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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
TEAM COVERAGE: SD! presents
No Mercy PPV Preview
October 7, 2005

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

 

WWE did itself no favor this week. 
 
SmackDown! brand PPVs are always an Adventure in Apathy for most fans. No Mercy seems to be looking to take the crown for the Crappiest SD! PPV Line-Up Of The Year, too. 

So how does WWE address the problem? By upgrading the SD! product? Nope; by presenting a RAW Homecoming Special that truly embodies the beloved OO term, "Free Per View."

 
It's not like No Mercy didn't have enough working against it already... now WWE goes and reminds us what it's like to feel excited about a show (even if they didn't really pay off on that back on Monday), only to ask us to PAY FOR a shitty show six days later. That can't work, can it? 

I haven't missed a PPV in ages... I think it's been two years, actually. But if baseball doesn't go quite as planned, I'm telling you now: I'll have no problem skipping this one. Currently, if the Yankees require a Game Five to finish off the hated "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim" (hated only because of their retarded nomenclature, not because I really have any reason reason to despise them), that Game Five will be played at 7:30 on Sunday night.

Give me a GOOD PPV, and that's a call I might still make in favor of baseball. Give me No Mercy, and it's a no-brainer.

But whether the chips fall in such a way that I see this PPV or don't, the fact is that we're still here today (9 strong) to preview the show for you. The trOOps: even when the WWE product is lacking, we like to show up and do our best to succeed where WWE has failed. Namely, in terms of entertaining you, the Home Viewer, and making you enthusiastic about our product.

So with no further ado, let's turn things over to our 9-person staff fully previewing No Mercy's 8-match card from every imagineable angle....
 

BATISTA vs. EDDIE GUERRERO
World Title Match

A full year after Babyface Eddie dropped out of the WWE Title picture on SD!, Heel Eddie has finally made it back to main event status.

Upon the merciful conclusion to the Batista/JBL title feud, SD! needed a new #1 Contender... GM Teddy Long seemed poised to grant Rey Mysterio a title shot, but at the last second, Network Douchebag Carson Palmer (or whatever his name is) stepped in and named Eddie as the #1 Contender. I know, I know: it doesn't make a lick of sense. But at least this time, WWE's lazy-ass storytelling has a positive outcome, as Eddie is certainly a worthy contender and could help Batista to deliver his best match to date.

Coming out of the seemingly random selection of Eddie as the top contender, SD! threw a curveball, though: instead of the standard shouting, ass-kickings, and general hostility that define pro wrestling feuds, Batista and Eddie have spent the last month being remarkable cordial to each other. 

This was the result of Eddie trying to play mindgames on Big Ol' Dave, by feigning friendship in an attempt to keep Batista off balance. What Eddie wasn't ready for, however, was when Batista was more than willing to play along to keep EDDIE off balance. The antics of Noted Dastard Eddie Guerrero doing everything he can to convince Batista they are friends, and the reciprocal antics of Logical Monster Dave Batista being one step ahead of Eddie all the way, have been pretty amusing to watch. Also, for some reason I can't stop laughing every time Eddie calls Batista "Mister Bowtista."

Instead of the usual sneak attacks and beat-downs, this has, in a strangely noble way, been a title feud based on Mutual Respect and the Prestige of The Belt. Even if it's all a load of bullshit from Eddie's side, a "feud" predicated on one guy admitting "Yes, I would like your title, but I also respect you and just want a good clean match" is a bit of a rarity. I figure this'll make for an entertaining couple opening minutes of the match on Sunday, until Eddie shows his true colors.

In just about every significant way, this is the only match on the No Mercy card that strikes me as PPV-worthy. I like both guys, I like the storyline they've built, and I like the prospects of the two delivering a good match (again, it might even end up being Batista's best to date). But a one match card? I think we all know that's no way to get fans excited to plop down $35 or make the drive to endure a Hooters Experience...
  

The OOutlOOk
Batista wins: 9 votes   --|--  Eddie wins: 0 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Batista d. Eddie.
It's typical for me to half-ass my picks for Smackdown! pay-per-views, since I rarely pay attention to the shows and only rely on recaps. This time around, I was in a bit of trouble, though, since I hadn't even bothered doing that in the last month. Fortunately for me, as I was sitting online and staring at a blank Word document with no idea what to say and only an hour or so till the Friday afternoon deadline, Rick showed up online. I immediately bugged him via instant messenger (and yes, these really are excerpts from our chat; only the screennames have been removed to protect the innocent.)

Erin: Rick, I need some help here. I barely care about RAW anymore, much less Smackdown!, and I owe you some PPV picks. What do you say to helping me out, and then I can just cut-and-paste this chat to explain my choices?
Rick:
Is that wise? People already think that you and I are the same person, what with us always picking the same winners on these things.
Erin:
Yeah, but that happens even when we DON'T chat about the shows beforehand. Besides, if people care about this show as little as I do, I don't think too many people will be reading this anyway.
Rick:
Good point.

Erin: Okay, the title match. I'm thinking Batista.
Rick:
I'm taking Batista over Eddie, just because I have this sick feeling that SD! will be rolling with a Batista/Orton title feud soon. Which also means that I'm leaning towards violating PPV Rule #1 ("Undertaker Never Loses on PPV"), by picking the Ortons to steal a win over him.
Erin: I know Taker won at 'Mania, but who won the second match? Or hell, was there even a second match?
Rick: Yeah, SummerSlam, wasn't it? When Cowboy Bob showed up in Crazy Old Man Make-up to distract Taker, as I recall....
Erin: Oh yeah! And I think Taker won anyway, despite interference. Right?
Erin: Or is that what happened at WM?
Rick: No, Taker won clean at WM, despite Cowboy Bob's presence.... and this is how much *I* care about SD!: I'm having to check my own recap of SummerSlam to find out who won the rematch, because that information was not deemed important enough to stay in the frontal part of my brain.
Rick: Here we go - Orton won at SummerSlam with an RKO after the Cowboy Bob distraction.
Erin: Thanks.
Erin: Christ, we're pathetic. So Batista it is. WWE can't resist taunting me by giving Randy Orton, Potential Date Rapist a title shot.

Canadian Bulldog Says... Batista d. Eddie.
I'm reading the book "The Death of WCW" right now (which is an excellent read, by the way, and I swear I'll get to my point eventually). One of the prevalent themes in the book is that, for years, WCW put on shows that clearly told people "Our company just doesn't care." And not surprisingly, fans stopped caring too.

Now here's the parallel: WWE has given us a storyline that no one could possibly get behind. I mean, let's face it: they are blatanly telling us that Guerrero, who we know as a liar and cheater (and stealer) and has never had any history with Batista, will "turn" on his opponent. Great. And the wafer-thin storyline they've had cooking for the past month doesn't do anything to improve that. This says to me "Our company just doesn't care." WWE doesn't care about using Batista to his potential. They don't care about making the most of Eddie Guerrero, arguably one of the top competitors in the modern era. They don't care about giving the fans a decent, logical backstory for an event they're expected to pay to see.

So if they don't care about this match -- fuck it. I don't care, either. I'm making a pick because I want to win (or at least come close) in this site's internal competiton. I'll stick with the champ, but either way.... ehhh. What-ever.

