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WWE Backlash 2006 PPV Preview
April 28, 2006

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


OK, first, just to get this out of the way: you are all right, and I was wrong. Ultimate Warrior unified the WWF and IC Titles at WM6, rendering one inconsequential prong of my otherwise-universally-beloved Wednesday Column inaccurate.
Blame it on my long standing policy of trying not to think of the Ultimate Warrior any more than I have to, these days. Because I actually CHEERED FOR HIM in that match against Hogan, and I look at what he's become today, and I feel so very, very dirty. Could I have ever been *that* stupid? Apparently, the answer is "Yes."

Anyway, I also have to assume that the cause of the even greater-than-usual number of corrections I received via e-mail is that I picked the wrong day to make a stupid mistake. Noted Ultimate Warrior Nostalgia-ist Bill Simmons sends a few new (and a few OLD, who didn't know where I went after SportsLine) readers my way, and *that's* the day I pick to completely whiff on Warrior's Greatest Moment? Oh well....

I assume it's more than made up for by the fact that the 10 minutes of wind blown by Simmons' buddies on "Baseball Tonight" last night were directly cribbed from Online Onslaught dot Com. Just replace "Delmon Young" with "Randy Orton," and you'll see EXACTLY what I mean. Oh, and just in case you're a tad on the slow side, also replace "throwing a bat with an umpire" with "pooping in girls' gym bags amongst other countless acts of douchebaggery." But the rest was spOOkily reminiscent of 2000-word rants I've done in the last 3 weeks.

But none of this is why we're here today.... my screw-up thus acknowledged, it's time to continue this oddly-upbeat week at OO by turning our attention to Backlash. A rare brand-specific PPV that actually has some teeth to it.

I sum up my muted-enthusiasm pretty simply: I don't know what's going to happen, and I actually care about finding out. With everything that's going on on RAW -- and in the wrestling industry as a whole -- lately, the main event becomes an insanely intriguing affair. Just on its own merits, the story has been told -- and the characters built up -- so well that nobody has a clue who's gonna win. I mean that. Even typing this up before all the trOOps have completed their picks, we're divided almost exactly evenly, and we're the smartest wrestling pundits you know!

But then throw in the fact that whoever wins this title match will figure strongly into the rebirth of ECW (by appearing on the One Night Stand PPV), and things get even murkier. You honestly can't decide who'll win. Or at least, I can't. But because the WWE Champ is figuring so prominently in some upcoming interesting developments, I can't wait to find out who DOES win. It's rare when WWE gets this equation just right.

Usually, the times I can't figure out who's gonna win a match is because they're storytelling has been so mind-numbingly awful that I just can't bring myself to care. Not so, come this Sunday.

And there's a few other cases of Ambiguity on the card, too. Maybe not as pronounced as the main event, but they're there, and that adds to the appeal of the event for me.

But enough prelude-y jibber-jabber from me. Let's assemble the Staff of Online Onslaught for some PPV Previewing and Prognosticating! Here's our ultra-in-depth look at the as-announced 7-match card for the Backlash pay-per-view.....

WWE Title Match

Cena beat Edge to regain the WWE Title 3 months ago, and then beat him in a rematch. Cena beat HHH at WrestleMania, fending off his challenge. And yet: Cena can't buy a cheer and he's still dealing with these two foes. Such is life when fans don't particularly give a shit about the old Hogan-esque "Superman" babyface. Or at least: not one who all fans over the age of 19 would rather slap in the face than cheer for.

Instead of WM22 being Cena's crowning achievement, it wound up being Just Another Win. The next night on RAW, HHH interrupted him during a promo to announce that he'd only "made the mistake of underestimating Cena," and that the Cerebral Assassin doesn't repeat mistakes: he learns from them. Then Edge interrupted the interruption by coming out to point out that HHH was the challenger, and he has no re-match clause, so to the back of the line with you, Trips!

This bit of verbal bantering ended up resulting in a HHH/Edge vs. Cena match later that night. The finish of that match? Well, HHH pinned Cena to re-establish his claim at a title shot, but made sure to do it only AFTER Pedigree'ing his own partner Edge for the hell of it.

So: everybody hates everybody, and let's just book us a three-way match for the next PPV!

They ran through every other iteration of the handicap matches on RAW (with Cena and then Edge scoring pinfalls, so everybody's even on that front), and didn't really bother playing any heed to face/heel considerations, since the FANS aren't paying any heed. Cena's ostensibly the only babyface in this match, and yet for the past month, his Boo Ratio has ranged from 40% (in a friendly town) to 98% (in London). If ANYbody is a babyface in this match heading in, it might be HHH. But then again: the PPV is in Kentucky, and let's not underestimate the likelihood of Kentuckians to still think a white guy pretending to be black is cool! And based on the fucking obnoxious OVW crowd, let's not underestimate the likelihood of Kentuckians to be 16-year-old fangirl ring rats who probably all think Cena's the dreamiest dreamboat who ever lived.

But I digress: point is, they've told this story really well, they've given all three guys the key wins they need over the others so that you don't have a clue who'll win the final showdown, they've let them cut promos and build personalities so that you actually buy into all three guys, and now they've put them together in this match. I am, I'm not ashamed to say, intrigued.

I think the match'll be well-worked, almost certainly better worked than the Cena/HHH match at WM22 was. But like Cena/HHH at WM22, the ringwork will only be part of the story. Because if the fan reaction and the drama and the excitement is anything like I suspect it'll be, you COULD bust out 15 minutes of slow-ass nothing like Cena and Hunter did at Mania, and it'd still be fun to watch. It's just that I'm quite certain that with a third man in the mix (and that man being Edge), some of the standard Triple Threat Psychology will dictate a much faster pace and a much better story to this match than what happened at Mania. And with the sizzle and crowd heat still added on as a bonus.

Like I said: I really am looking forward to this one.

The OOutlOOk
Triple H wins: 4 votes   --|--  John Cena wins: 2 votes
Edge wins: 2 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Triple H wins.
What the hell? I'm getting roped back into recapping RAW (damn you, Rick!), so I'm trying to keep up. I'll do some quick picks and continue my decline into the PPV Predictions cellar.

Cena: obnoxious clown hated by over half the audience. Edge: WWE only trusted him to hold the belt for 3 weeks last time. So Triple H will win. Doesn't he always?

Canadian Bulldog Says... Triple H wins.
Now, traditionally, I wouldn't expect the world title to change hands right after WrestleMania, especially because it doesn't "feel like" time for a title change. Yet I can't see Cena retaining. Even though whenever I say that, he ends up retaining. Just to piss me off.

