Before I start, Merry Christmas! Congratulations on the progress of the thread over the last 12 months and topping the Mega Standings. Also, I hope you enjoyed your Boxing Day trip to the MCG.
Personally I loved Eric Bischoff taking charge of Smackdown for the night. It may have been the logical decision, but it was the right one. It’s unusual for the whole card to be rattled off at the top of the show, but it seemed right here. Maybe it was because it’s just days before WrestleMania and there’s plenty of personal battles in there, and it let us know exactly what we’re in for. I do like the idea of a wrestle heavy show going in to Mania, mixed in with the massive contract signing. Out of all the matches announced though, only a couple excited me in Benoit & Punk/Booker & Jordan and the long overdue Inter-Promotional Money in the Bank match. Rey/Nunzio is uninspiring, but Lashley/Regal & Matt/Mercury should be good matches. It just seems that with the Hardys/MNM, it’s getting kind of samey samey every week with one of each team facing the other. There’s no real spark there. However I did like Bischoff abusing his power in putting The Undertaker in a handicap match against Cade & Murdoch. I was expecting one big confrontation with Rob Van Dam with it being the last show before Mania, but it looks unlikely now.
Even though we’re used to seeing these little exchanges the last few weeks between MNM & The Hardys, the return of ‘The Equaliser’ Shannon Moore has definitely put the cat amongst the pigeons now, helping Matt win here and levelling things up for the big title match. Matt emphasising it on the stick definitely helped it too to stick it to MNM and let the fans know they’re in the hunt for sure.
You know how much I dislike Orlando Jordan’s role in the Benoit/Booker storyline, and seeing him let Booker talk to him like he did hasn’t helped. Just when it looked like Jordan had grown a pair and got away from Booker, it looked like the old days before Saturday Night’s Main Event. I can see why Booker would want to try and get him on side, but this didn’t help Jordan’s progression. He may surprise us in the match later on and screw Booker over as there’s no way anyone’s losing clean tonight unless it’s Jordan, which I don’t really think you’ll do. Anyway, we’ll see.
Lashley going over William Regal and pointing at J.B.L really did send a message to the wrestling god, but with everything that’s gone on, this was so uninspiring again. You’d think J.B.L would be all out for sending a message of his own to Lashley like the dastardly bugger that he is. We’ve all seen how dominating Lashley can be. I don’t see any other outcome than him going over at Mania as he has everything to gain while it doesn’t matter either way for J.B.L. Aside from going over Taker at No Way Out, J.B.L’s been walked over pretty much every single week. He doesn’t need the win and it would be very odd if he got the rub in two feuds he’s been dominated in, especially this one when it’s all about Lashley. I just feel that J.B.L & The Cabinet should have put a roadblock in Lashley’s path, and it’s fair to say that he’s barely had one.
The CM Punk interview brought one thing to my attention straight away. He’s not on the card for Sunday night and someone like J.B.L would have benefitted far better with the promo time than Punk. With that said though, a follow up to his debut last week was needed and he did a good job of it. It’s the same old debut talk we heard from him in his first few months, not that there’s anything wrong with that as you need to get his character across. I like that he comes off as the confident, honest guy that he was as a face. Looking forward to the mach later with him & Benoit as partners
. I just hope that he doesn’t get the rub as the match really is about everyone else.
The eight man tag was a decent contest, and one that we needed to see as there’s been no interaction between the two brand’s Money in the Bank participants. I’d have thought that we’d get some comments from some of the participants considering what’s at stake in the Mania match and that there’s not been a lot of attention put on the match. Kennedy’s bit was okay and he gave it a little hype, but it was a bit uninspiring again. It does seem fairly obvious that you had WrestleMania at the forefront of your mind while writing this show and chose to put all your effort in to that instead, which on reflection is no real surprise. The match itself was pretty good and the way in which Kennedy stole the win was typically him and worked well for his character going in to Mania. The chaos again after the bell made perfect sense considering it is every man for himself. Henry standing tall at the end surprised me, but he is a monster and it makes sense that he is the one they have to worry about. I really don’t know who’s going to win it now, but I’m pretty sure it can only be Kennedy, Helms & Carlito. Only Kennedy in my eyes is anywhere near a World Champion. Helms had talent but aspired to be a mid-card champion. Something he never accomplished, and Carlito couldn’t make the jump. London’s an outside bet too, but I don’t see it as he’s a less successful version of Helms.