The Cubs Fan Says... Batista d. Eddie.
The whole idea of Eddie pretending to be Batista friend is, at some point, he's supposed to stop pretending and take advantage of it. He hasn't done that yet, so either they're complete morons (and/)or he's going to do that at the PPV. Which means we probably can pencil this feud as stretching out longer, as they spend some time reacting to Eddie
doing whatever it is he did. However, since we also know Batista's playing along and doesn't actually buy it, I don't think Eddie will do enough to win the title.
Matt Hocking Says... Batista d. Eddie.
Eddie Guerrero?  Coming in off a storyline where Rey Misterio beat him 954,121 to 1, for custody of Rey and Eddie's son, Super Crazy.  Dave?  Coming off a story where he beat up JBL every week until they gave him something else to do.  Plus there was a gay doctor.  Clearly the odds are stacked in Eddie's favor.

Eddie's probably Dave's best feud on Smackdown, because his reactions are much much stronger aganst somebody who's willing to go completely over the top against him.  He had that with Triple H, but there's nobody on Smackdown
who can bring that against him but Eddie.  So it makes sense to continue their feud, but it doesn't make any sense to give Eddie the belt.  Especially not now when Smackdown has to maintain a sort of status quo against RAW.

I figure the match goes that Batista and Eddie tease having a "friendly competative match," and Dave pummels the crap out of him.  Eddie feigns begging off so that he can cheat to win, but Batista's watching for it and hits him with the OSPREY BOMB TO EDDIE~! for the win.  Probably a pretty
decent, if brawl heavy match.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Batista d. Eddie.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Batista d. Eddie.
Hand in glove
The sun shines from out of our behinds
But not from Eddie G's
Batista sent a doctor to tease
And give us all the heebie-jeebies
Spoiling an otherwise excellent matchup for me.
PyroFalkon Says...  Batista d. Eddie.
The Hosehead Says... Batista d. Eddie.
Pretty straightforward here. Itís not Eddieís time to take the title, although the story has been great. This feud isnít over, so I wouldnít be surprised if thereís some sort of screwy finish here to keep it rolling, so Eddie can eventually turn on Dave
Rick Scaia Says... Batista d Eddie.
I love Eddie as much as one man should ever love another man. But I don't think this is the time for him. Not in "WWE Think," anyway.

You just *know* that WWE has a hard-on for doing a Batista vs. Orton title feud, so that the Evolution Alumni Association can pay-off on a brief little interlude they had last spring (when Batista was responsible, in storylines, for breaking Orton's shoulder). That leaves Eddie shit outta luck.

And it's right for Batista, too, who needs wins in matches people care about to really establish his legitimacy as champ. Being perfectly blunt, Batista has not had a marketable or important match since Hell in the Cell against HHH. That is *not* how you build up a champion. Here, for the first time in four months, Batista's in position to be in the best match on the card, and the one people care the most about. It's winning THESE kinds of matches that will establish Batista as a true brand-carrying main eventer.

Look for a good match, with Eddie playing the Sneaky Asshole Role to the hilt. He'll be Batista's friend as long as he can get away with it... but my guess is that once Eddie's caught in his own web of lies, Batista will snap. Thumbs up, thumbs down, Batista Bomb, and goodnight Eddie. Maybe you'd like a US Title Feud with Chris Benoit as a parting gift?

 

REY MYSTERIO vs. JOHN BRADSHAW LAYFIELD

Out of the wreckage of the Batista/JBL title feud, and with his prospects of ever sniffing main events again looking bleak, JBL had to salvage SOMEthing. Lucky for us: he's going to drag Rey Mysterio down a few notches. I know we were all getting sick and tired of Rey/Eddie matches, but if this is the alternative? Ugh. Poor Rey: teased with a World Title Match, and now, saddled with JBL.

The two were brought together when JBL was ejected from the main event scene, and Rey was screwed over by the Network Douchebag... I mean, it makes logical sense, right? The fallen, failed former #1 Contender vs. The Guy Who The GM Was Gonna Name The New #1 Contender Until Some Random Guy Ruled Otherwise. The two were put on opposite sides of a match (I honestly forget if it was a singles, tag, or six-man), and Rey managed to score the pinfall over Bradshaw. This, obviously, did not sit well with Bradshaw, and was the basis for a "feud."

Adding "fuel" to the "fire" is the fact that JBL has tried to "improve" his image. With WWE TV tapings for the past month taking place exclusively in the state of Texas, JBL has tried to win over the fans from his original home state. With the help of his Image Consultant Amy Weber.... errr... ummmm.... that's not quite right... fricking WWE and their interchangeable useless divas. It's what's-her-name, the one with the thing on her face what used to with MNM... SHE is the one who is trying to help repair JBL's image.

That has included trying to blend in with the Texas locals as best he can.... but always screwing up in the end and revealing that he loves living on Wall Street and that he hates all Mexicans. Boo? Though it rates a massive "whatever" from me, I guess it works when you're playing exclusively to Texas crowds (and the PPV on Sunday is in Houston, too).

I figure the match won't totally suck, as the fans SHOULD be into. Rey's just that good and that popular... and by playing up the David vs. Goliath angle, they should be able to tell a pretty decent story with the match. It might not be anywhere near the top tier of Rey Matches, but I figure it should be good enough to rate as one of the better matches JBL's had.
  

The OOutlOOk
JBL wins: 6 votes   --|--  Rey Mysterio wins: 3 votes

Erin Anderson Says... JBL d. Rey.
Erin:
What's the deal with Rey v. JBL? If ever there was a match I'd pay to see, this one.... isn't it.
Rick: It'll probably be about as good a JBL match as he's had this year, actually. All he's gotta do is be a prop for Rey's spots.
Erin: Yeah, but... JBL's best match ever? Still not something I care to see.
Rick: And the deal is basically that coming out of his feud with Batista, there was a brief bit of "controversy" because Teddy Long wanted to give Rey a title shot, but Network Douche gave it to Eddie, instead. So that somehow led to a match  in which Rey pinned JBL. Thus, a feud.
Erin: And honestly, I see no benefit to either one of 'em winning. What's Rey going to do if he takes it? "I just beat JBL, so that puts me right in line for the cruiserweight belt!" Whee? Although him being Benoit's next challenger would be awesome (and therefore also won't happen.)
Erin: They teased a Rey title shot and didn't deliver? Douchewads. The only way I can see Rey getting a title shot is if Eddie beats Batista. And I'm fucking sick of Rey v. Eddie. And that is sad.
Rick: Also: all WWE TV tapings for the last month have been in Texas, so JBL has been trying to "re-invent" himself (with the assistance of that Image Consultant you dubbed "AAAUUUUUUUGGGGGHHHH!") by slumming it as a local... but he always ends up screwing it up in the end and revealing that he Hates All Mexicans.
Erin: And this is the basis for a feud?
Erin: O wrestling, how I hate thee. You know how wrestling has a tendency to sound dumber when in print? This is not the case here.
Rick: That, and JBL saying that Rey is a fine example of how our Immigration Policies are woefully insufficient.
Erin: Except, y'know, Rey was BORN HERE. Sigh.

Rick:
And predictions-wise: I'm taking JBL (via chicanery), because I get the honest feeling (from some of JBL's more non-sequitur comments about mask-wearing Mexicans) that we'll build up to a match where Rey puts his mask on the line to get revenge on JBL.
Erin:
Makes sense to me. Well, as much as something this dumb COULD make sense, anyway.
Canadian Bulldog Says... JBL d. Rey.
Another match between two people I really enjoy that's been booked to fail (sorry, folks, but you're going to be getting The Bitter Bulldog here this week). This is, arguably, a semi-main event and you'd assume that either of these guys would be considered a top contender to the World Title. And the best they can do here is.... that JBL's hired a publicist? Rey's an illegal alien?  Huh?

This just doesn't cut it for me. I'm sure both wrestlers are capable of putting on a decent, watchable match, but after that... then what? Unless they use a JBL win to put him in a feud with Benoit, I can't see the value of this particular matchup.

The Cubs Fan Says... JBL d. Rey.
Small guys can't be big guys in WWE. I know they've build an angle and had Rey beat JBL and everything, but I still can not fathom why anyone would actually want to see this match. OH MY GOSH BRADSHAW ON A WHITE HORSE, WHERE'S MY PIGGY BANK!!!
Matt Hocking Says... Rey d. JBL.
Pretend for a second that you are the WWE.  You want to seemlessly (or seemlessly as possible anyway) transition JBL out from the main event and to U.S. Titleish hopes and dreams.  How do you do that?  Why job him out to a teeny tiny little guy!  Actually, it's not so bad as that, of course, Rey's had history enough of doing things like beating big fat people, and both guys are over enough that neither will suffer very heavily from a loss.  But Rey winning opens more storyline possibliities with Rey's position on the card and JBL's as well.

The match itself, I expect, will be standard Me Big/You Tiny type action, with JBL going on long brawling segments with Rey shooting back in to get some comeback spots.  I could also see Jillian Hall and Orlando Jordan trying to interfere, though that depends on Jordan's availability as per the
U.S. Title match.  Standard fare, probably nothing that you wouldn't normally see main eventing a Smackdown or something.  Solid, but unspectacualr probably.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... JBL d. Rey.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Rey d. JBL.
Smallish Mexican
Texas brute
Wouldn't be a fair fight
If it were a shoot
But Rey's a wonder, man
Little wonder
You little wonder, little wonder you
PyroFalkon Says...  JBL d. Rey.
The Hosehead Says... Rey d. JBL.
Yet another WWE bylaw comes into play here. WWE Bylaw 112d, which states any wrestler receiving new entrance music shall automatically win his next PPV match. Enough said.
Rick Scaia Says... JBL d. Rey Mysterio.
There's not delicate way to put this: if I were in control, JBL would be a mid-carder at best, and more likely, would be one-half of a tag team so that we could utilize his sometimes-inspired heelishness without having him actually, you know?, go out and have to wrestle entire 20 minute matches on his own.

But I'm not in control, and the truth of the matter is that JBL's not going away any sooner than Chris F. Masters will be. He's here, and he's gonna be sticking around for a while. Thus, much as it pains me, I have to consider the likelihood that WWE wants to keep JBL in the spotlight beyond this match with Rey. The only realistic way to do this would be to have JBL win, and to keep this feud rolling with JBL able to claim that he smote the filthy Mexican.

Also, I can't help but be distracted by the fact that JBL has twice thrown out the seeming non-sequitur of "mask-wearing Mexicans" in his Immigration Policy Related Rants... the only way those make a lick of sense? If WWE is building to a match in which Rey puts his mask on the line in an attempt to get sweet, sweet vengeance on JBL.

And to desire vengeance means that Rey will have to be wronged first. So I'm picking JBL via some sort of dastardly means on Sunday. Vengeance may come later.

 

CHRIS BENOIT vs. CHRISTIAN vs. BOOKER T vs. ORLANDO JORDAN
Fatal FourWay Match for the United States Title

The story? There really isn't much of one other than "Chris Benoit is awesome, and so we need to find something for him to do on PPV." This really has the feel of a match designed to be where mid-carders too talented to be left off a PPV go to die. Why does it seem that Christian and Booker end up in these sorts of matches on a near-monthly basis?

Oh, it's because WWE's writer monkeys are under orders to never push/showcase wrestlers that fans actually might enjoy watching. 

Anyway, the story: Benoit took the US Title from Jordan at SummerSlam and has subsequently made him his personal bitch, beating him in under 30 seconds three straight times. Then, in a fourth re-match, Jordan lasted 45 seconds before tapping out. Jordan considered this a moral victory, and as a result felt he was justified in demanding another rematch.

Christian pinned Benoit in a tag team match 3 weeks ago, and as a result felt like he was justified in demanding a title shot against Benoit.

Booker pinned Christian one week after Christian pinned Benoit, and Booker's increasingly-bitchy-and-conniving wife convinced Booker that this meant HE was justified in demanding a title shot against Benoit.

So Teddy Long decided to allow Benoit to pick his own challenger from among those three. After Jordan won a 3-way match over Christian and Booker, Benoit came out and announced that he thought long and hard, and why should he face one challenger when he could beat the crap out of all three? Voila, Fatal Fourway out of nowhere.

There's certainly enough talent here that the match should be very well worked. But the problem is: WWE just really hasn't given us any reason to care. It's like Confucius once said, "If Chris Benoit has a **** match on a SD! PPV, does it make a sound?". Or something like that....
  

The OOutlOOk
Benoit wins: 8 votes   --|--  Christian wins: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Chris Benoit wins.
Erin:
What are your thoughts on the 4-way? I can't see any reason to take the title off Benoit, unless someone else in that match is getting pushed. Besides, if the ovation he got on RAW is any indication, WWE would be idiots to take the belt off him now. Credibility is the watchword.
Rick: I'm picking Benoit, too. For much the same reason you just stated.
Erin: All right.
Rick: The only reason to have Benoit drop the title is if you wanted to fantasy book Eddie beating Batista, and then doing a Benoit/Eddie World Title Feud.
Erin: That would rule, and therefore it won't happen.
Rick: And plus: Jordan can't win (unless WWE is suicidal), Christian won't win (because WWE hates us), and the only way a Booker win works is if it comes with a heel turn (which MIGHT be feasible because of the bitchy vibe his wife has been giving off lately, but I'm not about to bank on it).
Erin:
Yeah. And that would mean Booker would be getting a real, substantial push. I love ya, Book, but this is WWE here. Not happening.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Chris Benoit wins.
In an ideal world, there'd be a title change here and Christian would finally live up to his pre-SmackDown potential. But I have a feeling they're going with a Booker-Benoit feud (which isn't a necessarily a bad thing, but it screws up my earlier JBL prediction. Sigh.) and what better way to keep this going then by having Benoit look great again and having no excuses not to offer his "best friend" Booker T a title shot.
The Cubs Fan Says... Chris Benoit wins.
It would be WWE-rific to have Benoit spend two months proving he's much better than OJ, only for OJ to get a fluke pin here to win the title back, but I think they've truly given up on him for the time being. Booker can't win it, because Booker T's Wife won't be able to complain about him not getting a title shot if he wins the title. Christian can't win it, because apparently he was an truly evil person in a previous life, and he's going to spend this life paying for it. So I guess Benoit wins. Yay?
Matt Hocking Says... Chris Benoit wins.
They haven't spent the last few months building up the U.S. title so that Benoit can job it out in his first "real" title defense.  They haven't spent that time building up Benoit's "Whoever wants a shot can have a shot" persona, to have the first group of people beat him up and take it.  Unfortunatley for Booker and Tian that means another bunch of time doing nothing in particular.  And for Jordan, more of the same.

It's my belief that since nobody's said that this is a "Fatal Fourway Elimination Match," or at least I haven't heard that, that this will be of the "everybody breaking up pinfalls" model for multiperson matches.  My guess is that Benoit, Tian and Booker will do most of the legwork, while Jordan is there to pop in a few breakups and as somebody for Christian to
ally with.  Honestly, I think this feud will probably continue for at least a few more months (with Jordan out and probably JBL in) until they finally move the belt off of Benoit.  As it is now, the match drags for a while and then Benoit scores a quick submission victory over Jordan.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Chris Benoit wins.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Chris Benoit wins.
Don't bring me down, Chris
Don't bring me down, Chris
Don't bring me down, Chris
Don't bring me down
PyroFalkon Says...  Christian wins.
The Hosehead Says... Chris Benoit wins.
I have no reason as to why I say this, other than my desire for a Benoit/Kennedy US title feud.
Rick Scaia Says... Chris Benoit wins.
Process of elimination here. Jordan can't win because the whole reason Chris Benoit is being given the job of rehabbing the US Title is because Jordan screwed things up during his crappy run as champ. Christian won't win because WWE refuses to push people who, you know, are over with the audience. And the only way a Booker win would work is if it comes with a heel turn, which I just don't see in the cards.

And anyway, the disposition of the US Title itself *is* the most important thing here, moreso than the disposition of the challengers. Restoring some luster and credibility to the title is what's important. And the best way to accomplish that is to let Chris Benoit keep on doing what he's been doing the last month or so: kick ass, convincingly.

I forget what WWE Rules are for four-ways, but I *think* it's elimination style, and if that's the case, the way you book this thing should be simple. Benoit should score ALL the eliminations, and all via tap-out. Step one, to hook the fans: Orlando Jordan should be eliminated in under 30 seconds. Step two: the rest of the match should kick ass, cuz those three guys are just that good. Christian's a pure heel, and I think you use Sharmell's newfound bitchiness to cast Booker as a tweener in the match. Booker and Christian should even work together at a few points, to put over the lengths they'll each go to to eliminate the menacing champion.

I'd have miscommunication between the two lead to the second elimination (Christian could accidently hit Booker, leading to Booker getting locked in the Crossface; and then, instead of save Booker, we get a replay of the SD! match from a while back in which Christian just looked the other way). This "re-babyface-izes" Booker (and gives him an excuse in case he wants to launch a one-on-one US Title feud with Benoit). Then Benoit and Christian tear the house down for about 10 more minutes before Benoit scores the win.

That's a match I'd be happy to watch. So of course, look for it to not happen this way at all.

 

UNDERTAKER vs. BOB & RANDY ORTON
Handicap Match... and, Apparently, A Casket Match

Last Second Rewrite: Apparently, this match is a casket match. Huh. I mean, I actually watch SD! and everything (albeit with a heavy FF Finger), and the first I knew about the casket match stip was late on Friday afternoon. Guess I have to re-do this section of the preview, eh?

And my poor trOOps: they don't get a Friday afternoon do-over, so if any of them make inappropriately pinfall/DQ/whatever-based predictions for finishes, it's my fault for not giving them all the facts in my Call To Action E-mail.

Anyway, the deal here is that I guess the Casket Stipulation means this is the Final Blow-off to the Taker/Orton(s) feud. As you will recall, it all started back last March when Randy Orton read in RAW Magazine that he would be wrestling the Undertaker at WrestleMania, so he figured he'd better go out to the ring and issue a challenge to Taker. Note: I am not making this up. WWE really did screw up and leaked the Orton/Taker match in a magazine before it was on TV. And then for TV purposes, Orton actually "got the idea" for the match by reading the magazine. Baffling....

Anyway, with Taker selected as his next legend to kill, Orton got beat at WM21, and then had to take 3 months off for shoulder surgery. When he came back, he had been lotteried over to SD!, where he could pick up where he left off with Taker. This has led to a pair of subsequent matches... Orton got help from his dad to beat Taker at SummerSlam, but Taker repaid the favor and pinned Young Randall cleanly for a second time a few weeks ago on SD!.

You'd think that would have been the end of it, with Taker winning the series 2 matches to 1. But I guess not... there's been plenty of Gay Spookiness (come to think of it, two straight weeks it DID involve a casket, so I guess maybe that's where the Casket Match stipulation came from?) and somehow the end result is that Taker agreed to this 2-on-1 handicap match. Which is also, apparently, a casket match.

The casket match stip means they might actually be able to deliver an entertaining brawl here. After Taker/Orton's good WM match, the last two have been significantly less thrilling.... here, with no DQ and with Cowboy Bob around to act as a prop and run interference, they should be able to do things in this match that they haven't done in past encounters. This should be No Mercy's one out of control brawl, and the match most likely to see a table broken... and yet, as soon as I say that, why do I dread that with endless options for ultraviolence, Young Randall Orton will turn to his most beloved of all weapons: the five minute chinlock. Oy.
  

The OOutlOOk
Ortons win: 6 votes   --|--  Undertaker wins: 3 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Ortons d. Undertaker.
Erin:
Orton's going to win, isn't he?
Rick:
Yeah, I think so.
Erin:
Goddammit.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Ortons d. Undertaker.
Finally a match I can sink my teeth to. And I'm not even kidding.

Sure, I've never been a huge fan of Taker and Young Randall, but hell, they're doing their job well and creating interest in a long-running feud. Hard to argue with that logic. And Bob Orton deserves major brownie points for playing his role so well.

Now, there aren't too many times I'd bet against Taker winning at a PPV, especially because Orton won their last PPV confrontation, but how about this for a scenario? It's kind of "out there" and not likely to happen, but this is the type of thing you need to do to get people interested in SmackDown again.

Prior to the match, let's say Mick Foley meets up with his old friend Taker in the hallway, hinting that he'll be there in case the Ortons try anything stupid (which is fairly easy for... nah, not gonna go there). Then Foley turns on Taker, giving him his "big reason" to return to the ring that he alluded to on Raw. Meanwhile, Randy another date with density (copyright Rick Scaia, 2004) at Vengeance against Batista due to his back-to-back PPV wins over Taker. And the Dead Man can even use the excuse that it was a handicap PLUS a heel turn by Foley that cost him the match.

Like I said, maybe that's a bit of a stretch. But a decent idea nonetheless.

The Cubs Fan Says... Undertaker d. Ortons.
Undertaker has this way of not losing feuds. Ain't going to be different for Randy Orton.
Matt Hocking Says... Undertaker d. Ortons.
The entire story of this feud has been "Randy Orton, try his dear heart as he might, cannot beat Undertaker without a lot of luck (and a little help from dad)."  I don't see any reason Orton should succeed now that his father is no longer a surprise factor.  What's more likely to happen is that Orton
will lose again, just as badly as he's lost before, and blame this one on his pops.

Actually, the match should probably be just as fine as Orton and Taker's other ones (which have been suprisingly fairly good).  Cowboy Bob's roll in this match should probably be more as a "manager" than as an active participant.  Part and parcel of the action only when the storyline calls
for it (when Taker is doing extended beatdowns, or when Randy needs to be saved).  Also, I think Bob should probably take the pinfall, as Randy will eventually need to challenge for the World Title, and it looks better for him if Pops takes the loss.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Ortons d. Undertaker.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Ortons d. Undertaker.
O Daddy
When will I wear that shiny belt again?
O Daddy
When will I get another big push, yeah?

