Cheap Pops - Wrestling News & Views - May 22, 2016

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This week!

  • Extreme Rules Predictions
  • Does Eric Bischoff Belong in the WWE Hall of Fame?
  • What was going on with Undertaker's pants??

Extreme Rules Predictions

1P    Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin - No Disqualification match

Chris Delliocono: Corbin already seems lost in the shuffle and Zigs always seems to be stuck on the bottom of the deck.  It’s idiotic if Corbin loses again, but WWE logic often makes little sense.  In any event, this feud has been going on long enough, so I’m sure it’s done here.

Mike Maillaro: WWE often seems to have a tough time transitioning guys up to the main roster.  I was actually surprised by how well Vaudevillains and Enzo/Big Cass have been received.  Corbin has improved in leaps and bounds in a short period of time, and I think he has a character that can work very well.  Having him lose to Ziggler in his first one-on-one PPV match was a huge mistake.  I felt the same way when Bayley beat Nia Jax clean in their first encounter.  I may not like seeing one guy (or gal) squashing their way through the roster, but at least it’s something for the character to do.  Corbin pretty much needs this win, or he is going to be stuck in the same limbo as Tyler Breeze, Fandango, Adam Rose, Bo Dallas.

  • Chris’s Prediction: Baron Corbin
  • Mike’s Prediction: Baron Corbin

2    Roman Reigns (c) (with Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso) vs. AJ Styles (with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson) - Extreme Rules match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Mike: Usos in a main event feud?  Never thought I’d see that day.  Reigns and Styles had a good match last month despite all the McMahon nonsense.  I am expecting this one to be a bit of a mess, and I really doubt WWE will be taking the title off Reigns any time soon.

Chris: I'm really hoping there's a major swerve coming, because this looks like The Club is going to come out looking extremely weak.  AJ will get Roman through another good match, but all that matters is the finish.  The Club needs to look strong or AJ might as well get used to US Title matches and who knows what Gallows & Anderson will be doing.  Losing matches on Superstars to the Shining Stars, perhaps?  Alright, I know I'm being ridiculous, but still, this match can't end with another spear into a clean pin.  Even if Reigns wins, WWE needs to build a strong summer program.  I want The Club vs. The Shield!

  • Mike’s Prediction: Reigns
  • Chris’s Prediction: Reigns

3    The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston and/or Xavier Woods) (c) vs. The Vaudevillains (Aiden English and Simon Gotch) - WWE Tag Team Championship

Chris: The Vaudevillains have gotten a decent rub work with New Day in their first program since being called up.  They’ve toned down the goofiness from NXT a bit, and come across as really menacing.  Surprisingly, their act may actually work on the main roster better than I expected.  I still don’t think the title changes hands, but the match should be entertaining.

Mike: Vaudevillains have taken the ball and ran with it.  I’m glad because these two guys are real talented, and I was real worried they wouldn’t have much of a place on the main roster.  New Day are great, but I think they would be fine without gold around their waist.  I say put the titles on the Vaudevillains and when Enzo and Big Cass are back, have them feud for the belts.  

  • Mike’s Prediction: Vaudevillains
  • Chris’s Prediction: New Day

4    Charlotte (c) vs. Natalya - Submission match for the WWE Women's Championship. Ric Flair is banned from ringside and if he does show up Charlotte will lose the championship

Mike: I am pleasantly surprised they are still pushing Natalya in a major capacity.  She’s always had a ton of talent, but too often in recent years she was overlooked for the new flash in the pan.  She can easily match Charlotte in the ring.  Unfortunately, I don’t think she has much of a chance in this one.  I think they are setting up for Charlotte Vs Sasha Banks at Summerslam, so this is just a biding time feud, even if it has been very good.

Chris: This is the title with the least shot at changing hands.  I agree with you on where the title scene is going.  At least the feud has been entertaining filler to get us to Charlotte vs. Sasha.

  • Mike’s Prediction: Charlotte
  • Chris’s Prediction: Charlotte

5    Kalisto (c) vs. Rusev (with Lana) -  WWE United States Championship

Chris: Rusev was one of the guys that helped elevate the US Title last year.  He was a brutal champ that always defended the belt and didn’t lose non-title matches all the time.  After Rusev lost to Cena and got in that horrible love triangle with Ziggler and Lana, well his career hasn’t been the same.  Let’s just forget about the League of Nations crap.  Kalisto started off fairly strong as US Champ, but his feud with Ryback was epically lame.  This seems like a C-List title once again, so nothing really matters when it comes this strap.  

I’d rather see Kalisto hold onto the title rather than get stuck back in the Rusev hates America rut  That seems unlikely, though, so I’m picking Rusev.

Mike: I think Rusev has a huge upside, and they don’t have to even tweak him all that much.  Kalisto has done what he could with that title, but I think it’s very likely they will put it back on Rusev and pick up where they left off last summer…

Until John Cena comes back and takes the title again...

  • Chris’s Prediction: Rusev
  • Mike’s Prediction: Rusev

6    The Miz (c) (with Maryse) vs. Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn    Fatal 4-Way match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship

Mike: Sort of a weird match with two feuds kind of crashing into each other, but I actually think this is a great way to build excitement around the Intercontinental Title. Four real talented guys in this match...  I am going with Miz, because the champ typically retains in these situations, but any of these guys could win.  

