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Monthly Archives: April 2010

Get comfy, everyone.  This is likely to be a very long post.  I COULD break it into two, but then I’d just be postponing other posts that need posting.  Post.

Let’s start with Extreme Rules.  I must say that it’s always the PPV shows that I expect the least out of that always end up entertaining me a lot more than other shows.  The same thing happened with Breaking Point last year.  I had lukewarm interest going in, and it turned out to be one of the best shows of the year.  Same goes for Extreme Rules.  I think, anyway.  Though it could also be due to the fact that I’m basically ignoring the commentary now, seeing as how it’s the worst I’ve ever heard.  Anyway, let’s look at the show and talk about the matches.

ShowMiz loses a Gauntlet Match against the third of three teams

As soon as Teddy Long started counting the teams ShowMiz was going to face, I knew immediately who they were going to face, and even predicted the correct order.  I know that this is impossible to verify for anyone other than myself, but I’m taking it as a victory anyway.  Morrison and Truth are first, and though they lost by DQ, it was an innovative way to lose, with Morrison nearly causing Show to pass out via a submission hold with ring rope assistance.  Then we got Mark Henry and MVP, who did a decent job jobbing and the usual “Big Show punch to the guy covering Miz” end.  And, of course, the Hart Dynasty runs out, hits the Hart Attack 2.0, and wins the match to earn a Tag Team Title match on Raw the following night.  Now, while I think that they should save most of their title changes for PPVs, I’m okay with this, especially since the Dynasty ended up winning last night.  I really hope that this is a true resurgence of the tag team division.  It’s been helped immensely over the last nine months or so by Chris Jericho, The Miz, and Big Show, but they’re all singles competitors working in the tag division.  This will give Miz time to actually defend the US Title (finally).  I truly hope that Creative doesn’t ruin the tag division with the Dynasty at the top.  I really want to see this work out.

CM Punk defeats Rey Mysterio

Apparently this wasn’t an Extreme Rules match, which is odd considering the TITLE of the show.  Anyway, this was leaps and bounds better than their Wrestlemania match.  They got a lot of time this time (about ten minutes more than their WM match), and it really helped them tell a much better story.  Were it not for the cage match later on, I probably would have called this the match of the night.  Very well-done overall by both competitors, and a really great performance by Punk, whom I’ve been very down on the last few months.  I felt like he’d gotten very sloppy and lazy in the ring.  But this match gives me hope.  Rey was Rey, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  A highly enjoyable match for sure.  In the end, though, Punk kept his hair.  And I’m sure that we’ll discover the identity of this mystery man soon.  From what I saw, it’s a white male and I’m pretty sure he’s bald as well.  So, unless he’s someone from FCW joining the roster, it should narrow down the possibilities a bit.  Ooh…interesting thought…what if it’s Kaval?  Now THAT would be awesome.  It’d be a great way to bring him up to the main roster.  I’ve been looking forward to his debut for a long time.

JTG defeats Shad Gaspard in a Strap Match

I should have listened to Andy Knowles in the picks section from this past week’s Pro Wrestling Rewind.  He talked about a strap match with (if memory serves) Bret Hart and the British Bulldog where Bulldog carried Bret to the corners, but Bret hit the turnbuckles without Davey Boy knowing it, then hitting the last turnbuckle first and winning, and I realized that that was probably what was going to happen.  And indeed, it did.  I don’t fault WWE for doing this.  It’s actually a very creative (no pun intended) way to do a strap match.  And even though it was the shortest match on the card (unless the women’s match was shorter), it was still decent overall.  I was quite surprised that JTG managed to win, but hell, booking in WWE is insane right now, so maybe they’ll give JTG a push.

Jack Swagger defeats Randy Orton in an Extreme Rules match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship

Orton really carried Swagger through this whole match.  Even though I don’t particularly see a bright future for a face Orton, he did do his job well this time against Swagger.  Swagger employed Swagger tactics, to my complete and utter lack of surprise, and the match, much like a lot of Swagger wins, just kind of ended instead of having any sort of build to the Doctor Bomb.  Swagger still has no grasp of basic psychology, and until he does, I cannot support a decision to put any title on him.  Let’s hope that some of the fresh blood on Smackdown will give him a good challenge and, sooner or later, take the title away from him.  That being said, it was still a decent match.

Sheamus defeats HHH in a Street Fight

Say what you will about HHH, but the guy can sell like a mother when the time comes.  I was tremendously impressed with his performance against the Celtic Glass O’Milk.  He made Sheamus look a lot better than Sheamus has shown since his debut.  He (Sheamus) still wasn’t impressive, but at least someone was willing to put him over decently.  Yes, the extenuating circumstances make Sheamus look like a complete coward.  I don’t have a followup to that, I just thought it needed to be pointed out that Sheamus’ character is a coward.  I thought that the sledgehammer was going to make an appearance, but I (and I’m sure many other fans) were sorely disappointed.  Still, it was a good way to get HHH off TV for a while so he can recuperate from the various injuries he’s been suffering through for a while.  I wonder who Sheamus’ career is going to steamroll over next?

Beth Phoenix defeats Michelle McCool in an Extreme Makeover Match to become the NEW Women’s Champion

Holy crap, I did not expect this.  I figured with McCool dating The Undertaker that she’d be untouchable as far as the Women’s Championship was concerned.  I was apparently wrong.  And that isn’t a bad thing at all.  I’m glad she finally got a healthy dose of reality (and an ironing board to the face).  For a WWE women’s match, this was a hell of a lot more brutal than I was expecting.  I’m glad that various household items were used.  While an ironing board is padded, it still had a nice effect overall.  A decent, short match with an unexpected result and a NEW champion.  Congratulations, Beth Phoenix!  Maybe this is the dawn of a new era in WWE women’s wrestling.  It’s going to have to be with Mickie James gone.  But I’ll talk about that in another entry.

