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Armageddon PPV Preview
(And Some Other News)
December 13, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Uh oh... it's Friday the 13th, and I hear Armageddon is coming soon.  Luckily for you, I'm not some pansy-ass!  I'm here, right on schedule, braving these harbingers of doom, to bring you a weekend column.  We'll preview Sunday's pay-per-view first, and then unload with a small dose of newsbites:

WWE Armageddon PPV Preview

Well, nobody's perfect.  A month after delivering the first top-to-bottom "good-on-paper" card since August, the Fed has sort of slacked off for their year-ending effort.  Yes, there are two potential Match of the Year type contests here, but there are also a few holes on this card.  The normally dependable SmackDown! brand, for instance, is apparently leaving the cruiserweights at home so that they can promote footage of Dawn Marie and Torrie Wilson in a hotel room.

What kind of sense does that make?

But let's not get the cart in front of the horse... we'll give you a complete rundown of each match/segment, and let you decide which ones are worth getting excited for yourself:

SHAWN MICHAELS vs. TRIPLE H (Best of Three Falls for the World Title: Street Fight, Cage Match, Ladder Match)

The story behind this feud is years old, dating back to when these two were allies in Degeneration X.  But for our purposes, it goes back to August, when Michaels was goaded out of retirement to face HHH in a street fight.  Michaels won, but was "re-retired" after a HHH sledgehammer attack.

But not so fast: Michaels recovered, and the only way Eric Bischoff would give him a shot at revenging himself upon HHH was if he participated in the six-man Elimination Chamber match last month.  Michaels didn't just participate, he beat HHH for the World Title, making him, after a 4 and a half year lay-off, a regular performer once again.

So now, in the third installment of their feud, Michaels and HHH will be combining elements of both their previous encounters (street fight, cage match) along with an always-popular third gimmick match (ladder match).  Simply put, Michaels and HHH were spectacular in their first match (the street fight), and were good in their second show-down (the overly gimmicky "Chamber" was the real star of that one, though).  This assortment of gimmicks, however, would seem to strike the perfect balance between freshening up a five-month-old feud while still not taking the spotlight away from the two performers... which is where it belongs.

Plus, you have to consider the last time the Fed ran one of these Three-in-One specials:  nearly two years ago HHH vs. Steve Austin was the 2001 Match of the Year (my opinion, anyway), with a similar gimmick.  And I'd dare say that Michaels -- even today, post-back injury -- is a more versatile performer than Austin was at that time.  This should be really good.

My Prediction:  all signs point to HHH regaining the title.  He's already jobbed to Michaels twice, and on RAW, Michaels laid him out to end the show.  It's time for HHH to get his heat back.  The only thing nagging me:  the timing is off.  Michaels little run here shouldn't wrap up till WrestleMania; writing him out now would just make his entire comeback seem...  I don't know, a bit pointless.  There is still, for instance, a really good feud for Michaels vs. Chris Jericho.  Unfortunately, with Steiner committed to RAW, now, Jericho's likely to be his first feud, so let's just stop overthinking this and say:  I predict Triple H will win as expected.  But I really hope that I'm wrong.


Angle emerged as the #1 Contender a little over a week ago, besting Edge, Chris Benoit, and Eddie Guerrero in a four-way top contenders' match.  And just last night, he got Stephanie McMahon to lift Brock Lesnar's suspension so that Lesnar can be in his (Angle's) corner at the PPV.

It's not necessarily that Show has been so awesome since winning the title last month that Angle thinks he'll need help to cheat to win... it's that Show's got Paul Heyman in his corner, and it was Heyman who was the deciding factor when Show beat Lesnar last month.  Having Lesnar in his corner means Angle probably won't have to worry about Heyman's interference.  You can't argue with Angle's Vulcan-like logic...

The best things about this match are storyline-related... because action-wise, well, Kurt Angle may be awesome and the Wrestle of the Year, but unlike Lesnar (who is 4 inches taller and 50 pounds heavier than Angle), he probably won't be able to convincingly do most of his offensive moves on Show.  Angle may be the Michelangelo of the squared circle, but on this night, he'll be limited to using just black and white.

