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This is going to be a really long post, so sit back and enjoy.  If you don’t feel like reading the whole thing, I’d recommend downloading a speech program, copying this entire post into it, and having it read the whole thing for you.

So another week has come and gone.  Well, almost a whole week.  We still have a WWE Pay-Per-View event tomorrow.  But that’s just one topic I’d like to talk about today.  The first topic is the elephant in the room: WWE’s firing of Bryan Danielson.  Or, at least to me (and quite a few other bloggers), the alleged firing of Bryan Danielson.

A little over a week ago, WWE had reported that it had released Danielson.  While nothing is confirmed, widespread belief is that he was fired for choking ring announcer Justin Roberts with Roberts’ own tie two weeks ago on Raw.  Since WWE is now (and has been for some months) TV-PG, people think that choking a man with his own tie to be too vulgar and disturbing for a PG audience.  And this past Monday night, Danielson was seemingly written out of WWE programming, with Wade Barrett claiming that Danielson “felt remorse for his actions and was dealt with appropriately.”  Meaning that the seven other guys beat the shit out of him and eliminated him from television.  Now, were it not for the various other circumstances swirling around this whole angle, I would have believed that this firing was legitimate.  But there has been a series of events that call into question the validity of this firing.  Anthony Valvo has an excellent summary of these events in his latest column for Wrestleview.com, which I will link to right here.  I hope he doesn’t mind me using his column to help summarize the events leading to today.

The first real indication that this could very well be a work of epic proportions is a Twitter post sent by one John Cena.  He states that he was upset to hear about Danielson’s firing (calling Bryan by his real name instead of his silly WWE Creative name), and that he is willing to sign any petitions out there to have WWE bring Danielson back, if only so Cena could have a match with Danielson.  Now, if you’ve seen this post from Cena, it just doesn’t sound like Cena’s mannerisms.  Also, WWE is fervent in making sure that their talents stay in character on social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter.  And, as I’m sure any WWE fan knows, when someone gets fired, they are never, EVER mentioned again unless they return sometime in the future.  Yet here is the WWE’s top money-maker talking about Danielson’s departure from the company.  This is about as unprecedented as you can get with WWE.  Vince is so paranoid about his company that it seems like even mentioning that there is a world outside of his promotion is grounds for hiding away in a glass dome for a week or six.  You saw how careful everyone was when they had Rampage Jackson on: nobody even came close to mentioning UFC.  Anyway, this post is the first crack in the legitimacy of this firing.

One day later, WWEshop.com is advertising a free tie with a promotional code on any $65 or more order.  This is a Father’s Day promotion, but doesn’t it seem just a little TOO coincidental that they’re offering ties?  Now I could be the paranoid consipiracy theorist here, but it just seems a touch too ironic that WWEshop.com is promoting an item that got Danielson fired in the first place.  The legitimacy of the firing crumbles away a little more.

The next week on Raw (this past Monday night), Wade Barrett mentions Bryan by name (his WWE Creative name, but by name nontheless), which, as I discussed earlier, is something that they NEVER do.  When was the last time somebody mentioned a former WWE star by name?  Well, CM Punk did it once in regards to Jeff Hardy’s arrest last year, but besides that, is there one instance anyone can think of when this has happened?  I certainly can’t think of one.  So it begs the question: why is it okay to mention a former WWE star this time?  It just seems a little too outside-the-box for WWE.  They have their formulas and they stick with them.  This further questions the legitimacy of Danielson’s firing.

And just yesterday, a full week after Danielson’s “firing,” the WWE Universe Facebook page has a post up asking iif WWE should bring Daniel Bryan back.  Again, talking about someone who’s been “future endeavored” is something Creative never does.  So far, over 8,500 people have said that they want Danielson back.  Also, there is a petition making the rounds asking WWE to reinstate Danielson, and currently has over 24,000 signatures.  That’s over 32,000 people who want Danielson back.  And those are just the people who have seen the Facebook post or the petition.  I am quite sure that the number of people who want to see Danielson back on WWE programming is at least an order of magnitude nigher.  I’m curious if John Cena signed this petition…

As if that wasn’t enough, yesterday, there was a report that Shawn Michaels, Danielson’s original trainer, was apparently very upset about Danielson’s firing.  And, as I’m sure most people know, when Shawn Michaels is upset about something, he usually gets his way.