Edge defeats Chris Jericho in a Steel Cage Match

Match of the night, bar none.  I’d even go so far as to say that if you didn’t get to see this, buy or rent the DVD specifically for this match.  I’d go so far as to say that this was an order of magnitude better than their Wrestlemania match.  There’s just something about a steel cage that brings out the greatness in nearly everybody.  These two had one of the best matches of the year, maybe the best of the year so far.  It also had the spot of the night: a top-rope Codebreaker that has to be seen to be believed.  I hope I’m not getting anyone’s hopes up as far as this match is concerned, but it was really damn entertaining.  And seeing the dark side of Edge return was a blessing I thought might never happen again what with his face turn and all (though that’s now a question mark thanks to the ending of Raw).  Anyway, these two guys had a hell of a match, and they told the best story of the night by far.  I was hoping this would be the end, but since both guys were drafted to Raw, that may well not be the case.

John Cena defeats Batista in a Last Man Standing Match to retain the WWE Championship

If I take one thing away from this match, it’s the brilliance of John Cena at the end of this match.  I could not have asked for a more intelligent way to defeat an opponent in a Last Man Standing match.  If you didn’t see it, but want to know what he did, I’ll tell you now.  After a very intense match, in which both men took a ton of shots and barely made it to their feet before the count of ten, Cena locks Batista in the STFU for a long time.  Batista barely stands up in a corner, so Cena ducks out of the ring, pulls Batista’s legs out from under him, raises Dave’s voice about an octave by ramming his junk into the steel post, and then proceeds to wrap duct tape around Dave’s boots, making it impossible for Batista to move or stand!  To put it bluntly, I fucking loved the end of this match.  After 20+ minutes of beating the crap out of each other, Cena figures out that there’s nothing he can do to damage Batista physically enough to keep him down for a ten count.  So he out-smarts Batista and humiliates him at the same time.  It was one of the best endings to a match I’ve ever seen.  I just loved it.

And there’s Extreme Rules.  I went 5-2 with my picks.  Not bad, all things considered.  And I’d suggest picking up the PPV on DVD when it is released, it was actually that good.

Now, let’s go through the draft picks really quickly, since I’m already over 1700 words.  I’ll list the acquisitions by brand to keep things simple, and I’ll put the Monday night picks and the supplemental picks together for ease of use.

Raw Acquisition Get!

——————————-

John Morrison – Finally, the Guru of Greatness becomes the Monday Night Delight.  It’s taken a year, but Morrison is back on Raw.  Yes, he’s a face, but I guess the people like it.  I’ve been pulling for Morrison ever since he dropped the Johnny Nitro gimmick and became awesome.  While I don’t particularly enjoy his face persona or his finisher (yes, it’s pretty, but it’s very unreliable.  He needs a finisher that can be hit with precision on a daily basis), I have high hopes that Morrison will climb the Raw ranks soon.  He’s being referred to as the next Shawn Michaels, and in time, he may very well become just that.  I look forward to him wrestling on Raw.

R-Truth – The only reason I can see Truth moving to Raw is to continue teaming with Morrison.  Or to become an “image enhancement talent” for the main eventers.  I’d love to see Truth get some gold around his waist, lord knows he’s got the talent.  But until Creative understands that Truth has got all the abilities in the world, they’re not going to push him any higher than the mid-card, which is a shame.  I hope Truth gets an actual push this time.

Edge – Monster win for Raw, major loss for Smackdown.  I was expecting either Edge or Jericho to move to Raw simply to make their feud officially done.  It was over for about an hour or so.  But that’s okay.  I still think that Edge and Jericho have some unresolved issues.  As, apparently, do Edge and Randy Orton.  Remember Rated RKO?  I sure do.  I’d love to see these two beat the crap out of each other.  Anyway, Edge will only benefit from moving back to Raw.  Especially if he turns back heel.

Chris Jericho – Five months after being banished from Raw, Chris Jericho is back.  He doesn’t need the Unified Tag Team Titles to appear on Raw now.  I’m betting that with Batista heading out the door very soon (reports are that he’s leaving after the next PPV (praise (insert deity or lack thereof))), Jericho is going to retake the mantle as top heel on Raw.  Hell, he’s been filling that role for quite some time.  He’s still got a few good years in him, so I’d expect him to be at or near the top of the card for a while to come.

The Great Khali and Ranjin Singh – Wasn’t Khali leaving for India a couple of weeks ago?  Wasn’t his career basically over?  Why is he still around?  Huh?  Can anyone answer that for me?  I hope he leaves soon, as soon as Batista, preferably.

The Hart Dynasty – It was inevitable.  On Raw, these three are going to get a lot more publicity.  And I really hope that they create a major resurgence in the tag team division.  I actually want to see the Dynasty face off against any tag team in the world right now.  Uncle Bret isn’t going to be around forever, so let’s hope these three can stand on their own once he’s actually through with WWE.  I’d almost like to see them compete under Freebird rules, with Nattie Neidhart competing in some tag matches.  We all know she can kick ass with the best of them, so why not let her start fighting the guys?  She’ll (hopefully) be holding a title of her own soon enough, so until then, let her compete as an equal against the men.  Eh?  EH?  I hope we get these guys at least once a week on TV, preferably twice.  They can only get better from here.

