Rasslin’ Roundtable – WWE SummerSlam 2008

They hail it as “The Biggest Blockbuster of the Summer” and while the first ever encounter between John Cena and Batista may not give The Dark Knight a run for its money, it still is the biggest money match WWE can deliver today. With Cena vs. Batista and Undertaker vs. Edge both overshadowing their respective brands title feuds, essentially giving us for main events, this year’s edition of SummerSlam is bound to be interesting. Here’s what Pulse Wrestling’s team thinks will happen.

Triple H (c) vs. The Great Khali:

Andrew Wheeler: alright, so I’m typing this on my sprint mogul so expect this to be short and poorly spelled. With that said, Hunter/Khali is something I’ve talked a lot about in FYC and everyone knows where I stand. Sure this will probably suck, but this match won’t force the WWE to blow a true contender for the belt like show or Umaga and the match won’t take a lot away from the other main events. With that said, it should be an easy one for Hunter to retain but not easy for him to carry the giant goof.
Winner: HHH

Paul Beasley: Oh joy. It’s a battle of the stupid nicknames, as The Cerebral King of HHH Games takes on the Punjabi Giant Nightmare. And oh, the tension. Think of the children! Won’t somebody think of the children?! How can the King possibly triumph against the evil giant (and is this some sort of surreal fairy tale)? Here’s a hint – TAKE OUT HIS BLOODY KNEES! THEY’RE MADE OF CARDBOARD! I mean really – is this the best filler they could come up with as an interim challenger for Trips? I love the big cuddly wonky-chinned unable-to-run stilt-walker as much as the next guy, but you really have to be short of ideas if this is the best option you have. Kennedy, Umaga and Big Show are looking at this and thinking “Khali?! Really?”.
Winner: Is this even in question? T to the R to the I to the PLE to the H.

Mark Allen: Look at how strong Triple H is. He can topple the mighty Khali quicker than Cena or Undertaker did. Next.
Winner – HHH

Mark Neeley: This match is going to suck no matter how you look at it. Ah, shades of the epic DAVE-Khali PPV matches from yesteryear. At any rate, Hunter is sure making this 12th title match a dandy one, already defending against Orton twice, as well as Cena and Edge. Now he gets to add Khali to his list of victims. We can only hope and pray (but mostly pray) that it doesn’t end in a DQ to continue this feud of epic proportions.
Winner – Hungry Hungry Hippos

Raffi Shamir: Khali is just a “placeholder” contender to Trip’s championship, and I doubt there’s anyone in sound mind that actually expects hum to win here. Besides, he’s only challenging here because they did not want to waste a real contender in an event where the championship match takes only the third or fourth place in the order of importance.
Winner and still champion: Triple H

Iain Burnside: I am ever so slightly disappointed that the internet has not figured out the real, wholly unfounded motivation behind this match. The Hs can’t put themselves over The Rock anymore, which irritates them because lord knows they are more deserving of Hollywood stardom than the oddly unsatisfying WWE superstardom they were left with, so instead they have to be content with putting themselves over one of Dwayne Johnson’s Get Smart co-stars. Hey, it’s just paranoid enough to work. Sadly this means we have had to sacrifice the Great Glorious Gary’s short-lived yet worthy stint as a comedic babyface who yells at telephones, owns the patent to his very own language, uses livestock as foreign objects, busts out moves the way mere mortals are prohibited from so doing by mathematics and may in fact only be stopped by Rick Astley. On a side note, if WrestleMania 25’s random comedic backstage skit doesn’t include Vince McMahon opening a cupboard door to be greeted by Rick Astley croonin’ ‘n’ swoonin’, there is no hope for the future of humanity. There is little to no chance that the Hs are ever gonna give you up here, nor of there being any full frontal nudity, so I suppose we shall merely have to watch on in the hopes that they begin experiencing flashbacks and become convinced that the Godly Gorgeous Gary is in fact Nash. Whack on Umaga Hall and Funaki-Pac and we’ve got us a Curtain Call in the making and happiness in all of our pants. The Hs. Foreign geeks. Ethnic stereotypes. Last laugh’s on The Dwayne… right?
Winner – THHHE H

PK: With HHH’s beat down on Friday night, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Khali get the clean pin and the title! Oh, who am I kidding?
Winner – HHH

Danny Cox: The big retard is not going to get his second title reign here. I’m kind of surprised that Trips’ first title defense on Smackdown is against the gigantic dingleberry who I thought would be gone for a much greater length of time. Let this feud end and let Trips move onto a feud over the belt with Edge or Taker.
Winner and STILL Champ – Trips

