ON TO THE NEXT ONE…
[NOTE – this column appears on LordsofPain.net. Check out LOP for excellent news, notes, and columns from around the world of professional wrestling.]
After every wrestling pay-per-view over the last few years, people seem to line up so they can ask me what I think is going to take place at the next pay-per-view. Wrestler A just defeated Wrestler B and successfully defended his title, and he needs a new challenger, so who do I think that new challenger will be? I try to answer questions as best I can, but I figured I’d do it in a different way this time.
If people want to know what I’d do for the next pay-per-view, I’ll tell them.. in column form.
There’s two “catches”, though..
1. These aren’t going to be full-fledged predictions. Perhaps I’m wrong, but if I were reading a column, I’d find it more interesting to read about what the columnist would do if he had any say, instead of just what he thinks is going to happen. That’s what I’ll be doing here. These won’t necessarily be the matches that I think will be taking place. These are just the matches that I would be putting together if I was in charge of that kind of thing.
2. I’m going to base things in some sort of realism as much as possible. For example, I’m a big fan of Tyson Kidd and his in-ring abilities. I’d love to see a match between Kidd and CM Punk. However, even Tyson Kidd himself would tell you the idea of him main eventing a pay-per-view next month, competing for the WWE Title, is insane. I’m not going to do things like that. I’m also not going to bring in eight random big names from the past like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Batista, Goldberg, etc to perform at an event that the WWE Universe views as a “second-rate” event, especially with no real promotion beforehand.
With that said, I think it’s time to get this show on the road. Shall I proceed? (Yes, indeed.) Less dew eet!!
I’ve said time and time again that the tag division in WWE is something that really needs to be boosted. There’s actually a decent amount of teams in the division right now, with room for more teams to be thrown together, but the next step is to actually give people reason to care. We just saw the team of Darren Young and Titus O’Neil, the Prime Time Players, become the brand new #1 Contenders for the WWE Tag Team Titles, currently held by Kofi Kingston and R-Truth. The “easy” route would be to give Young and O’Neil their title shot soon, perhaps even tonight on Raw, but I don’t like that idea. Not in this particular situation. Young and O’Neil aren’t exactly veterans to WWE television with large followings. There are 27 days until WWE’s next pay-per-view, Money In The Bank, which means WWE has 27 days to build Young and O’Neil up and give people a reason to care about them. On top of that, R-Truth is currently dealing with a broken foot, and is selling a storyline knockout at the hands of Big Show’s right hand. Those 27 days can be used to help him recover, both with his real injury and with his storyline injury. With Abraham Washington now on the side of Young & O’Neil, you have someone that can be the “talker” for the team. Now you can let the group have a promo or a backstage segment or two, plus some matches to make more of the WWE Universe say “yeah, those guys belong on pay-per-view”. You could put Kofi in a singles match against either Young or O’Neil. You could give Kofi singles matches against both men, since there are multiple episodes of television each week between now and Money In The Bank. In the final week of television before the pay-per-view, have Kofi receive a beatdown from the challengers, allowing for the triumphant return of R-Truth to save the day. Booyakasha. Now you have heat for the Tag Team Title match, and it’s something that people actually want to see instead of Random Team #1 taking on Random Team #2 for no apparent reason. Simple.
Match #1: Kofi Kingston & R-Truth VS Darren Young & Titus O’Neil for the WWE Tag Team Titles
The next match I’m going to mention is something of a “cheat” because it isn’t a full match. With Ryback, I think the company has the potential for something special, if they play their cards right (I know, I know). Word is that Vince McMahon himself is a big fan of Ryback, and I can see why. Ryback fits the stereotypical “look” that Vince seems to love, but he’s someone that brings that “it” factor to the table, in my opinion. He’s not a Daniel Bryan-like technical worker, but he commands your attention. When he’s wrestling, you pay attention. His squash match routine has been tweaked a bit on multiple occasions now, in an attempt to prevent people from getting too bored and demanding something new, and all it took was to add new people to his matches. He started by squashing one jobber in his matches, and then worked up to squashing two jobbers at the same time in his matches. Now, all signs are pointing to him moving up to facing three jobbers at the same time in his matches. It’s a small difference, but it’s a difference nonetheless, and the sight of one man destroying three opponents at the same time is a spectacle. Spectacle is what the wrestling business is all about, at its core. I’m pretty sure I have a future column on Ryback coming sooner than later, but for now, let’s give the guy another squash, taking three local jobbers from the Southwest (Money In The Bank is in Phoenix, Arizona this year) to work with.
