2009: A Sports-Entertainment Odyssey

I GOTTA SAY THIS

2009: A Sports-Entertainment Odyssey

January 20, 2009 – by Brad Dykens

Welcome to the 6th Annual Edition of this Column: Submit feedback to brad@blackpants.net

2008: A Sport’s Entertainment Odyssey
2007: A Sport’s Entertainment Odyssey
2006: A Sport’s Entertainment Odyssey
2005: A Sport’s Entertainment Odyssey
2004: A Sport’s Entertainment Odyssey

Welcome, fans, to this year’s edition of the Sports-Entertainment Odyssey, a column that I began writing six years ago here on OWW and has turned into a widely anticipated feature on the site. I was flattered to get a handful of emails recently inquiring about when I would be posting this year’s effort, so I figured I had better get started. I hope you enjoy the following column, but keep in mind that it is MY creative process, so go easy on me!

The Road to WrestleMania: WrestleMania 25…. The SILVER Anniversary is upon us. The very first WrestleMania literally marked the beginning of my stint as a life-long fan of professional wrestling. Yes, from the very day that my father bought home a rented copy of WrestleMania, I was hooked on the greatest show in the universe. Royal Rumble is traditionally the precursor to WrestleMania and the Mania card usually begins to take shape at Royal Rumble. Every year I struggle with the internal debate over whether I should post this column before of after the Rumble PPV. It just comes down to how confident I am with my ideas, because knowing the outcome of the Rumble means half the work is already done for me. So by writing this column BEFORE the Rumble, I get to predict the winner of the Rumble match as well – and that’s just FUN!

Okay let’s talk this through. They are brewing a feud between Edge and Big Show, so maybe Big Show will win the Rumble? How about Tommy Dreamer winning and becoming the first guy to choose to challenge for the ECW World title. Mr. Kennedy isn’t ready for that kind of exposure. I would love to see Kane win it all, but I don’t see a good storyline for him leading up to WrestleMania, although they have hinted something with Randy Orton. Montel Vontavious Porter would make for a huge surprise, but probably piss a lot of people off. For me, it comes down to two people – Chris Jericho and Randy Orton. Both of them have outstanding issues with John Cena, assuming he will be the champion going into WrestleMania. Jericho has already had his title-shot. So who is going to win the Royal Rumble? After much contemplation and research I have come up with the following prediction….. Randy Orton! The reason I chose Orton is because he is building his legacy right now, and really needs to set a good example. In order of the faction to get over, the leader must be in the main event of the show. That’s why the Horsemen got over, that’s why the nWo and DX got over, and that’s why Evolution got over. Orton still has some heat with Cena from when the Legacy beat the crap out of him a few months ago. You might also remember that Orton pinned Cena at last year’s WrestleMania for the WWE championship. Cena will be out for so much revenge he won’t know what to do with himself. With that said, here are my predictions for the rest of the WrestleMania 24 card. Not so much predictions, but the way I would book the show if I was in charge. Enjoy.

WRESTLEMANIA 25 MATCH POSSIBILITIES (IF I WAS IN CHARGE):

MATCH #1 (MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH): This match traditionally involved six or eight random Superstars thrown into the mix, and the heat is created during the build up to WrestleMania. I would choose 1) Kane, 2) Kofi Kingston, 3) Santino Marella, 4) Shelton Benjamin, 5) Vladimir Kozlov, 6) Montel Vontavious Porter, 7) Mr. Kennedy, and 8) Evan Bourne or Ricky Ortiz . . . Every year I have to resist the urge to throw a bunch of cruiserweights into this match, until I realize that they are fighting for a Heavyweight title shot. I’m looking for Kane, Shelton, and Evan Bourne to provide the spectacular highlight reel moments. I want the crowd to think that Vladimir Kozlov is going to dominate and win, but it will be Kane who chops him down like a big oak tree. Santino will add some comedy to the match, but he will also do something to elevate himself as a bigger star. Montel Vontavious Porter will become this year’s Mr. Money in the Bank. This will be the reward to MVP for doing the big losing streak angle at the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009. MVP will get his bling back, as well as his confidence. The plan here is to eventually put him up against Triple H in a main event program. As I will explain later, MVP will also acquire some additional inspiration in the form of one of SmackDown!’s top divas.

