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RAW is HD/Rumble Predictions
By RAUL SMITH, MOP Squad Sports Staff Writer
Jan 22, 2008 - 1:21:49 AM

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You could say that yesterday was a day mixed with emotions all across the board.   Royal Rumble is less than a week away. As I’ve said before in a previous column, I won’t shell out money to WWE PPVs very often, but one PPV that I will shell money out for should I actually have said money is the Royal Rumble. Also, as a football fan, football season is coming to an end. On top of that, you have these ridiculously-massive snowstorms plowing their way through Utah like nobody’s business. How massive, you ask? They’ve been massive enough that I spent three hours yesterday shoveling my driveway. I know, I know…welcome to Utah. Believe me; I’ve lived here for all but six months of my life. I think I know what to expect by now. It’s the people migrating to Utah from California and Mexico that have absolutely no idea what’s going on right now.


Then, of course, you have Martin Luther King Day; a day that is honored by remembering not only the man that was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but also remembering the significance of the impact he has made, whether it be direct or indirect, on American history.


The cherry on top, however, was the big debut of RAW going over to high-definition (HD) television. Now, being a common wrestling columnist, some would probably be surprised as to how someone like myself would get hyped over RAW going to HD.   Truth of the matter is, however, that I do own a high-definition television. Granted, it’s not one of those huge, 48-inch plasma HDTVs, in fact somewhat smaller. In fact, the monitor that I’m typing this column on right this moment is an HDTV that doubles as a computer monitor. It’s a little $600 HDTV, and it may just be the most expensive monitor I’ve ever owned at the same time; best of both worlds. Just in case you’re wondering, 1080i.


So you could say that last night was the perfect storm. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s contributions provided me with the same freedoms and rights as any Caucasian in America (even though I’m Hispanic, I do recognize Dr. King’s contributions as making America equal to everybody) as well as the day off from work yesterday, and RAW was debuting on HD, which I was able to watch. So let me give you my impressions on what I saw last night.


First of all, I absolutely love the new entrance setup. I can’t wait to see how it looks this Friday on Smackdown! It was definitely a good change of pace from the normal, average, vanilla TitanTron setup that we’ve been accustomed to for so long. Although looking at that setup, was it just me or were some of you thinking, “Did they just get done taping Saturday Night’s Main Event before airing this live?”


The Shawn Michaels-Mr. Kennedy match was a perfect way to start the show.   Granted, I know that Shawn Michaels, being in the position he is in, would never want to be considered a regular “curtain-jerker” in the business, but that was the perfect way to introduce WWE RAW in HD.  It was a great way to buildup the rivalry even further; a rivalry I think will carry over all the way to Wrestlemania 24.


Two people that this transition to HD did not do any favors for are Snitsky and Beth Phoenix. Beth Phoenix, the current WWE Women’s Champion, continues to carry on about how she’s the “perfect combination of strength and beauty” when in all reality she’s not that hot. I’m sorry, but (at least in my opinion) she probably ranks, all-time, slightly below Sable (at age 40 or however old she was when she doubled with Torrie Wilson in Playboy) and Ivory, while slightly ahead of Molly Holly. But hey, she’s a much hotter Women’s Champion right now than Awesome Kong; I think we can all agree on that, right?


Meanwhile, Snitsky on HD was pretty much what you’d expect it to be. Dude seriously needs to see a dermatologist. I get that his yellow teeth are prop teeth and aren’t even his real teeth, but is there any kind of makeup or whatnot that makes a dude look that much like a result of nuclear testing?


Meanwhile, the transition to HD did do favors, at least from where I’m sitting, for Maria, who is apparently going to be gracing the pages of Playboy magazine around Wrestlemania time. All I can say to that is, “Thank you, Heff!” Maria in HD was much hotter than normal.


I like that, at least this time, they treated this show as a typical, run-of-the-mill PPV buildup show. You know, the type of RAW that they normally show six days before a PPV event. And hey, they did an excellent job of promoting and hyping the Royal Rumble. Not that they convinced me to purchase or anything because my mind was already made up going in. I will say that I’m surprised that the folks at the USA Network didn’t try to turn this into yet another nostalgia-fest like they’ve already turned two RAW shows in the last six months.


Hey, I’m as big of a nostalgia freak as you can get, and it’s good to see some of the greats of yesterday come back to make another awesome appearance. But two factors work against you if that’s what you depend on for ratings: first, it limits your ability to build up the talent you currently have; and second, in case you haven’t noticed lately, a lot of these older wrestlers are starting to become deceased…at a very alarming rate, no less. I swear, it’s like the list of former wrestling greats being found dead is growing every month.


