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Monthly Archives: March 2010

Okay, I suppose that it’s high time to make picks for the biggest show of the year.  I’ll also be taking a look back at how each match was formed and I’ll give my thoughts on whether the build was done well or not.  Let’s start.

10 Diva Tag Team Match – Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, Gail Kim, Eve Torres, and Beth Phoenix vs. Michelle McCool, Layla, Maryse, Alicia Fox, and…Vickie Guerrero?

Well, it can’t be worse than last year’s Miss Wrestlemania clusterfuck.  At least, I’m pretty sure it can’t be worse.  You’ve got Mickie James, fresh from surgery for a staph infection, Beth Phoenix, who’s apparently now a face, and Vickie Guerrero.  Oh, lord.  If I were Vickie, I’d never show my face in public again after what happened on Smackdown this past Friday night.  There are not words strong enough to describe what happened during that segment.  If you want to see what happened, I’d just recommend you don’t.  You’ll want to wash your eyes out with lye afterwards.  Anyway, getting back to the build of this match, I guess it’s just a culmination of the various feuds that have been going on over the last few months between all these women.  From what we saw on Smackdown, Beth Phoenix can essentially handle an entire team of divas with little trouble.  But after the humiliation that Vickie took last night, I’m betting that there’s going to be either some weird late addition to this match, which was a weird late addition in and of itself.  And I swear to Jenova, if this match bumps the Unified Tag Team Title match like the Miss Wrestlemania battle royal did last year, I’ll be really pissed.  Bathroom break, anyone?  Since this match has no bearing on any storyline whatsoever, I’ll just say that Vickie’s Team wins.  But this is nothing more than a throwaway match, so I don’t think anyone cares about it.

CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio  – If Mysterio loses, he must join the Straight Edge Society

I do not like how this match was built.  Bringing in a wrestler’s actual family is never a good idea.  It brings in a sense of realism that we’re trying to avoid when we watch wrestling.  I’m not saying that wrestling has to be as cartoony as possible.  I’m just saying that when you have a nine-year-old girl standing in a ring with a 300 pound psychopath like Luke Gallows, it just feels wrong.  That, and I’ve really lost interest in CM Punk.  His work as a heel has been unimpressive.  I kind of wonder if this is the same guy people hated so thoroughly in ROH, or if this is just another watered-down character presentation.  I don’t know, really.  Punk is just really “meh” in my eyes.  Mysterio, on the other hand, is doing his job really well, and seeing that vengeful side of him after his match with Gallows two weeks ago was a nice change of pace.  I would have liked to see a Street Fight between these two, but there are enough stipulation matches already.  So we get this mess of a match.  What I really hope DOESN’T happen is what happened to Christian on his last night in TNA, where he was forced to join the Main Event Mafia and then taken out by the rest of the group.  I pray that doesn’t happen with Mysterio.  What I’m betting DOES happen is Mysterio wins, and Gallows and Punk take him out so Rey can finally take some time off to fix his knee.  So, Rey Mysterio wins, but CM Punk wins in the long run.

Triple Threat Match – Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Ted Dibiase

The match everyone was expecting six months ago is finally here!  And nobody cares.  Well, when I say “nobody,” I really only mean myself.  The implosion of Legacy took far, far, FAR too long for anybody to give a crap about.  It had been teased for, what, about nine months now?  When you get a potential storyline, then don’t act on it until nine months later, it feels like old news.  I really couldn’t care less who wins this match.  I also don’t get how Randy Orton has apparently turned face.  How did that happen?  Was it because he got ambushed by Rhodes and Dibiase several times?  It feels awkward.  And I don’t see any sign of a face in Orton.  He’s just as creepy as he’s always been.  I guess that since Rhodes and Dibiase are unrelenting in their personas, Orton had to change.  I guess that happened too when Orton faced Sheamus at the Royal Rumble.  Orton played the face by default, but he didn’t, really.  Basically, no matter how I look at this match, I can’t get excited at all.  So I’ll just flip my three-headed coin here…Randy Orton wins.  Because if there’s one thing Orton’s great at, it’s not putting over young talent (see: Kofi Kingston).

