It’s not the end of the world, just the end of the year and it’s time for the last WWE Pay Per View of 2008. In almost WCW fashion the card wasn’t finalized until Friday, but that didn’t bother the Inside Pulse team from giving their predictions.
World Heavyweight Championship:
John Cena (c) vs. Chris Jericho
Paul Marshall: The title won’t change hands because the RAW ratings are up since Cena’s return. The title will eventually change around Royal Rumble, but this is an unimportant Pay-Per-View, so I doubt things change.
Winner: John Cena
Andrew Wheeler: Cena/Jericho, Round 2. Last month, to my detriment, I picked John Cena to lose to Chris Jericho. No, I wasnâ€™t drunk and no, I wasnâ€™t on meth…I simply knew that having John Cena abruptly return to television and win the gold in one outing was going to damage the WWE product. And guess what? It completely did. Before Cenaâ€™s return, we had the new walking heat machine that was Chris Jericho, the tweener borderline badass that was Randy Orton and the disgruntled and borderline useless Batista. Now, with the â€œtriumphantâ€ return of John Cena as the champion, we have the paranoid Chris Jericho we were dealing with when he was going after Batista (lobbying to get anyone to interfere, taking numerous beatdowns without any real opportunity to recapture heat, suiting up despite not having the gold); a fully heel Randy Orton whoâ€™s â€œLegacyâ€ consists of a beanpole kid with no natural charisma, a Samoan guy who looks like a generic toughguy character from a Ninja Turtles movie and a fake-ass Million Dollar Man whoâ€™s still MIA; a still neutered Batista who again proved that without John Cena around he cannot carry the show on his back. Cena as the champ takes away any opportunity the WWE had in getting him support as a plucky challenger. Now weâ€™re on to Armageddon, where he will go in there again with Chris Jericho and again he will walk out with the gold. The much more interesting (and impactful) storyline would have had Orton forming the Legacy at the Survivor Series and have them go in and cost Cena the gold. Then have then beat the crap outta John. That would mean Jericho could continue his stellar job as a champion the fans are never going to stop hating and John and Randy could kick off their destined feud to carry through the Rumble on the way to Mania. Now, with us getting Cena/Jericho 2, weâ€™re all but guaranteed to see Jerichoâ€™s fantastic 2008 end with yet another job to Hogan 2k8. On the other hand, Jericho won his feud with Shawn Michaels and he ultimately won his feud with Batista, so going back and redoing those would be a major negative. Who else could he have faced? I suggested last month that since Armageddon is going to be built more around the SD main event, why not give a new guy a shot at the gold? Rey Mysterio seems to be doing nothing on a weekly basis so why not just toss him into the main event fold to remind RAW viewers that he at one point was a legit World Champion? What about another go-around with CM Punk? Punk and Mysterio could both take the loss, and a strong heel Jericho going into the Rumble would only benefit the WWE. Either way, weâ€™ve got this match and thereâ€™s no chance they hotshot the gold off of Cena. Heâ€™ll keep the belt through Mania. Chances are, heâ€™ll keep the belt through NEXT Mania. The only problem is that Jericho has nowhere else to go after this match but down. Heâ€™s back in the same position he was in last year when he lost to Orton at Armageddonâ€¦rudderless. Legacy will take over as the new top heel faction, which will tie them up with Dave and John. Michaels and JBL seem to be gearing up for some lame oldschoolish feud so theyâ€™re booked. I guess we could finally get Mysterio/Jericho, but what in the blue hell are they fighting for? I sure hope Jericho didnâ€™t father Reyâ€™s other kids. Save us, Jerichoâ€¦save us.
Winner: John Cena
Raffi Shamir: Last month John Cena, our lord and savior, proved once again that we are all just guests in his world. There’s no way he’s losing the title so soon, especially after waiting so long to win it.
Winner: John Cena
Iain Burnside: I for one appreciate the irony of this PPV’s theme song beginning with the lyric “It don’t really matter.” Inconsequential AND badly written! Bonus! On paper the bulk of the card promises to fit in somewhere between ‘not too shabby’ and ‘pretty darn decent’ yet, as ever, December is nothing more than a filler month for WWE. The real good stuff starts next month so for now we can but hope to get some perfectly acceptable wrestling and/or entertainment, which Cena/Jericho should surely provide. While the match will be fine the booking has been shoddy, with Jericho going from losing his title to getting his arse kicked to having to rely on Randy Orton to not get his arse kicked even more. With such a well-kicked and incapable arse, the outcome cannot be in doubt (not to mention that he wasn’t the one with the title at the Tribute to the Troops tapings for next week).
Winner – CENA
WWE Championship Triple Threat Match:
Edge (c) vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Triple H
Paul Marshall: The WWE likes to do things in threes. Just like last month, I’m sticking with Jeff Hardy. I doubt the WWE will pull the stunt they did last month, but since Trips does not have the title, Hardy pins Edge or Hardy pins Trips and goes on to feud with Edge. I expect this match to close out the show if the title change is expected.
