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WWE SummerSlam 2004 PPV Preview
August 13, 2004

Compiled by Rick Scaia
Featuring All Your Favorite OnlineOnslaught.com Semi-Stars


For the second time in the history of OO's Team Coverage PPV previews, and the FIRST time in the history of our head to head prognosticatory battle with the Swine at WrestleLine, WWE is presenting a co-branded PPV.  SummerSlam, it's the second biggest PPV of the year, the "WrestleMania of the Summer," and this year, the wrestling surrogate for the Summer Olympics.

And unfortunately, it's not a show that comes even CLOSE to matching sizzle of the first joint PPV of the Team Coverage Era... in a lot of ways, the most intriguing and best-built match of the card might go on fourth or fifth from the top, a victim of shoddy World Title feuds and WWE's retarded idea of melodrama taking precedence. 

But perhaps that's not an entirely fair assessment, either. Because storytelling on the top lines aside, there exists a lot of potential for exciting in-ring action at SummerSlam. And more: this show has the elements in place to (instead of being an end-all, be-all) be the dime upon which many key stories turn. The creative decisions made at SummerSlam will 

dramatically affect the RAW and  SmackDown! brands in the near term, and COULD make the upcoming PPV-heavy months of September and October (WWE's again inserting another extra PPV in October) far more entertaining than the May/June stretch.

You could even argue that the way SummerSlam hinges on the creative/booking side makes it all the more intriguing an event: the ringwork in all but one or two of the matches should be top shelf and well worth the PPV price tag, regardless of the build-up... but for a website that is putting its manhood on the line against a Hated Foe, the ambiguity and uncertainty on the storyline side makes this a damned tough nut to crack.  *My* idea of cool directions coming out of the PPV is sure to clash with WWE's; you need only witness however many years of me railing against crap to know that.  But sometimes, my crackpot schemes have been dead on, too, and have been borne out by popular response.  It's half a dozen of one, six of another.  

Point is, in a document like this, where we're trying to break down, analyze, and predict the outcomes of each of eight announced matches, WWE's done us no favors.  At least two other of the trOOps has confided in me the same thing: extreme anxiety and lack of confidence in his/her picks.  I'm telling you right now: I'm no more confident of mine than they are in theirs.  If I get 3 out of 8 right, I'll be happy.

That sort of uncertainty sucks balls when you're trying to look smart on the internet. But it just might be grounds for having a goodly amount of fun on Sunday watching the show.  Which I fully intend to be doing, and hope you are too.  If not, my (probably not-quite-sober) post-show recap will be up here at OO around midnight on Sunday night for your edification.  So come on back for that.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves... before I can adequately sell you on my recap of the Biggest Show Of The Summer, perhaps I should first ask my assembled crew of Esteemed Colleagues to join me for the ONLY WWE SummerSlam 2004 preview you folks need to bother with...


For the World Heavyweight Title

Sadly, one of SummerSlam's biggest shortcomings is here, in what maybe could and should be the de facto main event of the night. Assuming that WWE will not disrespect its own title belts and put some other match in the top spot, either this or JBL/Taker has to go on last... and between those two, which do YOU think they'd go with?

If you said "The one in which the babyface wins so that the fans get a happy ending," then you are a smark and you are thinking too hard! Although, actually, part of my theory on why this could be a killer climax to the show is predicated on Benoit (not just a babyface, but a CANADIAN babyface, in TORONTO, fer chrissakes) going over to end the show...

However, I shouldn't jump to ideas for climaxes before I present to you the build-up for this match.  Or rather, the lack there-of.

Benoit smites HHH twice with the help of Eugene, and apparently, that's good enough to move on to a new challenger. Rather than utilize some piece of logical progression or dramatic tension, WWE opted (for the SECOND time during Benoit's reign) to use a completely random 20 Man Battle Royale to determine his next challenger. Wow. You folks were *thisclose* to Rodney Mack, #1 Contender! Suddenly, Young Randall Orton appears almost adequate by comparison!

So Orton won the Battle Royale, last eliminating Chris Jericho, to get the title shot.  The only element of the story that MIGHT have lent it weight or intrigue was ignored, as HHH decided to forget that he also still had a claim on a clean, unfettered title shot against Benoit to let his young padawan learner have the SummerSlam shot without any additional Evolutionary Drama.  

Thus, our foundation for this title match is comprised of two things: (1) Randy Orton's similarly flaccid and random Appeal To Destiny, and (2) the fact that he did pin Chris Benoit in a six-man tag one week ago.  A PPV main event hasn't been built upon this little since... well, I guess Benoit's defense against Battle Royale winner Kane is actually NOT a good example, since at least that match existed as the SEMI-main event, underneath the highly marketable HBK/HHH Hell in the Cell match.  Point is, there are times and ways to elevate Randy Orton, and this is neither of them.  And yet, for the past 4 weeks, rumors have NOT ceased the the plan is for Orton to win the title this weekend....

The backstage buzz is that everybody thinks the Kid has got "it," and by "it," I can only assume WWE is *not* referring to the unimposing pretty-boy-metrosexuality or sub-normal-intelligence... but I KEED.  Randy Orton is a future superstar, who am I to take cheap shots?

All I've been trying to do in that same last month is point out that WWE might think here and now is the time to push Randall to the moon... but his push has much less in common with Brock Lesnar and The Rock (the last two "youngest ever" champs) and more in common with the seminal stages of pushes for HHH or JBL.  Lesnar's title win at SummerSlam 2002 was perfectly acceptable because he was the type of monster heel who HAD to plow through competition the first time; Rock's first title win at Survivor Series 1998 was a masterpiece of subtle storytelling and swerve-osity the worked on the mind as much as it did the emotions.  Orton's push this last month has neither of those qualities, and instead reeks of HHH's sudden and vaguely-desperate-feeling WWF Title push in the summer of 1999 (which I decried -- and rightly, I think -- as too much, too soon, although HHH made me EAT IT when he regained the title and kicked much ass six months later... which to my credit I was man enough to cop to), and more recently reminds us of JBL's title win a few months back (and I think it's only NOW that JBL is almost tolerable or compelling in his role... but more on that later).

And yes, I'm rambling about everything BUT the Benoit/Orton match... blame WWE. They're the ones putting it out there with an almost total lack of backstory.  I'm TRYING to find the intriguing silver lining for us all... perhaps it's this: no matter what they do for the finish, no matter how little effort they put into the story, Orton will be a heel to Benoit in Toronto, and this thing should have some heat.  And it should be competently worked.  As I said a week back: Randy's found his niche, and it's taking the best German Suplex Bump in the business today.  String together a dozen or so of those, and this match'll make ME happy!

The OOutlOOk
Orton  wins: 6 votes   --|--   Benoit  wins: 3 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Randy Orton d. Chris Benoit.
This prediction hurts. It really fucking hurts.

I've acknowledged Randy's vast improvements as of late, but this kid is not ready to be World Champion. Just read Rick's predictions if you want to know why, because I think he'll be talking about how keeping the title on Benoit and letting the tension build between Orton and Trips is the way to go.

I agree, but this is WWE we're talking about here. Randy will walk out with the title, and will walk into a Triple Threat against Benoit and Triple H for the next PPV. There was no clear indicator of who had the edge on this Monday's RAW, but the WWE promotional machine is firmly behind Randy Orton at this point. I also just have a bad feeling about the outcome of this match, even though it should be pretty damn good because it has Chris f'n BenoitÖ it's like eating a great last meal right before your execution.

But man, I'm willing to sacrifice my already-shitty prediction percentage and pray to be wrong here. Just to be sure, I've been practicing voodoo rituals every night this past week, burning Orton in effigy and sticking dolls with his likeness with sharp (yet rusty) pins. I'm not proud of that, because I really don't hate Randy. I just like Benoit as champion way too much.

Canadian Bulldog Says... Randy Orton d. Chris Benoit.
Okay, so I've been flip-flopping over this one for weeks now, proving that I have little social life outside of watching professional wrestling. My heart says Benoit should win this one, and even my gut is going with Benoit after the miracle 2004 he's had.

So what's the problem? My smark sense is tingling and telling me there's no way they're going to back down from Project Orton at this point. Let's face it; Vince McMahon & Co. have been writing the storybook push for Orton ever since e first won Intercontinental gold, and its been widely reported he's going to WrestleMania against Triple H. So why NOT get the belt on Orton right now to build him up?

Like I said, Benoit winning would make for just an incredible story. But Orton's seems to be the story that's in the cards.

The Cubs Fan Says... Randy Orton d. Chris Benoit.
The shame of it, if this is Orton's moment, is this has been built like a run of the mill challenge on the way as a break between epic feuds. A mediocre way of winning the title shot, the perfunctory tag team pinfall victory, and an interview confrontation. They didn't really stretch their brains to think of ways to make it interesting. Even the show before the PPV, this match played second fiddle to an undercard feud, with Your Future Champion downgraded to Random Goon Bumping For Some Terrible Looking Punches. Doesn't really inspire a person to take Orton seriously.

If we didn't know what we did know, I wouldn't take Orton's challenge serious myself, and pencil in a Benoit win. But what we know is what will happen, or at the very least what they will happen as of right now, so I've got to pick Orton.

Shame it had to be done like this.

The Immolator Says... Randy Orton d. Chris Benoit.
Rumblings from Toronto-based wrestling media suggest the plan is to put the belt on Orton at SummerSlam. The Canadian crowd will not be pleased, but that's clearly not as important as the Orton push. I do think he's improving daily on the mic and in the ring, but still . . .

So, how do you do it? An Evolution screwjob? That might help the plausibility factor with Orton winning, but it also reinforces the idea that he's not good enough to hold it on his own merit. I'd argue that's what heels are supposed to be - inherently not as good as your faces, so they have to cheat - but Orton's being pushed to the moon. I expect a win with some cheating and perhaps some distraction from outside, but nothing egregious.

