After a second fine reign, current champion Vacant is coming to the end of their brief WWE title run. Tonight we crown a new Champion, along with a new MitB Briefcase Holder. If WWE hadn’t broken my damn heart 4 weeks ago I’d probably give a damn about that. Bear with me while I psyche myself up to plow through this whole shebang one more time. You could be about to see a man break down mentally through the course of one article. Strap in folks.
So I’ll level with you, the only WWE programming I’ve watched since the night after Payback (which I can’t bring myself to speak about yet) has been NXT. Oh NXT, you are still my one glimmer of hope in this bleak world of cookie cutter Sports Entertainers.
If you read my articles, you’ll know that The Shield were my last bastion of hope in WWE still having at least one employee behind the scenes who knew what they were doing. And then the night after Payback happened. WWE split The Shield (admittedly Seth has come away from it looking TREMENDOUS) but more importantly, WWE split up my 20-something year relationship with them. They broke my heart and I’m having trouble getting past it. I can’t bring myself to watch their TV, even the bits I should like. It’s just too painful. I’m going through a difficult time here folks, I think we should just get on with some predictions…
Big E vs. Rusev
One of the things I have kinda missed has been Rusev’s entrance music (along with Lana’s “look at my ass” entrance). From having a scan of spoilers and show reviews it looks like this is being shipped as Big E finally making a stand against Rusev because dagnabbit Big E just loves him some America. Big E seems like an unusual choice but DC bought up a great idea over on the TalkWrestlingOnline Forums.
What if we say this angle is based on Rocky 4. If Rusev is the Ivan Drago-esque big bad Russian villain, does that make Big E the Apollo Creed ready for a Rocky to step up after him. DC suggested Jack Swagger, which isn’t a bad shout actually. The “We The People” schtick was still over last time I watched, so why not reference Jack being an All-American American a little more and set him and Rusev against each other?
Since I haven’t been watching, I can’t go into any great detail, so I’ll just call this as I see it from what I know of how folks were being booked up until now. It’ll probably be wrong, and no doubt I’ll say some stuff where you’re all “huh?” about it, but if you’re a regular reader those are probably familiar reactions at this point anyway.
Who I want to win: Rusev. I quite enjoyed him smashing and crushing. And Lana, I always enjoy Lana.
Who I think will win: Rusev more than likely. I’m assuming he’s still on his initial monster run, so I can’t see Big E being the man to stop him.
Summer Rae vs. Layla
(w/Special Guest Referee Fandango)
Last I saw, Summer Rae was back from filming, and she attacked Layla for stealing away Fandango. Based on that I’m assuming this match is the inevitable love triangle match with both Divas vying for Fandango’s affections?
Well. I have no interest in that whatsoever. I like Layla, I have no real grudge against Summer Rae, I just have no interest in them fighting it out over Fandango. On the one hand it’s actually giving Divas something other than a title match at a PPV, which is never a bad thing, but on the other hand it’s indicative of WWE’s slopping booking of the ladies. Maybe “sloppy” is the wrong word, perhaps “lazy” is more apt? We’ve seen the whole two girls fighting over one guy thing before, is that really the best they can come up with for the Diva’s Division? It’s a similar kind of affair with Emma. She’s a ditzy comedy wrestler at heart, so they just have to pair her up with Santino and rehash a romance angle AGAIN.
In fact the only refreshing thing for me in the Diva’s Division recently has been Brie Bella being the one to decide to give up her job. She took Daniel Bryan’s big decision out of his hands and stood up to the bosses herself. I actually thought that was really nicely done. But beyond that there’s been nothing for the women whatsoever. No wonder AJ isn’t bothered about coming back anytime soon.
Who I want to win: The Divas as a whole by benefitting from some better booking.
Who I think will win: I dunno, probably Layla with a little help from Fandango, turning Summer face just in time to start promotional duties for her upcoming appearance in The Marine. But I don’t care about any of those things. Apathy FTW!
WWE Divas Championship Match
Paige © vs. Naomi
So are WWE booking Paige correctly yet, or is she still being made to look like a flukey newcomer? I hope it’s the former, because if it’s the latter they need to knock that off immediately. Paige has wrestling since she was 14 years old, which makes her already waaaay more experienced than the majority of the other Divas, and it’s about damn time WWE realised that.
But instead it appears that she’s been given yet another 30 day opponent to fill the gap until either Creative actually figure out something proper for her, or AJ returns (which probably isn’t happening any time soon).
I guess I’d be remiss to not mention the potential breakup of the Funkadactyls here. Which in my opinion is good thing. Brodus Clay is gone, they’ve already jobbed the holy heck out of Xavier Woods. The Funkadactyls just aren’t required anymore, so probably the best thing to do would be to let Ariane/Cameron be the despicable worthless heel of a human being that Total Divas fans already know she can be. Girl bye.
