Archive for the ‘Analysis’ Category

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Can you believe it’s already mid-July? Where does the time go? Anyways, tonight brings us our third consecutive new pay-per-view concept. Money In The Bank, a staple of Wrestlemania for the past five years, finally gets its own three-hour show. For the first time in WWE history, more than one MITB match will take place on the same night, one from Raw and one from Smackdown. Inside the suspended briefcase is a guaranteed contract for a championship match against the world champion of each respective brand. Who will grab the case and make history? We shall find out tonight. Live from Kansas City, Missouri, it’s Sunday night!

Kelly Kelly v. Layla El – WWE Women’s Championship

Who would have thought that Kelly Kelly would be a legitimate contender for the Women’s Championship? She has really come into her own as the babyface Diva on Smackdown. Much like Eve is doing on Raw, Kelly is continuing to improve every week and while there are still some kinks she needs to work out, she is on the right track. Kelly has gone over both Michelle McCool and Layla El in recent weeks, so we know she can beat them. Based on what I know from watching wrestling for so long, whoever gets the upper hand right before the PPV ultimately loses more often than not. Two weeks ago on Smackdown, LayCool jumped Kelly during an interview segment. I am going to go with history and predict a title victory for Kelly Kelly. LayCool’s run on top of the Smackdown Diva division has been entertaining to say the least, but bastardizing the Women’s Championship by creating a replica needs to end. I have a feeling that it will tonight when Kelly Kelly wins her first WWE title.

Winner: Kelly Kelly

Alicia Fox v. Eve Torres – WWE Diva’s Championship

This match was announced last week on Raw after Fox’s sneaky tactics that enabled her to retain the Diva’s Championship. Eve did a great job as Diva’s Champion and should regain the belt in the future. For the time being, Fox needs this win. Fox claims she receives no respect (and for good reason), but to gain that respect, she needs a clean win in a one-on-one match. She’ll get it here, but I hope she drops the belt soon to someone more deserving. Paging Gail Kim?

Winner: Alicia Fox

The Hart Dynasty v. The Usos – WWE Unified Tag Team Championship

This tag team “feud” has received little to no attention. Remember, this is the WWE tag team division. Regardless, after weeks of run-ins and pre-match assaults, we will finally see the Dynasty and the Usos battle for the WWE Unified Tag Team Championship. Jimmy and Jey show a lot of potential and the WWE has a knack for giving new teams title runs as a way of elevating them. Yet, other than a squash on Superstars, I can’t remember a solid win that the Usos have picked up. The Dynasty’s title run has gone from intriguing to boring in only two months. Since D.H. Smith and Tyson Kidd have won the titles, they have defended them ONE time, that being at Over The Limit against the Miz and Chris Jericho.

I have a feeling that the Dynasty will go over here and retain their titles, but they are nothing more than “lame duck” champions. Here’s what I would like to see: the Dynasty will retain the titles against the Usos and hold them quietly as they have for a few more months. Nexus will take those titles away from them in a coup of sorts that might also involve Wade Barrett winning the WWE Championship. Nexus can then defend the Tag Tean Championship under the “Freebird” Rule. That hasn’t been seen since the Spirit Squad (yes, I mentioned the Spirit Squad), but might breathe life into the tag team division. Or it could fail, which it has been doing for quite some time. And with the Usos going over last Monday on Raw, that does nothing but solidify my selection. The Dynasty wins, but don’t expect them to hold the belts for much longer.

Winner: The Hart Dynasty

John Cena v. Sheamus – Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship

Here we go again. John Cena is in a championship match for the 12th time in the last 13 pay-per-views (for those keeping score, the 2010 Royal Rumble was the only one missing). This one, however, should prove intriguing. The steel cage has been put in place by the Raw GM in order to keep Nexus from interfering, since you know, they don’t actually wrestle in sanctioned matches.

Sheamus has been adamant about not helping Cena in fighting Nexus, but last Monday on Raw, after being faced with Nexus, Sheamus literally ran to Cena’s side. Don’t let that fool you; these guys will put on one hell of a show tonight, but the locker room divide is becoming the more fascinating aspect of this Nexus angle.

When the WWE released the Summerslam poster, two familiar faces were on it: Triple H and the Undertaker. Reports from last week surfaced (much to the WWE’s chagrin) that Triple H underwent surgery to repair a torn tendon in his upper arm. The scheduled match between Triple H and Sheamus is in the air. If Trips was ready to return on time, I would have Sheamus going over here, no questions asked. But because of this turn of events, I am going to make a prediction I have yet to make in one of these PPV prediction columns. This match will end in a no contest.

With the events at the end of last week’s Raw in mind, I think that Nexus will exact revenge and find a way to interfere in the steel cage match. This will set up a triple threat at Summerslam with Wade Barrett cashing in his championship opportunity (I have a feeling that the “three month no championship compete clause” will be forgotten, as are a lot of things by WWE Creative). If you are looking for a clear cut winner here, don’t try too hard.

NO CONTEST

Rey Mysterio v. Jack Swagger – World Heavyweight Championship

According to reports I’ve read, the WWE gave Mysterio his second World Heavyweight Championship in exchange for postponing his vacation and taking the Undertaker’s spot at Fatal 4 Way. Keep in mind, however, that it was Mysterio who injured the Undertaker. Why would he be rewarded for that?

Anyways, it is fitting that Swagger is invoking his rematch clause at Money In The Bank because it was that very match that allowed him to earn his first major championship in the WWE. While Swagger’s run was interesting to say the least, I have never seen a world champion pinned cleanly more than Swagger was. Losses to the likes of John Morrison, Mysterio (on several occasions) and the Undertaker took away the luster of what Swagger’s reign could have been. I will give him one thing. Swagger did have one more clean pinfall victory at a PPV than Sheamus did during his first run (Sheamus didn’t have any). As of late, however, Swagger has been built into a vicious monster, adding the Ankle Lock to his arsenal and taking out Mysterio as well as the Big Show with said hold.

The outcome of this match shouldn’t be in question. After the lukewarm response Swagger received from the WWE Universe throughout his time as WHC, I don’t think the WWE would want to put the belt back on him so quickly. Mysterio should be a transitional champion; I am not sure of who will take it from him, but I doubt he will hold it for very long. Hell, he still needs to take his vacation! I could see a heel winning the Smackdown MITB match and cashing it on Mysterio before the end of the night, but I am not convinced. Also, Mysterio’s “ankle injury” plays into his “Ultimate Underdog” persona and what better way to cultivate that persona by retaining the World Heavyweight Championship on one foot?

