All Good With Aaron Wood - Looking At The WWE Fantasy Game (FINAL WEEK!)
By Aaron Wood
DISCLAIMER: The following is based on personal opinion and is based on no more prior knowledge than information made available by the WWE at time of publication. Any information or ideas utilised by WWE Fantasy players in the following article is done so at the player's own risk...
THE WWE FANTASY GAME: WEEK 9 - THE REVIEW
This is it. This is as monumental as the end of Everybody Loves Raymond, Friends and Stargate SG1 combined. The last week of the current WWE Fantasy League season. However, before I hit an extra-detailed preview of this crucial week, let’s just have a quick look back at last week and see how things stand at this vital time.
THE CURRENT WWI FANTASY LEAGUE TOP 10!
01: AJ Styles - 2309 pts
02: A Team They Call Swish - 2300 pts
03: DJ MegaHertz - 2275 pts
04: Torch Wood - 2274 pts
05: ReturnOfTheNewBlack - 2265 pts
06: Millennium Men - 2259 pts
07: SuperJiggy - 2167 pts
08: I've GOT 2 WORDS 4 U!!!!! - 2093 pts
09: Lionheart - 2089 pts
10: CMPunk4Life - 2062 pts
Hoo boy! 50 points separate the top 6, and with the scoring opportunities this week, that gap is not unassailable. However, it probably is all between “AJ Styles” and “A Team They Call Swish”. Na din a testament to the consistency of all the teams in the top 10, while the “Millennium Men” racked up the highest points total this week, scoring 281 points, thanks to a great ECW, they only moved up from 7th last week to 6th this week. Unfortunately the WWI’s chances of invading the top 100 overall teams look slim at this point, with AJ Styles sitting 148th.
This Week's MVP (that Isn't necessarily Montel Vontavious Porter...)
Well, this one is stonkingly obvious, as having Bobby Lashley wrestle twice (one of which was a table match) as well as having him finally break the Masterlock, saw him score a huge 84 points. That was almost 50 points more than anyone else.
Bust Of The Week
This guy had such a bad week, that while he was almost entirely inactive in the US, he didn’t even appear at all in the UK! I am, of course if you recall back to my Smackdown review, talking about Kane, whose sole interview on Smackdown (which for no apparent reason wasn’t shown in the UK) got him a solitary 3 points for the week. Khali almost had as bad a week, scoring only one point more, thanks to his choke bomb on Jerry Lawler. But then, Khali only costs 2.5 million. Kane is worth 4.
Dark Horse Of The Week
I’m almost tempted to give this to Chris Benoit since he finally put in a high scoring week, second only to Lashley. However, someone else scored the second-highest number of points this week, and they got nearly half what Benoit costs, so once again, my “Dark Horse” is Melina! Winning an “unscheduled” bra & panties match helped her score 38 points this week.
THE WWE FANTASY GAME: THE FINAL WEEK PREVIEW
And this is the week where it could all change, because this is WRESTLEMANIA WEEK!!! And boy, if you thought all bets were off to this point, then well, I can't even think of a phrase to say that it's more so this week. It's a case of almost literally could be booked. I'll come to my Wrestlemania 23 thoughts in a bit, but first, let's look at this week's television shows feud-by-feud.
Undertaker vs. Batista & John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels:
Their week starts on RAW in a gangbusters rematch from No Way Out as the brand's Wrestlemania main events face each other as De-GenerCena X face The Deacons Of Destruction (Should have come up with that one in February...). And sweet lady gumbo, God knows what's going to happen here. It could be anything. It's next to impossible to pick a winner, even a DQ winner.
However, suffice to say that whatever does happen, if it happens to Undertaker and/or Batista, then they are gonna be talking it out on Smackdown, as JBL is hosting a face-to-face interview this coming week. And I really wouldn't discount Cena & HBK showing up either, should Smackdown lay a beating on RAW on Monday.
If I were to call anything, I think that we could see that laying out of RAW happen. I think that Undertaker & Batista will win the match, possibly by DQ, and then just as HBK & Cena are on the absolute verge of killing each other, Taker & Tista will suddenly swoop in and kick their asses. Then on Smackdown, Batista and Undertaker will effectively say "Let the best man win" before Cena & Michaels run in, sparking a major 4 man brawl to end the show. But in saying that, even if that does happen, there is so much that could happen inside of that! One guy could take his Wrestlemania opponent out "accidentally". The two challenger could end up standing tall. It could be the 2 champions who down their counterparts opponents.
