Capitol Punishment is just a name. I think, ultimately, it is doomed to failure, eventhough there are some nice stories going in to it and there are some fresh prospects (mainly R-Truth as a main player and a heel Christian). The build has all been about the fact that it takes place in DC, but what effect does this have on the action once it’s underway? Nothing. It’s empty branding, and although I found the press conference videos quite funny, I think the government-based build has affected the build for many of the matches. I’ll talk about this more with the individual matches, but I will say we might be looking at a new record low for buys, eventhough I hope it doesn’t come to that. Also, of the possible matches that may be announced on the night, I think The Usos might be thrown a tag team title match after the Smackdown announcers made the connection after their victory over Slater and Gabriel, and i’d be really in to that (especially if it led to a genuine storyline). If not, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the hot prospects of Cody Rhodes, Sin Cara, Ted DiBiase and Daniel Bryan in the ring in some combination, or a divas match as they shouldn’t really be left off the cards (God knows who would wrestle though!).
Match 1) Intercontinental Championship Match: Wade Barrett (c) vs Ezekiel Jackson
I like Wade Barrett, but I have no time for Big Zeke for the time being, and this is a match i’m not particularly looking forward to, though I hope to be surprised. My lack of intrigue is because the build has been minimal really being centred around the split of the Corre (eventhough that was minimal anyway) and throwing each guy together in booking, and for that reason, they haven’t really been able to build up any tension. This mixed with the very limited skills of Ezekiel Jackson will make this a bit of a dull match. It is also the most predictable: after losing in various ways to Barrett, but after the Corre left Barrett’s side, I don’t see how Barrett can go over, though it is a shame the IC title, held by Steamboat, Savage, Hennig, Piper, Owen Hart, Jericho and other great wrestlers, will be held by Ezekiel Jackson. Nonethless, they’ll go out first as relatively big names where a babyface will go over to set a nice tone for the night. My hope is that after losing the IC title (if he does), Barrett will be freed to make his way to the role of a top heel on Smackdown.
Winner: Ezekiel Jackson
Match 2) CM Punk vs Rey Mysterio
When Punk and Rey work together, their is usually a good match on the way, but I don’t understand why it’s happening again. This sums up a big problem with some of the matches on the card in that it has absolutely no build other than the fact that they ‘have history’. Indeed, we’ve already seen them wrestle on TV! At least, as I say, this should be a good match, but the lack of build also makes it difficult to predict (a good thing? I guess, but for the wrong reasons). I am backing Punk though, partly because Mysterio won out when they last met, and partly because I imagine WWE will want to keep Punk sweet for the time being; trying to keep him with the company. Hopefully they can both move on after tonight, though a heel victory often complicates a blow-off.
Winner: CM Punk
Match 3: United States Championship Match: Kofi Kingston (c) vs Dolph Ziggler
Both of these guys are, most probably, going to be part of the next generation of WWEs top guys, and to me, I would think that the winner of this match could be the guy on the shortest road to the top. This match is one i’m actually looking forward to; Kofi and Dolph have worked together in the past with great chemistry. Both guys are very athletic and we will see a lot of quick, hopefully unpredictable action, and could even be one of the best matches of the night. Now I hope, though I don’t expect, that two other guys who have wrestled Kingston recently: Drew McIntyre or Zack Ryder, get involved in some way, because both deserve that spot. Unfortunately like the Punk-Rey match, there seems to be very little build here, and if there was, it was not directly with Kingston, and for this reason, like the Punk-Rey match, it is hard to predict. As I say, I think the guy that wins this will be the guy closer to the front of WWEs minds, and for that reason, I think Ziggler is the slight favourite. While Kinston’s reign has been of acceptable length, given the fact that Ziggler is (technically) a former World Champion and seems to be someone WWE have wanted to experiment with (i.e, the hair-dying disaster), means he seems to be slightly higher up the ladder.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Match 4) The Big Show vs Alberto Del Rio
This match didn’t mean much too me until this week, but this week, the build was achieved much better, especially (though they really shouldn’t have been there) on Smackdown. Big Show has become this unstable, unpredictable and incredibly violent man, and scarily so. This has manifested in his brutal assaults on both Ricardo Rodriguez and Mark Henry. Despite the fact that the initial coming together of these two now seems like a special event, and one that is anticipated, at least by me, it is hard to imagine this as a long, involved match. Big Show wrestling wouldn’t make much sense, he can only behave as he has been in the last couple of weeks; so while I am looking forward to this confrontation, I don’t see it being a long, and in a way, I don’t see it being very satisfying. What I mean by this is that I think this match will be intentionally unsatisfying for the right reasons regarding storylines. Without Rodriguez to handicap Show, I see Big Show just beating down Del Rio, not caring about the match itself as much as getting his hands on Del Rio, and will get himself DQ’d very quickly. This I think will lead to a gimmick match (anything from a simple No DQ stipulation to a possibly appropriate Parking Lot Brawl) at Money in the Bank. It may not be very satisfying, but it will be interesting and compelling. For this to work though, Del Rio will have to cut a despicable promo beforehand to make sure no sympathy comes his way (Show has had a recent habit of beating down heels in a seemingly unfair way).
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Match 5) World Heavyweight Championship Match: Randy Orton (c) vs Christian
This is the match I am most looking forward to. Though WWE hasn’t done a great job of building for the matches lower down on the card, the two/three matches that would be considered the main events of the show have been built nicely, and this one has arguably been built the best, simply because all of the emotions involved are completely understandable. Christian has taken Orton to his limit in title matches over the last few months, and has a legitimate gripe regarding how he lost his dream title whereas Orton has only behaved as any superstar should, jumping at the chance to hold the title, while doing that in, from his perspective, a fair way, not cheating Christian out of the title, even if Teddy Long arguably did. As i’ve mentioned, the matches these two have had have been excellent and they’ve gelled perfectly, which is why i’m looking forward to this match so much, and especially so given that this will be fought with a slightly different story given that Christian is now heel. As for the winner, i’ve found it hard to predict. Christian as a heel persona will possibly make this his best chance yet to take his title back, but it is also the case that, if he loses, he will be completely out of the title picture, which possibly seems premature. I’ve based this prediction based on the booking ramifications of either result, something the relative lack of depth on the Smackdown roster makes easier. If Christian wins, Orton would get a rematch at MITB but probably lose, and then who would take on Christian at Summerslam? Daniel Bryan? Sin Cara? While I can see them main event at some point soon, I don’t see that being at Summerslam. On the other hand, if Orton wins, he goes on to defend againsty a new heel, which I can imagine more; someone like Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes, or Jinder Mahal, for example. I also think they’d rather have one of their top top guys hold the title for a while longer and especially through Summerslam, so for that reason, I see Orton ending this feud tonight.
Winner: Randy Orton
Match 6) The Miz vs Alex Riley
I don’t quite understand it, but Alex Riley has gotten remarkably over since splitting with The Miz. In fact, maybe his success has come from a rub from beating up The Miz, who is undoubtedly now the top heel in the company. Both these guys are sound in the ring, and i’m sure their history will make for a good in-ring storyline, even if I must admit to not being quite so interested in it as others seem to be. I have no doubt Riley will be working his ass off to get over further and show that he can handle a big-time match with a top guy. Now when I first thought about this, I thought Riley was the favourite to go over, making him seem like a strong guy. Then I started to worry about Miz seeming weak, especially after he has been on a bit of a bad streak starting with dropping the WWE title to Cena, which would only get worse if he lost to Riley the next month. Not only that, but I think this is being considered a big feud, and that a Riley win would make it hard to continue this, so here’s how I think it will go. Riley will look very strong against Miz, being able to match him in the ring and maybe even starting to look like he could beat his former mentor. That is, until Miz realises the jeopardy he is in and does something really quite low down to beat Riley – a low blow or something equally cheap. The victory would keep Miz looking like a resourceful big-time heel, while showing the potential and strength of Alex Riley and keeping their feud running towards Summerslam.
Winner: The Miz
Match 7) WWE Championship Match: John Cena (c) vs R-Truth
This is perhaps the most intriguing prospect on the card, which is a good thing for the main event! Truth has a genuinely unpredictable edge to him now, so i’m hoping for something surprising during this match from Truth in terms of sheer sinister aggressiveness. I think, given that Truth seems to be a pet project or WWE currently means that he’ll be given the time to show what he can do. There was a part of me that thought and even wanted Truth to win (something completely unfamiliar to me, and possibly to you guys depending on what i’ve written in the past right here), simply for the fresh, shock value of the event. I am, however, now of the opinion that Cena is quite a strong candidate for the winner here. This is partly because of Cena’s claim that he hopes to keep the title going in to WrestleMania, and partly because of the rumours that Del Rio will be facing Cena for the title at Summerslam, something i’d absolutely love to see and would be a fitting Summerslam main event. This doesn’t mean that Cena has to win clean of course – there would also be the option of Truth winning by count-out or maybe Cena winning by DQ. This would be a way of keeping Truth in the title picture for Money in the Bank without him winning the title, but it would be a slightly underwhelming way for the PPV to go off-air unless it was done in a legitimately shocking way. Unfortunately, I see this being the most likely course of events: R-Truth getting frustrated and attacking Cena illegally leading to a second match and a blowoff at MITB.
Winner: John Cena
So there is a lot of potential in this PPV with most of the matches, but by the time some of the matches have spoken for themselves, it will be too late to attract buys, and just goes to show the importance of proper build for PPV matches, and possibly even further, the need for slightly fewer PPVs on the calendar. I hope you all enjoy it though! I will be live-tweeting about it tonight @RTVWOW so gimme a follow.