Wrestlemania 28 Predictions

I thought I’d give a quick rundown of my Wrestlemania 28 predictions:

WWE Title:
Chris Jericho defeats CM Punk

World Heavyweight Title:
Sheamus defeats Daniel Bryan

Intercontinental Title:
Big Show wins via Disqualification

Randy Orton defeats Kane

Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos defeat Beth Phoenix and Eve

12 Man Tag:
Team Johnny defeats Team Teddy

Hell in a Cell:
Undertaker defeats Triple H

Once in a Lifetime:
The Rock defeats John Cena (Possible outside interference.) 


The 2012 Royal Rumble

The Royal Rumble was once my favorite WWE PPV of the year. I always loved the Royal Rumble match. There is so much anticipation and excitement to see who is coming in, when, who will be eliminated and how, and of course, who will win. Each year the winner goes on to challenge for the title in the main event at Wrestlemania. For a long time, I really enjoyed going back and watching the 1994 Royal Rumble. I thought the angle of having dual winners was pretty exciting, plus, it hadn’t been done before. These days, I go back and watch a lot of the older Rumbles. Mostly for nostalgic value, but also because they seemed more important back then.

The Rumble is still an exciting match to watch, if for no reason other than to see people clashing in the ring that you never see against each other. It’s always fun to see tag team partners going after each other, two faces locking up in front of a divided crowd. The Rumble also provides moments for people to stand out, to do things that make their time in that ring memorable, even if they don’t go on to win it. I think back to Diesel eliminating a ton of people, CM Punk preaching to the crowd, Beth Phoenix taking a GTS. How about those surprise entrants? It’s always cool to see an old name or a surprising return.

A few things have happened which has made the Royal Rumble fall a few notches in my book, however. First of all, they keep trying to inject a lot of comedy in there. Maybe they’ve done this back in the day as well, but if so, they did it better. Watching someone like Santino get in there and jump around like a fool or Hornswoggle spending so much time bouncing around and emulating various wrestlers. It makes the match seem less important, then again, WWE has spent a lot of time making a lot of things feel less important than they used to be.

Another thing that has negatively impacted the importance of the Royal Rumble is the Elimination Chamber PPV. Whereas, in the past, the winner of the Rumble would challenge for the title and that match would be built up from the Rumble until Wrestlemania, now we have this extra PPV thrown in where the titles can (and have) changed. You lose several weeks of build up and while you could have a Rumble winner matching up against someone you really want to see him face, come February the title changes hands and you don’t get it. Also, which I’ve not really understood, the point of winning the Rumble is to get that title shot but, even if you don’t win, there’s a chance you’ll be one of the handful of people in the Elimination Chamber to challenge for it the next month anyway. I enjoy Elimination Chamber, but I’d move it further in the year. Replace one of those half-assed PPVs that nobody orders with the Chamber. There are several moments throughout the year where there is nothing that has a “big time” feel to it. You could easily shift Elimination Chamber to one of those times.

Finally, and this is highly specific to this year, the winner of the Royal Rumble is NOT going to challenge for the title in the Main Event, unless the Rock wins the Royal Rumble and John Cena is the champion. Hasn’t WWE made it clear that their Wrestlemania main event is going to be Cena vs the Rock? Didn’t we also get Shawn Michaels vs the Undertaker Part 2 as the main event over the title match that year, as well? It may just be a matter of semantics, but just change the language and remove “in the main event” from the promotion. “The Winner of the Rumble goes on to challenge for the title at Wrestlemania.” Sounds fine to me, but if you’re going to tell me it is the main event, and then it isn’t, I feel slighted.

Last year the Royal Rumble was 40 competitors. This year, we’re back to 30. I’m not sure why that is, and I don’t really have a big problem with this, but it’d be nice to have been given some sort of an explanation. It seemed as though last year’s Rumble worked out very well, I know I enjoyed it. Why the shift back to 30? Also, what the hell does it mean that “this year, every superstar is eligible?” Weren’t they always?

This year, it’s as up in the air as it always is. 30 competitors, but really only a handful of people who are probable to win. It seems likely that some names to be considered for victory this year have to be some of the old standbys; Randy Orton and Chris Jericho, for instance. Then again, there has been some speculation about people like Sheamus or the Miz. Will we see the return of some previously injured people, or people who haven’t been on television lately? Sometimes WWE likes to have a big return and give the victory to that person, see John Cena and Edge, for example. Honestly, this year, I have not yet decided on who I am putting my money on. This is partially due to the possibilities and partially due to WWE’s failure to make any one person stand out. It all seems arbitrary sometimes.