Paul Marshall: Khali winning the title could be a minor shock, but it’s Triple H and he’s the GIANT KILLER!
Winner – The King of Kings

Matthew Michaels: Um.
Winner – HHH

World Heavyweight Championship
CM Punk (c) vs. JBL:

Andrew Wheeler: this match also makes a lot of sense for the WWE. The top contenders are Jericho, Dave, Cena, Kane and Bradshaw. Punk needs to get a legit win to give any credibility to his title run, which cuts the contender list drastically. Dave had his shot last month and can’t take another loss. Cena/Punk would require a longer build and John won’t lay down clean. Kane is going to entertain Rey, not to mention the fact that he and Punk went at it too much in ECW. Jericho has his hands full with HBK. That leaves JBL, who is willing to lay down for Punk and extend the improbable run.
Winner: Punk

Paul Beasley: For once they’ve actually put some thought into a match. Will wonders never cease? What do you do to establish a new champion who’s small, passable but nothing special with the mic, but can really bring the work-rate? Put him up against a challenger who’s an established main-eventer, bigger, a bully, who’s great on the mic and who can brawl really well but who fans watch and think “Bradshaw WRESTLING? Oh God.” (See what I did there? – Yeah, I know. I kill me). Beating the bigger guy who makes a lot of noise means Punk gets a) attention, and b) credibility as a top guy by beating the odds. The boys done good with this as far as I’m concerned.
Winner: CM Punk

Mark Allen: I really liked their promo on RAW this week, and it makes me wish JBL would just go back to commentating. I think Punk still has mileage left on his run with matches against Cena and Jericho still waiting in the wings.
Winner – Punk

Mark Neeley: I look at this match in two ways. On the one hand, and the most logical, it would be the perfect opportunity for Punk to get his first real clean retaining of the title (I don’t consider beating JBL on RAW thanks to security, Cena and Cryme Tyme one, nor do I a DQ match against DAVE thanks to Kane-ference). And who of a better opponent than the token heel who is constantly “fed” to the face as bait and has looked like nothing more than a glorified jobber since returning to the ring on RAW. Now for theory numero dos, JBL almost seems like TOO big of a jobber than to just job again here (already being the first eliminated in a couple of elimination title matches earlier this year), so perhaps they would give him the belt briefly before, as I predict, DAVE takes over. They could also use a heel champ on one of the shows because God knows HHH won’t be jobbing away his belt away on the “B” show. Bonus question: How many times will JBL call Punk an asterix in the pre-match interview?
Winner – JBL

Raffi Shamir: You know, with the entire straight edge thing there’s nothing I look forward to more than an announcement on wwe.com that CM Punk has been suspended for wellness policy violation. As for JBL, had he kept to only cutting promos, I’d love him, especially after this week’s promo. The problem is that he also wrestles, and there I don’t like him. The Punk experiment must continue if they care about actually building new stars, so he should and will keep the belt.
Winner and still champion: CM Punk

Iain Burnside: Again, this is one of those matches that fascinates only as a peculiar sort of social experiment. Will JBL finally decide that enough is enough and anally bugger the shit out of Punk in the middle of the ring to draw the DQ? Will he lace his wristbands with methanol and spend 90% of the match working a chinlock to rub it in Punk’s face? Will Punk break down and cry at the sudden realisation that he is the least cool would-be leading man since White Scrubs? The only answer is another middling performance from the drunken cripple and the champion nerd. Yee-haw.

PK: Punk still has plenty of staying power on the top of the card as WHC. However, JBL being the champion will give him loads more heel heat, plus leave it open for a program with a face. With JBL/Cena & JBL/Batista running pretty stale, I see Punk holding on to it, at least until Orton comes back.
Winner – CM

Danny Cox: Hmmm a little bit tougher to call here. JBL has seemed to be on the losing end of a lot of big matches since coming over to Raw. Yet he is constantly being booked in these big matches. Not to mention that CM Punk’s first title defense was a win over JBL himself. It almost appears as if this would be the fitting time for JBL to get gold back around his waist after all these missed opportunities.
Nope, the straight-edged superstar holds onto the belt a little longer and loses it next month I’m guessing to possibly Jericho. Had Randall K. been coming back as thought, I’d say he would go on to feud with Punk but idiot had to go get all hurted again! Ok no…after all that, I’m changing my mind. There are way too many faces as champs anyway.
Winner and NEW Champ – JBL

Paul Marshall: Had it not been for CM Punk’s awesome promo work on RAW, I’d be inclined to vote against him. However, with WWE teasing Orton being out longer (cough), I would say Punk gets his first clean victory as champion.
Winner – CM Punk

Matthew Michaels: If Punk doesn’t win, we riot.
Winner – Punk

Hell in a Cell Match
Edge vs. Undertaker:

Andrew Wheeler: when you’re part of an Undertaker return angle, you have to carry the load and Edge has done this in spades. It’s a shame that he has to lose. I have no clue where these two can move on to. Edge probably won’t jump back in the title picture and HHH/Taker is too big for Unforgiven, so who knows. Should be a great match.
Winner: Undertaker

Paul Beasley: The feud that does not die goes on. This has now been going back and forth since shortly after Mania last year. You don’t see that too often these days. OK so Batista (and to a lesser extent Mark Henry) got in the way a bit and the belt isn’t involved anymore, but it’s still essentially the same feud. I think this match will be the end of it though, allowing Edge, Trips, Taker and Big Show to establish guys like MVP, Jeff Hardy and Kennedy into the big leagues like JBL is doing with Punk now on RAW. I expect Familiaference, but in this case not in the way that we’re used to, leading to a Taker win and new-and-improved Psycho-Edge staying strong.
Winner: Taker

Mark Allen: Undertaker is not going to lose his return match. Will this finally be the blowoff to a feud a year and a half running? *Looks around the SmackDown! main event scene* Probably not.
Winner – Undertaker

Mark Neeley: Perhaps I’m a bit biased since it should be loads of fun live in Indy, but I predict it should be great, no doubt. Every match they’ve had, dating back to the stellar main event of WrestleMania XXIV to getting a bunch of tables and ladders involved has been such. One of Undertaker’s most memorable HIAC moments is tossing Mankind off from 1998, and well, we’ve seen Edge Spear Foley through a burning table and take bumps into thumbtacks. All of this sounds like a pretty good formula to me. Sure, just like at said WrestleMania, the finish is about as predictable as anything, but they’ve at least built Edge up with more of a brutal, win at all cost, channel old self persona than one who needs the likes of Bam Neely (no relation) providing TNA-esque interference to get a win. I still don’t see him pulling it out though, sadly, simply because no one outside of maybe HHH shall defeat The Undertaker in a return match.
Winner – Undertaker

Raffi Shamir: This is the first of the two real main events of SummerSlam, both of which have nothing to do with each brand’s championship title. Edge has been carrying SmackDown almost by himself for months now, being the center of the brand and delivering stellar performances both in the ring and on the mic. He’s on my shortlist for Wrestler of the Year. I do have a small hope that once again WWE will try to swerve everyone by doing the complete opposite of what everyone’s expecting and give Edge the win here, as they had a tendency to do in the last few months. However, this is an “Undertaker Returns” match, and he always wins his comeback matches. It’s a forgone conclusion almost like an Undertaker match in Wrestlemania. Still Edge deserves all the credit.
Winner: Undertaker

Iain Burnside: Hey, a PPV quality match! Novel. Given the repeated comments made by Edge about taking everyone and everything to hell with him just so it can all burn, and the allusions to what it took for him to beat Mick Foley way back when, I’m expecting fire – and lots of it. Could a fireball break That Move? Could Edge wind up getting chokeslammed into an inferno, prompting Vickie to get the Cell raised because in spite of everything she still loves her husband – only to get Tombstoned again for her troubles? As Michael Caine reminded us in The Dark Knight, some men just want to watch the world burn. Clearly the writing team, along with the rest of the world, find themselves smitten by that film, using it as inspiration to send Edge spiraling into a manic, Joker state of mind. The Undertaker has always been the promotion’s very own version of Batman (he even dressed up as him at Survivor Series ’96) so the allegory here is pretty damn clear. Thankfully, the feud has substance of its own though. They have been forced into taking some unexpected detours along the way – Vickie being too damn good a heel to play the vulnerable babyface widow, the wedding being delayed due to CW pre-emption in New York, Michael Hayes drinking himself into an unpaid absence during which the other writers were unable or unwilling to progress much of anything, The Undertaker taking an oh-so-convenient break to benefit his wellness – yet this is a match that has been in the making ever since Edge smarmed the World Heavyweight Title away from Taker last May. After yet more fun with injuries, the rivalry went to another level in November when Edge dared intrude upon a Hell in the Cell to ruin Taker’s title chances. By December, Edge had the title back, had Vickie in his back pocket and had himself a couple of stooges. Chavo soon made himself into the third stooge, which helped La Familia dominate throughout January and February until there was nowhere left to hide from Taker and That Move at WrestleMania in March. After that came the banning of That Move, the stripping of the title, the abuse of authority, the abuse of authority figures, the tables, ladders and chairs, the banishment, the hoisting of Edge’s own petard courtesy of CM Punk, the philandering, the breakdown, the break-up, the make-up, the meltdown, the reinstatement and now… this. Feud of the year, hands down. Match of the year? Quite possibly. I believe in Edge. I believe that there will be a reckoning, there will be a burning and there will be a highly successful defeat, which will allow Taker and That Move to target the Hs at Unforgiven as Edge continues his descent into mental hell. Why… so… serious…? Because it’s ruddy brilliant, that’s why.