If you are unsure of my prediction, let me sway you. Commercials for Smackdown‘s Australian Tour have Mysterio defending the WHC against Swagger, the Big Show, and C.M. Punk. I know this is always subject to change, but considering how close we are getting to the show, I doubt plans will change right now. Mysterio retains.

Winner: Rey Mysterio

Kane v. The Big Show v. Christian v. Matt Hardy v. “Dashing” Cody Rhodes v. Drew McIntyre v. Dolph Ziggler v. WWE Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston – Smackdown Money In The Bank Match

This match features more overall MITB experience, including three Superstars with three MITB matches under their respective belts. The potential in this match is much higher, considering there are less bona fide main-eventers among the participants.

Kane (MITB experience: WM21, WM25, WM26) – Kane has come close to winning this match in the past, but could not grab the briefcase when it counted. This match is filler for Kane, but in a different way than Mark Henry on the Raw side. While Henry is there just to fill a spot, Kane needs something to do before the speculated return of the Undertaker at Summerslam. Kane winning this match wouldn’t make sense because his focus needs to be on the Undertaker angle. Bringing the briefcase into it would only lessen its significance.

The Big Show (None) – The Big Show has returned to his jolly self and he is being inserted back into the main event picture because of it. He is so much more believable as a face because he is a genuinely nice guy. Anyways, Show is floating. He has a feud with Jack Swagger, but Swagger is in the WHC match. I think their feud will continue after MITB. With my predictions of Show losing here and Swagger losing as well, that leaves them open for one another.

Cody Rhodes (None) – “Dashing” Cody Rhodes is a stud (not in that way, people, though the nickname screams otherwise). Rhodes, along with the Miz, have zoomed past their respective former partners, Ted DiBiase and John Morrison, which no one saw coming. Rhodes will be a great champion one day, but he still needs some singles seasoning before we can take him seriously as a main-eventer. I see an IC Title run in his immediate future.

Matt Hardy (WM22, WM23, WM26) – Oh, Matt Hardy. He is a pioneer of this very match and always knows how to entertain with the ladders. Hardy has been with the WWE for so long and has yet to sniff world championship gold. I wish he could win, but I don’t think he will. Hardy is a great enhancement talent, but other than a Kane-like title run in the future (maybe it will last longer than a day), I can’t see Hardy as WHC. The crowd loves him, but he just doesn’t have “it.” I know I sound like Matt Striker on NXT, but think about it.

Kofi Kingston (WM25, WM26) – After fading away following his program with Randy Orton last fall, Kingston came back in a big way on Smackdown, winning the Intercontinental Championship. A champion involved in MITB has never won. It looks like Kingston is in this match for his high-flying offensive arsenal and his penchant for big spots. Having Dolph Ziggler in this match will help further their feud, which I can see coming to a head at Summerslam.

Dolph Ziggler (WM26) – Ziggler was my early favorite to win this match, but I took a step back and realized that a world championship isn’t in the cards for Ziggler just yet. Ziggler has yet to win any championship in the WWE. Yes, you can argue that Sheamus hadn’t either when he won the title, but Sheamus was built up from the moment he debuted. Ziggler has been up and down for years. Ziggler deserves the IC Title and will get it very soon. He is in this match to provide some spots and further his feud with Kingston.

Christian (WM21, WM25, WM26) – Who among us wouldn’t love to see Christian win MITB and finally become a world champion? I would, but it won’t. Yes, I am being blunt, but let me explain. Christian is very over with the crowd, but for some reason, he has yet to climb further than an ECW Championship since returning two years ago. I think he needs a heel turn. Him turning on Hardy on Smackdown might be the beginning. Since it seems that Drew McIntyre has moved on to other things, Hardy needs a foil. Christian would fit perfectly. It would give him the chance to work himself over as a heel against a fan favorite. From there, maybe we will see the title run we have been salivating over.

Drew McIntyre (WM26) – The “Chosen One” has fallen out of favor because Mr. McMahon has been “incapacitated” by Nexus. It looks like McIntyre is attempting to get back into Teddy Long’s good graces now that he has no backup. Mr. McMahon disappearing is the best thing that could have happened to McIntyre. I have a strong feeling that it will be McIntyre grabbing the Smackdown briefcase. Remember how I said I could see a heel cashing in the briefcase on Mysterio? Imagine McIntyre doing just that. As WHC, he will once again have the power on Smackdown and the ensuing struggle with Long will make for great television. The “Chosen One” returns at MITB and wins the match.

Winner: Drew McIntyre

Randy Orton v. Edge v. Evan Bourne v. Chris Jericho v.  v. Ted DiBiase v. John Morrison v. Mark Henry v. WWE United States Champion The Miz – Raw Money In The Bank Match

This is a star-studded match. Three former world champions join five up-and-coming Superstars for what should be an amazing contest. There are three distinct rivalries taking place in this match (Orton/Edge, Bourne/Jericho, and DiBiase/Morrison) and one that will surely resume afterwards (Miz/R-Truth/Mark Henry). I will do my best to figure out who will win, but it won’t be easy. To do that, I will break down each respective Superstar and highlight his chances (or lack thereof).

Randy Orton (MITB experience: WM 23) – Randy Orton is in an interesting place. After being in the title picture for practically all of 2009, his organic face turn has allowed him to stay in the main event while not having to chase or hold the WWE Championship. Over three years removed from his first and only MITB appearance, Orton has changed dramatically and his transformation from cocky Legend Killer into deranged Viper has been entertaining to behold. Yet, I don’t believe Orton will come out on top. Orton does not need to win in order to be inserted into the main event picture and his character, which happens to lend to the unpredictable (something MITB is all about), can still be that way without a win. I don’t think this type of unpredictability is in the cards for Orton.

Edge (WM21, 23. Winner WM21) – Edge is the “Ultimate Opportunist” for a reason, having earned his nickname by cashing in MITB twice (the second time, he won the case from Mr. Kennedy, then cashed it in on a beaten Undertaker after an assault by Mark Henry). While Edge winning tonight wouldn’t seem out of place, it is simply a case of “been there, done that.” A win wouldn’t do anything for Edge. Plus, he’s not finished with Randy Orton and I see a match between the two at Summerslam.