Donald Trump/Bobby Lashley vs. Vince McMahon/Umaga
Well, first things first, Vince & Lashley are scheduled to face off with each other on RAW. I can't possibly see them actually going with the match, unless they pull a "K-Fed" and half the heel roster (including ECW & Smackdown) as well as the 82nd Airborne take Lashley down on his behalf before he scores the token pin on the guy. I do actually fancy that they will have Lashley down, to be honest, although I can see him pinning Big Vince first. But if there was ever a time to throw doubt into the result at Wrestlemania, it's this week, just as we go into the event.
That would beg the question however, if all that happens on RAW, what happens on ECW? Well, you know what I would do? Kill 2 birds with one stone. Have Vince & The New Breed saunter out for a gloating session where Vince makes a match pitting the four New Breed guys against Lashley. Then, have Lashley, bandaged up the ying-yang, come out. The New Breed lay a four on one beating, and then have the Originals come out to help their Champion out, leaving the five babyfaces standing tall. That way, you still leave enough of a doubt in people's minds as to whether Lashley will be able to win, but you don't have him taking full beatings.
That being said, I would think the more likely scenario is that Lashley wins on RAW, Vince books either a rematch or at least "a" match on ECW, which is when the heel beating can happen.
It wouldn't surprise me if they did something on Smackdown too, just to really push the envelope, but I personally wouldn't.
The New Breed vs. The ECW Originals
If my "fantasy booking" scenario with New Breed vs. Lashley doesn't pan out, then how does the 8 man match pan out before the show itself. It's hard to say, beyond one or two "random" matches again. I would say thought that this week, it should either be an even week (each side getting a win each, for example. Something I don't think has happened yet), or it should go to the Originals, as I see them losing at Wrestlemania. It is obviously going to be too late by the time they announce anything, to pick a choice, but RVD and Tommy Dreamer have been carrying the Originals load, while the New Breed has been pretty evenly spread, although I sense more Kevin thorn than anyone else, so if you want a New Breed pick, when it at least comes to TV, then I'd take Thorn.
Money In The Bank
This one is obviously gonna run through all three shows, even if they stay on brand specific-lines. However, I sure as hell wouldn't bank on it, so to speak. Edge & Randy Orton have certainly had their problems, but they are still technically a team, so it could be that we see Rated RKO against Jeff Hardy & CM Punk (bloody hell, what a team that would be, for all the surreal reasons...) on RAW. But in all honesty anything could be booked at pretty much any time. We could see an 8 man tag on the shows with Rated RKO, Booker & Finlay against The Hardyz, Punk, and bizarrely, Kennedy (it might be a good way to test the babyface waters, and he could easily take the heel route and walk out at the end, costing his team the match). It could be Rated RKO & The Hardyz, for a headline-grabber. They could let Finlay & Punk go at it, and let the IWC gossip. All I can say with any sort of confidence is that there will be a brawl and ladders will be used as weaponry.
Chris Benoit vs. MVP
Well, suffice to say, this one is gonna be solely on Smackdown. MVP has been taking on Champions of the major countries of the world, and so I don't see any reason why that won't continue, so it could be a quiet week all in all. However, again, you can't count out the chance of them being joined with another feud for a time-saving tag team match.
Ashley vs. Melina
Well, these two have been pretty spiffy at invading each other's shows and having brief brawls. And I don't see why that can't continue this week on RAW and Smackdown. However, without any Playboy models left to face on RAW, I can't necessarily call a match for Melina to take part in. If anything, chances are it would be a tag match with Victoria against Torrie & Candice.
Kane vs. Great Khali
Well, as evidenced, last week was a big ol' bust in terms of this feud (even more so if you live in the UK...). again, it's an impossibly tough call to say who does what when. I wouldn't say either of these guys was a good pick for TV.
So that's the first 6 days of the week done. What about the final day of the week, which is the final day of the league, which is the final show, which is Wrestlemania 23?!?!?! Here are my predictions:
Batista vs. Undertaker
This match should close out the show, so there should be final match points. Personally, forgetting all the stuff that reporters have said and what not regarding the political situation, it's entirely difficult to bet against the Undertaker here, so Undertaker will probably be a standard pick for everyone. It wouldn't surprise me if there was a long ref bump in this one where one of them goes through one of the 1273645193 announce tables there will be at ringside (In all seriousness, are they going to have RAW, ECW, Smackdown AND the Spanish guys all in a row?). Both men have moves that are prime for putting their opponent through a table, and Undertaker could even come off the ring to do it for a "Wrestlemania Moment".
