It used to be the great AMERICAN bash. But itâ€™s no longer American or great. This means that people like me are now also allowed to enjoy it. Thank you WWE, for making this a bash without a country. And to celebrate the international nature of this bash, we have some of the best of the Pulse writers here, ready to share with you what they think is going to happen. So sot back and enjoy THE Roundtable for THE Bash.
World Heavyweight Championship:
CM Punk (c) vs. Jeff Hardy
Widro: Punk has done a great job with the subtle heel turn, and I think this match will solidify it against the uber-popular Jeff Hardy. I see Punk winning by a nefarious but somehow explainable way.
Winner â€“ Punk
Steven Gepp: Tough call. This match will probably be not a bad match, but I expect Punk to retain, in order to prep him for the inevitable squash by the Undertaker.
Winner â€“ Punk
Mark Allen: This is the match I am most looking forward to and on paper could be something special, but I’m expecting interference from Edge to make sure this three way feud continues and thus ruins the ending of the match. CM Punk retains here, gets Edge at Night of Champions and then takes them both on SummerSlam.
Winner – CM Punk
Paul Beasley: One of the few genuinely watchable matches on the card, and even that doesn’t exactly have me filling my undercrackers with creamy goodness. There will doubtless be Edge-ference somewhere down the line, because I can’t see them not using him in some capacity when he’s available and: a) They’re already missing Undertaker, HBK and Batista; and b) They have Dolph Ziggler, The Great Khali, The Miz and Tommy Dreamer on the card. Yeah, I know Tommy’s ECW champion right now, but come on…. Punk and Hardy should have a fun, inoffensive little match. They’ll do a little dance, make a little love, and generally get down tonight. And Jeff winning is not going to happen. Firstly, there remains uncertainty over how long he’s going to stick with the company at the moment. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to give the guy the rub then lose him shortly afterwards. Secondly, they don’t need to devalue the World Heavyweight belt any further. If Jeff wins, that’d be the 4th championship reign since the start of the previous PPV (Edge, Jeff, Punk, Jeff), which would mean it’d start to have the same sort of credibility as the Hardcore Championship used to have when they put in the 24/7-anywhere stipulation. So yeah, Punk wins. With Edge involved in some form or another.
Winner (and still World Heavyweight Champion): CM Punk.
Raffi Shamir: Suddenly CM Punk has a character. Suddenly CM Punk is interesting. Suddenly CM Punk is no longer overrated. I hated his loss to Morrison on Smackdown (Loved the match but did not like the result, even though I like Morrison far better than Punk) but I hope that with a full blown heel turn heâ€™ll start to be more dominating. With Edge having no match on the card and being obsessed with championships itâ€™s easy to see him interfering here, but even if he does, I doubt heâ€™ll get the belt off Punk.
Andrew Wheeler: I said a long time ago that CM Punk would make the perfect 21st Century heel. How long ago? It was my first column here at Pulse all those years ago. With that being said, my hopes and expectations have thus far been blown out of the water. CM Punk is the living, breathing embodiment of what a heel needs to be in order to succeed; he cares only about himself, heâ€™s focused on his competition, he gets in their heads without being cartoony and he doesnâ€™t pretend like he has a handlebar mustache with which to twirl. Jeff Hardy, on the other hand, is someone Iâ€™ve constantly harped on for his inability to prove a legitimate, long-term success. I always mention that Jeffâ€™s popularity is usually in the teenage and below set, and I always seem to catch flack from commentators, but frankly the truth is the truth. Jeff pops the masses, and those masses are teenage girls and kids. And why the hell not? He does twirling moves, he wears face paint and heâ€™s borderline emo. Those are his demographics. Regardless, his whole â€œwanting time offâ€ thing has been played out for so long that when it actually happens, itâ€™ll be anti-climactic. The only positive I can say about Jeff right now is that heâ€™s giving the company enough time to plan for a future without him. The Smackdown main event picture is as solid as it has ever been, though if (when) Hardy loses, where is the top contender coming from? Smackdown seemed to set up John Morrison as the number one contender, but is the company really willing to let the main event consist of two guys who but two years ago were competing for the ECW Title? My guess is maybe. I think Edge is going to interject himself in the main event scene, though the perfect transition would be to move Mysterio and Jericho up to the top of the card. The IC Title should wind up in the whole Ziggler/Truth/Benjamin mix while the main event really is populated by the best wrestlers in the WWE. Regardless of what happens for the next few weeks, the looming return of the Undertaker is sure to stagnate the entire main event picture through Mania. For the time being, I think thereâ€™s enough juice in Punk as a heel champ for him to retain. How? I think this is the first time we see him outright cheat.
Winner: CM Punk
WWE Championship, Three Stages of Hell (straight-forward wrestling match, Falls Count Anywhere Match, Stretcher Match):
Randy Orton (c) vs. Triple H
Widro: The boringness must continue! Hopefully this will be the last of it, although if Orton wins Hunter will need something to transition him away, so it could be another screwy ending to shift HHH into another feud.
Winner â€“ Orton
Steven Gepp: This isnâ€™t three stages of hell, itâ€™s three stages of heck. Falls count anywhere? Stretcher match? Why not have a coal minerâ€™s glove on a pole in a vat of jello match while theyâ€™re at it? This will go badly, but I expect Orton to retain through shenanigans involving Ric Flair.
Winner â€“ Orton
Mark Allen: Over the past couple of years, they’ve had three Last Man Standing matches, a pile of singles matches, more tag team and handicap matches than you can shake a stick at, and yet after this match I still don’t think it will be done. Why? Because Hell in a Cell is still looming come SummerSlam. Orton retains here, gets challenged by someone random at Night of Champions and hopefully ends this stuff in August.
Winner – Randy Orton
Paul Beasley: Ah, now I see why this is called “The Bash”. Because Randall and The Cerebral Game (Scrabble? Trivial Pursuits?) will be bashing each other’s bishops for an extended ego-fest of Hoganesque levels of self-indulgence. In fact the Falls Count Anywhere stip for match #2 is probably so that they can still get a pinfall when they’ve disappeared up their own arses. Trips’ll get the first pin, Randy the second, and Trips’ll win the belt with the third. They’re never going to put Trips on a stretcher.
Winner (and new WWE Champion): Hunter Hears a Hoo.
Raffi Shamir: Their match on Raw this week wasnâ€™t bad. Iâ€™ll even go one step further and call it good and the best match these two ever had (I know this last statement doesnâ€™t really mean match). This will probably be the worst Three Stages of Hell match but the participants are not the only reason for that. The choice of gimmicks is terrible. Falls count anywhere and a stretcher match? What the hell is WWEâ€™s fascination with stretcher matches? Itâ€™s like Russoâ€™s fetish for thing on a poll (And if/when WWE buys TNA, will we get a stretcher on a poll match?) and they both suck, plain and simple. Orton has to keep his title here and he will.
Winner: Randy Orton
Andrew Wheeler: So Iâ€™m pressed for time so the rest of my picks will be shorter than normal (I took a 200 question Bar practice test today and my fiancÃ© is having a birthday party tonight, so wrestling truly is on the back burner). This match has been done to death for years and years and years. I hate the idea of a 3 Stages of Hell match. I was live in the arena for HBK/HHH all those years ago, and the match concept just kills the crowd. How the hell is having us see Randy and Hunter fight AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN going to make us want to see more? Either way, this feud dies at The Bash. My guess is that the WWE wants the gold on Hunter and off Orton, so as to set up a Hunter/Cena throw-away rematch to distract us until we get Orton/Cena. The problem is that if Hunter loses here on his big return in two matches, where the hell does he go from here? Orton can lose and fade into the back for a bit, and this allows the WWE to continue the Cena/Show and Hunter/Orton nonsense in tags and whatnot and can sell the next PPV with Hunter/Cena, a surefire blockbuster of a match.
Winner: Triple H
ECW Championship Scramble Match:
Tommy Dreamer (c) vs. Christian vs. Jack Swagger vs. Mark Henry vs. Finlay
Widro: This match is actually well built on ECW, with Dreamer and Christian as faces, Henry and Swagger as heels and Finlay as a tweener beating up everyone. Seems like a great time to get the belt off Tommy.
Winner â€“ Swagger
Steven Gepp: This could go to any of them. I expect a brutal match (in the good sense of the word) and this could be match of the night. Dreamerâ€™s had his championship reward, thank-you, see ya, weâ€™ll see a new champ. Who? Why, of courseâ€¦ Next person who needs to be thanked!
Winner â€“ Finlay
Mark Allen: Is it sad that only even with only having like a fourteen person roster, they have the most stacked group of challengers of all three brands? I mean Bourne, Kidd, Smith and Kozlov could have all logically fit in this match as well. I would love to see Tommy retain but I really don’t know where they are going with the ECW Title picture. They have about run their course with Dreamer-Swagger-Christian matches and Finlay seems to be on a big push, but I’d like to see all three World Titles stay stable for just a little while anways.
Winner â€“ Dreamer
Paul Beasley: Oh the endless joy of 5-man clusterfuck matches with little or no thought put into the reasoning behind them. This match will serve a number of purposes. 1) They get to claim there were five ECW “Superstars” on the PPV, and hence they’re not ignoring the baby brand. 2) They get to end the pity-fuck of a title-reign they’ve given Tommy Dreamer as quickly as they started it. 3) They can tell Evan Bourne exactly how low on the totem pole he stands. It’s going to be a mish-mash of styles that won’t work together or be in any way entertaining, and I expect Swagger to regain somehow. I don’t really care about the how or why though.
Winner (and new ECW Champion): The All-American American American American.
Raffi Shamir: If it wasnâ€™t ECW, we would have seen Edge attack one of the participants, take his spot and win the title. But this is ECW and itâ€™s beneath him. It was nice of them to give Dreamer the title but his run has to end. I liked Swagger as a champ, and hope he wins the title again.
Winner: Jack Swagger
Andrew Wheeler: Honestly, I have no idea who is going to win. Dreamer as the champion has allowed the WWE to mix up the ECW Main Event, which is a positive. On the other hand, he doesnâ€™t need the belt anymore because he achieved all he needed to without hurting anyone else. Swagger doesnâ€™t need to get the belt back right away, but as the â€œfutureâ€ of the company, having him win a gimmick match is a feather in his cap. Christian just lost the title and he wasnâ€™t exactly the most over guy in the WWE with the title, so maybe keeping it off of him isnâ€™t the worst thing in the world. Mark Henry holding the ECW title would only remind people that Henry is still on ECW, and him holding the belt would only result in him losing it to Evan Bourne. That leaves Finlay, a cagy veteran who has never held a world title (yes folks, the ECW Title is a World Title). If he wins the belt, he can feud with Christian, he can feud with Dreamer, and most importantly, he can feud with Swagger. Glazer made some good points about how Finlay shouldnâ€™t be in the main event but rather help the next generation, but I think having him as the champion is a fine reward for all of his hard work grooming the future of the WWE. If he can get great matches out of Tyson Kidd and watchable matches out of Zach Ryder, just imagine what a great Finlay/Swagger feud could do to elevate the All American American.
Winner: Finlay. Yes, Finlay.
Melina (c) vs. Michelle McCool
Widro: The only real women’s storylines on WWE are the quests by both Michelle McCool and Mickie James to be the first to win both WWE woman’s titles. Looks like Michelle got there first.
Winner â€“ Michelle
Steven Gepp: Who caresâ€¦ Letâ€™s toss a coin here.
Winner â€“ Melina
Mark Allen: With me picking all three World Titles staying in the same spot, I figured some of the undercard belts will switch hands. Whoever wins this match, these two and Gail Kim will remain the top women on SD so I’ll say Michelle wins so she can be the heel that rubs it in that she’s won both Women’s belts before anyone else.
Winner – Michelle (new champion)
Paul Beasley: Half-decent as far as Women’s matches go, but not particularly interesting. McCool’s done the company thing and put Maryse over with the ADD Oooh-Look-At-The-Pretty-Butterfly Belt, so she’ll probably get rewarded with the Women’s belt here, just as a change from the status quo.
Winner (and new Women’s Champion) Michelle McNugget
Raffi Shamir: I like Melina. I donâ€™t like Michelle. Sadly, what I like or donâ€™t like is irrelevant.
Andrew Wheeler: Of all the women in the WWE, the least interesting is Melina. She was a good heel and a bland face, and frankly I forgot she even has the belt. Maryse has done more with the Divas title in one run than I think Melina has done in years. Michelle McCool has never been Womenâ€™s Champion, and her heel shtick is very entertaining, so I say give her the belt and then we can all enjoy months of her pounding on Eve and Maria before ultimately moving on to Gail Kim.
Winner: Michelle McCool
Intercontinental Championship vs. Mask:
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Rey Mysterio
Widro: This has been a great feud with some great in ring matches, although it remains silly to build to an unmasking that many fans saw in WCW. Although not the kid fans of today I guess. Can’t see Rey losing the mask at THE BASH.
Winner â€“ Rey
Steven Gepp: Like Reyâ€™s losing the mask! HAHAHAHA! Talk about telegraphing your finish!
Winner â€“ Rey
Mark Allen: I was halfway convinced Mysterio would lose his mask last year in his feud against Kane, but this time I’m pretty sure he won’t lose it here. I also don’t expect this to be the feud’s blowoff either. If Mysterio wins here he’ll lose the Title to someone like Ziggler or Benjamin at Night of Champions and if Jericho wins then he’ll lose it to Morrison so that these continue their rivalry without a pesky mid-card belt getting in the way.
Winner – Rey (new Champion)
Paul Beasley: You know, I really find it difficult to get into a Rey Mysterio match these days. I just keep waiting for the inevitable, telegraphed 619 set-up, and there’s very little in the way of match psychology or drama. Jericho will doubtless work his arse off to try and generate some, but there’s only so much one man can do. They’re not going to force Rey to give up the mask. He makes too much money from merchandising, he’s too ugly, and it would be disrespectful to the Lucha fans (in that order of importance).
Winner (and new Intercontinental Champion): Rey Mysterio.
Raffi Shamir: On Raw this past Monday, Jim Ross said that unless Rey wins the IC title, he has to unmask. This seemed to eliminate any kind of screwy finish, like a DQ or where nothing changes. If this match was on a bigger PPV, I would have picked Jericho as the winner, as it would be a waste to unmask Rey on a third level event. Besides, Iâ€™m going against conventional wisdom in another match, so I might as well be conservative here. By the way, have I mentioned how much I love this feud?
Winner: Rey Mysterio
Andrew Wheeler: Not quite sure where they are going with this one, but I know the match will still be good. Is it time to blow off the feud now? I donâ€™t think so. Rey winning the title here would be a bit of a cop-out, and would flip-flop the belt back and forth a little too much, but I think Mysterio and Ziggler is in the cards. I think this is the time for the WWE to pull out Dos Caras Jr. and have him save Rey from unmasking. On the other hand, Jericho winning makes the most sense and would be a â€œbigâ€ moment. Oh well, I already picked Finlay and Hunter so I know Iâ€™m not winning the Roundtable Title this month, so I might as well go against my gut and go with Mysterio.
Unified Tag Team Championship:
Carlito & Primo (c) vs. Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase
Winner: Primo has been growing out his hair, but that doesn’t mean the Colons are getting a push. With Orton as champ and Legacy as tag champs, we could have a dominating summer from the heel faction.
Winners â€“ Legacy
Steven Gepp: And Flair gets involved here, costing the champs. Flair and some-one else(Hennigâ€™s kid? The new Hart Dynasty?)â€¦ Flair then becomes the JJ Dillon of the new mega-stable, across two brands, and we have our heels for the next year!
Winner â€“ Legacy
Mark Allen: Yeah Priceless is winning this one. Legacy needs momentum badly to keep up with Orton and The Colons are jobbers waiting to happen.
Winners – Priceless (new Champions)
Paul Beasley: Holy Second Generation, Batman! Watch two young guys try and mat-wrestle while two other young guys leap around like lunatics making every spot look completely harmless. The Unified tag belts have been pretty pointless since Colonic Irritation won them, so maybe a Legacy switch could be a good thing.
Winners (and new Unified Tag Team Champions): Dimply Priceless.
Raffi Shamir: Priceless have been nothing more than JTTS in recent months and if they canâ€™t beat the Colons, then theyâ€™re just Jâ€™s, without TTS. Legacy, as w hole, holding the WWE title and the tag titles will finally have some legitimacy as a stable.
Andrew Wheeler: Anyone that reads my sporadic and scattershot RAW columns knows I hate everything about the Colons. I hate Carlitoâ€™s wasted talent and Primoâ€™sâ€¦wellâ€¦Primo. I also think that Legacy should hold the damn gold already, since they look ridiculous without the tag straps. Hopefully the match will be short and the team formerly known as Priceless will walk away Unified Tag Champions.
John Cena vs. The Miz
Widro: My favorite match on the card, and an important one for Miz’s career. Cena has become an above average worker and as the veteran it will be key to see how he brings along the Miz.
Winner â€“ Cena
Steven Gepp: Like Cenaâ€™s losing to a reality TV starâ€¦ No films on the horizon, some Rock bashingâ€¦ Cenaâ€™s here for the long run. BUT… With no Edge on the card, I expect him to stick his nose into this one somehow to set up some sort of feud between him and Cena…
Winner – Cena (by DQ)
Mark Allen: Please, please, please let The Miz get the pinfall win here. Clean would be golden, but by cheating would almost be better anyways. Conspicuous by his absence is Big Show, and WWE apparently won’t let his feud with Cena die so Show helps out and Miz finally gets his validating win over Cena that he can talk about for his entire career, much like Jericho can always talk about beating Rock and Austin in one night back in 2001. It’s not like Cena is hurt by losing these days anyways. He’s like Rock in that him getting pinned doesn’t really hurt his momentum anymore.
Winner – The Miz
Paul Beasley: My heart says Miz, and my head says Cena. It won’t be a technical masterclass but there could be some fun psychology. I’m not really going to care about it too much, but I’d like to think Cena would put Miz over in this one. I’d like to think that, but I don’t.
Winner: John Cena
Raffi Shamir: I thought Iâ€™d be the only one to pick Miz here, until Mark sent me his entry. Anyway, this has been going on for such a long time that I doubt Cena will just close the deal in one match. A loss, to anyone, let along a legitimate rising midcarder like Miz, wonâ€™t hurt Cena even the slightest. If he wants to be remembered as someone in Rockâ€™s caliber, he has to do some jobs and Cena is a company man that will do what heâ€™s asked. Of course, the question is whether Vince believes Miz deserves the win and with the positive reaction to Mizâ€™s segments I think Vince knows itâ€™s too early to end this. Sure, it will not be clean, but who cares. And on a side note, I may be the biggest Cena fan on the Pulse team, but if WWE were to put the t-shirt that Miz has been wearing recently on ShopZone, Iâ€™d probably buy it. Thatâ€™s right, because itâ€™s awesome.
Winner: The Miz
Andrew Wheeler: I love this feud. I love how The Miz has really elevated himself over the past few months from joke to semi-serious threat. On the other hand, there is NO WAY the WWE would put Miz over Cena, short of a Big Show-ference. While I wouldnâ€™t mind seeing it, I donâ€™t think it will happen because Show was obsessed with being the one to beat Cena and not let anyone else do it. Eh, I think Cenaâ€™s gonna squash MIz.
Winner: John Cena
No DQ Match:
Dolf Ziggler vs. The Great Khali
Widro: I’m kinda surprised this made the PPV, but the feud has been interesting and Dolph has some charisma.
Winner â€“ Khali
Steven Gepp: WHY???
Winner â€“ certainly not the audienceâ€¦
Mark Allen: Khali winning would do nothing but derail a young star’s career as Khali in his current comedy giant role isn’t going to be challenging seriously for World Titles any time soon. Ziggler getting a pinfall win over Khali will do wonders for his young career as, like Miz above, will be able to brag about pinning a former World Heavyweight Champion for the rest of his career. Plus in the No DQ format, Khali’s heat won’t be entirely ruined as Ziggler can cheat legally to help him get the win.
Winner – Dolph Ziggler
Paul Beasley: If ever there was a match made for a PPV, it’s this one. In fact I’m surprised they haven’t saved it for SummerSlam – it deserves a bigger audience. Really – who honestly thought this was a good idea? No Edge, Taker, Shawn, Morrison, Shelton, MVP, Matt Hardy etc but we get this? They’re pushing Ziggler on SD as a credible heel, and he’s actually making it work for himself, despite the dreadful curse of a Khali-feud. This should be a stepping stone for him to move onto new things (IC shot maybe?) and Khali will continue to be happy shambling along in the background like Swamp Thing and getting the odd PPV pay-day. But dear, sweet Lord is this match going to suck donkey balls.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Raffi Shamir: Despite the participants, this has been a nice little midcard feud, something we havenâ€™t seen a lot of. Sure, the matches arenâ€™t great, but itâ€™s the best you can do with Khali. And if Ziggler will come out of this with the upper hand, then it was worth it.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Andrew Wheeler: This feud has actually been booked like a well constructed, old school feud. Sadly, it contains Khali, who is at his best in VERY short matches. Ziggler needs to win this match and move on as king heel of the midcard, so look for him to finally pin Khali. Somehow.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Now that you know what we think will happen, you can get ready for Sunday night and join us here on Pulse Wrestling for live up to the minute coverage of THE BASH!