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Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes
These two have all the potential, ability, and momentum to completely steal the show tonight. Both men are having impressive years so far in 2011, and there isn't a single feud in the WWE I'm more excited to see. I would rather have this match at WrestleMania, as it would give Cody a huge platform to walk away victorious and maybe even turn face, but I'll take what I can get here... I love that the animosity between these two started with Cody getting a random victory over the then-World champion on Monday Night Raw, and has finally escalated into this PPV match. Even though it was heavily edited, the hype behind Rhodes being brutally assaulted and busted open carries this thing further without actually having to try. You have to admit, Cody Rhodes is having the time of his life and easily one of the most entertaining guys to watch in all of pro wrestling right now. This match is going to be awesome! Prediction: Randy Orton wins. Probably not a popular decision as far as the "marks" are concerned (still not sure what the word officially means...) but a face Randy Orton winning gives a heel Cody Rhodes more fuel to drive his promos, and could possibly lead to an even bigger match in the Garden next month!
World Heavyweight Championship -- Mark Henry vs. Big Show
Insert praise for Mark Henry's dominant reign as champion. Insert statement about Big Show's return being cool, but offering no long-term value. Honestly, there's not much to say. Mark Henry is still good and continues to improve on the mic. Big Show is still huge, he's still the Big Show, and we're probably going to get the exact same quality match we were given the last time they faced off on PPV. As I already stated, there's not much to say... Prediction: Mark Henry retains the World Heavyweight Championship. It's way too close to Survivor Series to be offering any random swerves just for the sake of shotgunning the title (et tu, del Rio?).
CM Punk & Triple H vs. The Miz & R-Truth
So all the conspiracy, all the hype, all the "firings" and returns have lead to a tag team match that hasn't even been booked as the most important thing on Raw? Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that the WWE title is for once a priority, but why now? Why is that a bigger deal than everything going on in the past few months? They seem to have thrown together this match with no more hype than "you want to see this match because CM Punk and Triple H are teaming together." And you know what? They're right... I want to see this match because they are teaming together, but also because the Miz and Truth have come a long way as a team. ALSO, because it's likely that something big will happen at the end that will further the entire story... What I'm upset about is how much momentum was lost along the way, making this match that should be huge not all that important. I honestly hope this is the main event, and they pull something off to send us home happy. Prediction: Disqualification ending. Chaos ensues.
WWE Championship -- Alberto del Rio vs. John Cena -- Last Man Standing
I swear to god if I see the slightest glimpse of duct tape in this match I'm going to bring a roll and throw it at them next time Raw comes to Chicago (December... by the way). I love that this is the only gimmick match on the card - it makes it feel special. I loved John Cena's post-match beat-down on the champ and the promo that ended the night this past Monday. I typically love the Last Man Standing match type! Who can forget Shawn Michaels' amazing match for the World Heavyweight title where he struggled to get back up, but fell down at the count of 10, ending in the best "no contest" in wrestling history? Rock/Mankind, Undertaker/Batista, Punk/Orton... But whenever John Cena gets into long, grueling matches it seems like an excuse for him to sell every move for the maximum amount of time. The only thing worse is when he competes in an Ironman match (see Cena/Orton). I want to see a fast-paced battle for the WWE title, not del Rio owning most of the match and John Cena barely struggling to get to his feet before the ten count... fifteen times. Prediction: Alberto del Rio wins. Cena is notorious for either wining these matches or getting beaten by outside interference. Look up the history, it's ridiculous... With him being directed OUT of the WWE title picture, it would make sense that somebody will screw Cena out of the match to bring him back into the feud with Punk, Triple H, and Team Unsafe Working Conditions.
I wasn't excited about Vengeance before writing this preview. Everyone has been talking about how lackluster the card is and Raw has been pretty awful as of late, killing my motivation for ordering these events... But as I wrote I started realizing how good of a wrestling PPV this could be. Orton and Rhodes will likely bring down the house, the main event tag match will be decent if not great, and Dolph Ziggler is solid enough in the ring to make both of his matches worth watching. Mark Henry has another chance to cement his title reign, Zack Ryder could win his first (real) title ever, and Christian and Sheamus are both great performers. I think most of the build up to Survivor Series will start on Raw tomorrow night, but the catalyst for those events happens TONIGHT. And honestly, none of you are actually paying for the event anyway, so what do you have to lose?
Follow me on Twitter @MikeKillam for live Tweeting during the PPV, and feel free to shoot me an email with your own Vengeance thoughts and predictions. It all goes down tonight at 8/7c, and the official hashtag is #Vengance. Don't forget your #wrestlezone too!