I believe I said the same thing in my 'Mania preview: Cena needs to drop the belt to accelerate his heel turn, and frankly I'm surprised they haven't acted on this yet. But to paraphrase a really, really bad theme song "The Time Is Now" to get this going on Cena. And I think the possibilities of a heel Cena vs. face Triple H feud are much more compelling than, say, heel Edge (eg winning the title here) vs. face HHH. And it's not like they can do this same triple threat match again next month, given that they've overexhausted their build-up options with this trio.

So there's my pick. The Game. The King of Kings. The Cerebral Assassin. Mr. Fix-It (a lesser-used nickname). Because I figure, if I keep picking him to go over, eventually it's going to happen.
The Cubs Fan Says... John Cena wins.
The handicap matches haven't got me interested in this one. Besides the obvious "they hate each other" point, they've also built it so even, they've king discredited the idea of a win meaning anything; the winner wins because they just happened to be the lucky one (lucky to be sitting back and doing nothing while the other two fight, and jumping in for the pinfall probably), and if they held the same match on Tuesday, someone else would win; no one's better and no one's going to rise above. I'm guessing Cena wins - if they believe in him so much so far, why bother stopping now? If the booing for months hasn't convinced them to take the
title off of him, one more month of booing shouldn't change that.
Matt Hocking Says... John Cena wins.
If the idea then, is to continue to put John Cena over until all else fails and the world colapses in on itself, then this is just another opportunity to do just that.  Working under the theory that recent rumors aren't true, and JBL won't be the one with a title headed into Two Night Stand, then Cena
is the perfect pick to get the hostile ECW crowd going against RVD.

One might think that this is Triple H's "time" to get his title win, esepcially with the DX thing ramping up and the crowd getting decidedly behind him, but I think that whole story works a lot better if Hunter is removed from the title picture for the time being, and I think he knows that, and recently especially, he's been willing to put himself out of the title hunt if it means he can tell a better story.

Edge would be a nice choice simply because he's probably the guy in the match who could most use the win to establish himself, plus the fact that he got short shifted on his last title run.  But they'd have to move the title off him in a hurry, and I don't think that's a good idea because that JUST happened to the poor guy a few months ago.  That, and the fact that of the three, I think the ECW crowd would have the hardest time booing Edge.

These three have had plenty of time to work out their kinks against eachother, and every indication tells me it should be a good match.  If wrestling holds were witty barbs, this would be great, but as it is, it's three guys who are keyed into the WWE main event style (your opinion of Cena notwithstanding) and it should be a good example of that genre.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Triple H wins.
No comment.
Jeff Snider Says... Triple H wins.
Due to a couple factors (namely, I am leaving on vacation in one hour, and my DVR has screwed up the last two Mondays, so I have only seen 45 minutes of Raw in the past two weeks), my picks will be shorter than usual. But I will wait until after I pick this match to get all half-hearted on you. This really is a tossup, but I think Triple H comes out on top in this one. Why? I think Cena needs a break, and I don't think they would have made Edge a transitional champ if they intended to just put the belt back on him a few months later. (Of course, that implies that I believe that WWE had ANY idea what they would be doing right now back when they took the belt off Edge, which is a silly implication, really.) So yeah, I think HHH wins this one.
PyroFalkon Says...  Edge wins.
No comment.
Rick Scaia Says... Edge wins.
I wish I could just pick "Cena loses," since that's about the only thing I have even a SHRED of confidence about. And even then: it's only a shred.

In an intangible way, it just feels like Cena needs to not be the champ any more. He's (essentially) had it for 13 months now (and has been the signature star of RAW for 10 of those), and his only real accomplishment is "getting about one third of the audience to not loathe him." Something's gotta give.

And plus: in a more pragmatic way, I figure we've already milked Cena vs. HHH and Cena vs. Edge for all they're worth... that means it's time for HHH vs. Edge to be the program to carry us through the summer. Given reactions in recent weeks (and given HHH's great, relaxed, off-the-cuff mic work this past Monday), I think it could work really well, too. That means one of them needs the title.

And since wrestling always works best with faces chasing heels, I'm making my stab in the dark and saying that Edge somehow comes out of this as the champ. Then he fends Cena off in the inevitable re-match, and then it's on to Triple H as his main foe.

Also: beyond any possibility for rational debate, I can state that if the WWE Champ is going to ECW One Night Stand to face Rob Van Dam, then Edge and ONLY Edge (out of these three) can really hold up his end in an ECW Main Event Worthy style match. Would it be fun to see the ECW crowd savage Cena as he Unorthodoxed his way to a subpar match? Sure, but it'll be just as much fun to watch the same crowd savage Lita while she contributes positively to the match. And HHH splits the difference: he has some of the "Smart Fans Would Savage Him" Factor, and would also be a reasonably able opponent for RVD.... but why split the difference when Edge gives you everything you need for that PPV?

Even if WWE gets a ballsac and does something cool like have RVD win the belt and throw it down (OH how sweet it would be to see that gay-ass Bling Belt get tossed aside like the piece of faggotry that it is), you still have more than enough juice to run with HHH and Edge emerging as the leaders in a quest to fill the vacant WWE Title. Or you could even just have Vince show up the next night on TV and say that the ECW Match wasn't sanctioned, and have him award a new (non-stupid-looking) title belt right back to Edge. I dunno. Just thinking out loud, here.

I think the teat might be drying up on the "keep Cena on top so some fans can boo him" front. He's got to go, and we've got to try something fresh. And who'd ever have thought that "HHH as champ" would ever be fresh? Wow. But it has been a year, and that's a possibility. But for whatever it's worth, I'm giving this coinflip to Edge.


Very Special "If You're a Heathen Like The Rick, Then This is Basically Just a Handicap Match" Match

I'm not going to retell the whole "story" of the McMahons vs. Michaels. If you want to see me ranting about how poorly-handed it was heading into WM22, just go read the WrestleMania 22 PPV Preview.

I'll just tell the rest of the story starting from there, which is that Vince adopted a sudden Religion Fetish. He grudgingly said a prayer at WM22, then lost, and then got mad at God for forsaking him. The next night on RAW, Vince decided that if Shawn thinks he's really so bad ass, and if Shawn's God hates Vince so much, then what they oughta do is have a tag team match: Vince and Shane vs. Shawn and God.

Sound stupid to you? Well, it is. But the past few weeks have had their moments. Vince was deliciously blasphemous in a pre-taped skit inside a church. Shane's been hilarious as the guy who's smart enough to know that his dad has flipped out, but he has to remain loyal and keeps trying to steer his dad away from egregious acts of blasphemy. And then this past Monday, we got a RAW where Shane and Shawn had a one-on-one match that showed that even if there's only one "wrestler" in this match at Backlash, they can still bust out the high spots and the Sports Entertainment-y Goodness.

