divas Championship from Jillian, who had won it just prior from Mickie James.  I hate to bash Mickie, but she’s been pretty subpar in the ring as of late, and Melina has been much more consistent.  Aside from Beth Phoenix, nobody on Raw was ready or able to hold any titles, so they brought in someone else.  Which is okay, I suppose.  But it really shows the lack of talent all three brands when you have to shift the women around just so you can have a halfway decent match between just two of them.  And now there’s nobody for Melina to feud with, because Beth is on Smackdown now.  I would have supported that move, except Mickie is also on Smackdown, and the only other person Raw got was Eve.  Now, I like Eve.  She’s probably progressed the most out of the current crop of new ladies.  But she was a perfect fit with Cryme Tyme, and they and the Hart Dynasty were having a fairly good long-running feud going on.  What’s going to happen to them now that Eve is gone?  Are they adopting a new female to their ranks, or is this feud going to fall by the wayside like so very many before it?

Wait, I’m wrong.  I forgot that the Bella Twins are moving to Raw, and Rosa Mendes is off to ECW, where she will languish in obscurity and eventually get future endeavored.  Anyway, this trade…I’m not sure what to think of it overall yet.  I suppose I’ll have to watch to see how the new lineups gel, if they do at all.

Now, on to the big developments.  It appears that the seeds of destruction have been sown for two tag teams in one evening.  Jericho and Big Show look to be breaking up soon thanks to HHH, and Legacy is hanging together by a thread, which probably will get cut at Bragging Rights.  The tag champs aren’t going to be around as long as I’d expected/hoped they would be.  God knows who’s going to take the reigns as the tag division leaders once they’re split.  There isn’t really a viable tag team outside of DX, and having them as tag champs would make it impossible for me to believe that anyone will ever win those titles again.  I’m not expecting a Jericho vs. Show feud anytime soon, but they’ll probably go their seperate ways once they lose the titles, and Jericho can have a placeholder feud until Edge returns next year and they can have awesome matches forever.

Legacy…lots of people have been expecting their split for a while now, ever since they found out that Ted Dibiase was going to star in The Marine 2.  And with the release date of that closing in, now is the time to turn Ted face.  He lost to Cody Rhodes in a Bragging Rights qualifying match, and later in the evening, he pinned Randy Orton.  So yeah, his face turn is pretty secured.  It’s only a matter of time before he turns for real.  I don’t think he’s ready for a singles career, but if he’s going to be a big movie star, he’s going to be going it alone in the ring for a while, I’m betting.  He may have to move somewhere else to get the exposure he needs.  Perhaps a move to Smackdown and a feud with CM Punk?

Part of me wants to see this cycle broken and have Legacy remain together and not have Dibiase promoting his movie during wrestling time.  Let him to press junkets and whatever, but don’t waste TV time promoting a movie that’s going directly to DVD.  They did that with Kennedy and Behind Enemy Lines 3, and look what it got them.

Last thing for now: this whole shift of big names from Raw to Smackdown makes me think just one thing – that WWE is really stinging from the loss of one Jeff Hardy.  There are reports that his merchandise remains a top seller even though he isn’t working for them anymore, and his name has enough sway to convince people whether or not to attend their TV tapings and house shows.  First they move Batista to Smackdown, and nobody really cares (by nobody, I’m really just talking about myself), and I’m betting Cena’s moving too.  When your poster boy moves brands, something must be missing on the brand he’s moving to.  The point of all this is that Cena will likely fill the seats that Hardy fans are leaving empty.  Now what does this mean for Raw?  The last draft was set up to purposefully make Raw the strongest show, but with Cena gone, Raw’s going to have a huge hole in its main event.  Who’s going to fill it?  My hope is they give it to someone who hasn’t been in the main event yet.  Just so long as his last name doesn’t rhyme with “bagger.”  Maybe if it rhymes with “mortar.”

Anyway, that’s all for me for now.  I hope you’ve enjoyed my first 50 columns, because there are going to be plenty more coming your way.  See you all later.

I’ll say it now: I went 4 and 3 in my picks.  Unfortunately, a couple of my losses were very bitter and stupid decisions by Creative.  Prepare for a lambasting.

Before I get to the results, I just want to mention quickly my feelings on the theme song for the night.  Or, rather, the band who provided the song.  What the fuck kind of a band name is Skillet?  Did you just think that naming yourself after a kitchen appliance was a good idea?  It’s almost as stupid of a name as Nickelback, and just as stupid as Korn.  Seriously, can’t you try to be original?  I think I’ll start a band and name it Dave.  Nobody in the band is going to be named Dave.  It’s just because I’m unoriginal and can’t think of a band name because my music is too bland.  Yeesh…

Okay, on with the show.