The Miz (None) – The Miz has blossomed into a credible upper-mid-carder and will continue to elevate into a main-eventer. The problem is is that he’s U.S. Champion. Like I said before, no champion who has taken part in MITB has ever won. Miz needs to focus on his U.S. Title and defend against someone like Truth, for example, who is also on the precipice of becoming a main-event Superstar. Plus, with Truth unable to compete in the match due to the Miz’s attack on Raw, Miz should have his hands full.

Mark Henry (WM25) – Henry has been inserted into this match as R-Truth’s replacement. That is all Henry is: filler. Can you imagine Henry attempting to climb a ladder? Yes, I know the Big Show weighs more, but just the thought of Henry climbing a ladder makes me laugh.

Ted DiBiase (None) – DiBiase has floundered since Legacy dissolved before WM26. Cody Rhodes has taken the ball on Smackdown, which no one saw coming. I can’t see DiBiase winning this match, but I can see him possibly trying to buy it off whoever does as an angle heading into Summerslam.

Chris Jericho (WM21, WM24) – Jericho is the “dark horse.” He made mention before his match at Fatal 4 Way that he has gone from the “hunter” to the “hunted.” What better way to change that perception than by holding a guaranteed title match at any time? It is hard for me to do this, but Jericho probably won’t win. Like Orton, Jericho doesn’t need MITB to elevate himself.

Evan Bourne (WM26) – Bourne has skyrocketed from jobber to the stars to credible Superstar in such a short time. Since his tag match victory with John Cena over Sheamus and Edge, Bourne has been on a tear, picking up several wins over Chris Jericho. It would seem that based on current trends, Bourne has no competition heading into this match. But he does. And he won’t win. Why? Don’t get me wrong, Bourne is a fantastic worker. But WWE Champion? I can’t picture that at all. Not yet at least. I can see his feud with Jericho continuing past this, which will allow him to get the experience needed to become a world champion. Bourne might get his chance, but don’t expect it tonight.

John Morrison (WM24) – Morrison’s journey as a singles/face competitor has been intriguing to watch. Last summer, it seemed like a World Title run was inevitable, but it hasn’t happened yet. Morrison has had some IC TItle reigns to his credit over the past year, but as most of the IWC believed, that was behind him. Since being drafted to Raw, Morrison has battled injuries and has slipped down the face totem pole. A win would definitely elevate Morrison to where he belongs. I think he gets it here. Morrison is a multiple Tag Team, ECW, and Intercontinental Champion and it would only make sense for him to add WWE Champion to his resume. He is over with the crowd and he has proven himself worthy. I will go with my gut and say that John Morrison gets a victory at MITB.

Winner: John Morrison

Courtesy of wwe.com

Happy Father’s Day everyone! What better way to spend a day celebrating men than by watching other men beat the crap out of each other. The second new pay-per-view concept is ready for a test drive (a pun which would have been better used for last month’s Over The Limit, but I can’t be on all the time). Fatal 4 Way features, you guessed it, Fatal 4 Way matches. With Summerslam looming in the distance, the WWE is on the road to its summer Wrestlemania. Enough bad wordplays now. Live from Long Island, it’s Sunday night!

P.S. Five matches on the card? Really? Math time. A three-hour show divided by five matches equals 36 minutes per match. THAT’S not happening. Expect some NXT and Kane mixed in there for flavor.

The Miz v. R -Truth – WWE United States Championship

After holding the U.S. Title for no more than a month, R-Truth lost the championship to the Miz in a Fatal 4 Way match on Raw last week. While it was surprising, the outcome does make sense. Truth is very over with the crowd and does not need a championship to legitimize himself with the WWE Universe. On the other hand, the Miz works so much better when he is on top because it adds a new, even more annoying and braggadocios element to his character. Both of these men are on deck to become major main event stars in the near future and a feud between the two could work wonders for both Superstars. I have a problem with quick title changes because it makes the title and the wrestler holding them look weak and worthless. I cannot see the Miz dropping the U.S. Championship in less than a week. From here, the feud can continue or Truth can move into the main event. A title feud with John Morrison could be a good transition for the Miz; there is obvious history between the two, plus both are Pros on NXT so the angle could take place on more than one show. Regardless, he’s the Miz and he will retain the U.S. Title at Fatal 4 Way.

Winner: The Miz

Kofi Kingston v. Drew McIntyre – WWE Intercontinental Championship

I never thought I’d see this match again, but here we are and here it is. This entire Kingston/McIntyre/Theodore Long/Matt Hardy/Mr. McMahon pentagon has been confusing, and quite frankly, a clusterf*ck. I wish Kingston would just move on and find himself a new challenger and feud (right now, it is looking like Dolph Ziggler).The segment involving McIntyre and Long this week on Smackdown will definitely sell the fight, but what comes next? McIntyre needs to solve his Hardy conundrum and there is no need or point for the IC Title to be involved in said dispute. I am picking (and praying) that Kingston will retain his championship, finally move forward and leave McIntyre behind.

Winner: Kofi Kingston

Eve Torres v. Maryse v. Gail Kim v. Alicia Fox – WWE Diva’s Championship

This match is going to be ugly. Eve and Maryse will carry the load while Gail Kim and Alicia Fox will struggle to keep up the pace with more Divas involved. Eve has held the Diva’s Title for about two months, which I consider a lengthy run for her. There has to be some sort of title change on every pay-per-view, so I am going to make a change here. Maryse winning would be too predictable and quite boring to be honest. Fox isn’t ready yet for that kind of exposure. That leaves Gail Kim. She teased some tension with Eve on Monday when she held onto the title for a bit longer than necessary. Kim is a great athlete that hasn’t had a chance to shine since returning to the WWE. Here’s her chance. I will go out on a limb and pick Gail Kim to win the Diva’s Championship.

Winner: Gail Kim

John Cena v. Sheamus v. Randy Orton v. Edge – WWE Championship

This will most likely be the main event and rightfully so. The two biggest faces and two of the biggest heels in the WWE will square off for John Cena’s WWE Championship. I am afraid that this match’s outcome will be painfully obvious. For months, the WWE has been teasing a John Cena/Sheamus feud. It started right after Extreme Rules with Sheamus demanding his shot after taking out Triple H and continued through Over The Limit, when The Celtic Warrior kicked Cena right before the show went off the air. When you put all of the pieces together, Randy Orton and Edge will cancel each other and continue their feud without the WWE Championship (for now). Cena retains and starts a lengthy program with Sheamus, one that should be more entertaining now that Sheamus has come into his own as a credible challenger and champion.

