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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
TEAM COVERAGE:
WWE Unforgiven PPV Preview
September 16, 2005

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

 

Normally, the approach we take here at OO on pay-per-view weekends is to Bring The House, and focus our energies on making analysis of said PPV fun and entertaining. Even if said PPV isn't looking like it'll be fun or entertaining.
 
With RAW -- whether intentionally or not -- looking content to bore viewers to tears until the October 3 return to USA Network, Sunday's Unforgiven PPV seems to be taking the form of a SD! Brand PPV. Namely: it's impossible to get genuinely fired up, and it'll take one hell of an effort to FAKE being fired up for the benefit of you Fine Readers.   

 
Knowing that *I* would have trouble doing my usual Top Shelf Work in terms of previewing the matches (hell, I'm not joking when I say that I don't even really remember why Big Show and Snitsky are fighting on Sunday, except for a vague notion that it involves feet; and as spectacularly clever a bastard as I am, I'm not going back and re-reading my recaps to remind myself of something that I know sucked), I asked the trOOps if they could back me up with Extra Funny or something. Meh, didn't really happen. And I guess I can't blame them; my ethic is that you CAN polish a turd if you try hard enough, but I don't pay these guys enough (or anything) to put the same kind of effort in as I hold myself to, I guess.

Point being: if I can't make all 8 matches on the PPV sound marginally interesting (or even justify their existence on the show), and if the rest of the cast and crew of Online Onslaught dot com are roughly as frustrated and annoyed as I am, then we need to do a little something different to flesh this document out for the weekend.

Luckily, last night, TNA came to the rescue, and did something so ass-hatted that you really gotta wonder if there is some sort of wager between TNA and WWE to see which one can annoy and underwhelm its most loyal fans more this weekend.

So we'll use that as an excuse to start off with a very quick slate of news items, before moving on to the main course of PPV Predictionating...
 

An Appetizer: A Few Weekend Newsbites

  • So what TNA news is so pressing that it can't wait till Monday? Simply this:
     
    Jeff Jarrett is once again the NWA Champion.
     
    That giant thwacking sound you hear? Is all of TNA's fans smacking their own foreheads before shaking their heads in confused pity. The company that had finally started getting a bit of a positive buzz going on the eve of their national TV debut goes and re-makes the same mistake that many feel was hamstringing them for much of the past year.
     
    The particulars first: Jeff Jarrett beat Raven on a tiny indie show in Canada (under the banner of "Border City Wrestling"; I can only assume BCW has an NWA-affiliation, but if I kept tabs on how many tiny companies claimed NWA-affiliation as if that actually meant anything anymore, I'd make myself insane). He was assisted by America's Most Wanted, who completed a heel turn in the process. TNA had cameras on hand and will be releasing the match as a webcast. It might already be up on their website by this point, for all I know.
     
    The move, though surprising in its timing, isn't exactly a huge shock. My understanding is that everybody assumed Jarrett would put the title back on himself before the end of the year; it's just that most people thought they'd use the opening weeks of "Impact" on SpikeTV to tell the story, to get across Jarrett's motivations, and to make a big splash with viewers who haven't seen a "World" Title change hands on free-TV in a long time.
     
    Instead? This. So when TNA debuts on Spike, they'll already have Jarrett as their champion. My initial response when I heard about this last night? Unless TNA has none-other-than Chris Jericho inked to a super-duper-mega-secret deal to come in and beat Jarrett right away, then I don't understand the point of moving the title now.
     
    Raven would give you better promos and more versatility as a champ, and could more than hold his own while Jarrett got over his storyline of being paranoid about "invaders" (read: WWE Rejects) and wanting to "protect" TNA by holding the title and whatnot. Instead, all of a few thousand dedicated internet-reading TNA fans really are in on that story, and the only way to pay it off to Casual Fans getting their first look at TNA on October 1 would be to have an "Invader" come and instantly take Jarrett's title and make his paranoia seem justifiable. But let's just say that Charlie Haas or Test aren't exactly TNA Title material... which leaves TNA with very limited options if they want me to believe they made a wise move here. I mean, "in house," TNA doesn't have a whole lot of guys who I'd trust to carry the company (and kids, that includes AJ Styles on the "not ready" list), and "legends" (like Nash or Sting or anybody else who might be around) don't really work as title contenders if people know they won't be around full-time, so... again, I'm more confused than anything.
      
    If the move has something to do with Raven's contract status, I guess I'd understand that, too. It was about a year ago when TNA played hardball with Raven and decided they wouldn't use him on TV until he signed a long-term contract, so this could be related to TNA wanting to lock in top stars to ensure that they have them around to make "Impact" a success.
     
    It really is confounding, though (and I bet TNA's most loyal fans are no more pleased than I am about this), that after a combination of strong ring-based PPVs and growing frustration with the WWE product resulted in TNA's first really positive buzz in a long time, they'd go and try to match WWE's cluelessness with such a move. Jarrett as champ obviously alienates a lot of the loyal internet fans just because they suffered through countless one-dimensionally boring Jarrett feuds/matches/promos over the last year and thought they would be rid of them. And the move even misses the mark in terms of more casual fans, who, if they remember Jarrett at all, remember him for being the annoyingly-one-dimensional former WCW champ who helped preside over the company's dying days.
     
    Still, as I joked above, if this is a contest to see which company can piss off its own fans, then TNA seems to staked an early claim to a victory. Why, oh why, must this be the Theme Of The Weekend?
     
  • Since we're talking some TNA, I figured I'd quickly fill you in on a little twist to the Sean Waltman no-show of last weekend's PPV. Apparently, he'd been in contact with the company that very afternoon, and promised he was on his way (he was driving in from a relative's home about 90 minutes away from Orlando)... and then he still no-showed. Even after the event started, I guess TNA thought he might arrive late, since they hadn't heard otherwise from him.
     
    And almost a week later, my understanding is that there still hasn't been an explanation from Camp Waltman regarding his absence. Which strikes me as a bit odd.
     
  • Despite losing the NWA Title, Raven is still a scheduled headliner for this weekend's "Hardcore Homecoming" tour shows in Cleveland and Pittsburgh (working against Rhino)... the shows are an offshoot of Shane Douglas' version of the ECW Reunion Show. 
     
    What I'll be most interested to hear about is how the Dudley Boyz are presented... I believe they are sticking with being called "Team 3-D" in advertising for the show, but still have no individual names. And on top of that, WWE apparently thought the use of "3-D" infringed on copyrights owned by WWE that were related to the Dudley characters. Oy. Anyway, I'm curious to see what the Duds have in mind for this weekend.
     
  • In an update/correction of a past item, the final broadcast rating for the first Friday SD! wound up being a 1.7. The originally-reported 2.9 was an overnight rating, and there were simply a TON of mitigating factors going on last Friday. Pre-emptions for the Katrina Telethon (and indecision over how Neilsen would handle those numbers) and additional preemptions in major markets for baseball games on UPN affiliates really took their toll on SD!'s final rating.
     
    Partnered with RAW's 3.3 rating on Monday, I think WWE might want to start taking heed of certain fans who care enough about the product to keep watching and keep pointing out what's dissatisfying to them in hopes of getting things fixed. Because much more of this, and who knows when I'll go the route of CRZ, Jeb Lund, and Erin Anderson and just quit bothering to try, altogether?
     
    The worst part is, I know WWE's not doing this on purpose. No company ever, in the history of capitalism, has held a meeting where they decided they want to put out the shittiest product possible. The problem, instead, is that WWE (or certain persons within WWE) are too stubborn to recognize when the product HAS gone shitty. And other people who recognize it are either not in a position to do anything about it (like 98% of wrestlers not married to a McMahon), or are too concerned with defending their own political turf and their own jobs that they'll willingly contribute to crap since it's not worth the trouble to upset the higher-ups by wanting to do your job well (like Johnny Ace and lord only knows how many members of the creative team who SHOULD know better).
     
    All the more reason to wish that TNA might really get its act together and FORCE WWE to take its head out of its own ass long enough to register its surroundings and to change its routine accordingly. Otherwise, all we're left to cheer for is that TV ratings, buyrates, and house show attendence continue these precipitous drops and WWE again approaches the state of "Grave Financial Peril" it was in in 1997 that forced them to totally rethink their approach and start giving fans stuff they wanted again. And who knows how long *that* might take, now that WWE's a publicly traded company and has pretty healthy cash reserves?
     
  • The "diva who might surprise you" by appearing in Playboy? Apparently, it's Candace Michelle. A/k/a Boobies McTitsalot. Which is not only nowhere near surprising, it's already been done. I've seen the pictures. And sho 'nuff, there's a reason she's called Boobies. I think somebody actually posted the Playboy Pictures in my very own OO Forums, which I'm sure is a violation of some kind of law on their part, but I'm impotent to stop them... if you wanted to go looking, you'd find them pretty quick is my guess. But I'm warning you, unless you just want to add "fake-boobed, generically-hawt, overly-made-up brunette Useless Diva" to your checklist of two blondes and a redhead (and one Chyna), it's really nothing to get worked up about.
     
    If it really is Boobies who poses next, I declare two things: (1) Jim Ross is a damned dirty liar for saying that we'd be "surprised," and (2) the issue will sell even fewer copies than Spaz's did.
     
  • I think that's more than enough for an "appetizer" portion of newsbites... but before we get on to the main course, I just want to say: "Remember that pre-ramble I did on Wednesday that a lot of you thought was a bit assholish? Well, later that night, Kurt Vonnegut went on the Daily Show and said the exact same thing. Except funnier." And NObody argues with Kurt freaking Vonnegut. I love being vindicated. 
     
    I also love making inappropriate comparisons between myself and probably one of the smartest and most clever and creative minds of the 20th Century.
     
    At the end of the day, I know full well I'm no Kurt Vonnegut. But for as smart and clever as he is, let's see Vonnegut take on the daunting task of expertly previewing WWE's Unforgiven PPV and making it interesting to read. This is *my* area of expertise... well, *our* area of expertise.
     
    With my trOOps at my side, here's our Best Possible Effort at breaking down Sunday's 8-match Unforgiven PPV from every imaginable angle...
     

KURT ANGLE vs. JOHN CENA
WWE Title Match

These two go way back. They feuded over WWE Title shots and the US Title back on SmackDown!... none of that, however, comes into play here.

For Sunday's story, all you really need to know is that John Cena has been superman since coming to RAW, regularly beating two men at the same time, and weathering no serious threats to his WWE Title. Well, weathering no Well-Written Threats to his WWE Title. Freaking writer monkeys.

Since Kurt Angle also came over to RAW (a few weeks after Cena), he first suffered a few minor humiliations (losing a PPV match to Shawn Michaels, losing his Gold Medals to Eugene), but then went on such a mighty tear that he's convincingly laying claim to being the most vicious man on RAW. 