Adam Gutschmidt Says... Randy Orton d. Chris Benoit.
Believe me, I donít want it to be true, but as Rick said earlier this week, this ďyoungest world championĒ claim is evidently very important to the WWE and they want an active roster member having that title.  Too often Iíve been picking using logic and not WWE logic.  By WWE logic, it makes COMPLETE sense to have Orton win the title.  I wouldnít be surprised if they followed a similar booking pattern to the one Rick drew out early this week.  The only difference is that they will do that all with Orton winning Sunday, just to spite him.  Itís been a good run Chris, letís hope they donít do too much to tarnish it.
Matt Hocking Says... Randy Orton d. Chris Benoit.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  I can't wait for how pissed off people are going to be when Randy wins the World title.  All Right, all right, so his push hasn't been the greatest push in the history of great pushes, but to be honest with you, right now Randy Orton as World Champion is much more interesting to me than Chris Benoit as World Champion.  In addition, I'm looking forward to the HHH/Orton push towards Wrestlemania.  Now that I've lost all my smark street cred, I'll just say that I can't imagine this one going any other way anyway.
Jeb Lund Says... Chris Benoit d. Randy Orton.
I will never predict that Orton will win the World Title. Unless Orton improves a great deal, he will never deserve the World Title. If he stays as he is and gets further pushed and cemented in the upper-card, I will only suggest that he should be sterilized and locked in a box, then buried in a ditch. I donít give a good goddamn if my predicting Benoitís win screws the OO folksí prediction percentage. ORTON DOES NOT WIN. EVER. Do you understand me? Do you fucking understand me? The day heís a champion is the day I stop watching whatever show heís on because I donít want my eyes to accidentally boil out of my head.
Big Danny T Says...  Chris Benoit d. Randy Orton.
It's too soon for Orton to be winning the big one, and he still has another year left (I think) to retain his Youngest Champ Ever distinction, so no rush in putting the title on him (Plus we have to save Jeb from a premature heart attack.)
Rick Scaia Says... Chris Benoit d. Randy Orton.
OK, I'm going Heart over Head on this pick, and I know it. But I did this once before, and I fucking NAILED it. I'm talking Armageddon 2002, where everybody was all "Angle will lose to Big Show because he needs knee surgery, and all the backstage rumors support him losing and blah blah blah." But I said "HELL NO~!" and publicly predicting Angle would win, take the title despite his need for surgery, and laid out how it would be the Right Thing To Do, since it could set up Angle vs. Lesnar in time for WM20. It's all a matter of record, check the archives if you must.

So today, with all the smark rumors saying one thing, with all signs pointing one way, I'm again gonna take a firm stance AGAINST conventional wisdom, and instead predict The Right Thing. And in this case, that means Benoit retaining the belt in the final match of the night in front of his countrymen. I've screamed it from the mountaintop thrice weekly for the last month: this is NOT the time for Randy Orton. He needs a trademark moment before he can win the strap, and there are plenty of opportunities for them if they just slow down.  This random title shot and appeal to destiny are things that would work for a babyface's first title run; and if WWE really thinks Orton is ready to be a top level fan favorite, then there's more wrong here than I thought. So Benoit wins, Orton and HHH get embroiled in a little intra-Evolution drama, and out of that, Orton emerges with his Dickhead Heel Signature Moment and as a legit contender.

At various times in the last month, I've outlined specific ways to accomplish the goal of Randy Orton, World Champion (by Survivor Series). The one I like now involves Orton/HHH/Benoit doing a three-way main event at the RAW PPV in September... the best way for that to work is if Benoit retains and HHH/Orton have parity.  Of course, WWE could easily hand Orton the belt and still do my 3-way idea, but to me, that flies in the face of logic, when the compelling and subtle way to do it is have HHH STILL want his clean shot at Benoit (and remember, HHH hit the Pedigree on Benoit this week, he's not forgotten his issue there), instead of having HHH/Orton tension shoehorned into storylines because Orton now holds the title that HHH wants.  It should be more organic than that.

Anyway, I'm kind of making a set of picks here that are meant to hold together as part of a bigger picture in which I'm advocating The Right Thing. Even though I have this sickening sense that what we'll get will be The WWE Thing, and all I'll get as a reward for standing up and having the balls to pick against conventional wisdom is yet another abysmal predictions percentage.  Oy.



By contrast to RAW's main event, this has a TON of backstory to it, it's just that up until the last two weeks, it kind of had the stink of Sideshow Gimmickry.

Credit where it's due: that has changed.  In an odd quirk of events, the man who's MOST due that credit isn't even in the match (William Regal), but this does, now, have the feel of a genuine semi-main event thanks to his promo work, and just as much to his loss of blood.

Here's the tale: four months ago, Eric Bischoff's mentally-challenged nephew Eugene decides he wants to be a wrestler. As a larf, Bischoff assigns Eugene to William Regal, with the assumption the Bischoff and Regal together would conspire to get Eugene out of wrestling sooner rather than later.  Certainly the first signs of entertainment from Eugene were in training sessions with Regal, where Eugene got the better of his mentor, further sparking conspiratorial thoughts that Regal might be in league against the disadvantaged lad.  A humorous aside to those training sessions: Eugene had a HHH water bottle, and did a HHH spit take in Regal's face.

A not-insignificant joke, it turned out. Two months ago, Eugene revealed to the Rock that his favorite wrestler was actually... HHH. Why? Because Eugene likes to play Games. Awww. So for several months, Eugene became a pawn in HHH's scheme to regain his World Title from Chris Benoit.  For a while, Eugene was a willing participant, thinking he was a member of Evolution and friend of HHH's. Finally, after Eugene fouled up HHH's first title shot accidentally, HHH showed his true colors and beat the piss out of Eugene.  Two weeks later, Eugene gave as good as he got and INTENTIONALLY cost HHH a title match against Benoit.

And what would otherwise be a circus-y Bad-Ass Heel Stomps All Over A Retarded Guy storyline has recently gained all new depth as William Regal, Eugene's erstwhile trainer and manager and keeper, stepped up to do some of Eugene's talking for him the last few weeks.  Rather than continue to build this feud on HHH beating on Eugene (which would make the SummerSlam match pointless if it'd been done already) or upon implausible scenarios in which Eugene got the better of HHH (which though fun, need to be spread out to be believable), Regal was the sacrificial lamb who cut killer promos on HHH, but then served as Eugene's surrogate for brutal beatings.  In the doing, we saw what HHH is capable of without him actually doing it to Eugene.  In the doing, we gave Eugene -- a simple lad, yes, but a large-hearted boy who doesn't like seeing his friends come to harm -- another reason to be ultra-motivated heading into Sunday's match.

Am I expecting a **** workrate classic? Nope. But I'm expecting a surprisingly good contest from that perspective, with a ton of heat and drama and excitement (and yes, some comedy) mixed in.  It won't be the purest Sports Entertainment Segment, but it'll have those elements....  but I think of the outing Eugene had with Benoit a few weeks back, and I think we've got a guy who can wrestle a 12-15 minute match and NOT have it be predicated on comedy.  Oughta be interesting stuff....

The OOutlOOk
Eugene wins: 5 votes   --|--   Triple H wins: 4 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Triple H d. Eugene.
This was one of the hardest matches on the card to predict, because basic logic in the feud that preceded this match conflicts with what the outcome should be. Triple H should win this if he plans on staying in the title picture, but all signs point to Eugene finally getting revenge on Trips for beating the shit out of him and his mentor (twice.) I've also got heels winning in both world title matches and want to balance out the card a little bit. Trips will most likely have Flair at ringside, but Regal should be too injured to accompany Eugene and even the odds.

What to do, what to do?

I had to look at the big picture here: it doesn't really matter if Eugene wins or not, and Triple H needs to stay in the title picture if the subtle tension between him and Orton is to continue. Losing to a kid with a mental handicap won't help him do that, so I say Trips comes out the winner. Eugene will still be able to endear himself to the fans, and he and Regal would make an awesome addition to the tag team division. But before that happens, a Triple H/Regal feud seems natural; but how necessary would that be if Eugene gets his vengeance at Summerslam? That was the deciding factor here, so I'm going with Trips.

Canadian Bulldog Says... Triple H d. Eugene.
Through a combination of working his ass off, making others look great and by NOT booking himself as champion for the most of 2004 thus far, Triple H has already won me back as a fan. Eugene, on the other hand, was handled perfectly, up until he was shoved into this particular feud.

It's time to put the brakes on the Eugene project, and right about here seems to make sense. Don't get me wrong Ė Eugene has done a terrific job turning a stinker of a gimmick into a highly entertaining and well-worked character. Yet he shouldn't be in a major pay-per-view against arguably the biggest heel in the business right now.

Let Eugene get his trademark shots in here; let him surprise The Game for a while with his unique offense. But pleaseÖ let this match end with a pedigree. By Triple H, that is.

The Cubs Fan Says... Triple H d. Eugene.
This is a step up from the Coach. I think it's the next step is quite a doozy, falling back to the midcard from which he came. There's not much left for him worthwhile in the main event - he's faced his bully, he's got beat by his bully, he's probably not going to beat his bully, his bully has better things to do.

Actually, I don't think this feud is worth Triple H's time. If you're going to demote him to the midcard while the title picture is otherwise busy, his time shouldn't be wasted on novelty guys who've already hit their peak of usefulness. Eugene's character doesn't allow him to be a guy who's going to be consistently around to top, and he's going to slip down once people get bored with the concept (writers first) regardless of who he head fought here. HHH's time with Shelton was much better spent, because his persona does lend it to happen. It may or may not actually happen, but WWE stands to gain a lot better using Triple H's non-title issues in that direction if they truly do want to create more long term stars.