So, with all of that information being put in front of me, I’m having an awfully difficult time believing that this is a legitimate firing.  Apparently, in Danielson’s 90-day no-compete clause, WWE stated that the 90 days only applies to TNA.  Meaning that Danielson can (and will be) taking indy bookings, including PWG and some matches overseas.  Someone on Sunday Night Showdown last week (I apologize that I do not remember who said this…if they’re reading it, which I would find rather surprising in all honesty) said that this could also be part of the work, since WWE did a similar thing with Matt Hardy back in 2005 or so.  After Hardy attacked Edge in what seemed to be an unplanned event, Hardy still took independent bookings, despite very likely having resigned with WWE.  Yet WWE let him work his indy bookings in order to further the illusion that Hardy’s attack on Edge was unplanned.  Now, I do not know if this is at all true, but if it is the case, then the Danielson saga seems awfully similar to the Hardy situation five years ago.  Whether WWE is working with the promotions that have booked Danielson or not is unknown, but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if they were, if only to further the illusion of Danielson’s firing.

If this is indeed an angle and Danielson hasn’t truly been fired, then I applaud WWE for the work that they have done.  I think they know how good Danielson is, and that he can bring in indy smarks who think that they’re too good for WWE.  Danielson has all the talent necessary to become a top star in any company, even WWE.  Now, the only thing that remains is to ride this whole thing out and see where we are in September, when Danielson’s no-compete clause expires.  If he shows up on TNA, then I (as well as many people, I’m sure) will be sorely disappointed on several levels (that is, if TNA is still around in three months).  First, with Danielson, for heading to a company that needs a ventilator to breathe.  Second, with WWE, for actually firing the best wrestler in the world over a stupid choking incident that they could have edited out of the broadcast if they wanted.  There’s an eight-second delay for a reason.  And third, I think we’d all be disappointed in ourselves for believing that this whole thing was a work, that all these strange factors surrounding Danielson ended up leading to nothing at all.  I know that I’ll be disappointed if that is the case.

And now that I’ve spent 1,300 words on that topic, let’s move on.  A few days ago, it was reported that Davey Richards will be retiring from wrestling at the end of the year to pursue a career as a firefighter.  Richards is 27 and has been a mainstay on the indy scene for a few years now, probably most well-known for his time in Ring of Honor.  I’ve only seen a couple of his matches, but the guy is as intense as anyone out there and has a lot of talent.  That being said, it’s very noble of him to pursue a career as a firefighter.  While I’m sure the wrestling world will miss him, I wish him the best of luck in his future career.

And on a sad note, yesterday, indy wrestler Trent Acid passed away at the age of 29.  I never saw any of his matches, but I know he worked for promotions like CZW and ROH.  I’ve seen him featured on a few Botchamania videos as well.  It’s sad to hear about anyone passing away before the age of 30, but it’s so prevalent in wrestling.  My thoughts go out to his friends and family.

On that note, I suppose it’s time to give picks for Fatal 4 Way.  For being a brand-new PPV, it’s got an awfully sparse card.  There are only five matches booked so far.  I’m betting we’ll get at least one bonus match.  If we’re making predictions for the bonus match, I’ll say we get a tag match between The Hart Dynasty and the Usos.  That feud kind of lost focus with the NXT Invasion angle and, as a result, neither team has had any screen time besides the Usos’ debut match last Thursday.  If WWE wants this feud to work, they need to give these teams ample screen time, and there’s no better way to do that than to put them in a match at a PPV.  As for the rest of the card, we’ve got a mini-Night of Champions, with all five matches being championship matches.  And since I posted a winning record for the Slammiversary card (I went 5-4), let’s hope I do decently well at Fatal 4 Way.