Kurt's rejuvenated bad-assery apparently caught the eye of GM Eric Bischoff. Once Cena had repelled Chris Jericho's flaccidly-written attempt on the title, Bischoff (who, for reasons never adequately explored other than "because it kind of makes this like the Austin/McMahon feud," loathes Cena) introduced Kurt Angle as the new #1 Contender the very next night.

Thus began a month-long stretch of Angle taking any chance he could to kick the holy living crap out of Cena. I believe three of the past four weeks have included some form of beatdown by Angle, and they've been done with such intensity that Kurt really has become RAW's top heel and a convincing challenger. 
 
The problem? The other week out of the four was less physical and more talky... and lately, when John Cena opens his mouth, crap comes out. In that week, the work Kurt had done to get over as a heel was undone, as a goodly percentage of the fans remembered that they also don't care THAT much about Homey the Clown. That week ended with Cena making juvenile offers of gay lovin' to Kurt, and then managing to fight Angle off when Angle had no choice but to shut Cena's piehole. Needless to say, that one week misstep was corrected, and for two consecutive weeks, it's been back to Angle kicking ass and Cena trying to limit his talking.

The result: for the first time since WM21, it feels like one of the Fed's top two titles is actually in danger of changing hands. Everything that wasn't done for Chris Jericho, everything that JBL is incapable of inspiring in fans... these are the things Kurt Angle is armed with, now. He's been put over strong the past month, and his performances have been up to snuff, too. Intensity of the beatdowns aside, Angle's promo work -- mostly turning Cena's claim of being "real" on its head by pointing out that HE, as an Olympic Gold Medalist, is the most real thing in WWE -- has been top shelf. To some fans, I bet they are babyface promos, which is fine by me... but to the unwashed masses of Cena's adolescent fanbase, they are the ramblings of a bonafide meany-head who must be vanquished by Stone Cold John Cena.

Whichever side of that fence you're on, isn't it at least nice to have a World Title Match you can care about again? And where the winner isn't a foregone conclusion? And where Kurt Angle makes up half the equation, so you can let yourself envision a very entertaining match from an action-perspective? From where I sit, the main event is about 0.75 of the estimated 1.5 reasons why one should be excited for Unforgiven. 
  

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

Erin Anderson Says... Angle d. Cena.
These past few weeks I've been taping RAW and watching "Prison Break" from 9:00-10 (which I won't be doing any more, because the show is ridiculous on a level I never thought possible.) I figured it wouldn't be any different than how I handled watching RAW last year when "24" was in the same time slot: watch the second hour in real time and then go back and watch the first on tape. It was a good system, but I forgot one thing: RAW was marginally interesting at the time. These past few weeks I haven't even bothered checking my tape and settled for reading the recap instead. I think it's safe to say that my interest in wrestling is at an all-time low at this point. My picks here are grossly uninformed and half-assed.

I can't really go with anyone but Kurt in this match. This may be just wishful thinking on my part, but honestly, is there any other choice? Cena can "recognize real" all he wants, but Kurt's been whomping his ass for the better part of September, and is everything in a challenger that Chris Jericho wasn't booked to be. Sigh. I'm probably talking out of my ass here, but here's what I envision happening: Kurt takes the belt and defends it in a rematch, only to defend it against a returning (babyface) Triple H when he shows up again. Trips doesn't have to play the good guy for long, just long enough to take the belt from Kurt. Come on, you know it's going to happen. And as for Homey McPoserboy, he can feud with Carlito or something. Just as long as he doesn't have that fucking stupid spinning belt anymore.

Canadian Bulldog Says... Angle d. Cena.
I'm making this pick because (a) I'm probably going to be wrong anyways, given my WONDERFUL track record for calling main events this year, (b) If Angle loses, this will end similar to the Jericho feud last month (minus, perhaps, the firing at the end) and (c) Raw's main event scene could use a little shake up right about now.

There's so little downside in making Angle the top name on Raw for the time being. He's proven before he can excel in the role, and it makes for some fresh matchups at the top. Plus, if WWE is committed to pushing Cena through WrestleMania (where I assume he'll be paired with Triple H), they can give him a break from holding the title for a couple of months and he come back more over than before. Say he wins the belt back at Taboo Tuesday or Survivor Series or whenever; it certainly doesn't hurt Cena to be chasing a belt again.
The Cubs Fan Says... Angle d. Cena.
I think this is gonna be a good match. And I think it's going to be a title change. I know we've left RAW with Cena being beat up repeatedly, and that's supposed to be the clue that it's all turning around at the PPV, but you really have nothing near as interesting for Cena if the Angle feud ends right here. With a loss, you've got a feud that can go a few more months, including a rematch on the USA redebut.

The question is if they'd flip the title here. With this lineup, I don't think you can afford a finish that's not a pinfall or a submission; this match has to carry this show, and it can't do it with a copout finish. Cena needs to get the crowd with him a little more, and going after the title might do that. Here ends his first title reign.
Matt Hocking Says... Angle d. Cena.
I've got nothing this month, so I'm going to turn over my predictions to my broadcast collegues, Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler and the Coach! Guys?

Jim Ross: Thanks, Matt, we’ve got a big match to start things off folks, with John Cena, the WWE Champion, taking on the only Olympic Gold Medalist in WWE History, Kurt Angle.
Jerry Lawler:
PUPPIES!
Ross:
Come on, King, focus on the situation at hand! Who do you think is going to win, John Cena or Kurt Angle?
Lawler:
Well, Kurt did start wearing that mouthguard.
Ross:
What does that have to do with anything?
Coach:
I see what you’re saying, King. That mouthguard is really going places. It’s the mouthguard of a world champion.
Ross:
I’ve got nothing but respect for Kurt Angle, but making choices based on ring gear, that’s ridiculous.
Coach:
Don’t disreguard the power of the mouthguard, J.R.

Adam Gutschmidt Says... Angle d. Cena.
I'm really worried about this pick, given that Kurt has basically gotten the better of Cena every week since this match was announced. However, I'm going to try ignore that and give a logical reason as to why Kurt should win the title on Sunday. Certainly I could just say that Kurt DESERVES to have the title and that should be sufficient enough. But I'll take it a step further and doing some future booking to explain why Kurt winning makes more sense. The next RAW PPV coming up is Taboo Tuesday. Given the design of this show, it seems to make more sense to have Kurt be champion. Picture it this way...Kurt wins the title at Unforgiven and then the next night on RAW, Bischoff tells Cena that he will never grant him a rematch. Seemingly Cena is screwed until it's revealed that Bischoff's hands are tied because the fans will decide who Kurt's opponent will be. And because everyone LOVES John Cena he'll get the votes and the rematch. It would be interesting if that happened and Shawn was another option for the voting. Would Cena win in a legit vote? Hmmm... But that's for another day and time. Bottom line here is that I predict it will be a good, but not great match if their previous battles are any indication. I'll say that Kurt dominates, followed by Cena seemingly going to get the win, but then Bischoff helps Kurt to have him win.
Jeb Lund Says... Angle d. Cena.
Ordinarily, this sort of stuff should go in the “Extras” section at the end, but if I don’t throw this preface in here, my predictions are going to sound weird. Put simply, I forgot there was even a PPV this weekend. I missed Monday’s RAW in a bizarre “meet you at this bar, no, this bar” mix-up that featured my being in the wrong place and without a TV tuned to WWE. Then I just didn’t check my “reader feedback” email account this week, which meant I missed Rick’s plea for predictions. Finally, even though I’m sure I saw the word “Unforgiven” on some message board this week, my brain - perhaps out of disgust, perhaps not - simply decided that it signified nothing. I forgot.

As a result, I’m typing these predictions late on Friday night/Saturday morning, with the privilege and pleasure of reading the predictions of my fellow OO columnists. Ordinarily, I’d feel the scummy creeping sensation of “cheater!” if it weren’t for the fact that in all but a few cases, my predictions were identical to virtually everyone else’s. I suppose what I’m saying is that if it seems like I’m echoing everyone else, it was bound to happen anyway. When WWE is substandard, predictable and dispiritingly obvious, cheating is only necessary for the clinically braindead. I didn’t need the cheat sheet to come to the inevitable conclusions. This isn’t like working with binomials or anything: it’s 2+2=4, right?

Now, as to Angle and Cena, I’m lucky in that having seen the comments made by others, I’m able to avoid repeating them too much. I think Angle wins here (a) because he’s been a good furious heel and (b) because, more importantly, losing the belt actually protects Cena in this case. Look, I missed this week’s RAW, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve missed scattered boos and heavy indifference to John Cena or the occasional acclaim for Mister Kurt Angle. If Cena wins again, it’s just begging people to open their throats and change their minds. Sure, if you think Cena sucks, you might not have booed this past month for the simple reason that you thought he would lose. But, if you’re saddled with him for another month, well, fuck that noise, fuck Cena, and fuck anyone who minds the boos. Ditto for the smart fan who spent the last month thinking, “Angle’s been a great heel. I shouldn’t cheer for him, because I want to reward him for being a good heel.” If Angle loses, fine, fuck that noise: I’m cheering for him until “Mr. Dope Speak and Spell” loses the fucking belt.

Right now Cena’s the face, and if he wins as a face and goes on to get booed, it sandbags one of WWE’s properties. If he loses, people are less apt to boo; those who would have been booing have, in fact been satisfied. If Cena doesn’t draw outright scorn, he’s still viable for projects down the road. That’s why I see WWE rewarding Angle for his heel tear, because it placates his fans, changes the main event a bit, and - most importantly - takes some pressure off Cena and makes his future AWSUM D00D Road to WrestleMania less trying or preposterous. That is, if that’s still the plan laid out by the WWE apes.

"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Cena d. Angle.
It doesn't seem like that long ago when Kurt Angle's career was in question.  Clearly, Angle wasn't ready to go gently into that good night. The work he  has done over the past year has been tremendous, even with (and likely  because of) the Olympic Challenge allowing him to take it a bit easier on  himself. Angle would be an excellent champion.

But I don't think it happens here. I expect The Powers that Be to milk what  they can out of Cena for now. I also expect they're marking time until Trips comes back.
PyroFalkon Says...  Angle d. Cena
No additional comment.
Big Danny T Says... Cena d. Angle.
Hey! I thought I quit this job? Oh well, if The Rick wants me to drag the OO prediction levels down, then so be it!

Oh yeah, the match. As much as I hate to say it, Cena will retain the title this Sunday. Cena has been built up as too strong a champion (even though a good 40% of the crowd could care less about his reign) to lose the title to Angle on the "small" PPV. They are probably going to wait until Survivor Series and make Cena this year's traditional "Screw job." Although, if I'm proved wrong, there will be NO complaints here.
Rick Scaia Says... Angle d. Cena.
I think WWE might be sharp enough to realize they need SOMEthing to grab fans' attentions. The first major title change since March would fit that bill. Making their decision even easier: Kurt Angle is performing like a man possessed, and the fans are buying into it. This company has over-pushed impotent heels like JBL and Chris F. Masters; in Angle, they have a guy who's actually over and who fans believe in. And who isn't Triple H. I say use him.

