Chris Cash: I think the WWE has an interesting scenario here with the title belts up in the air. I’ll discuss this more in my final thoughts at the bottom, but for this specific match, I don’t see Triple H losing. They moved him to SD and although it’s probably better for his personal life, I doubt he can be 100% satisfied leaving the “A” show. Him losing the title was probably not an option once that decision was made, so I’m going to go with Triple H retaining and taking the WWE Championship with him to Smackdown.
Eric Stein: I’m going to definitely have to agree with Chris here. Triple H’s title run is just in the beginning stages…I think we may be settling in for a long run. There are not a ton of top heels to challenge HHH on SD currently, but you’ll see my thoughts on that when we discuss the next match. I don’t feel as if Cena has quite regained his momentum since returning from his injury and I just can’t see him getting his next run just yet. On the heels of the draft, I am hoping that WWE is committed to fresh programs and some things we haven’t seen to death. Triple H retains by clean pinfall.
Kevin Kelly: This is the blowoff for their feud and Triple H wins clean. It looks like the WWE is trying to really build up SmackDown and I think Triple H with the WWE Championship helps accomplish this. I think Cena is great on the chase and I think he becomes the main chaser on Raw.
Scott Hudson: This makes at least 6 PPV’s these two have headlined against each (in some form or fashion) this year. Enough! I’ll jump on the hit parade and say no way Hunter loses the strap. He’s actually a great guy to have as champion because, either as heel or baby, he is a draw if he is the one being chased. Hunter over strong.
World Heavyweight Championship
Chris: I really think the WWE could continue their streak of wild and crazy, unexpected swerves by having Edge retain here as well, but I don’t see how they get out of that immediately after because Raw has to have a title. However, with their move to MyNetwork, they are definitely wanting ways to beef up Smackdown and having both titles on one show for a short period of time could do that. However, I’m going to go with the easy solution and say that Batista wins taking this title back to Raw with him.
Eric: Chris is right – simply swapping the WWE and World titles between RAW and SD would certainly be the easy and obvious solution here. However, I am going in the other direction on this one. I think Edge will retain via screwjob and we will head into the summer with an eye towards a Summerslam main event of Champion vs Champion between Triple H and Edge. That’s right, for the next 15 weeks we’ll see HHH in handicap matches against various member of La Familia until the big day comes…but when it does, what a payoff it will be.
Kevin: The easy thing would be to switch the belt but I agree with with Chris and Eric and Edge wins. He is the only heel with heat, thanks to Vickie. I hope they do this but I fear that they put the belt on Batista. But what would be the top belt on Raw? Change my vote! I go with Batista. A guy can change his mind, can’t he?
Scott: The easy answer is to do the change here to keep each world strap on a different brand. Honestly, consolidating the titles would give it more prestige so leaving the Smackdown crown on Edge to build to a unification match with Hunter would be quite entertaining. Who ever wore the belt could jump between brands to meet the number one contender. Since that makes a lot of sense, I’m assuming Vince goes the other way and makes the swap to Batista. Batista over with maybe some backfiring shenanigans by Miss Vicki.
Chris: The easy choice here would be Mark Henry as everyone believes that the reason they added him to this match is so he could take the title back to ECW with him. For no other reason than that – plus the speculation that it could still be associated with the Michael Hayes incident and them making up for that – I’m going to go with Henry wins. Not to mention, this is the outcome the fans want to see. Mark Henry is HOT right now!
Eric: Mark Henry is hot right now? Have you been drinking straight through since I saw you last weekend? Mark Henry is the bigger stiff around. Considering my speculation that both major titles will be staying on SD, I will go with Kane retaining and having the belt with him on RAW. I think Big Show would be the best choice, but I think he’s capable of holding our attention without a belt…I’ve found him to be strangely compelling since returning. The honest truth is we all saw Kane appear on all 3 shows this week, so does it really matter anyway? Kane avenges his loss to Henry and gets the win here.
Kevin: Nobody cares about this match, the title or anyone in it. I say put it back on Big Show.
