Pre-show match: The Miz vs. Cody Rhodes
Talk about a late, random booking. The Miz has just returned after making another movie (maybe this one will get a theatrical release) and the mustachioed one is pretty much directionless at this point. Neither man has much of a history together and because this match was just announced on Raw this week, there’s been literally no time to give it any kind of a build. (They apparently had a staredown on Main Event. Whoopee.) It’s basically a last-minute filler match to kill time during the pre-show.
The Miz’ babyface run has been a disaster. He gives you absolutely no reason to root for him. Meanwhile, Rhodes has developed a welcome sense of humour thanks to his cheesy new facial hair and strong association with the even funnier Damien Sandow. Personally, I prefer Sandow and Rhodes together as a team and don’t understand why the WWE’s bookers keep trying to separate them. In fact, they still can’t make up their mind about whether Team Rhodes Scholars are officially over or not.
The last time The Miz worked a pre-show match he won the InterContinental Championship from Wade Barrett at WrestleMania 29. Then he lost it in a rematch to him the very next night on Raw. (If that doesn’t screw with your head, I don’t know what will.) Rhodes didn’t even get the chance to work the show because the eight-person tag match he was originally booked to work was cancelled then re-booked for that very same episode of Raw. His team lost.
In other words, both men could use a clean victory on Sunday night. Unfortunately, they won’t have much time to rumble, so they’ll have to make the most of their limited minutes. As much as I’d prefer Rhodes coming out on top, expect The Miz to get the victory. Despite their better judgment, the company really wants to get him over as a hero. After half a year of failing, it’s time to admit failure.
Prediction: The Miz by submission.
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango
At WrestleMania 29, the former Johnny Curtis got the expected push. Now comes their rematch which, curiously, doesn’t have any kind of added stipulation (unless they’re saving it for the actual pay-per-view). Originally, they feuded over Jericho purposely and repeatedly butchering Fandango’s name. (“It’s Faaaaan…daaaaan…gooooo!”) Y2J can be very funny on the microphone so, for the most part, this bit worked. (“Fandunghole”, a recent insult, was particularly inspired.)
Lately, they’ve been feuding over who is the better dancer. (Terrible idea. From what I can tell, neither are any good.) In a 20-minute commercial-free segment that opened Raw this week (and went on far too long), both men were supposed to compete in a dance-off. But thanks to some eventual chicanery, it never happened. Instead, after all was said and done, Fandango attacked Jericho from behind once again, generating some much needed heat for his character. (His catchy theme song was unintentionally making him popular.) At one point, he took a square of the assembled dance floor from the ring and used it like a steel chair on Y2J’s head. (I thought head shots were verboten.)
Later on during a backstage segment, Jericho cut a deadly serious promo about his Extreme Rules opponent completely changing the tone of the feud. Now it’s all about business. No more joking around. The right creative decision by the bookers. It was typically compelling stuff from one of the best talkers in wrestling today.
So, how does it all turn out? Who comes out on top?
You know I find it a bit surprising that there’s no “extreme” element to this match. This seems a natural program to incorporate one. Then again, is it really necessary? I haven’t seen their WM 29 encounter, a regular one-on-one booking, but from what I’ve read online it was well received. This return bout will likely be no exception. If there’s a third PPV match in the works for next month’s Payback, the prediction is easy. If there isn’t, less so.
But I’m counting on a trilogy here. Since Fandango won at WrestleMania, look for Jericho to win at Extreme Rules.
Prediction: Chris Jericho by pinfall.
Extreme Rules Match: Randy Orton vs. The Big Show
A stale babyface continues his nothing feud with a misused monster heel. At WM 29, Randy Orton, The Big Show and Sheamus lost their six-man tag match against the unstoppable Shield. Afterwards, Show, who had appeared to have turned ‘face again during the build for the Showcase Of The Immortals, knocked out his two partners restoring his heel run. (He was upset about not being tagged in during a key moment of the bout.) Orton was embarrassed because he had vouched for the giant the whole time. Sheamus, who feuded with Show for the World title last year, needed a lot of convincing and ultimately regretted going against his instincts.
Following WrestleMania, Orton and Sheamus worked a number of free TV matches against the big man (one-on-ones, two-on-ones and even a tag match) trading victories with him. But since then, Sheamus has moved on to Mark Henry, leaving Orton to face The World’s Largest Athlete all on his own.
Let’s face it. The night after WM 29 when The Big Show absolutely creamed his former allies while interfering during their own one-on-one match-up on Raw was the last time this program generated any kind of memorable excitement. Since then, it’s been “who gives a shit?”.
Even though anything goes on Sunday, does it really matter who wins? Will either man truly benefit from a push? The Viper needs to get back to being a cold, calculating villain and maybe a stunning loss to the giant would expedite that long overdue process. Honestly, this is a toss-up for me but since I have to pick, I’ll go with the big man.
Prediction: The Big Show by pinfall.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, May 16, 2013