I have a few more things to discuss, but first and foremost, let’s get to the picks for No Way Out.

ECW Championship
Jack Swagger vs. Finlay
It wouldn’t have surprised me LAST WEEK before tuesday night if Finlay had beaten the youngster and taken the ECW title. Now, with the re-emergence of the new talent in ECW, whom I’ll discuss later on in this column, I am going to go back on that idea, and say the fighting Irishman will not be able to figure out the offense of the All American American, and fall victim to Swagger’s offense. I don’t think, on an even playing field, that Swagger would have a chance. However, with the new talent gunning for the championship, it’s no longer an even playing field. Is there interference in this match?? I doubt it, but if so, I suspect it will backfire on Finlay.

WINNER: Jack Swagger

All Or Nothing Match
Shawn Michaels vs. John Bradshaw Layfield
God, for the love of all that is holy and good, this match HAS TO go to whom I think it will to. Why? Simple. I HATE THIS ANGLE. I hate it. I know it was necessary to mirror the conditions of the present landscape of America as we struggle in to the middle of the year, but the facts are simple. Shawn Michaels acting as subservient to anyone is just too damn uncomfortable to watch. I would prefer to see these two men try and beat the high holy ever loving crap out of each other on a day in day out basis than to see JBL bully Shawn around, and Shawn being forced to take it. I’ll pick Michaels, because simply put, Michaels needs to be on a clean slate to be ready for his eventual Wrestlemania opponent, whomever it may be.

WINNER: Shawn Michaels

No Holds Barred Match
Randy Orton vs. Shane McMahon
It has to be on the back of Shane’s mind that he is going to need some backup He has to have some backup to Rhodes and DiBiase possibly and definitely getting involved in the match. Question is, how will Shane try to contradict Legacy’s involvement? Kendo Sticks? Other weapons? Or will the diabolical boss of the WWE return to No Way Out in Seattle and provide some access to the ample resources of the deep pockets of the royal family of wrestling in assisting Shane McMahon in triumphing over the Royal Rumble winner.

In a word, I doubt Shane wins. I do suspect that Shane will cause damage in droves. I suspect Shane will connect on same major league moves in this contest. Coast to coast, off the tron, whatever is possible. What I don’t suspect is Shane being able to triumph over the Rumble winner because its just something the creative aspect of the WWE product cannot afford. Randy wins. I think this match may be a potential show stealer, though, and it’s nice to see the McMahons actually working as almost near babyfaces for a change.

WINNER: Randy Orton

World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber Match
John Cena vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Mike Knox vs. Kane vs. Kofi Kingston vs.Chris Jericho
I have to ask one question right out of the blocks. What the hell is Mike Knox doing in this match? He has no business in this contest. I can go for all of the other combatants challenging John Cena, but Mike Knox as a challenger for the World title is just ridiculous, in my opinion.

Now that I got the disclaimer out of the way, lets talk turkey about the match. Obviously, Knox has zero chances of winning the title. I would think the next one least likely to win is a tie between Kofi and Kane. Kofi could have a shot here, but this is his first shot at world title gold, and I think in this case, you gotta crawl before you can walk. Kane seemingly has been never closer to the title than the time he held it briefly back in the attitude era, and I don’t see Kane making a major splash toward the title in this match. That leaves Jericho, Rey, and the champion. I think Rey is the next to be eliminated here because I don’t see Rey being a major draw as a main event competitor at the 25th anniversary edition of Wrestlemania in Houston, Texas. No proof behind that statement, just simply a hunch.

Which leaves it down to Jericho vs. Cena, again. These guys have the biggest history of anyone in the match, and I suspect that it will be the eventual final two in this match. Question remains, does Wrestlemania 25 have a heel vs. heel or a face vs. heel as its Raw main event for the World title. I think everyone who reads this column has the answer to that $64 question.