Storyline-wise, though... oh, there is a killer one just sitting, waiting to be plucked from the vine, here.  Not only would it relieve Show of the title, but it would set up a three-month long build-up to an Angle/Lesnar show-down, which could be spectacular.  Here's how I'd do it:  first, remember that last night, Angle told Lesnar that he'd never get another title shot at Show because Heyman would never let it happen.  Then he buttered Lesnar up with talk of how amazing a Lesnar/Angle match could be, promising that if he (Angle) won the title, Lesnar could get first crack.  OK, so that brings us to Sunday night...  as Angle predicted, Lesnar cannot wait to get his hands on Paul Heyman, and if he catches a lucky ref bump, Lesnar can even lay out Show with an F-5.  Lesnar gets some mild vindication, and Angle takes advantage to win the WWE Title.  When Lesnar joins Angle in the ring to close the show, however, there is no mutual respect/see-you-in-the-ring-at-the-next-PPV vibe, however.  Angle just ignores him and acts like he did it all by himself.  Angle regains full heel status on the first SD! after the PPV, where he avoids granting Lesnar -- who has been suspended for a month and hasn't beaten anybody to prove he's a #1 contender, afterall! -- a title shot.  At first, Angle's subtle about it, but the announcers are on to him: he used and manipulated Lesnar's hatred of Show and Heyman, and only won the Title because of Lesnar, but has no intention of ever facing Lesnar one-on-one.  In time, though, Angle would have to cop to the truth, calling Lesnar stupid and gullible for falling for the ruse, while at the same time doing the typical villain shtick of laying out some impossible path for the hero to take that would allow him to reach his goal (in this case, a title match against Angle).  And of course, over three months, Lesnar does the impossible, and -- BAM! -- it's Angle vs. Lesnar at WrestleMania in a match that's got more than just the amateur champ vs. amateur champ context, but also three months of a great storyline build-up.  This all came to me last night as I watched SD!, so there are, of course, plenty of holes to fill, but the overall idea... well, this is stuff I'd pay to see play out!

My Prediction:  Lesnar helps Angle win the title.  Just because it sets up my Fantasy Booking scenario of Angle then avoiding Lesnar (Lesnar takes next month to get revenge on Show and Heyman, then?), building up to their showdown at Mania...


Along with the Three-in-One main event, this is the other match on the card that is 100% guaranteed to be worth the price of admission.  Benoit and Eddie could sleepwalk their way through a *** match, and I have a feeling both will be plenty motivated to do better than that, here.

Like HHH and HBK, you could trace this rivalry back years, to when both buys were part of the Radicalz.  But for the sake of brevity, let's try to limit ourselves to the last few months, when Benoit and Guerrero have increasingly found themselves on opposite sides of the ring in matches for the WWE Tag Titles.  It was just last month, actually, that Eddie (with his nephew Chavo) became tag champs, an honor they still hold.

Benoit and Eddie saw their personal, one-on-one rivalry intensify a little over a week ago, when they were involved in a #1 Contenders' Match.  Benoit eliminated Guerrero from the four-way match, and then Eddie came back (illegally) and played a role in Benoit's elimination.  And just like that, the PPV showdown is signed!

Eddie's a fantastic dick-ish heel, and a solid in-ring worker, while Benoit's strength is his technical wrestling ability (which is amazing enough that the fans must appreciate it, rendering him a viable babyface).  No one would dare doubt the workrate here, but I think those components will also combine to ensure strong crowd interest and a little bit of sizzle for this match.

My prediction:  Benoit goes over.  Although I realize now that I'm not really "predicting" as much as I am telling you what I'd do if I was in charge... because in my fantasy scenario, if Benoit wins, it positions him to be a challenger to new champ Angle (while Angle is busy dodging Lesnar, he is instead forced to face his former partner).  How awesome would those main events be?  And Eddie walks out with his tag title intact, so he's not hurt too badly...


Jericho and Christian have managed to piss off just about everyone in the RAW tag division in the last month.  First, the re-united Dudleys shot up the rankings, and even thought they had won the tag titles from "Vitamin C" a few weeks ago...  but the combination of Chief Morley's selective enforcement of the rules and Jericho and Christian's outright breaking of them left the Duds without the titles.  A week and a half ago, Booker and Goldust were similarly robbed of the straps when granted a title shot out of nowhere.

Storm and Regal, it should be noted, are the additional heel team (leveling things at two heel and two babyface tandems each) because they've been undefeated since they started teaming full time, following the demise of the UnAmericans.

The only notable storyline sidebar to this match is that Goldust nearly quit this past week on RAW, saying he was dragging Booker T down, and he was the reason why Booker never won a tag title since he started teaming with Goldust.  A Booker T pep talk later, and Goldy was back on board.  Hmmm...

There are enough good workers and over characters here to make sure this one is solid.  As with any multi-way match, it'll have to avoid becoming a clusterfrick, but my hopes are that this is a third really enjoyable segment for the PPV.

My prediction:  Gotta go with Booker and Goldust... otherwise, their little skits from earlier this week are pointless.  This is the night Booker and Goldust get the titles.  Finally.