The Undertaker defeats CM Punk to win the World Heavyweight Championship

There are so many problems with this match that I don’t think I can list them all without either starting to cry or smash my monitor to bits.  So I’ll focus on a couple of things that bothered me the most.  First, why was this match first?  I can see the reasoning behind spreading out the Hell in a Cell matches.  Put them at various points in the night so people don’t get sick of it.  If you put all three together, people are going to get bored of the cage.  Isn’t it great how people are?  Anyway, that I understand.  But I don’t understand why a Cell match had to start the night.  They could have had any of the other title matches start the night, THEN go to a cell match.  Also, with a potential feud the caliber of Punk/Taker, putting them on as the curtain-jerker match is kind of insulting to both men.  Punk has been main eventing PPVs for some time now.  Why put him at the bottom of the card now?  Have they suddenly decided he’s not worth pushing anymore?  He seems to be just getting started.  And putting Taker in the opening match seems like they’re mixing up their priorities.

The second, and far worse problem with this match was that it was pathetic.  I watched it last night (I watched the rest of the show this morning), and unless I missed something important, these two had one of the most generic 10 minute matches I’ve ever seen.  I think a key to having a great match is to make it a unique encounter between the two competitors.  Each wrestler has their own moveset, their own personality.  So it stands to reason that a good match would be something that no other pairing of wrestlers would be able to pull off.  There’s a reason that different people have different personas and movesets.  It’s to create the illusion that the matches on a card are going to all be different and unique.  This match felt like you could have stuck any two people inside the cage and they could have had the exact same match.  It was absolutely bland and pointless.  There were absolutely no redeeming features whatsoever throughout the entire match, and it felt like a rush job at best.  Probably the worst opening bout on a WWE PPV I’ve witnessed since I started watching again back in early 2006.  And Taker won.  He didn’t need to win.  He doesn’t need another title reign.  Unless Vince is planning to have him keep it until Wrestlemania next year and have him lose, breaking his undefeated streak.  I swear to you now, if the Undertaker loses at Wrestlemania, I will boycott WWE forever.  It would be a colosally stupid decision to have him lose then.  If he loses, then nobody will ever have a fair shake at true immortality.  And if anyone deserves immortality, it’s the Undertaker.  What a god-awful way to start off this show.

John Morrison defeats Dolph Ziggler to retain the Intercontinental Championship

THIS is how the PPV should have started.  I cannot believe that they gave Punk/Taker 10 minutes and these guys 15.  Not that Morrison and Ziggles deserved less time.  These two had a fantastic bout, with Ziggles controlling the main portion of the match, and great chemistry and psychology between the two.  Morrison is beginning to grow stronger as a face, which I initially thought was a terrible idea.  But I like it that he’s getting favorable crowd reactions, and he’s getting better at the face comeback segment every time he’s in the ring.  I think his heart is still wanting to be a heel, since he’s so much better at it, but if he has to take on a different role to get ahead in the company, so be it.  He deserves it.  And Ziggles deserves another few shots at the title, which, based on this match, I know they’ll have the confidence in him to win it.  But Morrison needs to legitimize his title reign before Ziggles can take it away.  On the other hand, we’ve seen how Creative can yank away a title reign before it’s gotten a chance to even think about starting to become believable.  Just check back in a few matches later to see what I mean.

Mickie James defeats Alicia Fox to retain the Divas Championship

As usual, about as good of a match as you could expect out of these two.  Alicia is not ready for the spotlight to be on her yet.  She’s still green.  But she’s also still young, and has lots of opportunities to hone her skills.  She’s got the talent.  She just needs to realize it and act on it.  Mickie was her usual self, which is to say she was awesome as usual.  5 minutes and she wins with a rather ugly looking DDT.  Not much else to say there.