Having Bischoff lay down the law is all good and shows him to be the boss, as well of course hyping up the match between Taker & the Rednecks. There’s no more to say than that apart from Bischoff is God!
I’m glad that we got a pinch of excitement with Kid Kash getting involved in Rey’s match with Nunzio. It was what J.B.L could’ve done to Lashley, and this way with I’m sure a lot of people considering it a foregone conclusion that Rey will win at Mania, it shows us that Kash is more than a threat. It was well booked and sets up their title clash up well.
The tag match between Punk and the United States title trio was really good and had the ending I wasn’t expecting at all in Booker being made to tap out. It begs the question of whether he’ll be doing that at Mania on the back of this. Hmm, interesting! Anyway, I am a fan of the finish as it shows that Benoit is a machine and a big threat to the title. I just don’t think he’ll win it now given he’s made Booker tap here, and I thought it was a sure thing that Benoit will win at WrestleMania. What I didn’t get is why Punk shook both Jordan’s hand, and then Booker’s after the match. Why would Booker especially shake his hand considering he’s just tapped out, he’s going to be furious, and it’s Booker? Didn’t get that at all sorry mate, but it was a nice touch for Punk to clap Benoit as he stepped off the ropes.
It was no surprise to see RVD come to The Undertaker’s rescue against the Rednecks. I can’t say the same about Vince McMahon & Eric Bischoff’s role in it, and it was pretty good. It was great to see Bischoff get at RVD in the way he did, dialling up that aggression. When Vince arrives on the scene unexpected, it’s always a big moment and makes you stand up and take notice. Bischoff being put on probation makes for an interesting time ahead, but I think that it just took a lot of the attention away from Taker & Van Dam, which again ended in RVD coming out on top. It seems similar to the other angles where Orton & Lashley completely dominate their rivals on TV, and I really don’t like one sided feuds. I get that you want RVD to look like a legit threat to Taker’s streak, but Taker’s being booked so weakly to him that he doesn’t like anything like a man with a 13-0 record at Mania.
The contract signing between Orton & Batista was really good. In a show where there hasn’t been a big promo, this stood out like it should. Orton was terrific from start to finish, and I did like that they both had their chance to speak without being interrupted. In a setting like this, it’s more appropriate for it to go like that. I also thought that Batista was written well too, and calling out Orton for being nothing more than Bob Orton’s son was a great response to him being labelled just a thug. The ending though was a bit lame, and considering it’s one of the WrestleMania main events, I think it should’ve ended on a bigger note than what it did. I do agree with the decision to have Batista standing tall though after everything that’s happened before this.
At the start of the show, I wasn’t blown away with the matches that were announced. It did look a bit uninspiring I have to say. However, I think aside from the RVD/Taker & JBL/Lashley angles, you got the maximum out of them that you could.
10 - World Heavyweight Championship:
Randy Orton vs. Batista ©
My head really screams Orton and has done all along, but having just read Smackdown, I have the feeling that Batista is going to surprise us all. A lot of the decision is based on my belief that Edge will retain the WWE Championship and that I don’t see you letting two heels walk out of Mania with victories. Fuck it, I’ll hedge my bets and go for my original decision in Orton. I think it’s his time.
11 - WWE Championship; Triple Threat Match:
John Cena vs. Kurt Angle vs. Edge ©
I have more faith in Orton than Edge, but I just don’t see Cena or Angle taking the title, and Edge has been so sneaky ever since I’ve read the thread. His time could be up, but I think that since this is a triple threat, it’s the perfect opportunity for him to escape with a win yet again. I could be wrong. I just think that his title run hasn’t been that long and he’s been booked so well in the role that he has, that it could carry on in this environment.
8 - Interbrand Spectacular:
Rob Van Dam vs. The Undertaker
As much as RVD has dominated this angle, he’s not beating the streak in a million years. He could go on and feud with Edge from here though for the title while Cena feuds with Angle. Taker all the way.
