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Shades Of Gray #24

Sorry about the over 2 week absence of the column – it’s been a combination of school work and lack of inspiration, but hopefully with exams being done soon, I’ll get back to the weekly routine. In this column, I predict who will win and who should win Monday’s Slammy awards.

I also discuss John Cena’s affect on ratings, Final Resolution, the HBK-JBL storyline, and more. The “Links of the Week” will catch you up on the highlights you may have missed from this past week’s pro wrestling television. And “Extras” shows some of the Slammy Award nominees, as well as some clips from Samoa Joe, Reid Flair, and Braden Walker.

Slammy Predictions

1. Superstar of the Year: Batista, Chris Jericho, Edge, Jeff Hardy, John Cena, Triple H

Will win: John Cena

Should win: Edge. Go ahead - criticize Tha O Show writers for being biased towards Edge. But the fact is he's the best in the group. And he's the best heel since Triple H (c. 2000).

2. Match of the Year: 2008 Royal Rumble Match, Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair (Career Threatening Match, WrestleMania 24), Money in the Bank Ladder Match (WrestleMania 24), Undertaker vs. Edge (Hell in a Cell Match at SummerSlam)

Will win: Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair (Career Threatening Match, WrestleMania 24). WWE might be reluctant to give an award to Flair because there’s heat over the Reid and David Flair vs. Nasty Boys tag match from Saturday night in North Carolina (were you there, D.J.B.?). But I still think Michaels and Flair get the prize.

Should win: Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair (Career Threatening Match, WrestleMania 24). It had more emotion than any match this year, and that’s what wrestlers are trying to do, afterall – evoke an emotional response from the audience.

3. Diva of the Year: Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, Michelle McCool, Beth Phoenix

Will win: Beth Phoenix

Should win: Beth Pheonix. Easy decision. There’s been no one close to her in-ring talent or the amount of heat she generates from the crowd. And her recent work with Santino Marella has shown another side to her character.

4. Couple of the Year: Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix, Edge and Vickie Guerrero, William Regal and Layla, Finlay and Hornswoggle

Will win: Edge and Vickie Guerrero.

Should win: This is a two-team race, but the mega-heels will win out (and they should). Edge carried “Smackdown!” for much of the year, and Vickie surprised a lot of people with her role as G.M.

5. OMG Moment of the Year: CM Punk cashes in Money In The Bank and becomes World Heavyweight Champion (6/30/08 Monday Night Raw), Undertaker sends Edge to Hell (SummerSlam 2008), Floyd Mayweather punches Big Show and breaks his nose (No Way Out 2008), John Cena surprise return at the Royal Rumble (Royal Rumble 2008)

Will win: John Cena surprise return at the Royal Rumble (Royal Rumble 2008)

Should win: CM Punk cashes in Money In The Bank and becomes World Heavyweight Champion (6/30/08 "Monday Night Raw"). I don’t think anyone saw this coming, especially since Punk was jobbing like crazy before cashing in his briefcase. But I don’t think he’ll win because the fed is trying really hard to make sure fans forget his reign.

6. Tag Team of the Year: The Miz and John Morrison, Priceless, Cryme Tyme, Primo and Carlito

Will win: The Miz and John Morrison

Should win: The Miz and John Morrison. Arguably the hottest young act in the fed right now. I expect a break-up soon, though.

7. Best Finishing Maneuver: Randy Orton’s RKO, Undertaker’s Hell’s Gate, Big Show’s Knockout Punch, Evan Bourne’s Shooting Star Press

Will win: Randy Orton’s RKO

Should win: Randy Orton’s RKO. These choices are surprising. You’d think the Pedigree, FU, Go To Sleep, and the Swanton Bomb would be on the list before some of these choices – not because they’re necessarily better moves, but because they’re performed by more popular wrestlers. In addition, Undertaker’s and Show’s best finishing moves aren’t even on the list. I know it’s a kayfabe award, but that’s bizarre.

8. “Damn!” Moment of the Year: Khali Kiss Cam (SmackDown!, Nov. 7), Jim Ross in sailor suit (SmackDown!, Oct. 31), CM Punk disguised in Mariachi Band, lays out Chavo Guerrero (ECW, Jan. 29), Santino Marella attempts Melina’s Entrance (Raw, Dec. 1)

Will win: Khali Kiss Cam (SmackDown!, Nov. 7)

Should win: Jim Ross in sailor suit (SmackDown!, Oct. 31). It was completely uncalled for.