Well, don't hold your breath
'Cos it'll turn you blue
Although I'd bet my cast
You'll face Batista soon
PyroFalkon Says...  Undertaker d. Ortons.
The Hosehead Says... Ortons d. Undertaker.
WWE Bylaw 293b says that the Undertaker shall not win a casket match unless the opponent shows fear of the casket. Also worth noting, is WWE bylaw 10293d which states that in a handicap match, the team with more people shall not win. Well Iím going against BOTH of those trends and stepping out on a limb. This will allow Orton to tie it up and set up the rubber match at Survivor Series. Yay, I get another month of recapping this shit.
Rick Scaia Says... Ortons d. Undertaker.
Theory: Randy Orton is the next challenger to Batista.

Extrapolation: Randy Orton needs to be able to claim a "win" in this feud.

Observation: now that I know this is a Casket Match, there are about a zillion ways the Ortons could win, but Taker could save face. And also: even if Orton wins this match, it was a HANDICAP match, AND that only evens the Career Series between him and Taker at 2 wins apiece. It'll only FEEL like a "win" in the near-term, but with hindsight, Taker's standing will be just fine.

So: the Ortons find some way to score a cheap win. Plus: trying to stuff TWO guys in a casket? Even if WWE springs for the Marlon Brando Model, I can't see that working.... or wait, is the better joke to reference the special tubby-sized Kamala Casket that Undertaker and Paul Bearer built special with their own four hands in a series of god-awful skits back in the mid 90s?

Way I see it, there are two options... first, Taker's been back and working steadily for, what?, a whole 3-4 months now. He's probably due for another vacation. In which case, taking a casket ride would be a fine way to explain a brief absence. Or two: Taker gets put in the casket, thus losing the match, but as the Ortons celebrate, we cue up some Gay Spookiness, and Taker rises from the dead to send the Ortons scurrying away like the chickenshits they are and "gets his heat back."

I know it's a violation of PPV Rule #1 ("Undertaker doesn't job on PPVs"), but there are enough "outs" here (especially now that I know it's a casket match) to do it in a way that doesn't make it seem like a loss. Orton wins. And I'll be weeping. On the inside. Because I haven't cried on the outside since I saw the "Wrath of Khan" on HBO when I was in second grade, and Spock died. Me so macho! 

 

KEN KENNEDY vs. BOB HOLLY

Um, so last week Rey Mysterio was in a tag match against JBL (his PPV feud) and Ken Kennedy (who had pinned Rey thanks to a distraction from JBL a week before).

For some reason, Rey's partner was Bob Holly. Which might have seemed totally random to you.... but allow myself to quote, ummm, myself (from a week ago): "And am I to assume that the only reason Bob Holly materialized for no good reason to team with Rey against JBL and Ken Kennedy (kennedy) is so that Holly can get a token PPV appearance jobbing for Kennedy in six days?". 

Proof positive that not only am I capable of having Good Wrestling Ideas, but I can also put myself directly into the mindset of "WWE Think" and suss out their intent in even the most mind-boggling scenarios.

So anyway: Holly lost that tag match, so I guess that's a reason for them doing this PPV showdown. Not a good reason, mind you. But a reason.
  

The OOutlOOk
Kennedy wins: 9 votes   --|--  Holly wins: 0 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Kennedy d. Holly.
Erin:
I take it Ken Kennedy is still getting pushed?
Rick: Kennedy is definitely getting pushed... there's a reason why he got to be one of the SD! "invaders" on RAW.
Erin: Shit, I didn't even recognize him. And I actually watched the show for once.
Rick: He was really only on-screen for about 3 seconds during the final schmozz. But he was definitely there. And he even got a shout-out from Kurt in the Angle/Bischoff skit.
Erin: And I still had no idea. This is getting sad.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Kennedy d. Holly.
Simple logic: I dig Ken Kennedy (Kennedy) and I hate Holly. Thus, another win for the promising Kennedy.

(Kenn-e-dy)

Hey, let's keep a running tab to see how many of my colleagues use the EXACT SAME JOKE with the parentheses.

The Cubs Fan Says... Kennedy d. Holly.
I guess you have to give some credit to the ability of the people in charge to adjust; they seemed to be building to a Grenier/Hardcore match here, but figured out a much better idea somewhere along the lines. Kennedy should go over, but he probably needs more to go someplace; beating Hardcore Holly in hastily announced matches doesn't get you far.
Matt Hocking Says... Kennedy d. Holly.
Well, let's see.  Mr. Kennedy (Kennedy) is about the hottest thing going right now on Smackdown (which is kind of sad) and Bob Holly is...Bob Holly.  If you're picking anybody but Kennedy to win this match, you're on some kind of drugs!  Probably the really good ones that I can't afford even.

The match itself should be brutal.  Holly's still inexplicably over pretty much everywhere he goes, but he's never really ever had one of them...what do you call those things...movesets.  Kennedy is sharp, but he's still green and most of his charisma thus far has been on the mic or backstage, not in ring.  He'll go through his intro (Kennedy!), he and Hardcore will slap each other for a few minutes, Tazz will declare this one "rocketbustahs" and we're out.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Kennedy d. Holly.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Kennedy d. Holly.
Kennedy
Does a match like its supposed to be
Main event, Wrestlemania 23
Oh I believe
In Kennedy

(Kennedy)
PyroFalkon Says...  Kennedy d. Holly.
The Hosehead Says... Kennedy d. Holly.
This is also a foregone conclusion. Hardcore Holly has no chance of winning this match, and if he does, I will eat a dishtowel and put the video on the internet. Thatís a promise to my loyal readers. (Offer also not valid)
Rick Scaia Says... Kennedy d. Holly.
Duh. The only real drama here is what moron backstage thought this was worthy of a PPV slot. I know they won't play it as a squash (for whatever reason, we must protect precious Bob Holly's reputation), but for all intents and purposes, that's what this is. One guy is on his way up. The other I'd SAY is on his way down, except he never got "up" to begin with, so it's more accurate to say he's going on Year 12 of being WWE's biggest waste of a roster space.

LATE ADDENDUM: Hey Bulldog (don't pretend like you don't know that's one of my favorite Beatles songs!), I've been doing Ken Kennedy (kennedy) for over a month now. Starting immediately with his debut on SmackDown!.... BANK ON IT~!

 

BOBBY LASHLEY vs. SIMON DEAN

Simon Dean has become SD!'s whipping boy lately. He already had a "mini-feud" with Batista that ended in predictably humiliating fashion... and now, it looks like the same is happening here with newcomer Bobby Lashley.

Perhaps emboldened by the fact that he has a new personalized Segway Scooter, and thus instantly became Gob Tennyson Lund's favorite wrestler, Dean issued an open challenge a few weeks ago. And he was met by 6'4" and 280 lbs. of Bobby Lashley. A former amateur wrestling champion who (regardless of inaccurate comparisons to TNA's spastic Monty Brown) reminds one of a young Brock Lesnar. Except blacker.

Simon ate his squash and liked it then. He'll probably have to do the same at the PPV. And as much as the sky's the limit for Lashley (assuming he's upped his verbal game a bit since the last tapes I saw of him), I just don't see how putting one-sided squash matches like this and Kennedy/Holly on PPV is supposed to make the company one single dime.
  

The OOutlOOk
Lashley wins: 9 votes  --|--  Simon Dean wins: 0 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Bobby Lashley d. Simon Dean.
Erin:
Who the hell is Bob Lashley? Is this the guy my brother keeps referring to as "Black Lesnar"?
Rick: Yes, that is Lashley. And he's quite the bad-ass. "Black Lesnar" is a dead-on description, and he's been shepherded along by Kurt Angle, so you know he won't suck.
Erin: Sounds like Bob Holly doesn't have a prayer.
Rick: Ummm: Simon Dean. Holly is facing Kennedy.
Erin: And that tells you how much I care.

Rick:
Prosecution Evidence #8873 in the case of "The Fans vs. Suck Ass SD! PPVs."
Erin:
The reanimated corpse of Johnny Cochran couldn't defend that shit.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Bobby Lashley d. Simon Dean.
What? This isn't REALLY on pay-per-view, is it? This shouldn't even be on Velocity. It shouldn't even be on the Internet Version Of Velocity That No One Watches (Sorry, Cubs Fan). Seriously, what the fuck? Even TNA wouldn't show this on television... well, at least not in the main event spot.

My lord...

The Cubs Fan Says... Bobby Lashley d. Simon Dean.
On one hand, Simon Dean has a punch so strong, it breaks his own hand. On the other hand, he's Simon Dean. Things do not go well for Simon Dean, except I guess he still has a job and is on a PPV, and that's more than you can say for the Blue Meanie.
Matt Hocking Says... Bobby Lashley d. Simon Dean.
Another fine and dandy PPV squash match, which will serve no other purpose than to expose Lashley to a PPV audience.  Lashley, funnily enough, is one of those call-ups that we get every once in a while where I have heard vaguely good things about him for a while now, but I know almost nothing
about him.  I guess he's the new Brock Lesnar?

I'm guessing the pre-match skit will be longer than the actual match.  Nova will come out and whine about how some jabroni like Lashley is trying to put him down, while a lean, mean, carb burning machine like him is just trying to help everyone out.  Then Lashley comes out and punches him, and that's that pretty much.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Lashley d. Simon Dean.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Lashley d. Simon Dean.
Well, you know my name is Simon
And the things I say are true
But my gimmick takes me takes me takes me
Down the ladder to doom
PyroFalkon Says...  Lashley d. Simon Dean.
The Hosehead Says... Lashley d. Simon Dean.
Do I really need to say anything here? If Simon Dean wins this match I will buy everyone who reads this column a box of Eskimo Pies. (Offer not valid)
Rick Scaia Says... Bobby Lashley d. Simon Dean.
Duh, part two. 

Good as Lashley may be (or WILL be), PPV just isn't the place for this. So few people will see No Mercy that nothing is gained by showcasing him in a squash match... assuming that he gets a match later tonight on Friday Night SD!, we'll already have seen him do his thing three times for free. Seeing him do the same thing on a PPV? Can't say that I'm THAT fired up about the idea.

Lashley will make fans. He's got the kind of impressive for-using physique (as opposed to Chris F. Masters bodybuilder for-looking-at physique), the kind of quickness you have to see to believe out of a guy that size, and already has the kind of moveset (including a dominating finisher; if you see that as a pun, you have clearly watched too much wrestling) that makes me think of matches much longer than 2 minutes.... it adds up to him being the kind of performer you literally can't take your eyes off of, for fear of missing something cool. It's been a damned long time since WWE's had one of those. 

But I'm still not gonna sign off on this as a PPV match. Not when I'd wager a body part (for a change of pace, this time, it shall be my tonsils) that Simon Dean's pre-match douchebaggery will last long than the match itself.

 

NUNZIO vs. JUVENTUD GUERRERA
Cruiserweight Title Match

Nunzio is, whether you know it or not, the Cruiserweight Champion. The title change happened on Velocity about 2 months ago, and Nunzio has since proceeded to not make a single appearance on SmackDown! or even have his title win mentioned on the brand's flagship show.

Nunzio won said title thanks to an appearance by the mysterious Big Vito (formerly Vito "the Skull" Lagrasso in ECW, and before that, I remember him from my childhood as WWF Jobber Skull von Krush, if I recall correctly). Vito has since become Nunzio's loyal valet and sometimes tag partner.

And just in time, too, since as soon as Nunzio won the title, he found himself embroiled in International Warfare against the Mexicool! As befits a battle between third-rate world powers like Mexico and Italy, the warfare was limited entirely to Velocity, though. In various non-title and tag matches, Nunzio kept getting pinned by the Mexicools. I think Psicosis and Super Crazy each hold a pair of wins over Nunzio.

Then Juvi won (will win? OMG, Unintentional Spoiler~!) a Cruiserweight Battle Royal on Velocity this weekend to earn the PPV Title Shot. A rather random way to get him the title shot considering that there's more than ample backstory here between Nunzio and the Mexicools, but whatever....
  

The OOutlOOk
Juventud wins: 7 votes   --|--  Nunzio wins: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Juventud d. Nunzio.
Erin:
Okay. Nunzio v. Juvi. Who's the champ?
Erin: Are the Mexicools still around, or is Juvy getting a push that I don't know about?
Rick: Nunzio's the champ. The Mexicools have taken turns beating him in non-title and tag matches, though. Juvi won (will win?) the title shot by winning a Cruiserweight Battle Royal this weekend on Velocity.
Erin: Should I flip a coin?
Rick: There's actually some history there. But only if you read the Cubs Fans Velocity Recaps...
Erin: Too late. I'm flipping a coin.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Juventud d. Nunzio.
Okay, Rick, admit it: you're just making shit up now. Really -- Nunzio and Guerrera?

I have nothing against either of these guys, and I'm not one of these anti-cruiserweight types. I just don't think such a random match deserves a PPV slot. Then again, look at the PPV we're talking about here...

I'll pick Juvy because (a) at least one title has to change hands at this atrocity (b) Juvy has a bigger posse (c) I REFUSE to predict a Nunzio PPV win without the aid of prescription drugs.

The Cubs Fan Says... Nunzio d. Juventud.
I was thinking about this last night: what percent of the fan base knows Nunzio is the current cruiserweight champion? Not even the "14 year old kid who's only allowed to watch the shows with his parents" segment, the types who watch just about every RAW and SmackDown? 50%? 40%? Less? How about those who know Big Vito is currently employed by WWE and wrestling on Velocity? 20%? 10%? Just me and three other people?

Juvi's been apparently banned from wrestling ever since he KOed Paul London, relegated to cheering from the outside during Mexicool matches (in which they've been building Crazy and Psi as the challengers to Nunzio's belt, but whatever.) It's weird they'd lift the ban to put him on PPV - but less so if you realize they're doing it to put him on job duty.
Matt Hocking Says... Juventud d. Nunzio.
I'm making this pick based on several complicated and intricate variables:

A)  Juvi has two other guys, Nunzio has one.

B)  Something's got to happen on this PPV, and a Cruiserweight Title change is innocuous enough not to shake down any major Smackdown Stories, but it's A title change, which is nice.

