Inside Pulse’s WWE Backlash Roundtable
Hi guys, and welcome to the WWE Backlash Roundtable on Inside Pulse. It’s a loaded card, with just a few WrestleMania rematches on it and truckloads of title matches. Care to see what your favourite writers think about it? Let’s roll…
WWE Women’s Championship
Melina vs. Mickie James
Kace Evers: Didn’t these 2 have some sort of rivalry in OVW? Should be decent enough, with Mickie winning and then being attacked immediately by a returning Molly Holly. Okay, the last part’s made up, but what I can I say? I miss her.
Winner- Mickie James
Allen Noah: Mickie James has been somewhat in the background as of late so I really can’t see her winning here. The two title switches in France a few nights ago certainly makes this one more interesting though. I still think if they wanted James to win the title they would have done it here and not as a throwaway.
Winner and still champ- Melina
Pulse Glazer: If this match didn’t suck every single time, maybe I’d write more about it.
Winner Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Melina, why not?
Danny Cox: Melina has done nothing with the title and is absolutely useless. Put her back behind Nitro and let them just be all lovey dovey. Give the title back to my baby girl and let her feud again with Victoria or finally bring back Beth Phoenix or something. Melina is a useless puppy-boot wearing Max Moon.
Winner and NEW Champ Ã¢â‚¬â€œ My Love Mickie James
Iain Burnside: I went for a walk on the beach and found a severed seagull head. That is all.
Winner – blah, MELINA, et cetera
Eric Szulczewski: It’s obvious that they have no clue at this point what they’re doing with the women’s division. This seems to be the start of a feud, but I have no clue where they’re going to go with it. A non-clean win by Melina would seem to be the way to extend this, with LaJames needing to find someone to counter Nitro. In that case, why not go a little work-shoot and have her “champion” by My Illegitimate Son Ken Doane? It’d get him out of Heat Purgatory and give him the face turn he desperately needs right now.
Winner – Melina Perez
Charlie Marsh: If they had more time they’d be able to work in the accidental title change at that house show to build some more heat for this, but no big deal. This should be pretty good anyway.
Winner Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Melina
Ben Morse: I think people have been forecasting consistent doom and gloom for the Women’s division since Trish’s retirement and perhaps even before, but I see that as a gross overstatement. Take a step back: during the “heyday” of the Women’s division you essentially had one consistently excellent performer in Trish and then a rotating cast of quality heels (Jazz, Victoria, Molly, etc.). There never seemed to be more than two competent wrestlers at once. Granted there’s nobody on the level of Trish and really even of Jazz at the moment, but in addition to the very talented Mickie James, you’ve got a crop of Divas who if nothing else are busting to learn their crafts and getting better all the time (Maria, Candice, et al). Then you’ve got Melina, who in addition to being very solid in the ring, has more charisma than a great deal of the men in the company. The only real problem is lack of a compelling Trish-level female babyface, as Mickie clearly works better in her schitzo heel iteration. I think Melina hangs on here and perhaps the loss serves as the impetus to start turning Mickie back while they desperately scramble for that new face, and thus have that familiar steady rotation of heels ready when they find her.
Winner – Melina
Widro Ã¢â‚¬â€œ snooze
Steve Murray: Melina hasn’t really brought much to the table since her win, there’s heat on her backstage, and Micki is a better wrestler. Now, I realize that all points to a Melina win due to WWE-style booking, but..
Winner – Mickie James
United States Championship
Chris Benoit vs. Montel Vontavious Porter
Kace Evers: “Hey, Portard! How’re your two Moms, ya big gaymo?” ‘Bout all I have to say for this, really.
Winner- Chris Benoit
Allen Noah: I am going to give the win to MVP here just for the mere fact that I don’t think they’d give him a rematch so soon after Wrestlemania if it wasn’t in the cards. The belt really does nothing for Benoit and while MVP isn’t exactly the guy I’d want carrying the title in his place, it could be a lot worse I guess. If nothing else it’ll elevate someone new.
Winner and new champ- MVP
Pulse Glazer: Their Wrestlemania match wasn’t bad at all and MVP, despite the net’s hate, actually is very quickly improving. I’d look for this to get a good 20 minutes at least and top the Wrestlemania match since they can more likely steal this show without earning any extra heat backstage. How funny would it be if within a few months MVP is a better worker than Cena He might win here, but I don’t have my shitty roundtable record because I vote with WWE logic. Benoit makes opponents look great and with the belt has a built in feud builder to continue to make everyone look great. The belt should stay on him.
