Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Inbox Mania

This e-mail comes from one of my long-time readers, Javier:

I've been really enjoying your blog, and I love how you are talking about wrestling too. Now that theWrestleMania 24 picture is clearing up, what are your thoughts on how the event is shaping up with Edge/Taker, Cena/Orton/HHH, HBK/Flair, Money in theBank and Big Show/Maywheater?

There's a lot about this year's card that excites me. I'm thrilled that Edge is in one of the main events, but I'm truly hoping that the World Heavyweight Championship gets some respect. While I don't expect it to be the last match of the night (when you're dealing Cena and Triple H in the other match, it's a long shot), but I hope the match isn't in the middle of the card. Second to last, or third to last (with a calming match in between) would be acceptable, and given at least 25-35 minutes. I also hope that the ECW Championship gets its due. The title has been demoted significantly this past year -- arguably, since Big Show dropped it -- so I'd be really disappointed if the title isn't defended this year. I think Chavo against CM Punk would be more than adequate. Just don't open the show with this match. At least make SOME attempt at making the title seem important.

While I don't necessarily have a problem with Cena vs. Orton vs. Triple H, I do think that it's ridiculous that Triple H just HAS to be in the main event. I mean, Cena vs. Orton -- after all they've gone through this year -- is a much more natural and compelling story. Other than Triple H needing to be in the match, why is he there? He contributes nothing to the story. In no way is it more interesting with him playing a part in it. This reminds me a lot of WrestleMania 22, where Cena vs. Edge was a much more logical match, but instead Edge dropped the gold just three weeks after winning it, in order to set up Cena vs. Triple H. For the life of me, I can't understand how somebody could argue that favortism doesn't exist when you look at instances like this.

I'm not a huge boxing fan, so I don't know much about Floyd Mayweather. That said, as I understand it, he's a pretty big and relevant name, so right off the bat I think this is a wise business venture. Making it a boxing match, which I suspect they will do, puts them in a position where Big Show wouldn't be hurt by a "loss." One thing is for sure, this is much, much better than that Akebono match. At the very least, the attire will be a big improvement.

I think Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair is a wonderful way for the Nature Boy to end his career. I know a lot of people will argue that a young up and comer should be the one to retire Flair, but I'm not sure that's necessarily true. The fact of the matter is, Ric Flair has done an awful lot to put over young talent. He's probably done too much, which really hurt his career to the extent that beating him really didn't mean much. In this particular case, I think having Flair lose to a legend like Michaels -- who was considered by many to be the next Ric Flair early in his heel singles career -- is an appropriate way to end his career. I also think having Flair lose to a friend in a bittersweet moment would be a more powerful scene than to lose it to some dastardly heel.

I'm disappointed that Jericho is in the Money in the Bank match, only because his return after a two year hiatus was so well built up. And now, just a few months into his big return, he's thrown into a match that he won't win, completely devoid of any storyline. Despite that criticism, they've done a great job of transforming the Money in the Bank ladder match from something that was initially a lame attempt at making it seem like upper midcard guys were participating in an important match, to actually making it into an important match. In the past couple of years, they've done a nice job of establishing it, especially when you consider that the Road to WrestleMania truly begins when the qualifying matches start to take place. My accompanying complaint is that the matches have been ridiculous. I mean, Jeff Hardy vs. Snitsky? Mr. Kennedy vs. Val Venis? Shelton Benjamin vs. Jimmy Wang Yang? You're placing main eventers against guys who aren't even included on Pay-Per-Views. There is positively no suspense about who will win.

Presuming that there will be eight participants, I'd put Kane, Tommy Dreamer, Elijah Burke, and Carlito in there. This creates a balance of faces and heels, fighting styles, and a semi-equal representation of the three brands. Should some of the matches I suggest below not work out, I'd trade Morrison and Miz for Burke and Dreamer, and MVP for Carlito.

The Playboy Bunnies tag match is pretty inoffensive, I'm just disappointed that the Women's Championship is being wasted in this match. Mickie vs. Beth has been steadily built basically since they both debuted, and it would have been great to see Mickie finally get the win at the big show. It would have been a nice culmination of her constantly coming up short. The match just as easily could have been Candice/Maria vs. Melina/Jillian.

As far as matches that haven't been announced yet, but I hope/think they will:

- Batista vs. Umaga, which could be a really cool match except for the fact that it lacks build up (ideally, they should have instigated something at the Royal Rumble). Along with that, Umaga has been jobbed out in every top level feud since this summer, dropping multiple matches to Triple H and DX, in addition to recent losses to Jeff Hardy. As such, it's missing that Unstoppable Force vs. Immovable Object feel.

- MVP vs. Matt Hardy (if he's even still alive) for the US title, with Hardy finally winning the gold...

- Vince McMahon vs. Finlay (although I have a feeling this will end up being JBL/McMahon vs. Finaly/Hornswoggle, or simply JBL vs. Finlay.....aren't you glad you came out of retirement, Bradshaw?)

- And how about a quick Cruiserweight Invitational or Battle Royal to re-introduce the championship? Include Shannon Moore, Jimmy Wang Yang, Jamie Noble, Funaki, and Kenny Dykstra (if he's small enough). Have Noble win it, to feud with a heel Helms upon his return.

- John Morrison/The Miz vs. Jesse/Festus vs. Deuce/Domino vs. the Edgeheads for the WWE Tag Team Championship, with the Edgeheads taking home the gold.

Some of these predictions are wishful thinking (particularly the ECW-heavy Money in the Bank match, the reintroduction of the Cruiserweight title, and hell, even the WWE Tag Team Title defense), and at 11 potential matches, obviously a couple of those will need to be cut.

I'll revisit this topic as we come closer to the big event.

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