Also: Cena's crappy CD has fallen off the map, and it's obvious that WWE won't be sinking any more money/effort into releasing a third single/video. And it's still 6-8 months before they'll release Cena's WWE Films debut movie. Which means this is a nice window in which to "rest" Cena and not put the whole load of the brand on his shoulders.

Plus: you know the basic "style sheet" here. This won't be just a one-off match. It'll be Match One in a series. And WWE's hurt themselves by doing a few stories already this year (twice with JBL, and once with HHH) where a heel loses his title match, and yet still gets to come back for more. Bzzzt. The way you make this work so that it's logical and compelling, is you have the heel win and then let the babyface chase.

As an added bonus: if Angle wins, he can do rematches with Cena, and then there's gonna be Shawn Michaels hanging around, quite possibly looking for a rubber match in their series. The title on the line would be cool. Angle/Big Show is a proven pairing, too. Even a returning Kane might be an interesting contender. [And hey, my money's on Chris Jericho being a babyface when he returns, too.] Whereas if Cena wins, you just KNOW it's one rematch for Angle, and then it's Cena vs. Triple H in the feud that nobody's really all that interested in seeing. Talk about dueling promos of doom...

Angle winning is the right and necessary move here. I fully expect to see the return of the non-gay WWE Title Belt on Monday night, if WWE's got its head screwed on straight.

 

EDGE vs. MATT HARDY
Steel Cage Match

No need to get into a whole big thing explaining the story here. Partly because a lot of the "story" as presented by WWE has been a mind-bendingly lame hodge-podge of "real" and "fake." But mostly because I still went over all that stuff -- no matter how much it hurt my brain -- when I previewed this match for SummerSlam.

Nothing much has changed since then. In essence, Matt Hardy is still pissed off at Edge for stealing his girl and ruining all his dreams. And Edge is still annoyed that this pesky Matt Hardy won't go away despite having already endured Grievous Bodily Harm at the hands of Edge. And also at the hands of Lita.

Which is why -- with Matt looking for a modicum of revenge, and Edge looking to just get rid of Matt once and for all -- the two agreed to stage this battle inside the Demonic Structure of the Unforgiving Steel Cage (tm, Jim Ross).

In fact, JR has been rather outspoken in his belief that this match will kick-ass and steal the show. Certainly, the two are capable of doing just that. The problem is that with the storytelling have been what it's been at times, and with that hovering overhead at all points, I just can't be entirely sure that we've left all the pointless "shootiness" behind in favor of just going out there and telling a wrestling storyline and having a wrestling match.

Matt, like Cena, has done himself no favors in some of his promo work (where he's introduced most of the logic holes, and has also come off at times like a bit of a whiner). But Matt, like Cena, is lucky to have a dance partner who HAS been strong on the stick, and thus, should have solid heel head on him. Edge, after losing some sizzle over the summer, has once again connected with his Inner Douchebag, and has been excellent on promos/commentary/etc. So fan interest should be there. If that combines with what JR promises to be show-stealing-caliber ring work (and not just non-stop Escape Teases like we got a week ago between Eddie and Rey), then you could have something special here.
 
Which is why I count this as the next 0.5 of the 1.5 reasons why Unforgiven might not be a total waste of time.
  

The OOutlOOk
Hardy wins: 10 votes   --|--  Edge wins: 0 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Hardy d. Edge.
As for this one, I really don't know. Matt's been booked marginally better than he was than when he first came back, but that's not saying much. It's kinda like first being booked like Tajiri and being upgraded to the "Val Venis" level. But he does have a hook now -- he will not die (I wouldn't tempt fate like that, buddy), and I guess that's good enough reason as any to have him win this cage match. Of course, that's assuming WWE has plans to use Matt Hardy once this feud is over. Edge can recover just fine, but Matt's pretty much fucked if he goes down here.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Hardy d. Edge.
If that's not the result here, I'd be baffled. Hell, it was reported on the Internet that Hardy was going over; how can you argue with that?

Let me put it this way: Matt lost at SummerSlam, and I understand that. Matt hasn't pinned Edge on Raw, I understand that, too. But if they don't deliver the payoff here, I can't see them ever pulling the trigger. And that would be a wasting any goodwill they still have from the fans left in this storyline.
The Cubs Fan Says... Hardy d. Edge.
If he had to do it again, do you think there's a chance in a million Matt would agree to come back to the WWE? If it was me, heck no, but I actually think he would; he probably figure he approach things differently, change people's minds and make things work given a second (well, third) try. He doesn't give up easily, as we've learned.

Matt may win this match. He probably will, that's why I'm picking him. I just keep imagining bad things for him here regardless. A win where he still looks like a loser - maybe Edge leaving the cage, doing a jig on the steps to showcase how he could've won if he didn't want to brutalize Matt some more, and going back into to the cage to do that for several 
minutes before a photo finish. Something so far from getting revenge that the idea of breaking even if kinda funny.

The thing about being the man who would not die is you spend a lot of time being murdered.
Matt Hocking Says... Hardy d. Edge.
Ross:
Some may say that Matt Hardy has lost a lot more than his girlfriend as a result of this feud, but Sunday, he’ll go one on one with Edge in a steel cage.

Lawler:
This win for Matt Hardy will be a long time coming, J.R. Edge has gotten the better of him too many times before, now, with no escape and no outside interference Matt Hardy will finally succeed in his desire to beat Edge.
Coach:
You sto-Give me back my notebook! I wrote all that!
Lawler:
And I drew these nude pictures of Lita in the margins.
Coach:
Let me see that!
Ross:
Would you two focus on the task at hand?!
Lawler:
PUPPIES!
Coach:
King’s a great artist, J.R., come look at this!
Ross:
No thank you.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Hardy d. Edge.
Giving Hardy the win here seems somewhat flat as his win really should have come last month at Summerslam. Since they blew that chance, I think they make up for it here. I realize there are some problems in having Matt win though. First, if Matt wins, does it end the feud. And if 
the feud ends, what then for Matt? Secondly, how do you have Edge lose this match and still keep him strong? On the other hand, if you have Edge win, you keep him strong but that puts the final nail in Matt Hardy's coffin, which seems really counterproductive. Once again I must applaud the WWE for mastering the art of booking themselves into a corner. I think that these guys will deliver the goods, at least moreso than they did at Summerslam. I'm still going with Matt, but it wouldn't surprise me if they create a finish that attempts to have both men look strong regardless of who's hand is raised.
Jeb Lund Says... Hardy d. Edge.
Let me begin by quoting something from The Cubs Fan: “The thing about being the man who would not die is you spend a lot of time being murdered.” That sentence is, without question, absolutely excellent. I wish I wrote that sentence. Change “spend” to “spent” and it might well serve as Hardy’s wrestling epitaph. If the future follows the pattern of the last four years, it probably should.

Okay, that aside, he has to win here. There is no point in his losing. He needs to win now. This whole story sputtered and died long ago, and if Hardy isn’t even granted the moral victory (that he deserved at SummerSlam), he might as well be released. This is pretty much the last stop on the line. Even with a win, I can’t imagine where he goes from here. I think he’s doomed to endure the Intercontinental scene’s version of Jericho’s heavyweight woes: perfectly capable of winning and defending the belt at any time, yet bereft of any decent storyline and totally relegated to a confused mélange of matches below his uppermost talent level.

"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Hardy d. Edge.
That match they had on TV with the Side Effect into the pit of electronic snakes really saved this feud - and likely Hardy's immediate career. I have zero idea what the political situation is amonsgt the parties involved, but I suspect there was plenty of lobbying to get these guys a do-over from SummerSlam. It's a good thing.

Last Monday's events appear to point toward Hardy winning at Unforgiven. Edge has bigger fish to fry with his suitcase, and Hardy needs this win to keep people caring. I see Match of the Night.
PyroFalkon Says...  Hardy d. Edge.
No additional comment.
Big Danny T Says... Hardy d. Edge.
When is the last time a Hardy won a WWE gimmick match? They have 0-fers in Cage matches, TLC, Table matches, etc. I could be wrong, but my fuzzy, 6AM memory tells me that the Hardy contingant is not so hot when something extra is added to the match. So why, against this stellar track record am I picking Matt to win this one? Because it's the only finish that makes sense. Yeah, they'll have two babyfaces winning in Cage matches in a 10 days, but the alternative is having Matt further emasculated by Edge and you don't want to do that to someone you've spent so much on to reinsert him into the hearts and minds of the fans. Of course, this is WWE that we're talking about...
Rick Scaia Says... Hardy d. Edge.
I am not one of these dillholes who thinks that WWE is purposely jobbing Matt Hardy out to "teach him a lesson," or anything. I just think they had an idea for how this story would go, and unfortunately, Matt hasn't really held up his end in a few promos/skits, so he's not quite the sympathetic, lovable loser that WWE intended him to be.

But that's still the basic story: Matt still hasn't gotten his revenge, but he's still trying. And I think we finally are to the point where he needs to score some kind of win if this is to continue. Beating Edge here could kick this thing into its next phase (which I'm beginning to suspect includes an onscreen reunion of Matt and Lita).

Interference from Kane remains a possibility, I guess, but I'd probably be happier if Lita was the only one who chimed in here, and her only contribution was somehow getting a ladder into the ring. Or some other plunder. Just something so that we get a match more like the Street Fight these two had a few weeks back, and less like a replay of the good-but-one-dimensional Eddie/Rey cage match from a week ago.

 

CARLITO COOL vs. RIC FLAIR
InterContinental Title Match

Well, this one kinda came out of left field. Flair simply decided to return to TV about 3 weeks ago, as a guest on Carlito's Cabana. After starting out with a touch of mutual respect, Carlito predictably could not contain his innate prickishness, and started poking fun at Flair.
 
You see, Carlito thinks that being a 16-time World Champion only means you're a 16-time loser. And thas? Thas not cool. But being a one-time and current InterContinental Champion? Much cooler. Flair didn't much cotton to this logic, and the two came to blows. With Shawn Michaels and Chris F. Masters getting into the mix, a tag match was signed... but Flair was taken out in a backstage attack (for which Carlito took credit), leaving him in no condition to compete that night.

A week later, when Carlito tried to have a conversation with Mute Diva Ashley (who had a microphone and everything, but apparently not a whole lot to say), Ric Flair was the guy who made the run-in to save her from an apple-spew. What a nice guy... except he also came out to inform Carlito that he'd gotten word from Eric Bischoff that the two would fight at Unforgiven.

So that's where we are today. It's really a left-field type of match, considering that the original vibe 4 weeks ago was that Carlito and Shawn Michaels would be opponents. They are playing up the aspect that Flair, despite all his accolades and legacy, has never held the IC Title, making that seem like Extra Motivation for Flair. But it's still a pretty flimsy pretext for an IC Title match (doubly so since Carlito has been so poorly booked since taking the title from Shelton Benjamin, and could have used a Really Top Shelf Storyline to help legitimize himself and his reign; instead it's this odd little throw-away-seeming deal with a part-time legend).

