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Sunday, 20 July 2008

Great American Bash - Preview

Tonight is.......erm........I forget the name. It’ll come to me, don’t worry.

Anyway, it’s a WWE PPV, and it’s frankly slipped under the radar. You see, this last three weeks or so is a great example of why you don’t need – or, in fact, want – regular monthly Pay per Views. For a couple of good, and a couple of bad, reasons, Raw is in the spotlight. They have produced episodes worth watching, or at least worth talking about. The trouble is, they haven’t really built this PPV. The things we’ve been seeing has been the draft; Punk winning a belt and defending it; Vince falling form the stage; Kane going mad.

Only JBL and Cena have really gone to the well and hyped their feud, but they went miles too far and will have disillusioned many viewers just getting their confidence in Raw back.

The reason Raw was so good three episodes ago, and was for most of the time last week, was because it was mostly kept simple. OK, it was fast paced, it was unpredictable and some of it made you scratch your head, but that’s good. It was mostly straightforward and didn’t need well-produced but lame parking lot segments such as the scene which ended Raw.

All that said, my bleating isn’t going to get this thing cancelled, so we may as well just enjoy it. So enough of me gabbing, lets..........wait, GABBING? GAB? That’s it – Great American Bash. I knew I’d get there J

World Tag Team Championship Fatal Four Way Match:Miz & Morrison v Finlay & Hornswoggle v Jesse & Festus v Hawkins & RyderNothing in this really. Standard PV filler and I’d suggest that it is quite likely to open the show. Miz and Morrison are clearly the best team around at the moment, and it’s ironic that they were thrown together as a team after feuding but now look like a decent unit.

On the other hand, you have Hawkins and Ryder who don’t feel like a team with an identity, just two guys who happen to look like Edge. You see, in something like Evolution, you had a neat combination of an old legend like Ric Flair, a huge name in the current climate Triple H, and then two up-and-comers. One being the sneaky, arrogant Randy Orton, and the other the powerhouse Batista.

They were all different and served purposes, as opposed the slightly over-populated La Familia, who comprise of dominant Triple H-like sneaky heel figure Edge, but Chavo is a sneaky heel who (occasionally) wins by cheating, and Hawkins & Ryder are sneaky heels who rarely win. Then there is Neely who does nothing, says nothing and is rather pointless.

Back from that tangent, the other two teams are just comedy acts, and since the belts hardly ever change hands in fourways, I’ll take Miz and Morrison to capitalise on some Festus house-cleaning to retain.

Natalya v Michelle McCool - Divas Championship
This one is for the Women’s title, because having five girls on a show warrants a belt apparently. Anyway, I’m guessing this goes to Natalya because she’s the one being pushed. I think they probably see Michelle as a plucky, feisty girl prime to chase a cocky champion, so I’d expect to see Natalya win, possibly by foul means, and then Michelle challenge her again at Summerslam.

Mark Henry v Tommy Dreamer – ECW Title
I cannot believe this is even happening......

You know what, to hell with it. I think Tommy is gonna win. I really do. I don’t see the point of this match otherwise. Henry as champion? No-one cares. ECW? No-one cares. Therefore Henry defending the ECW title against anybody – Big Show, Kane, Burke, whomever – no-one will care.

But you know what, people still love Tommy. The Pay Per View is in the North East, in New York State. Henry will likely squash Dreamer next week on ECW to get the thing back, but as a shock, as a babyface pop and mainly as a swerve, I can see Dreamer going over.

John Cena v JBL – Parking Lot Brawl
I don’t want to even write about this. The ending of Raw last week was a disgrace, and complete unnecessary. If the argument is that because Cena is 5-0 against JBL in their matches they had to raise the heat, then that’s so flawed from the start because if that is the case – that the deck is so stacked in Cena’s favour – then don’t have the match.

It’s not like the other five have been classics. JBL has done nothing since coming back. He’s great on the mic but atrocious in the ring. I didn’t mind his title run on SD a couple of years ago because he was so damn entertaining and generated good heel heat. His ‘cabinet’ also worked far better than La Familia in my opinion.

Now, however, he has slowed down even more and elicits little reaction. This doesn’t help Cena – whose stock without the title is plummeting – and certainly doesn’t entertain. A stupid gimmick match like this is unlikely to be enthralling.

And, by the way, I’m all for suspension of disbelief, but JBL should be in jail. If he would drive a car into Cena on camera, he would walk to ringside with a gun. Therefore JBL – the character – is a dangerous, homicidal man, and should be in prison.

I really don’t care. I’m only going to watch this match because it’s my job. I’ll take Cena to win, with a Greco-roman head through the windshield.

Chris Jericho v Shawn Michaels
Now we’re talking.

Proper wrestling, proper writing, proper wrestlers.

I don’t care who wins, I don’t care if they continue the programme or not (frankly, though it’s been brilliant, I’m not sure where they take it from here unless they introduce another party, like they did with Batista) I just want them to give these guys the finish, give them 25 minutes, and let them go.

Picking a winner is tricky. It seems unlikely that they would let HBK get beaten cleanly by Jericho, but Jericho could use a win in this feud. I have a feeling Jericho will win via cheating, which would not be very satisfying.

World Heavyweight Title – CM Punk v Batista
I can’t for the life of me see Triple H and Edge not being in the main event in exchange for Punk and Batista being there. This has had little build up – in fact it has been shunted to priority three behind John Cena/JBL and Kane’s mental breakdown.

If you had asked me who would win this about two weeks ago, I’d have gone for Big Dave, but WWE is big into their ratings breakdowns, and since Punk’s been champion, ratings have been good. (although they dropped a bit this week)

I think Punk will win this, but I can see Batista making a mistake which Punk capitalises on, rather than beating him with his finisher. Maybe even a ref bump to let Batista have a visual fall, before Punk gets the job done.

In short, belt to stay on Punk, but he won’t look that strong.

Triple H v Edge – WWE Title
This is the trickiest one I think.

Triple H is THE man in the company, and holding the biggest title. However, Smackdown has been all about Edge for the past few weeks, even more so than usual.

What with the marriage of Vickie and the apparent break-up later that night, you’d think that Edge would be at odds with Vickie, but where would La Familia stand. If they side with Edge (which would be illogical, but it’s possible, isn’t it?) that would turn Vickie babyface. But then Trips took a couple of cheap shots at her on SD, so that seems unlikely too.

Another conclusion could be that this is all another elaborate ploy, and that Tiffany the wedding planner was in on it all along too. Again, would make little sense, but that doesn’t always stop them.

I’ll go for a drawn out close one to be won by Triple H. Make Edge look reasonably strong, but put Triple H over. If Edge has had a long, drawn out storyline break-up, then that can be utilised in itself to give the Rated R Superstar a programme without needing to have the belt.

It’s a tough one to call, but it’s typically been a fair bet to assume that Triple H will win. So I’ll stick with that.

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