Fatal 4 Way Match for the Diva’s Championship – Eve Torres (c) vs. Gail Kim vs. Alicia Fox vs. Maryse

While I believe Gail should have had a title since returning to WWE, that seems like it’s never going to happen.  Eve is in the midst of a pretty good title run, and is, by far, the most improved woman on WWE programming.  Alicia Fox is moving up the ranks as well, and though she still has a ways to go, she’s improving steadily.  Maryse is stuck in neutral and hasn’t improved in-ring in a long time.  This should be a pretty fun women’s match if given more than five minutes.  As for a winner, I think we can count Gail and Maryse out.  I don’t think Creative likes Gail despite her popularity and in-ring skill set, and Maryse is stale.  She needs something new or she’ll end up as the next Jillian Hall.  So that brings us to Eve and Alicia.  Alicia has gotten a lot of face time on Raw in recent weeks, even taking out Zack Ryder with a scissors kick.  But I think that Eve could be one of a small group of women who carry this division into the next generation, along with Natalya, Tamina, and Serena, whenever those three start working in the ring.  So, I’m picking Eve Torres to win and retain the Divas Championship.

United States Championship – The Miz (c) vs. R-Truth

So Truth defeats Miz almost a month ago after Bret Hart vacates the title after beating Miz.  Three weeks later, Miz wins the title back.  So my question to you is this: why did Miz lose the title in the first place if he’s going to win it back three weeks later?  Yes, I realize that he lost it simply to put Bret Hart over in Canada, but still, why have him win it back so soon?  Truth was going strong as the champ, only to have his reign derailed.  If it was me, I might have put Miz over Hart in Toronto because it gets the fans riled up and would make them flock to the next show they have there, hoping to see Miz get his comeuppance.  Vince does love to have his top guys lose in their hometowns an awful lot.  Anyway, bickering aside, this should be a pretty good match.  I just hope that Creative doesn’t decide to pull another switcheroo on us and give Truth the title back.  Every time a title changes hands after a short period of time, the title loses a little more prestige.  Does anyone remember when MVP held the title for just under a year?  Or when Shelton Benjamin held it for nearly eight months?  Where have those days gone?  I miss those days.  Hell, Miz’s first title reign lasted over seven months, and then he just drops the belt to Bret because they’re in Canada?  As Gregory Helms would say, “What’s up with that?”  Sometimes I don’t understand the decisions Creative makes.  Anyway, The Miz wins and keeps the US Championship for at least a little while longer.

Intercontinental Championship – Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Drew McIntyre

This is the same case as the US Title match, in that Kofi has just won the title, and I’m really hoping that Creative doesn’t think that short title reigns are in vogue.  McIntyre held the title for six months and did nothing while he was champion.  Kofi’s held the title for less than a month and he’s already done far more in his short run than McIntyre did in six months.  Though Creative is really trying to get a ton of heat on McIntyre with his feud with Teddy Long.  It reached a boiling point on Smackdown this past Friday when McIntyre forced Long to lay in the middle of the ring and pin Long for a victory, then attempting to hit the Future Shock DDT before Kofi rescued Teddy and Matt Hardy saved Kofi, only for both of them to wind up laying prone in the middle of the ring thanks to McIntyre and a dozen security guards.  Anyway, this feud was forced upon us when Kofi won the vacant title, then was stripped of the title when McIntyre went crying to Vince and got the title back.  Not the greatest of starts to a feud, but I guess we’re going to have to live with it.  So who’s going to win?  I can’t see Drew winning the title back after WWE had apparently labeled him “high-maintenance.”  I’m guessing that’s why he dropped the title in the first place.  Kofi is a rising young star and has limitless potential.  What he needs is a strong title run of at least six months before moving up to the main event.  And being on Smackdown will allow Kofi to make the move more easily than the top-heavy Raw.  So I’m going to say Kofi Kingston wins and retains the Intercontinental Championship.

