Tag Archives: Jack Swagger

Watch, Skip or Skim: Spoiler Alert with “Angry” Andy (11/27-11/29)

spoiler_t

Over the course of seven days, there’s a lot of wrestling on TV. But only some of it is actually worth watching. That’s where Spoiler Alert comes in: we break down the spoilers of all of WWE’s pre-taped shows to let you know what you should watch, and which segments and full shows you should skim or skip. This week, WWE lays the groundwork for some questionable storylines, and hopes you can stomach a holiday-themed Smackdown!

Main Event

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 (spoilers via Wrestlezone.com)

Alberto Del Rio d Dolph Ziggler

I’d be willing to bet this is a pay-per-view quality match.  These are two of the most talented guys on the roster, even if they’re not in the roles they should be.  Del Rio needs someone who can make him look like a vicious killer, and Ziggler sells like a madman… this is good booking.

Damien Sandow d Santino

Reports say this one is a simple squash, which is unfortunate for Santino.  That said, Sandow really needs some wins, and a loss will never hurt Santino.  That said, I’d rather see this match get 10 minutes on Raw, with the same outcome.

TRIPLE FREAKING H makes a rare Main Event appearance.  The King of Kings cuts a promo backstage, saying he wants one WWE Champion, and to unify the belts.  I like this, because it’s something important happening on an “unimportant” show, completely separate from the immediate legitimacy Triple H’s presence already adds to the show.

Kofi Kingston d Fandango

This match can only serve one purpose- to further the feud between Kofi and The Miz.  Hopefully The Miz is on commentary (said no one, ever) so he can help push the feud on the mic.

SKIM this show.  Del Rio-Ziggler should be great.  The Sandow match is totally inconsequential.  Triple H will be a special “A-Show” treat on the C-program, and Kingston-Miz is a solid mid-card feud in the making,

SUPERSTARS

wwe superstars show logo 

(spoilers via Wrestlezone.com)

Hey, remember Superstars?  Apparently, it airs Fridays on Hulu Plus.  This week’s show  was taped before Raw on Long Island, which means the crowd had to be REALLY hot for…

Zack Ryder d Fandango

Long Island loves Zack Ryder.  If he’s not on the show, the crowd chants “We Want Ryder!” all friggin’ night – so WWE got his appearance out of the way early.  If these guys are smart, they went Memphis for this bad boy.  The crowd is going to be hot either way, and it’s early in the show – take it easy and use the crowd to tell your story.

The Usos d The Real Americans

A friend at the show said this match was really good.  Considering who’s involved, I have no problem believing it.  Hopefully the crowd is just as good.

SKIM this show.  Watch or skip the opener, depending on your feelings on the guys involved.  But there’s no excuse to miss The Usos vs Cesaro & Swagger, on a show where they probably spent 15 minutes having an awesome match.

SMACKDOWN

WWE-Smackdown

(Spoilers via LordsofPain.net)

Randy Orton & Renee Young are in the ring, forcing Nick to watch the opening segment. (Editor’s Note: He’s right.) Orton brags about Survivor Series but walks out when asked about TLC.  Apparently, we won’t be talking about that OTHER World Champion.

Vickie Guerrero is hosting a Thanksgiving-themed eating competition backstage.  If this doesn’t end with her wearing a face-full of mashed potatoes, then I just don’t know wrestling anymore.

Mark Henry d Curtis Axel.  Quick match, with Big E Langston and Ryback ringside.  I hope this is leading somewhere.  4-way for the title at TLC?

Titus O’Neil wins the eating competition.  Millions of drumsticks, millions of drumsticks.  For some reason, victory here earns him a match against Antonio Cesaro, later in the broadcast.

Los Matadores & El Torito d The Plymouth Rockers

Get it?  Because it’s Thanksgiving.  Prepare to watch a midget bull take out three dudes dressed as pilgrims.

Tons of Funk d R-Truth & Xavier Woods

Apparently, Brodus Clay was upset that Woods stole his theme song, back-up dancers, and spot on TV.  The only way I’m ok with putting the floundering joke of a babyface tag team over the fresh talent from NXT will be if Clay and Sweet-T are turning heel.  But even then, there’s nowhere for them to go.  They’re not surpassing The Shield, The Wyatt Family, or The Real Americans.  They need to legitimize Woods – not have him squashed by the fat jobber tag team.

