Call Me Now
I always see these late-night adds with the popular psycho... er, psychic of the moment, Ms. Cleo. But the thing is, they're always the same. Some woman or man calls up, and asks questions they already know the answer to, and then acts all surprised, like this:
Cleo: Yes, mah chile?
Woman: Well, my husband's been coming home really late at night, and he tells me all about the great sex he's been having with the women he's been cheating on me with. Do you think he's cheating on me?
Cleo: Chile, ya already know the answer to that, doncha?
Woman: Oh my god! You're RIGHT! He IS cheating on me.
Cleo: It's dat easy! Call me now!
So I vowed that if I ever called up with a conundrum of mine, I wouldn't be stupid and ask something I already knew the answer to. I needed something that didn't seem like so much of a foregone conclusion anymore.
A couple of weeks ago, if you had asked me whether I thought Chris Jericho had a chance in hell of winning at the Royal Rumble, I'd have told you no. In fact, I was telling this to tons of people who never asked me. ;) I also said something to the effect of "Unless Jericho turns GOLD in two shows, there's no way he's going to Wrestlemania."
But the thing is, smarty-pants, he DID turn gold in two shows. The shows leading up to the Royal Rumble, the first, where he gave that awesome promo on Raw, even silencing the incessant "What?" chants from the crowd, and proceeding to get real heat and give an excellent promo. Then the second, the most outstanding promo since Heyman's anti-WWF diatribe against Vince McMahon on Smackdown before Survivor Series, was Jericho's emotion-filled promo against the Rock.
He DARED to challenge ME, who called him a transitional champion! He DARED challenge ME, who called him a fluke, a good hold-over. Fine, Mr. Jericho. All he had to do was bring it, and he did.
With Triple H winning the Royal Rumble (something more a foregone conclusion than the Rock/Jericho situation), even with the potentially big-money feudin' that could go on with Jericho and Triple H, the Wrestlemania situation looks a lot foggier than before. Thus, I harken back to the opening of this, telephone psychics! If ANYONE would know what's gonna happen at Wrestlemania, it'd certainly be an old Jamaican woman! So I decided to call her up, and this is what she told me:
Ms. Cleo: Hello, my chile, what is your name?
Shocker: Pssh, like I'm telling you that. Who's the psychic here? Anyway, I've got a question for you.
Ms. Cleo: I knew dat! So... what's your question?
Shocker: Well, basically, I want to know just WHO is main-eventing Wrestlemania?
Ms. Cleo: Uhhh... Hulk Hogan?
Shocker: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! *CLICK*
The scary thing is she could be right, folks!
But rather than dwell on that, I'd like to talk about some more... pleasant... Wrestlemania main-event combinations.
Yeah, Triple H has got a title shot at Wrestlemania, but that doesn't mean he won't lose it. There's also nothing that says the Rock won't finally pin that cheating cheater who cheats, Chris Jericho. This was last years Wrestlemania ME, but it was a certified "barn-burner", in fact, it was probably my favorite match of the year, pre-Austin/Triple H vs. Jericho/Benoit Raw. The one thing that this match has going for it is that it is a guaranteed draw, whether Austin is face or not. You've still got two of the most prolific wrestling icons of our day going head-to-head against one another. The things it has going against it are numerous, however. This has been done, in fact, the year before, as already stated. Secondly, in nearly every conflict between the two, Austin comes up on top, which people seem to complain about a lot (I don't care, personally). Thirdly, there are waaay too many factors that are keeping this from being done. As stated above, there's the whole thing about Triple H and Rock not getting a real look at the ME of Wrestlemania for now- There are simply too many barriers that they'd have to cross to make it the most logical or probable to run with. That alone means it's got a great chance of happening ;). But my estimation says that the probability of this is LOW.
If Rock continues to go after Jericho, up till No Way Out, there's a distinct possibility that he might actually catch him. In an epic battle at No Way Out, Jericho loses the Undisputed WWF title to the Rock, and the Rock locks his sights onto Triple H. There are a lot of upsides to this. First, Triple H has never really proven himself as a main-event face draw, aside from DX. But he's got a completely different character now than then, and there's no telling whether fans are going to latch onto this character. Turning Triple H heel would probably pop more than a few internet-fan aneurysms, but that is another story. If the WWF senses that face Triple H won't draw, they can always turn him heel, and match him up against a babyface Rock. This would avert a possible crisis, and judging by his admonishment from the Rock, Triple H ain't changing no time soon. He's probably a long way away from being a giggling babyface, and that sort of character change would be a long way (more than 2 months) off. Another upside to this is that if Triple H does draw, Wrestlemania X-7 has shown that face vs. face conflicts can still draw in this day and age, and that they can payoff big-time. The WWF would be stupid not to jump on this while they can, if they see it. Probability? High.