HHH vs. Sheamus

The old suck-up vs. the new suck-up.  What a coincidence.  I suppose the question to ask is: does heritage trump marriage, or does marriage trump heritage?  HHH is Vince’s son-in-law, but Sheamus is Irish.  Who wins that battle?  I’m betting that this is a no-win situation.  If HHH wins, he puts himself over yet another young talent, and if Sheamus wins, the least deserving WWE Champion in history gets a win at Wrestlemania against one of the most prolific WWE stars in history.  The build itself was decent, and it really helped break DX up for good (hopefully).  While I’m not enthralled at this match…damn, I don’t have a second part to that sentence.  I’m betting this will be about as good as Orton/HHH from last year.  Which is to say, bad.  I’m actually a little bit surprised at how little I care about the undercard this year.  Eh.  I’ll just say HHH wins and the old-timers keep going over the younger guys.

Unified Tag Team Championships – ShowMiz (c’s) vs. John Morrison and R-Truth

MorTruth (as I’m dubbing the challengers) has been pushed so heavily the last month or so that there’s practically no chance in hell of them winning on Sunday.  Ever since his face turn last year, Morrison has been really dull.  It’s like he’s Johnny Nitro again.  He has the skills to succeed, but he’s being used poorly.  His true talent is as a heel, and until he can change back to that, he’ll be stuck in mid-card hell forever (see: MVP).  Truth is finally getting a decent push after wallowing in the murk of the lower mid-card ever since his return to WWE in 2008.  Sure, he had a decent push right at the start, but he’s done nothing since then.  ShowMiz is everywhere, and Miz is apparently one of the major faces of the company.  Color me surprised.  Last year, I thought Miz was on his way out after the breakup of MizMo.  He’s now the only man in my memory to walk down to the ring with three title belts.  Sure, two of them represent one title (still not sure why they didn’t just make one set of belts for the tag titles, but I digress), but when you’ve got a title on each shoulder and one around your waist, you must be doing something right.  And it appears that Big Show will be the tag team division for a while to come.  I still think that Creative could have done a lot more with a Miz vs. Morrison feud, but we never really got that.  We got a match or two, but nothing serious.  This will probably be the end of Miz vs. Morrison.  I can’t honestly see MorTruth going over in an actual match.  All their dominance has occurred as illegal interference.  So, with that said, ShowMiz retains their titles, and Miz can continue walking around with three belts.  Besides, we all know that Miz’s next real challenger will be Daniel Bryan Danielson.  I cannot wait for that feud.

Money in the Bank Ladder Match – Kane vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Evan Bourne vs. MVP vs. Christian vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Jack Swagger vs. Matt Hardy vs. Intercontinental Champion Drew McIntyre

Everyone’s favorite spot-fest is back!  This time, without CM Punk.  But instead, we’re getting a ton of crazy high-flyers, and the spots will be raining down aplenty this year.  When you have Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne, Christian, and Shelton Benjamin in the same match, chaos is a guarantee.  Let’s get the obvious losers out of the way right now.  Kane, Bourne, Benjamin, and Hardy have no chance of winning this match.  Kane’s time as a wrestler is nearing its end, I do believe, as is Matt Hardy’s.  Both of these guys have been working almost nonstop for 15 years, and it’s probably time for them to retire.  Bourne will probably never win any titles in WWE thanks to Vince’s insane bodybuilder fetish.  And let’s be honest here: Benjamin is in here only for the insane stunts he pulls out of his ass every year.  This is HIS event.  He’s never won it, but damn it all, he makes the most of it.  So, with that done, let’s look at the rest of the competition.

Kofi Kingston: despite some setbacks in his losses to Randy Orton last year, Kofi is on a roll.  We’ve all see that he has all the tools necessary to succeed beyond anyone’s expectations, and he’s only getting better.  He’s got a really good chance of winning this thing, I do believe.

MVP: I don’t really think he has a chance to win, but at least he has a better chance of winning than the four names I mentioned earlier.  MVP is another one of those guys who excels at one dynamic, but fails miserably at the other.  MVP is a tremendous heel, but he’s a poor face.  Sure, his story is a great way to promote the product, but it’s to the detriment of his career.  MVP will never win a major title as a face.  His best shot was last year, when he called out Randy Orton.  Since then, he’s been steadily declining.  He has a very slim chance to win, and I’d love to see him win and turn heel again, but that will likely not happen.

