Posts Tagged ‘Sheamus’

For the third month in a row, the WWE gave us another new PPV concept. Money In The Bank was a fast-paced show with plenty of action and questions left unanswered. As always here at N1P, I keep track of my PPV predictions and provide a running tally of my record. Below is the card in order along with my picks and the actual outcome.

Smackdown Money In The Bank Ladder Match

Predicted winner: Drew McIntyre

Winner: Kane (Drew was SO close!)

0-1

Alicia Fox v. Eve Torres – WWE Divas Championship

Predicted winner: Alicia Fox

Winner: Alicia Fox

1-1

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

Predicted winner: The Hart Dynasty

Winner: The Hart Dynasty

2-1

Rey Mysterio v. Jack Swagger – WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Predicted winner: Rey Mysterio

Winner: Rey Mysterio (with the Angle/Eddie “loose boot” twist)

3-1

Kane then cashes in his MITB briefcase on Mysterio to become the new WHC (I was half-right; I did say the Smackdown MITB winner would cash it in on Mysterio).

Fun fact (via PWInsider): Kane is the first wrestler in WWE history to hold the WWE, World Heavyweight and ECW Championships under the auspices of the WWE. The Big Show has won all three, but his WHC reign occurred while the title was still in WCW.

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

Predicted winner: Kelly Kelly

Winner: Layla El

3-2

Raw Money In The Bank Ladder Match

Predicted winner: John Morrison

Winner: The Miz

3-3

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

Predicted outcome: No contest

Outcome: Sheamus

Final Total: 3-4

 

 

#1 Pretender PPV Standings

 

 

 

Extreme Rules: 6-1
Over The Limit: 4-3-1
Fatal 4 Way: 2-3
Money In The Bank: 3-4
Updated Total: 15-11-1

 

Join me again next month on August 15 when Summerslam comes to us live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Don’t forget to keep coming back to #1 Pretender for all of your WWE news and analysis.

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Courtesy of Wikipedia

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

After lagging behind Smackdown last week, Raw picked up the pace dramatically and caught up to its blue counterpart. The eight men involved in Money In The Bank have been revealed and the main event has been set. There was yet another beatdown at the hands of Nexus, but on an unexpected legend. The focus of this night wasn’t on the wrestling, but that is what Raw is known for. Let’s check it out.

John Cena/Sheamus promo

Sheamus opens the show and wants to make a statement on behalf of the locker room. Instead, he brags about his championship victory. There is no reason for Sheamus to care about the rest of the Superstars; as long as he is intact as champion, nothing else should matter. That was a great heel move. Sheamus is ecstatic because John Cena is no longer the #1 Contender for the WWE Championship and he won’t have to deal with Cena’s armbands, lame slogans, and fans anymore. It was a watered-down version of Edge’s promo on Cena before Backlash 2009.

Just when you thought it was safe, Cena heads down to the ring. Cena doesn’t want another rematch, but for Sheamus to stand by him against Nexus. Cena calls Nexus out, but there’s an email from the Raw GM. Michael Cole goes to the new podium, adorned with a Raw GM seal, and reads the first email. It states that if any WWE Superstar attacks any member of Nexus, he or she will be suspended. Conversely, if any Nexus member attacks a WWE Superstar, he will be fired. Wade Barrett is not present because he is at WWE HQ meeting with WWE officials (In reality, his work visa expired and he is back in the United Kingdom until things are processed).

Buck Woodward of PWInsider made a good point in his recap, asking why the WWE Superstars would hold back considering Matt Hardy kept on being suspended on Smackdown, jumped the guardrail constantly, but was ultimately reinstated. i guess Raw and Smackdown operate on two parallel WWE universes (no pun intended).

Cena says that this puts a hitch in his plans and that he and Sheamus should have a WWE Championship match instead. EMAIL! Cole informs everyone that Sheamus will be in a match with Mark Henry.

