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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
TEAM COVERAGE:
WWE Great American Bash PPV Preview
July 22, 2005

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

 

You know, it's looking like I could probably muster up a normal Friday news column, if I really wanted to. 
 
We've got TNA officially announcing it's TV deal.

We've got Lord Alfred Hayes passing away.

We've got Ivory being released by WWE.

We've got UPN forcing WWE's hand with regards to Muhammad Hassan.

And mostly, we've got me practically   

BEGGING for any excuse I can find to not have to put myself through the torture of trying to figure out why the Great American Bash is supposed to be worth your $35.

But then, as I sit here, I realize this is my cross to bear. This is my duty. Even with a roster shuffle last month, we might be sitting here staring a SD!-brand PPV in the face, wondering, "Why?"... but that's when OO's big-ass Team Coverage PPV Preview comes to the rescue to try to do what WWE cannot: make you care about at least SOME of the matches on this card!

Looking for a silver lining, my mind keeps going back to one simple observation: this year's Bash cannot possibly be as bad as last year's. I think it's scientifically impossible. And that leads to a related silver lining, since any mention of last year's GAB is a good excuse to go back and re-read this column I wrote shortly after the PPV exposing the Totally True and Not Even Remotely Made-Up Story of WHY the Bash went the way it did. It wound up being the second-best thing I wrote all year last year.

[pause]

OK, so I didn't just put that link in for YOUR benefit, *I* just went back and re-read that thing for the first time in a while, now. And now, goddammit, this stupid PPV Preview *still* needs to get written. I need to quit dicking around and get to business.

Sunday's Great American Bash has an announced 8-match card. Let's see if the Assembled trOOps can't find a few more silver linings; as tends to be the case, some of them are more generous/enthusiastic than I am... perhaps THEY will offset my curmudgeonliness? The only way to find out is to read on....
 

BATISTA vs. JOHN BRADSHAW LAYFIELD
World Heavyweight Title Match

Starting right at the top, SD! is serving up what could be most-charitably called "Not Exactly A Thrilling Main Event."

Although they could have taken the opportunity to let Batista be a bit more outspoken upon his arrival on SD!, and woven in storyline elements dating back to February, when Batista was trying to decide between staying on RAW (to face HHH) or jumping to SD! (where JBL was his most vocal critic), they haven't really gone there. The only mention of that timeframe has actually been by JBL, who twisted it all around into a nonsensical mess about how Batista "robbed him" of his WM21 moment this year by staying on RAW... Whaaaa? I'll hurt myself if I try to think through the logic behind JBL's promo tonight on SD!... suffice to say that the longer-term backstory wasn't really addressed adequately, or by the guy who SHOULD have been addressing it.

Instead, this is a story that is basically three weeks old. When SD! lost WWE Champ John Cena to RAW, Teddy Long originally announced the creation of a new "SD! Title." JBL won the six-man match intended to crown the new "SD! Champion. But that same night, Teddy Long found out that the lost Draft Lottery pick to come over to SD! was World Champ Batista. So he didn't need a SD! Title anymore. As a consolation prize, however, he awarded JBL the first title shot at Batista.

And thus was born what passes for a Main Event Feud. In the couple of weeks since, there have been the requisite promos and sneak attacks. But really, the only one that stands out at all is when Batista attacked JBL in the middle of a "No DQ" match to allow the Blue Meanie to pin JBL. That was... unexpected. Other than that, it's been a lot of JBL running his mouth (and in HHH fashion, you may not be able to deny the intensity of his promos, but you can seriously question the "freshness" of them at this point), and it's been a lot of Batista roughing up JBL's Secretary of Defense, Orlando Jordan, while JBL usually gets off scot-free.

I can't really get too fired up for this match, especially not as a main event. It seems WWE is more convinced of fans' desires to see JBL get his ass kicked than they maybe should be... either that, or after Cena delivered the Definitive Ass Kicking to JBL last month on PPV, they just don't care anymore. Like I said, JBL may be a lot of things, but "fresh" is none of them at this point.

I'm also unsure of how good a match we'll see out of the two. Without a stipulation/gimmick, they'll have to try to just have a standard wrestling match. Both men's resumes are kind of thin in that section (although both have had very good gimmick matches). Combine what could turn out to be punch, stomp, clothesline, punch, stomp, slam, lather, rinse, repeat with what could also be a less-than-enthused crowd, and I wouldn't set the expectations too high for this one.
  

The OOutlOOk
Batista wins: 7 votes   --|--  JBL wins: 2 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Batista d JBL.
I'm on vacation right now, people. You're lucky I'm sending in any picks at all, let alone expounding on them at length. I have only one thing to say: Batista vs. Brock Lesnar for the title. It will happen.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Batista d. JBL.
This is really a tough one to decide. By all rights, Batista should be in line for the biggest push of his career after thrice defeating His Holiness Pope John Paul LeVesque HHH (trust me, that sounded waaaaaay better before I typed it up). But the problem is, I'm just not feeling it. Batista hasn't taken the ball and run with it yet. It can be argued that he hasn't had enough opportunity to match the momentum he was gathering earlier this year, but John Cena was put in a similar situation and (in my opinion) has at least been able to get people interested.

But will they have Batista drop the title so soon after jumping to SmackDown? Probably not. I think the JBL character has improved tremendously (another example of someone taking the ball and running with it), to the point where I'd have little problem with another title reign for him down the road. And let's face it, they're probably going to have to stretch this into at least a two-match series going into SummerSlam. So there's the possibility Big Dave gets DQ'd or something.

Yet I'll stick with my original prediction (especially because I don't want to erase that lame Pope/HHH joke at the starting) because I do believe that Batista needs a convincing SmackDown win to establish himself as the franchise of the show.

The Cubs Fan Says... Batista d. JBL.
Toughest world champion match to pick in a long time,
because of cascade affects from the Hassan situation.
A week ago, I know (or at least I think I do) it's
Hassan/Batista at SummerSlam. Now, I'm forced to admit
I don't know anything. I'm guessing it's Batista,
though my gut say the easy solution is an inconclusive
finish leading to a rematch next month. It would be a
mistake for Batista to lose his first big match after
the swap, but I can't completely rule out a DQ for
excessive violence. I'm guessing.

I think Batista/Undertaker is a compelling matchup,
and Batista going from JBL (as "top regular left on
SD!) to Undertaker to Brock would be a heck of a half
year, and you'd still have Benoit and Eddie as
options. Say NO to yet another JBL title match.
Matt Hocking Says... Batista d. JBL.
Join us for the journey of Dave,
On RAW he was great, a true fan fave,
On Smackdown he’s got nothing to do,
So he’s inherited John Cena’s last feud.
Tell us who will win today?

I will predict no run-ins,
By Brock or Orlando Jordan,
Though it won’t be clean
No need to make a scene,
Because Summerslam is comin’.

Well, it is quite simple my mates,
There will be no good workrate,
OSPREY BOMB TO JBL~!
Dave sends him to hell,
Dave sez: I am really GREAT!!
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Batista d JBL.
RIP JBL, main eventer: 2004-2005.  It's been a nice run John.  We've had a lot of memories.  Remember how you never won a main event without some kind of interference?  Remember how you won the title on a bogus reversed decision?  Remember when a goofy Canadian fan almost ruined the big finish to your Summerslam match by hopping on your limo?  Remember goose-stepping in Germany?  Remember how your entrance at Wrestlemania lasted almost as long as the actual match?  Ahh, memories.  But after this Sunday all of that will be gone.  Your time has ended, but do not despair as the mid-card awaits you with open arms.  Let us all take a moment and pray that you are able to retain the few likeable qualities you possess as you fade into oblivion.
Jeb Lund Says... Batista d. JBL.
Much as JBL surprised me during his title reign, I'm not willing to believe he can surprise me again. There just doesn't seem to be enough left in the tank for him to kick off a new reign. Instead, I see Batista carrying the belt through SummerSlam and losing it to a fresher character who can really run with a new storyline for the second half of the year.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... JBL d. Batista (via DQ).
JBL guarantees
But DQ spoils evening
Dave retains.
PyroFalkon Says...  JBL d. Batista.
JBL has started up the guarantees again (or has he been doing it for awhile now?), and last year, he normally did follow through. I really have no other reason to think JBL will go over... well, maybe one. If Batista wins, where the hell does the storyline go? Batista loses, then must chase the belt. Simple, pure, and bankable.
Rick Scaia Says... Batista d. JBL.
It's the end o' the road for Foghorn O'Soaprapist. It was a surprisingly tolerable ride, at times, but you can just tell that the tank's on empty. After whatever good (bad?) will JBL built up with the audience last fall and winter, he's outta juice, now. He's a perfect lamb for Batista's first SD! PPV, but that's about all.

Meantime, Batista actually does have interesting things ahead of him. Not the least of which is the chance of a Hoss vs. Hoss Showdown of Extreme Slobberknockery against a returning Brock Lesnar. There is no excuse to derail his title run now. For him to be able to beat Trips 3 times in a row and then drop the title to JB-fucking-L would just be the most ass-hatted thing I can imagine. WWE has done just about everything wrong with Big Dave since his face turn 6 months ago, but I can't see them doing something THIS wrong with the guy. JBL goes down, cleanly and easily, and Project Batista moves on to another lamb or two before the Lesnar thing kicks in.

 

EDDIE GUERRERO vs. REY MYSTERIO
If Eddie Wins, He Reveals Rey's Secret

Hey, look! A storyline! Take a gander, cuz it's really the only one on this whole PPV line-up!

Problem is: it's turned into a pretty freaking lame one.

But first, the old part of the story, which I've had to recap at least twice before in these PPV previews, and thus will sort of gloss over quickly: going back to last fall, Rey and Eddie were involved in the Tag Title picture, but each with different partners. During that phase, Rey got the better of Eddie in a couple of matches, with it seeming like they were upsets. Then, when Rey and Eddie's respective partners evaporated, they found themselves thrown into a tag team of convenience, even winning the tag titles together. But with Eddie's nephew, Chavo, playing the role of Shit Stirrer Extraordinaire, Eddie was reminded of his past short-comings against Rey. So to try to prove himself and regain his confidence, Eddie challenged Rey to a match at WM21; the two friends and tag champs wrestled a mostly clean contest, and Rey again scored the win. Eddie's frustration grew, and he and Rey lost the Tag Team Titles a few weeks later as a result. A full-on heel turn followed, and Eddie again challenged Rey at the next PPV. This time, it was not a battle between friends, it was an all out war, but STILL Rey scored the win. So for about 6 months, Rey managed to pitch a shut out against Eddie.

Which brings us to the new part of the story. The lame part.

Not content to try to just settle this business in the ring, Eddie decided one week to take a camera crew out to find Rey's son, Dominick, playing in a park. There, he creepily doled out Twizzler-brand licorice sticks to the kid, while offering to tell him a surprising bed time story about his dad. But of course, he didn't spill it right then and there because.... well.... ummm... because.... uhhhh... I don't know. But for a guy so intent on telling the secret, he sure was quick to NOT tell it... like I said: this story? Makes no sense. And as a result, holds limited appeal for me.

Eddie has continued to want to tell the secret in subsequent weeks, but either Rey would do something to placate him, or Eddie's own family would show up to beg him not to tell, or something. Finally, Eddie proposed that he and Rey wrestle one more time: and if Rey wins, Eddie will keep the secret locked up forever, but if Eddie wins, then the whole world gets to hear "the truth." Ugh. So dumb; but that part of my rant doesn't belong here. It'll go down in my prediction/analysis box. So be sure to not skip that.

The presentation of the whole thing has been very cheesy and melodramatic. Very soap-opera-y. In an attempt to seem "real" by introducing Rey and Eddie's real-life-families, all they've managed to do is create a storyline that (to me) could not be more fake and eyeball-roll-inducing. This just isn't how normal people act. And if you counter that by saying, "Yeah, but sometimes for dramatic effect, you need to have character act out of the ordinary," I would REcounter by saying that maybe you're right, but under no circumstances should you have them act OUT OF CHARACTER if a character has already been established.

For a fine example of totally retarded character reassignment, see Angle Comma Kurt, and his month-long fetish for monkey sex with other men's wives.

In this case, there was simply NOTHING established in the past to make this a compelling next step. Nothing in Eddie's character, nothing in Rey's character, just BAM, all of a sudden here's Eddie making inappropriate moves on Rey's son and claiming to have a secret. Inventing new character traits and story threads out of the blue, without any attempt at laying a groundwork and planting a few seeds is lazy. It's poor storytelling, and even the Hollywood Writer Monkeys should know it. Then again, if they come from a background where the solution to a flailing show is to "re-tool" it by completely altering the characters and premise of the show without ever trying to explain the changes to the audience, maybe they think this is being clever. "Just when you thought you'd seen it all, we'll have Kurt Angle dry-hump Booker T's wife in the ring, and turn Eddie Guerrero into a creepy guy who wants nothing more than to be in a little boy's bedroom telling him a story and feeding him suggestively-shaped candy. YEAH! We're EVER SO SMART!" Idiots.

The "secret" has been presented as being something that will affect both Eddie and Rey's family. The red herring that they threw out there tonight on SD! is that Eddie has know's Rey's wife for a long time. And how old is Dominick again? Did Eddie do something he shouldn't have back when he was under the influence of all them pills? Has Rey kept the secret of his son's true parentage from the boy? And if so: DO ANY OF US GIVE A SHIT?!?

I can answer only the final question with authority. That answer is: no.

Of course, the fact that they kind of tried to make you think that was the secret might mean that it's NOT the secret. One can only hope that WWE's Creative Team actually went into this thing knowing "the secret" so that they could most effectively get to the Big Revelation and have it be something both (a) satisfactorily big to justify all the hullabaloo, and (b) satisfactorily non-retarded. I'll just cross my fingers and hope for one of the two, maybe. But I really don't have much faith that this will turn out well... and how fucking hard do you have to try to screw up my interest in a Rey vs. Eddie match, dammit? That should be damned near impossible.

For whatever it's worth, these two STILL haven't had that one, definitive, blow-away match in their series, yet... and with all this storyline stuff hanging over their heads on Sunday, I don't see this being the one. It still oughta be dramatic and well-worked, but I see this being more about psychology and storytelling than about full-speed moves and countermoves.
  

The OOutlOOk
Eddie wins: 7 votes   --|--  Rey wins: 2 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Eddie d. Rey.
This stupid secret of Eddie's is going to be revealed, so he's going to win this one, finally. Or hell, maybe he'll lose and be so angry that he'll tell the secret anyway. I dunno. The match should be great, though.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Eddie d. Rey.
The other reason I picked Batista earlier is to even out the Heel-Face win-loss ratio a little. I'm fairly sure of this one.

I mean, how can they have Guerrero lose numerous times, turn heel, tease a secret (spoiler: the secret is that he's changing his name to Kerwin Guerrero) and NOT give us a big fat payoff? The writers can't be THAT dumb, can they?

Well, I guess they could be that dumb (see also: Boogeyman, The), I just don't see it happening. And hopefully, this will be the best match of their series, as the others have been good but slightly lacking.

The Cubs Fan Says... Rey d. Eddie.
Maybe it's just me, but the stipulation here makes no
sense. We came into this part of the feud with the
idea 'Eddie can't beat Rey', and since Eddie doesn't
have a trademark casket match where he's 'assured' of
victory, we're getting the secret instead. Eddie's
using the secret to win, but it's not really to his
advantage. If you flipped the stips, and Eddie said
"Either I finally get to beat you, or I tell everyone
the secret", Rey's torn between protecting himself and
his family and beating up a man he hates. The current
way - it seems fraught with Eddie losing, but telling
the secret anyway. What's to stop him? It's a very
flimsy excuse for two guys who like working off each
other to continue, since they're not going to be doing
anything greater.
Matt Hocking Says... Rey d. Eddie.
What’s the angle?
Are they gay?
Has Eddie touched
Little Rey?
Or is Eddie the father
Of Rey’s son?
Wouldn’t that be
Lots of Fun?

