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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
Judgment Day PPV Preview
May 14, 2004

OnlineOnslaught.com Exclusive Team Coverage
Compiled by Rick Scaia

 

A month ago, I marveled at how anxious I was for a RAW-only PPV, given the brand's track record for shitty shows.  Backlash, in fact, even shaped up like the highlight of the weekend.

This month, well, there's some other cool stuff going on over the weekend: I think Letterman's "4am Show" will be fun tonight, and I'm even staying in a little later than usual tomorrow night so I can catch Lewis Black's first HBO Comedy Special...  and to say fans are a little bit down on SmackDown!'s chances for their brand-only PPV would be an understatement.

But I'm not sure they have to be.

Sure, SD! came into the week with only three confirmed PPV matches.  But between the events of SD! tapings, and an application of a little logic and level-headed forecasting, I think we can map out a full nine-match Judgment Day PPV card that actually COULD live up to the price tag.

A note: in order to prepare today's Team Coverage PPV Preview, I had to set a submission deadline of Thursday evening for OO Columnists.  Like I said, though, I think by looking at Spoilers and knowing for sure about three matches, I was able to supply them with a very reasonable and realistic PPV Card to analyze.

I mean, SURE, WWE could go and do something completely silly like book a Torrie Wilson vs. Dawn Marie match under something other than "Clothes-Ripping So Maybe You'll See a Nipple" Rules...  but c'mon, they wouldn't waste our time and theirs with something THAT lame, would they?!?  Hell, no.  

Like I said, my goal in mapping out the card beyond the three confirmed matches was to use logic and good sense to come up with a card that features matches people actually might want to see.  A realistic line-up is what I was after.  Heh, Torrie vs. Dawn in a legitimate wrestling match...  you kids, you always know how to make me laugh.  Where do you come up with this stuff?

So: let's try to keep this COMPLETELY REASONABLE as the Expert Staff of Online Onslaught breaks down, analyzes, and predicts the outcomes of a Projected Nine Match PPV Card...

JERRY "THE KING" LAWLER vs. THE RESURRECTED ANDY KAUFMAN
Special Grudge Match~!

It is a widely known fact that Andy Kaufman confided to a handful of friends a plan to fake his own death and re-emerge in public 20 years later.  Well, Sunday night is the 20 year anniversary of Andy's "death."

His friends -- and one very notable foe -- are assembling in Hollywood for a special event to commemorate Andy's Resurrection.  I have it on good authority that WWE will have cameras on the scene and will broadcast live via satellite once Andy makes his heroic return.  A leaked booking sheet says that Kaufman will reveal himself after whacking Jerry Lawler in the head with a steel chair while in the disguise of "Tony Clifton."  Clifton, it should be noted, is already on the guest list for the event, so nobody would be any the wiser until Andy takes off the fake moustache and wig!

And then, to save face, Lawler is to challenge Andy to an impromptu match.  To think: all you people who said Judgment Day wouldn't have a worthy main event.  For shame.  All you had to do was apply a little logic and good sense, and BAM, not just a big main event, but the first multi-venue WWE PPV since WrestleMania 2.  How cool is this gonna be?

Some might ask: How can Lawler vs. Kaufman appear on a SMACKDOWN! event...  given that Lawler is property of RAW and Kaufman is not a member of either roster.  Well, guess what?  You're only half right!  A little digging has uncovered the truth about Andy and his 20 year hiatus from, well, living.  Or something.

The truth is that Kaufman's faked death isn't just a piece of "performance art."  It was an excuse for him to go into seclusion and prepare himself for his life's true purpose: Revenging upon Jerry Lawler.  After being ignominiously crippled in his lone match against Lawler in 1982, Kaufman swore to himself that he would one day get vengeance on The King.

To that end, he faked his death of May 16, 1984, and immediately relocated to Mexico, where he began his first real professional wrestling training.  It was one thing to fight women, but to best Lawler, Kaufman knew he'd need more experience and schooling.  Because of the unique customs in Mexico, it was easy for Kaufman to maintain his anonymity: he simply donned a wrestling mask, and began calling himself El Gran Luchador.

His training complete, El Gran Luchador began working his way up the ranks in the late 80s as a fiery rookie "techinco" (babyface).  A turn to the "rudo" (heel) side in the mid-90s marked El Gran Luchador's introduction into the main event scene.  Over the past 7 years, El Gran Luchador has proudly reigned as the Champion of Mexico on 4 different occasions.  He is, in fact, the current Champion of Mexico and is once again a fan favorite.

And that's where the genius of Kaufman's plot kicked in: one month ago, he arranged for "El Gran Luchador" to sign a free agent contract with SmackDown!... but Kaufman himself did not appear under the hood that night.  Paul London admits that he was approached by comedy writer and Kaufman-confidant Bob Zmuda the Monday before SD! Tapings at which "El Gran Luchador" was to appear, and accepted the job of portraying a decoy version of El Gran Luchador.  To keep people off the scent, London was told to put up no fight and to appear as ineffectual as possible.  Fans in the US were not to think anything of "El Gran Luchador" or to seek out any further information about the mysterious Champion of Mexico.

It worked like a charm.  El Gran Londonor was squashed on TV, and nobody gave him a second thought.  But Kaufman had what he wanted: a SD! contract with El Gran Luchador's name on it.  This is how Kaufman will be able to appear on this weekend's SD! brand PPV without any complications.  The fact that Lawler is attending the event in LA as a special guest, not as a representative of RAW, will make it easy for WWE officials to write this off as a spontaneous and unsanctioned "Cross Promotional Match."

This will not be the same Andy Kaufman, spindly and untrained, that wrestling fans remember from the original feud with Jerry Lawler.  This Andy Kaufman has reigned over the entire nation of Mexico with an iron fist for the better part of a decade.  Although Andy's now 55 years old, his intensive training has him in better shape than he's ever been; and frankly, Lawler at age 54 is no spring chicken.  So look for this to be a far more evenly matched contest than you might have otherwise expected.

Rumors about David Letterman moderating a special pre-match debate/promo are, as yet, unconfirmed. 

The OOutlOOk
Andy wins: 4 votes   --|--   Lawler wins: 1 vote 
Draw: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Resurrected Andy Kaufman wins.
Andy comes to the ring, accompanied by the Mighty Mouse theme song and possessing a massive physique after spending 20 years in hiding with nothing much to do but train for this moment. The crowd goes wild, and Lawler is squashed quicker than Hunter Hearst Helmsley at the hands of the Ultimate Warrior. Andy then takes over color commentary duties on RAW, as he is much funnier and more respectful to the women than Lawler, thus becoming my own personal Lord and Savior. All Hail King Kaufman! Kaufman then takes on Lawler in the main event of his first RAW as commentator, and proceeds to piledrive Jerry 1,376, 521 times -- once for every time Lawler has screamed the word "puppies."
Canadian Bulldog Says... Time Limit Draw.
Hopefully, they'll also bring along The Reanimated Corpse of Freddie Blassie so someone can sing "Mr. Fred Blassie in a wrestling match, yeah yeah yeah yeah...".

If this match takes place in Memphis, look for Jimmy Hart and The Reanimated Corpse of Rick Rude, or possibly Bill Dundee, or possibly Bill Apter, to interfere. If it takes place anywhere else, then expect a run-in by Tony Clifton, causing Lawler to lose the Mid-South title for the 496th time.

Winner: Time-Limit Draw (It IS a sixty-minute Iron Man match, right?)