Either way, I know that this Sunday I will be sitting in front of my television watching the 2012 Royal Rumble. I can’t resist it, it will always be one of my favorite PPVs. It kicks off the Road to Wrestlemania, it plants the seeds for Wrestlemania, it is the first PPV of the year and it can often show us how the entire year is going to trend. Let’s hope this year is the best one yet.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
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Buried Alive

WWE is creeping steadily toward overwhelming mediocrity.  Some would argue that they actually arrived there months, or even years ago.  If you’re a frequent viewer it is hard to argue against the fact that the quality of their shows has been in a state of decline for some time now.  Ratings have been plummeting faster than Mick Foley off the top of the cell.  However, in this instance, if WWE is planning on landing on a table it probably isn’t gimmicked enough to break the fall.  Just ask Jerry Lawler about that.  A large chunk of WWE’s viewing audience has been gradually turning away from product over the past few years and, unfortunately, WWE’s approach to correcting this issue seems to be to continue doing the same old things with some hotshots here and there.

Some have made the argument that WWE’s aim toward a PG environment has led to nothing but trouble for the company.  In light of Linda McMahon’s aim for senate and several contracts with youth oriented merchandise, much to the chagrin of older viewers, it doesn’t seem likely that the WWE will change course on that anytime soon.  The idea with PG was presented as an idea to “hook them while they’re young” and follow them as they age.  To grab the kids and get them to stick with the product as they get older.  The problem is, however, that viewers in the upper teens are losing interest.

It seems irrational to believe that a product aimed at thirteen-year-olds could keep the interest of nineteen-year-olds.  Often times the concept of what is “cool” or interesting to a thirteen-year-old is based more around what the older kids are into.  By aiming low you’re cutting off the top, whereas, if you aimed to entertain the older kids you’d probably hold onto some of the younger kids.  This isn’t to say that WWE needs to make a return to sleazy, sex driven angles with blood spilling all over the place.  Lord knows that hasn’t work very well for TNA in recent years.  Perhaps, though, it isn’t the fault of the age range at all.  Maybe it is WWE’s dedication to maintaining the status quo.

John Cena has been a figure of controversy over the years.  He has become the target for most older viewers that wish to hurl their disapproval at the company.  At the end of the day it seems clear that one fact is becoming evident:  people are getting tired of John Cena being on top of the world.  Much like in the late 80s with Hulk Hogan, fans today have grown weary of what they’ve come to call “SuperCena.”  Anyone who has watched for a while is aware that when John Cena isn’t completely burying some rising talent (Wade Barrett a few weeks ago, for example) than he is making corny jokes about poop or simply pointing out the fact that he still wears jorts.

Let’s face it, Cena has definitely begun coming down from the pinnacle of his time in WWE.  A lot of people are calling for a Cena heel turn and there is a slim possibility that we’re in the early stages of it.  Many analysts and wrestling critics see what they believe to be hints towards it.  John Cena being spotted with Stephanie at SummerSlam, his distance from the current angle involving the conspiracy, the fact that it seems almost set in stone that Survivor Series will see Cena, Rock and a few others teaming up against a new heel faction which will more than likely include the Miz, R-Truth, Kevin Nash and possibly some others.  There has been speculation that we’re about to see a rebirth for the nWo and if WWE is really stuck in the past it would make sense for the biggest face in the company to turn on the WWE and join forces with them.  Of course, this could all just be baseless speculation that never leads anywhere.  It wouldn’t be the first time a John Cena heel turn was believed to be in the works.

The problem is:  what would this really fix?  If John Cena turns heel and the nWo makes a return that is actually good, would that fix the horrid booking, terrible burials and overwhelming failure to push new stars?  Sure we’ve gotten a few people up there, or at least sitting on the backburner, like Sheamus.  However, how many times are we going to see John Morrison get squashed like he did this past Monday, how long will we see the same old names sitting on top?  Randy Orton, John Cena, Triple H.  How often over the past few years have these three been involved in some way, shape or form with the main events of the PPVs?  A lot more than anyone else.

WWE makes the argument that young stars need to “get themselves” over before WWE sees them as marketable, but this could easily be a fallacy, a catch 22, so to speak.  Taking John Cena, for example, is he so over because he gets himself over or does he remain over because he has the entire WWE marketing crew keeping him afloat?  Even with all of his support, backlash is coming swiftly.  If you’ve ever watched anyone in the wrestling business discuss the fall of WCW, one of the major factors they’ve always spoken of is the company’s failure to make new stars.  WWE has time to turn this around but they really have sat on their laurels these past few years.  It appears they believed the John Cena wave would carry them longer than it appears that it will.

There are so many factors which feed into the ratings, the interest level and the success of WWE.  If nothing else, it appears obvious that some changes are plausible and others are necessary.  The shear fact of the matter is they cannot and will not fix their current situation by staying the course and continuing to deliver us the same, freeze dried, reheated, recycled storylines.  Also, just because they throw us a five star match once in a while doesn’t make their creative direction any different than it currently is.  Who thought this whole CM Punk thing would turn to garbage so quickly?  They say the definition of insanity is performing the same actions but expecting different outcomes.  Well, Mr. McMahon, you might have to actually make some changes if you want to see things change.  This isn’t a complicated concept.  Maybe, though, some people just have difficulty letting go.