Bray Wyatt says Daniel Bryan is safe with him.  He says Bryan entered a man, but will leave a monster.  I’m ok with this.

CM Punk and Renee Young are in the ring.  Nick turns up his TV.  The Punker says he hasn’t heard from Daniel Bryan since he was kidnapped by the Wyatts.  He says he doesn’t know why The Shield attacked him on Raw… but thinks maybe they’re following orders from The Authority.

Antonio Cesaro d Titus O’Neil by DQ, when Darren Young interferes.  Yes, the heel won by DQ when the face tag partner interfered.  After the match, Titus pukes in JBL’s cowboy hat (HE ATE TOO MUCH.  GET IT?), and puts the hat on Michael Cole’s head.  Then he pukes on Zeb.  Little kids go nuts.  Everyone else reaches for the remote.

Goldust & Cody Rhodes d Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns in a tag title match.  The Rhodes boys win by DQ when Dean Ambrose interferes.  Punk comes out to clear house with a chair.  Then Vickie Guerrero comes out, and channels the spirit of Teddy Long.

Goldust, Cody Rhodes & CM Punk vs The Shield ends in a no contest when the lights go out.  The Wyatts are in the ring when they come back on.  The Usos and Rey Mysterio come out to even the odds.  Vickie comes back out once again, Playa, leading to….

Goldust, Cody Rhodes, CM Punk, Rey Mysterio & The Usos d The Shield & The Wyatt Family.

This cluster-f ends when Mysterio hits the 619 on Erick Rowan, who then eats a GTS from CM Punk.  Crowd goes home happy.

SKIM this show.  The tag team gauntlet of exponential growth sounds fun.  The Tons of Funk-Truth/Woods angle could turn into something.  Same with the IC title picture.  Everything else sounds like painful holiday show filler.  DVR is your friend.

@AndyMillerJMS

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Headlock’d: PPV Predictions – 2013 Survivor Series

This week, we give our Pay Per View Predictions for Survivor Series and our thoughts as to who will be left standing tall.

D.B. and The Bear: Raw Regurgitated, 10/21

Sitting through a Big Show talk segment is an exercise in discipline. You really want to hit fast forward on the remote, but since it’s live you can’t. And since you are undoubtedly also recording How I Met Your Mother at the exact same time, it’s impossible to switch to a third show (thanks, Verizon) until after the first 8 minutes. Wait… what? I’m the only person on earth with that problem? Weird.

So, it’s probably blasphemy to say this given the quality of the work, but maybe Daniel Bryan/Dean Ambrose matches aren’t the best things to be on the go-home show for a PPV that Bryan is main-eventing. While all three have compelling matches with Bryan, unlike the other two members of The Shield — who were unavailable, of course — Ambrose’s style doesn’t make Bryan look good in and of itself. Reigns and Rollins both give Bryan a specific story to tell. Ambrose just looks cool, mostly.

Saving the running knee as a match finisher for PPVs is one of the more subtle type of things that the WWE has done to make PPVs seem more special. Maybe they should try having clean finishes? (I kid, mostly.)

***

I love Elvis, a lot. But why dress as the King of Rock n’ Roll when The King of Memphis is right there the entire time? As much as I dislike him and his casual misogyny, Jerry Lawler is a wrestling god (especially there), and having him pretend to be Elvis seems to be a waste of how over he is.

As Dolph Ziggler tried desperately to Show the World (how to job), Randy Orton continued his unbelievable hot streak of good matches. Talking about how Randy Orton has “actually been better” than Daniel Bryan during this run has become such a trope for internet wrestling writers that it ignores how good a heel Orton has ALWAYS been. We have short memories in the WWE Universe, but Heel Orton has always been this  — whether that’s “better” than Bryan is an individual taste thing, to be sure — I promise.

How does Dolph feel about Big E. getting a bigger push than him? Can they reform a tag team just to break it up dramatically so they can both benefit from this?

***

Brie Bella continues to be the Most Improved Performer through the past quarter of this year. I sure hope that Nikki has some sort of contingency plan that doesn’t involve “being John Cena’s common law wife”.

Kofi Kingston has never made me feel anything other than “Wow, this is pretty meh”, but The Miz deserves a fate better than cannon fodder for Bray Wyatt. He should be immediately turned heel so that he can be cannon fodder for Langston.