Christian: Again, I doubt that Vince will give Christian a world title run.  I think he gave in to the fans by giving Christian the longest ECW Title reign during the WWECW era, but it will probably never happen again.  Christian is still one of my favorites to win, but the outlook is grim right now.

Dolph Ziggler: I’m actually surprised that Ziggler’s here.  I’d figured he was just another warm body to get tossed around.  But he’s really been doing well as of late, and he could benefit tremendously from this match.  He likely won’t win, but this match will definitely impress some people.  I’d look for Ziggler to finally get some gold around his waist after this match, but not world title gold.

Jack Swagger: After it appeared Swagger’s career was circling the drain, he comes back and is in this match.  He’s gotten moderately better in the ring, but that’s more because the matches he’s been in have been very short singles matches or tag matches.  He’s tolerable in small doses.  I doubt he’ll win, but I don’t count him out 100%.

Drew McIntyre: This is what I’m afraid of.  Creative is pushing this guy like there’s no tomorrow, despite his complete lack of in-ring talent and mic skills.  He’s had over half a year to show us anything, and he hasn’t.  Yet he’s still the Intercontinental Champion, and had Creative expunge his “first” two losses from the record books before finally actually losing to the Undertaker two weeks ago.  I’m afraid that thank to the political connections he has in the back, he has a very good chance of winning this match.  But I think that the push he’s gotten in recent weeks will end up costing him the briefcase.

So who is my pick to win this match?  Up until last week, I would have said Christian.  But the very last qualifier, I believe, will be the winner.  And he deserves it.  Kofi Kingston wins the Money in the Bank briefcase.  I know he was my pick to win the Royal Rumble, but maybe I’ll be right this time.

No Holds Barred – Vince McMahon vs. Bret Hart

Okay, I’ll admit it.  Up until a couple of weeks ago, I thought this was a really bad idea.  I thought that the whole storyline was awful, and it felt as though Bret coming back one last time was a horrible mistake.  But then we got the swerve, and I was back in.  I don’t know whether or not people liked the swerve, where the whole broken leg angle was planned by Bret, but I actually loved it.  And it made me really want to watch this match.  I wasn’t excited about it right up until that moment.  Now I know that Bret is well past his prime, and a No Holds Barred match will help both him and Vince work a match without having to get too technical.  But damn, I can not believe that I changed my opinions of this feud as much as I did.  I really hope Jim Ross is available for commentary, so I can hear him say, “This is going to be bowling-shoe ugly, folks.”  Because it most assuredly will.  And you’ve got to believe, in your heart of hearts, that deep down, Vince really will give the fans what they want.  With that being said, Bret Hart defeats Vince McMahon, and I never thought I would say that in my life.

WWE Championship – Batista (c) vs. John Cena

This feud has been built to look like Batista is the only man in WWE history who can control Cena’s Superman-like recovery powers.  I find it implausible that Batista is the only man who can knock Cena out.  There have been plenty of other opponents who are far more believable challengers to Cena’s immortality.  Whatever.  Cena’s performance this past five weeks has been downright excellent.  Some of the best work of his career.  Serious Cena is always the most entertaining Cena, because when you get down to the bare essentials, he’s the best talker in the business today, bar none.  The silly gimmick hinders that, but when he gets intense, it’s a joy to watch.  Batista has been his usual bland, whiny self, and I hope he retires soon, because he’s taking up TV time that could be spent pushing someone with talent.  Anyway, this is the match that we should have gotten last year, but we all know what happened there.  As for this match, you can build up Batista all you want, but in the end, John Cena wins back his WWE Championship.

World Heavyweight Championship – Chris Jericho (c) vs. Edge

The feud nine months in the making is coming to a head.  Everyone’s been wanting to see this match ever since Edge’s injury last year after Jericho berated Edge for being injury-prone.  The build was strong, with each man showcasing his best mic work and trading physicalities every week, sometimes twice a week.  And while Edge got the upper hand on Smackdown, it doesn’t feel as though one man has the advantage going in to their main event match on Sunday.  I actually want to see this match more than HBK/Taker II.  Edge has been great on the mic, and his matches have also been good.  He’s ready for this confrontation.  And Jericho has been solid as always.  This should be a definite barn-burner of a match.  But in the end, the guy with nine months of momentum is going to win.  Edge wins, and begins his tenth world title reign.  Let’s just hope this one lasts longer than three weeks.  Jericho was about as good of a transitional champion as you’ll ever get, and I doubt that the number of world title reigns for him will end at six.