Ezekiel Jackson – Ahmed Johnson, Jr. is currently out with an injury.  I wouldn’t mind if he never returns, personally.  Maybe he and Kozlov can start up a feud again.  It’ll be bowling-shoe ugly, but it will give Vince a major boner, I’m sure.

Goldust – Wow, what a steal!  Best pick of the draft!  In all seriosity, Goldust is nothing more than an “image enhancer” these days.  I’m not saying I don’t like him.  I actually do like Dustin Runnels.  But his character and career are basically done.  He’ll job to the young talent and team with the young faces to give them experience.  But I don’t see any titles in his future, or much of a push.

OVERALL – Raw gets two massive names in Edge and Jericho, a strong main-event-waiting-to-happen in Morrison, and the tag team champs, and not much else.  Still, with the imminent departure of Batista and HHH heading to the DL, having some of these guys on the show is going to help tide Raw over for the forseeable future.

Smackdown Acquisition Get!

——————————————

Kelly Kelly – Wait, she was drafted on Raw?  Wow, what a waste of a draft pick.  Smackdown is already in the hole.  Kelly’s a decent athlete, but she’s nothing special in my book.  Just another bleach-blonde bimbo with no personality.  I wish Gail Kim had been drafted to Smackdown.  She might have a chance at not getting buried over there.

Big Show – After ShowMiz lost the tag straps, Show knocked Miz out, effectively turning face.  This will not help him, as it makes any losses of his entirely unbelievable.  I kind of hope he takes more of a backstage/managerial role than a full-time wrestling gig.  His best years are well past, and his only chance of still working well in the ring is as part of a team.  I don’t want to watch him wrestle any more singles matches.  I like him, don’t get me wrong.  I just think it’s about time for him to hang up the boots for good.  I’d like to see him become a GM or something.  Move Teddy Long to Raw to become the permanent GM, and put Show as the new Smackdown GM.  Why not?

Kofi Kingston – After his epic move to the main event was quashed by Randy Orton (sidebar: now that I think about it, Randy Orton has ruined the pushes of three very promising black wrestlers in Kofi, MVP, and Mark Henry…coincidence?  I find it difficult to believe…digression over), there was nothing for Kofi to do on Raw.  So the logical move was to move him to Smackdown.  I cannot wait for Kofi to take Drew McIntyre out and win the Intercontinental Championship again.  From there, the sky is the limit.  I’d really like to see more of the angry, intense Kofi we saw during his feud with Randy Orton.  I pray that we get that.  I don’t think he’ll get far if he sticks with his happy-go-lucky Jamaican tribute gimmick.  And he desperately needs a new finisher.  I hate Trouble in Paradise.  Use the S.O.S. as a finisher.  It looks awesome.  Anyway, this will be a huge benefit to Kofi, especially with Edge and Jericho gone from Smackdown.

Christian – …WWE did the exact same thing a couple of years ago with the Hardys.  Matt and Jeff were both on Smackdown for like ten minutes during the Draft a couple of years ago, then Matt gets drafted to ECW.  No more Hardy Boyz!  And now, we had Edge and Christian on the same brand for about a half hour.  Then Christian gets drafted to Smackdown.  I really would have liked to see one last match with E&C together again.  Just one match would have made me happy.  Yes, a move to Smackdown will benefit Christian immensely.  He won’t get lost in the shuffle like he would have been on Raw.  But damn, I really wanted to see Edge and Christian one last time.  Maybe they’ll team up when they’re both World Champions.  You never know…

Chavo Guerrero – Mister Image Enhancement gets a brand change.  He’ll still be doing the same thing he’s done for the last three years.  Unless WWE brings the Cruiserweight Championship back, there’s nothing even remotely interesting for Chavo to do on either brand.  So here’s to another forseeable future of jobbing for the former Kerwin White.

Cody Rhodes – This could not have come at a better time for Rhodes.  He needed a fresh start away from Orton and Dibiase, and what better place to do so than on Friday nights?  I think Rhodes can work as either a face or a heel, but we have yet to really see him as himself.  Now that he’s out of the shadow of Orton, he’ll get his chance to shine.  Rhodes is young and has a ton of upside.  Let’s hope he gets to show us that he’s as good as his lineage.

Chris Masters – Wait, he’s still employed?  Huh.  I don’t see much of anything for Masters in the future.  Wasn’t he fired once for violating the drug policy too many times?  Or is he on thin ice and one more positive test result will cause him to become “future endeavored?”  Either way, I doubt Masters will be doing much of anything on Smackdown seeing as how we haven’t even SEEN him on TV in some time.  If he returns looking like the Ultimate Warrior circa 1996 instead of circa 1989, we’ll know why.

Hornswoggle – Just…just go away and die already.  You’ve destroyed enough careers already.  What, are they bringing back the Chavo/Swoggle feud?  Is this the Robert Roode/Eric Young of WWE?  Jesus, make this little bastard go away.

Rosa Mendes – Who cares?  Zack Ryder.  Anyone else?  Didn’t think so.

MVP – I REALLY hope that MVP turns heel again.  He was golden on Smackdown back in 2006-2007 as the US Champ.  His feud with Matt Hardy was one of the better ones a couple of years back.  And now that he’s older and wiser, he should get some main event push on Smackdown.  I wouldn’t mind seeing MVP take Swagger out and capture the World Heavyweight Championship, then turn on the crowd and go full-brown heel with no indications he’s about to do so.  I think that as a heel, he has the potential to be a world champ.  I just don’t see it with him as a face, though.  Let’s hope he gets the push he deserves.

