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Shades Of Gray #25

In this week’s column, I preview this Sunday’s PPV, Armageddon, with the upcoming Royal Rumble and WrestleMania shows in mind.

I also discuss the Slammys, the Joey Styles-JBL incident, Darko Milicic, and “iMPACT!” blunders. The “Links of the Week” will catch you up on what you may have missed from “Raw,” “ECW,” and “iMPACT!” and “Extras” deliver a random dose of Samoa Joe, A.J. Styles, Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, Joey Styles, Shawn Michaels, Batista and Edge.

Armageddon Preview

World Heavyweight Championship: John Cena vs. Chris Jericho

I find this match -- and many of the other matches on the card -- hard to predict. For months I’ve thought the WrestleMania main event from “Raw” would be John Cena vs. Batista, playing off Batista putting Cena out of action at SummerSlam (storyline-wise, anyways). But now I think WWE would be stupid not to put Cena and Randy Orton together for the big show – Orton has too much heat to keep him out of the top spot. So I guess I should be predicting Cena to hold on to the title; yet, having Orton (the heel) challenging Cena (the face) at Mania would be a reversal of the usual face-chasing-heel angle. Whatever. I’ll go with Cena to retain in a solid match, one much-improved over last month’s showing.

Winner: John Cena, still World Heavyweight Champion

WWE Championship: Edge vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Triple H

Much like the first match, my prediction here is based on where I think these wrestlers are headed as we near Royal Rumble and WrestleMania. I really think the best option for the “SmackDown” main event at this year’s Mania would be Edge vs. Jeff Hardy. But I think the fed’s lack of trust in Hardy (rightfully so, in my opinion) and Triple H’s political pull will put Trips in the main event. My prediction: Edge retains, with Triple H as the front-runner to win the Rumble.

Winner: Edge, still WWE Champion

Batista vs. Randy Orton

As I wrote in last week’s column, I don’t think it’s wise for this match to take place on one of WWE’s “B” PPVs (i.e., not Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam, or Survivor Series). I really think the result of this match will show what direction the creative team is headed as it pertains to Cena’s challenger at Mania. My belief is that the fed is now going with Orton, after months of building toward Cena-Batista II. Good decision. Orton should get the win here, even if he needs some help from Cody Rhodes and Manu.

Winner: Randy Orton

Matt Hardy vs. Vladimir Kozlov

Another hard one to predict because Hardy’s been busting his tail (and working injured) and he deserves to keep the belt, while Kozlov still needs to be protected. So I predict a DQ, with Kozlov administering a post-match beat-down.

Winner: Matt Hardy (by DQ), still “ECW” Champion

Belfast Brawl: Finlay vs. Mark Henry

This should be a decent match, led by one of the best ring veterans in the fed, Finlay. While ignoring that Henry should win, I’ll say Finlay wins because Henry won on Tuesday night and it’s Finlay’s “specialty” match.

Winner: Finlay

Intercontinental Title Tournament Finals: C.M. Punk vs. Rey Mysterio

An interesting choice for the finals, to say the least. Clearly, the tag titles have become an afterthought once again, so we shouldn’t rule out the possibility of Punk holding two titles simultaneously. But I think Rey will win for another reason – he needs some momentum after a stale couple of months since debuting on “Raw.” His feud with Kane flopped (remember the “mask in the brown bag” thing?), but it can be corrected by Rey having some fast-paced mid-card matches on “Raw” every week.

Winner: Rey Mysterio, new Intercontinental Champion

Quick Hits

For kayfabe awards, the Slammys, for the most part, got it right – a legitimate case could be made for all the winners. However, I do highly disagree with the choice of Chris Jericho as Superstar of the Year. Maybe from the last 5 months, but not from the entire year – he struggled at the beginning of the year, as seen in his bland character and his place on the card. As I wrote last week, Edge should have won. My runner up: Triple H.

Here’s a list of the Slammy winners (including the awards for which I didn’t make predictions):

Superstar of the Year - Chris Jericho
Match of the Year - Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels
Tag Team of the Year - John Morrison and The Miz
Diva of the Year - Beth Phoenix
Couple of the Year - Edge and Vickie
Best Finishing Maneuver - Evan Bourne's shooting star press
OMG Moment of the Year - C.M. Punk cashes in Money in the Bank
Most Extreme Moment - Jeff Hardy jumping off the set on “Raw”
“Damn!” Moment of the Year - Great Khali's kisscam
Breakout Star - Vladimir Kozlov
Best show - The Dirt Sheet
Best Musical Performance - R-Truth
Best announce team - Todd Grisham and Matt Striker
Best Impersonator - Charlie Haas as Beth Phoenix

I went six for nine in my Slammy predictions. Not too shabby. And although I didn’t think CM Punk would win for “Oh My God” moment, I did say he should win. I think it’s safe to say, though, that Joey Styles should have won the award that bears his catchphrase after knocking out JBL in Iraq. This is simply awesome. I’m sure it was extra sweet for Styles considering JBL physically abused Styles’ old ECW buddy, the Blue Meanie, at One Night Stand a few years back. I know there’s been some debate over the last past week as to whether Vince would punish or praise Styles for the KO. I think it’s safe to go with the latter – Styles was put over on “Raw.”