Only possible drawback to this one being top-shelf fun: the whole God Thing. We've already allegedly had "God" manifest himself in the form of some of the Undertaker's awful Gay Spooky Pyro, and certainly something like that could happen again at a key point on Sunday and send my mood AND the quality of the segment straight into the crapper. Whatever god I may or may not believe in, I just know that I'll never pay homage to a deity who has nothing better to do on a Sunday night than shoot off lame ass pyro to intimidate Vince McMahon. And doesn't God rest on Sundays, anyways?

There's also the whole realm of theories out there that Shawn will have a flesh-and-blood partner show up. Afterall.... "Foley is God," right? And JBL's a "Wrestling God." And Triple H keeps calling himself the "King of Kings" (*and* is joining Michaels in bringing back a load of DX Iconography, and clearly, here during the waning days of Blasphemy in Wrestling Month, the Crotchchop is the new Sign of the Cross!). But I don't like any of those options, either. Too hacky.

What I'd be fine with is Michaels just seeming one notch more Superman-ish on Sunday, imbued with a strength and resilience that not even HE knew he had. And let that be the end of it. I'm the furthest thing from being a religious man, but I also see no reason to insult pious folk or their God by getting cheesy. Wouldn't Michaels just having a little something extra inside of himself be the classiest way to depict a Higher Power, while ALSO not shoving a belief system down the throats of Heathens Like Me?

Nobody could portray this better than Michaels.... he's had performances (like at Survivor Series '02, just off the top of my head) where he's bleeding like mad and getting his ass kicked in the most decisive possible way, and yet he somehow endures and ends up winning. Turn that dial up just a little bit more, make sure the announcers are ready to mention the God Aspect, and I think you have an understated-yet-effective way of God having a tasteful and effective WWE Debut. 

The OOutlOOk
Michaels wins: 7 votes   --|--  McMahons win: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Shawn Michaels wins.
Shawn basically beat both Vince and Shane at Wrestlemania, right? Well, then he'll do it again here. God isn't coming to WWE to do the Job. If the bible has taught us anything, it's that God tends to shit all over Jobs.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Shawn Michaels wins.

Whereas HBK vs Vince has been a solid and enjoyable feud at times, this part really detracts from it. And not just because of the presence of the real "Higher Power", but because it should have ended at WrestleMania. There's no reason to keep this going.

I imagine that "God" won't be a wrestler eg JBL or HHH or any of the other predictions out there. I mean, I can't imagine HBK agreeing to something like that. This will probably play out like a handicap match, with The Big Guy getting the "hot tag" at the end, shooting lightning bolts or something stupid and distracting those nutty McMahons long enough for HBK to hit the flying jalapeno, fall, kip up and get the superkick.

One thing that I worry about in making this call is that the last time (I believe) Vince and Shane teamed up on PPV, it was against Austin in the mysterious "who raised the briefcase?" match. Hint: It was Big Bossman, apparently. My point being, I fully expected Austin to win and yet he lost to those McMahon boys. But are they really going to job out God in his debut?
The Cubs Fan Says... Shawn Michaels wins.
I think people will be disappointed in this match; whatever they do with God probably won't live up to people's expectations of seeing God (and that's an odd sentence), though I think they did lower expectations with the dumb pyro explosions of two weeks ago. Once you clear all the smoke, mirrors, teased deities and last minute no-DQ stips from the mix, it's still HBK wrestling the McMahons. Either you like that match or dislike that match by now, because you're had a chance to see quite a few times. I have no idea where this is going, but I also have no particular interest in where it's going - let's figure they put the new guy over in
his first match.
Matt Hocking Says... Shawn Michaels wins.
Vince McMahon can be accused of many things, but something you can always say about him is that he has a sense of humor about himself.  This story has been so goofy and so over the top, that Vince pretty much has to lose here, as much as his ego would love to have him go over God.  Although Shawn really gains nothing particular by beating the McMahons here, he has history on his side at the very least, as Vince never wins his "big matches"

On the issue of "God," there's any number of things you could do.  Any wrestling fan worth his weigth in foam replica Spinnin' Titles will tell you that, in fact, "Foley is God," a moniker that he has shirked, but could easily adapt here.  Plus there's the oft reported rumor that Kevin "Mordecai" Fertig has been contacted about coming back to WWE, and nothing says "God" like a guy with long white hair and a white beard.  Of course there's that pesky "King of Kings" issue and the consant DX play between Hunter and Shawn of late....

My guess?  We won't find out until Monday.  Shawn takes early control of the McMahons before succombing to numbers, but then, right at the end of the match, the lights go out and when they come back on, the McMahons lay
"smitten" in the ring.  It'll come off lame on the PPV, sure, but it leaves it open for them to play the same card on Monday and reintroduce the HHH/HBK team on RAW and doesn't muck up the main event.  I hope they have J.R. on
hand to call this match, with Styles running color.  "Oh my GOD!"  "By Gawd!"
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Shawn Michaels wins.
No comment.
Jeff Snider Says... Shawn Michaels wins.
It is so hard to pick the winners in these pointless, for-entertainment-only matches. I'll go with Shawn, but I'm telling you right now: God won't show up.
PyroFalkon Says...  McMahons win.
No comment.
Rick Scaia Says... Shawn Michaels wins.
Michaels has to win, doesn't he? Would a man of ostensible faith (and my crystal clear memories of Shawn being the only one on the Eddie Tribute Show to be smiling and content and happy, I tend to believe that Michaels isn't faking it) agree to be a part of a storyline in which his God not only spent a month being mocked, but then was also booked to lose his debut match?

I really don't think so. So unless I'm willing to contemplate a future in which "God" sticks around as a WWE character to wreak his vengeance upon Vince McMahon (note: I'm not willing to contemplate this), then Shawn wins on Sunday, and that's the end of it. [Only alternative: "God" doesn't show up, and Michaels loses and is willing to do a storyline where he questions his own faith and morphs back into crotchchopping DX Shawn Michaels... but you born-again types check me on this: wouldn't that be sort of against the rules to publicly question God?]

I'd prefer if they left freak accidents and pyro bursts and shit like that out of it, but it's WWE.... you just never know. I prefer my idea from above: just let Shawn get his ass kicked like it's never been kicked before, but then have him win. And afterwards? That's when Shawn can celebrate and gesture (Broadly) that he couldn't have done it without his God. 

People'll get the message. And they won't be insulted or pissed off by it, either.


Winner Take All: Money in the Bank Title Shot vs. InterContinental Title Match

Story here is simple: Rob Van Dam won the six-way Money in the Bank Ladder Match at WrestleMania, but Shelton was (quite demonstrably) the star of the match. So a week after Mania, Shelton decided he wanted to challenge RVD for the MitB Title Shot. RVD, quite smartly, refused to put his title shot on the line up against nothing, and insisted on a shot at Shelton's IC Title.