“What”-ing is to wrestling what cheering a hurt player is to football. It’s symptomatic of a larger problem: most people are idiots.

***

Man, those reports about only taking “essential” personnel to TV tapings might have been underselling how tight money is at the E right now. There’s just no other explanation for not bringing Teddy Long out just to book this match.

When Big E. Langston is headlining WrestleMania someday, I just hope he remembers how hard I pushed for people to follow his twitter.

There are a lot of things to love about the Los Matadores/Real Americans feud, but No.1 on my list is how much Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro genuinely seem to enjoy one another’s company. That and Zeb Colter’s “Do they give Torito half a paycheck?” joke, because things that ignore tall privilege is always hilarious.

***

***WARNING: YOU ARE NOW ENTERING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE***PLEASE KEEP YOUR EYES AND EARS INSIDE OF KAYFABE*** The Usos, The Shield and Cody Rhodes/Goldust could just wrestle for 3 hours straight every week and most of us would still watch. For those able to afford it, that 3-way tag match while almost definitely be worth the price of the PPV. And out of the bunch, we should probably be most excited for the Usos and their meteoric rise. They are not where they are because of their father, but because they have stepped up and hit at least a double every time they’ve ever been up to bat. I wrote in this very column a few months ago, that if their entrance ever got over, they’d be one of the biggest tag teams in the company. It did, and they have. They — and their entrance — weren’t force fed to the fans, and that has made all the difference. They were “put in a position to succeed on their own” and they did. While they may never get higher than WWE Tag Team champions, their rise to the top has been nearly as impressive as Daniel Bryan’s and it’s really wonderful see to them be rewarded accordingly. That it also means that WWE might just be able to make “organic” stars in the tag team ranks is gravy. ***WARNING: YOU ARE NOW EXITING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE*** PLEASE ENJOY YOUR COMPLIMENTARY SONIC MILKSHAKE ON THE WAY OUT***

Nothing good can come from contract signings. Not even the people on the show think they are a good idea, so why do they keep happening? Why not, instead of having convoluted and contrived reasons for the two principals at your next PPV to be in the same room at the same time, don’t you, I don’t know, just interview them at the same time? That seems like a good way to save paper, at least.

When the book of this storyline is written, they call this chapter “D.B. and the Bear”.

#AntonioCesaroWeek: Difference of Opinion

#DoOCesaro

It’s the Final Day of #AntonioCesaroWeek, a celebration of all things Very European/Real American and the second installment of our patent-pending Juice Make Sugar Wrestler of the Week series. We started off with A Wrestler You Should Probably Know Better, before giving you the finer points of the Claudio Castagnoli oeuvre with some Essential Viewing. Wednesday, we mixed it up, starting off with a special appearance by a Relatively Happy Andy before marching through the end of Hump Day with an GIF parade. Yesterday, we made our Amazon.com-on-steroids dreams come true with “Juice Make Sugar Recommends…“. Today, we finish everything off with a Difference of Opinion (where JMS HQ erupts in a Swiss Miss-fueled civil war.) 

This conversation, like all Difference of Opinions, was filmed in front of a live studio audience as we edited Dave’s Essential Viewing piece. Any references that seem like they are referencing nothing are referencing that piece.

Dave: Yo.

Nick: What’s good, blood?

Dave: You know. Doin that dirt. This one is a little different than ones I’ve done in the past because he’s still a super active guy.

Nick: Are you building an argument for how he’s developed his style and why it works better than anyone else’s?

David: It’s about him developing the style. And I won’t say “better”, but I’m basically saying he’s “most likely to succeed” on any indy guy ever.

Nick: So, Antonio Cesaro nee Claudio Castagnoli nee Mysterious Ice Cream is in the best.

David: I think it might have even been “Very Mysterious Ice Cream”, which is the most Chikara thing ever. Also, I like “nee”. It’s like he married the WWE.

Nick: It feels like they’ve been watching Chikara in stamford because the product is starting to converge for the WWE with a comic book mythology. What happens when the WWE Universe eventually needs to be be reset like DC Comics. Will Hogan return reimagined: built like Hulk, but with a bodysuit like Giant Gonzalez?

David: Hahahahaha. Oh my god,yes. He will be a semi-cyborg like Jak9 in Tekken.

Nick: Well, demographically they’ll be the majority.

David: But, in terms of “Chikara Guys” he’s head and shoulders above everybody.