I could listen to these two talk all day long, and I think most fans agree, so they'll be into the personalities. And ring-work-wise, they each bring something to the table that SHOULD keep fans interested throughout. Flair has a simple moveset, but "legend" status that means his chops are more devastating and his testicle-related offense is completely moral and just. Carlito has a simple moveset, but has a natural charisma and facial expressions that convince fans that he's actually into the flow of the match and thus, so should they. I don't necessarily know if that adds up to a "good match" in the sense that Benoit vs. Angle would be "good," but it should add up to some high quality entertainment. Which is why this is the final 0.25 of the 1.5 reasons I'm going to be dutifully enduring Hooters on Sunday to watch this PPV.
  

The OOutlOOk
Carlito wins: 9 votes   --|--  Flair wins: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Carlito d. Flair.
I love Flair and like Carlito, and this should be a pretty entertaining match with lots of chops and Flair spontaneously hemorrhaging at the slightest contact. It's what he does best. But Flair isn't winning this, because in my little fantasy-booking scenario, Carlito moves on to fight Cena after this, and a belt would make things more interesting. Flair? Needs no belts to make the fans care about him.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Carlito d. Flair.
Ric Flair has made a career of making other people look good at his expense. I see no need for him to start doing otherwise at the ripe old age of 73.

Seriously, at this point, I can't think of a good reason to give Flair the nod. Sure, he's never held the Intercontinental title, but does he need to? Nah. Flair will get the same pop whether he gets a belt or he gets all of his signature moves in, so the belt is secondary.

Plus, they obviously see something special in Carlito. I'm not arguing that point. The kid has tons of charisma and isn't horrible in the ring (which is obviously no longer a prerequisite for WWE success). The only way they'll ever move him up to main-event level is by throwing him to the wolves and seeing how he fares.

Mitigating factor: Triple H's potential interference. But even if The Game returns, I'd have to think it would be to distract Flair, not help him. Remember, these two never had their scheduled SummerSlam match. So there's probably still a feud in the plans there.
The Cubs Fan Says... Carlito d. Flair.
The essential problem with matches like this - a multi-time world champion going after a lower title - is why they would care not only winning the title, but limiting themselves to focusing on a lesser title's defenses for the near future? It makes it hard to believe the established star can win the match, because it means a lot to the guy who has it and little to the one who doesn't.

When this was Randy Orton and Mick Foley, they did a semiplausible job of justifying it; Mick brought up never having held the IC Title before (not the announcers), and pushed the idea of winning the title to further embarrass Orton (which has also more been an announcer gig.) In this case, Ric just wants to embarrass Carlito, and since the title 
happens to be there, it's on the line so Ric can show him what a championship match is about. It's not enough to make you believe Ric Flair will spend upcoming RAWs facing the likes of Rob Conway, Kerwin White and Tyson Tomko in his first ever IC Title reign. (Much less Triple H.)
Matt Hocking Says... Flair d. Carlito.
Coach:
This is a big one, King! Carlito’s cool, but Ric Flair is the Nature boy!

Lawler:
That’s kind of been annoying me for the last little while, what IS it about Carlito that’s so cool anyway?
Coach:
He just is. It’s the essence of Carlito!
Ross:
The Nature Boy, the sixteen time World Champion is wilier than his young opponent, but Carlito is younger, and the champion doesn’t have to win to retain the title.
Lawler:
So…who do you think is going to win.
Coach:
Who cares?
Ross:
For one, I care this match should be fai-
Ric Flair:
WOO! I’m gonna win because I’m going to be the one time Intercotinental By God Champion because I’m stylinandprofilelimoridin- jetridinwheelinandadealinkissstealin
Sonofagunwhosgonnatakeyouroldladyfor-
arideonspacemountainfatboywoo!

Coach:
You heard the Nature Boy, folks! It’s a Pay Per View of Upsets!
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Carlito d. Flair.
I wish I was more excited for this match, but I'm not. God bless him for trying, but frankly every time Flair steps into the ring anymore, his star loses a bit of its luster. Shawn chided at Carlito a few weeks ago that he can't be great until he has a great match. I'm sure in the bookers' minds they've accomplished that by pitting these two against each other. However, I think it will fall short of that. I am looking forward to seeing Carlito's facial reactions to all Flair's dirty tricks though. That should be good. One thing I won't be looking forward to though is Flair's attempt at his Flip, Flop and Fly. You know he's gonna try it and I wish he wouldn't because he looks like he's going to kill himself one of these times. In the end, I think the bookers are going to try to be cute by having "The dirtiest player in the game" lose to a dirty tactic by Carlito (i.e. Carlito rolling Flair up and putting his feet on the ropes).
Jeb Lund Says... Carlito d. Flair.
I'm throwing my lot in with everyone else. I’m not too sure why I picked this. Just going with my gut. I think Carlito has this bizarre momentum that should not be stopped. And, much as I like Flair, I really don’t think he should win. Now, maybe Flair parleys a loss into a tremendous face response and challenges Carlito again and then wins; that could work. But not now. A Flair win just seems hasty and we-can-do-it-ish, rather than sensible. Besides, Flair has spent so much time allied to Triple H that I can’t envision him out on his own anytime soon. If anything, he could lose this match, garner fan love and support, win a rematch, then capriciously join a returning Triple H in another two-man power-trip angle. Aw, what do I know?
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Carlito d. Flair.
It's tempting to go with Naitch here, as I hearken back to Piper beating The Mountie at the Royal Rumble back in the day. But Piper wasn't already a 16-time World champion (or whatever number they're pimping) at the time.

I can't do it, though. Flair is The Man and all that, but this is really about Carlito. Flair will lose and the crowd will still give him his well deserved due after the match.
PyroFalkon Says...  Carlito d. Flair.
No additional comment.
Big Danny T Says... Carlito d. Flair.
Ric, god I love him (in a completely manly, three pats on the back indicating "I'M! NOT! GAY!" kind of way), but I can't see this match as anything more than the two of them going for the biggest cheats they can pull out and Carlito walking away with the title because he got the last laugh. I can't see Ric as an IC standard bearer. I expect this to be the "Fun!" match of the night.
Rick Scaia Says... Carlito d. Flair.
Look, a big part of the reason why I'm only mildly interested in this one, even though I realy like both guys, is because it's not really a case where anything will be gained by having the match. But insofar as WWE should try not to LOSE anything by having the match, they MUST put Carlito over.

Flair, a part-time-wrestling legend slumming it by going for a secondary title, gains nothing by winning, whereas Carlito would lose whatever credibility he has left after the past 2 months of mishandling. To some extent, Carlito is experimenting with being The New Jericho in terms of his bulletproofness (it seems that people still respond to his promo work, even if WWE's creative team had been burying him last month)... but I still think you need to give him the win here. If you do, you continue the slow process of building him up into a top tier guy... beating Flair won't be a quantum leap for him, since beating an old man shouldn't count as that much of an accomplishment, but it'll keep the ball rolling.

I think that opens the door for them to do the desired vibe they want when HHH returns (which is apparently going to be an adversarial role with Flair), since HHH can berate Flair for not being the competitor he used to be. In fact, this would be one of the few ways I can think of for HHH to come back and be treated as a heel from the get-go (since he's been away for so long now that he'll get the Recognition Pop when he comes back, and will need to do something very dickish right out of the gates to turn the fans against him). Meantime, Carlito could -- in the short term -- do that program with Shawn Michaels that I've openly lusted for. Beyond that, he should have unfinished business with John Cena, and would actually be the VERY logical opponent for a Babyface Chris Jericho come the new year. Those two could easily have a WM-caliber IC Title feud.

Since I see none of these same cool possibilities if Flair is in possession of the IC belt, I figure the guy's gonna have to lose. Hopefully to a trick so dirty that even Flair can't counter it.

 

SHAWN MICHAELS vs. CHRIS F. MASTERS

No more reasons to justify this PPV's existence the rest of the way... just one BIG reason why RAW's been so incomprehensibly unsatisfying the last few weeks. His name: Chris F. Masters.
 
It was one thing to have Masters taking up 5 minutes a week to overwhelm some Heat-caliber star (and underwhelm the fans) with his full nelson challenge. But the past month, Masters has been RAW's pet project... which not only means a lot more TV time, it means he's dragging somebody a bit more relevant than Val Venis down with him.

In this case, Masters inexplicably interrupted a Shawn Michaels promo the night after SummerSlam. Always a great way to kick things off... when you ask, "How did this feud get started?" and the answer is "Some guy came down to the ring for no reason," you know it's gold. And when it's Chris F. Masters doing the interrupting, it's doubly-awful, since he's acting for no reason and doing it without a single audience member giving a shit.

Michaels, perhaps a bit cocky after getting a good match out of Hulk Hogan at SummerSlam, apparently decided his next selfless act would be to give Masters the "opportunity" to show fans what he's got by going up against the Show Stopper. This led to back-to-back weeks in which Masters got the better of Michaels to end RAW. In neither case did the "big finish" go over well with audience members. In neither case did the "big finish" go over AT ALL, actually; certainly no cheers, but also no boos. Just grumbling and silence. Because NObody wants to waste HBK's talents on a stiff like Masters.

This past Monday, Michaels again came up on the short end of the stick against Masters, and was left lying by the big muscle-bound goon. It's clear that WWE wants Masters to be taken seriously as RAW's next big heel. And it's just as clear that they know that NObody on the roster is more capable of creating the illusion that Masters is a tolerable performer than Shawn Michaels.

The only problem? No matter how sure Shawn Michaels may be in his own ability, no matter how much satisfaction it gave him to LOSE to Hulk Hogan and still be the only guy fans were talking about the next day, Chris Masters is NOT Hulk Hogan. He might be marginally more physically-able than Hogan, but that's not what Hogan brought to the table at SummerSlam. Michaels did all the "work" with Hogan at SummerSlam, but Hogan still brought his name and his star power. In short, Hogan brought the FANS. Masters brings none of this, and it will render Michaels' efforts at least 50% less effective.

Shawn could try to counter that by bumping around 200% as crazily as he did for Hogan, but it's just not worth the effort. The fans will put up with a lot, since it's ingrained to cheer for a guy as talented as Michaels. But Michaels' dance partner on this night has only proven he can instill apathy in those same fans. Masters might get some cheap heat early on with prepared posturing, but other than that, we might as well just fast-forward to Michaels getting the crowd back into things by firing up out of some shitty resthold (the only drama: will it be a bearhug, or the La-Z Boy?) and taking us into End Game. 

It'll probably end up being Masters' best match to date. Which is kind of like saying he might be smarter than Maria the Mic Stand. And the funniest (or most pitiable) part of it is: as minor an accomplishment as this will be, Masters will still have had nothing to do with it. Masters has proven himself a waste of airtime this past month, and on this PPV, he's also gonna prove to be a waste of Shawn Michaels' talents.
  

