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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
TEAM COVERAGE:
WWE SummerSlam PPV Preview
August 20, 2005

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

 

SummerSlam. Ostensibly the second biggest show of the wrestling year. Of course, it never really works out that way in practice, because I think most fans get more fired up for the Royal Rumble each year (I know I do), but SummerSlam is generally presented as the "WrestleMania of the Summer." 
 
If so, this year's show is shaping up like WrestleMania 13. That is to say: there's one match on the show that looks to be carrying the whole thing, and it completely overshadows the "expected" main event(s).

At WM13, it was Bret/Austin on the undercard that kept the show from TOTALLY stinking. At

Sunday's SummerSlam PPV, it's Hogan/Michaels in that role.

And in fact, neither the RAW nor SD! brand's contributions to the PPV are headed up by the "expected" title matches. On the contrary, RAW's is obviously going with Hogan/Michaels as its main event, while SD!'s putting its eggs in the Eddie/Rey basket. Meantime, Cena/Jericho and Batista/JBL title matches are second class citizens.

And worse: second class citizen on a third-rate show. This really hasn't been the strongest bit of storytelling by WWE, especially not for a show that's supposed to be one of their biggest ones of the year. You can claim that they had to change a lot of things around, and book "on the fly," but screw that: I know Muhammad Hassan and the return of Matt Hardy and the decision to keep HHH off TV and stuff like that affected the intended PPV card. But coming up with suitable replacements isn't fricking rocket science. I continue to be baffled by how WWE makes it look so hard to do such an easy job. 

Looking around, watching the build up to SummerSlam, and then seeing the general malaise even the most loyal WWE fans seem to have towards the line-up, you'd think re-booking SummerSlam was tantamount to harnessing the power of the atom. And that instead of Oppenheimer, WWE had hired the Three Stooges to do the job. It's that bad.

But what the hell? There still is that one promising match. And maybe a few other things that'll deliver the goods, too. It might not be a total wash. So gather round, kids, as the staff of Online Onslaught does its level best to provide you with a bestest, most complete preview of SummerSlam 2005 that you'll find anywhere.

If we can't come up with the angles and analyses to get you interested in the PPV, then nobody can. So here's our breakdown of the announced 8-match SummerSlam PPV card....
 

RAW Presents....
HULK HOGAN vs. SHAWN MICHAELS

This is it, folks: if you're checking out SummerSlam on Sunday, this match is probably the reason why.

And justifiably so. Michaels and Hogan (and ESPECIALLY Michaels) have been outstanding in weaving together diverse elements to create a story in which it feels like this rivalry is two decades in the making, instead of roughly 6 weeks old. That's pretty remarkable.

Because sure, it all started with a superkick out of nowhere on the Fourth of July, but from there, once Shawn started explaining himself, things just started clicking. First and foremost, the "old" Shawn Michaels returned with a vengeance, cutting self-aggrandizing promos possibly laden with "unauthorized" shoot comments. It started feeling like 1997 all over again; and in this case, that's a good thing.

The things Shawn would talk about resonated with fans, too. In a very real way, Hogan vs. Michaels is a battle of two of WWE's defining eras. Hogan launched the WWF to mainstream popularity in the 80s. But it was Michaels who quarterbacked the company through the start of the Monday Night War and was a huge part of the genesis of the "Attitude Era" thanks to the creation of Degeneration X. And Shawn tied all that up in a neat little package when he declared that he stabbed Hogan in the back to prove a point: that Hogan's a legend skating by on past glories and force of personality... but Shawn Michaels is a legend who is still going out into the ring every night, busting his ass, and earning his accolades.

To the average fan sitting at home, the concept of Shawn wanting to prove he's a better wrestler than Hogan is more than enough to sell the feud. It's a pretty standard storyline in wrestling, and its one that doesn't take a whole lot of effort to follow. "Oh, so that jerk Shawn Michaels thinks he's better than Hulk Hogan? We'll see about that at SummerSlam," they say. But the beauty part of this storyline has been the way it also works on another level, appealing to long time fans and aficionados of backstage gossip.

Michaels freestyling promo work set the tone for that, as he effectively included a few little "shooty" comments starting immediately the week after he superkicked Hogan. The idea that Hogan is "protected" backstage, and as the political clout to silence his foes is one that's made the rounds with fans... Michaels not only gave voice to that idea, but then he moved on to say that those rules don't apply to him, because he's every bit the backstage politician as Hogan. And he lies down for no one. Certainly to anyone who followed the Clique's domination of the WWF in the mid-90s knows enough to not dismiss THAT claim out of hand, either.

So it became a story just as much about HOW somebody would win the match at SummerSlam as about who would win it. And of course, as soon as you start talking about backstage politicking and possible screwy finishes, it's almost a given that you have to bring up the subject of Bret Hart. So Hulk Hogan did last week. And then Shawn Michaels riffed on the Hitman for half of his RAW-opening promo this week. To most fans, it's just a chance for the kneejerk "You Screwed Bret" chant... but to others, it's an excuse to wonder out loud about Bret Hart's possible WWE return being tied into this storyline.

And again, when a storyline clicks on all these different levels, that's a good thing.

How good will the match be on Sunday? I dunno. It's best to never completely discount Hogan, who has a way of bringing just enough to the table to silence his critics when he's in a big time match. But you can also look at what Hogan had in the tank against the immensely talented Kurt Angle on Monday, and start worrying that maybe Hogan's ability to hold up his half of a great match has started waning. Michaels prides himself on getting good matches out of just about any opponent, though, so you gotta keep that in mind.

But in a lot of ways, it's not necessarily about the OMG WORKRATE~! in this match... it's about the drama and intrigue. This is one of those rare cases where I have absolutely not clue who will win, nor any strong feelings about who SHOULD win. The story has been told well enough that I just want to sit back and see who DOES win, and in what exciting fashion he does it in. There should be more matches like this on the second-biggest PPV of the year. Sadly, this is the only one.


  

The OOutlOOk
Michaels wins: 6 votes   --|--  Hogan wins: 4 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Michaels d. Hogan.
Holy shit, how awesome has HBK been in the buildup to this? Hogan is almost a non-factor at this point to me; I'm still getting over the sheer joy of being able to recap HBK's RAW-opening promo earlier this week. I mean, I'd always been a fan of the guy, but he's become my favorite thing about RAW lately. Or rather, the only thing on RAW that I care about.

Look, let's be honest. Hogan has no business winning this. None. The man is old and immobile, and if anyone should challenge Cena for his title after Summerslam, it's Michaels. Give him the momentum. Hogan will look as good as he can possibly look at this point in life because he'll be wrestling the greatest seller in all of Sellerdom. Besides, this match is going to be about the story, not how many German suplexes and chain-wrestling sequences they can squeeze into it. It won't be a great match by conventional standards, but it should be damn exciting. Hogan's "victory" will come not by winning the match, but by participating in it.

I just don't think I can possibly buy Hogan being able to beat Michaels, just from a physical standpoint. Hogan's a old guy in knee braces with an artificial hip, and it shows. Michaels is an old guy who wrestles like he's in his twenties. Hogan's iconic status isn't enough for him to overcome the younger, better athelete. Sorry, brother.

Canadian Bulldog Says... Michaels d. Hogan.
Yes, I realize this one is a longshot. But I've been messing up the main event outcomes for virtually every PPV this year; one more isn't going to hurt (besides the inevitable barbs I'll encounter at the wrath of PyroFalkon when all my results are wrong, that is).

Here's why I'm going with the darkhorse pick: Michaels can still contribute something to WWE over the long-term -- I think the guy has shown over the last month how awesome he can truly be, and the past two years of having above-average matches cements that. Hogan, on the other hand, can't. Not to take away anything from The Hulkster, but I'd be shocked to see him a full-time capacity anymore.

Then it becomes a question of backstage egos. Logic dictates that Hogan would win out, just because of who he is. Yet, during his last full-time run, Hogan had no problem putting over Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar, etc. Now, Michaels has done a TON of jobs this past year (Edge, Daivari, Angle) -- so I almost wonder if Michaels has been doing them all in exchange for the biggest win of them all. Plus, a loss for Hogan could signify one further payday for The Hulkster with the rematch down the road. A win for Hogan would take that away, while simotaneously meaning that everything HBK has done for the last month or so has been for naught.

So there you have it -- Michaels beats Hogan. I know I'll be wrong, anyways.

The Cubs Fan Says... Michaels d. Hogan.
This is a stupid pick. Hogan's going to win these - a big reason some people like Hogan (and some people are annoyed by a him) is he always wins these matches. But maybe, just maybe, HBK is wily enough to convince them it's better to build up to a rematch, of which this feud like will get it. And if HBK can throw a fit and not lose that match either. HBK is capable of great things - but I think even a great match here is too much, after whatever the heck that was with Kurt Angle Monday night. Good luck.
Matt Hocking Says... Hogan d. Michaels.
In almost every way, Shawn Michaels has gotten the better of Hulk Hogan.  Promos, in-ring attacks, characterization, Shawn’s had an amazing few months.  But Shawn Michaels is also better able to absorb a loss.  Not to say a guy like Hogan couldn’t absorb a loss to a guy like Michaels, but the
thing of it is, is that Shawn’s character as a heel is able to bounce back from losses so quickly, that I think the best bet would be to let Hulk have this one and let him bask in the glory of kicking the ass of the punk kid, Shawn Michaels.

The really interesting part of this match will be to see what, if anything, Shawn’s able to pull out of Hogan.  Hulk’s shown the ability to work a perfectly serviceable match (in fact he did so a few years ago against The Rock at Wrestlemania), but even so, this Hulk isn’t the spry young 70 year old we saw during the Mr. America days.  Shawn will try his damnedst, however, as this is about his best chance ever of marking his legacy as the guy who is able to carry *anybody* to a halfway decent match.  With Shawn
working hard to bump for the Hulkster, and Hogan’s ego trying hard not to let himself be “the one guy” who couldn’t have a good match with Michaels, both guys are going to be at the highest overdrive that their fragile little bodies will let them, and you know what?  I think what we’ll be left with is
a match that, while it won’t be great or maybe not even “good,” will be lots of fun to watch.