MATCH #2 (WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES): I guess some people would want to see the Miz & Morrison in the Money in the Bank, but I have other plans for the 2008 WWE Tag Team of the Year. It would start at Royal Rumble, where the Miz & Morrison would get eliminated by C.M. Punk from the Rumble. The next night on RAW, Miz & Morrison would sneak attack Punk and ignite a feud. Punk would find new tag team partners every week to challenge Miz & Morrison, but would continuously lose. Punk would enlist guys like Kofi Kingston, Rey Mysterio, Charlie Haas, Ricky Ortiz, but always comes up short. Eventually Punk would say that he was bringing in his best friend from Chicago, and re-introduce Scotty Goldman (aka Colt Cabana). There is no question that these guys have chemistry together so why not put them together in a storyline. That just makes good sense. They can team together, and they can fight each other – either way they will entertain you. Goldman will play the weak link in the match, and Punk will take a beating. But just when it looks like Miz & Morrison is going to win, Punk & Goldman will mount a come-back and win the match to take home the World Tag Team titles!

MATCH #3 (DIVAS TAG TEAM MATCH): Now that the WWE has two Women’s championships, I don’t feel the need to defend them both at WrestleMania. They can ride the Rosa Mendez storyline into the sunset. Here’s how I would book it; I would have a triple threat match on the episode of RAW after Royal Rumble between Beth Phoenix, Mickie James, and Melina Perez. I would have it play out where Rosa Mendez (in disguise) jumps the rail and interferes on behalf of Beth Phoenix. The referee would disqualify Beth, and she would be pissed at Rosa – even though she retains her WWE Women’s title. The following week on RAW, Beth Phoenix would call Rosa into the ring and berate her for interfering in her matches. Beth would break Rosa’s heart, call her a “stupid mark,” and get her served with a restraining order. The next week Melina would announce that she was going to train Rosa to become a wrestler. Beth would get upset and drop the restraining order so that she could accept Rosa’s challenge for a title match at No Way Out. At the pay per view, Rosa would nervously square off with Beth in their match. Beth would go after Rosa and toss her around the ring like a rag doll. Melina would be emotionally involved by now, and pace around ringside worried for her protégé. Melina would throw in the towel for Rosa, to end the match as well as Rosa’s suffering. Mickie James would run down and chase Beth out of the ring, so that Melina could check on Rosa. Melina helps Rosa to her feet and encourages the crowd to applaud for her effort. Rosa gives Melina a hug but then punches her in the gut and takes her down with a short-arm clothesline! Mickie turns around to see what happened, and she gets plowed by Beth on the floor! Beth enters the ring and hits Melina with her finisher and raises Rosa’s arm as the crowd boos! Then they build towards Beth Phoenix & Rosa Mendez vs. Melina Perez & Mickie James at WrestleMania.

MATCH #4 (WWE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE): William Regal should keep the Intercontinental championship until WrestleMania. Everybody loves a good Regal-Finlay match, so I figure you have nothing to lose. Layla El will be at ringside, so that will give Hornswoggle something to do. The true story of the match, however, will be inside the ring as the two European grapplers will put on a technical masterpiece. Regal will pull out the victory by submission when Finlay passes out to retain his championship. [Editor's Note: While I was posting this to the site, I was watching the 1/19 episode of RAW and witness C.M. Punk winning the Intercontinental title from William Regal. Things happen so fast in the WWE, but I will stick to my story here with Regal being the IC champion going into WrestleMania]

