Elimination Chamber Predictions: now with 33.333% extra terrible wrestlers!

Due to a number of factors (illness, real life work, school holidays and at least one unexpected trek through the Amazon in search of the fabled golden skull of Mezzakin the Unwise) these predictions will be a more compact and bijou affair than usual. Compact and bijou – can you tell I’ve been dealing with estate agents recently? Anyway, with that preemptive disclaimer out of the way and my cocktail cabinet fully stocked, let’s do the whole “predicting predetermined pretend pugilism” thing!

Well.. I *say* cocktail cabinet...

Beth Phoenix vs Tamina Snuka

A Diva’s PPV match featuring two women who can wrestle! Not only that, but Tamina has now progressed to the upper echelon of the WWE Women’s Division – a distinction shown by the fact she now has a surname. This could be a really enjoyable match, assuming they are given the time to tell a proper story, and they keep the interference (and hilarious fart jokes) to a minimum. It’s no secret that we love Beth here in the Bunker, but we’re both agreed that it’s time for a change in the run up to Wrestlemania, and that Tamina will take the belt tonight.

Rae’s Prediction: Tamina Snuka
Andrew’s Prediction: Tamina Snuka

John Cena vs Kane

This is apparently an Ambulance Match, so promises to be pretty brutal at least. Kane has experience in this type of match, in fact I’ve still fond memories of his Ambulance Match with Shane McMahon from Survivor Series 2003.

As for who’s going to win, Cena is always the obvious choice for winning a PPV match, and I have to agree that he’s probably going to win here. Unless they want Kane to interfere in the Rock-Cena match at Wrestlemania they have to bring this feud to an end soon.

Rae’s Prediction: John Cena
Andrew’s Prediction: John Cena

Raw Elimination Chamber

Definitely the better of the two Chamber matches on paper, the only wrestler in this match that I’m not a fan of is R-Truth. The idea of Jericho wrestling in the match and overtaking HHH as having the highest number of entries is pretty cool, and Kofi is bound to replicate RVD and Morrison’s spidermonkey antics from previous years. Add to that great wrestlers like Punk and Ziggler and this has the chance to be the best match on the card. As for winners, Rae has decided that Jericho will win, which is very possible. I personally think that Punk will retain here though, just because I think they’ll have him as champion at Wrestlemania. Having said that, if Rae is right that does open up the chance for Punk to get his rematch at ‘Mania, so I’ll be happy either way.

Rae’s Prediction: Chris Jericho
Andrew’s Prediction: CM Punk

Smackdown Elimination Chamber

Well, talk about extremes (and no, I don’t mean XTREME! because the match takes part inside “Satan’s Prison”) You have three really talented wrestlers in this match, people I’d be happy to watch wrestle any day of the week, in Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett. You have Big Show who has a role to fit and plays it well – the giant who punches people in the face will always be worth a look. And then… well… yeah, you’ve got the other two. Santino isn’t the worse wrestler in the world, and he’s ridiculously over with the crowd, so I’ve no real objection to him being in there for a while. Khali on the other hand, is a frankly bizarre choice for the match, and I can only hope that he’ll be the last to enter, only for everyone to hit their finishers and eliminate him within an minute.

As for the winner, Rae says Barrett will win (which would be amazing) but I think Bryan will retain. He needs a decisive title victory/defence and this is the ideal time. Let him go into Mania as champion to wrestle Sheamus and make everyone happy. Please?

Rae’s Prediction: Wade Barrett
Andrew’s Prediction: Daniel Bryan

A Song for Whoever: R-Truth & Kota Ibushi Edition

BOSS LADY RAY: It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so it’s time to dedicate a song to a wrestler who’ll never read it again. I realise I’ve dedicated a tune to R-Truth before and, contrary to what the Sidekick will tell you, I don’t “lurrrrrve him”. But I do think it’s worth noting just how far he’s come since February.

Just four months ago Truth was botching his lines to the point where he was asking the wrong city what was up, he was misjudging his ring entrances while making John Morrison look a fool in the process, and just generally being a mid-card liability nobody seemed that bothered about losing. We were sure he was being set up to be future endeavoured in the big post-Wrestlemania chop that never really happened.

Somehow, R-Truth managed not just to dodge the bullet, but to find himself in a title match against John Cena at the next pay-per-view. Alright so he’s probably taking the place of John Morrison, who was hinting at a push before he went in for major surgery, but wrestling is full of serendipity. He’s taken a pretty eccentric route to the top of the card with the odd-ball character he’s developed, but hey, he plays crazy well. I don’t always understand his promos, he’s definitely not the best wrestler, but R-Truth is significantly more interesting than he was a few months ago.

Sometimes it’s okay to be a little bit crazy, and with that in mind there’s really only one song I can salute him with. (I expect you all to be doing a fierce backwards nod when that wicked dirty bassline kicks in at 1:02 precisely. Innit tho, bruv?)

SIDEKICK ANDREW: She totally does lurrrrrve him by the way.

I have a confession to make. Some of you will already be aware of this, but I have never watched an episode of the new Dr. Who. I know, shocking isn’t it? I’m a pretty big sci-fi geek, I live in a country where Dr. Who is bombarded at me on multiple channels, I’m a fan of the writers and actors involved… and yet I haven’t watched any of it since Russell T. Davies brought the franchise back.

Now I know what you’re thinking… “Andrew,” you’re thinking, “why the hell are you talking about Dr. Who on a wrestling blog?” And you know what, you’d be right to ask. Dr Who has nothing to do with wrestling…

ahem...

OK… OK… Timelord themed SHIMMER tag teams aside, Dr. Who and wrestling share no common ground. (Fiiiine, on further investigation Leon “Brian Glover” Aris was in Dr. Who as well, but that’s it.) Anyway, the reason I mention Dr Who is all down to spare time. Essentially, I don’t really have that much, hence my rather sporadic posts on here. I know that if I was to start watching Dr. Who, and I enjoyed it, I would get obsessed. I’d want to watch all the episodes, read all the back story and know all the trivia and details.