Winner: John Cena

Jack Swagger v. Rey Mysterio v. The Big Show v. C.M. Punk – World Heavyweight Championship

While the WWE Championship match’s outcome is easier to determine, the World Heavyweight Championship’s destiny is less clear. Not only is the winner harder to predict, but so are the programs each man involved will partake in once Sunday is over. I will do my best to explain where I see each participant going.

Rey Mysterio – Mysterio was originally slated to take off significant time after his feud with C.M. Punk came to a head at Over The Limit. With the Undertaker’s injury, however, Mysterio has had to stay on and take his place in the match. I still think Mysterio will take his desired time off, so not only do I see him not winning Sunday, but I also see him disappearing from WWE programming for quite some time.

C.M. Punk – Punk has become the best heel in the WWE and the Straight Edge Society is the most compelling stable since the days of Evolution. Even with all of that, Punk has floated since his amazing feud with Mysterio died down last month. Punk can’t afford to wander; not only would it affect him, but also Serena, Luke Gallows, and the Masked Man (whose identity we don’t officially know yet). I can’t see Punk winning the WHC Sunday, but I don’t know where to place him afterwards. He could feud with Kane by being responsible for the Undertaker’s attack or even for retribution considering it was Kane that allowed Mysterio to shave his head at Over The Limit. There are also some lower main-event wrestlers looking for a feud, especially M.V.P., who had his run-ins with the SES in the past. Punk always seems to follow a formula where he is inserted into the main event for months at a time before being “demoted” to mid-card feuds while WWE finds things for him to do (Check out the transition from Hell In A Cell to Royal Rumble for details). Maybe the focus can be put on Gallows for a bit. Either way, Punk needs something to do. The SES can’t be put on the shelf with the amount of heat it receives. Plus, the mask has to come off somehow and he’s not going to do it by himself.

The Big Show – As I mentioned in my Over The Limit predictions last month, Show is a great challenger, but not a great champion. I definitely can’t see him winning, but like Punk, I don’t where to place him. Perhaps the two of them could work together. Their match on Smackdown, albeit short, was very entertaining.

Jack Swagger – The World Champion has really transformed into a credible main-eventer. The WWE has already done a much better job with Swagger than they did with Sheamus earlier this year (minus all of the clean non-title losses). Rumors circulated that the Undertaker would be Swagger’s next opponent. Keeping in mind that these rumors were unveiled before Taker got hurt, he is only supposed to be out of action for about six weeks, which is plenty of time to build towards a Summerslam program (UPDATE: According to the Wrestling News Observer, the plan for Fatal 4 Way as of mid-week is to have Swagger drop the title. Also, a primary plan has the Undertaker v. Kane in a casket match at Summerslam). Even with all of these potential spoilers (which have a propensity to change at a moment’s notice), I have faith that Swagger will find a way to retain his title Sunday. I could see a mini-feud between Swagger and Kane to hold one of them over for Undertaker while also tying in the other. Swagger wins.

Winner: Jack Swagger

Be sure to come back tonight for my updated #! Pretender PPV Standings. Enjoy Fatal 4 Way and check back for new content on #1 Pretender.

Courtesy of wwe.com

By now, I am sure that most of you who read my site are aware of what happened this weekend regarding WWE NXT Rookie “Daniel Bryan,” better known as Bryan Danielson. In case you don’t know, allow me to recap and enlighten you.

Last Monday’s NXT Invasion on Raw was one of the most shocking, yet compelling things I’ve seen on WWE television in years. The eight Rookies from Season One jumped into the ring area during the main event between John Cena and C.M. Punk and chaos ensued. The Rookies destroyed everything in sight, including Punk, Luke Gallows, Jerry Lawler, Justin Roberts, the timekeeper, security, the ring itself, the barricades, and especially Cena. The Rookies left Raw in its wake and we are still looking for answers six days later. Hopefully, they all will be addressed tomorrow night on Monday Night Raw.

This is where Danielson comes in. During the mugging, he stripped down Roberts, grabbed his necktie and used it to choke him. Here’s a picture to illustrate.

Danielson also spit in Cena’s face as he shouted “You are not better than me!” repeatedly in the WWE Champion’s face. I personally thought that was the best part; I would have loved to see a Danielson/Cena feud or even one-off match at some point. Unfortunately, we might not ever get that chance because the WWE released Danielson for his actions Friday evening.

At first, it seemed as if this was a well-disguised work to put over the attack on Monday. The WWE even placed a story on the home page of WWE.com with news of the release and used his real name as well.

Courtesy of wwe.com

On Danielson’s Twitter, he changed his name back to Bryan Danielson and in response to the firing, he made mention of the “winds of change,” a catchphrase of fellow NXT Rookie and winner, Wade Barrett.

Courtesy of Twitter

Taking this all into account, it would seem as if this was a complete work. Yet, as news became available, the kayfabe element of this situation quickly disappeared. It appears as if Danielson’s departure was legitimate.

Wrestleview, via the Wrestling News Observer, reported that the “higher ups” at WWE were informed before the decision was made and eventually the creative team was made aware of the firing. Wrestleview also reported that it was Danielson’s choking of Roberts that ultimately spelled the end of his WWE tenure. Choking was deemed “too violent” for PG television and after the incident involving Chris Benoit and his family several years ago, the WWE has attempted to limit “choking” on television, much like it has limited blood.

A lot of things have come into play and now that we have the facts, I would like to share my opinion. I find it very hard to believe that the WWE would go through all of this trouble if this wasn’t actually real. The timing of the initial report definitely gave the impression that this was an elaborate scheme to put over the events of Monday. There are still things that make me think that this could be an scheme (especially the “winds of change” Twitter comment), but I am not convinced just yet. Another interesting thing I have read comes from PWInsider’s Dave Scherer, who believes Danielson might have been the “fall guy” for an incident that could have derailed Linda McMahon’s political campaign. I think this is as real as it gets, but it still leaves me with some questions.