BTW, was it at all surprising to you not only that Triple H was going to qualify for the Royal Rumble, but eliminate William Regal in the process? I mean, seriously, who didn’t see that one coming?


Speaking of the Royal Rumble, I give to you now my predictions on who could win.   Remember, I’m not having a good batting average when it comes to PPV predictions. (I think I’m batting .350 or something like that.) But seeing that the Royal Rumble usually has a good history of at least staying predictable, I think I can go out on a limb on a few matchups.


WWE Championship Match

Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy

First of all, let me say for the record that every day I see Jeff being pushed as far as he has been lately, I eat crow for it. Not because I wanted to see Jeff fail, but because if you go back to when Jeff was first brought back to WWE and put on RAW, I told everybody that he was going to get absolutely buried underneath the likes of John Cena, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Randy Orton, Edge, and so on. Thankfully, I was wrong. Jeff has not only earned himself a main event program with Orton, but is impressing management with his performances in the process. He’s impressed me so much, that as of this very moment, Jeff Hardy has been taken off the bubble and is now on the Future World Champions list! He, along with Shelton Benjamin, Mr. Kennedy, and Samoa Joe, will one day be wearing mainstream main-event championship gold…


Just not this Sunday.


Winner, and still WWE Champion, Randy Orton!


World Heavyweight Championship Match

Edge vs. Rey Mysterio

I was watching SmackDown! a few weeks ago when Edge decided to assault Rey Mysterio and hold the championship belt to his face, telling him that he can’t beat him. Normally, anytime a heel champion takes his championship, holds it against a face contender’s face, and tells him he’ll never get that championship belt, it’s the ultimate kiss of death for that heel champion. However, Edge never told Rey that he’ll never get the World Heavyweight Championship. All Edge said was that he can’t beat him. There is a slight difference there. And unfortunately, Edge is right.


Winner, and still World Heavyweight Champion, Edge!


Ric Flair vs. MVP

Ric Flair’s going to continue after the Royal Rumble. I have no doubts about that at all. In fact, I would dare say he’s going all the way to Wrestlemania with this “Lose Once More and You’re Done” gimmick. (In fact, I’ve got a theory on how his career could end that I’ll tell you about in a minute.) Good news for him, bad news for the United States Champion.


Winner, and still not-yet retired, Ric Flair!


Chris Jericho vs. JBL

This one is a tough one to call. On one hand, you can say that because he just got to RAW that JBL is heavily favored to win this match. On the other hand, you can say that JBL is no longer interested in pushing himself and is now willing to use his star power that he acquired to push Jericho after Jericho’s ill-fated program with Randy Orton ended. I think JBL’s approaching the point of his career where he has it all now: the money, thanks to his stock market savvy, the recognition, the respect, and the star power because he was, as he loves to remind us every now and then, the longest-reigning WWE Champion in SmackDown! history. What’s a victory over Chris Jericho at the Royal Rumble going to get him? Then again, should Jericho defeat JBL, Jericho can get his status back up after falling down so hard from losing out on a chance to be the guy on RAW.


Winner, Chris Jericho!


The Royal Rumble Match

Winner gets a title shot of his choice at Wrestlemania 24.

With so many big names in the Royal Rumble this year, there is one that constantly leaps out at me as a guy who is a heavy favorite to win the Royal Rumble. However, should he win the Rumble match, don’t look for him to stay where he’s at, and I’ll tell you why.


My heavy favorite to win the Royal Rumble match, and has been for a month or so now, is Batista. Reason being is that he’s been rumored for a while now to be going over to RAW to face Randy Orton for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania.   Now, you tell me, what other way is there for Batista to be going over to RAW to face the champion there at Wrestlemania than to win the Rumble match? Batista can use the relationship between Edge and Vicki Guerrero as his reasoning for why he wants to face Randy Orton instead of Edge. Plus, I don’t know if this is a rumor or not, but could you imagine an all-Evolution main event at Wrestlemania? Randy Orton, Batista, Triple H, and Ric Flair in a Four-Way Elimination match for the WWE Championship? If they could have a McMahon in every corner at Wrestlemania 2000, why not an all-Evolution main event? Wrestlemania 24 would be WWE’s absolute last chance to pull it off, so would it surprise anybody if they did? Plus, it would allow for Ric Flair’s career to end on the highest possible note. What better way to go out than on top?


Winner of the Royal Rumble match and moving on to face Randy Orton at Wrestlemania, Batista!


To the many that have fallen before this day, God Bless you all, and may you be in a much better place today than you were here. Your memories will live on, though you are gone.


Copyright 2007 - MOP Squad Sports

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