Which brings me to wrestling, specifically Japanese wrestling. It’s an area I’m rather ashamed to admit I don’t watch as much of as I would like. While I’ll occasionally catch a Dragon Gate or Pro-Wrestling NOAH match and really enjoy it, I almost have to force myself to hold back from delving into that world for fear it would swallow me whole. Which is a shame as there are some amazing wrestlers and some amazing shows being put on every month. This month, for example, was the New Japan Pro Wrestling “Best of the Super Juniors” tournament (Super Juniors in this case being essentially a synonym for Cruiserweight.) Eighteen wrestlers competed over 2 weeks in a total of 135 matches, eventually resulting in Kota Ibushi getting the victory over Ryusuke Taguchi and being awarded a frankly ludicrous trophy.

Kota Ibushi is someone (like many wrestlers) I was only introduced to by CHIKARA’s King of Trios competition. (As always folks, if you’re not watching CHIKARA, you’re doing it all wrong.) Since that first taste I’ve caught quite a few of his matches online, perhaps most notably against a blow-up doll called Yoshishiko (in case you’re wondering, the answer is always “because it’s Japan.”)

Obviously, as the Super Juniors tournament has only just been contested, I can’t give you the final to watch. But NJPW have released last years final between Ibushi and Irish wrestler Prince Devitt and it’s definitely worth 20 minutes of your time.

So, this week’s Song for Whoever, after a not inconsiderable preamble, is dedicated to Kota Ibushi’s victory in the Best of the Super Juniors 2011. It’s a song that I will always associate with him thanks to a certain highlight video I must have watched 20 times or more (this despite owning the complete match on 2 separate DVDs.) If you know the video I mean, you’ll know the association. But even if you don’t, even if the matches I’ve linked to in this post are your first introduction to Kota Ibushi, I think you’ll still find it appropriate.

What? Already? Bloody hell, it’s only the Over the Limit predictions

I have to question the logic of cramming in an extra PPV in the month after Wrestlemania. Considering the amount of sales they expect for ‘Mania, a bit of breathing space might be nice. Still, I’m sure they know what they’re doing. This weekend is the second Over The Limit PPV, and just looking at the posters for the two years you can see how much times have changed. Daniel Bryan on a Pay Per View poster? Surely the true harbinger of the rapture…

Sidekick Andrew: First up, the obligatory Divas match for the “butterfly emblazoned title” (© wwe.com) Brie is inexplicably Divas Champion (a fact I had to enlighten Boss Lady Ray with, which should give you an indication of how successful a champion she is) and Kelly is looking for her first title. Of course, this is really about one person, and one person only…

Yep, pretty sure Kharma is making an appearance and saving this match from being as awful as it promises to be. Seriously, with Beth, Natalya, Kharma and Gail on your roster, Brie bloody Bella and Kelly Kelly are the best you have to offer? Sheesh… Anyway, I’m going to go with Kelly winning the title, after Kharma comes out and distracts Brie long enough for Kelly to sloppily pull off a roll up.

Boss Lady Ray: It’s true. I, chief person in charge of being frustrated at the treatment of the Divas Division, had to ask the Sidekick who currently held the title. Times is bleak. I actually don’t think either will win the match. I’m guessing Kharma will interfere and end it early. Kelly and Brie can finish it another time. More importantly, I’m desperately hoping Beth and Natalya come out to beat Kharma down. UHH. I’m getting excited just thinking about it. I know WWE people read this blog (hah!) so let’s make it happen, people.

Sidekick Andrew: Hmm, I’ll confess I’ve not been watching as much WWE as I perhaps should have been. Over than Tough Enough, Superstars and Z! The True Long Island Story we’ve been (slowly) working our way through King of Trios over the last couple of weeks instead. As such, I’m not sure what’s going on with these two. I saw Chavo doing guest commentary on Sin Cara’s match the other week, and they had a very manly handshake in the ring afterwards (complete with FORESHADOWING)

While I don’t have much interest in the reasons for this match, I am looking forward to the actual match itself. Sin Cara is pretty exciting, and I’m looking forward to seeing how he performs on a PPV setting after his slightly shaky Raw matches. Chavo is a pretty safe pair of hands for him to go against, seemingly bringing the best out of the newer guys on the roster (I believe he had Daniel Bryan and Rey Mysterio’s first WWE matches.) Pretty sure Sin Cara is winning this one though. If WWE are wanting to push him then a PPV win would be a nice start.

Boss Lady Ray: Unlike my slack colleague, I have been making an effort to watch WWE programming of late. We’ll discuss this at your appraisal, Andrew. I do, however, agree that Sin Cara’s got this one sewn up. He was such a huge acquisition and he’s not had the brilliant start everyone was expecting. Chavo’s a loveable dork and happy to put anyone over. It’s a perfect marriage.

Sidekick Andrew: I have absolutely no idea what’s going on here. I know R-Truth is supposedly a heel now, which means that everyone hates him…

Wakka Wakka!

I’ve literally nothing else to say about this one, other than I want Mysterio to win and that I’m looking forward to the Divas match more than this one.

Boss Lady Ray: You see, if Andrew had been watching Raw (which admittedly he’s always avoided) he’d know that R-Truth is rather hilarious as a heel. He’s still mad as a box of frogs, what with his krayzee-eyez, his waffle about kicking pets and hateful hospital food, but Truth is significantly more interesting now than when he’s winning the crowd over with his low-rent rapping. He keeps telling us he’s going prove his worth, so I think Truth will take this one in rather violent fashion. I’m still holding out for a promo to rival this one though:


Everything was falling apart around him. And he seemed helpless to halt the collapse; he could only witness it, completely impotent, snatched up and gripped by processes too powerful for him to understand. (Philip K Dick)

Sidekick Andrew: That was a bit geeky wasn’t it, quoting sci-fi authors – but then I’m writing on a wrestling blog so the “cool” ship has pretty much sailed I’m afraid. The Corre is slowly collapsing under the weight of thousands of unsold t-shirts with that terrible logo on. Jackson has been ex-communicated in that particularly gangland method of kicking the crap out of him then tipping a wheelie bin full of invisible glass bottles on top.

