May 11th marked the one-year anniversary of the first edition of Heel Turns. You would have thought that Eric Fisher and Ron Opher, the “brains” behind PhillyPhanatics.com, would have acknowledged the anniversary of the best regular feature on their Web site with some sort of prominent mention or feature.
These two geniuses have the best wrestling columnist on the Internet, yet fail to promote me with a press release. The anniversary of the debut of Heel Turns merited a “top story” placement for a feature on Achilles Heel, the excellence of elocution, but there wasn’t even a mention of the anniversary in First-and-10.
I’m not sure whether this oversight should be attributed to incompetence or jealousy. But the Greek god of wrestling is not pleased.
I might just skip my column this coming week in protest. Then Fisher and Opher will have to come crawling on their knees, begging me to resume writing Heel Turns.
MAIN ATTRACTIONS: Main events can make a difference. WrestleMania 21 was one of the best WrestleManias in history, but it’s often overlooked because the two title matches (JBL vs. John Cena, HHH vs. Batista) weren’t special. They certainly weren’t as special as the fantastic undercard, which included a classic Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels bout, the first Money in the Bank ladder match, Undertaker vs. Randy Orton, and Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio.
The main events weren’t bad at WrestleMania 21 (Roman numerals weren’t used for this event). But they weren’t memorable matches.
By contrast, TNA’s “Sacrifice” pay-per-view was good because the main events delivered. Except for an apparently botched spot near the end, Bobby Roode’s successful title defense against Ron Van Dam was as good as could be expected. Kurt Angle and A.J. Styles delivered – Angle has the best match on the card. What a shock! – and Austin Aries’ victory over Bully Ray was well-executed. These matches turned an OK card into a good one.
WWE is hoping for a similar dynamic at Sunday’s “Over the Limit” pay-per-view from Raleigh, N.C. If the main event title matches deliver, this could be a very good card.
C.M. Punk defends the WWE Championship against Daniel Bryan. This battle of former stars from the independent circuit could produce a classic match. I’m hoping this battle of former Ring of Honor stars gets the main event position or, at the very least, is the long match in the middle of the pay-per-view that anchors the show (like Triple H-Undertaker at WrestleMania this year).
The other major championship match features Sheamus defending the World Heavyweight Championship in a fatal 4-way against Randy Orton, Alberto Del Rio and Chris Jericho. This is an interesting mix of competitors, all of whom are extremely capable in the ring. This match is also enhanced by its unpredictability. Any of the four participants could emerge as champion.
WWE has only announced five matches for Over the Limit. It’s my hope that this means they will allow plenty of time for the title matches mentioned in the preceding paragraphs. It’s more likely that they’ll thrown in a Ryback or Brodus Clay match, but that still won’t necessarily cut too much into the time for the Punk-Bryan and fatal 4-way matches, both of which should receive 20-30 minutes of ring time.
If the top two matches deliver, Over the Limit will be regarded as a good-to-terrific pay-per-view, regardless of the undercard.
PREDICTIONS: I think Punk will beat Bryan and retain his title. Bryan could pull off the upset, but I think his character is better –suited for complaining about being wronged. I’d love to see the Punk-Bryan rivalry last all summer, culminating in a Punk-Bryan match at Summer Slam. For Sunday, I’ll predict Punk wins and retains his title.
Anything could happen in the fatal 4-way for the World Championship. Sheamus hasn’t been champion that long, so a title switch might not make too much sense. On the other hand, I could see Jericho or Del Rio win the title in a sneaky manner, such as pinning Sheamus (or another opponent) after Orton has delivered an RKO. Orton could also win, but I don’t see that happening right now. I’ll take Del Rio to win the title.
The other match being promoted as a main event is Cena vs. RAW and Smackdown general manager John Laurinaitis. The latest stipulation is that if Laurinaitis loses, he loses his GM jobs. That almost assures that Laurinaitis will win, but how will he do it? Any WWE wrestler who interferes will be fired.