Adam Gutschmidt Says... Resurrected Andy Kaufman wins.
Andy will return from the dead and do an immediate face turn.  He will comeback to now defend women around the world by going against the man who objectifies them like it's a hobby.  Kaufman will break Lawler's neck with a piledriver thus opening a spot on the RAW announce team which will be filled by Tony Clifton or Paul Heyman
Matt Hocking Says... Jerry Lawler wins.
Kaufman's not dead!  But he's got to have YEARS of ring rust, and even cameo run-ins from Tupac, Biggie and Elvis won't be able to save Kaufman from the power of the piledriver.  Guest referee  Jim Carrey will act like Kaufman the whole match to the delight of Jim Ross.
Jeb Lund Says... Resurrected Andy Kaufman wins.
Kaufman defeats Lawler, via interference.

It's a 20th Anniversary match, so it already has a lot of heat going into it. And we also know that it's been a "worked shoot" all along. The question is, will either participant give up on the "worked" part and just start shooting on the other?

If anyone starts "shooting," it would have to be Lawler. Think about it: no one in the mainstream knows his name, really. If they do, they know it only in relation to Kaufman. Lawler's been living in the shadow of a "dead" man for 20 years. That's almost three-times what Kane's been going through. Plus, even though Lawler pounded Kaufman repeatedly, who came out on top, pop-wise? The crowd hated Kaufman for his antics, but later celebrated him for his genius. Walk down the street and ask people about Andy Kaufman or Jerry Lawler, and about one-in-twenty will know who the former is, while one-in-100 might know the latter.

So Jerry's got to be seething. If this match goes to a shoot, he's going to destroy Kaufman. Andy doesn't stand a chance.

But that's not going to happen. We know that Jerry's a professional. He knows when to make money, and Kaufman v. Lawler: 2DL (Two Decades Later) will make money. Jerry's always understood the business side, which is why he and Andy did business in the first place. Once we assume it's a work, we have to factor in all the elements that will make that "work" be the best and most profitable work possible. That mean's a Kaufman win, for several reasons:

1. Face Pop
Returning wrestlers, whether they come back from injury or the grave, always garner a huge audience response. There's no way we can expect an audience to suddenly see Kaufman as a heel after we're done cheering his return from twenty years of death.
2. Dead People Don't Sell
We know this from The Undertaker. On one hand, it's tradition. On the other, it's mere practicality: if dead people sold as much as living people, their being dead wouldn't be too special. Why bring Kaufman back if he's only going to job like Kane?
3. Go Against Tradition
Sure, Kaufman was able to hoodwink Lawler on many an occasion. He was the Cerebral Assassin of his day, confounding, then befriending, then betraying Lawler. Yet in every straight competition, Lawler was the stronger wrestler. In short, people expect Lawler to win in an even fight. In order to ride the face pop and give the audience something new, Kaufman has to win, while also giving a convincing and evenly fought match. (His "Dead" powers will help him here.)
4. Think of the Future
Bottom line: if Andy returns and loses, as would be expected from his previous showings, there's nowhere to go with his character. You quash his face pop, while leaving Lawler in the same place he's been for years: the guy who comes out of retirement to silence a loudmouth. If Kaufman wins, however, you have two opportunities: one, he rides out his face pop, defeating other established stars and capturing a belt, until his obnoxiousness turns the audience against him; two, Lawler has to rediscover an internal fire and ambition, overcome lesser contenders, then finally garner a face pop based on his hard work and his uncompromising desire to confront Kaufman.

Here's where the booking of the match comes in, and here's what I think will happen. Kaufman will employ his "dead" powers to take control of Lawler and the match. Eventually, the drubbing will be too much, forcing Brian Christopher (Lawler's son, recently released from WWE) to interfere on his dad's side. While Lawler is too feeble to do anything, Christopher will knock out the ref and beat Kaufman repeatedly. However, Lawler will faintly object to this, since it goes against his own sense of honor.

This sets the stage for David von Erich — who is also dead — to run in and destroy Christopher and hit the recovering Lawler with a chairshot. Both Lawler and Kaufman recover at about the same time, but Kaufman hits his finisher and gets the pin.

The end result is Kaufman going on a blistering tear through the uppercard, getting win after win. Meanwhile, Lawler has to defeat von Erich to establish "dead-person-defeating" ability, then defeat those who have also lost to Kaufman. By the time he works his way up the card, seven or ten months should have passed. At that time, Kaufman's hubris and Triple H-esque omnipresence and immunity will have worn on all fans. Lawler's subsequent victory will garner a tremendous buyrate, and wrestling will be the better for incorporating a new and dynamic kind of storyline for the many dead wrestlers out there.
Rick Scaia Says... Resurrected Andy Kaufman wins.
Twenty years of intensive training and wrestling experience in Mexico...  a cast of possible run-ins that range from Tony Clifton to David Letterman to Jim Carrey to the Re-Animated Corpse of Freddie "Breakfast with" Blassie... a HIGHLY partisan Hollywood audience...  and above all, Andy's uncanny knack for understanding Pro Wrestling Psychology (the bad guy must be vanquished and humiliated in the end, only this time, Andy's NOT the bad guy).  It all adds up to Andy going over on Sunday night.  It might take a little help from his friends, and it won't come easy, but Andy Kaufman will prevail.  Andy will even the lifetime series at one win apiece!

But don't expect a happy ending: that dastard Jerry Lawler will attack after the match to "get his heat back" and also to build to a future Rubber Match.  And also to give Andy an excuse to wear the always-comical Bobby Heenan Cervical Collar. This has dollar signs all over it, baby! 

 

EDDIE GUERRERO vs. JOHN BRADSHAW LAYFIELD
WWE Title Match

They said you couldn't make a main event feud out of squashed cowboy hats and vandalized trophies.  Hell, they said you couldn't make a main event feud out of anything involving Bradshaw.  And you know what?  "They" was right.

Thank god for re-animated corpses coming back to fight obnoxious announcers, eh?  

But let's not talk about why this feud is wrong for so many reasons.  And let's not talk about why Bradshaw is wrong for trying to tell us WE'RE wrong for thinking it's wrong for so many reasons.  We've been there and done that in the past week.  Let's just tell the story of why we're here.

It all started with Faarooq getting fired, and Bradshaw deciding he had too much going for him to walk out in support of his fallen APA brother.  In this case "too much going for him" meant an alleged stock portfolio that justified him ripping off Ted DiBiase's tried-and-true shtick while peppering in rude, insensitive, ethnocentric remarks a la Insert Some Generic Conservative Radio Personality Here.  And woe to us all.

Bradshaw proclaimed himself -- the "rich white man" -- to be the epitome of America.  So when Kurt Angle decided to crown a "Great American" and award him with a WWE Title Shot, Bradshaw hopped right in line and started antagonizing champ Eddie Guerrero.  And of course Bradshaw won, no matter how lame the hat stealing and trophy busting may have been.  In recent weeks, they've tried to add some sizzle by having Bradshaw cause Eddie's mom to collapse and have a heart attack.  But crowds continue to go mild.

For whatever it's worth, Bradshaw "guaranteed" that he'd win the title in a promo last night on SD.  But it's one of those guarantees where you get the serious impression even the guy making the guarantee doesn't believe the words coming out of his beer hole.  Such is life when you try to take a career mid-card, tag-team, comic-relief role player and make him into a main event heel inside of 8 weeks.
 

The OOutlOOk
Eddie wins: 6 votes   --|--   Bradshaw wins: 2 votes 

Erin Anderson Says... Eddie Guerrero wins.
Just a quick note before I do any predictions here: I have watched exactly one hour of Smackdown! in the last month. I've skimmed recaps, so I have a vague idea of what's going on, but I care so little about this brand right now that I'm doing this PPV preview only to underscore exactly how much it will suck. I will not be seeing this show, either. I've chosen to work and make a few bucks instead.

Also, I'm drunk and therefore have no tact. This should be fun.

Eddie is Latino, likable, and a terrific worker. JBL is none of these things, so he took on the gimmick of the Million Dollar Man and morphed it with Archie Bunker and Rush Limbaugh. And goddamn, is that one ugly mental image. From what little I've seen, he plays the character quite well, but if this match surpasses anything resembling a RAW main event, I'll be shocked. Of course, RAW just recently had every smark's wet dream of a main event, HBK/Benoit. But the two shows are equal! No, really! That was the purpose of the draft lottery, remember? To shake things up and even out the rosters!

This match will be decent, but I still think that Eddie deserves better. Why not let him fight Booker instead, and feed JBL to Taker? I'd pay to see that. In the name of all that is holy, Eddie will win. He'll keep the title at least until his UPN special airs.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Eddie Guerrero wins.
Let me just say this: This is NOT a bad little feud. I do enjoy Bradshaw's newest character, though the push is certainly too much too soon. And I'll also concede that the guy has worked hard to perfect his new JBL gimmick, even IF he insists on calling me fat and gay (I am NOT fat, thank you very much).

Here's the problem: This is not a main event. It has never been a main event, and it will never be a main event. I, sir, know main events, and this is NOT a main event. I cannot imagine too many people looking at this matchup and saying "Now there's something I just HAVE to see." Will it be fun? Probably. Will it make Eddie look like a better champion? Possibly. Can it carry an entire PPV? Uh... no.

Alfonso Castillo Says... Bradshaw wins via DQ.
This may be the least anticipated WWE PPV main event in recent history. That said, I don't think it will be a total disaster, as I am sure Guerrero will be working twice as hard to carry his opponent. As well, I trust Bradshaw realizes this is the opportunity of a lifetime for him and will be trying his hardest to prove he deserves the spot. Still, don't look for anything much over the three-star range. It'll start off pretty hot, with Guerrero chomping at the bit to get his hands on Bradshaw, then probably slow down considerably during much of the body of the match, as Bradshaw struggles to get his wind. But I expect the closing minutes to be exciting and solid, and ending with Eddie getting DQ'd, to set up a gimmick rematch either on Smackdown! or the Great American Bash.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Eddie Guerrero wins.
I always try to be an optimist.  But the only positive thing I can say about this match is that it should mark the end of Bradshaw at the main event level.  It's just a shame it's had to last this long.  Eddie will win in what will hopefully be a lopsided affair.  I can only hope that the match is on the short side and the rest of time is spent of extracurricular events that lead to a new more exciting feud for Guerrero to have.
Matt Hocking Says... Eddie Guerrero wins.
If Eddie doesn't win this match, I'm going to start an online petition! Honestly, I'm betting the WWE can't wait to put this experiment behind them and send Angle and Show "Get Well Soon" Cards.  Bradshaw isn't actually THAT bad, but he doesn't belong anywhere near the main event.  His online diatribe reeks of a guy trying to salvage his reputation, which isn't good. At least when Hunter did it, he was actually still over, and he actually had a point.  The only person Bradshaw is fooling at this point is himself.
Jeb Lund Says... Eddie Guerrero wins.
Eddie defeats Bradshaw cleanly after some mid-match brutality.

Here's the thing: even I think the WWE has realized that a Bradshaw title reign is a non-starter with casual and smark fans alike. I also think that they consider it a noble experiment with some surprisingly decent but ultimately middling results. After all, it wasn't that bad of an idea. Had it electrified audiences, we smarks would sing a different tune about WWE's ability to tap into Mexican-American and American racial consciousness. In the end, though, the results didn't pass muster.

So I think Eddie has to win, here, despite the piddling stories awaiting him. Bradshaw gets his token main-event gesture; Eddie gets... something. The thing that would make it interesting to me is seeing the pull between crowd-pleaser Eddie and vengeful Eddie. At some point, I think he has to stomp Bradshaw, but he also has to do so in a way that doesn't make him unlikable. I foresee a mid-match ref-bump, leading to brutality on both sides. Then, when it really matters, Eddie proves he's the better wrestler. If he cheats to win, it'll be more innocuous cheating than Bradshaw's efforts.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... John Bradshaw Layfield wins.
Let's make everyone mad right off the bat (evil grin). I think we all agree that the push was too abrupt, but given the fact that Guerrero has no opponents beyond this to make the title situation interesting, Layfield must win this match by some nefarious means. He is, after all, a Television Personality, even if it's only CNBC. Then we can have a proper Guerrero-Bradshaw program with a purpose.
Rick Scaia Says... Eddie Guerrero wins.
Look: guarantee or no guarantee, Bradshaw isn't winning any title on Sunday, unless he's booked to do so out of sheer spite.  Because any company that wants to keep it Thursday night brand a going concern would have to be fucking insane to put a belt on him for any other reason.

Eddie has gotten screwed so far in the Title-Reign-Defining Feuds Department.  Beating Bradshaw might not be the solution to the too-soon departures of Lesnar and Angle, but it sure beats Losing to Bradshaw.  Eddie probably has Booker T lining up for the next shot, which might be nominally better; whereas the only thing Champ JBL would have would be a rematch with Eddie.  And look how freaking awesome THAT feud is performing at the box office!  Finally: Eddie has a TV special in two weeks, and Bradshaw doesn't, and they don't make TV specials about guys what lose to massively over-pushed caricatures.  

Oh, and lastly: Eddie doesn't suck, not even a tiny bit.  Bradshaw... well...  let's just say I honestly hope his mission this week to intimidate all the Portly Homosexual Internet Fans into cheering for him worked.  Cuz he needs SOMEbody to think he's the bee's knees.  Way to go, JBL, way to be brave and go after a segment of the audience that, until now, didn't have anybody speaking to them!  Dumbass.  

 

JOHN CENA vs. RENE DUPREE
United States Title Match

If Shelton Benjamin has been the unexpected gem of the Draft Lottery for RAW, I think it's easy to name Rene Dupree as his counterpart on the SD! side.  In two months on SD!, Dupree has mostly lived up to expectations and performed admirably after being asked to shine in the singles spotlight instead of as a member of a tag team.

In promos (or "Cafe du Rene" skits), he's been adequately despicable (even if in a generically French way), and in the ring, he's seemingly a bit more crisp and motivated (even if still a bit limited).  Is he a superstar now?  Nah, but he could be in the future.

And what better way to elevate himself than immediately get into the mix with an established babyface like Cena?  Cena welcomed Rene to SD! with an insulting freestyle, and before long, the two were messing around in each other's business.  It came to a head over a week ago, when Cena tried to save Torrie Wilson from a Dupree attack, and instead found himself brutalized by a suddenly vicious Frenchman.

The new side of Dupree compliments the utterly-slappable cocky wussiness that he still counts as his primary attribute (including just last night in a promo promising to take the US Title back to France with him, or something), and makes him a more complete character.  Cena, as long as he keeps making semi-risqué double entendres and as long as the wrestling audience continues to be WAY too easily entertained, is an ideal babyface foil: a guy who is as over for his own smacktalk as he is for his ability to dispatch mouthy heels.
 
It's a pretty evenly matched contest, if you ask me...
 