PK: I think I speak for everyone when I say that I have high expectations of this match. Let’s face it, UT can still go, and this is just the style of match to prove that he still belongs in the top of the WWE foodchain. All that said, Edge needs to win this. If not, I believe this whole storyline/feud will be for nothing.
Winner – Edge

Danny Cox: Duh! I will say this though…Edge is quite possibly the best heel in the entire business right now. His promos are phenomenal as are his facial expressions and actions. This loss won’t hurt him one bit.
Winner – Undertaker

Paul Marshall: It’s sad when the best feud for the PPV is summed up with the following sentence: “Undertaker’s returning and it’s his playground. Edge has no chance.” Okay, that was two sentences. The result is the same.
Winner – Undertaker

Matthew Michaels: This is a tough one. Does Vickie swerve us all and help Edge win here? Does Foley get involved? Does Taker win his comeback match? I really don’t know. So… flipping a coin….
Winner – Edge

John Cena vs. Batista:

Andrew Wheeler: the biggest match the WWE has left in it’s arsenal is going to get blown due to a subpar build-up and a no-win finish. Neither guy can really get a definitive win here, but if they must have a finish then Cena needs to get the pin. He’s due.
Winner: Cena

Paul Beasley: I don’t care. Really. This is me not giving a monkey’s. Probably a non-event with DiBiase/Rhodes interference. If anyone wins it’ll be Dave, but Mega Powers 2 (or is it 3 after HHH/Austin) are boring me already.
Winner: Batista.

Mark Allen: I do agree that is would have been cool if it was held off until WrestleMania, but SummerSlam is the company’s second biggest PPV still, right? Let’s say Cena wins this one so he can go on to face Punk. Batista will win a rubber match down the road and then they can set the seeds to a proper feud that will culminate at WrestleMania.
Winner – Cena

Mark Neeley: Hard to say because both guys really need it at the moment. Wow, I never thought I’d actually be typing that sentence in regard to these two. Let’s start of with the Mr. Poopy Pants namecaller. Unable to regain the title at Mania, nor against HHH at Great American Bash during the “Huh? The B show has both of the world titles?” fiasco. Sure, he continued his usual victories over Bradshaw, but not before JBL ended the streak via NYC parking lot rules. Becoming tag champs a few weeks ago was the most prolific thing he’s accomplished in a while. Dave on the other hand finally got drafted back to Monday nights and has just, well, not done anything in a while despite being Shawn’s feud du jour a few months ago. At this point I see them giving it to Dave on a whim, don’t even really know why, assuming it doesn’t end in a no contest or DQ or the like because this obviously won’t be the last time we’ll see this match.
Winner – DAVE

Raffi Shamir: This is the worst promoted big money match in the last decade, and perhaps history. Their opening promo from this week’s Raw just proved it even more. It may not be 6 years in the making, but it’s definitely 3.5 years in the making, since Wrestlemania 21. To promote a match like that with only three weeks of buildup is just moronic and while these two are more than capable to deliver on Sunday and take SummerSlam to the next level, this match should have been kept to Wrestlemania 25, especially with the HIAC on the card that may occupy the main event. Anyway, rant over. There are valid reasons for each of them to win here but whatever happens, someone needs a heel turn. I can see Cena cheats on his way winning here and having a heel turn, then avoiding a rematch with Batista. In my scenario Cena beats Punk for the title in a few months, Batista wins the Rumble and then they meet in the main event of Wrestlemania 25 (Where I hope to be in the audience). However, I can see them going with a Batista win here, because he needs it more.
Winner: Batista

