Sep 19

WWE Night of Champions: What SHOULD Happen vs. What WILL Happen

“We have no idea who will be the champion, so just make it glittery” — WWE Marketing, probably. Photo from Wikimedia.

Well here we are yet again, with another major PPV WWE Network Event, this time we have the one night where every title is on the line, and yada yada. Last month, I was legitimately amazed at the booking of the main event, do you think that they have the guys to do it again?

Probably not, but it’s worth thinking about. Lesnar and Cena have had two very amazing, but very different WWE Matches since Lesnar returning in 2012. The rubber match here should be just as interesting. In addition to this, we have a host of other intriguing matches to fill out the under card, especially the Shield Showdown version 3 or so. Also, Rusev seems to be well on his way up the card with the World’s Strongest man as his next stop.

But the match that gets the most interest out of me involves the tag titles, will we see the Dust Brothers hold the gold again? I can’t help but get excited for that one going forward.

Enough rambling, hit the intro…

Impromptu Match/Segment
 WWE Network KickOff Match

What SHOULD Happen: As of this writing, nothing has been announced for the Pre-show. But in keeping with the theme of the show, let’s have a special defence of the NXT Championship as we get a rematch of the Fatal Four Way match from the other week, Neville steals the win from Zayn yet again.

What WILL Happen: I would not be surprised if one of the secondary belts gets bumped down to the pre-show, or we get Slater Gator vs. Adam Rose and The Bunny for some ungodly reason.

Match #1

The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler

WWE Intercontinental Title Match

What SHOULD Happen: These guys did a good job jerking the curtain last month, so let’s have them do it again here. The additions of Damien Sandow and R-Truth to ringside really adds to the dynamic here. There were rumours that Ziggler would be the next opponent for Bray Wyatt, which sounds like all kinds of awesome. Let’s have the Zig-Zag man get a win and his celebration is interrupted when the lights go out and the Wyatts jump Ziggler and Truth and run off with the belt. “You call yourself a show off Dolph, you’re nothing more than a sycophant, a philistine. We’re here to expose the truth of your immoral ways.”

What WILL Happen: Ziggles wins, moves on to a directionless feud.

Match #2

Sheamus vs. Cesaro

WWE United States Title Match

What SHOULD Happen: These two have had a zillion matches on TV, and a few on PPV WWE Network Events, but they have such an awesome meshing of styles, that they rarely disappoint. Sheamus hasn’t done much with the US Title, and Cesaro has really been spinning his wheels since Heyman left him. I want to see Cesaro win by cheating so that he can move on to a feud with Swagger (since Bo Dallas is hurt apparently) and Sheamus can move back up the card where he probably belongs. I would love to see Sheamus challenge Brock at a different PPV.

What WILL Happen: You know they can’t resist putting the US Title on Rusev, right? That means that Sheamus is retaining and will drop the belt to the big Bulgarian Russian in the near future.

Impromptu Match/Segment #1

What SHOULD Happen: Bo Dallas tells us that he was injured, but he’ll be back…all he has to do is Bolieve!!!

What WILL Happen: Cena promo, Cena promo, Cena promo!!!

Match #3

Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton

What SHOULD Happen: This match should be very good, but honestly, why wasn’t the Wyatt-Jericho cage match here? This is supposed to be Jericho’s last date before taking some time off, so he should go out on his back. Have him about to win, but Kane runs some interference costing him the match. Afterwards, Orton and Kane beat down on Jericho, maybe even choke slamming him through a table or punting him in the head at the very least. Reigns runs down to make the save but it’s too little, too late. Jericho gets stretchered out.

What WILL Happen: Probably that exact scenario.

Match #4

Paige vs. AJ vs. Nikki

WWE Divas Title Match

What SHOULD Happen: While it’s good to have AJ and Paige get some attention, I’m a little worried here. The Bella feud should not have the title, as AJ and Paige are doing a great job with that for now. Also, the Divas title has been passed around a lot of late. Let’s have Stephanie distract AJ to push her into that feud, and as Nikki is about to win (after cheating) her sister runs in allowing Paige to sneak a win.

What WILL Happen: Nikki is so winning this…

Match #5

Mark Henry vs. Rusev

What SHOULD Happen: I, for one, kind of loved the fact that they got to close out RAW. It really helped promote this match and make both guys appear to be big deals heading into this match. There is absolutely no way that Rusev lies down here. There’s way too much invested in the big guy. He’s going to make Henry look like a chump and win cleanly with the Accolade. He can move on to a feud with Sheamus and win the stripped belt for a while.

What WILL Happen: Same as a above.

Match #6

The Usos vs. Goldust and Stardust

Tag Team Title Match

What SHOULD Happen: The Dusts need to win the titles soon, right? They just turned heel, and I think that a clean loss would really hurt their momentum. I’d love to see them win the belts here, but I wouldn’t be terribly saddened if we got a DQ finish. Let’s have them win on account of villainy to start cutting some awesome, awesome promos as this feud continues.