Cena screams that he has been screwed by the internet once again (a subtle shot at the IWC?) and that he hasn’t been this screwed over by the internet since his mother cancelled his Warcraft account. There was also something in there about a Gmail address (which by the way, is gmail.COM, not gmail.ORG. Pushes up glasses). Really? I know Cena’s promos can be a bit overdramatic and hokey, but this is over the top. Why would Cena be in such a good mood after being screwed out of the WWE Championship twice in two weeks? He started off well, but crapped out at the end. Where is 2004 Cena when you need it?

EMAIL! Cole goes back to the podium. He looks like a middle school principal. Sheamus leaves, but before he does, a cage is lowered and we find out that at Money In The Bank, Sheamus will defend his title against Cena in a steel cage match. This makes sense considering the constant run-ins. Though the segment ran a bit long, it got over the Nexus/WWE storyline for the time being and set up the main event at the PPV. It’ll do.

WWE Unified Tag Team Champions The Hart Dynasty & Natalya v. The Usos & Tamina

This match never starts because the Usos jump the Dynasty before the match. How many sneak attacks are there going to be? The Dynasty has been buried since winning the titles in April. I am afraid that we might see constant Dynasty/Uso matches like we saw constant Dynasty/Cryme Tyme matches last year. The Dynasty either needs to be pushed or drop the belts. In the spirit of Washington D.C., “Pick 1.”

R-Truth is a zookeeper? Must be a fun zoo. I am surprised that a former NXT Pro wouldn’t say anything about his Rookie, who happens to be taking part in Nexus. Oh well. I want to go to this zoo.

Vlad Kozlov v. Santino Marella – If Santino wins, Kozlov will become Santino’s tag team partner

This feud is better served for WWE Superstars, but I guess we can kill time with it. Kozlov wins, so there will be no team this year (Simpsons joke). William Regal shows up to congratulate Kozlov, but then attacks Santino. Kozlov runs off Regal and carries Santino to the back. This team might form after all. Too bad you won’t see it unless you watch Superstars on Thursday nights.

Trouble in paradise for The Great Khali and Ranjin Singh? Does anybody care? I still thought he was on sabbatical.

Rob Zombie/Edge promo

I completely forgot that Rob Zombie was hosting. Good thing he really didn’t. He came out to announce the eight men who would participate in MITB for Raw. Those men are: Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Evan Bourne, John Morrison, R-Truth, Ted DiBiase, and Edge. I think it is incredibly lame that they didn’t earn them, but were handed them.

Speaking of Edge, we get the expected Edge/Zombie/entrance music spat before Edge puts over his MITB expertise. A very well done promo, but I can’t help to feel like I’ve seen it before. Edge calls out Orton specifically, which means that these two aren’t done with each other just yet.

EMAIL! Cole informs us that there will be a face v. heel eight man tag tonight featuring the MITB participants. Jericho and Edge teaming together? After they tried to cripple each other for two months? Continuity soapbox!

WWE Champion Sheamus v. Mark Henry

Sheamus wins. Henry looks bad in defeat. Poor Henry. Someone throw him a title run!

Josh Mathews is in the back with Nexus. Skip Sheffield beats up a PA. Said assistant is not a “Superstar,” so a loophole has been found! What will happen NXT? See what I did there.

WWE Legends/Nexus segment

Jerry Lawler is in the ring and brings out Ricky Steamboat, whose DVD drops today. More legends come out (Dean Malenko, Michael Hayes, Mike Rotundo, and Arn Anderson) to congratulate Steamboat on his accomplishments. This segment ran a bit long and I could smell Nexus interrupting. Guess what? They did.

To sum up what took about 15-20 minutes, Nexus beat up all of the legends, leaving Steamboat by himself. They beat up Steamboat, using a variation of the Nexus formula. What is the Nexus formula? Well it is clotheslines + Barrett slam + Gabriel 450 splash = beatdown. Tonight it was Otunga spinebuster + clothesline + Gabriel 450 splash = beatdown. This gets the group A TON of heat. I am really looking forward to these guys getting theirs, and I don’t say that often. Since I’ve grown, I watch more for analysis than for fun. But I still have fun. And I would have fun watching Skip Sheffield eat an RKO. Just sayin’.

WWE Diva’s Champion Alicia Fox & Maryse v. Eve Torres & Gail Kim

This is the Diva’s equivalent of Dynasty/Uso. I still don’t think that Fox is ready for a title run, but she is trying to improve and credit must be given where credit is due. Her rise isn’t as prolific as Eve’s was. but it’s a start. The heels win, which makes sense to get Fox over as a credible champion. Melina’s return could not come any faster.

Randy Orton, Evan Bourne, John Morrison & R-Truth v. WWE United States Champion The Miz, Edge, Chris Jericho & Ted DiBiase

This match was essentially the heels v. Bourne and Morrison. Truth pretyt much didn’t wrestle at all and Orton only came in for the decided pinfall. It was a good way for Bourne and Morrison to get over with the crowd. Orton getting the hot tag and winning right away with the RKO was different, but nice. We get a post-match brawl, but Orton stands tall with the briefcase at the end. A good way to end the show and set up the mystery of who will win in July.

 

Courtesy of wwe.com

Remember when the NXT Season One Rookies absolutely destroyed Raw two weeks ago? If I haven’t told you, that was one of the most compelling angles I’ve seen on Raw since the “PG Era” began. Well, that excitement is gone now because the WWE completely dropped the ball. I will explain more on that later, but last night’s Raw failed to impress. Sure, we had a WWE Championship match, but we also had some completely ludicrous things take place, too. Before I can continue to bitch and moan, let’s take a look at last night’s Monday Night Raw.

Vince McMahon/Sheamus/John Cena promo

Mr. McMahon is out first to open the show to address the Bret Hart situation. According to McMahon, he told Bret that he would have to make tough and unpopular decisions. He failed to do that and he was “relieved of his duties.” Well, it was fun while it lasted. In retrospect, how long did the WWE really believe Hart would stay? I was shocked when he was announced as GM, and other than making Batista quit and being jumped by Nexus (The NXT group), he didn’t make any waves (No, signing the Usos doesn’t count). McMahon says this is “closure” and I am not sure if we will see Hart again. If we do, please don’t make another lame “Bret screwed Bret” angle.

McMahon then announces that a new GM has been appointed, but that said GM wants to remain anonymous. How will he communicate, you might ask? Let me tell you. He will email Michael Cole, who will read the email aloud. WHAT. David Stephens of Wrestleview liked this idea because it allows the WWE to build up a GM without whoever it may be actually having to do anything. That is true, but really? Email? Michael Cole? Not only that, but it makes that annoying Apple/iPhone noise when someone receives a text message (or for those with Macs only, the noise when you finish uploading CDs on iTunes). We are really going to have to hear this for months, huh? On the bright side, it will absolutely confuse the hell out of my roommate, who is attached to his iPhone.

Cole got mail! The first order of business is for Nexus to receive contracts and that they will address the crowd tonight. I like that. Maybe the GM won’t be too bad.

As McMahon is leaving the ring, Sheamus’ music hits and the new WWE Champion makes his way to the ring. Sheamus looks forlorn and stressed. He tells McMahon that he doesn’t feel like he earned the WWE Championship because of the way he won it and wants to relinquish it. As McMahon reaches for the title, Sheamus pulls it back and puts a huge smile on. He had me. He really did. Yet, Sheamus takes the “I don’t care how I won it because I won it” road and even thanks Nexus for their “help,” even though he claims he didn’t need it. When Sheamus became WWE Champion in December, I couldn’t believe it. In June, after six months of gaining credibility, I’m okay with Sheamus as champion. He has grown on me.

John Cena makes his obligatory appearance and enters the ring. His promo was AWFUL. Why would you be smiling and joking when you just got jumped again and lost your title in the process? Like Sheamus, Cena is in a thankful mood. Cena thanks the GM for hiring Nexus so he doesn’t have to know whether or not they will show. He thanks Sheamus for his rematch clause and thanks Bridgeport because he thinks there is no better place for said rematch. I like John Cena. I really do. But sometimes, I want to duct tape his mouth shut. Duct tape? Really? Are you serious? (Sorry, Batista moment). The whole “let’s do a rematch right now” bit usually gets rebuffed by the heel champion, which it does. EMAIL! There WILL be a title match tonight and McMahon will be the guest referee. How anti-climactic. How will the no contest happen this time? Stay tuned.

Evan Bourne v. Chris Jericho

For the third time in a week, we get this match. Fortunately, all three have been gems, so there is no need for complaint. Jericho enters the ring with a brilliant facial expression and asked for yet another rematch with Bourne, putting his career on the line to do so. As soon as he said that, I thought he would lose (Jericho has a game show on ABC that premieres tonight). Yet, he did not, which was a pleasant surprise. This match was no different than any of the previous ones, but watching Bourne and Jericho is like poetry in motion (Sorry, Hardys). Jericho can make anybody look good and giving Bourne ample time to go over and display his skills has worked wonders already. Jericho wins when he rolls out of the way of a Shooting Star Press and hits the Codebreaker. Afterwards, it looks as if Jericho might show Bourne some respect, but slams him down to the mat. This “I am now the hunted” angle is definitely intriguing. I would like to see other up-and-coming Superstars (Yoshi Tatsu comes to mind) get a shot at Jericho. It could make for entertaining television.

Virgil is in the back and he’s a sad panda. Ted DiBiase enters and apologizes for his actions last week. Then DiBiase fires him. DiBiase has found a suitable replacement: Maryse. I ain’t sayin’ she’s a golddigger. We get the best line of the night when Virgil asks DiBiase what he will do for protection. “Go to the drugstore,” says DiBiase. Priceless (pun intended). This DiBiase/Maryse plotline will be something to watch. At least it gets Maryse out of the Divas division. Or does it? Maybe DiBiase buys her the Diva’s Title? Hmmm.

Josh Mathews is with the Hart Dynasty, who believes Bret got screwed again. Tonight is her debut on Raw. Finally, some new blood in the Diva’s division.

Natalya (with WWE Unified Tag Team Champions The Hart Dynasty) v. Tamina (with Jimmy and Jey Uso)

Yeah, so much for that debut. The match lasted a minute before Nexus interrupted to make their public address.

Nexus promo

The NXT 7 are in the ring and ready to make a statement. They apologize. Oh boy. David Otunga says they attacked everyone because they love the WWE and would do anything to get noticed. Weird. Heath Slater says it’s nothing personal. Okay. Justin Gabriel says…something. I think he apologizes to Hart and the Dynasty. Darren Young, who acknowledges the nickname “Black John Cena,” apologizes to his white doppelganger and vows that he will get his title back. Skip Sheffield yup yup yups and asks what it does. Michael Tarver apologizes to his children.

Finally, Wade Barrett gets the microphone and actually says something important and not incredibly stupid.  Barrett answers on the questions that I asked myself two weeks ago:

“After beating everyone else to win NXT, what does Barrett have to offer to the other Rookies? Is there some sort of incentive?”

The answer? Loyalty. Nexus made a pact that no matter what, they would stay true to each other. Makes sense. Barrett also mentions that he has received his title shot back and that whoever is champion is on notice. He says the NXT 7 have formed a “Nexus” (Oh! He said it!) and will stick together.

Last week, they weren’t sorry. This week, they’re incredible sorry? What gives. The WWE (who has reportedly been booking this angle on the fly) is dropping the ball. They need to get it together or what has been lost (DANIELSON) will outweigh what has been gained.

Zack Ryder (with Titus O’Neil) v. John Morrison (with Eli Cottonwood)

This match was supposed to be Morrison v. DiBiase, but DiBiase comes out with Maryse and says he has better things to do, like do his taxes or play Mouse Trap (He didn’t say that).  Ryder comes out instead and we get a match of NXT Pros. Good for selling the show, bad for entertainment. Morrison wins with Starship Pain. Eli Cottonwood is creepy.

