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Shades Of Gray #6

This week’s Shades of Gray includes a preview of tonight’s Backlash pay per view, my thoughts on the appearances of Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton and John McCain on “Raw,” and the return to the ring of one of the most popular wrestlers of all-time. So without further adieu, here’s the sixth edition of the column that recognizes there are two sides to everything . . .

WWE Backlash
There are definitely a few matches on tonight’s show that have the potential to deliver some “O’s.” Some people, including D.J.B., have argued that Undertaker-Edge at WrestleMania XXIV was the best pay per view main event in years (although Edge wasn’t pleased with the match), and expectations are high for the rematch as well. The heat isn’t quite as strong this time around, but expect another good match with the same result.

(Channeling Barack Obama . . . ) “Finally, Matt Hardy and MVP are renewing their feud!” The two competitors from the best feud of 2007 go toe-to-toe tonight in what could easily be the night’s best match. Hardy has already picked up a victory over MVP since he’s been back and has plenty of momentum. Still, they stretched this feud out to the limit last year, and I can see MVP holding onto the strap for another month.

The Triple Threat at WrestleMania exceeded my expectations; as such, the 4-way should be exciting too, although adding another man to the mix will make it more difficult to pull off. I like the elimination stip, though, and I see Randy Orton retaining again. Likewise, I think Kane will retain over Chavo. Over the years, Backlash has usually meant maintaining the status quo, and I expect that to be the same this year.

Like the Triple Threat, Big Show-Floyd Mayweather exceeded expectations too, but as I’ve written before, there’s NO way Show-Khali has a chance of being good. Same goes for the 12-Diva tag match, but the pay per view debut of Natalya (Nattie Neidhart) adds some interest to the match.

The most intriguing match of the night is Shawn Michaels against Batista, with Chris Jericho serving as the guest referee. I know it’s like a broken record, but once again, the Intercontinental Champion is not defending his title at a pay per view. I thought Jericho’s win over Jeff Hardy was going to be good for the title, but it has continued to be an afterthought.

I have no doubt that Michaels can carry Batista to a good match. Undertaker, after all, has done the same thing on numerous occasions. The promos have done a good job of creating interest in the match, without the two getting physical. I think the lack of physicality can also be attributed to Shawn being banged up after his match with Flair, and considering his opponent tonight, I wouldn’t be surprised if HBK comes out of the match in even worse shape.

Obama, Clinton, and McCain on “Raw”
Raise your hand if you thought there was no chance that Obama and Clinton would appear on “Raw.” I’ll give you a second to put your hand back on the mouse. I, for one, thought that there was no way the two Democratic candidates would want to be associated with the ‘rasslin business, but not only did they get in on the action, McCain wanted in too.

There’s two ways that we can look at their involvement. One: it shows that wrestling has come a long way, and is now widely accepted as mainstream entertainment. Or two: they’re politicians, and are willing to do anything for votes. I’ll side with the latter, but there’s no denying this was a coup for the WWE.

One has to wonder, though, why the candidates weren’t a little more concerned about appearing on a wrestling program. Drug use, the negative portrayal of racial stereotypes and women, and lack of health care are just a few of the issues for which WWE is routinely criticized. I’m surprised most media outlets gave the candidates a pass on this one.

The in-ring stuff with the “Obama” and “Hilary” characters brought back haunting memories of “Rosie O’Donnell” vs. “Donald Trump.” Hilary was terrible, but Bill has hilarious - he was even awesome as the heel manger tripping Obama from the outside. Obama was OK, but like Hilary, he probably needed a manger to put him over the top. Michael Hayes, anyone? Come on, he did wonders for the Hardys.

Return of the Ultimate Warrior
Are you ready for the return of the talentless, rope-shaking steroid freak? I’m not talking about Batista. I’m talking about the Ultimate Warrior, who’s set to return to the ring against former WWE Superstar Orlando Jordan on June 25 at a NWE show in Barelona, Spain.

Warrior’s agent sent out a press release early this week and there’s a clip on YouTube showing the circumstances surrounding his return. The crowd’s reaction for him shaking the ropes during his comeback is priceless. Their silence says, “are you serious?” Oh yes, they’re serious, and I’m serious when I say this has the potential to be the worst match of all-time.

Couldn’t they have found someone better than Orlando Jordan? At least they could have put Warrior with a good worker in hopes of making a somewhat passable match. And isn’t Jordan’s homosexuality and Warrior’s outspoken anti-homosexuality stance a conflict of interest?

But for the same reason I put over Mike Adamle last week, I’ll put over this match. It’ll be a train wreck and I can’t wait to see it. In today’s wrestling world where little of substance is offered, you have to find humor in the ridiculous.

2 comments: on "Shades Of Gray #6"

D.J.B. said...

As far as the presidential candidates go, yeah they did it for votes, but you are also correct that this was a coup for the E.

Backlash wasn't that bad, and while you predicted Orton retaining didn't come through, everything else pretty much came out the right way.

As far as Warrior and OJ, I think OJ is a good enough worker. He's not great, but he's good enough. As far as Warrior, thats about the same thing as Sheik. He says this, that and the other but won't do anything. I don't think his homophobia and OJ's bisexuality will be anything more than a passing thought, but if Warrior Warrior(real name...warrior) decides to get snug, OJ can probably take care of himself.

You're also right in your contention that it fits with Mike Adamle. You have to find humor in the rediculous, but what would be even better is if Mike Adamle called that match.

Andrew Gray said...

Here's an article from the NY Times praising the WWE for among other things, being able to get all of the candidates to appear on "Raw" (something Katie Couric and CBS wasn't able to do). So much for media backlash.

And here's the Warrior clip: