Well, hello there, long time no chat! For those of you who were looking forward to reading my RAW Pros & Cons, there won't be one this week due to my crazy work schedule. However, since today is Wednesday, it means I'll be turning my attention to not everybody's favorite wrestling company, TNA. I did not get a chance to preview or review last Sunday's Sacrifice Pay-Per-View (and neither did that slacker The Crow), so today's column will cover multiple different topics, a hodgepodge if you will (Hi Hustle!). Since Sacrifice is the talk of TNA-land, let's start there.
Three days later, I finally got around to watching Sacrifice, or at least the matches I cared about (i.e. all of them except Hardy vs. Anderson), and overall, I was really impressed. The top matches delivered (Angle vs. Styles was fantastic, Bully Ray vs. Austin Aries stole the show, and Roode vs. RVD in the main-event was a lot of fun too). Even the "other" matches on the card were decent, as we got new tag team champions in Daniels & Kazarian (which I'm ecstatic about), Devon had a solid title defense against both Robbies, and Crimson's open challenge to Eric Young was short and entertaining, mainly because of EY's antics. I was also pleasantly surprised by Gail Kim vs. Brooke Tessmacher. Despite being my current favourite Knockout, Tessmacher is no Tara in the ring, but she worked her ass off to hang with Gail, and I'm happy Gail won by luck, even though it was via SUPER ROLL-UP OF DOOM!!!
So all in all, Sacrifice was a good show, and possibly the best TNA PPV of 2012 so far. Without reading the Impact spoilers, I'm excited to see what happens on the Road to Slammiversary. Who will Bobby Roode feud with next for the world title? How does Austin Aries use his big win over Bully Ray to further his career? I can't wait to find out.
The return of Abyss
If you haven't watched a single episode of TNA programming since two weeks ago, you might have missed this "great return". After Abyss' "brother" Joseph Park got physically involved with Bully Ray, the man we all know and love [hate] as Abyss randomly showed up at the conclusion of last week's Impact. Then, to make things even better [worse], Abyss interfered in the Ray vs. Aries match at Sacrifice, which means we'll be getting a Bully Ray vs. Abyss feud possibly as soon as this week's Impact tapings. Oh goodie.
Those of you who read my TNA columns on a regular basis know exactly how I feel about Bully Ray. I think he's one of the best heels in wrestling today, and deserves a world title run before he retires. However, I'll be the first to admit Bully isn't the greatest wrestler in the world. Like I said in my column last week, his former partner Devon surpasses him when it comes to getting it done between the ropes. I'd argue that Bully's match with Aries on Sunday was his best singles match since joining TNA.
When it comes to Abyss, I've hated the big man for quite some time. Not because he's a poor Kane or Mankind rip-off, but because I think he's terrible at everything he does. His matches are slow, his promos hurt my ears, and his gimmick is uninteresting. Some people will disagree with me, but I feel TNA is much better off without Abyss around.
Therefore, why would I want one of my favorite wrestlers feuding with one of my most despised? I could stomach it if the matches would be decent, but we all know they won't be. Unfortunately, TNA seems determined to make this feud happen, and there's nothing we can do about it. I just hope Bully finds himself back in the main-event scene sooner rather than later.
Smile, Aj - You're On Candid Camera!
In what came as a relief to many Impact fans, Daniels and Kazarian FINALLY revealed Aj Styles' secret to the world last week. You know, the one that was supposed to be terrible, horrifying, and destroy Aj forever? Well, it turns out that the big secret is that Styles is having a secret affair with TNA President Dixie Carter, and the new tag team champs had pictures to prove it.
If I may quote The Miz for a second, really? Really, TNA? You're expecting the fans to seriously believe that Aj Styles, a devout Christian, father of three, and loving husband, is being intimate with his boss, who is happily married herself? Not only that, but if Styles and Carter have been sneaking around together, then why hasn't Styles been rewarded for it? Every time an employee has an intimate relationship with his or her boss, it equals to a main-event push or multiple title shots. Styles has received none of that, in fact he's done pretty much nothing but feud with Daniels and Kaz since Bound For Glory.