MATCH #5 (INTERPROMOTIONAL MATCH): I had a tough time figuring out something to do with both Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio, so I figured why not put them up against each other! I don’t think they have ever had a high profile pay-per-view match since their days in WCW, and everybody can agree those matches were amazing. This can be one of those random matches that is set in motion during the Royal Rumble. I would have to think of something creative to get some heat on Jericho and sacrifice Mysterio in the process. Sometimes all it takes is Jericho eliminating Rey from the Rumble. Either that or have them dumped over at the same time, and have them brawl all over the place. It doesn’t have to be all that complicated, just enough to get the ball rolling. This match will be billed as an “Interpromotional” match, because in storyline, Stephanie McMahon will trade Jericho to SmackDown! (I’ll explain that later). Vickie will send Jericho after Rey in this year’s version of the Brand Supremacy match. At WrestleMania, it really doesn’t matter who wins, because it is going to be an epic match. If I had to pick a winner, I’d give it to Jericho.

MATCH #6: (2ND GENERATION BATTLE ROYAL): The participants of this match would be; Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase Jr., DH Smith, Umaga, Manu, Sim Snuka, Carlito Colon, Primo Colon, Chavo Guerrero, Jesse, Joe Hennig, Brett DiBiase, and of course.. HORNSWOGGLE! .. I bet that there are people in the WWE who would look at me and tell me this is a terrible idea, but I don’t think any of them could provide a good reason why it isn’t. I think the mass curiosity from the audience is worth the effort. After a brief feud between DiBiase & Rhodes and Snuka & Manu, I would have Manu come out and issue a challenge for all second generation wrestlers. Manu would get Stephanie (or Vince) McMahon’s blessing to announce a Battle Royal at WrestleMania where the winner gets $50,000 or some other kind of prize. All the young guys would jump at the chance, but then some veterans like Umaga and Chavo Guerrero would throw their names in the hat thinking they would be able to walk all over the rookies. Umaga and Chavo would end up being targets for the less experiences guys. You can throw in some unknown talent like Joe Hennig, Brett DiBiase, Dakota Darsow, and Taylor Rotunda. It would be hard to pick a winner, because it would have to be somebody you plan to push immediately. Let’s let Hornswoggle hide under the ring. The final four would be DiBiase, Rhodes, Snuka, and Manu. Manu gets dumped. Snuka managed to eliminate Rhodes, but then DiBiase throws Snuka out to win the Battle Royal. Hornswoggle would jump out from under the ring and everybody would think he was going to outsmart everybody, but there would be a swerve and DiBiase would chuck Hornswoggle over the top rope to make it official!

MATCH #7: (ECW WORLD TITLE MATCH): Tommy Dreamer’s goal of winning the ECW World title before June 6th will bring him to WrestleMania 25. If they are going to make Dreamer the ECW champion – and it look like they will – then they have to make him look like a star. Everybody looks like a star on the grandest stage of them all. Dreamer would come within an eye-lash of defeating Swagger. In fact, Dreamer will have the champion pinned, but the referee will be distracted or unavailable. Dreamer would get up to straighten out the referee, but would end up in Swagger’s finisher. Dreamer kicks out. Swagger keeps hitting different moves, but Dreamer keeps kicking out. Dreamer takes an insane beating, but refuses to give up. Swagger invents a new submission hold, and applies it to Dreamer until he passes out. The referee ends the match and Swagger retains his ECW World title. Swagger leaves. Dreamer stands up and starts to cry as he gets a standing ovation. This isn’t the end for Dreamer though, as he was not pinned and did not submit. This would lead to a rematch at One Night Stand, where Tommy Dreamer would finally become the ECW World champion in an ECW Rules Match!

