Celebrating the nuptials of HRH Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton

Yes, it may have escaped your attention during the incessant media coverage of Extreme Rules this week, but there was also a Royal Wedding planned for this weekend. By the you read this the rather low key affair will be all over, and we can get back to being swamped by coverage of yet another gimmick PPV from the WWE. And, sticking with tradition, we’d like to share our thoughts, predictions and well wishes for all involved.

Sidekick Andrew: It almost seems sacrilege to discuss this match on such a heartwarmingly romantic weekend, celebrating as it does the break up of one of our favourite WWE couples. No, not that kind of couple, although I’m sure if you search hard enough in the darker recesses of the internet you can find crudely photoshopped images and tawdry scribblings discussing just that.

We’ve long been fans of LayCool here at The Bunker. Despite a rather shaky start during the infamous Piggy James angle, we soon came to appreciate the comedy genius of Layla in particular. Through their genius internet-baiting role as NXT Pros to their run as “BFF Champs” they’ve been consistently entertaining characters. They may have even influenced our choice of XBox LIVE mottos, depending on how sad that revelation makes us sound.

Anyway, before I embarrass us anymore I should reveal that I want Layla to win this “Loser Leaves Smackdown” match. This is partly due to the fact that I don’t like Michelle McCool anywhere near as much as I like Layla. However, if I was going to be all “internet wrestling community” about it, I would say that McCool seems the type to buy into the whole A-Show/B-Show nonsense and would want to be on Raw facing the likes of Kong and Phoenix. And let’s face it, she has the influence to get what she wants…

Saturday Morning Edit: What? Loser leaves WWE? Really? Oh well, despite the fact that the overdubbing only managed to remind me of the infamous “I have to go now. My planet needs me.” line from The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie show, I suppose this lends a degree of gravitas to the match. I think the (Scott Stanford approved) Boss Lady is right on this one, and someone will interfere. Having said that, as it’s a No DQ, No Count Out match, I’m sticking with Layla to win, but due to interference
McCool will have an argument to stay with the WWE.

Boss Lady Ray: When this was a ‘Loser Leaves Smackdown’ match, I was pretty sure Layla was staying on Smackdown, with Michelle trotting off to Raw. However, after watching Smackdown and hearing the hilarious and atrocious dubbing of Michelle McCool replacing “Smackdown” with “WWE”, I’m inclined to think neither of them will win. If ever there was a clear sign from them on high that Kong/Kharma is about to debut in the WWE, this is it. My guess is that Kharma will interfere with the match and they’ll both be disqualified, leaving the two of them gainfully employed. Who knows? Maybe it’ll bring them back together. Here’s hoping. I supposed it’s No DQ though, they’d both have to be unfit to continue. A small price to pay to keep your job.

Flawless?

Sidekick Andrew: “Country Whipping Tag Match?” Yeah, I’ve no idea either. I’ve just checked the match description on wwe.com and they offer no help whatsoever. Admittedly I’ve been rather lax with my WWE watching over the last couple of weeks, so there’s always a chance that they may have explained this in meticulous detail on TV. I can only assume it’s something to do with butter maybe? Although the idea of these four wrestling in butter brings forth an uncomfortable mix of Deliverance and Last Tango in Paris – a mental image I could have happily gone to my grave without ever experiencing…

I think everyone can agree that unlike the previous match, we’ll all be happy to see the partnership of Cole and Swagger fall apart on Sunday. Swagger deserves better, and let’s be honest – Cole outstayed his welcome after the first appearance of his gong on NXT. Having said that, I think Cole and Swagger will win, with Swagger getting the pin (or more likely submission.) This will cause Cole to get all stroppy as he wanted the glory. As I explained to Boss Lady Ray across the boardroom table during our discussions, this can only lead to “PUSH – PUSH – PUNCH – PUNCH – GUTWRENCH POWERBOMB” and the end of the Cole-Swagger partnership at last.

Boss Lady Ray: I just want it to be over. This storyline should be have been drawn to a close at Wrestlemania. Michael Cole’s ego has been on the puff-up since Daniel Bryan gave him a smack way back on series one of NXT. This really has to be the moment where Cole eats his humble pie, shuts up and lets the people in the ring be the stars. King and JR to win with Swagger sticking the GUTWRENCH POWERBOMB! on Cole after it’s all done. As for the whipping thing, I have no idea, but if it does involve butter I’ll be skipping the toast and having cereal for my breakfast the next morning. Bleurgh.  

Sidekick Andrew: This Falls Count Anywhere match could be great. Cody’s a great wrestler and Rey always pulls out the stops at PPVs. The fact that it’s Falls Count Anywhere gives Mysterio chance to jump off something tall to get a victory, and much as I would like Cody to win I think Rey will get the pin.

Actually, you know what? Despite the fact I am pretty much looking forward to this match, I can’t actually come up with much to say about it. We’ve seen these two go at it a few times now, and there’s only so much to talk about. Instead, here’s a completely irrelevant video of another short flippy masked guy we really like here in The Bunker:

Boss Lady Ray: Being that Rey Mysterio is moving to Raw and possibly winding down for a break, I’m going to go with Rey. With Cody staying on Smackdown the feud needs to end and it’ll be a nice farewell to SD if Mysterio wins. Cody Rhodes was the surprising winner in the Legacy split and with himself, Ted DiBiase and Randy Orton all now on Friday nights, there’s potential for something interesting between Ted and Cody in particular. It’ll be a Rey Mysterio spot-fest, but hey, let him enjoy it.