The OOutlOOk
Michaels wins: 9 votes   --|--  Masters wins: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Michaels d. Masters.
Please, dear GOD, let Michaels win this. I know I'm going to destroy my prediction percentage this time around, what with picking Angle and HBK, but it would probably make me physically sick to go any other way. Michaels does have the power of Jesus on his side, but Masters has the power of the WWE booking committee on his. Son of God, or spawn of Satan? I myself may fit in the latter category, but I've gotta go with ol' Yahweh on this one. Don't let me down.

This will also be the Masters' best match to date, thanks to the Broomstick Postulate that applies to all of HBK's matches. You have nothing left to prove after what you did with Hogan, Shawn. Stop working with 270 lbs. of muscle in a five-pound bag and get a worthy opponent. Please.

Canadian Bulldog Says... Michaels d. Masters.
If Michaels wasn't due for a big win at SummerSlam, he certainly is now. There's no denying it: he's been one of the most valuable players in the business for three straight years now, and I just can't see any scenario where they allow Masters to look particularly good here.

And I don't hate Masters -- his segments certainly aren't my favorite part of the show, mind you, but he is at least proving to make the most of his opportunity. He just has a looooooong way to go before you could convince me he's ready to get the rub from Michaels. At least not a rub by pinning him.

Which brings me to my next point: I'll be more interested to see what happens after the match than during it. Will Michaels make Masters his apprentice and turn heel again? I'm still baffled by his post-SummerSlam depature from the dark side, so I'd welcome something like that. It's just crazy enough to work.
The Cubs Fan Says... Michaels d. Masters.
How good is Shawn Michaels? Someone decided to put it to the test! There's no earthly reason Masters needs to go over here after getting everything else so far. It kinda seems anti-climatic for Shawn to get the first big win over Masters, but at least they've left the shitty full nelson challenge for someone else to benefit.

If this lasts more than ten minutes, someone's criminally insane and needs to be put in a padding room right away. Maybe this actually part of a fiendish plan to expose Chris Masters as a fraud and thus rid us from him forever? Some sort of Mordecai situation would be swell for those of us who have no plans to pay for this show. One can dream.
Matt Hocking Says... Masters d. Michaels.
Ross: The Showstopper, the Main Event, the Icon Shawn Michaels takes on Chris Masters, the Masterpiece!
Lawler:
Woohoo! Look at that guy, J.R.! “Masterpiece” is right!
Coach:
It’s like he’s glowing with awesomeness, King!
Ross:
What about Shawn Michaels, a first ballot Hall of-
Coach:
Shut up and let us talk about Chris Masters!
Ross:
Fine. I’m leaving. You pick the rest of the matches.
Coach:
Good riddance. Would you look at those muscles King?
Indiana Jones:
He belongs in a museum!
Coach:
Hey, Indy! You wanna see some naked Lita cartoons?
Indy:
Lita? We named the dog Lita!
Lawler:
WOOHOO PUPPIES!
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Michaels d. Masters.
I contemplated just putting jibberish in this space because it would have "the look" of a paragraph and according to the WWE that should be sufficient for a prediction for this match. Right? Wake up WWE, this guy will never amount to anything. Listen, I commend Shawn for doing what he's trying to do here. Once again, he wants to be the guy that makes some stiff look like a million damn dollars. But here's the thing...he did this a few years ago with Orton and at best that match was around a **** rating. At best. The scary part is that Orton at that time was heads and tails above where Masters is right now. So I'll be surprised if Shawn manages to get something decent out of the Masterstiff. Please Shawn, I'm begging you...break the shitty full nelson as soon as it's applied and then Superkick this toolbox's ass back to OVW where he belongs.
Jeb Lund Says... Michaels d. Masters.
I’m predicting this for numerous reasons. One, I think Michaels should win. Two, I don’t think that, even in the best of circumstances, Masters deserves to win anything, not even a free pink “I ate it all” button after eating a full Ziggy Piggy. Three, I simply will not make a prediction in favor of Chris Masters. Seriously, fuck that. And fuck him.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Michaels d. Masters
Sweet Chin Music. But without the benefit of Michaels breaking the shitty full nelson, which gives WWE an out to continue building Masters should they so choose. Maybe there will even be a beatdown or something, or I can even 
see a cheap DQ win for Michaels after some Tomko-esque interference. Maybe that would lead to a regular Masters-Tomko team.
PyroFalkon Says...  Michaels d. Masters.
No additional comment.
Big Danny T Says... Michaels d. Masters.
Oh please let HBK take Mr. Mytoplex in a minute, 2 tops. Yeah, I know it won't happen that fast, but HBK did the job for Hogan, GNC-boy doesn't rate anywhere near the time or effort that Hogan did. I say have HBK win with a Sweet Chin Music and Sharpshooter, just to give the internet wankers an "OMG! HE'Z SO TOTALLY MOCKING BRET! YOUSCREWEDBRET!!! YOUSCREWEDBRET!!! YOUSCREWEDBRET!!! YOUSCREWEDBRET!!!"

*ahem*

Yeah, HBK over the Lex Express V. 2.0 in about 7 minutes.
Rick Scaia Says... Michaels d. Masters.
Duh. It's got to happen. If it doesn't, it's an even more stubbornly retarded booking move than when WWE put Orlando Jordan over Chris Benoit in a 20 minute snooze-a-thon in July, and then spent the last month apologizing to us for their stupidity by jobbing Jordan out to Benoit in increasingly humiliating fashion.

Shawn Michaels is very good. Chris Master is not very good. Shawn has certainly worked miracles on this front before. But I think you saw the ceiling for Chris F. Masters last Monday in an over-long, under-exciting match against Ric Flair. Whether it's his lack of ability, lack of engaging character, or what, his appeal with fans is non-existent. In terms of crowd interest/response, he's clearly not Hulk Hogan. He's not Kevin Nash. He isn't even Sid Vicious. And for Shawn to get great matches out of those guys was one thing. To do it with Masters will be a whole other ballgame.

We'll come out of this no doubt praising Michaels for the effort, but I can envision no scenario in which this gets much better than "average" or turns into a video keeper.

Michaels must, in my opinion, come out of this the winner, because that dovetails into my idea that he'll be a challenger for WWE Champ Kurt Angle in the near future. I know Masters isn't going anywhere (no matter how much I bitch), so I propose this compromise: Michaels wins the match but does not escape the shitty full nelson. That way, Masters still has SOMEthing he can hang his hat on as he moves on to do.... I don't care, but something else. Preferably something that takes up no more than a few minutes a week and doesn't drag anybody I enjoy watching down with him.

 

TRISH STRATUS/DIVA SEARCH ASHLEY vs. VICTORIA/TORRIE WILSON

About a month ago, the 2005 Diva Search wrapped up with Ashley Massaro -- everybody's favorite Punk Chick Who's Still Girly Enough To Wear Lacy Pink Bras -- winning the Grand Prize. A week after that, Torrie Wilson and Candice Michelle were mysteriously traded from SD! to RAW (in exchange for Stacy Keibler and Christy Hemme).

The two seemingly unrelated events? Quickly became related. Torrie and Boobies decided they would be jealous of Ashley's success, and made this clear with various displays of screechy promo work. They double teamed Ashley one week. Then they sicced Victoria on her the next. So this past Monday, Ashley planned ahead. If she was gonna once again be the target of Victoria and two Useless Divas, Ashley figured she really only needed one woman backing her up. Provided that woman is awesome.

Which, luckily, Trish Stratus is. 

Trish and Ashley had no problems taking out the three women. Then, without even the benefit of a backstage skit or anything, this 2-on-2 tag match was signed. Although you can bank on Boobies being at ringside for the heels, too. Contributing little more than her half of the comically silly "Sexy Ring Entrance," and then (hopefully) standing there more mute than Ashley for the rest of the match.

Is Ashley ready-for-prime-time? Probably not, and her one-on-one match against Torrie was bowling shoe ugly. But that's why we have Trish and Victoria here to handle the load. They've already been working against each other on house shows, and there's no real reason to suspect Trish hasn't already knocked off whatever ring rust had accumulated. I figure that means the match might be at least half-good. Possibly even three-quarters. But when you know the booking monkeys will only slot it for 4-5 minutes, it still won't end up being any different than anything you could see for free on a Monday night.  
  

The OOutlOOk
Trish/Ashley win: 10 votes
Victoria/Torrie win: 0 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Trish/Ashley d. Victoria/Torrie.
God bless Trish Stratus for being proof that a beautiful blonde doesn't have to be a useless piece of eye candy in this god-forsaken wrestling business. Sadly, Torrie Wilson and Boobies McTitsalot haven't gotten the memo, nor has WWE. Anyway, Trish's team wins because she is awesome, and then maybe Victoria will attack her after the match and jumpstart a feud that gets people excited about women's wrestling again.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Trish/Ashley d. Victoria/Torrie.
I can only hope this little clusterfuck of a match can inspire memories of a time when Victoria vs. Trish regularly stole the show on Raw. But it won't, because the focus will be on making Ashley look good, and letting Torrie do whatever the hell it is she does.