Winner: Jeff Hardy
Andrew Wheeler: Last year it was Edge/Taker/Batista. This year itâ€™s Edge/Hardy/Hunter. Last month it was Hunter/Hardy/Koslov. Every month seems to bring us yet another triple threat in an effort for the WWE to make us believe the main event roster is STACKED. Speaking of stacked, this show is pretty well stacked. The Cena/Jericho main event is a big time match with the Champ and the top heel on Monday Nights. This match has the top Friday Night heel, the top Friday Night not-undead Face and the top Friday Night Uppermidcardguywhosellsalotofmerchandiseandgetsapopfromthecrowdbutcanâ€™tkeephisshittogetherlongenoughforthecompanytogivehimthebelt Face. Itâ€™s an embarrassment of riches for Smackdown. Hell, this is a loaded show and there isnâ€™t any sign of Taker or Big Show. Now, the WWE is in a real quagmire here because Edge is a hell of a champion to have (what with his being a major evil heel and doing the boss and the fact that he can pretty much have a decent match with anyone on the roster), but Hunterâ€™s their flagship guy and Jeffâ€™s dying for a chance with the strap. By giving the belt to Hunter or Hardy, youâ€™re almost guaranteed to have a Hunter/Edge or a Hardy/Edge match at the Rumble, with the odd-man-out winning the actual Rumble. I doubt the WWE is going to give Jeff his big win on a filler PPV when they can give it to him at Wrestlemania, so I guess that means heâ€™ll be the one winning the Rumble. Probably from #1. So that leaves us with Hunter and Edge. Edge JUST won the thing and doesnâ€™t have any other legit challengers, so I have a feeling Rumble will be Hunter/Edge for the WWE Title. This allows Hunter to save face in not getting eliminated from the actual Rumble AND allows him to bitch for a few weeks about how he â€œdeserves a one-on-one shotâ€. Edge beats him with shenanigans in January, maybe an Elimination Chamber in February and then at Mania itâ€™s Hardy/Edge (allowing the WWE to repeat this triple threat if thereâ€™s no credibility or confidence in Jeff at that point). So it looks like another foregone conclusion, you think you know the champâ€¦
Raffi Shamir: A Jeff Hardy title win here would be completely underwhelming, after the buildup for last month’s Survivor Series. Besides, they won’t waste such a big moment on an insignificant PPV like Armageddon. Edge is always best with a title rather than chasing one and Triple H? Well, he’s the wildcard since he has the book. But I think he won’t regain the title here.
Iain Burnside: I do expect them to have a ten-bell salute in mourning of the premature death of Edge’s Beard. Perhaps it was sacrificed at the juicy altar of Vickie’s razor-twat. Anyway, I think we can safely say that there is nothing to be gained from the Hs regaining the title here (in fact there was nothing gained during his entire title run, dull as it was). There is ample to be gained from Jeff becoming champion but, again, why do it here instead of WrestleMania? Why in a three-way instead of a singles match that provides a satisfactory climax to a heated one-on-one rivalry? And why are people so adamant that WWE should not put the title on Jeff? Say he does screw up and get his third Wellness strike, at least the company can prove in firing their champion that they take their drugs policy seriously. It isn’t like Jeff Hardy turning up in TNA would suddenly cause WWE to implode. It ain’t Paul leaving the Beatles. So far as the mystery attacker at Survivor Series is concerned… well, it could still be Edge or the Hs, it could be the returning Christian, it could be the returning Tomko, it could be a heel-turn for Matt Hardy, or it could be someone totally random like a psychotic, jobless, homeless, deranged Mike Adamle. Who the fuck knows? Chances are that we still won’t find out the answer at the December PPV, so just have a little patience and enjoy the match in it’s own right.
Winner – SMOOTH SHAVEN EDGE
Batista vs. Randy Orton
Paul Marshall: Too bad this isn’t living up to the hype the announcers are banking. This isn’t the first match between the two, but it is the first match in a while so it’s a refresher. Orton has help, and I’m sure he’ll use it.