MATCH #8 (STREET FIGHT): Okay this one is going to take a lot of planning, so bear with me. I’m going to get a lot of heat for this one. I would take the belt off of Jeff Hardy at No Way Out, and give it to Edge after interference from the mystery guy who has been stalking Jeff. Something will happen to Hardy the day of Royal Rumble, putting him at a disadvantage during his match with Edge. The mystery masked man will interfere and help Edge win, but Edge will act like he has no idea what is going on. Edge will take advantage and take back the WWE championship. Jeff Hardy will be stretchered out of the building and taken to the hospital, with Matt Hardy in the ambulance. Edge will cut a promo saying he didn’t know who he masked guy was but would love to shake his hand. At the next SmackDown!, Edge will start the show celebrating his title victory. The mystery masked man will hit the ring and stand face-to-face with Edge. Edge will freak out and call for security, thinking it might be Jeff under the mask. Security will surround the masked man. The masked man will hold his ground, and slowly lift his hand above his head and very slowly slip the mask off of his head…. revealing………. Christian! Okay you saw that one coming because every internet website on the planet has reported it. Edge would get a big grin on his face and it would become apparent that he was, in fact, the man behind Jeff Hardy’s bad luck in recent months. Edge & Christian would reunite with some of their infamous 7-second poses. Matt Hardy would hit the ring in a fit of anger, but the security guards who were already on the scene would hold Hardy back. Okay, so hang onto your hats, folks. Edge is going to lose the WWE championship at No Way Out, but I will talk about that later. The Hardy Boyz will reignite their classic feud with Edge & Christian. Leading to a brutal Street Fight at WrestleMania which would include a lot of weapons like tables and chairs – plus some spectacular stunts for the highlight reel. These four men, who have each grown up a lot in the last nine years, will steal the show.. Edge & Christian will win the match after a crash and burn sequence by the Hardyz.

MATCH #9 (BULLROPE MATCH): This is the obvious match, which simply has to happen, or this crazy storyline between JBL and HBK is pointless. JBL will come up short at Royal Rumble in his bid for the World Heavyweight title. JBL will, of course, blame his employee (Shawn Michaels) and “fine him” or “cut his pay” – something like that. After Royal Rumble, JBL would sign up himself and Michaels for a shot at the World Tag Team titles. JBL & HBK would take on The Miz & Morrison at No Way Out. Shawn Michaels will do all the work, take a short beating, but then mount a come-back. JBL would tag himself in and try to get the pin, but the champions would kick out. JBL would then tag out and let Michaels do the work again. Eventually, Michaels would smack both opponents with a super-kick and basically have the match won. JBL will scream at Michaels to tag him in. Michaels will think long and hard about it, as the fans beg him to defy his boss. Michaels will give into the pressure, and tag JBL into the match. JBL will step into the ring and order Michaels to pick up the Miz and hold him so he can destroy him with the clothesline from hell. Michaels told him to just pin the Miz and get it over with. JBL was adamant that he wanted to plow the Miz first. After a long hesitation, Michaels would throw Morrison out of the ring and help the Miz up to his feet. JBL would bounce off the ropes, but Michaels would push the Miz aside and thrust his foot right into JBL’s jaw to knock him out with a dramatic super-kick! Michaels puts the Miz on top of JBL for the 1-2-3! Michaels stands over JBL and gives him the crotch chop before bending over and yelling, “I QUIT!” The euphoria of this moment would be short-lived however, because JBL would come out on RAW and announce that his contract with Shawn Michaels stated that he could not quit, and the only way he could leave was if he was fired. JBL refused to fire Michaels, but challenged him to a match at WrestleMania 25 where if he (HBK) won he would get his freedom and JBL’s payoff as well. But if he (HBK) lost, he would continue to be JBL’s employee for life and never wrestle again. Basically they will push the retirement angle. JBL will also turn it into a Texas Bullrope match (since WM25 is in Houston) because he thinks it is his specialty. During the buildup to Mania, Michaels will bring out his wife and hype the retirement scenario. Shawn Michaels will end up proving why he is known as Mr. WrestleMania by defeating JBL and getting two paychecks and earning his freedom.