Sidekick Andrew: Hmm… Wrestlegasm favourite Punk vs the Most Boring Wrestler in Christendom, Randy Orton. I don’t think anyone has dropped in estimation as much as Orton, not since Powell Motors revealed “The Homer”

Now that my obligatory Simpsons reference is out of the way, I’ve a feeling that Punk will take this one. After all the rumours swirling around this week about Punk wanting a break and not signing a new contract yet, this could go either way. There’s a possibilty the WWE could decide to punish him and give him a loss so that he doesn’t feel like he’s indispensable. But I think they’re more likely to give him the victory as an incentive to keep him. A Last Man Standing loss is particularly embarrassing for a wrestler: being unable to answer a ten count is almost up there with an I Quit loss and I just can’t picture Punk being down for that long. Orton, on the other hand, is a big fan of the rest hold and slow action – so there’s always a chance he’ll just not realise the time has passed letting Punk get the win.

Saturday Morning Edit: OK, I’ll admit Orton looks good with his new beard, and I enjoyed his little smiley promo at the start of Smackdown last night. Is it just me, or does he have a look of Beckham with that stubble? Anyway, doesn’t effect my prediction, just thought I’d mention it.

Boss Lady Ray: My inherent wish to see CM Punk win is never far away when making predictions. There’s a good reason why I’m losing 2-5 in our little competition. But even though it goes against every fibre in my body, I think they’ll give this one to Orton. They’re on different brands now, so it has to come to a close, and I never really dug it as a feud anyway. It’s hard to know what plans they have for Punk. It’s even harder to know whether the rumours that he’s not planning on renewing his contract are true or not. But I think Punk’s work for the next few months lies with Mason Ryan.

Those big hints of tension between them lead me to think Mason may be about to cost his boss the match on Sunday, leading to a run that finally puts Mason over. They made him FCW Champion amazingly quickly, to the point where he even mentioned that he wasn’t sure he deserved it so soon. Modesty is a Welsh trait. They also excused him the embarrasment of appearing on NXT like the rest of the FCW roster. They’ve got plans for Mason Ryan and this might just be the push they’re waiting on. If that’s the case and Punk’s about to bring him up, I may need to watch those matches alone in a darkened room.

Ray: Asian Edition


Sidekick Andrew: I have no idea why Morrison is suddenly in the main event scene. I like the guy as a wrestler, but he still can’t talk and I can’t quite picture him as champion. Of course it could be worse, R-Truth could still be involved in the match.

Thanks for that John, I almost feel bad for saying you shouldn’t win now. Almost. I suspect that the reverse of this will happen before the match itself, and Truth will take down Morrison backstage or on the entrance ramp. Morrison and Truth can then carry on feuding all they want, without muddying the title race on Raw. That leaves Cena and Miz to have a Cage Match by themselves: a match which should be good fun. I think Miz will win this one, despite not having Alex Riley at his side anymore after the draft.

I think Miz has earned a legit title defence without any outside interference to make him look like the champion, rather than someone who needs help to win everytime. Cena can afford to lose now and then without losing any credibilty or fans, and he genuinely comes across as someone who is happy to put over new talent, so that’s what I hope happens.

Boss Lady Ray: Andrew’s prediction is very logical. This is why he’s winning our little predictions competition 2-5. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Morrison will win. I KNOW! It’s ridiculous! He can’t string more than two sentences together without fumbling the order of the words and it definitely looks like they’ve put him there so he can start something more long running with Truth. But I’ve decided that’s a bluff. Yes, Miz absolutely deserves a clean win over Cena, but since when is wrestling logical and generous? I’m not saying Morrison will have it for long but….actually, this prediction is completely ludicrous. I’ll stick with it to see if I’m cuckoo or a genius.

Sidekick Andrew: Here’s a strange one. Whoever wins, this definitely has the chance to be the match of the night – these two in a Ladder Match should steal the show. Also, both men deserve a win – Christian is long due another title run, and Del Rio won the Royal Rumble only to lose in the opening match at Wrestlemania.

Of course, Del Rio has been drafted to Raw now, so the chances of him winning are pretty slim, but that needn’t effect the quality of the match at all. Knowing the winner (or assuming you know the winner) doesn’t always lessen your enjoyment of the actual match. So, although I think it’s reasonably foregone conclusion that Christian will get the belt, I’m still really looking forward to this match and I think it’ll be something pretty special.

Boss Lady Ray: I agree with everything my esteemed colleague said. Christian will most likely win, but I’m more excited about watching what promises to be an outstanding wrestling match.

So there you have it. Feel free to add your own predictions in the comments box if you so desire. Real predictions only. If you’ve read spoilers and want to look big and clever by getting everything right, you’re only cheating yourself. Oh and if you’re wishing you could eat your tea off those gorgeous plates…… so are we!

A Song for Whoever: Layla & Sean Waltman Edition

BOSS LADY RAY: You know when you’re with a group of friends and there’s a couple causing a scene? They try to play down their obvious conflict but it’s no good. Everyone else can see something messy has gone down before they arrived.  Weeks go by and it keeps happening. They’re not happy and everyone knows it, even before they do. The more this happens the more the group starts quietly wondering if a break-up is on the cards. If they break up, who will they stay friends with? Awkward.

Eventually they start confiding in other members of the group. They’re in couples counselling trying to make a go of things, but only one of them really wants to go. That person just wants out and is treating the other like something they’ve stepped in hoping they’ll break up with them. The other’s holding on for fear of being alone and because they still feel the spark that brought them together in the first place.

This song is for Layla. Michelle might have heightened your profile and helped you improve your in-ring skills, but you’ve got all the charm and charisma to go it alone. She’s treating you like an absolute muppet. Let her go, cry your tears and move on. You deserve a better BFF. (Yes, I’m volunteering.)

