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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
TEAM COVERAGE: RAW presents
WWE New Year's Revolution PPV Preview
January 7, 2006

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

 

As tends to be the case when you lock up 3/4ths of your legitimate main event wrestlers into a single, giant gimmick match, New Years Revolution is pretty much a One Match Show.
 
And while one could easily point to all the creative short comings that have NYR feeling like Just Another Throw Away PPV, there's something else odd that I can't get out of my head...

And that is that this is the first time in a long time when there's an important match where I (a) don't know who'll win, and (b) I actually

care about who wins.

WWE has simply not tipped its hand AT ALL with regards to what they intend to do at WM22. On a week to week basis, that's created an over-powering sense of water-treading and boredom lately.... there's just no forward momentum to anything, nothing so good, so exciting that you're invested in watching every week to make sure that things get to the Desired Outcome that you can't wait to get here at WM. There is, in short, nothing to cheer for to happen, because looking at current RAW and SD! storylines, there is absolutely nothing happening on either brand that seems to be pointing towards anything particularly special. 

But no matter... the one thing Vince McMahon and WWE take great pride in is making sure they deliver the goods at WM. So even though we've not seen a single indication of what's to come, it's my naive belief that SOMEthing has been conceived of already, and that they won't just wing it a we get closer to April 2.

Which makes NYR a rather intriguing PPV. This is WWE's first chance to tip its hand, to start showing us where top level storylines will go as we enter the fabled Rumble-to-Mania corridor. You have a main event gimmick match with three legitimate potential winners. Who will walk out with the title? And how? And how will fans react to the three men in question? And how will that heel/face alignment play into longer-term story plans?

It's all very interesting, and I legitimately have NO idea how things will play out. But I'm curious to find out, because the implications are HUGE as WWE hits its "playoff season." For all my griping (all if it justified, mind you), NYR has created that marriage of A Match I Care About to A Remarkable Level of Ambiguity and Uncertainty.
 
I'm a sucker for matches like that, where I'm busy being a fan and cheering and booing as I see fit because I actually believe that any outcome is possible.... beats the hell out of 98% of WWE's product the last 20 months or so, which usually leaves you "appreciating" the product, because it is impossible to have a visceral reaction to something you either don't care about or which has an inevitable conclusion.

Of course, that still leaves NYR's other five matches... and while they represent an almost even mix of Potential and Piss-Breaks, you're probably going to be a bit more charitable when you know there's still that one big match yet to come.

New Year's Revolution is -- for me, anyway -- a show that backs into have a perverse sort of intrigue and appeal. WWE is not to be commended for having a chaotic and uncompelling creative direction at this key time of the year... but the gut-feel notion that the Elimination Chamber is finally gonna give us some sense of focus is one I can't shake. It's for all the wrong reasons, but I'm honestly looking forward to that match.

Of course, for WWE, that means that I (and any like minded fans out there) will only be satisfied if said "sense of focus" actually materializes. Moreso than usual events, New Year's Revolution is a show that will be graded almost entirely on the strength of its climax. WWE's got my attention for this match. Here's hoping they make good use of it, and send us home happy.

And on that note, the trOOps are assembled to break down the announced six-match PPV line-up, and to being the 2006 Battle for Prognosticatory Bragging Rights. Here's the Only New Year's Revolution PPV Preview You Need To Read....
 

JOHN CENA vs. KURT ANGLE vs. SHAWN MICHAELS vs. KANE vs. CARLITO COOL vs. CHRIS F. MASTERS
Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Title

Why an Elimination Chamber Match? Well, because apparently this is now the "signature match" for the New Year's Revolution PPV.... in storylines, there was no real build-up to explain this match being whipped out other than "Eric Bischoff said so." In a last ditch attempt to save his job and placate Vince McMahon, GM Bischoff announced the return of the Chamber. Although it would have fit storylines, they never really bothered to spin it as "Bischoff called for the Chamber match because he hates John Cena and wanted to create a match where Cena would have to face five men, thereby reducing his chances of retaining his title." Instead, it was just sort of put out there.... and luckily, the gimmick match is still fresh and exciting enough that a lot of fans won't ask too many questions. 

And why these six men? Well, again, there's no real rhyme nor reason for this line-up... for all intents and purposes, this is a three man match -- Cena, Angle, and Michaels are the only potential winners -- and it's no accident that those are the only three men who are really intertwined in any significant storyline fashion. Angle has been the most recent thorn in Cena's side, actually beating him in many matches (including most recently on Monday night in a non-title First Blood Match), while Angle and Michaels still have yet to settle their nearly-year-long feud over who is the best in-ring performer in the business.

The other three guys were just inserted, seemingly at random. Kane and Carlito actually serve purposes: Kane is the only monster in the match, and as such, he becomes something of a "prop" in his own right (as he was in WM21's Money in the Bank six-way match), just because he can physically do things none of the other guys can, which opens the door for all manner of unique spots and psychology. And Carlito -- though light years away from being a legitimate title threat -- is such a strong and over personality that he can engage the fans either with a bit of chickenshit comedy or by enraging them by sneakily cheating his way to an extended offensive advantage; he's the only guy in the line-up with that capability, too. Only Masters brings nothing to the table. Unless you count the ability to visibly blow spots and put the audience to sleep as positive attributes.

Still, even with 5/6ths of a compelling line-up, WWE did absolutely nothing to bring the six together or create friction outside of the Top Three Guys until the final 3 minutes of Monday's RAW, when they just sort of randomly had all six guys get into a brawl. Angle had just beaten Cena, so Carlito and Masters materialized for no adequately explained reason to join in the beatdown on Cena. But then Kane came out -- for an equally compelling reason -- to save Cena by destroying Angle, Carlito, and Masters. Then Michaels appeared and superkicked Kane. Then Cena spat his last breath and from hell's heart stabbed at Michaels, hitting him with an F-U. It was the only time all six men crossed paths with each other, and I guess it counts as a "win" for Cena.

As long as the match builds logically and focuses on the correct performers, this should be a very strong main event, with a lot of intensity and gimmicky brawling. For those unaware, the match stipulates that two men start the match inside the steel structure of the Chamber, while the other four men are locked into sub-chambers, released at five-minute intervals to join the match. Eliminations are via pinfall or submission only.

We already know that Michaels will be one of the first two men starting the match. We also know that Kane will be the final man to enter the match, at the 20 minute mark, giving him an ostensible advantage over the remaining field at that time. It's entirely possible (especially with a thin, six-match card) that all six men will last the opening 20 minutes, and that the eliminations won't start until that point. Actually: that would be a very smart way to book the match, as Kane's entry at the 20 minute mark could be accompanied by some rapidfire eliminations (bye-bye CFM and Carlito) to make Kane look strong before his own inevitable elimination.

And then, BAM, you're down to the three viable winners... and if the last few weeks has taught us anything, it's that the sheer joy of booing the hell out of John Cena should create an electric atmosphere once things are distilled down to End Game. No matter how the fans respond to Cena, though, if the Final three are Cena, Angle, and Michaels, fans should be really into it. WWE has not tipped its hand at all with regards to WM22 plans (if they even have any, yet), and as such, there will be genuine drama as to who will come out on top. Provided WWE doesnt' do something stupid like try to shoehorn Master, Carlito, or Kane into the final three.
  

The OOutlOOk
Cena wins: 6 votes   --|--  Angle wins: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... John Cena wins.
Despite having not seen RAW at all in the last month, I'm fairly certain of this pick. Why? Because John Cena is booked to look strong in a way Steve Austin and Triple H never dreamed of. The man just won't lose, and it's really freaking annoying. I think the only person here who even has a shot of dethroning Cena would be Angle, but I chose him last time around to win the title because I thought maybe WWE would start listening to its audience. Won't be making that mistake again. Cena wins, and Shawn Michaels will carry this thing on his back.
Canadian Bulldog Says... John Cena wins.
This one is truly a tough call. Logic (not to mention the fans) would seem to dictate that Kurt Angle finally gets his title win here, though I have trouble seeing how that gets you to WrestleMania, where I am still predicting that Cena-Triple H is your money match headliner. At that point, they may do a double turn, they may just decide to turn Cena and leave HHH as is, they may even pull it off beforehand; I'm not sure. What I do know if that Cena is likely going to be in the main event position at Mania, and losing then regaining the belt doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.

Another good pick would be Michaels, though I assume here McMahon may just screw him out of the gold, and that gets him out of the match. Kane, Carlito and Masters are all pretty much expendable, thus I tenously arrive at The Champ as your winner.

The Cubs Fan Says... John Cena wins.
Okay, Carlito can not possibly win this. Chris Masters can not possibly win this. The only reason Kane exists is to periodically be in matches like this where the announcers pretend he might kill everyone and win, while he actually has no chance of winning it. (Big month for Kane - he gets to do it again in a couple weeks for the Rumble!)

That leaves us with Shawn, Cena, and Angle. Kurt's had about five million chances to win the title from Cena so far, they've opted not to have him win the title each and every time, and there's no particular reason to believe this is the time they'll actually do it. So he's eliminated.

If Shawn won the title, it'd immediately change the focus of the whole company; either it'd be all Shawn vs Vince, or it's be new heel Shawn & Vince vs Cena. It's intriguing idea, but I don't think they'd have the guts to do it, and I don't think they'd work so hard at keeping Triple H out of this match unless they wanted to save their first head to head match for WrestleMania and for the title. I think it takes too much
wishcasting to predict a change of direction here, so I'm sticking with Cena.
Matt Hocking Says... Kurt Angle wins.
Common sense would say that John Cena will win.  Common sense says that Cena has reigned as Lord Almighty of the WWE ship for as long as he has, why change now, this close to Wrestlemania?  But taking a common sense approach
never helped me win nothin' last year.  Let's get this out of the way first, Carlito and Masters are cannon fodder for this match.  A couple of guys to provide some early offense before they close in on the meat of the match.  Kane won't win either.  While people like Kane and all that, there's no way he wins the WWE Title at this point, without some kind of build to that.

I don't think John Cena retains, though.  Not because a significant portion of the crowd is turning on him, because that rarely seems to be a factor in this kind of decision, so long as people are reacting to him one way or another, but because there really isn't a compelling opponent for him at
Wrestlemania.  I was almost ready to say "Shawn Michaels" because there's a good story in that, that says "Shawn Michaels defies the odds to go from the first man in to the last man standing" which plays off Michaels' history of
doing just that, and forces the issue of Vince "screwing" Shawn to actually make some sense.

But then while I was compiling my "Year in Review" column, I remembered that Kurt and Shawn have this lingering rubber match in their series to go yet.  They did a tie for the Iron Man Match at Homecoming, and so the series still stands even at one apiece.  I don't think anybody'd whine about
Angle/Michaels for the WWE Title at Mania, and that match just works a million times better if Kurt comes in as the Champion.  Hell, depending on whether or not that's the last match of the night, you could even do Edge/Michaels there too, if you REALLY wanted to punish Shawn, I guess.

PyroFalkon Says...  John Cena wins.
Jeb Lund said something to me in an e-mail exchange last year about his PPV predictions. Paraphrased: think of the most retarded, lame, lazy, stubborn way to book matches, and thatís how to score high in our contests.

Iím still one of the supporters of Cena. Iím not blind to his deficiencies. I hear his raps getting worse, I hear the crowd being split, I see the same moves and the same retarded gimmick, and I think he (as WWE is presenting him) is starting to get stale. I also feel he should have dropped the belt several PPVs ago.

So why do I think heís going to keep it here? Not because Iím one of the few non-teenage-girls who still cheers for him. Letís review the evidence and eliminate the other contenders (pun not intended)Ö

Chris Masters is completely undeserving of his spot on the card. If you check this thread in the OO Forums, youíll see that Iím not a Masters Hater, nor do I necessarily feel he should be relegated back to OVW. But to be in the main event -- and worse, to appear like he has a chance at getting the WWE title -- is ridiculous. The crowd is apathetic or worse to him, and hopefully the booking committee learned their lesson about overpushing title holders when they gave Orton the belt a year ago. Masters, in short, ainít getting it.

Carlito is in the same boat. I like him, and I like his abilities, but he doesnít belong in the hunt for the biggest prize in the game. I wouldnít be entirely surprised if he got his shot in late 2006 or early 2007, but this is far too soon. Even though he has a history of earning belts on his first try, hopefully the thickest member of the writing staff knows that no one will buy Carlito as champion.

Although Kane has done enough to hold it in my eyes, now is not the time. Heís still the tag champion, and dual-title holders are the exception. I know about Batista over at SmackDown!, but he was the World Heavyweight champion before he shared the tag championship. You donít earn it the other direction. Besides, although I feel Kane can get it, this isnít the time. It would be a completely meaningless win, because he has no beef with anyone, and it just wouldnít make a lick of sense. I hope Kane earns it at some point in his career, but now is not the time.

Shawn Michaels is entering the chamber first, and although thatís generally a sign that heíll overcome the odds and end up winning everything, I donít feel it here. He doesnít need the belt, and the belt doesnít need him. Heís one of the few stars who actually more valuable not holding a title, because that allows him the flexibility to face anyone and anything for any reason. Plus, if Vince is hell-bent on staying an onscreen character to screw with him, then having the belt will just send the storyline back a few years to the same McMahon/Austin vibe. We donít need that.

Kurt Angle should probably hold the belt because faces have held each of the major titles for over a year. The best story is when a face chases a belt and overcomes the heel in a big, important match. Angle was my Wrestler of the Year for 2005, and he proved that year (and all his others) that he knows how to push the fansí buttons and get over without cheap heat. Of course, the recent out-of-character comments heís made lately are just hamstringing his character (not be redundant), and it looks like WWE is insisting on keeping him with a retarded anti-America gimmick. I donít see how he can continue to bash The Establishment and The Refs and The Country if heís on top of the pile.

All thatís left is Cena, who has been shown to be given the belt and continue to look invincible no matter what the crowd is doing. I wonder if, deep down, he too feels that he shouldnít have it. Every win he gets just turns the crowd on him more. But the thing is, he canít change the bookersí collective brain cell, and I wouldnít complain too much either if I was cashing his checks. This is the first pay-per-view that I really want to see him drop it, and I am mentally cheering against him so he can finally get a character makeover or chase a belt or something, just anything to rehab his image and get him back on track.

In fact, allow me to fantasy book for a moment: Masters and Michaels are the first two. Angle comes in third. Masters takes an early Angle Slam and gets pinned. Michaels and Angle do their dance for awhile with neither getting an edge. Carlito comes in fourth. He sits back and takes cheap shots on the other two, who are too busy smacking each other around to deal with him. Cena comes in fifth and goes straight for Carlito, for the whole kidney-stabbing incident. (Does anyone still remember that happened?)

