St. Louis, MO
It’s post- WrestleMania season in WWE which means it’s time to go extreme! The first PPV since the “granddaddy of them all” is Extreme Rules, the night where WWE randomly chooses “extreme” stipulations and tacks them onto any feud big or small. With several part-time stars leaving after Mania, this card is relying heavily on Triple H & Brock Lesnar (the two part-timers to remain) to sell it. Even though that might be too much to ask of two superstars who each have competed only once this year, it’s an unfortunate necessity as WWE continues to struggle in creating new stars. This is the chance to change that with a card that could surprise. Before we get to that, let’s check out the scoreboard from our WrestleMania picks!
Paul- @PaulHcle: 6 for 9
Victor- @weenusenvy: 5 for 9
The Miz vs. Cody Rhodes
Miz is pre-show fodder for back-to-back PPVs, this time facing the “essence of mustachioed magnificence.” I’d like to point out WWE is doing a better job of getting over Cody’s mustache than Cody Rhodes himself. Miz is back from filming a Christmas TV movie for ABC Family (can’t wait for the overhype on that during this holiday season). This match was thrown on the card to get people to tune into Yahoo and it shows. While I’m on that, why in the hell does WWE expect us to watch a Pre-Show for Raw on Yahoo this Summer? Seriously, watching 3-hours of Raw is like slogging through an unending abyss of replays & never-ending in-ring non wrestling segments. We don’t need another 30 minutes of that!
Our Pick- The Miz wins.
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango
As Jerry “The King” Lawler says, “Keep your words soft & sweet because you may have to eat them.” I must admit I never saw this Fandango thing catching on. And not only has it caught, it’s caught fire and become one of the hottest things on WWE. While it may be a catchy theme song from WWE music legend Jim Johnston, one thing is clear, Fandango is not going away quickly. This feud with Jericho is really helping establish Fandango as a legit threat, and there is no one better at helping the rookies than Chris Jericho. A win for Jericho is the only way to keep this feud going. But he’s not getting a pin or submission. On a card with “extreme” stipulations, I expect a DQ finish. Hopefully, Fandango attacks Jericho with the dance floor again, because I haven’t laughed that hard in a while. To quote Lawler once again, “He couldn’t beat Jericho *on* the dance floor, so he beat him *with* it!”
Our Pick- Chris Jericho wins.
Sheamus vs. Mark Henry
I just love these two. Mark Henry is a legit badass who you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley. Sheamus has one of the most devastating and spectacular finishers in the last few years with the Brogue Kick. While I’m not a huge fan of the Strap match, it could be a surprise candidate for match of the night. Expect a slobberknocker (credit Jim Ross). And expect Sheamus to Brogue Kick Mark Henry & drag him around the ring to touch all 4 turnbuckles and win the match.
Our Pick- Sheamus wins.
Randy Orton vs. Big Show
Orton’s in his hometown of St. Louis, which is actually never good in WWE. He may pick up the win in front of his friends & family, or he may be annihilated. Orton’s been on quite a roll recently, beating former United States Champion Antonio Cesaro repeatedly, and racking up wins. Show is back to his boring, dominant self. Still not sold on one punch as a finisher. I’m going with Orton to win only because of “home field advantage.” Next month is when Big Show gets his “Payback.”
My Pick- Randy Orton wins.
Victor’s Pick- Big Show wins.
WWE Tag Team Championship- Tag Team Tornado Match:
Team Hell No (c) vs. The Shield
This is the night of The Shield. They win the Tag Title & Dean Ambrose wins the U.S. Title. I can’t make this any clearer.
Our Pick- The Shield wins.
United States Championship:
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Dean Ambrose
It appears Kofi is a transitional Champion as Ambrose & The Shield are going to dominate Extreme Rules. Kofi is in need of a change, and perhaps a loss to The Shield’s Dean Ambrose will be the catalyst. Ambrose is the star of The Shield so far, and a singles title will solidify him as the leader of the group.
My Pick- Dean Ambrose wins.
Victor’s Pick- Kofi Kingston retains.