The last line is the key. I predict that Big Show, who was fired by Laurinaitis this past week, will interfere in the match in an attempt to get his job back. He can’t be fired; he already was fired. I see this as the beginning of Big Show becoming an instrument of destruction for Laurinaitis.
Kofi Kingston and R-Truth haven’t been tag team champions very long, so I don’t envision them losing to Dolph Ziggler and R-Truth. With Ziggler and Kingston involved, this has the potential to be one of the WWE’s better tag team title matches in recent memory. I also think Layla retains her Divas Championship by beat Beth Phoenix, although I would book that match to end with the opposite result.
Kane battles Zack Ryder in the “Pre-Over the Limit” match online. Kane should prevail in this free pre-show match.
CHIKARA WEEKEND: CHIKARA celebrates its 10th Anniversary tonight at the Palmer Center in Easton. The event features a 10-man tag team match and an eight-person match that pits Grand Champion Eddie Kingston, Scott Parker, Soldier Ant and Saturyne against Jigsaw, Shane Matthews, Sara Del Rey and Fire Ant. Colt Cabana is also on the card, as is a Japanese women’s tag team match.
The action continues Sunday at Highline Ballroom in Manhattan, an event headlined by Kingston defending his championship against Jigsaw. In addition, Del Ray battles Meiko Satomura, Colt Cabana faces Dasher Hatfield, The Colony (Soldier Ant and Green Ant) faces Los Ice Creams and, in the first time in recent memory, there’s an inter-gender tag team match betting Sachiko and Chisako against the Bravado Brothers.
Kingston and Jigsaw go from opponents to partners on June 2 when CHIKARA presents what appears to be a loaded show for an Internet pay-per-view event at The Trocadero. Kingston and Jigsaw team with The Colony (Soldier Ant, Green Ant and Fire Ant) to take on the Shard and The Swarm. Del Rey and Saturyne also go from opponents this weekend to partners on June 2 as they square off with the Batiri (Obaryion, Kodama, Kobald) in a 3-on-2 inter-gender handicapped match.
The centerpiece of the card might by Chuck Taylor and Johnny Gargano defending the tag team belts against theYoung Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) in a best 2-out-of 3 falls match.
TIME CHANGES: Starting on July 23, WWE RAW will begin at 8 p.m. and last for three hours. If that leads to more exposure for mid-card wrestlers, allowing them to get time before the audience, I’m all for it. But I’ll believe that when I see it.
TIME CHANGES II: TNA’s Impact Wrestling moves to 8 p.m. on May 31, but the show will remain two hours long. Another change is that the show will be broadcast live instead of pre-taped. Given how difficult it seems for TNA to put together a good show that is pre-taped, a live show could lead to major problems.
ALL IN THE FAMILY: Brooke Hogan, Hulk Hogan’s daughter, will become the new executive in charge of TNA’s Knockouts Division. This can’t be a good idea, except from the perspective of those watching train wrecks .
Anyone want to bet on how long it takes before Brooke Hogan is linked romantically to Garett Bischoff? Or will it be “Uncle Eric” Bischoff who makes creepy advances toward Brooke?
KEYSTONE SMACKDOWN: For the second straight week, fans in Eastern Pennsylvania have an opportunity to see Smackdown live. Last Tuesday, Smackdown was in Hershey. This Tuesday it will be taped in Wilkes-Barre.
UNDEFEATED STREAKS: WWE could be unintentionally creating a nice storyline with the unbeaten streaks of Ryback, Lord Tensai and Brodus Clay. These three could eventually build a rivalry over whose undefeated streak will last the longest.
The thought of these three huge men in the ring together doesn’t exactly inspire visions of five-star technical masterpieces, but the “undefeated streak” rivalry could make for interesting television.
UNDEFEATED STREAKS II: Speaking of undefeated streaks, this column continues Heel Turns’ streak as the best wrestling column on the Internet. The streak now stands at 53 weeks, which is how long I’ve been writing Heel Turns. That streak may end this coming week if I follow through on my threat to strike.