SIDEKICK ANDREW: I’ll keep this short, my subject has already been covered better than I could by Matt Jones in his guest post earlier this week. However, if you’re desperate for more hot, steaming Sidekick Andrew Song for Whoever action you can always check this special Bonus Track.

Anyway, on the off chance you didn’t read Matt’s King of Trios post (for shame!) one of the things to come out of last weekend’s tournament was the resurgence of the 1-2-3 Kid Sean “X-Pac” Waltman. As Matt rightly said, Waltman had become a by-word for all that was wrong in wrestling over the last few years: drug abuse, nepotism and politicking – not to mention risible sex tapes and gatecrashing reality TV shows.

Sean's the one on the right by the way...

Given all this, booking him for family friendly CHIKARA’s biggest show of the year seemed to be a pretty big risk. Would he turn up? Would he be sober? Would he be able to wrestle? Could he stay family friendly? The answer to all these questions has been a resounding “yes” according to every person in attendance. Not only was Waltman humble and seemingly incredibly appreciative of the opportunity and the reaction he was given, he put on what most reviewers are calling the match of the weekend (if not the year) against El Generico.

So this one’s for you Mr Waltman – if anyone’s earned this song it’s you.

Wrestlemania 27 Predictions: Sidekick Andrew

Regardless of the rather baffling (and much less important than certain internet critics might have you believe) decision to drop the word “wrestling” from any description of the WWE, tonight is WRESTLEMANIA – undoubtedly the biggest event in the pro-wrestling calendar. An evening (or stupidly early morning for some of us) of celebrity endorsement, epic showdowns between legends and fast paced action between some of the exciting new stars of this ancient artform.

Ahh wrestling… wikipedia describes “Professional Wrestling” as “a mode of spectacle, combining athletics and theatrical performance.” With a history dating back over 15,000 years, wrestling can be found in the ancient cave drawings of France. All of which leaves me with a slight dilemma: how best to convey the excitement and thrills of Wrestlemania? The grappling acumen harking back to Babylonian and Egyptian reliefs? The roar of the approximately 75,000 fans in attendance? The blood, sweat and tears shed by these men and women for the briefest moment of reward, a reward which (if were honest) isn’t that important? Quite frankly, I can only think of one possible way to correctly pay the respect due to this most masculine of endeavours – PIE CHARTS!

As Boss Lady Ray explained yesterday, we’re not the best at predicting the results of these things – so we pulled in some people who should, in theory, know even less that us. Our families…

First up, Cole vs Lawler. Now, my family were relatively split on this one with Lawler just edging it despite Alice deciding that “the one on the left […] looks stronger” (although there’s always a chance she might have mixed up her left and right.) Very happy with their choices here. Let’s face it, nobody want’s Cole to win tonight, and logic dicates that he probably won’t. However, I should point out that I’m not basing this on Rebecca’s slightly strange reasoning that Lawler should win “cos he looks cheesy!” or her fiance Kris’ logic that “his comments are amazing” being that Lawler is just ahead of Booker T in the “Wrestlegasm Commentators we’d like to see relegated to regional news somewhere in Alaska”

Next up, Edge vs Del Rio, and almost a clean sweep for Del Rio, with only one person voting for Edge. Del Rio’s reasons ranged from the quite logical fact that “he has a very muscley body” and is “bigger built” to the slightly more worrying “the one with the nice panties..Del Rio?” Not sure anyone has described Alberto Del Rio, a man descended from Mexican aristocracy, as having “nice panties” before mother, but you might want to check out Ray’s old Crotch Watch posts.

Also nice to see that we’re a family that doesn’t forgive and forget easily, with Kris’ insistence that Del Rio should win “because of what Edge did to Christian” – admittedly Edge & Christian are BFFs again, but we’ll always know what you did that summer…

You might have noticed by now that these matches are probably not in the order they’ll be broadcast, but that’s how we do it on the Fylde coast baby! As such, here’s Miz vs Cena. Cena was the overwhelming favourite here, with only my mother voting for the current champion on the grounds that he is “named after (my sister) Alice” (For those of you grasping with the logic here, I’m assuming Miz being short for miserable is a slight on the cheery disposition of my teenage sister, but I couldn’t possibly say.

As for Cena… well, the fact that he looked “like a wrestler” and “angry,” as well as being “simply […] amazing” were all perfectly valid reasons that I struggled to argue against.

Celebrity random team time, and the only unanimous decision of both sets of predictions. It would appear that everyone I’m related to is a massive fan of the Jersey Shore for some reason. Admittedly Kris did vote for Team Morrison because Rebecca would “kill him” if he went with the other team, but Alice and Rebecca both seem to be fans. Alice in particular seemed quite taken with Morrison, and the fact that “he has Snooki as one of his bitches which just proves he is awesome”

Obviously I can’t be seen to support this kind of language, but after the Trish/Snooki/LayCool segment on Raw this week, it would appear that “bitch” is relatively acceptable.

Strangely, I expected the girls in my family to vote for Cody because he’s easy on the eye. Turns out nobody mentioned his looks, they instead were frightened of Mysterio. That’s right, the children’s favourite Mysterio, the merchandising machine, the shortest wrestler on the roster – my family were scared of him because he wears a mask.

Having said that, Mysterio did win this one. Kris rightly pointed out his speed, whereas Alice said that “he looks more serious” – presumably a reference to his Joker get-up from Wrestlemania 25…

See? I can do outdated jokes as well

Unfortunately for my predictions, Orton won this one with only Alice focusing on Punk’s “muscly legs” and the advantage that they might give him. As for Orton, the reasons once again ranged from the suprisingly knowledgable (“his old man was a brilliant wrestler”) to the purely aesthetic (“he has a nice tan” and “he looks evil”.)