John Cena is walking around in the back and Mathews asks him what he thought of Nexus’ apology. He doesn’t accept it. Uh oh…

Eve Torres & The Great Khali v. WWE Diva’s Champion Alicia Fox & Primo

Why bother? The faces win. Fox walks out on Primo. Wouldn’t you?

Randy Orton/The Miz/Edge promo

Randy Orton is alone in the ring and, unlike Cena, accepts the Nexus apology. Orton even hopes that Barrett wins the WWE Title so that it’ll be easier to win it back.

The Miz interrupts and says what a lot of people think: “we are tired of you in the main event.”  Miz says that in time, he will hold both the U.S. and WWE Championships, something Orton, or no one else for that matter, has ever done. The Miz jumps Orton, who gets the upper hand before getting speared by Edge. Edge tells Orton that the “real fun has begun.” A Miz/Orton feud would be (sorry) awesome. Not only would it give Orton something to do while Cena takes his probable spot as #1 Contender, but it would further push the Miz into the upper echelon of the WWE. What better way for the Miz to get even better by going up against the biggest face in the company for the second summer in a row? Orton has never held the U.S. Title. Imagine that title program. So good. Hopefully, Edge’s ominous message won’t screw things up.

John Cena v. Sheamus (with Mr. McMahon as special guest referee) – WWE Championship

McMahon ended up not being the referee, but more of an “enforcer.” Sheamus definitely had the momentum throughout the match, giving Cena a beatdown. It makes Sheamus look good.

Anyways, the match ends in a no contest (Surprise!) when Nexus interferes and attacks Cena yet again. After he has been disposed of, Nexus and McMahon enter the ring and McMahon takes partial credit for everything that they have done. Nexus surrounds him and they look pissed, but then they all crack a smile. McMahon says that Nexus had him for a minute. A minute later, he’s getting his ass kicked.

The good news is is that McMahon must not really be behind Nexus. Thank goodness. That would have been the beginning of the end in terms of interest. The bad news is how many times are we going to see the SAME ATTACK every week? Look, a clothesline, a fireman’s carry slam, and a 450 Splash was cool the first time. BUT NOT EVERY TIME. Clotheslines don’t keep normal wrestlers down. DO SOMETHING ELSE. Sheffield has a cool finisher. Use that! This is getting really old really fast. After what happened two weeks ago, the WWE is sinking with this. Fix it now or prepare to lose what was unfathomable momentum.

Well, Fatal 4 Way just ended and I must say, what an interesting show it was. We had three title changes, including both the World Heavyweight and WWE Championships as well as a run-in by the NXT Rookies of Season One (or “Nexus” as they might soon be called). Below I have listed the results of the PPV as well as my selections from my “Predictions” column from earlier today.

Kofi Kingston v. Drew McIntyre – WWE Intercontinental Championship

Predicted winner: Kofi Kingston

Winner: Kofi Kingston

1-0

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

Predicted winner: Gail Kim

Winner: Alicia Fox

1-1

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

Predicted winner: Jack Swagger

Winner: Rey Mysterio (Boy, was I wrong)

1-2

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

Predicted winner: The Miz

Winner: The Miz

2-2

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

Predicted winner: John Cena

Winner: Sheamus

Total score: 2-3

Matches not included (not announced before the show)

Chris Jericho v. Evan Bourne

Winner: Evan Bourne

WWE Unified Tag Team Champions The Hart Dynasty v. The Usos & Tamina

Winner: The Hart Dynasty

#1 Pretender PPV Standings

Extreme Rules: 6-1

Over The Limit: 4-3-1

Fatal 4 Way: 2-3

Updated total: 12-7-1

Be sure to join me next month on July 18 when yet another new pay-per-view concept, Money In The Bank, comes to us live from the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Until then, continue to come back to #1 Pretender for all your weekly WWE analysis!