It's a stupid twist in a stupid storyline that is not needed. For those of you waiting for Styles to return to the top of the card, you probably shouldn't hold your breath.
Hogan Goes After Big Poppa Pump
Things are getting heated between Scott Steiner and Hulk Hogan. Last night, Steiner wrote on Twitter that he had received a letter from Hogan's lawyers, who threatened to go to the police if Steiner didn't stop attacking Hogan and Eric Bischoff online. Hogan later clarified that the lawyers were not his own, but representing TNA. Whether Hogan is telling the truth or not, one thing is clear - it's complete bullshit. Steiner had the balls to call out Hogan and Bischoff, and when they could not defend themselves, they p***ied out and hid behind lawyers. To me, this just confirms Steiner was telling the truth all along. Hogan and Bischoff could not argue Steiner's claims, and now they're trying to weasel out of it by going to the law.
Did Steiner take things a bit too far when he warned Hogan and Bischoff to "watch their backs"? Maybe so, but that did not give Bischoff the right to call Steiner a steroid-abuser and retweet fans' comments who trashed Steiner. That's just babyish. Maybe it's my bias for Steiner speaking, but I really hope this situation blows up in Hogan and Bischoff's ugly faces and other TNA executives finally realize that the two men who they thought would 'save the company' are nothing but spoiled brats and give them the boot.
That's all I got for today. If you'd like to suggest a topic for next week's TNA Wednesday, then hit me up on Twitter (@ChrisssLOP) or another form of social media. I'll be back on Friday for another edition of "What If...?"
2. Day 2
I recently finished watching the latest WWE DVD release on Edge, "You Think You Know Me" (courtesy of my bro Steve who let me borrow it), and it got me thinking. What if Edge's career didn't go down the way it did? I'm not talking about the misfortunes that can plague any professional wrestler such as getting terminated for failing a drug policy, getting seriously injured in a match, or taking his ball and going home. Rather, I'm referring to the match that turned Edge into a major player - the very first Money in the Bank ladder match at Wrestlemania 21.
I'm sure WWE has reminded you of this fact plenty of times over the years, but just to refresh your memory, Edge was the first winner of the inaugural MitB ladder match. When the match initially took place, no one knew what the aftermath would be. Back in 2005, the MitB briefcase had never been cashed in before, and we as fans had never seen a contract holder take advantage of a vulnerable champion to win a world title. As a result, when Edge shocked the world and cashed in MitB at New Year's Revolution to defeat John Cena and become WWE Champion, people went crazy. Edge fans rejoiced because their guy had finally won a world title. Cena fans were outraged that their hero lost his title in such cheap fashion. Others were simply glad to see something different transpire before their eyes. One thing everyone can agree on is that when Edge cashed in Money in the Bank, he officially became a main-eventer.
However, none of that would have been possible had Edge never won the briefcase at Wrestlemania. So I ask, What If...Edge never won Money in the Bank?
There are several different ways I can answer that question, but one thing is all but certain: Edge never would have become an eleven-time world champion. No freaking way. Don't interpret that as me saying Edge never would have won a world title had Money in the Bank never been created, as he would have been a world champion eventually, but for The Rated R Superstar to retire with so many world title reigns on his resume? Get serious, bro. Keep in mind that Edge's title victory at New Year's Revolution sparked a nearly year-long feud between Edge and Cena, in which they played hot potato with the WWE Championship. In addition, when Edge defeated Mr. Kennedy in 2007 to win his second MitB briefcase, he began another lengthy feud, this time with The Undertaker, and it would result in the two swapping title reigns several times as well. Believe it or not, nine of Edge's eleven world title reigns all stemmed from a MitB cash-in.
