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February 19, 2008

Yep, it’s a triple threat at WrestleMania

It became official on Raw last night that the main event for WrestleMania XXIV on March 30 will be a triple-threat match for the WWE title, as champion Randy Orton defends against Triple H and John Cena. I think this is the best possible main event on the Raw side, as it’s more intriguing than any singles match-up involving these three.

When it had appeared that Cena would not return from his injury in time to be on the WrestleMania card, I was all for Jeff Hardy facing Triple H in the main event, or possibly having a triple-threat match with those two and Orton. But with Cena coming back earlier than expected, WWE had to put him in the main event. After all, Cena is the top star in the company, and I know that fact pains some fans, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

Cena, Orton and Triple H all deserve to be in the main event. Hardy, even though he lost to Orton at the Royal Rumble last month and did not win the elimination chamber match Sunday at No Way Out, still is being given a big push. His time will come after WrestleMania, where I fully expect him to win the Money in the Bank ladder match, which he qualified for last night by defeating Snitsky.

Some thoughts on last night’s show:

There was nothing wrong with the Cena-Orton main event, but the crowd in Anaheim was nowhere near as good as the one in Las Vegas at No Way Out, and it hurt the match. Hopefully, there’s a good explanation for special referee Triple H counting Cena’s pin of Orton in the non-title match, which earned Cena a spot in the WrestleMania main event. As Triple H stated earlier in the show, it doesn’t benefit him to have it be a triple threat. He ended up giving both guys a Pedigree after the match, but I was thinking that he was going to do that during the match, which still could have led to a triple-threat. …

After a tremendous angle with Floyd Mayweather and The Big Show at No Way Out, last night’s segment was awkward and fell a little flat. It was quite a contrast to see Show so relaxed and confident when cutting his promo, while Mayweather seemed nervous and unsure of himself when speaking. It reminded me of when Mike Tyson appeared on Raw 10 years ago and said that he was a big WWE fan and his favorite wrestler was “Cold Stone.”

WWE has to be disappointed with the less-than-enthusiastic reaction Mayweather got from the crowd, as he was greeted with a mixture of boos and indifference. Show challenged Mayweather to a match of some kind, and the boxing star accepted. There has been speculation that it would be a tag-team match pitting Mayweather and Rey Mysterio against Show and Shane McMahon, but it was reported on that Mysterio is scheduled to undergo surgery on his torn biceps Friday, which would put him out for four to six months. …

I’m not sure if the beatdown of Hornswoggle by JBL and Vince McMahon in a steel cage elicited heel heat or “we really don’t like this angle” heat. Personally, I didn’t care for it. I know that heels are supposed to do vile things, but I did not like the imagery created by two large men brutally assaulting a midget who plays a child-like character. With that being said, I did think that the emotion from Finlay, who was handcuffed and forced to watch the attack, was very good, and JBL is just great at being unlikable. …

By the way, where was Chris Jericho to “save us” during the Hornswoggle beatdown? …

It was a nice touch to have Shawn Michaels make the announcement that Ric Flair would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame next month. Although it isn’t official yet, it sure looks like it will be Flair vs. Michaels at WrestleMania. I’m looking forward to the buildup to that one. …

Hardy and Mr. Kennedy both got new entrance music. Kennedy’s was a change for the better, but Hardy’s wasn’t. With Hardy being so hot right now, I don’t think I would tinker with anything involving him. …

WWE conducted a poll asking whether Maria should appear in Playboy, and 94 percent said that she should. You mean 6 percent actually voted no? …

If WWE had asked whether Val Venis could defeat Mr. Kennedy in the Money in the Bank qualifying match, the “no” votes probably would have exceeded 94 percent. …

Going back to Maria, I didn’t like the decision to have her beat Beth Phoenix, even if it was portrayed as a fluke because of the returning Candice Michelle’s distraction. Phoenix has been great as a monster heel, and it should take more than a simple distraction and quick roll-up to defeat her. I would have minded it a lot less if Michelle had actually physically interfered behind the referee’s back to cost Phoenix the match. …

During Paul Burchill’s match, Jim Ross asked Jerry Lawler if he could remember any other brother-sister tandems on Raw. No one said it, but what about Ken and Ryan Shamrock from 10 years ago? I know they weren’t really siblings, but neither are Burchill and Katie Lea. Supposedly, WWE wanted to do an incest story line with the Shamrocks, but – fortunately – it never happed (and let’s hope it doesn’t happen this time, either). Ironically, Ken and Ryan ended up dating in real life. You have to believe Burchill is hoping history repeats itself.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 2:35 AM | | Comments (19)


so sad to hear about rey' for him to miss two mania's in a row is tough' him and shane would have been a dream match

Whoever booked the mayweather bit tonight should be fired. When big show went off on him and he ran back into the ring the crowd actually gave a... and started cheering but then his whole entourage entered the ring and he lost any kind of babyface reaction and lost whatever credibility he hadn't lost from running away on Sunday night. I think the only way to save this angle is to put MVP with Mayweather and go at it as heels b/c the big show is getting to much of a babyface reaction. Handicap match between MVP and Mayweather vs Big Show and someone (shane?) might be decent. I'd hate to not have MVP in the money in the bank match though. The point is Mayweather as a heel would be money... he's just not a face.

And for the love of wrestling please put Shelton Benjamin in the money in the bank match!!! I don't care that he can't cut a promo to save his life... he's as good in mitb as anyone! The fans deserve him in the match.

You know there are females who watch WWE too. They probably account for that 6% "NO" vote that Maria got (though I'm sure some of them voted yes).

RESPONSE FROM KEVIN ECK: I know. I was just trying, perhaps unsuccessfully, to make a joke.

Man, 1 word to describe the Horswagle in a cage match? UNCOMFORTABLE. it made me SO uncomfortable and yea its fake yadda yadda yadda but still it just felt not right man.......

Dear Iron Mike,

I like Cold Stone too. They make great ice cream.

Mike Adamle

Mayweather gets booed because wrestlers don't need a posse of 8-10 guys that all come to the ring. Nevermind the fact they all scattered the minute Mayweather got his cheap shots in at No Way Out. That many dudes should be able to take down one man, no matter how big he is. They ran like Big Show was about about to announce their girlfriend's paternity test results. Its a dumb angle that no one really buys into.

Didn't Flair and Michaels not get a long at one point back in the day? Now it seems like they are best buddies and those rumors were false all along. Kevin or anyone else have any details about this story, I've always wonder about that. Perhaps Hunter "running the show" had something to do with it?

RESPONSE FROM KEVIN ECK: They have had story line feuds, but I don't recall ever hearing that they did not get along in real life. Michaels legitimately grew up idolizing Flair.

I really wasn't expecting to see Hornswoggle get beaten up. I thought he would come out on top like he always does. God bless JBL.

It seemed to me that Candace Michelle couldn't move her face at all.

They have been playing up the HBK-Flair friendship recently. They are definitely going to go at it at Mania.

I hated how they changed Kennedy's and Hardy's entrance themes. Its going to take away from their crowd reactions for the next month or so, because people won't know who it is.

I don't think it will be a "Boxing" match between Mayweather and the Big Show. How are they going to find Gloves to fit those hands? I was hoping that one of Floyd's Entourage would interfere. The one guy looked as big as the Show. I think they need to get Trump involved in the Maria Playboy angle. Maybe Trump could shave the head of Santino? What's up with that hair style?

I can guaran-dang-tee you that the 6 percent that said no to playboy for Maria are the girlfriends of guys that like Maria.

Raw was alright last night. I especially enjoyed HHH giving both Cena and Orton one pedigree after the other. I now look forward to HHH winning the title at WM24. Other than less than one night at No Mercy, Triple H hasn't had the belt since WM21 when he lost to Batista's sorry ace. It's time HHH to get another run.

From what I've read, Paul and Katie themselves came up with their storyline, and WWE decided to run with it. I guess we wlll soon see what they had in mind. I've stated this previously, but I'll be shocked if this goes beyond mere innuendo.

Mayweather is a natural "heel", plain and simple. In the Mayweather 24/7 series on HBO for his fights against Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton, he was basically portrayed as such. Floyd is an exceptionally talented boxer. He is one of the best of all time. His ability to dish out punishment and remain virtually unscathed combined with his arrogant and flashy nature makes him easy to dislike.
I agree with the suggestion that he should be paired with MVP for Wrestlemania. Mayweather and MVP have virtually identical personas. IF MVP is dedicated to being a WWE wrestler for the long term, it would be the perfect way to elevate him to main event status.
WWE is in desperate need of wrestlers who will be able to carry the ball for the next ten years. Right now, they’re mainly relying on HHH, Shawn Michaels, and the Undertaker with added help from Cena, Edge, Orton, and Batista to sell the product. With the exception of Cena and Orton, it doesn’t appear as if the others will be wrestling for much longer. Edge has been plagued by injuries, so it’s hard to say if he’ll stay in sports-entertainment, even though he’s still young.
Of course, that’s merely speculation. I don’t know what the future holds. Hopefully, WWE can capitalize on Mayweather’s heat and not try too hard to force him to be a fan favorite. If they can get him over, that’s fine. But being overly persistent can lead to the fans revolting. Example: John Cena.

All in all a pretty forgettable RAW. I'm wondering if they are now setting up for a McMahon/JBL vs Finlay / Hornswoggle tag match at WM24. The absence of jericho run-in probably means that feud is over.
I have no interest in wrestler vs. non-wrestler angles, and judging from the crowd I'm not alone. did we learn nothing from ali vs. inoki?
I also wondered why triple h counted the pin so easily for cena. what was the point of him being guest referee if he really didn't contribute anything to the match's outcome? If he wanted to end the show standing over 2 prone wrestlers, he could've just done a run-in.

Is it me or does Mayweather's voice make him seem real wimpy?

I can't get past his nasely teenage sounding whine.

I have to agree with you re: Hardy's entrance music, though was also a fan of Kennedy's too. And about the ending of Cena Orton with Triple H. I would like to have seen Cena FU Orton then Triple H count to 2 and refuse to count to 3, Cena get up confront Triple H who then hits the pedigree on Cena. Orton get the close pin and do same to him - that said, would have made a Cena clean pinfall victory non-sensical - maybe a submission or Orton DQ!

Anyway, my main rumblings of late, though you have touched on it, is the predictability. I was sure Triple H would win the Chamber and I think that is the right call setting up this triple threat match - where I am only certain that Orton will drop the belt. But I am just not that bothered by Taker vs Edge? Am I alone in this?Maybe that will change - where does Batista fit into Mania? Even more predicatable that the Deadman was gonna win his chamber, and likely to at Mania.

Pleased that Hardy's push hasn't stopped but then I guess it's predicatable that he will win the Money in the Bank Match - but I can live with that - and I too hope Benjamin is given a place in this match - who else do you see joining Jeff Hardy and Kennedy?

It sucks that Big Show is coming back and having to job in his first match. There's no way Mayweather is going to lose to Big Show. I would have put Big Show against Khali at Wrestemania, with Show kicking Khali out of the WWE. Then Big Show could use the "I'm the real giant" angle and the WWE could actually use him a a Giant.

I now hope they really end this Hornswoggle angle, it's getting old, and I think it's over when Finaly/Hornswoggle tag team against McMahon/JBL at Wrestlemania.

What's the point of a Money in the Bank qualifying match when you knew the moment that Snitsky and Val Venis were announced who was going to win.

When are they going to give Beth Phoenix a real competitor in the WWE? Do a youtube search on her name and the word fireman and you'll see what she can do against the men in the ring, let alone the women.

About hardy new theme song:
I think it COULD be cool, in the near future.
Because maybe they didn't cut the song yet. The first time Lite appeared with her theme song "Love fury energy passion" it was played full during her entrance and was a bit annoying. But after few weeks, they edited the song and now I remember that song a one of greatest women theme songs ever.
ANd even if they dont edit the song, many theme songs gain his energy after a couple of weeks.

I'm with you Pat. The only good worker Beth has had so far is Mickie. All the good wrestlers are heels like her, which limits her competition.

The Hornswoggle thing was uncomfortable for me too. And JBL's interference was kind of random as well. Umaga would fit, since he has no feud, and it would fit his persona. He's beat down women before (both as a part of 3MW and Umaga)

No matter what in the Triple Threat match, know this: Orton will be getting pinned / submitting. It stinks, because at this point, with him being the WWE Champion, and not having the pyro and posing (although he did during the match)

I found parts of the Hornswoggle cage debacle humorous because of Finlay's poor acting. He clearly wasn't ready for that role. JBL sold it well and Hornswoggle really hit the cage in a way most other wrestlers don't.

Show vs Mayweather is ridiculous and even though we know wrestling isn't real, in a real life encounter Mayweather would be squashed.

As for the Maria vote, I'm sure she has some haters, but I'm not one of them :)

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
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