Welcome to Week 46.
In the interest of full disclosure, Iâ€™m writing this weekâ€™s column higher than a paper kite. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of having all four of my wisdom teeth ripped out of my mouth by a â€œskilledâ€ dentist, so right now Iâ€™m on enough Oxycodone to see through time (or sit through TNA).
One of the few benefits to having this done is that Iâ€™ve been a couch potato for the past few days, something I havenâ€™t been able to do for a while. I caught up on some TV I had DVRed (the new â€œTerminatorâ€ show isnâ€™t too bad, â€œBreaking Badâ€ is quite good and â€œEli Stoneâ€ is surprisingly enjoyable despite the inordinate number of commercials Iâ€™ve been forced to suffer through during â€œLostâ€), I listened to some music thatâ€™s been sitting around waiting for me to enjoy (Vampire Weekend is the real deal, ladies and gentlemen), and ultimately found myself flipping through the galaxy of movie channels. This is where I made a truly unique discovery, â€œBeyond the Mat.â€
I havenâ€™t seen â€œBeyond the Matâ€ in years, so it was a real blast from the past. Now, years removed from the initial joy of getting to see wrestling on the big screen, I was able to see the film for what it was, exploitation. This was a movie that set out to make wrestling look evil, no matter what the director said his true intention was. He took easy targets and blew them way out of proportion. Was it really a shock that Jake Roberts was screwed up? Did anyone not know that Terry Funk would never retire? Or that Mick Foleyâ€™s small children would be slightly upset at watching their dad take chairshots to the skull? Or that two indie workers who lacked real size or skill probably wouldnâ€™t make it in the WWE at the height of their popularity? This documentary tried to shock people with facts that they already knew rather than take a more honest look at wrestling. I think in 2007 one could make a more interesting documentary on pro wrestling without trying to delve into the â€œseedyâ€ elements that arenâ€™t really all that incendiary to begin with. On the plus side, it was kind of fun to see Vince sell Droz on the Puke angle, even though it ultimately led to an unfortunate series of events.
Well, Wrestlemaniaâ€™s card is shaping up rather quickly, so Iâ€™ve decided in the current state Iâ€™m in now to embrace my scattershot thinking and take some quick looks at the matches we are going to see at the Grandaddy of them all:
For Your Considerationâ€¦The Wrestlemania Card
It might seem a little premature to look at the card for the show since everything hasnâ€™t been announced yet, but just for the hell of it why not look at what we have laid out in front of us for what is shaping up to be a fun little card.
Triple H v. John Cena v. Randy Orton for the WWE Title
This match was etched in stone for so long as two separate things that itâ€™s funny to watch them ultimately merge. Triple H versus John Cena was the frontrunner for months to headline Wrestlemania 23 until injury struck, so Creative just moved it up a year to Wrestlemania 24. Then injury struck again. So, with few other options, the WWE shifted gears from a face versus face match into an old fashioned face versus heel match and stuck the belt back on lame duck Orton. The WWE, to their credit, has tried to make Orton seem like a more legit deal this time around. First, instead of just handing him the title, they made him compete three times in one night against Triple H (actually beating him clean in their final match). Then, they used the untouchable Shawn Michaels to continue Ortonâ€™s elevation as he got another cleanish win over HBK at Survivor Series. After that, Orton escaped in his match with Jericho and ultimately pinned Jeff Hardy. Last month saw Orton somehow escape his match with John Cena, which showed that the WWE wants to reward Randy for stepping up when the company needed him.
A lot of people (me included) didnâ€™t quite understand why Orton didnâ€™t just drop the gold to John Cena and let us have our already planned main event. It just didnâ€™t make sense to insert the guy whoâ€™s the least over into the biggest match of the year, yet the WWE did just that. I tried to wrap my head around it and the best guess I have is that Orton is in there to take Triple Hâ€™s pin. Hunter hasnâ€™t held the belt for quite some time (excluding his 20 minute reign last year) and this was always â€œhis timeâ€. Hunter needed to get back his loss a few years back to Cena and heâ€™s bided his time between reigns, so-pardon the pun-his time is now. Hunter canâ€™t pin Cena because Cena just came back and canâ€™t take a DQ one month and a pinfall the next. Cue Randy Orton. Orton is the perfect third man in the match to help carry the lulls in case Cena canâ€™t go the full hour and he can take the pin so that Hunter can get the gold and John can keep his â€œcredâ€. Maybe in the end Randy Orton wasnâ€™t the worst guy to have in the ring.
The Undertaker v. Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship
Itâ€™s the battle of the undefeateds at Mania. Woo hoo. I couldnâ€™t be less excited for this match if they threw Mark Henry into it. Seriously? Edge/Taker? Weâ€™re going to get the same tired Undertaker versus _____ buildup that we always do. Iâ€™m sure heâ€™ll invade Edgeâ€™s wedding. Iâ€™m sure weâ€™ll get spooky nonsense all over the place. Hawkins and Ryder will get attacked a lot. Edge will give those bugged out expressions heâ€™s been known to give. Whatâ€™s worst of all is that this match is yet another foregone conclusion. The WWE has made no secret that they love Takerâ€™s undefeated streak and never plan on letting it end, so why even have the dull match? My fear is that somehow this will get put as the main event of Wrestlemania and bring the show down with a screeching thud. Do I care about the old, overrated Undertaker winning the belt again? Nope. I sat through his dull match with Batista at Survivor Series and the highlight of the entire match was Edgeâ€™s run-in at the end. If this headlines Mania, I might just leave early.