Nick: So, considering he has all the things that makes the WWE pee themselves, do you think that his slow upbringing is a result of him not being from America?

David: Yeah. His career IS the Immigrant experience. He came over, was very talented, and had to do shit work for awhile. But through motivation and undeniable talent he actually worked his way to the top in a very exclusive business in a foreign country.

Nick: Is he going to be the best non-North American ever?

Dave: I dunno. I mean, Ludvig Borga and all.

Nick: He is older, but only like 32 and talent wise.

Dave: He’s YOUNG for a wrestler.

Nick: Jericho didn’t become the best in the world until he was in his late 30s.

Dave: The Borga thing was a sick, sick joke. His ceiling is eclipsing Bulldog, who’s far and away the biggest European wrestler in US history. Nobody’s really a true main eventer before 35 anymore or are going to be “the face”. Orton was the last guy to get the Lesnar push. Ziggler is there… but he’s kind of a jobber amongst true main eventers. BIG money is 35-40 now.

Nick: So, best European wrestler. What about best indy wrestler?

Dave: Yeah. I think his ceiling would be best European wrestler in the US because I don’t know shit about World of Sport or the CWA, so I can’t say best European wrestler. I think Bryan is the best indy wrestler. Because even though he’s gotten over so big, there’s still something undeniably indy about him. Ditto Punk.

Dave: Part of what I’m trying to say with all this is that Cesaro can actually transcend that he ever did that stuff and become a full-on Triple H style WWE main eventer. Like, look at the way he works: the most Triple H matches I’ve seen this side of Triple H.

Nick: Is a fair comparison LeBron James?

Dave: Well, I dunno. Because I don’t think anybody would say he’s the greatest of all time. (or GOAT as the MMA kids say, which I hate)

Nick: From purely a physical standpoint, though. It feels like he plays the ultimate version of a specific type of already valuable commodity.

Dave: I mean, I’m assuming he’s not in the upper strata of guys who can get around the wellness policy and he has one of the best looks in the company. Like, genetically, he is so gifted it’s ridiculous.

Nick: But he still hasn’t been able to get really over.

Dave: Well, look at his gimmick for god’s sake. If it was “wrestler,” he’d be a super over babyface. If it was “beach bully” he’d be a super over heel.

Nick: Aren’t we worried he’s going to suffer “can’t speak English with an American accent”-itis? Doesn’t he need a mouthpiece?

Dave: I think he’s a guy who needs to be booked in a less complicated manner. Swagger NEEDS Dutch. Cesaro doesn’t at all. But I see why they do this to put him in a holding pattern.

Nick: You don’t think they’d have trouble turning him into someone the fans could see a guy who belongs considering he lose about 10 times more than he should?

Dave: He would be VERY easy to turn into a main event character. But he doesn’t work so well as a midcarder because he’s just so inherently main event. It’s like if WWE brought in A.J. Styles and made him Evan Bourne’s older brother.

Nick: That’d probably be better than how he is booked in TNA, though, right?

Dave: [No comment]

NXT Scouting Report 9/4: The Sami Zayn Show

NXT is often the second (and sometimes THE) best show WWE produces. But its primary goal is to make future superstars who will one day grace our televisions on Raw. Each week we’ll scout the “minor league” talent in each segment and decide if they’re ready for the big leagues. This week: can Sami Zayn keep his amazin’ match streak alive?

Bayley & Charlotte vs. Alicia Fox & Aksana

A serviceable women’s match the further establishes Bayley and Charlotte as quality fan-favorites in NXT. Bayley completely stole the show as usual, and I’m pretty sure she had the 2nd biggest ovation of the show. Her adorable reaction to getting a fan-made sign was priceless, and her  “hugplex” was devastatingly cute. The quick pinkie shake between her and Charlotte before the match began was adorable and a nice way to show some camaraderie between the two. I also was pleasantly surprised by Bayley’s more subdued reactions during the match. They could easily let her slip into a one-note, fawning idiot, I’m glad she’s playing cute and not brain-dead.

Aksana continues to be terrible and Alicia Fox didn’t do much to impress me, but it was still light-years ahead of that triple-threat garbage WWE put on last Monday night. The finish was a bit of a hot-mess, but overall it was still a fun match. It can only help the “upper” division having Diva’s spend time in Florida with Sara Del Rey and company. I’m impressed with NXT’s commitment to the women’s division, opening the show with a ladies tag-team match is something you’ll never see on Raw.

