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Sunday, 28 June 2009

The Bash Preview

I’ll start with the bad news, which is that I am unable to provide the usual Live Blog this evening/morning for the PPV. I have a very early start on Monday, and cannot justify putting that off to watch yet another PPV, especially one which does not exactly have me salivating.

Instead, I’ll endeavour to watch the show during Monday, and will post thoughts upon in a similar manner to weekly Raw reviews.

To the matter of the show itself, here are my thoughts on each match.

Dolph Ziggler v Great Khali
Interesting (well, slightly interesting) build up to this contest, in that it has at least a little logic behind it, and Ziggler’s character, which I think has a lot of potential if they get over that “Hi, I’m Dolph Zigger” catchphrase and stop making him a sum of the parts of Kennedy and DDP’s worst bits.

The idea is that Ziggler got DQed against the big fella, but has since beaten him twice, tricking the ref into thinking Khali had illegally attacked him, and sneaking a count out.

This match, therefore, is no count out and no DQ. I’m going to go out a limb here – a bold thing to do with the first prediction – but I’ll say that Ziggler will tonight gain an ally or two. I think that we are sorely missing stables in wrestling these days (especially in WWE) and an midcard allianace of a few guys on Smackdown could be beneficial, definitely to Ziggler, and a couple of others.

I’m envisioning that Ziggler gets aided by a couple of wrestlers – I’m thinking perhaps a Ricky Ortiz or a Charlie Haas or maybe a Mike Knox might be possible contenders. Or even some new blood we are yet to see.

Basically, I see little point in Khali just squashing Ziggler. Khali, if he had any purpose ever, is no longer in the position he used to be, but will always get a reaction of sorts because of his size. So, if you want to show that world that Ziggler is worth something, then beating Khali is a place to start. Or, at least, not losing to him.

Unified Tag Team Titles – Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase v Carlito and Primo
I think we may have a switch coming here. It strikes me that WWE have invested heavily in Legacy, and since the Colons won’t be cheating to win, Cody and Ted will be hurt if they lose cleanly.

WWE like to have a stable with belts, and I am not saying necessarily that Orton will win, but I’m saying that I see more likelihood of the title switching that remaining. The annoying this is that the tag team scene is extremely under-populated, so whomever wins, there is no real alternative forthcoming.

At this point, I’d like to flag up the fact that so far we’ve talked about two matches, and both of which have been shown on free TV is the last month.

Melina v Michelle McCool – Women’s title
Hmm. Not sure here, really. I definitely have very little interest. I think Melina is a much better heel than she is a babyface, and I’d love her to be allowed to explore the part of character that she did some time ago, when she is aligned to a male wrestler and allowed to be a bitch.

Michelle I have little time for at all. Her acting is so stiff and wooden that I can’t buy into her being horrible or lovely, depending on whether she is supposed to be babyface and heel. Her wrestling has improved, but she wouldn’t be on my (short) list of talented female workers on the roster.

I’m not really fussed about who wins, to tell you the truth. I’d prefer Melina, I guess, because I think a lot more of her than I do Michelle, but I am troubled by the fact that Smackdown womens wrestling seems to be about keeping Gail Kim down as much as anything. Gail is by far the most talented girl on the Blue brand, and maybe the whole company, but is made no fuss of.

I’ll go for Melina, but mainly because I can envisage other title changes elsewhere.

John Cena v The Miz
I’ve written thoughts about this match previously, so I won’t go into too much detail. I’m quite looking forward to this, should be a lot of fun. I’d go down the route of having Miz get really angry about not being taken seriously and have the commentators put over the fact that he stepped up his game and wrestled the match of his life.

Cena will, and ought to, win, but they need to let Miz have a fair shake, and not simply bury him for a cheap laugh or similar.

ECW Scramble match - Tommy Dreamer, Christian, Finlay, Jack Swagger, Mark Henry
This has the potential to go one way or another. I’m a little disappointed that there is no Evan Bourne, as this is a perfect showcase for an up and coming talent to have some fun and get noticed, without threatening the title. Although, maybe its a poisoned chalice, because I thought Brian Kendrick put it a hell of a performance in one of these scrambles when there were three at a Pay Per View, and he has floundered since.

I think this is likely a way of keeping the title on Tommy for a little while longer. You don’t want Dreamer beating the top stars in ECW for too long, so put a load in with him, have him get beaten up for fifteen minutes and then drape an arm over an ‘interim champion’ and get a late pinfall.

Chris Jericho v Rey Mysterio – Mask v Title
Really looking forward to this. They’ve produced match after quality match, this duo, and while I often remark about the fact that I’m not the world biggest Rey Mysterio fan, I will say that the guy is very entertaining most of the time, but only (to me) when he is matched up with someone of a more similar size. Not necessarily style (I’d say, in fact Jericho style is most unlike Rey’s) but the poor bloke has had to take on Kane and Big Show and Mike Knox and other monsters, when it should be plain that when he wrestles Edge, or Jericho, on in the past Eddie or Kurt Angle they bring the house down.

