Three weeks ago, ECW General Manager Tiffany announced that the ECW Championship would be defended at the Royal Rumble.
In order to determine which Superstar would become the No. 1 contender, we were introduced to the interesting new concept: ECW Homecoming.
The concept was simple: 16 current and former ECW Superstars would compete in one-on-one matches, with the winner advancing to an eight-man over the top battle royal which would determine the No. 1 contender.
Now that we have finished all of the preliminary matches, we now know that the next No. 1 contender to the ECW Title will be either, CM Punk, Shelton Benjamin, Matt Hardy, Evan Bourne, Kane, Vance Archer, Yoshi Tatsu, and Ezekiel Jackson.
So which of these men will be the one who ultimately faces Christian at the Royal Rumble? Let’s take a look at each participant and see who would be the best choice to face Christian.
The Straight Edge Superstar had a very successful 2009, but his push seems to have stalled a tad over the last few months.
Punk is the biggest name taking part in this battle royal, and I have no doubt that he and Christian would put on a tremendous match.
Voodoo Magic wrote an interesting article explaining why CM Punk should win the battle royal and go on to face Christian.
Although he makes a sound argument and provides an excellent storyline, I must disagree.
I feel that this is a feud the WWE will hold of on until Christian is moved to a bigger brand. So what’s the significance of including Punk you may ask in the ECW Homecoming? The answer is simple; the WWE is planting the seeds for a solid feud between the two in the near future.
I see Punk lasting until the final four where Christian, who will most likely be a commentator during the match, provides some sort of distraction, causing Punk to be eliminated.
Ah, the Big Red Monster.
Kane tends to wreak havoc whenever he is in a battle royal, but he always comes up just a little short. I don’t see this battle royal being any different.
Always a bridesmaid, never a bride, that seems to be Kane’s M.O.
I see Kane dominating for a bit, eliminating a few Superstars before having the inevitable showdown with the other powerhouse Ezekiel Jackson.
Don’t be surprised if Regal gets involved causing Kane to get eliminated.
2009 was a rough year for Mr. Hardy.
He started off the year as ECW Champion, had a solid feud with his brother Jeff where he played the role of the jealous older brother perfectly.
Then he was drafted to RAW, got injured, inexplicably turned face again, and was never able to regain his momentum.
A win for Hardy seems unlikely because he just hasn’t had a steady feud since coming back to Smackdown, and has been stuck in midcard hell since his return.
Also whether you believe the rumors or not, Hardy might soon be departing for TNA, so I believe his spot in the battle royal is just to put over whoever wins. Unfortunately, I predict a quick exit for Matt from the Homecoming Finale.
As with so many Superstars that go from ECW to one of the larger shows, Evan Bourne got lost in the shuffle.
When he was originally on ECW, it seemed as if Bourne was destined to become ECW Champion, but was instead moved to RAW where he has been stuck in the midcard.
Depending on what direction the WWE decides to go with the ECW brand, I think it may in Bourne’s best interest to go back to that brand after the draft so he can work on his character and be more of a big fish in a small pond.
As for the Homecoming, I think “Air” Bourne will be the first one eliminated.
Big Zeke has been a force since pairing up with William Regal as part of the Ruthless Roundtable.
I must admit, I was surprised that Regal sided with Zeke instead of Vladimir Kozlov, but then again the WWE loves to surprise us.
That decision will prove to be fruitful for Jackson going forward, as it seems the WWE has more confidence with him than Kozlov.
Having said that, I do not expect Big Zeke to walk away from ECW on Tuesday as the No. 1 contender.
I think he will prove to be very dominant, and establish himself as a monster heel, but I think ultimately Kozlov will come down the to the ring as some point and cause a distraction, leading to Jackson being eliminated.
Since moving to ECW over the summer and turning face, Shelton has been more of a force in the WWE.
He flew under the radar his first few months on ECW, but eventually challenged and loss to Christian in a Ladder Match at TLC.
Now the WWE isn’t big on the whole face vs. face feud, but both Benjamin and Christian are great workers capable of putting on a solid match.
Another factor in Benjamin’s favor is that he was the most recent challenger to the belt, and the WWE usually gives out two or three shots before moving onto the next feud.
I won’t sugarcoat this, Benjamin is a personal favorite of mine, and I feel he deserves to win the ECW title before the show is rebranded.
Bias aside though, I do feel that Benjamin will make it to the final two, coming down to himself and Vance Archer, where I see Benjamin pulling out the win.
The Japanese Buzz saw has taken the WWE Universe by storm since his debut on ECW back in June.
People may love his entrance music, but Tatsu is very talented in the ring, and had a very good televised match with Christian for the ECW title a few months back.
I’m not sure how the WWE would feel about putting him in a title match at one of the “Big 4” pay-per-views, seeing as how he hasn’t been given much time on the mic as of yet.
Christian has touted Tatsu as a future champion, and he is certainly talented to win a major title during his time on ECW, I just feel it might be to soon right now.
I predict a very solid outing from Tatsu on Tuesday night, but he will come up just short as he is eliminated by Vance Archer.
Archer is the quintessential wild card going into this match.
He had the typical monster heel debut, running through a string of jobbers before engaging in a short feud with Tommy Dreamer.
As Archer has begun to face more legitimate opponents, we have been able to see more of his arsenal.
He is still fairly green, so at first glance it would appear that Archer may be an afterthought in this match.
We all thought that about Sheamus as well, and look at him now; he is the WWE Champion.
Also, Archer has been given more airtime then some of the other ECW newcomers, so perhaps that is a sign the WWE wants to push him further.
One final item to consider once again is the direction the WWE wants to go with ECW. If the WWE does decide to do away with the brand and repackage it as more of a minor league show, then it would stand to reason to see Archer win the ECW Homecoming and go on to defeat Christian at the Royal Rumble to become champ and the face of the new brand.
Regardless of how Archer finishes, I expect him to be the most dominant force in the match, and while I do not see him winning, I would not be the least bit shocked.
So there you have it Bleacher Creatures, I have given my thoughts on the upcoming ECW Homecoming; what are your thoughts, and who do you think will be victorious on Tuesday night?