Stupidly busy last few days, muchos apologias, but I’m here now, and with the Pay Per View mere hours away, on with the predictions.
Can I firstly please point out that the title of the PPV includes the most flagrant use of the word ‘great’ in the history of the English lexicon?
This Pay Per View, with a history of abysmal shows, isn’t looking like being a 5-star classic this time either. As I pointed out in a previous entry, the fact that Cena/Lashley causes me a real interest in how they will book this, actually gives me a small sense of intrigue, but what terrifies me is the similarities to a dying WCW that I see in the line up.
Not only is the title of the event an old WCW name, not only is Dusty Rhodes involved in a prominent role, but let’s take a look at some similarities to the 1998 version.
In 1998, the undercard featured such talents as Booker T, (whisper it) Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Chris Jericho, Juventud Guerrera, Chavo Guerrero, Eddy Guerrero, Booker T and Fit Finlay.
The top of the card saw such limited competitors as The Giant (Big Show) and Goldberg, and past it has-beens who put on crap matches, like Roddy Piper, Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan. Worth pointing out that neither Hall or Nash were on this show either, nor Ed Leslie, The Warrior, Sid Vicious, Buff Bagwell, Lex Luger, or any other talentless inhabitant of the airspace above the glass ceiling.
Tonight, we see MVP v Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Carlito, Chavo Guerro in undercard matches. Shelton Benjamin, Brian Kendrick, Brian London, King Booker, Mr. Kennedy, Elijah Burke and Marcus Cor Von are all absent from the show.
Obviously, the above list pales in comparison to the talents of the WCW 1998 undercard, but you can see my point.
The top of the card this year features the catch-as-catch-can talents of The Great Khali, Batista, John Cena, Booby (not a typo, look at the pcs on the guy) Lashley, Kane, and *ahem* Dusty Rhodes.
Guys, don’t look so shocked by the appalling 3.4 rating for Raw and the failings of ECW. There is no excuses – as there won’t be after the bad buy rate that you’ll get for this.
Hope I’ve now whetted your appetite (note sarcasm), now for some thoughts match by match……
Cruiserweight Open. (Funaki, Jimmy Wang Yang, Shannon Moore, Jamie Noble, Chavo Guerrero ©)
You know what we’ll get here. A host of impressive moves by little guys with no character – or at least that’s how they have been built up. Mere filler, and unless they feel like giving Yang a run with the belt, which is possible, but I’m going with Chavo to retain, probably after a series of finshers by the other guys.
Sandman v Carlito – Singapore Cane match.
Steve Blackman is holding his Kendo stick and wondering when they changed the name, but everyone else is just surprised that creative have got behind Sandman enough to give him a PPV match. If he beats Carlito, the Puerto Rican is clearly back in the doghouse, but I’d back the ECW alumni to take the fall here, probably with a sneaky roll up pin or the like. Maybe an interference from William Regal.
Candice Michelle v Melina – Women’s title
I actually think they are going to get behind Candice for a bit, and I’d take her to retain here. I think that Beth Phoenix will be added to the mix after this, and we’ll see a Michelle/Phoenix bout at the next PPV, but for now, no title change.
MVP v Matt Hardy – US Title
I think this will be a very solid 10-minute or so bout, not a classic, but has as much potential as any other on the card. However, asking me to pick a winner is tricky. I can see a double Hardy push, as a novelty, so I’ll go for Matt. But it’s incredibly tentative. In fact, it’s a hedged bet, as you’ll see below.
Umaga v Jeff Hardy – Intercontinental title.
As I state above, I can see a Hardy sweep. I don’t understand Umaga having the IC strap, I don’t see the point of having him squash Jeff Hardy. However I can see Hardy not winning, and perhaps they are going to run the same programme a they did with Jeff and The Undertaker some years back, where Jeff loses but looks tough. Also, consider that both Umaga and Jeff Hardy have been linked with taking part along with the Jackass Crew at Summerslam, so I can see an Umaga retention, with the longer term goal being Jeff coming back in a gimmick match at Summerslam, along with his new, death defying friends.