If I were to guess, I would say that had Edge never won a MitB briefcase, he would have become a world champion all the same, but not win the title more than four times. The Attitude Era and Post-Attitude Era WWE are notorious for short world title reigns, but think about some of wrestling's biggest superstars. Hulk Hogan - six-time WWE Champion (I didn't count his reigns as world champion in WCW). Stone Cold Steve Austin - six-time WWE Champion. The Rock - nine-time world champion. Those are three of the biggest names in professional wrestling history, ladies and gentlemen. There are men who have been world champion more times than these greats - John Cena, Kurt Angle, Triple H, and Ric Flair all come to mind - but not a single one of these superstars won a title using MitB. No disrespect to Edge, as he's an awesome competitor, but I honestly don't believe he would have had more title reigns than any of the above names had MitB never been introduced.
But the question that many people are wondering is this - without MitB, would Edge have been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame so early in his retirement? Hell, would Edge even be deserving of a Hall of Fame ring without the success his MitB briefcase brought him?
The obvious answer is DUH!. Even if Edge enjoyed no more than one world title reign, Edge would have undoubtedly inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. The rest of his accomplishments are nothing to scoff at - a five-time Intercontinental Champion, a FOURTEEN-TIME tag team champion, a King of the Ring winner, a Royal Rumble Winner, a Triple Crown Champion. Edge accomplished so much during his time with the WWE, that a world title reign was inevitable. All Money in the Bank did was help Edge make the transition from top-midcarder to main-eventer. Personally, I would have rather seen Edge have some lengthier runs with the belt, as too many of his title runs are remembered as transitional reigns, but it is what it is. Edge would have reached the top of the mountain with or without a contract that guaranteed him a title match anytime, any place. Edge was too talented for his moment not too come.
I would go on, but really, I can't imagine any scenario where Edge didn't end up being successful in WWE. There's no way he would have left for TNA like so many others did, including his good friend Christian, as Edge was 100% loyal to Vince McMahon and knew his patience would pay off, and it did. Like I said, WWE would have found a way to put a world title around Edge's waist, one way or another.
What do you think? Would Edge have experienced a great career regardless if he won MitB? Or would he have been a midcarded for life? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
3. Day 3
Chrisss: Well, well, well. Look who decided to show up for what was once our monthly date! Let me guess, you've been too busy watching old episodes of Pokemon to make time for your old buddy Chrisss? I am insulted, quite frankly. Feel free to take this time to apologize to the readers for your absence last month, and make it good, or I'll go Big Johnny on your ass #Pause
Skitz: Admittedly, I never quite caught on to the Pokemon phenomenon that swept the nation during my middle school days... But Sir Fruity certainly loved himself some DragonBall Z throughout seventh and eighth grade. Watching those drawn out fighting scenes were like trying to pass kidney stones though. But nah you aren't worthy of a sincere apology and neither are the shmucks reading this.
Chrisss: Fuck you. Partly for dissing Pokemon and partly for trying to make yourself seem all high and mighty. But the readers don't want to know how you spend your Saturday nights, and neither do I. That's your problem, kiddo. WWE have shockingly compiled an intriguing card for Over The Limit this Sunday, especially compared to the 2010 and 2011 editions of the show. Any quick thoughts before we run down the card?
Skitz: More or less what the rest of the IWC is currently complaining about. What a shitty fucking job the company has done hyping this Sunday's pay per view; concentrating on every other aspect of the product rather than simply focusing on the task at hand. Poor Hunter and his broken arm... When's Lesnar coming back... Why's Heyman representing him all of a sudden... A.J.'s a sexy yet crazy bitch... Big Show deserves an Oscar... and so on and so forth. The sad part about the whole ordeal is that the naysayers' latest gripes hold validity.
Chrisss: Hmmmm true. It almost seems like WWE booked Bryan vs. Punk as a scapegoat for the low buyrate the show will inevitably draw. Still, if I didn't have plans on Sunday, I'd order the show in a heartbeat, especially if Punk vs. Bryan gets at least 20 minutes. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, might as well start with the pre-show...
Zack Ryder vs. Kane
Skitz: Vince is apparently a big advocate of these now that the Santino/Miz pre-show dark match from Extreme Rules drew respectable numbers. It's smart strategy though. As far as Ryder/Kane is concerned however, that ship sailed awhile ago. WWE's grasping at straws by scheduling the payoff months down the road but as a pre-show bout to stir the crowd? I can dig it. At least these two have history and Long Island Iced Z can always use the publicity given how inconsistent management have been with his character during 2012.
Chrisss: Ditto. Ryder went from being U.S Champion in January to losing a dark match at last Monday's RAW. I just don't get what my broski did to deserve such a massive de-push....
Anywho, I don't have high expectations for this match. Since it's on the pre-show, it might go on for a decent amount of time, but considering how one-sided their past matches have been, I'm not holding my breath. Will we see Ryder take the first step in getting his career back on track or will Kane squash him like a bug? I fear it might be the latter.
Skitz: I've wished nothing but the best for Ryder since his webshow first debuted on YouTube but the company clearly doesn't take the guy seriously. Long Island Iced Z is marketable and talented as hell but he's landed dangerously close to Santino Marella territory. I imagine he'll put up a decent struggle against the Big Red Machine but Kane needs a steady push after jobbing to Orton. This weekend's event could mark the date when Jacobs receives that second wind.
Chrisss: Glad to have you on the bandwagon, bro. Unfortunately, it's not quite the best time to be a Ryder fan, but I digress. Kane did get a victory over Big Show on RAW, so he's not THAT forgotten about, I guess. I agree though, the company's best bet is to let both men do their thing and make Ryder look strong, even in defeat. Ryder may not appeal to everyone, but he is marketable, and the crowd still pops for him. Hopefully their "feud" OFFICIALLY ends this Sunday.
Skitz: Yeah I'm assuming it will. When push comes to shove on Sunday, The Big Red Machine is gonna whoop that ass.
Chrisss: You forgot to #Pause - that comment was border-line awkward.
Chrisss' pick: Kane wins
Skitz's pick: Kane wins
WWE Tag Team Championship: R-Truth & Kofi Kingston (c.) vs. Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger
Chrisss: What's this, the WWE tag team titles being defended on a Pay-Per-View? My eyes must be deceiving me. Did Epico & Primo EVER get a title defense on PPV, by the way? Poor fellas. I'm happy Team Swaggler is getting a spot on the card, but I still don't give a damn about Team Air-Jimmy.
Skitz: Here we finally have the company giving us a tag team contest on PPV with four exciting talents and I'm not overly thrilled. As you mentioned, the Freakin' Ricans have yet to invoke their rematch clause. I mean what the hell is Abraham Washington waiting for? WrestleMania 29? Yours truly was wishing for a triple threat bout at OTL involving the former champions but it obviously never came to fruition. Tis' a shame considering the added element Primo & Epico bring to the table. You know... Rosa's hips.
Chrisss: Damn bro, Rosa's hips are to die for. She is the perfect example of a woman who is more attractive when she doesn't speak. Imagine her and Mason Ryan cutting a promo together? THAT would be scary! But since the former champs are yet to re-enter the picture, we have to deal with Zig and Swag getting the title match instead (which isn't a bad thing, mind you). I just don't know why WWE had to put the belts on Kofi and Truth, though. Kofi has been in the midcard for too long and Truth is so boring as a face. I wish they would drop the belts to Vickie's playmates on Sunday, but I unfortunately don't see it happening.
Skitz: Nor do I. The Blonde Perm & Swagster made much more sense as the next Tag Team Champs but management clearly have a different agenda. My guess is that Kofi & Truth are far less likely to continue moving up the company ladder and therefore work better as an indefinite tandem. If WWE were wise, they'd flesh out a feud between the three aforementioned teams and reinvigorate the division. Seriously, those six individuals could put together some frenetic wars if given the proper platform. Future steel cage and TLC contests could do the trick and boost the overall product tremendously. I better stop daydreaming though before the current topic escapes me.
Chrisss: That would be awesome, but you're giving Team UnCreative way too much credit. However, I do like how they're making a half-decent attempt to push other teams as well, such as Titus O'Neil & Darren Young, The Usos, and Kidd & Gabriel (when he returns from injury). The tag team division is not so dire, but in the meantime, we have team lame retaining on Sunday, but hopefully their reign will be short-lived.
Skitz: Killings is indeed a pretty pathetic substitute for Evan Bourne. Personally, I don't think letting Kingston & Truth carry the straps for a couple months is necessarily a con. But Dolph & Jackie Boy could definitely accomplish more with the belts at this juncture of their respective careers. Ziggler's spent his entire '12 campaign jobbing so what evidence has WWE given us that said pattern will change this Sunday?
Chrisss: To each his own, I suppose. I think Truth & Boom - or whatever dumb name the fans choose for them - are a bad choice for champions, but that's just me. Let's move on.
Chrisss' pick: Truth & Kofi retain the titles
Skitz's pick: Truth & Kofi retain the titles
WWE Divas Championship: Layla (c.) vs. Beth Phoenix
Skitz: Ugh. Layla won the gold three weeks ago and this bout still feels rushed. Management seemingly has a bunch riding on the newly crowned titleholder with the Women's Division continuing to thin. Not that anybody ever respected The Bella Twins but they were always able competitors who could cover the basics between the ropes. Throw in the fact that Eve's now working for Laurinaitis in a non-wrestling capacity and Layla needs to up her game. A potentially awesome rivalry between The Glamazon & Kharma will last significantly longer if a third party gets added to the mix.
Chrisss: Not only that, but Layla also returned from a one-year injury/hiatus three weeks ago, and the division still feels thinner than ever. I never understood all The Bella hate either - attractive girls, not God-awful in the ring, and their promos always cracked me up for some reason. Speaking of Kharma, when the hell is she coming back?? That Royal Rumble cameo was months ago. At this rate, the dream feud between Kharma and The Glamazon won't happen until Wrestlemania 30. Sheesh.
Skitz: Either Kharma hasn't yet gotten herself into decent ring shape or management is taking extra precautions. Back in February, I would've guaranteed a showdown between Kong & Phoenix at WMXXVIII without blinking... And here we are nearly seven weeks following the global phenomenon without seeing hide nor hair of the black beast. The booking's been peculiar to say the least and folks are still asking when WWE plans on pulling the switch. We can only hope and pray that OTL will serve as a starting point of sorts.
Chrisss: I doubt it. You can remain optimistic, but this is the divas division we're talking about. I for one am surprised we haven't seen a match end via SUPER ROLL-UP OF DOOM in quite some time now. That being said, expect a decent match Sunday, but probably not the start of a Layla/Phoenix/Kharma feud. I'm predicting Layla retains and feuds with psycho-Aj not long afterwards.
Skitz: What a buzzkill. I'm still somewhat curious regarding A.J.'s motives these days but more on those thoughts later. But moving forward, remember that report concerning management taking the belt off Beth's waist so Kharma could win it without squashing Phoenix? Does that mean those tentative plans were nixed when Layla capture the title? Or did WWE just treat the returning Divas to a brief feel good moment? The Women's Division is more fucking difficult to figure out than the main event picture!
Chrisss: That's what I thought, and such plans would have made perfect sense in kayfabe. But now that Layla wears the butterfly belt, who knows what's going on. At this point, I'm done trying to figure out what they're doing with the ladies. Beth squashing Alicia on RAW was awesome (because I hate that b****), but I don't think that means Beth will regain her title on Sunday and run wild over the divas for another six months. Who you got, Candyman? Layla or Beth?
Skitz: Hmmmmmmm there's gotta be at lease ONE title change this Sunday and given my upcoming predictions, The Candyman's betting on a swap here. Premature? Absolutely. But that's WWE's specialty and I'm banking on The Glamazon regaining the belt with relative ease. The Bella's sudden departure seemed like the only rational reason to strip Beth of the hardware in the first place. Here's hoping it kick starts the sole Divas feud worth anticipating.
Chrisss: Interesting pick, I was sure you'd go with Miss Layla. I am looking forward to their match either way, so yay I suppose?
Chrisss' pick: Layla retains the title
Skitz's pick: Beth wins the title
John Cena vs. John Laurinaitis
Chrisss: Quick question: would you be surprised if this ends up being the main-event? It's kind of ludicrous to imagine Big Johnny main-eventing a PPV, but no way the Fatal-Four-Way sends the fans home happy, and I don't know if they'll go with Punk vs. Bryan in the main-event. Sure, putting this match (which is sure to be over-booked) on last will shit on the world titles, but I could see it happening.
Skitz: Judging by the General Manager's heavy push on television since surfacing in 2011, I actually wouldn't be shocked if this nonsense closes the show. But company officials should be wise enough to feature one of the World Title contests as their headliner. If anything, I'm leaning towards Bryan/Punk to finish the pay per view off strongly above anything else. Show the reigning WWE Champion some love God dammit since the poor dude hasn't main evented a pay per view since TLC last December. That statistic is borderline criminal.
Chrisss: Forget about main-eventing a PPV, Punk is lucky if he main-events RAW. His booking has been so horrible, it's a miracle he remains as over as he is. However, I'm thinking John vs. Johnny will go on third-to-last, and will surprise a lot of people. Rather than watching a one-sided beatdown, this will probably be fairly even, mainly because I can see lots of run-ins (that "anyone who interferes will be terminated" stip will be overruled or played around). I'm guessing any of the following will show up to aid Johnny: Otunga, Tensai, and Big Show, who turns heel for the 3824th time in his career.
Skitz: Please don't joke about those type of things... TBS needs to remain in his current role until retirement comes knocking. Another run as the 500-pound villain and I'll lose my shit. According to Laurinaitis' wrestling background, I suspect the GM will hold his own against Cena. And I wholeheartedly agree with you in terms of Albert making his presence felt before the final bell rings. Odds are that Big Johnny will use Tensai to solve his problems which will soon spur a more direct feud between the Japanese grappler and Cena; something I wouldn't mind witnessing.
Chrisss: I hear you when it comes to Big Show - him and Kane should stay in their current roles until it's time to hang the boots up. But something tells me Big Show will help Johnny on Sunday - there's no way they would have wasted so much time on that segment from RAW if it wasn't leading to something, especially days before the PPV. Unlike you, I have zero interest in seeing a Tensai vs. Cena feud. They're pushing Tensai way too quickly - he's not ready, and neither are the fans. However, that may be the direction they're going in after Sunday night. Add in the stipulation that Johnny is fired if he loses and you can pretty much guarantee the evil GM picks up the tainted victory.
Skitz: True. Albert's been skyrocketed straight to the top of RAW but that's the reality of a shallow roster. Plus, I don't have any qualms with Tensai's push if he's just working as the General Manager's muscle. It would be a completely different story if the tattooed behemoth was already competing for the WWE Championship. Cena's inexplicable victory over Brock Lesnar at Extreme Rules was a buffer for his impending defeat at the hands of Laurinaitis. Don't be shocked if Eve becomes involved at some point this Sunday as well.
Chrisss: So to quote Hustle, we can expect a clusterfuck this Sunday? I don't mind, as long as it's entertaining. Hell, it can't be as bad as the Cole vs. Lawler "Kiss My Foot" match from last year's event. Those were dark times.
Chrisss' pick: Big Johnny wins
Skitz's pick: Big Johnny wins
Fatal-Four-Way for the World Heavyweight Championship: Sheamus (c.) vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho
Chrisss: Am I crazy for looking forward to this match? Maybe it's the Jericho mark in me, but I'm a sucker for Fatal-Four-Ways, and I thought the PPV back in 2010 was seriously under-rated. In this match-up, you have four great in-ring workers so I have no complaints with the participants chosen. Besides, it's better than seeing Sheamus vs.Del Rio one-on-one.
Skitz: Preach it, brother! And yeah I also enjoyed the one-off gimmick PPV from two summers ago (the co-main events at least). My only issue with fatal four-way contest is that all unpredictability goes straight out the window. In scenarios such as these, the champion retains 95% of the time. We've all read the Main Page reports indicating that the Celtic Warrior's slated for a length title stint but there's no second guessing here in my opinion.
Chrisss: I'm not alone in thinking that way? Siiccckkk. To counter your argument, SmackDown's ratings have been down since Sheamus won the belt at Wrestlemania. I know WWE are intent on pushing The Great White at any cost, but even they have to admit the blue brand's ratings have suffered since Daniel Bryan was the man. Since WWE loves to panic, it would not surprise me to see them put the belt on the only other option - Randy Orton.
Skitz: Meh. I'm hoping like hell that isn't the case. Orton held the World Title in 2010 and PLENTY often throughout '11. Despite Michael Cole reminding us incessantly how the champion only has a 25% of retaining (because wrestling fans aren't intelligent enough to tabulate basic percentages), I believe the scenario favors Sheamus tremendously. Also, the ginger has much more of a beef with the acting General Manager so it'd make for better television if The Great While walked away victorious.
Chrisss: You've got a point, a Sheamus victory would be more interesting than Orton's (tenth?) world title win. Here's an idea, though. With rumours of an upcoming draft, what if WWE attempts to 'swerve' us by putting the world title on Jericho and lets Daniel Bryan beat CM Punk for the WWE Championship? This way, a RAW superstar is the World Heavyweight Champion and a SmackDown superstar is the WWE Champion. It would shake things up to a certain degree.
Skitz: Certainly but it's been done before in recent years. I don't really expect management to place either belt on Y2J when he's preparing to leave the company again soon. And with D-Bry's popularity soaring amongst wrestling fans, it won't be long before he's sporting gold for the second time in 2012. But more importantly, Sheamus is higher up on the food chain according to several important people backstage. Unless something goes drastically wrong or the SmackDown ratings continue plummeting, I can't picture The Great White dropping the title until November or December.
Chrisss: November or December? Really? I like Sheamus, but I can't see him holding it past Night of Champions, tops. The company has way too many main-eventers and up-and-comers to give Sheamus a super-long reign. I could be wrong, and we'll see Sheamus vs. Orton, Sheamus vs. Christian, and maybe even Sheamus vs. Rhodes taking up the majority of 2012. But for now, I'm going to play it safe and predict The Great White retaining his Sunday, possibly after Orton hits an RKO on Del Rio or Jericho and Sheamus "steals" the wins.
Skitz: Yeah I can imagine the ending sequence going something like that. And hey you never know... WWE could have altered the bout as a means to remove the gold from Sheamus' waist without looking weak in the process. In my own perfect world, I'd split the four guys off into individual programs after OTL; Orton/Del Rio and Sheamus/Jericho. Truth be told, Y2J could do wonders for the ginger's longevity as champ just as the Canuck did with Punk recently. The Great White will find an opening or get luck this Sunday and escape with his title reign still intact.
Chrisss: I believe I've said it before, but Orton vs. Jericho is a must-see feud before Jericho finally retires, at least for me. They are both awesome in-ring workers and Jericho could be the one to make Orton finally bring something to his work. Even if it doesn't happen, the matches will still be a joy to watch. But before we start thinking too far into the future, we have one final match to discuss.
Chrisss' pick: Sheamus retains the title
Skitz's pick: Sheamus retains the title
WWE Championship: CM Punk (c.) vs. Daniel Bryan
Skitz: This little gem has caught the eye of several wrestling marks who would usually pass on ordering the May pay per view. But Vince is a businessman and a wise one at that. For veteran fans, you could make an argument that there isn't a ton of drawing power for this year's Over The Limit event... Until you bring this bad boy into the discussion. It's wishful thinking that WWE will put Punk/Bryan on last but their in-ring history suggests so. If the company is foolish enough to place this bout in the middle of the card and they tear the house down, the remainder of the broadcast will undoubtedly suffer. Match duration is another concern of mine but considering the limited number of contests announced thus far, I remain optimistic.
Chrisss: Wait a second. If Vince is such a wise businessman, then why didn't he do a half-decent effort in actually promoting this match? I feel like Vince and the rest of his yes-men simply booked Bryan vs. Punk for the PPV and didn't bother to give their feud any heat, based simply on the fact that the internet will order the show for this match alone. Don't get me wrong, I'm one of those people - I would gladly watch any PPV which features Punk vs. Bryan, even if the undercard consists of The Great Khali vs. Jinder Mahal or some other atrocity. I just feel like WWE could have made a lot more people want to see this match, rather than simply the 'smart' fans.
