WWE Bragging Rights 2009 Preview

Posted by Grey Monday, October 26, 2009

Question: Why the name, "Bragging Rights"?
Answer: For the simple fact that "WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw, sponsored by WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2010" will be downright weird, coming from the mouth of Jerry "The King" Lawler.

With the entire PPV (Pay-Per-View) seemingly inclined towards the idea that it is the ultimate promo/in-place advert for the multi-platform selling and almost guaranteed multi-million selling game, WWE Smackdown! VS Raw 2010 (reviewed earlier here), it is almost puzzling why they did not simply called it WWE Smackdown! VS Raw (hell they can even put that "2010" in), given the fact that WWE is so big on literal bullet-in-the-face PPV titles these days, with the previous PPV being called "Hell In A Cell" and the upcoming PPV in December titled WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs (which according to WWE, its concept was voted by fans via WWE's official website and was chosen over an event with street fight main events and an event featuring a single-elimination tournament).

So what is the big idea behind "Bragging Right"? It doesn't get even more literal than this: It's for the bragging rights between the wrestlers from Raw and Smackdown, which effectually means nothing. Those wrestling haters out there might be having the kind of "smart-ass holier-than-thou superior mankind" smirk to the above mentioned comments. Pro-wrestling, is in actuality, a series of staged shows featuring pre-existing scripted feuds, plots, and storylines involving different wrestlers. When everything is booked, what is the consequences of anything at all? If you are asking this question too, skip this article. It's not for you. Al these changing hands of championship belts functioning mainly as McGuffins as much as the next plot points in, TV Dramas like Fast Forward, Fringe or Lost. We here at The Daily Zombies, are not even remotely interested in converting new wrestling viewers. The point here is, the matches that you cared about, had to be of certain consequences, since, in defacto, everything in pro-wrestling is about bragging rights and we don't really need to be reminded of one in such literal ways. Subtler matches with similar idea held during Cyber Sunday where all three World Champions of the three weekly shows clashed and the fans voted for their desired title to be on the line, and the regular Survivor Series Elimination Matches between different brands served the purpose with enough interests generated as well. Speaking of Cyber Sunday, the PPV with the concept of having fans picking their choice of matches, opponents or stipulations has been finally scrapped and replaced with Bragging Rights. As weird as that would sound, the strange concept of Cyber Sunday actually worked better than its replacement. But then again, WWE of late, is fully capable of dishing out strange decisions (if you need an example, the ever-changing host manager concept in RAW). "Who will be the dominant brand?" Of course, the one being booked to win. TV ratings got nothing to do with in the storyline. And from the fact that the third brand, ECW, was not even mentioned, let alone involved in the PPV is telling of how WWE ranks them.

On to the matches itself...

SmackDown vs. Raw WWE Bragging Rights Tag Match

A 7 on 7 Tag Match, with a, if not stellar, then at least star-studded cast. Ready? Go.

Team Raw, featuring Triple H and Shawn Michaels as its captains, with The Big Show, Mark Henry, Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger & Cody Rhodes versus Team Smackdown, featuring Chris Jericho and Kane as co-captains, with Matt Hardy, Finlay, R-Truth, David Hart Smith & Tyson Kidd.

All wrestlers on both teams went through "rigorous" Qualifying Matches (perfect TV fillers) with the exceptions of four of its captains. They even had a confrontation on Raw, which probably led to an almost complete face-lift for Team Smackdown with only its two captains intact. And guessed what? It ended up better that way. The original five members, Eric Escobar, Drew McIntyre, JTG, Shad and Dolph Ziggler lost on the immediate next TV tapings of Smackdown, in a five-on-four tag match to new members Matt Hardy, Finlay, R-Truth and The Hart Dynasty’s David Hart Smith & Tyson Kidd. Which is weird in a funny way as the results of all five earlier Qualifying Matches were effectually reversed entirely, as all five suckers are now replaced with the guys they'd beaten in the first place. Awfully smells like a last-minute rewrite in reaction to the aforementioned confrontation between the two teams which exposed the lack of star power and credibility of Team Smackdown in its entirety. While midcarders like Matt Hardy, R-Truth and Finlay definitely had the basic showmanship and wrestling skill to pull a PPV main event as such off, it is a positive development to have The Hart Dynasty’s David Hart Smith & Tyson Kidd to be involve in their first attempt in breaching the top tiers by playing with the key players as they had been pretty impressive in ECW till now.

As for the actual match, what do you expect from a 7 on 7 match, which is not running on elimination stipulation? An absolute train wreck, bound to be entertaining based on the sheer fact of the cast involved, but still, train wreck nonetheless.

Predicted Winners: Team Smackdown
In the very same vein of logic as what was mentioned earlier regarding the concept of bragging rights, we all know that Smackdown is absolutely, without-a-shadow-of-a-doubt, the B-show, but do we need WWE telling us straight in the face. Judging from the histories behind all these cross-brand clashes, Smackdown wins, like 75% of the time.