MATCH #10 (DIVAS TITLE 3-WAY): Here’s an interesting idea for you, and you might look at me and think “what the heck are you thinking?” Since Maryse is now injured, they have to find some way to get the Divas championship back into Michelle McCool. I suggest a fatal four-way between Michelle, Natalya Neidhart, Maria Kanellis, and Eve Torres at No Way Out. I know what you’re thinking, “Eve Torres?” – I know, I know, but somebody has to get pinned, right? Michelle would pin Eve to recapture the Divas title. On SmackDown!, there would be a four-way number one contenders match between Maria, Natalya, and both of the Bella Twins. The finish of the match would see Bri pin Maria and Nikki pin Natalya at the same time. There would be some confusion, and General Manager Vickie Guerrero said she would make a ruling later (as she would be busy at the time dealing with some drama between Edge & HHH). Michelle McCool would cut a cocky promo and make the mistake of proclaiming, “I don’t care which Bella I wrestle, hell, I could beat them both at the same time!” Vickie would hear this and rule that Michelle would take on both Bella Twins in a triple threat match at WrestleMania. It would be the first time Bri and Nikki had to wrestle each other. It would be an interesting encounter, but Michelle would win after a little help from a certain male WWE Superstar. Mr. Money in the Bank, Montel Vontavious Porter, would make way to ringside during the match – talking to his agent on the cell phone. MVP would take his place at ringside and pull one of the Bellas out of the ring, allowing Michelle to hit the other with her finisher (the Styles Clash). I referenced MVP getting a valet earlier, and I will talk about why I chose Michelle McCool later in my 2009 preview ..

MATCH #11 (WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH): Randy Orton’s victory at the Royal Rumble secured his spot in the main event of WrestleMania 25. He also gets to take a crack and his biggest rival ever in the WWE. Both Orton and Cena came along roughly at the same time, but Cena rose to the top of the WWE a little bit quicker. In order for Orton’s “Legacy” to live up to the hype, their leader needs to be on top. This is why I’m booking Randy Orton to defeat John Cena for the World Heavyweight title. Cena is still going to look strong, because he is going to have to fight off Ted DiBiase, Cody Rhodes, DH Smith, and perhaps one other member of Legacy. Cena will survive the onslaught but will fall to a couple of RKO’s. I would compare this to the Austin-Rock rivaly where Austin beat Rock twice at WrestleMania, and then the Rock won the third encounter down the road. Some day Cena will get his win back from Orton. For now, Randy Orton has to set an example for his followers, and being the World Heavyweight champion is the best way to do that. We’ll have Evolution all over again. John Cena can start wrestling the second generation guys at Backlash, Judgment Day, One Night Stand, Vengeance, and Great American Bash, before getting a rematch with Randy Orton at SummerSlam. It’s important for Cena, especially if he is not the champion, to help elevate wrestlers to new levels. Plus I’m sure he’ll go off and make another movie at some point in 2009.