9. Extreme Moment of the Year: Jeff Hardy's Swanton Bomb on Randy Orton from the Raw set (Raw, Jan. 14), Undertaker falls off ladder through table as Edge wins TLC Match (One Night Stand), JBL throws John Cena off stage into car windshield (The Great American Bash), Chris Jericho smashes Shawn Michaels' head through Jeri-Tron (Raw, June 9)

Will Win: First of all, this is getting ridiculous. That’s three categories that are essentially the same (OMG, "Damn!" and Extreme Moment). This should be an ECW-exclusive category – but as is, Jeff Hardy will win.

Should win: Chris Jericho smashes Shawn Michaels' head through Jeri-Tron (Raw, June 9). It was probably the least extreme of the choices, but it played a huge part in the feud of the year, and was the most memorable moment of the nominees to boot. So there.

Quick Hits

You’ve gotta give the man credit - John Cena gets ratings. In his return to “Raw” after Survivor Series, the rating jumped from a 2.9 to 3.3. This past week’s episode garnered a 3.4. Clearly, he draws in viewers unlike any other Superstar in WWE. And that’s why it’s so disappointing that he has a cookie-cutter gimmick. Cena has the charisma to draw in casual fans in large numbers, but his full drawing potential won’t be realized until his character gets some edge.

Speaking of ratings, “iMPACT!” had its most total viewers ever on Thursday night. I think one can infer that the Main Event Mafia has a lot to do with it. But I don’t think the increased ratings will affect the buys for Final Resolution – it’s a terrible card. The stipulation for the main event is ridiculous; Rhino’s ascent from mid-card to main event came out of nowhere; everyone knows Angle will win to set up Angle-Jarrett in January; and nothing else on the card really stands out besides another ridiculous gimmick: Feast or Fired. For a company so desperate to grow its fan-base, it can’t afford a shitty pay-per-view, even if the January show it's setting up appears to be much more promising.

It’s not often that I’m critical of HBK, but that promo on “Raw” came out of nowhere (much like Rhino’s main event status). Since when is Michaels destitute? I like the idea of bringing the financial crisis into a storyline, but it’d make much more sense for JBL to injure HBK -- and have Michaels be forced to wrestle injured to make money -- than to work for JBL. That Michaels was even considering the offer made him look stupid and that puppy-dog face he made was over-the-top. This angle requires too much of a willing suspension of disbelief. But in addition to that, no one believes HBK is hurting for cash. Moreover, casual fans (and I know because I’ve talked to many of them), think all wrestlers are millionaires because they’re on TV.

Another point on HBK: going from happily joking and shilling his merch to looking like he’s going to cry (when considering JBL’s offer) was ridiculous. Fans aren’t stupid (at least not all of them). They know wrestlers like HBK get money from merch, PPV bonuses and from being on the road all year. If you’re going to do a storyline on the impact of the financial crisis, do it to put over a lower-card guy.

At first, I thought it was weird that Dolph Ziggler’s first televised match was against Batista. I assumed it’d be a squash - but it wan't, and no one should confuse it as such. Ziggler actually dominated the match until the spinebuster and Batista Bomb, and he got to say his catchphrase (too much actually). I thought he played the cocky heel gimmick (a la Mr. Perfect) pretty well, even with the shitty name.

Who are the two people in WWE history who have been General Managers on two different brands? Answer later.

I can’t believe they’re giving away the first Orton-Batista match at Armageddon. Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the match will be good. But this is a match I thought they’d hold off until the Royal Rumble. Orton and Batista are two of the most popular Superstars in WWE – and there’s a lot of history between these guys, going back to their Evolution days. Getting Triple H involved in promos leading up to the match would have been a nice touch too.

Is it just me or is this bad timing on the part of WWE having Ted Dibiase film a movie at a time when this second generation storyline appears ready to take off? Fuck WWE films.

So much for my prediction that Santino would quickly win back the I-C title from William Regal. It was wishful thinking on my part. Next best thing: John Morrison wins the belt, hooks back up with Melina, dumps Miz, and does the HBK-Sherri Martel gimmick. Yeah – more wishful thinking on my part. That was a sweet move that Morrison did taking out Finlay at the knees in their match on “Raw” – usually a wrestler just lays there and his opponent jumps over top – it was a good alteration.