Verdict: Smackdown! worthy.

Sylvester LeFort, Scott Dawson and Alexander Rusev Promo

And you thought Cesaro hanging out with Swaggs and Colter was weird. Is this the strangest threesome in pro-wrestling history? A gas-station attendant, a Bulgarian Muay Thai fighter, and a French bottle-tan spokesmodel/pro wrestling manager? Well, if anything can bring three random weirdos together, it’s the love of cheap steak and all-you-can-eat shrimp.

Verdict: Main Event worthy.

Corey-Graves

Rick Victor vs. Corey Graves

I should just link to the greatest album review of all-time and let it speak for me. But I’m a serious wrestling journalist (despite what Cody Rhodes thinks) so I’ll give you fair take on this match.

Corey Graves sucks. If this guy makes it to the main roster I’ll eat my hat. He doesn’t do anything special, and for a guy his size that makes no sense. He needs to bring something unique to the ring to make up for his unimposing look – maybe sell the shit out of everything a la Ziggler or Rollins or learn some sick high-flying moves.The man stomp-punches, shows off his knuckle tattoos, and the announcer sell him as a “submission specialist.” That’s it. How can you tell somebody to “stay down” when they’ve kicked your ass for seven minutes? Yeesh. Side note: As much as it pains me that Los Matadores are siphoning Not-El Generico’s “Ole” chant before he hits the main roster, I love that Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel pepper their CM Punk feud with shouts of “stay down.” Sorry Corey!

I’m not sure who thought it was a good idea to stick him in the ring with the ultra bland Rick Victor. Victor’s been serviceable tagging in The Ascension, but left naked here in a singles match we get a jobber with a receding hairline and black eye contacts. I legit laughed that Tony Phillips excused Victor not knowing what the fuck to do in the ring as “being deliberate” and “having no wasted motion.” The man carries zero of his gimmick into the ring, and that’s not going to cut it after what Bray Wyatt gave the NXT universe.

No energy, no urgency, no dice. Fast-forward is your friend.

Verdict: Barely house show worthy.

Summer Rae manipulates Sasha Banks

Thespians, emote! I love Machiavellian Summer Rae antics, waging psychological warfare on Paige through her opponents to remain Queen of NXT. She’s been beaten physically by the Women’s champ, so it makes sense she’d regroup and attack with a different strategy. Depth to women’s feuds, how about that! Bonus points for Summer almost saying “relevance” every time she tried to say “relevant.” Good saves!

It’s too bad Sasha Banks could be out-acted by a piece of plywood. I want to see Summer screw with Bayley’s head. That would be fun television.

Verdict: Superstars worthy.

Renée Young Interviews Paige

A simple “I’m a fucking fight-ehha” promo from Paige. Oh man that accent, sometimes I close my eyes and…

Ahem. This was a short, sweet and necessary mission statement from our Women’s champ to remind us who’s wrecking shop next week. Extremely hard for any segment with Renée and Paige to score anything other than Raw worthy.

Verdict: Raw worthy.

rusev

Mason Ryan vs. Alexander Rusev

If you’re trying to sell me on Mason Ryan being a legit monster strong man, putting him in the ring with Alexander Rusev is a terrible idea.  Rusev is an athletic 300-pounder who moves like a cat, meanwhile Ryan runs like the canvas is covered in marbles, and his muscles might be fake, Giant Gonzalez style. Watch the sequence where Ryan runs the ropes, Rusev ducks a clothesline then lays Ryan out with a spinning heel kick. The contrast in ability is unmistakable, and I’m not sure who can take Ryan seriously after this match.

Rusev looks as good as he can against a stiff like Ryan. What a stark difference from wrestling Dolph Ziggler two weeks ago. But if he can look solid against two entirely different wrestling styles, that bodes well for his long-term future. Teaming up with LeFort and Larry the Cable Wrestler, however,  makes little sense outside of “he needs a mouthpiece,” and I don’t like a guy that talented needing distractions for victories. Let the Bulgarian beast smash.

Verdict: Main Event worthy.

Leo Kruger lays out Xavier Woods

I approve of this development. NXT does all the little things right, and in a 30-second segment a new feud is born. Is it really that hard to pull this off on the big shows?

Verdict: Main Event worthy.