There's a part of me that fears Eugene winning here to set up a title match versus Orton, but I don't think they'd try to hurt Randy that bad.
The Immolator Says... Eugene d. Triple H.
I expect this match to happen last, and we'll need a happy ending. I also expect plenty more Evolution intervention in this one, but Benoit comes out to exact some revenge and the night ends with Benoit and Eugene celebrating - perhaps Regal, too. Maybe even The Rock, who knows.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Eugene d. Triple H.
I said I would start using WWE logic for my picks and then I go contradict myself by picking Eugene .  But Iím envisioning a grand plan that makes a Eugene win make sense.  I see them going for the plan that they should have done at Vengeance, which is everyone in Evolution is on Cloud 9, except HHH.  For that to happen, HHH has to lose.  Whether itís via a disqualification or whether Regal comes out and helps get Master Eugene a cheap win.  I know HHH has jobbed a lot recently, which makes it unlikely that Iím right here, but Iím going out on a hunch t! hat I hope pays off.
Matt Hocking Says... Eugene d. Triple H.
The real stars of this angle have been Hunter and Regal, but Eugene is still immensely popular with the crowd.  I'm thinking Regal will play a factor in this match, on one side or another.  There is an interesting story to be told with Regal blaming Eugene for his recent injuries and turning on him.  However, I don't think that's the path the WWE is taking, so I'm going to take Eugene here to further the humiliation of Triple H.
Jeb Lund Says... Eugene d. Triple H.
I canít see where you go with Eugene, if he loses. What then? The fact is that the real heat here is between Triple H and Regal, and thatís what WWE should go with for one or two PPVs, since both men can put on a dire slugfest.

Bottom line: Triple H defeating Eugene cleanly pretty much kills the Eugene characterís momentum. But, if Eugene gets a compromised victory (with Regalís assist), then Regal and Triple H can come to blows, while Eugene gets shifted laterally to something else. The only other scenario I can think of is Triple H losing at the hands of an Evolution member, but that would likely involve Orton sabotaging him. That could work, only if the Orton/Benoit match happened first, and Triple H sabotaged Orton. Whatever the circumstance, Iím still going with the Dear Boy.

Big Danny T Says...  Eugene d. Triple H.
If HHH destroys Eugene, nothing will be accomplished with the past two months of storytelling and we'll be back to square one, storywise with Eugene and it'll just be same old/same old for Trips. But if Eugene beats HHH, then we can keep a good feud going, and there's a dozen directions you can go with it.
Rick Scaia Says... Triple H d. Eugene.
Well, if HHH is in the middle of a 3-way World Title match next month in my scenario, then he's not getting pinned by Eugene on Sunday.  And to be honest, it's time for HHH to get one over on Eugene. Not on Regal. ON EUGENE. Eugene cost HHH the title twice, and last week, sent him scurrying away from the ring like a little girl. It's time for HHH got get something, and I think it'll be a win over Eugene.

Not necessarily a clean or convincing one, but a win.  Instead of the bloody, brutal beating HHH has promised and previewed on Regal, some kind of cheap roll-up or Flair-assisted win after HHH realizes Eugene's a tougher cookie than he'd guessed. Again, it gives him the chance to say he's finally done with Eugene, but something like this might also show enough ass to the rest of Evolution that their confidence in the boss continues to erode... it all fits together as part of my Plan.

I think the cheap win for HHH works for another reason, as well: William Regal may or may not be present after the beatings he's taken. And if he is present, he won't be at 100%. Gives HHH the edge in the Cheat To Win category....


For the InterContinental Title

The longest-spanning story here? Jericho vs. Batista, which was a throw-away match last month on the RAW-only PPV...  but we've got some interesting cross-wise storytelling here that makes this a not uninteresting contest.  In some ways, maybe even the most not uninteresting contest on the RAW half of the card.  And if that confounding use of superlatives with triple negatives isn't the biggest jack-ass back-handed compliment in the world, I don't know what is....

Anyway: Jericho was pinned by Batista last month on PPV, and KO'ed again by Batista in the middle of a match against Kane...  but Edge, also going back a month, has a death-feud with all of Evolution, or at least, that's what he says, and has notched Orton and Flair on his belt, but NOT Batista... and then two weeks ago, Jericho and Edge's partnership imploded when Jericho eliminated Edge from the #1 Contender's Battle Royale, and then they sparred again on the Highlight Reel and YET AGAIN in a one-on-one match just days ago...

So far, Batista's the heel here, and Jericho and Edge? Well, you, the fans, get to decide.  Neither has acted exactly honorably.  If you had to, you'd say Jericho was the bigger jerk of the two, as he (a) eliminated Edge sneakily from the BR, (b) pinned Edge sneakily with his feet on the ropes, and (c) let Edge get the crap kicked out of him by Batista after said match, instead of making the save.  Problem is, a lot of people (myself included) like jerks.  At least when they're all cool and funny; so far, it doesn't look like I'm alone, as Jericho has enjoyed the mild popularity advantage over Edge in their showdowns.

It'll be an interesting dynamic on Sunday. Jericho and Edge will BOTH be over as faces in their native Canada, but when (inevitably) they are at odds, it should be REALLY cool to watch, as their segments in the match are sure to the best-worked, and the heel/face alignment will only add to the excitement...  but even if Jericho/Edge seems to be the most intriguing issue, I don't think that means you count Batista out.

On the contrary, if Jericho and Edge get too into each other's stuff, he might be able to steal the win and grab the IC Title. Certainly, the last month or two, Batista's upped his game to the point where he's having good matches against the guys he should have good matches against... and more importantly: a Batista IC Title win could be a HUGE factor in whatever stories they decide to tell as part of the Implosion of Evolution.  Then again, one of Jericho or Edge (let's be honest, who'll boo Jericho, though? So probably Edge) pulling a super-sweet Dick Move in Canada and making Jericho vs. Edge for the IC Title a long-term feud would be awesome, too.  But they're feud might have enough legs that it doesn't need the IC belt, so again, I go back to thinking Batista could win.  Except then....

Enough.  Let's just say I'm looking forward to this one, perhaps more than any on the RAW half of the card, as much for the sheer "any guy could win, for any number of reasons" factor as for the "it should be well-worked" factor. 

The OOutlOOk
Batista wins: 4 votes   --|--   Edge wins: 3 votes

Jericho wins: 2 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Chris Jericho wins.
Storyline-wise, this is probably the most compelling match of the show to me. We know Batista's role, but Jericho and Edge have had some interesting confrontations lately, and it's almost a given that one of them will turn full-blown heel before all is said and done. WWE tried to make Jericho the heel in the match on Monday either as a foreshadowing device or to swerve us with an Edge turn later, but the crowd didn't bite. You can't turn the enormously popular Jericho against Edge at the point. For that reason I say Edge beats the hell out of Jericho after the match, probably with Batista helping out.

But I say that Jericho wins the match itself for a few reasons:

1. He's Jericho and as you all know, I loves me some Y2J.
2. He needs something to do. Edge is probably turning heel and Batista is rolling with Evolution, while Jericho's been in limbo since Christian's injury.
3. See #1.

Canadian Bulldog Says... Edge wins.
This is another toughie. On one hand, I could completely see Batista winning the belt and furthering the Edge-Jericho feud. Still, this IS Edge's hometown, which given the situation and his current push, should give Edge the EdÖ er, advantage.
The Cubs Fan Says... Edge wins.
For a card surprisingly low in gimmicks, this lineup kinda makes me wish it was a little less. Batista deserves to be on a PPV, but he's really closer to being Lita's Baby than useful; they're both arbitrary storyline creations to keep us from getting the thing we'd actually like to see just to stretch the story out a bit longer.

This is kinda weird. The word seems to be Edge is turning heel, but Jericho's the one who's been acting more jerkish, knocking out Edge during the battle royal and leaving Edge to die this past week, while Edge held back out of respect for his Canadian brethren on the Highlight Reel. If you ask me, this is one of those situations where Edge can go turn on Jericho, and Jericho ought thank him for the beating.
The Immolator Says... Edge wins.
The hometown boy had better win this one. I have this sinking feeling that Batista is going to win, but I'm using the Reverse Engineering method of booking that says Benoit is losing, so better not compound the problem by making Edge lose. Have Jericho and Edge tease dissension at the end, but they save it for later.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Batista wins.
This completes the little story that gets played out during the course of the night.  Orton and Batista will gain gold while HHH hits rock bottom.  It also somewhat makes sense for Batista to win in regards to the story told for this match.  Batista has been dominant lately, but not really involved in this feud.  The real story is between Edge and Jericho .  My thinking is that these two will not be able to work together and Batista will be able to divide and conquer.
Matt Hocking Says... Batista wins.
This is kind of my darkhorse pick.  Batista has only barely been involved in this Edge/Jericho centric angle, but I think the WWE is ready to test the waters of a really serious Batista push.  In the same way, a Jericho/Edge feud with Christian added heading towards the Tuesday PPV in a few months, doesn't need the title involved.  Having Orton and Batista at the top of Evolution with Titles also has some interesting storyline implications, so why not give ol' Dave Davidson a run.
Jeb Lund Says... Batista wins.
This may be a muddle, but bear with me. One, Batista needs a reason to keep wrestling. The poor bastard never gets any kudos. Now is his time. Besides, a monster IC title holder proves a great foil for wrestlers aspiring to the title.

Two, Jericho has not been truly heelish lately, and should not become so. Jericho is pretty good about cycling his heel/face time. Heís spent two years as a heel, and heís spent the last few months as pretty much a face. I donít expect him to go back on that, especially since it undermines his character Ė one of the strongest and most reliable WWE has. Moreover, his elimination of Edge in that recent battle royal was a practical and not a malicious act. Edge was on the ropes: all Jericho needed to do to eliminate him was give him a little bump. Thatís not an overt or callous act of malice. If anything, thatís expediency. Sure, Jericho would have preferred to end the battle royal by facing his friend, but he had one person on the edge of elimination while an enemy was in the ring. He did the sensible thing. No one can fault him that.

Three: Edge needs absolutely anything. I mean anything. If he developed the ability to talk to a single can of Coke, heíd have more character and motivation than he does now. Edge has the shiny teeth and hair to be a pretty babyface, but heís never had the magnetic finisher or signature moves Ė to say nothing of that ineffable image Ė to be a superstar babyface. I admit it: I donít know how to solve the Edge conundrum. If I could sound out his steps to mainstream acceptance, I would, because the man has worked for it. But itís just not coming.