Like I said, Michael’s will be around full time for the next little while, while Hogan will only be there intermittently.  Let the big lug win, let the crowd go home happy.  It’s not like either guy needs it more than the other, and at this point in his career, I think Shawn’s more likely to take the job than Hulk anyway.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Michaels d. Hogan.
No Comments Included Due To Technological Fuck-up.
Jeb Lund Says... Hogan d. Michaels.
I don’t know what to say about this. Hogan wins because he’s Hogan. I think that is reason enough when talking about wrestling. Here are the others:

Michaels dominated the prelude to this match, and I think that his doing so may be a case of giving us some goodness before serving us some crap. Because Hogan can’t cut a really scathing or must-listen modern promo, Michaels got to carry the day verbally. We also know that he will carry the day physically. So we got our Michaels treat up-front. We also know that - irrespective of ability - Hogan will always get that huge nostalgia pop. It’s enough to turn a match’s planning on its ear. Again, that’s why we got Michaels up-front, because after the bell rings, his appeal or value becomes anyone’s guess.

My suspicion (and my hope) is that this match will be a real-time test of what can be done with these two. Michaels shoulders all the work, gets in his attacks, looks good, then loses. Depending on how Hogan does, we might see a nod or salute of respect and then end this feud, or Michaels could stomp Hogan post-match. Because, if this match shows that Hogan can still go, it would be nice to see Michaels beat the crap out of him and win the next pay-per-view match, then finally have the two face each other, have Hogan win, and cap it off with a mutual-respect handshake. The neat thing about that (ultimate) ending is that the handshake wouldn’t turn Michaels face. He could suggest that he shook Hogan’s hand because he knew that: (a) Hogan could be beaten; (b) he shook the hand of the only person on his level in WWE history. In short, Michaels could lose twice, win once, but still come out convinced that the only legend worth touching with any sense of respect was Hogan, and that his battles with Hogan only cemented his conviction that no one else could approach their vaunted heights.

"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Hogan d. Michaels.
Tough call on the de facto main event of the evening. I think Hogan's current value to WWE predicates him winning this one, but I've got this nagging feeling there's more than meets the eye here. Maybe someone else high up on the food chain would like to start the build-up to a WM match
with Hogan by making his presence felt at SS.
PyroFalkon Says...  Hogan d. Michaels.
I’m kind of in a rush doing this, mostly because I was dumb enough to procrastinate doing my picks until the last minute… now, something’s come up, and I need to get out of here as soon as possible. So forgive any half-assedness, please.

I really want Shawn Michaels to win here. And the reason is because I want to see Hogan go down once in a big match. I’m one of the biggest marks for Hogan, I admit, but I’m also tired of seeing him win every stinkin’ time. As one of my cOOlleagues said (Erin? Rick?), it’s great seeing Hogan once or twice a year; any more than that, and it’s just boring.

That said, Hogan must be protected by the WWE, because… well, I’m beyond knowing the reason for it. “He was the superstar that propelled us to mainstream exposure 20 years ago” doesn’t seem like the best reason to protect someone’s image. I personally would have him lose here, then give him the win later down the road at a rematch.

Given that I’ve accepted Shawn will lose, my fantasy (I stress “fantasy”) scenario has Hogan in trouble, and then Shawn pulls out a weapon or something. Ref gets bumped, and the guitar squeal hits the speakers. Bret Hart comes down to the ring. He doesn’t do anything, just is there as a distraction. Hogan wins cleanly. Bret gets in the ring, fakes a handshake, then gives Shawn a Sweet Chin Music as retaliation for stealing his Sharpshooter on Monday. Then on the next RAW, Bret reveals he’s 100% healthy and can wrestle just like he used to for the next 20 years. (Come on, you know you’re all hoping for a miracle like that.)

What’s really going to happen? Hogan will win cleanly without an appearance or mention of the Hitman. Beyond that, I expect this to be a good match, and I’ll tell you why. Shawn isn’t lying when he says he goes out and puts on his best for fans usually. Even if Hogan is a shell of his former self, Shawn is wrestling like it’s 1989, and he’ll be able to carry the load to make Hogan look as good as the legend of him. I’m not saying this will be a five-star match, but it’s not going to be a total train wreck because of one these two guys seems willing to kill himself to make it happen. After all, if Shawn half-asses it, it will just be a massive let down after all he said over the past few weeks.

Big Danny T Says... Michaels d. Hogan.
Icon vs. Legend. Which is the higher definition? Probably legend, but it doesn't matter. Is this going to be Hogan's farewell match? probably not, because I can't see Hogan doing the final retirement match at any place but Wrestlemania, and I highly doubt that he'll go out looking at the lights. For this reason, I pick HBK, because it'll give Hogan an excuse to do a slow burn to Wrestlemania where he can get his win back and go out with a victory over everyone in the known universe, including me.
Rick Scaia Says... Michaels d. Hogan.
Everything in this feud points to some kind of screwy finish. The comments by Shawn, the mentions of Bret, everything... and I just can't see Hogan being on the winning end of a "screwjob." It's not his bag, baby.

Plus, Hogan's value is as a sporadic novelty act. Michaels is still a week-in/week-out performer. That's not to say Hogan can't score big wins, but in this case, I don't think the situation calls for him smiting HBK and then going off on a little siesta until his next mini-run with WWE. Which is surely to correspond with January's Season 2 of "Hogan Knows Best" and the Road to WM22. Judging by the way Hogan looked on Monday, he'll need the vacation to heal up, anyway, especially if Michaels insists on taking him to the brink of **** (or beyond) on Sunday.

So I'm gonna go with my gut and say that Michaels scores a win that shall be tainted in some fashion. The only way I'd really see Hogan getting the win is if Bret Hart did show up. And I don't think he will. At least, not yet. Does anybody other than me remember all the mocking Michaels did of Hart back in 1997 after Survivor Series? Mocking, midgets, the whole nine. For Hart to conveniently return after just one week of mocking after he stolidly endured all that back in the day just would ring true. Hold Hart back for another day... give Michaels the win here.

 

RAW Presents....
JOHN CENA vs. CHRIS JERICHO

WWE Title Match

Let's see... I *know* I can make this a bit more compelling than WWE has, if only I give it my A-Game...

Except: why bother? This is, because of WWE's retarded, ass-hatted booking, probably just about the one inevitable mortal lock on the entire PPV card. Nothing has been done to make Jericho seem like a legit challenger, which means that it's highly unlikely that you'll see him win the title. And when Cena wins, he gains nothing, because this is pretty much the same caliber of win as him beating the Ghost of Barry Horowitz. No disrespect to Jericho, who obviously has more than enough ability to have made a go of this; but all the disrespect in the world to the creative team that decided that the WWE Title Match on the #2 PPV of the year should be little more than an Enhancement Match for the unbeatable, unstoppable Doctor of Wiggernomics.

The story, as best as I can tell it: Cena debuted on RAW during an edition of the Highlight Reel. At the time, he'd been the butt of much well-received riffage courtesy of Christian, so Christian also appeared moments later. It didn't take long before a three-way WWE Title match was signed: Cena vs. Christian vs. Jericho. Cena won, pinning Christian. Christian got drafted to SD!, where he (if this is even possible) has been dicked over EVEN WORSE by the creative team than Jericho has. Of course, Jericho figured that since he wasn't pinned, maybe he'd reassert his claim to a WWE Title shot. To get it, he had to finally turn full-fledged heel, which he did the week after the three-way PPV match. From there, you could probably imagine a pretty sweet 6 weeks of build-up to Jericho's SummerSlam title match.

But why bother? I like imagining various depraved scenarios involving myriad female wrestling personalities (albeit always one-at-a-time, as I am nothing if not an attentive and considerate gentleman of a depraved pervert), but it doesn't get me anywhere. Imagination is for LOSERS. Why bother getting your hopes up for something good when WWE's right here to deliver the most uncreative, lazy, and counterproductive booking conceivable?

So instead of anything cool or interesting in which Jericho might have come off as a legitimate champion and serious threat to Cena, we embarked on a month-and-a-half of Jericho looking mostly like an impotent gum-flapper, while Cena continued to be booked as if he was the second coming of Jesus H. Christ. Or at least of Steve Austin. Which just makes no fricking sense, comes off as stilted and bogus, and contributes to my on-going discontent with Mr. Real.

The feud ended up being about which guy had the less-shitty music career; of course, Cena was put over (even though the only tolerable single off his shitty album continues to be the one he uses as entrance music). The feud ended up including Carlito Cool as Jericho's #1 ally despite the fact that all signs pointed to Carlito and Jericho being unable to get along; of course, even with the IC Champ as an ally, Cena was still put over both men in a handicap match. And how fucked up is it that Carlito has a pinfall win over Cena in the past month, but Jericho doesn't? And most of all: the feud was quickly changed from Jericho vs. Cena to Bischoff vs. Cena, with Jericho merely as a pawn in Bischoff's mind-bendingly inane personal grudge match against Homey the Clown. Of course, even with the GM on Jericho's side, Cena has bested their evil plans at every turn.

The end result: WWE is trying to do Austin vs. McMahon all over again, it seems. Except Cena is no Austin. In any way. Which makes Bischoff's irrational hatred of him impossible to buy into. I just don't get it. I don't think most fans do, either. Cena's about as harmless and watered down a cartoon character as you'll find among WWE's top level workers, but they insist on treating him like he's some kind of bad-ass. Maybe *this* is why they haven't bothered to really build up Jericho? Because this story isn't about him at all? It's just about how Cena is an unstoppable ass-whupping machine? I dunno, if so, it's still dumb, since wouldn't it be better for Cena if he whupped ass on somebody that the fans thought MIGHT have a chance of beating him? I'd tend to think so.

And now I'm rambling. Point is: when these two hook it up on Sunday, Jericho vs. Cena won't even really be the story. Bischoff vs. Cena will be, and Jericho's just the hired goon for this month's PPV. And worse: he's a hired goon in a plot that has so far failed at every turn. So if you think this is gonna be a red-hot barnburner of a match, you might be in for a surprise. I'd guess that Jericho will have some support, and that'll be just about the most notable thing about the fan reaction in this one. Other than that? Look for this to be a lot like the majority of Cena's non-gimmick matches to date: pretty flat, with kneejerk pops towards the end when he busts out his signature moves. Good lord does it ever annoy the hell out of me, but I think I'm probably gonna be right about this.

For the record: yes I'm pissed off on Jericho's account. He does deserve better. But everything I've said here can also be taken another way: that CENA deserves better, too. Much like my Randy Orton comments of a year ago, I'm trying to point out how WWE is dicking the guy over with their harebrained creative work, NOT completely eviscerate the guy or create the impression that he's without worth. And remember: I was right about Randy. I was right 9 months before WWE finally gave up and admitted I was right by turning him back heel. If I was you, I wouldn't take sides against me on the issue of John Cena. In his current incarnation, he wouldn't know "real" if it whapped him in the face, and the more WWE pushes ahead with this persona for him without tweaking it to be appealing to those who are (1) over the age of 12 and (2) not retarded, the greater the chance that he'll end up as 2005's Orton Memorial Flop. I'm not saying he shouldn't be champ, or that everything would be better if Jericho won the title: I'm just saying that WWE's handling of Cena is gonna bite 'em on the ass, and sooner rather than later.
  