The OOutlOOk
Dupree wins: 7 votes   --|--   Cena wins: 1 vote 

Erin Anderson Says... Rene Dupree wins.
As long as Dupree does his little French Dance and Cena spends the entire pre-match rap pandering to the crowd like a little kid starved for attention (he must have been the middle child in the family), then this contest has served its purpose. But I'm being cynical here: I actually like the French Dance. Also, it would be kinda fun if Fifi bites Cena in the ass at some point. The match itself? It'll probably be boring as shit, considering the limited in-ring abilities of these two. Can you imagine these two trying to get over as wrestlers without any gimmickry involved?

Dupree wins because the coin tells me so. And Fifi gets a mouthful of Cena's ass.

Canadian Bulldog Says... John Cena wins.
This would be a fantastic match.... assuming this was still 1988 and it was held on WWF Superstars of Wrestling ("Promotional consideration paid for by the following...."). Right now, not so much. Dupree, like Booker T, needs a bit of time to get his character over with the SmackDown folks before being put in a major situation. Cena has underwhelmed me, to say the least, since turning face last November. And the involvement of Torrie and Dawn adds absolutely nothing to the match. Can these guys put on a halfway-decent bout? Maybe, but who cares?
Alfonso Castillo Says... Rene Dupree wins.
WWE seems to be investing heavily in Dupree becoming a major player in WWE, and I suppose this is the next step toward that. What's more, Cena's progress has slowed as late, as his character is becoming exposed as one-dimensional and he hasn't made the strides in the ring that some had hoped for. Expect Dupree to pull off some underhanded tactic en route to his first singles title. Oh yeah, and this match won't be very good either.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Rene Dupree wins.
This match might have had potential but it took a wrong turn when they added Torrie Wilson into the mix.  Cena should not be playing the "knight in shining armor" role.  This may be the match of the night, but that's not saying much given this lineup.  I'll call the upset here and say Dupree wins the title only for Cena to win it back at the Great American Bash.
Matt Hocking Says... Rene Dupree wins.
Cena cuts a promo about Deez Nuts, the live crowd goes crazy, and every internet columnist worth his weight in salt (an average of 450 lbs of salt according to a reliable internet source) will simultaneously have a worked heart attack at the indignity of Cena being so kid friendly.  Rene gets the win, because...Uh...he died his hair a brighter color of yellow.
Jeb Lund Says... Rene Dupree wins.
Dupree defeats Cena via Frenchiness.

I like Cena, and I'm even coming around to liking Dupree a bit. I'm not the only one getting a Rock v. Triple H in 1997-98 vibe from them. These two could well be practicing with one another, honing their craft on their way to the main event in one year's time. Based on that, I think this match will be win-win for the audience, regardless of the outcome.

But, since I have to pick, I'm picking Dupree. Cena needs all kinds of help right now, because being a pandering babyface trundling out a "deeeez nuts" joke that was tired over a decade ago certainly isn't doing him any favors. Dupree needs help, too. Putting the belt on Dupree not only gives him a chance to prove himself as a prospect, it also gives Cena a chance to solidify his amusing bad-boy character against an equal. It'll be an American rapper v. Frenchiness, but I think it will be amusing on the whole.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Rene Dupree wins.
Dupree, the pride of Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling, is improving very nicely. How come the Fed won't fess up and call him a second-generation superstar? And why doesn't he use the Mule Kick? My homiez on the East Coast know what I'm talkin' about.

Again, I think the Fed has invested too much in Dupree to allow him to fall back down the ladder. Cena will lose this one by nefarious means so that we can have a nice and proper Cena-Dupree program.
Rick Scaia Says... Rene Dupree wins.
I've been saying for a couple weeks that this match is among the only reasons to check out Judgment Day.  Of course, that was before we knew about a couple of these Late Additions we're talking about today...

My enthusiasm is as much due to the fact that it's a match where I actually don't have a clue what they'll do for a finish.  The ambiguity is nice, and the fact that I'm starting to see the spark of potential in Dupree and still think Cena's a fun guy to watch when he's not yapping like a moron about "deez nuts" and over-doing it with sneaker-pumping and five-knuckle-shuffling is a bonus.  There will be some heat on this, and I think the guys will deliver a solid match.

But who wins?  Well, the "right play" is to give it to the heel, since the primary title belongs to a face and you need a title for the baby to chase.  But Dupree *is* still a load of "potential" where as Cena is chock full of "right now."  It makes it tough to pull the trigger...  but I think, in the end, the benefits of experimenting with Dupree outweigh the negatives: if the US Title "makes" him, you've greatly expedited the realization of his potential.  And if it doesn't click?  Well, SD!'s got another PPV in June, and Cena can take the rematch and get back to business...  So let's go with Rene.

 

UNDERTAKER vs. BOOKER T
"The Truth Hurts, Doesn't It?" Match

Booker T made it through the Draft Lottery unscathed: he lost his tag partner to SD!, but he, himself, was gonna stay on Monday nights.  Until a Big Trade.  Booker found himself on Thursdays, instead, and was none to happy about it.

You see, Booker thought SD! was the "minor leagues" and thought he was too big to be messing around there.  This ostensibly made him a heel, even though a lot of fans saw Booker as just speaking the truth.  A painful truth.  A truth WWE should have been trying to cover up and FIX, instead of broadcasting to the masses.  Booker didn't REALLY turn heel until he abandoned his old RAW tag partner, Rob Van Dam.  Finally, after that, fans decided Booker was worth booing.  Exposing SD! as weak?  OK.  Turning on RVD?  Bad.

But Booker KEPT ON running his mouth about being the best thing going on SD!.  And sure enough, before too long, he angered SD!'s live-in legend and Franchise Player, the Undertaker.  Taker came back to remind Booker of just who the Big Dog on Thursdays is.  So Booker did the only logical thing: he went to some voodoo lady and put a bunch of crap in a baggie to summon help from the Dark Side.

I'm not making this up.  I wish I was, but I'm not.  So in a nutshell, Sunday's match is: Guy Who Thinks SD! Sucks And Also Believes In Voodoo versus Guy Who Is Maybe Defending SD! But Hasn't Actually Said Word One About It.  Pure gold, baby.
 

The OOutlOOk
Booker wins: 5 votes   --|--   Taker wins: 3 vote 

Erin Anderson Says... Booker T wins.
I flipped a coin because I have no fucking clue how the buildup to this has looked on TV. We shall see if my trusty coin is any better at predicting matches than I am, because so far my prediction percentage has been abysmal. I guess Mordecai will debut here, too, because his gimmick is too similar to Taker's for him not to. But whose side is he on? I have no idea, but I might actually watch the show next week just to see this guy.

I've seen Booker and Taker wrestle before, and the match was fine. I expect the same here. Booker wins (my prediction even without the coin) because everyone expects a total squash here. He then moves on to a title feud with Eddie.

Canadian Bulldog Says... Undertaker wins.
Undertaker's "first match since WrestleMania"? Well, hold on a second. Firstly, WrestleMania was only two months ago, so who the hell cares? Secondly, the guy had a match against The FBI a couple of weeks ago. Thirdly, if they're just counting PPV matches, then couldn't the same be said about the entire SmackDown roster? Just saying...

This match makes no sense. An extended Booker-RVD feud would have felt just about right for this PPV, and may have even helped to build up Undertaker for the next SmackDown PPV (and lord only knows what the main event of THAT ONE is gonna look like). I just don't see the chemistry here, and the backstory has been spotty at best. These guys are both decent workers, but this isn't going to be the type of match that sends people home happy. If there was any justice in the world, Booker would prevail, but that just ain't gonna happen on The Dead Man's watch.