Winner Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Chris Benoit
Danny Cox: I honestly thought MVP was going to win the title at Mania but then Mr. Benoit got a well deserved victory. I still am not totally sold on MVP in the ring yet, but he is getting better and I really am beginning to like his gimmick. His theme music is becoming increasingly catchy too. Hopefully Benoit moves onto better things here, but I doubt it.
Winner and NEW Champ Ã¢â‚¬â€œ MVP
Iain Burnside: I think it’s safe to say that Smackdown is the show in most urgent need of a swift kick up the jacksy. Raw has the most urgent heated stars in Cena, Michaels and Edge. ECW has the New Breed/Originals thing going on, which has become genuinely interesting now management seems to have finally rallied behind Punk. Meanwhile, Smackdown has nothing but time to kill until Kennedy becomes champion and/or Mysterio returns. So, thank heavens for Chris Benoit. That sentiment should be expressed more often. Thank heavens for Chris Benoit. Porter is turning into the Anti-Orlando Jordan and should be bending over backwards to express his gratitude to the finest Canadian in Atlantan history. Their match at WrestleMania was the only one that not only could have gone longer but would have fully exploited any added time given to it. Unfortunately, given the shorter running time of Backlash, their latest meeting will probably struggle to pass the ten-minute mark again. Ah, well, I’m sure it’ll still be enjoyable. The world needs more Benoit – and by ‘the world’ I mean ‘Johnny Nitro’ or ‘Bobby Lashley’ or ‘Dave Batista’. So many options for his next feud, so I guess his latest spell with the US belt is at an end…
Winner – we need a title change and a heel victory, so it’s MONTEL VONTAVIOUS PORTER to the rescue
Eric Szulczewski: Again? Well, if they’re extending this, there has to be a reason, and that reason has to be a title change. I don’t think Porter’s really ready, but they obviously do. Benoit’s been made to look a little weak recently, so it won’t look like a fluke win.
Winner and New Champion – Montel Vontavious Porter
Charlie Marsh: Apparently, MVP has been doing some homework, so he should be improving little by little. MVP picks up the win here, hopefully giving Benoit the opportunity to be Kennedy’s first title defense after his eventual MITB cashing.
Winner – MVP
Ben Morse: Porter doesn’t really elicit a strong reaction from me either positive or negative, but I give the guy credit for at least trying to improve. With the recent scuttlebutt that the backstage powers that be have taken notice as well, I figure he takes the title here, particularly as Benoit doesn’t seem to be doing much with it and could surely be utilized elsewhere. If Batista turns heel, a feud with Benoit could be just the thing he needs to kick his ass back into gear as far as his workrate.
Winner Ã¢â‚¬â€œ MVP
Widro – MVP has been getting better and needs to win the title here to move this along.
Steve Murray: Y’know, I’m going down this list, and realizing that I could give a reasonable argument for every single challenge to win (or, in terms of the last 2 matches, the champ to lose). This one, I’m working on Benoit’s ability to supress his ego, and raise another possible WWE star. MVP has been showing great potential in terms of his character and wrestling ability, and I hope that rumor about him watching some mid-80’s tapes in order to learn how to work a longer style is true.
World Tag Team Championship
Matt & Jeff Hardy vs. Cade & Murdoch
Kace Evers: Man, talk about a contrast in styles. From a redneck standpoint, this should be great. All it needs now is a trampoline and some kid with a videocamera. I’m sure Trevor’ll be able to provide the dip.
Winner- Matt & Jeff Hardy
Allen Noah: Much like with Benoit, the belts do nothing for the Hardy’s. Having Cade & Murdoch score the win here will at least revive the tag division on Raw, although I am not so sure if they really care about that at this point. I love tag team wrestling and it pains me to see the division waste away so I will go with Cade & Murdoch here just for the hell of it.
Winner and new champs- Cade & Murdoch
Pulse Glazer: I don’t like Jeff Hardy much, but I do like Matt a lot (V.1 plus his time in ROH ensure that I’m a fan) so the Hardys with the belt doesn’t bother me. They’re a draw and among the most over acts on the show. Them having the tag belts makes them matter more than they would otherwise, so why not run with it? I like Cade too, as he was signed with Kendrick and Danielson to a developmental deal. What does it say about the WWE’s priorities that he was kept while Danielson wasn’t? I shudder to even consider.
Winner Ã¢â‚¬â€œ The Hardys
Danny Cox: If the Hardys are an interbrand tag-team, then why can’t we have an interbrand tag match between them and the Hooliganz? I don’t think the Redneck Whirling Dervish would win, but after that HORRIBLE attempt at a Canadian Destroyer on Monday night, then Murdoch doesn’t deserve to win shit. He knows better then to do things like that. Bad Little Dusty bad! May the giant birthmark of your father smite you forever!