As such, I see Edge doing something ambiguous that costs Jericho the match. Batista wins, and then Jericho and Edge can have an ambiguous-face v. ambiguous-face confrontation. Edge can go heel and join whomever. For this match, though, he should be the bad guy; Jericho should be the good-but-thwarted guy; and Batista should get something to work with. A belt will do just fine.

Big Danny T Says...  Chris Jericho wins.
Chris Jericho Wins, pinning Batista. Interesting twist setting it up on Monday: Jericho didn't make the save when Batista was beating the holy hell out of Edge, thus moving him into the tweener role formerly thought reserved for Gangrels former running buddy. Batista is an afterthought in what is the real feud between Edge and Jericho.
Rick Scaia Says... Batista wins.
A real tough call, here... so much of the story is Jericho/Edge and what happens between them, though, that I think what you gotta do is have Batista sneak in and take the title. It'll be tough turning EITHER Jericho or Edge in Toronto, so I see more ambiguity and tweenerness and neither guy really pulling the Super Dick Move just yet... instead, maybe their hostilities allow Batista to get the win, and then the hint of heel turns backs off for a bit when Edge/Jericho realize they screwed each other by not taking care of Batista first... which would make Edge's ultimate Dick Move that much more dickish if he covered it up with a fake reconciliation and "OK, let's band together for real this time and get Batista" thing.  Then you have Edge vs. Jericho, and I don't think that needs the IC belt to work.

Meantime, Batista winning gives Evolution the IC Champ, and I think having some guys being winners and others being losers will be key to how things break down when they split the group. Batista would be a winner, and in my mind, a lock to stick with Orton in a New Evolution once they all get annoyed with HHH's failures later this fall.  


"Till Death Do Us Part" Match

Oh, kids... in the e-mail I sent out to the trOOps, I actually did dub this the "Till Death Do Us Suck Match." I'm ever so clever, aren't I?  But I'll play it straight, here.  I just hope you don't mind if it's patently obvious that I also don't care.

The story: it's the same as last month, when these two fought, only much, much dumber now.  Not only is Lita now pregnant as a result of her prostitutionary weekend with Kane that happened while she was still boning Matt, we've FINALLY learned that Matt is NOT the father of her baby, BUT Lita is still willing to marry the winner of this wrestling match.  Yeah, I don't get it, either.  But like I said: nor do I care.

In so far as it exists, the "intrigue" here seems to be in Lita's Subtle Omissions. It SEEMS like she wants to be with Matt and hates Kane, and yet... (a) when Matt finally castrated himself and said he didn't care who fathered Lita's baby, he still wanted to marry her and be a family, she said "Oh, I'm so happy."  But she also never said a clear-cut "yes."  And then (b) when eliminating Matt as the father as a result of a DNA test, it was clear that Kane's DNA was not included for a positive match; Lita might have SAID "So that means Kane's the father," but really, all we proved, conclusively, is that Matt's NOT.

So if you want a reason to almost care, it's that any number of swerves are possible here.  Probably all as stultifying dumb and soul-crushing as the drama and acting in this storyline have been so far, but hey, a surprise is a surprise, right?  By my e-mail, it's about 80% people expecting Lita turning heel, and of those almost half suspect somebody OTHER THAN Kane will be the Daddy, so that Matt has somebody to feud against next (while Kane goes on to deal with HBK)... leading candidates: 

(1) Jeff Hardy (duh)
(2) Christian: a surprisingly ubiquitous choice; though it DOES play off his past ATTEMPTED relationship with Lita, it also means he's spent his "injury" boning Lita when he had Trish in his pocket, which makes NO sense to This Heterosexual Male; although, if they did that it COULD play into the possible realization by Trish that she should have been with Jericho all-along, which would make PERFECT sense to This Now Suddenly Middle Aged-Housewife
(3) Nobody: she faked the pregnancy as some sort of a Set Up to trick Matt whom she never forgave for ditching her last winter, which a surprising number of people endorse, as they remember the ONLY PREGNANCY ANGLE EVER IN WRESTLING THAT DIDN'T SUCK was Beulah's in ECW; though they also forget the reason most of us forgot that it almost sucked is cuz it ended with the super-hot Beulah and the super-hot Kimona making out in the ring YEARS before "HLA" was a prime-time SpikeTV-permissable concept
(4) Val Venis (huh? Seriously, I say my virgin birth/The Force Spermies joke makes more sense that Val freaking Venis....)

Anyway, swerves aside, they'll also be trying to have a wrestling match here, the quality of which will be heavily predicated upon how well Matt can work on his injured knee... even if he's at close to full-speed, though, I'd expect the nature of the necessary story would still over-shadow the ring-work.  It'll probably end up being between this and Taker/JBL for which is the shortest and most-forgettable match from an in-ring perspective....

The OOutlOOk
Kane wins: 8 votes   --|--  Matt wins: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Kane d. Matt Hardy.
Do I even need to dignify this with an explanation? I do? Dammit.

I say that Lita turns on Matt and Kane wins, because it'll end this crappy love triangle and let Matt move onto something else. Unfortunately for Matt, that means headlining Heat. It wouldn't be too bad for Lita's character, either, if she had been playing on the side of evil all along (because that would explain a whole hell of a lot of her weird behavior: she didn't mean any of it! Haha! Gotcha, Matt!) The match will suck.

Canadian Bulldog Says... Kane d. Matt Hardy.
If Matt wins here, it makes for a very boring and predictable chapter in the story of Matt And Lita In Love, part VIIô. Yet if Kane wins, it's still predictable because they've done things like this so many times in the past (think Brian Pillman-Goldust-Marlena as one of many examples).

Still, it makes far more sense for Lita to become Kane's demon wife for a while Matt finally has his rumored neck surgery. Then, whenever Matt return you can have Lita either (a) turn heel (copyright Vince Russo), (b) get a divorce (copyright Vince Russo), or (c) pretend like the whole thing never happened (again, copyright Vince Russo).

The Cubs Fan Says... Kane d. Matt Hardy.
Things Matt and I have in common: Matt and I both surf the web way too late and post silly stuff because of it!

Things Matt and I do not have in common: I will not be killed by Kane this weekend!

I hope Coach repeats last week and buries the concept of the match on air again on the pre-PPV Heat.
The Immolator Says... Kane d. Matt Hardy.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Matt Hardy d. Kane.
I was all set to give Kane the win here.  It just seemed so obvious.  Then the events of Monday night have made me reconsider.  With Kane being named the father, there isnít a whole lot of story to tell by having him marry Lita.  If Matt wins, there is more of a dilemma.  Kane is the father yet canít be part of Litaís life.  Matt gets to marry the woman he loves but sheís carrying another manís child.  If Kane wins, what motivation does Matt have to get any retaliation?  I canít believe Iím trying to think about this rationally.  Iím giving them way too much credit.  Bottom line, the match will not be very good and thatís a prediction you can guarantee.
Matt Hocking Says... Kane d. Matt Hardy.
This is probably the easiest of the matches to pick.  There might have been an interesting story told in Matt Hardy having to marry the mother of what is not his child, but the problem with that is that Jim Ross very specifically said that Matt didn't have to marry Lita, he only had to marry Lita IF he chooses.  On the other hand, Kane "gets" to marry Lita if he wins.  I think the story here, as many have suggested before, Lita wanting Kane to be involved with her and their child and going full on heel to be his valet.
Jeb Lund Says... Kane d. Matt Hardy.
Matt needs surgery. WWE just dropped this ďItís not Mattís babyĒ thing in our laps. That means that Matt needs to go. I donít expect to see Shawn Michaels in this. Iím guessing that, if thereís any swerve, itís Lita turning (or pretending to turn) evil. Michaels can keep Kane from actually marrying Lita down the road. For now, Matt dies.            
Big Danny T Says...  Kane d. Matt Hardy.
Who gives a shit? *flips coin* Tails, Kane Wins.
Rick Scaia Says... Kane d. Matt Hardy.
The biggest swerve would be no swerve at all, but even if Lita is NOT in league with Kane, it still doesn't matter. Whether she's a willing or unwilling bride, Matt's luck runs out this month. No fluke win, just an ass kicking so he can get them knees of his healthy during a little vacation.  And then Shawn Michaels is back to pick up the pieces before too long. All I hope is that the nonsense with Lita doesn't screw up what could be a very excellent little feud between Kane and HBK...



For the WWE Title

The perfect mirror image to RAW's spontaneously-generated main event, the heel and face flop spots here, and necessarily, we flop the Random Plot Device used to create the faux rivalry.

Here, heel JBL dispatched his primary challenger Eddie Guerrero via dubious means (and much like Benoit escaped with his title on RAW thanks to Eugene distracting HHH into a side-feud, JBL escaped thanks to Kurt Angle getting involved to attract the full attention of Eddie), and instead of a Battle Royale to crown a new challenger, he did the usual Heel Boasting of Totally Open Challengeness.  And who should answer?  The Undertaker.

It works SLIGHTLY better than Orton as Battle Royale winner simply cuz Taker is a bad-ass who's super-over with fans.  Except he expended some of his good-will and bad-ass-ness when he took part in the JimmyHoffa-ing of Paul Bearer a couple months back.  What COULD have been a very cool "killing his conscience" gimmick was watered down and castrated just one week later when Taker made himself a full babyface against Paul Heyman, instead of meandering in that dark, spooky Tweenerdom for a while.

But anyway, Taker does the thing with the hat and the eyes and the still being a kick ass brawler no matter what you internet morons say, and I'm a fan of his VERY close to the same as those people in the stands who chant his name even in a meaningless throw-away match against Orlando Jordan.  I like the guy.  I refuse to say good things about JBL as champ, but I grant that the same things he STARTED showing me in 1996 when I was calling him the Next Barry Windham (check it, I really was, jerkos!), have finally been in evidence his last two matches with Eddie (I STILL say that first PPV match sucked balls, as it was all 10 minute headlocks by JBL and Eddie losing 30% of his body's blood supply to cover it up; but the bullrope and cage matches have finally showed me JBL can eat up 20 minutes and do it competently).  So we might have something decent here on Sunday.  But even if it's decent, it's still likely to be the red headed step child of the show.  If this ISN'T a mid-show or late-mid-show 12-minute palate cleanser, then it's telegraphing the finish (the only reason to put this on last is if Taker wins to give us the Happy Ending).

