Bleachers, last night we were treated to one of the greatest pay-per-views in recent memory, possibly of the last decade. I haven't been able to reflect enough to determine if I truly feel that's accurate.
This picture says it all: Who on earth thought that we would see the WWE title in CM Punk's refrigerator?
For the first time in a long time, it's the week after a PPV and we barely know what to expect. Some things may seem obvious, like the Divas floundering and trying to find meaning for themselves. Others, like the fate of the WWE Championship, are completely up in the air.
Here, I'm going to give you some predictions for what to expect from the WWE in the coming weeks. These may not all be reasonable, but hopefully you'll find that it makes for a good read. Think outside the box!
I am among the contingent that believes that a deal has been made between CM Punk and WWE and that it was made a long time ago. However, they are going to let the angle keep going.
I expect Punk to be in a match at Summerslam that will create massive buys for the company.
Punk vs. McMahon
Vince McMahon will come out tonight on Raw and in his fury decide that Cena and Del Rio were unable to get the job done last night and therefore he needs to step in himself.
Vince hasn't been in the ring since he was with Bret Hart at Wrestlemania XXVI. Before I hear the IWC yell that this match is awful, I agree. This will be anything but a wrestling clinic. From a business perspective, Vince in the ring sells. Bringing CM Punk after a month hiatus will sell. The angle can definitely work and I don't think that it's that big of a stretch.
There is no way that Vince will let Alberto Del Rio get away with failing to cash in on Punk without any consequences.
I've seen the idea that without a WWE title to win, ADR will magically reveal a belt and himself its champion on the basis that he's the No. 1 contender and there's no one to beat for a vacant belt.
I would hate this. Even though I find ADR boring and repetitive on the mic, he deserves a credible title reign; not a handout.
Besides, no way that Vince just lets ADR have a title after last night. Instead, tonight Del Rio will need to defend his case. There are two options that I see for this, and either way ADR will keep the case.
First: Fatal four way for the case: ADR vs. R-Truth vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Kofi Kingston (yes, I saw this idea on a comment from my previous article (thanks Matthew Feeney). This could be the start of a series of case defenses that Vince forces ADR to endure (and a possible face turn for ADR as the short-memoried WWE Universe forgives the sin of ripping off Mysterio's mask in order to root for him against the boss). With no Cena, there's room for a new top face. And if The Miz really is injured, ADR could be a fit...
Second: Tag match: ADR and John Cena vs. Mark Henry and R-Truth, stipulations are ADR/Cena win, ADR keeps his case; if Henry/Truth win, Truth gets the case, Henry becomes Smackdown No. 1 contender, and ADR gets fired with Cena.
OK, we probably won't see ADR fired, but an angry McMahon does like to get on that type of kick.
John Cena will get kayfabe fired tonight. Vince would be doing himself a disservice to not go through with it and Cena is an honorable enough man to take it.
He'll take some time to heal up, maybe do a movie.
No way that we've seen the last of Cena, though. I think he is likely to come back at Summerslam, especially if the Punk/McMahon match happens. If not then, Survivor Series could be the right time. The Rumble has been done with Cena before. There's usually an epic return for the Rumble, but it really shouldn't be Cena (again).
With no Cena, no Punk, and no major championship, Monday nights are going to be in disarray for a little while. Finding a top face for the brand is going to be rough. Finding something for the roster to shoot for is going to be tough. Dolph Ziggler is now the de facto top dog on Raw since he's got the gold.
Expect Ziggler to bring that up, too. What's been lost among everything I've read is that Ziggler has a chance to come out of this a star. He stated a few weeks ago that the United States championship was the only title that mattered. Now, at least on Raw, that's somewhat true.
If WWE doesn't make a new major title for Raw (I personally hope that they don't), expect the US title to gain a lot of stock in the coming weeks
If the new belt does happen, the rumor of the championship scramble seems more likely. I wouldn't like to see the belt just get awarded and that could be a way to involve six superstars who want the new top prize.
Furthermore, McMahon will be taking a more hands-on role on Raw, so the Raw General Manager might just fade out at the end of the chaotic period. With the boss present, the GM is even more useless.
Lastly, I'm hoping for a HHH return. He can place the blame of Punk's departure and the loss of the WWE title on McMahon and he can try to take control and be the one to bring back Punk and (kayfabe) Cena.
OK, now onto the Smackdown side of things and not really a bold prediction here to start off. You know how Christian ended up after Orton went ballistic after the match. That attack plus the title change pretty much guarantees a title shot for Orton.
Christian will have a longer reign than last time, though, partially because...
I think that Daniel Bryan will hold onto his case for a few months. WWE has enough faith in Bryan to give him the briefcase and I think that his time with the case will be a time to improve his mic skills to get up to par with his wrestling abilities.
As much as I (and a lot of the IWC) would mark out beyond all reason if he found a way to challenge Punk for the WWE title tonight or at Summerslam, it won't happen.
Bryan is going to probably announce his cash in for a big PPV. Summerslam would be nice as it's the event he returned at last year, so it'd make a nice anniversary present. However, Orton and Christian are unresolved. We could see Daniel Bryan wait for Wrestlemania. That sounds more like Bryan to me. Mr. Kennedy (Mr. Anderson) said that he would do this, but then got injured and lost his case to Edge. I would hate to see that happen to Bryan.
Hopefully he doesn't try to defend his case against anyone, especially if Del Rio does have to defend his tonight.
With the Corre officially dismantled, Wade Barrett making appearances on Superstars, and Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel having their own falling out (or at least the seed for it), the three will likely have a triple threat match in the near future, probably at Summerslam.
Wade Barrett needs to win that feud in order to have any credibility at this point. So far, only Gabriel has looked good in the feud since he beat Slater one on one and had one of the bigger Money in the Bank spots with a 450 splash on the ladder.
Gabriel, however, is not a main eventer yet. Barrett can be if Creative books him halfway decent. I would want to see them have a triple threat at Summerslam where the winner becomes No. 1 contender. Barrett must win that match.
Based on Mark Henry's recent monster heel antics, he deserves a main event push. He'll probably insert himself into the Orton-Christian feud (along with Sheamus). However, don't expect them both to be involved. I think that Henry will take Sheamus out for a little while so that we do not see things as a four-way affair.
I like Sheamus in the main event, but I think that Henry is the more deserving character right now.
On the other hand, Henry vs. Ezekiel Jackson for the Intercontinental title would obviously be a five-star instant classic...
Here's hoping the WWE follows up MITB with some good TV. Whether or not any of my ideas come true is not the important part, what I care about is WWE delivering what they claim they do: entertainment.
We're going to find out more in a little over an hour. I hope they give us something that keeps their momentum going!
Hopefully you were entertained by my ideas and feel free to leave a comment below explaining why my ideas are awesome, terrible, or anything else that you may want to contribute!