Iain Burnside: OMG BEST MATCH EVER LOL. This entire escapade just makes me feel old. Its like overhearing a bunch of teenagers argue about whether Band A is cooler than Band B, neither of which I’ve ever heard of, whilst I turn up the volume on my headphones and attempt to drown out their incessant yammering with Springsteen. Maybe to people less than half the age of myself, with the attention span of a sugar junkie in a house made of sherbet, this is a match a lifetime in the making between the two greatest titans since Jesus met Herod. To me, it’s barely one step up from when Cena met Lashley. That said, it is indeed the match most likely to help swell the WrestleMania 25 coffers and, barring any unforeseen absence of wellness, they’ll probably be returning to it. Meanwhile, in a ridiculous/inspired slice of post-modern booking, they’re promoting this match on the basis that they should be promoting it even more. This way madness lies, which raises the question of whether or not they are brave/stupid enough to SWERVE the fans out of actually getting to see the match. Picture it: Batista makes his way to the ring and morphs into an animal, perhaps some sort of lizard. The youngsters in the crowd make noise and turn up the volume even louder when Cena begins to make his way out (73% cannot be wrong). He stops to salute Dave at the top of the ramp – and Randy Orton runs up behind to lay him out with an RKO. With enough heat in the arena to cause widespread dehydration, Orton lines up the Concussion Punt and nails it. Dave, meanwhile, has hesitated just long enough before attempting to make the save – although Orton is long gone by the time he makes it up to the entrance stage. Would the anticipation for Cena/Batista increase exponentially for the next attempt? Would WWE be able to keep the next attempt on hold until WrestleMania? Would the fans be so severely pissed off by the bait and switch that they went on a veritable PPV purchasing strike, or would the strength of Hell in the Cell on this night prove value enough? Orton would certainly get nuclear heat, that’s for certain… and yet apparently he has leprosy or something now. The options seem to be Orton is genuinely hurt after a motorcycle injury, is ready to return after an elaborate work, or is deliberately working the bike crash idea on account of well-timed non-wellness. The consensus is that WWE may have booked this match for SummerSlam solely on the belief that Orton could have stuck his swollen head into it, so if he is really injured, what then? Basically, I have no idea what the hell is going on with these crazy kids anymore. The Age of Adamle is upon us, with short-sightedness and unpredictability proving strange-yet-memorable bedfellows.
Winner – THE BOSS

PK: It seems like I am the only one that doesn’t care about this match. I don’t care that they wasted it on SummerSlam instead of holding on to it for WM, because I don’t want to see it at all! Both of these guys have been face for over 3 years! Time to turn one, and then I’ll care.
No Contest

Danny Cox: Don’t really give a damn who wins because I can’t stand either guy. I will say though that they’ve made me care about the match more then I should. And it’s a damn good thing they did too because I’d hate to not like the first ever “Adamle Original.” Coin flip!
Winner – Batista

Paul Marshall: I briefly touched on this in my column a couple days back and I firmly believe there’s no easy way for this match to have a proper finish without the WWE attempting to squeeze another PPV match out of this before Wrestlemania. I’m torn on this pick, so I’m going with instinct.
Result – No Contest/Draw/Double DQ/anything that signifies that neither Cena nor Batista win.

Matthew Michaels: Orton comes back, his injury a work, and along with DiBiase and Rhodes, turns this into a schmozz. No way they have a clean finish in their first encounter not even the main event of SummerSlam.
Winner – Neither

ECW Championship
Mark Henry (c) vs. Matt Hardy:

Andrew Wheeler: it’s time for Matt to get a world title and carry ECW. They can do a rematch next month and then let Hardy work with the Douches or the newly motivated Knox.
Winner: hardy

Paul Beasley: Why oh why oh why is ECW Champion Mark Henry starting to grow on me? I can’t explain it. It’s like a fungus. But growing on me he is. And despite the desperate need for ECW to establish some more Main Eventers, I don’t think he’ll lose the title this time. Expect the feud to continue, interspersed with doses of Miz & Morrison. Matt’ll get his belt, but not yet. Probably on the same day Jeff does.
Winner: Mark Henry

Mark Allen: It’s still kind o funny to think of these two batting for a major championship on the company’s second biggest stage. I would like to see Hardy win this but I think they’ve got some more mileage left in Henry as the World’s Strongest Champion. Maybe Hardy will pick up the belt in a PPV or two down the road.
Winner – Mark Henry

Mark Neeley: No one ever really holds onto this belt for long (and it’s not hard to see why with it being represented by guys like Kane and Mizark), so I guess it’s time to mix it up.
Winner – You mean he’s actually doing something besides feuding with MVP?

Raffi Shamir: Let’s say Matt hardy wins the ECW championship. Would it be a step up or a step down from the US Championship? Tough call. Regardless, Hardy needs another month in pursuit of the title before he wins it, and Tony Atlas will probably play a role in it.
Winner and still champion: Mark Henry

Iain Burnside: It’s quite ironic that Mark Henry has at long last found his inner Hayes after all. Okay, so his politically correct title reign was still only ethnic enough to occur on the tertiary level but the guy has really given it his all. Meanwhile, Matt Hardy has continued to be the best Matt Hardy in wrestling. There’s no danger of that changing anytime soon, so why run the risk of Mark Henry reverting to useless clod mode? Let the rivalry play out for a few more PPVs and see how it goes.