On a personal note, while I’ve tried not to give my own predictions this year, I really *really* hope Punk wins this one. My fondness for his muscly legs notwithstanding, Punk is miles ahead of Orton in popularity here in the Bunker and the idea of Orton crowing about his victory in… incredibly… slow… phrasing… with… unnecessarily… long… pauses… between… each… word… yawn

Last but not least, Undertaker vs HHH – a match that I wasn’t looking forward to until this week’s Raw and Undertaker’s John Marston impression. [BOSS LADY RAY’S EDIT: SWOOOON. For John Marston. Not ‘Taker. Eww. Forget I mentioned it.]

"ma'am"

So, this battle of the giants pitting the Undertaker’s unrivalled Wrestlemania streak of victories against HHH’s legacy as one the most successful wrestler’s in WWE history – how would the results come in for this one?

“Undertaker: my reason is it’s the Undertaker and HHH has a big nose… and that big nose muppet retired Mankind. Bastard, I hate you HHH”

“Undertaker because he has no eyes!”

“HHH as the other one won’t be able to see what he’s doing.”

Now obviously Undertaker has got the regulation number of eyes (that’s two in case you’re from some of the more remote areas of the United States and unsure) but I thought that it was interesting that his supposed lack of ocular equipment could be seen as both a detriment and an advantage. Still, I never claimed to be from a family blessed with an abundance of logic or common sense – hence the reason I like wrestling enough to write about it on here every week I suppose. Also, HHH is even less forgiven than Edge was earlier – so it’s probably best not to cross us…

Assuming you can count, you might have noticed that there are a couple of matches missing. That’s because, despite my usual love of procrastination I decided to ask my family to predict last week – something which would have worked well had the WWE not decided to add a couple of matches afterwards. So… how to predict these last two matches? I could use my knowledge of the storylines so far and wrestling logic to make an educated guess as to who the winners might be, orrrrrr….

In case you don’t know, www.googlefight.com is a site which allows you to compare the search results for two terms and come up with a “winner.” So let’s see what Google has to say…

There we go, that was pretty decisive wasn’t it? Now, roll on bloody midnight.

Unreal – In The Truest Possible Sense

Snooki from Jersey Shore was on Raw. Woah! And she’s going to be in a match at Wrestlemania. Double-woah! I realise there are people who think I should be using ‘woe’, and I won’t pretend it’ll be anything close to match of the year, but every Wrestlemania needs an attention-seeking celebrity guest to bring in the masses, right? Think Floyd Mayweather, Cyndi Lauper, Mike Tyson, Donald Trump…..the list goes on. I don’t really watch Jersey Shore. I would love to give you some high-brow, intelligent reason for why, but the genuine reason is that it’s the kind of inane trash I get addicted to and hate myself for wasting my life watching afterwards. So I have watched Jersey Shore, but I try not to.

The thing that surprised me about Snooki’s appearance on Raw wasn’t that she was actually very good, but that people were surprised that she pulled it off at all. The only misstep is that she hasn’t been teamed up with LayCool. That girl’s a heel if ever I saw one. Still, the whole point of the Wrestlemania celeb is that the crowd are on their side. We’ve mentioned before that wrestling and reality TV are bedfellows. Wrestling is as hyperreal as Jersey Shore. They’re both full of over-tanned, over-acting egos who blow-up at the tiniest sense of friction, pretending all along that it’s not pre-planned or scripted. The only real difference is that wrestling doesn’t hide the fact that that’s exactly what it is. Jersey Shore, The Hills, The City – all manufactured. But MTV would prefer if you didn’t know that, or at least, didn’t think about it.

Snooki stepping up to to Michelle McCool, then launching herself at Layla before arranging a future fight against LayCool and Dolph, flanked by Trish Stratus and John Morrison –  it’s all in a day’s work for this kid. It’s the kind of thing she does every day!

You see? Spot the wrestling! If there’s one thing I do know though, it’s that Melina had a little word in Snooki’s ear before she started ‘working’ with Morrison. No smushy-smushy-time, ya get me?

While we’re at it, Chris Jericho will be amazing on Dancing with the Stars for the same reason. It’s that whole ‘telling a story with your body’ thing. And before everyone starts with their ‘Hmm, wrestling and ballroom dancing are alike, aren’t they?’ posts, we beat you to it by about two years...here. Also here. What is wrestling if not an elaborate sequence of choreography where the tiniest deviation requires quick thinking to gracefully pull things back and make the slip a part of the performance? That’s before we even get to the spangly, skin-tight outfits and yet more over-tanning.

When I found out Chris Jericho was going to be on Dancing with the Stars I wasn’t that excited. This is largely due to the fact that Dancing with the Stars is the televisual poor relation of Strictly Come Dancing, the British and original version of the show. To be fair, they’ve stayed pretty faithful to the original. The set, the theme music, some of the judges and even a couple of the pro dancers are the same. But it just doesn’t feel right.

That all changed when the Sidekick showed me Jericho’s training video. I was warned beforehand to “Practice my ‘I’ve got a crush on Jericho’ face.” It’s something along these lines:

Not actually me. Although I have got a cardigan that colour.

Really though, hasn’t everyone got a permanent crush on Chris Jericho? There are very few wrestlers who everyone loves unconditionally, but Jericho’s definitely in that exclusive group. Who else would you put inside that fence? So, after deciding I wouldn’t cover his dancing antics on this blog, it took about 30 seconds of Jericho’s training video to change my mind. I’m a sucker. I’d say he’s about to rumba his way into my heart, but he’s already there anyway. I’ll do my very best to keep up. It’ll be tricky getting access to the shows from over here but I’ll pull some strings. I’m getting giddy already! Let’s watch again……

 

 

 

……and if you just can’t get enough of Chris Jericho, you can enter our second birthday giveaway to win a copy of his new book, among other wonderful prizes. Click here to enter your details. Only one more week to go!