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

Last night’s Raw might have been one of the most anticipated episodes in quite some time (at least it was for me). After the shocking actions of last week, all questions were seemingly answered last night, even regarding Bryan Danielson. Mixed in was a title change, a quirky, yet effective guest host, and some signs of unity within the WWE locker room. Also, we added two new matches (FINALLY) to the Fatal 4 Way pay-per-view. Let’s look at the Fatal 4 Way “go-home” edition of Monday Night Raw.

NXT Rookies/Bret Hart promo

The show opens with Season One winner Wade Barrett standing alone in the ring. After introducing himself, he calls out the other six Rookies, who make their way from the crowd and into the ring. I liked how Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole tried to move to higher ground due to fear of reprisal; it helped sell the psychological effects of last week’s ambush. Once everyone is settled in the ring, Barrett explains that Bret Hart is forcing them to apologize, which none of them do. Then Barrett says what a lot of us were already thinking. According to Barrett, the NXT Season One Rookies were treated like “animals” and were at the mercy of WWE Management, who made them compete in lame challenges and changed the rules at a moment’s notice. To be honest, Barrett made some sense.

Hart interrupts and runs down (no pun intended, but keep reading) the NXT Rookies for their actions last week. All of a sudden, Barrett mentions that last week, the NXT Rookies had one more member, Daniel Bryan, who like Hart, felt remorse for his actions and was kicked out in the process. I feel like that was a copout by the WWE; if anything, the Rookies should have used him as a “political prisoner” (also no pun intended) and that they were fighting for his honor as well as theirs. Barrett continues, saying that the Rookies don’t have any problems with John Cena; he was just a scapegoat. The problem lies with WWE Management and Barrett wants everyone in the ring to receive guaranteed contracts. Otunga wants first-class travel accommodations and private locker rooms.

Hart declines the offer and tells Barrett that he is no longer the “new superstar next breakout star for WWF,” strips him of his earned title shot and fires him. The firing would make sense in the real world; why would you reward someone for doing something wrong? The segment was a great way to kick off the show. I noticed a few things. First, I am glad that Barrett and Otunga were the only Rookies who had a chance to speak more freely on the mic considering the others are just awful. Second, gauging the reaction of the WWE Universe, I think the NXT Rookies (and the WWE) are going to miss Danielson. A LOT.

WWE United States Champion R-Truth v. The Miz v. Zack Ryder v. John Morrison – Fatal 4 Way Match for the WWE United States Championship

To put over Sunday’s show, Raw’s first match was a Fatal 4 Way for the U.S. Title. Truth got an even bigger reaction than normal considering he was in his hometown of Charlotte. This match had spots aplenty and several near falls, which will definitely sell the pay-per-view concept. The ending of the match went a little something like this: Ryder hits the Rough Ryder on Truth, put Morrison breaks up the pin. Morrison sets Truth for Starship Pain and does a good job of hesitating, considering he and Truth are friends. He hits the move anyways, but Miz throws Morrison out of the ring and picks up the scraps. He’s the Miz and he’s the new United States Champion.

Though I was surprised that Truth lost the belt so quickly (and in his hometown), the Miz regaining the title does more good than bad. Truth is already over with the crowd and doesn’t need a title to do so, while the Miz shines when he is on top. It also sets up a Miz/Truth feud that could draw interest (We find out later the rematch will take place on Sunday).

Josh Mathews asks Randy Orton about his thoughts on the NXT Invasion. While Orton can understand where the Rookies come from, he believes that they should have gotten fired or their brains beaten in. Orton has always been consumed with himself, so I’m surprised he even answered this question. It must be the face turn.

Mark Feuerstein/Big Show/Ted DiBiase/Virgil promo

Mark Feuerstein, the star of USA’s “Royal Pains,” is the guest host and he is in the back with the guest host’s call girls, the Bella Twins. Ted DiBiase enters and tells Feuerstein to let him guest host in exchange for a car. I am afraid that DiBiase has become the “seriously unfunny Santino Marella. Allow me to explain. He only interacts with the guest hosts and instead of being funny, he tries to bully them and buy them off. What a fall from grace this has been. Feuerstein holds his own during the promo and actually comes off very funny. The Big Show’s presence gives him the confidence to call DiBiase a “daddy’s boy,” which sets up a tag match between Show and Feuerstein and DiBiase and Virgil for later.