9 - No Holds Barred Match:
Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels
Really tough to call, and given that this has been mega rushed, I see this continuing, which leads me to a quandary. Will HBK get the ultimate pay off in the end to his heel turn, or will good prevail evil in the end? I think that Michaels needs this more and it would justify his heel turn, and the rules in this match help him as I would normally consider Trips the favourite in a normal match. Saying that, when it comes to breaking the rules, The Game isn’t bad himself either. Thinking it through, I believe Michaels will be the one who comes back after a defeat here.
7 - United States Championship; Three Way Dance:
Chris Benoit vs. Orlando Jordan vs. Booker T ©
Up until Smackdown, I was so sure it would be Benoit. I’m fairly certain it still will be, but I’m not fully confident after Booker tapped out. I’m not sure whether he’ll tap again having already done so on Smackdown. Either way it comes down to him & Benoit. Jordan shouldn’t even be there. Not at all! I’m going to stick to my guns and go for Benoit, and I’ll be gutted if he doesn’t come out on top after all this.
4 - World Tag Team Championships:
The World’s Greatest Tag Team vs. Kane & Big Show ©
It’d be nice to see Benjamin & Haas leave with the titles given their journey. I can see you splitting Kane & Show as they’re better assets as singles guys than Benjamin & Haas, and given that you’ve spent a lot of time putting them back together, I think that you may just be going with the underdogs. Again, not confident, but I’m basing it on what I believe is sensible booking going forward.
1 - WWE Tag Team Championships:
The Hardy Boyz vs. MNM ©
Tough one. The Hardys have got the momentum with Moore now in their corner to level it up. With that said, MNM are the Kings & Queens of sneaky, so it could go either way. I’m going to go with my gut belief in that we’ll see the feel good win for the Hardys.
6 - Women’s Championship:
Mickie James vs. Trish Stratus ©
This card from top to bottom is so hard to predict. There’s only two matches that I’m certain I’ve guessed right and only semi-confident on one other. This is so tricky as I can see it continuing regardless of the outcome, and seeing how Mickie prevailed in the actual match, I wouldn’t be surprised to see you book it differently. Trish’s heel turn would allow for her to sneak a win or even get DQ’d, so I’m going for the curveball, a Mickie win by DQ.
3 - Cruiserweight Championship:
Rey Mysterio vs. Kid Kash ©
Now this should be Rey’s, but I don’t know whether you’ll want him tied down as the Cruiserweight Champion for a while. It does sort of look like he could be being used to put over your boy, Kash, and I certainly hope that’s not the case since he only just beat Mr. Kennedy at No Way Out, and look at where they both are now. Rey won and is possibly being used to put Kash over, and Kennedy is one of the favourites to win the Money in the Bank. I’m going to base this is on how Rey’s been booked previously to this, is in his win over Kennedy. I don’t see you jobbing him out to put the Cruiserweight Champion that soon after beating Kennedy, even though you’d probably stick your dick between Kash’s legs than Lights’.
5 - Money in the Bank Ladder Match:
Gregory Helms vs. Mr. Kennedy vs. Carlito vs. Paul London vs. Ric Flair vs. Finlay vs. Chavo Guerrero vs. Mark Henry
In terms of who deserves it, Kennedy is the only one who could justify being Mr. Money in the Bank, but in terms of booking going in to it, he doesn’t. Working to that it would probably be Helms, London or Carlito. I like Helms, but in no way shape or form should he be anywhere near the main event. I’d rather it go to Carlito or Finlay. I just have a feeling that Helms will win the Intercontinental title soon and focus on that, and it will be Kennedy that gets the rub to win the briefcase. I wouldn't be amazed to see him cash in after Batista's match with Orton if Batista retains.
2 - Singles Match:
Bobby Lashley vs. John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield
Lashley, has to be. JBL’s been booked so poorly for so long, and this is all about Lashley. Him & Taker are the only ones I’m 100% confident on. I don’t need to say more than that, otherwise I may change mind.
1. What will be the match order?
2. How many titles will change hands?
3. Which match will be the longest?
Triple Threat WWE Championship match.
4. Which match will be the shortest?
England/Australia 4th Test?
Women’s title match.
5. Who will be eliminated first in the Three Way Dance?
6. Who will take the fall in the Triple Threat Match?
7. Will there be any surprise appearances by people who have not been seen on screen for some time? If so, then by who?
Good luck for the show, I can’t wait. I know it’ll be amazing, and I just hope it makes up for you not getting The Ashes back! Happy New Year man!