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Sunday, 3 June 2007

Depending on WWE announcers whims, they often talk of either Hell in a Cell or the Elimination Chamber as being the ‘most demonic structure’ in the federation. These matches can shorten careers, JR & co will tell co. Hear Michael Cole go into hyperbolic overdrive as he insists that the steel can take human form and become ‘a carnivore’. But if you think that these are the most dangerous and extreme matches possible in pro wrestling, think again. I have one word for you.


Yes that’s right, although the most prestigious (only) women’s world title is not on the line on Sunday at One Night Stand, Candice Michelle bids to put one over current champeen Melina.

Could you imagine, back when Joe Frazier was world heavyweight boxing champion, and Muhammed Ali lay claim to the belt, before they went toe-to-toe in The Fight of the Century at Madison Square garden, they had a non-title encounter in a paddling pool filled with junk food?

This may be a sticky situation for champion Melina, who is likely to get her just desserts in a match which is Candice’s bread and butter.

Prediction here says that Candice will win, then get soundly beaten in a title match at Vengeance.

One Night Stand is shaping up to be a strange Pay Per View. Not just because of its name – how can it be a one night stand if it’s the third time you’ve done it? But anyway, from an artistic perspective, heaping stipulations on every match could be tricky. After all, the idea of gimmick matches is really as a feud ender, when ordinary matches couldn’t get it done. To just have a two week Hardys/WGTT programme and then say ‘oh we’ll have a ladder match’ may affect fans expectations further down the line. However, for now, we’ll just concentrate on the PPV.

Aside from the above Pudding match, seven other matches are currently scheduled, all with a certain stipulation added to it.

The most recent, and the least anticipated, will be Kane v Mark Henry in a lumberjack match.

I’ve never understood lumberjack matches. The theory is that it’s dangerous because if you leave the ring there are loads of people there to beat on you, and you get no respite because they throw you back in to your hungry opponent.

In the dim and distant past, George Hackenschmidt didn’t run Frank Gotch over the barrier into the crowd, or backdrop him through the announce table. Today, leaving the ring and changing the complexion of the match, making it easier to watch.

Kane v Mark Henry is going to be difficult enough to watch, let alone with them limited to in ring action. I’ll go for Henry to take this match, due to the seemingly never-ending push to get this overweighted, overrated, boring, bumbling waste of airtime over with the fans. It will never happen. Sometimes I wonder if Mark Henry has incriminating photos of Stephanie or something, and if he isn’t pushed he’ll reveal his secret. And sometimes I just cry quietly.

Since One Night Stand originated as an ECW idea, and features extreme matches, it only seems right to feature the only two remaining individuals who really embody the spirit of the old Ee-cee-dubya. Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman.

These two ‘originals’ will team up with CM Punk to take on the New Breed of Marcus Cor Von, Matt Striker and Elijah Burke. Punk and Burke stole the show at the last Pay Per View, Judgment Day, and will be hoping to be in a similar situation this time round.

This is a tough one to call, as I can’t really see the bookers getting behind Dreamer and Sandman (well, they haven’t done so far), but then Punk has been on a bit of a roll. I’ll sit on the fence: this is a good candidate to start the show, and if it does, then I’ll say a face win. Anywhere else on the card, and I’ll go for The New Breed.

You know, it feels hard to even write the initials ECW now. A once proud promotion, although time and nostalgia has made it seem a lot better than it really was, the modern day equivalent, although improving, is a pale imitation of the original. In fact, no it isn’t, it isn’t even an imitation.

There is no doubt that One Night Stand 2005 was one of the greatest Pay Per Views I have ever seen. Several excellent matches, one absolute belter with Tanaka and Awesome, and a killer promo by Paul Heyman were just some of the highlights.

Last year the main event saw Rob Van Dam winning the WWE’s major title from John Cena after RVD cashed in the money in the bank.

In the 2005 show, Van Dam was not an active wrestler on the show due to injury, although he did get involved in a Sabu v Rhino match. He did cut a promo, though, accompanied by Bill Alfonso, in which acknowledged the generally held belief that it was he, Rob Van Dam, who came up with the idea for One Night Stand in the first place.

So how fitting, then, that his contest with Randy Orton will likely be his last for the WWE. His future is subject to much speculation. It has been said for numerous months that he, along with his friend Sabu, was growing tired of competing for Vince McMahon. Censured for drugs offences, both men have been in the WWE doghouse for some time, and with Sabu having been let go, the burgeoning promotion and lighter work schedule of TNA is beckoning them. Other sources tell you that RVD will take some time off then return to WWE.

He could do both. Jeff Hardy had become disillusioned with WWE, joined TNA for a bit, then found his way home. Sabu has already competed for TNA, before it started to gain increased recognition.

In recent times, we’ve seen the departing Trish Stratus and Lita sign off in very different ways. Trish left as a face, (and what a lovely face it is) had her name chanted by the crowd, and won the Women’s title in her final bout. Lita, however, lost and was ridiculed, presumably in keeping with her heel persona.

RVD is a babyface, but I don’t see him leaving with a win. Look for the courageous underdog doing all he can but ultimately failing on Sunday night. Look at it for the WWE’s point of view. You have Randy Orton, a superstar who is over, placed near the top of the card, and logically the next contender to John Cena’s belt, depending on the draft. He has been credited on air with putting HBK on the shelf, and is halfway to doing the same to Van Dam.

On the other hand, some upstart who is still living on past glories in a minor promotion in a bingo hall in Phillie is too much of a big shot to sign a new contract. Who do you put over?