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As per the new Wrestlegasm tradition, whichever of us loses the PPV prediction competitions has to write up the results. So guess who lost again? The Boss! I’m very grumpy and have spent the week skulking around the Wrestle Bunker with a permanent frown on my face while the Sidekick does his smuggiest  smug-face every time I walk past his desk. It also took me a good three days to get over the live PPV-watching jetlag, which didn’t help with the tetchiness. For the rest of this post, assume I have reverted to being the sullen teenager I was in the 90s, sucking on my baggy sleeves and rolling my eyes when it’s suggested that listening to a personal CD player in a restaurant is rude. This may or may not have actually happened. Aren’t teenagers absolute twats?

Dolph and Edge were up first and this was by far the best individual match of the night. To be honest, it was probably always going to be, but not only was the in-ring action brilliant, the interplay between Vickie on the sidelines and the boys on the other side of the ropes was magic. When Vickie tried to interfere with the match Kelly-Kelly, of all people, ran out to make sure that didn’t happen. It seemed random at the time, but it lead to a fantastic main event on Smackdown. I should learn to trust wrestling more. (N.B. Never trust wrestling. It will break your heart.)

Long story short, everyone was having a punch-induced nap apart from Edge & Dolph. With nobody to tell him off, Edge decided to initiate the Spear. Thrilling, of course. But more thrilling was the fact that we could now spear onion rings with crunchy sticks, as discussed in the predictions post.

Everyone woke from their slumber and Edge took the match with the Killswitch. All was buoyant in the Bunker.

Ah the Royal Rumble. The only show that can be opened with two title matches. Which leads me neatly towards Randy Orton vs Mizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz-zzz-zzz-zzzz-zzz. Everything we said about this match turned out to be true. Miz was great, as always, but Orton was dull and managed to knocked the air out of every Miz move. We used this time to chat about nonsense, spear more onion rings and debate whether we should turn the fire on or not.

Not gonna lie, towards the end there I genuinely thought Orton was going to take it. But I was even more thrilled than usual to see the New Nexus bods trot out to distract Randy. He didn’t know where to look. What he should have done is kept an eye out for CM Punk, who was waiting to knee him in the chops with a GTS. From there is was a simple case of dragging Miz’s broken carcass on top of Randy and letting the ref do his job. The happiness continued in the Bunker.

To unleash a Kong or not to unleash a Kong? That is the question. The Divas handicap match was about to get going when the lights flickered and the anonymous GM did his/her bleeping email sound thing. YESSSSSSS! This is it! This isn’t going to be a handicap match. It’s a Fatal 4-Way. YESSSSSSSS! She’s here! I’ve wanted to see this for so long. Heeeeeere’s Ko….EVE? The entire world groaned all at once. It was like being told you were having an amazing dessert after your dinner and it turns out to be a rice-cake. It’s a shame, because I really like Eve , but if ever someone was used as a pawn for Vince McMahon to flip his middle finger to the internet, Eve was she.

With Eve in the mix, Bunker disappointment turned to quickly deciding how we were going to work the predictions. We settled on me sticking with LayCool and Andrew taking Natalya and Eve. The match itself was great and those little hints that cracks may form within LayCool at any time are always a tantalising reminder of what will be a brilliant story when Layla and Michelle finally go their separate ways.

So, who won this pre-Rumble tussle? Eve. Yes, EVE! After the collective global groan came the collective global ‘WTF-Just-Happened-Face’. I’m not sure Eve was ready for the heat she was thrown from the crowd, just for not being Kong. Still, this turned out to be a very important result in our predictions competition. Just a second, I need to put my teenage angst face back on.

Rumble tiiiiiiiime! Woo! Time to head to the kitchen and break out the WWE themed ice cream bars I made for the Sidekick and myself.

Ah-ha. When I tweeted about them on Sunday you thought I was joking, didn’t you? Wrong. They were delicious. If you’ve ever wondered what Mason Ryan and Beth Phoenix taste like (and we definitely have) they taste like……printer ink.

Where to start with the Rumble? CM Punk came in at no.1 and Andrew was already expecting to lose. Then when Daniel Bryan came in at no. 2, we both figured we were screwed. And to make me even more miserable, when the New Nexus and The Corre stormed the start of the match, I was waiting for them all to be disqualified, culling the quota of entrants and depriving me of Mason Ryan screen-time. Luckily, they were all sent backstage and the match began. PHEW!

Daniel Bryan was eliminated after about 20 minutes by Punk while I was out of the room feeding the cat. At least I didn’t have to watch Andrew begin his gloating fiesta. Much the same as last year, where Punk held a sermon in the middle of the ring and attempted to save every entrants from themselves, he managed to sweep the decks with his Nexus ship-mates at his side. Waiting for Mason to appear was absolute agony. And then….

Of course, their work was all for nothing. Super-Cena showed up and got rid of every single one. And not just the sidekicks, but Punk too. Then there was a whole thing where Hornswoggle came out and they practically tag-teamed everyone out of the ring. This didn’t do much to keep us awake at 3:00am. Wait, I’m forgetting something…….

I’d tell you how exciting this was, but knowing what happened on Smackdown this week, I’m on a Booker T embargo. I’ll discuss this more in our new feature, to be posted later tonight.