Winner: Randy Orton
Andrew Wheeler: Dave is a lameduck superstar with a high salary that doesnâ€™t justify what he brings to the table. He is right now an enhancement talent, not a top 6 roster guy. The WWE seems to think that their top guys are Hunter. Taker, Edge, Cena, Michaels, Batista and Orton. For some reason, Vince hasnâ€™t given up on Batista, even though it looks like the mainstream fans finally have. Dave has never really lived up to his earlier potential, and unless he finally turns heel and freshens up his profile, it might be time for him to be â€œfuture endeavoredâ€. Randy Orton, on the other hand, seems to have found his smile. He might still be a bore in the ring, but his personality over the past few months has made his appearances one of the few real highlights on Monday Nights. Now with the albatross that is Legacy around his neck, Orton will begin to sink into his new role as de-facto heel. Sadly, nobody told the fans. A percentage of the audience is rooting on Randy like heâ€™s a modern day Stone Cold (he ainâ€™t, by the way), and a larger percentage of the audience is sitting on their hands for Batista like heâ€™s a WCW Saturday Night main eventer (which in another world he would be), so this match will create a false positive in terms of where the WWE should go. Vince could have a kneejerk reaction and turn Randy face or he could go out of his way to make Orton extra heelish and zap any chances he had of being â€œcoolâ€. Orton and his cronies will ensure that Batista walks away with a loss, so the conclusion is all but foregone. I do secretly wish that Dave would turn heel due to this loss, but it wonâ€™t happen. Heâ€™ll continue to trudge along as a main event face without a main event, while Orton will go and mow over Punk and Kingston and Mysterio on his way to facing Cena at Mania. Anything can happen in the WWE, but chances are the easiest solution is the most obvious.
Winner: Randy Orton
Raffi Shamir: is “The Legacy” the new name for Orton’s group, assuming it’s finally coming together? If so, I like it. The way I see it, Team Priceless will give Orton the victory here, and they will all stand over Batista’s prone body.
Winner: Randy Orton
Iain Burnside: Say Orton tries to go for an RKO but it doesn’t work. Cody interferes and Orton tries to go for an RKO but it doesn’t work. Manu interferes and Orton tries to go for an RKO but it doesn’t work. Dave, feeling it is about damn time, tries to deploy the Davebomb but Teddy turns up, interferes, and Orton tries to go for an RKO and it works and he wins. Dave has learned to cope with 3 on 1 but 4 on 1 is just too much. The next night Dave does of course eat Teddy’s face, writing him back out of the storyline so he can go work on the movie so shit that even John Cena turned it down. Speaking of which, Orton’s victory (and Jericho’s defeat at Armageddon) makes him the number one contender for the Royal Rumble title shot. He starts getting all wiggedy in Cena’s face about this and so Cena and Dave form a vague alliance to tackle the Legacy together. There is some sexual tension between them, of course, which allows Legacy to get another bunch of bragging rights from Raw encounters en route to the Rumble. Cena manages to beat Orton to retain the title at the Rumble, which may or may not have anything to do with Dave turning up to play ring-a-ring-a-roses with Cody and Manu at ringside, chasing them away from the match. Sadly for Dave, more Legacy shenanigans lead to him being eliminated from the Rumble later on. He gets pissed at Cena at this on Raw, asking if he thinks he’s too much of a fucking celebrity to stick around and help him out in the Rumble since he helped him retain his fucking title against Orton, the fucker. Cena makes a poop joke and points out that just because Dave choked in a singles match against Orton doesn’t mean that he would have, so stay the poop out of my business unless you’re invited, poopy-pants. Grr. Argh. Things get even sadder for Dave when he is screwed out of a spot in the Elimination Chamber at No Way Out, possibly coming up five seconds short in Beat the Clock qualifiers thanks to a returning Teddy distracting him with a ham sandwich. He manages to get a win-to-get-in rematch owing to the controversy, which he wins, courtesy of Cena-ference. Now he does indeed have Dave’s back but thanks to his ever-growing paranoid pride, he takes no such pleasure in it and doesn’t hesitate to let him knows this by pointing out that WHEN he wins the Chamber, he will go onto WrestleMania to face Cena. And if he beat him up so bad last time that he wound up out of action for four months when nothing was on the line, what the fuck does he think will happen to him when the world title is up for grabs, dingleface??? And then he wins the Chamber and blah, blah, blah. I like this. Apologies for the fantasy booking indulgence but, ya know…
Winner – RANDY
Intercontinental Title Tournament Finals:
Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk
Paul Marshall: If this is given time, this will have a spot at Match of the Year most likely. Both are insanely over, but you never know what is going on with Rey in terms of contract issues, injury issues, so Punk would be a safe bet.
Winner: CM Punk
Andrew Wheeler: Itâ€™ll be cool to see these guys lock up for the first time ever on a PPV, and I really hope Punk pulls something outta Rey thatâ€™ll remind me why I at one point a decade ago actually wanted to see this guy wrestle. If the WWE is smart, theyâ€™ll give this some time and take it away from the rest of the undercard, because this could be a sleeper MOTY. Chances are it wonâ€™t be, since Rey is always milking some storyline injury and Punk by definition cannot be given more than 12 minutes or else he might actually get over again. Either way, Punk has to win this match because he has to beat Regal because he has to job to Rhodes or Manu or Teddy so that Legacy could get the IC title. Oh yeah, and theyâ€™ll have to pin him again for the tag belts, so his new job will be Legacyâ€™s undercard bitch. Maybe heâ€™ll get a tag match with Cena out of it. Mysterio on the other hand has nothing to do now that his feud with Kane is dead and over (You hear me, Creative?! Dead and OVER WITH), I guess he could move on to fight Jericho, whoâ€™s dance card is going to be wide open. Or they could throw him in there with Mike Knox until Evan Bourne comes backâ€¦damn, theyâ€™ll probably do that.
Winner: CM Punk
Raffi Shamir: I had Punk winning it after Monday, but now that he and Kofi Kingston lost the tag titles to a vastly superior and more deserving team in Miz & Morrison, it’s a done deal. Punk is going to win here and then go on to pay Regal back for the King of the Ring loss. Rey’s always over that he doesn’t need a midcard title round his waist.
Winner: CM Punk
Iain Burnside: The lamest world champions in recent memory collide… A number of people equated Punk’s surprise title win to Bret Hart winning it in a random manner for the first time in 1992. I hope they all feel idiotic by now. It’s hard to imagine that Bret would have wound up dropping the title a few months later in a match he never participated in, then got denied his revenge against the people who cost him the title, then got moved back to the tag ranks, then dropped the tag titles in an untelevised match, then had to earn a shot at the secondary title as though he was some unknown scrubber. Oh, and Punk will not be the first guy to win all three championships in a year. Remember the Diesel era??
Winner – PEPSI BOY
Matt Hardy vs. Vladimir Kozlov
Paul Marshall: It’s non-title, that explains it enough.
Winner: Vladimir Kozlov (Stablewars Tie-breaker match time: 5:47)
Andrew Wheeler: Itâ€™s nontitle and the WWE wonâ€™t give up on getting Kozlov over. I didnâ€™t mind Kozlov, but even Iâ€™ll admit his Survivor Series match was brutal. Beating up Matt Hardy should season him a little bit, and by losing in a nontitle match, Matt will have all the more reason to almost care when itâ€™s for the gold. The thing I hate is that Jack Swaggerâ€™s been so damn entertaining on Tuesday Nights that I wish he would get the rub and get a title match here. It wouldnâ€™t really hurt anybody to have it, but then that would mean Kozlov would have nothing to do and would have to sit out a PPVâ€¦damn. Eh, itâ€™s ECW, I canâ€™t get too worked up either way.
Winner: Vladimir Kozlov
Raffi Shamir: The only reason this match is non title is to allow Matt hardy to keep his title no matter what.
Winner: Vladimir Kozlov
Iain Burnside: The show is actually starting as I’m adding my comments, so let’s pick up the pace and go with…
Winner – VLAD THE LAD
Finlay vs. Mark Henry
Paul Marshall: You know this is a throw-away PPV when this match is added for filler reasons. The result is quite obvious.
Andrew Wheeler: Finlayâ€™s lost the past few weeks, this is his match, heâ€™ll win. Mark doesnâ€™t need to be kept strong anymore since he isnâ€™t in title contention, so let Fit and his little bastard dance around the fallen black guyâ€™s carcass. Besides, Finlay needs to look strong so that Kozlov can beat the piss outta him for the next few weeks. Oooâ€¦foreshadowing.
Raffi Shamir: As uninteresting as this match is, it’s still not the most uninteresting match on the card.
Iain Burnside: Swagger and Kozlov are taking the ECW main event heel spots now, so…
Winner – FIT DAVE
Michelle McCool, Maria, Mickie James & Kelly Kelly vs. Victoria, Natalya, Jillian Hall & Maryse
Paul Marshall: Survivor Series was last month. Why the need for this match? Bank on Maria and McCool costing their team the win due to their epic feud.
Winners: The bad divas.
Andrew Wheeler: Heels win, McCool turns on Maria, Maryse beats on Kelly Kelly and we ALL win with that.
Winners: Victoria, Natalya, Jillian Hall & Maryse
Raffi Shamir: Because this is the most uninteresting match on the card. In matches like this it’s a safe bet to go with the heels.
Winners: The Bad Girls.
Iain Burnside: Bring me my New New Foundation already… and a cheese sandwich… and Gary as Santa Claus, smoochin’ away…
Winners – NATALYA ET AL
And that’s Armageddon and 2008 for you. Be sure to come back to Pulse Wrestling later tonight for live, up to the minute coverage of Armageddon.
Tags: armageddon, batista, chris jericho, cm punk, ECW, edge, Finlay, HHH, Hornswaggle, Intercontinental Championship, Jeff Hardy, Jillian Hall, john cena, Kelly Kelly, Maria, Mark Henry, Maryse, Matt Hardy, michelle mccool, Mickie James, Natalya, Pay Per View, PPV, randy orton, Raw, rey mysterio, Smackdown, triple h, Victoria, Vladimir Kozlov, World Heavyweight Championship, WWE, wwe championship