Okay, that does it for this monster entry.  My hands and my brain are tired of typing and thinking, respectively, and I can’t seem to spell more than a dozen words correctly before going back and fixing something.  So, with that done, I’ll sign off for now.  Look for entries about NXT and the WWE’s releases from last week soon.  Probably not for a couple of days.  I’m burned out after writing this.  So, until next time, stay awesome everyone!

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I was going to write about NXT’s decline and the dearth of WWE releases that have happened this past week, but there’s a PPV to pick, and that takes precedence.  So I’ll put those ideas on the back burner for now (don’t worry, I’ll get around to them next week).  With that being said, here are picks for Extreme Rules.

Leather Strap Match – Shad Gaspard vs. JTG

Ah, the tag team break-up match.  This will be the final nail in the coffin for the former duo known as Cryme Tyme.  I liked these two together, but as is the custom, Creative split them up and likely only one will end up with any semblance of singles success.  Shad has new ring gear, new music, and a new personality (well, sort of).  He’s got a kind of pimp vibe going on, and I actually like it.  Not a lot, but seeing a personality in someone who essentially had no time to build one thanks to the bungling idiots behind the curtain is always nice.  JTG’s only change is his hairstyle.  He’s still coming down to the ring in the same attire and the same music.  If he wants any chance of succeeding in WWE as a singles competitor, he’s going to need a gimmick change really soon.  I think JTG has a lot of potential.  He’s a lot more talented in the ring than he’s allowed to show, I’m sure.  If WWE gives him some mic time, maybe we’ll see if he’s got the whole package.  Shad is another big guy who Vince is going to push, as per normal.  It just remains to be seen if JTG can dig himself out of this hole that Creative has put him in already.  I’d like to see JTG succeed in the long-term, but in the short-term, it’s going to be all about Shad.  Shad Gaspard wins this blow-off, and will quite possibly head to Raw during the draft next week.

Women’s Championship “Extreme Makeover” Match – Michelle McCool (c) vs. Beth Phoenix

First of all, what in the blue hell is an Extreme Makeover match?  Nothing has been explained.  The only inkling I’m getting was the whole lipstick thing McCool did on Smackdown, which was degrading enough.  If this was a simple Extreme Rules match, I’d be happy.  I don’t remember the last time WWE women were involved in a hardcore-type setting.  I’d much prefer to see that than whatever the hell this is likely going to end up being.  Anyway, as per every Michelle McCool match, this will be a 3-on-1 handicap match and McCool will win because she’s dating The Undertaker and she has Vickie Guerrero on her side.  Simple as that.  While I really would love to see Beth absolutely crush Michelle, there is no chance of that happening, especially now that Mickie James is gone from WWE (it had to be said).  Michelle McCool retains the title.

Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk – If Punk loses, he has to shave his head

What, no stipulation if Rey loses?  That’s a rather one-sided affair, is it not?  And when there’s a one-sided match like this, it’s always the guy in peril who ends up winning.  I can’t remember the last time a one-sided stipulation match went the way of the guy who isn’t affected by the stip.  Anyway, this has been a decent feud, but I’m betting that Punk is heading to Raw in the draft, so this may very well be the blow-off to this feud.  Either way, Punk won’t be shaving his head.  Seeing as how this is also basically a 3-on-1 handicap match, Rey won’t be able to fend off Luke Gallows and Serena for the whole match.  This should be a hotly contested match and a hell of a lot of fun.  But in the end, CM Punk wins and keeps his coat of fur for a while longer.

Street Fight – HHH vs. Sheamus

This is apparently the “reverse the Wrestlemania decision” PPV.  HHH won at Wrestlemania, and because I doubt this feud is over (unless Sheamus gets traded to Smackdown, which I highly doubt is going to happen seeing as how Vince has a hard-on for pasty Irish-born men), the porcelain Irishman is going to get the dupe on Sunday.  I wish Jim Ross would announce this match, just to hear him call it “bowling shoe ugly,” since that’s what it’s going to be.  Sheamus is still green as the hills of Ireland, and it shows.  Still, I’m hoping that these two just beat the shit out of each other for a good 10 minutes or so.  Though, with HHH’s neck issue, he probably won’t be taking too many bumps.  He’ll probably control the majority of the match, then Sheamus will pull a lead pipe out of his ass and knock out The Game.  Sheamus wins and continues this feud until the next big PPV.

Steel Cage Match – Edge vs. Chris Jericho

I take issue with this match.  Not the match itself, but how it came into being.  Jericho never got his rightful rematch against Swagger for the World Heavyweight Championship, nor did Edge get HIS rematch against Jericho.  Yes, they got the Triple Threat match a couple of weeks ago, but that shouldn’t count as both men’s rematch.  And now with a Raw guy challenging Swagger for the title, it feels like both Jericho and Edge were passed over for seemingly no reason.  In fact, it feels more like Edge’s entire return has been for naught.  He came back at the Royal Rumble, won it, challenged Jericho at Wrestlemania, LOST (which I still feel was a mistake), and now is stuck with Jericho again inside a cage.  Yes, these two are going to work a hell of a match, and yes, it will be entertaining, but it just feels like they’re both getting screwed simply so WWE can get some younger talent into the spotlight.  Okay, diatribe over.  This will likely be the best match of the night, and since Jericho won at Wrestlemania, I’ll say Edge wins.