John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels
This one is a tougher match to call, in terms of a winner. They could just as easily have HBK win the belt and launch a Cena chase , as they could with Cena retaining and HBK staying in the hunt. They haven't even been consistent in having either one tile or both titles change hands, since the separate titles came around. My personal feeling? I think that Cena will retain. And no, I don't think either man will display overly-heelish tendencies, although if anyone, I think they will have HBK be the one to, let's say, take advantage of "incidents" faster than Cena. In terms of "secondary" points scorage, I would look for HBK to escape from the STFU, and more than probably for Cena to kick out of the Sweet Chin Music, so there are "Finisher escape" points in the offing. I wouldn't discount weapons, but I don't think they will book similar spots in the 2 title matches, with this one looking to be more Wrestling based, while Taker/Batista will be more of a slugfest-cum-brawl. If there are any weapons, I suspect chairs would be involved, rather than tables.
Suffice to say though, giving the serious amount of points in the offing, and the difficulty in confidently calling a winner, this could be the match up that makes or breaks a lot of teams and makes or breaks a lot of User Leagues.
Battle Of The Billionaires
It really is hard to believe that anyone other than Vince will be getting his head shaved, so you really do have to take Bobby Lashley for the win here. I fully expect that while officially, it's a straight up one-on-one match, this one will be allowed to be a weapon-filled brawl, and that's without the need for a ref bump, so there should be plenty of weapon points up for grabs. So with that in mind, if you need to squeeze a million from somewhere for to get someone else, Umaga is a very steady pick, in my opinion, as he'd be much more likely to rack up weapons points than Lashley. Will it be enough to make up the difference? Possibly not, but it could be as close as doesn't make a difference.
I've been asked about taking Stone Cold at some point, and if anything, this is the week to do it, as this was always the week when Stunners were going to be dealt. However, he is the full 5 million dollars, so is it, in my opinion, wise to splash 1/6th of your budget on a guy who will deal out a few stunners at most? Even if you are the guy's biggest fan on the planet, I wouldn't piss money away like that.
Money In The Bank
Eight man means it's a tough call for the winner. There is one thing you MUST remember though. While the ladder will be used as a weapon primarily, you will NOT score points for ladder shots on the night. The ladder is, obviously, inherent to the ladder match, and potential weapons inherent to the match don't get counted as weapons, so if you pick up 2 or three guys thinking they will make up points while spending less money by getting weapon shots will only get them if tables, chairs and whatever else are used.
As for a winner, I think there are only three serious contenders and a fourth (very much) rank outsider. CM Punk would be that rank outsider. They might have him win the match to start a big push, and they would, more likely than not, wait until Wrestlemania 24 for the match itself.
My third favourite would be Mr. Kennedy. I think there are quite a few things creatively that they could do with Kennedy holding the briefcase, and the win would galvanise his credibility to challenge either Batista or Undertaker, especially since he's taken recent losses to them.
The joint favourites are Rated RKO. I would say that, right now, it's pretty much a toss up between Orton & edge as to who wins it, but I do think it'll be one of the two. They are gonna feud over most of the rest of the year, and I think that this could be the lynch pin of the feud. There is one factor you cannot allow yourselves to take into consideration, however. Edge's Wrestlemania streak. It's not important. Do NOT believe for one second that Edge wouldn't be booked to lose at Wrestlemania at the drop of a hat. There is only one important Wrestlemania streak, and that belongs to The Undertaker. Edge's streak is far more important to the IWC than it is to the WWE or to Edge himself. I mean, he only mentions it in passing, and even if he didn't win here, it's easy for him to say that he hasn't been pinned at Wrestlemania. The ONLY time Edge's streak could become important is if there is a day where it would surpass Undertaker's and that is 7 or 8 years away at the very least. And until that day comes, don't ever pick Edge to win anything at Wrestlemania based solely on the idea that "there's a streak to preserve".