Chris Jericho and the Big Show defeat Batista and Rey Mysterio to retain the Unified Tag Team Championship

If I had to pick a match of the night, it would have to be this one.  I went in completely unwavering that Jericho and Show would win, and was honestly quite surprised to see myself doubt…myself so often during this match.  Batista and Rey have great chemistry as a team, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get another title opportunity down the line.  The match itself was a great show, with Rey showing he hasn’t lost a step after his suspension, selling his ass off to Show, who I must say has some of his best spots with Mysterio.  Things like picking Mysterio up with one hand and pulling him from the floor outside the ring all the way inside the ring in one fell swoop make me mark out like crazy.  I’ll even give Batista some credit.  He stood up to Show a lot better than I thought he was going to do.  But in the end, logic wins out, and Show floors Rey with his rather weak-looking Knockout Punch.  I swear, it doesn’t even look like he’s swinging his arm.  He just kind of puts it in the way of his opponent and they run into it and magically fall over, unconscious.  Nevertheless, a great match.  I might actually want to see them go again once or twice.

Randy Orton defeats John Cena to win the WWE Championship

While this certainly was a lot better than the taker/Punk match, it still had a ridiculous win and a title change.  Seriously, guys, if Cena wins the title only to lose it three weeks later, he didn’t really win the title.  I have gotten so goddamned sick of these three week title reigns that I wish someone would ban them from Creative’s mindset.  It’s a stupid waste of time to have someone win a title, then lose it less than a month later.  Look at Edge.  He had, what, five title changes in the first half of 2009 before getting hurt?  What’s the point of that?  It just makes him look incredibly weak and inconsistent.  And I don’t care how they try to play this off in the storyline.  Orton says he gave up at Breaking Point so he could win at Hell in a Cell?  Well why not just win at Breaking Point and not have to win your title back three weeks later?  It’s a flawed idea that has got to stop.  And you’re destroying the prestige of the WWE Championship (what’s left of it, anyway) by having so many title changes.  It shows that nobody is a strong enough competitor to hold on to the title for very long.  Which means (to me, anyway) that the competition in WWE has diminished drastically in the past couple of years.  Remember Cena’s year long title reign?  That is how a title run should go.  Not this three weeks and you’re out bullshit that’s gone on all year.

I have an idea for an end-of-the-year column.  I’m going to go through the archives and list every title run for the major titles this year, and complain about how the average title reign is probably (I’m speculating here) under two months and how that’s not enough time to solidify a name as a champion.  But that’s two months away.  Back to the PPV.

The match itself was decent enough, but the important points have already been discussed.

Drew McIntyre defeats R-Truth in a pointless bonus match

Let’s save the debuts of people for television.  Especially those who aren’t as good as the announcers say they are.  Okay?

Kofi Kingston defeats The Miz and Hack Swagger to retain the United States Championship

This was probably the sleeper match of the night.  For the first time in my memory, there was not one point in this match where one guy was out on the floor and the other two had a singles match inside the ring.  All three guys were involved during the entire match, which (I think) is how a Triple Threat match should be.  Kofi was his usual bouncy self, Miz was what he continues to say he is, and Swagger was…the usual.  A somewhat typical, but at the same time atypical, match that did all the right things.  I really should have picked Kofi to retain.  He’s never going to lose in a multi-man match.

DX defeats Legacy

The concept of this match was great.  The execution was very good.  But it was sadly still very predictable, which kind of ruined the match for me.  I wasn’t expecting Legacy to do what they did, locking themselves inside the cell with Michaels alone.  But as soon as they did that, I knew what was going to happen.  And it happened exactly as I knew it was going to, which tainted the whole match for me.  Which is a shame, because, as I said before, the execution of this whole concept was very strong.  Dibiase and Rhodes turned up their anger and intensity to 11, and beat Shawn mercilessly and maliciously (Sidebar: Michael Cole, STOP SAYING “No absense of malice.”  Just say, “He’s malicious!”  Saying more words to sound smarter doesn’t work when you sound like an idiot).  I’ll give credit where credit is due: Shawn Michaels did sell his ass off tonight.  I’m not a big fan of his work, but at least he can look like he’s in pain when he wants to, which is kind of nice.  But we all knew that once HHH regained consciousness, he was going to go find something to break the chain and save HBK.  Though I must say I thought he might submit like he did at Breaking Point.  But Legacy broke the hold too early, and HHH cut through the chain and saved the day.  From then on in it was your typical beatdown, nothing terribly special.  DX wins, and cements their legacy.  Though I don’t think this match should have ended the show.

Well, if not for the two world title changes, this might have been a halfway decent show.  But because WWE Creative is apparently filled with a bunch of monkeys typing randomly away on keyboards, nobody can seem to make up their mind about anyone or anything.  Let’s hope they don’t fuck up Bryan Danielson or Nigel McGuinness.  Raw might be painful to watch tonight.  I may just watch a few episodes of Dirty Jobs I’ve got saved on my DVR instead.  Let’s hope that Raw isn’t stupid as hell tonight.

Before I get to my picks, I’d like to talk briefly about the 10th anniversary of Smackdown, which was broadcast last night.  First off, I actually like the new theme song and the new intro, while very jump-cut heavy, was a lot better than the one that’s been playing for the past while, ever since the move from the CW network to MyNetwork TV.  I approve very much of it.  Good to see that they’re fixing what needed fixing, at least in the music department.

Batista vs. Kane was actually quite entertaining.  Kane continues to show why he’s one of the most solid workers in the company, and further proof that he should have gotten at least one halfway decent world title reign sometime in his career.  And during the Smackdown flashbacks, there were several clips of Batista with hair, and I must say that just about every guy who shaves his head looks like a creepy serial killer.  Batista looked relatively human with hair.  Same with Orton, and hell, even Dwayne Johnson looked less insane with hair.  These guys need to let their hair grow out a little so they look like people, not aliens.

The backstage segments were decent, some actually kinda funny, but there was honestly too much Michael Cole.  We get it, he’s the company whore, but you don’t need to force him on the screen at every possible moment.  Everyone seems to hate him, so Vince just gives us more of him.  It was nice seeing the Iron Sheik, though.  Wandering around, calling everyone jabronis.  Vintage Sheik!  (See what I did there?)

The Morrison/Kofi vs. Miz/Ziggles match was darn good.  Apparently they’re announcing Kofi from Ghana now, which is his actual birthplace.  But they’re covering their tracks by saying he spent most of his life in Jamaica.  Whatever.  Ziggles gets the pinfall victory over Morrison, which basically guarantees Morrison’s victory on Sunday.

The Women’s Title match was…well, very brief.  I was a little surprised to see all the Lumberjills dressed up instead of in wrestling gear, but maybe it was short notice.  And with the finish, maybe we’ll get a renewal of an old rivalry.  Maybe someone’s moving brands.  Or they’re setting up a match for Bragging Rights in a few weeks.

Oh, man, I almost forgot about the introduction of Eric Escobar, the newest Smackdown signee.  With Vickie Guerrero as his manager.  I thought she was going to spend more time with her family.  Guess she couldn’t resist coming back.  And at least as a manager she won’t have as much face time as she did when she was GM.  Though those were good times.

The 8-man tag was exactly what I was expecting.  They basically worked two tag matches into that one match, with both HBK and Cena getting beat down, and Taker winning the match in the end.  Very formulaic, very by-the-numbers match.  But at least it was fun watching Orton spin around at the end of the match trying to figure out how to escape the ring with all four faces facing him.  He’s good for that.

And if you didn’t catch it, go try to find a clip of The Rock’s video.  WWE put up a version of it on their website, but they edited it down to half its original time and cut out some very entertaining moments.  But that video just goes to prove to you that if Hollywood hadn’t captured him with its siren song, he would still be one of the best talkers in the business today.  He stepped right back into character like he’d never left it.  And he made all the right insults, to Dolph Ziggler and CM Punk.  He even got away with saying “ass” a couple of times, which I wasn’t expecting.  Anyway, that was definitely the highlight of the show, and like I said, if you didn’t see it, then you should.  It was a great throwback promo to the late 1990’s, and it probably gave all the IWC a collective boner to hear it.

And now, it’s time for picks.

Divas Championship Match – Mickie James (c) vs. Alicia Fox

Alicia Fox has certainly progressed well in her short time as an in-ring performer.  She’s leagues ahead of certain other ladies *COUGH*Rosa*HACK*.  But is she ready for a title run?  It’s not as though the Divas Championship actually means anything, but I still don’t think she’s ready to hold a title.  She got a lucky victory over Gail Kim to get this opportunity, but she won’t be so lucky against Mickie.  Should be a short, fun match, with Mickie James retaining her title.

United States Championship Triple Threat Match – Kofi Kingston (c) vs. The Miz vs. Hack Swagger

Swagger continues to disappoint me, so I’ll never pick him to win a match until he learns basic wrestling psychology.  So this boils down to Kofi or Miz.  Kofi’s been a fairly strong champion over the past few months, winning all manner of multi-man matches.  Will this one be any different?  It’s tough to tell, really.  Miz has been booked pretty well, and he’s in line for a title run at some point.  He’s improving in the ring and on the mic, and he’s strong in the mid-card.  Thinking ahead, Creative might just give Miz the win so he could face Morrison in a Champion vs. Champion match at Bragging Rights.  I’ve been waiting for a Miz vs. Morrison match for ages.  So, what the hell, I’ll say The Miz picks up the victory and becomes the NEW US Champion.

And speaking of Morrison…

Intercontinental Championship Match – John Morrison (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler

Mister Ziggles is on a roll.  Which means it’s going to get stopped in its tracks very soon.  Say, Sunday.  Morrison’s barely gotten his feet wet as IC Champion.  He’s due for a much longer title reign than, what, four or five weeks?  We all know Ziggles is going to eventually get the title.  But now would only diminish Morrison’s stock value.  This will probably be an over-the-top match, full of crazy stunts and flippy-do maneuvers.  Which I’ll enjoy thoroughly.  But in the end, the win needs to go to John Morrison, so he can face Miz at Bragging Rights.

Unified Tag Team Championship Match – Chris Jericho and The Big Show (c’s) vs. Batista and Rey Mysterio

Another mashup of singles wrestlers takes on Jericho and Show.  Another is going to fall.  I keep saying it, but nobody seems to be listening.  Until Creative actually pushes a legitimate tag team to take on the champs, Jericho and Show are going to keep the titles.  And just for the record, none of these mashup tag teams will likely be legitimate contenders.  Sure, Batista and Rey have history.  But basically every title Mysterio has won is based off Eddie Guerrero’s death.  They’re just cashing in even more.  This time, I think they’re going to lose.  Jericho and Show retain their titles, and will continue to do so until a tag team that’s built as a tag team comes along to take the titles away from them.  Unfortunately, there are all of, what, four other tag teams in WWE right now?  Somebody needs to step up if anyone’s going to take those titles away from the champs.

Hell in a Cell – DX vs. Legacy

This has to be the final nail in the coffin for one of these groups.  Legacy pulled off a true upset victory at Breaking Point, and I’ll give them a lot of credit for doing so.  They had a very good match with DX.  This makes my job of picking the winner just that much more difficult.  Both teams have a good possibility to win.  DX could win simply because they’re DX, and they sell more merchandise.  Legacy could win because they’re the future of the company.  But then again, when has WWE thought ahead more than a couple of months?  Rhodes and Dibiase are pretty good now, but they’re not ready for the spotlight to shine on them just yet.  DX will sell more shirts and DVDs over the next few months, and more merch means more profit.  So, I’ll say DX gets the victory.

World Heavyweight Championship Hell in a Cell Match – CM Punk (c) vs. The Undertaker

This should be a doozy of a match.  The one really good thing I can say that came out of this whole “2009 Screwjob” storyline is that Scott Armstrong is no longer refereeing matches.  That makes me very happy.  But, on to the matter at hand.  Punk is decidedly going to be the underdog in every feud he gets himself into, and having to face the inventor of Hell in a Cell won’t benefit him any.  On the other hand, Punk’s most recent title reign is still in its infancy, I believe, and losing the title on Sunday will only ruin any chances he’ll have of ever having a strong run as a world champion.  Taker doesn’t need another championship to his name.  He can wait till he retires to win his last title.  So I say CM Punk gets the major upset victory somehow, keeps his title, and angers Taker even more.

WWE Championship Hell in a Cell Match – John Cena (c) vs. Randy Orton

When you talk about demises, none is any greater than that of Randy Orton.  From WWE Champion to scraps.  To be fair, he was booked as a very weak champion, always relying on Rhodes and Dibiase to bail him out when things got hairy.  But now that they’re apprently their own entity (and likely about to split), Orton’s on his own.  And when he’s on his own, he’s the weakest main event wrestler in the company.  Besides, Cena’s title reign has just started.  There’s no way he’s losing the title after three weeks.  It should still be a fun match, but it’s also extremely predictable.  John Cena wins, as per usual, and Orton drops further and further down into the abyss.

Well, there you have it.  Hell in a Cell picks.  I’m quite disappointed that there isn’t an ECW Title match.  I’m wondering if they were going to have Christian vs. Ryder on the card, but pulled it because they didn’t think Ryder was ready for a main event match on a PPV.  Nonetheless, it’s a reprieve for Christian, before he eventually loses the title to William Regal.  Or, at least, that’s what I hope will happen.  I don’t say this because I hate Christian.  I think he’s one of the most deserving men to finally hold a world title, even if it is the ECW Title.  But Regal is also deserving of a title run, and Christian’s had two this year.  Regal will get the title soon.  Count on it.

I’ll be back in a couple of days, once I’ve watched Hell in a Cell.  See you then!