Blame Canada for Going Off-Script
Later tonight, WWE will hold a double RAW and SmackDown taping at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto - a city the WWE has in the past referred to as "Bizarro World", where the fans traditionally go against-script, such as booing the good guys and cheering the bad guys, and sometimes rejecting big angles in the loudest way possible.
The most famous example of "Bizarro World" was at SummerSlam 2004, where fans turned on Toronto's own Edge (who was then a face), booed the Divas, called a good Undertaker/JBL match "boring" (including one fan jumping up and down on JBL's limousine), and cheered the heel Randy Orton over Canada's own Chris Benoit.
Of course fans should be appreciated for doing something a little different, such as at WrestleMania 22 in Chicago where fans booed the popular Trish Stratus and treated the evil Mickie James like a goddess. Four years ago, however, WWE's announce teams repeatedly commented on how weird Toronto's fans were for going against type, almost as if they wanted to programme their fans on who to cheer and who to boo, and what matches to get excited about.
Recently, Toronto has gotten slightly less "Bizarro," the fans likely satisfied with an excellent Edge/John Cena TLC match at Unforgiven 2006, and Trish Stratus' emotional and successful retirement at the same event. The last couple of editions of RAW held at the Air Canada Centre, as well as an episode of Saturday Night's Main Event, largely passed without much controversy as well.
Tonight, however, plenty is likely to go down that may make Toronto bizarre once again. Currently, the only scheduled match for SmackDown, which will tape first, will see Shelton Benjamin defend his United States title against Hurricane Helms, so I'll focus on four huge matches set for RAW.
In order to find a challenger for John Cena's World Heavyweight Title at the Royal Rumble in five weeks' time, there will be four matches tonight, with the four winners of those matches meeting in a Fatal Four Way elimination match next week in Manchester, NH. The first of those will pit Shawn Michaels against Kane. Don't be surprised to see Kelly Kelly cost Kane the match here. The Big Red Machine held young Kelly hostage last week, and then errantly chokeslammed The Miz, as he believed Miz was Kelly's boyfriend, so look for Kelly to get a bit of payback tonight.
One rumour that has emerged is that Michaels will win the resulting Fatal Four Way, but will then have to give up his spot at the Royal Rumble to JBL. If that is going to happen, then JBL will lose his match to Rey Mysterio tonight. However, with Mike Knox lurking in the shadows to screw with Mysterio again, this theory isn't guaranteed.
The third match is the most intriguing, as CM Punk takes on Chris Jericho. Both men are familiar with each other since the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at WrestleMania XXIV, which Punk won, but in the two big matches since then, Jericho has come out on top both times. Seeing as Punk has a date with William Regal for the Intercontinental Title on the horizon, look for Regal to cost Punk here, and give Jericho yet another victory over the Straight Edge Superstar.
Finally, we have Batista taking on Randy Orton in a rematch from Armageddon. But following last week's events, where Orton punted Batista in the head, there is doubt that the match will take place. Batista pulled out of an appearance in Toronto yesterday afternoon to sell the injury, although he did appear on television on Friday to talk about this past weekend's Tribute to the Troops show. Many believe that since Ted DiBiase hasn't wrestled in two months since being punted by Orton, that Batista should not be on the show tonight, otherwise it would make DiBiase look weak.
However, CM Punk returned a week after he was punted in the head, and Triple H returned the very next night after Orton kicked him at WrestleMania XXIV. Whilst that clearly establishes DiBiase's lowly ranking in the WWE pecking order, it also means that Batista may well show up tonight, but look for Orton to get his win back all the same, with Batista possibly costing him the Four Way next week.
Finally, there have been rumours for the past couple of weeks about Trish Stratus making a one-off return to the ring at tonight's show. Both Beth Phoenix on RAW and Natalya on SmackDown have been linked to a match with the former seven-time Women's Champion, and whilst I doubt Trish will be lacing up the boots for the first time in two years tonight, she'll more than likely appear before her hometown public in some capacity. It'll be nice to see her back.
All in all, it should be a very entertaining evening in Toronto, but will Ontario's capital become bizarre once again?