I don’t know how many visitors of Tha O Show are also NBA fans, but regardless, you should all have a new favourite NBA player: Darko Milicic. (Unless, of course, you're from Detroit.) He's best known as the No. 2 pick in the 2003 draft. He was drafted one spot behind LeBron James, and ahead of such current all-stars as Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh! Anyways, after this, he should now be known as the NBAer with the best Hulk Hogan impersonation. Take that Charlie Haas!

TNA looks really stupid (what a shock) for their handling of the X-Division championship - official Shane Sewell was allowed to referee Sunday’s match between Eric Young and Sheik Abdul Bashir even though there’s obviously been conflict brewing between Sewell and Bashir for weeks now. The biased referee storyline only works if the ref is screwing over a babyface, not a heel – all this does is make Cornette look like an idiot for allowing Sewell to referee the match, and Young look like a guy who needs help to win the title.

Speaking of TNA being stupid – the Suicide character is fucking stupid. I’m sorry, but comic book characters (or in this case, a video game character) will never get over in wrestling. The only exception was Hurricane, but that’s because it was a joke – we’re actually supposed to take Suicide and his ridiculous outfit seriously. What’s worse is that Frankie Kazarian (much like Christopher Daniels) would be a perfect member for Front Line. I think A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, and Kaz would make a nice group to lead the Front Line – it’d certainly be better than Team 3D and Rhino, who have no connection to the young group.

I love the TNA Rough Cuts segment, but the one with James Storm last night was counter-productive. Don’t get me wrong, I think he's one of the better characters and workers that TNA has, and the story about him overcoming hardships was interesting (his father died when he was a teenager, he suffered a compound fracture in his shoulder after receiving a wrestling scholarship). But he’s a heel - we shouldn’t be feeling sympathy toward James Storm. What’s next? A Rough Cut revealing that Sheik Abdul Bashir’s real name is Shawn Davari, was born in Minnesota, and loves America?

Links of the Week

Chris Jericho vs. Jeff Hardy, from the PPV-like “Raw.”

Santino takes issue with Vickie and Edge winning Couple of the Year.

CM Punk gives Scotty Goldman, aka Colt Cabana, a shout-out, Joey Styles gets some TV time, and Rey Mysterio advances to the finals of the I-C Title Tournament.

John Cena and Edge re-visit their entertaining feud (after Jericho’s pre-match promo).

The Tag Team of the Year take on Jimmy Wang Yang and Kung Fu Naki.

Emerging star (and the only member of Front Line getting over in this feud), Alex Shelley, picks up a win over Black Machismo.

Curry Man gets the pink slip and Christopher Casur gets a boner.

The aforementioned Rough Cut segment with James Storm.

Only in TNA: a beer bottle on a pole match.


Two buddies, Samoa Joe and Frankie Kazarian, battle it out for the TNA Heavyweight Championship.

More from what should be three of the leaders of Front Line: A great Triple Threat match between Samoa Joe, A.J. Styles and Christopher Daniels (Part 1; Part 2: Part 3).

Joey Styles’ most famous WWE moment (until knocking JBL the fuck out).

Shawn Michaels and Batista having a drunken argument.

More Shawn Michaels (albeit sober): HBK vs. Edge in a Street Fight (Part 1; Part 2).

5 comments: on "Shades Of Gray #25"

D.J.B. said...

I thought the winner of the IC thing only got a shot at Regal. Did I miss something? Did Regal hit the pills again?

Anonymous said...

Am I the only person who finds something seriously wrong with calling a wrestler "SUICIDE"?

Andrew Gray said...

No, I think you're right, D.J.B.

I'm just an idiot.

D.J.B. said...

No anonymous you aren't. Just think though, if they could team Homicide and Suicide up they could introduce a new guy named Murder and call the trio Benoit.

No idiocy Andrew, I think it's just the way "Raw" has been run lately, nobody really knows anymore.

Downtown said...

Didn't Finlay lose to JBL @ WM in a belfast brawl?

HBK should've won superstar of the year and he wasn't even a "nominee". Who had the biggest match (w/Flair @ WM) and feud (w/Jericho)? Then again it is kfabe, oh well.

Suicide is a terrible name, controversy is good, but a face character named Suicide is pointless and rediculous.