Hey there my ever-faithful tatfans, I hope you enjoyed Unforgiven. I did, sort of. Only one title changed hands, but as anyone who read my Unforgiven Predictions will tell you, it was not the title I was expecting to change hands.
You know when you write something, or say something, and then after it’s too late to change what you have said you realise that you were wrong, that you were setting yourself up to be duped? Well, that happened to old Boyo only a few hours after I submitted my Unforgiven Prediction to Le Boss. I was watching Heat, busily contemplating the severity of Ivory’s caffeine addiction when I realised, out of the blue, that Triple H would beat Randy Orton in about 3 hours time! Of course, it was too late to edit my Predictions, as Le Boss had published them, but I swear to you this happened.
So Triple H got the result over Randy Orton. The Orton Era is over, the kid only had the World Heavyweight Championship for one month, and Triple H is now at the top of the tree with a beautiful belt slung over his shoulder. I might land myself in heat with Le Smarks but I think the decision to give Triple H the belt was a good one, and I don’t think that the WWE ever intended to give Orton the belt long-term when he beat Benoit for it at Summerslam.
I was sitting there watching Heat, contemplating Ivory’s caffeine addiction,wondering what it would be like to wrestle her and enjoying a whiskey sour when “wrestling clarity” struck me like a drunken vision. Or hallucination, I don’t mind. I was thinking about what people meant when they said that it was “too soon” for Orton to win the belt. “What on Earth are they on about?” I wondered, “describe ‘too soon'” I challenged, and then I thought about what makes a champion in this modern WWE product.
Well, firstly, you’ve got to be feuding with the champion for a long time, a turn from face to heel or vice-versa is needed, you’ve got to – GOT TO – win the Rumble, you’ve got to be screwed somehow, and you can’t have Le Smarks almost universally saying your title reign is “too soon”.
I think the WWE writers have pulled off a masterstroke here, I really do. Eras are not born at Summerslams, they are born at Wrestlemanias. Title-shots are not earned by winning a diddly little Battle Royal on Raw in a hick town, they are earned by entering the Royal Rumble at a number before 5, having your nemesis enter the Rumble at a number after 25, and then triumphing at that Rumble. Eras are born by having your match at Wrestlemania being the most hyped up match of the spring, before the roster draft happens and new rivalries are formed.
And that – and after my misguidedness – is what I am certain about.
Giving Randy Orton a taste of the gold, and giving the fans a taste of Randy Orton as Champion, and then having it snatched away from him just as they were getting used to the idea, when guys like me are calling Raw a “chore to watch”, “predictable” and claiming that “champions ALWAYS retain in their first title defence” and then confounding all of us was brilliant. That, my friends, is what wrestling fans may call a “swerve”.
Of course, not everyone will be happy with Triple H carrying the gold again, but it has been six months since he last carried it, and in that time he has put over Eugene, Shelton Benjamin and Chris Benoit, so he hasn’t been that much of a naughty boy in 2004. Triple H can gloat, boast and taunt Orton, Benoit, Kane, HBK, Batista, Edge, Jericho, Tomko and Benjamin until the cows come home. In January, I think Orton will win the Rumble, and will win at Wrestlemania 21 in Los Angeles.
By then, I think he will genuinely “be ready”.
Other stuff happened at Unforgiven, too. Stuff that seriously damaged my points total in multiple Predictions Leagues. HBK bled his way to victory over Kane, La Resistance retained their belts over the meli-melo of diversity that is Rhyno and Tajiri, Trish “Ugh!” Stratus kept her belt by ramming Victoria’s face into the canvas for victory. That match was followed by an impromptu Steven Richards vs Tyson Tomko stink-a-roo which failed to inspire the restless crowd. The curtain-jerker saw William Regal and Chris Benoit get the upper hand over “The Rest of Evolution”, in what turn out to be the only match I called correctly. Sometimes I have it, sometimes I don’t.
Lastly, Chris Jericho plodded his way to victory over a fully-fit Christian to retain his Intercontinental Championship in a satisfactorily bump-filled Ladder Match. As I said before, Christian is a favourite of old Boyo, but this feud has the potential to be a very, very entertaining slanging match indeed, and if done properly, could propel both men into the World Heavyweight sphere as genuine contenders.
Thanks for reading, and again, I’ll be delivering some Smackdown! themed columns real soon.