Night of Champions Predictions

Night of Champions is here!  Aren’t you incredibly excited for this show and more than willing to throw down the $55 to get it in in HD?  If you answered “no” to both of these questions than we are on the same page.  The build up to Night of Champions has been remarkably poor, minus a few bright spots.  Just to clarify, CM Punk vs Triple H is not one of the bright spots.  I remember a time when a WWE PPV was a must-see situation.  These days it just feels like another day and another attempt to pull some money out of my pocket.  I’m going to take a look at the matches and give some of my thoughts and ultimately my predictions.  Feel free to comment with your own predictions, would love to know what you think.  Keep in mind I’m calling these matches as I think they should be, not necessarily how the backward booking of WWE will play them out.

United States Championship – Fatal Fourway:
Dolph Ziggler vs John Morrison vs Jack Swagger vs Alex Riley

WWE has actually done somewhat of a good job with the build up for this match. Somewhat.  The tension between Ziggler and Swagger has been apparent for a few weeks now.  Since Swagger came under the wing of Vickie Guerrero we’ve gotten to see some disharmony between these stable-mates.  This past Monday, Ziggler left Swagger to get pinned in their tag match.  These two are the key people to watch in this match.  Morrison has been on this march to nowhere lately, everytime WWE gives him the slightest hint of a push they seem to change their mind and everything reverts back to normal.  Riley was getting a lot of airplay in recent weeks but it seems to have fizzled out a little bit.  This would be typical of WWE getting ADD about their pushes and in the middle of making Riley stand out they suddenly saw something shiney and ran off to check it out.

This is likely going to be one of the most fun matches to watch, although I’d prefer for it to have been a one on one match.  Since it is a Fatal Fourway I can’t help but believe Ziggler will lose his US Title in a way which protects his push.  I could easily see a finish where Ziggler goes to hit someone with the belt and “accidentally” clocks Swagger, however Morrison or Riley knocks Ziggler down and gets the pin and becomes the new United States Champion.  This could lead to a feud between Ziggler and Swagger.  I’d rather see Ziggler keep his title but let’s go out on a limb here.

Winner and New United States Champion:  John Morrison.

Divas Championship
Kelly Kelly vs Beth Phoenix

What a cataclysmic clusterf*** this entire Divas situation has become.  First of all, whether you love her or hate her, Kelly Kelly is an absolute joke of a Divas champion.  This speaks volumes of the way WWE feels about this title.  It becomes clear that athletic ability, believable matches and possession of charisma and a personality means nothing.  For anyone who heard Kelly on commentary two weeks ago your ears are probably still bleeding.  Listening to her arguing with Natalya was just dreadful.  On the other hand, Beth is an incredibly competitor, an imposing figure and would make a tremendous divas champion.  She would be able to return credibility to that belt, something that it is severely lacking.

Beth and Natalya, the Divas of Doom have declared their own personal war against the blonde barbies of the WWE.  Though, not without contradiction, as soon as they declared this war they began showing up on television all dolled up like supermodels.  As a red blooded man I have no issues with this but as someone attempting to compute the credibility of this storyline I can’t help but ask what exactly is going on here?  It was my feeling that Beth should have won the title at their last clash and if she doesn’t win this time I’m just giving up on the Divas division all together, much like it seems Vince McMahon did years ago.

Winner and New Divas Champion:  Beth Phoenix

Tag Team Championship
Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne vs The Miz & R-Truth

Speaking of divisions WWE doesn’t care much about… the tag team titles have been a joke for years now.  Once, long ago, the Tag Team Titles actually meant something.  You got to see amazing matches and fantastic tag teams fighting at every PPV.  We had great teams like the Hart Foundation, Demolition, The Rockers, New Age Outlaws and Quebeccers.  Ok, maybe not the Quebeccers.  In the past decade we’ve seen these titles become almost completely meaningless; however, under the leadership of Triple H, we’ve been told that they’re going to mean something again.  This may be a step in the right direction.  Two up and comers vs two former main event contenders (and one who was a WWE Champion.)

Despite the fact that “Air Boom” is one of the most ridiculous team names in WWE history, I am looking forward to this.  Miz and Truth have great chemistry and can definitely make this match look good.  Both Miz and Truth have a more grounded style while Kofi and Bourne are the high flyers.  Look for this one to be surprisingly entertaining but ultimately, if they are truly hoping to make the titles matter again, they have to stop being a set of hot potatoes.

Winners and Still Tag Team Champions:  Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne.

Intercontinental Championship
Cody Rhodes vs Ted DiBiase

It’s interesting to see these two going head to head.  They both rose to prominence as part of Legacy with Randy Orton.  Rhodes has obviously been more successful, partly due to his ability in the ring and partly due the development of his personality.  DiBiase looks like what you’d want, on paper, but there seems to be something missing in person.  He lacks that “X-Factor.”  Whether this is actually his fault or WWE failing to give him worthwhile material is debatable.  Both Rhodes and DiBiase had matches with Orton lately.  DiBiase fell to the World Heavyweight Champion while Rhodes won, though he used his face mask to steal the victory while the referee was distracted.