And I'm not writing Taker off as a potential winner in the SD! main event... I'm just saying that his REASONS for winning are fewer, and if they are going that way, they'll show it by how the format the show.  There's just as many reasons to think JBL retains: he's got Orlando Jordan in his corner, suddenly, and I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that Undertaker is not Paul Heyman's Favorite Wrestler after what happened last month and that Heyman HAS found himself a new (sucky) charge in the form of John Heidenreich, who just so happened to promise to make an impact at SummerSlam....  it's Taker's 13 years of bad-ass-itude versus a possible 3-on-1 situation.  Either guy can win.  Which is cool as far as my Ambiguity Loving goes...  but mostly, I'm just cheering for a good, swiftly-paced, not-too-long brawl that lets both guys look good....

The OOutlOOk
Bradshaw wins: 7 votes   --|--   Undertaker wins: 2 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Bradshaw d. Undertaker.
Unlike recent previews I've contributed to, I'm actually walking into this one after watching Smackdown! for the last three weeks. The show isn't great by any means, but at least it's stopped sucking recently.

This match? It probably won't be very good, even though I like Taker and JBL is beginning to grow on me. These guys both have track records (JBL only recently) of good matches, but only when working with better pure wrestlers as opponents. I can't see WWE putting the belt on a part-time wrestler who doesn't need the jewelry in the first place, and JBL is finally becoming an acceptable champion. His pairing with Orlando Jordon will be meaningless if he doesn't have that title around his waist to help elevate the rookie, so I can't see any other option here.

And the vignettes indicating the return of the Vortex of Suck that is John Heidenreich say that he wants to make a big impact at Summerslam. What better way to do that than interfere in the title match? Yeah, that'll blow, and the only redeeming part of it will be Paul Heyman on my TV.

Canadian Bulldog Says... Undertaker d. Bradshaw.
This wasn't a particularly good match in 1996 when, during a Monday Night Raw, Mankind debuted and attacked The Dead Man. It hasn't gotten much better since.

Instead of going over all the reasons why this match will stink, let's just see I can't see Taker laying down for JBL. Perhaps the title won't change this time around, perhaps it will, the only thing I know for sure is that Taker will come out on top.

The Cubs Fan Says... Bradshaw d. Undertaker.
For all the Brand Extension talk about creating new stars, the main event issues since Brock Lesnar have left have been limited due to a lack of stars. SmackDown had to run a longer JBL/Eddie program than seemed warranted or desired because they didn't have anyone available to change the matchup, and now it seems preordained that this match will also headline the next SmackDown PPV because they again won't have left themselves any alternative. Someone should've been moved over from RAW months ago, and the misallocation of talent gives away that we've got at least one rematch.

Orlando Jordan's only reason for addition to the background seems to be to give them an out on a decisive finish here. Or maybe someone really dug the Obama speech and remembered they had an unused black guy on the roster who they could run for someone (and Teddy Long was otherwise busy, so they gave it to Orlando.)

Given Undertaker's stature, I suspect they've considered giving him to a quicky title reign if only to spice up the next PPV, and Bradshaw being dominated and getting an iffy victory in the first match of a title program is exactly what they've already did with Eddie, so there's enough here to consider going the other way. The easiest solution is JBL winning thanks to Orlando, so I'll take that.
The Immolator Says... Bradshaw d. Undertaker.
I picked JBL to beat Eddie the first time the two went at it simply because I figured their feud needed a JBL win to continue. Same here. That's the way it's supposed to work: build up the feud, then the payoff.

He'll need some help from Mr. Jordan to do it, but JBL gets the duke.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Undertaker d. Bradshaw.
I donít think Taker will win the title, but I have a feeling they might give him the DQ win.  This is obviously not going to be the last match of the night, so they will feel that itís ok to do that finish.  Despite their confidence in JBL as a champ, I donít see them giving him a pinfall win over Taker.  But I also donít see them giving Taker the title because there is no logical next move after that.  Plus if the rumors are true, Taker will be busy with HI DEN REICH.  The fact that Iím mentioning any of these names when talking about a WWE title match really depresses me.
Matt Hocking Says... Bradshaw d. Undertaker.
Face it, JBL has worked as champion.  The crowd responds to him, and he's been everything a heel champion should be.  How will they put him over one of the most over guys in the federation?  Honestly, I'm not exactly sure.  I'm sure the ending will involve some sort of shennanigans involving Orlando Jordon.  If nothing else, it will be completely overbooked just enough for everyone to hate it.
Jeb Lund Says... Bradshaw d. Undertaker.
I canít see the reason behind adding other people to JBLís right-wing lunatic plutocrat gig if heís just going to job to Undertaker and never be heard from again. Theyíre still adding to his character and still trying to remove the stain of transitional/fluke champion. Look for heavy cheating to make the difference. Then Undertaker will get distracted and feud with someone else, or defeat JBL cleanly down the road Ė ultimately setting up a job for Eddie.  
Big Danny T Says...  Bradshaw d. Undertaker.
What will Undertaker do with the title if he wins on Sunday? Appear once a month to show it off? Back in the early 90's, that might have worked, but now, he needs to be there every week. Expect copious interference from Orlando, making Bradshaws win as cheap as possible. oh yeah, and if Heyman is going to try feeding Heidenreich to Undertaker, wouldn't you rather the title be as far away from that feud as possible?
Rick Scaia Says... Bradshaw d. Undertaker.
Alright, so here's the deal: all I wanted to do in this spot was say "Undertaker will NOT win the title, so this'll probably be a cheap DQ finish to a moderately crappy match." And then tonight, JBL goes and cuts a promo where he did another of his GUARANTEES.  And instead of just promising to retain his title, he also promised to WIN THE DAMN MATCH.  Arrrgggh!

The Orlando Jordan and/or Heidenreich run-in for the DQ was such an easy call, but there's no reason to have JBL make that promise if he's only gonna live up to half of it.  After making that guarantee, JBL is either losing the belt entirely, or he's actually gonna beat Taker.  And since putting the belt on a part-time attraction whose next scheduled feud is to be against the Concentrated Suck that is John Heidenreich is an even WORSE idea than leaving it on JBL (who might have a few interesting babyface challengers in the pipeline), I am left with no choice but to pick Bradshaw to somehow score the cheap win.

I like Taker, but there's just no reason to put the belt on him now. It'll be screwy as all hell, but Bradshaw's gotta retain; it's just the proper play. God, saying that hurts me in a very fundamental way. And because of that fucking guarantee, I have to pick him to actually WIN, too, instead of the much more sensible "retain by DQ," which is what 99% of the fiber of my being still thinks is the safer call. But you know how I loves me the Thinking Too Hard....



If I need to type Thing One to get you caring about this match, you cannot be my friend.


If you want a story, this one goes back longer than any on this entire fricking PPV.  These two fought at WrestleMania 20, and had been entangled for over a month before that.  Top that, Random Randy Orton Generator!

Also: these two kick your grandmammy's ass, and you love it. They can talk, but they don't have to.  They can beat each other's ass, but they don't have to.  All they have to do is be on opposite sides of a PPV line-up, and you (at least *I*) will stand up and ask permission to fork over my money to Time Warner Cable.  Or buy beer from some orange-clad bimbo. We still haven't decided. But I'll be there.  And my point is, SO SHOULD YOU!

Eddie and Angle go back past WM20, when they were feuding over the WWE Title.  In their PPV showdown then, Eddie bested Kurt in a good-but-not-epic 20-minute match, cheating to win.  Since that time, the two were mildly at odds often during Kurt's run as SmackDown! General Manager.  The hostilities re-intensified just in time for Eddie's blow-off match against JBL... and in that match, Kurt revealed he wasn't as hurt as he'd led us to believe, when he donned the El Gran Luchador costume and screwed Eddie out of winning the title.

Now, we essentially have a situation where Eddie cheated to keep Kurt from winning the title at WM20, then Kurt responded with a Super Mega Douchebag Cheat to keep Eddie from winning his title back from JBL.  So Eddie responded with some stealing (the crap out of Angle's office when he was relieved as GM).  A lot of the past few weeks has been mild because Eddie can't go 100% due to an injury (ironic, since Kurt wasn't at 100% when they fought at WM20).

But just last night, they did a unique thing: they TONED DOWN the intensity, and in the doing, only made it seem like more of a crime that Benoit/Orton, JBL/Taker, HHH/Eugene, and Kane/Matt are ALL ahead of this on the SummerSlam Depth Chart... for while all those matches have stronger, more conventional pushes behind them, there was something very real about the moment when Teddy Long asked the two to shake hands after finally airing their grievances (which amounted to "I really wonder which of us is the better wrestler... and the bigger man?" thanks to Teddy's massaging) and realizing some kind of grudging mutual respect, and even MORE intense simmering mutual hatred that need not be displayed for free on Thursday nights. I can't describe it, exactly, I just knows I loved me the realistic, palpable, compelling tension. Way more than I like randomly-generated #1 Contenders and Till Death Do Us Suck matches, anyway....

If this isn't the show-stealing Match of the Night, folks, I'll Eat A Bug.  I really don't care if it's 3rd, 4th, or 5th on the depth chart, I don't care what kind of sell-job they do on Sunday, all I know is that these two guys could never, in a million years, suck if they tried, and I'm a sucker for the understated Reverse Hype last night, and I'm confident that if you give 'em 15+ minutes, they'll rock your fucking socks off.  To hell with WWE's depth chart: THIS is your SummerSlam Main Event!

And dissenting views may kindly report to my ass for kissing duty.

The OOutlOOk
Angle wins: 8 votes   --|--   Eddie wins: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Eddie Guerrero d. Kurt Angle.
I don't think I'm premature in calling this the Match of the Night before it even happens. This will be awesome and we all know it, and there's not much more for me to say about it.

