The Preview of the Immortals

I gaze into the crystal ball and deliver the WrestleMania winners a day early!

Well, hello. As I write (type?) this, we are just over 24 hours from the Showcase Of The Immortals, The Grandest Stage Of Them All, and whatever other buzzwords and catchphrases Vince thinks we should be brainwashed with.

As a single entity, the card is as impressive as any I can remember; sure there’s the one obvious stand out match – but the upper card is stacked – from the annual Money In The Bank spotfest, to the two championship matches, not to mention the long awaited Bret vs. Vince showdown, there’s quality from top to bottom. Oh, and there’s Vickie Guerrero, too. Sill, we all need a toilet break, eh?

With no further ado, here’s my “thoughts” on the show:

The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels
Absolutely HAS to close the show in my opinion. The video packages have built this up into THE match of  the show, and even if it’s only half as good as last year’s bout, we’re in for a treat. This match is for me, all about what kinds of story the two guys tell, rather than spot after spot after spot… and there’s no two people working right now with a better grip of storytelling than these Taker and HBK. Do I even need to say who I think will win?

Bret Hart vs. Mr. McMahon
The grudge match 12 years in the making. Sure, Bret is a shadow of the old Hitman we knew and sometimes loved, but he is such a damn perfectionist, you just know he has to be 100% sure he can deliver in the ring – and out, in this case. Vince’s matches are nothing if not entertaining, and he knows the stakes at WrestleMania better than anyone. This is gonna be a drawn out brawl, with several well planned out spots, and hopefully one last moment in the spotlight for Bret to shine.

WWE Championship
Batista (c) vs. John Cena
Amazingly, the build to this has been great. Cena has been less annoying than usual, perhaps because in BIG DAVE he has a guy who absolutely revels in playing the bad guy. BIG DAVE has been having a ball since the big heel turn, and his character has just been the very definition of smug bad ass. Cena is another one who knows the stakes at WrestleMania, and if BIG DAVE can manage to last more than 15 minutes without needing gas and air, this too could be a good ‘un, as long as the fans buy into it. Tough pick to win, but I’d say there’s more options with a heel champ

World Heavyweight Championship
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Edge
Here be the sleeper match on the show. Nobody seems quite sure how fit Edge actually is. If he’s 100% or close to it, and he’s shrugged off the ring rust, this is gonna be – sorry JR – a slobber knocker. Jericho simply IS the best in the world at what he does, in the ring or on the mic and his very presence guarantees the fans are gonna be all over this one. Edge’s spear has been built up superbly, and Edge has shown just that right balance of intensity and insanity that he does well as a face. I can see Jericho juuust edging the win here.

Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Christian vs. Kane vs. Ziggler vs. Benjamin vs. MVP vs. Swagger vs. Hardy vs. Bourne vs. McIntyre vs. Kingston
The annual “What will Shelton do this year?” match. Can you believe he’s been around for nearly 10 years now, without ever seemingly moving out of the mid card? Obvious candidates for the show stealing big spot are Shelton, Evan Bourne, Christian, Hardy, or Ziggler. You can pretty much write off Kane’s chances of winning; ditto for MVP, Ziggler, Shelton, Bourne and Swagger. Hardy doesn’t seem to be trusted, and Drew already has the IC belt, which leaves us with Kofi or Christian… Kofi seems to be carrying some heat for whatever *cough*RandyOrton*cough* reason, so for my money? Christian takes the win… possible cash in on the night against the SmackDown title winner?

Unified Tag Team Championship
Big Show & The Miz vs. John Morrison & R-Truth
Much as I love Big Show and Miz as a team, just throwing two guys together at random shows how weak the WWE Tag Division is right now. I totally, and utterly, cannot STAND R-Truth – anything he says, does or raps just irritates me beyond belief. Not sure what’s happened to John Morrison… but surely he’s deserving of better than a Random Partner Of Doom? No way can ShowMiz lose this match… just does not make sense, unless… Daniel Bryan is there? Hmmm…

Triple H vs. Sheamus
Trips has been strangely quiet during this WrestleMania build up, and Sheamus has just turned out to be a dead duck champion. This seems like a pretty dull affair, middle of the show territory… but I have a feeling this match is gonna surprise a few people. Don’t expect a 5 star technical classic, but a power match with some good brawling isn’t beyond them. If Sheamus loses, he’s pretty much done for the meantime as a top liner; Trips can’t really lose if he’s gonna go after the title.
Winner: TRIPLE H

Randy Orton vs. Ted DiBiase vs. Cody Rhodes
Too little too late. That’s what the dissent between Young Ted and Young Cody on Raw this week was. The trigger should have been pulled on the Legacy meltdown weeks ago; There’s really no point to this being a triple threat; much like there’s really no point to Young Cody if he’s not part of a tag team or a stable. Orton simply has to take the win here, unless there’s some nefarious deeds from an outside influence? Meh.

CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio
I am so looking forward to this match. Jericho aside, Punk is the best talker in the WWE right now, and I love the Straight Edge Society faction. Mysterio might have lost a step, and be somewhat of a formula wrestler these days, but I reckon he and Punk are still gonna tear it up. This is one match where I really feel it’s totally 50/50 as to who takes the win… but I’m gonna say…

10-Diva Tag Team Match
Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, Eve, Gail Kim & Beth Phoenix vs. Michelle McCool, Maryse, Layla, Alicia Fox & Vickie Guerrero

I really couldn’t give a damn. Vickie is obviously gonna be the focal point for this match, and that alone scares the bejeebus out of me. I will be in the toilet, or in the kitchen making a sandwich for this one!
Winner: TEAM JAMES (but I don’t care!)

So there we go, folks – enjoy ‘Mania!

Have fun, go mad!

Deja Vu…

Elimination Chamber has come and gone, and lordy lordy, strike me down with bolts of lightning, SuperCena got the strap and lost it within minutes. Shocker! Or would have been had it not been done before by Edge… and Batista being a hired gun for Vince McMahon? Also a nice angle… had it not been done before by countless others in the not-so-distant past.

Well, hello. It’s one of those weeks for this column, I’m afraid. As in, it’s the week that’s it’s due to be submitted. Folks, I’ll be honest with you, not a lot in wrestling over the past fortnight has inspired me to whip out the old metaphorical pen and paper… or in this modern age, hold down CTRL + SHIFT + `(which is the keyboard shortcut for my word processor, fact fans) and set the old noggin working.

Elimination Chamber has come and gone, and lordy lordy, strike me down with bolts of lightning, SuperCena got the strap and lost it within minutes. Shocker! Or would have been had it not been done before by Edge… and Batista being a hired gun for Vince McMahon? Also a nice angle… had it not been done before by countless others in the not-so-distant past.

Maybe it’s just me getting old, and maybe it’s just the fact that there are only so many storylines to go round, but this current crop of angles and storyline that the WWE – and their illustrious competition – are throwing up just feels recycled and stale.

Over in TNB – Total Nonstop Bischoff – Jeff Jarrett AND Mick Foley are being persecuted by Eric Bischoff… Kurt Angle is being inspired by the armed forces of the US… AJ Styles is a young champion being “shown the way” by Ric Flair… all sound familiar?

Rehashing older stuff isn’t always bad. The HBK/Taker angle is basically about two guys wanting to fight to see who’s better. Taker didn’t want to, so HBK was forced to resort to underhand tactics to force the issue. At its essence, it’s an old-fashioned “respect” feud – but the sheer personality of the two guys involved is carrying it.

Of course, there’s the matter of that simply incredible video package the WWE put together for the feud. Set to Placebo’s amazing cover of the old Kate Bush track “Running Up That Hill”, that video was as perfect a hype machine as you could hope for. It was passionate, it was emotional, and it used the lyrics perfectly.

That is an example of how you CAN go to past glories and revisit them, but still make them relevant, exactly the opposite of how the WWE have coped with the Bret Hart angle. For years, Bret vs. Vince or Bret vs. Shawn was THE big unresolved issue in wrestling and was just money waiting to be printed… if done correctly.

While it’s nice to see Shawn and Bret be professional with each other, admit it – you’d have bought into Bret’s return a little more if HBK had been the cocky little son-of-an-unnamed-goat that he was back in the day, and that there was still a little spark between him and Bret, even if it was just on-screen.

I totally understand that Bret can’t put in an in ring performance to blow off the Montreal cobwebs once and for all. I even understand transferring the perceived anger from Shawn to Vince to allow for an even playing field. I EVEN understand Vince taking Big Dave to fight his corner – he is a big, bad man after all… I just don’t get the involvement from SuperCena.

It should have been DH Smith, or Tyson Kidd – someone actually connected to Bret. Even if that meant “downscaling” Batista, to someone like say… Drew McIntyre – the Vince/Bret animosity if channelled correctly would have been enough that could have slotted in anyone against a Hart family member and peeps would still have bought into it.

Imagine the rub that McIntyre vs. DH Smith would have had with Vince and Bret in their respective corners. A rub that neither Batista nor Cena need – and they could still have been programmed into an inter-brand match somehow, without being tacked on to the Bret issue.

Maybe, just maybe… I expect too much. Maybe we all do. It’s easy to be an armchair booker, sat behind a keyboard, observing from a distance. I always at least try to enjoy the positive, make it mean more than the negative. Food for thought, peeps.

Have fun, go mad.