Victoria was the surprise winner a month ago, beating Trish for the women's title... and while Trish hasn't had any real success avenging herself upon  Victoria since then, Jacqueline has.  Jackie pinned Victoria in a non-title match two weeks ago.

So Trish has remained a bee in Victoria's bonnet this past month, while Jackie has interjected herself into the mix with a win over the champ.  The result is this three-way match...

Trish and Victoria spent much of the fall involved in what could reasonably be called the most physical women's feud in WWF/WWE history; it was to the point that Jerry Lawler's attempts to turn it into a titillating catfight were demonstrably misguided, as the two women were clearly focused on the in-ring competition.  Adding Jackie to the mix won't hurt that vibe, as she's as tough and physical a competitor as there is on the women's roster.  I'm anticipating another match that should just be plain good, without the usual "good for a women's match" qualifier.

My prediction: Trish will beat Victoria for the title, and it'll happen while Jackie is tied up getting the better of Steven Richards (who will inevitably interfere on Victoria's behalf).


"A-Train" is formerly known as "Albert," just in case you weren't paying attention last night to the latest desperate attempt to get the guy over with fans.  Hey, just give it up and go back to the original idea of promoting him as George "the Animal" Steele Jr., already!  I promise that would work better than anything you've tried so far...

Anyway, this is one of those portions of the show where I'm not too sure about the Fed's decision making...  A-Train wasted Rey Mysterio a week ago, which resulted in him crossing paths with Edge (Rey's partner).  A's M.O. is to attack people's knees, it seems, and when he and Edge were on opposite sides of a tag match last night, that's exactly what he did:  attacked Edge's already-injured knee.  

So at least everything makes sense:  you've got a big hairy bad guy who has brutally savaged the good-looking, smaller babyface...  but why can I not get it out of my head that this COULD have been Matt Hardy vs. Edge instead?  That, you see, would have been another top shelf match for this show, instead of.... well, let's just give this a chance, I guess, and see if Albert's up to the task of competing at the level of one of SD!'s Top Six.

My prediction:  I'd say it's a no brainer to just put Edge over here, except that I dread the possibility that they want to drag Albert's push out longer (did you hear the one about Albert vs. Undertaker being a feud in 2003?)...  so to offset my previous Fantasy Booking, I will predict Nightmare Booking in this one:  Albert wins when Edge's knee finally gives out.


OK, let's tell this entire story, just to make sure we all agree who goddamned stupid it is:  three or four months ago, Dawn and Torrie had a series of bikini/lingerie/let's-just-see-who's-hotter contests, and Torrie always won.  Dawn got jealous and decided to seduce Torrie's dad, Al, as revenge.  In time, Al became so infatuated with Dawn that he asked her to marry him, and Dawn decided to accept.  Torrie did not approve, and a week ago, was willing to do anything at all to stop the marriage.  This included going to Dawn Marie's hotel room, where Dawn made it obvious that if Torrie went along with some hot lesbian lovin', Dawn would give up on the wedding.

Of course, the show went off the air before we saw anything remotely -- ummm -- arousing.  And then last night, Dawn said that (a) the wedding is still on (after Al decided he didn't care about his fiance seducing his daughter, which is creepy in too many ways to count) and (b) she's going to embarrass Torrie at the PPV by showing the rest of the footage from the hotel room.

OK, sheer pointless stupidity of this storyline aside, it also violates at least two other of my hard-and-fast rules... first, the camera in the hotel room?  Torrie didn't see this?  She didn't suspect this might come back to haunt her?  Why do character in pro wrestling have to be so retarded?  At least if this crap was on RAW it could have made use of the F-VIEW gimmick...

And second:  even if it is on PPV, the Fed is not going to deliver anything even remotely titillating or envelope-pushing.  You can see two girls kissing on prime time network TV... but if you want anything hotter than that, well, you're pretty much stuck with porn.  And WWE isn't in the porn business.  They've booked this entire storyline with only one possible outcome:  ANTI-climax.


If you believe last night's SD!, then Kane/Batista is the extra RAW match for the PPV...  but if you surf the "official" card at the Armageddon website, then it's Maven vs. Nowinski.  Not knowing what to believe, let's just quickly mention both...

Maven and Nowinski's issue goes back to when both were on Tough Enough 1... Maven won, but many viewers thought back on the huge Harvard asshole as the most memorably character of the series.  So when Chris "Harvard" Nowinski got a WWE contract, a feud with Maven was a no-brainer.  It took some roster shuffling (Maven had been on SD!) and a recovery from injury (Maven's been sidelined for months), but now it's here.  The feud of TE students stemmed from Nowinski's feud with TE trainer, Al Snow, and though it's been primarily relegated to Heat, it returned in full force on RAW this past week.

Kane and Batista's issues are a more recent development.  Batista, having adopted Ric Flair as his mentor/manager, mowed through lesser competition in October and November before running into Kane.  But with Flair's help, he did earn a pinfall win over the Big Red Machine.  They've crossed paths a few more time since, and Kane actually got the better of Batista a week or two back.  A match between these two would be equally important to each: Kane's still trying to rebuild his character after the Katie Vick Debacle, while Batista is in the middle of trying to establish his character for the first time.

My prediction:  Kane vs. Batista is the more PPV-worthy of these two matches...  and while Batista has "The Look," and while his pairing with Flair shows promise, I'd have to predict that Kane gets the win if they face off.  The Maven/Nowinski match might be Heat fodder, but mostly, I'd just be a bit nervous about putting two rookies out on a live PPV and expecting them to smoothly and effectively eat up 5-7 minutes.  That's why I'd hold them back a bit; but if they do end up on the PPV, I take Nowinski.  He cheats to win and extends the feud.

As it stands, both of the two different announced cards each have four segments for the RAW and SD! brands.  The two differing possibilities for the RAW brand's fourth match could end up both being featured (as I said, the best way to do it would to put Maven/Nowinski in a shorter, low-pressure match on Heat)...  and I'd really like to see SD! get a fifth segment, too.

If they keep the Torrie/Dawn crap short, and predicting that Big Show will not exactly be going 15-20 minutes, no matter how good Angle is, I think there's room to squeeze another match in.  And based on last night's show (and based on the fact that it's ludicrous to leave the Cruiserweights completely off a PPV), I'd say that Chavo Guerrero vs. Billy Kidman would be the perfect choice.  They'd probably have to go shorter than they ideally would, but even 6-8 minutes of those two would help towards propping up a show that will probably have a few slow spots.

Then again, what do I know?  Last month, I predicted all of one match correctly, so maybe Armageddon will wind up being the best show of the year, somehow (with the exact opposite results of what I predicted, no less)...  you can find out for yourself by checking out the PPV on Sunday night.

Or just come on back here to OO around midnight or so, when I'll have a complete post-show recap posted... then Monday, we'll have a PPV Rant from Scott and other fall-out, too.

Weekend NewsBites

  • Last night's SD! would get about the same review as last week's did from me:  there was some really good stuff, but I have a hard time getting too enthusiastic about a show that features some of my personal least favorite performers in such key spots.
    But I don't want to dwell on that... I'm sure I already let too much anti-Show and anti-Albert propaganda leak into my PPV preview.
    So let's just say it was an entertaining enough show last night, but not necessarily on par with the outstanding efforts we were treated to throughout the autumn.
    The overnight rating for the show was a 4.4, which is up two-tenths of a point from last week.  We'll have a final rating in Monday's column.
  • In doing publicity for his new book, Hulk Hogan has been getting asked frequently about his future in WWE... and for the most part, he's been non-comittal, basically saying he doesn't know what his future is.
    He has, however, mentioned that his contract expires soon, and that he might pursue some work in Japan (with Goldberg?)... problem is, according to radio reports I've gotten in e-mail, Hogan has not been consistant with exactly how soon his contract is up.  Some have said it's this month (December '02), others next month (January), and one even said next March.  And all that is in addition to the fact that the original word at the time of Hogan's return was that he'd signed a TWO year deal that was intended to keep him around until WM20.  [Perhaps the extra year was an optional year?]
    But as we said on Wednesday, Hogan was in Atlanta on Tuesday, and did meet with WWE officials, so his status may well have changed.  They may have simply agreed to disagree and let Hogan go quietly... or they could have forged some sort of a deal to set up Hogan's return to TV in time for this year's Mania. 
    We'll see...
  • But if the possibility of Hogan's return is still very slim, it seems that the return of Steve Austin has now become a near-certainty.
    Though heavily rumored in the last month or so since Austin put his legal troubles behind him, there were no concrete signs that the Fed was interested in bringing Austin back immediately.  But an article this week in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution changes that...
    Write Phil Kloer was allowed full backstage access to SD! tapings, and quotes Vince McMahon as saying that Steve Austin will be back in 2003.  That sounds pretty concrete to me.
    You can check out the full article right here.
  • I think with that, we'll wrap it up for this week... remember, OO's has got Armageddon PPV coverage on Sunday night, in the hour following the conclusion of the show.  And then it's right back to the normal schedule on Monday!


Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.

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