Eddie needs to win here, though, more so than Angle. Eddie's stock has dropped since losing to Bradshaw, and Angle has a ready-made heel-ish excuse for losing (it was ring rust, dammit!) In the end, though, I really don't care, because these two will steal the show. But Eddie, you need the boost after a few less-than-inspiring turns on the mic in recent weeks.

Canadian Bulldog Says... Kurt Angle d. Eddie Guerrero.
Pure and simple: Angle will get the return victory from WrestleMania here. Despite the fact this should really be for the WWE title, it will still end up being the sleeper contest of the night.
The Cubs Fan Says... Kurt Angle d. Eddie Guerrero.
Like most everything else on the SmackDown side, this is just a milestone on the side of the road for the rivalry. It's not the end, it's just a part of the longer journey.

I hope Kurt keeps that in mind. The way he's talking about this matchup seems to have advanced little from basic indy wrestler thinking: "let's do like five crazy things to blow away the crowd here, and then the rematch, uh, I guess we'll do ten crazy things to top that!" Kurt's single minded focus to do the most he can and the best he can has gotten him far in life and a great skill to have, but I don't think always that's the best policy for a wrestler to take into the ring. You don't need want to pace yourself to be Olympic athlete, but you do need to learn if you want to be a quality wrestler over a long period of time.

I guess this match will show if Angle's learned that yet, or if I should start betting against him making it to WrestleMania.
The Immolator Says... Kurt Angle d. Eddie Guerrero.
The REAL main event, and thus will get buried in the middle of the card and be followed immediately by the Diva Dodgeball Challenge.

I think they'll be given "only" 20 minutes to do their thing, so as to minimize the card-stealing quality of the match. Angle can use the win a little more than Eddie at this point, since he's coming of an extended period of inactivity (including some weight loss, by the looks of it). Perhaps a little of Luther's influence will do the trick for Angle, but Eddie will do something clever after the match to embarrass him and further the feud while getting a pop.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Kurt Angle d. Eddie Guerrero.
The most difficult match to decide on.  The match has been made more on the fact that they can deliver the goods in the ring rather than based on a strong storyline.  Thatís not to say this match couldnít have had a good story.  They had the setting for one after Angleís tough loss to Guerrero at WM.  But instead of being concerned with Eddieís title reign, Angle as GM, decided to focus all of his attention on John Cena.  Then once the match was made, both men couldnít even get physical since both are concerned about their physical well being.  So really all we should be concerned about is enjoying these two go at it again.  Since neither man has anything else on the horizon beyond this, the feud will probably continue on and the best way to do that is by having Kurt win.
Matt Hocking Says... Kurt Angle d. Eddie Guerrero.
This is Kurt Angle's real come back party.  Sure he had an all right match with Haas last week on Smackdown, but this is his chance to have a really REALLY good match.  That being said, the WWE isn't going to waste it by not putting him over here.  Both guys are over enough that either one could take a loss from the other, but Angle is much better off winning here, and I think the WWE knows it.
Jeb Lund Says... Kurt Angle d. Eddie Guerrero.
The question you should ask yourself: does it even matter who wins? No, no it doesnít. This match should be a pleasure regardless. You should love this match. But, since I have to pick someone, Iím going with Angle. I see Eddie not cheating and coming up short Ė or cheating in a way that cannot equal Angleís cheating. Down the road, the two of them can have a decisive clean match. But right now, Angle should get his job back from WrestleMania and make their conflict seem much less black-and-white.  
Big Danny T Says...  Kurt Angle d. Eddie Guerrero.
I don't see Kurt losing on his return to PPV, and why kill a good feud?
Rick Scaia Says... Kurt Angle d. Eddie Guerrero.
Sing along with The Rick, now: The Real Winners are the Fans!

So other than expecting a 20 minute Match of the Night, what else can I say about how Angle/Eddie will go down? Well, for one, I think what I'd really like is for this feud to continue for another month or two, to get us to a point where both guys are at 100% and can REALLY deliver the goods. Easiest way to accomplish that? The heel goes over, and the face keeps chasing.

Plus, it's Angle's comeback match and the last time the two fought, Eddie won. So karmic alignment dictates Angle should win. Actually, for all my bitching about the ambiguity making this an impossible card to pick, I feel VERY confident here. Tonight's promo even gives me a crystal clear idea for how you do the finish that makes both guys look good and keeps the feud rolling: they both wrestle it surprisingly clean, Eddie visibly THINKS ABOUT, but PASSES ON cheating a few times...  but he's also visibly out-wrestling Angle by a narrow margin (Tazz, do your master work, buddy, and sell the Ring Rust, OK?)... and just as Eddie's about to win this completely clean and straight-up wrestling match, Angle and Luther Reigns conspire to Cheat 2 Win, themselves.  Maybe even something right out of Eddie's playbook...  Angle didn't out-wrestle Eddie, but he does get the win, and the only thing to do about it: fight again another day.

This is how it MUST happen.


Match #1 of a Best Of Five Series for the US Title

The story here is great.  The possibilities of picking a winner are freaking brutal, though.  To wit:

John Cena won the US Title at WM20, beating the Big Show. Almost immediately there-after, Big Show got embroiled in some other drama (to create a reason for him to have 5 months off for knee surgery), and WWE also shuffled its deck as part of the Draft Lottery.  It wasn't long before Booker T got shuffled over to SD!, and turned himself heel by declaring himself too talented for the Thursday night brand.

Cena dabbled with another RAW transplantee, Rene Dupree, first, but Booker T has pretty much been SD!'s top mid-level heel since April... and once Booker had dismissed Dupree, evil GM Kurt Angle went to a Challenger By Committee strategy to relieve the foul-mouthed Cena of his belt.  Booker was included, and in fact was made the lead challenger in a group that included Dupree, Kenzo Suzuki, and henchman Luther Reigns, among others...  but Cena KEPT fending off Angle's challengers.

So Angle eventually just gave up.  In a match where Booker was SUPPOSED to finally unseat Cena for the title, Cena fought the good fight, and wouldn't go down. But in the good fighting, he body tackled GM Kurt Angle (still pretending to be an invalid at that point).  Angle immediately called for the end of the match, and stripped Cena of the US Title, though Cena was never pinned or made to submit.  This was per a ruling of the WWE Board of Directors that Angle had publicized weeks previous about Cena physically engaging the wheel-chair-bound GM.  So unjust as it was, Angle's stripping of the US Title stood.

When he attempted to hand the belt to his selected protťgť, Booker T, however, things got sticky.  That was the week Angle was exposed and replaced as GM by Vince McMahon.  New GM Teddy Long put the title up for grabs in an 8-man gauntlet match, which Booker managed to win.  But Cena's claim to the belt remains strong.  And Teddy Long, remembering his WCW history, decided to reprise the absolutely CLASSIC Booker vs. Benoit US Title Best of Seven Series by announcing a Booker vs. Cena Best of Five Series.

First match is Sunday at SummerSlam. For reasons that should be obvious, picking a winner is a grim task when four more falls follow. Picking Sunday's outcome is essentially like predicting what'll happen in the first 10 minutes of [insert-your-favorite-one-hour-drama-here]... it'll be fun, it'll be important, but it won't be indicative of the final outcome.

Mostly what I hope for is that they've pre-mapped the five finishes for this series, cuz what most moistened my panties about Benoit/Booker's series was how they built upon finishes in subsequent matches, and had Benoit doing stuff like mega-super-duper-crossfaces and other reversals and modified finishers because you had the two guys learning and remembering and learning to counter and all that good stuff.  Sure, Cena's no Chris Benoit, but the way they construct these matches and finishes could make him SEEM like he ain't too far behind... which is maybe no help towards ensuring Match #1 is a **** classic, so I don't even know why I brought it up...  ring-work aside on Sunday, at least fans should be way into this one.

The OOutlOOk
Cena wins: 5 votes   --|--   Booker wins: 4 votes

Erin Anderson Says... John Cena d. Booker T.
I decided to pick the winner for this match last, because it really doesn't matter who wins. There'll be four more in the series. So far I've only picked two babyfaces to win at Summerslam, so I've gotta go with Cena here to balance out the card a little. Besides, I like the idea of Cena winning the first match and then dropping two straight to Booker to build up the drama. The match has the potential to be really good, but don't be surprised if you end up bored to tears by it. You never know with these two.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Booker T d. John Cena.
I'm very psyched for this "best of 5 series" and think it could be a real proving ground for both of these guys. Not that Booker has a whole lot to prove at this point in his career, but he's obviously not being pushed the way he should as the top heel on SmackDown. Cena has been in a downward spiral ever since they botched is face run earlier this year, and winning the series might help to repair damage.

I'm thinking a Booker win to kick things off would give this series a start in the right direction. And The Book will get serious heat by going over Toronto favorite Cena.

The Cubs Fan Says... Booker T d. John Cena.
It's a best of five, Cena just beat Booker, Booker's the heel, could this be any more obvious? No.

You know, in Mexico, they have a lot of 2/3 falls matches, and they go 2 falls quite often. I just wanted to assure you, the reader, that such things are indeed possible, if not here in the WWE.
The Immolator Says... John Cena d. Booker T.
It's a best-of-five anyway, so might as well let the face win what is essentially a meaningless match as far as PPVs go. Especially if he comes out wearing that sweet powder blue Dave Steib number again. Cheap pop!
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Booker T d. John Cena.
With this being a best of 5 series, it really doesnít matter who wins this since we all know that it will go to 5 matches anyways.  While I like the idea of another ďBest ofĒ series, this was horrible planning.  Why having the first one be on the PPV.  And the next Smackdown PPV isnít for another 2 months which means the final one is unlikely going to happen on PPV.  They wasted all that time with stripping Cena of the title, when they could have already had the first four matches.  But enough rantingÖitís always more compelling when the face has to come from behind to get it to that 5th match, so Booker wins round 1.
Matt Hocking Says... John Cena d. Booker T.
Honestly, in a best of five series, this could go either way and not have any effect whatsoever.  I think the crowd is dying to see Cena take the opening match, however (to get one in on Booker) and besides, I've got far too many heels going over anyway.
Jeb Lund Says... Booker T d. John Cena.
I had a perfectly good reason why this should happen, but I thought of it two nights ago. I cannot for the life of me remember why it seemed self-evident that Booker should win. I just remember being confident.  
Big Danny T Says...  John Cena d. Booker T.
We've got 5 matches from these two. Will they be innovative like Booker's series of 5 against Benoit 6 years ago? or will it just be Cena's 5 moves of doom every match. Lets hope that we have a bit more of the former. I pick Cena to win the first match, Booker to win the next 2, then Cena will get his title back after winning the 4th match, Booker cheats in the 5th match, thus necessitating a rematch on PPV, which Cena will win.
Rick Scaia Says... John Cena d. Booker T.
Like I said above, Match #1 of a Five Match Series? I might as well just flip a coin for all this particular outcome matters...