World Heavyweight Championship Extreme Rules Match – Jack Swagger (c) vs. Randy Orton

Why does this have to be advertised as an Extreme Rules match?  That’s the name of the damn show!  Whatever.  Now, for another quick diatribe: so, is Swagger officially a part of Smackdown now?  He stated on Smackdown something to the effect of, “After the draft on Monday, I’ll officially be the World Heavyweight Champion on Smackdown.”  Unless I mistook his statements, it sounds like he’s still a part of Raw.  Which doesn’t make any sense since they already advertised his “last match on Raw” was against Orton a couple of weeks ago.  And if Orton wins, and doesn’t get drafted to Smackdown, is he going to head there anyway?  Or is he going to stay on Raw and have two championships on Monday night?  It boggles the mind.  I do wish that things were more clear-cut than they are right now.  Anyway, unless I’m completely wrong, it looks like the next challenger for the World Title is John Morrison, seeing as how he beat Swagger this past Friday night and all.  So that kind of puts a damper on him being drafted to Raw, unless Creative is going to continue with this cross-brand title match idea.  While I still think it’s too soon for Swagger (really, any time is too soon for him), I highly doubt that he’s going to lose this soon.  Jack Swagger retains the World Heavyweight Championship.  Now THAT is a sentence I never thought I would be saying.

WWE Championship Last Man Standing Match – John Cena (c) vs. Batista

Let me ask you one question: has John Cena ever lost a Last Man Standing match, or any match that tests one’s endurance and resistance to pain?  I can’t think of any time that’s happened.  Batista is on his way out (thank GOD), and putting the WWE Title on him how would just make Cena look like a weak champion.  Course, the last time Cena was a strong champion was 2007, during his yearlong title reign (which, I attest, is the best WWE or World Title run since I started watching WWE programming again back in 2006).  So, this one is an easy pick.  John Cena retains the WWE Championship.  Man, I didn’t pick any title changes.  Then again, there are only three titles on the line.

Which brings up this point: where is ShowMiz on this card?  I would think that Vince would want to give The Miz as much TV time as possible.  He’s basically the second-most prominent face in the company (behind Cena).  And let’s not argue that point right now.  Anyway, unless there’s a special bonus match added at the last minute, there may be some disappointed fans.  Wait, Miz doesn’t have fans…

Okay, that’s all the time I’ve got for now.  Check back in in a couple of days for Extreme Rules results, and next week, get ready for some NXT bashing and WWE Spring Cleaning writing.  So, until then, stay awesome everyone!

My apologies again for the lengthy delay between columns.  It isn’t as though there hasn’t been anything to discuss.  I just haven’t been writing much at all, and I need to start doing so again.  So hopefully I’ll be writing more in the coming weeks.  Time will tell.

First thing’s first: congratulations to Rob Van Dam for becoming the NEW TNA World Heavyweight Champion!  You managed to leapfrog over all the other, more deserving talent on the TNA roster and take the title away from AJ Styles, who, despite this ridiculous Ric Flair rip0ff gimmick, is probably the most deserving champion in recent memory.  So good on you, sir.  It’s only a matter of time before TNA goes bankrupt.  You probably won’t be the last TNA World Champion, but I’m betting you’re one of the last five or so.

Now that that ugly business is out of the way, let’s look at the 2010 Draft.  And if you think I’m talking about the NFL or NBA Draft, you’ve obviously never read this column before.  I’m talking about the 2010 WWE Draft, which is now seemingly a yearly tradition to occur the night after the PPV after Wrestlemania.  Eh.  I honestly think that, for the most part, the rosters are actually quite good for both brands.  Mike Siciliano (I know I refer to his writings a lot, but damnit, he has some good insight) wrote a column a couple of weeks ago about how he believes that the era of the brand extension is soon to be extinct.  And I can see why he thinks that.  At Extreme Rules, we’ve got the WWE Champion (from Raw) facing a Smackdown opponent (though for all intents and purposes, Batista is basically a Raw talent now), and the World Heavyweight Champion (a Smackdown belt) facing an opponent from Raw.  That is an ugly situation.  And unless there’s a major shake-up coming during the draft, I doubt anything will change hands come Extreme Rules.  But I’ll save my picks column for later in the week, once the card is finalized.  So let’s take a completely obligatory look at the current WWE roster and try to figure out who, if anyone, might end up changing shows.

Since there are now only two brands, I figure it will probably be easier to split this column up into two sections: Raw guys who might move to Smackdown, and Smackdown guys who might move to Raw.  Let’s start with Raw first, since it is the flagship show and all.

Raw talent who might move to Smackdown

Cody Rhodes – A fresh start on a new brand will only help Rhodes out after his unceremonious disappearance from Raw following a Randy Orton punt at Wrestlemania 26.  Rhodes has got all the tools necessary to succeed in this business (and that’s saying something seeing as how I rarely say that).  Getting far away from Orton and Dibiase will let him shine on a show that is made for guys like him.  He might go in the Supplemental Draft seeing as how he hasn’t been on TV in a month and likely nobody really thinks of him as a major player yet.

Evan Bourne – Bourne’s move from ECW to Raw was a huge mistake, in my humble opinion.  Bourne was climbing the ranks on ECW and was likely poised to take on Christian at some point for the ECW Championship.  But he was shipped off to Raw late last year and, despite keeping his head above water, has not moved up the ladder one rung.  Bourne is stuck in lower mid-card hell right now, and if he doesn’t leave for Smackdown soon, he’ll turn into the next Kung Fu Naki.  I honestly believe that Bourne can become the next Rey Mysterio, but if Creative keeps him in six-man tag matches and matches on Superstars, he’ll never achieve his full potential.