Much as I love Barrett, and all local bias aside, I think Jackson might win this one. He needs the push much more than Barrett at the moment, and this could be the time for the Corre to implode completely. Slater messes up costing Barrett the title somehow; Barrett turns on him; Slater’s hetero life partner Gabriel jumps in to interfere; end of the Corre. In fact, you could say… Corre no More! Get it! It rhymes and everything! Ah well, as the Space Pirates would say, “if you don’t get it, just forget it.”

On the other hand, if you did get the reference, you've now got "na nanana na... Space Pirates!" stuck in your head

Boss Lady Ray: I have no children and yet I know the theme tune to Space Pirates. I need to get pregnant so I can justify my unrelenting enjoyment of children’s television. Clearly I’m made for motherhood! Anyway, I’m going to disagree with the Sidekick on this one. The Corre is definitely on its way out, but I think Wade’s keeping the title and ditching his cronies for good. The Corre hasn’t worked that well and Wade needs to get back to ticking ‘World Domination’ off his to-do list before he misses the boat.

Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company. (George Washington)

Sidekick Andrew: I’m pretty sure the only word to describe this match is going to be “ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww.” The match itself won’t be that great, although as long as Lawler gets the win and we can put an end to Cole wrestling I’ll be happy. I’ll be happy for Lawler to carry on feuding with Swagger or something, but just stop Cole’s involvement… please?

My biggest issue with this match though is the stipulation – a “Kiss My Foot” match where the loser must kiss the winner’s foot. As far as I’m aware, this has been done once before in the WWE with Lawler and Bret Hart, which does make me wonder just how much Lawler likes feet (if you know what I mean.) I did manage to find footage of a Kiss my Foot match in FCW between Katie Lea (later WWE’s Katie Lea Burchill and TNA’s Winter) and Milena Roucka (later that really flexible girl running from Rey Mysterio’s uncle in the amazing Wrestlemaniac) but that probably appeals to a completely different market coughTurtlecough

Casting aside images of attractive women flexibly kissing each others appendages for a moment, do we really want to see Cole kissing Lawler’s foot? His sixty two year old wizened goblin trotter, sweating and stinking from being cramped inside a tight boot and wrestling under hot lights for 10 minutes or so? Does anybody really enjoy that kind of thing? Kissing dirty feet?

oh... right... eww...

Boss Lady Ray: Oh! Bloody brilliant! I’ve spent ages trying to rid this blog of sinister search terms and now they’ll all be swarming over here like zombies running at a fresh human. Sod off, you creepy foot freaks! Be ashamed of yourselves. *SHUDDER*

I keep saying that Lawler will win because I’m so desperate for Cole to stay in his commentary seat and stop interrupting Divas matches. Using the skill of reverse psychology I’m going to predict Cole to win. I really can’t lose. Either this feud ends, which is preferable, or I win a point in the predictions competition. Win-win.

Sidekick Andrew: No points for guessing who Boss Lady Ray is pulling for in this match. On the one hand we’ve got current Tag Team Champions Big Show and Kane, not exactly two of her favourite wrestlers. On the other team we have CM Punk, a man that the Boss has an almost ridiculous crush on (especially in those lavender trunks.) He’s teaming with the best that Wales has to offer.

Mae fy hofrenfad yn llawn llyswennodMae fy hofrenfad yn llawn llyswennod!

Only joking (please don’t sack me Boss!) He is of course teaming with the “chainsaw temper and menacing muscle” (wwe.com again) of Mason Ryan. Now, I think even Ray will admit that Ryan is still slightly green in the ring, but even so I think he and Punk will take the titles. Ryan, with guidance, should be absolutely fine in tag matches with Punk, rather than being unfortunately exposed in singles competition. All he needs to do at first is look menacing and occasionally clothesline someone, and I’m sure he could do that pretty well. Basically, I have an overwhelming vision of Punk holding the title at the end of match with a massive shit-eating grin plastered across his face. Although, admittedly, this weekend should have taught both me and Harold Camping not to trust in visions.

Boss Lady Ray: Speaking of visions, I’m just recalling that dream I once had where Tom Jones showed up in his own version of a referee’s outfit.

I was tempted to suggest that Mason would cost he and Punk the match, but I just can’t do it. Punk needs a new title and I really want to see Mason win his first. This is love, lust and pride versus a couple of old geezers I’ve never much cared for. No contest. Punk & Bazza to win. Can we please hurry up with these? Tom Jones has just thrown some bubble-bath in the hot-tub and I want to get in on that action. HUH! *Jones-esque hip girations*

Sidekick Andrew: Randy Orton vs Christian: or, as we have taken to calling it in the Bunker, Vince McMahon vs The Internet. I’ve already written briefly about the frankly hysterical uproar when Orton beat Christian for the title, so I won’t go back over old ground. Suffice to say that Orton’s retaining the belt this weekend. There is definitely an argument to be made that the amount of complaints from fans and blogs online might make the WWE think that they made a mistake and that the title should go back to Christian. It might make Vince reconsider his apparent belief that Christian isn’t a draw and shouldn’t be in the main event scene. It might make him realise that the vast majority of the internet have lost interest in Randy Orton and… his… interminably… slow… delivery, both in ring and on the microphone.

It might do all this, if Vince McMahon cared even slightly what the internet thought.

Boss Lady Ray: If the whole purpose of giving Randy Orton the title so soon after he was drafted was so that he could become the face of Smackdown, it doesn’t make any sense to take it away again. I’ve no doubt that Christian will get it back again, but I’m not sure it’s happening before Summerslam. And if you think WWE panders to fans whining about who has the title, you’re dreaming.  Randy to retain.

Sidekick Andrew: Really? REALLY? Does anyone think Miz is going to take the title back this weekend? Much as I like The Miz, the idea of Cena saying “I Quit” is pretty unthinkable. He’s been in three previous I Quit matches (against JBL at Judgement Day 2005, Orton at Breaking Point 2009 and Batista at last year’s Over the Limit) and come out on top each time. Even wwe.com admit that the words I Quit “have never been in his vocabulary.”

Cena’s retaining the title. They’re not going to take it off him this quickly, even if the internet want Miz to get to it back (see above.) Much as I would love to see the show go off air with Miz holding the title aloft and Cena having quit, it seems very very unlikely to me.

aww...

Boss Lady Ray: Yesterday when we discussed this in the Wrestle Bunker, I was all about Cena keeping the title. No way was Miz getting it back. I even did a sassy finger snap and a head bob to confirm my confidence. Today I’m not so sure. I’m going to say that neither will quit and someone will interfere. Who and for what reason, I have no idea. The Rock? HHH? Soapy Tom Jones? I’m just going on a hunch. An instinct. But we all know how terrible my instincts are. It’s amazing I’ve made it through the first disc of L.A. Noire!


Over 2 Miles of Chain? So, over 160 Chains of Chain then?: EC Predictions

Another month, another PPV. Except of course it isn’t, this is one of those “another 3 weeks, another PPV” things that the WWE seem to think are a good idea for some reason…

Anyway, another three weeks, another patented practically perfect PPV Predictions Post. Yep, once again we’ll try and fruitlessly predict the results of a show featuring “professional wrestling matches involving different wrestlers from scripted feuds and storylines that have been seen on World Wrestling Entertainment’s television programs – Raw and SmackDown.” (Thanks for that Wikipedia, you bloody idiots. This is why I stopped writing articles for you)

NOTE: As always, the WWE try to deliberately catch Ray and myself off guard by not announcing all their matches in advance, or changing them at the last minute. We’re not sure why they single this blog out for their petty amusements. Think of us as a couple of those little statues that Zeus played with in Clash of the Titans with Vince playing the “Father of Gods and men”

That's right, old school Titans. Real Harryhausen shit yo

Sidekick Andrew: First up, we have a match seemingly chucked on the card to either a: pad the numbers, b: give the #1 Contender something to do or c: just give us a really fun match. It’s hard to imagine these two having a bad match, so I’m plumping for C. As for predictions, I would hope that the WWE wouldn’t be silly enough to let Del Rio lose in the pre-Wrestlemania PPV, especially to someone holding a “lesser” belt than the one he’s challenging for. Let’s face it, BEEPBEEPBEEP>BOOMBOOMBOOM.

The man from Del Rio, he say "siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii"

Boss Lady Ray: Elimination Chamber is the last PPV before the big bomper. More than ever you have to consider the slow-burn, the long-game, the…. something else relating to the future. Del Rio will challenge for the World Heavyweight title against an as yet unknown champion. We’ll get to that special person later, but for this match I think Kofi will win. Stay with me on this. Lots of people still aren’t sold on the greatness that is Alberto Del Rio. Stupid people, admittedly, but there are quite a few of them. I wouldn’t put it past WWE to make it seem like the Rumble was a fluke and beat Alberto down for a while before he comes out at ‘Mania and KAPOW! he’s all great again. By the way, that KAPOW! was accompanied by a high-kick and karate chop, a la Batman fight scene (circa the Adam West years).

Sidekick Andrew: This will either be a glorious train crash of a match, or the surprise match of the night. After the match they had on Raw nobody should be surprised if this is great, but there are a lot of people out there who will be suspicious of both these guys. Lawler’s at the age where he should be tucked up on the couch with his slippers on and a packet of Werthers Original, whereas Miz is still “that annoying prick with the faux-hawk from The Real Life.” But The Miz has come on leaps and bounds over the last year or so to the point where he’s been a great heel champion, as well as the go to guy after Cena for publicity appearances. Lawler on the other hand, has forty (40!) years wrestling experience and was part of one of my top 10 or so brawls opposite Terry Funk in an Empty Arena Match

Between Lawler’s experience (and, cynical as it may seem, he’ll be wanting to go all out to prove a point) and The Miz’s amazing heel charisma, not to mention Alex Riley and Micheal Cole’s involvement, this could well be great. As for who’s going to win, I’m going with Lawler. Having said that, I think he’ll win by DQ and not take the title. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lawler really takes the fight to Miz and Riley, only to be distracted at the last minute by Cole interfering in the match causing the DQ. There’s only so much mileage in a Miz-Lawler feud, and Miz’s Wrestlemania opponent will be decided in the Chamber anyway. A Cole-Lawler feud would be nice and easy to push over the next month, maybe culminating in one of those silly “non-wrestler” matches that they always seem to add to Wrestlemania cards. Lawler vs Cole in a Loser Leaves Raw match? Maybe a tag match with Cole & Riley vs Lawler & Random Wrestler Who Happens To Stick Up For Him That Week? It worked with Jonathan Coachman *and* Jim Ross previously, for a given value of “work” at least.

Boss Lady Ray: I agree with Andrew that Lawler will win the match, but I think he’ll actually take the title. He’ll have it for a maximum of a week and the Miz will get it back in plenty of time to plug his Wrestlemania match against &£@*&€ (sshhhh can’t tell you that yet).  Jerry Lawler has got to be looking towards retirement from his commentary role soon.  His brand of commentary, especially when discussing the Divas, is becoming outdated. They’re kind of overloaded at the announce table at the moment and there are a long line of people who’d love to have his job when he hangs up his headset. *cough*Striker*cough* This would be a nice way of letting Lawler have his moment in the sun before he says so-long, farewell etc.

My only hope is that Michael Cole falls out of love with the Miz soon. Seriously, this man-crush is worse than Andrew’s on Dolph Ziggler. The only thing that stopped The Sidekick sobbing into his bacon sandwich while watching Smackdown this morning was me pointing out how pretty the ticker tape was. It distracted him from his whimpering. What would be excellent is if the Miz could actually reject Cole’s affections and, just like a broken-hearted lover, Cole sought revenge. By helping Lawler win, maybe? I think I’m on to something here.

Sidekick Andrew: Just to clarify, this is for the Number One Contender and a title match at Wrestlemania. It’s *not* for the actual WWE Championship, as we in the Bunker keep imagining for some reason. Not that this makes a massive difference to the predictions however. This one starts off pretty simple:

R-Truth: Definitely not. As Boss Lady Ray pointed out in the inaugural Song For Whoever, Truth has been botching left, right and centre recently, and his punishment started on NXT this week when he lost to Brodus Clay – not a good sign. I suspect he’ll be one of the first two entrants (possibly with Cena) and eliminated very quickly before the next person even enters.