Kane comes in last, chokeslams everyone, and pins Carlito. Angle and HBK see their dilemma with the big man, and they work together to eliminate Kane. Cena jumps on this and starts doing well, then eats a Superkick from Michaels and taps to the ankle lock from Angle. Shawn and Angle do their magic, elevating this chaotic retardedness to a five-star treat, and finally Angle gets the win. Now Cena can chase, and adjust his character to be purely against Angle, including specific raps or whatever.

Now, for all that to happen, Angleís and Cenaís characters basically have to be rewritten to make up for the last six months. As it is now, no one is in any position to benefit from a win, so WWE may as well let Cena keep it and try a different approach starting on Monday. It may piss off the crowd, but maybe, just maybe, it will be better for the company in the long run.

Big Danny T Says... John Cena wins.
Now, is this who I WANT to win? Of course not. Just as
a goofy lark, I'd love Carlito to win the chamber,
even if he drops the title right back on monday. Cena
needs to drop the title. But if last monday was any
indication with a bloodied and battered Cena who had
just been through 20 minutes of Angle, Cena, Carlito,
Masters, and Kane being able to FU a relatively fresh
HBK OUT OF NOWHERE, then it would seem that Vince
isn't done stuffing Cena down our throats. I expect it
to come down to HBK vs. Cena (who, if not entering
second, will probably be the first or second person
out of his chamber) at the end.
Rick Scaia Says... John Cena wins.
OK, so I don't have to say word one about Kane, Carlito, or CFM, right? I know they can't win, you know they can't win, and we'll just hope each plays his role to perfection and gets out of the way...

But then trying to sort out the top three? It's like I said above: I honestly have no idea. The conventional wisdom has been that WWE craved a HHH/Cena WM22 title match, but that was before crowds started turning so violently against Cena. And before WWE introduced this notion of Vince McMahon wanting to "screw" Shawn Michaels, which seems to reposition Michaels as a key player in the main event picture. And before Kurt Angle stepped up his game to the point where he's now so good that some fans simply refuse to boo him, no matter WHAT he says/does.

In other words: I'm not necessarily sure that two-month-old conventional wisdom counts for dick at this point.

But trying to logic this out, it seems like I can't get away from a Cena victory being the most logical outcome. 

For one: Cena will be one of the last two men in the match, because he's one of the only three credible champions, and this match canNOT come down to Michaels/Angle because then it becomes an impromptu "rubber match" for their feud (which is something better saved for another time, when you can hype it up).

For two: Cena/Angle has been done to death, and although Angle holds the advantage in "wins," he's not gotten it done with the title on the line. If WWE wanted to give Angle a run, they've had far better and more compelling ways in which to do the title change (rather than saving it for some wacky gimmick match where the impact of the title change isn't as great).

For three: Michaels' new story is that the entire WWE establishment (read: Vince McMahon) is against him. It makes it seem unlikely that he'd be able to overcome that to win the title in a match so rife with possibilities to "screw" him. Plus: Michaels is also entering the match first, which counts against him.

My synthesis: the way I'd do it is to have it boil down to Cena vs. Michaels. And just know that Michaels will have serious babyface sympathy going since he started the match, and any appearance by Vince McMahon or the slightest vibe of wigger douchebaggery from Cena will also put the fans solidly behind Michaels. I think you can do a fairly electric final 10 minutes or so, just with those two, if you want. Then, the combination of exhaustion (Michaels will have been wrestling 15 minutes longer than Cena at this point) and potential McMahon Screwing will result in Cena getting the win over Michaels.

It oughta be relatively "clean," but just the fact that Michaels had to fight longer and fend of screwjobbing would mean there'd be a tad less "honor" to Cena's win than there could have been. On top of how Cena F-U'ed Michaels for no reason on Monday, it's maybe not a full heel turn, per se, but it's still enough rope to let the fans go that way if they want. And I think you'll see the vast majority of fans wanting to go that way.

Booing Cena = FUN! 

 

TRIPLE H vs. BIG SHOW

If you wanted to be charitable, you could say this feud dates back to WWE's USA Network "Homecoming" show, where Triple H returned to TV after a hiatus and turned on Ric Flair... after doing so, he did a Walk Of Shame backstage, and one of the many guys to give him shit about disrespecting the legendary Flair was Big Show. Show promised that HHH would get his "some day."

Well, then nothing happened for about two months, and more pragmatically, this feud started one month ago, on the night when RAW held Qualifying Matches for the Chamber. Triple H caused Big Show to get disqualified in his qualifying match (the idea being that HHH preferred to face Show's opponent -- Shawn Michaels -- in the Chamber than Big Show himself)... and later in the night when HHH went up against Big Show's tag team partner, Kane, Show made an appearance to attack HHH. So HHH lost, too.

Both men had caused each other's elimination from the chamber, so they were free for the PPV, and thus it was only logical that they agree to do battle.

And from these relatively uninspired beginnings, the two have actually done a very nice job of picking this feud up by the bootstraps and elevating it to something that almost feels like Semi Main Event Status. It started with HHH breaking Big Show's hand at their Contract Signing... HHH thought that he took away Big Show's biggest weapon: the chokeslam. But a week later, Big Show returned to TV sporting a block-like cast on his hand: it turned out HHH just handed Big Show an even bigger weapon, as the cast definitely had magical Clubbering Powers.

Throw in some relatively on-topic promo work (addressing how Show was handed everything when he broke into the business, while HHH studied and busted ass to earn his spot, and stuff like that), and you've definitely gotten a welcome sense of forward momentum after this match seemed to start off as little more than mid-card throw-away material. 

I don't tend to think of HHH as being at his strongest against bigger men; his memorably good matches have almost all come against like-sized or smaller men who are more active and spry than he, allowing him to be the brawling power-man of the match. But I'm not so sure that'll present any serious problems on Sunday. Show's really found his niche as a brawler the past 18 months or 2 years, and I think HHH's legitimately good head-for-the-business should mean they construct a strong psychological basis for the match. They'll brawl commendably, they'll have the block-like cast as a prop, and more than anything, they'll tell a story. Action-wise, it might look lame against an average TNA match, but for some reason, I'm feeling like the prospects are good for an entertaining example of the "WWE Main Event Style."
  

The OOutlOOk
Triple H wins: 6 votes   --|--  Big Show wins: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Triple H d. Big Show.
I like Show, but I somehow don't see Trips slumming it in the undercard for too much longer. He wins here, and probably goes on to face Cena for the title in the near future (no, I don't know why. He's Triple H. That's what he does.) Trips and Cena will feud for months, with every match ending in a double DQ to save either of them from "losing their heat."
Canadian Bulldog Says... Triple H d. Big Show.
Whereas there was a storyline reason for Ric Flair to beat out HHH last year, I don't see the same good fortunes for The Show. Mind you, I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. Have HHH squeeze out a win here, keeping him strong for Mania and a possible continuation of this feud post-WrestleMania.
The Cubs Fan Says... Triple H d. Big Show.
Big Show tried to stand up to Triple H. No one stands up to Triple H. Down goes Big Show. Wheeee.
Matt Hocking Says... Big Show d. Triple H.
The only reason I'm saying this, is because it seems like Hunter lost a bet or something.  He's not even keeping himself within sniffing distance of the title, and this is the best feud they could come up with for him here is Show, which actually isn't too terribly bad, but it's weird positioning on the card for Hunter, who by all rights should be in the Chamber over Carlito or Masters at least.

So with Hunter showing more ass than we're used to, and an opponent who has demostrably more physicality than he does, why not let Show go over.  There's no harm in that for Hunter, and there's certainly no harm in that for Show.  Let him weild his fisthammer as a weapon, do a ref bump where
Hunter gets the real sledge, and then have Show beat him down anyway.  Whatever they do though, this should actually be a fun little brawl, I should think.
PyroFalkon Says...  Triple H d. Big Show.
Iím looking forward to reading the recap of this one. I call Triple H just because, aside from the hand breakage, he hasnít gotten one up on Show during the whole feud. I figure the left-handed chokeslam will come into play, but it will not have much effectiveness, and that will be a significant part of the story of the match.

Besides, Triple H has been jobbing left and right this last year. As funny as it is to say it, he needs a win soon; may as well be now, because a dirty win will just keep the feud going.

Big Danny T Says... Triple H d. Big Show.
No real analisis. I don't see HHH dropping a match to
kick off the new year, and he will probably be going
after Cena's belt after this.
Rick Scaia Says... Triple H d. Big Show.
If I got Cena retaining, then why not stick with the other part of that dated Conventional Wisdom, and give HHH the win here so that he's positioned as a viable challenger to Cena. Only difference is that if you do HHH vs. Cena, it's gonna end up being with the heel/face roles reversed... fans aren't only turning against Cena, but I'm getting reports from taping and house shows that fans are instinctively starting to cheer for HHH a bit, too. I think you could do a very compelling HHH/Cena feud where the story boils down to a respectful, knowledgeable Student Of The Game going after the title held by the pitiably wiggertastic whiny brat of a champion, and it'd click.

So let's say that all starts with beating Big Show. There's too many ways for Trips to win that I can't imagine not having one of them happen. He could cheat to win. He could take advantage of Show's handicap and get a win that way. He could even take a DQ win if Show gets overzealous and tries to use his cast as a weapon.

 

RIC FLAIR vs. EDGE
InterContinental Title Match

Can you believe it's been five fucking months since Ric Flair won the IC Title? And that mean's it's been five months since the IC Title was an even remotely-important part of RAW... what sure as hell felt like it'd just be a token gimmick-run with the belt for Flair has turned into the title almost disappearing completely, as most of the ensuing five months has been spent with Flair feuding against Triple H. And Triple H? Well, he called the IC belt a "mediocre trophy" (yeah, that was real smart, Writer Monkeys) so the title was never an issue in their feud.

Then HHH won said feud at Survivor Series, and it seemed time to move on. To where? Well, that was unclear for a few weeks... until a convergence of factors jump-started an Edge vs. Flair feud.

Around Thanksgiving, Flair was arrested on assault changes in Charlotte, NC, following an alleged "road rage" incident. The ensuing media coverage of Flair's arrest brought to light a few other things about Flair's personal life that were being kept under pretty tight wraps among those in the wrestling community. Much of Flair's summer vacation from WWE was spent addressing divorce proceedings, and also trying to get a disastrous financial situation (between payments to his estranged wife and back-taxes) situated. Nothing that should really be any business of the wrestling fans at home, but once it was splattered all over the mainstream media, it became pretty much common knowledge, nonetheless.

And just as all this was coming to light, Edge was starting a new gimmick (partially to cover for a chest injury that was keeping him out of action).... his new "Cutting Edge" interview segment debuted as a shoot-style, anything-goes deal. On his first night of duty, Edge tore Detroit Tiger Dmitri Young a new one, in a memorable skewering.

And it wasn't long before Edge's venom was directed towards Ric Flair and his troubles. Starting about a month ago, Edge openly mocked Flair for his assault arrest and his divorce, meaning that whatever few fans weren't aware of those troubles were aware of them now. For obvious legal reasons, it would not be wise for Flair to go on TV and address these issues.... resulting in an odd situation.

Edge would mock, and since Flair's been advised not to discuss the issues, he'd have surrogates -- in this case, Michael Hayes and Sgt. Slaughter -- confront Edge. Edge would mock more (stealing Conan O'Brien's "moving lips" gimmick), and Flair would appear, but would remain mute, and just run to the ring to attack Edge. Edge mocked yet again (this time stealing Christian's blond-wig-mockery in a parody video of Flair's Road Rage Incident), and again Flair just came out, didn't say a word, and brawled with Edge.

It's probably about as good a job as you can do with an essentially one-sided feud... but my one complaint would be that the IC Title itself was never an issue in this. Not until a throw-away comment by Edge on this past RAW. And again, I'm not so sure it's a PRODUCTIVE comment; not quite as COUNTER-productive as HHH's claim that the IC Title is a sign of "mediocrity," but Edge essentially voiced the opinion that the IC Title has gone to hell since Flair won it, so Edge wants to win it and restore it to glory. It's a notion that would work better if Flair had (even during his muteness) been defending the title aggressively, and was able to make the claim that there's no glory that needs restoring, because the IC Title is just fine.... but whatever.

Once the bell rings on Sunday, I expect this to be largely character-driven.... for one, a standard Flair-Style Match is always gonna look a certain way. And for two, I believe Edge is still at less than 100%, physically. But if you combine Flair's usual crowd-pleasing antics with Edge playing the biggest dickhead heel possible, and you could see them get the crowd going. Given the "personal" nature of the feud, you might think that an intense, brutal, possibly-bloody brawl would be one way to go, but "WWE Think" probably means they'll put some handcuffs on Edge/Flair so that the Elimination Chamber has the market cornered on blood and ultraviolence. Which is why I guess more "character-driven" and both guys' personalities coming through to engage the crowd. All of which could add up to a fun bit of fluff if it clicks.
  

The OOutlOOk
Ric Flair wins: 4 votes   --|--  Edge wins: 3 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Ric Flair d. Edge.
Edge still has a Money in the Bank title shot to cash in before Wrestlemania, so putting the IC belt on him seems a little counter-productive to the push he's getting right now (yeah, I know. Remember when the IC belt meant something? Now it's dragging people down.) Edge will somehow "win" this feud, but he's not winning the belt.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Edge d. Ric Flair.
Edge needs something to keep him occupied until WrestleMania, where I assume he'll either attempt to cash in his Money In The Bank title shot or squander it away in a separate match (due to interference by Matt Hardy; but that's just my prediction). So why NOT give him a title run in the interim? It gives Edge a much-needed "big win", which he hasn't had in a while, plus it keeps Flair as the sympathetic babyface for future encounters.
The Cubs Fan Says... Ric Flair d. Edge.
This feud almost makes sense until you get to the match. You've got an old man who's looked like an old man versus a guy who may or may not be in any physical shape to wrestle. The finish is pretty unhelpful either way - either Edge beats an old man or Edge loses to an old man - and if
you're not expecting much out of the match or the finish, why do it? Maybe they could've made this work if this was "Flair finally speaks!", but that doesn't seem to be the case either.
Matt Hocking Says... Edge d. Ric Flair.
Neither guy really needs the title here, but for Edge to maintain a modicrum of respectability and for him to look like a real threat going into the cashing of his Money in the Bank shot (against whomever that might be) he can't really afford to lose this match.  Sure Flair is a 16-Time Worlds champion and all that (WOO!), but at this point, there's no reason why he can't believably lay down for Edge, which gives Edge the I.C. Title (another shiny set piece to physically prove his worth as a champion) and a win over a former multi-time World Champion (which he can use in promos, both to rub
it in the face of guys like Hayes and Slaughter, and to give some meaning to his eventual World Title match).