Rhodes is on a mission to restore prestige to the Interconinental Title, which means a lot to me personally as I grew up in a time when the IC title was the title most people held before becoming World champion.  I grew up in the Mr. Perfect, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Diesel era of IC champions.  I’m hoping they’re able to give this title back the treatment it deserves and that.  Rhodes has been a dependable Champion, and he is clearly being groomed to move into the main event.  However, for now, he needs to continue down his current path a little longer.  DiBiase is either going to sink or swim as a result of this match, if the match doesn’t bypass expectation than it could be curtains for him.

Winner and Still Intercontinental Champion:  Cody Rhodes

World Heavyweight Championship
Randy Orton vs Mark Henry

WWE has gone out of its way over the past few months to make Mark Henry into a big, bad, unstoppable juggernaut of a monster.  He took out Kane and Big Show.  He smashed Sheamus through the ringside barricade.  He put Big Show through the side of the cage.  He’s been inducting people into what he calls his “Hall of Pain.”  The fact of the matter is he is absolutely, without a doubt, the number one heel on Smackdown.  Not only is he the number one heel, he is a tough heel which is rare in WWE these days.  He doesn’t run away and he doesn’t back down.  He doesn’t need to.  He is an ass kicking machine.  Orton has been in his sights for a while now and Henry has laid Orton out several times.

Orton is the champion coming out of a seemingly endless feud with Christian.  Though the fans seem to like him, Orton is suffering a little bit from the superhero booking he’s gotten.  Watching Orton drop twelve guys with the RKO isn’t as exciting as watching Austin drop one with the stunner, no matter how hard WWE tries to convince me that it is.  I like Orton, a lot, but I think he is one of those guys who is better when he is chasing the belt.  If Orton wins tonight he essentially destroys Mark Henry’s current storyline and I just don’t see them doing that right now.  The only way I see Orton winning is if we get the return of either Kane, Big Show or both, and they take Henry out.  This would protect Henry and allow Orton to keep the belt.

Winner and New World Heavyweight Champion:  Mark Henry

WWE Championship
Alberto Del Rio vs John Cena

It is somewhat sad that the flagship title of the company is a backburner match.  Del Rio has been doing pretty good, he’s changed my opinion somewhat.  I think as a heel he is great.  He pisses me off, he makes me want to see him get his ass kicked.  Though, I could say the same thing about John Cena but I don’t think that is what WWE wants.  Then again, what they want seems to be getting more and more difficult to figure out.  Cena has been coming out for a few weeks now, attacking Del Rio verbally for renting cars which seems counterproductive.  You’re trying to sell this guy as a rich, aristocratic heel so what is the point of telling us that is all fake?  That would be like Del Rio coming out and saying that Cena isn’t actually a nice guy, he doesn’t wear jean shorts in private and he actually hates rap.

I don’t see the sense here, I know everyone wants to be CM Punk shooting but there’s enough problems with that, do we really need to screw this up too?  Either way, Cena and Del Rio is only just beginning and I think they want to have Cena and Rock teaming up against Del Rio and some of his people at Survivor Series.  If that is the case then I find it hard to believe that Cena will walk out of Night of Champions with the title.  Maybe that’s why they haven’t played this match up all that much:  superman is going down.

Winner and Still WWE Champion:  Alberto Del Rio

No Disqualification – COO On the Line
Triple H vs CM Punk

So this is what it is all about, right?  This is the storyline which is supposed to electrify the WWE fans and make us incapable of changing the channel every Monday Night.  Honestly, with the way things had been going, I half-expected this to be a rap battle style promo match.  All these two have done is talk and talk and talk until I wanted to smash my head through my television screen.  The magic that Punk had back in June is essentially dead now.  Not all of that is his fault.  How long can you hotshot shoot promos until you eventually have to reign it back in?  When you finally do calm it all down it begins to feel so much more tame than it would have otherwise.  Nash texted Nash which makes about as much sense to me as Bret screwed Bret.  Triple H fires Nash, who leaves with Johnny Ace, and we’re not supposed to expect to see Nash make an appearance tonight?  Of course Nash will be there.  The only piece of information we might get out of this match is who is Nash working for?  Will it turn out Triple H was in on it all along?  Will Johnny Ace be the mastermind behind it?  Is Stephanie involved?  Or, is it possible, that CM Punk has been working with Nash all along?  Who knows, and frankly, who cares?   There is a reason ratings have been in the toilet lately:  WWE hasn’t made you care about any of this.

I could watch two guys arguing at work and it would be more entertaining than watching these two go at each other.  I like Punk a lot but there are only so many times he can say Triple H is a pussy, or call him Paul, and still get me wanting to see more.  This storyline either needs to die or something shocking needs to happen to reinvigorate it.  If Trips loses, he is no longer COO.  I can’t believe they’d have him drop that title already but it would give them a chance to bring in someone else who could maybe turn things around.  Hell, maybe we’d finally find out who the Anonymous RAW GM is?  The key to this match is that it is No DQ.  There are going to be some shenaningans here to protect the loser, which is why I imagine Triple H is going to lose.  Not cleanly, mind you.  If he lost clean to Punk I’d be very, very surprised.