John Morrison: Despite looking amazing on Raw this week (please, please, please turn heel again) Morrison still can’t talk so he’s not going to put in the title picture until that’s sorted out or he gets a manager/valet. Take him back to being a heel rock star, one who’s too cool to talk to us – give him a spokesperson and then we can have a rethink. OK? Cool…

Sheamus: at the risk of sounding like a broken record, Sheamus is just treading water until “He wHo sHall not be named” comes back. Plus, by all accounts (well, one website that I read) Sheamus isn’t very popular with management backstage at the moment, so he’s not going to win.

Randy Orton: hmm… Randy’s always got a chance, but I don’t think I’m alone in hoping he doesn’t get another title shot. It’s amazing how boring he’s become, but again it’s down to turning him face. That being said, as I admitted to Boss Lady Ray over Curiosity Cola and Welsh Cakes in the Bunker the other day – I generally want every wrestler I like to be a heel.

John Cena: Cena seems the obvious choice. They even pushed the fact on air recently that Cena is the only competitor on this show that has won more than one Elimination Chamber match. However, I’m going to channel The Boss and say that baby, I was born to run. Sorry… wrong Boss. I’m going to channel Boss Lady Ray and go with my heart rather than my head and say that I’m hoping Vince is a man of his word and uses this Wrestlemania to push newer talent. Plus Cena could fit into the role of “Random Wrestler Who Happens To Stick Up For Lawler That Week” for the tag match at Wrestlemania pretty easily.

CM Punk: My pick to win this one. Despite the fact that would lead to Heel vs Heel at Wrestlemania, it would be a great match and give the New Nexus someone different to feud with rather than Randy Orton. Logic dictates that I’m definitely wrong on this one though – but I’m sticking with Punk. Please don’t let me down…

Boss Lady Ray: Unlike my learned friend, I won’t give you a paragraph on each contender. Mainly because we agree on a lot of what he said, but also because I’m excited to tell you who I think will win. R-Truth is a rope stumble away from getting his P45 and Sheamus is waiting to be validated by a certain failed movie star. (I’m assuming it’s going to fail.) By the way…unpopular backstage? You didn’t tell me about that. Fill me in later, please.

It could possibly be CM Punk, but I have plans for him. Not those kind of plans. Actually, yes, those kind of plans. But I have Wrestlemania plans for him involving The Corre and Nexus. Randy Orton is a big ball of meh and while I’d never be fed up of seeing John Morrison and the Miz have a match, no way is John Morrison headlining Wrestlemania. WM is all about the money. Which is why the only winner can be Cena.

I know, I know. You hate Cena. Down with Cena. Cena sux. BOOOOOO! But if you stop thinking like a ‘wrestling fan’ for a few minutes and remember that Vince is running a business here, it makes brilliant sense. If he doesn’t make cash on Wrestlemania, he’s sunk. Assuming Miz gets his title back you’ve got the past, present and future best talkers all involved in one match. There’s so much promo fuel in The Rock, Cena and Miz it’s like finding treasure. Money shaped treasure.

Sidekick Andrew: This one actually is for the title, and more importantly the chance to face Alberrrrrrrto Delllll Rrrrrrrrrrrioooooooo in his first ever Wrestlemania match. Surely the biggest prize in Sports Entertainment? Anyway, same deal as last time…

Kane: Sorry Kane, you knows I loves you. But there’s no way you’re winning this. I’m not sure what you are going to be doing, especially if your brother comes back on Raw this week, but you won’t be taking the belt to Wrestlemania. My prediction is that the lights will go off during the match and a gong will sound. You’ll get all panicky and distracted and Barrett will pin you. Titantron cuts to a shot backstage of Ezekiel Jackson with a gong and a big grin. There you are, you can feud with him for a bit if you want.

Drew McIntyre: Nah, you’re not interesting enough for a title run yet – you should probably stick to being narky with Dolph for sacking that girl you’ve been crushing on? Maybe bring her back and turn her heel? (there I go again!)

Rey Mysterio: Making up the numbers, the only reason for Rey to win would be for a Rey/Del Rio headline match. But we’ve seen that a few times now, and Rey’s not the man he used to be. On the bright side, those pods will seem nice and roomy for him, so claustrophobia won’t be an issue.

Dolph Ziggler: *sob* Whoever is in this spot, whether it’s Dolph or someone else, isn’t going to win. I don’t want to talk about it OK? Just LEAVE ME ALONE!

Wade Barrett: How amazing would that be? Wade Barrett as World Heavyweight Champion? With a headline match at Wrestlemania? A year or so after his debut? There would be a certain amount of swooning in the Bunker, but there’s a catch. If Barrett wins, he has to face Del Rio. That means either Del Rio doesn’t win the belt at Wrestlemania which seems somehow unthinkable, or Barrett’s title reign is a little over a month, which doesn’t seem very logical for someone they’ve pushed so highly.

Edge: The only logical winner is Edge. He can retain the belt in the Chamber to help him look like a strong champion going into Wrestlemania, but losing to Del Rio in April won’t hurt his career at all, especially with a bit of Rodriguez/Guerrero interference. Plus I want to see Edge’s God Pyro at Wrestlemania again…

Boss Lady Ray: Mysterio is still hanging out for a holiday, Kane has had more than his fair share of belt-time during the past year and Drew’s only reason for being there is a possible appearance from Kelly. As seen through the veil of Andrew’s tears this morning, Dolph is out and soon to be replaced by a mystery competitor.

I suppose Edge could retain, but I’m over that. It’s all about Wade. The kiddies can have Cena vs the Miz at Wrestlemania and us Smackdown-ites can have a triple threat between Wade Barratt, CM Punk and Alberto Del Rio for the title. God, that sounds great, doesn’t it? I’m tingling at the mere thought. You see? I told you I had respectable plans for CM Punk.

And as Andrew predicted at the beginning of the post, another match has been added this morning – a tag match between Santino & Koslov and Gabriel and Slater. I seriously don’t care about this squabble at all, so I’ll just flip a coin. ‘Heads’ Santino and Koslov and ‘Tails’ to the Corre boys. And winner will be?

