Sunday, June 1, 2008

One Night Stand Predictions - as promised

OK so it's One Night Stand time and it's a whole pile of rematches from the last 1-2 months. Nonetheless I've said before and I say again that this could be an awesome blow-off PPV to balance the ledgers and close the books before the upcoming draft. Lots of matches involving ongoing feuds, with stips - this smells of blow-off, and it's just about the right time; they've had some awesome, longstanding feuds in a very old school fashion which they haven't in awhile, but it is time to put those to bed, which I anticipate happening tonight. While that also means I anticipate a certain amount of outside interference or backstage vignettes to start building to the future, it also means I expect ultimately clean finishes to 'seal the deal', and so it should all balance out in the end.

World Heavyweight Title Match: Undertaker vs. Edge
Stipulation: TLC (Tables, Ladders and Chairs)*
*added stip: Undertaker quits WWE if he loses

First let me say this match should go on last. Period. It's a TLC match in which the Phenom's 18-year career is on the line. The fact we might be seeing his last WWE appearance, as hyped all through Friday, is major, even though it won't happen. It won't happen? That's right, that's my prediction. UT clinches the gold. See, through Friday, they made a point of saying this could be Taker's last SMACKDOWN appearance - leading me to think Edge might clinch it and the Deadman might head over to Raw (perhaps in a trade for another large name such as John Cena or Triple H or Shawn Michaels), but Edge clarified at the end of the show that he would be banished from the WWE - period. As I don't know of his contract expiring anytime soon, nor can I picture UT - a paragon of professionalism and old-school respect for the business - swerving Vince and jumping ship to TNA. Nor can I picture him going inactive just yet. Unless this is a way for Taker to get a vacation, he MUST win it.

WWE Title Match: Triple H (c) vs. Randy Orton
Stipulation: Last Man Standing
This is probably the main match I was referring to when I said there were some feuds that were ready to be put away tonight. Orton and Trips have a lot of history going between them, and have delivered an early Feud of the Year contender, with some more-than-passable matches considering who's involved and some excellent promos. But have brought their "A" games and that's great - but it's time for some new blood at the top and honestly that could even include some longtime main eventers like Shawn Michaels or John Cena at this point in my opinion - the reality is the main event scene has REALLY been about two people since Wrestlemania (the one guy NOT expected to walk out of WM with the title was Cena, nor do I think anyone expected John Bradshaw Layfield to take it at Backlash), so it will be good to move on from here. Oh ... and my prediction? Orton wins it. A bold choice I know, but WWE has stupidly already gone and published upcoming event posters featuring Orton with the belt. Sorry guys ... maybe I'm falling for a swerve, but I'm going to play it safe and read between the lines on this one.

John Cena vs. John Bradshaw Layfield
Stipulation: First Blood
Prediction? Who cares. This feud didn't interest me to begin with - and that's despite their history together - and it doesn't interest me now while Cena hasn't been wrestling regularly enough to be emotionally invested in him, JBL was never the most talented guy in the arena, and both still have coat after coat of ring rust on them. If they have the brawl tonight that they were expected to have last month, it could be one of the better brawling-style matches of the last little while as they're both awesome at that, but I just haven't checked into this feud yet. And neither has Cena, from what I can tell. And when one of your performer's isn't into it, it's hard to get the crowd into it. By way of making a prediction though, this feud is one I don't expect them to end tonight even though they should, simply because of what the stip is. Cena will make Layfield bleed first, he'll cover it up, gash Cena, and the ref will see Cena's blood. And then we wait for the rubber match.

Shawn Michaels vs. Batista
Stipulation: Stretcher Match
OK - first before going negative let me say this is one of the matches I'm most looking forward to on the card. I expect Jericho to inject himself in this time, and it's great because it's unpredictable just how - he's got heat with both guys, and he's been sort of menacing Michaels while also respecting him all at the same time this past month - it should be intriguing, and I expect him to interfere in a way it's unclear who he was supposed to 'get', furthering this feud which has held my interest since Wrestlemania. I'm just pissed that (a) the Shawn-Jericho match last month was not for the Intercontinental title, that (b) there is no Jericho-Michaels rematch here FOR the title which is where that should have automatically gone if a champion gets pinned in a non-title scenario, and (c) that Jericho doesn't have his own match on the card here period. The IC belt has been given less respect than the US or tag titles of late and that kind of upsets me greatly. As for predictions, I'm actually going with Batista, albeit not cleanly - Shawn's won a lot of his recent matches and is in danger of being seen as someone who won't job again, but he still needs to be kept strong if he's to be kept near card-top. Create some babyface sympathy and an underdog impression with HBK bumping for Big Dave as only he can.

Jeff Hardy vs. Umaga
Stipulation: Last Man Standing
Looking forward to this match (though I'd prefer if Y2J had gotten involved HERE, given Hardy's promise on his return to go after the IC belt again), as I know Hardy and Umaga work well together. My main complaint is the stip - two LMS matches on one card? And can these two really pull such a potentially long and involved match off (as with two guys so close to the top of the card,
neither should go down to a 10-count quickly)? As for who will win - Jeff's going over to give him a comeback push, and as Umaga is going to SD therefore does not need any particular protection on Raw any longer.

Big Show vs. John Morrison vs. Tommy Dreamer vs. Chavo Guerrero vs. C.M. Punk
Stipulation: Singapore Cane Match*
* Added stip: winner declared #1 contender to ECW title

The match I am least interested in on the card. I hate the stip, and I barely care about the belt these guys are fighting to challenge for, much less the #1 contendership for it. As Pro Wrestling Illustrated points out this month, to paraphrase, if one isn't good enough to challenge for the ECW title at least every other week, they have no business being in the WWE. But it's on the card so let's predict it, looking at the options. First, to me Tommy Dreamer and CM Punk are the only guys who are legitimately "ECW" enough to win this ONE and ONLY ECW match on what was originally a specifically ECW PPV. But Dreamer is past his prime and more viewed as an office guy by WWE officials these days, and Punk's clearly on to bigger and better things with his Money in the Bank - arguably worth more than the ECW title in itself. That leaves show and Guerrero, and we've seen Kane decimate Guerrero about 3-4 times too often since WM. I predict Show ... because Kane-Big Show is exactly the way to headline an ECW event in 2008. Yippee kay-ay, MFers! (and I don't mean Mattitude Followers, dudes ...)

Beth Phoenix vs. Melina
Stipulation: I Quit Match
An actually interesting women's match not involving the title - cool! While my dream match is to see Beth vs. Natalya Neidhart in a powerhouse women's match, these two can do some nifty things too, especially with the awesome build for their feud (anyone see last month's pummelling of Melina backstage by Beth?). My only concern is neither of them can really afford to lose here - Melina is starting a babyface turn, thereby, presumably, something of a push (esp. if she's involved in a PPV women's match and the Women's Champ isn't), but Beth Phoenix has been losing a lot, and is beginning to look like a highly beatable monster. How *I* would book this, personally, is have it be a very competitive, and potentially long match - at least 10-15 mins. Have the offense be back and forth, so neither of them looks particularly weak. And use the "I Quit" stip to your advantage - have Melina finally black out after a valiant fight, without actually quitting, so she comes out of the match looking brave, and even strong for standing toe-to-toe with the Glamazon, while Beth gets some of her heat back.


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