Will the NXT stable be able to get over with the crowd without Danielson?

If choking was an issue, how come Heath Slater wasn’t fired? He choked Cena with the ring ropes.

Why is his NXT profile still active on WWE.com?

Wrestleview reported that Danielson was well-liked backstage and he might be able to come back once things resolve themselves. Is this remotely true?

What I do know, however, is that either way, this is the most talked-about incident in the WWE in ages. Only time will tell.

 

Season Preview: NXT Season Two

Posted: June 2, 2010 in Analysis, NXT
Tags: ,

Courtesy of Google Images

When reality shows end, they usually go on several month-long hiatuses. WWE NXT Season Two? It starts next week. The WWE is wasting little time bringing back the concept and the eight Rookies and their respective Pros have already been announced. These fresh faces will compete once again for the title of WWE’s Next Breakout Star. This is a season preview of sorts; I will introduce the Rookies, detail their backgrounds, show some video clips of them in the ring, describe how I think they will interact with their Pro, and finally, make a prediction of who will win NXT.

Season Two Changes

So far, the only change we know about Season Two deals with the voting process. According to Josh Mathews and Michael Cole, the WWE Universe will now have a say on who goes where in the Pro’s Poll. The Pros will hold 50% of the vote, while the fans can vote online at WWE.com for the other 50%.

Meet The Rookies

Husky Harris


WWE Pro: Cody Rhodes

Husky Harris, better known as “Duke Rotundo” in FCW, is a third-generation wrestler. His grandfather is Blackjack Mulligan and his father is I.R.S., a former tag champion. In FCW, Harris competes as part of a tag team known as the “Rotundos” along with his brother, Bo. He is a one-time FCW Tag Team Champion.

Pro Interaction

I thought Cody Rhodes was an interesting pick. Since both have blood lines in the business, I am sure Rhodes will make it known that his family has been more successful, causing a riff between the two. I see their relationship playing out much like Darren Young and C.M. Punk; Rhodes will do his best to feign interest, but ultimately will throw Harris by the wayside unless Harris adapts to Rhodes’ in-ring acumen.

Eli Cottonwood


WWE Pro: John Morrison

Eli Cottonwood is listed at over 7 feet tall and is the first “monster” that NXT has had. He once had a basketball career, graduating from St. John’s University in New York, competing overseas, and even signing two developmental deals with the Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks.

Pro Interaction

This is a definite mismatch in terms of in-ring style. Morrison is a high-flyer with tremendous speed and agility. With Cottonwood’s obvious size and strength advantage, I am not sure how Morrison will really be able to impart his wisdom on Cottonwood. I can see the two getting along.

Kaval





WWE Pros: WWE Co-Women’s Champions Layla El and Michelle McCool

Kaval, better known as “Low Ki,” is this season’s Bryan Danielson. Kaval has had runs in Ring Of Honor (where he was the first ROH Champion), ZERO-ONE, and TNA (where he was a former X Division Champion). He is a 12 year veteran and should be the “internet darling” as Michael Cole would call him. Unlike Danielson, however, he is much more stern.

Speaking of Danielson, here’s a match between the two from FCW.

Pro Interaction

The comparisons to Danielson continue with Kaval’s Pro pairing. LayCool are the first Diva Pros. Their snootiness, much like the Miz’s, will definitely clash with Kaval’s no-nonsense attitude. This will be the most entertaining pairing to watch for sure.

Titus O’Neil


WWE Pro: Zack Ryder

A former college and professional football player, Titus O’Neil could be the most physically imposing Rookie on this season’s NXT.

Pro Interaction

Zack Ryder is a character to say the least. Depending on which way O’Neil goes (heel or face), this could be fun or painful.

Lucky Cannon

WWE Pro: Mark Henry

Lucky Cannon, or “Johnny Prime” in FCW, has been competing in WWE’s developmental territory for a while now. Not much is known about Cannon, so we are in for a surprise.

Pro Interaction

Mark Henry should be able to mold Cannon into his image. Cannon is a big guy and, with more agility than Henry, could be a superior version of the World’s Strongest Man.

Alex Riley

WWE Pro: The Miz

Alex Riley is the current FCW Heavyweight Champion. Arriving in WWE three years ago, he has been a regular in dark matches before Raw and Smackdown.

Pro Interaction

This is a match made in heaven. Riley is more or less a miniature Miz (not in size, but in attitude). These two will gel from the start and I can see these two making a huge impact on NXT.

Percy Watson

WWE Pro: M.V.P.

Hailing from South Beach, Percy Watson was a member of the “South Beach Boys” in FCW along with Season One Rookie Darren Young.

Pro Interaction

M.V.P. is from Miami, and even though he mentioned on the NXT finale that Miami and South Beach are two different entities, I think these two will get along just fine. M.V.P. was originally going to be the Pro for Skip Sheffield on Season One, but Watson is a much better fit for him. I think Watson might be the wild card in this competition.

Michael McGillicutty

WWE Pro: WWE Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston

Now this is a shame. Michael McGillicutty is actually Joe Henning, the son of “Mr. Perfect” Curt Henning. I have no clue as to why the WWE decided not to acknowledge this on NXT. He is a former FCW Heavyweight Champion and two-time Tag Team Champion with Brett DiBiase in a team known as the “Fortunate Sons.” Reports surfaced linking McGillicutty and DiBiase to Brett’s brother, Ted, and reforming the Fortunate Sons as a heel stable. But Brett injured his knee and this might be Plan B for McGillicutty.

Pro Interaction

Kofi Kingston will be a great mentor to McGillicutty in two ways. If he goes face, these two could easily steal the show. If he goes heel, I could see a feud between the two that would definitely spark interest. Keep an eye on this one.

Winner

Right now, I cannot pick a clear cut winner, but what I can do is tell you who I think are the only Rookies who have a chance of winning are. Here are those three:

Kaval

Alex Riley

Michael McGillicutty

These three are the most experienced and WWE-ready coming into the competition. In Season One, Danielson didn’t need to win because his stardom was already established. If Kaval follows the same trend (as I detailed above), he won’t need to win either. I doubt the WWE wants two heels to win the first two seasons of NXT, so if McGillicutty debuts as a face, he will be my favorite for WWE NXT Season Two.