What WILL Happen: The Usos have held the belts since March, and we could use a new face for the division, and there are no more unique faces then the grandsons of a plumber…

Impromptu Match/Segment #2

What SHOULD Happen: A car comes recklessly drives into the parking lot, as the door opens, the cameraman gets knocked down and a boot steps into view.

What WILL Happen: Paul Heyman promo time!

Match #7

Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins

What SHOULD Happen: So Reigns wins this one clean as a whistle on RAW, and we get a rematch here? Not really sure what the point of that was, unless Rollins is going over here. Let’s have Reigns about to win, only for Kane and Orton to interfere and start to beat down on Reigns causing a DQ. The announcers make a big deal out of the fact that Jericho was stretchered out early, when all of a sudden Ambrose runs to the ring (wearing the same boots that were in frame in the last segment…) and fights back with Reigns, the two overcome the odds and chase the Authority away.

What WILL Happen: Reigns wins clean as a whistle, Ambrose doesn’t show up until RAW the next night.

Match #8

Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena

WWE World Heavyweight Title Match

What SHOULD Happen: Did anyone expect that kind of a curb-stomping that we saw last month? Simply amazing! I imagine we’ll get more of a WWE-style match this time with a lot more back and forth. I think that Lesnar should win cleanly once more, but after a much closer match than last time. Brock takes Hell in a Cell off, and defends again at the Survivor Series to make his matches special again. Meanwhile, Cena can take a month off and come back to help take on the Authority at the Survivor Series

What WILL Happen: I see this ending in a DQ or something, and we head to the final match at Hell in a Cell.

That SHOULD leave Hell in a Cell to look as follows:

  • HELL IN A CELL Match: Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose for the briefcase
  • Orton vs. Sheamus
  • Roman Reigns vs. Kane
  • US Title Match: Cesaro vs. Swagger
  • IC Title Match: Ziggler vs. Wyatt
  • Tag Title: The Dust Brothers vs. The Usos
  • Brie vs. Nikki

 

Sep 05

Wrestlemania XXXI: Predicting The Card Seven Months in Advance

As is the tradition here at Blade Jobs of Steel, upon completion of one of the Big Four PPVs, we look ahead to the Biggest of the Big Four.

This year’s Wrestlemania is already shaping up to be an interesting one. Are they really going to keep Brock Lesnar the champion this long? Will they pull the trigger on Roman Reigns? Will Sting wrestle? Where does this leave stalwarts like Triple H and John Cena? Will they both slum it in the mid-card again?

As of early September, this is where I think it will all shake out…

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
WWE Network Kick-Off Match

Bad booking on the follow through for Cesaro really hurt the potential for this to be a star-making event, similar to King of the Ring. This one could have a lot of pretty big names including Kofi Kingston, Big E, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Damian Sandow, Bad New Barrett, The Usos, fresh-face rookie Sami Zayn and my pick for winner, Bo Dallas. Just imagine how awesome he would be in bragging about this big win?

Lights, fireworks, GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!! 

Dean Ambrose vs. Randy Orton

Ambrose seems like he’s made an enemy for life with the Authority, so this match makes logical sense. Sure I would love to see him face Triple H, but I have him slotted in later. These two could easily have a great star-making match for Ambrose, just like Orton gave Reigns back in Summerslam. Plus, these two are both over enough to pop the crowd early on. Ambrose should get a win here to start a big theme here, and to start the show off right.

Cody Rhodes vs. Goldust
Career Match

As much as a I love Stardust, I think that Cody has more potential playing the smarmy heel that he had perfected before his face turn a year and a bit ago. It’s simple, Stardust turns on Goldust and somehow goes back to reality, claiming that he was faking it for his brother, but now he’s back to caring about himself and nobody else. Have Cody get the win and end his big brother’s career.

Sheamus vs. Kane

This match seemed like it was supposed to happen last year at Wrestlemania, but things got changed around, of course. Since we have a ton of big matches on the card, this one sets up well to be a quick squash, just like Sheamus over Bryan at Wrestlemania XXVIII, but less terrible. Plus, a quick face squash would help bring the crowd back up after Goldust’s farewell.

Daniel Bryan vs. Seth Rollins

To be honest, I wasn’t sure where to put each guy, so it seemed like a logical place for the two to go together. Add in the fact that when Bryan returns, he should be in the title picture, and of course so will Mr. Money in the Bank. Plus, the match would be nothing short of fantastic. As much as I would love to see D-Bry win, I think that Rollins needs the win to continue the theme for the evening.

Cesaro, Mark Henry and The Big Show vs. The Wyatt Family
Six-Man Tag Team Match for the WWE Tag Team Titles and the US Title

I think that Cesaro will get an extended run with the US belt, to help reestablish him after spinning his wheels for a few months. Plus, giving him some gold heading into Mania, helps establish the Andre the Giant Battle Royal a bit more. Show and Henry as Tag Team Champions seems like destiny soon, doesn’t it? Maybe after The Dusts hold the gold for a bit in between of course. I love the idea of a match were all the belts are on the line, and I think that this could be a fun match. Of course, the Wyatts would need to win and celebrate with all of their belts, sort of like The Shield did lat year, but have it as a Wrestlemania moment.