Man, am I going to predict any title changes?

Fatal 4 Way Match for the World Heavyweight Championship – Jack Swagger (c) vs. Rey Mysterio vs. The Big Show vs. CM Punk

I’m expecting outside interference from Kane in this match.  Also, expect some shenanigans from the S.E.S.  I’m quite sure we can toss Mysterio out as a potential winner, as I don’t think Vince will push Rey to the top unless another Guerrero dies.  I’m pretty sure we can count out Show as well, since his career is winding down.  Show is 38, and I’m quite amazed that he’s still able to perform as well as he has been, all things considered.  But I don’t think he’ll win another World Title.  He’s a great pursuer, but not the greatest champion.  So that leaves us with the two heels of the match: Swagger and Punk.  Swagger’s reign has been mostly unimpressive, with only three title defenses in nearly three months as champion.  He survived against Jericho and Edge near the start of his run, then defeated Randy Orton at Extreme Rules, and got himself intentionally disqualified at Over the Limit against Show.  So now that he has three opponents and no disqualifications, Swagger’s title reign is in serious jeopardy.  Still, I think the only person to have a chance at winning the title is CM Punk, and I’m betting that his and Mysterio’s feud is not complete.  There’s going to be a Mask vs. Mask match in our future, and I don’t think that Punk will be the champ when that goes down.  But he could win on Sunday and then drop the title to someone else shortly after.  We all know my thoughts on that.  Anyway, this is going to be chaotic and ugly as sin, but I actually think that Jack Swagger will win and retain the World Heavyweight Championship.  But as I said earlier, expect a lot of outside interference and some confusion.  Maybe we’ll get a Dusty finish, or as close to one as we can get in a Fatal 4 Way match.

Fatal 4 Way Match for the WWE Championship – John Cena (c) vs. Randy Orton vs. Edge vs. Sheamus

We can immediately count Orton out of the running, as I doubt his shoulder is fully healed.  I feel it was a bad decision on Creative’s part to continue to put Orton in matches over the past month while he should have been resting and rehabbing his shoulder.  They allowed Ted Dibiase to rest and rehab after suffering a concussion at the same show, so why make Orton wrestle with one good arm?  It doesn’t make any sense to me.  I’m also pretty sure we can count Edge out of the running.  He hasn’t been the same since returning from his Achilles tendon injury.  He’s noticeably slower in the ring, and seems to take fewer risks.  He probably doesn’t have too much longer as an active in-ring competitor.  Sure, a tenth title reign would be great, but I don’t think Edge has what it takes to hold a World Title anymore.  Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy his work.  But I think he’s on a downhill slide, and it would probably be best to limit his in-ring action as much as possible.  That leaves us with The Champ and the Irish Porcelain Doll.  Sheamus still has yet to give me any inkling that he deserves to be a main eventer, and I question his spot in this match.  I would have loved to see a guy like Evan Bourne in the match, if only to further a possible feud with Edge and an eventual main event push.  But that probably won’t happen for a while.  And besides all that, Cena’s been on a pretty strong roll since he won the title back from Batista at Wrestlemania 26.  In fact, I believe this is the best I’ve seen Cena since his yearlong title reign back in 2006-2007.  All signs point to Cena continuing his dominance of Raw, and I don’t believe I’ll be changing my mind anytime soon.  John Cena wins and retains the WWE Championship.

Wow…five title matches, five title retentions.  I don’t know when I’ve done that before.  Also, if it counts as a pick, I’m predicting that Bret Hart does give the former NXT guys contracts, if only to allow the rest of the Raw locker room to beat the shit out of them on Raw the next night.  Maybe send a few of them back to FCW, even.

So, when all is said and done, I’ve written 3,300 words, and I’d like to think I’ve entertained a few people with my ramblings.  Check back in on Monday for Fatal 4 Way results, and maybe I’ll have something prepared that’s more than a “week in review” post.  Maybe.  So, until next time, stay awesome.

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