The OOutlOOk
Cena wins: 8 votes   --|--  Jericho wins: 2 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Cena d. Jericho.
Sigh. Chris Jericho is in a main event title match, yet I don't give a shit. If that doesn't tell you how badly WWE has fucked this up, then I don't know what will. He's been made to look like crap, and Cena has won every convoluted two- or three-on-one-match-with-an-evil-ref he's been booked in for the last month. In storyline terms, it'd be ridiculous for him to not win a one-on-one match. Besides, the real feud here is Bischoff v. Cena, and we all know it.

I don't really know what else to say about this, other than it's the only prediction of which I'm 100% sure.

Canadian Bulldog Says... Cena d. Jericho.
Not only is this outcome inevitable, but its also the right decision. Some might criticize Cena's fan-pandering character (coughcoughRickcoughcough), but its clear the guy has the potential to be an asset for a long time to come. Jericho has been doing some excellent work lately, but I just don't see him getting the belt this early into Cena's reign, and an upcoming concert tour doesn't help his chances.

I see this as a match of the night candidate, with everyone involved borrowing liberally from the Austin vs. McMahon playbook. After Cena (Austin) wins, Bischoff (McMahon) replaces Jericho (Dude Love) with Kurt Angle (Kane) as we head into the Unforgiven PPV.

The Cubs Fan Says... Cena d. Jericho.
na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye
na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye
na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye
na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye
Matt Hocking Says... Cena d. Jericho.
Much to the chagrin of just about everybody, this feud has taken a turn to predictability city, and while I’d like to think that it wasn’t beyond the WWE as to “really show us” and give Jericho a short title run and let him hold onto it for a month or two and job it back out to Cena.

Unfortunately, we all know that’s not going to happen.  Cena’s on to fighting Angle next month and Jericho’s off on a rock tour to help his band sell more than 5,000 copies of their album maybe.  So, in a bold and crazy move, I’m going to just pick Cena to win like everybody else.  I’m such a rebel.

The match itself, I’m guessing, will probably be exactly what you expect.  Jericho, when he’s motivated, is one of the best straddlers of the “good matches/good charisma” ropes you’ll ever find.  He’s no Michaels, but he’s good.  Unfortunately, he’s also not at all motivated here.  Cena is like a new age Steve Austin.  Not in his “rebellious nature“, but in the way you can tell he’s holding WAY back on the reigns of his “decent” wrestling, because he knows all he has to do are punches and wiggidy wiggidy fist drops
to pop the crowd.  Carlito and Bischoff will be involved  t some point, and I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that Chad Patton counts the pin.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Cena d. Jericho.
No Comments Included Due To Technological Fuck-up.
Jeb Lund Says... Cena d. Jericho.
Here’s the thing: Cena is in no danger; thus, no one should give a shit about Cena. OO poster Madiq outlined this point excellently in yet another outstanding post, and it shows how dreadful this match will likely be. At no point in their “feud” or interactions was Cena remotely in trouble. Jericho threw interference, foreign objects (including the kitchen sink) and general managers at Cena, and Cena FU’d them all off. Jericho has never been a threat or a worry. You might as well have Y2J call in sick and have Gillberg sub-in for him.

That’s why Jericho should win. Jericho should come out and stomp the HOLY LIVING MOTHERFUCK out of Cena, win the belt, then tell the audience, “Yeah, I did NOTHING for the past two months. You know why? Because White-Subdivision-X here was too stupid to see the signs. I laid down and got pinned. I threw Bischoff and other chumps at him. I made him feel comfortable. This guy can’t do half the things I can do in the ring, and I knew that. I let him think that if he waved his blinged-out Vanilla-White hand in the air, he could punch me out. I let him dance worse than the best man at a wedding wondering when the Chicken Dance would come on. He thought I was easy. I showed him that I WAS HARDCORE. I showed him I was REAL. THIS IS REAL, JERKY!”

But most people would probably like that, since it wouldn’t be SOUL-SUCKINGLY PREDICTABLE. So it won’t happen. Cena wins, after Jericho has Bischoff, three other people, a chair, a hose and a kitchen sink fail to fell Cena.

GUCK FOOD STORYTELLING! OMG, I WANNA BUY THAT T-SHIRT AND WEAR IT TO COMPTON’S! THAT’S THE NEW HEALTH-FOODS MARKET, RIGHT? SHOOT ME IN THE FACE BECAUSE I’M AN ASSHOLE!

"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Cena d. Jericho.
This could be Jericho's swansong at the top of the card. I think he's a great heel, but this feud has been like giving a great orator a microphone and asking him to quote Jeff Foxworthy. This needs to be a good match for Cena's sake, and I suspect it will be.
PyroFalkon Says...  Jericho d. Cena.
Yeah, I know it looks like a suicidal pick. At this point, my record is so trashed that I can afford to take a chance on another wacky pick.

Look, I know Jericho doesn’t have much of a chance to win, because he’s undervalued by the WWE, and blah blah blah. Here’s the thing though; it’s WAY TOO EASY for Cena to win here. It’s TOO much of a forgone conclusion. And yet, we’ve felt that way a couple times over the past year, and the WWE swerved on us. Remember how we all pretty much sucked in Great American Bash, because we were totally confident the endings were easy? Sure, we all got a match or two right, but they went a totally different direction on us for matches like Benoit/OJ and Mysterio/Eddie matches.

Cena has held the WWE belt for a long time, even before he came over to RAW. By retaining it here again… I just don’t see anywhere for the belt or story to go. Triple H isn’t back yet to reclaim it, and I can’t think of any other RAW heels who would really be decent competitors for Cena aside from Angle, who is already doing something. Even if Jericho is unfortunately just a “temporary champion,” I say give him the win here. Let Cena get the belt back in a month or two, then bring Triple H into the fold to feud with him or something.

Big Danny T Says... Jericho d. Cena.
You know what? Just to be ornery, I'm going to call for Jericho to win this one. I would love to see Jericho pull an amazing match out of Cena and walk away with the gold. Don't worry, He'll probably job it right back to Cena on Monday, but I say give Jericho another reign as champion, even if it's only for 24 hours. I'll at least have the peace of mind that WWE did something right for one night.
Rick Scaia Says... Cena d. Jericho.
It's gonna happen. I won't bother bitching about it. It's not even a bad outcome... it's just that the road getting here has been so pathetically handled that Cena beating Jericho really is the frustratingly underwhelming anti-climax to a storyline that SHOULD have been much, much better.

Plus: the posters are already printed, and it's Cena vs. Angle for the title in September. So even though Bischoff will be there, and Carlito will be there, Jericho's gonna keep on being the impotent little eunuch he's been for the past 6 weeks en route to an ignominious and forgettable loss. Who's got money on Referee Chad Patton somehow getting in on the fun to help in screwing over Jericho? I probably do...

 

RAW Presents....
EUGENE vs. KURT ANGLE

No Time Limit; Olympic Gold Medal Up For Grabs

Simple story here: Kurt Angle came to RAW and with nothing particularly important to do, decided to fire up the old Kurt Angle Invitational, in which a "hometown hero" could try to win his Olympic Gold Medal if they could just survive in the ring with him for 3 minutes.

Simple enough, and after a little mini-program with c-level tabloid news semi-star Matt Striker, Angle was ready for a new challenger... so that's when Eugene made his return to WWE. Who cares that he wasn't from Cleveland that night? Eugene's just all about the fun.

But when Eugene lasted three minutes and took Angle's medal, things predictably took a turn for the not-so-fun. Because Kurt might excel at playing a clueless putz, but when the chips are down, he's also one of WWE's most convincing bad-asses.

Eugene, with his new Head Cheerleader Christy Hemme, had some fun with Tatanka, and even managed to survive a challenge from Angle himself (in Angle's hometown of Pittsburgh). The less said about the idiotically-booked first Angle/Eugene match, the better; let's just say WWE's writer monkeys did Eugene no favors that week, as he was booed out of the building (and rightfully so, as WWE's plan for the match required Eugene to act uncharacteristically douchey). And then, just a few days ago on RAW, Eugene didn't even get a chance to complete his Invitational Challenge, because Kurt showed up and kicked the holy living hell out of him, and promised it was just a sample of what was to come on Sunday.

You know: I expect this to be something of a sleeper. Unlike higher profile title matches, this is a match where the fans genuinely get into both characters, and where (one week digression aside) both characters have been presented PERFECTLY in this feud. I think the fans will be way into it. Eugene's the likeable, plucky underdog; Angle's the odds-on favorite who just can't put his opponent away; it's a perfect formula. Spaz at ringside has her charms, too, since she's finally found a role where being a hyper bundle of energy suits her. And spastically chipper cheerleader types might not be my favorite variety of broads, but that doesn't mean they can't still be fun to look at while wearing slutty quasi-cheerleader outfits. So you got all the pieces for the crowd to be WAY into this match.

Then you give it enough time to develop, and I think it could be surprisingly GOOD, too. Remember Eugene taking on Benoit at some point about a year ago? Nick Dinsmore has the Wrestling Ability, kids, don't let the Wrestling Retard Gimmick fool you. And best of all, the blueprint for how to explain Eugene's uncanny grappling ability has already been established. He's an idiot savant, and anything he's seen, he can emulate (or escape from). They set all that up last year with Eugene, but never quite followed through the way I would have liked (which would have been to have an opponent finally realize that the only way to beat Eugene was to come up with something new, that he'd never seen before). So just because a lot of Eugene's matches do tend to include spots cribbed from Workrate Blackholes like Hogan and the Junkyard Dog doesn't mean that he won't bust out the chainwrestling and other goodness on Sunday. This is probably my #2  match on the card.
  

The OOutlOOk
Angle wins: 10 votes   --|--  Eugene wins: 0 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Angle d. Eugene.
As for this match? I really don't know. I'm just guessing here and picking the guy who I see as being a major player in the company, not mid-card filler. Eugene just doesn't have the charm that he used to, and his gimmick is pretty dead-end. Come to think of it, Angle would make a hell of a challenger for Cena's title after this PPV, but WWE might not want to recycle a Smackdown! feud for RAW.

This should be really entertaining, though, and I expect to see Eugene bust out some skills that we haven't had the chance to really see since the inception of his gimmick. This one is a potential show-stealer, if given enough time.