MATCH #12 (WWE TITLE ELIMINATION 4-WAY): I know for a fact that a lot of people are going to grown at the following storyline scenario. I already told you Edge would win the WWE championship from Jeff Hardy at Royal Rumble. Triple H will fail to win the Royal Rumble match to earn a title shot, so he’ll have to think of some other way to get what he wants. Stephanie McMahon will show up on SmackDown! and be seen going into the office of General Manager Vickie Guerrero. It would later be revealed that Stephanie McMahon traded Chris Jericho to SmackDown! in exchange for her husband, Triple H, getting a title shot against Vickie’s husband, Edge, at No Way Out. When Edge found out what Vickie did, he would take a fit, but Vickie would tell it him was going to be okay because she has a plan. Vickie would book Edge vs. Triple H vs. Chris Jericho at No Way Out. At the PPV, Rey Mysterio would show up and brawl with Jericho to take him out of the match. Vickie would be so mad at her old foe (Rey) for interfering in her match, and will set up the Rey-Jericho match I discussed earlier. Christian would be in Edge’s corner, but the Hardy Boyz would show up (Jeff’s first appearance since Royal Rumble). Vickie Guerrero would try to interfere, but Stephanie McMahon would take her out and get the biggest pop of the night. Triple H will plant Edge with a Pedigree and take home the WWE Championship! Vickie Guerrero will get a renewed passion to see Triple H get destroyed. Edge & Christian will be occupied with the Hardy Boyz, so Vickie will book Triple H in an Elimination match with the three biggest giants on SmackDown!.. Triple H vs. The Undertaker vs. The Big Show vs. The Great Khali! On paper, this could be terrible, but if you think about the possibilities, you will realize it could be great. It’s also a good way for Vickie to put Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak in jeopardy. Two birds with one stone. The Great Khali will be the token jobber who gets eliminated first by Triple H within five minutes. The Big Show will get knocked out of the match around the 10:00 mark after the Undertaker gives him a giant choke-slam! It would come down to Triple H vs. Undertaker – which is the encounter that makes it all worth while. They will go at it for thirty minutes. I keep thinking Triple H needs to win so he can get one over on Vickie Guerrero, but is it worth sacrificing Undertaker’s winning streak? I don’t think so. Triple H will plant Undertaker with a series of Pedigree’s, but the Undertaker will refuse to have his shoulders pinned. The Undertaker would Tombstone Triple H, but he would also kick out. Triple H will go for something else, but Undertaker will reverse it into the dreaded Hall’s Gate submission. It will look like the end for Triple H, but Undertaker will release the hold because of his own exhaustion. Both men will be laid out and the referee will begin a very slow ten count. The fans will come to their feet, blowing the roof off the Astrodome, encouraging their heroes to continue. Both men will recover, and square off once again with the fans going nuts and flash bulbs going off from wall to wall. They will lock-up in the middle of the ring, and Undertaker will drop to one knee… Triple H pushes Undertaker head between his legs to set up for another Pedigree. Triple H hooks the arms. Undertaker breaks loose, lifts Triple H up onto his shoulders with super-human ‘phenom’ strength, turning him up-side-down and spiking him with a Tombstone! Undertaker crosses Triple H’s arms over his chest, throws his hair back, and gets the 1-2-3 to win the match and to capture the WWE Championship! Brief celebration. Fade to black.

Editor’s Notes: One of the subtle storylines of WrestleMania would be Vickie Guerrero trying to take out all of her enemies at once. Vickie would send Edge & Christian after the Hardyz, Jericho after Mysterio (who she has a history with), three monsters after Triple H, and also put the Undertaker’s winning streak in jeopardy as well. Vickie would put all of her effort into this, becoming consumed with eliminating her foes. Vickie will start to go crazy. Even though the Undertaker won the WWE championship, she will consider WrestleMania a success, because Edge, Christian, & Chris Jericho won their matches, and Triple H lost his title. Vickie will go crazier and crazier with every week that passes until Vince McMahon ultimately removes her as General Manager and sends her home after a good run as a high profile on-air WWE personality.

  • MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH:
    Kane vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Santino Marella vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Vladimir Kozlov vs. Montel Vontavious Porter vs. Mr. Kennedy vs. Evan Bourne;
  • WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
    John Morrison & Mike Mizanin vs. C.M. Punk & Scotty Goldman;
  • DIVAS TAG TEAM MATCH:
    Beth Phoenix & Rosa Mendez vs. Melina Perez & Mickie James;
  • INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH:
    William Regal w/Layla El vs. Fit Finlay w/Hornswoggle;
  • INTERPROMOTIONAL MATCH:
    Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio;
  • 2ND GENERATION BATTLE ROYAL:
    Including 2nd Generation Wrestlers;
  • ECW WORLD TITLE MATCH:
    Jack Swagger (champion) vs. Tommy Dreamer (challenger);
  • STREET FIGHT:
    Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff);
  • BULLROPE MATCH:
    Shawn Michaels vs. John Bradshaw Layfield;
  • DIVAS TITLE 3-WAY:
    Michelle McCool (champion) vs. Brie Bella (challenger) and Nikki Bella (challenger);
  • WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
    John Cena (champion) vs. Randy Orton (challenger);
  • WWE TITLE ELIMINATION 4-WAY:
    Triple H (champion) vs. The Undertaker (challenger) vs. The Big Show (challenger) vs. The Great Khali (challenger);