Streak vs. Career – Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels (no DQ or count-out)

Well, this is it.  Something has to give.  Either Taker’s 17-0 undefeated streak at Wrestlemania comes to a close, or HBK’s 25 year career is done.  I’ll admit that a couple of months ago, I really didn’t want this rematch.  I thought that everything they needed to say in the ring they said last year.  I still somewhat believe that.  But putting such a price as your career on the line is something else.  There is one factor to this match that really has me set in my pick for the winner, and that’s the release of a Shawn Michaels DVD just a few weeks ago.  Had WWE not released that just prior to Wrestlemania, I honestly might have been up in the air as far as choosing a winner.  But that little fact solidified my choice.  The build on this has been very strong.  Both men have been good on the mic and good in the ring leading up to this match.  And while I honestly believe that topping last year’s performance will be nigh impossible, I think that they might be able to match what they did last year, only with far more on the line.  I’m expecting nothing less than utter excellence from both men.  And when all is said and done, The Undertaker will win and leave Wrestlemania with The Streak intact.    This will definitely be an emotional bout, likely on par with HBK/Ric Flair from a couple of years ago.  Though we all saw how Flair honored his “retirement.”  Let’s not get into that right now.

So there you have it.  3,000 words and ten picks.  Be sure to stay tuned to Rantables for my Wrestlemania Recap, likely either on Monday or Tuesday.  And I’ll try to start writing more often, since I know I’ve been slacking off recently.  Until next time, stay awesome everyone!

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First, I would like to apologize for the long break between the last column and this one.  It isn’t as though there hasn’t been plenty going on in the world of pro wrestling over this time.  I just really haven’t been motivated to write anything.  I was going to sit down yesterday and write about the Monday Night Wars 2.0, but I felt like it wouldn’t be enough for a whole column.  So, I’m going to include my opinions on that at a later date as part of another column

I want to focus on NXT this time because it’s been on for a month now, and I think that I can finally give some opinions on the eight “rookies” showcased on this show.  I couldn’t possibly have given any thoughts on all of them earlier, since up until this week, some had only had one match or been seen a couple of times at all.  Now, with everyone having at least two matches under their belts (as far as I can tell), my opinions are forming more and more each week.  And since all eight guys have gotten a decent amount of screen time, I can safely say that I don’t think I’m rushing to conclusions on these guys yet.  Though some of my thoughts may sound that way…

Anyway, let’s start this breakdown of the talents.

Daniel Bryan Danielson – It really doesn’t matter that he’s 0-4 in matches so far.  He has shown an aptitude that none of the other rookies are even close to achieving.  Danielson is, by far, the best out of the eight guys on this show.  I’ve seen some of his work in ROH and Dragon Gate USA, so I know what he’s actually capable of.  I’m really impressed that he’s able to adopt the WWE style of wrestling while still being himself instead of compromising his style just to get ahead.  Sure, he isn’t really getting much of a chance to show off all of his skill set, but the fact that he used a guillotine choke to nearly make The Great Khali tap out last night was pretty damn sweet.  I think (I hope) that Creative will allow him to showcase his talent more as the weeks go by, and I really hope he starts winning matches, because the reality TV trope of voting off members is nearly upon us, and I’d really hate to see him get booted off the show simply because of a crappy win-loss record.  He SHOULD win this show, but the way other guys are being pushed, he actually might not, which would be an absolute shame.

Darren Young – The only thing that’s unique about Young is his hair.  His mentor should have been Carlito.  Young doesn’t seem to bring anything to the table that everyone else also does.  I have yet to see anything truly impressive from him, and I fear that may be the case as the weeks pass by.  I know I kind of gush over Danielson, but there’s a reason why I would.  Young is kind of bland, and if he makes it into the later rounds of this show, I’ll honestly be surprised.