We were at the business end of the Rumble. It all becomes a little hazy from this point. There were so many possible winners and still no Trips or Kong. My fixation with the HHH comeback clouded my thoughts and, you know, it was creeping towards 4:00am. There’s only so much you can take in at this ungodly hour. It was safe to say that, once Sheamus was eliminated, Triple H was not coming back. It then became about Wade Barrett and Del Rio for us. Either one would have had us leaping in the air in our new pyjamas.

So this is it. It’s Del Rio. YAY! Amazing! He so des…..oh no. This can’t be. Santino? SANTINO is going to win the Rumble? FUUUUUUCK!

I suggest you take a moment to scan to faces of people in the crowd. This is wrestling.

Ah. It was just a joke. Oh WWE, you silly little sausage. You had us going there.

Jumping in the air in our new pyjamas commenced right about nnnnnnnow:

This is not an accurate depiction of myself and Andrew. We look much older.

After the ticker-tape had fallen we went to our respective wings of the Bunker and stared at the ceiling for a few hours. Europeans: how on earth does anyone sleep after a live PPV? If you figure it out, let me know. In 12 years I’m yet to solve the mystery. Luckily, I didn’t have to work in the morning. Being a hard taskmaster though, I put the Sidekick to work and saw to it that he didn’t fall asleep by poking his arm with a newly sharpened pencil every time he did the nod at his desk. MWAHAHAHA!

As a whole we thoroughly enjoyed the Royal Rumble. Sure, it has its dull moments, but it was miles away from being a bad PPV. Was 40 too many for one match? Maybe. But then, they needed the New Nexus to be in there and they wanted The Corre involved. That gives you most of the extras. Booker and Nash were nice surprises (assuming you hadn’t had them spoilt for you). The biggest surprise was the lack of HHH and Kong. Maybe the internet (including ourselves) should learn to shut up a little more. The more we want something, the less McMahon is likely to give it to us. We never learn.

The one thing I forgot to mention was John Morrison’s velcro-feet move. He jumped from the ring to the audience barrier, shuffled about, jumped over to the steps and made it back into the ring without his feet touching the ground. It was fab. Such a shame he can’t string a decent promo together. He’s some vocal training away from being a mega-star.

Okay, that’s another Rumble and another results post in me the bag. If you’ll excuse me I need to pull my fringe down in front of my face, turn my mouth downwards and do some more eye-rolling. God, teenage life was hard work.

Head Lock Go! Go! Professional Wrestling: Royal Rumble Predictions

It’s here already! Our favourite WWE PPV of the year is upon us and it’s time for us to blindly fumble our way towards a vague prediction of who might win. We’re both really looking forward to the show this year, especially as the Rumble itself is generally one of our favourite matches. Given that there’s only 4 matches listed for this year we were expecting more to be announced on Smackdown, selfishly hampering our practically paranormal predicting as usual. In retrospect though, last year only had 6 matches (one of which only lasted 20 seconds!) and the Rumble match was (presumably) shorter so 4 matches is probably all we’re getting. Still, with only 4 matches to predict we should be able to get a 100% hit rate right? Maybe…

Sidekick Andrew: First up, the Divas Title handicap match: Natalya vs LayCool. Now there’s a lot of rumours that Awesome Kong might debut during this match. Or rather Amazing/Astounding/Astonishing/Alarming Kong as TNA have kept the rights to Awesome, and the whole Miz thing might get confusing…

Anyway, assuming Discombobulating Kong does debut I would assume she’ll be a heel supporting LayCool so they can lead to a feud against Beth or Natalya (God I wish!) But I don’t think this means LayCool will win, I’m going with Natalya to get the win and retain the belt, although there’s a good chance she’ll get beaten down after the match. I can’t see them taking the belt off her just yet, but then that could be more wishful thinking on my part that the WWE actual care about having a great wrestler holding the title for a while. Much as I like Layla, she’s no Natalya.

Boss Lady Ray: Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think Kong will debut during the Divas match. I think it’ll be during the Rumble. My only hope is that there’s at least one other Divas there for her to begin a feud with. I’d hate for them to make it OK for Kong to fight boys just because she’s bigger than the other girls. But anyway, this is all speculation. The match itself is what we’re predicting here.

Boring as it would be to go back to where we were, at least without some interference, I think LayCool will get the title back. I have this feeling that WWE are bored of Natalya being champ and they’ll take the title back to Smackdown where they can do more with Beth. Of course, this entire prediction could be based on the fact that, ultimately, I just want Beth to have the belt again. This girl-crush thing is getting hardcore. Maybe it was because Beth publicly thanked us for making her Wrestlegasm Female Wrestler of the Year on Twitter. See? Didn’t we say she was lovely?

Sidekick Andrew: Next up, Miz vs Orton. Awesome vs yawnsome. Genius vs tedious. The Money in the Banker against the arrogant wan… well you get the point. Like many people I was a fan of Orton once upon a time, but now? I really struggle to muster any interest in him, either in or out of the ring. His promos are dreary and his in ring action is nowhere near as interesting as it used to be.

So, despite Randall’s shameless baby-kissing and giant puppy action I’m going to go with my fervent hope that Miz wins and keeps the title until Wrestlemania at least. There’s no mileage in another Orton title run, and if the rumours are true that he’s working injured it would make even less sense. Miz, on the other hand, is the WWE’s new media darling: taking on the promotional duties that would normally fall to Cena and doing a great job of them. Miz deserves a Wrestlemania title defence after the work he’s put in, even if it’s only to lose.

Boss Lady Ray: I’m right in saying that Orton is still injured, right? And I’m right in saying that he’s become pretty boring to watch, yeah? And I’m correct in saying that Miz lights the place up the minute his toothy face arrives on screen, yah? Yah? I agree with Andrew, Miz really deserves to take the title to Wrestlemania, so I think he’ll win this one. I just can’t see him losing to Orton at this stage. He has too much to offer the biggest show of the year. Besides, if he loses that totally screws my Rumble pick, so don’t lose or I’ll stop wearing your t-shirt, Miz. (I won’t.)