Is there anyone with less-appropriate theme music than Stephanie McMahon? Come the fuck on. She did have the line of the night on "Raw" though: “I pulled an Adamle.”

Last but not least: Hulk Hogan’s CCW will be airing in Canada on Much More Music starting December 14th at 8 PM and 11 PM. The best part: the 11 PM airing is right after Celebrity Rehab! Booyah!

Answer: Theodore Long (“SmackDown” and “ECW”) and Stephanie McMahon (“SmackDown” and “Raw”). Yeah, that was easy.

Links of the Week

The JBL-HBK confrontation from “Raw” (Part 1; Part 2), with the Santino-Goldust backstage segment at the start of Part 1.

John Morrison vs. Finlay in the I-C title tournament. See the cool leg trip at 2:25. It was probably Finlay’s idea.

Dolph Ziggler’s debut match on “Raw.”

John Cena vs. Kane in the main event, with a post-match beat-down that surely pleased some Cena haters.

Jack Swagger vs. Ricky Ortiz to decide the (possible) No. 1 Contender for the “ECW” Championship.

Samoa Joe does the J-O-B for the Legend’s Champion, Booker T. Samoa Joe and CM Punk should win the Slammy Award for “I was Heavyweight Champion and now I’m an afterthought.”

TNA tries to convince us Rhino is an adequate challenger for Kurt Angle.

The return of Hurricane Helms! (Sort of.)

Triple H and Jeff Hardy run the gauntlet (Part 1; Part 2).


This seems like ages ago – you know, when Joe was over. It's a great MMA-influenced, mat-based match (Part 1; Part 2).

The biggest win in Hurricane Helms’ career – when he actually was Hurricane Helms.

This is fantastic: the trailer for “The Definitive Braden Walker 3 Disc DVD.”

Reid Flair’s real pro wrestling debut.

This isn’t wrestling related, but it’s still funny. “Big Baby” Glen Davis lives up to his name. And I still hate Kevin Garnett.

Some Slammy Award nominees:
- Money in the Bank from WrestleMania
- Jeff Hardy's Swanton Bomb on Randy Orton from the “Raw” set
- Santino Marella attempts Melina’s Entrance
- Floyd Mayweather punches Big Show and breaks his nose
- CM Punk cashes in Money In The Bank and becomes World Heavyweight Champion

7 comments: on "Shades Of Gray #24"

Christopher Casúr said...

The ONLY thing at Final Resolution that I'm interested in, won't take place until a few weeks later.

AJ Styles dropped Christopher Daniels' name in a promo recently, so between that and the fact that Curry Man has essentially grown stale, I'm wondering if maybe Daniels will again receive the "Fired" briefcase to transition back from Curry Man to his Fallen Angel gimmick.

Andrew Gray said...

I definitely see that happening too. Curry Man had his nice little run - but now it just makes too much sense for Christopher Daniels not to be in Front Line, especially since he's mentioned all the time in promos.

Downtown said...

Curry Man was fun, but Daniels is desperately needed.

TNA like Smackdown is only good when you record it and can FF through the bs. The bubblegum bullshit promos and segments dont mix with the in-ring portion of the product. Censored swear words do not equal edgy.

I think ratings would soar with one big move. Take the show out of the studio!

I don't know if Tha O Show is going to have a viewers choice award column this year, but if so Angle v Nagata should be remembered.

Andrew Gray said...

Looks like we're going to get our wish - Curry Man got one of the briefcases last night.

Downtown - I'm with you on the studio comment. I hate iMPACT's pre-packaged, studio feel. But taping at Universal Studios saves them a lot of money. They'd lose a lot of dough by taking iMPACT on the road every week.

Christopher Casúr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christopher Casúr said...

He's hot!
He's spicy!
And now he's unemployed!

Even better, Hernandez has a briefcase, and all wrestling logic would tell you it's for a Heavyweight Title shot. Finally, TNA gives Donnie something to O for!

D.J.B. said...

Whoa there was a TNA PPV? How'd I miss that?

Looking at it online the Suicide gimmick looks like money.

Daniels really really needs to be in the frontline it absolutely makes zero sense for him not too. Other than a hiatus for the Christopher Daniels name and a few trips to Japan he has been there since the beginning.