AJ Lee vs. Stephanie McMahon
Divas Title Match

This may seem like a stretch, but tell me this wouldn’t make some money? AJ Lee was awesome in her stare-down with Stephanie this past week, so why not lead it to its logical conclusion? AJ could play an Austinesque anti-authority face (or Punkesque?) against the boss. It would be pretty cathartic to see Stephanie tap out to the Black Widow.

Triple H vs. Sting

If Sting is wrestling and The Undertaker is indeed retired, this is the match that pretty much has to happen, isn’t it? Triple H can still go in the ring and would probably help cover up a lot of what Sting lacks at his age. Sting should win, given that it’s his home state and all.

John Cena (w/ Hulk Hogan) vs. Rusev

Don’t look so shocked. It makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? I really struggled with putting Cena in a match here. I mean, who are the top heels at the moment: Triple H, Lesnar, Orton, Wyatt, Rollins, Kane…absolutely none of these seem like fresh matches, especially since Cena-Rollins has happened a half-dozen or so times on free TV this year, and the others are all total retreads. There is of course the option for a face matchup against Bryan, Reigns, or Sting, but this match just makes more sense, doesn’t it? Rusev has been one of the best booked monsters in recent years, and John “The Marine” Cena seems like such a logical opponent for him. Throw Hogan in the corner and we can get ourselves a very patriotic moment when Cena wins after some interference of some sort by Hogan, that helps keep the Bulgarian Russian strong going forward.

Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns
WWE Heavyweight Title Match

This match seems like destiny, doesn’t it? The booking is simple as hell, isn’t it? Reigns wins the Rumble, comes in as an unstoppable force against the immovable object, a few spears later and Reigns gets the big win and we are at the dawn of a new era.

 

So there we have the three former members of The Shield, all getting big wins at the big stage, moving them all to 3-0 at the Big Event. If they are patient enough to wait another year or two after, we could have Ambrose vs. Rollins vs. Reigns, where all three are 4-0 (or more) as a Wrestlemania Main Event.

Aug 15

WWE Summerslam: What SHOULD Happen vs. What WILL Happen

Probably the least intimidating photo of the most intimidating human on earth – Photo from Wikimedia

After taking two months and aproximately 17 Pay-Per-Views WWE Network Events for only $9.99 a month off, the SHOULDS vs. WILLS return to look at a very intriguing event.

We’ve already looked at the various possibilities of Cena-Lesnar, but that’s not the only match that’s worth considering here. Can Stephanie do it again in the ring, 13 years after her unexpected classic with Trish? How will Roman Reigns do in his first singles match on Pay-Per-View? Will Jericho and Wyatt rebound after a disappointing finish last month? Can Swagger finally break through? Will Ziggler and The Miz get bumped to the pre-show?

So many questions to be answered, all well worth considering going into the biggest event of the summer. Let’s get too err. As always match orders are what they SHOULD be.

Impromptu Match/Segment
 WWE Network KickOff Match

 

What SHOULD Happen: As of right now (before Smackdown aired but after it was taped), no match has been bumped to the Pre-Show just yet, so I’m holding out hope that we will get a different match, hopefully featuring the tag team division. Instead of a straight up tag match let’s have an eight-man tag featuring The Usos, Goldust & Stardust vs. Rybaxxel, Rowan & Harper which ends when Goldust gets the win for his team. In the celebration, Stardust grabs the tag title belts and says “I found it! I found the Cosmic Key!” and runs off with the belts, setting up a tag team feud for next month.

What WILL Happen: Either Miz-Ziggler or AJ-Paige gets bumped to the pre-show.

Match #1

The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler

WWE Intercontinental Title Match

 What SHOULD Happen: Give these guys 10-15 minutes to put on a great match to kick start the PPV properly, which we know they can have. The Miz just won the belt last month, and is in the midst of a gimmick change so let’s have him win by nefarious means to set up a rematch, or possible multi-man match involving these two and others at Night of Champions.

What WILL Happen: This is so getting bumped to the pre-show, we know that right? The Miz is winning, and this little feud will be forgotten about in no time I’m sure.

Match #2

Jack Swagger vs. Rusev

Flag Match

What SHOULD Happen: I’ve kind of liked Swagger as a face, and I’m surprised because of how unlikable this guy seems. If they really want to establish him as a big time face, the route is simple: Hulk Hogan. Have Swagger about to the flag only for Lana to grab his foot while Rusev recovers and grabs a chair. He starts assaulting Swagger with the chair when Real American hit and Hogan runs down, unannounced, and chases Lana off while Rusev drops the chair. Swagger picks the chair up, hits Rusev, then gets the flag. Swagger, Zeb, and Hogan pose and wave ol’ glory in a feel good moment. Lana can claim that Swagger only won because of outside help and we can have a final blowoff match in the next few months between the two, which Rusev can win and both men can move on to bigger and better things.