Canadian Bulldog Says... Angle d. Eugene.
I have to admit, I've been loving this storyline over the past month. Angle and Eugene play so well off each other, and get such tremendous reactions from the crowd, it's hard NOT to be into this story.

That said, Kurt has to win this match - it only makes sense. That doesn't mean that Eugene will necessarily HAND OVER the medals. But Angle definitely gets the nod here.

The Cubs Fan Says... Angle d. Eugene.
Kurt Angle has better things to do with his life than beat up the mentally handicapped. Sure, it's fun at first, but then it gets kinda stale. Come to think of it, Eugene is more what Orlando Jordan needs.
Matt Hocking Says... Angle d. Eugene.
If Kurt Angle is to be taken seriously as the number one contender to the title next month, he’d best win this match against Eugene and Christy violently and decisively, just like he promised.  Because this is the WWE, I should probably say that Eugene will out wrestle him and then proceed to try
to eat the gold medals “because he thought there was chocolate inside.”  Christy will be dejected at ringside because her days as Queen of the Diva Search are finally over.

I’m expecting this to start as a comedy match and swiftly transition into a violent style mat based war.  I think, even in character, Dinsmore can pull this off, and though it probably won’t be nearly as satisfying to the purists as a straight Angle match, it will do what it set out to accomplish.  Finish probably comes with an ankle lock held extra long for effect.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Angle d. Eugene.
No Comments Included Due To Technological Fuck-up.
Jeb Lund Says... Angle d. Eugene.
I like Eugene, and I like Kurt. I could be happy either way. But I get this feeling that Kurt needs to win because:

1. Eugene will be mad that he lost to Kurt, but Kurt isn’t his friend. He’ll get in his face, making Kurt mad, and they’ll wrestle again.

2. Kurt will hurt Eugene so badly in the match that Eugene will swear retard vengeance and want to hurt Kurt.

3. Kurt needs to be strong for the AMAZING WRESTLING DUEL WITH JOHN CENA. HOW COULD KURT WIN? MUST MAKE KURT STRONG LIKE BULL. OTHERWISE HE HAVE NO HOPE.

"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Angle d. Eugene.
This was a very clever feud, one that I hope will continue. But I doubt it. I think the idea was to give two hurt guys a low-impact feud while their bodies heal, and there are other plans for Kurt going forward. So he gets his medals back here, but not before these two try to steal the show - which is nearly impossible given Hogan-Michaels.
PyroFalkon Says...  Angle d. Eugene.
No reason for Angle not to get his medal back, because this story absolutely can’t go anywhere further. It was fun while it lasted, I have to admit that.

My only concern is what’s going to happen with Eugene. Well, it’s not a “concern,” more of a “curiosity.” He has no enemies aside from Evolution, which is gone now. Unless they start whipping up a feud quick, he has nowhere to go. He could always go after Rob Conway, I suppose, since there is some unresolved stuff there. And hey, the WWE could try even harder to get that damn music engraved into our skulls, so who knows?

Big Danny T Says... Angle d. Eugene.
The question here is do we give Eugene a victory here and have Kurt continue chasing him, or give Kurt the win and move him, gold medals and all, into his next feud. Now, while I'm all about cheerleader Christy, I just don't think that the Eugene invitational has the legs to make it another month until the Raw Brand PPV. Move Kurt into a feud with the newly dethroned Cena (All we need is a random backstage encounter where Kurt gloats that he's got gold and Cena doesn't) and move Eugene to someone else. Oh, but keep Christy in that Cheerleaders outfit.
Rick Scaia Says... Angle d. Eugene.
Like I said: the posters are already printed, and it's Cena vs. Angle for the Title in September.

So while it's been fun, and while I'm confident Eugene will come out of this none-the-worse for wear, I think Sunday will be a pretty decisive win for Kurt as he becomes the next pawn in Eric Bischoff's titanic struggle against John Cena.

One thing I find myself hoping for: you know that thing about Eugene being able to emulate/escape from any hold he's seen on TV? I think Angle would be the perfect guy to expose Eugene's weakness by coming up with some hold we've NEVER seen before to beat Eugene. Have Eugene instinctively escape countless anklelocks, have Kurt get frustrated, have a lightbulb go off in Kurt's head, have Kurt bust out some never-before-seen super-duper-mega-anklelock that Eugene doesn't know how to escape from. Yeah, that's be a pretty sweet finish (makes Kurt look badass, and in a way, it saves face for Eugene because of how hard he makes Kurt work to score the win).

 

RAW Presents....
EDGE vs. MATT HARDY

Trying to preview this match is already making my brain hurt, and I'm only one sentence into the bastard.

That's because there's "TV Stories" and then there's the "Real Story" involving these characters, and sadly, WWE hasn't even bothered trying to reconcile the two.

On TV: Lita loved Matt so much that she decided to have unprotected sex with Kane. She got pregnant. Lita, who apparently doesn't believe in birth control, decided that this was her baby, and she was gonna have it. Matt, trying to be a loving toolbox of a cuckold, decided to stand by his woman. Instead, he ended up losing a match to Kane in which Lita was obligated to marry the winner. So Kane and Lita got married. Matt tried to interrupt the ceremony, but got tossed off the stage, causing serious injury. A month or so later, Lita miscarried following a Kane vs. Snitsky match. The ordeal magically brought Kane and Lita closer together, and the happy couple started cribbing each others catchphrases as they were united in their quest to eliminate Snitsky. Everything seemed to be going well until Lita suddenly started acting really creepy and mysterious. Sure enough, a month of that led up to her not-at-all shocking turn on Kane, as she helped Edge win a tournament final over Kane. [Stupid question I can't help but STILL ponder: what would Lita have done if the 8 man tourney HADN'T come down to Kane vs. Edge?] It was then revealed that Lita had been cheating on Kane with Edge for months, because Edge is a real man. The Edge/Kane feud went on interminably, with nothing resembling closure. And then Matt Hardy started showing up and attacking Edge for reasons that didn't make a whole lot of sense if the last thing you remembered about the guy was him being pissed off at Kane.

In Real Life: Lita and Matt hardy remained a couple despite the TV wedding to Kane. But Lita started cheating on Matt with Edge. Matt found out about this, and when word got out to the internet, he spoke openly about the subject. As a result of this (and because WWE wasn't sure if Matt and Edge could co-exist in the same lockerroom), Matt was fired from WWE. But WWE fans thought this was bullshit, and so "We Want Matt" chants became commonplace at WWE events throughout the late spring and early summer. WWE decided to bring Matt back. So he started attacking Edge in fake TV angles, who stole his girlfriend in real life. Or something like that. 

And so this match was made for SummerSlam. The gaping logic holes have pretty much taken all the sizzle out of this one. Matt's comeback promo was a continuity nightmare, in which he pretty much tried to present all the stuff with Kane as "fake TV storylines," but then -- while attempting to present his plight as "real" -- had to go back to presenting Kane's actions the week before as also-real. Or something. Again: this shit makes my brain hurt. On the upside: Kane has not been seen nor heard from since, which helps reduce the mind-numbing stupidity of this storyline, although it does suck for the big fella, who continues to be one of WWE's most loyal (and thus, most-abused) footsoldiers when it comes to performing all the crap that is asked of him.

Edge tried to get things back on track with a slightly better telling of the story 2 weeks ago, where he kept some of the "shootiness" in there, but tried to gear things more towards a wrestling storyline version of the tale. Of course, you now have Matt going on the radio and Byte This and stuff sticking to his guns that all this is 100% and that he and Edge will be having a real fight at SummerSlam and blah blah blah....

You know what? If I thought real fights were fun to watch, it wouldn't have been 3 years since the last boxing PPV I ordered. Because of how badly bungled the "fake vs. real" aspect of this story has been, the idea of a "real fight" is actually a big ol' minus to me. If they stick to that, and try to book a segment that looks "real," the end result will only be some sloppy, indecisive schmozz. And a winner is no one!

It's a sad-but-true commentary that this "story" was hotter 3 months ago. And Matt Hardy was a bigger, more sympathetic superstar three months ago. But in the here and now, WWE's handling of this has pretty much taken away any joy that I'll take out of seeing a match that was unthinkable 3 months ago actually happen at SummerSlam. Nice work, writer monkeys!
  

The OOutlOOk
Hardy wins: 5 votes   --|--  Edge wins: 4 votes
DRAW: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Hardy d. Edge.
Christ, who cares? A month ago, this was the hottest thing going on in WWE, but they had no idea how to handle it and have massively fucked it up. As per usual.

Look, I can't even bring myself to half-ass picks that I don't give a shit about. And I like these two wrestlers. Matt wins in an "apology" from Vince. Whatever. At least the match will probably be intense and bloody.

Canadian Bulldog Says... Hardy d. Edge.
I'm not going to get into how they've botched this angle (I'm sure someone else will bring it up anyways). The bottom line is that Hardy has turned a major negative in his life into a positive and on that front alone, congratulations to him.

Now do they go the full monty and give him a win? I'd have to think so. Stranger things have happened, but I don't think either character can really advance -- even if they do plan on staying with this storyline beyond SummerSlam -- until Hardy at least has a pinfall victory over Mr. Money In The Bank.

The Cubs Fan Says... Double Disqualification DRAW.
Can't have a finish here, with nothing on the line and no direct place to go with a decision. Both guys have been talking about doing things that are illegal outside the arena, so it's not crazy to see them both doing things inside the arena that are illegal in the context of a match. I expect this to be especially violent to try and make it seem real, including some worked shoot moments. I hope Kane continues to not exist.
Matt Hocking Says... Edge d. Hardy.
Put simply, Edge needs the win more than Matt.  Put bluntly, Edge deserves the win more than Matt.  While Matt seems to have blown his wad of actually interesting hate and passion on his message board, Edge has simply outclassed him (on TV, anyway) in just about every way.  In fact, the returning Matt Hardy’s promo a few weeks ago and match (with Snitsky, granted) back, reminded me why he wasn’t in the main event mix the last time he was with the company.  Meanwhile, Edge came out two weeks ago, and basically cut the best promo of his career on Matt.  This is, however, by no means a slam dunk.  Matt didn’t come back to the WWE to be Edge’s job boy, and a consession will probably have to be made in Matt’s favor to let Edge have the win here.  I’d say that consession will probably be Edge jobbing on
the lesser Unforgiven PPV next month.  But that’s ok, because a continuation of this story is fine by me.

