You are here /wrestling
Guest Columns

Matt Spaulding



Where the Wheel Stops

THE PEOPLE'S MAILBAG: Got a lot of feedback from my SmackDown! video game review, most of it informing me that you're supposed to press R1 to pick up a weapon in the game. That's fine, but it's also a classic example of why I gave the game's manual a one-half star rating - isn't this the kind of thing that should be IN THE MANUAL? And even if I somehow missed it, isn't it important enough to be clearly marked IN THE MANUAL? No less than five people wrote in just to say that. I thank them all for both enlightening and validating me.

MORE GAME NEWS: By the way, don't expect a review of ECW Hardcore Revolution - if you've played WWF Attitude, you know all you need to know about that game. It's my understanding, though, that Acclaim is actually going to use a new engine for their next ECW game, so who knows?

NEW STUFF: Line of the Week: Triple H: "What the hell kind of family did I marry into?" (Raw) The indignance in HHH's voice when he says this is priceless, especially when you consider that the McMahon family's current dysfunction is mostly his doing.

All right. This is it.

No more talk of the return of the Bischoff Era.

No more talk of the innate craziness that is ECW.

This week we're going to talk about one thing and one thing only.


Oh, yeah.

There's a lot of potential for what I think could be some interesting new developments, as well as the long-awaited blowoffs of several hot feuds.

I'm not going to bother with making a call on the Kat-Terri catfight (w/special ref Val Venis) because (Note: The following is a copyright violation.) THE REAL WINNERS... ARE THE FANS!! Although I do think Val may come out of this with a valet...

Actually, I am going to do something different with these predictions and start at what will probably be the bottom of the card. Read on and you'll see why...

D'Lo Brown & The Godfather vs. Big Boss Man and Bull Buchanan

T & A (with Trish Stratus) vs. Al Snow and Steve Blackman

These two tag matches were added this week to ensure that EVERY ABLE-BODIED MALE PERFORMER will be somehow involved in this show. We've got four relatively new teams here, but the two heel teams need to be eastablished for however long they're going to be teaming up, so go with the rogue law enforcement officers and the two tall guys with screwy facial expressions.

Battle Royal for the WWF Hardcore Title

Everybody who isn't hurt and isn't already involved in a match will likely end up here, since that's how they've been teasing it lately with all these run-ins on poor Crash Holly. I'm a little surprised that Crash never tried to put the APA on retainer during the 24/7 era. Hey, wait a minute... are they in this match, too?

Actually, IT DOESN'T MATTER who's in this match; there are only three guys worth keeping your eyes on: Crash, Hardcore, and Tazz. Whoever gets the last pinfall walks out with the title, and I'm thinking it'll be Tazz. Remember, it tends to take the WWF a while to figure out teh best way to use ex-ECW guys, so look for this to be the beginning of Tazz's real push.

Five Man and One Woman Tag Team Match: Too Cool & Chyna vs. Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko, & Eddie Guerrero

This is sort of a rematch from No Way Out, but with Rikishi and Benoit moving on to other issues, a healthy Guerrero steps in for the Radicals, while Chyna, who was pulled into this feud due to her association with Chris Jericho, replaces Phatu. I'd said after No Way Out that Too Cool and Rikishi got that win as a reward for their good work with the Radicals, and I also said that the Radicals would likely go over in whatever form the rematch took. I'm gonna hold to that and predict a win for the Radicals on the biggest pay-per-view of the year. Take that, WCW.

Oh, and after the match, the Radicals leave first, followed in short order by Chyna. This will become important later in the show...

Road Dogg & X-Pac vs. Kane & Rikishi

The connection here is that DX beat Too Cool and Rikishi in a couple of six-mans on Raw, and this match pulls together all the leftovers from the DX-Radicals-Kane/X-Pac-Too Cool & Rikishi entanglement.

This was originally scheduled to be some sort of exploding land mine cage match involving only Kane and X-Pac, but a combination of factors led Vince to scrap that plan and book this match instead. So how do you blow off the Kane/X-Pac feud once and for all in a tag match?

Here's how. (The genesis for this idea was first put forth by [slash]'s own Michaelangelo, who I am about to brazenly rip off.)