Courtesy of Google Images

In a year where WWE plans to introduce several new pay-per-view concepts, the first has finally arrived. Over The Limit’s inaugural card is not too shabby and should make for a quality show. What is known for sure is that unlike Extreme Rules, most of these matches could easily go either way. As always, I have my predictions ready to share with the masses. So without further ado, live from Detroit, it’s Sunday night!

Here. Listen to this while you read on. Set the mood, you know?

Ted DiBiase v. R-Truth

This match was just added last week on Raw and could possibly be the opener. Though this “spoiled brat v. kid from the streets” feud has been played out, I like the dynamic that these two have. DiBiase’s “Fortunate Son” gimmick still has not worn on me yet because I don’t really believe him as the trust fund baby. Yet, I do find this search for a “Virgil” very entertaining. Speaking of Virgil, the actual Virgil showed up with DiBiase on Raw last week and will be in DiBiase’s corner during the match. I expect Virgil to play a factor in the match and help R-Truth. That way, Virgil does not need to be around moving forward and the search for the new Virgil can continue. I said Virgil a lot. Bottom line: the Truth hurts and will win Sunday night.

Winner: R-Truth

Randy Orton v. Edge

I like these two in a feud. When Edge returned as a face after injury about five or six years ago, he battled Orton over the IC Title and ultimately ended Orton’s seven month reign as champion. This time, the roles have been reversed and gives the Universe something fresh. I could see this feud over a title someday, but for the time being, it is a good secondary feud on Raw to keep audiences entertained. Orton has come into his own as a fan favorite and is closer to Stone Cold Steve Austin in terms of the “rebel” attitude than anyone has come since Austin retired. Albeit, it is much different and less relatable, but it seems to be working. I am glad that the WWE turned Edge heel; though it was nice to cheer for him again, it did not feel right after five years of the “Rated R Era” being stuffed down our throats. Both men are pretty psycho and will do anything to win, which explains Edge helping to bring back Vickie Guerrero as Raw GM. This is a toss-up, but I am going to go with Edge. I like Orton as the “apex predator” (I don’t like the saying, but like him chasing instead of being chased) and having Edge brag about his victory might lead to a more heated angle in the future.

Winner: Edge

Rey Mysterio v. C.M. Punk – Hair v. Pledge Match  -If Rey wins, Punk must allow him to shave his head. If Punk wins, Rey must join the Straight Edge Society.

This will be the show stealer. What a hot feud this has been. Each man has won a match when his livelihood has been on the line, but unlike the other matches, Punk and Mysterio both have something at stake. In short, it is a combination between the two previous matches (see stipulation above). I have no idea who will win this contest, but I will do my best to try. If Mysterio wins and Punk loses his hair, we could see the end of the Straight Edge Society. I believe it is way too soon to fold what might be the best stable WWE has had since Evolution in terms of heat and storyline presence. I feel that will come in time, but the time is not now. If Punk wins and Rey joins the SES, we could have an angle much like JBL and Shawn Michaels did at the end of 2008, where Michaels “worked” for JBL until HBK won a match to free himself of his captivity. I think that would be more believable and would carry this feud until the end of the year. Mysterio could battle through Luke Gallows and the masked man to get to Punk or even try to use them to overthrow Punk, ending the SES by shaving Punk’s head. Punk’s head will be bald eventually, but not now. If this was a Hair v. Mask match, the outcome would be obvious. Thankfully, that is not the case. Expect Rey Mysterio to join the Straight Edge Society at Over The Limit.

Winner: C.M. Punk

Eve Torres v. Maryse – WWE Diva’s Championship

Eve and Maryse have put on a pretty hot (not because they are both sexy. Well, maybe) Diva feud over the last month or so. The problem on Raw is that other than Maryse, there are not very many credible heel challengers for the Diva’s Title. The formula of “Maryse being champion, losing it, winning it back, meeting a new challenge, and repeating” is getting old. I want to see this feud continue for a little bit longer. For that to happen, Eve needs to win Sunday. Eve has improved so much in the ring and deserves a nice run at the top. Eve retains.

Winner: Eve Torres

Drew McIntyre v. Kofi Kingston – WWE Intercontinental Championship

When Kofi Kingston was drafted to Friday Night Smackdown, I automatically selected him as the man who would finally overtake Drew McIntyre for the Intercontinental Championship. Then Drew was fired and Kofi subsequently won the vacant championship in a match against Christian. I backed into a correct prediction, if you will. Yet, even after all of that, Drew was “reinstated” and here we are. I still see Kofi being the one who will usurp Drew as the IC Champion, but it is too soon for that. Other than Drew being rehired and taking back his title, there is not really a feud otherwise. For Kofi’s win to mean something, this angle needs to continue for at least another month. With that said, Drew will retain his Intercontinental Championship at Over The Limit and remain champion. For now.

Winner: Drew McIntyre

The Hart Dynasty v. The Miz & Chris Jericho – WWE Unified Tag Team Championship

The Hart Dynasty finally benefitted from Bret Hart’s return to the WWE when they won the WWE Unified Tag Team Championship from ShoMiz during the Draft Special April 26. The push was a long time coming for the Dynasty, who had nothing to do with the feud between Bret and Vince McMahon until Wrestlemania XXVI, when the storyline was already two months old. Tyson Kidd and David Hart Smith are two talented, young workers who deserve to hold the titles. For that reason, it is too soon for the Miz and Chris Jericho, former champions in their own right, to take the titles from the Dynasty. I can see ChoMiz (?) winning the Unified Championship in the future and continuing their feud with the Big Show on Smackdown. But the tag team scene in the WWE already lacks credibility and having the champions lose the belts in less than a month would not help the cause. Also, now that Bret Hart (who might play a role in the match) has won the U.S. Title from Miz (P.S. This is the first time Miz has not had some sort of title since October), it almost guarantees that this storyline will continue past Over The Limit. The Dynasty retains.