The match will hopefully be the most hotly contested of the night.  It all depends on how much of themselves they put into the match.  I have a deep seeded dread that some kind of switch will go off in their heads, and that they will do a slowish, boring WWE style brawl (one much less impressive than JBL/Batista given the participants) to prove that they can still work together.  Hopefully not.  Hopefully they both break each other open before the two minute mark, and beat each other all to hell.  Lita will probably be involved in the finish somehow.  Probably tricking Matt into coming after
her, setting up a Spear.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Edge d. Hardy.
No Comments Included Due To Technological Fuck-up.
Jeb Lund Says... Edge d. Hardy.
Edge cheats to win, or has Kane or Snitsky hurt him or something! Matt is inflamed! Matt demands something that doesn’t matter to smarks or marks or this guy named Biff! (Biff is unavailable for comment!) We have seven more months of this! Matt will get his justice sooner or later! IT’S A SHOOT! I just had sex with your mom! Yes, YOU, Dave!
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Edge d. Hardy.
What a mess this story turned out to be. I expect this match to be so ugly, bowling shoes nationwide will look pretty by comparison. Hardy gets DQed for his pseudo-shooting, leading to more of a no-holds barred style match later on - or for Hardy to get fired again.
PyroFalkon Says...  Hardy d. Edge.
If there’s any match I’m torn on, it’s this one. One payoff I’ve foreseen on this match is that Matt kicks the shit out of Edge, then Lita smacks Edge in the face with a tire iron. Swerve! The whole last year has been a diabolical plot!!! WHAT A SHOCK~!

…And it doesn’t make a lick of sense. But since when does the WWE ever worry about such silly things as logic and continuity?

The point is, I really don’t know what’s happening here. If Matt wins, Edge doesn’t really lose face because he’s got the strength of the last year to prove he’s still an upper midcarder or main eventer. Plus, don’t forget he’s still got that briefcase that he can pull out of his ass anytime. (Ew…) Not that he will here at SummerSlam, I’m just saying that it’s not like Edge’s reputation is going to falter with a loss.

Of course, nothing is stopping the WWE from continuing this storyline against all logic too. Really, it has to end here, because we’ve exhausted all possible branches. If the Byte This! interview is any proof (where the three pretty much said the exact things they’ve been saying since this started), the story is running out of steam.

Actually, that’s a good reason for Matt to just win cleanly with Lita staying heel. Matt doesn’t get the girl, but he’s beaten the shit out of Edge, thus proving himself to be a man, or something. Edge cries, but can continue to hold onto the fact that he’s got Lita AND a title shot whenever he wants it. Everyone wins, or something.

If it’s possible, they should then ship Matt over to SmackDown! where he’s needed, instead of on a show that’s already too full of faces.

Big Danny T Says... Hardy d. Edge.
Partly because I think Matt needs this win more than Edge, and partly because I need at least one babyface on the Raw roster that I like to get a win.
Rick Scaia Says... Hardy d. Edge.
This is a tough one. Why? Because the "WWE Think" finish is patently obvious.... in the name of making it seem "real" and "shooty," they'll probably lazy it up and give us a draw. Bleh.

But I'll go ahead with "Rick Think" and pick Hardy to win. Because they need to ditch this hard-on they have for making us think this is "real," and just focus on making it ENTERTAINING. That means telling a cogent story and having matches with real finishes. I think the right finish here is Matt scoring the win, because otherwise, he's right back to square one, as the cruiserweight job boy he was when last we saw him... only a Hardy win keeps this story percolating and leaves the door open for Matt to break out as a singles star.

How might it happen? Well, keep in mind Lita's Skank Quotient has been remarkably low the past 2 months; you just don't know what thoughts and emotions are kicking around in her little drama queen brain. And Kane's an X-factor here; or should be, anyway. There's "outs" for Matt to score a win via questionable/outside-assistance means, is all I'm saying. 

Basically, I think Matt can beat Edge without it hurting Edge's stature. But if Edge beats Matt, no matter how he does it, that's pretty much the end of Matt Hardy as an upper card wrestler. So I gotta go with Matt getting the win.

Of course, that's "Rick Think," so don't hold your breath. I'm sure the sloppy-ass schmozz with no winner is what we'll get instead. Because this is so OMG REAL~!

 

SmackDown! Presents....
REY MYSTERIO vs. EDDIE GUERRERO

Ladder Match for the Custody of Rey's Son Dominck

I've told this story so many times that I'm sorry, kids: I'm gonna keep it short this time. Cuz this feud has been simmering for 9 months now. Foes in the tag division turned tag partners (and eventual tag champions), but all the while, maintaining a friendly rivalry. A one-sided rivalry, as Rey Mysterio constantly bested Eddie in tag and singles matches.

It all led up to a full-fledged heel turn by Eddie late this past spring and MORE matches between the two. And two more times, Rey beat Eddie on the PPV stage.

Before their last match-up, however, this very simple, very compelling little feud took a turn for the Dumb, as Eddie introduced the concept of a "deep dark secret" that Rey was keeping from his son, Dominick. As a result, Dominick was at ringside for their last PPV match 3 weeks ago. No uncoincidentally, that also turned out to be the least action-packed and exciting of Eddie and Rey's series of matches to date. Because way too much of the spotlight was on the retarded melodrama than on the in-ring action.

The melodrama? Has only gotten gayer in the last three weeks. The "secret" is that Eddie is Dominick's biological father, who was "donated" to the family Mysterio at a time when they craved children but Rey was unable to perform his manly bedroom duties. I am not making this up. Eddie thus decided it was time to reclaim custody of his child, since the "donation" was done on the down-low and was not legally binding. I'm still not making this up. Child Services was called in, and apparently OK'ed Eddie's request. I'm still not making this up. But Rey wanted to fight for custody of his son, and wouldn't give in so easily. I'm still not making this up. So a wrestling match was signed in which Dominick's custody papers will be hanging above the ring, and Eddie and Rey will have a Ladder Match to see who can get the papers first, and in so doing, prove who is the more deserving father. And much as I wish I were, I am STILL not making this horseshit up.

This is absolutely one of the dumbest things I've ever seen. Not just dumb for its innate retardation, but dumb because it's been allowed to go on, and on, and blossom and expand into whole new areas of dumbness. Usually, WWE gives up on their moronic, ill-conceived storylines after 3-4 weeks, but we're coming up on 2 months of them taking a very simple, very exciting Eddie vs. Rey feud and turning it into something that no wrestling fan cares about and that no mainstream "casual TV viewer" could watch without laughing uproariously. I understand that WWE doesn't want to pigeonhole itself, but this is honestly a case where their attempt to tell a TV Drama Storyline is not only out of context in the wrestling universe, it's also just been flat-out badly-handled.

So yeah: it's Eddie vs. Rey in a ladder match, and that SHOULD be causing a decided moistening of panties nationwide. You tell me 2 months ago that Eddie vs. Rey is building to a ladder match at SummerSlam, and I probably get really excited about the news. But the reality of the situation? As long as Dominick is at ringside, as long as Cole and Tazz are forced by the higher-ups to tell "the story" instead of calling the match, and as long as anything is done to keep me from forgetting the past two months have happened, it's gonna be REALLY hard to appreciate this match the same way I would have two months ago.

And worse: it's unlikely that Eddie and Rey will even have the same kind of match they would have had two months ago. The storyline elements are just too overpowering and too retarded; and they also can't be ignored. Just as Dominick's presence in the match last month really put a damper on the match quality, I have a feeling that the spectre of this lame storyline will hang over this ladder match, and keep it from reaching its true potential. I'd love to be wrong. But I don't think I will be. The only way this thing sizzles like the Match of the Year Candidate it SHOULD be is if they leave the horseshit at the door; and I think WWE is too stubborn and proud to do that. 
  

The OOutlOOk
Eddie wins: 5 votes   --|--  Rey wins: 5 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Rey d. Eddie.
This seems to be a recurring theme for Summerslam: a match that I should be looking forward to, but am in fact dreading. These guys deserve better than this, and I never thought I'd get tired of seeing them wrestle each other.

And I'm not dreading the match quality; I expect these two to pull out some crazy spots and be incredibly entertaining. But if I have to see Rey's son sitting at ringside and crying the whole time, it'll completely destroy the experience for me. I know he's beaten Eddie something like five times already, but Rey wins so this idiotic storyline can fucking end.

Canadian Bulldog Says... Eddie d. Rey.
It made sense for Eddie to win at WrestleMania, at Great American Bash and at the other crappy SD PPV they wrestled at. Thus, it still makes sense now.

How can they get around the custody thing? I'm not sure. Perhaps Rey challenges Eddie to one more match. Perhaps Family Services realizes how ridiculous this whole premise is, and returns Dominick back to his family of 8 years. Perhaps they adopt Heidenreich instead. I don't know, I just figure the writers can work their way around this.

What matters is that Eddie gets his win here, is allowed to escape this disastrous storyline and possibly move onto a feud with Batista, one that could make money for everyone involved.

The Cubs Fan Says... Eddie d. Rey.
This feud can't end until Eddie wins. If Eddie doesn't win here, there's nowhere left for this to possible go, but this is the last match I want him to win. I think this storyline sucks and an annoying way to get the match we've been waiting for since SummerSlam, but I think we're stuck with it for a while. They've got no PPV for quite a while after this one, so they need things to continue over TV, and I'm sure they want this.
Matt Hocking Says... Eddie d. Rey.
I’ve held out picking this for so long, to do so now almost feels…dirty.  But the thing of it  is, when you build a story around Rey Misterio’s infallibility v. Eddie Guerrero, and then allow him to put up some ridiculously high stakes (and here the stakes are as ridiculous as ever), you know he’s been set up for the fall.  Somehow, I think that’s exactly what’s happening here.  Rey’s just about got to lose this match.  Which leads to another two month’s worth of crappy vignettes about what a terrible parent Eddie is to Dominic, and then probably a save at the next Smackdown PPV by Rey.

I don’t want to hazard a guess as to the match quality on this one.  They’re series has ranged from “Pretty good” to “ehhhh…”, despite them knowing each
other SO well, and both being excellent wrestlers.  The ladder allows for a lot greater freedom than they’ve had in their prior contests, so it all depends I think, on how well they work with the props in the match in relation to each other.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Rey d. Eddie.
No Comments Included Due To Technological Fuck-up.
Jeb Lund Says... Eddie d. Rey.
Because he fucking well has to sometime. I don’t care about the story, and neither do you. Dave’s mom does this thing with her thighs… well, I shouldn’t say. Bring enough zlotys and you’ll know soon enough.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Eddie d. Rey.
What, this isn't a Dominick on a Pole match? Darn. Anyway, here we have two great wrestlers in a storyline that puts no salsa whatsoever on my burrito. But I am not the target audience. Mexico is, and I can see where this soap opera may be entertaining for that demographic, so I won't dump on it. I think Eddie needs to win to prolong the feud, but I thought that last time, so don't put any stock in this prediction.
PyroFalkon Says...  Rey d. Eddie.
You know, I was kidding when I wrote the “Custody Papers on a Pole match” bit in my Byte This! recap. For them to actually put custody papers as the prize is just plain silly. I suppose it’s better than leaving Dominic up there, though, as amusing as that image is.

