11/21/2013 03:26:00 AM Paul H
Survivor Series 2013
One of the WWE’s most enduring PPV events returns for its 27th installment this Sunday. The event features both top titles on the line as well as two Survivor Series style tag team elimination matches. As most of you know, I’m a Clevelander and this event holds a special significance to me as the inaugural event occurred in Richfield, Ohio in 1987. Richfield is a suburb of Cleveland and the Cleveland area has hosted Survivor Series 4 times, most of any other city. Many significant WWE moments have occurred at the Survivor Series, the first ever Casket match, the first Elimination Chamber match, Undertaker’s debut, and subsequently Undertaker defeating Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship one year later, the start of CM Punk’s 434-day WWE Championship reign, and of course the “Montreal Screwjob.” What history will unfold this year?
I am happy to announce this month’s predictions will include a new predictor! Victor’s brother Adam, who is as much as diehard wrestling fan as the rest of us, was kind enough to give me his picks for the event. I hope he will continue to join Victor & I next month. I suppose that makes this a Triple Threat Preview. I wonder how we did at Hell in a Cell...
Me- @PaulHcle- 2 for 5
Victor- @weenusenvy- 4 for 5
Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz
An inexplicable heel turn by Miz put this match together after Raw on Monday. Why after Raw and not during the 3-hour telecast? I’m not sure. Maybe because WWE Creative thought that time was better spent having both General Managers in unwatchable “matches” that served no purpose than to put over The Authority. I’m just guessing. Anyway, Miz turned heel and Kofi got the old short arm during their tag match on Raw. That’s all it took to get a match on the Kickoff show. I hope the rest of the Locker Room is taking notice.
My Pick- Kofi Kingston wins.
Victor’s Pick- The Miz wins.
Adam’s Pick- Kofi Kingston wins.
Big E Langston (c) vs. Curtis Axel
This match was scheduled for Hell in a Cell’s Kickoff, but was called off due to an injury suffered by Axel. The injury wasn’t too serious and Axel competed on Raw where he lost the Title on Monday. This rematch was quickly booked on Wednesday during a WWE.com interview segment with Triple H. Why not book the rematch on Raw, where more people might get to see it and therefore be aware of the match when it pops up on the PPV? Again, I don’t know. WWE keeps pushing online & app to a fanbase that clearly isn’t interested beyond Monday nights. I love the upside in Langston. Big man with a different look from the rest of the Locker Room. He still needs more polish and his moveset isn’t as diverse as others. But at least he has personality, which is more than I can say about his opponent. Axel’s stock is falling fast and this feels like a blow off rematch. Without Paul Heyman as a mouthpiece, Axel’s flaws are becoming more apparent. It’s a shame with his pedigree.
Our Pick- Big E Langston retains.
Tag Team Match:
CM Punk & Daniel Bryan vs. Wyatt Family
Congrats to Daniel Bryan on carrying the company while John Cena was on the shelf. His reward? He is pushed completely out of the Title picture and placed in a feud with the Wyatts. Bryan & Punk are in a holding pattern now as the top titles are dominated by John Cena & Randy Orton (Holy crap! It’s 2007 again?). With the Wyatts attacking both throughout the month and claiming “The devil made me do it,” Punk & Bryan are looking to gain revenge on their assailants. The team of Punk & Bryan is wrestling fan’s wet dream as they are two of the best technical wrestlers in the last decade, both heavy fan favorites. While the Wyatt Family is on the PPV poster, they are not getting the win here. Punk & Bryan need the momentum heading towards the Royal Rumble in January and the Wyatts are such a unique team that a loss here will be helpful to building their characters.
Our Pick- CM Punk & Daniel Bryan win.
7-on7 Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Divas Match:
Total Divas vs. Every Other Diva We Can Scrape Up
The Total Divas show is a hit for WWE, but one thing they didn’t account for is how the show has split the Divas division. There’s really no good or evil in the division. You’re either on Total Divas or you’re not. And if you’re not, you’re not getting tv time. The lone exception to that rule is Divas Champion AJ Lee, who leads the Diva Scrapheap into action. AJ is a bright spot in the division, and it’s a shame she’s being tossed into this match with no build or reason. This match is clearly on the card because of the tv show, and the Total Divas are winning.
Our Pick- Total Divas win.
Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match- 5-on-5:
Cody Rhodes, Goldust, The Usos, & Rey Mysterio vs. The Shield & The Real Americans
The Shield celebrates its one year anniversary at the Survivor Series, and they put together an impressive rookie year. They look to build on their first season in the Traditional 5-on-5 match. The Shield is scuffling a bit since losing the Tag Title to Cody Rhodes & Goldust last month. The Shield will likely eliminate Goldust in this match, setting up Cody to eliminate all 3 members of The Shield. Great to see Rey Mysterio return at the end of Raw Country on Monday. His record in this type of match is impressive. Rey has never lost a Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team match in his career. But I believe this is the year he loses his first. Look for this match to likely open the PPV portion of the show.
My Pick- Team Shield wins.
Victor’s Pick- Team Mysterio wins.
Adam’s Pick- Team Shield wins.
World Heavyweight Championship:
John Cena (c) vs. Alberto Del Rio
That was quick! One match in and Cena is a Champion again. The World Title looks weird around his waist. But it’s going to be there awhile, so get used to it. Del Rio is gaining more heat as a heel than he ever had as a face, but he’s just not a credible threat to Cena. And Cena’s sneaky attack on Raw did not help Del Rio look more dangerous. It made Del Rio look like an idiot for not seeing it coming. It also greatly weakened the Cross Armbreaker finisher of Del Rio, as Cena was able to essentially shrug it off a week later even with a steel chair involved. In summary, SuperCena is back and there’s not a damn thing anyone can do to stop him.
Our Pick- John Cena retains.
Randy Orton (c) vs. Big Show
I’ve never seen a wrestling character more poorly written than that of Big Show. How can you cut the legs off a giant, reduce him to tears, fire him, & then have him threaten a lawsuit to get a shot at the top title in the company? There’s no logic in this story. Big Show threatens to sue so he gets a title shot, but he’s too stupid to request ANY stipulation that would help him win the match? That’s like getting a blank check and writing in $21.24, because you really wanted a new pair of earbuds, and luckily the Skullcandy brand was on sale that day. Orton looks like a complete buffoon when going toe-to-toe with The Authority. His constant whining to The Shield & The Authority come off as mid-card. It’s not a heel tactic if the heel isn’t believable as Champion. The Authority has chopped off both competitors at the knees. Not to mention every WWE Championship match since Summer Slam had a screwy finish. Even if Big Show wins, you have no reason to expect he will keep it more than a day. If this match is why you purchase this PPV, I’d love to hear the rationale behind it.
Our Pick- Randy Orton retains.
Tentative plans are in place to attend the 2014 Royal Rumble in Pittsburgh, PA in January for the 3 of us. I’ve always considered the Rumble a bucket list event for every wrestling fan, so I hope plans don’t fall through on this one. If anyone knows any good ticket deals for 4 tickets, let me know @PaulHcle or @weenusenvy. Plus Raw is in Cleveland the night after the Rumble, so that will be a big weekend for yours truly. Survivor Series is when things start to get interesting again, and I hope this year’s event can deliver. We’ll be back next month for TLC! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Copyright 2013- All rights reserved
10/24/2013 03:11:00 AM Paul H
WWE Hell in a Cell 2013
American Airlines Arena
I think it’s pretty clear after 2 PPV debacles; WWE needs to deliver with Hell in a Cell. The WWE Championship has been vacated for over a month, and each day that continues the Title loses credibility. The last thing WWE needs is their top championship losing credibility. But Hell in a Cell is a career defining match, where legends are born & legacies are made. This year, 6 men enter The Cell in 2 separate matches, 2 of them for their first time. Before we get to The Cell, let’s take a look back at how I did predicting Battleground.
Battleground Picks- 4 for 6
Kickoff Show- Intercontinental Championship:
Curtis Axel (c) vs. Big E Langston
I like the idea of putting two young stars on the Kickoff as a way to build interest & get young talent experience in front of a big crowd. But Axel’s push has floundered & Langston is less than a year into his time on the main roster. Neither superstar should be challenging for the Intercontinental Title, at least, not unless the Title is devalued into nothingness. Axel will likely keep the Title, so expect him to win, but look for Langston to dominate this match. Paul Heyman’s interference will likely help Axel get the victory.
The Pick- Curtis Axel retains.
AJ Lee (c) vs. Brie Bella
Ok. Enough. This match wasn’t great the first time, and we really didn’t need a repeat. The Bellas face turn was as sudden as a migraine. You didn’t see it coming, it didn’t make sense, and you kinda wish it would just stop. Neither Bella twin appears comfortable in their new role, and I’m not a huge fan of putting Brie & Daniel Bryan together on WWE TV. It feels forced and unnecessary, just like this Title match. AJ is clearly the superior diva in a rather weak division. Eventually, Brie Bella will capture the Title. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen at Hell in a Cell.
The Pick- AJ Lee retains.
Tag Team Championship- Triple Threat Match:
The Usos vs. The Rhodes Brothers (c) vs. The Shield
The Tag Team Championship win of Cody Rhodes & Goldust was a nice surprise, but with Big Show’s interference felt hollow. Not to mention how the Rhodes’ skipped past the original #1 contenders, The Usos, to get the Title shot & subsequent win. None of which was explained. Then, the #1 Contenders match on Raw ends in a no decision thanks to the Tag Champs getting punked at ringside by a member of The Shield not in the match, but that somehow causes all 3 teams to engage in a melee? I like the idea of a Triple Threat Tag match, but execution is going to be the key. Will it be one member from each team in the ring at the same time? Or the contrived two men in the ring, with one full team left on the apron hoping to catch a blind tag to get in the match? Since The Usos have been continually on the short end of this feud since The Rhodes’ involvement, I expect they will get their just due here with a big victory.
The Pick- The Usos win.
World Heavyweight Championship:
Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. John Cena
The Champ is… back? Already? I guess he really is Superman. I’m not going into a long-winded spiel about how annoying the Cena hype on TV has been. Nor will I point out the fact Cena is challenging for the World Title, not the WWE Title. I will instead point out Cena’s best days are behind him as he is 10+ years in the company. He is reaching a point where injuries are mounting and time off for Cena could be a regular occurrence going forward to keep him healthy for the big matches at WrestleMania. Of course, none of that is actually going to happen. Vince McMahon will ride Cena like a race horse from here til the next injury, with little time for recovery. As for this match, does a World Title win do anything for Cena? Not really. The World Title has lost much of its credibility, thanks to having 2 “top” Champions for the last 10 years. Cena winning the World Title at this point would be akin to the Yankees winning another World Series. Yeah, there will be fans cheering, but all you’ll be doing is changing the number next to “World Championships.” It has very little impact. But what if Del Rio defeated Cena? That opens more options for booking going forward, and it gives Del Rio a much needed legitimate victory to build on. I know it’s wishful thinking, but I have to go with Del Rio here.
The Pick- Alberto Del Rio retains.
2 on 1 Handicap Hell in a Cell Match:
CM Punk vs. Ryback & Paul Heyman
This is clearly the end of the Punk/Heyman feud. And there is no more fitting place to end it than Hell in a Cell. Punk & Heyman’s continued greatness on the microphone & in the ring have made this an enjoyable feud to watch. Heyman’s promo on the go-home Raw was particularly great, showing the great range of character Heyman has displayed during the attacks on his “prodigal son.” Punk’s promos have furthered his aggressive desire to eradicate Heyman from existence. The Ryback part of this equation is to give Punk a big bodyguard to go through to get to Heyman. It should be noted, this is the 2nd time Punk & Ryback will meet inside Hell in a Cell. The circumstances are much different here. No matter what, Punk has to win this match. WWE’s continued bad booking over the previous two PPVs means they absolutely have to deliver here. So expect CM Punk to win, get his hands on Heyman, and beat him from pillar to post inside The Cell.
The Pick- CM Punk wins.
WWE Championship:Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan
Special Guest Referee- Shawn Michaels
Not that I’m one to put myself over, but I did predict a no finish main event at Battleground. I will grant you at the time of that post, I was still sour on WWE’s mishandling of Daniel Bryan. Wait. That hasn’t changed. For some reason, the WWE Title picture features Orton, Bryan, Big Show, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, & Stephanie McMahon. If you’re keeping score, only 2 of them have a shot at winning the vacant WWE Championship inside Hell in a Cell. The final scene of Raw on Monday was Bryan celebrating with Big Show, who had driven the cab of a tractor trailer into the arena for reasons still unclear. I guess it was “Big man, Big truck.” Hell, trying to make sense of WWE booking is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle and realizing half way through you are missing pieces. Orton has the clear edge in terms of Cell matches, as this is Bryan’s 1st foray into the Cell. The question mark hanging over this match is the special referee, Shawn Michaels. HBK has a history with both competitors. A feud with Orton in 2007 (which included a match with Orton at Judgment Day. The end of which featured a fantastic call by Jim Ross of Orton’s postmatch RKO—“Oh you no good bastard!” That call is the only reason I picked up that DVD.) HBK also gets credit for training Daniel Bryan. But don’t forget the specter of Triple H hanging over this match. HBK & HHH have played up their friendship throughout the build to this match. With all that in mind, I’m picking Bryan to win the Title. This match cannot fail. There’s too much riding on it. Plus, too many bad decisions by the booking crew have lead to feelings of mistrust between the fans & WWE. This match is the way to appease the fans, and a clear winner is necessary.
The Pick- Daniel Bryan wins.
This PPV needs to deliver. You can’t ask people to spend $55 on a product and not give them what they expect. The no finish at Battleground, the next day Title abeyance controversy of Night of Champions, & the general dominance of “The Authority” have killed any momentum there may have been after a shocking ending to Summer Slam in August. With CM Punk’s 6 month feud with Paul Heyman ending, expect him to enter the WWE Title picture soon. And a fresh face in the Title scene would be a nice change of pace. Orton & Bryan need a break, and the fans need a break from it. Hopefully, their feud ends in The Cell as it was designed to do.
I’d also like to thank everyone who has stuck with me for these previews. It’s been one year since I started this and I enjoy putting together these previews, both as a writer & as a chance to blow off some steam towards the WWE product. I thank you once again, and I’ll see you next month for Suvivor Series. If you need me, I’ll be busy with WWE 2K14, but you can find me @PaulHcle.
Copyright 2013- All rights reserved
10/15/2013 07:59:00 PM David Funk
The WVU Mountaineers took a much needed bye week after being crushed by Baylor 73-42. As the college football season hits the mid-season mark and Bowl games loom in the not so distant future, the team has looked mediocre at best. Their .500 record has some fans throwing up their hands in disgust while others are still hopeful they can turn things around and rack up a few more wins. They’ll play Texas Tech next, currently enjoying their first place spot in the Big-12 conference. It’ll be a tough one for the Mountaineers, but after that their schedule looks lighter, which could bring a little light at the end of the tunnel. They’ll play Kansas, Iowa State, Kansas State, TCU, and Texas, none of which are having seasons to be proud of. It’s up to WVU to take advantage of that and keep themselves on the plus side of .500. This next game will be at home, so look for some WVU football tickets for sale and come cheer on the team!
WVU Athletic Director happens to be the father of NFL QB Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts) so it would behoove WVU players to give their best efforts-connections like that could be useful if they are interested in an NFL career themselves. Does the team have a shot at making a miracle comeback-perhaps not but a lower tier bowl game might not be out of the question. Then again perhaps this is a season best written off as a rebuilding one and fans encouraged to wait until next year.
10/04/2013 03:05:00 AM Paul H
First Niagara Center
A new PPV concept welcomes us to October! It’s Battleground, and its purpose and concept are a little unclear. New name for Over The Limit, same general card. I continue to be unimpressed by the PPV build. This PPV feels like a rehash of Night of Champions, especially its Main Event. But we’ll get to that. First, let’s rewind back to Night of Champions and see how we did.
Paul- @PaulHcle- 5 for 6
Victor- @weenusenvy- 3 for 6
Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow
Neither of these superstars should be relegated to the Kickoff show. They are too good for being left off the card. The previous Money in the Bank contract winner vs. the current. Sandow needs victories to legitimize him as a threat to the World Heavyweight Championship. This would be a good stabilizer for Sandow. However, Ziggler is in much greater need of a win and a show-stealing performance to get out of WWE’s doghouse. What he did to end up there I do not know, but Ziggler is being buried so quickly he may need more than a shovel to dig himself out. I’ve never claimed to know more than WWE Creative, but I would love to know what the hell they were thinking when they put these 2 in a no-money match that only a limited audience will see.
Our Pick- Dolph Ziggler wins.
CM Punk vs. Ryback
Did I call that one last month or what? Paul Heyman gets the pinfall victory over CM Punk at Night of Champions. Did not see Ryback as the new “Paul Heyman guy,” and I’m surprised how easily Heyman is getting Ryback over. The bully gimmick Ryback is using is effective at establishing him as an arrogant jerk who fans want to see get his comeuppance. Adding Heyman in his corner is a needed added stink to give the fans a reason to see Punk beat Ryback. Punk’s feud with Heyman is one of the only interesting stories to come out of WWE since the Triple H domination angle took hold. Punk & Heyman are great in their roles. Punk playing the betrayed face against Heyman’s heel who is always one step ahead. It’s simple but effective storytelling. I hope Punk gets the win here because he’s lost far too frequently on PPV this year. It’s time for Punk to get the ball rolling and to build momentum heading into the winter months and then WrestleMania season. Ryback can easily lose this match by DQ, attacking Punk with the kendo stick to gain retribution for the attack on Raw and extend this feud to Hell in a Cell.
Our Pick- CM Punk wins.
Curtis Axel (c) vs. R-Truth
Thrown on the card at the last minute, I don’t expect much to happen here. Easy enhancement talent for Axel, who has yet to develop his character or do anything above average as a “Paul Heyman guy.” Axel needs a win just to maintain a reason to stand next to Heyman & Ryback during their various promos.
Our Pick- Curtis Axel retains.
AJ Lee (c) vs. Brie Bella
Alas, the “Total Divas” have their girl to win the Divas Title. AJ is far and away the top diva in the division, but the E Network reality show needs a happy ending in its season finale and this is likely it. To put in perspective how much the Title means to AJ, she has a tattoo of the date she won the Divas Title on her neck. That takes commitment, and is a great show of respect to a Championship that really doesn’t have much credibility since it’s relatively new. AJ should be commended for her hard work in putting over a divas division that she correctly called full of “useless women” in promo last month. Instead, she becomes a casualty of reality tv. (I guess she now has something in common with: Miley Cyrus, Any Kardashian, that Omarosa woman from “The Apprentice” who is apparently in a relationship with Titus O’Neil, etc.)
Our Pick- Brie Bella wins.
World Heavyweight Championship- Battleground Hardcore Match:
Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Rob Van Dam
This match will test just how stupid WWE believes its audience to be. It’s fairly common knowledge RVD’s contract expires soon, so they’re not putting the Title on him here. But Hardcore matches are RVD’s bread and butter, so expect a couple big spots in this one, culminating in a Ricardo Rodriguez heel turn. Ricardo is a far better heel, and he needs Del Rio to get over with the crowd.
Our Pick- Alberto Del Rio retains.
Tag Team Match:
The Shield vs. Cody Rhodes & Goldust (w/ Dusty Rhodes)
First the stipulations. If Team Rhodes wins, Cody & Goldust get WWE contracts. If The Shield wins, Cody & Goldust will never work in WWE again & their father, Dusty, is fired as trainer in NXT. A little convoluted but it makes sense. I really don’t understand the point of this angle. Triple H’s power trip caused Cody to be fired because he couldn’t beat the then- WWE Champion Randy Orton. Then, Goldust shows up and he loses to the WWE Champion. That brings Dusty into the show, where he gets threatened with a beating by The Shield or Big Show being forced to knock him out. The latter being the case. Somehow, that leads to Cody & Goldust jumping The Shield before an 11-on-3 Handicap Elimination Match on Raw. And that leads to Triple H & Stephanie McMahon offering them a match to regain employment? By that twisted logic, if you want a WWE contract all you have to do is jump the guardrail and cheap shot a superstar before a match. That might lead to liability issues (and we here at the site do not condone or endorse any of our readers to jump the rails at a WWE event. Last thing we need is that on our record.)
But anyway that’s how this match came about. First let me point out if Cody or Goldust had defeated Orton in either of those matches, they would have been entitled to a Championship match and Orton would have looked like a hapless loser. Especially if Goldust had won. But instead we get to see a 70-year old man beaten twice in 2 weeks, because it’s “best for business.” All it accomplished was making the Rhodes Family look like morons for trusting The McMahons. Why all of this sudden animosity from The McMahons towards the Rhodes? Until now there was never any storyline connection of McMahons hate Rhodes. Did Triple H & Stephanie wake up one morning and say “Gee, I hate Cody Rhodes.” “You know what, honey, I just had the same thought about Dustin… er… Goldust.” “Well, great minds think alike.” “I know, now eat your damn oatmeal. You don’t want to end up like Dad, do you?” (Gotta love kayfabe)
I don’t see any reason the Rhodes win here. They are outnumbered & to this point have been outsmarted. They would make better foils if they were the unemployed family seeking retribution against The McMahons by running in and interrupting the shows regularly.
My Pick- The Shield wins.
Victor’s Pick- The Rhodes Family wins.
Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton
Big thank you to whoever bought Triple H a thesaurus. Because now, instead of simply stripping Daniel Bryan of the Title the night after Night of Champions (in Cleveland, Ohio!), he held the Title in abeyance. Which is a word that if I hear it again I will punch Michael Cole in the face. Don’t push me. All I have to do is jump the rail in Columbus at the upcoming Smackdown taping, punch Cole, high-five JBL, and get a WWE contract (that logic hurts my head).
I don’t understand vacating the Title so quickly after Night of Champions, and more importantly, why would you put either of the NOC competitors in the match to crown a new Champion if there is talk of a conspiracy to win the Title? At the very least have a 4 man tournament on Raw to build to this as a Tournament Final. Don’t simply rebook the Night of Champions main event as the Battleground main event. That’s just lazy booking. And how about addressing the conspiracy? If referee Scott Armstrong made a fast count, why not interview him for The App and get his side of it? Or have someone above Triple H & Stephanie conduct the investigation into the alleged conspiracy, so that there’s a glimmer of hope the babyface isn’t going to be screwed on Raw the night after Battleground if he wins the Title for the 3rd consecutive PPV? And how is a ruthless Randy Orton, who is a liability to the company by assaulting its superstars a good “face of the company?”
These are just some of the questions that bounce around in my head when I watch Raw, because I find myself constantly rebooking this crap to make some sense. I have no problem suspending my disbelief watching wrestling. I have a problem with disregarding logic. If I look at a sandwich, see it has ham & cheese on it, I expect when I bite into that sandwich I don’t taste bologna & ketchup. And if I do, I double-check the sandwich or go to the hospital, as I’m likely suffering a stroke. None of this storyline has made sense, not since the original Title change at Summer Slam led to Daniel Bryan’s burial, but he won the Title at the next PPV, only to lose it the next night without defending it. I fully expect this match to end in a DQ or count out, which means the Title doesn’t change hands, and the rematch at Hell in a Cell finally crowns a new WWE Champion. Which means WWE would be without a WWE Champion for a month, leaving World Champion Alberto Del Rio as the top Champion in the company. Explain to me how that’s best for business.
Our Pick- Randy Orton wins.
I admittedly will not be watching this PPV. I will be fully invested in the MLB Postseason, rooting against the Tampa Bay Rays for bouncing my Cleveland Indians in the Wild Card Game. I’m hoping for a Boston sweep. My World Series picks are Boston vs. the Dodgers, with the Sox taking it in 6 games. But I would absolutely love to see the Pirates make a deep run in the Postseason.
I should also mention Victor was in attendance for the recent Raw live from Cleveland and was spotted on camera several times during the show. He wasn’t hard to find, as he was on the floor in the back row near the stage, on the right side of the ramp. I hear he had a great time and may or may not have met the Tag Team Champions The Shield. Here’s hoping next time WWE comes to Cleveland they bring a PPV. Our crowds deserve it.
Thanks for your time. I’ve done all the damage I can do here. We’ll do it again for Hell in a Cell.
Copyright 2013- All rights reserved