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So, as per normal, plenty has been going on the last…TWELVE DAYS?  Jeez, I’m a little embarrassed that I haven’t written anything in that long.  I need to let up on the Nintendo DS playing and get to writing more often than I have been.  I’ll do picks for the new PPV last, as there are other things that must be discussed.

Let’s start with this WWE vs. TNA dueling invasion storylines.  TNA, in an effort to try to become WWE, Jr. yet again, is staging its own invasion angle of the company.  Though, instead of a group of young up-and-comers, we’re getting a group of former ECW guys storming the gates of TNA.  The group (so far as I know) consists of Tommy Dreamer, Raven, Stevie Richards, Rhyno, Rob Van Dam, Brother Devon, and maybe Al Snow, Simon Diamond, and Mick Foley.  I really hate saying this, but these guys really do need to just hang up their boots.  They’ve been around the block one too many times, and the chances of them putting on great matches is slim.  ECW basically took their bodies away from them far too soon, and what’s left are broken husks of men who used to be considered the toughest guys in wrestling.  Does this mean that TNA is going to devolve into a clusterfuck of chaos and weapons?  I’m not sure.  It seems like TNA is trying to go the opposite way that WWE and their TV-PG rating is heading, like they’re adopting a much more violent style that ECW fans have, for some reason, been craving since the company went kaput in 2001.  Now, I don’t mind a little violence every once in a while, but when it oversaturates the show, it gets tedious to watch.  I don’t like how WWE is paranoid about blood and that they stop a match if someone has a cut (like they did with the Jericho/Tatsu match on Superstars) either, but I’d prefer that to ALL HARDCOREZ! shows.  I’ve tried to watch CZW, and it’s really not that entertaining to me.  I’m not saying TNA is headed down that path, but they’re definitely closer to that end of the violence spectrum than the sanitized experience WWE brings.  So I suppose this is just another step for TNA towards an eventual grave.  Put a bunch of late 30’s-early 40’s guys in the ring whose best years are long past hitting each other with frying pans and barb-wire baseball bats beating the shit out of the rest of the roster who are (mostly) used to actual wrestling.  Whatever.

Now, speaking of the Nexus, doesn’t it feel just a little bit like the creative minds at WWE have no idea where this storyline is going?  This past Monday, Wade Barrett stated that “The Nexus has a plan, but we’re not going to reveal it to you people just yet.”  Translation: we have no idea what we’re doing, so we’re just going to beat up the roster every week for no reason.  You guys have your contracts, so why are you still attacking the rest of the Raw roster?  And another thing: why in the hell can’t the Raw roster band together for even five minutes to fight back?  There are plenty of faces on Raw.  13, by my count.  Are you honestly saying that half of them can’t band together and fight off these young guys?  Really?  I have a very tough time suspending my disbelief for that one. Similarly, I have a very difficult time believing that a little over a week ago, not ONE person came to help Rey Mysterio as Jack Swagger dragged Mysterio via an ankle lock all the way from the backstage to the arena.  Come on.  Rey is one of the biggest fan favorites, and there should be a cavalcade of guys backstage who would normally rush to his aid if something like this were to happen.  But, for some reason, not even the trainers tried to stop Swagger.  It really felt awkward and a little too staged.  Same with Swagger’s interaction with Kane that same night.  Swagger really has no charisma.  It just feels like he’s reading lines off a cue card or that he’s memorized his lines.  Nothing he says ever feels like it’s coming from him.  It always feels like someone else is speaking for him.  Boy, that was one hell of a tangent.

Speaking of guys who need to head back to FCW, let’s talk about Eli Cottonwood for a minute.  The guy makes The Great Khali look like Bret Hart in the ring.  His promos…well, let’s just let this one speak for itself:

Eli’s hilarious promo.

Ugh.  If that wasn’t the worst promo you’ve seen in a while, then you’re probably lying.  The Soup made fun of him for this promo.  It was that bad. Also, my apologies for not being able to embed the video. WordPress is an idiot sometimes.

