Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
Okay, okay, okay.
Nobody ever said I died.
I just always wanted to say that.
I always wanted to be the Stefano DiMera of the wrestling columnist community. (Bonus points to all the readers out there who got that Days of Our Lives reference…)
In all seriousness, a couple family emergencies combined with a few technical difficulties with the ol’ PC kept me from posting any new columns for the last few months. Nevertheless, I’m pleased to report everything is back to normal and my computer is up and running again, so here I am, sharing thoughts, opinions, and, of course, rantings and ravings.
I don’t feel like ranting and raving, though. Not even about the WWE.
If anything, I only have positive things to say about the company this week. I’m certain that’ll come as a shock to anyone who has read past Views From the Stolen Gazebo, but for the first time in over a year, I’m actually excited about a WWE pay-per-view and you’ll probably think I’m one sick-minded individual once you hear why.
Last Monday night on Raw, John Cena suffered a complete tear in his right pectoral tendon in his match with Mr. Kennedy. According to WWE physician Dr. Ferdinand Rios,
the injury is a lot more serious than originally assumed and Cena will reportedly be out of action for at least a year’s time. Obviously he will not be competing in the Raw main event of this Sunday’s No Mercy pay-per-view. Moreover, his WWE Championship has been vacated with a new champion being crowned this Sunday in a yet-to-be-determined match involving a to-be-determined pair (or set) of superstars.
Smell that oh so wonderful scent, kids? After over a year of lackluster main event after lackluster main event involving John Cena “overcoming the odds,” Monday Night Raw has finally regained its freshness.
Stop wagging your fingers at your computer screens, Chain Gang members (all six of you out there). I’m not gloating over your man’s misfortune. I’d never wish impairment onto another man, not even if they were the most annoying, maladroit and overrated being on the planet. But there’s no mistaking the positive spin this has on the Raw product as a whole.
The brand has reclaimed its “anything can happen” atmosphere, at least until this weekend’s pay-per-view.
After over three hundred and sixty-five days of humdrum, Cena-dominated nonsense, a WWE Championship match has an aura of unpredictability surrounding it. Who’s going to be in the match for the vacant title? Who’s going to win?? What’s going to happen???
Fans everywhere are actually buzzing with excitement, for a change.
An opportunity has opened up for someone else to run with the ball. For whatever reason, Vince McMahon believes John Cena is the second coming of Hulk Hogan and has jammed his championship reign down our throats because of that gross misconception. But now he has no choice but to put the belt on somebody new.
In a perfect world, he’d choose a strong heel character like Mr. Kennedy, Randy Orton or even Umaga, but he might pick a proven entity, like Triple H or a returning Shawn Michaels. Whatever happens, it’s a sure bet it’ll be something different than what we’ve been force-fed for a long, tiresome year and that, my friends, is a very good thing.
Perhaps the time off will give John Cena the chance to salvage what’s left of his dwindling fan base.
Like the old saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Perhaps Cena can shake off the doldrums while he’s on the injury reserve and come back more popular than ever. Hey, I’m not going to lie to you, folks. Once upon a time, back before the Chain Gang formed and “The Champ is here!” became the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” of pro wrestling, I was a John Cena fan.
I even bought one of his t-shirts. Regrettably, his transformation from swaggering wannabe to juvenile catchphrase spouting bore killed whatever interest I had in him as a competitor.
If we’re lucky, maybe he’ll return from his injury with more of an edge.
Please, Vince, I’m begging you.
Don’t drop the ball with this one. This is what your company needs – a chance to resuscitate sagging ratings and bolster fan interest.
Just don’t muck it up.
Only five matches have been announced (six, if the World Tag Team Title match made on Friday Night SmackDown! was for No Mercy and not next week’s SmackDown!).
I’m expecting more to be announced on the fly during the actual pay-per-view, but here’s the Wrestling Weatherman’s forecast for what’s been announced, thus far…
Rey Mysterio vs. Finlay
Thoughts: Mysterio excels at high-flying, aerial combat and Finlay is probably the best technical wrestler presently on the WWE roster, so this could be the sleeper hit of the whole show.
With Rey just coming back from the I/R, I see him coming away with the victory, although I don’t see Finlay looking like a slouch here, either. I’m just glad that a) Finlay’s featured on a PPV card and b) Rey is back competing against guys around his size. He looked silly in those matches with Khali and Batista. Here’s hoping a Cruiserweight Title reign is in his future.
WWE Women’s Championship Match –
Candice Michelle (c) vs. Beth Phoenix
Thoughts: Candice can’t wrestle and doesn’t deserve a roster spot, much less a title around her waist.
It’s as pure and simple as that. Change her attire, jazz up her entrance music, have her throw hundred dollar bills into the crowd.
It still won’t change that the woman sucks in the ring and needs to go far, far away from the business.
Thankfully, the powers that be seem high on the Glamazon, so I’m hoping she gets the win and a lengthy championship reign.
World Tag Team Championship Match –
Matt Hardy & MVP (c) vs. Brothers of Destruction (Undertaker & Kane)
Thoughts: According to SmackDown! spoilers, this match was made, but it’s unclear as to whether it’ll take place on the pay-per-view or the next Friday Night SmackDown!.
Personally, I’m hoping it’s part of the pay-per-view.
If that’s indeed the case, I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that the Champions will retain and then Taker somehow becomes involved in the WWE Championship match later on.
Matt Hardy & MVP
Triple H vs. Umaga
I wouldn’t be surprised if the winner of this match moves on to the WWE Championship match. There’s no other way for this to go than with Triple H winning.
He has too much momentum right now and I’m pretty sure Vince wants him in the Raw main event at WrestleMania XXIV. This is bound to be bloody and brutal, but, in the end, I’m sure there will be a Pedigree and maybe even a sledgehammer shot, too, with The King of Kings getting the big win.
Punjabi Prison Match for the World Heavyweight Championship –
Batista (c) vs. The Great Khali
Thoughts: Who cares?
It’s pretty pathetic when a World Heavyweight Title match evokes that level of indifference, but look at who’s involved. You have Dave Batista, a man whose move-set makes the Ultimate Warrior look like Lou Thesz, and Khali, a man whose only claim to fame is being a sloppy worker. Throw them into a Punjabi Prison Match, the most asinine gimmick match since Bossman and Al Snow wrestled in a kennel, and you’ve got real WrestleCrap material on your hands. Batista will undoubtedly win and I will certainly take a bathroom break during this match.
WWE Championship Match –
I don’t even know where to begin with my predictions for this match. There are so many possible scenarios that can happen. The only believed certainty is that Randy Orton will be in this match and I’m not even sure that’ll happen. Websites are speculating as to whether or not Shawn Michaels will return for this match and some think the “save_us.222” angle will culminate here with Chris Jericho making his long-awaited WWE return. The only sure thing is that there will be a brand new champion before the night’s said and done.
Undertaker (a long shot, but still...)
That’s all for now, boys and girls.
Be sure to check out my blog on MySpace for other thoughts and opinions about wrestling, TV, movies and life in general and don’t be afraid to send your thoughts and predictions to me via e-mail. All the info you need to know is listed below. Wow, that rhymes…