THE PEOPLE'S MAILBAG: Don Thomas ("one of the Millions and Millions of Jericoholics worldwide") proves that great minds think alike, and solves a problem for me in the process:
Okay anyways, the main reason I am mailing this is because of the Jericho-Benoit thing you mentioned (Which will lead to that Benoit-Rock Feud)
I like the sounds of that.
However I see it differently.
First, consider that the Rock is expected to take some time off for filming of the Mummy 2.
Rock should be back next week, actually... for a while I think we all thought he'd be away for a couple of months.
Second, If Rock is out of the picture, and Triple H gets the gold, who is sufficiently over and capable of taking on Triple H?
Big Show....Not Yet, Austin? (Not Healed, or is he?) Rakishi? (Nope, He's big and he's over, but I don't think he's World Title material YET!)
As I've said, I'd actually keep the belt off of Triple H for a while.
Not yet on Show, you're right. Austin's not even close to being ready to return to the ring (I'm hearing SummerSlam as the best possibility). Rikishi? See below.
Well who is over with fans, positively loved by them, yet hated by HHH, and the McMahons. Who has Talent, and skill, and has shown he can take "The Game" to the limit?
You read my mind. Jericho's insults towards Stephanie (and lately, the other McMahons) are too personal for HHH to just let go, making this potential feud too good to not extend into a full-fledged program.
As for Benoit-Rock, Chris has the IC belt back, but I don't want that tied up while he's involved with Rocky (see Jarrett-Sid for the reason why), so I'd put it on Rikishi after JD (set up by Benoit cutting a promo on Rocky, then Rocky running in during the title match and costing Benoit the strap).
SLAM! / DUH DUH DUH / DUH DUH DUH / LET THE BOYS BE BOYS!: 4 for 10 on Slamboree. But I'm kind of annoyed that the four I got (Candido, Steiner, Hogan, and Sting) were no-brainers.
Why didn't I just predict the run-in for Awesome/Kanyon and be done with it? It was the only way the match could end, unfortunately, for reasons I discussed last week.
AND NOW, A MUSICAL INTERLUDE: Dewey turned heel, and I don't care / Dewey turned heel, and I don't care / Dewey turned heel, and I don't CAAAAAAAARE / My interest's gone away
LINE OF THE WEEK: Jerry Lawler: "It's sort of reminiscent of, like, when Yoko broke up the Beatles." Michael Cole: "Yokozuna broke up the Beatles?" (SmackDown!, May 11) Funny for two reasons: Cole's boneheadedness, and the fact that they managed to work Yokozuna into a Beatles reference.
And Edge's "I can't believe we missed out on the cover of Tiger Beat because of THIS" from SmackDown! would have been LotW last week if not for the Flyers-Penguins marathon.
Tiger Beat? They still publish that?
Anyway, we have a new ECW World Heavyweight Champion. Two, actually, from the last time we talked about ECW. Here's a refresher for those with short memories:
After Tommy Dreamer defeated Tazz for the title at Cyberslam 2000, the locker room emptied out into the ring in a very cool moment to congratulate Dreamer on winning his first ECW World title. But there were two people missing: Lance Storm, who'd been "injured" during a match with Nova, and his tag team partner, Justin Credible.
Eventually, Credible storms the ring, tag team belts in hand. He then shocks the entire audience and the whole locker room by throwing the tag titles onto the mat, renouncing them, and, in what was actually kind of a nice touch, spitting on them. Credible challenges Dreamer for the World title, and Dreamer, still a bloody mess, yells, "RING THE BELL!" because he has the brains of furniture polish.
The match ends when Francine, who was left in the ring when Justin attacked Raven before going after Dreamer, low-blows Dreamer (yawn), allowing Credible to hit That's Incredible for the win and the ECW World title. On the TNN broadcast, Joey Styles put a huge exclamation point on the whole scene with this killer line: "Tommy Dreamer never got a chance to wear that belt."
As a wannabe writer, I love the way this was set up: The loyal soldier finally reaches the top after years of hard work and sacrifice. His compatriots, friend and foe, come out to the ring to celebrate his triumph. Then, a lone wolf challenger comes through the smoke and remorselessly shatters his dream, fulfilling his own in the process.
I also like that the storyline has the entire locker room turning against Credible, especially the rest of the tag teams, who were denied of a shot at beating the Impact Players in the ring. Not only that, but his former partner, Storm, was at the hospital when all this went down, and he was understandably furious when he returned and learned what Credible had done. (Another great line from Styles: "And while he was there [at the hospital], his whole world changed, and he didn't even know it.")