But instead of that, I'll use the probably just-as-useless heuristic of I'm Picking Too Many Heels, so I'll try to even things out with Cena getting the first fall here.  I think with Cena also pinning Booker tonight on SD!, you can build to a scenario in which Booker gets down a fall, maybe even 2 falls, and then resorts to Desperation Tactics, and somehow cheats himself up to a 2-2 tie. I like that idea for teasing fans with the "obvious" (Cena going over) while building up Booker by putting over how he responsed with his back against the wall.

Prediction that doesn't actually count: Booker should win the Best of Five, and move into a US Title feud with RVD.  Cena should "graduate" to a feud with still-champ JBL by the fall. 



Here is the one part of the card where I was five weeks ahead of everybody in predicting (a) that it would happen and (b) that the way it would happen would rule. Needless to say, after Angle/Eddie, this is kind of in a tie with HHH/Eugene and The IC Three Way for my next best reason to get SummerSlam....

Two stories in parallel here: first, London and Kidman somehow suddenly graduate from Velocity and STUN the Dudleys for the WWE Tag Titles in their first appearance on SmackDown! in lord only knows how long. A rematch also goes London/Kidman's way, and the Duds are none too pleased.

While this is going on, Rey Mysterio has beaten Chavo Guerrero Sr. for the Cruiserweight Title in what I'm starting to think is one of WWE's Biggest Blunders of the Year (alienating Classic, and burying Chavo Jr., just because Sr. has a sense of pride)... but that's not important, I'm merely free-associating....  Rey's got the CW Title, and has made friends with Spike Dudley as Spike tries to fend off the advances of his estranged brothers.  It seems Bubba and D-Von wouldn't mind a little help from Spike as they try to get back their tag titles... and if Spike helps, maybe they'd help him out....  but Spike is adamant: HELL NO, he says, to the ill-gotten help.

[dangeresque]Or Does He?[/dangeresque]

After a few instance of Bubba and D-Von attempting, and apparently FAILING to corrupt young Spike, they got involved in a CW Title match between Spike and his friend Rey Mysterio. In fact, they helped Spike score the huge upset over Rey.  So Spike's your new CW Champ! And I guess he liked the jewelry, because a week later, when teaming with Rey against Bubba and D-Von, Spike feigned injury and let Rey carry the match... of course, 1 man against 2, Rey lost... and after the match, Spike shockingly joined in the attack against Rey.

So the two parallel feuds (Spike vs. Rey, London/Kidman vs. Dudleys) are joined together as one in what SHOULD be an awesomely worked match.  The two likely outcomes are the challengers scoring a pinfall over the champions... so either Rey over Spike or Dudleys over London/Kidman, since those are the two obvious feuds coming out of the show, and the only reason we've consolidated into one match here is cuz of the joint-brand time-constraints.  So it's a great time to let the non-champ score a win, says I.  Then we build to future matches.

Possibly show-stealer, here, folks...

The OOutlOOk
Dudleys win: 5 votes   --|--   Rey/London/Kidman win: 4 votes

Erin Anderson Says... The Dudleys d. Rey/London/Kidman.
This match should be a helluva lot of fun, and I'm a little surprised that a tables stipulation hasn't been added to it. We've got two of the best high flyers in the business in Mysterio and London, along with the very capable Kidman and Dudleys. I say the Dudleys win because otherwise, Spike's heel turn last week means absolutely nothing. What good is a newly evil Spike if he and his "family" can't win a tag match against their biggest competitors? And if the faces win, then it effectively ends their feuds with the heels. And what's the point of that? Smackdown! needs all the direction it can get.
Canadian Bulldog Says... The Dudleys d. Rey/London/Kidman.
Bubba Ray, D-Von and Spike have a real shot this time around of becoming The Fabulous Freebirds 2004, and this is where it starts. Plus, this is an easy way for them to get their heat back for losing the tag titles without actually winning them back for now. I'd bet good money this is the opening match on the PPV.
The Cubs Fan Says... The Dudleys d. Rey/London/Kidman.
1) This is the most fun Spike Dudley has been in years.
2) It's gotta be the most fun he's had too - it's not HIM who's going thru the table.
3) It was comical to hear London talked about as a "tag team specialist", when these two won the tag titles as "singles guys who haven't teamed up long"
4) They're really given no reasons outside of the titles for people to care about Kidman and London
5) The obvious finish is the most interesting one, because we'll get a look at Spike's new role as leader of the group
The Immolator Says... Rey/Kidman/London d. The Dudleys.
Probably your opening match, so it's good to let the faces win and get the crowd into it. This has plenty of potential to be the best match on the card, but the six-man format gives it a built-in "appetizer" factor that renders it less important than the later courses. I forsee a West Coast Pop in Spike's near future.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Rey/Kidman/London d. The Dudleys.
This one seems pretty elementary.  This will be your opener and a hot one at that.  You want to get the crowd off on a good note so you have to let the faces win.  The only question that remains will be whether this is an unoriginal standard 6-man or whether they will let these guys go all out and really shine.  I think we will get glimpses of good stuff, but they canít let these guys keep feuding beyond this match and then hopefully produce that TLC match that we want at their next PPV.
Matt Hocking Says... The Dudleys d. Rey/Kidman/London.
I actually think this has just the right amount of screwiness to be the sleeper match of the night.  Spike's recent heel turn breathes a bit of new life into his character, and gives him a story that actually kind of works with the Dudley Boyz.  I say that the faces get a bunch of really close nearfalls until one of the Dudz steals a sneaky victory, probably one of the tag Dudz to continue that part of the feud.
Jeb Lund Says... The Dudleys d. Rey/London/Kidman.
Uh, the bad guys should win, setting up a rematch down the road. Plus, you just canít end Spikeís winning streak here. Give the guy a decent and convincing title reign: make him a force. In that light, I think that he should be the decisive element in this match.

Oh, and I predict that Kidman will once again nearly kill himself with his own finisher.

Big Danny T Says...  Rey/Kidman/London d. The Dudleys.
I call for the good guys to win this one because Team Dudley have that classic "Cockiness before the fall" thing going on.
Rick Scaia Says... Rey/London/Kidman d. The Dudleys.
I'll be honest here: I figured I'd have the Duds winning this because it seemed like the more sensible finish. Having Bubba and D-Von hit a 3-D to beat London or Kidman is something they could REALLY use to build to future matches.

But again the I'm bludgeoned over the head by the realization that I'm Picking Too Many Heels.  Blame Erin, she made an offhand mention about how she'd done the same thing and planted the idea in my head just as I was sitting down to type my own things up. So after Cena, this is the next easiest match to declare that the finish doesn't really matter, so let's just give it to the babyfaces to try to even the scorecard.

Actually, giving the win to the faces turns this into an ideal choice for an opening match. It'll be high energy, and have Rey pin Spike (just to give him a little comeuppance after his recent displays of cockiness) for the happy ending, and all is right with the world.  I think that sets us up for Rey vs. Spike for the CW Title, and kids, let me just say this: if London/Kidman vs. the Dudleys doesn't include a Tables Match at some point along the way, I'm gonna be super-mega-pissed~!

Although... holy shit, this just might be the whiskey talking, but how about letting them all do the individual CW and Tag Title matches, but at some point towards year end bring them all back together for the Final Blowoff. I'm envisioning a Double TLC Match!  Essentially two TLC Matches happening simultaneously: the CW belt and the tag belts are BOTH hung over the ring, and only Spike/Rey can grab the CW belt, and only Bubb/D-Von or London/Kidman can grab the tag belts, but all six men fight simultaneously to work out all their interwoven hatreds!  Match is not over and all six men are obligated to keep fighting till BOTH titles have been acquired!  I'd pay to see that...  In fact, in the pantheon of Match Ideas I've Had While Inebriated, this is my second favorite one ever!  Behind the Totally Loaded Cell Match, which I'm sure you all remember....

Enough fantasy projections. Important thing is that this idea of too many heels is festering in my head, so I'm saying Rey, London, and Kidman win.




Diva Dodgeball, Heat Matches, any extra details or closing thoughts that didn't fit in above... they're all right here in the trOOps Final Words! 

The OOutlOOk

Erin Anderson Says... Bring me the bOObies~!
What the fuck kind of theme song for Summerslam is "Summertime Blues?" Sure, it sounds cute on paper, but it'll look like shit in the video packages. Rush? Rush? I like 'em okay, but PPV theme songs need to be ominous and heavy. Rush is neither of those things.

A few predictions:

  • Either Bubba or D-Von will pin Kidman or London; the decision shouldn't involve Spike or Mysterio.

  • Wins should be a little heavy on the heel side of things.
  • Edge will go nuts on Jericho after their match and beat the crap out of him, no matter who wins.
  • Flair will take at least three back body drops, even if he isn't wrestling.
  • If Lita does turn heel, she'll probably reveal that she was never pregnant in the first place. I hope. I pray.
  • I will fear for Angle's safety every time he throws a suplex. I love you, Kurt, but your neck condition worries the hell out of me.
  • If God has a good sense of humor, Heidenreich will injure himself during his inevitable run-in and get sent back to OVW.
  • Diva Dodgeball will be useless, unless someone loses their clothing. I'm betting it'll be Carmella.
Canadian Bulldog Says... I must be in the front row~!
I'm not guaranteeing this, but there's a possibility that YOURS TRULY could make an appearance on the card, doing a run-in during the HHH-Eugene match. It would mean I'd get ejected from the building, but it's still probably worth it.

