October 23, 2011
Countdown to WWE Vengeance
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling

It should go without saying that WWE has been catching a lot of heat as of late from the Internet-friendly portion of their audience as of late, primarily because of the softening of CM Punk’s once anti-establishment position against Triple H.

Nowhere is this change in attitude more visible than at Vengeance. Tonight’s feature tag bout, which sees the two face Miz and R-Truth, really does make you wonder what happened. I noted in the past that the Triple H heel turn had to be aborted, but I don’t think this was the right way to go by any stretch of the imagination.

The feeling here, of course, is that this is the start of Triple H vs. Johnny Ace-led crews at Survivor Series; but Punk and Trips together? Yep, it feels weird typing that up.

I don’t expect much from the match, to be honest. This one, like much of the Vengeance lineup, feels like placeholder until we indeed get to the Series, where we’ll see Team Trips vs. Team Ace, possibly with a power stip on the line. Figure this one to be a bad DQ finish leading to Trips, Punk, the tag team champs and another star (Mason Ryan perhaps?) going up against Miz, Truth and a couple others, along with Ace just for kicks.

Elsewhere on the card you have the WWE Championship up for grabs, and again you’re getting a placeholder. It seems inevitable here that John Cena and Alberto Del Rio will square off at Survivor Series against one another, with the ADR-led group of individuals including Cody Rhodes, Christian and Vickie Guerrero’s boys squaring off against Cena, Rock, Mick Foley and a couple Superstars to be named later, likely Randy Orton and Zack Ryder.

But the match that intrigues me most, and I never thought I’d say this, is Mark Henry vs. Big Show. You’re not likely to see Henry’s momentum stopped here; rather, the question is whether Show gets a DQ victory in his first match back or if he goes down once again. Here’s another spot where you can get a Survivor Series bout lined up, with Show, a returning Kane, Sheamus and, say, Sin Cara Azul and Daniel Bryan against Henry and a makeshift band of heel brothers (including Sin Cara Negro, the returning Brodus Clay, Wade Barrett and one other heel).


Since I just brought up Sheamus, I expect him to go over Christian here and transition fully into the feud with Mark Henry by Royal Rumble time. That storyline will advance, as alluded to above, at the Series.

Air Boom faces Vickie’s Boys elsewhere on the card tonight, and I’ve said before that I’m not a fan of the Bourne/Kingston combo – their aerial assaults are getting really repetitive and I would much rather see what Vickie’s crew can do wearing the gold.

Further down the card you have a rare non-title match for Randy Orton as he faces against Rhodes. I’ve already noted that the two are likely squaring off on opposite sides at the Series and I am really liking the intensity both superstars are bringing to this feud. I’d like to ideally see this wrap in December with a First Blood match to really push Cody hard (and cycle back to how this feud began), and I wouldn’t be surprised if this one ends with Cody winning by nefarious means.

Interestingly, we’ve got Dolph Ziggler also defending his title against Zack Ryder tonight, which means one of two things – either double losses for DZ or two victories to further push him forward. I could see this honestly going either way, but the real story is how much of an opportunity this is for Ziggler to elevate himself to the main event level.

Finally, the Diva’s title is on the line between Beth and Eve. I said early on that I’d like to see Eve switch to a heel, but it seems like WWE is more intent on the possible Kelly Kelly darkside character (changing her music would be a HUGE part of making this possible). I can’t see Eve going over just yet, but I think a third Diva’s title reign is in the cards for her.

That’s it for now, see you guys Monday!

CANOE.CA SLAM!