At least the match
Will be pretty good
If anybody can do it,
These guys could.
I’ll take Rey to win,
Because Eddie can’t
On TV next week,
Eddie will rant.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Eddie d. Rey.
So Eddie finally gets his win, but if I had my way it wouldn't happen.  For one, by having Eddie lose you dump the lame "secret" storyline and pretend like it never happened.  By having Eddie lose, you also maintain the much cooler storyline that "Eddie can never defeat Rey".  It's hard to get upset at storyline problems when you know that the action between the ropes will be as good as it will be.  However, if more time is spent Sunday on the postmatch secret telling than than on the bell-to-bell action, then the WWF is run by complete morons. 
Jeb Lund Says... Eddie d. Rey.
I also think this is a feud that can be paid off at SummerSlam, and the way to continue it is with the revelation of the secret and a win by Guerrero. Granted, even if Eddie loses, I think he's spilling the beans about this super-special secret, just to get under Rey's skin and keep the feud going. But on the whole, I'm someone who'd prefer some across-the-board dominance. Have Eddie kick butt, then kick Rey when he's down. That gives Rey twice the motivation and Eddie twice the heat. At this point, they need it.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Eddie d. Rey.
He lies and cheats
And tells secrets
Porque, Eddie?
PyroFalkon Says...  Eddie d. Rey.
I pick Eddie here for the same reason I picked JBL for the main event. If Rey goes over, the storyline dies. If Eddie goes over (which has hasn't done in five matches against Rey if the guys on Byte This! know their stuff), he reveals the shocking secret, which may drag in other wrestlers to continue and enhance the storyline.
Rick Scaia Says... Eddie d. Rey.
OK, I promised you another rant, and another rant you shall receive. Because this stipulation is completely ass backwards, if you ask me.

Eddie should be so consumed with wanting to finally beat Rey that he'd make the stipulation "If Eddie wins, he WON'T tell the secret. But if Rey decides to be a hot shot and beat Eddie again, Eddie will have no choice but to spill his guts." *That* is how you blackmail somebody to get what you want. If you do that, the crowd would be way more vested in the match, because I can tell you two things: (1) no matter my personal feelings about "the secret," most fans will not be satisfied until they hear it; they WANT to know Rey's dirty little secret, and (2) Eddie's supposed to be the heel. Setting things up this way, fans who want to know the secret will be left cheering for Eddie; and on top of that, this stipulation is really just more of the lazy and half-assed storywork that has defined this phase of the feud. It's just another case where it seems like Eddie has to dig deep to come up with some half-assed reason to NOT tell the secret even though he wants to. 

Flipping the stip, though? Then, all of a sudden, he DOES have a REAL GOOD reason to not tell the secret. Because by not telling the secret, he may finally get to score his precious win over Rey. And imagine the heat and drama you could have at the end of the match, if you flip the stip. Rey could have all kinds of crises of conscience, and the fans could be cheering for him to just go ahead and do it, to win the match at any cost, because then they'll get to hear the dirty secret as a bonus. It brings everything in line. Imagine the heat if, at the last second, Rey thinks about pussing out. I think here you could do a finish where Rey does NOT lose on purpose, but where one of his crises gives Eddie a chance to attack from behind and get a cheap win. And of course, then you have Eddie reveal the secret anyway, just because he's a dick and he already got what he wanted. Which would all lead up to a Final Rematch: after being "in the lead" for the entire feud, Rey has now lost a big match and has been "outed" for whatever his secret is, and he's the underdog. And that's when Rey and Eddie could finally have their blow-away match to finish up the series.

Instead: we get the stip this other way, which doesn't have nearly the options for drama or for turning Rey into a sympathetic character. On the grounds that WWE didn't introduce this whole convoluted scenario to NOT reveal the secret, I think that means you have to have Eddie win, since that's the way to most tears down Rey's character, which is the way you gotta go to set up the final rematch. Rey has to both lose and have his secret told. I just think it would have been cooler with the stips reversed...

 

UNDERTAKER vs. MUHAMMAD HASSAN
#1 Contender Match

Oh, there's a story here, too. But it's not the one that's on TV. In fact, the story is that Hassan hasn't been seen on TV in 2 weeks. And may or may not be seen on TV ever again, if you believe everything you read.

The "TV Story" (or what feebly passes for it): Hassan got drafted over to SD! and immediately started flapping his gums about how awesome he was on RAW, and how now he'll do the same and run roughshod over everybody on the SD! roster. That didn't set well with SD!'s resident ass-kicking veteran, the Undertaker, who took issue with some of Hassan's verbiage. Hassan, like a good alpha male, got out of dodge while Taker took up the issue with Daivari. Hassan and Taker both wound up in the six-man match for the "SD! Title," and took each other out of that match. Another week later, and Hassan talked Daivari into sacrificing himself for the good of "the cause," and after Taker crushed Daivari, some guys in ski masks attacked the Undertaker. The insinuation and imagery was not exactly subtle, and marked the first time the Hassan character did anything that might be construed as "terrorist-like". But it still takes a mighty douchebag to get worked up over it. After that "terror cell" attack, Hassan was taken off TV at the behest of UPN, but was placed in a #1 Contender's match against Taker at the Bash. There has been nothing further in the "TV Story" since the "Terror Cell" incident.

Of course, then there's the Behind the Scenes Story, which got a lot weirder the past few days.... because apparently now, UPN has successfully gotten WWE to agree to eliminate the Muhammad Hassan character entirely. In a move that I don't understand AT ALL, WWE.com has even acknowledged this on their website, saying that the future of Hassan after SummerSlam is cloudy. Either they're willingly giving away a finish to a PPV match, or there's more here than meets the eye.

I'll spare you any more of my pontificating about how anybody who was that offended by the Terror Cell is a moron... it's still just as true whether I spend 5 words talking about it, or 5000. But I did think that was a bad CREATIVE move by WWE, as it changed the direction of the Hassan character for the worse... even then, however, it was something that could have been fixed without too much trouble. And now, what we SEEM to have is UPN stepping in, completely failing to comprehend the situation like rational adults, and ordering WWE to do something that will only result in MORE bad creative moves.

Because, simply put, the best creative move for WWE, for ratings, and thus, for UPN, would have been for Hassan to go over Taker at the Bash. Hassan can then challenge Batista for the World Title at SummerSlam (held in Washington DC, where the symbolism could flow like wine, if WWE wanted it to), and be Batista next "lamb" before finally moving into a REAL feud with Lesnar. Meantime, Taker's loss can be caused by the returning Randy Orton (who, in a "fuck you" to UPN and douchebag critics, should attack Taker in a "Terror Cell" costume, proving that, sometimes, plain old dumb non-terrorist white guys can wear ski-masks, too), setting up their feud.

Instead, now we have a deal where Taker might have to win because of idiot TV executives. And Batista/Taker is simply NOT the right next play for Batista at this point of his reign.

And what would become of Hassan? Well, some say he'll just go back to OVW until WWE can decide what to do with him. Even if Viacom are dicks and say "Hey, if we didn't want this guy on UPN, we also don't want him on Spike," it's only a few months till RAW goes back to USA (where management is a little more WWE-friendly when it comes to having more reasonable boundaries of "good taste"). And it's simply not in Vince's character to roll over like this, so I fully expect Hassan to not be "killed off" (as some are saying), even if he does have to take a little break.

All I ask: PLEASE, WWE, I'm beggin' ya.... Kerwin White does NOT have two brothers of equally-dubious caucasionosity, if you catch my drift, OK? Although maybe it would be funny to see them show up on RAW with new haircuts and in Country Club Douche Gear, play along with Kerwin for about 2 minutes, tops, thank him for helping them get jobs here on RAW, and then just do a complete 180 out of nowhere and beat the shit out of Kerwin, "shoot" all over UPN and idiot critics for forcing them into such ridiculous costumes, and basically make it clear that they are here to be every bit as Ay-rab (and as Ay-hole) as they ever were before. And the ultimate irony would be that in this scenario, I bet they'd get over as babyfaces. Because this time, they'll really be RIGHT when they talk about the discrimination they've dealt with and the assholes who tried to keep them down. And there's nothing wrestling fans like better than feeling like part of a REAL "Us vs. the World" storyline...