Okay, I have one theory about where they could go with this to make me actually interested. I can see Rey winning, only to have Dominic kick his testicles and declare that he really wants to be Eddie’s kid. Eddie loses the match, but gets the kid, who basically becomes his midget sidekick for the next few months. Basically, we’re resurrecting the old ECW storyline between Sandman and Raven. It worked then, and it may (to some extent) work now. Doing that will allow the storyline to continue, keeping Rey out of the cruiserweight division and concentrating on Eddie.

Now, this all could be accomplished if Eddie simply wins the kid, but it’s less emotional. Rey can always say that he lost the match due to the ladder stipulation or something and pass it off as no big deal, but there’s no way he’d be able to live down Dominic CHOOSING to leave.

…Oh shit, is that the time? Well, fuck my comments. I’ll just put down the rest of my picks, and hopefully I’ll get some comments to Rick by Friday night.

Big Danny T Says... Rey d. Eddie.
Yeah, the stipulation is kinda retarded, but come on, it's a freaking ladder match between two guys that can put on an great match without props. I pick Rey just so we can keep the "you havn't beaten Rey" riff going with Eddie, but I say have Eddie and Rey cease hostilities until Wrestlemania to give us time to recharge our enthusiasm for Eddie vs. Rey: the Ocho!
Rick Scaia Says... Rey d. Eddie.
OK, so this story is retarded. But even in its retardation, can somebody explain to me why Eddie didn't win last month to set up this match? The only thing that gives me pause here is the fact that Rey's winning streak is growing more and more improbable... not only would Eddie winning last month give a sense of balance to the feud, but it would also have been the superior dramatic/storytelling move.

But whatever.

I'm sticking with Rey, though. Because frankly, the thought of Eddie "winning" Dominick in a wrestling match is about as retarded a development as I can imagine. It's stupid, it's unrealistic, and in a lot of ways, it's also in very questionable taste. This feud will end with Eddie winning a match, finally; and then he'll probably dickishly walk away from the feud without giving Rey a rematch. Simply put: this canNOT be that match, because of the stipulation. Eddie "winning" Dominick would be a disgusting turn of events that would lead to nothing but heaping piles of additional Suck on our TVs for many Thursdays to come. Well, not so many Thursdays, but a few of them, and then many Fridays to come.

Rey has to win this one. The whole custody battle bullshit must end. And then if Eddie and Rey want to keep on fighting (and they should, because Eddie STILL doesn't have that win over Rey), it can be about less gay issues.

 

SmackDown! Presents....
BATISTA vs. JOHN BRADSHAW LAYFIELD

World Heavyweight Title Match; No Holds Barred

This match shouldn't be happening. It was supposed to be Batista vs. Muhammad Hassan, but UPN put the kibosh on that. So Hassan has been written out, and the best WWE's crew of Hacks can come up with is ANOTHER fricking PPV title match for JBL. Great.

You know what? This was kind of a throw-away title match a month ago on PPV. It was the match they gave Batista to just establish himself on SD! by beating the waning former champ who was finally out of juice. It should have been an easy win for Batista and then done, done, onto the next one. Instead: WWE actually tries to top its own idiotic booking from LAST year's Great American Bash at THIS year's by having JBL get a DQ win over Batista. And how'd he do it? Simple: our favorite Logical Monster had to behave out of character and start going nuts with a chair in the middle of a match. Great, WWE: not only was this your way of "protecting" JBL for another month, but you also continue to COMPLETELY fail to comprehend how and why people like Dave Batista, and you book him to behave counter to those attributes we appreciate. 

I reiterate: WWE's creative team needs to be dismissed, en masse, and somebody new needs to be given a chance, because this honestly is about as inexcusably poor a a job of main event booking as I can imagine.

So anyway, JBL gets the DQ win. Although Undertaker won a #1 Contender Match, WWE's writer monkeys are incapable of booking their way out of a wet paper bag, so they just come up with some lazy, nonsensical scheme in which Teddy Long magically declares that he'll put the #1 Contender spot on the line in a Taker/JBL match. JBL wins (with an assist from Randy Orton). And so that's why we're suffering through this crap one more time. 

In the last month, Batista/JBL has been handled with about the same level of cleverness that Cena/Jericho has on RAW, which is why both title matches are not even their own brand's "headliner" on the PPV. There's been some run-ins and beatdowns, and also a contract signing, but really: nothing to make anybody care about the rematch. Then again, given how little we cared about the first match, I'm not entirely sure anything COULD have been done to make this any more palatable than it is now.

On the upside: they added in a no-holds-barred stipulation, so it's unlikely that the two will duplicate last month's match (which was easily 2005's worst PPV main event to date). JBL needs the brawling crutch to prop him up in matches that go much past 3 minutes, and Batista's true ability level has yet to be determined (but being able to use lots of foriegn objects will help him just as much as it helps JBL). I don't know if they can get all the way up to the level of the JBL/Cena bloodbath from May, but this should still be a pretty solid "WWE Style Brawl." The only problem is: will anybody care? Like Cena/Jericho, I suspect fan response to this will be a little underwhelming... and through no fault of Batista's, his own title reign (once looking so promising after the HHH feud) is looking no more solid than Cena's.
  

The OOutlOOk
Batista wins: 9 votes   --|--  JBL wins: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Batista d. JBL.
I'll be honest: I haven't watched Smackdown! in ages. I only read about it, and the general consensus is that JBL is nothing more than a placeholder until Batista gets a real opponent. So that's who I'm picking to win here. I got nothin', here.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Batista d. JBL.
I'm going with simple logic here: Batista was set to fight Muhammad Hassan before the whole "chickenshit UPN" thing happened. Whether Hassan was going to win the title or not is irrelevant; for whatever reason, JBL didn't fit into those plans.

The ironic thing is, I'd much rather see JBL as champion right now. That's right, after a year of complaining about his run on top of SmackDown, I see the value he actually brought to the show: everyone wanted to see him drop his belt and get his ass kicked. The pursuit was actually more rewarding than the actual loss. Still, I imagine plans for Project Batista are probably still intact.

One thing that troubles me, though: I was at the SmackDown taping this past week, and I noticed that JBL made one of his famous "guarantees" that he was winning the title. Batista only promised to kick butt, which could still happen and have JBL with the belt. A tough one to call, I guess.

The Cubs Fan Says... Batista d. JBL.
Batista's fighting so many factors here. The irrational over the top WWE love of JBL. The lack of an obvious established opponent for the next PPV (Eddie or Orton are good, but not Angle or HBK like Cena's looking at.) The biggest of all, of course, is wrestling in his hometown, the kiss of death for a WWE wrestler. I think he can pull it off, though.

I think they did a really good job of setting a match stipulation that'll benefit the match - No Holds Barred plays to Batista and JBL's strength without being more unrealistically gimmicky for this feud. With the presumed (though probably not actually existing) extra eyeballs on
this show, this has the chance to be a star making/rising moment for Batista: huge hometown reaction, destruction of a legitimately despised opponent and satisfying win.
Matt Hocking Says... Batista d. JBL.
In other news from the “obvious” department, Batista is going to beat JBL.  Dave’s in his home town, and as far as I can remember (which is back about 20 minutes or so) JBL didn’t “guarantee” anything this time.  This is the perfect setup to utilize JBL with Batista like they did with Cena back at Judgment Day, where they can bloody each other up, and Batista can no-sell to show how much more hardcore he is than noted brawler JBL.

It will be interesting to watch the crowd in this one.  Not that they’ll have any love for JBL or anything BUT love for Dave, but this is one of those squidgy situations to test how truly over somebody is.  The match will likely be pointed with some very slow brawling segments, so that the two bigger guys can conserve energy for a longish match, and it’s a nice test of Dave’s drawing ability to see if he can keep the crowd fired up in his home town through a somewhat plodding match.

Overall, despite just calling it “plodding” a few seconds ago, I think this one is going to be at least halfway decent.  Like him or not, Bradshaw is a sharp brawler, and he also has seemed to develop a sense of when he’s losing the audience lately.  Dave probably meshes better with him than just about anybody else on either roster, with his constant barrage of power moves.  They didn’t click quite right last month, but here, on a bigger stage with more liberal rules, I think they’ll be all right.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Batista d. JBL.
No Comments Included Due To Technological Fuck-up.
Jeb Lund Says... Batista d. JBL.
Because we don’t need more JBL. And because Batista is a “Ring General” now, having been promoted from his previous rank, “Captain Crunch.” Also, JBL is a horrid man, on a non-wrestling level, and he should be coated in tar and dumped in the East River. Fuck you and die, you hick racist assfuck. I hope someone cuts your hamstring and makes you buy Amazon.com at 1/100th a nickel. If not that, I hope they cut off your balls and shove them down your throat. Vive Whatever the Fuck You Care About!
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Batista d. JBL.
There is a bigger-money feud for Batista coming up that, I hope, will carry all the way to WrestleMania. I can feel it in my bones. Or maybe just Orton. This will be a good brawl, maybe with enough stank on it to keep JBL near the top of the card. Which is very necessary given the paucity of top heels these days.
PyroFalkon Says...  JBL d. Batista.
Okay, it’s now Saturday afternoon, and Rick still doesn’t have the preview up, so I think I’m safe.

JBL over Batista… what can I say? I don’t like the idea, I think it’s dumb, I want to see JBL back down to the midcard. But I had a talk with Jeb a few days ago, where he shared a good method for picking winners. “Take the most logical, satisfying ending to the story, and then pick the opposite.” If Chris Masters is still on TV, then I don’t put it beyond the WWE to re-crown JBL.

Big Danny T Says... Batista d. JBL.
This I demand! Batista is the more deserving of the belt. He's cool on the mic and he can actually work a decent match with the right opponent. All J"B"L does is drag the match down, and his schtick has grown wearisom in the Main event. So yes, Batista had better win, or I'm
quitting recapping Smackdown! ... oh wait...
Rick Scaia Says... Batista d. JBL.
Do I even have to explain myself here? JBL was used up 3 months ago. There are countless better options for this title match on the SD! roster, and yet, JBL gets the nod.

But that doesn't mean he wins the match. On the contrary, we had by christ better get the finish this month that we SHOULD have gotten last month. Batista crushes JBL cleanly, and moves on to some challenger who will actually help him establish himself as a deserving champ. My guess: Randy Orton is next.