Winners: The Hart Dynasty

John Cena v. Batista – “I Quit” Match for the WWE Championship

An “I Quit” match is usually the “go to” match to end a long-running feud. However, such an ending can be anti-climatic. The WWE Championship between John Cena and Batista will be anti-climatic. On one side, Batista has not won a match in this feud (the “match” at Elimination Chamber does not count), so having him go over could make sense. On the other hand,  John Cena is a perfect 2-0 in “I Quit” contests and quite frankly, Cena’s image doesn’t really play into the whole “giving up” thing, considering his shirts say otherwise. Also, do not forget the reports about Batista’s expiring contract; it seems like Big Dave will be taking a break. Expect a failed run-in by Sheamus to set up a feud between Cena and Sheamus for next month. Maybe even a Mark Henry run-in? Doubtful, but you never know. I have noticed a general trend in this feud: Batista gets all of the momentum and upper hands on Cena on television, but once the PPV rolls around, Cena gets revenge. If you combine all of these facts into one simple statement, it would read like this: there is no way that John Cena will lose this match. You can bet on it.

Winner: John Cena

The Big Show v. Jack Swagger – World Heavyweight Championship

Jack Swagger has been doing a great job as World Heavyweight Champion so far. At the very least, he has done better than Sheamus, who did not have a clean pinfall victory in his reign as WWE Champion. Last month, Swagger pinned Randy Orton to retain his World Title. This month, he will find a way to do the same. The Big Show is always a good challenger for a major championship. The problem is is that he never comes through and wins them. Show has not held a World Title (meaning WWE, since he has never held the WHC. Sorry, ECW) since 2002. Don’t expect that to change tonight. With all of the momentum on Smackdown squarely in Show’s corner, it is just delaying the inevitable. I can see a DQ finish in this one just like I can see Swagger pinning Show cleanly. Either way, Swagger will walk out of Over The Limit still World Heavyweight Champion.

Winner: Jack Swagger

Check back tomorrow for my #1 Pretender PPV Standings and Tuesday for my weekly Raw report!



Courtesy of Google Images

With last night’s televised Draft and today’s online Supplemental Draft officially complete, it is time to look more closely at the moves made to each respective brand. While this draft didn’t have any “blockbuster” moves, some were definitely surprising and interesting. I will break down both Raw and Smackdown as a whole and by each Superstar.

Raw definitely got the better end of the deal, which seems to always happen, considering Raw is the “flagship” show and Smackdown’s currently going through a network switch. The addition of John Morrison, Edge, and Chris Jericho will definitely add to the main event scene, while new tag champions the Hart Dynasty might help to reinvigorate the tag team scene. Overall, an intriguing draft for Raw.

John Morrison – My theory of Morrison being next in line for Swagger’s title is officially ruined. He gets more exposure now, but he is much further down the face totem pole, behind Cena, Orton, and Triple H. Morrison is over with the crowd and that should continue, but he will have to work harder to get to the top. Morrison might get a crack at the Miz’s U.S. Title, but with Cena as champion for now, his main-event status is much lower than it was before.

R-Truth – This isn’t a “life-changing” move for Truth. He will remain in the mid-card and do what he did on Smackdown. Having Morrison move with him allows them to keep their team together and challenge for the titles down the road. A feud with DiBiase seems likely after last night, which would be entertaining. Hopefully, it won’t be like his last time on Raw. You know, when he exploded.

Edge – Edge moving to Raw was the biggest shocker of the night. After a hot angle with Jericho, Edge gets a fresh start. He interfered in the #1 Contender’s Match by spearing Randy Orton and costing him the match. Since he didn’t go for Batista or Sheamus, I assume he will fully transitioning back into a heel. He got a babyface reaction upon his return, but he always was more of a tweener. An Edge/Orton feud would be fun and refreshing, since it hasn’t been done since Edge returned from injury about five or six years ago. As long as we don’t get Edge/Cena right away, this is a great move for Raw.

Chris Jericho – Just when I thought Edge/Jericho would be over, Jericho moves to Raw. After fighting to stay on Raw after losing the tag titles, he is back on Raw and it’s about time. There really is nothing left on Smackdown for Jericho. He could continue his feud with Edge, either directly or indirectly through the WWE Championship picture. He can also team with the Miz (on their mutual hatred for the Big Show) and challenge for the tag titles. There will plenty for Jericho to do and I look forward to seeing what transpires.

The Great Khali & Ranjin Singh – I thought he was on sabbatical. Maybe he will be released before he comes back. i don’t know or care.

Natalya – This move was interesting considering the Dynasty’s win last night. Natalya is an amazing wrestler and will inject some life into a dormant Raw Divas scene.

Ezekiel Jackson – Currently suffering from injury, the last ever ECW Champion seemed like he would be getting a big push on Smackdown. Jackson is a perfect fit for the mid-card and could possibly even move to the main-event scene in the future and challenge for a title. It will be interesting to see how he functions without William Regal in his ear.

Goldust – Goldust is one of the WWE’s best enhancement talents and will continue to flourish at the role on Raw. He won’t be getting any big wins anytime soon, but that is not why he is there.

The Hart Dynasty – After Natalya’s move, this was natural. The Hart Dynasty finally got the push it deserved, especially with Bret around. Since they are the champions, the Dynasty can move between shows, but having them on Raw will give them more exposure and more possible opponents.


Smackdown lost too much and didn’t gain a lot back in return. Yet, the Blue Brand got three possible challengers to the WHC and some mid-card talent to help enhance the brand. Not a bad showing for Smackdown, but as always. never as good as Raw.

Kelly Kelly – The only Diva making a move on-air last night, Kelly Kelly will get a look on Smackdown. I don’t see much from her, but she is improving and will be another “credible” Diva on Friday nights.

The Big Show – After punching out the Miz, Show moves to Smackdown, where it looks like he will have another face turn. He is much more believable as a face and could possibly be in the hunt for the WHC.

Kofi Kingston – A good move for Kingston, who has floated around since his program with Orton ended in December. He will fill Truth’s role on Smackdown and finally gives me a possible usurper to Drew McIntyre’s IC Title.

Christian – With Edge and Morrison moving to Raw, Christian has been elevated to main-event status. Another rivalry with Swagger would be fun, this time over the WHC Title. These two had chemistry on ECW, so we know it will work. Finally, Captain Charisma gets the push he deserves.

Chavo Guerrero- Not too much to say. Maybe he will get more respect?

Cody Rhodes – An interesting and predictable move post-Legacy. Rhodes would be the perfect mid-card heel along with Ziggler and McIntrye.

Chris Masters – Chest-bouncing on Fridays.

Hornswoggle – …..

Rosa Mendes – Rosa moves to Smackdown and probably won’t do anything. I am surprised not to see Zack Ryder move with her.