That having been said, it really all depends on Flair as to whether or not this match is really good or really ugly.  I can't imagine he's mentally in the best state of mind to go out and put on a great performance, especailly with all his physical limitations, but he's shown in the past year or so
that he still has enough in the tank to really go when he wants to.  Of course, putting over Edge might not really be the great kind of motivation he needs.  I'll predict a decent match with some kind of Lita interference leading to an Edge victory.
PyroFalkon Says...  Edge d. Ric Flair.
Flair needs to get the belt off himÖ I almost want to say that Flair will win just because heís the sympathetic babyface right now, but heís been on the winning side of every physical confrontation the two have had. Edge wins and takes the belt.
Big Danny T Says... Ric Flair d. Edge.
Sure Ric is an old man, but he's still one of the most
entertaining people on the roster. Edge doesn't need
the IC title, a strap that he himself denigrated less
than a year ago as being not worth pursuing. Edge is
more needed in the MAin event scene (plus, he's got
those ribs to heal up) and Flair would be better used
in a feud with Carlito after the chamber match.
Rick Scaia Says... Ric Flair d. Edge.
The IC Title needs to be taken off Ric Flair IMMEDIATELY. But it does not need to be put on Edge. Two reasons: Edge's injury status is still unclear, but he is NOT (to the best of my knowledge) on house show booking sheets starting next week, which suggests to me he's not 100%. So why take the title off one guy who actually IS hitting the road and working every night to give it to a TV-only performer? And secondly: Edge has more than enough other things on his plate that the IC Title would only muddy the waters.

Plus: just the way this story has been told (all one-sided) has left Flair looking a bit weak. He needs to make SOME kind of "statement" to save face in this feud, and holding on to his IC Title would be perfect.

Also, there are plenty of ways for Edge to lose the match but "win" the feud, because of the aforementioned sense that he's so effectively made Flair his (verbal) bitch so far. If the only thing Edge DOESN'T win in this feud is the IC belt, he'll come out still very strong.

Lita could cause a DQ win for Flair, and Edge administers a beatdown after the interference. Flair "wins," but Edge is the one who walks away.

 

TRISH STRATUS vs. MICKIE JAMES
Women's Title Match

It's been over 3 months since Mickie James debuted as "Trish Stratus' Number One Fan." From the get-go, though, you could tell that Mickie wasn't quite mentally stable... it seemed like a perfect foundation for a slow-burn feud that would result in Trish's most-convincing challenger in a long time.

And for a few weeks, things seemed to be going that route. Mickie's hero-worship and emulation of Trish created the perfect tone of one-part annoying and one-part disturbing... and then things ramped up another step, as Mickie began taking bullets for Trish and helping her win matches. Meantime, Trish's instinctive creeped-out-ed-ness meant she never really reciprocated or thanked Mickie (in fact, the one time Trish did make an appearance to try to help Mickie out, she caused Mickie to LOSE her match, the exact opposite of the results that Mickie's interference on Trish's behalf had).

From that point, the simmering psycho-ness should have written itself. Mickie, from the start, had always had violent mood swings, and as she became convinced that Trish wasn't probably repaying her "friendship," they should have become more frequent. 

But instead, at that point, things veered off into entirely another direction. Rather than some pre-existing situation between Trish and Mickie dictating their first match against each other, Mickie just won a random #1 Contender Match. And then, instead of there being any hint of Mickie's underlying schizophrenia, any hint that she could be the scariest opponent that Trish has ever faced, Mickie suddenly lost that aspect of her personality, and decided that the only thing she wants in the world is to make sweet, sweet love to Trish.

I am not making this up.

Although, if you subscribe to the Joey Styles School of Thought, the attempted kissing and boob-ogling could also just be a "mind game" by Mickie James. But even if it is, it represents a stupid an unnecessary twist in a storyline that seemed so promising, so straight-forward, so OBVIOUS that it mind-boggling that WWE found a way to screw it up. As I've already written, what made Mickie a compelling challenger/character is that for a while there, you didn't think even SHE knew what she was capable of, and that's kinda scary. And now, all that's gone, and in it's place is either Lesbian Mickie James (which is dumb, since it undermines her heel status among a large percentage of WWE's socially-awkward pubescent fans, and since there's been absolutely nothing else likeable about Mickie so far, that "face-ness" would wear off pretty fast, still leaving her as an obnoxious, clingy psycho who needs a good beating from OOur Women's Champ) or Pretend-Lesbian-Headgames Mickie James (which is dumb, since it means that there is a method to her madness, and if she's doing this on purpose and THIS is the best she can come up with? Well, that's lame).

None of this should stop Trish and Mickie from having a solid wrestling match. It's just a question of how the storytelling/overtones will overshadow the action; a big part of what make's Trish's match fun is her ability to invoke the remarkable Trish Sympathy Factor. If this storyline had been told correctly, the Sympathy Factor could have been off the charts.... but if they screw around and waste five minutes of this match with the most devastating threat to Trish being that Mickie keeps coming up with excuses to grope Trish, well... not only will there be little sympathy for Trish, but I'm guessing a large percentage of the idiot fans out there who actually think that Jerry Lawler has a mature grasp on sexuality might even turn against Trish. I'm not joking. And I'm not looking forward to it.

Best case scenario: the first time Mickie James goes for a cheap grope, Trish just says "Fuck this," and plants an open mouth kiss on Mickie. Kind of a "If you *really* want to do this, let's do it right. But since I know you don't, and this is all just some kind of headgame, I just wanted to let you know: mission not accomplished, nutso. Now let's wrestle." No more Lesbian Mickie, no more stupidity, and Trish gets the cheap pop, and then the sooner you bring back unstable, prone-to-mood-swings Mickie, the better the match will be...
  

The OOutlOOk
Mickie James wins: 5 votes
Trish Stratus wins: 2 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Mickie James d. Trish Stratus.
Remember when this was one of the best things about RAW? Goddamn you, WWE! What the hell are you doing?! You had gold with this! A meaningful, interesting women's feud between two ladies who can actually wrestle, and what do you do? Do you let the story write itself? No. Do you give Mickie James Eminem's "Stan" for her entrance music? No. You resort to lesbian bullshit tactics to draw an audience. God. FUCK. YOU.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Mickie James d. Trish Stratus.
Let's give WWE a ton of credit - they built this story up quite nicely. In fact, if they were able to use this kind of "slow burn" style of writing in a lot of their angles, I think we'd be a lot of happier as fans.

Yet, as logical as the story's been, it could still go either way at this juncture. Does Trish turn on her number one fan, returning to the awesome heel gimmick she had last year? Or does Mickey turn on her mentor, spurned by rejection under the mistletoe? I'm going to go for the more likely of the two scenarios, but I still want to be able to say "Told you so" just in case it goes in the other direction.

The Cubs Fan Says... Mickie James d. Trish Stratus.
I'm not as sure about this match as I thought I would be; obviously this storyline goes on, but Mickie could take mercy on her hero at some point and get rolled up for the loss and everything could keep rolling on to her heel turn; Mickie taking the title is the more straightforward approach, so I'm just picking easy. I keep thinking that they could have a decent out of the lesbian storyline if Mickie turns heel here and reveals the build was all mind games. Doesn't seem like they'd want to back away from a lesbian storyline.
Matt Hocking Says... Mickie James d. Trish Stratus.
If I was booking WWE, I'd give Trish the win, really setting off Mickie's crazy-o-meter, and having her get more and more despirate to get another shot at the Women's title all the way up to Wrestlemania.  But there's a good reason I'm not booking WWE, because if I was, we'd have entire shows
with nothing but Kane and Batista playing checkers.

Since this IS WWE's match to book, I'll go with Mickie getting the win and the title, on a night when we might as well exchange every title but the tag ones in an effort to reset the brand for the Road to Wrestlemania.  Mickie does some quasi-lesbian things, throws Trish off her game, Mickie tries to capatolize, Trish out wrestles her, so Mickie just blatantly cheats and picks up the win.  The Evil Mickie and Trish can duke it out at Mania.
PyroFalkon Says...  Mickie James d. Trish Stratus.
WWE has proven that tend not to give their stars much of a probationary period before giving them a title shot, or a title. Mickie has already proven that she can hold the belt. While Iíd have Trish win here and let Mickie slowly evolve into a pissy, bitter, resentful fan-turned-psycho, I donít have the confidence that the WWE writing staff can or will intelligently slow-burn the story. Mickie wins here, after turning psycho in mid-match after Trish does something specific to piss her off.
Big Danny T Says... Trish Stratus d. Mickie James.
This is a great storyline. So of course, the Hollywood
writer monkeys are going to shoot the wad at the PPV
and have Mickie turn on Trish, take her title, and
begin her run as the dastardly psudo-lesbian heel that
terrorizes the womens division. But there's just this
little part of me that holds out some home that Trish
will retain,Mickie will return to her, "OMG! Even
though you beat me, I'm still your biggest fan ever.
EVER!" (Sorry Bulldog) and we'll actually draw this
out to Wrestlemania, with Mickie's 'shocking' turn to
come at some point in late february/early march.
Rick Scaia Says... Trish Stratus d. Mickie James.
There's the "WWE Way" and there's the "Rick Way," here... and once again in 2006, anytime there's such a diametric opposition in those two methods, I'm going to side with Rick Think, since that's always the superior way. 

In "WWE Think," they're under the misapprehension that they've built this up well and can get away with putting the title on the newly-lesbian Mickie James. In "Rick Think," there's still ways to un-fuck this storyline, but it absolutely requires that Trish score the win here by simply being a better wrestler than Mickie... which then brings us back to the ORIGINAL Mickie James character who is unbalanced and psycho. You stretch it out over the next month, you have Mickie show signs of wanting to destroy her "hero" for beating her so soundly. And in the rematch, Mickie can flip out and THEN beat Trish because she might not be as good a wrestler as Trish, but she's certifiably insane and quite a vicious FIGHTER.

So that's what I'm predicting. Trish defuses any stupid lesbian mindgames, outwrestles Mickie, wins, and in so doing thinks it's the end of the Mickie James Issue. But in reality: it's just the start.

The start of it getting good again after a frustrating devolution into stupidity.

 

GREGORY HELMS vs. JERRY LAWLER

The story, the whole story, and nothing but the story:

Gregory Helms pretended that Jerry Lawler was going around saying bad things about him, despite the fact that Helms hasn't even seen the light of day on RAW in 2 months... Helms cut an alleged promo on Lawler (but it was only seen by 1% of the WWE audience who bothers with WWE.com "Unlimited")... Lawler pretended like he cared what somebody said on WWE.com, and finally *did* get around to saying bad things about Helms.... so Helms came out to the ring to confront Lawler... after a verbal exchange, Lawler got the better of Helms in a brief brawl... Helms scurried away rather than fight... Lawler challenged Helms to a PPV match.

And nobody gave a shit.

FIN.
  

The OOutlOOk
Helms wins: 7 votes   --|--  Lawler wins: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Gregory Helms d. Jerry Lawler.
I hear 3 Minute Warning is just waiting in the wings to make their big return, but I don't think that's going to happen until after this match, because it'll effectively end whatever issue Lawler has with Helms before jumpstarting the long-awaited Helms/3 Minute Warning feud. Ugh. Come on, you guys know the drill with this: an entertaining gimmick wrestler who hasn't been pushed is revamped into something bland, gets a half-hearted push, WWE realizes the new gimmick is crap, fires said wrestler, wrestler goes to TNA. You're better off without them, Helms! Get out while you can!
Canadian Bulldog Says... Gregory Helms d. Jerry Lawler.
Does Lawler have something written into his contract that he has to wrestle in the filler match of NYR? And if so, why? And couldn't they come up with anything better for the former Hurricane to do here? Would a match with, say, Chavo, Val or Viscera really be that bad?

Nonetheless, Helms goes over here. He has to. Unless they're actually giving Lawler a push. Shudder...

The Cubs Fan Says... Gregory Helms d. Jerry Lawler.
Who cares? Who cares? WHO CARES? I believe Lawler would call this "justa match...which SUCKS."
Matt Hocking Says... Gregory Helms d. Jerry Lawler.
I have a bad track record of picking AGAINST Lawler in these types of matches, as it seems like he ALWAYS comes back and wins the damn things.  But I'm going to go against the grain of my good conscience here and take Helms to win it.  Partially because I think WWE would like Helms to be a
solid lowercard heel in time for Three Minute Warning to come back (after which he can go back down the card) and partially because WWE has Coach to do color for the rest of the PPV, so Lawler doesn't need to win.

That said, I'm probably wrong, because, like I said, I can't remember the last time Lawler didn't win one of his lower card feuds.  If I'm right though, it'll be because either Helms pulls off some kind of weird fluke win, or because of the interference of the afformentioned Three Minute Warning.  It won't be a good match, by any stretch of the imagination, but Lawler will usually get a crowd up for a few minutes.  I'll say this is probably your opener, and it'll probably be short and cheesey.
PyroFalkon Says...  Gregory Helms d. Jerry Lawler.
Why in the blue hell is this match happening? I watched RAW, and I still donít entirely get it. Anyway, Lawler will lose, or it makes Helms look even more retarded than he is. Iím tempted to saw Lawler wins by DQ here, but I think Helms will do whatever heel tactics he has planned behind the refís back.
Big Danny T Says... Gregory Helms d. Jerry Lawler.
Huh? Oh right, these guys have issues. Well, since it
makes no sense to have the former "Suga
Shane/Hurricane" job out to an announcer almost twice
his age at this point in his character rehabilitation,
I pick Gregory.
Rick Scaia Says... Gregory Helms d. Jerry Lawler.
The only way Lawler wins is if Rosey drags Jamal back and 3 Minute Warning goes after Helms. But that'd make absolutely no sense, since the only way 3MW showing up to attack Helms counts for anything is if you wait until WWE actually builds Helms up into something first.

Plus: purely selfishly, I have this idea in my head that if Cena's gonna be tweenering and letting his True Wigger Show, how perfect would it be to actually save 3MW back to be his buddies. You know, from the streets, yo, homey.

So because a Helms win at least creates the illusion of some kind of character development and progress, he wins. I'm wracking my brain and cannot fathom any potential reason why Jerry Lawler should win. Of course, just you wait: because of that, he will. Ugh.

 

VICTORIA vs. DIVA SEARCH ASHLEY vs. TORRIE WILSON vs. MARIA THE MIC STAND vs. BOOBIES McTITSALOT
Elimination Bra and Panties Gauntlet Match

More absolute randomness here.

Victoria came up with some flimsy excuse to have a match against Maria this past Monday. Her tenuous grasp on logic and temporal causality would have made even Randall Orton green with envy. But then Victoria took Maria lightly, and Maria got a cheap win. So Victoria's henchwomen joined in for a 3-on-1 beatdown. Well, less a beatdown, and more a "removal of clothing." Because everybody knows that when women are truly angry at each other, their #1 Desired Form of Revenge is always "taking the other girl's clothes off." Or something.

And then, because the one thousand Writer Monkeys sitting at one thousand type writers apparently finally produced a single legible paragraph (albeit not one that made a lick of sense, continuity-wise), Diva Search Ashley came out to Maria's aid.

After the clothesripping brawl, Aging Pervert Vince McMahon cornered Ashley and Maria and told them that he's just had an idea for another PPV match. Which was this match, with all five women involved in the brawl in an elimination-style bra and panties match. Maria and Ashley could not have been more cheerful and enthusiastic about the idea. Huh.

At least fans will care more about this than the Helms/Lawler match, since they'll get their daily recommended allowance of TV-PG T&A. This'll be stupid, but hopefully it'll be short and stupid. And the scenery will be nice, but honestly: anybody over the age of 13 who is genuinely looking forward to this "match" (instead of looking forward to tolerating it) is probably somebody who needs some help. Or at least somebody who could use some pointers on where to find internet porn and how and when to use it so you're not looking for my pro wrestling shows to provide you with erectile assistance.
  

The OOutlOOk
Maria wins: 2 votes   --|--  Ashley wins: 2 votes
Victoria wins: 2 votes
Candice wins: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Maria wins.
Sweet Christ, I could not care less. I figure the only interesting way to have this go would be for Maria to Forrest Gump her way through the match and somehow pull out a win.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Ashley wins.
Ashley is protected by the famed Hemme-Keibler Precedent, which clearly states that "the fan favorite female, with regardless of talent, ALWAYS wins these things." Hey, don't look at me, I didn't make this shit up. Plus, hey, whether Trish turns heel or Mickie turns heel in their one-on-one match, they're going to need a semi-strong challenger in between the inevitable grudge matches.

But the person I want to talk about here is Maria, whom I am finding more and more compelling with each growing week. Why? I'm not entirely sure. There are just so many questions about who Maria really is. For several weeks, she was teaming with the heels. Why? Was that the character she really wanted to portray deep down? Or was she just giving into peer pressure? Hell, does she even KNOW they're heels? Does she care?

Maria, if there was any justice, YOU would win this highly-competitive tits and ass thing. Lord knows your confidence needs the boost. NOW IS THE TIME TO TAKE YOUR PLACE IN THIS COLD, UNFORGIVING WORLD!!!

The Cubs Fan Says... Victoria wins.
Who cares? Maybe Candice gets 'robbed' of a win and starts a face turn before her Playboy appearance, but otherwise I don't see the point of doing a T&A Women's match on the same show you're doing the payoff to a more serious women's match. WhatEVER.
Matt Hocking Says... Candice wins.
This is probably your semi-main event palate cleanser, between what is likely to be a violent HHH/Big Show match and another violent and bloody Elimination Chamber.  It's probably the best placement for titties anyway.  In a weird kind of way, there's no real reason any of these girls should win or lose, and chances are we'll likely get to see all of them in some stage of undress anyway.  That's the trouble with trying to predict lazy excuses for T&A, I guess.

That being said, I guess Candice has an issue of some magazine or another to promote some time in the next couple months here?  And giving her a PPV win (however flimsy) would be justification enough for giving her more TV time (possibly in a sidebar feud within her own little heel stable, as the main story for the women's division is still going to be Trish/Mickie).  So Candice wins, and tee hees her way right into the heart of Rick Scaia.
PyroFalkon Says...  Ashley wins.
Since I kicked off the predictions with a breakdown, letís do it again. I need to fill space anyway, because I think this is one of my shorter predictions files.

Torrie Wilson is less talented than everyone but Maria, and sheís forever destined to be a blond waste of space in WWE. Winning would be stupid when her biggest gimmick is to rub a dogís ass in someoneís face.

Maria the Mic Stand is completely worthless. My views on beauty and hotness may be the polar opposite of the majority of WWE fans, but still, even her appearance is cause for her to be kicked repeatedly in the ovaries and face with a steel-toed boot. Aside from a decent ass, she has nothing going for her. Iíd like to say ďIf she wins this, Iím done watching wrestling,Ē but I canít bring myself to care that much about this match.

Candice Michelle is just as worthless, just as ugly, and has zero features that make her hot. Her ass is no better than mine, and her breasts are just too big to be attractive. I hope someone breaks her wand over her eye socket.

Victoria is the only one in this match who deserves to be on WWE TV longer than five seconds. But sheís jobbed to Maria, jobbed to Trish, jobbed to Ashley, and jobbed to everyone on the roster who doesnít deserve it. If I were her, Iíd jump to TNA as soon as my contract was done. She wonít win, only because WWE has no idea what makes a talented woman.

Diva Search Ashley is the only one left, and although sheís a step above the rest (aside from Victoria) in looks and talent, she doesnít deserve a win. But if theyíre going to just randomly throw her in the match, they may as well let her randomly win. Torrie, Maria, and Candice are all there to show their tits anyway, but a win over Victoria will give her the credibility that Spaz was starting to build when she was canned. This may lead to a Ashley vs. Mickie James title match at Wrestlemania, and obviously that will be the best match ever for womenís workrate.

My dream booking is that Victoria wins, then Gail Kim and Spaz pull an ECW and come out of the crowd with barbed wire 2x4s. They proceed to behead all the sluts, and start up their own tag team called Pyroís Wet Dream, where they dominate the entire womenís division, plus get clean wins over Chris Masters. Yes, life would be sweet.

Big Danny T Says... Maria wins.
In a match where all of the girls are equally likely
to win, I pick Maria, simply cause I like her.
Rick Scaia Says... Victoria wins.
I have no freaking clue... I also don't really care. Isn't Victoria the only one of these five who I haven't already seen nekkid, anyway? Leave it to WWE to ask us to be excited about TV-PG titillation featuring 80% chicks who've already done Playboy.

But that actually brings me to my logic for this match: Candice Michelle's gonna be in Playboy again this spring, and for the first time while under WWE contract. Which means she'll be plastered all over TV and will probably need to turn face before the magazine is released. What better way to "turn" her than to have Victoria forsake her. It could start in this gauntlet match, with Victoria cheating to win over Candice. Then, as we inch ever closer to Playboy's Street Date, watch as WWE does a storyline in which Former Playboy Model Torrie Wilson remains loyal to Victoria and has a red-hot (read: sucky) feud with Candice.  Yeah. That's so dumb, it MUST be what WWE will do.

So Victoria wins, and maintains some modicum of superiority over WWE's slew of useless eye candy divas in the process.

 

EXTRAS/CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Just six matches... and although the Elimination Chamber could easily take up the better part of 45 minutes, you've also got two of those matches that simply cannot last more than about 5 minutes (Helms/Lawler, T&A match). Which means there's plenty of room for extra stuff to happen on Sunday.

Here are a few of our crew's ideas....
  

The OOutlOOk

Erin Anderson Says... Crap will expand to fill all available space.
Vince McMahon will come out and make a stupid match nobody cares about, just because he wants to see it. While this activity should logically take two minutes or so to complete, Vince will stretch it into a 15-minute promo. Smell the buyrates!
Canadian Bulldog Says... Needs More Snitskty!
Vince continues to interview prospective GM's -- without naming anyone to the post. Let's see - who hasn't he spoken with yet? How about Viscera, Sgt. Slaughter and SHNITSKY!!!? You know what would be hilarious? If they had Eric Bischoff in a phony wig and costume interview for the job. That would absolutely rock.... Chavo Guerrero vs. Matt Striker is YOUR Sunday Night Heat match..... Shelton Benjamin (w/ Mama) will definitely be in tow. How he'll be used, I'm not certain, though I wouldn't expect a match (heaven forbid they overshadow the big Lawler-Helms showdown). Last thing: I would love for them to show a vignette for a returning superstar at the Royal Rumble. None other than... R-V-D.
The Cubs Fan Says... Michaels and Angle are good, but they're not THAT good.
RAW's non-RAW talent either sucks or has been marginalized into sucking. While I'm sure the show will get appearances from Shelton's Mom and a bonus match along the lines of Trevor Murdoch vs Val Venis, they're all so pointless, they're not giving away a single buy by not mentioning it.

If you're buying the show, the only reason you can possibly be doing so is the Elimination Chamber match. I guess we find out how big a draw is. Well, not we - there's no way I'm dumping money on this without knowing a match featuring Kane, Carlito, Chris Masters and John Cena will actually be good. Hope Shawn and Kurt's backs are feeling good, because they have to carry the whole brand.
Matt Hocking Says... The Boogeyman is Coming to Get You!
The Elimation Chamber alone is enough to sell me on this card.  No matter how terrible the storytelling leading up to it has been, this particular match has always been a fun one, and the participants, with the probable exception of Masters, all have the personality, and at least in the case of Kane, Angle, Michaels and Cena, the phyiscality to really make this an entertaining half hour or so.  The fact that I can see WWE going a couple different ways leading towards the Rumble and then Mania adds a little intregue too, after what was a year of fairly predictable main events.

The rest of the card is kind of a give and take.  There's no reason Mickie/Trish and HHH/Show won't both be really good, or at least, very decent.  Edge/Flair isn't a half bad pairing, though the success of the match largely depends on Flair's mental state going in.  Past that you have an average midcard comedy match and some titties, which provides a perfect food run/bathroom break section for the PPV.

Traditionally, it's not until the Rumble that WWE's storytelling really kicks in, but at the Very least NYR will give us a glimpse at what they're planning for that tunnel.

OTHER CRAP~!

-On Heat, Snitsky will defeat Val Venis in the match dreams are made of.

-Sometime during the PPV, Shelton Benjamin will be berated by his momma for going from being one of the possible contenders for the WWE Title to not even being on the show.  This will lead Shelton to make an impromtu challenge to Chavo Guerrero, who will defeat him handily.  Momma will
suggest Shelton needs help.

-Vince McMahon will interview several more candidates for the general manager position.  As this is PPV, I suspect they will be a bit more "name" personailites.  Among Candidates I figure we might see:

*Ricky Steamboat
*Mick Foley
*The Boogeyman
*Sgt. Slaughter
*Ron Simmons
*Paul Heyman

-Vince will also make an appearance on the PPV proper to publically berate Shawn Michaels for bothering to show up for the Chamber (leading to some intriege about the possibility of Michaels winning) and also to intrduce the Diva Gauntlet.

That's all!  Have a good weekend!
PyroFalkon Says...  My AFC North Allegiances do not reflect the views of Online Onslaught dot com.
After narrowly winning 27-13 in Week 7, then narrowly losing 38-31 in Week 13, the Steelers are looking to give the Cincinnati Bengals a run for their money, although hit will be a close contest. Even though the game will be in Cincinnati, the Steelers have fans no matter what city theyíre in, and their Week 7 win was in Paul Brown Stadium.

The game will commence at 4:30 PM on Sunday, and will likely last until 8:00 PM or later. My snacking and pop-drinking will last longer than that, as will my cheering or throwing things depending on the game outcome. Plus Iíll get to break out my new lucky football shirt I got from my dad for ChristmasÖ Like Iíve always said, the Steelersí chance of victory rests solely on whether I do all my pre-game rituals.

Iíve got Doritos, Bagel Bites, salsa, and many other unhealthy things sitting in my kitchen ready to go. All I need now is the patience to wait before the end of the week to start eating myself into a diabetic coma. Iíve done well dropping weight in 2005, but it always goes to hell around the playoffs.

In other news: I missed the Rose Bowl. My football fan license should be revoked, especially after I heard about it on Pardon the Interruption.

In more other news: I hate it when they talk football on Byte This! instead of sticking to the point, which is wrestling. So why I have become that which I despise? Because WWE is just sucking that much, thatís why.

So the point is thisÖ New Yearís Revolution? You canít pay me enough to give a shit about it unless that check is six non-zero digits long. And Iím sure Iíll be more entertained in one quarter of Sundayís game than I will be if I had watched the whole of the PPV. But hey, if youíre still loyal, go for itÖ just keep your expectations nice and low, and Iím sure you can burn your $35 with a smile on your face.

Big Danny T Says... Time to make a withdrawl...
Vince will probably continue his GM search,
maybe having the "finals" tonight.

Will coach bumble around and 'accidently' barge in on
the womens locker room while they are getting dressed?


And my biggest extra: I predict Edge to cash in his
"Money in the bank" clause after the elimination
chamber. He'll be confident of victory because he
wrestled in the beginning of the night and is nice and
fresh and Cena has just finished a grueling 45 minute
match. Unfortunately for Edge, tho, Cena is an
unstoppable hoss with the power of a Vince push, and
after about 5 minutes of getting beat down by Edge,
will suddenly spring up, show NO effects of the
physicality he's just endured, and give Edge the 5
moves of doom. I love run on sentences.
Rick Scaia Says... I got nothing.
Most of this document was done on Thursday night and Friday afternoon.... but I'm finishing it up on Saturday afternoon. After enduring the Dayton Flyers losing their A-10 Home Opener in painful fashion. As painful as much because it was a loss, as it was because it was a noon tip-off (10am wake-up, and 11am First Booze Call), and I didn't decide to stick a fork in my Friday night until about 5:30am.

I hurt right now. And I also don't really have anything else to add here that others haven't already. The main "extras" I'd expect would be Vince McMahon doing something annoying and taking too long to do it, and then Shelton Benjamin finding new and exciting ways to lose an unscheduled bonus match, to the chagrin of his mama. That should pretty much flesh out the card sufficeintly.

I need a 2 hour battery-charging nap more than I need to go into any further details. Sorry, but I'm on empty and I'm passing the savings on to you.

 

That just about does it for us here today.... you can see who (if any) among us called these matches accurately on Sunday night by checking out the PPV. Or you can save your time and money and wait till a little later on Sunday night for OO's coverage. 

Per custom, I'll have your New Year's Revolution PPV Recap posted at some point proximate to the midnight (eastern) hour. I'll see you then.


  
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Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.

 

 

 


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