Kofi Kingston – Ever since Kingston went rogue and turned awesome, his push has been completely squandered.  Actually, come to think of it, the last three black guys have had major pushes squandered in the past year alone (Kofi, Mark Henry, and MVP).  I’m not saying that Creative is racist, but when you’ve got three guys who get major crowd reactions and have the talent to earn a main event push, but end up with nothing, it seems more than a coincidence.  Anyway, Kofi would have a chance to truly shine on Smackdown, while the editors can erase his botches, since he does tend to screw up a lot.  I think that he could have a great upper mid-card run as the Intercontinental Champion, and maybe work his way up to the main event soon.  I’d like to see what he’s got as a heel, too.  I’d love to see a Kofi/Taker feud or a Kofi/Edge feud.  But if he stays a face, he still has plenty of options.  Bottom line, Kofi needs to move, because he’s getting lost in the shuffle right now.

Mark Henry and MVP – Remember that paragraph I just wrote about Kofi?  Replace his name with these two guys’ names.

Primo – I like Primo.  He’s got a ton of talent in the ring, and it’s being squandered on Raw.  He doesn’t need to be an “image enhancement talent” (read: jobber) to anyone.  He’s got limitless energy inside the squared circle, and it gets the crowd excited.  I’d like to see him work in the tag team division again, maybe with Bourne or Yoshi Tatsu.  Hell, have those three team up and go in the tag division, Freebird-style.

Zack Ryder – See everybody else I’ve already listed.

As for the Raw Divas, I doubt anyone would benefit from a move to Smackdown seeing as how Michelle McCool is holding the Women’s Title hostage.

Oh, and can we draft Michael Cole off Raw AND NXT?  He’s really been annoying the past few weeks, even more so than usual.  Bring JR back to Raw, bring Byron Saxton back and put him on NXT with Josh Matthews again.  Hell, bring JBL back and have Striker do play-by-play on Smackdown.  Announcing has been woefully pathetic for a while, and I’m really getting sick and tired of the same old crap every single week.  You know what I’d like to see as far as announce teams go?  Here, I’ll give them to you right now.

Raw: Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler

NXT: Josh Matthews and Byron Saxton

Smackdown: Michael Cole and JBL (because JBL was the only guy to openly insult Cole on a nightly basis and get away with it and still have it be entertaining as hell)

Okay, I’m done with my announcers rant.  Let’s move to Smackdown, shall we?

Smackdown talent who might move to Raw

The Hart Dynasty – Look, we know that these guys are next in line for the Unified Tag Team Championship.  They might as well gain as much exposure as possible before they win the titles.  And Raw is the perfect place for them to gain as much notoriety as possible.  Tyson Kidd is easily one of the top ten wrestlers in WWE today, and David Hart Smith is rapidly improving.  And with Bret Hart firmly supporting them, they’re a sure-fire success.

John Morrison – I actually yelled at the TV last year when Miz was drafted to Raw and Morrison went to Smackdown.  Well, why not jump back on the Miz vs. Morrison train again?  These two can have the feud of the year if only they faced each other more than once a year.  And if Morrison moves to Raw, he and Miz can have an epic feud for the US Title.  That is, until Daniel Bryan Danielson comes along and takes it away from Miz in a few months.  Morrison is, admittedly, a much stronger heel than he is a face (same goes for Edge and MVP, among others), and I believe that once he turns heel again, he can and will become a world champion.  People have been making comparisons between Morrison and Shawn Michaels for the better part of a year now.  What better way to capitalize on that then by moving Morrison to the A-show?  Morrison is due for a world title run.  Let’s hope he gets one soon.

The Straight Edge Society – Though I feel as though Luke Gallows’ time in WWE is short, it would only benefit Raw to have another top-flight heel once Batista hangs up his boots for good (which I pray is soon).  Punk, while somewhat grating and annoying, is a strong character, and a move back to Raw will keep Raw interesting for the forseeable future.  Smackdown has plenty of top tier heels, and moving one to Raw won’t hurt them much.  Once this hair match with Mysterio is over, Punk would benefit greatly with a move to Raw.  And it would only help Gallows and Serena.  I’d really like to see Serena lace up a pair of boots and get in the ring and actually wrestle one of these days.  I’m sure I’m not the only person who’d like to see this.

That actually seems about all.  I don’t think many other people would end up benefiting from a brand move.  You could make arguments for people who very well could end up moving anyway, for one reason or another.  Moves like Kozlov going back to Smackdown, Christian moving to Smackdown or possibly Edge moving to Raw, Shad or JTG moving to Raw, Randy Orton moving to Smackdown (it could happen), Ezekiel Jackson moving to Raw (to everyone’s great dismay)…those types of moves.  If any of those happen, I’m claiming it as a victory.  Still, I think that the main event scene is actually pretty stable right now.  And while some fresh faces on each brand would indeed be a nice change of pace, I’d almost prefer that most of the changes be to the mid-card.  There could probably be one or two big names changing brands (Edge or Orton, for example), but I don’t think that it’s necessary to make a huge shift this year.  I’m still looking forward to it.

So that’s all I’ve got for now.  I’m hoping to do another write-up on NXT soon, as well as Extreme Rules picks.  I don’t really have anything else I can think of for the short-term, but I’m sure that something will rear its ugly head soon enough (can you say “…and the NEW TNA World Heavyweight Champion…HULK HOGAN!”).  So until that happens, stay awesome everyone.

First, a quick note about the passing of Chris Kanyon.  While I never saw him wrestle, it’s always sad to hear about a wrestler who passed away at 40 or younger.  RIP Kanyon.

Okay, so now that I’ve had a week to digest the results of the biggest wrestling show of the year, as well as the initial fallout, I think it’s about time for me to give my two cents on the whole situation.  I guess each cent is worth a thousand words or more.  Let’s go to the results, shall we?

