I admit, I’m a sucker for gimmick Pay Per Views. Royal Rumble, old-school Survivor Series, King of the Ring, and the blood-filled Hell in the Cell.
Tonight the WWE brings us Tables, Ladders and Chairs from Baltimore, with a decent-looking card. With four title matches, and a surprisingly John Cena-free card, this even could be a real sleeper.
Let’s go over the card in my predicted order.
1. Dolph Ziggler (champion) defends his United States Championship vs. Zack Ryder
Zack Ryder is at the highest point of his WWE career. He’s a callback to the 90s, with about 3-4 moves of doom, catchphrases the crowd can chant along to, and a finisher that can be hit against most wrestlers, and is looking better and better with each match. He got a chance at this match after John Cena sacrificed his shot at the WWE title. Cena then helped Ryder defeat World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry to give Ryder the title shot.
Ziggler is probably the best all-around “superstar” in the WWE right now, as he’s being allowed to do more with the mic, and always has one of the best matches on the card. He is the next big thing in wrestling, and a future multi-time World Champion. It’s hard to believe he was once “NICKY!” of the Spirt Squad (http://youtu.be/WklKOk4z1HA).
WHO SHOULD WIN: Zack Ryder. Dolph Ziggler’s road to bigger and better things is almost completely paved. He just needs to start taking the next steps. Ryder would make for a good babyface champion, with it still being amazing that his theme music invoked X-Pac heat (read: complete and utter silence from the crowd). Now folks look forward to doing the fist pump with him, shouting the “WOO WOO WOO”, and taking care while spiking their hair.
WHO WILL WIN: Zack Ryder. Please. Same reasons as above. A win for him would do good for both men. Plus there’s a 75% chance John Cena will show up to ensure Ryder wins.
2. Cody Rhodes (champion) defends his Intercontinental Championship vs. Booker T
Booker T makes his in-ring return after almost a full year when he returned to the WWE at the 2011 Royal Rumble. The five time, five time, five time, five time, five time WCW Champion (you know I wouldn’t be able to resist) has been sitting back for most of the year as an old-school commentator, with his new catchphrase being “Oh my goodness!”
He’ll be facing facing the most improved “superstar” of the year in Cody Rhodes, who is looking to bring integrity back to the Intercontinental Championship. Of course he’s been doing that by being in matches against Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan, in which his being the IC Champion has barely been mentioned. There’s a good, a bad, and another bad for Cody in this match. The bad and the bad is whether he wins or loses in this match. If he wins, he defeated a retired wrestler who has barely been in the ring. If he loses, he lost to a retired wrestler. However, just being in a match against Booker T is making people look forward to this match.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Cody Rhodes. He’ll get a good match out of Booker, but if he wants to retain the integrity of the IC Championship he needs to win this match.
WHO WILL WIN: Cody Rhodes. Sure, I’d love to see a good pop from the crowd with Booker winning the match. But he’ll get another good pop by doing his patented Spinaroonie.
3. Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett — Tables Match
Probably the start of this feud, it’s a good thing for Barrett. He got to feud with both John Cena and now Randy Orton in subsequent years. Orton got to choose the stips after winning the Beat the Clock challenge. First man through a table wins this match.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Randy Orton. Don’t look at me like that, I’m just going by the formula. The good guy wins the first PPV match in the feud, and the bad guy wants revenge.
WHO WILL WIN: If it’s a clean win, Randy Orton. If not, Barrett, with Orton getting his revenge setting up another match down the line. In other words, this is looking to be a formulaic match and feud. Prove me wrong, WWE.
4. Mark Henry (champion) defends his World Heavyweight Championship vs. Big Show – Chairs match
Yep, the third Pay Per View in a row in which Henry and Show will fight. As I wrote in my Survivor Series preview — the one that didn’t save and disappeared, but really, I wrote it — we all want to see two big monsters hit each other really, really hard. Don’t start with a hook-up. Charge at each other with your fists flying! I don’t want to see many wrestling holds in this fight. Both men are angry at each other and… okay, okay. We all know Kane is going to show up in this fight. Let’s just get to it.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Mark Henry. This man should carry to World Heavyweight Title up until WrestleMania. Kane should make an appearance in this match, and will probably be Henry’s next opponent, getting revenge for having a statue of his being placed in Henry’s Hall of Pain.
WHO WILL WIN: Mark Henry. I’m a big fan of Big Show, but it’s not the right time. Henry is doing his best to making World Title mean something, instead of it being traded back and forth like it had been throughout the year. Don’t get me started on the WWE Championship… more on that later.
5. MAIN EVENT: Triple H vs. Kevin Nash – Sledgehammer Ladder Match
C’mon now… who doesn’t want to see Kevin Nash try to climb a ladder without pulling his quad? He’s a big, mean man, but there’s a lot of younger fans who don’t know why he’s being put in such a high-up position, other than being a friend of Triple H. There was a video on WWE.com (http://vids.wwe.com/13010/wwecom-exclusive-who-is-kevin-na) entitled “Who is Kevin Nash” that would have been great if played on RAW. Alas, this may be the last time we see Nash for awhile, so drink it up, folks.
Triple H is on his own personal road to WrestleMania, with the mention of his match against Undertaker last week on RAW. He’s going to be moving on from this feud quickly (“OR SO HE THINKS!” – WWE writers) and onto the next big thing. He’s looking for revenge against Nash, and that’s about it. Sorry, I yawned halfway through writing that.
WHO SHOULD WIN: C’mon now. We all know who SHOULD win this match, and then celebrate afterwards for getting past this feud with Kevin Nash. With Nash, he’s a man on borrowed time. Watching him walk is scary, watching him run is horrifying.
WHO WILL WIN: Kevin Nash. Yep, I’m calling it. He’s going to win this match, extending this feud to another month. And I said that with a straight face. Really. Okay, not really. But I’m going out on a limb.
6. LAST MATCH ON CARD: CM Punk (champion) defends the WWE Championship against The Miz (one-time champion this year) and Alberto Del Rio (two-time champion this year) in a Triple Threat Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match
Let me pause this for a second. This year the WWE championship has changed hands 8 times. The Miz started the year as the champion, defending his belt against Cena. Then he lost the belt to Cena, who lost the belt to CM Punk, who then left and took the belt with him. A tournament was held for the now-vacated title, in which Rey Mysterio won. Mysterio lost the title the same night to John Cena, who lost his title when the returning CM Punk beat him at Summerslam to unify the titles. That same night Alberto Del Rio cashed in his Money in the Bank to win the title. John Cena then defeated Del Rio for the title. A month later Del Rio won the title back. A month after that Punk defeated Del Rio at Survivor Series. For more information, please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_WWE_Champions#Reigns.
That was this year.
Earlier this week, The Miz pinned CM Punk on RAW. He’s still high on the pecking order in the WWE, whereas Del Rio may have slipped a few rungs on the ladder. Neither of these men should win tonight. I put that on my Christmas list. Please Santa, don’t let the title change again. Still, this will be a very fun match with a lot of the hard hitting you’ll find in a TLC match. Just the kind of match I like.
WHO SHOULD WIN: CM Punk. This man should hold the title to… yep, you guessed it, WrestleMania. I’d like to see some championship longevity. Please.
WHO WILL WIN: Somebody other than CM Punk. Hey, if the above Wikipedia article is true, we’re due for another champion, right? Right? Please, I hope not. I’m still picking Punk here as well.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This should be a fun show, which should made even better if there is a hot crowd. I’d be surprised if any of the major championships change. But with there being tables, chairs, ladders, monsters, and possibly aliens (read: Kane’s new Predator mask), I’m going to have a lot of fun watching this.