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Sunday, 5 October 2008

No Mercy Preview

No Mercy, the first of two consecutive weeks of Pay Per View.

Only I’ll be watching this one on TV. Next week, I’ll be in Chicago taking a first hand look at Bound for Glory, and will dutifully report back to you on my weekend with TNA, who if history is anything to go by, will be wonderful hosts.

Tonight, though, is about WWE, and the No Mercy Pay Per View which is frankly a one-match show.

Shawn Michaels v Chris Jericho, in what we understand is their last battle for the time being, dominates the landscape on this card, towering over the other matches, much like the title belt which will be placed high above the ring.

Elsewhere there are potentially significant matches, but not necessarily mouth-watering bouts in prospect.

Let’s take a look..............

Rey Mysterio v Kane
After a promising beginning, this feud has floundered due to the hotshotting of putting Rey into the Scramble match, which to be fair is no-one’s fault.

Now, this match is merely filler, as they only faced up a couple of weeks ago on free TV, so the addition of Rey de-masking is the added hook to attempt to build interest. I would think that the majority of current WWE viewers did not see a naked-faced Rey compete in WCW, and the WWE have had the good sense to keep Rey in a position to be a family friendly figure so they can sell their masks.

I can think of two scenarios, and they both involve Evan Bourne.

The first is that Bourne assists Mysterio tonight and Rey wins, therefore doesn’t have to show his startlingly young-looking face. The second is that Kane wins, and “Rey” will unmask on Raw. Except it ends up being Bourne when Kane takes the mask off, and Rey appears to smash Kane with something. Only trouble with the second one is that Rey is covered in tattoos.

Maybe they’ll get Charlie Haas instead to dress up as Rey.

I’d go with the first of my theories to make things simpler.

Prediction: Rey wins with an Evan Bourne assist.

Women’s Championship Match
Don’t have a go at me for not including the names of the participants. The above is exactly what it says on the WWE website. You might think this is a hint that the match may be changed, but it is probably lazy work on the part of whomever is running that part of the site.

Anyway, unless something has changed, it’s Beth Phoenix v Candice Michelle, and I see absolutely no point in handing the title to Candice, especially considering the fact that Beth and Santino are so over right now, and that Candice apparently was awful in her (taped) return to Raw, which had to be heavuily edited. Allegedly.

Prediction: Perhaps a tease of Santino to cost Beth the title, but ultimately The Glamazon to retain.

Big Show v Undertaker
These two have periodically locked horns over the last ten years or so, so with both men on Smackdown I suppose it was inevitable that they do so once again.

I still think Triple H v Undertaker is a lock for Wrestlemania, so they are just trying to occupy Taker right now. And with Cyber Sunday just three weeks away, I can see this being simply a set up for the next PPV.

Look for Vickie to get involved, along with Chavo, Ryder & Hawkins and Bam Neely, so that either Taker gets screwed out of a win somehow, or the match simply ends in a Taker win via DQ.

Then, I’d say that a three week build centres around a Casket Match, with a token vote for Cyber Sunday offering other options which will be ignored. Perhaps a Feather-Duster on a Pole match or a Left-Arm only Arm-Wrestling contest.

Extra big Casket built, Show and Vickie dumped in it, new GM.

Or something.

Prediction: Booking way ahead, Taker wins clean in a Casket Match at Cyber Sunday, so the match end unsatisfactorily tonight.

Batista v JBL
More high-flying action in prospect here, then.

I really cannot see JBL winning or two reasons. One being that he is not a credible number one contender. The second being that surely they wouldn’t book Chris Jericho v JBL, so if Bradshaw becomes number one contender it will likely telegraph an HBK win in the Ladder match.

I do not anticipate a classic. I do not anticipate a JBL victory. I do not anticipate anyone disagreeing with me.

Prediction: Batista to win a slow 10-minuter

ECW Championship: Matt Hardy v Mark Henry
Hmm. This is a tricky one, to be fair. I wouldn’t like to see Henry back on top again, but I fear that they would not want to put Hardy over Henry straight up, because it may hurt Henry’s credibility.

The only way I can see Hardy getting the nod is if Tony Atlas screws up, and Henry destroys him. Atlas, for me, has offered very little, and I hate seeing people like him earning money for nothing while actual WRESTLERS get cut. They might look to lose him soon.

However, this is straw-clutching at best from me here. I’m taking Henry to regain the title.

Prediction: Mark Henry. But I hope I get this wrong.

WWE Title: Jeff Hardy v Triple H
It’s not going to happen is it?

I’d love Jeff to win the big one, but three major things stand against him here.

One is that Triple H is likely to want to hold the strap until there comes a point where he loses it in a major way. Two, Jeff Hardy winning the gold would be a big thing, and I can’t see it happening down a card – it ought to dominate a show. Thirdly, the spectre of Vladimir Koslov looms over both combatants here.

I’m loathe to predict another piece of interference since I’ve indicated there may be some elsewhere, but it’s very possible The Moscow Mauler could insert himself somewhere in this contest. That gets WWE out of having to bury one or other of Hardy and Triple H, and perhaps sets up more depth to the Smackdown title race.

Let’s work on the theory that Koslov will keep himself to himself, and I’d think the most likely scenario is Hardy coming very close on several occasions, then taking a huge chance and missing, thus handing the contest to The Game.

One other rogue thought says that they may let Hardy win in a similar manner to his win last time over Triple H, with a quick roll up. Or perhaps Koslov beats up Triple H earlier in the night. Then, Hunter claims he has the right to a rematch, and during the this there is a disputed decision. This allows Hardy v HHH at Survivor Series, with Trips winning a long one. This scenario prolongs the programme, eating up days before The Road to Wrestlemania starts in earnest.

The big issues with these ideas are the problems outlined above and the presence of Koslov.

I’ll stick to the basics, I think.

Prediction: Triple H. In any number of ways

Shawn Michaels v Chris Jericho – Ladder Match for the World Title
There is nothing to say about these two that has not already been said, so I’ll cut to the chase. Jericho will win.
It’s partly due to the fact that I envisage a Jericho v Batista match upcoming, partly because I think Jericho makes a better long term champion, and majorly to do with the fact that HBK is still nursing a triceps injury. I can’t see them risking having to take the title forcibly off of another champion, and I wouldn’t think HBK would want (or need) the pressure right now.

The big problem with this is that in an old-fashioned heated feud like this one, the good guy should ultimately give the heel his comeuppance. The only thing I can think of is that perhaps the gruelling nature of the feud means that they give Michaels some Edge-like time off, perhaps with him returning to enter the Rumble.

I am just going to sit back and watch this, hopefully enjoy it greatly, and hope neither man gets hurt. I care not who wins, just that this feud gets the fitting ending it truly deserves.

Prediction: Chris Jericho. And a Classic

And one more thing.................

On reflection, perhaps the JBL/Batista match could be a controversial finish, either involving someone else interjecting themselves or with simply a draw or something. Therefore, the winner of Michaels/Jericho could face the winner of a three-man ballot at Cyber Sunday.

Enjoy No Mercy folks – I’ll be here with my as-live thoughts within minutes of the PPV, as per usual.

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