    WWE Tag Team Division: 2007 was a great year for the WWE tag team division, but they failed to continue that effort in 2008. There were some good tag teams, but the entire division continues to get back-burnered by storyline writers. I will give them credit for finally putting the Colon brothers together, an idea that I have pitched in two or three of the last few Odyssey columns. The Miz & Morrison are the greatest tag team the WWE has come up with in years, but in order to be truly great, they need some competition. Over on RAW, I would bring back Paul Burchill and team him up with Drew McIntyre with Katie Lea as their valet. I would also bring Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder over to RAW to get them away from Edge and give them Scotty Goldman as their manager. A little bit later in the year, when DH Smith moves on from the Legacy faction, he should get together with his long time partner T.J. Wilson on RAW. There’s something to be said for real life chemistry. That is why C.M. Punk & Scotty Goldman would make a great tag team. Ted DiBiase & Cody Rhodes should be the champions for most of the year, even if they trade off with several times along the way. On SmackDown!, the Colon Brothers should dominate the entire year. They have so much potential to be the next Los Guerreros. I would team up Umaga with Manu, which is what they should have done with Manu in the first place. I would also team up Brian Kendrick & Evan Bourne and call them the Killer Bees. Yes, I would dress them up in yellow and black tights. Stop rolling your eyes, I was a huge mark for the 80′s Bees. I would start to push Jimmy Wang Yang and bring back Trevor Murdoch to team with him. I would add a twist by calling him Trevor Inoki Murdoch. So we’ll have a Japanese guy pretending to be a Cowboy, and a Cowboy pretending to be Japanese. Let the good times, roll!

    WWE Divas/Women’s Division: Some of the “useless models” that I criticized in recent years have really made me eat my words in 2008! Beth Phoenix has carried the women’s division on RAW; while everybody else keeps getting sent home with injuries, she is the one true constant. I really like where they are going with this Rosa Mendez stuff. I think Rosa (Milena Roucka) has some great potential and she is proving it by pulling off this gimmick to perfection. Jillian Hall has been wasted for so long, I don’t know if she can recover now. Mickie James will always be great. Melina Perez is great too, but the writers will never figure out how to get her over as a babyface. Kelly Kelly has improved A LOT and is getting a super push. I don’t think she is as good as she appears to be, but her gorgeous features mask her lack of skills. Kelly is money though, so she will be around for a long time. Candice Michelle has not been able to mentally recover from her past injuries. It seems like she has lost her confidence and is now ruined. It’s a shame because she was really on a roll before her first injury. I suspect she will be gone by the end of 2009. I think they have figured out that Layla El can’t do very much and that is why she is the quiet entity in Regal’s corner right now. She will be gone by the end of 2009. Maryse Ouellet has really become a great heel talent and I am now a big fan. She worked hard and earned the right to win the Divas title in late 2008, but was hit with some unfortunate bad luck and went down to an injury. She will be back and hopefully better than ever. I always knew Michelle McCool had great potential, and she did a really great job in 2008. Michelle has started 2009 as a heel, something I didn’t think she could pull off. Natalya hasn’t had a chance to show her stuff, but she will shine in 2009. I was happy to see Victoria retire recently. Not because I don’t like her, but because I love her, and her heart clearly wasn’t it in any more. She was being wasted anyway. I have a feeling we have not seen the last of Victoria though. She might be destined for the six-sided ring. I am a big time fan of the Bella Twins, I think they have money written all of them, and that’s why I booked them at my WrestleMania. There is so much you can do with them. They have developed pretty good wrestling skills in a very short period of time and are only getting better day by day. I love Maria to death, but I feel like she has gone as far as she’s ever going to go. The jury is still out on Eve Torres. We haven’t gotten a chance to see what she can do yet. I hear she is training hard, but some day we will see what she’s made of. I have no idea what kind of potential Tiffany has, if any; but I have some ideas for her – which I’ll explain later. Alicia Fox has a goofy gimmick now, but she seems to enjoy getting physical so let’s keep an open mind with her in 2009. Katie Lea Burchill is my choice for the Diva with the most potential. I have no idea why they put her on ECW, which is why I put her back on RAW with big brother Paul and Drew McIntyre in my analysis of the tag team division. I feel like Katie Lea could seriously be the next Trish Stratus. Trish started out managing T & A (Test & Albert). So come on WWE, let’s get Katie into a few better storylines. You don’t want to lose this one!