Match #2: Ryback VS Local Jobbers
Next up, I originally tried to go in a certain direction, but it wasn’t working out very well, so I tried to go in a different direction, but that wasn’t working out very well, for the same reason that the first direction failed. That’s when I decided it was time to look at the Smackdown Money In The Bank match. It’s pretty difficult to put undercard matches together when you have two matches that are showcasing a total of 16 workers combined. The first name you have to throw into the mix, in my opinion, is Smackdown’s midcard title holder, which, of course, is the Intercontinental Champion Christian. His history pretty much gives the announcers plenty to work with.. it’s a Ladder Match, he has made a name for himself in matches that involve ladders, he’s trying to get back to the World Title picture, yadda yadda ya. The second name I’m going to go with is someone that is someone that will immediately become a favorite to win the match as soon as he’s placed into it.. Dolph Ziggler. He could very well be in the middle of a face turn, folks, and it all happens when he finally kicks Vickie Guerrero to the curb and either moves on by himself, or replaces Vickie with a new manager (Ric Flair has been rumored for that role, which would make for an amazing combination). Next on the list is someone that is an up-and-comer on the “Blue Brand”. He hasn’t been around for long, but he’s already been given a valet and a storyline with Peanuthead himself, Teddy Long. I’m referring, of course, to Antonio Cesaro. While he isn’t necessarily a “hoss” (he’s 6’5″ and about 230-235 pounds), he brings a ridiculous amount of raw strength to the table, and power guys definitely have their place in these multi-man matches. Rounding out the first half of the competitors in this match, I’ll go with Cody Rhodes. I’m growing more and more tired of Cody’s act, as well as WWE’s inability to really do anything with him. He’s been jogging in place for over four years now, and if that’s going to change, it’s going to take more than a single month. Throwing him in this match isn’t a terrible idea, anyway. Next up is someone that actually is a “hoss”, unlike Antonio Cesaro. Someone that has finally moved on from nothing but aimless squash matches to actually being involved in feuds and storylines. Putting none other than the “Funkasaurus” himself, Brodus Clay, into the match would be a good place for him at this stage of his character growth. I’m going to put Sin Cara into the match, if for no other reason than to have him wrestle in a match that doesn’t feature that stupid fucking “mood lighting” and doesn’t have Hunico as his opponent. I’m so sick and tired of both of things that it’s making me mad whenever I hear the first second of Sin Cara’s entrance music, because I know what’s coming next. I’m going to move on before I start to get frustrated again. The next-to-last name in the match will be someone else that is relatively new to the main roster, but is someone that has been building quite the cult following within the IWC. He’s Mr “You’re Welcome”, Damien Sandow. He’s gotten a nice, regular spot on Smackdown every week, and putting him in this type of spotlight would be good for him. Last, but not least, I’m going to go with a man that is currently inactive, but could be making his return any day now. He’s also a man that was rumored to be winning Money In The Bank at WrestleMania, before he got injured and plans were changed. The bare knuckle brawler himself, Wade Bar-ruh, rounds out the field here, and he instantly becomes another favorite to win.
Match #2.5: Smackdown Money In The Bank – Christian, Dolph Ziggler, Antonio Cesaro, Cody Rhodes, Brodus Clay, Sin Cara, Damien Sandow & Wade Bar-ruh
My next match is something that will be familiar to you if you listened to the No Way Out predictions episode of the Lords Of Podcast Roundtable. I brought it up, almost in passing, saying that it would be a great idea, putting attention on a division that could really use it. The Divas division has some issues right now, and I think that’s pretty clear. Layla is still the Divas Champion, and that’s fine. She has earned that spot right now, but there really aren’t any challengers for her right now. Kelly Kelly is gone. Eve isn’t even a wrestler anymore. The Bella Twins are gone. Natalya is always treated as nothing more than a joke. Beth Phoenix has already had multiple shots. Kharma still isn’t ready to make her return. Layla needs someone new to face. She needs someone that isn’t a terrible wrestler. Preferably, she needs someone that is over, and that can make people care about the division. You know.. I think there’s someone on the WWE roster that fits all of those descriptions. A new challenger. Not a terrible wrestler. Over. Can make people care about the division, at least more so than they already do. It has to be AJ Lee, ladies and gentlemen. She’s over to the point that anything she does brings added attention to it, and her competing for the Divas Title means there’s added attention to the Divas Title, to Layla, and to the Divas division as a whole. The company really needs to strike while the iron is hot, and while AJ is as over as she is. They have to take advantage of that. They just have to. Don’t let this opportunity slip away.
Match #4: Layla VS AJ Lee for the Divas Title
Now that I’ve gotten the Smackdown Money In The Bank out of the way, that leaves the World Title match available to go with. It doesn’t exactly take much to figure out where I’m going with this one. It’s a match that we were supposed to be seeing at No Way Out, before an injury changed plans. It features a man that is featured on the Money In The Bank poster, so a prominent role for him makes sense. There’s no need to even really discuss it much further, based on how obvious this one is. Have Sheamus and Alberto Del Rrrrrio get in there and let them loose. Again.. simple.