In the earlier mentioned 2006's Cyber Sunday's main event where all three champions met in a Triple Threat match where the fans voted for their desired title to be on the line, Smackdown's King Booker won and successfully defended his World Heavyweight Championship. Likely a display of paternal love from WWE, Smackdown usually wins these kinds of matches to probably make up for their B-show status.

With the company seemingly inclined to be building a future confrontation between DX and the Unfied Tag Team Champions, Chris Jericho and the Big Show (presumably at the next show, thrown in some midcarders to make up the Survivor Series Team). it is quite likely for Big Show to turn on his teammates, igniting the feud for the build-up.

World Heavyweight Champion The Undertaker vs. CM Punk vs. Batista vs. Rey Mysterio (Fatal Four Way Match)

There were online rumors earlier indicating that Cm Punk's loss in the strangely placed opening match (not taking the dark match between Matt Hardy and Mike Knox into account) in the last PPV, Hell In A Cell, was due to Punk's "problems" with the WWE Management. Nevertheless, it is hard to imagine Taker losing in his trademark match to Punk, despite the fact that he almost always loses in them (the first ever HIAC, to Shawn Michael due to the debut of Kane, and the probably passing-of-torch HIAC to Brock Lesnar.)

The inclusion of Batista and Rey to enter the frays of Taker and Punk's feud comes off as a little abrupt to me, and especially at a time when Team Smackdown (in its original line-up) seemed to be in dire needs of additional star powers. On second thought, this arrangement might be to prevent fans from over-exposure of one-on-one matches between Taker and Punk (they had done Submission Match and HIAC, something a normal feud takes somethime to developed into) or, a lead-in to a probable major plot development (which I will touch on later).

Predicted Winner: CM Punk, or to a lesser extent, Batista
There had been various online rumors surrounding the health of Undertaker, which had accordingly affecting his work rate greatly (unable to be involved in weekly tapings, long matches, etc) and traditionally, WWE had always utilize Fatal Four Ways and Triple Threats whenever they wanted someone to lose their belt without getting pinned to minimize the impact on the reputation of the losing champion. Taker sure fitted in that role and especially so, since it is getting near to Wrestlemania and they can ill imagining the absense of Taker to injuries of any sorts. Especially when the PPV after the next (Survivor Series) being WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, where the gimmick will be Ladder Match with tables and chairs thrown in for fun.

One unwritten rule of pro-wrestling that might be applicable here would be the one that should wrestler A loses his match prior to the big main event coming up next, he will then win the big main event. All this is supposedly in the writer's effort in producing dramtic results. So Punk loses big last Smackdown taping, tapping frenetically to Taker's bore-inducing Hell's Gate. Even when not applying this unwritten rule, with three Baby Face and one Heel in one Fatal Four Way, it is quite telling of the results.

The probable major plot development which I mentioned earlier? Batista winning the match... by doing a heel turn, playing out the trust of Rey, and pinning him after after an unexpected Batista Bomb. The likelihood of this is actually quite high, considering the recent storyline placing Batista and Rey chasing the Unified Tag Titles (and losing it due to Rey being pinned) and the singles match where Rey pinned Batista clean. Smackdown is in desperate needs of major heel, with Punk being the only one in the role now. A Batista heel turn will greatly revitalize the show and open up many new possibilities of storylines and match-ups.

WWE Champion Randy Orton vs. John Cena (One Hour, Anything Goes WWE Iron Man Match)

Just when you thought the Hell In A Cell match earlier this month was the last straw you had of Cena and Orton? Tough luck. You shall relive every wrestling moves that you had known and familiar with from them (yes, all ten of them from the very limited library of moves shared by both) and get the opportunity of doing some kinda pro-wrestling historian impersonation, comparing pro-wrestling now and then. Witness how ten minutes (at most) of actions can be repeated, six-fold, into one freaking hour you will never ever get back.

While WWE ponders in their infinite wisdom and fans wallow in their infinite melancholy, one fact does indeed warrants clarification: Both Cena and Orton, are respectively the biggest Baby Face and Heel in their generation. Notwithstanding Batista's age gap, I still considered The Animal amongst the same generation as Cena and Orton, given the same period of their rise. Orton, with his misdemeanor and reportedly attitude problem, were earlier diagnosed of a false coming with his greatly-pushed status replaced by Batista. However, as Batista's fame wane after his feud with Undertaker and being repeatedly adsent due to nagging injuries, Orton had returned to where he truly belongs. The entertainment value and star power both Cena and Orton bring to their game are undisputedly, the best of their generation, with their showmanship, mic skills and all.

Ironman matches, one of the most tedious and toughest type of matches around, had been few and far in between. In the history of WWE, there had only been four. With all kudos to the mighty wikipedia, a brief history as below:

WrestleMania XII, Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels for the WWF Championship; 60 minutes. Neither man scored a fall in the first 60 minutes. Gorilla Monsoon ordered the match into overtime and Michaels scored a fall 2 minutes in to win the WWF title.