Credible as champ? Uh, maybe. It's interesting to note than in the past nine months, each of the Big Three has made a conscious decision to go with an unproven main event draw as their world champion. Like Triple H and Jeff Jarrett before him, Credible's a guy who brings more questions than answers to the dance. But just like both guys, he works hard enough that, with time and a clean victory or two, he could be seen as a, um, credible singles champion. (I SO did not want to do that.)
The major difference is that Credible, unlike Hunter and Jarrett, was already over big-time as a heel before he took the title. And the way he did it only earned him more heel heat with the fans. Screwing Storm out of the tag titles, then raining on Dreamer's victory parade have made this man thoroughly despised at ECW events. And both Dreamer and Storm want his ass on a platter.
Which, rather conveniently, leads us into:
PREDICTIONS FOR HARDCORE HEAVEN
I've realized that I haven't been going about this prediction business the right way, considering what the basis of this column is supposed to be. So starting with this week, every PPV preview I do will have two sets of "predictions": one will be the way I'd book the match, and the other will be the way I think the match will actually turn out. This will allow me to do both at once without making it too confusing.
TV Title Match: Rhino (w/Steve Corino and His Bitch, Jack
Victory) vs. The Sandman
A couple of weeks later, Rob Van Dam returned and came after the Network. Cyrus sensed that Van Dam was out to get his TV title back, then informed us that a match had already been signed between Rhino and Sandman, who has also emerged as an enemy of The Network. Much has been made of the fact that Sandman has never been the TV champion.
What I'd Do: ECW has been heavily pushing Rhino as a destructive heel since his debut over a year or so ago. Becoming the TV title holder gives him some legitimacy, but he, unlike Sandman, needs the belt to get over, so I'd book Rhino to win and save him for the inevitable Network blow-off match with RVD.
What They'll Do: Probably the same thing.
The Whole Show vs. The New Show in a Hop Around On One Good Leg
The difference this time is that Jerry Lynn's been teasing a bona fide heel turn. Seems he's annoyed that nobody gave a damn about his injury situation, while people were falling all over themselves wondering when Van Dam was coming back. (But he SAVED A KID'S LIFE! He's a nice guy! We have footage!)
What I'd Do: Turn 'em loose. These guys have a reputation for stealing the show all by themselves. And, to get the pop of pops, I'd put Lynn over. RVD won't lose any heat from this loss, trust me. Post-match, when Rob offers a handshake, Jerry punks him out. Heel turn is on in a big way, and the win guarantees Lynn more heat.
What They'll Do: Probably the same thing, but with Van Dam winning. Lynn turns on him post-match, but still gets relegated to the role of RVD's bitch. In either case, I could care less what happens to Scotty Anton.
ECW World Heavyweight Title Match: DON'T GO Lance Storm (w/Dawn
Marie) vs. Just Credible (w/That Slut Francine [apologies to CRZ] and
possibly The Fugitive) vs. Tommy Dreamer (w/nobody but his own damn
self) in a Three-Way Dance
And while we're discussing that, I've heard from a fairly reliable source (Yes! I have a SOURCE!) that Storm might win here, which would lead to what I guess would be a worked-shoot angle about whether or not he'll leave for WCW while he's still champion. Of course, if he does win, that likely means he's re-signed and will be staying. (I doubt Heyman's stupid enough to put his World title on a guy who he knows is out the door, unlike some other fed I can think of.)
What I'd Do: Well, first I'd sign Lance, regardless of how the match eventually turns out. Then, I'd either put the strap on him and run with the angle I just mentioned, with the payoff being a face turn when he "decides" to stay; or I'd put Credible over and set up a one-on-one feud with either Dreamer or Storm for Heat Wave.
What They'll Do: Probably keep the belt on Credible, regardless of what Lance decides to do.
ALSO: Still no word on what they're going to do about the vacant tag team titles. I've heard a bunch of different rumors on this: a four-team tournament; Jado and Gedo flying in from Japan to job to a makeshift team of Super Crazy and Tajiri; and some other scenarios that I can't remember at the moment.
The storyline to this point has seen Chris Chetti and Nova challenging the former Impact Players, so it would make sense for them to end up with the belts here after all is said and done, although I'd like to see Danny Doring and Roadkill get a run with the gold. I won't call this one because I don't know how they're going to sort it out. I doubt Paul E. knows at this point, either.
But, if for some bizarre reason we don't come out of this with new tag champs, I'm claiming one of the belts.
NEXT WEEK: Can The Rock and Triple H pull out a 60-minute Iron Man match that'll keep the crowd interested? I say yes... IF they do it right. We'll discuss that. And yes, I've got YET ANOTHER PPV to preview. Four in a row... is that some kind of record? The WWF strikes again with Judgment Day.