SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Wake the pets & call the neighbors, it’s time for our exclusive WWE Network pseudo-pay-per-view projections.
DISCLAIMER: Projections are based on what the columnist would do if he were booking this event, instead of Paul “NXT” Levesque, Runjin Singh, Ed Koskey, and Camp WWE Headmaster Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Projections are not predictions, because this is the column where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter. This preview has been sealed in a mayonnaise jar on Funk & Wagnall’s porch since noon today. Some of our departing contestants will receive a Westbend’s Freestyle Cordless Iron. Westbend’s Freestyle Cordless Iron revolutionizes ironing. It’s cordless, but still electric. Full-featured, easy to use, and lightweight. Furnished by Westbend. Many of our contestants are chosen from our studio audience. Enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope and mail to “Tickets, CBS Television City, 7800 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90036.” Remember, this is only an exhibition. This is not a competition. Please, please, no wagering. This lineup is based on the best available information as of this writing. These projections are based on what the columnist would do if he had creative control over WWE, unless it’s not funny enough.
Three weeks after WWE Payback, the feud between WWE Champion Roman Reigns and former IWGP Champion A.J. Styles has escalated, and escalated, and then escalated some more. Tonight is supposed to be The War To Settle The Score, the final Extreme matchup between the two combatants, a match so big that PWTorch editor has made his way to New Jersey to see the epic conclusion.
Judging by house show line-ups, it looks like this struggle between The Bloodline and the, um, Shrapnel Squadron will continue for a little while. To keep generating heat, you need fire. And to keep a fire going, you need to keep adding fuel. That’s the booking challenge for this month’s show.
Before we preview tonight’s show, let’s get to this month’s edition of the Wrestling History Lesson, because that’s why many of you clicked here in the first place.
Twenty years ago, on May 26,1996, the World Wrestling Federation brought us its “In Your House: Beware of Dog” pay-per-view, live from Florence, South Carolina. Your opening match saw “Wildman” Marc Mero take on Hunter Hearst Helmsley. After that, the power went out, but that is another story. Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler had the call.
What was happening in World Wrestling Entertainment fifteen years ago? I’m glad you asked! On May 21, 2001, the World Wrestling Federation presented a live episode of Monday Night Raw from San Jose, California. On this night, Kurt Angle held a celebration for the return of his Olympic medals, but someone showed up to crash the party. Jim Ross & Paul Heyman had the call.
Did you catch WWE Smackdown? Well, you can watch part of the main event from this week’s episodeand everything that happened after the bell right here. It’s Roman Reigns vs. Luke Gallows from right here in Greenville, South Carolina. This is heavyweight stuff. Mauro Ranallo, Byron Saxton & Jerry Lawler have the call.
Michael Cole, Byron Saxton and John B. Layfield will be announcing the show. Renee Young, Booker T, and Jerry Lawler will be doing the pre-show while Tom Phillips & Cathy Kelley will hang out in the social media lounge. Mauro Ranallo will be doing the call of the Kickoff show. On with the program!
Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin (Preshow Pandemonium No Disqualification Match): Under WWE Even-Stephen Booking Rules, this would be where the One Wolf (tm Lenny Kosnowski) gets his win back against everyone’s favorite Motley Crue fan. But I don’t think Corbin is ready to win a feud with a former World Champion, and what I say here goes. Projection? Dolph Ziggler hits Corbin with a Famouser onto a steel chair. Corbin goes on to a lengthy feud with Make Darren Young Great Again.
Kalisto vs. Rusev (WWE United States Title): WWE fans have enjoyed Kalisto’s run as the undersized United States champion. But John Cena is due back in eight days, and it’s time for WWE to return to its priorities. A Cena-Kalisto feud for the US Title might entertain me, but I suspect we’re going back to U.S.A. versus Bulgaria. Projection? Kalisto can’t get Rusev over for a rana and the Bulgarian Bruiser win the title back with the Accolade.
The New Day vs. The Vaudevillains (WWE World Tag Team Titles): Have the Vaudevillains gotten over since joining the main roster? Nope. Will they get over in time? It’s too soon to tell, but my Magic 8-Ball doesn’t like their chances. Projection? Unicorn Stampede, and Big E. hits Gotch with the Big Ending. Next!
Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya Kidd ( WWE Women’s Title – Submission Match): Ric Flair is barred from ringside. I mean, he’s not even allowed to come to ringside dressed as a woman. That means Charlotte will have to go it alone against everyone’s favorite Total Diva and crazy cat lady. Projection? Dana Brooke comes out to the ring and distracts the ref when Nattie has Charlotte in trouble. Charlotte makes Nattie pass out in the Figure Eight. With Dana’s sidekick on the shelf, it’s time to put Ms. Brooke where she can do the most, um, good.
The Usos vs. The Projectile Platoon (Tornado Tag Match): Many fans of Biz Cliz members Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson are wondering when their heroes will actually get to win a match. That means they’ve already forgotten the Bullets beating Jimmy & Jey in their tag team debut. Don’t woory. I forgot about that too. Projection? Jey Uso clocks Gallows with the ring bell. Yes, the Usos win again. And yes, we are going somewhere with this, so stay tuned.
Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho (Clockwork Orange House of Sports Entertainment Match): In some wrestling matches, the promotion puts a plant in the audience. WWE has outdone itself this time by hanging a plant above the cage to be used as a weapon. Projection? Dean throws Y2j all over the cage. Jericho jabs Ambrose in the eye with a kendo stick and scores a cheap victory. Yes, this feud must also continue.
The Miz vs. Antonio Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn (WWE Intercontinental Title): Most WWE fans are annoyed with the very idea of The Miz as Intercontinental Champion, especially when paired against more respected ring technicians like Cesaro, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. So, mission accomplished. Projection? Zayn has Cesaro pinned after a Helluva kick, but Owens clocks Zayn with the title beck, and Miz covers Zayn in the confusion that follows. More Miz with the title, more misery for Sami Zayn.
Roman Reigns vs. A.J. Styles (WWE Title – Extreme Rules Match): Our story thus far is that Anderson & Gallows have tried (and tried, and tried) to help The Phenomenal One takes the championship off of The Guy. Roman has gathered his Samoan family around him to put a stop to these shenanigans. It’s time to throw another log onto the fire. Projection? Another wild six-man brawl, ending with Roman Reigns running amok with a chair. Finn Balor can’t take watching his friends get hurt and runs out to stop Reigns. Chaos erupts, Styles hits the Phenomenal Forearm, and wins the WWE Heavyweight Title. They’re put the band back together. Not THE Band, A band.
Aftermath: Ambrose and Jericho are both in next month’s Money In The Bank match, along with Seth Rollins and a few others. Cena goes after Rusev, and we get the next chapter in the Bloodline vs. Club feud. (Gee, I wonder where Roman Reigns can find a Samoan to take out Finn Balor? Hmmmm.)
Pat McNeill of Greenville, South Carolina has been a PWTorch columnist since 2001. He’d take the Golden State Warriors to defeat Oklahoma City in tonight’s NBA playoff game. You know, if gambling were legal.