#1 Contender’s Match- World Heavyweight Championship- I Quit Match:
Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger
Originally this was to be a World Heavyweight Championship Ladder match, with Dolph Ziggler defending his Title for the first time. Unfortunately, Jack Swagger’s is an unsafe worker in the ring and legit kicked Ziggler in the head on Smackdown a week ago. As a result, Ziggler suffered a “severe concussion” which will keep him out of action indefinitely. This same injury has caused some sports stars to never fully recover. I think I can speak for everyone here when I wish Ziggler a speedy & much more importantly a full recovery.
That said, it’s times like these I hate how WWE Creative works. An unsafe worker in Swagger, who has a history of causing injuries to fellow superstars, is being rewarded with a PPV paycheck, a high profile match for #1 Contendership, and will likely work a long program with Ziggler because of this. Swagger should be buried for this, not rewarded for it. This is a guy who put the World Champion on the shelf with such a dangerous injury that no one really knows what to expect next for Ziggler. The match should be a good spot-fest of weapons, but I remember a time when I Quit matches were used to end feuds once & for all, not as a backup plan. A better stipulation would have been a Submission match. Both are skilled in submission, both are nursing injuries, and the I Quit match is similar to the Last Man Standing match, which is the WWE Title match stipulation.
My Pick- Jack Swagger wins (because Vince McMahon is an idiot).
Victor’s Pick- Alberto Del Rio wins.
Steel Cage Match:
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar
This should culminate a year long feud between these two. Their match at WrestleMania, while not the best of the night, was not nearly as bad as I anticipated. This match is being heavily pushed, but the way it’s being promoted doesn’t feel “big time.” To start, Brock laid out comedy act 3MB as Paul Heyman proposed the challenge. Then, Heyman was made to look a fool as he ate a Pedigree from Triple H when the challenge was accepted. To top it off, Brock & Paul “invaded” WWE Headquarters in Stamford, CT last week to intimidate office workers & destroy Triple H’s office. In Triple H’s office was a flat screen tv from the first or second year HDTVs were ever produced, a Walmart desk that Brock could have waved at & it would have collapsed, & an IBM thinkpad that might be 5 or 10 years old. Needless to say, they didn’t put much effort into that endeavor. Then, Triple H shrugs off the fact that his office was destroyed and makes fun of Heyman. But the thing that really annoyed me was ending the go-home Raw with Brock looking like a clueless idiot in a Steel Cage with Triple H, who stood tall in the Cage after beating up Brock & tossing him out of it. Brock looks less like “the beast incarnate” & more like Triple H’s bitch.
Victor brings up an interesting point. He believes Brock has to win to legitimize him. A Brock Lesnar win could also set up a run toward the World Heavyweight or WWE Championship or a WrestleMania program with The Rock. But for any of that to happen, Brock has to win in the cage. A scenario that could extend this feud is a race out of the cage that results in a tie. Then, they can go on a 2 month break & come back at Summer Slam for “The Final Encounter.”
My Pick- Triple H wins.
Victor’s Pick- Brock Lesnar wins.
WWE Championship- Last Man Standing Match:
John Cena (c) vs. Ryback
How do you take a hot act and make him nearly irrelevant in just one month? Sudden heel turn! Even with his limited in-ring skills, Ryback was easily one of the more popular superstars of last year. But his sudden heel turn has been met with indifference from the WWE Universe. So putting him in this match might be Creative’s way of putting Ryback out to pasture. Another story is Cena’s Achilles injury & whether or not it is legit. I must admit I am indifferent to this match. I really don’t care who wins.
But I do care about the WWE Championship. For 50 years, it’s been the symbol of excellence in wrestling. Names like Bruno Sammartino, Buddy Rogers, Bob Backlund, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, Mick Foley, The Rock, Undertaker, Edge, CM Punk, & Cena dot the landscape of the Title and represent a who’s who of the best of the best. With the WWE Championship recently celebrating 50 years, I hope to see new stars rise to the title & see it continue to evolve.
Our Pick- John Cena retains.
There’s potential in this card. It’s up to the superstars to go out and steal the show. With the lack of part-time stars, this show is a sign of the summer plans of WWE. How does WWE boost its ratings? And how can you really go “extreme” but not allow superstars to bleed, accidentally?
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