What I'd *REALLY* like to see would be for WWE to just have the balls to try something truly innovative here: honor UPN's request to not feature the Hassan character, but have Hassan still beat Taker at the Bash and get the World Title Match at SummerSlam. Hassan becomes the wrestler who is Too Hot For TV. You have to pay to see him, not just on PPV but on house shows. And with their newfound hard-on for running internet angles, Hassan could become an entirely WWE.com character, with weekly promos (and even matches) that are only available on the internet. It'd make for a weird month of booking Batista on TV up through SummerSlam, but I think it might be worth it if you handle Hassan's side of it properly. C'mon, Vince: for once, be incredibly stubborn about something worthwhile... SAVE MUHAMMAD HASSAN!
  

The OOutlOOk
Undertaker wins: 8 votes   --|--  Hassan wins: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Undertaker d. Hassan.
I originally would have picked Hassan to win via Orton interference, but with UPN getting its panties in a bunch over the Terror Cell stuff, I'm thinking Hassan will lose and get shuttled back to RAW.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Undertaker d. Hassan.
Damn! I originally picked Hassan to win this, then I learned less than 24 hours later about how UPN stuck their nose where it doesn't belong. Not to go off on a long tangent here, but is the network going to do the same thing to any other character on its shows that may or may not be remotely related to terrorism? Or is it just a special rule for them "rasslin" folks? And why kick the character off SmackDown at all? Let's remember - he never SAID he was a terrorist, despite the implications on television. Maybe Hassan's claims of how society perceives him aren't that far off the mark after all.

Look, I can certainly understand why people would be offended, especially given current events. But wrestling has offended on all kinds of levels over the years, and will continue to do so. On the other hand, Hassan's character was getting ready to be pushed to the moon and damned if he wasn't almost ready for the spot - at least in terms of charisma, mic ability, etc. At the very least, Hassan-Batista at SummerSlam is far more compelling to me than Undertaker-Batista.

So I guess Mr. Taker gets to squash Hassan after all (not that there wasn't at least a little chance of that happening regardless of UPN). Again, this is just a terrible development.

The Cubs Fan Says... Undertaker d. Hassan.
If they're really smart, they'll just make this a
casket match too. Maybe have Daviari turn on him,
face/heel status unclear since you probably can't put
them back together again. I don't think that's
actually what's going to happen, but I'm not sure what
will. The comparison I keep coming up with for this
situation is when Lenny and Lodi got yanked off WCW TV
due to outside pressure, but they were at best a
midcard pet project, and Hassan was supposed to main
event SummerSlam. I don't think they're going to have
it figured out before Sunday (and I think that's
reasonable)

People worry about Daivari here, but I think he could
easily end up pretty okay. The best way to 'prove'
you're not a racist is to create a anti-stereotype and
push him hard; who's better positioned to be the
happy, smiling, English talking, everyone's best
buddy, Arab (or close enough) friend than a guy who's
been picked on (occasionally, when they remember) by
Hassan for the last few months. You only need one
token to get full credit! Maybe Undertaker can shake
his hand and Daviari can start wearing an American
flag and everything will be oh so fine.
Matt Hocking Says... Undertaker d. Hassan.
Poor, poor Muhammad Hassan,
Thrown off TV as quick as he was on,
Taker will beat him,
UPN won’t greet him,
It’s not very good to be gone.

But seriously, What then?
I hear you decree!
Face v. Face? That cannot be!
The hell if I know,
Or even care!
One thing’s for sure, 
Orton will be there!
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Undertaker d. Hassan.
I was all pegged to give Hassan the win since this is a #1 contenders match and Undertaker really doesn't need another title shot.  However, since UPN doesn't want any part of Hassan anymore has sent the bookers scrambling.  As an aside, didn't the monkeys at WWE think that sending a controversial character like his onto their broadcast network show, might not be the best idea.  So here's what I would do...have Undertaker destroy Hassan so he can get retooled.  Then you have Taker's title shot on an upcoming Smackdown, instead of on a PPV.  During the Batista/Undertaker match, you have Brock come out and destroy both of them.  Then they can have him feud with either guy (probably Batista since Taker still has an Orton feud looming ahead).  And even if none of that happens, it's still always safe to choose Taker, since...everyone with me...."Taker doesn't job on PPV".
Jeb Lund Says... Hassan d. Undertaker.
You know, internet wrestling wisdom/sour grapes says NEVER bet against the Undertaker, for anything, ever... unless maybe he's wrestling Steve Austin. But somehow I think it would be too perfect for Hassan to win here. Dream with me a moment:

Somehow, he squeaks out a win and becomes the new #1 contender. But UPN is discriminating against him and forcing him off TV. Thus, he goes to RAW, and the #1 contendership is still up for grabs (or he takes it with him and messes in RAW's main event picture). You can then have someone else wrestle Undertaker for it, or even have him wrestling for it at SummerSlam while Batista is involved in some sort of special cross-brand match - perhaps with Hassan, creating a weird double-#1 contendership for SD. Or, you can try to make Hassan's character a rushed face, send him back to SD, and have him reclaim his #1 contendership. Basically, I think you could have a really glorious mess with a lot of possibilities leading out from it, if WWE would just play with the supposed UPN banning of his character and the discrimination theme. The best way to do that is have him win, then force him off the show, perhaps to the other brand. 
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Undertaker d. Hassan.
Giant BONG! hits
Good for stoners, bad for Hassan
Whither Daivari?
PyroFalkon Says...  Undertaker d. Hassan.
I'm torn on this one. As has been discussed in the past, the Undertaker doesn't need the belt. But on the other hand, is Hassan really ready for it too? Or even the appearance of it?

Here's what I'm thinking. I think JBL will get the belt back. Provided he does, he'll need someone to dance with. Sure, Batista will serve to do that for awhile... but Taker and JBL have history, and it wouldn't surprise me if they end up having another match or two before 2005 is over.

I'm not saying this is the end of Hassan's battles with the Taker. But... Well, wait, I'm going to change my mind again...

Because if Hassan wins, then he send in his terror cell or whatever and one of them can be unmasked to be Orton or something. But that still doesn't really make a good storyline, and I've already picked two heels...

Fuck it. Taker wins. Yes, Taker wins. I think. It's Taker. 
Rick Scaia Says... Undertaker d. Hassan.
I wish I had the balls to do it. I really do. Because even as late as last night (when I did most of this document), I was thinking "Hassan will still beat Taker, and I'm gonna look like a genius for picking it." But then all the UPN stuff hits, and it's NOT just on WWE.com, it's in Daily Variety and stuff, and it's a little bit harder to think that WWE is toying with us (and at the same time, with their shareholders) by publicly discussing the elimination of the Hassan character, while secretly plotting to turn him into an even bigger star.

And I have a battle with WrestleLine to think about here, so I can't stick with my gut; I can't make the "Rick Pick" here, no matter how RIGHT it is. I gotta wrap my testicles up in a box and set them up on a shelf, and puss out to make the "WWE Pick."

But just go up and read the Preview Section for this match, and you'll see I STILL think there are ways to put Hassan over while also abiding by UPN's idiotic decree. And I REALLY hope Vince considers some of those things, because lord knows he's a stubborn asshole about enough of his bad ideas that it's about time he stubbornly insist on doing something GOOD in the face of criticism.

Bottom line: if Hassan really *is* gone, then they need to do an angle on Sunday that makes this match NOT a #1 Contender's Match. There is nothing good that can come out of Taker/Batista at this point. Taker should focus on Orton, and Batista needs to solidify his base by taking on guys who he's more popular than.

Alternatively, you could also do a deal where Hassan just refuses to wrestle, and instead cuts a shoot promo in which he says the discrimination he's facing means that he cannot return to SD! even if he beats the Undertaker. So there's nothing for him to gain by wrestling the match. This way you "save" the Hassan character for whenever it is deemed OK for him to return (or to go to RAW). And you can insert somebody else into a new #1 Contender's Match; I would vote for Christian, and then I would also still vote for Orton to show up to attack Taker and allow Taker's opponent to get the cheap win and the SummerSlam Title Shot at Batista.

There's a few different ways to go here, but all of them involve some pretty wacky fantasy scenarios that are NOT Hassan/Taker #1 Contender Matches. But Hassan/Taker in a #1 Contender Match is the OOfficial Match that we are obligated to pick. So with extreme annoyance and disappointment in myself for being such a sacless wonder, I gotta make the "safe" pick and say that if this match goes down as it's scheduled to, it sure as hell looks like Taker beats Hassan.