Dusty Rhodes v Randy Orton – Texas Bullrope Match
This was also something I talked about a while back, and while I don’t see it being much of a spectacle in terms of match quality, I do see it providing a stepping stone to a future angle – but I don’t know which one. Idea number one is the sensible one, idea number two is the more likely scenario.
Idea one is that this used as a way of introducing Cody Runnels-Rhodes as a credible superstar, by getting him over using his Dad and the uncaring Orton. Maybe.
Idea two is that Triple H wants to tackle Orton upon his return, so this is simply a way of adding another legend, or at least big name, to Orton’s victim list, making Triple H look like a returning hero slaying the evil master of the chinlocks. More likely.
If idea one is correct, Rhodes wins with the help of his son. This also facilitates the change in rules to a pinfall or submission match as opposed to the usual ‘touch the ropes’ bout.
If idea two is the right choice (I feel like a gameshow host now) then Orton will destroy one or both Rhodes’. Probably this will happen.
John Morrison neé Nitro v CM Punk – ECW World Championship
Why has no-one mentioned CM Punk more over the last few weeks? Seriously, tell me why? I’ll spell this out for you. Chris Benoit was scheduled to face CM Punk at Vengeance for the ECW Heavyweight title. It is basically agreed that the likely outcome was Benoit being given the belt and ‘making’ a host of ECW superstars.
This didn’t happen due to the Benoit Murders, and they hastily stuck the belt on Johnny Morritro instead. Since the grisly Benoit affair has unfolded, the focus of the world’s media has been drugs and steroids in Wrestling.
Err……….isn’t Punk’s gimmick his Straightedge lifestyle. Give him the belt, give him loads of airtime, even do those ‘back to my roots’ vignettes where he promotes staying clean.
No, in their minds, they’ve decided to heavily push the unnatural looking body of Lashley, the unnatural body of Batista, and the unnatural lack of talent of Great Khali.
I’m going to hedge my bets here. I’ll predict Nitrrison. If he wins, I get a prediction right. If he doesn’t, it means CM Punk will be the champ.
Batista v Average Khali v Kane – Smackdown World Title
Oh, you want more? Ok. They can’t really keep the belt on Khali can they? Kane wasn’t going to beat Edge, so they won’t put it on him now. Batista, ponderous and predictable as he is, is the most over guy on Smackdown, it has to go with him.
The thing to look at, though, is how they get Rey Mysterio back into the picture, seeing as how he was scheduled to return to a programme with Edge.
John Cena v Bobby Lashley – WWE Championship
“This town ain’t big enough for the both of us”. The understandable but annoying push of John Cena, against the unfathomable and undeserved push of Bobby Lashley, resulting in likely the most unwatchable and unattractive spectacle of a match in some time. I just find Lashley’s act so utterly boring. He has no mic skills. He has no charisma. Not just a little, but none. His facial expressions are equal to that of a small pebble. He certainly isn’t a big Rock in the promo department.
Cena, however, though most of us are bored of him, is still fairly good on the stick, except his occasional forays into material cut from American Pie 3 to keep the 14-year-olds who like that sort of humour happy. (“ha ha, Cena said ‘Poop’. I’ll buy the Bash now.”)
I do give the WWE a lot of flak for their booking, but I also will continue to note the long term absences of Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, Rey Mysterio, now Edge, and formerly Booker T and Ken Kennedy. Factor in the loss of RVD and you are looking at a massive dearth of talent.
This is the type of match that would have been greatly aided by the addition of a special ref, a no-holds-barred clause with havoc aplenty, and a touch of overbooking, because frankly it is very unappetizing and unappealing (I thought of two more ‘uns’).
I’m holding my ground from before, and going for a DQ rip-off ending. Booker T and Kennedy to interfere and cause chaos leading to a no-contest ending. Think Bret Hart v Diesel, Royal Rumble ’95.
There we go then, another set of guesses, logic and wishful thinking. I’m going to watch the whole thing.
Well, I’ll have a bash, anyway.
Sunday, 22 July 2007