Trish is obviously winning her first match back. Otherwise, I'll pass.
The Cubs Fan Says... Trish/Ashley d. Victoria/Torrie.
Ordinarily, I'd pick a heel win here, to set a program for the title, but I figure the belt is way down in their priority list. They've (or at least JR) been building this towards Ashley finally getting her first win, and this tag match is as good place as any.
Matt Hocking Says... Trish/Ashley d. Victoria/Torrie.
Coach: Speaking of Puppies, King, we’ve got a real dog of a match here, eh?
King:
PUPPIES!
Coach:
So who’s your money on?
King:
PUPPIES!
Coach:
Uh….
Ultimo Dragon:
Don’t worry, Coachman, I’m here to dragon up your picks.
Coach:
Didn’t you quit and go back to Japan?
Dragon:
I know not of what you speak! The Dragon has always been here!
Coach:
Whatever, just give me your pick!
Dragon:
None of these girls can work the dragonriffic style of the Ultimo Dragon, understand, but if WWE is smart and ontop of their dragons, they won’t let the opportunity to give a win to the returning Trish Stratus to help rebuild her cred with the little Dragonites! Protect feeble Ashley, let Trish and Victoria work most of the match, and then have Trish pin Torrie. Dragontastic!
Flair:
WOO! That’s why you’re the champ!
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Trish/Ashley d. Victoria/Torrie.
Am I glad Trish is back? Hell yes! Was this the proper way to bring her back? Probably not. Listen, this match doesn't deserve to be on the card, but since it will be, the WWE needs to realize what should happen as it relates to this match. 1) This needs to be placed in between two big matches as it serves no other purpose than as a palette cleanser. 2) Put Ashley in a safe Ricky Morton role so that she can drum up some sympathy from the crowd. 3) Allow Trish to then come in and kick ass like only Trish can do. 4) Make sure it's establish by the end that the focus will turn to Trish and Victoria, not Ashley and Torrie. 5) Do not show Trish and Ashley as buddy-buddy, but rather that this was strictly business so that way Trish can then get on the mic the next night on RAW and explain her actions. If those all happen, maybe I won't complain about this match so much. Maybe.
Jeb Lund Says... Trish/Ashley d. Victoria/Torrie.
Huh, well, Ashley has been humiliated a lot. We need to get her some of her heat back! And I can’t see Trish returning and losing. It makes no sense. I won’t waste any further sentences on this.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Trish/Ashley d. Victoria/Torrie.
I fear a Trishalicious swerve here, but it has to be Trish-Victoria moving forward, right? Right? Babyface win with Trish doing most of the work. I likes my Ashley, though, she's clearly a natural performer and I expect bigger things than the usual Diva stuff out of her.
PyroFalkon Says...  Trish/Ashley d. Victoria/Torrie.
No additional comment.
Big Danny T Says... Trish/Ashley d. Victoria/Torrie.
Ok, as much as I love Trish, and as much as I'm developing a very The Rick-like mancrush on Ashley, I really hope this match doesn't last longer than 3-4 minutes, and Ashley is limited to a single 30-second "hot tag" spot that they have been practicing for 3 hours every night since monday so that it comes off perfectly. I know this puts Trish in the "babyface-in-peril" role for the match, but this also means that Trish and Victoria can at least try to have an entertaining match while the eye candy's physical involvement is kept to a minimum. Oh yes, and expect Boobies McTitsalot to be doing the outside interference thing, and then get a post match humiliation/stripdown.
Rick Scaia Says... Trish/Ashley d. Victoria/Torrie.
This could really go either way, to good effect. I really like the idea of Victoria pinning Trish, actually... and I would even book it so that Ashley screws something up to allow Victoria to get the pinfall. Not on purpose, just a rookie mistake. Enough so that Trish says, "OK, kid, you're gonna be OK, but you go off and do your own thing now, and I'm gonna go off and do mine, because Trish Stratus Works Best Alone." Independent Trish is where it's at, baby! And obviously, Victoria getting the pinfall is still reason enough to jumpstart a women's title feud...

But then, in "WWE Think," I realize that it's unlikely that Trish would lay down in her comeback match. They've got Torrie in there taking up space for a reason, and I'm going to assume it's to do the job, which will STILL leave Victoria free and clear to make a move on Trish's title and remind us that not all women in the WWE Universe are uninteresting flowerpots.

I figure it could be as simple as Trish and Ashley win (Ashley pinning Torrie, to finally give her one up on the Useless Divas), but then Victoria leading a 3-on-2 attack after the match. Still gets us where we need to be going, even if I kinda like my plot to set things up and keep Trish from getting too buddy-buddy with an as-yet-unproven commodity.

One thing I will insist upon, though: not one iota of Viscera. Not at the PPV, not on RAW, not ever. The window for Trish and Lillian's humiliation of Viscera for his jack-assery has passed, and now we just need to let bygones be bygones. 

 

HURRICANE/ROSEY vs. LANCE CADE/TREVOR MURDOCH
World Tag Team Title Match

Speaking of something that feels more like we should be seeing it for free on a Monday.... except that this might even be something that'd fit in better on Heat.

Which is a testament to just how lazy WWE's creative team has gotten, if their tag team titles are presently that worthless. I mean, really... have you ever seen a group of people take a job that really shouldn't be that hard to do and make it seem tougher than putting a man on Mars quite as expertly as WWE's writer monkeys have been lately? The piss-poor condition of the tag division is just one of many things you could point to that proves the incompetence of whoever's driving the truck.

That incompetence is what leads us to a situation in which a tag team can debut one week, and 13 days later get a title shot. Because there are no other teams to speak of, and certainly no pre-existing storylines to gum up the works.

So: Cade and Murdoch do a few weeks of mostly-amusing vignettes (Cade is a glossed up city-cowboy, Murdoch is a deep-woods of Georgia redneck with possible "Deliverance" tendencies), show up on RAW and on their first night are given a non-title match against Hurricane and Rosey (who had previously spent 6 weeks utilizing their super power of Invisibility). Cade and Murdoch won. So of course, let's give 'em a title shot on PPV.

Nothing against the four guys involved, but: this'll probably go over like a lead balloon. They can execute the Tag Team Match Formula to perfection, but there simply has been enough work done on Cade/Murdoch's characters to make it click on their end, and Hurricane/Rosey have been absentee champs (even to Heat viewers, they've worked more in singles matches there, lately) so it won't click on their end, either. It's not their fault, but these four simply don't belong on the PPV stage.
  

The OOutlOOk
Cade/Murdoch win: 10 votes
Hurricane/Rosey win: 0 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Cade/Murdoch d. Hurricane/Rosey.
Remember Smackdown! back in the fall of 2002, when Benoit/Angle, Eddie/Chavo, and Rey/Edge were kicking ass and taking names and turning tag team wrestling into the best reason to watch WWE by a mile, and didn't have to do it with stupid team gimmicks? Think about that for a minute, and then think about how Hurricane and Rosey have been handled since they've gotten the tag titles. They could have been turned into something fun, but they instead were turned into something that reeks of Heat. Sad.

I've barely seen anything of Cade and Murdoch, but it's a team with promise that's getting a push. Their opponents are not. Guess who wins? I miss good tag team wrestling. WWE badly needs compelling tag champs, because maybe that'll light a fire under their asses enough to put some effort into the division. Tag wrestling CAN sell a show if you handle it right, as opposed to handling it as an afterthought.

Man, writing this preview is depressing.

Canadian Bulldog Says... Cade/Murdoch d. Hurricane/Rosey.
What could have been a way for WWE to be rescued from their distastrous tag team situation has been rushed in less than three weeks. And that's a crying shame.

See, if I ran WWE (well, first of all, I'd probably alllow this book to be sold on ShopZone), I wouldn't have had this match at Unforgiven. I would have booked Tajiri and Eugene against these guys for the PPV, or even Hurricane/Rosey vs. The Hearthrobs XVIII, with outside interference by the cowboys. Make fans actually WANT To see the match by building it up over longer than month, and not by rushing it. Crazy concept, I know.

But as it stands as of 9:44 p.m. on Thursday night, I DON'T run WWE (though you can still buy this book if you so desire). So we've got yet another quick title change, placing undue pressure on Cade and Murdoch to outperform in a dead tag team division. Lovely. And, hey, booking geniuses: what do you do with Cade and Murdoch after this Sunday? Huh?
The Cubs Fan Says... Cade/Murdoch d. Hurricane/Rosey.
They've given us absolutely no reason to believe the Hurricane and Rosey have a chance to hold onto the titles, or win a match ever again. I was checking out exactly how bad it's been for those two, and figured out they haven't won a match on RAW since May 30th. The side benefit here is a loss easily sets up a filler title rematch on the first USA RAW; Cade & Murdoch winning the titles on that show would risk getting lost in the mix of everything else, but a nice 12-15 minute match could provide some first hour filler on a 185 minute+ show.
Matt Hocking Says... Cade/Murdoch d. Hurricane/Rosey.
Coach: Now joining me to help make the picks is my man Stone Cold Steve Austin. Steve, it’s a real pleasure and an honor.
Stone Cold Steve Austin:
Are you patronizing me? Shut up! I’m trying to prognosticate! Let’s see? Who do you think is going to win here? The sloppy, fresh, young up and coming team of Jeff Jarrett and Dustin Rhodes, or the two guys who haven’t won a match in three years? Do you think I’m dumb? What? Do you think I’m stupid? What? Do you think Ol’ Stone Cold isn’t much for book learnin’ what? EH-EH!
Coach:
Certainly they should get a feel for each other before hotshotting the belts to an inexperienced team lik-
Austin:
Shut your mealy little mouth and beer me, son.
Coach:
I don’t have any beer.
Austin:
What?!
Coach:
No beer!
Austin:
If you want to see Stone Cold give this guy a Stunner, Give me a Hell Yeah!
Coach:
I’m the only other guy here!
Austin:
Then give me a “Hell Yeah,” son!
Coach:
No!

Austin Stunners Coach anyway.

Adam Gutschmidt Says... Cade/Murdoch d. Hurricane/Rosey.
We've all seen what's been going on with Hurricane and Rosey lately. Or rather we HAVEN'T seen what they've been doing since despite being the tag team champions, they're barely on TV and when they are it's on HeAT. With that in mind, I think this become the no-brainer match on the card and the heels win the straps. Some might say that Cade & Murdoch should have more TV exposure before being given the titles. I might agree, but even if the bookers feel that way, I think that they still win the match somehow, even if they don't get the titles. Because if they lose this match, then they suddenly lose all value and it would be difficult to build them up after that. The only question then is who do Cade and Murdoch feud with after winning the titles? I could give some answers, but they're awful choices and if I actually say them, it will come true. So to be safe, I'll just keep my big mouth shut.
Jeb Lund Says... Cade/Murdoch d. Hurricane/Rosey.
All jobbers are created jobberly, but some are more jobberly than others. Those would be Hurricane and Rosey.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Cade/Murdoch d. Hurricane/Rosey.
Tag teams are back! Hoo-ah! Someone was on the ball when they made the Cade-Murdoch combo. A slower build would have been nice, but at least they did bother to do a vignette.

Tag teams are a far, far better way to introdue new characters than taking a guy like Masters and throwing him to the wolves before he's ready. It's lower risk, higher reward, and fans tend to buy it when teams are introduced 
as "new" rather than Randomy Generated from the current roster (See: MNM). Besides, Murdoch's hilarious.
PyroFalkon Says...  Cade/Murdoch d. Hurricane/Rosey.
No additional comment.
Big Danny T Says... Cade/Murdoch d. Hurricane/Rosey.
Let's see, Number of wins Hurricane and Rosey have had since winning the titles (separate or individually): 1, I think, on Heat. That, combined with the hype they are putting into Cade and Murdoch = Hurricane and Rosey losing the straps on sunday and WWE begins doing something to rebuild the tag title situation.
Rick Scaia Says... Cade/Murdoch d. Hurricane/Rosey.
Cade and Murdoch are a real tag team, conceived of as a unit, and presented as such. They will, although it'll take a bit longer than 2 weeks, get their characters over and will be just fine. Meantime, Hurricane and Rosey have been invisible, and their most recent RAW appearances had more to do with Stacy Keibler than with the tag team titles. And Stacy's gone, so...

And even when Hurricane and Rosey get to work on Heat, they've done so in a surprising number of singles matches. Which they fail to win.

So who's trending upwards and whose trending downward? Yeah, I think it's pretty clear that Cade/Murdoch are going over here. A few requisite rematches for Hurricane and Rosey, and then I shudder to think that it'll be title shots for Triple-V-D (also known as Val Venis and Viscera). Does getting rid of the Dudleys seem like it was a good idea to ANYbody out there? Didn't think so....