Alfonso Castillo Says... Undertaker wins.
I think a lot of people are banking on WWE knowing better than to have their over-the-hill "special attraction" squashing one of the SD! Brand’s only viable main event competitors. Don't count on it. I expect 'Taker to dominate much of the match, and win it clean.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Booker T wins.
I have no idea what those vignettes were all about two weeks ago with Booker but I really don't see them playing a role in the match on Sunday.  What will play a factor is the debut of Mordecai since this is the only logical point in the show for him to be on.  I sure hope he uses some "mystical powers" to help destroy Taker.  Oh an by the way that was sarcasm.  Match will suck but it really doesn't matter because it's just a "privilege" to see Taker in action.
Matt Hocking Says... Booker T wins.
This is my darkhorse selection.  I don't think Miss Cleo's bag of mystical mojo will have any effect on Taker whatsoever, but I do think that Undertaker is going to lose this match one way or another.  Oddly enough, I think both ways have something to do with Mordecai.  Actually, I haven't thought it out well enough to have two ways.  I just think Mordecai is going to attack Undertaker and then Booker is going to win.
Jeb Lund Says... Undertaker wins.
Undertaker defeats Booker T, because he's the Undertaker.

My personal suspicion is that Booker T is somehow going to be sidetracked into a short feud with Eddie for next month's Free Per View, thus biding time for Kurt Angle's return at SummerSlam. Logically, he'd need to beat Undertaker to do that, rather than lose and then not try to save face in a rematch.

But WWE's never been too keen in the Basic Sense department, so there are countless ways in which to shunt Booker toward Eddie even after a loss. And let's face it: I barely understand what's going on here. Why is this happening? When did Booker become Papa Shango? The only thing left for me to do is reason that Undertaker's losing so soon (match-wise) after his return will piss off Undertaker fans, thus necessitating his win. Also, it's Undertaker. He doesn't job. In this case, go with what you know.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Booker T wins.
I'm assuming Mordecai will cause interference here to allow Book the win, at which point Book will run like a thief in the night, allowing Mordecai and Undie some angry time together. But all that could end up happening after an Undie squash anyway. I'd book the interference to put more stank on the feud, though.
Rick Scaia Says... Booker T "wins."
I started the Mordecai talk like a month ago... and now it seems everybody sees things my way.  Which is cool.  But the fact that it's become so popular to say "Mordecai debuts and screws Taker" almost makes me think the Fed will try to swerve us...

NO!  I must stick to my guns.  I put "wins" in quotes, however, because all I'm willing to say for sure is that Booker will not be decisively pinned or made to submit.  However, I anticipate he WILL get his ass handed to him for several minutes before End Game.  If that means Mordecai running in and causing a DQ (and a "win" for Taker), Booker still comes out unscathed and ready to move on up to face Eddie.  And if it actually means Mordecai gets away with something naughty and Booker beats Taker, well, all the better.  Fans will get what they want during the preceding five minutes of ass whooping.  WWE will get what they need with a finish that protects Booker and introduces Mordecai into a feud with Taker.

My only real hope: they downplay the Voodoo Scavenger Hunt Bag of Extreme Mystery, and don't do anything too "Gay Spooky" with Mordecai's debut.

 

JAMIE NOBLE vs. PAUL LONDON vs. KIDMAN vs. FUNAKI vs. AKIO vs. SHANNON MOORE vs. SCOTTY 2 HOTTY vs. SPIKE DUDLEY vs. NUNZIO vs. MATT TOUGHENOUGH
"No Jacqueline To See Here" Special Cruiserweight Gauntlet Match of Extreme Workrate~!

More good, solid, sound logic here.  The Workrate Fetishists need something they can sink their teeth into on this card, especially given that they all hate Jacqueline screwing up the CW Division by holding the title.  And the card needs more matches than the handful SD! had lined up coming into the week.  So it's pure genius to kill two birds with one stone: exciting fast-paced match that's sure to kill a good 15-20 minutes!  Completely reasonable and realistic!

Word on the street is that WWE has only announced nine names, and then a tenth "mystery man."  But I can state with confidence that Matt ToughEnough will be the tenth guy.  A lot of talent in that ring.  Should be good stuff.
  

The OOutlOOk
Nunzio wins: 2 votes   --|--   The Fans win: 1 vote 
Matt ToughEnough wins: 1 vote  
No Contest: 1 vote
LondonAkioMattMooreFunaki wins: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... The Fans win.
Oh yeah, baby! Who cares who wins? The roof may blow off the joint by the sheer power of OMG~WORKRATE! Paul London will debut the Sky Twister Shooting Star Flying Tiger Press of Extreme Pain after 25 minutes of heart-stopping action, causing Michael Cole to have an aneurysm when he tries to call the action. We all win, and the competitors in this match are all given main-event pushes after their astonishing performance here.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Nunzio wins.
Hey, didn't I the predict the same match in this week's Inside The Ropes? How's about that? In this completely fictional (and much more entertaining that the real stuff) match, I'd have to take Nunzio because the poor kid never gets a break.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... No Contest.
Match will just start to get underway when Angle comes out and says that this match won't happen because fans don't want to be "bored" with a bunch of small guys.  He will then take 20 minutes to complain again how he can never wrestle again.  He'll end by introducing Sable as his new nurse.
Matt Hocking Says... Nunzio wins.
Nunzio.  The REAL answer is, of course, that Sid will make his shocking return to the wrestling industry by destroying all the cruisers, then suddenly remembering that it's softball season, and handing in his resignation to Vince 20 min. later.  This will be long remembered as Sid's greatest wrestling run.
Jeb Lund Says... LondonAkioMattMooreFunaki wins.
If I had to call it down the middle, I'd say that NobleLondonKidmanFunakiAkio is a better wrestler than MooreDudleyHottyNunzioMatt. But rarely are things so simple in the WWE. For instance, I was told that there would be ten people in this match. If you ask me, that's just plain overbooking. WWE simply doesn't know when to let a quality match sell itself.

These two wrestlers have proven that they've got the moves and the mic skills to succeed. But I'm reluctant to see a former champion or a bigger name get the win, especially when someone less well-known can get the rub through a hard-fought victory. Thus, while I would be perfectly satisfied to see the veteran prevail here, I'd like to see the WWE mix things up and also charge the storylines by having the less-establshed wrestler, LondonAkioMattMooreFunaki, go over the more recognized and more decorated KidmanDudleyHottyNobleNunzio.
Rick Scaia Says... Matt ToughEnough wins.
It's good common sense: Matt ToughEnough was SUPPOSED to win the CW Title two weeks ago, but a concussion set him on the sidelines for a bit.  Now he's ready to go, and I say use this match to introduce him and instantly push him as a top Cruiserweight Contender.  Honestly, it's that simple.  And to get to do it in what would be a killer, fast-paced match -- one PERFECT for opening the show, mind you -- is a bonus.  A genius idea for a match, and a perfect way to get SD! and the CW Division right back where they wanted to be a few weeks ago...  kudos to whoever at WWE thought of it and decided to put this on the card instead of some silly Torrie-Wilson-Pretends-She's-a-Wrestler Match!  Ahem.