Sami Zayn vs. Jack Swagger

I feel guilty how much I love Sami Zayn. Before he arrived in NXT, I only had a passing knowledge of the existence of El Generico. Admittedly, I’m one of those fans who didn’t pay much attention to the independent wrestling scene pre-Pipe Bomb. So now not only do I get these amazing NXT matches, I get to dive into YouTube and Vimeo and binge on the greatest hits of El Generico.. So much awesome at the same time! The only thing I can compare this to is when I discovered Queens of the Stone Age and then found out about this band named Kyuss. Once you get that taste, goddamn it’s insatiable, and having such a rich back catalog is a godsend.

Zayn versus Jack Swagger may not have reached the epic heights of the Cesaro matches, but it was still one of the best NXT bouts of the year. Zayn’s ability to work the crowd into a frothy frenzy is already Raw worthy, and I wonder how long WWE will keep him down in Orlando. If he can pull off Swagger’s best match of the year, what could he do for guys like Ryback?

The highlight of the match (for me) was Zayn’s sick running corner big boot that Swagger ate like a champ. That turnbuckle cam reply shot of Swagger getting smashed was just tremendous; I think I replayed it about eight times. Somebody .gif that shit. I’ve watched enough Generico matches now to know that’s a staple, and it was glorious here. It came right after a brutal Patriot Lock sequence that Zayn sold hard. We’ve seen so many guys tap out in two seconds, it was great to see Sami fight out of it (well, at least the first time) and sell it like a devastating submission finisher. All around an awesome sequence.

My only quibble with the match was the ending. I understand that Swagger is a main roster guy so he can’t stay and feud forever. That means Zayn’s contempt for Bo Dallas needs to ramp up – but distraction finishes suck the air out the room so fast. The match was too good not to have a definitive ending – unless we’re getting Zayn/Swagger II down the line. Begrudgingly, I’ll admit I’m ready to see Zayn whip Bo Dallas badly now, so this booking did work me on a emotional level. You win this time, pro wrestling tropes.

Verdict: PPV worthy.

Matthew Timmons runs the stat-centric WWE website Kayfabermetrics, and can be harassed on Twitter @matthewtimmons.

What’s The Worst That Could Happen?: Extreme Rules Edition

Cody Rhodes vs. The Miz

THE MIZ VS. CODY RHODES – PRESHOW

Best Case Scenario: On this show? That no one gets hurt in a completely meaningless match. In general? Cody Rhodes stops appearing on pre-shows and starts main eventing. The Miz becomes The Guy that works pre-shows, pre-show matches become known as Mizzes.

Worst Case Scenario: Cody Rhodes misses a Disaster Kick, cuts a hole in the time space continuum.

What Nick Wants to Happen: Cody Rhodes wins this match, and then goes on a run that ends with him and Damien Sandow main eventing WrestleMania in a modern interpretation of Hogan-Warrior from WrestleMania VI.

What Will Happen: The Miz will win, Cody’s moustache will get more over than he will.

CHRIS JERICHO VS. FANDANGO

Best Case Scenario: Chris Jericho wrestles like “Best in the World At What I Do” Chris Jericho and not “World’s Best Dad” Chris Jericho. Fandango’s two dancing partners fight over who gets to ride Dirty Curty’s coattails to super stardom.

Worst Case Scenario: Chris Jericho walks out mid-match after getting a prank call about his band being asked to play the halftime show for Super Bowl XIX.

What Nick Wants to Happen: A good match with decent storytelling and at least one super solid dance kick to the face from FAN DANG OOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

What Will Happen: Probably something like that.

BIG SHOW VS. RANDY ORTON (EXTREME RULES MATCH)

Best Case Scenario: Randy Orton somehow turns the KO Punch into an RKO that’s so powerful that he and Show switch bodies Freaky Friday style.

Worst Case Scenario: Randy Orton does what he did to Rochelle Loewen’s duffel bag, but to his integrity as a wrestler in his hometown.

What Nick Wants to Happen: Randy Orton punts Big Show so hard that he and Show switch bodies Freaky Friday style. (Heel Orton > Face Orton w/ The Punt as the line of demarcation between the two)

What Will Happen: Loosely defined “EXTREME RULES” stipulation will play larger role than people think, but this match’ll be only infinitesimally better than the post-WM promo where Orton forgot his lines.