RVD is a supremely talented wrestler, and I sincerely hope that he gets whatever break he needs to recharge his batteries and return to the ring, whether a WWE one or a TNA one, as good as ever.

But he won’t win on Sunday, in the third incarnation of his own creation.

There are three world title matches on the card for One Night Stand. None of which really get me too excited about the show. All are basically rematches from the Pay Per View from a fortnight previous.

I do feel sorry for the WWE, what with their plethora of injuries. Think about it. Triple H, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Ken Kennedy, Booker T, Rey Mysterio Super Crazy, Shane Helms, are all out at the moment, and apart from the last two, are all main event-level stars.

So I do feel for them having to keep it together in the face of one of the worst injury crises ever, but nonetheless, no-one is going to buy Pay Per Views out of compassion and sympathy. And there really isn’t much to write home about in terms of tempting matches to draw in the punters.

The one possible saving grace may by the Ladder match between the Hardys and Haas & Benjamin. There are a couple of factors to consider here. Firstly, we have seen multi-team ladder matches, major TLC matches, not to mention the money in the bank which both Hardy brothers competed in less than three months ago. This can’t live up to that.

Also, the build up……..well, has there been one? Basically, the WWE-proclaimed-Self-proclaimed World’s Greatest Tag Team watched a match at ringside then fought in an 8 man tag with Nitro & Dysktra against The Hardys and Cade & Murdoch. Common sense says a four-way tag ladder match is the sensible booking, especially considering that Dykstra and Nitro both seem suited to this environment, but I would think the storyline with Cade & Murdoch supporting the Hardys is the reason for keeping them out of it.

Benjamin was awesome in two money in the bank matches, and Haas can go, so I expect this to be the best match of the night. Can’t see the Hardys dropping, maybe Johnny and Kenny will try to assist TWGTT, but Lance and Big Trev will even the score, with the Hardys retaining.

Edge v Batista is the trickiest match to call of all. This is quite simply the only two remaining headliners in the company apart from John Cena (I still don’t consider Lashley a headliner whatever they try to tell me) who are fit. The only other option, potentially, is Chris Benoit, but he hasn’t been considered that highly in a long time.

The problem here is twofold. Firstly, Edge v Ken Kennedy is the obvious, and as I understand, planned, feud upon Mr K’s return. Considering Edge, in the storyline at least, was responsible for Mr. Kennedy losing his Money in the Bank title shot, you’d think that this contest would be Kennedy trying to win the title from champion Edge.

So you keep the belt on Edge then? Don’t want to have a transitional champion again, really, do we? And Edge does deserve his run. Ok…….what happens to Batista? He has been Beaten by the Undertaker, then tried to get the belt back twice more, unsuccessfully, from the Deadman. One attempt at Edge was unsuccessful, although they played up a leg injury. So if Batista doesn’t win this time, then is his credibility sliding somewhat?

I wondered whether the draft will see Batista being placed on the same roster as John Cena, giving us this feud for the first time, really. As I understand it, Kennedy is due back in July, so maybe a month for Edge v Benoit, or they could switch Orton to face Edge, continuing their unfinished business.

Moving away from my fantasy booking, which is clearly me stalling before having to make a prediction, I think Edge will win. To be fair, it is more a latter prediction making me think this, but all of the above has an impact as well.

One final thought on the draft – it is a superb opportunity to draft someone to a show who is returning and could make a big splash, putting a fresh name at the top of the card. Chris Jericho anyone?

I think it is likely that Vince v Lashley will top the bill, so I would expect that John Cena v The Great Khali will precede this, maybe with the Divas match in between the two.

I don’t see this being anything other than Cena winning a short (10 mins?) match after an FU, putting him over as being able to beat a big man, as well as putting him over his shoulders and slamming him to the mat.

Again, this is a match which is not exactly mouth watering, but basically forced upon the booking team. This, I suspect, is a major reason for the draft.

Finally, then, Bobby Lashley v Vince McMahon. Street Fight – which means that at some point Shane and Umaga will get involved. I don’t have any doubt in my mind when I say Bobby Lashley will win. He is a Vince McMahon pet project, and will win this match and the ECW title. The only thing I can’t work out is how.

To me there are three options, I don’t know which is more plausible. This is all assuming that Umaga and Shane will stick their noses in.

Firstly, Lashley overcomes the odds. Theoretically, he has done it once, beating the trio of Umaga, McMahon and McMahon (that sounds like the shittest bunch of solicitors ever, doesn’t it?) at Judgment Day. So the first option here is he just destroys everything and everyone in his path.

Secondly, he wins after a cock up by Team McMahon. Think Vince holding Bobby in position for Umaga, who swings the spike at Lashley, but clocks the Boss. Lashley gets rid of Shane and the Bulldozer, and simply pins Vince. Other options could involve Shane clocking Vince. Whether either of these would lead to dissention in the ranks and even a turn, who knows, but its possible.

Lastly, Lashley (not easy to say) wins by virtue of being saved by someone. So Vince, Shane and Umaga are in the midst of a beatdown, and Lashley is saved by someone in the back. I can’t see this happening, because it would suggest that Bobby can’t get it done by himself, and seemingly the whole point of the feud is to put him over as a bit of a monster.

I’ll go for the first one, tentatively. By the way, because I think Lashley will cap off the show with a win is why I’ve tipped Edge to beat Batista. I can’t see three major babyface title wins, especially when two of them would see the belt changing hands.

Enjoy One Night Stand, I’ll be back with my thoughts early next week.

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