Who I want to win: Paige. But again, as our Anti-Diva Paige, not this flukey noob version of Paige they seem insistent on using.
Who I think will win: Paige. Probably by Cameron turning on Naomi and costing her the match, so then we can have 6-8 weeks of Funkadactyl fallout. Yay, cant you just feel my enthusiasm?
Stardust & Goldust vs. RybAxel
Okay, so one of the things I did catch on YouTube was the debut of Stardust. I’m unsure of what to make of it. I like Cody Rhodes, and I really enjoy his character work. In fact, his run as a supposedly disfigured monster/supervillain was one of my favourite things about his work up until now. I just can’t help feeling that Stardust is a waste of a talented guy, unless it does lead to the obvious brother against brother storyline further down the line. As a short-term thing I have no real problem with it, provided it leads to bigger and better things for Cody on the horizon.
One of the benefits of avoiding the main roster shows for the last 4 weeks has been a complete lack of RybAxel in my life. It’s been…well, wonderful quite frankly, to not have them stinking the place up. And since I have knowledge of their last 4 weeks, there’s not really much I comment on, other than assuming they are still as awful as ever.
Who I want to win: Goldust & Stardust. Logic dictates this is the initial honeymoon period for the team, and Curtis Axel and Ryback should never win anything. Ever.
Who I think will win: Goldust & Stardust.
WWE Tag Team Championship Match
The Usos © vs. The Wyatt Family
How have Jimmy & Jey been getting on as Tag Champs? They’re something else that I’ve genuinely missed from not tuning in for the past month. I’d called for ages to see either The Usos or Harper & Rowan as tag team champs, so obviously they decide to make it happen right when I give the least amount of f*cks about WWE that I have for years. Thanks you contrary b*stards.
Are the Wyatts still feuding with Cena? Because that was also one of the coffin nails that finally killed my enthusiasm for all things WWE. I’m sincerely hoping that giving a bit of focus to Harper and Rowan means that they’re moving away from Cena and on to other things. All the interaction with Cena actually hurt the Wyatts in my opinion, took them off the boil, and if I’m anything to judge by, killed a lot of the enthusiasm drummed up for the Wyatts in the preceding weeks. They need to do something to recapture that initial spark, and all the singing of “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands” won’t do a jot to help. If anything, I was getting pretty sick and tired of having that forced on us too by the time I stopped watching. So lo and behold, what does my buddy show me yesterday? A YouTube clip of Harper and Rowan making their entrance to a harmonica version of “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands”. Damnit.
You’d have to think that it’s logical for the Wyatts to win here, but then I haven’t seen that much of Jimmy & Jey’s tag run, so they could just as easily keep the titles on the champions and extend this out until SummerSlam kind of time.
Not that it really matters, because unless things improve I won’t be watching any of it.
Who I want to win: I’d actually be okay with either of these teams winning. I still like The Usos, I still like The Wyatts (for the most part) either of these teams would make for good tag team champions…until The Ascension finally arrive…
Who I think will win: I think we stand a possibility of The Usos retaining, and the feud being dragged out to SummerSlam before it’s blown off.
Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match
Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Bad News Barrett vs. Jack Swagger vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Dolph Ziggler
Okay, so firstly we have to address the Barrett situation, and I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news (I don’t even care if that joke has already been done to death). Barrett’s separated his shoulder, and therefore will mostly likely not be in tonight’s ladder match. I feel bad for Wade, mainly because events always seem to transpire to take him out just as he’s on the cusp of something good. I hope he recovers quickly and isn’t missing for too long, he’s got a whole bunch of momentum built up recently and it’d be a shame to see it fizzle out due to another injury.
Okay, now on to Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. The breakup of The Shield is still painful to me, so I’m gonna have to leave it to this recreation to sum up what happened:
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In all seriousness it was superbly done, but I’m still all kinds of mad at the one beautifully booked faction of current day WWE being brought to a crushing finale. Admittedly I do love Seth coming out now looking like some kind of supervillain, and Dean Ambrose finally getting to embrace his James Dean/Rebel Without A Cause side, but the break up of my Hounds of Justice still hurts me to my core.
So who are we looking at becoming our next Mr MitB? To be honest, the more important question is will they actually be booked correctly following their briefcase win? For years we’ve seen the briefcase winner jobbed out to make their cash in seem more “surprising”, but all it really does is make them look weak before they take the title. Just once could we go back to a Mr MitB in the ilk of Edge or Van Dam where they are actually made to be somewhat of a big deal just for being able to capture the briefcase in the first place? Is that really too much to ask? Luckily, we have the possibility here of there being an inbuilt story that could (in my humble opinion) really top off The Shield split angle into something special.