What WILL Happen: I have a bad feeling that Coulter is going to turn on Swagger, I just hope it’s not here and now. I think that we are going to get some weird screwball finish where Rusev wins but doesn’t look too strong in the process.

Impromptu Match/Segment #1

What SHOULD Happen: Goldust and Stardust run from The Usos in some whacky hijinks and talk about the Cosmic Key (the tag titles)

What WILL Happen: John Cena goes all Denzel on Brock. 

Match #3

Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt

Rowan and Harper banned from ringside

What SHOULD Happen: I just don’t understand why Jericho got the win last month. This feud seems like it’s been booked backwards. Logically, we should have had Bray Wyatt win on account of the numbers game, Jericho get those two wins to make this a straight one-on-one encounter where he wins, setting up the rubber match later on. Seems simple right? Instead, here we are, Jericho overcame the odds last time and won, and now he has Wyatt in a straight one-on-one match, but why? He beat him despite help last time so shouldn’t this be easy? Bray Wyatt should win this one clean as a whistle, setting up a gimmick match later on where Bray wins again and carts Jericho off like he did to Kane last year.

What WILL Happen: This just reeks of a screwjob doesn’t it? Maybe the lights will go off and Wyatt will win anyway, or maybe some new guy will debut as the newest member of the Wyatt Family. But Wyatt will win this one via nefarious means.

Match #4

Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton

What SHOULD Happen: Can you believe that this is Roman Reigns’ first singles match on PPV? Kind of shocking, isn’t it? The company has done a very good job of protecting their heir apparent and now is their time to have him put up or shut up. Not only should Reigns win, but he should look like a world beater in the process. Have some failed interference from Kane and any other member of The Authority that still ends with the big guy standing tall.

What WILL Happen: Probably just that.

Match #5

AJ Lee vs. Paige

WWE Diva’s Title Match

 What SHOULD Happen: Tough call here, isn’t it? On one hand AJ has not had the title for too long, but on the other hand, Paige is fresh off a heel turn and just lost twice last month. This match is just begging for a DQ finish that makes Paige look strong (and crazy) to set up her title win next month at Night of Champions.

What WILL Happen: I think we’ll see a title change here, so let’s go with a Paige victory.

Match #6

Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins

Lumberjack Match

What SHOULD Happen: Why did Ambrose pick a Lumberjack Match exactly? Wouldn’t a cage match or something be more logical given the story and Ambrose being a psychopath? Curtis Axel and Ryback (working as lumberjacks) distract the refs long enough to allow a briefcase shot from Rollins, giving him the win and keeping him strong. Hopefully these two can have a match inside the Hell in a Cell come October, I mean, why the heck not?

What WILL Happen: Probably the same as above, but without the Cell match.

Match #7

Brie Bella vs. Stephanie McMahon

What SHOULD Happen: Can you believe that this main evented two straight RAWs? I know Cena and Lesnar were not on those shows, but come on, Reigns was right there…anyway, Brie should win this one clean as a whistle and move on.

What WILL Happen: This is definitely going to be overbooked, chances are Triple H will distract Brie long enough for Steph to get a cheap win. I can totally see Steph/Triple H vs. Brie/Bryan sometime in the not so distant future.

Match #8

John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar

WWE Title Match

What SHOULD Happen: As mentioned previously, Lesnar should win here, clean as a whistle and look hella strong until Wrestlemania, when Roman Reigns beats him for his big moment.

What WILL Happen: Probably the same, I think that Brock is going to win and serve as an advertisement for the Network (only $9.99/month!!!) by appearing rarely for free on Raw and Smackdown.

 

All of this SHOULD Lead to the following Night of Champions card:

  • Vacant WWE Title: Cena vs. Cesaro
  • IC Title: The Miz vs. Ziggler
  • US Title: Sheamus vs. Rusev vs. Swagger
  • Tag Title: The Usos vs. Goldust and Stardust
  • No DQ Diva’s Title Match: AJ vs. Paige
  • Steel Cage Match: Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt
  • Ambrose and Reigns vs. Rollins and Orton
Aug 13

What if Brock Wins?

Welcome back after a looooooonnnngggg hiatus to Bladejobs of Steel. In this Season Premiere edition, we will look at the incredibly engaging main event for this Sunday’s pay-per-view, John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar. More specifically, what exactly is going to happen if Brock Lesnar, a part-timer, wins the WWE World Heavyweight Title. What is going to happen?

Option 1: He has a Short Run

This is the least interesting option I think. Lesnar could win, hold the belt for a month to drive up subscriptions for the Network in the fall, and then drop the belt either back to Cena or on to someone else in September at Night of Champions, then he disappears for another few months, the end.

But that seems rushed, doesn’t it? I mean that’s as crazy as having someone win the belt, leave, and return only two weeks later, and that would never happen, right?