M.V.P. – No one will benefit from a move more than M.V.P. After being drafted to Raw last year, he received a big push before languishing in a tag team with Mark Henry. Going back to Smackdown will work wonders for M.V.P., who made his name there. Like Christian, he has automatically been elevated to main-event status. We know he can work with Swagger after their mini-feud last year. Great move.

WWE Extreme Rules: The Predictions

Posted: April 24, 2010 in Analysis, PPV
Tags: ,

courtesy of Google Images

I should be writing this in June, but since Extreme Rules has replaced Backlash, what I feel was the most important non-“Big Four” (well, technically “Big Three” since Survivor Series has been axed) pay-per-view on the WWE schedule, I am bringing you my Extreme Rules predictions in late April! The WWE has given us quite the card. It is Grudge Match City. Population: the WWE Universe. Live from Baltimore, it’s Sunday night!

P.S. “Time to Shine” by Saliva is the official theme song of Extreme Rules. This band needs to put out a “WWE Greatest Theme Song Hits” album or something considering it has at least two songs involved in WWE every year. But I digress.

Michelle McCool v. Beth Phoenix – Extreme Makeover Match for the WWE Women’s Championship

I’m not sure what to make of this match. It was bound to happen. Phoenix has transitioned into a fan favorite quite well and she still is, in my opinion, the most impressive woman in the WWE. It would be easy to say that McCool will walk out the winner here. Her buildup with Mickie James took months before James finally went over and won the title, only to lose it right back to McCool. There is an interesting dynamic going on here with McCool, Layla El, and Vickie Guerrero and their momentum is riding high. But I feel it would be interesting to see how LayCool chases the title for more than a week. I will go out on a limb and say the Glamazon takes the victory and wins the title.

Winner: Beth Phoenix

Shad Gaspard v. JTG – Strap Match

There was a lot of shock when Shad turned on JTG and ended Cryme Tyme. Sadly, there was not much more of a reaction. If Cryme Tyme had been more of a successful tag team, perhaps the breakup would be more poignant. Shad beat Goldust this past week on Superstars in his first televised match since his heel turn and put in a good effort. The WWE does not need to build up JTG right now; he is already an established superstar of sorts and we know what he is capable of. Shad Gaspard, however, does need to be built as a credible heel and superstar for the future. For that reason, Shad wins.

Winner: Shad Gaspard

C.M. Punk v. Rey Mysterio (if Punk loses, he must shave his head).

Can you remember the last time C.M. Punk won at a pay-per-view? In case you forgot, he has not won on pay-per-view since Breaking Point. That was in September. And he won thanks to a “screwjob” of his own in Montreal. So, in reality, C.M. Punk has not won a match at a PPV clean since his TLC victory over Jeff Hardy at Summerslam EIGHT months ago. For a guy with such a growing profile, Punk cannot continue to lose like that. Rey has had the upper hand in most of the feud in terms of winning, while Punk’s promos have trumped Rey’s handily. After winning at Wrestlemania and not having to join the Straight Edge Society, this time around, Rey has nothing on the line. If he wins, he gets to shave Punk’s head. If he loses, so what? I see this feud continuing long past Extreme Rules and possibly into Summerslam. For that to happen, Punk needs to go over. Plus, can you imagine Punk with his head shaved? Weird. And with his hair getting a small trim this past week on Raw, I cannot see it getting completely shaved off. Maybe this stipulation will arise again at a later time with Punk losing and possibly marking the end of the SES, but for now, Punk wins.

Winner: C.M. Punk

Edge v Chris Jericho – Steel Cage Match

I think this match was quite downplayed by being announced over WWE.com, but the match should be another great one between two exceptional competitors. I have no idea how long this feud will last. It really began last July with Edge’s interview after rupturing his Achilles tendon, but picked up at the Royal Rumble. I was shocked (as I think most people were) when Jericho went over at Wrestlemania. Like the Punk/Rey feud, I see this going much further than Extreme Rules and Edge needs some sort of victory to gain momentum and allow the story to unfold. Either way, I am just glad we didn’t get the Triple Threat at the PPV.

Winner: Edge

Sheamus v. Triple H – Street Fight

I apologize now if all of my match predictions begin to run together. Including the aforementioned matches, this is yet another grudge match with an almost predictable outcome. Sheamus got a major rub by becoming the WWE Champion at TLC in December. When I watched as John Cena fell through a table at TLC, my mouth was agape. I cannot remember having that feeling since I was a child. He gets the “win” over Cena and a DQ win over Randy Orton at Royal Rumble, but to this day, still has no clean victory over a major competitor. He did not factor into the decision when he lost the title at Elimination Chamber when Triple H Pedigreed him to eliminate him from the match. I thought Sheamus would win at Wrestlemania, but of course, Triple H gets the victory. Just like it was important for Sheamus to hold onto the WWE Championship for a few months to gain credibility, he also needs a signature, clean victory to solidify himself as a main eventer. That win will come tonight when he finally gets one over on the Game.

Winner: Sheamus

John Cena v. Batista – Last Man Standing for the WWE Championship

For the second straight April, John Cena will be defending his title in a Last Man Standing match. Last year, he lost to Edge thanks to a chokeslam through a searchlight by the Big Show. This year, I cannot see any major interference. When Cena first won the title back at Wrestlemania 21, his reigns were very long. His first lasted 280 days, his second 133, his third 380. Since then, it’s been 21, 49, 0, and now about 28. Cena must be seen as a credible champion once again. Batista is a great pursuer of the championship, but I think Cena will dispatch of Batista and find himself a new challenger. But whom? Only time will tell. In the mean time, the Champ is still here.

Winner: John Cena

Randy Orton v. Jack Swagger – Extreme Rules Match for the World Heavyweight Championship

Remember when Swagger moved from ECW to Raw last summer and got himself intentionally counted out against Orton because he wanted to make a good first impression? Well, no better way to make good on this impression by beating Orton at Extreme Rules, which he will. I am glad Orton got the title match because it made sense. If you beat the Champ twice in a row, you deserve a title match. Here we go again: Swagger needs to retain in order to gain credibility. It will not end cleanly. I could see a returning Cody Rhodes interfering and costing Orton the title. If this wasn’t under Extreme Rules, I’d say Swagger wins by DQ. But it isn’t so I can’t. Swagger retains.

Winner: Jack Swagger