C)  While neither guy has seen gobs of TV time of late, Juvi is the one WWE seems to want to push more, even though they like Nunzio better.

D)  This would free Nunzio up to do the FBI tag thing.

Probably the best match of the card, if Nunzio works like Malenko and Juvi isn't coked up...sooo...you're probably looking for Eddie/Batista then.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Juventud d. Nunzio.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Juventud d. Nunzio.
Soy un peredor
I'm a cruiser, baby
So why don't you book me?
PyroFalkon Says...  Juventud d. Nunzio.
The Hosehead Says... 
No Pick Made (probably because this match won't become "official" until Velocity, and I forgot to include our new SD! Canuck on my mailing list when I sent out the matches).
Rick Scaia Says... Juventud d. Nunzio.
Nunzio only won the title as a "fuck you" to Paul London when London dared to point out that WWE's new Cruiserweight Policy (forbidding his finishing move, among other things) kind of makes it hard for him to get over, since he already doesn't get TV or a character or anything like that. Nunzio has since not appeared one time on SD! (that I can recall).

Thus: I can only assume that Nunzio won't be holding that title much longer.

They've built this up in an interesting way, too: Juvi is presented as the puppet master of the Mexicools, making Super Crazy and Psicosis do all the work, while he lounges on his Juan Deere lawnmower at ringside. I can only assume this is some ethnocentric, quasi-racist subtle commentary about the motivation level of Mexicans, or something? In any case, Juvi's bided his time, Super Crazy and Psicosis have MORE than done the damage on Nunzio over the past month or so.... and the next logical step is that Juvi swoops in and wins the title.

If you ever wanted to give the Cruisers, you know, actual STORYLINES or something, this could set up a little dissension among the Mexicools if Juvi doesn't give them title shots. But if he did give them title shots? How cool would that be? Assuming Juvi has his shit together, him versus Psicosis or versus Super Crazy (or even better: THREE WAY DANCE) could be good stuff.

Adds up to Juvi being the logical pick to click here in this one... I mean, through no fault of his own, Nunzio has essentially Orlando Jordan'd the Cruiserweight Title. Juvi stands a better chance of bringing it back to Thursday nights.... errr, Friday nights.

 

ANIMAL/HEIDENREICH/CHRISTY HEMME vs.
MERCURY/NITRO/MELINA 

Mixed Tag Match

I have absolutely no fucking idea why Animal and Heidenreich are still the tag champs. The limited appeal of their "nostalgia run" had worn off before WWE got around to giving them the titles 2 months ago... now, their on-going presence is just plain annoying.

They took the titles from MNM. The two teams have had countless rematches since, each time with it seeming (to most right-thinking fans) that THIS would be the night MNM got the belts back. As yet, this has not happened, and so the fans must suffer through yet another chapter of this story.

Freshening things up this time around: bOObs! To ensure that Sunday is also not the night when Animal and Heidenreich are relieved of their ill-gotten gold, this is a mixed tag match. How did the women come to be involved? Simple: Spaz got a random make-over... she made the Completely Plausible And Instantaneous Transition from "cheerleader" to "bad-ass biker bitch." And as she rode her big, loud Harley into the parking lot for the first time, she caused Melina to not be able to carry on a conversation on her cell phone. Thus: feud. Yep, really.

The only way this is worth paying attention to? If Melina wears whatever outfit it was that had UPN blurring out all upskirt shots of her a month or so back.... otherwise, I can't imagine anything more tedious than watching this match.
  

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

Erin Anderson Says... MNM d. Animal/Heidenreich/Spaz.
Erin:
Okay, last thing... who are the tag champs?
Rick: Animal and Heidenreich.
Erin: You've gotta be fucking kidding me. STILL?
Rick: Yep. Blows my fucking mind, too.
Erin: God, I'd rather have Mr. America come back. I'm picking MNM to win, just on principle. Or is that suicide?
Rick: And they've had I don't even know how many matches against MNM in which they could have changed them back.... but they haven't. And since Sunday's a mixed tag, nothing's changing on that front. I'd say it's a perfect chance to bring the Regal/Burchill along and give them the belts.... but Regal/Burchill have been nowhere to be seen on TV in almost a month, now.
Erin: Jesus. WHY? Burchill's the first newcomer to really impress me since... hell, since Brock Lesnar and Shelton Benjamin.
Rick: I'm picking MNM, too. They can win, since the belts won't go anywhere. They've jobbed to Animal and Heidenreich enough, if you ask me, so they get one back here.
Erin:
Still not giving a shit over here.
Canadian Bulldog Says... MNM d. Animal/Heidenreich/Spaz.
Oh, for pete's sake: STOP WITH THIS CRAP ALREADY!!! Animal, go the hell back home and retire already. Heidenreich, go molest some children. Christy, take your top off. MNM, get a freaking win and then win the belts, or just go back to OVW and leave me alone forever.

It's not any of their faults, really. But this storyline has dragged on for approximately 15 months with no end in sight (though I'm not sure how Christy got involved with these fools). Time to just cut their losses and, I don't know, hire another tag team or something.

The Cubs Fan Says... MNM d. Animal/Heidenreich/Spaz.
It feels like MNM have lost the last fifteen matches with the Animal/Heidenreich, and since there's not an another actual tag team around on SmackDown, I guess they have to win to keep this going? I don't know. I don't really care.
Matt Hocking Says... MNM d. Animal/Heidenreich/Spaz.
I like to pick a darkhorse at least once a PPV (Thank you, Mr. Flair!).  This time, this is it.  Hnnrnnr and Animal have beaten MNM at every turn, turning what seemed to be a glory reign (and DVD sales pitch) for Animal, into a protracted, jobberific storyline.  The difference in this, of course, is the additions of Christy and Melina and the subtraction of the title belts.  What does that matter, you ask?  Well, without the titles on the line MNM is more likely to win to set up a future title match (seeing as they are the only legitimate contenders anyway).  Also, WWE seems pretty intent on pushing Melina, and not so much anymore with Christy.  What does that give us?  Christy taking the fall for her cohorts and MNM using that to springboard into another title match loss to Hnnrnnr.  WOO!
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Animal/Heidenreich/Spaz d. MNM.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Animal/Heidenreich/Spaz d. MNM.
I'd rather see
I'd rather see
I'd rather see Hawk and Animal.
PyroFalkon Says...  MNM d. Animal/Heidenreich/Spaz.
The Hosehead Says... MNM d. Animal/Heidenreich/Spaz.
Let me preface this by saying, I donít care what happens in this match, nor should any of you. If anyone finds this feud entertaining, they deserve to be beaten about the head and upper torso with a tack hammer. With that being said, MNM has to win to get another tag title shot and take the belts from the gigantic douchebags that are Animal and Heidenreich.
Rick Scaia Says... MNM d. Animal/Heidenreich/Spaz.
On a show with two squash matches, one Randy Orton match, and one JBL match, this one STILL takes the prize for the highest "Why the fuck should I care?" Factor.

Simply put: there is no way Animal and Heidenreich should still be tag champs. There's not even any way they should still be on TV, near as I can tell. And yet: here we are. And as an added bonus: two months ago, Spaz was finding her niche as Eugene's cheerleader, but now, in the name of fitting in with Animal and Heidenreich (remember, Animal was once a part of a tag team called the Legion of Doom, who had bad-ass biker tendencies, and rode around on Harleys with their manager Paul Ellering), she's gotten a complete make-over that, for some reason, I have a hard time buying into. A single woman who can simultaneously invoke images of cheerleader-y-ness AND biker babe-osity? A rare breed, in my estimation... and I'm sticking by my stance that Spaz found her perfect role doing the cheerleader part of that equation.

MNM have been Animal and Heidenreich's bitches enough times with tag gold on the line. I just have to assume that (since WWE has foolishly already given up on Regal/Burchill, apparently, given their lack of TV time lately) MNM are EVENTUALLY gonna be the ones to unseat the unholy alliance.... which means they need a win in this meaningless mix tag match.

Ugh. Hooters' Dayton South patrons: I'll be the one cheering for Melina's ass. 

 

EXTRAS/CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Eight big matches.... but only one of them really all that intriguing. Might there be some extra-curriculars that SD! will serve up to keep No Mercy from being an unbearable bore? Perhaps... 

Here are some concluding thoughts from the trOOps.
  

The OOutlOOk

Erin Anderson Says... Previewing is easy when I only have to to half the work.
Erin:
You've got mail.
Rick: Alrighty. Thanks, E.
Erin: These ended up being my best PPV predictions in months.
Rick: You did the cutting-and-pasting-our-chat gimmick?
Erin: Yup.
Rick: So your best PPV picks in months, and *I* did half the work for you? Why'd I even bother typing up my own picks?
Erin: Snerk. Blame WWE. I can't imagine ever being any less interested in a PPV. If I hadn't borrowed parts from our chat, you would have gotten a total of 75 words out of me.
Rick: I know the feeling. I think I'm actually going to root AGAINST the Yankees one of the next two nights so that they have to play a Game 5 on Sunday night, and I'll have a defensible excuse to serve up to OO Nation about why I skipped the PPV.
Erin: It's sad.
Erin: You should probably cut and paste these last few lines and put them in as my "extras" section. They pretty well sum up my feelings about the show. I didn't write anything myself for that section, and I don't want you comparing me to diva search Ashley again this month.
Rick: Tee hee... consider it done. 
Canadian Bulldog Says... Boo!
So you could probably tell that I'm not exactly, as the kids call it, "into" this particular PPV. I'm not going to be watching it, which is my usual Thursday or Friday vow prior to a SmackDown PPV. But this time I mean it. It's not even something that will be so bad, it's good (see earlier WCW references). Not the best of times for Friday Night SmackDown.

Will Bischoff and his crew stage a SmackDown invasion? If it builds to an inter-brand Survivor Series, then I'm all for it. I just won't be watching.

I really don't have anything else to add. Boo SmackDown! Boooo!

The Cubs Fan Says... 
This is a pathetic attempt at a PPV.
Matt Hocking Says... 
Smackdown PPV!  Really, that's all I need to say, and you'll go running for the hills, I know.  Smackdown is kind of a weird vibe for the last several months.  They've got a lot of cool guys (Eddie, Rey, Dave, Taker, hell even Orton and JBL) and they're all doing something, but nobody's paying attention to them hardly.  It's a rough spot to be in when trying to make a PPV card, but for their part, WWE has done a fairly admirable job of saying, "Well, here's what we've got."  Dave/Eddie is a fairly interesting and fresh matchup, Rey/JBL really depends on where they take it, but could be
interesting, the U.S. Title and Orton/Taker matches won't be terrible.  But that's less an endorsement and more an admission that, all things considered, it could be worse.

1)  Teddy Long will take a moment to get jiggy with it.  Also, to insult Eric Bischoff.

2)  Palmer Cannon will be there to add some kind of stipulation to one of the matches.  Everyone will fail entirely to point out that the PPV is not taking place on UPN.

3)  Funaki will interview Juvi after his big title win, in the greatest promo of all time.

4)  Mick Foley will show up to say something/plug his book.  Also probably in attendance?  Matt Hardy, as a silent observer of some sort, just to tease a jump to Smackdown.

5)  In an effort to show "team spirit" Christy Hemme will dig out her Lingere Football pads and eye make-up and dress up like Road Warrior Spice.

Enjoy the PPV!  Or don't!  Do SOMETHING will you?!

Adam Gutschmidt Says... Nothing, because he's traveling this weekend, and submitting barebones picks is all he had time for.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Weird Al Yankovic's Got Nothing on Me, Baby!
Who's got the book?
I don't know the answer to that question
Where's the book?
If I knew, I would tell you
What's the book?
The book, for your information
Is the one thing, the one thing that's way past due
PyroFalkon Says...  Nothing, because he's daring me to come up with some sort of taunting headline here, failing to realize that writing this document has left me with absolutely no ability to mock left. WWE and their suck-ass PPV have left me spent.
The Hosehead Says... Nothing.
Rick Scaia Says... blah blah blah big words blah blah whiskey Flyers blah blah rock 'n' roll blah blah blah Lost Sucks blah blah blah Molly and Trish blah blah blah blah blah blah WWE should hire me blah blah blah Yankees blah.
What do you expect? A show I can (mathematically) not care any less about has still managed to occupy my time for upwards of 3-4 hours, all told, as I assemble this document on Thursday and Friday. I'm about out of gas. I figure I'll just serve up the expected and get the fuck outta here. [LATE ADDENDUM: *and* I unwittingly wrote half of Erin's predictions, too! That clever minx.]

Eight matches (even if a few of them NEED to be on the short -- less than 5 minutes -- side if they aren't to totally kill the momentum of the show) is a full slate, and the only real "extras" I can think of would be related to some RAW invaders. Even WWE.com has raised the possibility.

Ones that would make sense: Roddy Piper and Mick Foley. Except I think Mick is out of the country fulfilling some of his final pre-WWE-contract-signing duties, so unless he hauls ass to get back, that might be out.

Or if they are going with something more than just building to an anticlimactic Team Bischoff vs. Team Teddy 5-on-5 match at Survivor Series, I guess you could make it be just about anyone.... the thing with that Survivor Series idea? To do it, you probably need to put heels and faces together on each team. Because otherwise, you will necessarily cast one brand as "heel" and the other as "babyface." And I think that's a can of worms WWE would rather not open.... they want to give the appearance of parity between the brands (even if we all know that's a load of horseshit).

Best guess: if the 5-on-5 match is where we're headed, I might think it's cool if just Bischoff and Kurt Angle showed up, and kind of stirred the pot in a few skits. Bischoff could be his dickish self, and Angle could be the guy who's there to make sure nobody decides to get physical, but I think it'd keep everything low-key enough that WWE wouldn't get us worked up for a more involved phase of constant brand-jumping and stuff.

Other than that? I got nothing.

 

Will I be watching No Mercy? Can't rightly say at this point... it all comes down to whether or not the Yankees are playing on Sunday night or not. If they are? Then that's what I'm doing. If they aren't? Well, I guess I'll go to Hooters...

In either case, I'll promise you that full No Mercy results (be them by me or by someone else) will be posted around midnight-ish on Sunday night, immediately after the show. Because even if this doesn't look like a PPV worth paying for, I know you people: you'll still be unable to keep yourself from wanting to know who won and lost.

So No Mercy coverage on Sunday night, and then further fall-out and news and stuff in OO on Monday. See you then, people....


  
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E-MAIL RICK SCAIA

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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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