This is an everybody retains situation, and it is still one of the murkiest of the situations. First off, no one knows if Jericho will retain. However, it is relatively safe to assume that Triple H will retain his number one contendership unless the WWF feels they need to abort suddenly. Triple H and Jericho have possibly long-standing feud material, such as the continued dissing of Stephanie McMchon-Helmsley during Triple H's absence (And before, as well). The problem with this is that Stephanie is still heel, while Triple H has turned face. Many have stipulated that the easiest possible solution would be to have Stephanie go with Jericho, and feed the fire between the two. Personally, I'm not in favor of that. I am probably in the distinct minority, but I like the Stephanie/Triple H relationship. I think that mostly all other wrestling relationships split at the drop of a hat, using illogical turns and reasoning to justify them. Triple H and Stephanie's relationship is the closest thing to a real life relationship the WWF has, not only in the length of the commitment, but in the actual percieved, genuine feeling between the two of them (or am I just seeing weird things?). Anyway, a potential stealing of Stephanie could add something to the feud between Jericho and Triple H, but in my view, it's unnecessary. Triple H, like the Rock, has been telling Jericho that he could never win the "big one" forever and a day, and using Triple H's victory in the Iron Man match 2(?) years ago to show Jericho that he has no chance wouldn't be a bad idea. Jericho has shown he is at his best when his back's against the wall, and this would be a great opporunity to corner him. I'm gonna go on a wild leap and say this also has a HIGH probability of making it to WM.
Triple H and Austin tore up the ring at their battle at No Way Out last year. This year, February could also be a telling month for them, as Austin might set his sights on Jericho, walk through him, and walk into Wrestlemania as the champion. The upside to this is that the fans (what?) I said the fans (what?) The fans! (what?) They love Austin (what?) Oh nevermind (what?) I said never-- (what?) -- You get the idea. They are also behind Triple H, but Triple H still could use a solid month at the top babyface position (and solidifying his stance wouldn't hurt, WWF) before he would have the fan support. The goal would be like Rock/Austin, to split the audiences and draw major money from both sides. Austin and Triple H haven't been face at the same time in forever, and when they were, it was all about Stone Cold Steeve Austin, and it was all about all of DX. So the challenge here is how well can you build up Triple H in not-so-much time? I think that the WWF can do it if they want. The obvious downside, however, lies in making the champ look weak. Look, I love Austin, but he shouldn't walk through Jericho like Jericho doesn't exist. That was the problem I had last year at No Way Out, when the Rock just walked through Angle, even though the two hadn't really been feuding before. It sent Angle into a big spiral, which took him a long time to recover from. Can Jericho recover quickly enough? Probably. There are a TON of Main Eventers that are available, and if necessary, he can probably be turned face again quickly enough before Wrestlemania. Still, the probability of this is probably around "possible". You could put money on that... But you didn't hear that from me (blame Cleo).
If Austin goes after Triple H for his number 1 contendership spot, and wins it, and Jericho retains his title, this'll be your WM main event. I'm kind of split about this. On the one hand, Jericho was the one who defeated Austin for the Undisputed WWF title, and on the other hand, Jericho/Austin to me, seems stale. It's not even that it's really been done to death -- The last time the two directly feuded was back in June(!). I think what it is is that the most likely outcome would be that Austin would win, and Austin + WWF title = Bored Shocker. Seriously, it's been done before, it's been done to death. I think they could do a lot more stuff with Austin, elevate a lot more people than Austin and do a lot better for the fed than continually putting the strap on Austin. Smarky enough for ya? Anyway, probability? Low.
This was Cleo's pick. Personally, if this happens, I may leave wrestling (okay, I don't wrestle, I only write about it, but let's speak about symbolically. =) for good. It'll be my farewell match. Hey, I know people who have paid good money months and months in advance who would rather see the Goon in the ME of Wrestlemania (BREWGUY, in case the subtle shoutout wasn't good enough for you) than Hulk Hogan. Probability? God, I hope not.
So what have we learned today? Quite simple: Nothing's certain in life except death and taxes, and don't give money to psychics who don't know anything about wrestling (Conversely, don't give money to 1bob for the same reason.)
Till next time.