I am fairly confident that no matter what else happens or doesn't happen, we WILL see Orton show up, though. That much seems inevitable.

 

ORLANDO JORDAN vs. CHRIS BENOIT
United States Title Match

The story? BWAAAAAA! Good one.

The US Title has been invisible since Jordan took it from John Cena 6 months ago. It is in DIRE need of rehabilitation. 

Chris Benoit is fresh back from RAW, won a #1 Contender match over Booker T, and appears to be just the man for the rehab job.

To be honest, I don't remember a single real incident between OJ and Benoit leading up to this match. Even when Batista was getting 2-on-1 beatdowns from OJ and JBL, they never bothered to move ahead and do the logical Batista/Benoit vs. OJ/JBL tag match. Morons.

This shouldn't be bad, but it also doesn't project out to be "good." The right play is to keep this short and sweet. You don't necessarily want to bury Orlando, but you can't have Benoit's Fixing of the US Title start with him needing much more than 6-8 minutes to relieve Jordan of it. Not even if you play up the angle of Benoit still hurting after that sweet-ass match he had against Eddie tonight on SD!... cuz frankly, OJ should still be hurting from the beating Batista put on him at the end of the show, too. So it evens out, and Benoit's superiority over Jordan remains at full strength.
  

The OOutlOOk
Benoit wins: 9 votes   --|--  Jordan wins: 0 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Benoit d. Jordan.
Oh, come on. One of these men sucks, and another is awesome. The awesome one wins and goes on to fix the U.S. title.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Benoit d. Jordan.
.... or at least he'd better. Look, nothing against Jordan here, I just have yet to see him do anything remotely memorable in the ring. I always figured his title win was just a device to set up the Cena-JBL feud at WrestleMania. That time is past now. It's time for Orlando to give up the belt. Or at least lose by disqualification, which is what I fear might happen.
The Cubs Fan Says... Benoit d. Jordan.
Optimum Finish, Take 1: Chris Benoit beats OJ in two
minutes, because OJ was hiding in the ropes for ninety
seconds.
Problem: Chris Benoit is too good for the US Title.
He's only here because he's got nothing else this
month.

Optimum Finish, Take 2: Chris Benoit beats up OJ,
doesn't win the belt on a technicality.
Problem: Cheap. Orlando Jordan should not be beating
Benoit in any way.

Optimum Finish, Take 3: Chris Benoit is otherwise busy
(replacing Hassan, maybe?), and someone else wrestles
and beats OJ
Problem: Same problem as has been there for the length
of OJ's reign: there's no sensible face challengers.
The only free people for the show are Cruiserweights,
and only Eddie loses to cruiserweights.

I'm thinking they'll do 1, but for a lot longer than
two minutes, and figure out the rest later.
Matt Hocking Says... Benoit d. Jordan.
Come and listen to a story about a man name Chris,
A really good wrestler, but he broke his head,
Then one day, he was shooting on some dude,
When up from the office came a big move.

Pin, that is. Big Gold. Booker T.

Well, next thing you know, ol’ Chris’ contendaire,
Writer folk said, Chris move away from there,
They said, “U.S. Division is the place you gotta be.”
Because their booking has been so shitty.

No good, that is.
Hnnrnnr. No new stars.

Seriously though, Benoit is going to win.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Benoit d. Jordan.
You know, I could give Orlando a eulogy like I gave JBL, but you know what...he isn't worth it.  What a horrible waste of a secondary title for five months.  Yes, five months!!  There are two ways they can handle this match.  Either have Benoit destory him in all of about 30 seconds.  Or have Benoit destory him, but take his time doing it.  Being the sick bastard that I am, I would enjoy Benoit laying into OJ all night long, but why take away time from other people.  Just end it early Chris and then let us worry about how badly the bookers will screw up your title reign.
Jeb Lund Says... Benoit d. Jordan.
I'm deferring to popular opinion and Rick's when I say that Jordan hasn't been doing crap lately, and Benoit is just the sort of person to rehabilitate the US Title. As such, he's winning and going on an extended stint of credible defenses before losing, months from now, to a star who needs a shiny belt to make his character shinier. 
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Benoit d. Jordan.
Bring the title
Back to Canada
Like Lance Storm before you.
PyroFalkon Says...  Benoit d. Jordan.
On paper, Benoit should be able to beat the shit out of OJ with one leg tied behind his ear. OJ has held the US belt awhile, and Benoit hasn't held any belt in awhile... I don't know, I just don't see a good reason for OJ to keep it.
Rick Scaia Says... Benoit d. Jordan.
Duh. Jordan's killed the US Title. Benoit can fix it. So this match is a no brainer.

As a bonus, we can start looking ahead and maybe start licking our lips at the thought of Benoit vs. Christian for an US Title feud, which would ALSO go a long way towards the necessary rehab.

Or we can start looking ahead in terror, because "WWE Think" might be to finally do those Batista/Benoit vs. JBL/Jordan matches AFTER the PPV, and use them to segue into a Benoit vs. JBL US Title Feud. Ugh.

In either case, the looking ahead starts with Benoit making quick work of OJ at the PPV.

 

MNM vs. ROAD WARRIOR ANIMAL/HEIDENREICH
WWE Tag Team Title Match

Oh, what a mess.

Heidenreich has been on a herky-jerky, stop-and-go ride the past two months with MNM. And after a whole bunch of false starts where it seemed like Heidenreich's new friend was gonna be Michelle McCool (to counteract Melina), to where it seemed like WWE was clearly setting the stage for Eugene to show up as Heidenriech's friend and tag partner, this is where we end up, instead...

Heidenreich was again the victim of a numbers game against MNM when out comes Road Warrior Animal to make the save. That was certainly out of left field. A joking challenge is offered by MNM to Animal, and then it is rescinded when they remember that Hawk is dead. And Muhammad Hassan's Terror Cell is the most offensive thing you've seen on SD! in the last month? Heidenreich restrained Animal, and offered to be his partner for a match. Animal accepted, and thus was made a PPV contest.

Animal and Heidenreich wrestled a pair of jobbers and destroyed them in 30 seconds tonight on SD!. I expect the new twist at the PPV will be "Hawkenreich" in full face-paint and spikes. I also expect that I will not care.

I mean, it's a cute little nostalgia deal to do this, but it's ultimately a DVD sales ploy, not anything that's got any legs. And any match that's gonna be predicated on Heidenreich doing an extended sequence as the Babyface In Peril doesn't exactly get my mouth watering, either. This is another one where "short and sweet" would be a good thing.
  

The OOutlOOk
MNM wins: 7 votes
Animal/Heidenreich win: 2 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Animal/Heidenreich d. MNM.
Animal has a DVD to sell, and Heidenreich is inexplicably getting pushed. Yeah, I don't get it either.
Canadian Bulldog Says... MNM d. Animal/Heidenreich.
Bleah. I can't think of a worse way for WWE to spit on Hawk's legacy (after they did such a good job with the recent Road Warriors DVD) than to have Animal team with frickin' Heidenreich. What, is Steven Richards busy that night (er, I guess he is)? Even if they were determined to try this shitty angle, there were about a dozen ways they could have set it up better, none of which included Animal appearing in full costume and makeup for no apparent reason.

So I'm thinking (hoping) that this LOD2005 is just a one-time thing to get MNM over. That's fine in theory, but it just seems so random in execution. In any event, I can only hope it's a brief affair. Maybe it will end when Heidenreich stumbles across the ventriloquist dummy Rocco and decides to make him his "friend". Sigh.

The Cubs Fan Says... MNM d. Animal/Heidenreich.
Would they make Heidenreich & Animal tag team
champions? Yes, of course they would. Would Animal be
able to wrestle on a weekly basis? Depends what you
define by wrestling. Do they like MNM enough to keep
the titles on them? Sure why not. It does actually
give MNM something to do, which they haven't really
been given, but I don't think giving MNM something to
do is really high on the priority list.
Matt Hocking Says... MNM d. Animal/Heidenreich.
M is for Melina, which depending on the Diva Match 
     she might or might not be there.
N is for New Tag Teams, which the WWE needs.
M is for Moving on with this song.