So who is gonna be Mr MitB? Well my instant guess would be Seth Rollins. Looking down the list, Kofi is there for the highspots, Swagger is there for the strongman spots, Van Dam for an extreme vibe, and Ziggler for the manic bumping and selling, so really that leaves it down to Seth and Dean.
I think what would be best coming out of this (if I was booking it anyways) would be for Seth Rollins to take the briefcase out of the grasp out Dean Ambrose in some suitably nefarious manner. But that isn’t the end of it. Do you think Ambrose would just let that go? I want WWE to do what I called for them to do with Rhodes and Sandow last year. As soon as Seth wins the briefcase, Ambrose becomes his shadow. Every time Seth even thinks about trying to cash in, Ambrose is there ready to screw the whole thing up for him. I want Rollins to win, only for Ambrose to deny Seth his personal quest for glory. Seth broke up The Shield to go out and become his own man, Dean Ambrose is going to do everything the crazy sonuvabitch can to stop that from happening. It writes itself.
So there you go WWE, I defy you to follow through with something cool for the MitB winner this year. I double dog dare you to have the nuts to actually push someone from the new generation of superstars properly.
Who I want to win: Seth, Dean, and I totally wouldn’t be opposed to Ziggler grabbing the briefcase again.
Who I think will win: Probably Seth Rollins, but purely under the provision that Dean Ambrose beasts him for the next few months.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match
Roman Reigns vs. Cesaro vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena vs. Kane vs. Sheamus
So let’s lay one thing out here from the get-go. This isn’t a case of “If Cena Wins We Riot” for me. This is a case of “If Cena Wins, I’m Done With WWE”. Seriously. If we see Cena or Orton leaving tonight with the titles, then it shows (in my opinion) that WWE have no real concern with trying to prepare a new generation for greatness when they can just do what they always do, and resort the title back to Cena or Orton in times of “well we don’t know what else to do”.
We’ve seen Sheamus, Cena, Orton, Del Rio, and Kane have their title runs before, we know what they can do with a championship, so why not try something/someone new?
Now Bray is one of those characters where I actually feel he doesn’t need a title run at the moment to validate himself. Bray is much more concerned with winning a battle of hearts and minds with the WWE Universe to be bothered about things such as glory, prestige, and the other trappings of fame that come with the WWE World Heavyweight Title. Bray Wyatt should not be competing for the title until it actually means something. I’d expect a Bray Wyatt title hunt to come with a great storyline and the typically brilliant Wyatt promos as he stalked a babyface champion over a prolonged period of time. Wyatt winning the title in a ladder match just doesn’t seem to make sense to me?
So that leaves us with two options. Cesaro or Reigns. I’d be happy with either of those. I guess in the grand scheme of storylines Reigns would make the most sense? Imagine the roar that would go up if Reigns pulled those titles down, only for a recently briefcased up Seth Rollins to hit the ring? And then imagine Dean Ambrose hitting the ring to deny Rollins his immediate cash in attempt? And there’s your summer storyline right there.
Not to take anything away from Cesaro, I just feel that WWE potentially has something pretty special on their hands here, and if they handle it right it could be a licence to print money for them right through until Survivor Series time. Or at least when Bryan heals properly and returns. And that’s the beauty of it, if WWE use this angle, then it gives Daniel Bryan plenty of time to heal properly and not have to worry about rushing himself back too soon.
I know there are folks out there who think it’s “too soon” for Reigns, but I don’t see why. The guys on a hot streak right, he’s over as rover with crowds, the ladies love him, the storyline is right, the circumstances are right, he’s already had the year of his career, why not continue the push and give him the straps?
Who I want to win: Reigns. Just do it WWE. Give us some kind of hope for the future.
Who I think will win: It really needs to be a next generation guy, not Cena, not Orton, not Kane, not Del Rio, not Sheamus. My heart full of hope really wants to think WWE will be brave enough to pull the trigger on Reigns, or shock us all by letting Cesaro go over and show what he’s capable of. But then my head overrules that by reminding me that current WWE have no real desire to try anything new and inspiring while they’re still taking in money from the same old hackneyed, yawn-inducing booking they’ve trotted out for the last decade.
So there you go, I fumbled my way through some predictions for you. I may see you all next month, unless WWE continue to further slap me in the face through the medium of “Cena Wins LOL”.
Feel free to leave me some comments below, or join in the discussion over at the TalkWrestlingOnline Forums. As for me, well I’m off to watch MitB 2011 and cry into my Best In The World shirt…