Most of the match action focuses on X-Pac and Kane, with Dogg and Phatu hitting their spots as necessary. The finish comes with Dogg and X-Pac working a double-team sequence on Kane, when Dogg whips X-Pac right into a Kane chokeslam, turning face in the process. Dogg escapes from the ring as Kane then tombstones X-Pac and gets the pinfall, putting an end to that once and for all. No stretcher job, though... we'll need him later in the show.

Dudley Boys vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Edge & Christian in a Triangle Ladder Match for the WWF Tag Team Titles

If I remember correctly, "Triangle" rules are the same as ECW "Three-Way Dance" rules, which makes this an elimination match, which seems a little strange considering the only way to win is to go up the ladder and get the belts. If I remember incorrectly, ignore this paragraph.

Quite honestly, I have no idea which way to go here. All three teams have major issues and should deliver a kick-ass match, but it looks like the money tag feud will end up being Edge & Christian/Hardyz. And since I'd like to see the Blondes get a run with the tag straps before they split up, I'll go with Edge and Christian to win the titles.

Chris Jericho vs. Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit in a Two-Fall Triple Threat Match for the WWF European and Intercontinental Titles

Speaking of kick-ass matches, here's how this is going to work: It's Triple Threat rules. Whoever gets the first pinfall or submission wins the European title, and whoever gets the second pinfall or submission gets the IC belt.

Let's let Angle keep the European belt, because we don't want him completely humbled. He'll start celebrating like a madman and almost forget that there's another fall to be had.

Here's your finish: After a ref bump, the Radicals come to ringside, followed by Chyna. Saturn and Malenko work over Angle while Chyna appears to go after Eddie. Instead, Chyna pulls the ropes and trips up Jericho as he goes for the moonsault, allowing Benoit to get the pin and the Intercontinental title. Take THAT, WCW. Chyna leaves with the Radicals.

Post-match, Road Dogg does a backstage interview where he says he got tired of having to take the fall for X-Pac's treachery towards Kane, and it was about time that "that idiot got what was coming to him." X-Pac and the celebrating Radicals happen by and hear this, and proceed to interrupt the interview and decimate Road Dogg, knocking him out of DX. Remember, if it's WrestleMania, there must be a DX shakeup.

The Big Show (w/Shane McMahon) vs. The Rock (w/Vince McMahon) vs. Mick Foley (w/Linda McMahon) vs. Triple H (w/Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley) in a Fatal Four-Way Elimination Match for the WWF Title

Four men. Four corners. A McMahon in every corner. A chicken in every pot. A car in every garage. A smack laid down on every candy ass. Or not.

The setup for this match didn't start at No Way Out. It didn't even start at the Royal Rumble. The setup for this match actually occurred on May 25, 1999. Allow me to explain.

One of the first defining moments in Triple H's heel push was that night in May on a taped Raw (remember those?) when he attacked Mankind with a sledgehammer after beating him in a match. That attack took Mick Foley out of action for three months, during which he wrote a No. 1 bestseller (Note to myself: Buy that book), and it also established an important part of HHH's heel persona - the vicious, callous sore loser.

At King of the Ring in June, HHH screwed the Rock out of the WWF title by running in during his title match with the Undertaker, then went on to beat the Rock in a strap match at Fully Loaded to become the No. 1 Contender to the WWF title.

A returning Mankind was inserted into the SummerSlam title match a week before the show, making it a Triple Threat match. Mankind won the title by pinning Steve Austin, causing HHH to snap and shred Austin's knee with a chair post-match. HHH defeated Mankind for the title the next night on Raw, then got some help from Shawn Michaels in a defense against Rock on what is actually the second SmackDown! (remember the April pilot?)

After losing the belt to Vince, HHH regains it at Unforgiven by pinning Rock cleanly in a six-man free for all that also involved Mankind and Big Show. This time, HHH gets over on his way to a No Mercy title match with Austin, which he wins thanks to a poorly placed sledgehammer shot by Rock. Helmsley then loses the strap to The Big Show in a triple threat match that also involved Rock.