 

ROB VAM DAM/REY MYSTERIO vs. THE DUDLEY BOYZ
"Stipulation Almost Certain to be Added" Match

The Dudleys turned heel against Rob back about a month ago, due to the urging of Paul Heyman (who wanted them to get back to their Extreme Roots).  Rey got involved when he was tapped to replace Eddie Guerrero in a tag match against the Dudleys two weeks ago.  Rey and RVD scored the clean, decisive win over the Duds in that match, even with Paul Heyman at ringside running interference for the Dudleys.

You'd think that'd mean "end of story."  But you'd underestimate the desperation of SD! if you did.  With the losing team now minus their "VIP Manager," somehow we are to believe they are a more ominous threat to RVD and Rey in a re-match of something we just saw 10 days ago.  Because D-Von beat RVD in a singles match, I guess.  Whatever.

But honestly, although the storytelling reeks of half-assitude, I'm still looking forward to this match as much as any on the (real) card.  It's four guys I like, who are good at what they do.  They're just being asked to do it in a boring context.  Which MAYBE, if we're lucky, will change: it's not like WWE to do a PPV match that's an exact replay of a free TV match from 10 days before, so I'm really expecting that they'll add some kind of stipulation or otherwise put a little sizzle into this one.  Tables for Four, anyone?
 

The OOutlOOk
Dudleys win: 5 votes   --|--   RVD/Rey win: 3 vote 

Erin Anderson Says... The Dudley Boyz win.
This is the only match that I have faith in to actually be good (well, that and Dawn Marie/Torrie, of course.) [Ed. Note: So THIS is where people are coming up with the Dawn/Torrie talk?  Thanks for the chuckle, Erin, you just made my day.  Dawn vs. Torrie: HA! What a thigh-slapper!  And pass me some of whatever you're drinking!  I'll need it to get through this show on Sunday night!] The story: the Dudleys are asshole pawns for Paul Heyman, while Mysterio and RVD pop the crowd. Yeah.

It's funny... while this match will probably be pretty good, I still don't care. This isn't even Thursday night main event material, as far as I'm concerned. But belts are involved, so that makes it much more impor... shit. Nevermind. And in the continuing theme of this preview, I don't give a shit! Fuck you, Smackdown! The coin says that the Dudleys win because they need heel momentum. It also says that their act is still stale, face or heel.

Canadian Bulldog Says... The Dudley Boyz win.
This is the only tough one for me to decide.Given that the brothers Dudley have been given a renewed push under Paul Heyman, it would completely make sense to give them the win. Yet RVD and Rey Rey are two of the most over faces on the roster, and frankly, two of the most interesting to watch. If they lose, there's nowhere to go but down. And if they win, it destroys The Dudleyz's credibility going forward. I suppose it makes more sense to create a strong tag team in the interim that can challenge Rico and Haas.
Alfonso Castillo Says... The Dudley Boyz win.
This one's going to suck. RVD & Mystrerio, on their own, are talented, but there's not they can do with the stale Dudleys. I worry this one will go on longer than it should, and end with the Dudleys pulling off sadistic, violent, super-lame finish.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... RVD/Rey win.
This will probably be the opener and it will pop the crowd even though they'll only do the spots that we've all seen a million times before.  Since the masochists who still watch Smackdown saw this match just a couple of weeks ago, they better make it a gimmick match to make it somewhat worthwhile.  The faces win to try and curry favor with the live audience.
Matt Hocking Says... The Dudley Boyz win.
They should have made this a tables match or something.  Or ANYTHING.  Honestly.  Geez.  About the only way that this match gets really interesting is if Rob takes out Rey to set up that ECW stable everybody has been blathering about for the last two years.  Other than that, this is a complete wash.
Jeb Lund Says... RVD/Rey win.
Rey and RVD defeat the Dudleys.

I'll level with you, here. I don't know why this match is happening; I don't care, and I don't know if there's a stipulation to it. I think a Dudley loss will foment more discord in their team and drive them toward harder personalities and a characterization different from the good-guy rote-spot wrestlers they've become. Nobody really needs to see another Dudley win, but a Dudley loss calls things into question and puts a needed spin on them for the future.

As for Rey and RVD, they pop the crowd and get the win. Since there isn't a belt riding on this match, their win doesn't inexorably bind them to one another. They can go their separate ways and have it not matter. Since the Dudleys are an established team, however, a loss will make them reevaluate their team and their own abilities to take on the champs.

Final note: if this thing becomes a tables match between now and showtime, I expect a Dudley loss even more. One, it's twice the shame for them, thus creating more distress for their team and legacy. Two, the Dudleys have lost a lot of tables matches — odd, given it's their signature match.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Rey/RVD win... unless....
Since the bad guys are winning the big matches in my booking, let's give Rey Rey and RVD the win here - unless it's a tables match. If the Duds are to lose a tables match, it should be a big deal.
Rick Scaia Says... The Dudley Boyz win.
Here's a second (real) reason to actually watch Judgment Day.  You put these four in a ring, and it'll be good fun.  Problem is, it was good fun two weeks ago on SD!, where it was a Jim Dandy of a Thursday Night Match, what with the quality action and the heeling of Paul Heyman at ringside.  So you bring it to PPV, and you just re-do the match, except minus Heyman?  Whatever...  I'm assuming -- nay! INSISTING -- that there be a stipulation added, and of course, anytime you have "stipulation" and "Dudleys" in the same sentence, you think Tables Match.  That'd be fine, and the results will be entertaining.  

Let's say the Duds win because (a) they're newly turned and need the momentum, and (b) in lieu of anything more interesting for RVD/Rey, this will give them an excuse to keep "chasing."  And hell, if it sets up a TLC Match between the four at the June PPV, I'll just shut the hell up about the half-assedness of the start of the feud and enjoy the damn match.

 

PAUL HEYMAN vs. COMMON SENSE
"Winner Will Actually Appear on TV Every Week" Match

Two noble and worthy competitors forced into pitched battle.  It's just a shame there's not room for both of them on TV.  Hell, it's a shame that the last two months, NEITHER of them has really gotten to be on TV much on Thursday nights.

Well, at least after Judgment Day, we'll get to enjoy ONE of them every week on SD!.  

It's actually a shame: the one-time allies and inseparable partners have been coerced into this match by the Front Office, who for some reasons doesn't see the value of either Heyman nor Common Sense.  They have been shunted aside, and were only permitted to come back for this Special Grudge Match With TV Time On the Line if they agreed to face each other.  Needless to say, they took the opportunity, and over the last several weeks, have really started lacing into one another.  Forget friendship, forget mutual respect: these two HATE each other.
 
[dangeresque]Or do they?[/dangeresque]
 

The OOutlOOk
Paul Heyman wins: 2 votes   --|--   No Contest: 2 votes
Common Sense wins: 1 vote
The Fans win:
1 vote

Erin Anderson Says...  Paul Heyman wins.
This is a tough one, considering I want both of these incredible competitors to appear on my television every week. Judging by Smackdown!'s ratings lately, they both desperately need to make an appearance. Perhaps WWE will fork up the money for even a few token appearances by Common Sense. It's pricey, and the company couldn't afford it for an extended period of time, but it will be worth it in the long run. Common Sense could get a quick monster push to drive up interest and overall quality of the product -- especially the title picture -- and there's no chance of him stinking up the joint like Bill Goldberg or Kevin Nash. Even on a limited basis, Common Sense would do wonders for Smackdown! and its ever-dwindling fanbase. Namely, the show wouldn't suck anymore.

But Common Sense, being an abstraction, won't be able to fight back. Heyman gets the easy pin, and I'm still happy with the results.