    WWE Developmental System: I’m not sure how many people are aware of the fact that World Wrestling Entertainment has a developmental system in place. The system includes a small promotion down south called Florida Championship Wrestling where young wrestlers are trained and groomed until they are ready to jump to one of WWE’s three brands; RAW, SmackDown!, or ECW. There has been a major second generation trend going on at FCW, and many of these born-to-be’s have already made the jump to the big time. Some of them I highlighted in my “2nd Generation Battle Royal.” I have not had the opportunity to see any FCW footage, mostly because they do a piss poor job of promoting their stuff. I think WWE likes keeping FCW the wrestling world’s best kept secret. Some of the guys down there with the most potential are Eric Escobar (current FCW champion), Drew McIntyre, DH Smith, Sebastian Slater (Heath Miller), Joe Hennig, Johnny Curtis, Ryan Braddock, Scotty Goldman, Sheamus O’Shaunessy, Stu Bennet, T.J. Wilson, Trent Baretta, and Tyler Reiks. There are some really hot Divas getting trained at FCW as well. Many of them are appearing on WWE television these days, but there is one Diva named Angela Fong who has a great deal of potential. There are a lot of people putting Miss Angela over as the Diva trainee as the one with the most potential ever! So we should all be on the look out for her.

    Other Storyline Suggestions: I was sad to hear that WWE released British developmental wrestler Hade Vansen recently. I was critical of the WWE for giving him the gimmick used by Christopher Daniels in ROH & TNA. If he was still with WWE, I would make Hade Vansen the leader of a new faction. I wouldn’t call it “the Prophecy” but I’d call it something like that. Maybe the “Dark Force.” I would put Kizarny in the group, along with a modified version of the Boogeyman. There is a guy in FCW that I would include named KAFU. Another idea I have come up with is to put Dolph Ziggler and Tiffany together doing a heel BodyDonnas gimmick. During my WrestleMania recap I put Montel Vontavious Porter and Michelle McCool together as a couple. It would be revealed that MVP’s agent is also Michelle’s agent and he got them together on a blind date. MVP, who won Money in the Bank, would credit Michelle for inspiring him to get back to his winning ways. Don’t get me wrong, they would be a heel couple. I’m a big fan of putting Divas with the male wrestlers. I don’t know what they can do to salvage Charlie Haas at this point. The guy is so damn talented, but he keeps getting wasted. Maybe if he went heel and teamed up with Santino Marella? A few guys I would cut would be Mike Knox, Jamie Noble (so he can go back to ROH), Candice Michelle, Layla El, Kung Funaki, the Boogeyman, Tony Atlas, and Mark Henry.

    Total Nonstop Action:  This part will come in Part 2 which I will post next week.

    Ring of Honor: This part will come in Part 2 which I will post next week

    Women’s Professional Wrestling: This part will come in Part 2 which I will post next week

    The Independent Circuit:  This part will come in Part 2 which I will post next week

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    In Memory Of: I would like to pay tribute to the following people who passed away in 2008; .

    A Few More Things:
    I hope you enjoyed this year’s Sports Entertainment Odyssey.

    by Brad Dykens