HEADS!

So now it’s your turn. Tell us what you think will happen on Sunday night. It’s the Road to Wrestlemania, kids. Get your coats on! And if you’ve read the spoilers, don’t post them masquerading as predictions, please. It only ruins it for everyone else. Thank you, lovelies. (Sidekick Andrew Edit: I’m going to pretend I care about that tag match as well by the way. Santino & Kozlov will win, and the world will yawn)

a song for whoever: dolph ziggler & r-truth edition

SIDEKICK ANDREW: It’s no coincidence that I’m writing this on Valentine’s Day, being that today’s Song for Whoever is a love song. Love songs can express many emotions and feelings: the aching pine of unrequited love, that rush of excitement from a first kiss, the earth-shattering heartbreak of a broken relationship, even the base yearning to “Sex You Up” as so romantically and lyrically put forward by Color Me Badd.

However, this week’s song is dedicated to the moment earlier this week when I realised I was hopelessly, completely and utterly in love with a particular male wrestler. Yes, straight as I may be, I had to turn to Boss Lady Ray in the Bunker and declare that I was now officially gay for this beautiful man.

Yes Justin, you're very pretty. But it's not you, sorry...

Very nice John, not sure about the kid though...

Why yes, I *am* going your way. I'd love a ride...

Now it’s no secret that we’re big fans of Dolph here in the Bunker, giving him the coveted (?) Most Improved Award this year, but this week my burgeoning affection exploded. Casting your mind back, you may recall that I used to recap NXT on this site, before it all became too painful to watch. This week however, The Boss insisted that we do something about her Matt Striker withdrawals and watch the latest episode. But you… you already know this.

I’m not 100% sure when the growing crush suddenly exploded into love. Was it the way he responded to the whole Turd Ferguson debacle? Possibly the way he wore a Zack Ryder shirt to ringside? It could well have been the way he shouted “that’s the first time Saxton’s been over” during The Price Is Right? No, I’m pretty sure it was this…

Who’d have thought a man elbow-dropping a comedy cheese hat could have such an effect on my emotions? Not sure exactly how I’m going to explain to my kids why daddy is leaving to try and pursue a bleached blonde man wearing black PVC hotpants, but I’m sure it’ll give them something to tell their therapists about one day.

This one’s for you Dolph, don’t ever change you wonderful, wonderful man

BOSS LADY RAY: Well, I’ll give you a moment to digest Andrew’s unnatural love for Dolph. All absorbed? Lovely. Now on to my dedication, which isn’t a love song, it’s more of an arm around the shoulder. A hug. An ‘everything’s going to be okay’ kind of a tune. And it’s dedicated to R-Truth.

Truth’s been having a rough time lately. Setting aside the fact that he seems to be languishing in the Raw mid-card with nowhere to go, he’s certainly screwed a few things up over the past few weeks. Two weeks ago he tried to pull off an amazing double flip into the ring with John Morrison and did this…..

Ouch. 100% burns……to his pride! Then last week he asked Green Bay to tell him what exactly was ‘up’. They were in Milwaukee. Ouch again. If I learnt anything from that roadtrip I took from Milwaukee to Northern Michigan to Green Bay to Nashville (long story) it’s that you never ever ever confused Milwaukee and Green Bay. You might as well call me English. Not only was Truth subject to the crowd chanting the correct town at him throughout the match, and not only did Michael Cole ham up his dickish behaviour to hogroast level, but it also happened to be Mason Ryan’s first ever match on Raw. Ouch.

Mason Ryan’s first solo match on Raw was never going to be earth shattering. He needs more experience and his bulk holds him back the same way it does the other chunkies. Still, it’s something he’ll remember for the rest of his life and what will he think of when he casts his mind back? MIL-WAU-KEE! MIL-WAU-KEE! MIL-WAU-KEE! Mason will get over it.  R-Truth may not.

Happier times

Truth apologised profusely to the people of Milwaukee on Twitter and tried to block it out when he was ribbed on NXT. He’s probably hoping this catalogue of errors isn’t an express pass to being future endeavoured. Chin up, R-Truth. Let Eliza ease your troubles and sing away your woes. Tweet-tweet!

nxt series 4: late to the party

Last week I asked you to pray for me in case I had to watch NXT for a Striker-fix. On Tuesday morning when I was informed that Jerry Lawler was still firmly lodged in his commentary chair, I prepared myself for the yellow brand. You see, Andrew and I couldn’t quite face another series of NXT. We watched adoringly through series one. Then absorbed every episode of series two without missing a beat. We were totally on board with this Wild and Young lifestyle they were peddling, even if the majority of it was a combination of Total Wipeout and Wheel of Fortune with a bit of bonus wrestling chucked in.

Then series three came. How wonderful – a whole series of NXT dedicated to the Divas. It seemed so….progressive. We had always wanted there to be a Divas-only show of some sorts. It was a marvellous idea, until it all went wrong. They didn’t just fill it with the usual NXT silliness, they made it so embarrassing we didn’t even watch the final few episodes. And it wasn’t just that they didn’t care. They cared so little they made their indifference part of the storyline. Michael Cole reached a new level of aggravating hobgoblin and the show was cancelled on US TV. It was still available on some channels, but with the US audience forced to watch online (if at all) and the catch-up videos region-locked, series three of NXT just fell off the radar for us.

When series four started and I realised Mason Ryan wasn’t going to be a rookie, we decided to give it a miss. That changed this week. With my Matt Striker quota knocked down to one Superstars match, I decided to watch an episode of NXT. Andrew very kindly decided to take the televisual bullet too and watch with me. How very ‘you jump, I jump’. Anyway, a strange thing happened…..we enjoyed it! Maybe it was the absence of Michael Cole, maybe it was the fact that everything else went misty when Mr. Striker appeared on my screen (still wearing his special NXT shoes) but we didn’t have to watch through our fingers as expected.

