Saturday, July 23, 2005

14:59 And Counting, Mr. Hassan...

When the WWE absorbed WCW back in 2001, I assumed that Vince McMahon's personality wouldn't allow him to reference any of WCW's history other than in passing.

But last year he resurrected the Great American Bash, or at least the name for his July PPV.

While the slate of matches for the PPV does look interesting on paper, it's the behind the scenes dealings that have overshadowed any in-ring conflicts.

I'll be going in reverse order of importance, so strap in:

The bWo vs. The Mexicools

For those of you who don't remember, the bWo[Big Stevie Cool, Hollywood Nova and Da Blue Guy] was an ECW parody of WCW's nWo. They made a triumphant comeback at ECW's One Night Stand, and came to SmackDown a few weeks ago with the intent of taking over. Unfortunately, the Mexicools[Super Crazy, Juventud Guerrera, and Psicosis] already announced their intention of world domination. So, we have a match. I think The Mexicools take this match, as I feel that the bWo don't really need the win here. note: The Blue Meanie is married to former porn star Jasmin St. Claire.

MNM vs. Heidenreich and Road Warrior Animal for the WWE Tag Team Championship

MNM have been hounding Heidenreich in his continuing search for friends. But last week an unusual voice answered the call. Well, it's not that unusual if you keep track of WWE's DVD release schedule. So Animal dusted off his super sharp shoulder pads and grabbed his face paint for one more run. If you think about it, Animal is a bit of a jinx. One of his tag-team partners is confined to a wheelchair, and the other died of a heart attack. MNM retain through nefarious methods. Which leads to...

Melina vs. Torrie Wilson [Bra and Panties Match]

So Torrie and Melina will roll around and try to take each other's clothes off. Overseeing the match will be Super Bowl footnote Candice Michelle. The winners? THE FANS. At least those not old enough to surf the net or watch late night cable.

Christian vs. Booker T

Christian has had an elevated profile as of late, and his jump to SmackDown from RAW hasn't dimmed his spotlight. Booker T has achieved what few wrestlers have. That is, involved their significant other without sabotaging their career. This is a bit of a toss-up, but I see Booker T winning here, as Christian will probably move on to a US Title feud.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio [Reveal The Secret Match]

Since Wrestlemania 21, Eddie has failed to score a pinfall victory over Rey. His inability to defeat Rey has eaten at Eddie, driving him not just evil, but Soap Opera Evil. He claims to have a secret that will shatter not only his family but Rey's as well. If Eddie fails to defeat Rey, the secret will be safe. If not...

[Insert Dramatic Music...]

I think Eddie Cheats To Win, allowing him to tell the Secret, which I assume has something to do with the paternity of Rey's son.

Chris Benoit vs. Orlando Jordan for the United States Championship.

And so begins Chris Benoit's road back to the Title. As SmackDown's first Draft Lottery pick, Chris needs an intermediate title like this to build up his 'cred' while the Heavyweight Championship picture becomes clearer. As a Chris Benoit mark, I have no choice but to pick the Canadian Crippler to make Jordan tap out.

Undertaker vs. Muhammad Hassan[Number One Contender Match]

Now we're talking controversy. Since Muhammad's first appearance on WWE programming, his message has been simple. He feels that he's been unfairly singled out because he's Arab-American. Even though he's announced as being from Detroit, he gets hammered with boos and 'USA!' chants. The kicker is, he's essentially right. In fact, if you look closely, his heelishness is just the same as any other whiny wrestler who thinks they're being screwed.

Hassan kept this up even after being traded to SmackDown, where he somehow attracted the attention of the Undertaker.

Then would follow a perfect storm of bad timing and poor decision making.

On the July 7 episode of SmackDown[taped that Tuesday], Hassan's spokesman/partner Daivari 'sacrificed' himself to the Dead Man in a lopsided victory. After the match wwas over a group of camouflaged masked men swarmed the ring and laid out the Undertaker, and left carrying Daivari on their shoulders.

This aired the same day as the suicide attacks in London. While the Undertaker attack had no similarities to the London attacks, enough people were offended that UPN handed down an edict to WWE that Hassan not appear on the next episode. WWE has tried to continue with the angle, which led to this match at the Bash.

However, the current rumor is that UPN doesn't want Hassan on SmackDown at all, which throws a major wrench into their plans. As I understand it, Randy Orton was to interfere in their match, causing Hassan to win and capture the number one contender's slot. This would lead to a Championship match with Batista at Summerslam, along with Orton/Undertaker.

But now, if Hassan is being forced off of SmackDown, does this mean The Undertaker will get another title shot? And what about Orton's feud with Undertaker? After all, that was one of the reasons he was drafted from RAW. If Hassan is moved back to RAW, then he could really milk the 'persecution' angle.

Of course, even though the WWE loves controversy, there's a good chance that after the Bash, we'll never see him again.

And finally...

Batista vs. JBL for the World Heavyweight Championship

The WWE has kind of painted themselves in a corner here.

JBL, through sheer force of will, made himself a hated heel through his character and his long title reign. He's even gone as far as made his victory speech days before the actual match.

Batista has transformed himself into a credible champion. It's been a long time since his days as a deacon and more recently, Evolution's hired muscle.

When both shows switched their champions in the Draft lottery, it was a given that JBL and DAVE! would meet in the ring.

But given the current situation, the chance of a shock ending are slim.

Batista retains.

Of course, myself, Brother Mike, and Richard discuss it on the air soon after the final bell. Stay tuned for details.

Mike G.

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