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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!

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