Winner:  CM Punk

So there it is, your Night of Champions lineup.  There is so much more to say, but this PPV is indicitive of what WWE’s problem is right now:  it doesn’t feel special and it doesn’t feel must-see.  WWE is failing to make us care, they’re failing to provide that big match atmosphere that they usually go out of their way to deliver.  I’ve got one final prediction for you which we won’t find out for a few months, but I’ll go with it anyway:  Night of Champions PPV buyrate will be one of the worst of the year.  It’s do or die time, WWE better have an ace of their sleeve with this one.

The SuperColumn

Remember when you could walk into a McDonalds and order a large fry and they’d ask if you wanted it Supersized?  Take your favorite meal, make it even bigger and enjoy it even more.  Sure you may end up vomiting it up later but hey, if you love fries as much as I do then you sure do miss the Supersize option.  When it comes to television you have a show, it could be great, terrible or run of the mill.  However, if you have a Supershow then it has to be better right?  Making Monday Night Raw into a Supershow seemed like a great idea.  Take all of your favorites, from both brands, smash them together and we could get things we’d never seen before!  New rivalries, new confrontations, new matches.

Taking Raw and making it Super could really have been something you didn’t want to miss. Unfortunately, as per usual, WWE has managed to take something which seems like a tremendous idea and transform it into something mediocre.  There doesn’t seem to be any company in the world that succeeds as frequently as WWE does at taking something that could be awesome and making it typical.  I think they’ve managed to prove that over the past few years.  If you’d have told me five years ago that Bret Hart and the Rock would return I’d have been elated.  I’d be thinking WWE had turned the right corner, that these two storylines could really blow the roof off.  The last thing I’d have thought was that Bret Harts return would have went over like an anvil and that the Rock would come back to work a mediocre program with John Cena.

Who knew that CM Punk would walk out on Raw and say so many things that fans had been thinking for so long only for it to be forgotten the next week?  Someone still has to explain to me why a massive storyline was built around this guy leaving the company with the title only to see him leave for a week.  People had been clamoring for the return of Triple H and yet it doesn’t seem like his return has made a lick of difference in the horrendous nature of the program other than the fact that we get to see him come out and talk for a few segments on every show.  Kevin Nash, who once galvanized the wrestling world with the nWo comes out to the ring looking about as interested in being there as I do waiting in line at the DMV.  Textgate, which was this intriguing storyline with multiple suspects, turns out to be “Nash texted Nash” which makes sense to someone, somewhere, I’m sure.  But, keep in mind, there are people out there who think Jersey Shore is a good show so that doesn’t add a lot of credence to this blunder.

The Supershow has delivered to us several “exciting” things.  Live, on Monday Night, we’ve gotten to see Randy Orton in a squash match against Heath Slater, Teddy Long making eight man tag matches because apparently, aside from Triple H and the seemingly forgotten Anonymous General Manager, he also has the power to make matches.  Who could forget the amazingly intriguing, hand-shakingly excited clash between WWE Tag Team Champions, Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne (I will not call them “Air Boom.”  It sounds like an action performed in the bathroom of an airplane) take on the formidable team of… Jinder Mahal and the Great Khali.  Well this is living up to be everything we’d thought it could be, right?  Oh boy.

So aside from a few random Smackdown stars thrown into Raw what have we gotten?  The same show, the same poor writing, the same half-assed booking.  What exactly did they think this was going to do?  You can change your show into a Supershow, or change the name of your company completely (*cough*TNA*cough*) but if you’re not going to actually change what you’re doing it is going to be completely meaningless.  The idea of ending the brand split could have been something major but if they ever do decide to completely end it on all shows I think they’ve taken some dangerous steps towards damaging that concept by making Raw a “Supershow.”  I suppose I should start rebranding my old columns as “Supercolumns” and that will magically make them better than they were to start out with, right?

What could make a Supershow super?  How about new matches, exciting storylines, fresh rivalries?  Maybe we could see Randy Orton wrestle someone who he hasn’t wrestled before in a match that takes longer than two minutes and actually makes a difference as applies to the Raw superstars?  Maybe, just maybe, we could get a wrestling show that actually makes us want to keep watching?  The NFL season is opening and WWE didn’t even try to do a single thing to make any NFL fans feel like they might be missing something if they tuned out next week.  I don’t watch football but even I am not sure what I’m supposed to be tuning in to see.  Hell, they didn’t even announce the main event on Monday until five minutes before it was happening.  Some Supershow, huh?

You can slap the word “Super” in front of anything you want but that doesn’t actually mean anything.  To make Raw “super” you’re going to have to make it more than it already is, and that shouldn’t be complicated because it currently isn’t much of anything.  Right now I’d be happy just for Raw to be good.  Maybe that is the platform they should have aimed for first.  Monday Night Raw:  Good Show.  I’ll take a good show over a supershow any day, at least, if this is what a supershow has in store for us.  A Good show.. what a novel idea.