HHH and Stephanie force Rock and Mankind to battle in a "Pink Slip On a Pole" Match where the loser gets fired. Rock wins that match, forcing Mankind out for three weeks. HHH regains the title a week later.

Mick returns, morphs into Cactus Jack, and challenges HHH to a street fight for the WWF title at Royal Rumble 2000, while Rock and Big Show put themselves over as the obvious winners of the Rumble itself. We know what happens from here.

Three warnings for the WWF regarding this match:

DON'T turn Rock heel. The reasoning here should be obvious.

DON'T turn Big Show face. He's been in the company for just over a year, and he's already turned four times, which is a big part of the reason he hasn't made the impact he should have. Let this run as a heel continue for a while - it's getting him over.

HOLD TO THE STIPULATION. If Foley wins... actually, when Foley wins, make this his last match.

What about that match? Rock eliminates Big Show, settling their issue. Rock is eliminated next, and either guy can do it; if it's HHH, it keeps their long-standing rivalry percolating; if it's Mick, Rock can give him a little salute as he leaves the ring.

The big finish: Pedigree attempt, countered, back body drop, Mandible Claw, Foley rides gently into that good night, and we get the Backlash tournament, which, like Bischoff's and Russo's return to WCW, never would have been announced on TV if it wasn't the plan.

We also get the new DX: Triple H, X-Pac,... the Radicals... and Chyna. HHH explains that the task for Chyna was to deliver another belt to DX, explaining her turn on Jericho. HHH adds that, "we've got five new members and two titles, and all I had to give up was that ungrateful, backstabbing, no-talent son of a bitch, Road Dogg Jesse James." Naturally, this brings Road Dogg out, and later Jericho. Go ahead and book Dogg vs. X-Pac for Backlash.

As I've stated in the past, putting the Radicals in DX gives the group some much-needed new blood, and also has the potential for a major split and feud down the line.

Re-start the Tazz-Angle program with the European belt at stake.

As for the tournament, I'd book Rikishi, Benoit, and Jericho to do well before bowing out. (Rikishi in particular; with Mick gone and Rocky out of the picture in May and June, the Fed will need to push someone into a top babyface spot.) Rock doesn't even make the finals, as outside interference causes him to lose, setting up a match at Backlash where he jobs to whomever. (Early rumors have Jericho featured prominently in preview advertising, which isn't the worst idea they've had.) Not only does this elevate a midcarder in a big way, but it also gives Rock the chance to return the favor in the rematch at Fully Loaded.

Who wins the tournament?


The WWF hasn't had an over babyface champion since Mankind won the belt at SummerSlam. They can't put the belt on Rock because he'll be off shooting The Mummy 2 in May and June (is there anything they won't make a sequel of?), it's way too soon to give Triple H the strap again, and I have a feeling that the crowd will pop like mad when the Big Red Machine finally takes the championship.

And no one-day title reigns this time around. In addition to his obvious character development, he's gotten better in the ring (and a run as champ is sure to keep him motivated), and he's started talking and has Paul Bearer around to make the longer sentences for him. Program in feuds with Big Show and HHH, and let Kane go over until Fully Loaded, when he loses to the Undertaker, who should be back by then. This sets up what most people two months ago thought would happen at WrestleMania, but is delayed until SummerSlam: Rock finally gets the strap back.

NEXT WEEK: Here is where I need your help, gentle readers. I've already booked most of the WWF through Backlash, there's no new WCW TV next week, and I'm not sure I want to join the legions of those who will be speculating on what's in store for WCW in the Bischoff-Russo era, so what am I gonna write about?

Would you like another "What If?" column like the Austin one I wrote a while back, and if so, what should the scenario be? (Restrictions: it has to be Big Three and something fairly recent, like within the last two years or so.) Or do you want me to try my hand at tackling "the new WCW"? Or do you have something completely different in mind? Any ideas you've got, write me at and, if not next week, I may use one of your suggestions down the road. You'll receive due credit, of course, but no valuable prizes.

Oh, and since a win on Saturday gets me $50, GO SPARTANS.

Matt Spaulding

Mail the Author



Design copyright (C) 1999, 2000 Christopher Robin Zimmerman & KZiM Communications
Guest column text copyright (C) 2000 by the individual author and used with permission