Evan Bourne v. Chris Jericho

Two weeks ago, Evan Bourne pins Sheamus. Last week, he makes a cameo in a John Cena promo. This week, he had the chance to make another impression by defeating Chris Jericho. He did do that, but by DQ. The most important part of the match was Bourne kicking out of the Codebreaker. After Jericho gets himself disqualified, he attempts to beat down Bourne, but Bourne gets the upper hand and hits the Shooting Star Press. While this wasn’t as poignant as pinning Jericho clean, Bourne still gets the rub. Jericho is in a bit of a funk. Could we see an M.V.P. losing streak-like angle for Jericho in the future? Stay tuned.

John Cena/NXT Rookies/WWE Locker Room promo

Here comes Cena to comment on last week’s assault. I liked his comments about the WWE ring being a sacred ground and the Rookies having the targets on their backs now, but did he really say that five million members of the WWE Universe hate them now, too? Really? Cena goes on to tell the Rookies that he will not press any charges if they come down and answer him and will wait every week for them to do so. We don’t have to wait long because the Rookies come through the crowd once again. This time, the WWE locker room has Cena’s back and all hell breaks loose. At first, we have the unused Superstars (Santino, William Regal, etc.), but eventually, all three challengers for the WWE Title on Sunday come to Cena’s aid. The unintentional comedy of the night comes when the Pros chase the Rookies out of the arena. Mark Henry eventually gets lapped by everyone (even the cameraman beats him) and Santino is the only one who chases them all the way to the gate. Also, wouldn’t you double take if you saw seven men in their underwear running through downtown Charlotte at 10PM? I liked how the WWE locker room came together; it shows how important the business is to everyone, even those who don’t necessarily like each other.

After the commerical, Mathews finds Sheamus in the back and asks why he would help Cena. Sheamus gives the best answer possible; he didn’t want anything or anyone to come between him and the WWE Championship. I am glad that he explained himself because it did cross my mind while watching. A nice touch.

WWE Diva’s Champion Eve Torres & Gail Kim v. Maryse & Alicia Fox

Long story short, the faces win. These four Divas will be involved in a title match this Sunday. I am not looking forward to it. While Eve and Maryse can hold their own, Fox and Kim struggle sometimes. It happened in this match and will happen again Sunday.

The Big Show & Mark Feuerstein v. Ted DiBiase & Virgil

I don’t want to waste too much time on this. Essentially, the Big Show beats the crap out of both DiBiase and Virgil, Feuerstein does the Worm to Virgil and that’s it. There was definitely a “Too Cool” vibe going on with Show giving DiBiase the Stinkface as well. DiBiase does his father’s “bill in the mouth” trick to Virgil afterwards, but then decides to take it back. Gross. DiBiase is sinking.

We are going to skip Santino v. Regal with Vlad Kozlov as guest referee because, quite frankly, no one cares.

WWE Champion John Cena & Randy Orton v. Edge & Sheamus

Originally Orton v. Sheamus, the WWE gave us a tag match instead. There isn’t much to say about the match itself other than A) these four have great chemistry together and B) I am glad that Orton seemed hesitant to partner with Cena considering their past. Love me some continuity,

Near the end of the match, the lights go out and the Rookies are backstage mugging Hart. Essentially, they kick his ass, throw him in a limo, have the limo hit some cars, and then drag him back out to demand answers by Sunday. Though the whole segment screamed WCW Nitro (thanks to PWInsider for that one), it did make an effective sell for the show Sunday.

Speaking of Fatal 4 Way, look for my predictions Sunday morning/afternoon.

I have a quick announcement. My next live report will be coming September 6, 2010, when I attended Monday Night Raw at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Until then, please continue to check out #1 Pretender. I appreciate all of the readers who come to my site and I hope to spread the word. In the mean time, come back tomorrow for my NXT show report.