That's not to say he won't win. I mean, even Edge's reported fractured jaw isn't so much of a factor as the MITB payoff doesn't need to happen for a year, so he could conceivably win it, take time off right away to get healthy and come back with plenty time to feud with Orton and cash in his privilege. However, with my personal feeling that Orton should be the heel in the feud (based on Orton being a far better heel than a face, Edge being a better face than Orton and the fact Edge is the kind of cool heel that people like and so could end up getting cheered anyway), and the fact that Vinny Mac doesn't like to put stuff on the back burner, I think they will have Orton screwing Edge out of the win, much like Edge did to Benoit in the first MITB match, and taking the suitcase for himself. That allows them to make Orton heel, Edge face, and allows them to run an injury angle while Edge gets well and for Orton to be on TV as the MITB winner all the while.
The ECW Originals vs. The New Breed
This one, right now anyway, is a standard 8 man tag. That means it won't get speciality match points. Just points for the winners. It's not Extreme Rules either, so don't expect Sandman's cane or many chairs to come into play (outside of ref bumps, of course), as those would draw a DQ.
Even outside of all the reporting of such and such, I think this is a New Breed win. Who takes the win? Well, I think that since Elijah Burke is the leader, he could well be the one who scores the pin. However, Kevin Thorn has done a helluva lot of the work for his team over the weeks gone by, so he too could well score the win. Marcus Cor Von? If they are looking to push him big after Wrestlemania, then it's entirely possible. He's from Detroit, so it would be a hometown thing (although Sabu & RVD are from Michigan too...), but I find it unlikely that he'll get it. Matt Striker? No. He's very much the fourth ranked guy in the team, and has done very little wrestling so far in the feud, so he won't get the honour. However, it goes without saying that either way, the whole team gets win points, so it is a cheap way of scoring big for not-so-much cash.
Melina vs. Ashley
To be quite frank with you, I really don't see any reason why Melina should be dropping the title here, even though you get the sense that Ashley could well be winning it, since he's gotten the upper hand "9 times out of 10" on Melina. I just can't see Ashley winning it. And the thing is, Ashley and Melina don't have listed finishers to score any extra points, so none of the finisher-related points are available. Then again, if you have a spare 2.5 million, then you can have Melina. If you have only 1.5 mil, take Ashley and hope. I mean, you won't find anyone who will appear in a match at Wrestlemania, let alone with the chance of winning a title for so little money.
Chris Benoit vs. Montel Vontavious Porter
This one is tougher than you think, because even with the rumours of Benoit going over to RAW, it doesn't follow that MVP wins here and Benoit ships out right away. They could well delay any title change, especially since now the PPV's are going Tri-Brand. They could bundle any "Loser Leaves..." stuff with another title shot. Hell, they could well keep the belt on Benoit and have him take the US Title wherever he goes!
That being said, I think MVP is winning here, so he would be a wise play for 3 million buckaroos...
Kane vs. Great Khali
If there is one match at Wrestlemania with DQ possibilities, it's this one. Although, once again, it's a tough call as to who wins and loses. I 'm not expecting much from the match, to be honest. I mean, Khali downed Undertaker. Kane has always been second fiddle to his half-brother. However, the "Sports entertainment" aspect should be what makes this. With Kane wandering around with his "See No Evil" meat hook, then you have to expect "something" to happen. Obviously, while the tease is there, there is no chance in hell of Kane "spearing" Khali to death with the hook. But it wouldn't surprise me if they had some sort of spot planned. Points wise, I would say that you should skip this match and even if you planning on spending 2.5 million on Khali, take that money and spend it on someone else.
Is there anyone else out there who could end up on the Wrestlemania card, which currently only consists of 8 matches? Well, I think that MNM & "Londrick" should be on there, but with the title match last week on Smackdown, I think their fate has been sealed. There were rumours of a Tag Team Turmoil match of some sort, but with the DVD-exclusive extra match, I don't see half the roster pulling double duty.
However, with Jimmy Wang Yang beating Chavo in Non-Title action last week, if there is one match that could be added, I'd say it would be that one. So if you have 2 million burning a hole in your pocket, and can't possibly think of any way of spending it, you could do worse than taking a punt on Yang scoring an invite to the big dance.
However, with that in mind, that’s all I got for this week’s picking and choosing, but I’ll be back with the week’s dose of ECW, but I really do gotta go, so here is a tribute to everyone’s favourite Vaudeville-style duo.
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