Match #5: Sheamus VS Alberto Del Rrrrrio for the World Title
It’s time for the Raw Money In The Bank now, which means another gigantic paragraph of text. Again, let’s start by throwing the brand’s midcard champion into the match. Santino.. come on down. For the third time in the last year-and-a-half, I will say that this is a golden opportunity for the company to take advantage of Santino’s crazy face pops and move him beyond the midcard scene. We’ll see how that goes. Next up in the match is someone that will add star power, even though he hasn’t been seen in a WWE ring since last summer. Rey Mysterio.. come on down. The only downfall with putting Rey in this match is that he’s become somewhat injury prone at this stage, and with his penchant for going all-out in matches, having him involved in a multi-man Ladder Match could be a recipe for disaster. In the next spot, we have another person adding star power to the match, and it’s another person that isn’t currently on WWE television. Chris Jericho.. come on down. He needs something to do, and this match is custom-built to take a bunch of people stuck in place and throwing them together. Next, let’s go with someone that the company wants to push, even though his crowd reactions haven’t proven that he deserves a push. Tensai.. come on down. I go back to my earlier points about the bigger, “power” workers having their place in matches like this. That point stands with Tensai. He’ll do fine with some smaller workers in the match with him. To start the second half of the competitors here, let’s go with someone that may or may not even be ready to compete at Money In The Bank. The Miz.. come on down. He’s currently off filming The Marine 3, but I’m not a big enough movie buff to really understand how long it takes to film movies like that. Miz could be back in the ring any day now. He could be gone for another month or two. I have no idea. Just for the sake of an argument here, I’m saying he’ll be back in time to be entered in this match. Good for him. If The Miz isn’t available, I’d just replace him in this spot with Big Show. Not much effort needed there. Next up, how about someone that isn’t exactly on the level of someone like a Rey Mysterio, but still gets good face pops whenever he’s involved on television and on pay-per-view? Zack Ryder.. come on down. In the next-to-last spot, let me throw someone into the match that adds another “hoss” to the mix. KAAAAANNNNNEEEEE.. come on down. He didn’t win the WWE Title last night, but he’s obviously still in the mix and right at that level, so putting him in this match doesn’t hurt anyone or anything. With the final spot, can I add someone else who didn’t win the WWE Title last night? YES! YES! YES! Daniel Bryan.. come on down. Obviously, a large percentage of the IWC would prefer to see Bryan face CM Punk again, and while I wouldn’t complain if it happened, in the world of kayfabe, it just doesn’t work. Not right now. Bryan has lost in his last two attempts at winning the WWE Title, so giving him a third consecutive pay-per-view spot for that doesn’t really make sense to me. Perhaps if No Way Out saw a No Contest or something, but not with the way things went. Putting Bryan here is juuuuust fine with me. Before anyone says it.. I know that Bryan is still listed as a Smackdown wrestler, but it’s pretty clear the brand split only counts for certain people. Bryan is not one of those people.
Match #6: Raw Money In The Bank: Santino, Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho, Tensai, The Miz, Zack Ryder, KAAAAANNNNNEEEEE & Daniel Bryan
It’s time for the main event. It’s time for a match that we’ve seen before. It’s time for a match that has always delivered, though. One more time, with the WWE Title on the line, let’s have CM Punk face John Cena. Hear me out, folks. This isn’t me being a Cena homer. Once again, you have to look at kayfabe. Right now, John Cena clearly deserves a WWE Title shot. Money In The Bank would make nine months since Cena has even had a shot at the title, but he’s on a bit of a roll recently. Since beating Brock Lesnar at Extreme Rules, he lost to John Laurinaitis at Over The Limit thanks to interference from Big Show, but then went on to defeat David Otunga, Tensai and Michael Cole before beating Big Show last night. Now that he has defeated the man who cost him a victory at Over The Limit, Cena needs someone new to challenge. It only makes sense for the man who once basically said his entire life revolved around the WWE Title to go after said title again, especially after being out of the picture for so long.
Punk, on the other hand, is in the middle of an incredible title reign, for today’s standards. If Punk walks into Money In The Bank as the WWE Champion, it will mark his 238th day in the current reign. It’s the longest WWE Title reign since John Cena was forced to vacate after tearing his pectoral tendon on October 2nd, 2007, which was his 380th day as the champion. Punk has been victorious at eight straight pay-per-views. All the reports indicate that the company is thinking of having him drop the title. He isn’t exactly helping to build ratings, whether it’s his fault or the fault of those he’s in segments with. He’s gotten in hot water because of comments he made to fans on Twitter. Even with all of that said, the man just keeps on winning. That builds up to another major collision course between Punk and Cena. Can Punk’s winning streak and fantastic WWE Title reign continue? Can Cena finally get “his” WWE Title back?
Match #7: CM Punk VS John Cena for the WWE Title
Works for me. Works for you?