PK: Here is something shocking…I like Mark Henry as ECW Champion! Everything from the new belt (complete with belt extender for Henry), to the addition of Tony Atlas, and his trounce over Dreamer has been built up pretty good so far. Matt Hardy is clearly the biggest star on ECW, but what would happen if he won the title? Month after month of feuds with people we don’t care about. Let Henry keep it for a while, I want to see this go on longer.
Winner – Henry

Paul Marshall: Just think back when everyone was talking like Jeff was going to be the first Hardy to win a World Title. Karma bites him in the ass and now it looks like Matt will be the lucky Hardy.
Winner – Matt Hardy

Danny Cox: For some reason, I feel this is it!
Winner and NEW Champ – Matt Freakin’ Hardy

Matthew Michaels: I want Hardy to win, and don’t know who Henry’s next challenger can possibly be, so I’ll go against my better judgment here.
Winner – Matt

Intercontinental and Women’s Championship
Winners Take All Tag Team Match
Kofi Kingston (c) & Mickie James (c) vs. Santino Marella & Beth Phoenix

Andrew Wheeler: the hottest comedy act is about to get a golden shower. This Adamle Original gives the WWE an easy way to trade the gold without making Kofi look bad.
Winner: Santino and Beth

Paul Beasley: And the transformation of Beth Phoenix into Chyna v2.0 will be completed. The Glamazon will get the pin on Mickie (because they won’t have Kofi get pinned by a Diva while he’s still getting established) and walk away with both belts, with comedy moments from Santino thrown in for good measure. Should actually be pretty enjoyable, but it’s pure gimmick.
Winner: Beth Phoenix

Mark Allen: Santino isn’t winning another major title anytime soon. Kofi and Mickie win to keep things at the status quo. Remember when Kofi and Mickie were just feuding with the Burchills two weeks ago? Yeah neither do I.
Winner – Kofi and Mickie

Mark Neeley: It is such a blessing that we have THE Mike Adamle to brainstorm these types of highly-anticipated matches. Anyway, they seem to be going somewhere with the Santino-Beth thing since, squash or not, he has been appearing on the beginning of RAW for quite some time, even though Kofi is rightfully getting more over with the crowd every week. Santino as IC champ would get pretty stale pretty quickly though, I say the faces retain and the feud continues.
Winners – Kofi & Mickie

Raffi Shamir: I like this “Adamle Original”. Hell, I like Adamle as GM. As for this match, It’s custom built for a Glamarella win. Santino has absolutely no credibility as a wrestler, since he never wins, so no-one would buy him in a singles match against Kofi, who’s on a hot streak. Here Beth can do all the work for their team and bring the gold home. I love the Beth/Santino combination and they can do wonders as the “Golden Glamarella”.
Winners: Glamarella

Iain Burnside: I think we should all agree that the best way for this to end would be with the announcement “the new Women’s Champion, Santino Marella”. He’s already the dominated one in his relationship with Beth Phoenix, whilst his entire heel run has been based around being the world’s least capable misogynist, so, in a form of logic that can only be found in something as illogical as wrestling, the only way to play this is by having Marella proclaim himself as being better than all womankind… until Phoenix tires of his act and squashes him for the title. Of course, we’d have to avoid Ghana’s finest Jamaican dropping the IC belt, so let’s go for some sort of kinky double-pinfall action and call it a day.

PK: Kofi is a young upstart who is finally getting his chance to shine (albeit in 5 minute matches). But Santino is proven comedy, and a proven heel. If Santino and Beth win, we can have a much better compelling story with this couple as champions being chased by the likes of Kofi & Mickie.
Winners – Santino & Beth

Danny Cox: I’m totally expecting something odd to happen like a double pin where Santino falls on Mickie and Beth falls on Kofi meaning that Beth gets the IC and Santino gets the Women’s title. Not that I would really mind. And as much as I love Mickie James, the duo of Beth and Santino are pure gold out there and having titles will only make them better!
Winners and NEW Champs – Beth-a Phoenix & Santino Marella

Paul Marshall: I’m probably the only one that wishes that Beth Phoenix gets the win in this match so she’d be the second woman to ever hold the Intercontinental Championship. Let Santino be the second man to hold the Women’s Championship because he’s comedy right now. Either way we slice it, this match is rather interesting.
Winners – Santino & Beth

Matthew Michaels: Beth and Santino are a comedy act; no need for gold.
Winner – Kofi & Mickie retain

Montel Vontavious Porter vs. Jeff Hardy:

Andrew Wheeler: low battery…this should be match of the night and a lock for a future Mania main event. Jeff gets the win to make up for the dog comment.
Winner: Jeff