SummerSlam Reaction

Last night the epic clash of SummerSlam took place live on PPV.  We entered this show with many questions swirling around out there in the ether.  Would we witness the return of the WWE Divas title to a woman who has the skill to carry it?  Would Christian’s surprise insurance policy help or hinder his no holds barred title match against Randy Orton?  When dual WWE Champions clash in the ring for the first time in WWE history who would walk out as the undisputed Champion and would the special referee play a pivotal role in that finish?  All of these questions were answered but in at least one circumstance we find ourselves with new questions we’d not even considered prior to the show.Mysterio, Morrison & Kofi vs Miz, R-Truth and Del Rio:

The non-title matches here were entertaining if somewhat less than stellar.  The show opened with an unnanounced six man tag match with the team of Rey Mysterio, John Morrison and Kofi Kingston squaring off against The Miz, R-Truth and Alberto Del Rio.  The basic drive of this match was to put some known names into the show (names that should have been there in the first place) and to kick things off with an exciting, crowd pleasing match.  Nothing special here, team Mysterio takes the victory.Sheamus vs Mark Henry:
The Celtic Warrior Sheamus next clashed with Mark Henry.  This match could have been a total disaster but turned out to be pretty decent, perhaps thanks to an excellent spot which saw Mark Henry driving Sheamus through the ringside barricade.  Ultimately Sheamus could not make it to the ring in order to beat the ten count and Henry won via countout.  I’m not personally a massive fan of countouts in wrestling but this one was done right and provided a finish to the match which damaged neither competitor.  Mark Henry is still a human wrecking ball who has yet to be stopped and Sheamus continues down the path of his face turn by showing his fighting spirit and gaining the sympathy and respect of the crowd as he desperately tried to make it back to the ring but was unable to do so.  I do not think we’ve seen the last of Mark Henry and Sheamus coming together but hopefully we won’t be subjected to anything resembling a long bout between the two.

Daniel Bryan vs Wade Barrett:
Daniel Brian was up against Wade Barrett in what could only be described as a grudge match.  It is interesting to recall that at last years SummerSlam it was Bryan who returned to assist team WWE in a losing effort against the invading team Nexus.  In a turn which I don’t think most people expected, Barrett who was a major heel at this time last year has fallen down the ladder several rungs to the point that it is now Daniel Bryan who holds the Money in the Bank briefcase.  If asked at this time last year I think more people would have put their money on Barrett being the man with a gaurenteed title shot.  Either way these two put on an excellent, though short, match against one another.
I had predicted this match to go to Bryan and have to admit some level of surprise to see Barrett go over.  Bryan should be being built toward his briefcase cash in at Wrestlemania next year, not buried by someone who is, at best, currently trapped within the mid-card.  I also don’t feel that they played up the angle of these two having a colored past together and frankly the only interest I had in this match was my interest in seeing Bryan wrestle.  Either way I don’t think the outcome of this match means much of anything in the grand scheme of things and perhaps now that we’re over the SummerSlam hump we’ll see Bryan start getting built up.
Beth Phoenix vs Kelly Kelly (Divas Title):

When I imagined this Divas title match I thought of several things.  First of all I thought of the massive weight on the shoulders of Beth Phoenix to carry this match and make it something worth watching.  Secondly I feared seeing someone with the poor abilities of Kelly Kelly attempting to look like she could successfully deliver offense and thirdly I hoped beyond hope to see Beth Phoenix capture the divas title and restore credibility to a division which is floundering at best.  Kelly surprised me in the sense that she performed more than her typical three or four moves, Beth sold for her in a mostly believable way although watching a stick figure battle an athletically sculpted woman always tests ones ability to accept it.  In the end, Beth took over and absolutely dominated and while setting Kelly up for the Glam Slam found herself caught in a roll-up which led to Kelly winning and retaining the title

Yes it was a good match, and yes I absolutely believe their will be a rematch in which Beth is going to take the title off of Kelly but I think the storyline could have worked better with Beth as the champion defending on the next PPV.  Perhaps they wanted to give us a feel good moment and stretch this feud out, and if handled properly they can avoid doing any damage to the credibility of the Glamazon.  Also, just as an added note, the idea was that Beth and Natalya are saying that the days of the pretty model-looking divas are over so perhaps someone can answer for me why Beth came out in what appeared to be a cocktail dress?  She looked gorgeous, as did Natalya at ringside, but I think her other ring gear probably would have worked a little better.  Especially considering that Kelly Kelly came out dressed as a candycane.  Either way, K2 is still your Divas Champion.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see the title change hands sooner than the next PPV, however.