Canadian Bulldog Says... No Contest.
Let's see..... the rules here are that Heyman gets to stay on TV if he wins? Then it will have to be a no-contest, because we can't have logic getting in the way of a good stipulation!
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Paul Heyman wins.
Common sense has about as likely of a chance to show up on SD Sunday as Bret Hart does thus Paul Heyman wins via countout.  As Paul celebrates, Vince McMahon comes down and challenges him to loser leaves town match.  Vince defeats him in 30 seconds and for the first time ever, the stipulation sadly sticks.
Matt Hocking Says... No Contest.
Double Count Out.    Honestly I can't stand either one of these guys, and I wouldn't mind never seeing either one of them on WWE TV ever again.  And that goes Double for special guest referee Continuity.
Jeb Lund Says... Common Sense wins.
Heyman loses by count-out, since WWE management holds him back and refuses to let him — or anyone — meet Common Sense in the ring. Stephanie McMahon's music then plays. After waddling to the ring, she reverses the decision, claiming that Heyman cannot lose to something that doesn't exist. In order to support her statement, The Undertaker moseys to the ring. After four minutes, he reaches it and declares, "She's right. By the way, I'm dead." The ring explodes.

— FIN —

Rick Scaia Says... The Fans win.
Paul Heyman, being the master manipulator and evil genius that he is, agreed to this match on his terms, and had HIS lawyers write up the contract.  In a brand new "Finger Poke Heard Round the World," Heyman and Common Sense will gently nudge each other eight seconds into their match.  Both will crash to the canvas!  Referee Nick Patrick will have no choice to be apply a double count... and when he reaches 10, we will have a draw!  So, ummm, neither of these worthy contributors will grace us with their presence on Thursdays?  

WRONG~!  Heyman grabs a mic, and with his arm draped companionably over Common Sense's shoulder, announces that the contract for tonight's match explicitly reads "The competitor who does not lose this match will be permitted on TV, effective immediately."  Applying his best Flanders/Homer Logic, Heyman declares that NEITHER MAN lost the match, and therefore BOTH are allowed back on TV!  Heyman and Common Sense, they were in it together all along!  Swerve~!

Although, truth be told, we kind of should have seen it coming.  Heyman and Common Sense tended to follow each other around an awful lot.  When Heyman went away, surely I wasn't the only one to notice Common Sense taking a vacation, too? 

 

JACQUELINE vs. CHAVO GUERRERO
Cruiserweight Title Match Under "Dr. Richard Kimble" Rules

Ruling the CW Division for the past five months, Chavo Guerrero had mowed down all competition.  Which motivated him to make an open challenge two weeks ago: anybody, anywhere who wanted a shot at his title could bring it.  And he called it "Chavo Guerrero vs. The World."
 
But it turned into Chavo Guerrero vs. A Girl.  And after a punch to the nutsack, the girl beat Chavo and took his belt.  And regardless of how amusing it was to watch the Chavos play it up and how much fans seemed to respond to it, the internet collectively vomited in terror: a girl!  Holding their precious Cruiserweight Title!  AAARRRRGGGHHHH!

But that's not the point.  The point is that Chavo, feeling besmirched and yet cocky, wants to reprove himself: so he will challenge for the CW Title on Sunday in a match in which he'll have one arm tied behind his back.  One-armed Chavo vs. a girl?  A girl, it should be noted, who made her name over a decade ago by exclusively fighting men.  Could be kinda interesting, no matter what the internet says.

Actually, I think Tazz said it best:  he said he was looking forward to Chavo/Jackie because it should be entertaining.  Exactly: not all CW matches have to be **** spotfests to be amusing.  More stuff along the lines of Chavo Classic having the CW belt ripped from his hands, and we'll have ourselves a fun little palate cleanser here.
 

The OOutlOOk
Chavo wins: 5 votes   --|--   Jacqueline wins: 3 votes 

Erin Anderson Says... Jacqueline wins.
Jacqueline wins, just to make the smarks cry. And I think it'd be funny as shit. Hell, Scott Keith's head might explode. You go, girl!
Canadian Bulldog Says... Chavo Guerrero wins.
Quoting my favorite movie of all time, The Naked Gun, Captain Ed Hocken says after being shot by a tranquilizer dart, "Why?". That about sums this one up for me. Seriously, what the hell is the point here? What demographic are they catering to in this particular matchup? People who like to have their intelligence insulted?

That said, Wrestling Rule #77 clearly states that "The wrestler who has one arm tied behind their back always wins." And hopefully, the writing crew never, eeeeeeeeever, gets a painted into a corner like this again.

Alfonso Castillo Says... Chavo Guerrero wins.
I trust that the WWE higher ups have sobered up and will pull the plug on this disaster of an experiment. Expect it to be mercifully short.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Chavo Guerrero wins.
I can't believe I'm doing a PPV prediction for this match.  I understand they were in a jam with the TE3 Matt situation but there seemed to be an infinite number of better options than this.  Instead of complaining about what I can't fix, I'll just say that a wrong will be corrected and Chavo will get his belt back.  Hopefully, Chavo Classic can provide some decent antics to make this match watchable.
Matt Hocking Says... Chavo Guerrero wins.
OMG CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE~!  Despite what Erin will try to tell you, Jackie is not a good decision for cruiserweight champion on any level.  But then again, the WWE has backed themselves into a corner by making Chavo a division killer.  The only guy the fans will buy beating him straight up is Rey, and they can't just pop the belt between Rey and Chavo for the next two years.  The other reprieve is, of course, debuting somebody else.  Where's Alexis Laree when you need her?  Wait...never mind I said that.
Jeb Lund Says... Jacqueline wins.
Jackie defeats Chavo.

Yeah, I said it. But here's the thing. If she loses to Chavo when he has one arm behind his back, it craps all over the idea of legitimate women wrestlers. I know that Smackdown doesn't have a women's division, so it doesn't mean that much to the brand. But Raw doesn't have a cruiserweight belt, which means that running this story on that brand would have less impact. Whatever the circumstances, here's a chance for a woman to look good as a wrestler, while having the circumstances be such that even a misogynist twit of a man will think it's a fair fight.

Even so, a woman looking good here isn't the point. Jackie's a means to an end. I think the point of this clash is threefold:
1. Distance Chavo's ability level from Eddie's ability level (after all, both were on almost equal footing just a few months ago) in an interesting way that distracts the audience.
2. Get the belt onto someone who needs it.
3. Light a fire under Chavo's character.

This way, Jackie scores a moral victory. She then drops the belt in a clean match, to a cruiserweight who could use the credibility the belt provides. Suddenly, Chavo isn't Eddie's former partner: he's the guy who let his hubris — and by extension, a woman — get the better of him. Jackie looks good, and maybe she can be traded to Raw to add more to its women's division while shipping a needed heel to Smackdown. (Give Test to Smackdown; I only watch that show from time to time, and I welcome the chance to not see him even more.) Chavo gets a purpose, and another cruiserweight gets a presence.

Of course, this sort of thinking is too positive and too potential-laden for WWE. So look for me to be wrong, and see Chavo win in a three-minute match too poor to rate a Velocity highlight.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Jacqueline wins.
I love Fighting Miss Texas. She should get the win here, since they have the stip included.
Rick Scaia Says... Chavo Guerrero wins.
Don't get me wrong: I'd LOVE to see the Fed do a big ol' Fuck You to the fans who are missing the point of Jacqueline's win, and have her retain here.  The internet might be right about Bradshaw, and ratings/responses prove it.  But they are wrong about Jackie: this isn't about prestige for the CW belt or about ***** matches.  It's about giving the fans something to care about.  And it's working beautifully.  The Chavos have been out-freaking-standing the last two weeks, and whatever happens, they'll come out of this stronger for having been besmirched.  Just trust me, they are only helping their case for being the Guys You Love to Hate.  All Jackie has to do is be Jackie: she's a girl who beat a man, and did so in plausible-if-unconvincing fashion.  The Chavos will take care of the rest.

