In an unprecedented move, this will be the second weekend in a row that we here at Sports Casualties have worked a little overtime for you, the loyal reader. Call this the Gasparilla Hangover Effect.
In today’s edition of Sunday Funday, I will be previewing the biggest faux-sports event of the day, tonight’s WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Tonight’s show features four title matches as a precursor to the premier match of the show, a 30-person over-the-top-rope-challenge called the Royal Rumble. The winner of the Royal Rumble gets a main event title match at the upcoming Wrestlemania pay-per-view.
Not unsimilar to last Sunday, I will be previewing each match, and destroying my objective wrestling writing abilitiy, if there is such a thing, by telling you what I want to happen and what I think will happen. Obviously, I am a run-of-the-mill white trash wrestling fan, so my predictions have no inside sources at all. I have no red phone in my apartment that connects directly to WWE creative offices in Stamford, Connecticut.
Let the party begin.
ECW Champion Christian vs. Ezekiel Jackson, ECW Title Match
The build-up: Not too much of a build to this match. Jackson won the ECW Homecoming Battle Royale a couple of weeks ago to become the No. 1 Contender. Many are predicting the ECW brand to be scrapped after Wrestlemania and a title change here could signify that.
What I want to happen: Jackson wins the ECW strap. The title is nothing but a burden for Christian that keeps him from being free to go to a better show. For those who don’t know, Christian briefly spent time in rival company TNA Wrestling before returning to WWE about one year ago. His time relegated to ECW, the bastard child of Vince McMahon’s company, is said to be punishment for briefly flirting with the enemy.
What will happen: Christian wins and it is kind of understandable. ECW is probably being scrapped after Wrestlemania, not today. Igniting a little bit of a feud between Christian and Jackson is probably something that the company will look for to kill time until March.
Women’s Champion Michelle McCool vs. Mickie James, WWE Women’s Title Match
The build-up: One of the strangely longer lasting feuds on this card. This has basically consisted of McCool and her sidekick Layla calling James fat over and over again, and occasionally beating the living hell out of her. So far, McCool has almost completely had the upper hand.
What I want to happen: I honestly don’t really care too much either way here. The WWE Divas division is pretty irrelevant, and it’s even more irrelevant on a show that very few people watch. I guess a Mickie James win could bring an end to this feud which would be good.
What will happen: James wins the Women’s Championship.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion The Undertaker vs. Rey Mysterio, WWE Heavyweight Title Match
The build-up: Mysterio has overcome numerous brutal confrontations with former best friend Batista to become the No. 1 contender.
What I want to happen: I still think that a rematch of last year’s Shawn Michaels/Undertaker classic could be a good idea for Wrestlemania. However, I really think that the title has to be on the line to make it interesting unless they create another tremendous build. I’d like to see The Undertaker keep his title here.
What will happen: There is a very good chance that Mysterio wins here. It definitely would not hurt to freshen up the Heavyweight Title picture and a Mysterio win would certainly do that. C.M. Punk continues to be many people’s Rumble winner prediction, and a program between those two would make Smackdown interesting again.
WWE Champion Sheamus vs. Randy Orton, WWE Title Match
The build-up: An interesting match setting between two wrestlers that are both heels (storyline bad guys). Sheamus has literally gone from the minor leagues to champion over the course of about six months. This is Orton’s first title shot since Cena lost the belt.
What I want to happen: I think that tonight’s show should be used to make Ted DiBiase, Jr. the absolute star that he has the potential of being. I think that either begins with DiBiase interfering and costing Orton the title or with Orton winning the title and DiBiase winning the Rumble later in the night. I’m fine with either one.
What will happen: I have a hard time seeing Sheamus losing his title here. I could see this being some kind of a non-decisive ending, DQ or something else. This match is made to either set up a feud between Orton and one of his lackeys or to make Sheamus look much more legit in a longer than usual match. I could see Sheamus feuding with a Triple H-type figure in the time leading to Wrestlemania.
The 2010 Royal Rumble Match
The build-up: A number of great storylines going into this match. Let’s quickly review some of them: Shawn Michaels has to win the Rumble to get his desired re-match with The Undertaker. John Cena has pledged to win the Rumble and become champion again. C.M. Punk and his Straight-Edge Society want to win the Rumble as a chance to “take over” the company. Five entrants have not been announced. Rob Van Dam? Edge? Surprises are always expected.
What I want to happen: I think I already said it. Why not take this opportunity to make DiBiase huge? It probably will not happen, but it is worth a thought. I’d also like to see Edge return to ignite a feud with Chris Jericho that can lead to Wrestlemania.
What will happen: I think either John Cena or C.M. Punk win this. Cena never got real closure in his feud with Sheamus and it’s hard to imagine him going into a Mania without at least a title shot. It’s not ideal but it will show how willing the WWE is to take risks based on tonight’s show. Again, it’s hard to predict this thing because the precursor matches will completely change the complex of the show by the time the 30 Rumble participants are trotted out.
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday