Add to Technorati Favorites

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Playing Wrestling Nostradamus

Sitting here of a Sunday night having just watched Smackdown, I thought I’d have a little look at the WWE landscape and offer some thoughts and predictions.

I cannot believe that The Great Khali has been promoted into another main event slot. Obviously the recent publicity tour over in India by the Punjabi superstar has done good business and India appears to be a thriving WWE market. I expect that Vince and co. like the fact that the Indian press seemed to report that the people over there think that Wrestling is real. I would highly doubt that Indian WRESTLING fans think that it is real, but if the media do then WWE will try to capitalise.

If India is loving the WWE right now, why not put Khali into a position to challenge for the title? Makes sense.

However, for the rest of us, it’ll be torture. As much as I respect the Game, and as good as Paul Levesque has been for many years, Triple H matches are no longer something I eagerly anticipate. Not saying they are not satisfactory, but they don’t get you excited the way that matches involving the likes of Edge, Jericho, Michaels and Jeff Hardy do.

Triple H will surely win, and I guess it’s just something for him to do while Edge has to deal with the Undertaker. Look at it this way – Edge has been THE story of Smackdown for the past couple of months, and of the Undertaker transcends titles, so HiaC will be top billing - at least from Smackdown’s point of view. (Although, saying that, they aren’t exactly piling all their stock on Punk, so I’d think that Edge v Taker would headline the whole show)

I guess we should be relieved, because this could be an opportunity for them to put Jeff Hardy or Mr Kennedy into a top spot only to have them lose to Triple H. At least Khali getting squashed isn’t much of a loss. Hardy or Kennedy getting the shot and losing would enable the opportunity for their doubters to argue to their fans that they had a chance and blew it – that the match wasn’t important and the reaction very little.

By the way, how many times did JR and Mick call Jeff Hardy “the Charismatic Enigma” on Smackdown? Surely they haven’t ditched the Rainbow Haired Warrior epithet and nicked a TNA one.

Elsewhere amongst the bigger names on Smackdown, we are looking like heading towards Umaga v Big Show and Jeff Hardy v MVP, although whether we will see all the matches at Summerslam is unknown.

Over on Raw, it’s Punk v JBL at Summerslam, which will have precisely no-one excited. I’ve talked on the Sun website about how Punk having the belt isn’t necessarily the best thing for the Straightedge Superstar. I think Punk will beat JBL, as there as even less point in Bradshaw having the title, but I’m doubtful it will be clean.

Other matches are unclear, as Chris Jericho has laid up Shawn Michaels once again in the storyline almost unanimously considered to be the best of the year – by miles. We may see another match between these guys, but I think more likely is that they’ll let HBK sell the eye injury a bit more, and then have a blow-off down the line. Also, backing up that theory, a blow-off match is already taking place at Summerslam, between Edge and Taker. It would be wrong for Jericho and Shawn to go under the radar in that fashion.

Then there is Cena, Batista and Kane. If they do the slow burn then Cena v Batista is a possible Wrestlemania encounter. (more on that in a minute) For now, I’m not sure where they are going to go. Kane’s insanity has lost a bit of momentum, but he is still in the mix. The biggest problem with Raw right now is that although having JBL, Punk, Batista, Cena and Kane featured prominently and in each other’s business keeps them strong and promotes the belt, because that’s what they are all aiming for, you cannot get excited about many matches between them. The only match two matches I’d like to see out of that group would be Cena v Batista (but only with the right build up) and Punk v Cena.

I mentioned Mania just then – I’d suggest three contests that you could get hold of and build Wrestlemania around.

John Cena v Batista
Triple H v Undertaker
Shawn Michaels v Rey Mysterio

What do you think?

Cena and Batista are modern day Sports Entertainers, with the package of the look and character being more important that the wrestler, but while I’m not a fan of Batista and don’t go crazy over Cena (although I respect the hell of out the guy for his work rate and what he has achieved) even I’d be interested in them building this one and manipulating the fans. I’d have the belt involved, too, because without it I don’t think you’d generate the right kind of dislike between the two men.

Over on SD, I think there is enough of a roster to sustain Triple H repelling contenders and Taker having some fun as well, without them needing to meet. Edge could step up and meet The Game again somewhere down the line. It wouldn’t be a bad thing at all. I make it eight Pay Per View events before Wrestlemania. A combination of matches with Khali, Jeff Hardy, MVP, Kennedy Big Show, Umaga and Edge again would sustain Triple H and Undertaker before Mania. With perhaps the odd hint dropped between Taker and Game that their paths will cross at some point.

I can envisage Undertaker and Big Show locking horns a couple of times, certainly, and Triple H having another little episode with Jeff Hardy could help Jeff out.

Mysterio v Michaels is a match I can’t recall seeing, and one which would whet the appetite like Angle and HBK did a few years back. I think Michaels is the best in the business right now, which is amazing considering he has just turned 43 and basically retired in 1998.

I’m not as crazy about Rey Mysterio as a lot of people are, but I think the anticipation of these two locking up would be mouth-watering, and the match would likely steal the show.

Finally, the GM situation on Raw. And another Mania match I can foresee.

Apparently Shane McMahon will be on Raw this week, and I’d like to lay a marker right now that this is step two of the Mr McMahon angle.

I’m saying that Shane will address the rising chaos on Raw. Citing the example that for months before Mr McMahon’s accident things were ok, needing to install an experienced hand and not having time himself, he will re-appoint William Regal as General Manager of Raw.

Regal will go back to his character pre-Suspension, although perhaps not to the extent of the frequent lights-out jobs. Order will be restored of a fashion, and things will pan out very slowly but leading to...........

Regal being revealed as the man behind the attack on Mr McMahon. Regal would know the setup of Raw, he would know the stagehands etc, so he would be able to engineer the attack (I know WWE doesn’t always worry about legitimate set-ups, but at least I can offer background). The motive would be that Mr McMahon sorted out the firing, and that Regal wanted his job back and showing it was chaos without him proved he was needed.

Vince tries to fire Regal, but Regal produces a contract he signed when Shane re-hired him which says he is guaranteed a contract for a certain amount of time. In the end, they go head-to-head at Mania for control of Monday Night Raw.

Vince McMahon v William Regal at Wrestlemania 25. You heard it, on July 27th 2008, here first.

No comments: