Friday, May 19, 2000

The World's Greatest WWF Judgment Day 2000 Preview

With the WWF breaking their string of disappointing PPVs in last month's Backlash event, things seem to be on the rebound once more this time. Each of the WWF's 2000 events have looked absolutely spectacular on paper, and though the main events have been somewhat lacking (here comes the critical e-mail), the undercards have more than made up for it. So it goes this month, as the Radicals seem ready for the split that's been anticipated since their arrival, Benoit and Jericho seem ready to blow off their feud in the next couple months with a dynamite submissions match, and the tag team champions side up with Kurt Angle as replacements for the Radicals, feuding with Too Cool. Though I won't go so far as John in saying the entire undercard's bound to rock more sheep than a drunken farmer on a Friday night (TM & copyright Matt Spence. Where are ya?), I'll agree it holds quite a bit of potential. As for the main event, I'll applaud the WWF; they've got balls, and they've got everybody talking about their product. It's got the hype Vince was hoping for, and I think HHH and Rocky are finally ready to let this beast blow off with the big Iron Man match. I'm far from convinced the match is gonna be pretty, but I'll gladly put my hands together for it. It's garnered interest that was surprisingly lacking from their Backlash encounter, with a Michaels appearance there to seal the deal. It's HHH's big night, and if he runs with the ball he's home free.

The Dudleys vs. Road Dogg & X-Pac w/Tori
Tables Match

As lame and pale an imitation of DX as we're seeing right now.. it would be even worse if Billy Gunn were around. The Dudleys and X-Pac are worth every penny in the ring, and these are the type of opponents X-Pac compliments best. Thus, the match should logically showcase a distinct Dudley advantage, as they tear X-Pac apart bit by bit. The inevitable tide turner will come about as Pac gets the tag to the Road Dogg. We'll watch him drop the same knee, hit the same punches, and then try that silly pump handle slam. With any luck, he'll try it on D'Von.. which would be reversed right into the 3-D. I'm going with the Dudleys here, since they put over T&A last month. The Tori story (snort) will be played up a bit more than it should be here, and Buh Buh may tease a powerbomb through the table. I don't think we'll see it Sunday, though. By the way, I forgot to throw out some kudos Tuesday morning for her spot on Raw.. she took a mean dive, and didn't flinch on her way down. It's got my respect.
Winners: The Dudley Boyz

Eddy Guerrero w/Chyna vs. Dean Malenko vs. Perry Saturn
European Title Match

Shit, when did the European title become so talent-heavy? Essa Rios and Eddy last month, Dean and Perry this time. The belt's recovering its past legacy in a hurry, and is quickly escaping the reigns of such deserving competitors as Mideon and Shane McMahon. With Eddy breaking through as a big time crowd favorite, interest should be higher than usual for this one. Dean's been on a tear of late, especially following his well received LHW title match against Scotty last month and Saturn earned my respect months ago. All signs point at Perry grabbing his first WWF gold here, and that's what I'll be looking for. Words can't really describe how nice this match could be, and I hope it acts as the kind of Hardy Boy-esque breakthrough the Radicals need as their split becomes official.
Winner: Perry Saturn

Kurt Angle, Edge & Christian vs. Too Cool & Rikishi

I love Kurt Angle, Edge and Christian. Strong heels who know what they're doing in the ring and on the stick, they're doing a damn fine job with their present roles. Too Cool and Rikishi I could live without, but they're over enough so I'll allow it for another month or two. This looks to be speckled with a generous serving of Rikishi ass shots (what sick bast backstage keeps plastering those all over my television, anyway? BAD! BAD!) and a good amount of action. Like I've said before, aside from his redundant gimmick, Rikishi keeps up remarkably well for a big man. Too Cool isn't in the form they were in a year ago, but they're still miles above average. And you know my opinion on the heels. I'm going with Too Cool and Rikishi, to even out the heel vs. face scores of this card a bit. It could just as easily go the other way, though.
Winners: Too Cool, Rikishi and the Ass that won't go away

Shane McMahon vs. Big Show
No Disqualification Match

Not surprisingly, I'm already sick of this one. Shane takes a nasty bump, and the Show's moveset relies pretty heavily on an opponent that knows how to make him look good. If we get more than 20 minutes of this goodness, things'll get uglier than a nude Mae Young bronco buster. I'll go with Shane, through some sneaky, dirty, underhanded tactics. Since the younger McMahon man has been pretty confident lately, it leads me to believe he's got something up his sleeve. Let's all hope it's not the Undertaker. Talk about a momentum killer.
Winner: Shane McMahon

Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho
Intercontinental Title - Submission Match

Rumors swirl around the conclusion of this one as well, claiming Benoit will pass out from the pain while locked into the Walls of Jericho. Somehow, this is supposedly all gonna result in a face turn for Da Cripplah.. and if that's what they've got planned, it won't work. Not yet, anyway. The WWF fans haven't been given reason to care about Benoit as a heel just yet, which would make a face turn largely unsuccessful. Case in point; the Dudley Boyz. Their recent run-in to save the Rock was a wildly popular turn, but only because we didn't expect it. They did so well as heels that when it was time to turn face, we cared enough to back it all the way.