It’s strange joining a show in the middle of a series. I’ve seen a few episodes of FCW over the past year in an attempt to catch some of Mason Ryan’s developmental matches. So the faces were vaguely familiar. I can’t say I was paying attention to much of the detail while impatiently skipping through FCW though.  We’re very late to the party on this series. In fact, we’re so late to the party, all that’s left are some dodgy prawn quiches and some flat Coca-Cola. Still, I thought it might be fun to run through this episode and record some first impressions of the remaining contestants…..

It’s nice to see that nothing’s changed on NXT. They’re still playing silly, rigged party games and pretending they’re important. On many levels, it’s quite comforting. This week it was everyone’s favourite fake punch-up – Rock ‘em-Sock ‘em Rookie Challenge. Classic!

Okay, so Johnny Curtis is invited to climb onto a podium first. We’ll call him The Looker. He’s the one where you scan the opening credits for the one boy you might favour because he was blessed with more handsome genes than the others. This involves cocking an eyebrow, doing a sideways smile and greeting him with an almost purred hellooooooooo. Also, he has R-Truth as a mentor, so he needs some kind of advantage.

The Looker has to face Derrick Bateman in the rocky socky fighty thing. We’ll call Bateman ‘Thinks-He’s-Funny’.

Between ourselves, he is actually quite funny. In preparation for this episode of NXT we watched some Bateman YouTubes and laughed. He’s in! Thinks-He’s-Funny endeared himself to the crowd by wearing a piece of cheese on his head and it seemed to work wonderfully. I’ll give it a try myself:

Double cheese

They bash each other a bit and Thinks-He’s-Funny wins. Then Byron Saxton steps up.

Byron was always enjoyable on commentary but as a wrestler he seems a little wet. He also appears to be the whitest black guy I’ve ever seen. Even more so than the fella on Antiques Roadshow.

We’ll call Byron ‘Antiques’.  His opponent is Brodus Clay. We’ll call him Bowser.

NUFF SAID!

Bowser refuses to play, mainly because he thinks the spikes on his tail will pierce the inflatable cushion or something. Antiques wins by default and goes on to beat Thinks-He’s-Funny. He looks happier than that time someone brought 300 year-old walnut sideboard to the Roadshow and it was worth £20,000. They watch the replay and Matt Striker announces they’ll have rematch. Antiques wins again.

Apparently the big NXT meme this series is to call Dolph Ziggler ‘turd’. The story goes that he changed his name to Dolph from Turd Ferguson. Riiiiiiight.  It’s amazing how little wrestling shows make sense when you haven’t been watching from the start of the series. How anyone ever gets into this nonsense is a mystery to me. At least chanting ‘turd’ at someone is slightly offensive. Better than Mr. Ziggles, right?

So Antiques and Thinks-He’s-Funny have a match. I won’t pretend I remember much about it. Daniel Bryan was in one corner dressed in a jumper and slacks, and Dolph Ziggler was being awesome in the other corner while wearing a Zack Ryder t-shirt. That’s all I need for a good time. Antiques tapped out, Dolph was angry. Bryan was ecstatic.

Then they played a game of The Price is Right. Bowser looked like he just wanted to get it over with, Antiques seemed to think it was beneath him to appraise anything that wasn’t over a hundred years old, Thinks-He’s-Funny went for the laffs and The Looker took it extremely seriously. Striker, Mathews, Grisham and Chimel were in their element. Matt Striker seemed particularly enamoured with his role as gameshow host. This made me happy. I have something of a penchant for trashy gameshows. Andrew pointed out at this point that should Striker ever get the gig hosting Million Pound Drop, I might explode. I would like to suggest that someone gets Davina McCall pregnant so we can make this happen while she’s on maternity leave.

Explosion imminent. (The answer is JLS, by the way.)

The Looker and R-Truth had an angry man-hug:

Then Looker had a match against Bowser. It was difficult to follow what was going on. Dolph was being still being awesome elbow-dropping cheese on the stage while Chris Masters encouraged the crowd to shout ‘turd’ again. Daniel Bryan was still happy.

Bowser wins the match. They both then find themselves tied for immunity. Not sure what happened after that. Matt Striker was being all cute, and officious, and over-sized cuffs, and………

Sorry. I was drifting. Antiques was eliminated. I’m told.

Maybe it is the lack of Michael Cole and maybe it is because Booker T is still sitting in Striker’s chair on Smackdown, but we think we might watch again next week. My enthusiasm for recapping it, however, ends here. I hadn’t realised how tricky writing about NXT is. I should give Andrew a retrospective pay rise for making such a beautiful job of the first three series. Well I would, if I actually paid him!


I figured it might be time for a new fashion post. There’s been lots of activity it the attire department recently, so let’s get cracking. And before anyone tries telling me that fashion isn’t important, Chris Jericho says otherwise:

See? Everyone care about style.

Let’s start with our NXT rookies. Last time, Justin Gabriel was sporting a Cheryl Cole inspired dress. The following week he decided to wear a lady’s stocking garter. I’m pleased to report that he has now learnt a few lessons in how to be  boy and has taken to going for the tried and tested hacked-up t-shirt & trunks combo:

But we are to expect a few more very special fashion moments from our favourite South African rookie. In a former life he was a model and entered himself into several fitness-model competitions. Here her is competing in the Mr. Fitness contest:

You can leeeeave your hat onnnnn! Bah-bah-bam.

Not all of the NXT rookies are quite as fashion-conscious as Mr. Gabriel though. Wrestlegasm’s newest crush, Daniel Bryan, could do with a little help. He was seen strolling down the ramp behind The Miz at Smackdown with half his shirt tucked in and half hanging out.

He looks like a teenage boy just stepped off the bus in his messy school uniform. Now, Daniel Bryan is one of the coolest people I have ever set eyes on. So cool, in fact, that if he called this look a fashion statement, people would want to copy it. Daniel Bryan’s not that bothered about fashion though, so maybe he just needs an enthusiastic lady in his life. A lady who enjoys fashion, maybe. Someone just to hang around backstage and help him decide whether his shirt looks better tucked in or left out, rather than choosing both at the same time. Just send me a Twitter DM, Daniel, and I’ll be there on Tuesday for week six of NXT.

From rookies to legends; Shawn Michaels has been worrying me lately. Since deciding he needed to leave DX behind and go it alone in the run-up to Wrestlemania, he’s had to make his own fashion choices in the absence of all that DX merchandise. It started with this monstrosity of a shirt:

Then, after wearing a grey blouse with some seemingly irrelevant pencil-drawn arrows on it ….

….HBK returned to the hunting theme in a half-camouflage half-fleece waistcoat and jeans. Nothing says “I’m going to kick you’re arse, Undertaker” more than sleeveless fleece. Yum.

But by the time this week’s Raw appeared on our screens, the expert salespeople at WWEShop had marched down to the arena to force Shawn into one of his own t-shirts.

Phew!

However tragic HBK’s shirts are though, they can’t possibly be as bad as the Ed Hardy Special that R-Truth modeled on this week’s Raw.

Enough of all this negativity. Anyone would think that wrestlers don’t know how to dress. Look at one of our favourite ladies, Beth Phoenix, getting all glammed up to request a match from Vickie Guerrero.

Looking rather sexy there, young lady. We in The Bunker wholeheartedly approve.

Staying with the well-dressed, I’ve been quite taken with Christian’s clobber lately. Sure, The Miz usually gets my fashion pulse racing (JUST my fashion pulse) but I dig Christian’s smart-casual style. Here he is in my favourite recent outfit:

He’s even been seen in a most fashionable plaid shirt this week, and plaid shirts are usually reserved for Edge only.

We love a good plaid shirt in the Cardiff Wrestle Bunker. Our staff uniform is especially casual. Sidekick Andrew is wearing one in his current Twitter profile pic and I’m wearing one today. Useless fact: I wore this particular shirt three times before I realised it said….

…..in tiny letters in a small corner on the right side. My clothes give great life advice!  The Dean of Wrestlegasm, Matt Striker, isn’t too keen on this new element to the staff uniform. I’ve told him that if he can’t bring himself to wear a plaid shirt he can just wear jeans and a t-shirt. This isn’t quite what I had in mind.

TOO CRISP! TOO CRISP!

Speaking of sharp dressers, there have been a couple of snappy suits on display this week, and on boys who don’t usually go in for the formal look too. Jack Swagger was eyeing up the Money in the Bank competition on Raw:

While John Cena was being a total pro and earning the boss a few more PPV buys on Jimmy Fallon:

We’ll switch to the ladies and, more specifically, Team LayCool. Their efforts to appear Simply Flawless have not gone unnoticed. They’ve even gone so far as to have custom tan pleather tops made to match their boots:

Vickie Guerrero’s efforts, however, weren’t so well received:

There does seem to be an obvious merchandise opportunity staring WWEShop in the face here. Alright, so most of us aren’t going to buy pleather tops. But the vests and t-shirts would go down a storm.

I’m not sure why they haven’t been made available for purchase yet. Maybe it’s because Team LayCool are a heel team and they think their merchandise won’t sell. But I know for a fact that women would buy them. One of the first things I wrote about on this blog was the lack of Diva merchandise and the lack of merchandise for women in general. Come on, WWEShop! You like making money and we have money to spend. Make this  happen!

So as not to finish on a serious note, I’ll end with one of my other favourite NXT rookies – Skip Sheffield. I had no idea I’d like the Cornfed Meatheat this much, but his pairing with William Regal has been a comedy match made in heaven. His finest fashion moment so far came on this week’s NXT when he used his arse to dub himself:

Ahhhh! There’s nothing like a confident backside to brighten one’s day.

John Morrison loves a good hug. He’s an easy-going fellow who never backs away from an opportunity to show some love.  He even appears in the banner for this segment. Remember when he was separated from his man-friend The Miz at last year’s big draft? The end of an era. The end of a bromance! But John’s got a new bromance on the boil. He’s teaming up with R-Truth to challenge Miz and Big Show for the tag-team titles at Wrestlemania 26.

It shouldn’t be surprising that these two enjoy being together. One is a rock star, the other is a rap star. Rock/Rap fusions, when done well, can work very nicely. Think Aerosmith and Run DMC back in the day. Think Jay-Z and Linkin Park’s joint Collision Course venture. You get the idea. Admittedly, the age gap might give them a few issues. After all, John Morrison travelled through time from 1965 to work for Vince McMahon, and R-Truth is a thoroughly modern chap. But I’m sure they’ll overcome it. John Morrison even tweets every now and then, so he must have a decent handle on contemporary technology.

The first signs that this fusion might be taking off came towards the end of last month. R-Truth gate-crashed Morrison’s promo interview with Josh Matthews and the bromantic tension between them was evident.

A few minutes later, Truth was cracking Jo-Mo up with hilarious funny-faces.

And by the end of the promo they were strolling off together arm-in-arm.

This new friendship was tested quickly. Just a week or two later, John and Truth were forced to fight each other in a Triple Threat with Dolph Ziggler for a spot in the Wrestlemania Money in the Bank Ladder Match. This could easily have caused a rift between them, but as Ziggler took the win it allowed them to stay friends. Phew! There’s nothing worse than the opening bud that is a new bromance being cut down before it’s had chance to blossom.

Fast-forward to last week’s Smackdown and it appeared that the union had been cemented when they executed the most perfect of man-hugs. Men, you see, tend to avoid touching their bodies together. When women hug each other, they squeeze. When men hug each other, it often starts with a handshake, then a pull together (keeping the handshake in place to keep the bodies slightly separated, then a wrap of the arms with a hard backslap. Observe:

Oh and just to top it off, a lingering look:

Their final moment of brotherly love came later that night, when they beat The Hart Dynasty and Cryme Tyme for that elusive Wrestlemania spot. After winning the match, they did a mini-man-hug, making sure not to press their nether regions together (as men prefer):

They did the ‘pointy-pointy’ together:

No, R-Truth, the Wrestlemania sign is IN FRONT of you.

They shared an awkward but endearing dance:


And they executed their second full man-hug of the evening:

John Morrison and R-Truth are a good match, both bromatically and in a wrestling sense. They both love to throw some aerial acrobatics into their in-ring performances, they both deliver promos which sometimes need subtitles to make sense and, most importantly, they both love a good man-hug. Long may it continue!