Ronald MacDonald's gonna eat yer heart out!
No, just that it's time for yet another WWE PPV preview.
What a bizarre choice for a poster. Anyway, WWE will be presenting Extreme Rules tonight, its first PPV since the WrestleMania extravaganza, as we officially enter the post-mania lull period. Due to the major PPV revamp, Backlash has been replaced by Extreme Rules. Nevertheless, Backlash's former purpose of featuring WrestleMania rematch lives on as Extreme Rules will be comprising mostly of "extreme" version of the card featured in WrestleMania, thus its namesake.
Meanwhile in the pro-wrestling world (yes, the world is not just one big freaking WWE Universe), taking the utmost advantage of the post-mania lull, TNA has brought their A-game during last Monday's Impact by coming up with a PPV-level show featuring a major title change. Meanwhile RAW were severely hit by the loss of its roster due to the air flight disruption caused by the European volcanic ashes, resulting in a problematic build-up for the PPV. Can WWE make it in time to deliver the "extreme" (PG-TV) experience it promises, especially after the releases of several WWE superstar (including Mickie James, Shelton Benjamin, and Mike Knox, amongst others) last week?
Before we move on with the full preview, let's take a short look at the result of The Daily Zombie's WWE PPV Prediction for last month's WrestleMania XXVI. Unsurprisingly, we scored a miserable Five out of Ten, with the most outstanding misjudgment being Shawn Michaels'eventual final match. An irrational choice at best (a fact well-pointed out in the article), we also bungled at the Punk/Mysterio, Edge/Jericho, the Money In The Bank match, and the ten-Diva-fiasco. Let's see if our killer app for deadly accuracy in WWE PPV prediction can be regained from this one.
One thing before we continue: Do bear in mind that the night after the event will be the annual drafting, which bear serious implication for the results of the PPV. Meanwhile, last year's Backlash was an interesting showcase where Triple H and Cena (conspicuously, in a Last Man Standing Match), both of whom defended/received their respective title the month before on WrestleMania, dropped their respective titles back to Orton and Edge. While history does not necessarily repeats itself, especially in scripted performances, it definitely factored into our little prediction.
With all that out of the way, let's get on to the game.
WWE Champion John Cena vs. Batista (Last Man Standing Match)
The last encounter between Cena and Batista turned out much better than expected despite the finish (which in my opinion hurt the Animal tremendously), which lead into this match-up. This match should be just fine.
Predicted Winner: John Cena
As mentioned earlier, Cena also had a Last Man Standing on the PPV after last year's WrestleMania which saw him losing the title to Edge. That is unlikely to repeat this year. With the much-circulated online rumors that Batista is currently extremely frustrated with WWE management for giving his upcoming leading role in a film away to Triple H, and the fact that his contract issue is still up in the air, the chances of Batista getting the title back and killing Cena's "Champ" momentum, is next to impossible.
Batista checking TNA out? Possible.
World Heavyweight Champion Jack Swagger vs. Randy Orton (Extreme Rules Match)
The single biggest surprise of last month's WrestleMania have to be the fact that Swagger emerged the winner of the Money In The Bank match, despite his obvious lack of presence in the match. Which is a shame, as Swagger, being the All American American, is definitely capable of more than that. Less surprising would be his cashing of the opportunity less than a week later on Jericho's painstakingly defended title. While Orton remained an odd contender for the title, given that two qualified contenders are available almost instantaneously, the choice is indicative of one draft result: Orton, with his renewed top babyface status, is almost confirmed to be drafted to Smackdown to continue this feud, while bringing some RAW audiences, whom have already invested in the feud, over to Smackdown.
Predicted Winner: Jack Swagger
What better way to continue a fresh feud than to have the heel champion retain? And since this is an Extreme Rules Match, we can't rule out the fact that Orton's last feud with his former proteges might just be not that over after all, making his defeat even less damaging while maintaining the storyline continuity.
Edge vs. Chris Jericho (Steel Cage Match)
The Clash Of The Canadians continues, and this time round, it's in a cage.
