Anyone that knows me knows I’m a basketball junkie. There are few things better than good physical playoff basketball. Know this I hate the Heat, so any team playing then instantly becomes my team to root for. Why do I bring this up? It’s because the NBA is currently in the 2nd round of its playoffs and I’m inspired. This column will be all about playoffs in wrestling specifically who on the current WWE/FCW roster who hasn’t held a title is the best.
However, before I get into that I’d like to talk about the announcement that Raw will be going to 3 hours permanently. What does it say about the WWE? I’m not sure it says a whole lot other than USA doesn’t like the ratings Law and Order SVU leading into Raw. Raw does very good numbers, and I don’t think another hour will add or lose a significant audience. The opportunity is there now though for them to showcase younger talent, which is something HHH has been harping on for a year now. We’ve seen it on SmackDown, and now hopefully we’ll see it on Raw. Hopefully this new hour won’t be the same old same old. My hope is that it will open the door for guys like Seth Rollins. I’ve been on his bandwagon and beating the drum for him for years. I think if anyone in FCW has the talent to be the next CM Punk, Daniel Bryan it’s him. WWE has an opportunity here not just to expand the storylines, but show more actual wrestling on Raw. There is a novel concept wrestling on a wrestling show, oh sorry right sports entertainment. I see this as a good thing not a bad thing, but then again I’m a glass half full kind of guy.
How it works: Any current Wrestler that has never held the WWE or World Heavyweight Title. (Can include FCW superstars) I’ll seed them between 1-8 for both Raw and SmackDown with 1 “at large” FCW pick in each brands bracket.
8:Dean Ambrose (at large FCW)
1:Dolph Ziggler (was handed title, but we can overlook that, was never “really” champion
SD Bracket:(a lot of projecting here)
8: Seth Rollins (at large FCW)
6: Ted Dibiase
5: Antonio Cesaro
4: Ezekiel Jackson
2: Wade Barrett
1: Cody Rhodes
Raw Bracket looks very good, and very deep. A few upsets seem possible. However, SmackDown is really thin and really young, who makes it very top heavy.
Round one best of 7
1) Dolph Ziggler vs. 8) Dean Ambrose
Good matchup between two very similar in ring styles that seem capable of putting on some compelling matches. Dolph is considered by many to be the best in ring product without a title in the WWE. Ambrose is best known as the guy that apparently blew a big angle with Mick Foley. With that said he’s young, he’s extremely talented and this is no cake walk for #1 Ziggler. No size discrepancy for either superstar and both are very good on the mic with the slight edge going to the 8 seeded Ambrose. What a great first round matchup but Ziggler has the experience factor and has been very close to the mountain top.
1) Ziggler Over 8) Dean Ambrose 4-2 but very entertaining.
2)Kofi Kingston vs. 7)Brodus Clay
Wow talk about two very different styles and sizes. Kofi is more experienced and is all around a better in ring product than Clay. With that said Clay is freakishly big and agile. No one in the WWE seems to possess the pure athletic prowess that Kofi does. He can leap higher, jump farther, and kick about as well as anyone in the WWE. Can his speed and veteran prowess overcome the size of Clay? It’s tough to see how on earth anyone can beat Clay when he’s on his game. If Kofi had a true mean streak he’d win, but both are nice guys with big smiles. Clay is just too big.
7)Brodus Clay Over 2) Kofi Kingston 4-3 this could go either way to be honest
3)R-Truth vs. Zack Ryder
Just proof that it’s all about seeding. Poor Kofi was one seed away from avoiding the juggernaut Clay. Instead it’s R-Truth who gets the former US Champion. Truth has been around a long time and has never been to the mountain top but possesses the talent to be there. Ryder is a wildly inconsistent young wrestler. Both have shall we say “unique” personalities. From athleticism stand point both possess a lot of raw athletic skill. R-Truth at this stage in both their careers is the smarter and better wrestler. Not a real close set of matches.
3) R-Truth over Zack Ryder
4-0 Ryder might be able to sneak one out but not more than one
4)Santino vs. 5)Lord Tensai
Poor Santino has to take on a physical, meaner than a junk yard dog, world beater in Tensai. Once again bad seeding has doomed a veteran wrestler. Santino just doesn’t have the talent or the attitude to take on a pissed off 300 pounder in Tensai. Not a real tough matchup for Tensai.
5) Lord Tensai over 4) Santino
4-1 about as boring a first round matchup we have
1) Cody Rhodes vs. 8) Seth Rollins
Boy both those young at large bids were tough matchups for the 1 seeds. Rollins is freakishly athletic and a wrestling talent on par with a young CM Punk. Cody Rhodes has the pedigree of a champion and can do almost anything asked of him in the ring. Great round one matchup of the future of the WWE. Rhodes has been there done that in the WWE and has the veteran where with all to withstand the young and hungry Rollins.
1)Cody Rhodes over 8)Seth Rollins
4-2 physical first round match, could go 5, could go 7
2)Wade Barrett vs. 7)Drew McIntyre
Drew is good but he’s not on the same level as the Barrett Barrage. Barrett is currently injured but in our playoffs he’s not going to pull a Chris Bosh. He’ll be there for all four wins and they should be easy wins at that. McIntyre just doesn’t have the talent to even take one from Barrett.
2)Wade Barrett over 7)Drew McIntyre 4-0 confident this would be a clean sweep
3)Ryback vs. 6)Ted Dibiase
Doing a lot of projecting here to put Ryback at 3. It’s hard to not like his size and all around ass kicking nature though so we seed him pretty high. He is still young and rough around the edges and isn’t even close to a finished product though. Dibiase is a polished in ring performer and like Rhodes has a good pedigree. With that said Ryback is a one man wrecking crew. While Ryack hasn’t faced anyone the caliber of Dibiase I got to think his power is too much for Dibiase.
3)Ryback over 6)Ted Dibiase
4-2 another lop sided SmackDown matchup, doubt it would go 6, but giving Ted the benefit of the doubt
4)Ezekiel Jackson vs. 5)Antonio Cesaro
Again projecting a lot here for Cesaro but he has a lot of talent. He has a unique wrestling style that makes for entertaining matches. Even with a crappy gimmick he seems to be getting over as a heel. Jackson is a powerhouse and little else. With that said he is a serviceable big man who can pull off some impressive things in the ring. This is the only SD round one matchup to go 7 and I have to take the veteran because if I know anything its veterans DO NOT LOSE GAME 7s in the NBA and the same goes for the WWE.
4)Jackson over Cesaro
4-3 it goes 7 but just doesn’t seem like it would be all that entertaining
I will finish up the rest of the playoffs next week all the way through the title round.
Well that’s all for me this week, thanks again for reading and as always if you want to get a hold of me to call me an idiot, tell me I’m smart, or ask a question you can do so by following me on twitter @JaredGebhardt or via email firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also check out my entertainment column at filmonair.com.