Judgement Day 2000, The Rock vs. Triple H for the WWF Championship; 60 minutes. Shawn Michaels is the Special Guest Referee. With the scores tied at 5-5 with only a minute or so remaining, The Undertaker makes his in ring return after an eight month absence. He went on to attack Triple H, X-Pac and Road Dogg but was spotted by Michaels who disqualified The Rock, making the score 6-5 in Triple H's favor. Thus making Triple H the new WWF Champion.

WWE SmackDown!, September 18, 2003, Brock Lesnar vs Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship; 60 minutes. First of three 60 minute Iron Man Matches on broadcast TV (in the other Chris Benoit defended his World Heavyweight Championship against Triple H). Lesnar had a huge lead 5-2 with 15 minutes remaining but Angle fights back with 2 more falls. Angle slapped on the Ankle Lock with 20 seconds remaining, but Lesnar didn't tap. Brock Lesnar won the WWE title.

Raw, July 26, 2004, World Champion Chris Benoit beat Triple H 4-3 in the first and only 60-minute Iron man match on RAW. Benoit got some help from his friend Eugene Dinsmore in the final minute of the match.

Noticed a trend here? More often than not, wrestlers participated in Ironman matches tends to be those of particularly talents in term of sheer wrestling skills (Bret, Shawn, Angle and Benoit, to name a few) or at least with enough experiences to pull off this match type (The Rock and HHH). Both, unfortunately are not amongst Cena and Orton's forte.

Predicted Winners: John Cena
Other than the simple fact that they can't be seriously relegating their real MVP (eat yer heart out, Montell Vontavious Porter) to the B-show, there's the aforementioned unwritten rule. Cena got pinned clean by HHH (the match was called by The King as a potential Wrestlemania main event but fans got it at Raw. What a moronic comment, as IT already was a Wrestlemania main event back in Wrestlemania 22 in 2006), amidst hypes that this is the final match of Cena in Raw. Cena will win so that Orton can move on in a temporal feud within his faction, Legacy (hint hint: The Marine 2, starring WWE superstar Ted DiBiase in the lead role will be released direct-to-DVD on December 29, 2009).

Intercontinental Champion John Morrison vs. United States Champion The Miz

It's the battle of the Jannetty, or rather, the battle of who's not a Jannetty. Writing this itself already made me feel bad, I can't imagine how heartless both Morrison and The Miz are. And a real mean angle for the writers who scripted that trash talking Dirt Sheet reunion between Miz and Morrison two weeks ago meant to ridicule...strangely none of them but good ol' Marty Jannetty. It's almost tragic to see how honest-to-god Marty, earning a decent living being a former wrestler with great work rate and professionalism, not to mentioned adequate wrestling abilities (a feature at least half the current roster across all three weekly shows are seriously lacking), to be a point of ridicule. I will be surprised if twenty years from now, some rookie will be talking about not being "The Miz".

Back to the match on hand, Miz versus Morrison could just be the show-stealer of the night. Formerly a relatively successful tag team that had won several tag title run, both Miz and Morrison had went on with their solo endeavor with delightful results. Morrison is on Smackdown and holds the Intercontinental Title, while Miz is on Raw and has the US Title. The feud though, could have made more sense back when the tag team had a bitter split when Miz did a about-turn on Morrison (A premature split if you ask me despite their solo successes. WWE just isn't a big fan of the traditional tag team-turned-solo success story we had with The Rockers or The British Bulldogs anymore.). However, this feud, now being sold as another of those Smackdown Vs. Raw promo, is somehow cheapened by that gimmick. Nevertheless, Morrison is an excellent wrestler with the right balance of showmanship, wrestling skills and trash-talking ability (though the aforementioned Dirt Sheet kinda sucked for both Miz and Morrison) while The Miz, despite the inferior half of the tag team, is steadily picking up with his wrestling skills and his natural-born heel charisma.

Predicted Winners: John Morrison
This match is in fact, harder to predict, as both Miz and Morrison belonged to different brands, which makes any follow-up plot difficult to plan, unless the feud continues with both of them leading or following another Survivor Series team into the next PPV.

All things considered, the feud of Morrison and Miz has all the potential to go a long way.

Raw Divas vs. SmackDown Divas Tag Team Match

Uh, actually no. No preview for this one.

This might somewhat disappoint or even make you feel that we, here at The Daily Zombies, are sexist who discriminate Divas, Knock-outs or whatever these wrestling companies call their female wrestlers these days, but the fact remains that we don't do Divas Matches as pointless as this one here. Not for the reason that the titles (be it Diva or Woman Championship) are not at stakes, but for the reason that whichever brand wins this one won't even be bothered to "brag" about it. It is that inconsequential.

Okay, a good faith gesture since this is the inaugural wrestling PPV preview and all...

The Raw team, since we had already predicted that the Smackdown teams are practically sweeping everything else. And also the simple fact that the Raw team are filled with Faces. Another unwritten rule of Pro-wrestling: When in doubt, Face wins.


The Rundown
While readers might argue that predicting pre-booked, scripted match-ups are as redundant as they come, we would argue that it is probably as interesting as predicting last night's English Premier League's Man Utd versus Liverpool match-up (and probably just as "authentic" as well given the drama in club football these days).


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