WINNER: John Cena

WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match
Edge vs. Triple H vs. The Big Show vs. Vladimir Kozlov vs. Jeff Hardy vs. The Undertaker
This one, out of the two chamber matches, is much more unpredictable to choose. I would have to say the first obvious elimination here is Jeff, for the simple fact that he has not been on television except for the one small bit promo he had last friday. With all that in tow, there’s obviously some other options on tap for this former WWE Champion, and having much less experience in the chamber than one particular adversary here, I don’t see it in the cards for a cinderella return to glory for the Charismatic Enigma. I’m going to say the next man to fall victim during this match would be the Big Show. Simply put, I can see him being a thorn in the side of the champion, whomever it may be, but he is a much better hunter than hunted, in my personal opinion. I also see Kozlov not taking the gold after this match, strictly because of inexperience. This is his first chamber match, and if they have not pulled the card out to give him the belt when they had the chance back in November, I don’t suspect that they’re going to pull the card out now. That leaves Edge, Triple H, and the Undertaker.

I suspect Undertaker would be next to be eliminated, for the fact that I don’t suspect that WWE has plans to have the Dead Man come in to Wrestlemania as WWE Champion. Again, for the same reason, ‘Taker is a better hunter than he is hunted. It would not surpise me in the least if Taker is successful here, but the presence of the Big Show may be enough power and leverage to cancel out the efforts of the man who hails on the Dark Side, and keep him out of yet another reign at the top of the mountain. Which leaves us with the final two, whom I would believe will eventually be the main event for Smackdown come next month in Houston, and that is Edge vs. Triple H.

My guts tell me I’d like to see some new blood in the main event next month, but these two men are by far and away the most ready to take the ball and run with it. I am beginning to honestly believe WWE is going to have Triple H break Ric Flair’s record of 16 world heavyweight championships, regardless if Flair is back on programming until Wrestlemania now or not. I am not going to say that because of that one fact that Triple H will win the belt here, as I am kind of leaning against it because of the fact that the belt changed hands last month at the Rumble.

I think that Edge will be able to survive the Chamber. Why? He has shown the guts and grit necessary to survive these types of matches when he survived TLC repeatedly, the hardcore with Foley, and numerous other matches that takes the violence level to heights that are on par with the Chamber. Also, quite frankly, if they’re going to do what I think they will do for the program leading to Houston, again, Triple H is much better suited for the role of the stalker against the whimpering champion than the stalked.

WINNER: Edge

Although, I do have to say, it’d be nice to see a heel champion be out there and basically say, “Come get some,” and be out there and kick the living crap out of everything that moves. The whimpering cowardice that often follows a heel champion can be fun at times, but also, it can tend to get awfully old, REALLY fast.

Two chambers, two retaining champions. Why do I have the feeling I’m in trouble tomorrow night? My record was OK at the Rumble, and I *DID* pick the rumble winner, so maybe my roll will continue. The picks record will be posted on my page on Facebook sunday night after the Pay Per View.

Ok, on to other things, and the obvious topic that I need to address.

The Return of Christian to WWE
When I heard about the return of Chrstian to WWE this past tuesday night on ECW, I had begun writing a diatribe ripping this thing apart at the seams. It appeared out of everyone’s beliefs that Vince had done this angle with the re-emergence of the former NWA World Heavyweight Champion simply to piss off the fans and colleagues of mine that write for the internet wrestling community who were able to leak a potential storyline for the Jeff Hardy situation and the eventual heel turn of Jeff’s brother.

As I wrote this, I was flipping around the web because I was having some second thoughts, and basically a little touch of writer’s block, and I checked in on the ECW recap on WV done by my colleague David Stephens. You could see the passion and excitement he had about Christian returning to ECW dripping off the screen by looking at the words that he had written. And that got me thinking. Thinking so much that I trashed my original ideas for this column, and had to take this long to try and come up with a piece to write about.

IF, and there is a big IF to this, IF Vince is truly trying to improve the product, Christian on ECW is not a bad call. Whomever comes out of the title match tomorrow night, and in my personal opinion, Finlay’s chanes disappeared with Christian’s re-emergence in WWE, will have the beginnings of an instant program leading up to a nice title match on the big stage. Swagger will need someone who is able to lead him in to a good match on a stage as big as Wrestlemania, and Christian has that experience to get the job done, and done well.

Before I continue, I have to also say, Vince McMahon has a serious ego problem, because if you honestly think that the line Matt Striker used when Christian walked out for his intial appearance, “This moment has become instantly classic!,” is not a direct shot at TNA Wrestling, then I need to know what kool aid you’re drinking. What I want to know is, why will Vince publicly not even consider TNA as competition, and yet privately, take shots at them at any and all possible opportunities?

Back to the train of thought…..

