Re: WWE: The Evolution Of Greed
~News, Notes and Spoilers~
(Backlash T-minus 3 hours and counting.)
There is a buzz around the Raw roster tonight as the red brand looks to continue the good feeling from their positive contribution to WrestleMania XXIII with another strong showing tonight at Backlash. It's almost a certainty that the WWE Championship Match featuring Rob Van Dam and John Cena will close the show, with Van Dam both excited and tense regarding his first ever Raw pay per view main event. Although many feel Van Dam and Cena will easily eclipse their performance at The Royal Rumble, the pressure is still on for both men to ensure Van Dam's WWE Title reign has a successful first pay per view outing. With Cena, Mr. McMahon and Bobby Lashley all involved in the build-up and all set to play a role tonight, there's certainly plenty of star power backing Van Dam. While there's an outside chance of a shock Cena victory, it's a pretty safe bet that Van Dam will build on his great display from WrestleMania with another fine performance tonight, and a victory.
It's been said that both Shawn Michaels and Triple H have played a major role in the build-up to their No Holds Barred Match tonight, and both men have been relatively pleased with the way their story has developed. Although neither man is looking to take any insane stunt to help get their match over, both feel there is a strong story to tell and have been working hard with the backstage agents to make sure that comes across. Regardless of who wins tonight, it appears that Triple H is set to step back as a regular competitor this summer to spend more times behind the scenes learning the family business. While he has no intentions of hanging up his boots just yet, 'The Game' is acutely aware that a senior management role within the company awaits him upon retirement, and is keen to get a head start in his future roll.
While the plan along for the Intercontinental Championship heading into WrestleMania was for Kenny Dykstra to retain the gold and align himself with Torrie Wilson, plans are very much still up in the air heading into Backlash. Certainly there is a strong case for Carlito to pick up a convincing victory, gaining a measure of revenge in the process. However, there is a growing feeling amongst the creative team that Dykstra has impressed so far in 2007, and given the way in which the title was passed around during the latter stages of 2006, that a long run with the gold for Dykstra would be the best thing all round. No matter the outcome, the feud seems set to continue with at least one more match. Dykstra and Carlito have both been calling for the two to engage in a Ladder Match in the future, and that could be on the cards for the War Games pay per view.
The recent resurgence in the tag division on Raw is set to be highlighted tonight with both the World Tag Team Championships and Six Person Intergender matches set to be solid parts of the undercard. As of right now, Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin are expected to retain the titles, furthering their claims as the best tag team in the WWE today, while it's almost a guarantee that The Hart Legacy will emerge victorious in their match up, further continuing the losing streak of Chris Masters and Johnny Nitro. The combination of Nitro and Masters are expected to split soon, perhaps in the upcoming WWE draft, with Masters a strong bet to head over to SmackDown.
The Women's Title Match will very much be viewed as a showcase of the division tonight, with what are considered to be the best three Divas wrestling wise competing in the match. After a late change of mind saw Mickie James retain the title over Beth Phoenix at WrestleMania XXIII, it's felt that the introduction of Victoria into the match will provide James with an easy out for losing the gold. Regardless of who leaves Backlash as champion, the James/Phoenix feud is set to come to a conclusion soon, leaving the door open for Natalya Niedhart to take her first steps towards the title. Although still a newcomer to the WWE, Niedhart's previous experience in Japan mean she has plenty of admirers backstage, and it's felt that a future Phoenix/Niedhart feud could produce some of the best matches the WWE's women's division has ever seen.
As of right now, there are no plans whatsoever for Randy Orton to lose the Money in the Bank briefcase. Despite being involved in a midcard feud with Jeff Hardy right now, Orton is expected to be a major player once again on Raw by the time War Games arrives. As for Hardy, there's been a lack of creative storylines for him lately, as it's felt he more than anyone could benefit from a move in the draft, and possibly even a major change in his character. Expect Hardy to remain in a holding pattern for much of the summer until he gets the chance to move to the blue brand.
Newcomer Claudio Cesaro has been confirmed as being backstage tonight, although as of right now there are no plans to have Cesaro involved in any angles tonight. Cesaro is however fully expected to make his debut tomorrow night on Raw. Vince McMahon was apparently very impressed with Cesaro during his try-out back in late 2006, and now with Cesaro's visa issues behind him, he could be in line for an immediate push that establishes him high up the card on Raw. If indeed Carlito does become Intercontinental Champion either tonight or at some point over the next month or so, Cesaro could be in line for a title shot by the time SummerSlam rolls around.
It has been reported that during the recent tour of the United Kingdom and Europe, Vice President of Talent Relations John Lauranitis held try-outs for several talents before the Raw and SmackDown events. Developmental contracts were offered to three of the top talents currently in the British wrestling scene, namely Stu Sanders, Drew Galloway and Sheamus O'Shaunessy. All three are scheduled to report to Ohio Valley Wrestling over the next few weeks, although there are already rumors that the trio could be promoted to Raw or SmackDown by the end of 2007. Another British signing has also been made, as after he impressed during his appearance against Randy Orton on Raw, veteran Doug Williams was offered a contract during the following evening’s SmackDown tapping. Despite having one or two commitments to tie up, Williams is scheduled to debut on the SmackDown brand soon as part of the cruiserweight division, a decision that will no doubt be pleasing to indy wrestling fans given the prospect of seeing Williams take on Bryan Danielson on national television.
WWE Championship Match:
WWE Champion Rob Van Dam vs. John Cena
No Holds Barred Match:
Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H
Intercontinental Championship Match:
Intercontinental Champion Kenny Dykstra vs. Carlito
World Tag Team Championships Match:
World Tag Team Champions The World’s Greatest Tag Team vs. The Straight Edge Saints
Money in the Bank Match:
Mr. Money in the Bank Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy
Women’s Championship Triple Threat Match:
Women’s Champion Mickie James vs. Beth Phoenix vs. Victoria
Six Person Intergender Tag Team Match:
The Hart Legacy vs. Johnny Nitro, Chris Masters and Melina
What will be the match order?
How many championships will change hands?
Who will take the fall in the Women’s Championship Triple Threat Match?
Will there be any surprise appearances (Not counting the McMahon Family or Bobby Lashley)? If yes, then by who?
What will be the longest match?
What will be the shortest match?
Will there be any blood shed? If so, which match(es)?