GRUT VS. DANIELS… Starring Matthew Michaels & PK~!

Features, VS.

Welcome to a very special return edition of Pulse Wrestling’s most talked about column, GRUT vs. Daniels! I’ll be playing the role of GRUT this week, with my fellow Wrestling Editor — and Inside Pulse Figures Guru — PK doing his best Daniels impression. We’ve tweaked the format a bit; in fact the only similarities to the OG GvD (aside from both PK and Daniels’ bizarre resemblance to Mike Knox) are that we’ve pulled a topic from the news bin, traded off on opinions, and thrown in a little bickering for good measure.

The topic at hand: Tomorrow night’s New Year’s Revolution main event: John Cena vs. Umaga for the WWE Championship, and its implications on the Road to Wrestlemania 23…

/Matthew Michaels/

I think most people feel that the true Road to Wrestlemania begins at the Royal Rumble. And while seeds for Mania matches are sometimes planted beforehand, the Rumble is one of the Big Four Pay-Per-Views, and by featuring wrestlers from all of WWE’s brands, it presents the opportunity to kick start some big-time feuds. That being said, I think — at least for RAW — that the Road to Wrestlemania starts early this year… In fact, it starts at New Year’s Revolution.

I believe that by the time the WWE logo appears to signify the end of tomorrow’s event, it will be clear that RAW’s part of the Mania main event will feature someone that no one could have ever expected would be WWE Champion a year ago: a man born Edward Umar Fatu, formerly known as Ekmo and Jamal, and currently competing on RAW as Umaga. The “Samoan Bulldozer” will — and should — beat John Cena for the gold, and then go on to face HHH on April 1.


While Umaga has been tearing things up on RAW week after week, there is one thing that plenty of smarks have forgotten about John Cena. John Cena is WWE’s golden boy. They will protect Cena at ALL costs. Both times Cena has dropped the title it was in screwjob situations (Edge using the Money in the Bank after Cena won an Elimination Chamber Match, and Cena losing to RVD at an ECW PPV, with help from Edge). This, I believe, will be the only way Cena will ever drop the title. Therein lies the dilemma.

– Umaga wins cleanly, and Cena is knocked down a peg (and only a few weeks before The Marine comes out on DVD).

– Umaga wins by cheating, it’ll show that he cannot defeat Cena by himself, and he will eventually just lose to Cena down the road so Cena gets the title back.

– Cena wins, and clean or not, it will just demolish the winning streak that Umaga has had built up since after WM22.

This means that there will be a ‘Sports Entertainment’ finish to this match. No new Champion and this feud is dumped like the garbage it is. However, the next big question is… Who does that leave Cena to face at WM23? (Yep, I have the answer to that too.)

/Matthew Michaels/

Well, you’re touching on my point. And part of me looked at Wrestlemania and worked backwards to come to my conclusion… a conclusion that makes sense the more I think about it.

Mania is being held at one of the biggest venues ever and is as always a sell-out. Plus, the backstage rumor-mill seems to indicate that Vince is well aware of the way UFC’s been kicking his ass in PPV buys, which means he’s gonna pull out all the stops for Mania this year (some sort of Hogan and Austin involvement, celebrities, etc.). What’s that all mean? Well, for starters, it means a ton of revenue, and the way WWE works, the main eventers get the biggest payout. Is Cena the Golden Child? Sure. But so is Hunter, who will no doubt do everything in his power to be in a top spot on the show. And it makes NO SENSE for Hunter to face Cena… again… at the biggest show of the year.

However, a babyface HHH closing the show by being the first man to pin the unstoppable Umaga, winning his 11th world title, and doing his best imitation of Hogan toppling Yokozuna? Yeah, that’s $$ in HHHis eyes, and that’s the match I’m willing to bet on.

Who does Cena face at Mania? That’s easy, and he’s got America’s Most Hated celebrity in his corner…


This debate is quickly turning into a ‘Who will be in the WWE Title Match’ debate.

/Matthew Michaels/

That’s kinda my point… you give Umaga a nice win over Cena on Sunday — cheating to win or not — and he’s positioned perfectly heading into RumbleMania….


It is clear as day who will face JOHN CENA for the WWE Title at WM23… The Legend Killer Randy Orton.

This has been the dream match since both guys started their climb to the main event. They have been carefully kept away from each other, and, aside from the first few months of their debuts on SmackDown (and that was even pre-thug Cena), have only been on the same brand for the past seven months. This was further cemented in my head when they did the big battle royal in December, when Edge got the title shot.

And, since Orton vs. Cena won’t necessarily be the final match of the night, they can make this a ‘future of the business’ type thing.

For the record, my anticipated Triple Main Event is:

Orton vs. Cena, UT vs. Batista, DX vs. Hogan/Big Show (now you’re stunned, cuz you didn’t remember that Show was a big part of the nWo!)

/Matthew Michaels/

I’m never stunned. And yes, I agree that if I was fantasy-booking, and just based on kayfabe, Orton/Cena would be the ideal main event (assuming they don’t want to do a Cena/Batista title unification match — and it seems that’s not in the cards any time soon, since if it was, they would have teased it when the two champs teamed up a few weeks ago). But let’s not forget that Orton — not even a year ago — was having quite a bit of backstage trouble. Suspensions, shitty behavior, and so on. Plus he’s like 16 years old, with plenty of time to main event Mania. I just don’t see them rewarding him with such a big payoff, especially if that means leaving the boss’ son-in-law out of the mix. On the other side of the coin, Nitro’s getting a mega-push and all reports are saying he’s well-liked by the booking team; K-Fed as a heel manager is lightening in a bottle that WWE (and Federline for that matter) has almost no choice but to take advantage of; and putting the belt on Umaga this weekend — well before Samoa Joe gets even a shot at the NWA belt — is just the slap in the face WWE loves to give “competitors” every once in a while.

– Umaga beats Cena with help from Nitro and/or K-Fed, setting up Nitro/Cena.

– Either HHH or Undertaker wins the Rumble, with both going on to face Umaga and Batista, respectively, in Detroit.

– And either Hogan faces Big Show or he teams up with (Flair/Austin/Rock/other big-named legend) to face Orton and Edge.

…add the heavily-rumored Vince (or Shane) vs. Foley and that’s my anticipated five-headed main event.

Let’s wrap this up — I’ll give you the final word.


The simple fact that Umaga is actually main eventing a PPV is a bad sign for WWE. Four of their top five guys on RAW are wrapped up in a Tag Team Feud, with Cena having to pick up the scraps of who’s left. And who is on the horizon? Carlito? Masters? Kenny? Whoever it is, it is NOT Umaga. Over-gimmicked characters, like Umaga, do lot last long, period, let alone as WWE/World Champion (see: Kane). If Vince thinks this is the actual answer to the WWE Title situation, then Vince needs to f*cking retire.

We’ll close this column on that note — even though this debate can go back and forth forever if we let it. Please feel free to keep it going by adding your two cents by commenting below, and come back to Pulse Wrestling throughout the weekend for our New Year’s Revolution Roundtable, live coverage of the show and any news updates leading into and coming out of Kansas City… Plus, don’t miss our updated WWE Rankings, and look for another edition of this column next week on a special day and time!

Matthew Michaels is editor emeritus of Pulse Wrestling, and has been since the site launched.