PPV Preview: WWE Bragging Rights

Jeez – just three weeks and already another WWE event?  There used to be two PPVs in October for a reason.  Aside from No Mercy, the WWE had a novel little event called Taboo Tuesday in which fans voted on the stipulations and even participants of the matches for the night.  Then it turned out having a PPV on a Tuesday was a bad idea, so it became Cyber Sunday.  The event was pretty cool in that the WWE actually followed the fans’ votes rather than rigging it themselves, but because of it, matches had to be planned on the fly and some of them ended up suffering for it.

Well, those days are gone and in its place we get the new gimmicked PPV Bragging Rights featuring Raw vs. Smackdown matches and coincidentally being released right along with this year’s Smackdown vs. Raw video game.  Puuuuure coincidence.  The card’s not big, due to the length of the main event, so follow along.

Iron Man Match for the WWE Championship
Randy Orton(c) vs. John Cena
Apparently someone realized the Orton vs. Cena feud had been going on for half-past forever, so they’re bringing it to a close with an hour long match.  The match was proposed by Cena with the stipulation that afterwards there will be no rematches.  The winner moves on and the loser lingers out of the title picture.  Seeing himself at something of a disadvantage, Orton changed the stipulation to if Cena loses, he must leave Raw “forever”.  Cena accepted, and now everyone’s wondering if he’ll be a Smackdown superstar next week.  He sure isn’t going to ECW.

Randy Orton and John Cena are definitely comfortable around each other and work well with one another, but I question if the two of them can make an hour long match worthwhile.  Despite the complaints against him, Cena is a pretty good worker, but he usually sticks to the same process, which is fine for a regular PPV match, but what about one that is three times as long?  Sure, Orton’s pretty good himself, but again, I question whether the two can pull out the necessary stops here.  There’s one thing for sure – this isn’t going to be Hart/Michaels.

As for results, I’m guessing that despite all the setup for Cena leaving, he regains his belt and stays on Raw.  Orton has been having tension with Ted DiBiase as of late, and I feel like he’s going to get involved somewhere here, perhaps costing Orton a fall during the match.

14-Man Raw vs. Smackdown Tag Team Match
D-Generation X (Shawn Michaels and Triple H), Big Show, Cody Rhodes, Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston and Mark Henry vs. Chris Jericho, Kane, the Hart Dynasty (David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd), Finlay, R-Truth and Matt Hardy
To give the PPV’s name some meaning, this match was set up with the ultimate prize being a fat load of nothing bragging rights to call their show the Dominant Brand of Sports Entertainment.  With a whole three weeks to set up, the two shows set their rosters last week, then spent this week getting in each other’s faces.  Well, at least they did that on Raw.  Smackdown used the go-home show to completely changing its lineup, removing Cryme Tyme, Dolph Ziggler, Eric Escobar and Drew McIntyre in favor of the Hart Dynasty, Finlay, Matt Hardy and R-Truth.

While I agree that the new lineup is a better representation of Smackdown (and preventing a full roster of heels), this really should have been done on week 2 to give the team a little bit of time to sell the idea to the fans that they could work together.  Having it on the last show reveals that a) they have no time to mesh as a team and b) this PPV had too little set up time.  I’m also not sure if this match is elimination or single fall.  Either way, it’s going to be fast and expect at least one full team brawl.

So who wins?  That would be Team Raw.  While Smackdown does have a more experienced team now, they are also completely made up of guys who take a lot of losses.  Jericho is the punching bag of Jerishow, Kane teeters back and forth from dominance, the Hart Dynasty regularly loses to Cryme Tyme, R-Truth is being horribly wasted, Matt Hardy has lost all his steam from his too bried heel run and Finlay is about on the level of Tommy Dreamer.  Raw has guys on hot streaks (DX, Rhodes, Swagger, Kofi) along with the size of Big Show and Mark Henry.  It’s going to be Team Raw with the win.

Fatal Four-Way Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Undertaker(c) vs. CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Batista
This came about when CM Punk demanded his rematch from his loss at Hell in a Cell, and GM Teddy Long was upstaged by Vince McMahon in an effort to…uh…well, I’m not really sure where the McMahon/Long stuff is going.  Apparently, McMahon is trying to get Long on the bad side of the Undertaker while holding his job over his head.  I hope this doesn’t end up with Long getting ‘fired’ as he really has been a consistent bright spot for Smackdown in his years as GM.

So to keep the crowd from Punk/Taker III, Batista and Rey were tossed in fresh off their loss at Hell in a Cell (hey, I gave TNA crap about it too).  This match will be alright – Punk and Taker are good, Rey’s exciting and Batista’s got his act down.  I’m thinking Taker retains here (though I hear he’s nursing an injury) and animosity will raise between Rey and Batista.  I suppose.  I’m not really excitied by this match.

Raw vs. Smackdown Match
The Miz vs. John Morrison
While this is the Intercontinental vs. United States champions (for bragging rights, mind you), the real story here is between former (Slammy Award winning) tag team partners Miz and Morrison.  They were a dominant tag team from ECW showing up on every show until Miz got drafted to Raw and immediately turned on his partner (who had lost the draft pick in a match).  This was never really followed up on as the shows have actually pretty good about locking down their rosters on their shows.  Now, finally, the animosity is back as both have become successful singles competitors on their respective shows.

I’m thinking that Morrison will be winning this match for two reasons.  One, he’s the face in the feud.  Two, I think team Raw will be winning the big Raw vs. Smackdown match, so Smackdown will win the two smaller ones leading into something at Survivor Series.  The match will be excellent, as not only are they good on their own, but after so long of tagging, they know each other very well and can work together.  This has the potential to steal the show.

6-Diva Raw vs. Smackdown Tag Team Match
Melina, Kelly Kelly and Gail Kim vs. Michelle McCool, Beth Phoenix and Natalya
To toss in some eye candy, but keeping with the theme, the shows’ respective women’s champions are in action with two of their show’s divas.  So we have the Raw team of faces in Melina, Kelly Kelly and Gail Kim vs. the Smackdown team of heels in Michelle McCool, Beth Phoenix and Natalya.  There’s really no story here.  Just a tag match.

I fully expect the heels to get the win here, with Beth Phoenix likely pinning Gail Kim.  Phoenix will then get all up in Michelle McCool’s business about her Women’s title.  I’m fairly confident on this one.

Worth buying?
It all depends on how much you like Randy Orton vs. John Cena.  The other matches are pretty much blow offs, but if you’re into the iron man match, then by all means, yes.  It’ll be decent, the Miz/Morrison match will be good, and the others will be so-so.  I’ve got a group that is getting it (including the other two writers of this blog) so I’ll be enjoying it live.

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