The next week: RVD proposes a match in which he picks Shelton's opponent. If Shelton can beat the mystery man, RVD will put up his MitB Title Shot and that's all. But if Shelton loses to the mystery man, Shelton puts up the IC Title and that's all.

Of course, Shelton lost to his former tag partner, Charlie Haas. But he also went whining to Mr. McMahon, who put things right by putting the wheels in motion, eventually turning this into a "Winner Take All" match. RVD's Money in the Bank title shot is up for grabs as well as Shelton's InterContinental Title.

Simple, elegant, and effective on the storyline side. And in the ring? This really ought to be a pleasure to watch. The first time these two hooked up, it was a bit of a letdown, but since then, they've had two months of working against each other on the road and getting used to each other's fairly-unique movesets. I think Sunday's when they put it all together and show us what two guys this talented are capable of doing.

The OOutlOOk
RVD wins: 7 votes   --|--  Shelton wins: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Rob Van Dam wins.
ECW's coming back and Van Dam is facing the WWE Champ at One Night Stand? As if the matching tie-dyed briefcase didn't give it away enough, there's now officially no way RVD can lose this match.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Rob Van Dam wins.
Our humble webmaster recently suggested a scenario in which RVD wins the I-C belt here, then the WWE title at One Night Stand, leading to him being "screwed" by the McMahons, and as the catalyst for the new ECW brand. I really like the idea, thought I don't think it will get played out exactly like that.

I do see RVD winning here, though, so he can face HHH, Edge or Cena at ONS. It just makes sense. Shelton doesn't need MITB because he's doing so well in his current position that I could see a title program for him by year-end. RVD needs this, and ideally against Triple H, to get the "us vs them" mentality of ECW off to an awesome start.

Maybe, somehow, he doesn't win the I-C title, but retains the briefcase. Or maybe he walks away with both. Either way, I can't imagine him losing the title shot one month after getting it.
The Cubs Fan Says... Rob Van Dam wins.
This match is every Shelton Benjamin high spot - it could turn out really good, or it could turn out really bad. He's an inconsistent guy, RVD hasn't been consistently anything since his return, and who knows how they'll work together. RVD's keeping his title shot, so the finish question is if he also wins the IC title. Heavily fictional alternate universes where the WWE would actually have someone throw down the WWE Championship (and the World Championship!) besides, RVD's not going to win the IC title while challenging for a world title. I'm guessing the more likely ECW setup is for the match to get just too darn extreme for WWE, with someone picking out a DQ for going too far. It's make more
sense for it to be RVD, but since, for all I know, the MitB might change hands on a DQ, let's say Shelton somehow picks it up.
Matt Hocking Says... Rob Van Dam wins.
Too much is currently being made of Rob's Money in the Bank status for the outcome to be anything but a complete schmozz or an RVD victory.  Let's look at the pros in favor of RVD:

-Recently colored the MitB briefcase for himself

-Adopted a MitB Catchphrase

-Is scheduled to be riding high (excuse the pun) into Two Night Stand

-Shelton Benjamin, despite being a great athlete is not nearly charismatically ready for a Title run

-He doesn't need the IC title, but it certainly wouldn't hurt him any

My guess?  RVD wins with a little help from his ECW cohorts.  You only really need Dreamer to run in, hit a DDT behind the ref's back, get an ECW chant rolling and have Rob pick up the win.  He can even drop the IC title right back to Shelton in a month with a little assist from John Cena.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Rob Van Dam wins.
No comment.
Jeff Snider Says... Shelton Benjamin wins.
I don't think they are going to take the briefcase away from RVD. I think they could, because both of these guys are awesome and could easily be main-eventing in the next eleven months, but I don't think it's gonna happen. I'm not completely convinced that they are going to blow this feud off and have one guy walk away with the briefcase AND the title, either. In fact, I am pretty sure we're getting some sort of non-finish here. I guess I will go with Shelton winning by DQ.
PyroFalkon Says...  Rob Van Dam wins.
No Comment.
Rick Scaia Says... Rob Van Dam wins.
Van Dam doesn't need the IC Title if he's heading off to be the top star of the New ECW. But he also can't lose this match.

So I leave the door open for Shelton to get himself DQ'ed or something like that (thus losing the match, but saving the title), but I think this is one of the few matches on the card where all signs really do point to a certain outcome. RVD's gotta win, and has got to keep rolling to One Night Stand and beyond.


Women's Title Match

Well: another one where I'm not gonna repeat my bitching by re-telling the whole storyline. Needless to say, I thought things had gotten pretty-badly bungled by the time the WM22 match with these two had come around.... and I'd rather not linger on a storyline that provided the set-up for the WM22 match where Mickie James' victorious finishing hold was.... wait for it.... wait for it.... Fingering Trish Stratus.

So again, we'll pick up where I left off in the last PPV preview, and I've gotta say.... we've gone from the badness heading into WM to the downright confusing. A lot of that is due to the fact that I'm not entirely sure WWE or the writer monkeys thought this through the entire way... more than a few people in the heirarchy might have been caught off guard by the boos Trish got at Mania, and what we've been seeing the past few weeks could just be a poorly-plotted, knee-jerk attempt to fix things. I dunno.

Of course, all that is made oh so much worse by the fact that I've had my finger right on the pulse of things all along and wasn't surprised by the Fan Mutiny at WM, and think I've been supplying pretty spot-on suggestions for where this storyline SHOULD be going for months, now. And instead we've got this mess where story threads seem to be dropped unexpectedly and where fans don't really have a reason to cheer or boo one girl or the other.

The short version of the story: the night after WM22, Mickie James debuted a new Trish Stratus Make-Over, and acted like she thought she was Trish. The next week, Trish surprised Mickie by coming out with a Mickie James make-over. The week after that, Trish-as-Mickie tried to give Mickie-as-Trish a present (which is DEFINITELY one of the times where you have to admit the scenario I offered up would have trumped WWE's storyline by about a thousandfold), and turned it into some kind of lame Captain-Kirk-confusing-a-stupid-android reverse-psychology babbling designed to get Mickie to realize she's NOT Trish Stratus. So of course, after Mickie re-affirms her belief that she IS Trish at the end of that segment, she comes out a week later and admits she was wrong and she knows she's really Mickie James. But Trish was still in full Mickie James attire, to continue taunting Mickie by throwing her own psycho horseshit back into her face.