Backstage, look for Regal to be engaging in some hilarious (!!!) skits with Eugene, getting him ready for The Cerebral AssassinÖ Edge is going to have to do something major to turn the Toronto faithful against him. And I cannot believe that (at least, as of Sunday night when I'm writing this), they haven't factored in Trish into this show somehow. We Torontonians will stage a RIOT if she's not thereÖ BANK ON IT!!! And wouldn't this be a great time to bring back Christian? It would be nice to see some GM interaction between GM's Long and Bischoff, though I wouldn't count on it.

Your Sunday Night Heat match? I'm guessing Maven Vs. Tyson Tomko.

The Cubs Fan Says... Thank god it's 98% Filler-Free~!
Divas defeat Wannabes in Dodgeball. I hope this isn't worked! Why would you? I wonder if the Divas Search people get a cut of the PPV?

Final thought:

The great thing about this SummerSlam, as compared to WrestleMania and lesser to the other cross brand PPVs, is how they've resisted the urge to get everyone on for a big paycheck. There's no meaningless tag team four way match, no pointless battle royal, nothing that exists solely to swell the number of participants participating.

The great thing about this SummerSlam, as compared to the split brand PPVs, is that every match behind it has an issue that's been consistently built over the last month. Excluding the Divas, there's no filler matches or pre-PPV quicky feuds made to fill out the middle of the card. Everything that's here has a reason to be on the show, and a reason for the fans to care.

It's a nice happy medium. I think it's possible for them to give this level of completion of every PPV card - it's what I'd expect as a consumer. For whatever reason, they've only achieved this level rarely, so I think they deserve some credit for doing what doesn't come naturally to them. Maybe some of this can be used as a template for next time.
The Immolator Says... MXC on SpikeTV RULZ~!
Diva Dodgeball... Winner: Whoever the Playmate is.

I watch MXC every once in a while, and SpikeTV plugs the Diva contest to the moon during their interminable ad breaks. So I gather this event is too important to let some non-appreciative wrestling fans spoil the party.

Expect lots of references to the movie (which I'm waiting until it's free to see - probably won't take too long) and extra focus on the Playmate vs. Trish at the end.

Extras I would book:

If he's available, I'd get Billy Red Lyons to be the ring announcer. I'd get Tiger Williams and/or Tie Domi (noted Maple Leafs "enforcers" past and present) to make an appearance. I'd have La Resistance cheat to win against Rhyno/Tajiri on Heat. I'd use Val Venis as MC of the Dodgeball challenge.

Adam Gutschmidt Says... Somebody, Aim for Coach's Balls, Please~!

Divas def. Diva Wannabees

Hopefully the Divas will be so rough and ruthless that it scares all the wannabes away.  But we couldnít be that lucky.  Lots of fake screaming and shrieking will be done by the wannabes.  Coach will probably be pelted by a lot of the dodgeballs too.


Other stuff:

Tajiri and Rhyno will win a 2:00 min. match on HeAT to get a title shot the next night on RAW.


This isnít really a PPV prediction, but based on my picks for the show, I believe we will get a big Evolution ďpartyĒ as our main event on RAW the next night.

Matt Hocking Says... It's all a set-up~!.
Carmella will be eliminated first as she will just smile and hold the ball. She will still get the biggest pop of all the Diva hopefuls, and much more than Jazz, Molly, Gail or Victoria.  The hopefuls will lose because Jazz is REALLY excited about this match.  "Dodgeball, baby, finally."

On Heat, we will have some variation of the La Resistance/Rhyno-Tajiri feud.

RVD and Rene Dupree will at least get mentioned at some point.

As you can see, I have lots of heels going over here.  I think this makes it easier to set up feuds headed towards the Royal Rumble-Wrestlemania stretch in a few months.  Stories seem to work better when the heels are on top and the faces are allowed to chase.  Therefore, even though SummerSlam is one of the "big" PPVs, I think the WWE, and rightfully so, is going to use it as a setup-PPV for future storylines.

Jeb Lund Says... Fuck Charley~!
Diva Dodgeball
Look for the WWE women wrestlers to humiliate the Diva candidates. But watch those crafty diva candidates get their revenge by putting all the women wrestlersí bras in the freezer! Itís a schmozz!

Closing Notes
This would have been longer and more thoughtful, but thereís a Catgeory Three hurricane bearing down on me as we speak. I still need to put that funky t-bar behind my garage door, which gives it support in the middle. Itís unreal: during hurricanes, the fastest way for the wind to strip a house apart is to cave in the garage door. Then air rushes into that large space and literally pulls the roof off from the inside.

Not that hurricanes frighten me, mind. Theyíre just very very aggravating. I rode out Opal in 1995; that was a Category Four, and it was more captivating than anything. Only earthquakes really scare me: youíre walking along in your house and then BANG! The house starts leaping like a flea on speed, and thereís a shuddering echo of sound like someone just clapped a cupped hand over your ear. Just incredibly loud. And itís absolutely terrifying. I was in the 7.1 Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 (the one that interrupted the World Series), and it felt like God was punching my house, me, my dog, my mom, my friends, my favorite KFC, and my ancestors.

But the blessing is that itís over in 7 seconds. Hurricanes are usually 48 straight hours of anxiety or frustration. In many ways, itís like waiting in line for two days just to see a two hour movie: the duration of the waits and the events are almost exactly the same. So you spend a lot of time psyching yourself out. For example, I woke up at seven this morning and walked around my backyard asking myself questions like, ďCan this object be turned into a missile? Okay, how about this one? How heavy does something have to be to keep it from flying? What about this log? Can it fly? Should I move it in the garage? What about my neighbors? Did some swine neighbor leave a giant basket of tennis balls in their backyard?ótennis balls that have small wings stuck to them, to make them fly like the balls in Twister

Oh, great, now thereís a 50-year-old golem/woman on the television whose first helpful bit of information was, ďWe are taking lots of action. The first action we took was to give me the authority to take action.Ē And sheís clearly fucking enjoying this. Obviously this golem spends 98% of her work week being kept in a drawer by some bigger or more important creature. And the opportunity for vast billion-dollar devastation has brought her from her dusty hidey-hole with a shit-eating expression that says, ďPeople are gonna DIE! FUCK YEAH! IíM GONNA BE FAMOUS!Ē My God, sheís practically beaming, like a new mother. ďIíve given birth to Godís fury and death death death! LOOSE my child upon the world! IíM ON TV!!!Ē

Yes, this is truly the worst part of a hurricane: watching scores of bureaucratic trolls monotonously enumerating the dangers, on TV, while their mind is clearly dancing with visions of shattered homes and broken bodies and themÖ standing by a podium, holding forth with bombast tempered by lugubrious Churchillian verbal exultation. This is their time to heal us all. Say what you will about Giuliani, but New Yorkers were really lucky to have that man at that time. You never caught an accidental glimpse of him clearly getting off on it all. He actually had the dignity of his office to look at devastation and horror without seeing an opportunity.

If I keep watching this, Iím going to interfere with the evacuation routes by speeding toward Storm Team 8ís Team Headquarters and shooting a minimum of 20 people. So itís time for me to do the garage-door thingy and take a last look at the yard. Itís time to heal us all.

Big Danny T Says...  Nothing.
Rick Scaia Says... Haven't I said enough already, goddammit~?!?
What the fuck else can I possibly have to say?  I spent two hours last night typing up the match previews and my picks, I think I'm probably done...

Maybe now that I've seen everybody else's extra stuff, I'll say this:

  • Erin's right, "Summertime Blues" by Rush is not a PPV Theme Song. I'm all for maybe a kind of rollicking, happy fun party song, but not that one. And not fucking Rush.  I didn't even know they were still in existence. [I was once in a band, The National Drink, where one member suggested WE cover "Summertime Blues" as our token rollicking happy fun song. He was beaten soundly, and we eventually settled on Del Shannon's "Runaway," which I considered a tolerable compromise if we had to have a token happy fun cover.]
  • Erin's wrong, nudity will not save Diva Dodgeball.  The only thing that'll save it is one or more of the contestants actually displaying some kind of physicality along the lines that I explained earlier this week.  Plus, I've already seen Carmella naked. And it was more fun before I was forced to realize she was a completely vapid waste of space.
  • Bulldog had better get a "Rick is gOOd" sign on TV if he's at the show.
  • Cubs Fan is simultaneously right and wrong: yes, it is nice to have a fully-compelling top-to-bottom card for once. But why compliment WWE for doing what the SHOULD BE DOING EVERY MONTH? That'd be like me complimenting Randy Orton on the way he manages to breathe in and out so as to process oxygen. Which, to be fair, is just about the only thing he seems to be good at.
  • Immo's got a good idea: Val Venis SHOULD be the MC of Diva Dodgeball, since he'd probably get the nice home country pop, and that'd be fun. But we all know that Coach WILL be the MC.
  • Adam and Matt clash to make me unable to decide whether Tajiri/Rhyno should do something on Heat to further their feud with La Resistance, or if maybe they should give us an RVD/Dupree match... how about split Heat in half, and do both?  A pipe dream, I know...
  • And finally, I hope Jeb Lund is not killed by the Hurricane.  Hell, I'm such a nice guy that I hope Jeb Lund is not even significantly inconvenienced by the hurricane.

That's it. I think this is the longest Team Coverage PPV preview to date, already. It need not be made any longer.

So check out SummerSlam 2004 on Sunday night... or if you've just got a little too much Olympic Fever, are a cheap-ass bastard, or haven't found some reason in this Epic Document to care about the PPV, you can always remember to stop on back here at OO on Sunday night.

I'll be posting my immediately post-show SummerSlam Recap sometime proximate to midnight!  See you then....

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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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