SHEAMUS VS. MARK HENRY (STRAP MATCH)

Best Case Scenario: They replace those idiotic linguine “straps” with ones that actually look like they would hurt, Sheamus gets the “JBL Great American Bash” treatment, reaches .87 on Muta scale.

Worst Case Scenario: They replace those idiotic linguine “straps” with pool noodles, Mark Henry decides he’s become a pacifist, Sheamus Brogue Kicks him anyways.

What Nick Wants to Happen: Mark Henry rips off Sheamus’s limbs, beats Michael Cole to death with them while screaming “YOU A FUNNY MOTHERFUCKA, AINTCHA MOTHERFUCKA?!”

What Will Happen: They won’t replace those idiotic linguine “straps,” Sheamus goes over, Mark Henry doesn’t get to say “THAT’S WHAT I DO,” ‘twas ever thus.

WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS TEAM HELL NO VS. THE SHIELD’S ROMAN REIGNS AND SETH ROLLINS (TAG TEAM TORNADO MATCH)

Best Case Scenario: The skim milk version of the Shield narrowly defeats Team Hell No in such a way as to allow for an amicable split between Daniel Bryan/Kane OR the most destructive break up of an imaginary relationship since uh, Drake and Amanda Bynes? Anything in between will just lead to two months of will they-won’t they bullshit with a blowoff match at SummerSlam.

Worst Case Scenario: (See: Best Case Scenario)

What Nick Wants to Happen: Seriously, I’ve made it clear what I want from this match.

What Will Happen: (See: Worst Case Scenario)

UNITED STATES CHAMPION KOFI KINGSTON VS. DEAN AMBROSE

Best Case Scenario: Dean Ambrose kills “The Wildcat”, and wears his skin as a trophy, preferably with a necklace made from his ears. Starts calling himself “The Transitional Mid-Card Champion Killer” Dean Ambrose.

Worst Case Scenario: Kofi Kingston not losing.

What Nick Wants to Happen: A match that showcases both guys and makes it clear that while the Shield is a “team,” Ambrose is the alpha dog.

What Will Happen: Dean Ambrose will be booked to make Kofi Kingston look like “the fucking shits” because the WWE really has no clue want to do with that poor guy other than feed him to people they think will be able to carry a mid-card belt in their never-ending search for someone who can lose every week to main eventers while still getting his.

ALBERTO DEL RIO VS. JACK SWAGGER (‘I QUIT’ MATCH)

Best Case Scenario: Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger end this racist gimmick, make it a “I Wish I Knew How To Quit You” match, turn face and become best friends with ADR and Ricardo. They go on picnics together.

Worst Case Scenario: Jack Swagger accidentally kicks Ricardo Rodriguez’s head off, then recieves WWE Title run as punishment.

What Nick Wants to Happen: Alberto Del Rio to win, Jack Swagger to lose cleanly, Big E. Langston comes out, gives both of them the Big Ending at the same time, becomes number one contender.

What Will Happen: Tomfoolery, chicanery, someone being forced to say “I Quit” but not because they are in pain.

Triple H faces Brock Lesnar in a Steel Cage Match at Extreme Rules.

TRIPLE H VS. BROCK LESNAR (STEEL CAGE MATCH)

Best Case Scenario: Triple H vs. Ric Flair – Taboo Tuesday

Worst Case Scenario: Triple H vs. Scott Steiner – Royal Rumble 2003

What Nick Wants to Happen: Triple H vs. Cactus Jack – Royal Rumble 2000

What Will Happen: Triple H. vs. Undertaker – WrestleMania… X-Seven

WWE Champion John Cena defends against Ryback at Extreme Rules

WWE CHAMPION JOHN CENA VS. RYBACK (LAST MAN STANDING MATCH)

Best Case Scenario: Ryback finally wins the title after chasing it for six months, John Cena gets his just desserts (someone makes fun of his shirt/jorts and questions his masculinity [preferably a small child]).

Worst Case Scenario: John Cena buries Ryback both literally and physically to the point where he has to come back as Skip Sheffield.

What Nick Wants to Happen: Cena loses in a way that makes Ryback look dominant, goes and films a movie, comes back as a face in a couple of months, fakes turning heel, really just becomes meaner in order to beat Ryback.

What Will Happen: Cena will win in a way that makes Ryback look like he got screwed, but not bad enough to warrant a rematch. Ryback joins the Shield.