A is for Being Aged!
N is for No way they‘ll win the match.
I is for the EYE make-up, that he weeeeears.
M is for the Moves he knows, like powerslam and…uh…
      suplex.
A is for A DVD, he’s got to promote
L is for Losing, which he is going to do.

H is for Hawk, who is dead.
N is for Noggin, because I like the word
N is for Nogg…wait…moooving on.
R is for Rasslin’ which he doesn’t know.
N is for New tights, which he might have.
N is for Nothing, because I’m all tapped out.
R is for Roster cuts. Good luck, Jon.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... MNM d. Animal/Heidenreich.
Oh how I tire of champions being matched against random tag teams every month.  I mean, does anyone find this compelling?  And the worst part is that they'll try their hardest to protect Animal and Heidenreich when in reality they should be quickly jobbed out.  But as bad as this match looks, I have high hopes.  I think the planned MNM vs. Booker T and Jim "the Anvil" Neidhart at Summerslam sounds like it should be really good!
Jeb Lund Says... MNM d. Animal/Heidenreich.
I can't support jobbing the only real SD tag team to a nostalgia gimmick team that really has nowhere to go. I think you'll see MNM get the win, then maybe Road Warrior and Heidenreich beating them up for some nostalgia spots post-match. I think if Heidenreich and Animal are ever going to be involved in a tag-team title win, the best bet would be for Animal to admit that he "hasn't got it" anymore and encourage Heidenreich to find a new partner to go for the gold with. This way, you could get some goofy audition vignettes and poetry, a credible partner and a credible challenge for the belts. I like nostalgia; I'll admit it. But it's best used when its limitations are minimized and appropriately written around. Having Animal and Heidenreich win the belts is pretty much spotlighting the limitations of this nostalgia trip.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... MNM d. Animal/Heidenreich.
I marked for LOD
The rush, still kicking
But Melina's the star.
PyroFalkon Says...  MNM d. Animal/Heidenreich.
Let me get this straight... Heidenreich is a face now, and Road Warrior Animal is back? Huh.

Um, I'm going with MNM, because I think it makes good sense for a returning legend to lose his first PPV match. It will set up a more meaningful victory the next time.
Rick Scaia Says... Animal/Heidenreich d. MNM.
That's right. That's my official pick, boiled down to the simple "X beats Y" root. But I have a bit of explanationing...

Because MNM won't lose the titles. The Road Warrior Legacy is already gonna be tarnished enough by Hawkenreich donning spikes and facepaint. Animal doesn't need to makes things worse by actually adding another title reign to his resume and having it be with this doofus.

But all that said: this is also still about raising LOD Awareness for the DVD sales, and they didn't bring Animal in for him to do a job. MNM will get DQ'ed or CO'ed, letting the good guys score the (hollow) win. And then, from that, I think you can move on to Heidenreich finding a FULL TIME partner to continue the feud with MNM, and Animal can fade back into the background. Preferably, Heidenreich would fade away, too, but life ain't perfect....

 

BOOKER T vs. CHRISTIAN

Another one where it's really hard to tell a story.

Cuz basically, Christian showed up on SD! after being drafted, started talking really big about how he was gonna take over the show, and despite being eliminated ignominiously from the "SD! Title" six-man match, and then getting squashed by Batista a week later, he didn't let that diminish his self-confidence.

So he got himself a match with the 5-time WCW Champ, Booker T, and he won it. But via means so nefarious (Christian brutalized Booker before the match started, and once the bell finally rang, he only needed one Unprettier to win) that a PPV rematch was inevitable.

Call this one the "Nothing Better To Do" Special for the PPV... cuz both these guys deserve better. My hope is that since they got stuck with each other in a match buried on the undercard, they'll take it upon themselves to remind everybody that both deserve better by going out and trying to steal the show.
  

The OOutlOOk
Christian wins: 9 votes   --|-- Booker wins: 0 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Christian d. Booker.
I really don't know with this one. I just picked the guy I like best.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Christian d. Booker T.
Two months ago, Christian was arguably one of the hottest, most promising heels in the company. What happened? Oh yeah, that's right. SmackDown happened.

Nonetheless, I would imagine that if the plans for Christian are still somewhat on track, they would have to include a win over the multiple-time, multiple-time, multiple-time, multiple-time, multiple-time PPV jobber Booker T.

The Cubs Fan Says... Christian d. Booker T.
It's never going to happen for Christian. The non-feud
with Cena was his Jericho/Goldberg moment, when you
realize no matter how high he builds himself up and
how interesting a potential top level feud is, the
company has no faith in his abilities and will only
let him play with other who aren't going far. Unlike
Jericho, there's no other company to jump to, so he's
stuck, stuck facing Booker T every two years because
they've got nothing else for him to do. I guess he
wins, but does he REALLY? (yea sure why not)
Matt Hocking Says... Christian d. Booker T.
Guard 1: Forsoothe, who do you think will win the epic duel?
Guard 2: Oi, Master Tian obviously.
Guard 1: How’s that then?
Guard 2: For if he din’t, th’ match wo’ld be utterly pointless!
Guard 1: So? ‘Tis no dif’rent than any other match this show!
Guard 2: Oi! Ye be right!
Guard 1: Dude, we’re not supposed to be pirates.
Guard 2: Oi! What about Booker’s serving wench?
Guard 1: Mistress Paisley beth no factor!
Guard 3: Come on, men! Let’s storm the beach!
Guard 2: The World War II prediction column is that away.
Guard 1: This is predicting the Great American Bash.
Guard 3: Oh. That’s sad. Uh…Later.
Guard 2: Let us away to the Hooters!
Guard 1: We shalt catch this PPV yet!
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Christian d. Booker T.
Wow, if this isn't the battle between two mishandled superstars.  Both of these guys have deserved so much more than they have received over the past few years.  Well, the good news is is that at least one of these guys will get the win here.  I went with Christian because he obviously still has the brighter future.  Booker is on the downswing of his career and probably won't be getting too many more high-profile feuds.  Christian on the other hand, if the creative team would actually wake up, still has the potential to be a big star.  These two never really clicked when they feuded over the IC title a couple of years ago, but I'm hoping that they'll be able to deliver the goods come Sunday.
Jeb Lund Says... Christian d. Booker T.
WWE have really pushed Christian since he was sent to SD, and they've always given Booker the opportunity to job when it counts, doesn't count, occurs to them, happens in a bus terminal, can be done in a supermarket, farmhouse, doghouse, henhouse and outhouse. Also, Christian would make a good wild card candidate to go up against Batista, if every plan involving Batista v. Hassan is totally screwed.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Christian d. Booker T.
Match of the night
Not that it does much
For either guy.
PyroFalkon Says...  Christian d. Booker T.
Because I like Christian more. 
Rick Scaia Says... Christian d. Booker T.
When I pussed out and changed my Taker/Hassan pick, I had to change this one, too. Because if we go ahead and believe that Hassan's really gone, then SD! needs Christian. Badly. And I hate that it might come at the expense of Booker, but what they need most out of Christian is for him to be a convincing upper card heel.

Whether it's to step up and be another lamb for Batista, or to be the guy who helps Benoit rehab the US Title, Christian stands to be one of the very top heels on SD! if there's no Hassan. You have GOT to start that process now.

FYI: before I changed my pick, my call of Booker over Christian was based on the heuristic that Christian won their last TV match, so it stands to reason that Pro Wrestling Bylaw #89782b would be in effect here, and that Booker would get his win back. But Booker got to look good on SD! last night, and I think he can afford to give this one up, for the good of the brand.

 

TORRIE WILSON vs. MELINA
Bra And Panties Match; Candace Michelle is Special Ref

Ugh. And the hits just keep on failing to come.

So Torrie Wilson was looking at a copy of SD! Magazine (on which she just so happened to be the Cover Girl). This caught the eye of Melina, who has had just about enough of Torrie's attitude. Because Torrie's old and fat and stuff, and Melina is the NEW Head Diva In Charge around here. Some VERY bad acting later, and Torrie had managed to get around to making a challenge to Melina for a Bra and Panties Match at the PPV.

A week later, for reasons unknown (other than to give Erin a reason to use the name "Boobies McTitsalot" in her PPV picks), Candace Michelle is magically inserted as the guest referee. 
  