…ohhh, right, that…

Option 2: He Wrestles More

For a monster like Brock, conventional wisdom, would give him a long title reign, possibly all the way to Wrestlemania, in order to build up a new guy like Roman Reigns to take him down at the big event. But that leaves a pretty clear problem.

Since Brock returned in March 2012, he has only wrestled 3 matches a year, ending the year at Wrestlemania. Since Wrestlemania XXX, this would be his first match and if we assume that he will wrestle at Wrestlemania XXXI, that only leaves one more match. Yet between Summerslam and Wrestlemania, we have seven events, which the champion should wrestle at.

Is there a possibility that Brock restructured his deal in order to work more matches? I suppose he wouldn’t have to work every event, as we could clearly have some events without a title match, but it seems like he should work at least four or five of the seven, right? I don’t know how much that would cost Vince, but damn would it ever be awesome if they made that happen.

Option 3: Split the Titles

Remember 12 years ago. Brock Lesnar was challenging the companies biggest cross-over star for the top title, which had just been unified the previous December. After he won, the title was split in two, with Brock Lesnar carrying one title and a new one, represented by the Big Gold Belt, was created.

Any of that sound familiar? Or likely?

There’s definitely the possibility that the company uses this as an excuse to de-unify the titles. Brock takes one with him, and maybe defends it once or twice, and a new “World Champion” gets crowned. Of course we can have a unification match later on, maybe at the Royal Rumble, and then the build to Mania gets kicked into high gear. Or maybe just stick to two separate titles, which worked just fine for 11 years.

Option 4: The Autumn of Brock

Back in 2011, Punk won the title and “left the WWE” so the company crowned a new champion in John Cena. Punk later returned and we ended up with a match to determine once and for all, who was the real WWE Champion. This plays out similar to Option 3, but without the extra belt being added around.

What option do I like?

Lesnar beats Cena, clean as a whistle. The next night on RAW, Heyman says that Brock Lesnar will take a break and defend the title “Whenever he damn well pleases” and leaves with both belts. Triple H sets up a tournament to crown a new champion, with the finals being at (fittingly) Night of Champions. Cena makes it to the finals to face, shockingly, Cesaro, who gets some upset wins over say Roman Reigns and Chris Jericho. In the finals, it looks like Cena will win and out comes Lesnar, he hits the F-5, Cesaro gets the win. Heyman, Cesaro, and Lesnar celebrate and Heyman and Cesaro reveal that they never took a break, it was all part of the plan. The next month, Lesnar defends his title against Cena at Hell in a Cell and Cesaro defends against another main event face, like Sheamus for a few months. Brock disappears for a while and Cesaro defends against a few other faces for a while until Daniel Bryan comes back and beats Cesaro for the title. At the Rumble we get the title unification match between Lesnar and Bryan, which Lesnar wins. Reigns wins the Rumble, challenges Brock at Mania and ta-da, new super star.

…or we could just have Cena win and make the Streak End for nothing, right?

Jun 04

Stanley Cup Final Predictions

This is easy right? The Kings are going to slaughter the Rangers…let’s say the Rags get one emotional win at home courtesy of Henrik Lundqvist and the rest go to the Kings. Why are we even talking about this? Honestly, this has 2002 written all over it when we had the Hurricanes somehow survive the cesspool that was the East in order to face the winner of the seven game war between the Red Wings and Avalanche, which felt like the real Stanley Cup Final. Seems familiar?

Remember when Realignment was first proposed, they wanted the Final Four to be reseeded? That would have given us the awesome matchups of Chicago-New York and LA-Montreal, and more importantly: Chicago-LA in the Final to determine the true champion of the league, instead we get this.

Honestly and truly, I just don’t see how the Rangers win more than one game here. All Hail the Kings, the closest we have to a Dynasty in the Salary Cap era!

May 17

Conference Finals Predictions

One of my first hockey memories was the magical spring of 1993. In the second round a New York based team upset a heavily favoured Pittsburgh Penguins squad, which gave the Montreal Canadiens a much easier time in the Conference Finals. Meanwhile out West in the Campbell’s, the LA Kings robed us of an Original Six finals. The next year the playoff format switched and divisional playoffs were removed in place of a Conference based set up which lasted until 2013.

Here we are, the first year back to divisional playoffs, and we may just have the same thing happen again. How bizarre is that? But I’m getting ahead of myself, we have some series to preview.

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Los Angeles Kings

Get used to this. For the second year in a row we get a match of probably the two best playoff teams in the league. If this was a matchup for the Cup, I’d be damned excited. As magical as the Kings have been this year I think that their luck will run out. They went through two seven game wars to get here, and I just don’t think that they have it in them again, not against these guys. The Hawks have been my Cup pick all year, and other than two games against St. Louis, I’ve felt confident in this.

Prediction: Hawks in 6.

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

Montreal Canadiens vs. New York Rangers

Man I want the Habs to win this one, really I do. They have been playing so well this post season, even outplaying the Bruins in some of their losses. The Rangers on the other hand have been really inconsistent in their 14 games looking like either world beaters or scrubs. I know I was against the Kings and their seven game series but these guys feel different. At the start of the season, I predicted Hawks-Rangers in the Final so I can’t go back now, even though I really hope I’m wrong.