While last month's title match between both charismatic Canadians has been lackluster, given the potential of the match-ups, the fact remains that the crowd - usually the unknown X-factor to decide the heat of a match - being dead quiet throughout the match, contributed to the silent match. And that's no fault of both opponents, as the crowd were stunned silly by the monstrosity we called "No Holds Barred' match between Hart and Harts and Mr. McMahon.
Meanwhile, the heat of this ongoing feud has also been somewhat dull down by the sudden emergence of Swagger as a newly crowned champion. Nevertheless, the double-count-out match and the triple threat between all three involved were good enough to suggest that this could be the show-stealer of the match.
At the very least, no more annoying "Spear, Spear, Spear" plot.
Predicted Winner: Edge
Edge needs his momentum back in order to continue his position as a serious title contender, while Jericho, well, he's the best there is at what he does, so a defeat with nothing at stake, does not hurt him one bit.
Triple H vs. Sheamus (Street Fight)
This rematch has been expected since the Big White Machine (wouldn't that be nice?)'s defeat at the hands of the Cerebral Assassin in last month's WrestleMania. And with this match we get to see Sheamus's choice of a personal weapon: A steel pipe. Yeah right, this could just be a swordfight with sledgehammer and steel pipe instead.
Predicted Winners: Sheamus
Well, as mentioned earlier, Triple H had a movie to keep himself busy, and anyway, the Big White Machine is in a serious need to re-establish his title contender status. Priority in that order.
Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk (If Punk is defeated, he loses his hair)
Punk/Mysterio Part I in last month's WrestleMania were disappointingly short with an unpopular result to boot, though we have to admit that it was as good as it last. With this one, we can easily expect that it's gonna be a longer match-up, achieving the true potential of both excellent performers.
Predicted Winners: CM Punk
Perhaps the method to the madness that is this particular prediction would be your opinion to Punk's fashion statement: Will he look better bald, or in his current Christ-hairdo? And more importantly, which hairdo suit him more in his current role as the Charles Manson of Prowrestling?
While my answer is that the Jesus Christ look suit him just fine, I also think that it'll only make sense not to kill Punk's momentum as constant defeats to the same wrestler will no doubt made him look weak.
Shad Gaspard vs. JTG (Strap Match)
It's the "surprise" tag-team break-up angle again. What's going on with the seven years' rule? The Colon Brothers did it just last year under the same working title, "Inconsequential Breakup". While nobody really cared about Crymetime, will the break-up gain the attention from the same group of people? Nevertheless, if there's anybody gaining anything from the angle, it's got to be Shad Gaspard. Looking more like the bodyguard than a partner to JTG, his promos ever since have been fairly good and is giving some much-needed heat to his character.
Predicted Winners: Shag Gaspard
Shad Gaspard has been looking strong since the break-up and it will only made sense to keep that momentum before he leaves for the other show during the draft. Anyway, Shad happens to be the kind of wrestler Vince McMahon would prefer.
Women's Champion Michelle McCool vs. Beth Phoenix (Extreme Makeover Match)
While we still don't have the slightest idea what an Extreme Makeover match is, one thing you can be assured of is that it will still be "extremely" PG.
Predicted Winners: Beth Phoenix
With the release of Mickie James, it's almost a sure-bet that the Glamazon has to carry the Divas on her shoulder alone, especially so in the face of the impending draft.
As promising as it seemed, WrestleMania XXVI did not turned out to be quite the wonderful PPV that I expected, with disastrous performance from Bret Hart and the shortened matches (Punk/Mysterio, for example). Nevertheless, with the impending draft at hand, we can expect some fresh new feuds and interesting match-ups. The fact that TNA has brought their A-game now that Rob Van Dam is the reigning TNA World Heavyweight Champion, the competition will only get more intense on Monday nights.
As for the match quality for this PPV, just don't expect anything that remotely resembles the term "extreme". This is especially so for the regular TNA viewers. It should have been called "Extremely PG Rules".
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