So: on Sunday will Trish show up AS TRISH because she's accomplished what she's wanted to accomplish? Or will this be Mickie James vs. Trishie James? And if so, are they possibly thinking about a double turn where Trish would actually embrace and encourage whatever boos she gets? And does that open the door to Trish using the Two Fingers of Ecstasy as *her* finishing move, too (just to teach Mickie a lesson, you understand)? And -- most importantly to me -- just how good, fast-paced, hard-hitting of a match can Trish have if she's gotta be concerned about her Mickie-Wig staying put?

At this point, I have no answers to any of those questions, and as such, have no real handle on who to expect to win. But I'm a sucker for Trish six days a week and twice on Sundays, so I'm anxious to find out. Let's all hope for the best....

The OOutlOOk
Mickie wins: 5 votes   --|--  Trish wins: 3 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Mickie James wins.
I have no idea. It sounds like Trish has really fallen lately and plus if she's still dressing like Mickie, even if she wins, shouldn't I get credit for picking correctly?
Canadian Bulldog Says... Trish Stratus wins.
Wow - after seeing this feud die just before Mania, it's certainly started to pick up steam again thanks to some strategic costuming by the competitors. I almost wish this match was delayed by a month or two, just so we could see Trish James stalking Mickie Stratus for a bit longer. But what can you do?

I don't expect Trish to win the belt here, but I could definitely see her getting the DQ or countout win, keeping this feud just a little bit longer.
The Cubs Fan Says... Trish Stratus wins.
I know this sounds like a stretch, but I believe the lack of depth in the women's division has hurt this feud. We've gotten a skit from this feud every week since WrestleMania, and that's probably too many skits when they have only one idea they're pushing (Trish is trying to outcrazy Mickie, but can't quite do it because Mickie is the essence of crazy.) If there was another women's wrestler for Trish to team with,
they could do a match with Trish acting crazy, and spread out the skits a little better. They didn't, so this peaked early with Jack telling both ladies what he thought of them, and the interest isn't there like the WrestleMania match. They've both got nothing better to do here, so I figure it goes on to a stipulation match next time.
Matt Hocking Says... Mickie James wins.
aHell, I don't quite know what the hell is going on with this feud anymore.  With Mickie appologetic and Trish continuing to push the "Isn't She Batshit Crazy?!" angle, the only thing I can think of is that the WWE braintrust is taking the oposite route they took when John Cena started getting booed, and
is going to let Trish transition back into being a heel.  I really have no justification whatsoever for believing that, but I do never the less.

If that IS the case, then the right move would be to move the belt back onto Trish, to let the series keep going back and forth.  But I think it's too soon to take the title off Mickie, and honestly for Trish to get the belt at this point in her quasi-pseudo-turn, if she is in fact making one, it would
take a lot of steam off because there's no reason right now for the crowd to get into Mickie as a face chasing the title.

So, Mickie picks up the win, but it feels like less of a fluke than the Mania match, as she's able to defeat Trish without groping her, forcing Trish to restrategize.  They contue the feud for another few months, hopefully handling the shift in dynamics a little better this time, and not being so heavy handed with them.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Mickie James wins.
No comment.
Jeff Snider Says... Mickie James wins.
I've tried to care, but I just can't.
PyroFalkon Says...  Trish Stratus wins.
No comment.
Rick Scaia Says... Mickie James wins.
I have no fucking idea. But I say Trish can't win because they've actually UNintensified this feud since Mania (and have kind of funned it up with some silliness, instead), so it doesn't feel right to have THIS be the Ultimate Vengeance Match for Trish. Her win has to wait, I figure.

So unless they really would try for a double turn (VERY dumb idea, if you ask me), you hold off and give Mickie the win here. And my vote? You actually have Mickie beat Trish fairly cleanly (no vagina stuff), and have Trish realize that no matter how psycho Mickie is, she's still a competent wrestler. Thus, the next night on RAW: Trish ditches the wig and (oh, too bad) the thong and starts dressing and acting like herself again (welcome home, ass cleavage!), promising to not underestimate Mickie any longer and not get wrapped up in any psycho headgames.

Option #2 would be that Mickie just does something totally spazzy and evil at the PPV (she might even lose the match via DQ), because she's sick and tired of Trishie James showing the world just how lame and whacko Mickie is by impersonation her. This would be the start of the "Misery"/Annie Wilkes aspect of the feud that I've been BEGGING for since last November. Trish does the stretcher job, and as we follow her recovery (and possibly follow skits where Mickie shows up to act as an impediment to that recovery), Trish will return to her rightful status as the most appealing woman ever in the history of wrestling. Only problem: it'd be a LOT easier to endorse Option #2 if WWE hadn't fired all their ring-capable women, cuz without Trish, we're looking at 4-6 weeks of Mickie vs. Torrie and Maria. Ugh. Unless: Diva Search Ashley's getting better... having her make her return to defend the honor of her fallen best-friend might make a bit of sense and kill some time while we keep Trish sequestered. OK, I officially like Idea #2 the best.

But in either case, I'm having a hard time coming up with a scenario in which Trish wins AND wins the title back. It's just not the right time for that.


Very Special Grudge Match

Show and Kane were partners a month ago at WrestleMania. Then they lost the Tag Team Titles. And then Kane started getting all stupid and Drama Queen-y anytime he heard the date "May 19" (which just so happens to be when his craptastic movie hits theatres).

This has led to Kane wigging out and turning on his own partner. And to Kane wigging out and going after Lillian Garcia till his own partner came out to make the save. And finally to Kane wigging out and gouging out Big Show's left eye this past week when Show was inquiring as to Kane's well-being. [Why is the eye-attack significant? Because, the original title of Kane's movie was "Eye Scream Man" for a reason, and if that doesn't up the already-prodigious Suck Factor of this storyline for you, then I officially declare you Ready For the WWE Writing Staff.]

This really has been an exceptionally bad and cheesy build-up to what doesn't have to be a suckfest. Show's got the personality to hold up the babyface end of the thing, and Kane's gotta be about as good an in-ring Big Man as there's ever been in this business. But no: they've stupided it up, with Kane broadcasting the voices in his head directly over the air on the USA Network and shit like that.

C'est la vie. These two can still have a quality Big Man Match, and there's still time to salvage this whole lame "May 19" thing, too. I'm not making any promises, mind you, I'm just saying it COULD, conceivably, happen.

The OOutlOOk
Kane wins: 7 votes   --|--  Big Show wins: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Kane wins.
I pick the guy with the movie coming out. When was the last time Big Show won an important match, anyway?
Canadian Bulldog Says... Kane wins.
Just for the record, there HAVE been worse movie plugs in wrestling. For example, Stephanie McMahon being abducted by The Planet of The Apes. Or the whole David Arquette thing. Yet this is still silly. Surely they could have planned this feud out a little better, no? I mean, Show and Kane first won the titles in October (even though they defended those belts, what, twice?). Instead we get a quickie insta-feud that takes place over a week or two because Show said "May 19".