That said, Jackie's win was also a last second decision, and the End Game for this feud IS about helping the Chavos not about bringing back "Miss Texas" and her on-going gimmick of fighting men from 12 years ago.  And as much as I'd love to see the 'net choke on it for another month, I think End Game comes Sunday: Chavo will win.  Classic will help.  And because it makes him a giant asshole, he'll use both arms to do it, and get away with it.  Cheat to win, baby.  Except in this case, the fans WON'T cheer it.

 

RICO/CHARLIE HAAS vs. THE GRUMPY OLD MEN
WWE Tag Team Title Match

Unless I'm missing something by skipping Velocity, this match is happening because Bob Holly beat Rico last night on SmackDown!. 

Feel the excitement!  Feel the drama!  Feel the tension!  Feel annoyed when you're about the 674th person to decide to take a piss during this match and you have to stand in line!  Even if you're NOT watching at a bar!  Because strangers will just sense something amiss and wander into your house to take a piss during this match!  It has THAT kind of power!
 

The OOutlOOk
Rico/Haas win: 8 votes   --|--   Gunn/Holly win: 0 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Rico/Haas win.
I like Rico and Haas. A lot. But Jesus fucking Christ, couldn't they give them any better opponents than this? The Bashams would be a huge improvement. And you know what? I'm not going to write on this anymore because I still don't care. Flamin' Gay Rico and his new best friend retain the tag titles, because they are both fun to watch and good workers to boot. Holly and Gunn are both beaten to death post-match by Tough Enough Matt. Holly takes the worst of it.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Rico/Haas wins.
This match should answer several pressing questions, such as: Can Rico and Gunn hide their sexual tension and storied history long enough to work a match? Or will Billy somehow use his powers of persuasion to get Rico, Haas and Miss Jackie into bed with him? Will Hardcore Holly approve, and what's HE like in the sack? Oh, yeah, and what is Hardcore FUCKING Holly still doing around? And most importantly, why not have an actual TAG TEAM involved in the, you know, tag team title match?

I think the shtick of The World's Gayest Tag Team has some, albeit limited, comedy appeal. That is not enough to carry this match, though. The writing crew seems to think that the Rico/Haas combination is comedy GOLD, so look for them to come out on top. Oh, and I would bet good money that Gunn and Holly fall all over themselves pretending to be disgusted by Rico's advances. Because this segment would be NOTHING without horribly overblown stereotypes.

Alfonso Castillo Says... Rico/Haas win.
Here's the big question: Will WWE let Josh Matthews and Bill Demott do the commentary? That said, this match might not be as bad as you'd expect… but bad nonetheless.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Rico/Haas win.
Who are the faces in this match?  You know, since 98% of WWE viewers don't watch Velocity, it might have been nice to show Holly and Gunn together on Smackdown before this past Thursday.  I mean, they've only had TWO months to prepare for this show.  I'm sure Rico will provide some "comedy" that only Cole will appreciate.  The Ambiguously Gay Duo (let me clarify, Rico & Haas) will win and keep the belts until they can find two people that can somewhat actually look like they are a team and not two guys put together by a random generator machine.
Matt Hocking Says... Rico/Haas win.
For as much crap as I'm about to take for it, I really like both these team.  Not in the sense that I think that either of them are fantastic tag teams by any means, but I think both of them work well as teams.  Gunn and Holly have that crotchety old men thing working for them, and plus both of them work far better as a team than as singles.  I've found Rico and Haas' developing chemistry to be very entertaining over the last month.  Don't get me wrong, the match will probably suck, but at least I'LL like it.
Jeb Lund Says... Rico/Haas win.
Rico and Haas defeat Holly and Gunn. Few people like Billy Gunn, and only one-tenth of those like Holly. But everyone likes a good laugh at a homosexual! That's why I see "The Odd Couple" of Rico and Haas taking this match.

Look, Haas doesn't like being around Rico, because Rico is (OH MY GOD) a homosexual. Without the belts, there's no reason for the two to stay together. Haas and Rico will seek their fortunes elsewhere, without a common obligation to bind them. Then where will all the low-brow nauseating comedy spots go? HOW WILL AMERICA LAUGH AT A GAY PERSON PORTRAYED BY A BLOATED OVER-THE-HILL STRAIGHT MAN THEN? HUH? HUH?

I just don't envision the WWE seeing more value in a champ team of Holly and Gunn. Besides, one of them is due for a main-event push anyway. It seems like the time of year for that. I'm guessing it's Gunn's turn. Meanwhile, Rico and Haas can continue their antic mis-matched matches and remain paired, (plausibly) by necessity.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Rico/Haas win.
Oh, let's give Rico and Hass some more time with the belts to establish both them and the belts. I do like Holly and Gunn as a team, though. This should actually be a nice match.
Rick Scaia Says... Rico/Haas win.
Rico/Haas are fun to watch.  The Load and the Sourpuss are not.  You do the math.  Champs retain.

The only way this match is anything other than a chore is if SOMEbody (I don't care if they actually make it into part of the psychology of the match, or if Tazz just riffs on it on commentary) remembers that Billy was once Ambiguously Gay.  And worse: Ambiguously Gay WITH RICO.  I fear that would cause Continuity to start oozing out of the cracks of TV sets the world over, however, so they'll avoid it...

But c'mon, tell me you wouldn't perk up at least a little bit if Billy started playing along with Rico, trying to freak him out, only to have Rico ramp it up and REALLY freak out Billy (and give us something fresh and new to laugh about, too).  Or have Billy be absolutely unperturbed by ANYthing Rico tries because he knows all the tricks, and knows it's all just a game, which causes Charlie to "take over" the team and wrestle his ass off because the mind games aren't working.  Or something.  ANYthing.
 
Don't worry: we'll get nothing.  Well, we'll get a match that belongs on Velocity.  I'll let you equate the two labels for yourself...

In fairness, I should note one final thing:  CARD SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

I mean, I feel confident about our OOficial Projections, and all, but on the off chance I got something a bit wrong, I don't want to be held liable.  I'm just trying to do the best job I can here, to make sensible predictions about what WWE might do in an attempt to create a line-up that people might, you know, actually pay for.

My heartfelt thanks to Erin, Bulldog, Fonzo, Adam, Matt, Jeb, and Immo for playing along with me this month.  I knew it'd be a hard sell to get the other OO-ites interested, but their dedication to the site is mightier than WWE's dedication to shooting itself in the foot with a shitty PPV line-up.  Muchos Grassy-Ass!  And apologies to them, as well for not putting the matches in the same order that they wrote their predictions; Erin's, in particular, would have made a bit more sense if I'd presented them linearly.

Which leaves us to take our leave of one another.  You now know everything there is to know about Sunday's Judgment Day PPV.  Some might say you know TOO much.  So check it out, if you like.  And if you don't like?  Well, duty will call, and I'll more than likely be seeing the show, and that means you can come on back here to OO at some point around midnight on Sunday night for my complete immediately post-show report.

See you then!
  

E-MAIL RICK SCAIA
BROWSE THE OO ARCHIVES

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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