 

SmackDown! Presents....
UNDERTAKER vs. RANDY ORTON

Randy Orton's a legend killer. Undertaker's a legend. Duh.

Orton decided to challenge Taker at WM21, and in so doing, completed a heel turn. But he also lost that match. Then he needed 3 months off for shoulder surgery (in storylines, this was blamed on Taker; and also on Batista, who wrestled Orton immediately prior to WM21). Then he got drafted over to SD!, where Undertaker conveniently had nothing better going on. So: the feud resumes, as Orton looks for his Big Win over the Deadman.

This has been more of the expected from WWE's creative team: despite what the job title might indicate, it's been a whole lot of nothing particularly creative. Sadly, I guess "Predictable Tripe Team" doesn't have the same ring to it when you're looking for things to pad out your resume...

Orton comes back, gets a few sneaky RKOs in on Taker from behind at stategic moments. Taker counters with some of his patented Gay Spooky light shows and video packages. And that's pretty much it: they're on a collision course for SummerSlam.

Taker and Orton certainly exceeded expectations at WM21, where they had a competent 15 minute match, and then tagged it with a kick-ass, dramatic final 5 minutes. Orton did that with a bad shoulder. One would hope that at 100%, they could do a better job with those first 15 minutes, staying away from the plodding WWE Formula... but I'm gonna be the wet blanket who says it's a near impossibility that they come up with a finish anywhere near as satisfying as WM21's. If nothing else, they won't have Cowboy Bob Orton (and his lingering 20-year arm injury) to help build the tension. I guess I'm saying I expect this'll be good, but I have little faith they'll top themselves from Mania...
  

The OOutlOOk
Orton wins: 8 votes   --|--  Taker wins: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Orton d. Taker.
I was proud to be one of the few people in a position to say "I told you so" after Taker and Orton's Wrestlemania match. I expected it to be good, and it was. I'm expecting the same thing here, but I'm not as excited about it because I'm fairly certain that Orton is going to win here. And that sucks, because Orton sucks. Sigh.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Orton d. Taker.
If WWE is as serious as they claim they are about getting Randy Orton over, now is the time to do something with him. Last year, they embarked on the Summer of Suck with Orton on top of Raw, only to realize what everyone knew: Randy Orton works best playing the Smug Heel. Playing himself, in other words.

So this is the time to do it, though when Undertaker is the X-Factor, lord knows if they'll actually play ball here.

The Cubs Fan Says... ??????
No Pick Made.
Matt Hocking Says... Orton d. Taker.
For whatever reason, I’m going heel crazy in the undercard.  I think it’s because my main events are all face heavy, I’ve gotta weight the scale somehow.  Let me put this one into perspective for a second:  This is not Wrestlemania.  This is important to note, because Undertaker is now free to job to young Randall.  Will he?  Maybe not, but this storyline can’t really end but one way, and that’s with Randy posing over Taker’s fallen body, because otherwise Randy will always be “haunted” by the fact that he never could put the zombie down.  Take into account that he’s also just about the only other heel (other than Eddie) who is a viable challenger to the World title on Smackdown, and I think he could use this big win.

The match will probably mirror a lot of their Mania match.  The WWE loves to do that with successful one-off odd pairings.  If two guys who shouldn’t
have had a good match together do, then they try to have the exact same match a while later to see if it was a fluke.  In this case, I don’t particularly think it was.  The guys are decent enough that they can probably do perfectly fine having a carbon copy match that feels a little bit new, with a slightly different ending (Randy climbing up and RKOing out of the Tombstone or something).  I need to share this with you all:  I have a terrible tugging at the edge of my conscious that says that Undertaker would be a good first feud for Brock Lesnar should he return.  And that this match would be as good a time as any for that to happen.  I’m not sure why I’m thinking that, but I am.  So there it is.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Orton d. Taker.
No Comments Included Due To Technological Fuck-up.
Jeb Lund Says... Orton d. Taker.
This is sure to be a battle for the ages. This gladiatorial conflict will break down on the basis of which move trumps the other: the soupbone, or the European uppercut. Both men will ably deploy the chin- or headlock, and vary their attacks with a dropkick or a clothesline. Look for the hilarity of a 40-year-old giant having more moves than the scion of all wrestling greatness. Also, look for Taker falling off the top rope during the “Old School” sequence because Orton tries to suck his own thumb. Taker will make a critical mistake when he tries to suck out Orton’s soul, only to find it’s already been sold for last year’s victory over Benoit. Confused, Taker will wobble to his knees, setting up Orton’s “Orton Thingy.” Whatever that move is, it will connect this time! You hear it here sometime after you might have heard it elsewhere!
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Orton d. Taker.
I definitely prefer Orton as a heel, as I suspect we all do. I don't think we'll ever get the bad taste of his too-early push out of our mouths, though. Imagine how far he could go with a proper manager. I'm thinking Rick Rude w/ Bobby Heenan. Alas. Legend Killer wins. Crap, I hope he doesn't get the belt at SurSer. Crap, crap, crap.
PyroFalkon Says...  Taker d. Orton.
There just is no good reason for Orton to go over here. Plus, we’re going by the “never bet against the Undertaker in a PPV” rule. And really, that’s all I have to say about that one.
Big Danny T Says... Orton d. Taker.
It hurts to make this call, but I don't see them jobbing out two golden children at Summerslam, and with me picking Cena to lose, I give the nod to Orton, but through nefarious means.
Rick Scaia Says... Orton d. Taker.
Well, if I got Orton as Batista's next challenger, it stand to reason that I'd pick him to beat Taker here. So that's exactly what I'm doing.

I don't want it to be clean, I don't want it to be "legitimate." I want it to be heelish; but competently heelish, convincingly heelish, capably heelish. Seeing how Orton shat away whatever goodwill he might have accrued by beating Mick Foley cleanly makes me want to never give him that same consideration again until he can prove that he can follow up on it. Instead of booking him as an ass-kicking "legend killer," now is when we need to book him as a simple heel, with all the same foibles and shortcuts as all heels take. No clean win here, but it should be a "win" nonetheless.

My ideal situation? If Orton's gonna be challenging Batista, it should be a feud predicated on which one of them truly represents the "Evolution" of the industry. This would allow for two things: (1) Randall could ditch that pitiably awful "Theme from Dumb Guy" and go back to the Evolution Theme, and (2) Randall could surround himself with some lackeys and call himself the ringleader of the new "Evolution." It's a shame Luther Reigns or Matt MOrgan aren't still around to be the new "Dumb Muscle" for Randall. But how perfect would MNM be as members of Rouge Evolution?

Point is, if you wanted to jump start that angle, Orton could get a helping hand from somebody on Sunday to beat Taker, then establish his new faction and his contendership to Batista's gold on Thursday... the rest writes itself. Best of all, six months from now, when the brands begin to crossover again before WM22, I wouldn't mind seeing a storyline in which Randall's Evolution is exposed as the sham that it is by Ric Flair and/or Triple H.

 

SmackDown! Presents....
ORLANDO JORDAN vs. CHRIS BENOIT

United States Title Match

Unbelievable. A month ago, they pull a Benoit/Jordan US Title match out of their asses for the PPV. All right-thinking wrestling fans assume it's so that Benoit can win the title and begin rehabbing it after Jordan downgraded it to a Velocity-caliber title over the past 8 months.

Instead: Jordan wins via pinfall. Many begin to hope that this will at least signal the start of Jordan and the US Title returning to prominence on SD!, while Benoit will move on to bigger and better things.

But nope: a month later, and Jordan has been seen only sporadically on SD!, the US Title remains safe under its cloak of invisibility, and Benoit has pretty much just been spinning his wheels. WWE's solution to these problems: let's just book a rematch of a match nobody cared about the first time, and make sure that they care even less about it this time! Noticing a trend here? Fuck. You. Writer. Monkeys. Seriously.

So it's Benoit vs. Jordan again, for no particularly compelling reason other than (a) Jordan beat Benoit last month, and (b) the two had a shitty, stilted backstage confrontation last night oN SD!. Wheee.

This was competent, but far from exciting, last month. At 16 minutes, it was probably about 12 minutes too long given the amount of legitimacy Jordan has with fans. Not to mention it built up to the wrong finish. I don't expect things to be much better than that this time through. Except that unless WWE truly is even more retarded than I think, they can at least fix the part where they picked the wrong finish last time.
  

The OOutlOOk
Benoit wins: 10 votes   --|--  Jordan wins: 0 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Benoit d. Jordan.
Good lord, who gives a shit? I love Benoit and want him to have gold around his waist, and he really is the guy to rehabilitate the U.S. Title. But I don't care. WWE gives me no reason to care. I spit on your shitty booking, WWE.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Benoit d. Jordan.
Let's copy and paste what I wrote from the Great American Bash predictions, shall we?

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.

Now, let's ignore last month's what-the-fuck fiasco, my prediction still makes sense. Especially because they're having a second go-round.

The Cubs Fan Says... Benoit d. Jordan (via DQ).
If the point of Jordan winning last month was to build him up, then they've kinda dropped the ball. Giving him a second win won't accomplish what the first failed to; what they really needed is an opponent closer to OJ's level, where winning is a proof of improvement, rather than an unsubtle statement about the fakeness of wrestling. Like everything else SmackDown wise, they have no idea how to solve their problems from last month, so they'll just keep it close to the status quo, with OJ keeping the title thru a JBL-type move. "In the main event, that'll be legal!" Tazz will exclaim. "JBL will still lose!" everyone else was cynically respond.
Matt Hocking Says... Benoit d. Jordan.
I’m picking this purely to give a feeling of balance across the card.  I picked all heels in the undercard and all faces in the upper card, so I’ve got to balance it out somehow, and since it’s anybody’s guess where the hell they’re going with this one, why not pick Benoit to avenge his loss from last month?  In all honestly, this pick feels to me more like an explanation for writing off Jordan interference in the main event, than it does picking for Benoit to win the title.