The OOutlOOk
Torrie wins: 5 votes   --|--  Melina wins: 4 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Torrie Wilson d. Melina.
Christ, who cares? The babyface usually wins these things.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Torrie Wilson d. Melina.
Dusty Rhodes-Ric Flair. Road Warriors-Four Horsemen. Sting-Great Muta. Torrie Wilson-Melina. What do all of these matches have in common? That's right - they all took place at the Great American Bash. Unfortunately, that's about all they have in common (although, now I'm thinking about The American Dream in his bra and panties - ewwwww!).

Who the hell cares? Seriously - who cares? I'm assuming this takes up the precious spot before the main event, with Michael Cole and Tazz hyping it all night long as though we haven't seen this same type of competition, what, EVERY OTHER FUCKING WEEK ON SMACKDOWN FOR THE PAST FIVE YEARS! 

The true winners, as always, will be the fans. LOL! (I wonder how many others on the OO PPV crew will make the same lame joke.)

The Cubs Fan Says... Melina d. Torrie Wilson.
Compartively, Torrie lasted a long time, right? It
seemed like Chyna and Sable weren't around long after
the Playboy shoots, or at least they fell off greatly
afterwards. Torrie's kept up at the same (though
lower) level far after we had the choice of seeing her
nude. Being a professional beautiful person is always
a short term gig, even more so if you're on
television. Torrie had a nice run.
Matt Hocking Says... Torrie Wilson d. Melina.
I don’t know why. Instead, here are the lyrics to Marcy Playground’s 1998 Hit “Sex and Candy.”

Hangin' round downtown by myself 
And I had so much time 
To sit and think about myself 
And then there she was 
Like double cherry pie 
Yeah there she was 
Like disco superfly 
I smell sex and candy here 
Who's that lounging in my chair 
Who's that casting devious stares 
In my direction 
Mama this surely is a dream 

Hangin' round downtown by myself 
And I had too much caffeine 
And I was thinkin' 'bout myself 
And then there she was 
In double platform suede 
Yeah there she was 
Like disco lemonade 
I smell sex and candy here 
Who's that lounging in my chair 
Who's that casting devious stares 
In my direction 
Mama this surely is a dream 
Mama this surely is a dream 
Yeah mama this must be my dream 
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Melina d. Torrie.
You know the purpose of the Bra and Panties match was that it was supposed to be humilating to the loser to be stripped down to their undergarments.  But with the way they cart the divas out for all this "contests" they are seen in their lingerie more than they are in normal clothing.  This is really a pick'em and I'm sure the fans would like to see either girl lose, so I'm picking the person that we see on TV more to win.  Bonus pick, I'm sure Melina will also strip that dim-bulb Candace Michelle of her referee outfit too, just to show what a "bitch" she is.
Jeb Lund Says... Melina d. Torrie.
Torrie has long been the Steve Austin of BOOBIES stuff in WWE. I don't know how or why they decided that she was and ever would be pushed as the most gorgeousitously gorgeous woman in WWE ever (EVER!!!), but it seems as if she's won most of these matches for three years. On the other hand, Melina seems to be the new hot ticket, and a new face and chest for Playboy or WWE. Also, one has to wonder what Torrie's future stock is. Her husband was booted from the company; she's long since done everything she can (or is willing to) do in WWE; and she can't appear in Playboy again without starting some sort of letter-writing campaign from the non-WWE subscribers. Given that, I think Melina will begin her quest for uber-bimbo-boobie-dom here. 
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Torrie d. Melina.
Melina's push continues
By showing her
Bountiful pontoons.
PyroFalkon Says...  Torrie d. Melina.
Okay, I had to call Torrie Wilson the winner as a matter of form. The actual winners are the moronic 13-year-old boys who get off at any semblance of skin. The losers are... well, everyone else.

B&P matches typically have whoever is the better wrestler to go over. Torrie has more experience than any useless diva, so Torrie will get the win. Meanwhile, Titties McSuperBowl will at some point get stripped down to her elaborate undergarments too, probably for no logical reason.

Am I the only person in universe who doesn't think any of these three are really worth looking at? Bring back Gail Kim!
Rick Scaia Says... Melina d. Torrie Wilson.
Hey, I like bOObies and everything, don't get me wrong. But I really couldn't care any less. TV-PG titillation is, as I've said many times, a pointless enterprise for any audience member over the age of 13.

I figure Melina wins since, unlike Torrie, she's actually got a semi-important role on TV, so you let her get the win. It's not like being half-naked is gonna hurt Torrie's popularity. Then you have Torrie and Referee Titties McSuperbowl join forces to strip Melina down, anway. And then as they celebrate their moral victory, Torrie can notice that one of them has more clothes on than the other, which might not quite be fair. So Tittie's can do her GoDaddyDotCom dance and strip down, too. Nee haw.

Picking Melina is just a shot in the dark. But that all three women (and not just one) will be half-nekkid by the end of this? Of that, I could not possibly be more certain.

 

THE bWo vs. THE MEXICOOLS

I have no idea where this one came from at all. But I'll take it. Afterall, I was the genius who made the following half-assed observation in a column immediately after the Mexicools' debuts:

"After the beatdown, the Mexicools did some  perversely-engaging borderline-unintelligible ranting. Apparently, they are Taking Over. I wonder if they consulted the bWo?"
         --  The Me, July Somethingth 2005

It seemed like an obvious move, it's just a shame that they completely failed to do anything on TV to build it up... depending on how healthy Stevie is, there's a very good chance that this match could be as good as any on the card. And yeah, I know that's a back-handed compliment at best, given the nature of the rest of the card. But in addition to some fast paced action, I fully expect the bWo to bring The Funny. And that's always good for a few points, too...
  

The OOutlOOk
Mexicools win: 9 votes   --|--  bWo wins: 0 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Mexicools d. bWo.
Holy shit! Cruiserweights are getting pushed!
Canadian Bulldog Says... Mexicools d. bWo.
Very simple rationale, here. The Mexicools are the future of SmackDown. The bWo ain't. I thought for sure we were headed towards a Juvy-Paul London match, but I guess not.

Opening match material, FOR SURE. At least it will be fun to watch.

The Cubs Fan Says... Mexicools d. bWo.
Blue Meanie gets hurt at ECW ONS, so the bWo get
brought together on SD!, escaping the Week Of Death.
Paul London gets hurt, so they do this match instead
of Juvi challenging for the Cruiserweight
Championship. Finally, the injuries are going Steven
Richards way! There's still about 8 PPV checks he's
missing because he was hurt at just the wrong time,
but you gotta start with one. I'm of the mind they
should keep having Simon Dean and Nova on, and never
ever point it out. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say
this won't be as good as the six man bWo tag at Barely
Legal.
Matt Hocking Says... Mexicools d. bWo.
This match was clearly booked as an emergency out when Paul London was too hurt to defend the cruiserweight title, as such, I think they’ll want to keep the Mexicools strong. In Celebration of their win, here’s a recipe for burritos.

1 pound lean ground beef 
1 onion, chopped 
4 large garlic cloves, minced 
3 tablespoons ground cumin 
3 (15-ounce) cans black beans or pinto beans, rinsed, drained 
1 3/4 cups beef broth 
1 (4-ounce can) diced green chilies 
4 green onions, sliced 
Warm flour tortillas 
Grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese 
Chopped fresh cilantro 
Purchased salsa 

Heat heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook until brown, breaking up beef with fork, about 6 minutes. Add onion and garlic; cook until onion is softened, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Stir in cumin and cook 1 minute. Add beans, broth and chilies; cook until beans are creamy and thickened, crushing the beans with back of spoon, about 15 minutes.Mix in green onions. 
Transfer mixture to serving dish. Serve with tortillas, cheese, cilantro and salsa, allowing each person to assemble their own burritos at the table. 
Serves 6.

Adam Gutschmidt Says... Mexicools d. bWo.
Man, I really hope this match happens as I think this would be a fun little opener.  To see guys who have gotten to shine on the big stage in one match like this will be very cool.  As for choosing a winner, I went with the Mexicools because, again, they've been on TV week in and week out.  I'm not convinced that the WWE is committed to the bWo since they still have Simon Dean doing matches.  They do seem like they want to have the Mexicools get over, so I picked them.  If it gets any amount of time though, the true winners will be the fans.
Jeb Lund Says... Mexicools d. bWo.
As much as I'd like to see The bWo win here, I'd be very surprised to see it happen. WWE seems fond of The Mexicools, and have pushed them far better than The bWo. To a certain extent, The bWo has often seemed like an afterthought. Also, gimmicks that were clever and delightful in ECW seem to go over in WWE like lead balloons. You can attribute that to an anti-ECW bias or inattention or maybe just the notion that anything crazy enough to get over in ECW will be crazy enough to get over in WWE despite any obstacles. Regardless, they seem to be left out to fend for themselves. I'm guessing that happens here, too.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Mexicools d. bWo.
Insert witticism
About mowing the lawn.
Include Melina.
PyroFalkon Says...  Mexicools d. bWo.
I've got mostly heels, so this pick is strictly a balance pick.
Rick Scaia Says... Mexicools d. bWo.
The bWo are an ECW creation not meant to be taken seriously. The Mexicools are a WWE creation POSSIBLY meant to be taken seriously.

And in that battle, WWE will always book their homegrown gimmicks to quash the imported ones. Not that it matters: in this one, it's the ride that'll be fun, not the destination. What'd really kick ass is if they made it ECW Rules. Somehow, those rules magically appeared for Meanie a few weeks ago on SD!.... maybe the same thing'll happen again?

 

EXTRAS/CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Eight announced matches means it's a pretty loaded show, already.... but you know how we roll: the PPV Preview does not end until the trOOps explore EVERY possible angle. Here are their closing thoughts...
  

The OOutlOOk

Erin Anderson Says... Bring on the drinks! 
I've spent enough time on this already. It's margarita time.
Canadian Bulldog Says... The Boogeyman may be coming to get you, but Bulldog's coming to Buffalo to watch a PPV in person.
Well, I'll be there live in Buffalo for the big event. Unfortunately, most of the wrestlers I enjoy watching (save for, of course, the Guerrero-Benoit-Mysterio Holy Trinity of Workrate) will not be there. My brother and I are taking our sister (who last watched live wrestling some 15 years ago for WrestleMania VI) and his wife (who does watch once the PPV's in a while, though not by personal choice). In return, we're going to spend the day south of the Canadian border shopping for clothes, etc. But at least there's a wrestling PPV at the end of the day!

Paul London vs. Whomever's Left On The Roster (Doug Basham? Scotty 2 Hotty? Rikishi? Akio? Mordecai? Sable?) will be YOUR Sunday Night Heat pre-PPV match, though that's obviously a waste of talent.

I don't expect to see Brock Lesnar's re-appearance (they could milk that return for months if they want to), though its entirely plausible that we will see The Boogeyman (thankfully, the HSBC Arena is indoors.) Oh joy.

Lastly, I'd just like to take this opportunity to once again plug my new book, "Thanks for the compliment!!! Canadian Bulldog's Nuttiest Letters Ever! EVER!!!", which is on sale now, and makes a perfect alternative to watching the GAB (Editor's note: No you can't use this opportunity to shill your stupid book!) Too late!

Matt Hocking Says... Hocking Knows Best.
If you read ANY of my predictions, I’m really and terribly sorry. I took half assing to the nth degree here. Why? Is it because I miss Dave more than life itself? Is it because I don’t watch Smackdown nearly as much or as closely as RAW? Is it because this is an off brand PPV right before the much, much more interesting Summerslam? Probably. I don’t know. Some of the matches don’t look half bad. But the storylines are pretty rough and the star power is lacking.

I don’t know. Make yourself some burritos and enjoy the show. Or watch Family Guy. Or…whatever the hell else you do. What am I, your mother? I kind of want to see the bWo match and Eddie/Rey, and Dave. So I guess I’ll get it. But I’ll also compose some really, really godawful poetry. So you can take what I have to say however you want to. Now that I think about it, Melina will probably win. Oh well.

Other Stuff:

- Heat Match will be Nunzio v…uh…who’s left? Hardcore Holly?
- Hnnrnnr will come out in face paint and shoulder pads. Animal will look very embarrassed for himself.
- The move of the night will come halfway through the bra and panties match when Melina leapfrogs Candice Michelle and hits Torrie Wilson with a shooting star press.
- Hogan Knows best will be hyped at least 150 times despite the fact that Hulk Hogan has not appeared on the Smackdown brand since the hey-day of Mr. America. Zach Gowen, we salute you.
- Simon Dean will challenge Nova to a match at Summerslam.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Let's Warm Up the Orton Bashing Machine!
Well since on RAW PPVs, there is always room for the "guaranteed suckiness" like diva segments and the Masterpiece, I'm sure Smackdown will do the same in the form of a Randy Orton appearance.  Why do I feel he'll be allowed time to butcher another promo during the middle of the show. 
 
There will probably be one or two backstage segments.  I hope one involves Christian and Teddy Long, where Christian exposes Long for the lame GM that he is and says that his match against Booker T should have been the #1 contender match and not the Taker/Hassan match.
 
Finally, we can take the remaining cruiserweights, pick a name out of a hat and have him fight London on HeAT, because lord knows they don't belong on the actual PPV.  No sirree!
Jeb Lund Says... It Isn't Jeb's Fault.
As ever, Rick has asked us to write extras. Here are my predictions:

1. This show will not be nearly so awful as internet pundits predicted. However, it will still be below the average level of quality that those who pay for it should expect.

2. My Sunday will feature my watching DVDs of season four of Homicide: Life on the Street while sipping iced tea and splaying out on my couch, wearing a bathrobe. I will probably remember that there was a pay-per-view about 90 minutes after it started. I remember when I used to sit in my dorm room, unable to order pay-per-views, absolutely stewing with resentment that I was missing something. That was the WWF in 1999-2000. This is WWE, 2005. I wish I could say that it's all my fault that I'm this indifferent. I am certainly partially to blame. But it's not all my fault.

"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Three More Bonus Haiku.
Tough to predict
Just-in-time booking.
Could go 2-for-8.

Ivory released,
Lord Alfred Hayes gone.
Not a good week.

What this show needs
Is a swerve-a-licious cameo:
Bret Hart.
PyroFalkon Says...  This Line Is Not Clever.
I got nothin' this week. I pretty much exhausted my Random Tangent supply on my BT recap this week. Friday night, I'm going to an ARCA truck race at a track that's only a stone throw away from my house... and that's the thing I'm most looking forward to this weekend.

I don't see how GAB 2005 can be worse than GAB 2004... at least we won't have anyone being buried alive by cement. But, the WWE has surprised us before, and we may very well see yet another PPV that is barely serviceable. Man, I've been at OO almost a year now, and I'm so incredibly pessimistic anymore... That can't be good. GAB is so high on my Apathy List that I'm actually more interested in seeing what clever title line Rick gave this section.

Go Undertaker!
Rick Scaia Says... Nothing of Substance.
Ugh. A document 18-plus hours in the making (most of the work done last night, but a couple cut-and-paste jobs from late submissions and and changing two of my own picks this afternoon), and I have to fill in ANOTHER box?

I actually don't know what else I could guess at for this show. I put most of my off-the-wall ideas into my other picks (like how you could change around the Taker/Hassan match and stuff). I think with 8 matches, that's pretty much a full slate and we won't see anything added in. And I don't think there's any openings for big surprises (like Lesnar). It's kind of a what you see is what you get deal.

So I'll just use this space to thank the trOOps for still all showing up in full force to allow me to half-ass this preview and give in to my apathy. Especially Erin, who played along despite being on vacation. And whose final comments leave me wondering just what the Broad might be like when she's all tequila'ed up...  my guess is: Lots more fun than the Great American Bash is gonna be.

ZING~! And that, kids, is how a Profushunal Riter turns on a dime to get back to his main point after an apparent total digression.  

 

Did we get you fired up for the Bash? Well, if not, that's OK because ANOTHER service OO proudly provides is full PPV coverage on Sunday night. My immediate post-show recap will be posted sometime around midnight (eastern), and I'll have even more thoughts and fall-outs in the regularly scheduled Monday column.

See you then, kids.....


  
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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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