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.

Apr 16

Eastern Conference Playoff Predictions

Well the most wonderful time of the year is finally here! The NHL Playoffs are finally upon us. Today we’ll look at the East. The first part of this season saw two heavyweights come out in the East in Boston and Pittsburgh. For a while it looked like the rest of the conference was a joke, but after Detroit, New York, and Philly all turned around things got a bit more interesting. Add in the fact that the Habs proved last year wasn’t a fluke, the Lightning look to prove that they are for real, and of course there are the Cinderella Blue Jackets. All in all, the eight teams in the East are all pretty interesting going forward.

ATLANTIC DIVISION

#1 Boston Bruins vs. #4 Detroit Red Wings

Come down the stretch we really saw the Wings are flying high…see what I did there? Out of all four Wild Card teams, the Red Wings are clearly the strongest, especially as all of their injured pieces start to return and this team can really start to fire on all cylinders (…you know…Detroit…cylinders…how funny is that?), but sadly they run into a near perfect hockey team. Honestly, find a flaw in the Boston Bruins, I dare you. Sure they lack a Sidney Crosby/Alex Ovechkin type up front, but they still managed to score the second most goals in the league this year, while allowing the second least. Sorry Wings, 23 straight years is impressive and all, but get ready for another year of one and done, should be a good series though.

Bruins in 6.

#2 Tampa Bay Lightning vs. #3 Montreal Canadiens

Man these two teams have been incredibly even all year, haven’t they? They enter the playoffs with near identical records backed by very good coaches, explosive forwards and phenomenal goaltending. Sadly for the Lightning though, they goalie is hurt and nobody knows when he’ll be back. Even if he does return, I don’t see him playing at 100% which he would need to be in order to try and match Price.

Montreal in 5.

METROPOLITAN DIVISION

#1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #4 Columbus Blue Jackets

This is what the Penguins have been playing for isn’t it? Marc-Andre Fleury has had a very good year, but quite frankly that doesn’t matter anymore. Lucky for him, they drew the Jackets instead of the Wings in the first round. The CBJ’s story for the last 16 months or so has been nothing short of amazing and I think that it’ll culminate in their first ever playoff win. But the clock strikes 12 on all Cinderellas.

Penguins in 5

#2 New York Rangers vs. #3 Philadelphia Flyers

I can’t wait to see how intense this series is! This should easily be the most intense series in the East (making it as violent as the least intense series in the West). Both teams overcame early struggles to prove to be quite good. While Claude Giroux has been quite outstanding, and may just get nominated for the Hart, I just don’t think it’ll be enough to beat King Henrik. With all respect to Rask, he is still the best goalie on the planet and I see the Rangers winning this one.

Rangers in 6.

 

So in terms of the rest of the Right-Half of the bracket, I think that we’ll see the Bruins beat the Habs in 6, followed by the Rangers upending the Pens, giving us the greatest goaltending matchup imaginable. Despite even matchup in net, the team out front in Boston is just too good. The Bruins make their third trip to the finals in four years to face…

Tune in tomorrow to find out.

Apr 11

Wrestlemania XXXI: Predicting the Card One Year in Advance

Seriously, how amazing was Wrestlemania this year? Sure Brock beating The Streak was a shock and a half, but hot damn was it ever a bold, and probably smart move. The rest of the show was fantastic and really represented a changing of the guard in the WWE, very similar to Wrestlemania X and XXI in that sense. I’ll provide some more detailed thoughts soon, but before we get to that let’s start some rough predictions for what next year’s card will in fact look like…

Bo Dallas vs. Big E
Kick-Off Match for the Intercontinental Title

Bo Dallas is coming back up to the big leagues soon, and I really hope that they keep up his “Bolievers” gimmick. It’s perfect as a heel, and he would be great to be a trash talking midcard champion for several months. These two feuded for the NXT Title so there’s a nice bit of symmetry here.

Lights, fireworks, GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!

Sheamus vs. Cesaro

Sure these two have had some matches before, but never a good long, extended program. Let these two have their chances with the big stage and nobody will be disappointed. It would be a fun, stiff match to get the crowd pumped, especially if Sheamus Brogue Kicks Paul Heyman at some point.

Cody Rhodes vs. Goldust
Career Match

Every year this match gets bandied about, hopefully it can finally happen next year. Let them have a big blood feud where Cody turns heel and runs his brother out of town, ta-da instant megastar.

Dolph Ziggler and The Miz vs. Big Show and Rey Mysterio
Tag Team Title Match

I keep hearing some rumours about a Ziggler-Miz “Angry Men” duo forming soon and to me that just sounds perfect. They are both former world champions who have fallen from grace in recent years but a good run as tag team champions could really help revitalize both men. I like the short tag team of Show and Mysterio last year so let’s get them reunited. Maybe we could finally get the company to break that mask record that they keep talking about. If Big Show wrestles as a luchardore, it’s so worth it. Plus getting everyone to put on a mask is a great move to cool the crowd off after the emotional Goldust lose.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

This sounds like it will be a regular thing which is fine by me. The big names I have in here include: Jack Swagger, Kane, Kofi Kingston, Fandango, Damien Sandow, Mark Henry, R-Truth, The Usos, and my personal pick for winner, Sami Zayn. The former El Generico has limitless potential and it would be awesome to see him get a huge win here.

Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins

This match has to happen at some point soon, doesn’t it? I really, really hope that they can stretch this out for a full year until they finally dissolve and give us a hell of a match.

Batista vs. Bray Wyatt
No DQ Match

You know that Batista is not going to be a heel once Guardians of the Galaxy comes out, right? Wyatt could do an awesome series of promos on a vapid movie star who calls himself “The Animal”. The match may not be great, so adding a No DQ stipulation to cover both mens in-ring flaws would help a lot I think.

AJ Lee vs. Paige vs. Emma vs. Summer Rae
Divas Title Match

The Divas need to be on TV, these are the best of them, four in a match is much, much better than fourteen.

John Cena and Sting vs. Triple H and Randy Orton
Match for Control of the Company

Sting and Undertaker are not having a match, Cena and Undertaker are not having a match. Taker is done through and through. Apparently Sting will be brought in as a General Manager, so obviously he would have some sort of conflict with Triple H and sadly, I don’t think that Sting has enough gas left in the tank for a big one-on-one match, even against someone as talented as Triple H. So let’s make it a tag match featuring four huge stars from three different eras. I think that this match could really, really draw and be a lot of fun.

Brock Lesnar vs. Daniel Bryan
WWE World Title Match

This match pretty much has to happen right? The two men who had the biggest Wrestlemania XXX get a chance to define a decade of Wrestlemanias. I think that Lesnar somehow winning the World Title and threatening to leave with it is all kinds of awesome. Sure it’s similar to the CM Punk or AJ Styles story, but hot damn would it ever make for some great promos and a fun build. You want to talk about ultimate underdog? Well here’s a great change to really show off D-Bry as a hero.