The match itself will probably be perfectly serviceable, just like it was a month ago.  I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that Jordan tries the turnbuckle spot, but Benoit has it “scouted” and counters it (harkening back to my thoughts on the WWE reusing gimmicks with mismatch wrestlers).
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Benoit d. Jordan.
No Comments Included Due To Technological Fuck-up.
Jeb Lund Says... Benoit d. Jordan.
If he doesn’t, you should feel insulted. I mean, more so than normal.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Benoit d. Jordan.
Benoit is going to make Jordan tap out at SummerSlam. He said so himself. I'm not going to argue with him. Neither should you. You know what would be nice after that? Benoit-Angle for the U.S. belt. Since there aren't any midcarders I can think of offhand good enough to hold it. Sigh.
PyroFalkon Says...  Benoit d. Jordan.
Okay, considering this match came out from so far in left field that it walked out of the wall like Manny, Benoit getting the belt is the only option. Normally, these blind matches favor the heels, but considering Benoit got beat last time around, there just is no reason for him to loose to Afroman twice in a row. Otherwise, it just makes Benoit look like a pussy.
Big Danny T Says... Benoit d. Jordan.
Well, at least they gave these guys some on screen interaction before the PPV, unlike last time where Orlando just scouted Benoit from afar via monitors. Benoit should take the title this time as it'll do nothing but good around his waist. The Orlando Jordan project is in need of some time away from the belt, and dropping it and building him back up to become a BELIEVABLE US title holder is the way to go.
Rick Scaia Says... Benoit d. Jordan.
This was the necessary outcome last month. It still is this month. The only problem: even if WWE gets their heads out of their asses long enough to give it to us, we probably stopped caring long ago. Nice work, monkeys.

 

EXTRAS/CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Eight matches is probably a full slate... but our trOOps know that it takes more than the bell-to-bell action to make a PPV. Here are some of their final thoughts about SummerSlam.
  

The OOutlOOk

Erin Anderson Says... Who. Fucking. Cares?
 
·   If Bret Hart shows up, I will shit a brick.

·   Trish really needs to make an appearance and beat the crap out of both Christy and Ashley. Good times.

·    Both sets of tag titles will continue to be ignored.

·    Carlito will run in on the Jericho/Cena match and do more harm than good. I also expect some sort of entertaining backstage segment involving him.

And that's all I got. I'm really not hyped for this show at all, and it's supposed to be the second-biggest PPV of the year. Pathetic.

Canadian Bulldog Says... Iron Mike Sharpe? Don't BANK ON IT~!
A Paul London-Nunzio rematch is YOUR Sunday Night Heat bout.... Cross-promotional chance meeting of the quarter will be when Rosey, Hurricane and Stacey bump into Mercury, Nitro and Melina... Failing that, I could also see some sort of Eugene-Road Warrior Animal crossover, don't ask my WHY.

I wouldn't be shocked if Triple H and Ric Flair made their presence felt somewhere, possibly even Michaels-Hogan, but they may legitimately want to wait until next month to maximize the value of their respective presences. I am NOT expecting Bret Hart, Dusty Rhodes, Brock Lesnar, Tammy Sytch, Randy Savage, Goldust, Shark Boy, Repo Man, Outback Jack, or Iron Mike Sharpe to make their much-rumored returns at this event.

The Cubs Fan Says... The PPV so good, I'll actually be getting online to check the results on Sunday night!
I'm thinking MNM versus something like London and Scotty on Heat; it seems like there sholld be an MNM vs LOD 2005 here and they somehow changed their mind the last week to do OJ/Benoit instead. Must be the irrational hatred of tag teams. This would be a good chance to at least introduce London Is Insane (in a whole new way) to a slightly wider audience - so I guess they'll go with Viscera vs Rene or something similarly awful.

There might be a short segment in ring for Ashley but I think they're going to be too full on time to add another match to the broadcast. I'm sure they'll tease Bret in a way where they can deny they were teasing Bret. While there's only one sure Great match, this feels like a more satisfying show than they've had of late - I'm not quite sure I can convince the Matt Hardy mark deep inside to pay for it, but I'll be checking for the results.

Matt Hocking Says... Bret Hart will not be there. Unless he is.
This is the oddest of WWE cards.  It’s kind of a one trick pony with HBK/Hogan, but usually when WWE does that, the rest of the card is less than compelling.  It’s not to say that they’ve pulled out all the stops here for
this one, but of all the matches only Jordan/Benoit feels like it will be less than compelling.  I mean some of the matches, especially the ones for the big titles, feel like foregone conclusions, but the matches themselves
should be fairly passable if not pretty good.  Eddie/Rey is dumb, but the ladder is compelling sort of.  Taker/Orton has a good precident and Angle/Eugene should be just fine.  Hardy/Edge is kind of a wild card, but there’s an interesting story there.

Every month I like to kind of break these things into a question.  I figure, if you’re reading the PPV Preview and haven’t decided whether or not to buy it, us telling you who we think is going to change your mind any.  So here’s something to chew on:  Is Hogan v. Michaels something that intrigues you?  Not from a smarky smark standpoint or a workrate standpoint, but two of the
biggest stars in the business (here’s one for your inner smark though:  known for not laying down for anybody but their friends) in the ring together for the first time.  If that IS something that intrigues you, even
a little, I suggest you check out the PPV.  The undercard will be a nice, fun little diversion until you get to the main event.  If you don’t?  Pass on it, because the card likely doesn’t feature anything you’d want to see
anyway.

- Bret Hart WILL NOT BE THERE
- Unless, of course, he is.
- I’m having a hard time coming up with something for Heat.  I find it hard to believe that some of these guys are being left off the show.  Carlito, I know, will probably be involved in the main event, I know Nunzio won’t be
doing anything, I can’t imagine they’d run Heart Thobs v. Hurricane/Rosey or even MNM v. “LOD“, even.  I’ll just guess Conway/Heart Throbs v. Hurricane/Rosey/Show, if for no other reason than because I couldn’t imagine Show not being on the card somewhere.
- Diva Search winner Ashley will come out and cry.  Maybe Trish will come out and “welcome her to the fold.”
--This is just a guess, but I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that William Regal and Eugene have a segment together, where Regal can finally go off on Eugene.
- Enjoy the veal.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... 
Still Awaiting Picks....
Jeb Lund Says... 
Nothing.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... WWE is scraping bottom; so why not watch something else?
I think WWE is reaching a nadir here. They're about as middle-of-the-road as Clear Channel and their monolithic playlist. Surely we wouldn't choose to listen to their Muzak, would we? But the interplay between wrestlers and audience is a huge part of the show. Many of us want, even demand a big-time atmosphere from wrestling that we wouldn't expect from, say, The Mars Volta. Still, in the parlance of our times, how much can you polish a turd? I'd encourage The Rick and all our readers to seek out more ROH, more Japan, more lucha and all that. Become a fan again. That's how the "cycles" that WWE talks about happen.
PyroFalkon Says...  The ironing is delicious.
Ironic… I really wrote down and expounded on my thoughts in the first half of the preview when I said I’d half-ass it. Then, when I actually had time on Saturday, I only wrote the barest of comments. Ah well.
Big Danny T Says... What's with all the MIAs?
First and foremost, Bret Hart will NOT make his appearance at Summerslam. If anything, I'd say he'd make his return either at Survivor Series or wait for the next run through Canada for maximun effectiveness.

Ashley will be out to thank all of us for voting for her in the Diva search, and Trish Stratus will be out right after her to remind her that she may have won the contest, but Trish is the HBIC (Head Bitch In Charge.) A little bit of tussling, Ashley gets stripped down to bra and panties, and Trish makes her triumphant return and the fanboys go home happy.

No Big Show, Christian, LOD, Shelton, Carlito, or Superhero's on the card? I'd expect at one or two combonations featuring these names and someone else getting added as a bonus attraction. I'll go out on a limb and say Big Show, Shelton, and Hurricane and Rosey vs. Carlito, Chris Masters, and the Heartthrobs. That would probably be a decent match, and thanks to the efforts of Hurricane, Shelton, Carlito, and Big Show, it'd probably be Masters only brush with **+ match greatness!
Rick Scaia Says... Now is the time on Sprockets when I develop an unhealthy new fixation on Fantasy Booking for Diva Search Ashley!
There sure as hell are a lot of PPV-ready talents not getting a slot on this PPV. Big Show, Shelton, Christian, Carlito, both tag champs, and so on and so forth... sadly, I don't see any room for them to really get in on the action. Eight matches, and we're probably full-up. If there's something on Heat, it probably wouldn't be any of those guys, anyway.... they tend to keep the PPV/not-PPV distinction pretty intact on things like this, and would be more likely to bust out Nunzio defending the Cruiserweight Title, instead. Because he's so obviously NOT ready for PPV.

Morons.

Also: Ashley said she was going to SummerSlam. But why? I know there's a sentiment here that she might show up and get indoctrinated by a returning Trish, but there's just one problem there...  Trish probably oughta come back as a babyface (granted as a babyface with every ounce of her previous bitchy heel charmingness!), and picking on Diva Search Ashley doesn't really strike me as a friendly thing to do. Unless they want to turn Ashley heel already. Which I don't think they want to. But if they did, they should use Spaz to do it. Unless Ashley really is already pretty ring-ready from her training. Which I don't know if she is. Damn this is a lot of "ifs," "unlesses," and other qualifiers.... but you get the idea.

Now you COULD do a Trish/Ashley bit in which Trish can come off as a perfect babyface version of her heel character, but it'd take subtlety and creativity and all that other stuff that WWE's writing team hasn't been exhibiting lately. And part of me thinks it might be simultaneously cool and hot if Trish came out and tried to bitch it up with Ashley, but then Ashley stood her ground (maybe even in a brief physical test of prowess, in addition to in a verbal battle), and then Trish kinda ends the segment with "Hey, you ain't too shabby, kiddo. I think you'll do OK here on RAW. But just remember: at the end of the day, this is still MY yard." Depending on where Ashley is in her training, this could be exactly the sort of thing that would jumpstart her career in a way that Spaz's career has yet to be jumpstarted. The key is that Ashley would have to be able to believably match-up with Trish on Trish's Tests of Character... if it comes off bogus (like just about everything Spaz did against Trish earlier this year), then just forget about it entirely.

There should also be backstage bits. Carltio needs to get one, just because it's what he fucking kicks ass at. The GMs should, too, because I think anytime you have a crossover show and DON'T remind us that these are two genuinely warring brands, it's a misstep. And whether or not the Useful Diva makes an appearance or not with Ashley, you KNOW the Useless Divas will be up to something. It is, afterall, SummerSlam, where the temperature dictates some form of scantily-clad-ness.

On the Surprise Appearance Front: I'm not holding my breath on anybody showing up. Not Bret, not Brock, nobody. I mean: they might still show up. But if I was EXPECTING it, then it wouldn't be a surprise, now, would it? Plus, being purely pragmatic about it, Bret's value would be showing up for a cup of coffee later this year, closer to when his DVD will be coming out. Simple dollars and cents, folks. 

 
And that just about does it, folks. I'll be back with the immediate post-show PPV Recap Sunday night, probably around midnight (eastern time), so come on back for that. Then it's the usual analysis and fall-out in Monday's OO, too. 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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