Scott: Chris, I’m with Eric on the Mark Henry issue. He’s awful (although you may be onto something with the Michael Hayes angle). If Kane retains, he can be stripped of the strap leading to the eventual Sci-Fi tournament with the finals to be held at SummerSlam. But, again, this assumes there is a long-term (read: 2 months) booking plan in the WWE. Not happening. Kane retains but nothing else will happen with the title.
Chris: I was joking guys! I know it’s text, but as long as you guys have known me, I’m surprised you can read between the lines. Notice how I put “HOT” in all caps? I really thought people would notice the hidden laughter I had while writing that part. Nevermind, moving on.
World Tag Team Championship
Chris: I was really hoping that WWE would find a way to put both Tag Team titles on one program so they could unify them and only have one Tag Team division that they work on strengthening. However, since Finlay and Hornswoggle are now moving over to ECW, that is no longer an option right now. Now, I’ve heard the rumors about Rhodes turning on Holly and I’m not willing to say that’s a guarantee, but I do think that DiBiase wins with whoever the partner is.
Eric: This is the slam dunk of the night. Dibease will win for certain. I don’t care if his partner is Lord Little Brook, SD Jones, or Steve “Mongo” McMichael…he’s winning. With both DH and Carlito moving over to SD, the second generation stable appears to be on thin ice…of course, the one idea I loved is now dead. I certainly can’t see them debuting Afa Jr. as his partner. A complete newcomer would also dumbfound the crowd and get no reaction. An inforcer type like Snitsky would be pathetic. So that leaves two options. The likely one is that Dibease comes out without a partner, claiming he’ll reveal himself when the time is right…and Cody will turn mid-match. The second, far less plausible but not entirely out of the WWE’s realm of possibility, would be his father. Regardless, Ted takes home the titles.
Kevin: I go the other way. I think Cody would be a terrible heel so I think Bob Holly turns on Cody, beats the shit out of Cody and the Million Dollar Man comes out and hands Hardcore a big cash of cash. Look for Ted Sr. to manage the new team.
Scott: Eric got it exactly right. But don’t forget Deuce is not on “Raw” so they could play up the Jimmy Snuka, Jr. bit (but I doubt it). A Rhodes turn and becoming the partner seems the most likely with Ted Sr. making an in-ring return a close second. They could throw a real swerve in and make it Kingston, Noble, Punk, Palumbo or Striker (the new kids). Regardless, they have built this to a Rhodes turn leading to a title change and that’s what will happen.
WWE Tag Team Championship
Chris: I think since I am going with DiBiase to win up top, I suspect Morrison and Miz retain again. Plus, I really just don’t want to see Finlay and Hornswoggle as the champs. Although, it would be kind of funny seeing Hornswoggle try and wear that big title belt…for about a week, anyway – then it would get old.
Eric: Gimme a break here. What kind of match is this? Miz/Morrison are some of the most consistent performers WWE have going for them right now – even they wouldn’t have the audacity to job them to Hornswoggle, would they? Probably – but I sure hope not. I think Finlay is going to be needed as one of the top singles performers on ECW and Hornswoggle brings the entertainment without needing this win – so M&M retain. What I could see is them actually taking this a step further and having them injuring or attacking Hornswoggle to continue the program with them and Finlay. What else is there on ECW really?
Kevin: No title switch, it’s too soon. What if Miz and Morrison kidnap Hornswoggle and throw him in the trunk after stealing a win and drive away? Now they hold the midget hostage and Finlay cries to get his baby boy back. Might get the heatless Miz and Morrison some heat.
Scott: Strictly for the comedy. Miz and Morrison are a terrific team (with Morrison on the verge of breaking out) and should retain. Findlay needs to be solo and needs for Hornswoggle to move on. Hornswoggle as a character is tailor made for a storyline involving a handful of Divas (like maybe one of them becomes his maid for a day or something) but muddying up an already muddy tag title picture is not a smart move. Miz & The Lizard King II over.