Paul Beasley: With the possible exception of the HiaC match, this should be the match of the night. Again, MVP makes up for any shortcomings Hardy has with a stick in his hands, and this should be the match that solidifies Hardy’s status on SmackDown before moving him up. The same thing’s going to happen to Porter soon as well, but I think in this case Hardy will pick up the win.
Winner: Jeff Hardy

Mark Allen: Didn’t MVP just spend the last year of his career feuding with the other Hardy? Isn’t this just considered a lateral move? I’d say whoever wins goes on to job to Hunter in September. *Flip a coin*
Winner – Jeffykins

Mark Neeley: MVP’s career has sure went far since finally ending his feud with Matt (and ending his long US title reign in the process), now he gets to face the brother. Alas, it will probably be a pretty good undercard match and a breath of fresh air. I imagine whatever the finish is, this continues because they don’t appear to have anything better for them on SmackDown, unless of course it’s HHH-MVP, battle of the acronyms for the title next month.
Winner – MVP (DQ)

Raffi Shamir: I wanna see MVP win here, just to stretch this feud for another month, even though he had better chemistry with the other Hardy.
Winner: MVP

Iain Burnside: The Cena/Batista question with regards to WrestleMania remains unresolved… another one is whether or not WWE is ready to risk a Jeff Hardy WrestleMania title match. This feud certainly seems like the beginning of a mega-push for Mr. Hanky, based as it is around MVP pointing out that Jeff is his own worst enemy, succumbing to his personal demons anytime opportunity knocks. There would seem to be little need to point out any of these sorts of things to the general TV audience unless the plan was to have Jeff break on through, conquer his faults, win the big one and give the world a happy ending. In theory, in fiction, that’s money and that’s fine. In reality, in spite of everything, Jeff remains his own worst enemy and that’s unlikely to change. Time to wait and see.
Winner – MP3

PK: Hopefully this will make up for the dreadful match they had at the May PPV. Either way, MVP wins.
Winner – MVP

Danny Cox: Interesting match here that isn’t going to give the Hardys a clean sweep this night. Hardy has been on a roll, but MVP hasn’t really done much since he lost the United States title. Still, this feud has been done beautifully and I think could be a contender for match of the night.
Winner – MVP

Paul Marshall: With the screwjob finish to the US Title match on SmackDown, we can now say that MVP does not care about getting the US Title back around his waist. If he cared, he’d let Hardy beat Benjamin and then attack him afterwards. But, that’s why I’m not employed by the WWE because I have *gasp* common sense!
Winner – Jeff Hardy

Matthew Michaels: I actually think MVP vs. HHH could be a good feud. Let Jeff and Edge feud for a while.
Winner – Porter

Other Stuff:
What will Shawn Michaels’ announcement be?

Andrew Wheeler: he’ cleared for one more match…

Paul Beasley: I’d like to think there’ll be a big build-up to this, and then Shawn gathers himself and say “Red Rubber Baby-Buggy Bumpers” or “Hey kids, I found my smile!”. But the big announcement will probably be…. nothing’s wrong and he’s coming back to get Jericho. That’s it.

Mark Allen: He’ll say he has to retire because his injuries are so severe. He’ll be back by Survivor Series jobbing out Jericho and Cade. Meanwhile Paul London will be nowhere to be found to add another interesting dynamic to the feud.

Mark Neeley: After long and hard prayer (and of course the essential doctor’s note), Shawn-Jericho pt. II is on, then Lance Cade sneak attacks him with a chair from behind or something.

Raffi Shamir: I’m truly surprised by the lack of “losing the smile” jokes in this roundtable. Very disappointing guys, I expected more out of you. But yeah, it’s going to be anticlimactic as he’ll say he’s cleared to wrestle again and will beat Jericho soon.

Iain Burnside: He has AIDS. Not just HIV but full-blown AIDS.

Or, picture this…

He comes down to the ring looking rather stoic. He mentions that the past few weeks have seen his rage turn to introspection and, for the first time ever, he has seriously considered giving up his career voluntarily. He now sees himself the way that Chris Jericho does – not as a source of inspiration, not as a role-model, but as nothing but falsehood, hollowness and deceit. He sees Lance Cade, a former protégé, and realises that this is the impression he is going to leave on the future generation. They won’t remember him as being Mr WrestleMania, for being the innovator of the Ladder Match, for being the fightingest champion ever, for helping revolutionise the business and for being the showstopper. They’ll just remember the lies, the phoney injuries, the screw-ups, the screw-jobs and the controversy. Maybe its time to stop the show. Maybe he should just save his smile for his beautiful family rather than for the bright lights of WWE. Hell, maybe he should never have returned at all in 2002. His back managed to hold up so far but now he’s one stiff punch away from losing an eye – and for what? So he could be the one to bear the burden of retiring Ric Flair? To be coerced into reliving the worst years of his life by the McMahons? To lose the trust and respect of the likes of Batista, Jericho and Cade? Maybe the next time he’s tuning up the band it will be for a farewell song…

WAH WAH 54321 BANG Jericho.