Skitz: Oh, I agree completely. But sometimes, we've gotta be content with what's given to us. Cookie Monster and the YES Man's encounters are so intricate and fascinating that I don't particularly need an elaborate backstory. And I'm figuring WWE didn't bother creating much of an angle for TV viewers because this is either just a one-off mini feud or they're waiting until after OTL to create the drama. Keep in mind that the writing staff only had three weeks to work with after Extreme Rules so condensing almost becomes a necessary evil. OR management might simply be relying on their awesome series of matches from March and indy circuit battles to garner extra PPV buys.
Chrisss: I'd definitely go with the latter, mainly because their website recently had an article that detailed both men's history in ROH. Still, with superstars showing up on RAW and SmackDown whenever they please, WWE had five shows (not counting the RAW after Extreme Rules when Bryan Beat The Clock) to promote the match. This makes me worry we won't be seeing the two internet darlings close the show, but an over-booked John vs. Johnny match instead. But fuck it, if these guys get at least fifteen minutes to do their thing, I'm more than happy.
Skitz: For sure. Anything between 15-20 would work for me as well. I mean hey... look what The Viper & Christian did with 16+ minutes at last year's Over The Limit. But before we safely assume that Mr. Sobriety retains this Sunday against D-Bry, there's one brief segment from this past Monday's RAW that intrigues me - A.J. wishing Punk good luck. You know how WWE is with their fucking love triangle bullshit. Any chance this whole break-up with Bryan was just a ruse and the pint-sized Diva screws Cookie Monster to help her ex-boyfriend claim the hardware?
Chrisss: For me, such a scenario is a double-edged sword. On one hand, you have an unexpected swerve with Aj coming out of nowhere to aid Bryan, and the fans are shocked. On the other hand, such a move would probably result in Aj becoming 'normal' again, which is a shame considering how entertaining Psycho-Aj is. It wouldn't surprise me if WWE does go with something along those lines come Sunday, but I don't want to see it happen. What if WWE attempts a double-turn with Aj screwing Bryan and aligning herself with Punk?
Skitz: Eh... that too is a stretch. But given how A.J. is always willing to do whatever for D-Bry's best interest, I could picture her trying to help the YES Man at OTL and accidentally costing him the match. That chain of events probably makes the most sense at this point but we'll see how eveything unfolds. My girlfriend's fucking graduating college this Sunday so my chances of watching the pay per view aren't exactly favorable. I can catch the replay at 11 however if the early reports sound positive.
Chrisss: Hey, it's our job to explore every possibility, isn't it? Our readers would not be impressed with us taking the safe route for every match-up, I imagine. That being said, with or without Aj's involvement come Sunday night, I don't see Punk's lengthy reign as WWE Champion ending just yet. What about you?
Skitz: The Straightedge Superstar should be in the clear until MITB or SummerSlam I'd say. Him & Hunter are on pretty good terms after Punk lit the company on fire last summer which can only translate into increased success in WWE. I'm loving Mr. Sobriety's current run as he's drawing close to 200 days already. In an era when championship belts change hands frequently, it's without question an impressive feat. I hope the Voice of the Voiceless enjoys the ride because he may never receive another reign this long again. That's not a knock on Punk either... just the nature of the business.
Chrisss: True that. Even though Punk has spent the majority of 2012 not being in the main-event of RAW, his lengthy run as WWE Champion is something you just don't see anymore, especially as a face. I just hope when he does finally drop the title, it'll be to a deserving heel (a.k.a. any one not named Alberto Del Rio). In the meantime, let's sit back and enjoy what should be a strong MOTY contender between Bryan and Punk at Over The Limit.
Chrisss' pick: Punk retains the title
Skitz's pick: Punk retains the title
Chrisss: Any final comments before I drop you like yesterday's news?
Skitz: Absolutely - let us rejoice in the supreme rule of People Power!