 Randy Orton vs Christian – No Holds Barred (WHC Title):

The World Heavyweight Championship match between Randy Orton and champion Christian was to be no holds barred.  A lot of times when it comes to matches like this there is a certain level of groaning that can be heard worldwide when they announce a stipulation like that in what is known as the PG era.  Not helping the matter was that this was yet another Orton / Christian match which we’ve been experiencing a whole hell of a lot lately.  Christian had an insurance policy, which everyone knew was going to be Edge, but surprisingly Edge turned on Christian before the match and cut an excellent promo on him leaving Christian screaming in anger moments before Orton made his entrance with a big grin.
I had supreme confidence in these two to pull off an excellent match and, that being said, they exceeded my expectations.  This was a masterfully planned, excellently executed (sorry Bret) match which did exactly what it needed to do:  it delivered.  Christian was in command in the early part with Orton fighting back here and there only to capture control towards the end.  We got to see some spots involving the Spanish announce table, kendo sticks, trash cans and two tables (including a superplex onto a table which was not set up but laying flat on the mat.)  Ultimately the final spot was Randy Orton catching Christian, who was leaping from the top rope, in an RKO on a the steel steps for the win.
This was a great match, and definitely in the top two that have taken place between these two guys.  The final spot involving the flying RKO on the steps not only looked amazing but painful.  Orton held the back of his head following that move for a few moments before making the cover and hopefully didn’t give himself another concussion.  That was one hell of a spot and definitely got the crowd to pop.  The RKO is a fun move to watch because you never know where it is coming from and though we’ve seen it done reversing top rope manuevers before we had not seen that in conjunction with the steps.  I saw a lot of angry twittering following this match as people wanted Christian to win but I really don’t know what there is to complain about.  Orton was winning this match, it was inevitable.  Smackdown is built around him and this feud needed to end, and when it did the title had to be on the guy who is going to carry the show.  Orton will now move on to feud with, probably, Mark Henry while Christian will remain the top heel of Smackdown and will work to build others, Sheamus for instance.  Keep your eyes open for the possibility of a Sheamus and Randy Orton vs Henry and Christian tag match in the future. John Cena vs CM Punk w/ Triple H (WWE Title):

Finally we’ve come to it, the match that SummerSlam had been almost entirely built around.  Triple H as the guest referee while WWE Champion CM Punk butted heads with WWE Champion John Cena.  This match was fun to watch though it was a notch below their previous clash at Money in the Bank but that is hard to live up to either way.  It was good back and forth, reversals, submissions and some great spots.  I can’t say there was ever a point at which one guy was completely in control for more than a minute or two.  The crowd began as somewhat divided, lots of booing for Cena when he entered followed by the battling “Let’s go Cena / Cena Sucks” chants.  However, the longer the match progressed, the more it seemed the crowd was getting firmly behind CM Punk.  At one point, Punk performed Randy Savage’s flying elbow which resulted in a large “Randy Savage” chant.  The divide of the match occurred when Punk landed a suicide dive outside the ring and both he and Cena lay in danger of a countout.  Triple H threw both men back into the ring where Cena landed an AA, Punk kicked out.  Cena got the STF on, Punk made it to the ropes and following a succession of GTS hits, Punk finally got the cover and the win.  This, however, is where the controversy began.

First of all, John Cena had his foot on the bottom rope.  Triple H either chose to ignore this or did not see it which immediately taints Punks title win and ignores the idea that we’d have an “undisputed” champion.  Following the match, Punk shook hands with Triple H who then headed up the ramp only to turn and witness Kevin Nash flying through the crowd, entering the ring and laying Punk flat on his back with the jacknife powerbomb.  Triple H looked shocked and made his way to the barricade to see where Nash was going while simultaneously Alberto Del Rio ran out with a referee, cashed in, delivered one kick to Punk’s head and won the WWE title in less than ten seconds.  Oddly they seemed to ignore their usual stipulation of making sure the defending champion is actually on his feet before the bell is rung.  So Del Rio leaves as Champion while Triple H is arguing with the referee.  So did this answer questions?  I suppose but now we have to wonder:  Was Triple H in on this?  Did he purposefully screw Cena and allow Punk to get crushed?  Who is Kevin Nash working for?  Who has a rematch clause?  I dread the possibility of a three way title match at next months PPV involving Punk, Cena and Del Rio.  No matter what, though, WWE successfully delivered an exciting, surprising and buzzworthy PPV which will have a lot of eyeballs focusing in on RAW tonight to see just what the hell is going on here.

In conclusion, SummerSlam was a worth while PPV to purchase and definitely paid out better than it charged.  The Punk / Cena / Triple H / ADR / Kevin Nash finale was done tastefully and leaves an opportunity for a really strong storyline to develop.  I think Kevin Nash, if used properly, can be a major asset here.  I can’t imagine being let down by this PPV and most of the negative talk I’ve personally witnessed has been as a result of fanboys or girls who don’t understand the concepts that were laid out for us tonight and just wanted to see their favorites win.  Hopefully they’ll be rewarded tonight on Raw and Friday on Smackdown.  I give this PPV a big thumbs up and highly recommend catching a replay.