I would think that Mysterio ought to be favourite to win. This is likely to be the end of this programme, because they’ve got three PPVs as well as a high-profile TV match. The stakes are pretty high, although I don’t feel they did the optimum job of bigging up how important Rey’s mask is. The fact that this will probably spell the end of the feud, as well as the slim chance that Rey will lose his mask, gives him the edge.


Is it possible that the rumours that Mysterio is leaving are true? WCW made a huge mistake years ago getting rid of Rey’s mask whilst not realising he looked twelve and failing to market the mask for kids. Christ, I was at Wrestlemania with a chap working for Sky who had never watched wrestling before, who had little interest in the matches really, but nearly bought a Rey Mysterio mask. Not for his son or anything.

Anyway, I digress, what I’m saying is WWE surely see the benefits of having Rey as a babyface who can shift merch. But if he is out the door, and doesn’t fancy coming back, they may find a double benefit in making him lose the thing he is most identified with.

One, it is an angle they haven’t done, and an angle that the majority of fans won’t have seen, because they might not have been born when WCW tried/botched it. Two, if Rey fancied doing the neat little trick that others have done, and wondering down south to see the lovely Ms Carter and Double J, then he would possibly be slightly less valuable. And don’t say it would never happen, because few saw Kurt Angle popping up down there.

The above is possible, but I don’t think is likely. I think Jericho dropping the strap is far more likely than Mysterio losing his mask.

Three Stages of Hell – Triple H v Randy Orton
Some have suggested this will be the main event, but I disagree. The site promotes Jeff Hardy v CM Punk ahead of this, and that is normally something to go by.

I know one thing – the Smackdown main event is the one I want to see more than any other. However, I have a really strange compulsion about this match. I desperately, desperately want it to be a success.

Triple H is not as good as he used to be. I think it is mainly because (in my opinion) he is a way better heel than a babyface. But he used to be awesome, so even a depreciation in quality makes him pretty good. People complain about him and say he is dull, but it is not because he is bad, but because he is over-exposed.

I think Orton is generally pretty good. I think that sometimes (and I see the logic) he goes for the boos by slowing down and being dull to piss people off. You can do that once in a while, but I feel he goes there too often.

Together, Orton and Triple H should weave magic. I feel both are natural heels and that is the main reason they don’t click, but the matches they have had thus far haven’t really hit any big psychological highs. I don’t feel they have told the right story at the right time. Their Mania match started with pedigrees and RKOs, and although it was brave to start with a subversion of the form, there is a reason big moves are called ‘finishers’.

I want to see them do it. There are so many people around the world who have never laced a wrestling boot and say Hunter and Randy are terrible. They are not – they are two of the best in the business, but they just haven’t nailed it in this run. It is worth remembering that then they were forced to have two matches in same night last they had a pair of belters.

The stips here, though, may not help them. I can’t for the life of me see this going two straight falls, so one assumes the WWE title will be decided in a stretcher match, which is disappointing, because it’s rubbish. They’ll have to fight that. The opening gambit is an ordinary match, which works nicely because they’ll pace themselves before getting into a NHB fight.

Here’s the next question – whoever wins, who is their number contender? Cena, presumably, and that’s a depression thought too, because as much as we’ve seen Orton v Trips, we’ve seen Orton v Cena and Triple H v Cena plenty of times.

HBK anyone?

Oh, a winner? I’ll go with Randy. I think that the stretcher stip is there so that he can win but win sneakily, perhaps with Legacy help or by virtue of a Triple H mistake. The Game wouldn’t want to lose in a straight up match, so Randy will win via his sneakiness and cunning.

World Heavyweight Title – CM Punk v Jeff Hardy
Some really nice elements to look into here. One, is that Edge isn’t in it. That doesn’t mean I’m glad; I think Edge is awesome. What I mean is he is an unknown quantity tonight, and may be part of the contest.

Secondly, CM Punk’s character development has been intriguing of late, so it will be fun to watch how he plays it here. They seem to be hinting at a heel turn, but the timing needs to be right. Will they do it tonight? Probably not. Will he win? I think so.

I don’t see that the timing is right for the belt to go to Hardy, particularly if the rumours of his scarpering again have any foundation. These two ought to have a hell of a match, though. To be honest, I wouldn’t put them on last, because if Hunter and Orton have a barnburner with gimmicks and violence, Hardy and Punk have to follow it with a standard wrestling match.

That isn’t to say I think it will be worse. I think it will be awesome. These two can really go, as long as they allowed. If the shackles are off here it could be very special. I just have this nagging suspicion there will be a controversial finish. I think Edge is bound to insert himself, and either cost one man the title or just end it in a DQ.

Ultimately, I think Punk keeps the belt. Whether he does so after a classic, we’ll see. Whether he does so via DQ also remains in question.

There you have it – my thoughts on tonight. Once again, sorry I can’t be with you live, but have fun, and I’ll report back when I can.

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