I will say that I am kind of annoyed that Ryder got dropped from this story so quickly, but I can’t say it was unexpected…

Chris: I give up on trying to figure out what they're doing with Zack Ryder.  Nothing makes senses when it comes to Z, but at least the four guys they're using are all--Miz voice--AWESOME!  I disagree on the winner, though.  I think it's time to get a pop from the Cesaro Section.  

Mike: Putting the title around Cesaro would be pretty awesome.  Kind of funny since Sami’s first feud in NXT was with Cesaro. Sami has come a real long way since then...

  • Mike’s Prediction: The Miz
  • Chris’s Prediction: Cesaro

7    Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho - Asylum match

Chris: This feud should have been one for the ages, but I’ve finally tired of Chris Jericho.  It’s an absolute sin to say it, yet that’s how I feel.  As to the match, it’s just a cage match with gadgets, but I’m sure both guys will put on a fun show.  Deano has got to win, because any other ending would be stupider than Ziggler beating Corbin on the pre-show.  WWE keeps telling us it’s a New Era.  Yeah, well, prove it!

Mike: As I have said many times, Jericho is my all-time favorite wrestler, but he’s definitely on the downslope of his career.  We have had this conversation before, but Jericho is in a tough spot.  He should be putting over other guys, but when he loses every match and feud, it becomes real hard to give a good rub to the guys he’s losing too.  Ambrose takes this one, but I am not all that excited for this match either way.

I also think that WWE needs to get rid of this PPV.  I can’t remember the last time the WWE has really had a full blown all out “make the audience uncomfortable” Extreme Rules match.  Personally, I think that’s mostly a good thing.  Extreme Rules matches are good ways to help showcase guys who may not be able to get attention without the crazy violence and blood.  I think WWE has a ton of talent on the roster and they are better off staying away from the gimmick matches.

  • Chris’s Prediction: Dean Ambrose
  • Mike’s Prediction: Ambrose

Does Eric Bischoff Belong in the WWE Hall of Fame?

Mike: Since we discussed Vince Russo a few weeks ago, I thought it made some sense to discuss another controversial figure from 90’s wrestling, Eric Bischoff.  Fair or not, I can’t help but see these two are inextricably linked...

One thing I will immediately say about Bischoff is that he clearly has a far better publicist that Vince Russo.  Whenever you see Bischoff the last ten years or so, he seems humble and pretty reasonable about everything that was going on in WCW and WWE during the Monday Night Wars. While a lot of people point to Vince Russo as an enormous asshole, Bischoff seems to have come out of the whole situation without too many stains on him.  

Chris: The biggest stain against Bischoff is how WCW spiraled out of control, crashed, and burned.  Now, it’s unfair to blame him for all of the crashing and burning, but a lot of the disaster the company became was on his hands.  That all said, WCW was in a position to take a spectacular nosedive just because EB was so masterful in his early days running the show.  Seriously, the guy started off as an announcer in the dying days of the AWA then moved over to Turner country.  Somehow, someway, he convinced the powers that be that he was the man to take over the business and steer them in a new direction.  A direction that was stunning success story before descending into an unmitigated disaster.

Bringing in aging WWF stars was his MO but it worked beautifully, especially with regards to Hulk Hogan and the Outsiders.  Most importantly, he fashioned the NWO around Hogan’s heel turn into one of the greatest angles in wrestling history.   EB’s track record is pretty sketchy at times, but his successes are legendary.  Hell, just the fact that WCW overtook the WWF and nearly put Vince McMahon out of business illustrates how powerful Bischoff was at his peak.  Add a few extra points because EB was also pretty damn entertaining in front of the camera.  Add everything up, and he passes the test.

Mike: Yeah, Bischoff seemed to have a keen eye for how the business was changing which gave him a huge edge over the WWF that was very stuck in it’s ways at the time.  I do think that he ended up giving up a lot of his power and authority (though he claims a lot of that was outside of his control) to guys like Nash and Hogan which ended up turning into a quagmire.  

One thing that impresses me about Bischoff was his “second act.”  It would have been real easy for him to just take his money and go.  But he went to work for the WWE, and he seemed to embrace whatever role they wanted to give him.  WWE is notorious for taking a huge dump on guys who come from “elsewhere,” but Bischoff seemed to take it all in good spirits and his time in WWE provided for a lot of entertaining and memorable segments.  So if nothing else, it was clear that Bischoff cared about the wrestling business as more than just a platform to get himself over.

So, yeah, I tend to agree with you on this one. Bischoff does have a place in the WWE Hall of Fame.

Flashback: The time Undertaker wore gold pants…

Mike: So I was reading a thread on a message board about oddest outfits worn in wrestling, and someone posted this one, the Undertaker in his match with Kurt Angle at Survivor Series 2000.

I was definitely watching wrestling at the time, but I do not remember this at all.  There is a lot of very funny speculation online on why this happened…

  • Taker’s luggage got lost, and he had to borrow a pair of pants from Godfather
  • This was his way of honoring the 10th anniversary of his WWF debut at Survivor Series
  • Someone had screwed up when ordering Trish Stratus’s pants, and being such a good company man, Undertaker decided to wear a pair.

Well, whatever the reason, those pants are awesome. And you can see them On Demand anytime right on the WWE Network!  When Undertaker retires, those pants need to go into the WWE Hall of Fame!

Chris: Ack those are horrible!  I’m blinded!  Someone needs to ask ‘Taker about these awful things the next time he does an autograph signing!

Just as we were going to press on this, Cody Rhodes announced he was seeking his release from the WWE.  We are both Cody Rhodes fans, so we will definitely be talking about this story in some depth next week!