Floyd Mayweather v. The Big Sow
So hereâ€™s our big celebrity involvement for Wrestlemania. Personally I was hoping for Lindsay Lohan versus Maria, but that might just be me. Mayweather knows how to make things seem like major events, so thereâ€™s no concern here that heâ€™ll play this off as a joke. I said a few weeks ago that Big Showâ€™s return is going to lead to dull matches and the WWE set out to prove an exception to the rule. Their confrontation last month was pretty cool, what with Floyd breaking TBSâ€™s nose and all, and with Mysterio out of action, this could be one interesting looking one-on-one match. There are, as always, some problems. First up, itâ€™ll take a lot for the match itself to give us a bigger moment than the initial confrontation. Everyone remembers the Tyson/Austin brawl, but was Tysonâ€™s actual Mania appearance all that memorable? Second, who the hell is going to win this damn thing? Do you think the undefeated Mayweather is going to lay down for a wrestler? Does it make sense for the â€œlargest athlete in the WWEâ€ to lose his first match back to a guy a quarter of his size? Sure, the WWE is going to get major press, but unless they make this some sort of tag match or something, they could be booking themselves into a major corner.
Ric Flair v. Shawn Michaels
How much do I hope that this match wonâ€™t such? Flair/MVP and Flair/Kennedy were bordering on embarrassing at certain points, so there is no doubt in my mind that it is time for Ric to hang them up for good. On the other hand, putting him in the spotlight for a match like this could lead to the same sort of sloppy matches weâ€™ve seen the past few months, and I for one donâ€™t want to remember Flair like that. Maybe HBK can pull out a miracle and give us one last great Flair match. I also like the fact that during his promo this week Flair reiterated that this isnâ€™t a foregone conclusion (even though it is), so maybe we will get a spirited bout as opposed to another by-the-numbers Old Flair match. Iâ€™m pretty excited that I can say I saw Flairâ€™s last match, I just hope it isnâ€™t a slow moving car accident on a worldwide stage.
Money in the Bank: Jeff Hardy v. Shelton Benjamin v. Mister Kennedy v. Chris Jericho â€¦.
Iâ€™m pretty sure thatâ€™s everyone announced so far (I donâ€™t read Smackdown spoilers) and this is shaping up to be the best MITB match ever. Weâ€™ve got four solid wrestlers in a match designed for big spots, so I for one am excited as hell to see it go down. There could be anywhere from two to four more contestants in the match, which could either improve or ruin the possibilities. If Matt Hardy isnâ€™t back yet, we could get MVP thrown in the mix, which Iâ€™m cool with. With nothing else to do, Batista could be tossed into this match as well (not overly exciting but Iâ€™ll take it). With Finlay and JBL tied up, that takes out two potential weights on this match. Umagaâ€™s in that RAW v. Smackdown pride brawl so heâ€™s out. I guess Punk could wind up in this match if he loses on ECW next week, or maybe Elijah Burker or Kofi Kingston (though that would make this ECW heavy). Hopefully Big Daddy V, Kane and Mark Henry will be kept away from this match. Some of the other guys who could be tossed in there are Paul Burchill or Chuck Palombo, two guys who have shown that they could possibly go (though this might be too big for either of them). In the end, its Jeff Hardyâ€™s to lose.
Iâ€™d like to touch on Jeff Hardy for a minute, since there was an excellent column written earlier this week about why Jeff should have won the title. If I may, I would like to put a counterargument out there. First off, if Jeff won the belt at Rumble he would have to immediately lose it because Jeff Hardy main eventing Wrestlemania would be too much too quick. Jeff winning the WWE Title needs to be a moment, and if he were to just win it and then drop it, it would remove all of the impact that his title win should have. The way I see it is that Hardy winning the MITB will place the focus back on him as the â€œnext big thingâ€ in the WWE. As long as he holds the suitcase, he can never be shuttled back down the card. Let Triple H hold onto the gold for a while and get it out of his system. Then, Jeff will either feud with a heel Hunter or possibly the Big Show (because a Big Show/Hardy match would allow Jeffâ€™s win to be one hell of a cool visual). By allowing Hardy to continue to build momentum towards a title win, thereâ€™s no chance that the WWE will Jericho him (yep, Jericho is now a verb). Keeping the title off Jeff Hardy may be the only thing to save him.
Bunnymania: Maria & Candice v. Beth Phoenix & Melina
What the hell? Wasnâ€™t there some great Mickie James/Beth Phoenix storyline brewing for the past several weeks? Now weâ€™re getting a womanâ€™s tag match to hype Playboy? Why not at least give us Layla in there somewhere, since sheâ€™s the most attractive of the heel women. In fact, I thought the Mickie storyline was going to lead to her turning heel and aligning with Phoenix, which is a better choice for a partner than the long forgotten Melina. Either way, the match should be bleh. I never thought Iâ€™d say this, but I wish Kelly Kelly was in here now that sheâ€™s not a total wreck in the ring.
The rumored matches that we might get are Finlay/JBL and Matt/MVP and Umaga/???. With the exception of Hardy/MVP, none of these exactly light the world on fire, so if they donâ€™t happen I wonâ€™t be too heartbroken.
Well, there you have it. Agree? Disagree? Let me know at email@example.com
This has been for your consideration.
Tags: ECW, Raw, Smackdown, WWE