ShowMiz defeats MorTruth to retain the Unified Tag Team Championships

I had figured either this or Money in the Bank would open the show.  This match suffered from Creative putting ten matches on the card.  Three and a half minutes is a tragedy for a tag title match, especially with these two teams.  Yes, MorTruth is basically another throwaway team like MVP and Mark Henry and most of the teams JeriShow faced during their title run, but still, they should at least have gotten as much, if not more, time as the 10 Diva tag match.  Once Morrison got tagged in about two minutes in, I was already figuring that the match was almost over.  Then Show punched Morrison in the face, and it was done.  Not a bad match, but it definitely could have gone on for at least another five minutes.  I predictable end.  Doesn’t really matter much, since it’s pretty obvious that The Hart Dynasty is the next big team, thanks to what happened later in the card.

Randy Orton defeats Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase in a Triple Threat Match

Rhodes gets punted, Dibiase gets RKO’ed, and that’s the end of that.  It was fairly obvious (to me, at least) that during Legacy’s final promo as a team on Raw the Monday before Wrestlemania, they were going to end up turning on each other.  And they did.  Which gave Orton the opportunity to go over even more young talents.  No surprises there.  It was a decent match, but nothing special.  With Rhodes out for now, it looks like we might get Orton vs. Dibiase, only with the roles reversed from what we all were expecting four months ago (Dibiase turning face to promote The Marine 2 and all that).

Sidenote: I still can’t see why people cheer for Orton.  His demeanor is still extremely far from what I would consider a face.  Though I did kind of mark out on Monday night when John Cena named Orton his partner for the tag match against Batista and Jack Swagger.  I guess they’re really going to push Orton as a face, but as a “dangerous” face.  Or like a loner face.  Haven’t seen one of those in a while.

Jack Swagger wins Money in the Bank

This I was not expecting.  A couple of months ago, it seemed like Swagger’s WWE career was circling the drain and he was on his way out.  Now, apparently, he’s the next Sheamus.  As far as the match went, it wasn’t actually that great of a match considering the talent involved.  You would expect a ladder match with guys like Christian, Evan Bourne, Kofi Kingston, and Shelton Benjamin to be a crazy-ass spot-fest, but it was actually pretty tame compared to the other years.  I suppose Vince is trying to keep his guys as injury-free as possible.  Either that, or they just didn’t have it like they did in years past.

And now, another sidebar: I was really looking forward to Swagger doing his hit-and-run attacks on Cena over the coming weeks.  I actually really liked his first segment with Cena, where he cracked Cena in the back with the briefcase several times, called for a ref, and almost started the title match when Cena hulked up and almost screwed Swagger.  I found that immensely entertaining.  But then Swagger goes and takes the title away from Chris Jericho, in exactly the same way that CM Punk did against Edge in 2008.  Jericho cut a promo about how he’s still the champion, Edge comes down to the ring, spears Jericho, and Swagger runs down and takes the title.  Now, I know that Money in the Bank should be used at the most opportune moment, but doing it exactly the same way as you did two years ago is kind of weak.  In fact, aside from Rob Van Dam’s cash-in, MITB has been settled one of two ways: either the aforementioned way, or the briefcase holder cashes it in directly after the champion has competed in a long and grueling match of some sort.  There’s never one where the champion is walking around backstage, minding his own business, when the MITB winner comes out of nowhere, beats the champion down, and wins the title.  I suppose there aren’t really THAT many ways for MITB to be cashed in, but a little variety goes a long way, guys.

Also, I’m not really enjoying Creative’s new approach for getting newer talent over by just giving them a world title.  It’s happened twice now in less than six months, both to guys who really don’t deserve a world title of any kind.  I’d much prefer seeing new talents work their way up from the very bottom of the barrel, scraping and clawing their way through the ranks, until they get a world title opportunity that they’ve earned and win a title.  They don’t get over by winning a title; they get over by working for the title.  That’s how it should be, anyway.  Just giving a guy a world title doesn’t give him any credibility.  If anything, it lessens the credibility of the previous champion for being unable to stave off a seemingly random challenge from a guy who doesn’t deserve to sniff the champion’s jock strap.  But now I’m getting callous and overbearing, so I’ll just say this: Jack Swagger does not deserve to be the World Heavyweight Champion, and simply putting a title on him isn’t going to get him over any better than making him work for the title will.  I have less respect for Creative for making this bunghole of a decision.

Anyway, back to the card.

HHH defeats Sheamus

In what I would have to consider a very tepid affair, HHH once again decides that it’s in his best interest to put himself over another newer talent.  Not that I consider Sheamus a great young talent.  But still, it doesn’t surprise me at all that he lost.  While I don’t really remember the details of the match (I watched Wrestlemania 26 on Monday and have since watched six more hours of wrestling, along with a week’s worth of other activities), it was likely very akin to HHH/Orton last year.  Anyway, HHH gets yet ANOTHER victory at Wrestlemania, and I don’t care anymore.

Rey Mysterio defeats CM Punk

Again, no surprises here.  In fact, the only real surprises here were the two matches for which I was incorrect for my picks.  Seems like Creative went very conservative this year.  Anyway, Mysterio continues on his immense roll ever since returning from a drug suspension and despite basically working on one knee for the past six months.  Punk continues his slide.  If Creative really wants me to take the Straight Edge Society seriously, they need to add about a dozen more members.  I miss the days of stables having ten people in it.  The Corporation, The Nation of Domination, those guys.  Having these stables of two or three people is unimpressive.  I wish they’d create at least one stable with a half dozen people in it.  But then Creative would have to be creative, and we can’t trust them to do that.  Oh, right, there was a match.  Mysterio probably needs to take time off to get his knee fixed for the…what is it now, 43rd time?  Short match with nothing terribly memorable.  Though I thought Mysterio put on yet another great show.