Even if Randy isn’t that seriously injured, I think he should go away for a while. I feel a little bit like he’s blending into the background and going through the motions. Randy, take some time off, have a break, put your feet up, watch Cash in the Attic, eat brunch, drink some full-fat lattes and come back refreshed and ready to punt someone in the head. It’s like poetry, isn’t it?

Sidekick Andrew: Spear! Spear! Spear! Actually, we’re more likely to hear “Edgecution! Edgecution! Edgecution!” after Vickie banned the Spear on Friday’s Smackdown. Now, this would usually be deemed slightly unfair but let’s be honest, she has done this before when she banned the Undertaker’s Hell’s Gate move while he was feuding with… erm… Edge! As Derren Brown sung: What Goes Around… Comes Around

Now, it’s no secret we’re huge Dolph fans (or Dolphans as he insists on calling them on twitter) and I definitely want him to take the title at some point this year, but I can’t see it happening before Wrestlemania. I think Edge will win this time, but I’d be very surprised if there was no shenanigans. I suspect Edge will use the Spear behind the ref’s back, maybe while Vickie is distracting him – giving them an excuse to have a rematch at Elimination Chamber.

Having said that, I would be over the moon if I was wrong and Dolph won the title. Sometimes being wrong isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Something which Boss Lady Ray and her slightly askew prediction are very glad of. [BOSS LADY RAY’S EDIT: Set some time aside next week, young man. You’re writing the results show this month.]

Boss Lady Ray: Did Andrew just reference Justin Timberlake? Wow. This is what happens when you spend your time hauled up in a WWII Bunker with me. Anyway, I’m very annoyed with Vickie Guerrero. By banning the Spear she has effectively ruined our Bunker Rumble party. Our plan was to spear an onion ring with a salt & vinegar crunchy stick and scoff it every time Edge hit the Spear or someone hit a Spear-like move. Now, it’s spoilt and we’ll have to eat them separately.

On a more serious note, there’s way too much mileage in this feud between Dolph and Edge. Ex-husband is feuding with ex-wife’s younger, more ripped boyfriend? Come on, there’s months of material in there. It’s soap opera gold! I know it’s all been done before, but I’ve a feeling this squabble will carry through to Wrestlemania where Vickie will be seduced by Edge again and turn on Dolph.  She falls for him every. single. time. Dolph will retain this time, but his days are numbered.

Sidekick Andrew: Yay! The Rumble! And this year it’s a biggie – 40 men (or rather, 40 wrestlers *wink wink*) Last year’s was great, with Punk preaching, Beth battling and Edge entering from nowhere. I’m hoping for good things this year too. There’s a lot of feuds that will collide in the ring: Corre vs Nexus, Punk vs Cena, Barrett vs Cena, Big Show vs Nexus, Sheamus vs HHH (probably) all of which should lead to an interesting match.

There’s a few people I think could win this year. Other than the usual big names that always have a chance, there are a few newer guys that seem to have a good chance. If I was allowed to pick a few then Del Rio, Barrett or Bryan might get a look in…

I can’t believe I spent so long on a crappy photoshop of a magazine none of you will be old enough to remember. On a Saturday night no less… the things we do here in the Bunker for you lot. [BOSS LADY RAY’S EDIT: I remember it. But then, I’m old too. Ah, the good old days. When magazines were 20p] Anyway, happy as I would be to see any of those guys win, I going to go with Punk to win the Rumble. They need someone who can ostensibly main event Wrestlemania and Punk vs Miz could be a great match. Punk also has Nexus behind him, and Bunker favourite Mason Ryan on his side so he’s my pick. The predictable finish would involve Cena, Barret and Punk as the final three, with Barrett and Punk teaming to take out Cena before Punk eliminates Wade.

Of course, there’s always a chance I’m wrong: the Big Show might win. After all he’s the biggest man in the Rumble, and surely someone that big must have an advantage?

fiiiiiine...

Boss Lady Ray: We spent a long time pondering the winner of the Rumble. Like a whole 20 minutes. I know, right? Ages. It’s the most fun match to predict because there are so many variables. My original prediction during this conversation was for Mason Ryan to be around towards the end. Batista comes out as number 30. They eyeball each other, Barri Mason eliminates Dave and that begins a feud leading up to Wrestlemania. Young Buck vs Ageing Legend. Everyone loves that. They eventually become mates and start a tag team, which leads to Batista’s proper farewell. Whaddaya think? OK, before you send me out the room with my tail between my legs, consider the fact that Dave never really had a proper send off. He announced he was retiring, walked out and was never seen again. He’ll be back to beat up Barri at the Rumble. (Sorry, the alliteration was just too good to ignore there.)

GRATUITOUS MASON RYAN IMAGE

My real prediction is Daniel Bryan. I haven’t seen many people predicting him as a winner, which makes me think I’ve either come up with a genius prediction or I’m on totally the wrong track. Here’s my reasoning….. If Edge and Dolph are going to feud through Wrestlemania, they don’t need the Rumble winner challenging for the Heavyweight title and interfering with their fight on Smackdown. With this in mind the Rumble winner needs to come from Raw. If Miz is going to keep the title and Randy’s going to slip away to fix his injured whatever, Miz needs someone new to scrap with at ‘Mania. Daniel Bryan and Miz have beef going back to season one of NXT. Bryan came back after his “firing” and took Miz’s US title, so it makes sense that he would now want to take his WWE Championship. See? It works. Of course, my Rumble prediction relies on my other predictions being correct too. If Randy Orton get the belt back this whole thing is shot to bits.