I do believe that this is a step downward for Christian, but the facts are simple, and believe it or not, Striker on commentary was the man who brought this to the forefront for me, by describing Christian to the “WWE Universe” (God I hate that saying, and that’s a lot of the reason why I haven’t joined that site yet), as almost a new wrestler. And let’s face it, Christian to a lot of the people watching ECW is new to them because they probably aren’t following the business as rabidly as say myself, or any of you who are crazy enough to read what I have to ramble about.

But, if the chips fall as I suspect they will, Christian will use ECW as a stepping stone to bigger things on Smackdown, more than likely, and eventually, we could get the Edge vs. Christian or Christian vs. Jeff matches that I am sure will delight the crowds all over the country. And let’s be honest here, for a second. Christian did not win world championship gold during his first run in WWE. Although the ECW belt is not called a “WORLD” title, it is technically that, so if you want to read between the lines, it could be his first world championship inside a WWE ring. It’ll pale in comparison to the multiple times he won the NWA title while doing the six-sided thing in Orlando, but hey, I have to try and spin this somehow.

What’s pissing me off about this whole spectacle with Christian’s return is the way Matt Hardy is handling it. I see he wrote this whole diatribe as to how he had not plan one about using Christian in his master plan against Jeff, (in character, I know), but we all know what is being done here. It’s WWE’s and specifically, Vince’s way to try and stick it to guys who write on computers around the world about this business. I got something I need to say to Vince McMahon and the WWE about their babyish reaction to the leaking of this storyline and the eventual swerve that they have attempted to pull on it.

I’m not speaking for myself here, but think about this for a minute, you empty suits. If it wasn’t for guys like me, and for the hundreds and thousands of people who read what these sites like Wrestleview have to say about the industry day in day out, how bad do you think your ratings are going to be? Your ratings are pitiful as it is right now with the talent you’re misusing by the boatloads. (At least, in my opinion.) Instead of trying to PISS off the hardcore fans of your product, maybe, just maybe, you may want to try and LISTEN to them for a change. Perhaps then you’ll get the ratings and the rewards thanks to a more popular product. I don’t know, just call it a domino effect by actually taking your ego, and slamming it in a drawer for a while, and taking the time to listen to the fans who give a damn about what you put out there.

Ok, I’ll step down off my soapbox for a while.

Jeff’s promo last night on Smackdown was good. It showed that he is still torn between the events of the Rumble, and the focus he is trying to keep on tomorrow night in Seattle. It also was a hell of a four way match to end the television program last night. I have to give WWE props for a decent Smackdown. One question needs to be answered, why hasn’t there been a US title match booked for the pay per view yet between MVP and Shelton? Or even an IC title match between Punk and Regal to finish these feuds off? This card is lacking a lot of substance behind the main events. Those main events max are 40 minute jobs. I doubt they’d try and expand on them, especially when the big one is so close in the distance. Hopefully, WWE will make some last minute changes come bell time, but that is so TNA-ish in their booking, it’s not very good.

I picked up the Best of Saturday Night’s Main Event DVD. I haven’t had the chance to watch it all yet, but what I see, I truly do enjoy.

I read the results following Impact this past week, and Holy jumpin’ ship, Batman, what a cluster bomb coming off a pay per view that was God awful to begin with. I’ll keep my comments on that for a little bit later, because I’m going to be able to catch the replay with my kids in about an hour. So, let me put this column on hold, and get back to you guys in a few hours.

Ok, it’s been a little longer than a few hours, but I do have something to say about the Impact broadcast that was seen this past week. Instead of sitting here and ripping the broadcast apart piece by piece, I have one thing to say about the broadcast that I really enjoyed.

Sting’s promo at the end of the show when he was in the confrontation with Angle that led to this ’empty arena’ match last week. Sting’s playing of Angle’s emotions, to show Angle how he has truly lost his way. I can’t believe that there isn’t some sort of a shoot laced in to that work style promo out of Sting because Angle, in my opinion, has lost his way, he has lost his intensity, and he has lost his passion. Whether its the personal losses he has suffered due to wrestling or the eventual wear and tear of his body, his performance between the ropes and on the stick week in week out has contijnued to deteriorate, and I think Sting really drove the point home last week.

As my eyes cannot stay open, it’s time to end this little diatribe. See you when I see you.

Thanks for reading.

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