Of course, this talk is all hypothetical. It's based on a prediction that hasn't come true just yet, and I'm willing to bet won't. In a dream world, these two would go half an hour to 45 minutes in a grueling fight to the death. Benoit would escape the liontamer (look how i said the Liontamer, and not the Walls Of Jericho. If Jericho doesn't whip out the old-school, vicious Liontamer Sunday night I'll be very disappointed), and Jericho would survive the Crossface. It would be a lesson in crowd control, building and executing spots, and keeping an arena hot throughout a grueling submission. In the end, both would take a major spot and wouldn't be able to answer a 10-count, resulting in a rematch the next night on Raw. In the rematch, Jericho would lock Benoit into the Walls when HHH makes the all-important run-in and jumps all over Y2J. Benoit gathers himself, rises, and turns on HHH. Together, the two chase him off and you've got a successful turn. Y2J keeps his credibility and moves on to feud with HHH, Benoit keeps the belt and starts a face run on the right foot. I guess I'm not the booker, though. I'm going with Benoit just to stick up a big middle finger at those who believe everything they read on the 'net.
Winner: Chris Benoit

The Rock vs. Triple H
Ironman Match for the WWF Heavyweight Title

I pretty much covered this one in the introduction, aside from a few points. I'll continue to applaud Vince for this ballsy move, but for the match to live up to the hype both men are gonna have to put forth the effort of their lives. The comparison to Bret/Shawn at Wrestlemania XII is inevitable, so I may as well get it out of the way here.

The first Iron Man match is still the subject of a good amount of debate to this day, 4 years after the fact. While a good chunk of the viewing public calls this match the best of all time, a larger section calls it a disappointment. Not surprisingly, I count myself among the latter. You couldn't ask for a better opening and closing 15 minutes from these two, but the middle half hour was a straight up snore fest. Their pacing and timing were off, and that can be attested to the fact this was only their second official singles meeting. They hadn't found a good mesh of their styles yet, and they certainly weren't ready to go an hour. The result was a strong 15 minutes, a half hour of loosely assorted small spots and rest holds, and a slam bang closing 15 minutes.

Rocky and Hunter won't run into the same problems that Shawn and Bret did but I stand confident they'll find more than a few of their own. They've been working together long enough to know each other through and through, so a mesh of the styles isn't really an issue. I doubt the stamina of both men right now, and I doubt both have the moveset to go an hour without overlapping more than once. HHH mentioned on Raw there would be no overtimes, so I expect a competition of falls in this one.. which may very well be the key to keeping things interesting. It's gonna be hard to do, but I think Helmsley and the Rock may just surprise us this Sunday night. If not, well.. I guess all the pessimistic biatches like myself will strut for weeks to come. Call me a sheep in wolf's clothing, but I'm expecting a surprisingly good blowoff.

As for the conclusion, I'm looking for Michaels to be crucial. I won't call a turn in either direction, and I don't think the Undertaker will be making an appearance. If anything, I'm calling that because the WWF's been so obvious in their hyping of his return. Anybody remember last year's King of the Ring ads that called for the Big Show to "plow through 4 WWF superstars"? Vince loves to swerve us, and I'm willing to bet that's what all this is about. Then again, I may be swerving myself by expecting a swerve. Swerve, swerve, serve. Remember when stuff was surprising and out of the blue?

I've rambled on way too long already, so I'm putting my money on the Rock here. If Vince pulls another "Survivor Series Finish", he doesn't know when to quit and should be lynched live on Monday's Raw. It was entertaining once, it worked twice. The third time was a bit excessive and a fourth would be ridiculous.
Winner: The Rock

In Closing...

I'm spent. The WWF's really jumping on the ball with their PPVs, giving us more good than bad and failing to overbook as many good matches as in the past. Even the main event is a worthy bit of debate, which rises interest in a match that wouldn't have drawn anything without a gimmick. I was satisfied with the results of Backlash, and I really hope they can deliver with this, since it's an important card for more reasons than one. The main event will be HHH's proving ground. If a card with this many worthwhile matches retains the crowd's interest throughout, the WWF may continue heading back to a wrestling atmosphere and away from showcasing story over substance. The Radicals are about to prove if they can make it alone in Connecticut, and Jericho needs one last great one to solidify a main event slot. Mark this one down, it could go down in history. Then again, we could see another Rocky/Mark Henry quality matchup. Wrestling's damn fickle. John? Send us home with some words of wisdom.
until next time, i remain

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