 

SHELTON BENJAMIN vs. CHAVO "KERWIN WHITE" GUERRERO

I could do a big long preview for this match. But this is a case where the more blunt I am, the funnier it'll be. So:

Chavo Guerrero came to RAW and decided to re-create himself as a middle-class caucasian racist. Shelton Benjamin is black. Chavo thus dislikes Shelton. A feud commences.

I made none of that up. If I tried to make up something rectum-clenchingly awful, I still couldn't have come up with THAT. You want more hilarity: Jonathan Coachman, WWE's Announcer of Color, is Kerwin White's biggest fan. It's enough to make your head explode.

So anyway, six days after "Kerwin" used such devastating items as a Country Club Douchebag Sweater Vest and a golf club against Shelton, there's nothing to do about it other than to wrestle again on PPV. Leave it to WWE to figure out a way to take a Shelton Benjamin vs. Chavo Guerrero match and make me dread it, instead of anticipate it. The fricking monkeys....
  

The OOutlOOk
Chavo wins: 6 votes   --|--  Shelton wins: 4 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Chavo d. Shelton.
Why is Shelton Benjamin not an upper mid-carder at this point? Why? Why, WWE?

I have to go cry now.

Canadian Bulldog Says... Shelton d. Chavo.
This isn't meant to be a knock against Kerwin, whom I feel has taken one hell of an awful gimmick and made it watchable. I really do think he'll get the character down pat and go places with it.

But, I mean, COME ON! Shelton Benjamin is one of the best wrestlers on the roster. He's proven that can he hang with the big boys. I don't mind him in this particular feud, but I can't fathom what losing the match here would mean for him going forward. At least Kerwin still has Middle-Class America to fall back on.
The Cubs Fan Says... Shelton d. Chavo.
I can't figure out what the people in charge of being in charge think about Kerwin. It's not a Ken Anderson situation where they've started to rally around him (or Rob Conway, where they're at least taking measures to protect him.) At the same time, they haven't given up on him like they've done with the Heart Throbs. Not too long ago, this would seem to be a time keeping and status building easy win for Shelton, but I'm not so sure what they feel about him any more either. I have him with the win, but I'm not feeling too certain about it.
Matt Hocking Says... Chavo d. Shelton.
Randy Orton: Well, Daverster, it harkens upon thou and I to chooser the winning numbers on this next match. Who will it be? Kermit Waits or Sherman Berman?
“Dave” Batista “Davidson:
Who is Kermit WHITE?!
Orton:
In soothe, I don’t not know who Kermit is or why he has come to us on the day of Unforgettening! Truly he must be some kind of Ledger! A ledger who, I, the Ledger Skillet, Ranky Morgan must undertake! I must start what I’ve finished!
Batista:
I will win the MATCH!
Orton:
I doughnut think you’re in this contrast, Mr. Belvedere! But truly, we must remember what my father, the late great WWE Hall of Justice member Cowpie Rob Hogan once said. “Ranky,” he said, “don’t eat any more nickels!” And I hardly ever do, even to this dave!
Batista:
You make me LAUGH!
Dragon:
PEDIGREE TO ORTON!
Batista:
My Little PONY!
Dragon:
No, Dave! I’m Ultimo Dragon!
Batista:
I win the MATCH!
Eddie Guerrero:
My nephew Chavito is going to win, esse!
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Shelton d. Chavo.
I could get excited about this match if I was a little less jaded about the current WWE product. I mean we can all say "Man, give these guys some time and they can have a great match", but we all know that they won't be given that time. I think the pure fact that a Divas match and a Show/Snitsky match being on this card indicates that the WWE would rather fill up time with crap than let these two go at it for any length of time. I mean, they didn't even bother announcing this match on RAW. They waited and had it posted on WWE.com a few days later. Not a good sign. I say they get 8 minutes tops. Which is really a shame because I think it could be good. I went with Shelton because Chavo (I refuse to call him by that other name) has gotten the better of him for the past two weeks. Plus, Shelton could really use a win as it seems like he hasn't had one in ages.
Jeb Lund Says... Chavo d. Shelton.
WWE sure knows how to deal with racial angles, don’t they? I’m picking Kerchavowin, here, for two reasons. One, WWE really loves to have racists win matches and make honest people who are proud of themselves and their race lose. Two, WWE really seems to love making Shelton look like absolute shit lately. Why not have two great tastes that taste great together!?!?!?!?!?!?! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! I’m so happy about this!!!!!!
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Chavo d. Shelton.
White is clearly designed to get under our skin, and a win over Benjamin would be par for the course, so to speak. Annoying gimmick aside, the wrestling talent is there for this to be a show stealer if given a slight window of opportunity, but it'll be tough with nothing much at stake and Matt and Edge doing their thing in a cage.
PyroFalkon Says...  Shelton d. Chavo.
No additional comment.
Big Danny T Says... Chavo d. Shelton.
Well, if Kerwin hadn't been given a golf cart to drive to the ring the past couple weeks (complete with"KW" symbol on the front), I would so totally be behind Shelton for this one. But no, WWE had to give Chavo's lame gimmick an expensive prop, so that means they are at least invested in him for the short term, so look for Kerwin to go over on Sunday, and 
they draw the feud out for a few months. Considering the talent levels of these two guys, tho, the matches should at least be entertaining from a workrate POV. I actually expect this one or the tag match to be the show stealer. Ooo, I hope they start selling Kerwin White Golf Cart Hot Wheels at the merchandise stands!
Rick Scaia Says... Chavo d. Shelton.
I need to balance my heel/face winners a bit; this and the women's match are the only two on the card where I think I could see the finish going either way (the other six matches are just too... well, unless WWE is retarded and as self-destructive as they accuse the Ultimate Warrior of being, the other six matches kinda HAVE to go the way I picked 'em).

I stuck with "WWE Think" on the women's match since they wouldn't have Trish drop her return match, and so I do the same here. They think they can make a go of "Kerwin White," and they might be wrong, but that won't stop them from trying. They've invested in a golf cart and all the other crap for Chavo's new look, and I figure he's got another 4-6 weeks before the "Simon Dean Effect" kicks in and somebody realizes it's just not worth the trouble and begins the de-push.

Sadly, that means Shelton does the job here (he might even get DQ'ed, since of all the things you could actually sympathize with as a good reason for going nutso and doing something crazy is being a black man dealing with a racist; in fact, let's make that my official prediction and the finish that let's WWE "protect" Kerwin while actually being a Moral Victory for Shelton... I think Kerwin being a douche all match and Shelton just snapping and cutting loose with a vicious attack requiring a DQ would show fans a new side of Shelton and maybe get their attention back after the crappy way he's been treated the last 3 months; I'd even dig it if they teased it as a heel turn, with Kurt Angle getting involved to commend his one-time pupil for his sudden display of viciousness... this, then, could lead to Shelton saying "I hate racists dicks, but this isn't really the path for me" and feuding with Kurt at some point, even if just for a mini-program before returning to his regularly scheduled upper-mid-card babyface duties, instead of slumming it in Heat-caliber storylines against characters destined to flop).

Of course, because this is a finish that projects out to have so many excellent possibilities, it won't happen. Instead, Chavo will just win with a pull of the tights or something. Wheee. And once again, I like to hold this up as evidence of how what I just come up with off the top of my head late on a Thursday night is light years better than whatever horseshit the writer monkeys are actually being paid to come up with.

Somebody should seriously start a petition.

 

BIG SHOW vs. GENE SNITSKY

I warned you above: I really don't remember how this started. I think it was Show interrupting a Snitsky Foot Fetish Interlude, which somehow led to them having a match, which Snitsky walked out on, which meant that they suddenly had a feud.

Which they didn't. They just had a shitty non-finish to a match nobody cared about. Which is NOT justification to do a PPV rematch of the match that nobody cared about.

But tell that to WWE, who apparently think that this is a good use of their time. Bzzzzt. Guess again, monkeys. You've already shot yourself in the foot by even booking this crap, but here's a helpful hint: if you book this to go any longer than 90 seconds, that'd be like dipping your gaping foot wound into a bucket of rancid feces. So do us all a favor, and just don't, OK? Go see the doctor, instead.

For purposes of this discussion, I'm the doctor, and I may not have any idea how to fix your foot, but I sure as shit could do a better job than you on fixing your TV shows.
  

The OOutlOOk
Big Show wins: 9 votes   --|--  Snitsky wins: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Big Show d. Snitsky.
How is this possibly adding to the PPV? Matches like these are the reason I will be working on Sunday rather than spending my money on useless bullshit like this. Big Show wins because he doesn't suck and Snitsky does.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Big Show d. Snitsky.
You know a PPV is bad when I can't even get excited for a match featuring my beloved SHNITSKY!!!

I mean, what's the point? Big Show wins again. Great. Even if he loses, most people will think that he won. And then what? Another match in three weeks time? The next PPV? WrestleMania 22? Talk about being stuck on Treadmill Blvd. and Going Nowhere Drive. Show definitely deserves better than this, a throwaway match at absolute best. Even SHNITSKY!!! deserves more than this.
The Cubs Fan Says... Big Show d. Snitsky.
I pick Show because he seems to be on the rise in his push cycle. This match will surely be forgotten five minutes after it happens unless Snitsky does something memorable moronic, and a win doesn't really mean much for either side. This isn't going anywhere, this isn't a the finish to a meaningful feud (though hilarious in how it's being presented as an equal or greater one than Matt/Edge), this isn't going to be good by any definition of the word.
Matt Hocking Says... Big Show d. Snitsky.
Scott Hall: Hey, yo, mang! Hey, Kev, look, it’s the Giant, mang!
Kevin Nash:
You know, I always thought there was something about that guy. Who the fuck is “Gene Snitsky” sounds like some old man.
Hall:
Wasn’t that, like, Nick Bockwinkle’s tag team partner back in the AWA? I think I wrestled this guy a few times.
Nash:
Did you beat him?
Hall:
Only when I was drunk and hard up for cash. Speaking of being drunk, where’s all the booze in this place.
Nash:
I can’t seem to find any. This is lamer than TNA on a Saturday. We should get us some of them “Legends” contracts and start working the seniors tour, man.
Hall:
Yeah. Hell, if that fails, we can always go back to picking up hookers at dive bars, you know what I’m sayin’?
Nash:
Speaking of hookers, Chae’s friend is throwing a party down there, and there will be lots of slutty girls looking to have sex with guys of limited celebrity!
Hall:
A party? Down where?
Nash:
Down there!
Hall:
Hahahaha! We’ve still got it!
Nash:
Let’s go. Hurry up and make a pick.
Hall:
I’m gonna go with the Giant. One more win…For the Good Guys.
Nash:
Good enough for me! Let’s go!
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Snitsky d. Big Show.
A foot fetish? This is now a sufficient basis for a feud? This has to be the flimsiest excuse for two men to fight since the Jericho/Kane "hot coffee" feud. Who knew that sexual deviant behavior was one of Show's buttons? This better be quick and painless. How do I think it will end? Show will try and give one of his big slaps to Snitsky's back and some of Snitsky's backne will explode into Show's eyes, blinding him and allowing Snitsky to pin him. OK, now that I've thoroughly grossed all of you out, I'll say that I actually just chose Snitsky to even out my face to heel win ratio. Trying to actually muster up enough interest to analytically pick a winner would have been too difficult.
Jeb Lund Says... Big Show d. Snitsky.
Ordinarily, I’d figure the Snitsky Train just could not be stopped. But I think it will. And for the reasons everyone else mentioned. God, I love not having to unconsciously repeat what everyone else said in a misguided attempt to make my irrelevant opinions about irrelevant matches in an irrelevant pay-per-view understood. I’d also love to deconstruct the Ross Report here and make all sorts of jokes about Show and Snitsky and lots of other people, but that would be just plain stupid.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Big Show d. Snitsky.
Show, Show, Show, here we go. This will either be the opener or an early palate cleanser to get the taste of the Kerwin White Experience out of our mouths. Nothing you wouldn't normally see on RAW, although it would be nice if they gave Show a signature Feat of Strength to mark the occasion, like flipping over a tank, or eating it.
PyroFalkon Says...  Big Show d. Snitsky.
No additional comment.
Big Danny T Says... Big Show d. Snitsky.
Snitskey has never gotten the upper hand on Big Show without use of outside interference or a steel chair. If this was a gimmick match, then yeah I'd give Snitsky a chance... actually, no, I wouldn't. 5 minutes, tops, Big show wins it with chokeslam.
Rick Scaia Says... Big Show d. Snitsky.
Duh. This has no excuse for happening, but if it is, let's just make sure we don't screw things up too badly. Show should win a virtual squash. It's not enough that he win, he needs to win fast, because not one fan is going to have the patience to put up with even 30 seconds of Snitsky on offense.