SummerSlam 2011 Notes:  Jim Ross, though advertised, was in fact not on commentary and was replaced by Booker T who did an absolutely dreadful job.  Stephanie McMahon made her on screen return last night, seen talking to CM Punk as well as exiting Cena’s lockeroom and talking to her husband, Triple H.  Whether or not this is permanent or just a one shot deal remains to be seen.  The Anonymous GM podium was set up at ringside though never acknolwedged.  Mouth of the South Jimmy Hart took part in a funny promo with R-Truth.  Edge returned to cut a promo before walking back out, the crowd seemed happy to see him there.  Kevin Nash made his first on screen appearance for the WWE since his entry into the Royal Rumble seven months ago.  

WWE Over the Limit Predictions

We are just a few hours away from WWE Over the Limit.  The show is most likely being headlined by the Miz vs John Cena in an I Quit match.  I thought I’d give you the rundown on my predictions for this evening from the bottom up.

Sin Cara vs Chavo Guerrero:     This match will revolve around showing off the abilities of Sin Cara and be designed as a platform to elevate him to greater talent matches in the future.  Chavo is experienced and skilled and will make Cara look great.  Definitely a match to keep your eyes on as I’m sure there will be some tremendous moves and showings of athleticism shown off here.
WINNER:  Sin Cara.

Rey Mysterio vs R-Truth:  Not so easy to predict.  On the one hand Mysterio is a major babyface on the Raw brand and more than likely this match was originally intended to be John Morrison vs R-Truth.  However due to Morrison’s subsequent injury, Mysterio has been factored in which could change things.  R-Truth has been getting a lot of television time lately and WWE seems behind giving him a hard heel push so I’m going to have to go with R-Truth, who will probably win by cheating in some way.
WINNER:  R-Truth.

Bella vs Kelly Kelly (Diva’s Title):  The Diva’s title doesn’t seam to mean much to the WWE so it’s hard to imagine they’re wanting to keep this on the Bella’s for any real reason.  The main thing which plays into this is Kharma.  They are clearly building up some sort of angle between Kharma and Kelly Kelly which would likely lead to a match between the two of them, and what better way to get the strap on Kharma then to have her face Kelly Kelly for it.  I think there is a possibility here that Kelly Kelly wins clean, but I wouldn’t surprised to see Kharma assist her so she can face her for the title.
WINNER:  Kelly Kelly.

Michael Cole vs Jerry Lawler:  If there is one match on this card that is tired it is certainly this one.  The Cole / Lawler angle ran its course back at Wrestlemania, and for it to still be going is utterly ridiculous.  God willing Lawler wins this match and we can stop having to listen to Cole and his ridiculously annoying commentary week in and week out.  However, WWE has thrown us curve balls with this before, and though it may make me a fool in the end, for the third PPV in a row I’m going with what I hope for.
WINNER:  Jerry Lawler.

Big Show & Kane vs CM Punk & Mason Ryan (Tag Title):  How the mighty have fallen.  CM Punk is way too talented to be wasted in this match but alas this is where we find ourselves.  Punk has a good thing going with Nexus, and with all the rumors of his contract being up soon, I find it hard to believe that WWE is going to put the titles on him and Ryan, especially considering Kane and Big Show really don’t have anything better to do so I’m going with the champs here.
WINNERS:  Kane and Big Show.

Wade Barret vs Ezekiel Jackson (Intercontinental Title):  Hard to imagine Barrett not winning this match, but if you look back its hard to imagine Barrett being relegated to such a small place on the card.  He is an interesting study, one week seeming to get pushed and the next week he is ignored.  Ezekiel has a good look but does he have the skill?  This remains to be seen but I don’t think tonight will be his night.
WINNER:  Wade Barrett.

Randy Orton vs Christian (World Heavyweight Title):  What a controversy here.  Christian wins the title in one of the feel good moments of the year and loses the title to Orton less than a week later.  The internet explodes with anger over it and then things calmed down and we got handed this match.  WWE has faith in Orton, despite falling ratings on Smackdown and perhaps rightfully so.  Either way, as much as I’d love to see Christian win I just can’t see it happening.  Not without a turn at least.  Maybe if this storyline continues and Christian turns heel we’ll get a title change but for now, the strap stays where it is.
WINNER:  Randy Orton.

John Cena vs the Miz (WWE Title):  Finally we come down to the WWE title match.  Miz and Cena face off in an “I Quit” match which doesn’t bode well for Miz.  Let’s face it, Cena will never ever say “I quit.”  Rumors are circulating that Miz will do something like play a recording of Cena saying “I quit” or perhaps threaten to hurt someone Cena cares about in order to win.  I find the first plausible, as it’s been used before, but the latter unlikely.  I’d love to see the Miz win this match but I can’t see it happening.  At most perhaps the Miz wins, but the anonymous GM orders the match to restart or reverses the decision.  Dislike Cena as I do, I can’t see Superman giving in.
WINNER:  John Cena.

There you have it, my predictions for Over the Limit.  WWE can be unpredictable.  Most of the time I have a 75% accuracy rating for my PPV predictions but every once in a while they throw in some curve balls.  Remains to be seen.  Who do you think the winners will be?  Comment, email, message me on twitter OneCountKickout  Enjoy the PPV folks.

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