Prediction: Rangers in 7.

May 04

WWE Extreme Rules: What SHOULD Happen vs. What WILL Happen

Oh right, he’s here too – Photo courtesy of WikiMedia

Greetings and welcome back to the SHOULD vs. WILL. This month and the WWE Pay-Per-View Special Event, we look at Extreme Rules, which is oddly features only one Wrestlemania Rematch. The focus of this card has been the dream match of Evolution vs. The Shield, which should be an absolute ton of fun. Every time The Shield steps into the ring of a six-man tag match, they have delivered and I expect this to be no different. We have three huge names with great track records for delivering on the other side. I’m kind of disappointed that this doesn’t have some kind of crazy stipulation attached, but maybe that will be added in to a later event. Meanwhile the consequence of putting your top three heels in one match, and it leaves the top face facing against someone who was squashed at the last event. While it’s been fun to see Kane put on the mask again, it seems a little strange to have Daniel Bryan face someone so low on the totem poll. But it’s probably ok, so long as it’s a short feud. But enough of this rambling, let’s get to it! As always, matches are in the order that they SHOULD happen.

El Torito vs. Hornswoggle Wee-LC KickOff Match

What SHOULD Happen: This match should be cancelled and we get The Usos vs. Rybaxel in it’s place. Wait that’s not an option? Alright, El Torito so we never have to speak of this again. What WILL Happen: El Torito is winning this one for sure.

Cesaro vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Jack Swagger Triple Threat Elimination Match

What SHOULD Happen: This match should be a ton of fun, and the elimination stipulation makes it even more interesting. I hope that they get 15 or so minutes and can really tell a story. Let’s have Cesaro swing Swagger out of this match and be able to defeat RVD after some Heyman-terference. I think that Swagger could benefit a lot from a new partner and a feud with The Usos, while Cesaro and RVD have a big one-on-one match next month before moving on. What WILL Happen: Cesaro is winning for sure here, hopefully it’s the start of something good.

Big E vs. Bad News Barrett Intercontinental Title Match

What SHOULD Happen: Call me crazy, but I have high hope for this match. Both guys have a very good brawling style, and it’s kind of a shame that this match doesn’t have a stipulation. But I guess there is always next month. Big E hasn’t done a ton with the title since he won it, sadly, so let’s give Barrett yet another go with that belt here. They can have a No DQ blow off next month. What WILL Happen: I actually think that may just happen…

Alexander Rusev vs. R-Truth and Xavier Woods Handicap Match

What SHOULD Happen: I had high hopes for Xavier Woods once. Rusev is going to win here and pretty cleanly I think. After he wins, let’s have Big Show come out and tell him to pick on someone his own size, setting up a match between the two next month. What WILL Happen: Rusev is going to win, and Truth or Consequences are going to be forgotten again.

John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt Steel Cage Match

What SHOULD Happen: Their match last month was legitimately amazing, and I think that the cage will make it even better. I think that Wyatt SHOULD have gone over last month, so he really SHOULD go over here, setting up a rubber match next month, possibly in a Three Stages of Hell match or something of the like. What WILL Happen: Man, I’ve got to stop predicting things so well…

Impromptu Match/Segment #1

 What SHOULD Happen: Triple H is backstage talking to the ten thousand heels that have helped him in the last week. He thanks them for his help but before he can get to tonights match, Batista interrupts him and says that they don’t need any help, Evolution has got this.

What WILL Happen: Bolieve…

The Shield vs. Evolution

What SHOULD Happen: As strange as it is, I think that Evolution should win here to extend the feud. They can split up a bit and go their own way before setting up a War Games match in July at Battleground. I mean, the name really sets it up. As The Shield is about to win, we can have Ric Flair distract the ref allowing for Alberto Del Rio (one of those heels from earlier) to sneak it and nail Dean Ambrose with a chair, allowing Evolution to pick up the W. Next month, we can have Orton get his rematch against D-Bry, Batista take some time off to promote his movie, and Triple H go back to scheming for now.

What WILL Happen: As much as I want an extended feud here, I could really, really see The Shield winning and Batista turning face to promote his movie. Yeah let’s go with that…

Paige vs. Tamina Diva’s Title Match

What SHOULD Happen: Paige wins, looks great and kills time until AJ returns. What WILL Happen: Yup.

Impromptu Match/Segment #2

 What SHOULD Happen: Del Rio jumps Ambrose backstage and runs off with his belt.

What WILL Happen: Stephanie McMahon speaks.

Daniel Bryan vs. Kane Extreme Rules Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Title

What SHOULD Happen: Daniel Bryan wins, decisively and cleanly. The show goes off the air with YES chanting loud and clear. What WILL Happen: Bryan wins, but I doubt that this will close the show. Looking at all of this, I think that the Payback in June SHOULD look like this:

  • WWE Title Match: Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton
  • Three Stages of Hell Match: John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
  • Roman Reigns vs. Kane
  • US Title Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Alberto Del Rio
  • Alexander Rusev vs. Big Show
  • No DQ Match: Bad News Barrett vs. Big E
  • Paige defends the Diva’s Title Against Somebody else
  • Tag Title Match: The Usos vs. Rybaxel
May 01

Second Round Playoff Predictions

If I could describe the first round in one word it would be batshit-insane-super-hella-mega-awesome!!! Seriously, what the hell happened? We had blowouts, comebacks, overtimes, and some truly memorable performances. Really, the only series that didn’t deliver some kind of magic were Montreal-Tampa and Boston-Detroit, but that’s just because they were both appetizers to the 34th edition of the greatest rivalry in the sport. Not too bad, eh?

The second round, which is usually the dull round, features the aforementioned historical grudge match, the first playoff meeting between two cross-town rivals, a rematch of a first round series from last year, and the best offensive player in the league playing the best goalie. Really, if you don’t think that the league got it more right than wrong with the playoff format, you’re clearly not paying attention.

But enough jibba jabba let’s get to it.

CENTRAL DIVISION

#3 Chicago Blackhawks vs. #4 Minnesota Wild

Last year I dubbed their first round series as the “Midwest Massacre”. While the Wild put in more of an effort than I expected, I still don’t see this going any other way. The Wild should be proud of the fact that they won the first round, it’s a great step for the Coyle’s and Granlund’s of this team. But with Bryz and Kuemper as your goaltending battery, I don’t see this going well for the Wild Card squad.

Prediction: Blackhawks in 5.

PACIFIC DIVISION

#1 Anaheim Ducks vs. #3 Los Angeles Kings

Oddly, this is the first playoff meeting between these two cross-town rivals — thank you new playoff format! Despite the regular season standings, I don’t see this being close at all. The Kings are build for the playoffs, just ask the Sharks. Now that Kopitar, Richards, Quick et al. are rolling, I don’t see anything short of a miracle stopping them here. I don’t see this one being close either.

Prediction: Kings in 5.

METROPOLITAN DIVISION

#1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #2 New York Rangers

Call me crazy, but I think that this may just be the Eastern Conference’s next great rivalry. Both teams have had rivalries with the Flyers and Capitals in recent years, but the Caps are a mess and the Flyers look destined to be a bubble team for the near future, and unless the Blue Jackets or Islanders decide to jump forward, it looks like these two may have several second round series in the next few years. On paper, the Penguins really should win this one, but their lack of depth will be apparent against the Rangers grinders and elite defence pairings. Expect McDonagh and Girardi to really get to know Crosby and Malkin over the next few weeks. Like many series, I expect this to come down to goaltending, which may be the biggest mismatch imaginable.

Prediction: Rangers in 6

ATLANTIC DIVISION

#1 Boston Bruins vs. #3 Montreal Canadiens

How awesome is this series going to be? These two teams are in their 34th instalment and it’s hard not to be excited. Both teams looked absolutely fantastic in the first round, and I really feel like the new playoff format is robbing us of a chance to see these two meet with a trip to the finals on the line. Having said all that, we know that the Bruins are winning, right? I mean they are as close to a perfect team as there is. Their three-headed defensive monster of Chara, Bergeron, and Raask will probably all win awards for being the best in the world at what they do. I could see the Ghosts of the Forum winning a few for Montreal to keep things interesting, but these are the Bruins, come on.

Prediction: Boton in 7.

Apr 30

How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Start Loving the NHL Playoff Format

The NHL got it right.

Does it feel weird to read that? Because it sure feels weird to write that.

This year the NHL tried a new playoff format, which is sort of a rehash of the old Smythe-Norris-Adams-Patrick Divisional playoffs, henceforth referred to as SNAP. To make things fair for teams in good divisions, they added the Wild Card, which really is fair despite some weird potential that we will get into later.

The haters who hate this format look at the Western Conference and raise an obvious complaint. Arguably the four true Cup contenders in the left half of the league are all matched up against one another. We’ve already see the Blues choke against the Hawks, and we may just see the Sharks choke even more against the Kings. So clearly the system is wrong, right?

Not so fast, had they gone for a 1-8 playoff the Western Conference would have given us the following series: Anaheim-Dallas, Colorado-Minnesota, St. Louis-Los Angeles, and San Jose-Chicago. If it looks familiar, then you’re paying attention. Half of the series are the exact same, while the other two just have the lower seeds swapped around. So no matter what we would end up with two of the “Big Four” out West golfing early. Just shows what happens when the St. Louis Blues take the last ten days of the regular season off.

Coincidentally out East we would end up with the same thing in a 1-8 system. Boston-Detroit, Pittsburgh-Columbus, Tampa Bay-Philadelphia, Montreal-New York Rangers. So it’s the same deal, half of the series are the same.

I don’t know how any sane person could look at the differences that a 1-8 format would get us and say it’s for the better. Sure the Kings have eliminated the Blues from the playoffs the last two years, but how on earth can that compare to the hatred they must feel for their closest geographic rival in the Blackhawks? How awesome has this Sharks-Kings series been? The Battle of California Round 1 has been great and will be great for the good of the game.

Sure Montreal-Tampa was a dud, but that’s the consequences of going with history over geography in your divisional alignments. Remember, they should have swapped the two Florida teams for Columbus and Pittsburgh, but man, oh man would that make the Metropolitan Division terrible.

Anyone who says we should go 1-16 should get slapped, I mean it. This year if we went straight 1-16, no divisional seeding we would get the following matchups in Round 1:

  • Boston – Dallas
  • Anaheim – Detroit
  • Colorado – Columbus
  • St. Louis – Philadelphia
  • San Jose – New York Rangers
  • Pittsburgh – Minnesota
  • Chicago – Los Angeles
  • Tampa Bay – Montreal

Sign me up for Colorado-Columbus!!! What’s that you see second to the bottom? Why it’s two Cup contenders matched up in the first round, just like we have here in the real world. Add in the fact that none of the series have any hatred in them what so ever. More to the point, there are two series pitting a team in the Eastern Time Zone against a team in the Pacific Time Zone, not exactly ideal for television.

The only complaint I have with the current system is the potential for a double Wild Card crossover. If the Columbus Blue Jackets had one less point then we would have seen this. The Red Wings, a team in the Atlantic would have to play the Penguins, the division leader in the Metropolitan, while the Blue Jackets, a team in the Metropolitan would have to play the Bruins, the division leader in the Atlantic. While this is fair in the truest sense, it sort of flies in the face of the idea of having strong divisional rivalries.

I think the very small change of having teams only cross-over when the fifth seed in one division has more points than the fourth seed in the other, like the Dallas Stars have done. This is much more of an issue out West where travel is far more of an issue than for the Eastern teams, but still it should be considered.

And really, how can anyone hate a format that’s given us a first round this compelling? With Boston-Montreal as the only second round series scheduled, I think we wont’ have much to complain about next round…

Apr 16

Western Conference Playoff Predictions

Welcome to the second half of the Predictacular! Here’s we’ll look at the more interesting Conference. Due to a fluke of the new playoff format we somehow or another end up with the four best teams on paper facing off against one another in both 2-3 series. Meanwhile, the 1-4 series each feature the best Cinderella teams outside of Columbus, although one of them oddly ended up in the number 1 seed. The West has historically been the more unpredictable of the two Conferences, last years Blackhawks being a big exception of course, so we should be in for quite the ride.

CENTRAL DIVISION

#1 Colorado Avalanche vs. #4 Minnesota Wild

How lucky were the Avs here? It looked like they were destined for a first round matchup mauling by the Blackhawks, but a few losses by the Blues later and they are able jump into the Division lead, which should pretty much cement Patrick Roy’s Jack Adams hopes and make it so that all four Western Conference playoff series feature matchups between teams that shared divisions last year, and two of the three teams without an s facing off..

This series seems ripe for an upset, given that the Wild got some playoff seasoning last year and the Avs were busy drafting Nathan MacKinnon instead. However, the big question question for the Wild is between the pipes. They have had at least four “starting goalies” this year and were able to ride the hot hand of Ilya Bryzgalov into the playoffs. I can’t say I would feel too confident in Mr. Universe facing the Avs scoring talent. I think that this will be a close one, but I see the kids coming out on top here.

Avalanche in 7.

#2 St. Louis Blues vs. #3 Chicago Blackhawks

How awesome will this series be? Honestly? These two teams are legit Cup contenders and I truly wish that these two teams were playing in the final, let alone the first round. The Hawks looked average at times this season, but I think that they will turn it on. The Blues meanwhile, should be very motivated after losing early last year, but I see them being the victims of this playoff format, just like the Flames and Jets were in the 80s.

Blackhawks in 6.

PACIFIC DIVISION

 #1 Anaheim Ducks vs. #4 Dallas Stars

The true battle of one line teams! Do you take Perry and Getzlaf or Seguin and Benn?

There’s an upset every year and I see no reason why this can’t be it. The Stars have been playing really well down the stretch, Kari Lehtonen has the potential to steal a few games, and Jamie Benn has Ryan Kesler 2011 written all over him.

Stars in 7.

#2 San Jose Sharks vs. #3 Los Angeles Kings

The main event here, the most interesting series of the first round. Honestly, you could really make a case that these are the two best teams in the league, and sadly only one gets to move on. Up until a week ago I was ready to take the Sharks, the emergence of Joe Pavelski really makes this a different team, but down the stretch Niemi has not been great and well, Jonathan Quick is Jonathan Quick, especially in the playoffs. I hope that this series goes long so that we can all win.

Kings in 7.

That would leave the Kings and the Hawks both making short work of their upstart rivals in the second round to set up a Western Final rematch of last year. Speaking of rematches, I think that the Hawks will move on yet again to get a rematch with the Bruins in the finals, and history shall repeat itself with the Hawks winning in six once more.