Also regarding NXT, I am sure I am not the only one who is completely sick and tired of Michael Cole referring to The Miz as 8,000 different coaches every episode.  We get it, you have a hard-on for Miz.  Give us a break.  To be perfectly honest, Josh Matthews is the only commentator who is even the slightest bit entertaining right now.  Cole is a lost cause, Jerry Lawler hasn’t been entertaining since he turned face, Todd Grisham is incompetent, and Matt Striker is too much of a smark to be fun to listen to.  Matthews is the only sane voice in a sea of ridiculousness.

And speaking of announcers, who else is pissed that WWE removed Jim Ross’ voice from the WWE intro?  Word on the street is that this is punishment for being seen at the latest UFC show alongside Dwayne Johnson, Steve Austin, Bill Goldberg, and Paul Heyman.  If this is true, it shows how petty Vince McMahon really can be.  And yet, we still hear JR’s voice during the vignettes for the Money in the Bank matches.  And I’m sure his voice won’t be erased from any WWE DVDs anytime soon.  And just to complete this tangential roller coaster, in what may be seen as a positive move, in the Elimination Chamber DVD that was just released, the match with Chris Benoit was included.  Maybe Vince is finally accepting that you can’t erase history if everyone else knows what happened.  Whether they show all the blood and gore as well, I do not know.  But let’s hope this is a step in the right direction.  Maybe one day we’ll get a Chris Benoit DVD.

Now, to end this little tirade, I want to look at one specific moment that ruined Smackdown for me last night.  At the end of the Ziggler/Hardy match, when Vickie Guerrero was on the apron distracting the ref, he should have cleared her off the ring apron before doing anything else.  He should have made her get off the apron before he counted the pinfall after the Zig Zag.  That’s just basic refereeing.  Unless it’s a tag team match, nobody is allowed on or in the ring besides the wrestlers and the ref.  That match is invalid.  Ziggler should not have had his arm raised, and Hardy should not be considered the loser of the match.  All this trouble was caused by Jack Doan, one of the most experienced refs in the business.  It was one thing when Goose Mahoney didn’t toss Vickie out of the arena the week prior after she pulled him out of the ring.  But this is just idiotic.  I hope Doan is reprimanded for his error.

Okay, I was wrong.  Another thing that bothered me about Smackdown was Show finally managing to get CM Punk’s mask off, showing the world what Show would look like if he lost 250 pounds.  I think this honor should have been given to Rey Mysterio, as he was the one who initially shaved Punk’s head.  He never got the true satisfaction of showing the world Punk sans hair, and then Show up and does it anyway on free television?  I was really hoping for a Mask vs. Mask match on PPV between Punk and Mysterio sometime in the future after Punk was healed and Mysterio dropped the title.  I guess we’ll never get that now.  How disappointing.

Now, let’s move on to the newest WWE gimmich Pay-Per-View event, Money in the Bank.  I’m okay with a couple of gimmick PPVs a year, but when you supposedly base an entire show around one match gimmick and then only have a couple of the matches on the card actually follow the gimmick, it’s false advertising.  Also, I really don’t think it’s necessary to have more than one Money in the Bank match per year.  If WWE is going to continue having one mat Wrestlemania and two at the MITB PPV, then we’re basically being told that we’re getting three guaranteed new champions a year.  And at a time where every title is in turmoil and nobody can seem to hold a title for more than a few weeks, it feels like the era of the lengthy title reign is all but finished.  And lastly on my list of general complaints, a Money in the Bank match without Shelton Benjamin is going to feel empty and weird.  The true innovator of the MITB is gone from the company, and it’s highly unlikely that anyone will replace him.

With all that being said, let’s go to the card.

Women’s Championship – Layla (c) vs. Kelly Kelly

The first of two utterly pointless matches on the show.  While Layla has certainly stepped her game up since winning the Women’s Championship, she’s still nowhere near the league of, say, a Nattie Neidhart.  Likewise, Kelly had been improving in the ring, but as of late has seemingly stalled.  Perhaps she’s at the top of her game.  If that’s the case, why bother giving her any screen time?  This match boils down to who’s on the outside.  If Michelle McCool is at ringside, it’s basically a guaranteed win for Layla.  If Tiffany is there, the odds aren’t really evened, but they’re closer to even than if she wasn’t there.  Now, if Rosa shows up, then all hell is going to break loose and I’ll just toss myself off a bridge, because that would be the worst thing to happen since Justin Bieber and Twilight COMBINED.  It really doesn’t matter.  Layla wins and keeps her pointless title.

Diva’s Championship – Alicia Fox (c) vs. Eve Torres

Eve is definitely my favorite diva right now who’s actually participating in the women’s division.  She’s hot as hell and actually pretty good in the ring.  And the most important part: she’s improving.  I can’t say that about any other woman in the women’s division on WWE programming.  Alicia is…okay…but I certainly don’t think she deserving of a title run right now.  Maybe in a year or two.  But for now, we’re stuck with her.  I’d prefer to see Eve with the title, in all honesty.  And you know what?  Let’s just go with that.  I’m trusting my preference over my brain right now.  Eve Torres wins and becomes a two-time Diva’s Champion.

I forgot to mention earlier that I’m also disappointed that neither the Intercontinental nor the United States Championship will be defended at this PPV.  Moving on…

Unified Tag Team Championships – The Hart Dynasty (c’s) vs. The Usos

Why not just have one belt?  It seems silly to carry around two sets of bents for one championship.  Unless WWE is planning to split the titles again in the future, I say drop one of the belts or ACTUALLY unify them.  Now, down to business.  This has been a truly old-school feud, and I’m loving every minute of it.  The Hart Dynasty is stepping up their game, and the Usos are constantly on the rise.  As I stated in a previous post, these two could have a year-plus-long feud over the titles and I wouldn’t get the least bit tired of it.  They have so much natural chemistry with each other it’s uncanny.  I’d love to see these two teams battle each other for the next twelve months without a break.  Maybe then another team will rise to join the fray.  I’d like to see the Dynasty vs. the Usos vs. the Dudebusters.  I bet it’s be a fantastic merging of styles.  But for now, I think this is one of the best feuds on WWE TV.  As for the winners, the Dynasty needs to keep the titles in order to establish a…well, a dynasty.  The Usos are too new to Raw to earn a title run.  The Hart Dynasty wins and retains the tag belts.

Smackdown Money in the Bank Ladder Match – The Big Show vs. Matt Hardy vs. Christian vs. Kofi Kingston vs. “Dashing” Cody Rhodes vs. Kane vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Dolph Ziggler

Smackdown did have one fantastic segment last night: Big Show’s ladder segment.  That was one of the funniest promos he’s given since coming to Smackdown earlier this year.  This face turn has really rejuvenated his character, and he’s over like crazy with the fans.  I cannot wait to see him lug that giant ladder down to the ring.  He just better make sure it doesn’t put holes in the ring mat.  Now, let’s get down to the odds.  I think we can toss Show and Kane out immediately.  Show, while great, doesn’t really need a briefcase to tell him he’s in the main event.  And Kane will be too distracted trying to find out who took The Undertaker out (my money’s on Kane himself).  Matt Hardy is never going to win a world title in WWE, so he’s out.  Kofi is the Intercontinental Champion, and that should keep him occupied for a while.  Dolph Ziggler still hasn’t won a singles title yet, and I think he needs an IC Title run before he moves up to the main event.  Drew McIntyre bores the crap out of me, so he doesn’t deserve this.  That leaves us with Christian and “Dashing” Cody Rhodes.  Rhodes is gaining more and more experience as the weeks go by, and he’s getting better and better at what he does.  Christian is the most deserving out of these eight men to get the briefcase.  But knowing how much Vince hates Christian (why I will never know), he probably won’t win.  So who does?  Honestly, it’s a tough decision.  I have a history of making bad decisions in multi-man matches like these.  Just for the fun of it, I’m goign with my old stand-by pick: Kofi Kingston wins Money in the Bank.  Hopefully he’ll finally get what he’s deserved for about the past eight months.

Raw Money in the Bank Ladder Match – Randy Orton vs. John Morrison vs. Mark Henry vs. Evan Bourne vs. Ted Dibiase vs. Chris Jericho vs. Edge vs. The Miz

Orton, Edge, and Jericho do not need this briefcase.  They’re already in the main event.  They can get a title shot pretty well any time they want one.  That doesn’t mean that one of them isn’t going to win.  I’m just saying they don’t need it.  Also, why replace R-Truth with Mark Henry?  Truth would have been plenty more fun to watch than Henry.  Hell, Henry needs one of those special Big Show reinforced ladders to reach the briefcase.  Whatever.  We can count Henry out, as it seems any chance he might have had to win a world title are long gone.  Evan Bourne is going to take the US Title from The Miz soon, and we all know Vince’s opinions about “smaller” wrestlers.  Morrison is stagnated right now, and desperately needs a heel turn if he wants any sort of heat.  Dibiase’s too involved with Maryse and not actually doing anything else to be deserving of the briefcase.  And Miz?  Well, I’m just not that keen on him.  Yes, he’s good on the mic.  But that doesn’t translate to being a great champion.  You have to deliver inside the ring if you ever want to be considered great, and Miz still hasn’t shown me that much inside the squared circle.  So who takes home the briefcase?  It’s a tough decision.  I suppose I’ll go out on a limb and say John Morrison wins the match.  I’m not exactly sure why.

World Heavyweight Championship – Rey Mysterio (c) vs. Jack Swagger

I thought that this World Title run by Mysterio was going to be short-lived after Swagger’s ridiculous ankle lock drag through the entire backstage area bit a week ago.  But I think that WWE is going to try to keep Mysterio as happy as possible so he’ll stick around as long as they can keep him.  He is the most popular guy among kids (maybe next to John Cena), and he’s also one of the few people who can go out every night and have a good match with just about anybody.  People who can do that are truly a rare breed.  In WWE, at least.  But I digress.  As long as Mysterio’s champ, he’ll likely be happy.  So he’ll probably get a title run similar to his last one, where he fends off insurmountable odds only to lose to a more regular guy.  Or maybe Swagger will prevail and then lose the title when the Smackdown MITB winner cashes in his contract.  Or maybe Kane will run interference and cause a no contest, leading to a big match between these two at Summerslam.  Yeah, that’s probably what will happen.  Kane will interfere, causing a no contest.  As to whom he strikes first, I’ll say he hits Swagger first, giving him the DQ victory.

WWE Championship Steel Cage Match – Sheamus (c) vs. John Cena

The cage is supposedly to keep the Nexus out of the cage.  But we’ve all seen what a wonderful job a cage does of keeping people from interfering.  It would really help if you could see me rolling my eyes when I typed “wonderful.”  But that’s text for you.  So you’ll just have to imagine me rolling my eyes when I type “wonderful” two sentences ago.  Now that I’m thoroughly confused, this match is going to be ugly.  And that’s mostly thanks to Sheamus.  The man has done nothing to deserve one, let alone two, WWE Title reigns outside of being Irish and being large.  He reminds me of a pasty Ultimate Warrior.  He’s bad in the ring, and his promos are laughable.  There is a 99.9% probability that the Nexus will interfere in this match and either cost one man the title or cause another no contest, though I would have to believe that having two no contests for world titles in one PPV is going to cause a lot of fans to leave angry.  So I guess I’ll pick Sheamus to win (I just threw up a little in my mouth) and keep the title for now.  If he does, in fact, win, it’ll be mostly by either luck or Nexus interference.  Maybe a cage wall will collapse when he runs into it and he spills out to the floor, winning the match.  Or they’ll both be at the top of the cage, punching each other, and Cena lands a right hand that knocks Sheamus off the cage and down to the floor.  Maybe through a table or something.  It doesn’t matter how, but Sheamus will win.  Not cleanly, but he’ll win.

And there you have it.  3,300 words cranked out today, and I’m done.  I’ll be back in a few days with a Money in the Bank recap.  If you have any ideas for new posts, I’d love to hear them, as I’m fresh out of ideas for non-recap postings.  So until next time, stay awesome!

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