David Otunga – This guy reminds me of Dave Batista so much it’s painful.  I fear that he may actually win the competition because he’s a muscleheaded asshole who’s married to a famous actress.  I’ve seen nothing original from him in the ring.  He even uses the same finisher as Vlad Kozlov (not that we’ve seen that finisher much in the last few months).  I am just so sick and tired of these huge, steroid-induced freaks that spend more time in the gym than they do in the ring, caring more about how they look than how well they perform in the ring.  It makes me sick.  I wish Vince didn’t have a bodybuilder fetish, because then he might actually push guys like Danielson to great heights.  But that’s a pipe dream.  Anyway, Otunga shouldn’t even be on this show, but thanks to his physique, he is.

Heath Slater – Slater has shown some tremendous promise in the few weeks he’s been on TV.  He has a unique look, he has charisma, and he’s got some serious potential in the ring.  He showed some pretty cool moves in his match with Michael Tarver last night, including a sweet slingshot corkscrew cross body onto Tarver out on the floor.  I think that, with Christian as his mentor, he’s got a great chance to go far in this competition and maybe win it all.  I like his style, and I think he can succeed on the big stage once NXT is over.  I look forward to his progress.

Justin Gabriel – The current Florida Heavyweight Champion is another guy with absolute tons of potential.  Being the only person who uses the 450 Splash, you have to give him credit just for that.  I’m really glad that WWE has allowed both the 450 Splash and the Shooting Star Press back into the arsenals of these wrestlers, and I’m more glad that they’re letting guys who are extremely proficient in them use them.  Gabriel is talented as hell inside the ropes.  I’m just a little worried that his Pro isn’t the caliber Gabriel deserves.  Yes, Matt Hardy has had an impressive career, but I was never a fan of his, and I think that the last couple of years have really shown his age.  I don’t think he’ll be competing much longer, and Gabriel’s rise to stardom will likely be his last accomplishment.  If Gabriel doesn’t win NXT, I’d still watch for him to head to Raw Smackdown soon afterward.  He’d be a great Cruiserweight Champion if Creative ever brought it back (WHICH THEY SHOULD).

Michael Tarver – Here’s my problem with Tarver.  He claims he can knock anyone out in 1.9 seconds.  So why doesn’t he just do that at the beginning of every match and win in under ten seconds every time?  I’ve said the same thing about Big Show and his Knockout Punch.  Why not just punch someone in the head at the beginning of the match and win immediately?  It isn’t like people dodge punches to the head on a regular basis.  Mini-rant over.  Anyway, Tarver hasn’t shown me anything interesting, and that doesn’t bode well for him.  It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he got voted off soon.

Skip Sheffield – Contrary to some opinions out there, I love Sheffield’s personality.  His introductory video was probably my favorite of all eight competitors.  He’s just got oodles of charisma and he’s fun to listen to.  I actually enjoy his strained relationship with William Regal, and aside from Miz/Danielson, they have the best face/heel dynamic of any team on NXT.  I’m worried that his enormous body will prevent him from becoming great in the ring, but he did show some surprisingly athletic moves in his match with Wade Barrett last night.  For a guy billed at 280 pounds, he moves much faster than you would think a guy who looks like him could move.  It gives me hope that he might be able to run with the smaller guys.  I really like Sheffield, and I hope we see more impressive athleticism out of him in the coming weeks.  If he turns into Batista in the ring, my opinion of him will sour, so I hope it doesn’t happen.

Wade Barrett – With the World Heavyweight Champion as his mentor, Barrett was basically given the key to the vault of success.  Whether he opens that vault or not has really yet to be determined.  Barrett seems like your typical 270 pound musclehead in the ring, and his promos are “meh” at best.  He moves pretty slowly in the ring, and as I stated before, I find his voice grating.  Not a good quality if you’re supposed to be a WWE wrestler.  You’d think Creative would put a more talented guy with Jericho, but I guess the jury’s still out on Barrett.  I’ll give him a little while longer before rendering a final verdict.

So there you go.  My thoughts on the eight NXT “rookies.”  I’m sure as the weeks roll on, my opinions will evolve, as will these guys’ in-ring and mic work (hopefully).  I have my favorites, obviously, as I’m sure every other person who watches NXT has, and I’ll root for them over the men I don’t enjoy as much.  Though, right now, I still believe that the winner is outrageously obvious, I could very well be wrong (though I pray that I’m right).  With that said, I do believe I’m done for today.  But I’ll be back to catch up on all the happenings of the last three weeks, as well as a Wrestlemania preview and picks.  Should be a good couple of weeks.  Until then, stay awesome everyone!