Just do the right thing. It doesn't have to be Benoit/OJ fast (I'd like to take some time to do the "SHHHHHH!" Chops, at least), but it needs to be decisive. There are things Big Show can do (like get in the mix for Angle's title), where as there is nothing my mind can come up with for Snitsky after this match. So I can see no reason not to make it fast and painless.

Of course, that doesn't mean WWE can't see a reason... but I figure even if they foolishly book this to go 10 minutes, it's still impossible that they'd be dumb enough to not put Show over. And I'm only legally obligated to pick a winner: the predictions about length? Those are only an exhibition, not a competition. So please: no wagering.

 

EXTRAS/CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Eight announced matches seems like a lot. But a bunch of them sure do project out to be on the brief side (unless WWE wants fans worked up into an Orgy Of Apathy before they get to the 2 or 3 interesting matches). 

So how do they flesh out the show and try to make it a bit more exciting for the home viewers? Probably with long-ass 4-minute video packages in between each match that accomplish absolutely nothing but causing our attention to wander further...

But we can hope for something better, can't we? Here's some final thoughts from the trOOps that don't fit into any one of the previous eight sections....
  

The OOutlOOk

Erin Anderson Says... Nothing, because she frequently likes to impersonate her idol, Diva Search Ashley.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Buy the Book!
I really don't have much to say here. This is a SmackDown-caliber PPV. And that's just on paper - I can only imagine how bad it will look after I've plunked down my hard-earned money to watch it. And, uh, get all of my predictions dead wrong. Ugh.

This being in Oklahoma, you have to figure JR will get embarassed somehow. Maybe Kurt Angle tries to have animal sex with him. Perhaps Bischoff fires him again. Perhaps Vince McMahon rents an Elvis jumpsuit for him and demands he dance a lip-synched routine to "Love Me Tender". Any way you slice it, Good Ol' JR would be better off calling in sick.

Kane's gotta be coming back soon in time to promote his crappy new book. Which isn't nearly as good as this book, according to my high-placed WWE sources. This PPV's as good a time as any for The Big Red Return.

Do I sense that Val Venis vs. One of the Heartbreaks will be YOUR Sunday Night Heat match? Unfortunately, I do. Sorry 'bout that.
The Cubs Fan Says... Have you heard? This is more like a SD! PPV, baby!
I'm pretty sure this is a SmackDown PPV from the first half of the year and you all are lying to me. We've got Cena, Angle, Carlito and a pretty boring card.

One of the bigger problems with this show concept is it very obviously isn't the most important show to WWE right now. That show is the first RAW on USA, which happens to be free. This, they probably should be giving away free but I have a feeling they won't be. Outside of Kurt/Cena, this would be a mediocre edition of RAW (and this doesn't feel that much different from the TV shows), not a must see event.
Matt Hocking Says... Scoops Straight from the Desk of Vince Himself....
PPV Booking Notes From the Desk of Vince McMahon:

1. What do we want to book for Heat? Hell, I don’t know, throw some cruiserweight shit out there to appease the smarks. This is a RAW PPV?! Geez. Hell if I know then. You know what? Fuck Heat. Nobody watches that goddamn show anyway, just put Conway v. Viscera on between Masters Highlight Packages and Todd Grisham trying to interview himself about ways to die. Oh, and make sure you run an angle about John Cena making Eric Bischoff look like an idiot, and then later, make Cena look like an idiot. Bischoff is such an idiot. Now, on the subject of the women’s match I’d like to…what are you doing here? Why do you have a rubber chicken?! NO…NOOOOOOO!!!

2. On the subject of the women’s match, make it a fuckin’ four way lesbian rules match in a giant bowl of banana pudding, and have the winner be the first one tah make the othah girls tap out with pleasah! Then, during Cahlito/Flaih, I’m gonna come out and say that Cahlito is MY son and that I’m havin’ sex with Flaih’s daughtah! And then Flaih is going to reveal that he’s havin’ sex with his daughtah too and…NOOOOOOO!

3. And everybody right here on Online Onslaught (Cheap pop!) is going to buy my book, it’s called Scooter and it’s a coming of age story about a boy who really loves the sport of base…NOOOOOO!

4. And everybody here is going to buy my book the best book ever (EVER!)! It’s seven pages of wall to wall hilarity followed and preceeded by 433 pages of recipes for Goat Cheese Lasagna I stole off Wikipedia! Don’t pretend you don’t know who I am because…NOOOOOO!

5. Honestly, I really don’t have anything more to say about the PPV. It is. It exists in the 4D ether of our time, and on Sunday, we will exist concurrently with it. Perhaps you can make up a fun Funforgiven drinking game? Or perhaps you could order it, watch Hurricane/Rosey v. Cade/Murdoch and turn it off? Or perhaps you can spend your Sunday bitching about Fantasy Football results. Hell if I know.

Adam Gutschmidt Says... I'm OK, You're OK... and This PPV Might Be In Oklahoma but it's NOT OK.
What? You mean I have to think of more stuff to say about this PPV? I've already put more effort into these picks than the writers have in creating this card. Ugh. Frankly, I'm really not sure how much time there will be for extras. I mean, the card may suck, but 8 matches is a pretty full card so I don't expect much else. Perhaps a "Bischoff is angry" segment here or a "Eugene is goofy" segment there, but nothing really of interest.

Oh wait a minute, this PPV is in Oklahoma, right? So there must be something dealing with J.R. Can it please involve some worthless heel that they are trying to push kicking his ass? I mean, we've NEVER seen that before. Maybe I'm being too cynical. Perhaps, they realize that this has become a cliche and they'll simply tease having him get beat up before someone makes the save or J.R. actually defends himself. As to who might try and attack him? No clue. I guess either Conway or Tomko, since every other high profile person from RAW is already doing something else. But does anyone actually want to see it be one of those two? I think not.
Jeb Lund Says... Nothing, because he has decided to impersonate his idol, Erin Anderson.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... This as as Diplomatic a "You Suck" as you'll ever see.
I suggested last time out that WWE was at its nadir. Then they tease me by introducing Ken Kennedy and Paul Burchill, two performers who are clearly leaps and bounds better than the Not Ready for Prime Time wrestlers we've been force fed in recent times. I have high hopes for Cade-Murdoch, too.

It's probably not the best political move for me to have anything negative to say about WWE. I would like to work for them in some capacity someday. But I call it the way I see it. If the current product does good business, that's what it's all about in the end. That doesn't mean it's good 
wrestling, and I'm a wrestling fan, not a business fan.

So... anything else going on at Unforgiven? How about some Mick Foley? I forget whether he has a travel window to appear at the PPV or not, but I'd definitely get him back in the mix to remind people that Anything Can Happen, even if it's just shilling a book and maybe kicking some ass for a 
Cheap Pop.
PyroFalkon Says...  Nothing, because he is impersonating his idol, Jeb Tennyson Lund.
Big Danny T Says... Cena Will Speak.
What with pretty much everything the Raw has to offer out on the actual PPV, it doesn't leave much for backstage shenanigans.

Hmm, I've already talked about Boobies McTitsalot getting stripped down to her unmentionables, thus providing the only real appeal that she has to the company.

I know there hasn't been much clamoring about it, but no, Bret Hart will not be making his return at this PPV to cost HBK a match.

Hilarity with Eugene backstage, possibly involving Rob Conway, Rene DuPree, and Tajiri? Bank on it! Oops, not my catchphrase... Hmm, How about "Done Deal!"

Of course, Bischoff will try to take one last stab at Cena, verbally. And of course, Cena will come out on top of the exchange, because he's real or something.

Apart from that, I got nothing.
Rick Scaia Says... I tried, I really, really tried.
I hope I succeeded in at least getting the top three match to sound pretty worthwhile. There's not a whole lot else I could do about the other five, though. And now, as I sit here with the end in sight, I'm not sure if I have any more Wit left in me.

I really don't expect much in the way of worthwhile extras. Maybe a promo or two (Angle and Cena seem the likeliest), and then just the WWE Standard of doing unnecessary Video Packages between every match, instead of cramming in Actually Interesting Content.

I see no room for surprise appearances here (not only do none of the existing matches really fit the bill for one, but it does seem like WWE's intent on keeping back Foley, HHH, etc., until the Oct. 3 RAW). I see no room for additional matches (except on Heat, here I'd bet on Triple-V-D being in action if my hunch about them being RAW's next top babyface tag team is right). I see little chance that this PPV will be anything more than a tolerable-if-forgettable 3 hours. And that's if everything goes PERFECTLY.

So there it is: a best case scenario of "Well, it might not TOTALLY suck out loud." No wonder it was so hard assembling 10,000 words about the damned show...

 
And that just about does it. We've put together a PPV Preview that was probably a more illuminating and interesting use of your time than recent episodes of RAW have been...

And you know the OO Ethic: on Sunday night, I'll slap together an immediate post-show Recap of Unforgiven which I'll go ahead and predict will be better than the show itself.

Prove me wrong, WWE. Prove me wrong. Oh lord, I'd do anything to be wrong...


  
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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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