Have fun watching the Rumble, kids. This is the first PPV we’ve watched live in the Wrestle Bunker for some time, so we’re very excited. I’m off to make a Mason Ryan ice-cream bar now. I’m not even joking.

Sidekick Andrew: Right, you know what happens now. This is the bit where I ask you to put your predictions in the comments and you either don’t bother or you do and your predictions are much better than ours. Either way, thanks for that. Seriously though, I’d genuinely like to know at least who people think will win the Rumble, so if you’ve a spare few seconds please let us know. You know you want to…

nxt: an open reply to a loyal reader

Did you watch NXT last week? Yeah, pretty uneventful really wasn’t it? A quiz show followed by an interminably dull match between “Dashing” Cody Rhodes and MVP. While I’m a fan of Cody, MVP has done nothing of interest since his feud with He Who Must Not Be Named and just drains any interest I have in any segment he might be involved in. As such their isn’t really going to be a recap this week. I know, I know… I can hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth from here.

Oh grow up...

As it happens, this series I haven’t really done much in the way of actual recaps; partly because of real life time constraints and partly because it’s just not been as eventful as the first series. Last week, for example, I bodged together a Jackie-style photostory about Layla and Kaval, which led to a comment from one of our regular readers:

Now, everyone is entitled to their opinion of course – this is the internet after all, a forum where even Matt Hardy is given a platform to speak whatever indecipherable inanity crosses his mind between sessions stuffing his face with pizza. As such I would like to point out before I start that this is no way meant as a slight against Roler42, who as I mentioned is a regular reader and commenter.

Arguing against the use of the word “wreckage” to describe this series of NXT is a slightly untenable position given that the WWE seem to have struggled to learn from the lessons they could have learnt from the first series, both “in-universe” and in real life. The whole justification for the Nexus’ actions over the last couple of months has been their shoddy treatment at the hands of WWE management – the obstacle courses… the improvised challenges… all things that have been reiterated this time round.

In fact, if anything, the Rookies this series have been treated even worse as some kind of pre-emptive punishment. Think back to the first episode, which culminated with the Pros jumping the Rookies and beating them in what Striker described as an “official welcome to NXT.” Since then, there have been unprovoked attacks by Pros on Rookies; a reintroduction of the ridiculous challenges, including the new “Kissing Competition”; and the same combination of random eliminations and rule changes at a moment’s notice. Surely this should lead the Rookies to form Nexus II or D-Generation NXT or NXT World Order or whatever?

OK, maybe that wouldn't work...

However, while there is an argument to be made that you could possibly disparage this season of NXT as a “wreckage” - the idea that LayCool could “almost […] look like the best pros” seems to intimate that they are in fact, not the best Pros. Now, I was concerned when this pairing was first announced like most people. I was a fan of Kaval’s from his days wrestling in the indies, and I truthfully couldn’t abide Michelle McCool after the Mickie James/Beth Phoenix storylines.  But both she and Layla have grown on me to such an extent that I genuinely don’t want them to break up the trio, even after tonight’s final. As such, I would posit that Laycool are indeed the best Pros on this series of NXT.

As always with this bizarre concotion that is Professional Wrestling, there are two ways to look at their tenure as Pros: either in kayfabe or in shoot terms (As an aside, I really hate using those phrases…) The easiest way to discuss this is one at a time, so let’s start with:

The easiest part to justify. LayCool have been the most consistently entertaining Pros on this series. Their interactions both with Kaval and with the other Rookies and Pros have been genius in places, and their comic timing (especially in the case of Layla) has come on leaps and bounds over the last couple of months. From a team that were involved in pretty dreadful storylines previously, reliant on a kind of Mean Girls schtick to get over – they have become “self professed” Co-Women’s Champions and have actually made the title interesting for the first time in some time, all while managing to increase the profile of Kaval on both NXT and Smackdown. While Kaval was obviously the most experienced and talented wrestler amongst the Rookies, his size was always going to be a stumbling block in getting the average WWE fan to accept him as anything other than a “plucky underdog”. Having him accompanied by Layla & McCool… having their characters slowly turn from incomprehension and incredulity to a genuine affection… culminating in them even stepping up to Husky Harris on his behalf… these things all give the fans another reason to like Kaval.

Where to start? From episode one’s Pros on Rookies beatdown, initiated when Layla and Michelle slapping Kaval, through to the last episode with their obvious delight at their charge’s success in the Trivia Quiz, Laycool have proven themselves to be the Pros with the most interest in and affection for their Rookie. With the possible exception of “Dashing” Cody Rhodes and Husky Harris, nobody else in this series has shown even close to the amount of connection. Sure Kofi and Mark Henry have been quite friendly with their Rookies, but there hasn’t been the same interaction and “journey” as with LayCool and Kaval.

Being given a Rookie who was obviously a better wrestler than they ever would be, they concentrated on bringing out Kaval’s personality and moulding him into the kind of person that the WWE Universe could (and indeed has) rally behind. Making him a customised t-shirt to wear, to showing him the importance of a nice smile, to Layla’s interference at the Kissing Competition: they really have been the most supportive mentors this time round.

I don’t know what will happen in tonight’s final, whether Kaval will win or whether it will go to someone like Alex Riley who, quite frankly, needs the push more. I know who I want to win, and that’s due, in part at least, to the relationship with Layla and Michelle. And this is why I hope they keep Layla and Kaval involved in some manner after this week, even if LayCool break up at Night of Champions. While I’m never a huge fan of romance storylines in WWE programming, this is one that has the potential to be genuinely entertaining and even, dare I say, touching.