Winners and STILL Champs – The Hardys
Iain Burnside: DUSTY RHODES GOTTA WANK.
Winner – the team of JEFFREY & MATTHEW
Eric Szulczewski: No matter how much I want to pick against the Faerie Princes, I don’t see Cade and Murdoch being the team to take the straps. Yes, they’ve held the belts before, but their reigns were forgettable and meaningless. So, no switch.
Winners – The Hardly Men
Charlie Marsh: Good to see the World Tag Team titles defended on PPV for a change. I imagine with the two one-on-one losses the Hardy’s received from the Rednecks, they’ll pick up the win here.
Winner – The Hardy’s
Ben Morse: I’m impressed by the fact that WWE has gotten me to take Cade & Murdoch at least semi-seriously after I’d long ago written them off. That said, no way the Hardys go down here–the reunion tour still has mileage left.
Winners – The Hardy Boyz (has anybody unearthed the reason this name got shelved for the generic “Hardys”? If you’re gonna go nostalgia, go all the way.)
Widro – I don’t think there is any chance the Hardyz lose the titles here.
Steve Murray: Here, though? Nah, not seeing it. Cade & Murdoch are interesting enough, but the fact that they each won their individual matches on the past two Raws pretty much guarantees they won’t win here.
Winner – The Hardys
Last Man Standing Match – World Heavyweight Championship
The Undertaker vs. Dave Batista
Kace Evers: Undertaker wins and thens saves a group of orphans trapped in a burning bus on its way to the edge of a cliff.
Winner- The Undertaker
Allen Noah: I HATE, HATE, HATE, HATE Last Man Standing Matches. Nothing ruins the flow of a match like having to break for 8 or 9 seconds every few minutes while they tease a finish. Considering my disdain for these two as it is, that is not a good thing. And to make this even more pointless, there’s no way Undertaker drops the belt so soon.
Winner and still champ- Undertaker
Pulse Glazer: You know how the Wrestlemania match had that healthy glow about it? Well, with Ã¢â‚¬ËœTaker’s bad hip, this won’t be nearly as good. Batista will have to carry the bumping for what should be a brutal match (double entendre intended), but he’s rather fragile, and while not on the big stage of Ã¢â‚¬ËœMania, we’ll see what he’s willing to take. Either way, he’ll be the one to take it. Bad hip and a planned long title run ensure the Dead Man will be protected here.
Winner Ã¢â‚¬â€œ The Undertaker
Danny Cox: Taker isn’t losing the title already. Simple enough. I just really hope this is a step in turning Batista heel. He’s better as a heel. And when he’s a heel, he does that “tear your head off with my bicepÃ¢â‚¬Â clothesline.
Winner and STILL Champ Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Dead Man
Iain Burnside: I wonder when, if ever, this title will get to headline a PPV card again. Thanks for everything, Mark, have a long and prosperous reign at long last, you’ve earned it… but keep it to the midcard, could ya, pal? We’ve got a shinier and more dexterous belt to put into the spotlight now. Oh, and if Vince Russo was booking do you think Sara Calaway would be involved here? I mean, she did defeat Diamond Dallas Page and he is a former world champion. That has to put her in contention for a title shot, right? Or at the very least some kind of divorce angle. Any angle, really. Whatever means we can put her on a pole. Hmm. I’m babbling, I know, but there’s nothing to say here. It’s a straightforward and entirely predictable rematch that looks all too appealing for the law of diminishing returns to leave be. Um, yay?
Winner – the Limp Bizkit collecting UNDERTAKER
Eric Szulczewski: Supposedly, UT’s been promised a long reign with the belt this time. However, a retention and a cash-in of MITB by FudgePacker isn’t out of the qeustion.
Winner – The Undertaker
Charlie Marsh: This should be a pretty entertainingly violent brawl. I’m expecting lots of blood and cringe worthy spots.
Winner – The Undertaker
Ben Morse: Foregone conclusion and I’ve really got nothing interesting to say about it other than that I’d like to see a full heel Batista emerge here.
Winner – Undertaker
Widro – their wm match was really good, and this should be more of the same, with some sort of interference to cost big dave the match, possibly mark henry or kennedy
Steve Murray: I hope they both have enough left in their tank to pull off another good “big man” match. The stip makes it a bit more interesting, and allows them to pull some hardcore stuff out, which should be fun (that Spanish announce table is *toast*). But, UT is going to hold this title for a while.
Winner – The Undertaker
3-On-1 Handicap Match for ECW World Title
Bobby Lashley vs. Mr. Vincent Kennedy McMahon, Shane McMahon & Umaga
Kace Evers: The McMahons and Umaga beat up Lashley for about 15 minutes to bore the crowd. Lashley fights back to keep the crowd bored and then does something reminiscent of either Bill Goldberg, Brock Lesnar or both to win the match. Wouldn’t be surprised if there was a Santino Marella cameo here.
Winner- Bobby Lashley
Allen Noah: If Lashley wins then he has no one in the foreseeable future to feud with on ECW. Considering how foolish they made Umaga look a few weeks back by making him lose to Santino Marella (who wasn’t even on Raw this past week!), I’m guessing his reward is a win here. Giving the belt to Shane would be rather foolish and while Vince has a huge ego, I don’t think its THAT big. Umaga it is…
Winner and new champ- Umaga
Pulse Glazer: Right, so Lashley still sucks, but now he’s completely overshadowed in the personality department by the McMahons. This is intended to make Bobby look good, but is really just making him seem weaker as a performer and worker. Shane will take a sick bump and somehow Lashley will come away with the victory. The feud will continue and Lashley will continue to be uninspiring.
Winner Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Bobby Lashley
Danny Cox: I don’t see how they can possibly have Lashley win this one and not consider the past year of building up Umaga be considered a total failure and waste of time. They never actually have said “whoever pins Lashley wins the title,Ã¢â‚¬Â so that makes me wonder if Umaga or Shane gets the duke that Vince won’t take the belt for himself anyway to feud with Lashley or perhaps RVD. I don’t know who will get the pin, but I can’t see His Boringness winning with these odds.
Winners and Someone Is NEW Champ Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Vince, Shane, & Umaga
Iain Burnside: ECW “World” Title, my arse. There are venereal diseases worthier of such global status. Many of them may have also been given such a great deal of attention by the McMahon family. In any event, the world needs more genital check-ups and less time spent doing anything connected to Bobby Lashley. After all, Lashley can’t have VD. He’s too extreme and/or soft-spoken for them, right? And how come nobody has made any UVAVU/ERANU jokes about Umaga yet?
Winner – the extremely soft-spoken BOBBY LASHLEY
Eric Szulczewski: Lashley has got to lose one at some point to keep any kind of interest in this feud going (and it looks like they’re not going to blow it off any time soon). The only question is, who will they give the belt to? The highest amusement value at this point would be Shane. It’d provide an interesting dynamic that might just end up turning Jamalga face, which would be a nice change.
Winners – Team McMahon
Charlie Marsh: I can live with Shane McMahon: ECW champion for at least a few weeks. Honestly, Shane is more hardcore than Lashley will ever be. That said, this is still all about making Lashley an unstoppable monster, so he’ll win, and hopefully go back to ECW for once.
Winner Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Lashley
Ben Morse: There’s a large part of me that thinks prevailing wisdom about Vince’s hard-on for Lashley aside here, it makes sense to move the title to Umaga as he has nothing else to do on Raw and nobody else on ECW is ready to step up and challenge Lashley for the belt. Yeah, the more I think about it, ECW World champion Umaga with Lashley getting the belt back at One Night Stand seems to work–particularly when the alternative is Lashley vs Snitsky.
Winner – Umaga
Widro – lashley is the most overpushed undertalented guy on the roster, and part of me thinks that vince’s solution to ecw’s ratings is more mcmahons
Steve Murray: Oh, please. Lashley is Vince’s pet project.
Winner – Bobby Lashley
Fatal 4-Way Match for WWE Championship
John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Edge vs. Randy Orton
Kace Evers: Chris Adams Superkicks for everybody!
Winner- Shawn Michaels
Allen Noah: I always get confused if Fatal Fourways are elimination matches or where you can pin anyone and score the victory. If it is the former then I would expect John Cena to retain the title. If it is the latter, then I could definitely see Edge scoring some sort of screw job victory here and winning the title. Cena has somewhat ran his course with the title and the scene could definitely use something new. Oh who am I kidding, Vince loves Cena and he is winning regardless.
Winner and still champ- John Cena
Pulse Glazer: This should be fun. Someone has to take a big bump to get this down to manageable numbers for much of the match and despite Orton’s issues, that person will likely be Edge. It’s the only logic for his MITB bump, unless that really was pointless. That will leave Michaels to carry Cena and Orton, which even he will have trouble with. The match will be solid, but not spectacular until Edge returns to beat up on Orton and steal the win, hopefully from Michaels, since an Edge-HBK feud would be fantastic in the ring and draw great heat since they’re two of the most over men on the roster. As for Cena, let him move down the card for a bit to prevent himself from getting too stale at the top of the card and he can return refreshed to feud with Orton, Michaels, or the McMahons as necessary.