Anyways, Kane gets the win because he's got the movie to shill. Also, that may stop him temporarily from tracking me down.
The Cubs Fan Says... Kane wins.
If Big Show wears an eye patch, does that make him a better pirate than Paul Burchill? Bet heavily on some one saying "this isn't a wrestling match, it's a fight!" Bet heavily on the match being no better than other countless Kane and Big Show's matches. Bet heavily on the guy with the movie winning.
Matt Hocking Says... Kane wins.
This, on the other hand, is a case where a turning wrestler needs one solid victory over a comperable opponent to really cement his newfound status, and also to give him a little momentum boost going into his next couple months of stories.  Kane also has a movie coming out relatively shortly (I can never remember the date....), and he'll be getting all the momentum he can handle to help promote it.  Show, as it is, has shown a remarkable ability (mostly because of his sheer size, but also because of the fact that he's genuinely entertaining) to bounce back from these kind of loses very

My guess is that Show enters the match with an eyepatch thanks to Kane's attack Monday, and that we get plenty of exciting eye-based action.  Kane eventually... uh... "blindsides" Show, and gets him down for the pinfall.  It's sure to be..."methodical."
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Kane wins.
No comment.
Jeff Snider Says... Big Show wins.
Show is pissed, Kane is falling apart mentally. I'll take Big Show.
PyroFalkon Says...  Kane wins.
No comment.
Rick Scaia Says... Kane wins.
Duh. One's got a "movie" coming out and is going to be ubiquitous on WWE TV for the next 6 weeks. The other? Not so much.

I guess you could do a deal where Big Show wins, and furthers Kane's Drama-Queen-y Shame Spiral, but trying to apply WWE Think to the situation, they're not gonna be doing this halfway. If Kane's gonna morph into some super-bad-ass heel as his movie approaches, they don't have time for subtlety like that: full speed ahead! Kane, thusly, must emerge victorious.


Very Special Grudge Match

Carlito and CFM were actually the opposition for Show and Kane at WM22, but they didn't get the job done, and thus both tag teams in the Tag Title Match at WM are broken up and doing battle here, just one month later. That's probably worthy of an historical footnote of some kind.

The reason Carlito and CFM didn't get the job done at Mania (thus allowing the Spirit Squad to relieve Show/Kane of the titles the next night) is because Masters whacked Carlito in the back of the head at a key juncture of the match. Masters claimed it was accidental at the time, and Carlito ended up taking him at his word that night.

But the next night? When Carlito tried to give Masters a helpful talking-to, Masters attempted to get all smart and talkative. He said that after all the times Carlito has screwed him over (Carlito INSISTS those were all accidents!), maybe Masters made an accident of his own at WM. Or maybe -- he said suggestively -- he didn't.

Carlito instantly assesses the situation and declares that Masters waiting and waiting until they busted their ass to get a Tag Title shot at the biggest show of the year to get his revenge is "the stupidest thing I've ever heard." Amen to that. And with that, we essentially have an official face turn for Carlito, who spends the next couple weeks out-smarting Masters at every turn, which sometimes results with Masters getting apple spit in his face. And when Masters is unlucky and brushes up against fucking up a segment? He got something worse than apple in the face.

Masters' lone moral victory of the past month? When he went partners with Matt Striker and got the better of Carlito. I tend to think that Masters' prospects of getting over at all are linked to WWE's willingness to play up Master's real-life marble-mouthed stupidity, and give him Striker (who does an erudite High School Teacher gimmick) as a mouthpiece/handler. But what do I know?

For now, we've got just Carlito and Masters as the likely participants in Sunday's affair, and I don't know whether to let myself get intrigued or whether to just let my Inner Cynic take over.... because I like Carlito. A lot. But Masters really does suck in ways that few other WWE performers of the past 6-7 years have been allowed to suck without getting yanked off TV; he's fricking Brakkus without the accent. And because what I like about Carlito is not necessarily that he works like he's an in-ring prodigy (but rather his personality combined with a slightly-better-than-adequate arsenal of in-ring skills), I don't know if Carlito is in any position to be the Ring General of this match. In fact, evidence suggests Carlito is NOT quite ready for that, given his string of sketchy outings back last fall (and against better opponents than CFM).

We shall see what happens... the goal here should be WWE trying to advance BOTH men up the ladder, and I think that's possible. For Masters, like I said, it'll take a bit of character-tweaking and an alliance with Striker. For Carlito? Well, he basically just has to keep being Carlito and he'll be OK. Put this one firmly in the "I dunno" pile, too: not only do I dunno who'll win, I don't even know if this one will be fun to watch or if it'll suck balls. Oh the drama~!

The OOutlOOk
Carlito wins: 4 votes
Chris F. Masters wins: 4 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Carlito wins.
Let's see. Carlito is always pretty funny when I check in on RAW. Chris Masters is the poster boy for why I don't see as much of Carlito as I used to. Advantage: Carlito.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Carlito wins.
Remember what I said during the WrestleMania preview? What do you mean "I didn't read your predictions, Bulldog, because they're not as entertaining as Pyrofalkon's"? Well, fuck you all!

But.... what I said last month is that I would be shocked to see if they hadn't broken up either the Kane/Show or Carlito/Masters teams within months. Ha! They're both broken up already, and feuding on this PPV. That's even quicker than I'd expected.

What did your precious Pyrofalkon predict for you?  Hahahahahahaha - what a wad, that Pyrofalkon.
The Cubs Fan Says... Chris F. Masters wins.
The problem with Carlito is that after all this team, he's still not that good. Certiantly not good enough to make this match work for eight or so minutes. The best thing for this PPV might be the triple threat grabbing a lot of time, leaving less time for these other matches to attempt to fill. I guess this program has unfortunate legs - though it might slip down to Heat by next PPV - so Masters wins to keep it going.
Matt Hocking Says... Carlito wins.
aOne of these guys is growing in popularity at a very fast rate with the WWE audience.  The other is Chris Masters.  And therein lies Carlito's key to victory at this PPV.  Like Kane, Carlito needs a decent sized victory to cement his newfound status as a fan favorite, and Chris Masters is as good a target as any, especially given the surprisingly rich backstory between the two, and the fact that Project Masters has lost some amount of steam over the past few months.

Here's the thing:  I essentially think it's a huge mistake if Carlito doesn't go over here, and not only that, I think he has to cheat to win.  Not to protect Masters, mind you (not that that's not a worthy cause in its own right), but because a lot of Carlito's success, especially in the next three or four months, as a face will come only if he maintains his heel
mannerisms.  Much like this year's poster child of falling from fan's grace, John Cena, if Carlito immediately turns to pandering to fans and getting clean victories over opponents, the whole thing will be a bust, because that's not what attached fans to Carlito in the first place.  A little Eddie Guerrero "Cheat to Win" tribute is just the kind of thing that will turn a crowd in Carlito's favor, and position him for a bigger run early next year.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Chris F. Masters wins.
No comment.
Jeff Snider Says... Chris F. Masters  wins.
Will Carlito break the MasterSuck? Will anyone care? Could they find a better waste of Carlito's time? Do I have any idea who will win? Probably Masters.
PyroFalkon Says...  Carlito wins.
No comment.
Rick Scaia Says... Chris F. Masters wins.
This is another one that could, conceivably, go either way with equally effective results. So, you ask, why are you picking your mortal enemy Chris F. Masters to win, Rick?

Because, if it can go either way with good results, then I'll quit worrying about "WWE Think," and just jump straight to Rick Think. And in Rick Think, the priority here should be helping BOTH guys move up a bit. And the only way to help Masters? You HAVE to solidify his relationship with Matt Striker. Striker's the talker, the handler, and the tag team partner, and Masters finally embraces his proper role as a Dumb Guy With Muscles.

Having Striker around to jazz up part (or even all) of the match also assuages some of my concerns about Carlito trying to ring-general Masters to a watchable one-on-one match. You can put in some extra-curriculars. But at the end of the day: Striker applying his Big Brain to help dum-dum Masters steal a win is the way to help CFM without hurting Carlito one bit. In fact: this is how you stretch this feud out to live another day, and make Carlito's eventual victory over Lunkhead that much more satisfying.

Of course, now that I've proposed a scenario in which I would actually like seeing CFM win a match, WWE will turn around and just have Carlito -- who I actually like -- win. I can't fucking catch a break, can I?  


Very Special "What the Hell is an 'Umaga,' Anyway?" Match

Um, let's see if it's possible to slice off just 1/64th of my ass and use it to preview this match:

(1) Ric Flair came out of the Money in the Bank Ladder Match and said that even though he lost, he thought his performance level was still that of a champion and he's still got his sights set on a 17th Title Reign.

(2) Armando Alejandro Estrrrrrrrrrrrrada hopped a plane from Louisville (where he's been one of Paul Heyman's more effective pet projects down in OVW), and interrupted Flair, calling him an old man. And if the Old Man didn't want to get out of the way and make room for younger jet-flying, limousine-riding, kissing-stealing, wheeling-dealing sons of guns (such as Armando himself), then Armando would forcibly MOVE Flair out of the way.

(3) Flair said "bring it on." So Armando brought out "Umaga" (the former Jamal of "3 Minute Warning" doing an 80's throw-back Generic Samoan Heel gimmick), and Umaga destroyed Flair.

(4) Flair went away for 3 weeks, and Umaga spent them generally doing absolutely nothing constructive and totally flopping with fans.

(5) This past Monday, Flair finally returned and did a run-in on Umaga, traumatizing Umaga's man-sac. And from this, a PPV Match was born.

(6) Nobody in the civilized world gives a shit, and this becomes Sunday night's pre-determined piss-break. What a waste of Estrada (who is quite charismatic, and could have been used to get some more-worthwhile, less-80s-riffic piece of talent over), and what a waste of Flair (who's had an inspired 2006 to date, but has nothing to work with here: if he busts ass and loses then he loses to a "nobody," if he busts ass and wins then he just beat a "nobody"; what's the point?).

The OOutlOOk
Flair wins: 5 votes   --|--  Umaga wins: 3 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Ric Flair wins.
I don't know what an Umaga is, but I know he better fucking not get a win over Ric Flair on pay-per-view.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Umaga wins.
Maybe it's the new 'do, or his crazy-eyed manager, or the tricked-out facepaint, but Umaga has done okay so far. Not great, mind you, but better than I'd expected. I'm a little surprised that Flair would become the first piece of Umaga fodder rather than, say, Viscera or Eugene, but what's done is done.

I know I shouldn't be surprised whenever Flair, the most accomplished wrestler of the modern era, and someone who's still doing a tremendous job well into his AARP years, agrees to lose to guys who clearly don't deserve the rub, but its happened before, and it will happen again. I fully expect to turn on my TV set in 2017 (hopefully I'll be able to afford cable by then) to see Flair, age 86, do the J.O.B., to GrappleDroid 2000. And carry said droid to a *** match in the process.
The Cubs Fan Says... Umaga wins.
From the quest for One More Championship Reign to putting over Umaga. If Ric's not still in this for the money, he must love wrestling more than anyone else in the history of the world. Maybe they're wasting him here because they're getting ready to move him over to a short SmackDown!
side? Maybe they're wasting him here because they have no ideas? I think I'd like to play this booking crew in checkers, because they don't seem to be thinking any steps ahead; where does Umaga go after here? If he feuds with Big Show, he's done after that. RVD and Cena. Shawn doesn't need the money. Maybe HE needs to move over to SmackDown to do a Rey vs a Monster feud!
Matt Hocking Says... Umaga wins.
It pains me to predict this, but it *is* Umaga's first PPV match, and Flair is at the "jobbin' to people" stage of his career.  I may very well get this wrong, as this feels kind of like the kind of match Flair might come back and win.  But I've got to go with my initial gut feeling which is that WWE
is fairly high on Umaga right this second, and they'll promise to make this one up to Flair down the road.

Estrada probably gets involved early and often, and Umaga gets the pin after some kind of funky head based manuever.  I don't see Flair jobbing to the thumb spike.  Flair's still better than most, and I like Jamal, but I can't see this particular match being anything but average.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Ric Flair wins.
No comment.
Jeff Snider Says... Ric Flair wins.
I never thought I'd see a match where I honestly believed it would be a travesty if the 80-year-old man DIDN'T win, but here we are. Sorry, Umaga. Your Three Minutes are up.
PyroFalkon Says...  Ric Flair wins.
No comment.
Rick Scaia Says... Ric Flair wins.
Another where I dunno. But in this case, WWE actually did the usual thing and made sure I also duncare.

But let's go with Flair. Because if he was serious at all about pursuing that 17th title, then he's not jobbing to fucking Sika 2006. I think Flair's been too good and too inspired since HHH turned on him last fall to have him drop too far down the card. Honestly: in the past 6 months, Flair has held the IC Title and feuded with HHH and with Edge (and then he sort of stumbled into the middle of the Money in the Bank match). He may have lost both those feuds (and the title), but that's nothing to be ashamed of.

Losing to Umaga? Something to be ashamed of. It won't "make" Umaga. It'll just send the message that this new, re-energized Naitch we've been seeing is gone and that any talk of #17 is kooky-talk, and that Flair should be feuding with nobody higher up the foodchain than Lance Cade. We don't want that.

Need to "protect" Umaga? Easy... have Flair cinch in the Figure Four, and have Estrada hop in the ring to cause the DQ. Flair wins, but without Umaga having to tap out. You can even do a 2-on-1 post-match beatdown if you really MUST give Umaga a happy ending, but I'd also vote for this being one where Flair is able to walk away in the end.



With a pretty strong Top 3 Matches and a few decent things on the undercard, this is looking like a packed show.... but as always, you know there'll be a few little things that didn't fit directly into our above predictions that we want to get off our chests. So here goes....

The OOutlOOk

Erin Anderson Says... Why Bother?
Well, 95% of what I know about RAW these days comes from reading Rick's columns, and so I'm guessing we've made identical picks yet again. So why should I come up with any extra ideas if all it will do is result in more ammo for those of you who think Rick invented me and that we're the same person?

Also: I just do not give a shit. 

Canadian Bulldog Says... Whither Chavo?
This show is so packed already, I can't see too much else in between the bouts here. Charlie Haas vs. Matt Striker is YOUR Sunday Night Heat main event.... I assume that The Family McMahon will enlist the help of The Spirit Squad in their match with Michaels, because we wouldn't want them defending their tag titles or anything... I don't expect a follow-up to the Chavo angle just yet, because it would be great to just keep him off television for a while, but in WWE-think, they may be concerned that he's already been away from the spotlight for too long.... I think they'll hold off the whole Heyman-Sabu-ECW thing until Monday night, unless you have RVD get screwed over somehow. Oh, and here's a thought, WWE Raw brand -- how about naming a fucking General Manager already? Hell, just bring Bischoff back at this point. There was nothing wrong with doing it anyways. Only this time, when he tries to screw over Cena, people will cheer.
The Cubs Fan Says... The Rick is a Lemming~!
Rick, in his e-mail, was hyped for this show. I can not
imagine why. It's fair to say I haven't been into too many WWE shows, so maybe I'm just cranky, but this card doesn't look measurable different than any of the other recent B PPVs: there's a few matches which won't be any good but they're hoping we might care about the story (even though the story isn't any good) and there's a main event which should deliver (though threeways haven't been WWE's strong suit of late.) I guess it's marginally more intriguing because there's less sure winners than usual, the main event included.
Matt Hocking Says... The Power of God.
Backlash is kind of an interesting PPV.  I do want to see it, but there's nothing on the card that would make me say, "Oh, well, I must buy it just for that."  EXCEPT strangely enough...to see how they handle the "God" thing.  That is a perfect example of how WWE tries to hook random people on
intrigue alone.  You can sell a halfway decent PPV if you promise something really strange is going to happen.  How they plan to deliver on that (or even if they DO plan to deliver on that) is another issue entirely, but when you're talking about GOD making his wrestling PPV debut...it's bound to get more people talking than Jay Leno did anyway.

Other than that, I'm really pleasantly surprised at how well the WWE has handled the build to this PPV.  There are really only two matches (Flair/Umaga and RVD/Benjamin) that don't have at least three months of backstory in one way or another.  Some of them even go back as far as Taboo Tuesday and further.  So hell, at the very least this is probably the best built PPV WWE's done this year, and there's plenty of storyline options coming out of Michaels/God/McMahons, RVD/Benjamin, and HHH/Edge/Cena to make things at least a little unpredictable.  Fun fun.

-Heat will proabably feature Haas/Striker or some kind of Spirit Squad Match.

-The Spirit Squad will get a cheer in for sure though.

-Like it or not, the next chapter of the epic Viscera/Candice story will probably unfold.

-There will be a hard sell at some point either by RVD or by the WWE's production department (probably both) for Two Night Stand.  Part of me kind of expects them to name drop Sabu just to fuck with TNA.

-I fully expect Shawn Michaels to try something stupid off a ladder through the announce table and both McMahons.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... School sucks.
No time for more, it's finals week.
Jeff Snider Says... Put it on sale, and I'm there!
The main event and the RVD/Shelton matches should be pretty special. The McMahons vs. Michaels should be entertaining, and it may even be pretty good if Vince powders out early. The rest of the card? Not doing a darn thing for me. Not a darn thing, I tell you. If PPVs were only $15, I would consider buying this one, but I don't know if I would.
PyroFalkon Says...  I'm keeping it short and sweet..
No "expert" analysis from me this week due to college. (Punchline: "You've never provided us expert analysis!" Retort: "You're mixing me up with Canadian Bullshit.")
Rick Scaia Says... I gots spirit, yes I do, I gots spirit, how's about you?
You are not getting out of this PPV without the Spirit Squad making an appearance. And this COULD be a good thing. With a one-week exception, they've been a pretty amusing highlight to RAW in the last month, and now that they're the tag champs, they belong on PPV.

Probably is, I don't really see much room (or any suitable opposition) for them to have a title defense, so we just have to wait and see which match they interfere in (McMahons/Michaels seems the likely one), or what kind of skit/promo the Fed hands them. But either way: they'll be there. Oh yes, they'll be there.

Other than that, I'm not really sure there's much room (or much need) for anything else. I guess I'll hope that Coach is still out after Monday's Greco Roman Butt Rape. And I'll have fun playing the Joey Styles JR-itis Game again, I'm sure.

But that really is about all I got. Only other "surprise" type thing I see on the horizon is when WWE announces One Night Stand, and I figure they'll wait and do that on Monday, so.... hey, what you see is (mostly) what you'll get.

This is a rare oddly-compelling brand-specific PPV. Maybe not a jim dandy, but compared to where my anticipation level was two weeks ago, I think we oughta give WWE some credit for creating a line-up where I honestly don't know for sure what's gonna happen in the top matches.

I've said it once, and I'll say it again: the trick to booking your way up to a PPV is creating a line-up that confuses fans (in the good way), thus leading to intrigue. WWE's great, most of the time, with the "confusing" part of the equation -- what with poor character development and continuity-error-ridden storytelling -- but they got it right this month (at least in the main event). I can appreciate all the discrete elements (workrate, promos, etc.) that go into a good wrestling show, but the simple fact is: if they don't combine to make you care about finding out who wins and loses big matches, then who the fuck cares?

Backlash has, for better or for worse, gotten me pretty interested in a few key outcomes. And I *don't* think that's just carryover interest from this whole ECW thing. We'll see if WWE lives up to this rare PPV Endorsement soon enough, though.... and you know OO will be here with an immediate post-show PPV Recap at some point around midnight (eastern) on Sunday, so I'll see you all then. 

SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28



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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