Lies, lies, lies. Even in defeat, Shawn is lying. There is no chance in hell that he is going to retire. Shawn would be as likely to choose to give up breathing. WWE *is* his family. That’s why he keeps coming back, even on pain of paralysis or blindness. Nevermind what his wife or children might think of having a crippled, bitter, broken daddy moping around the house – it’s still all about Shawn, it’s still all about his ego, that pop from the crowd, that thrill of stopping the show. Jericho went away for two years, collected his thoughts and grew up. Michaels went away for four years and came back to relive DX – and don’t pretend that he didn’t enjoy it. Grow up.

Shawn reaches into his pocket and pulls out an official looking document. Y’see, the good thing about having a Raw General Manager at long last, especially one with no ties to the McMahons, is that it makes this whole administrative lark a lot simpler. While he was out he wasn’t just recuperating, he was renegotiating his contract. Now, with Mike Adamle’s approval, he has added a special new clause to his deal. Now this whole thing has come full circle. Now, the next time Michaels is pinned or made to submit, his career is over.

Jericho looks at the document. He gets a weird look on his face and points to a paragraph near the bottom. What the hell is this? Ah, well, that’s where this new deal starts. The comeback match, at Unforgiven, Shawn Michaels versus Chris Jericho in an I Quit Match.

“Be careful what you wish for, Chris. You just might get it.”


Michaels bails before Cade can get him and backs up the aisle.

Straightforward, mega-heated build to Unforgiven – just 3 weeks after SummerSlam! The match itself is as great as expected. Towards the end, Jericho gets the upper hand and slaps the Walls of Jericho on a bloodied Michaels. Shawn manages to make the ropes but Jericho pulls him back to the middle on the ring. Shawn taps out but that’s not how an I Quit match can end. The referee has the mic and reminds him “Shawn, you have to say the words!” Jericho looks behind him, sees the tapping, gets that weird look on his face again and breaks the hold. He has a moment. He grabs the microphone from the ref. He stands over the broken, beaten, bloodied Michaels. He says, “I’m sorry. I love you. So I quit.”

End the match, ring the f*ing bell, etc.

Now Michaels finds himself in a very strange situation, so he decides to go for all or nothing and issues a challenge to Punk for a title match at No Mercy. Punk, ever eager to prove himself, accepts but warns him that, even though he does respect Michaels, this is for the World Heavyweight Title and nothing will come between him and his championship. Michaels says he is counting on it. Nonetheless, Michaels wins the match and the title. At Cyber Sunday they can go with some sort of a meaningless thing, maybe Raw champ vs ECW champ vs Smackdown champ, so the retirement stipulation is not envoked. At Survivor Series, Michaels can be in a team match, maybe getting DQd, so again he gets away. At Armageddon, its Michaels versus Cena/Batista (whoever they want the title on for Mania) but its in a Ladder Match, so Michaels loses the belt but is not retired. Jericho cost him the match though, so at the Rumble they go at it in a one-fall-to-a-finish bout. Jericho wins. Michaels is done… for now. He is of course signed to a new contract just in time for a mega-epic WrestleMania blow-off match… or even signed by Vickie Guerrero so that Mr WrestleMania can defeat The Undertaker, end the streak and get her ultimate revenge?


PK: He will announce that he is forced to retire, Jericho will come out to shove it in his face, and we will find out he was lying, and will be back fulltime starting right at that moment. Then we get another stellar HBK/Y2J match at Unforgiven.

Danny Cox: Lessee…he’s already had the little speech about spending time with his family and all, but he now has re-found his smile and will vow revenge on Jericho and Cade. Oooooooooo Jesus is pissed!

Paul Marshall: If this one is worth any extra credit, I’d be willing to guess that Chris Jericho interrupts said announcement and the two brawl around the arena. GM Adamle announces on RAW the next night that it’ll be Jericho/Michaels in a Three Stages of Hell Match – 1st fall standard; 2nd fall submission; third fall Steel Cage for Unforgiven.

Matthew Michaels: He hasn’t been cleared, but will sign a waiver for one more shot at Jericho.

So there you have it. SummerSlam is upon us and Pulse Wrestling will have live coverage of the PPV. Join us later tonight for all the action as it happens.

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