Winner Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Edge
Danny Cox: Let’s break it down. If HBK was going to get the title then he would have at Mania and also not won the 10 day match this past Monday. Orton isn’t winning a damn thing right now after whatever he did to get sent home. So it’s down to Cena and Edge. Is there a possible Rated RKO feud for the title on the way? I wouldn’t mind it to be honest and Edge winning the title means two things: A.) It takes the title off of Cena which I’ve prayed for and B.) We may return to a normal title belt with Edge hopefully realizing that spinning “RÃ¢â‚¬Â belt wasn’t cool.
Winner and NEW Champ Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Edge
Iain Burnside: As I wrote in VS, the overall lack of differentiation amongst all these PPVs is really starting to drag. Honestly, what is the selling point of Backlash supposed to be? We’ve already had the major Cena/Michaels match at WrestleMania, then got another, longer, just as good one for free on Raw… so now that two other people have been thrown into the mix it’s supposed to be worth paying $40 to see? I’ve never had difficulty in believing that the world is brimming over with stupid people but not even I would treat them all with such contempt. Hell, it’s the second Backlash in a row where they have tried to jazz up the WWE Championship WrestleMania rematch simply by lumping Edge into the mix, further highlighting the idea-famine amongst management. But is that any worse than the taste-drought amongst the 200,000 or so people who will buy this show? Hell, I don’t know. Or care. The only intriguing part of this match is what role Orton will play in it, if any. It would be nice to think that WWE would deny him a PPV pay-day on account of his complete lack of professionalism or basic human decency, yet given their failure to properly discipline him thus far I’m not going to get my hopes up. If I was in charge I’d tell him the venue had been changed and then give him new directions… which would lead him directly to Bob Holly’s house. And the hose. Oh, yes, the hose… As it stands, we can but hope that Orton does nothing in this match but be hit by an F-U, spear or Sweet Chin Music each and every time he deigns to stand up. Now that I might consider paying for…
Winner – that guy with the plus-fours, JOHN CENA
Eric Szulczewski: Apparently, they’ll also Randall to actually wrestle in this one. I just keep wondering if the whole hotel room story was an elaborate swerve. It’d be just like them to do something like that. Regardless, he’s not getting the title anyway. I doubt they’ll do another Cena/Edge fandango with the title. But they have positioned themsleves to do a title switch here, given the results of the Raw match. I’ll say Michaels gets it by pinning Orton. That leaves the door open for Michaels/Cena III at Judgment Day.
Winner and New Champion – Shawn Michaels
Charlie Marsh: Well, logically, between Randy’s prominent mention in the SI steroid article and his recent alleged hotel thrashing, not only won’t he win, but he’ll likely do the job. HBK basically exists to make people look good at this point, so he’ll probably get some good heat segments with the three others. Cena rather desperately needs a makeover at this point, not because he’s being booed but because he’s stale as all hell, and losing would help that, so that leaves Edge, and hopefully he’ll get a much longer reign than he got the last few times like he deserves.
Winner Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Edge
Ben Morse: When John Cena’s star was first rising, I’ll admit I was definitely onboard that bandwagon (the fact that he’s from outside Boston like myself did not hurt). To be honest, unlike a lot of the IWC I still like pretty much everything about the guy himself, but the way he is booked and the total lack of suspense when it comes to his matches have me rooting against him pretty consistently. This is no longer the 80s where fans want to see Hulk Hogan hold the belt for five years and overcome even the most impossible of odds. We’re a generation of viewers that for better or worse expects surprises and frequent title changes. I’ve got no problem with Cena’s babyface persona or anemic moveset, it’s simply that he makes wrestling predictable–and that’s not really his fault. That said, this is exactly the type of match you know Cena will win. If they had wanted to switch the belt, they would have done it at Wrestlemania. If they wanted HBK to have a run, he would have won it in a singles match.
Winner – John Cena
Widro – after hbk won on monday, edge is injured and orton is in the doghouse, seems like another foregone conclusion on this card
Steve Murray: All four guys could win, and for good reasons. And I could write on this match for 3 pages. But, it’s quite simple – if they weren’t taking the title off of Cena at WrestleMania, they sure as hell ain’t doin’ it here.
Winner – John Cena
Well there you have it, all the predictions are in. Let’s see who was right…
Tags: ECW, Raw, Smackdown, WWE