United States Championship
Chris: Hardy retains.
Eric: A pointless filler match. I actually like the idea of a lower level title being contested on ECW. I like how they claim Chavo is on the ECW roster, yet appears and fights almost exclusively on SD for the past few months. The ECW roster as it is currently constituted is pathetic. Hardy is about as good as it gets for them right now, so he retains. How about a program with Elijah after this?
Kevin: Other than a return of Chavo Classic, this match couldn’t be more boring. Hardy over.
Scott: Hardy’s move to ECW is the ONLY piece of remotely good news for that brand coming out of last week. Taking the strap from him is a bad idea and putting the strap on Chavo (regardless of who he takes it from) is a worse idea. Matt Hardy has earned the push he is about get unfortunately it will be for a dying brand. Hardy over big.
WWE Women’s Championship
Chris: I could see them changing this up and putting the title on Burchill. At least that would give the brother/sister group a bit of credibility as it simply doesn’t seem Vince and company are behind them a ton right now. I go with Burchill stealing the title.
Eric: I like Burchill here as well. Mickie feels like a transition champion this time around. Burchill is sexy and a little bit of a different direction for the Women’s division. Of course, I’d expect nothing less than 5 rematches, mixed tag matches (calling Val Venis) etc. to follow, but I don’t think anyone is sold on Mickey having a long run here, so I smell a change.
Kevin: What did Beth Phoenix do wrong? How did she go from unbeatable to a non-factor? I think this match could be good but Mickie wins.
Scott: A switch to Burchill is exactly the right move. Mickie does not need the strap to get over (she’s over with it or without it) while Burchill needs the extra oomph. I must admit I am intrigues with the incestuous storyline rumored to be planned for Katie and Paul. Putting the belt on her would help that angle take more of a higher profile.
Chris: I know this is going to be short lived, but this pay per view really has me excited about the possibilities. I don’t think I’m alone either considering the amount of traffic we’ve had recently on the site. I know it’s pretty naive and stupid of me to think that WWE is going to do the “easy” thing right now regarding the World Titles and have them simply go one per show, but I really don’t see any way around it. I’m sure Vince already has in his mind what he will do if two World Titles…or three…end up on the same brand (Smackdown I think if more than one go), but I did go very conservative with my picks. And with Vince’s desperation right now, I’m probably going to be proven wrong. Either way, great pay per view that has the wrestling world talking.
Eric: I think this will ultimately prove to be a “status quo” PPV for WWE with Triple H, Edge, Kane, Matt Hardy, and Miz/Morrison all retaining. I am almost positive I’ll be right. From what I know based on past experiences, many of this past week’s decisions were likely made on the fly. They are currently taking the eraser to the dry erase board in the writer’s room and going back to the drawing board. Post draft will be a huge transitional period, hopefully moving into a prosperous few months filled with new and exciting stories. However, it will not start with this card. They’ll throw us a bone with the Women’s title and tag team belts on RAW changing hands. Then we’ll go into a week of rematches and aftermath. Then about 2 weeks down the road we’ll start really seeing things shape up I think. What does WWE do when they’re at a complete loss and re-booting…tread water until they have it figured out.
Kevin: Heels get heat on a show like this but they’ll send the people home happy with Triple H. The focus on the draft and the Million Dollar Giveaway took away from the build for this show so I don’t think they’ll do much, other than set up each show with a top belt. Chris Cash is very tall and ugly and drinks like a fish. Just making sure everyone is reading this
Scott: I have the World Heavyweight, World Tag Team and Women’s World titles changing. That is a fairly aggressive booking stance for what is a new pay-per-view. But, as evidenced by the ludicrous Million Dollar Mania and the very well done draft spectacular, the WWE at least is open to trying to shake up the rosters. Lets hope this translates into shaking up the booking to get some new names in the top tier. With guaranteed good matches like Hardy vs. Guerrero, Edge vs. Batista and HHH vs. Cena, I do not think this is in danger of being a horrible show. The booking will tell the tale on whether or not its a great show.