Bret Hart defeats Vince McMahon in a Lumberjack Match

*sigh*

The week before this match happened, I was actually looking forward to it.  Then Vince paraded the entire Hart family down to ringside (all still in their tuxedos and fancy dresses from earlier in the evening), including the Hart Dynasty, and informed Bret that this was going to be a Lumberjack match.  I was okay with this, though I felt as though it would hamper the match’s potential severely.  I was fine with having one of the family as the special guest referee.  I knew that the Harts were going to turn on Vince.  I just wished that Bret hadn’t told Vince from the start that they were on the take.  It basically turned this match from a match with potential to be entertaining into a ten minute lynching.  This match could have been good.  It was so goddamned boring.  The highlight had to be Tyson Kidd flying off the top rope and hitting a Hart Attack on Vince who was on the arena floor.  The rest was just Bret beating Vince with a tire iron and a steel chair.  And you have to believe that Bret swung that chair a few times more than they’d planned, just to get all that pent up frustration out after all that’s happened.  The match was a complete train wreck, and I really wished that JR was there to call the match “bowling shoe ugly.”  Actually, calling it that would have been an insult to bowling shoes.  A rather large waste of time.  Don’t get me wrong, I WANTED to see Bret beat the shit out of Vince.  I just wish it hadn’t been such a one-sided affair.

Chris Jericho defeats Edge to retain the World Heavyweight Championship

Wow.  The one match everyone predicted Edge to win, and we were ALL wrong.  Vince probably saw the prediction columns from all the internet, so he decided to give us a swerve.  Because he’s a dick like that.  Anyway, it was a decent match, but definitely not as good as both men can pull off.  I think Edge was hampered by his Achilles tendon injury.  He doesn’t have quite the spring in his step he had before the injury.  Kind of like Gregory Helms after his neck surgery a couple of years back.  I hope Edge can get back to 100%, because watching him now isn’t as fun as it used to be.  I did think the final spot of the night for these two was pretty great, with Edge spearing Jericho through a retaining wall.

Get ready for the third sidebar of this column!  It feels like this entire build was for naught.  Edge comes back six months early from his injury, wins the Royal Rumble, and they build the hell out of this feud for two months, only to have Edge lose, then Swagger take the World Title away from them both the very week after Wrestlemania?  It feels like we wasted over six months total of build for this feud.  It also feels like the Royal Rumble was a complete waste of time this year, since we’re rooting for whomever wins it to win the title at Wrestlemania.  Well, usually.  I was also quite disappointed that this match wasn’t either the second-to-last or last match on the card, considering that it’s the Royal Rumble winner here.

Team Heel Divas defeats Team Face Divas

Nobody cares about this match.  All I cared about was getting another correct mark in the picks column.  I managed to go 8-2 this year.  Pretty good if I do say so myself.

John Cena defeats Batista to become the NEW WWE Champion

If you didn’t see this coming, you’re a fool.  Batista is probably on his way out, seeing as how he’s getting old and all.  Plus, nobody likes him.  When I say that, I don’t just mean that nobody likes him because he portrays a heel character.  I mean that nobody likes him as a human being.  Dave Batista is just another one of those over-muscled pea-brained idiots who doesn’t actually care about entertaining anyone.  We know he doesn’t care about the fans.  He only cares about himself.  His promo on Monday night probably was a lot closer to the truth than it should have been.  Whatever.  I’ve never enjoyed Batista in any way, so once he’s gone, it will open up a slot for a more deserving wrestler in the main event.

Cena is now a nine-time world champion.  I wonder if it’ll be Cena or HHH who breaks Ric Flair’s 16 world championships recognized by WWE?

The Undertaker defeats Shawn Michaels

I think most people are in agreement that this match did not live up to their match last year.  Last year was a truly epic encounter.  This year, both men truly showed their age.  Last year, it seemed like they were more willing to take risks simply to entertain the crowd.  This year, it seemed like they wanted to make sure they could walk the next night on Raw.  It really doesn’t matter in the end.  I didn’t like this match from the start of the feud.  I felt like it was unnecessary.  But I guess if Shawn Michaels wants to retire, there really isn’t a better way to do so than to lose to the Undertaker at Wrestlemania.  It moves Taker’s streak to 18-0, and I really don’t think that he’ll get to 20-0 unless he takes a year off between these matches.  It just isn’t going to happen.  And if Vince makes it happen, the last two matches won’t be nearly as fun to watch as some of the earlier matches.  Still, it was a good send-off to HBK, whom I’m sure we’ll see later on in a managerial position of some sort.  I also thought his speech on Monday night was very tasteful without being overly emotional, but still a fine speech nonetheless.  I also think that he took a couple of jabs at Ric Flair during the speech, but that’s up for interpretation.  I’m considering picking up the My Journey DVD, just to see what WWE decided to do during HBK’s last month or so as an active wrestler.

So there you have it.  I’ve spent nearly 2,400 words on Wrestlemania alone.  I’d like to talk about the rest of the week, but I think it’s probably been long enough.  I’ll just give two quick notes regarding the rest of the week.

#1 – Daniel Bryan Danielson is the #1 NXT Rookie.  Yet David Otunga is hosting Raw next week.  LAME.  I think we all know who Vince wants to win NXT.

#2 – Goodbye, Great Khali.  We’ll probably not miss you, but it was somewhat fun while it lasted.

That’s all for now.  See you all next time.