Hey there tatfans and welcome to another pay per view edition of The Announce Table. Armageddon is just around the corner and this time around I feel Smackdown! has thrown together what may turn out to be a very enjoyable pay per view indeed. We have a couple of wildcard matches but we could also witness the arrival of the next potential superstar (who has an appropriate name for a superstar, too). In fact, this is brimming with new superstars.
Smackdown! has been pretty non-descript viewing over the last couple of weeks. A lot of the fans are a bit disappointed with the roster cuts, coupled with the fact that allof a sudden, the Diva Search losers have started appearing all over the show.
Personally, I’m not too fussed about the women. I think some of them, the ones with little talent, will naturally just fall by the wayside as ideas progress and they become less involved with storylines (JBL’s cabinet girl, I’m looking at you), but I must admit a couple of them have shown some star quality these last few weeks, and this is highlighted by the fact that I can remember their names! Joy Giovanni brings a lot to the show, but the star in waiting is Michelle, who is the fitness instructor.
I said in an earlier TAT that Michelle, in my humble opinion, was the true potential in the Diva Search (I might have referred to her as “the awkward blond with the big arms”), and she is just so much more easy to watch on TV, much better than that prattling red-head on Raw. Michelle is not the “next potential superstar” I was talking about at the start of this article, by the way…
The one saving grace of Smackdown! these last few weeks has been the build-up towards the Main Event of Armageddon. This sees John Bradshaw Layfield defend his title in a triple threat match against Booker T, Eddie Guerrero and The Undertaker. This should be a really good match. The build-up towards it has been top-notch, and it also looks like the WWE have been crafting this storyline since The Great American Bash, way back in June.
JBL won the title in a suspect fashion against Guerrero at The Bash, and then had a masked Kurt Angle to thank for his first defence. JBL then picked up an easy DQ victory over The Undertaker at Summerslam before getting slammed through the roof of his limo. Booker T was then cheated out of almost certain victory by an interfering Orlando Jordan. So JBL is now up against all three men that he cheated against, and the build-up has been crafted quite superbly. JBL’s cabinet is not allowed at ringside, JBL is being bullied and intimidated by the other three, and JBL’s promos have become self-parodic; comparing himself to Bret Hart and Bruno Sammartino.
The great thing about this match is that it has been built up to perfection. The question on everyone’s lips is not “can JBL retain?”, but “which of the challengers are going to win?”. So who will win?
I can only see JBL retaining.
This reeks of a massive Vince McMahon swerve to me, and remember, JBL is Vince’s pet-project. For the past 8 months, JBL has been promoted as a lucky champion, a person who is champion but shouldn’t be. Vince knows, and JBL knows, that the fans have never been too happy with his championship run, and he is almost teasing the smarks now. JBL’s reign mirrors what the smarks have been thinking all along.
I think Booker, Eddie and The Undertaker will do the majority of the work in this match, but I think the match will play out as a classic suckerpunch. JBL isn’t going to cheat to win, but steal a win. I can imagine JBL being given a lot of punishment in this match, and many people getting near pinfalls on him. But I can also see Undertaker doing a Tombstone on JBL and Booker making the save, before JBL capitalises on somebody else.
I still think JBL will lose to The Big Show sometime soon.
John Cena is defending his US Title against Cool Cool Cool’s buddy, Jesus, in a streetfight. Cena has been in and out of the WWE recently and while this has been happening, Jesus has been emerging slowly as a fabulous star. People were expecting Cool Cool Cool to be the next Razor Ramon, but Jesus is the true star. Cool has been shoved down our throats, and we are being forced to accept that this is a cool guy. This can merit a backlash from the fans. However Jesus has looked very impressive, very natural, and has been put over as a true thug.
So who will win it? Well, after the furore over Cool’s title reign, because he won it in his first match and then didn’t look the part, and then got injured, Cena had to come back to win the belt back to rescue it. It would be a questionable decision to have the belt change hands again, and to give it back to a newcomer to wear, so I think Cena will retain. I do think Jesus will be holding that belt soon enough though, and will also be a face soon enough, too.
Dan Puder’s moment of truth arrives as he takes on Mike Mizanin in the final of Tough Enough. Puder will walk this. He is quite simply head and shoulders above Mizanin, who has somehow just found himself in the final, rather than earn it. Justice Williams was the last big object in Puder’s way, and maybe he could have outboxed Puder, but he was voted off in the semi-final, despite getting a much better crowd reaction than Mizanin. Puder looks up for this and looks focussed, intense and hard while Mizanin looks like a rabbit caught in the headlights.
Puder was always going to win this ever since he took out Kurt Angle in a shoot, and the WWE have done the right thing by setting Puder up for the victory. I will be the first person to cheer if Puder wins this thing.
Puder, Jesus and Michelle are three top quality, highly entertaining young stars who have simply emerged from the pile and the WWE are using them correctly so far. They haven’t needed over-exposure or huge pushes down our throats to get over with the fans.
The Tag-Team Title match took an interesting turn of events last week as Rey Mysterio and Rob Van Dam won the belts off Rene and Kenzo in an impromptu match just a week before Armageddon. This, of course, turns the match on its head. I imagine that RVD and Rey were pencilled in for the win at Armageddon but I cannot think of any reason why they would win the titles a week before their pay per view match against the same opposition?
The only things I can think of is that much like Randy Orton, they are giving Rey and RVD the gold before taking them away just days later. This would be a terrible decision. If not that then someone has thought of a rather good finish to this match that can only work if RVD and Rey are the champions?
Spike Dudley takes on Funaki for the Cruiserweight Championship. Funaki surprisingly won a Battle Royal that earned him a shot at Spike. This match was built up to be either Kidman or Chavo, but Funaki got the nod. I’m pleased for the guy but I don’t expect him to win. The only thing I can think of is that here is some big storylines planned for Kidman and Chavo, and possibly Paul London, leading up to Wrestlemania.
The Big Show has requested that he fights Luther Reigns, my man Mark Jindrak and Kurt Angle all at once, in a handicap match. I’m not looking forward to this match that much, to be honest. I think Big Show will make short work of Jindrak, before getting beaten by Angle and Reigns. Whatever happens, I think it will be Angle who comes out on top.
Finally we see the obligatory ladies match. Miss Jackie faces up against Dawn-Marie with Charlie Haas as the guest referee. I expect this match to be short enough, with some impressive scrapping going down. I also, however, fully expect this match to be ruined by the typical WWE bra ‘n’ panties shenanigans, and some uncomfortable times for poor old Haas. If this match is done properly then it could be a pretty entertaining, light-hearted match between two hot, female scrappers. If done badly, it will be very cringe-worthy indeed. Fights over men always are.
I really hope the WWE capitalises on all the young talent it has right now. During this article I always found myself referring to the “potential” that matches have, that people have. Well this little pay per view could make a great place to utilise the talent that has unexpectedly emerged at the forefront. This could be the making of Dan Puder, Jesus could realistically beat John Cena into a pulp and establish himself as the alpha-male ahead of Cool Cool Cool and Michelle could become the alpha female so needed in the WWE.
Come to think of it, a Raw vs Smackdown interpromotional match, Michelle vs “a Raw Diva” at Wrestlemania 21 could be great stuff…maybe.
Boyo’s pick this time? Puder vs Mazanin.
Thanks for reading,