Tonight, WWE presents Capitol Punishment, emanating live from Washington, D.C. on pay-per-view. Here’s a look at the card as I see it:
World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton (champion) vs. Christian — The x-factor in this match is Orton’s legitimate concussion. While Orton himself indicated on Twitter that he is medically cleared after passing impact testing, there is still the chance that WWE will choose to play it safe and remove Orton from the match or find a way to work the concussion into the storyline to keep Orton’s involvement to a minimum. I predict that the match could become a Triple Threat, allowing for Sheamus and Christian to carry the match while Orton is creatively banished to the wayside. I see WWE mimicking a real-life audible from a previous concussion-related incident during SummerSlam 2000, when The Rock vs. Triple H vs. Kurt Angle was in jeopardy after Angle suffered a legitimate concussion early in the contest; Angle was taken to the back and did not return until the finish, while Rock and Triple H improvised and turned the match into a one-on-one bout. Regardless of how WWE chooses to handle it, I see Christian walking out of D.C. as a two-time World Champion.
WWE Championship: John Cena (champion) vs. R-Truth — The build to this match has been curious, as WWE’s handling of R-Truth has been as schizophrenic as his recent promos. Truth has gone from being aggressive, to a caricature, to aggressive again, and then back to a caricature. While the racially-stereotyped nature of Truth’s promos have bothered fans on the Internet, I believe that we’re just starting to see the endgame, as Truth was booked strongly during this past RAW. R-Truth’s character had largely lacked depth prior to his heel turn, so I see the caricatured promos by Truth as a self-referential exaggeration of Truth’s minstrel-like behavior as a face. There’s a lot of potential for social commentary in R-Truth’s new gimmick, but it’ll take a more concerted effort than the weeks prior to this past episode. As for the title match itself, it’s hard to see Truth walking away with the strap unless WWE has a major swerve planned. It would certainly be refreshing to see a new champion, but it’s unlikely that Truth would be taken seriously in light of his age and the shortcomings of the build for this match.
United States Championship: Kofi Kingston (champion) vs. Dolph Ziggler — I believe that Ziggler has done everything that the creative staff has asked of him, even after they needlessly tweaked his gimmick by having him cut his hair and act more serious. Ziggler’s hard work will finally pay off with a victory over an established Kingston for a belt that, while devalued, is still the de facto second-richest prize on RAW. Kingston should rebound nicely from this if he remains a contender or is given a main event push. Kingston does not need a belt to get over, with the exception of a World Championship to enhance his legacy.
Intercontinental Championship: Wade Barrett (champion) vs. Ezekiel Jackson — Short and sweet just like the match will be, Jackson wins the gold and his push as a monster face continues. The Corre will likely disband after this match or the next episode of SmackDown.
Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio — Del Rio takes advantage of Big Show’s storyline injury for the win.
Alex Riley vs. The Miz — Riley gets the biggest win of his career but Miz gets his heat back with a post-match attack or a vicious beatdown on RAW. Riley needs this victory more than Miz, despite Miz having lost some high-profile matches lately.
Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk — Punk gets the victory to appease him during the final few months of his contract, upon which he will likely take a break from wrestling to recharge his batteries. There will likely be interference to plant the seeds for the next angle for either man.
– World Heavyweight Championship — Christian defeats Randy Orton; new champion.
– WWE Championship — John Cena retains against R-Truth.
– United States Championship — Dolph Ziggler defeats Kofi Kingston; new champion.
– Intercontinental Championship — Ezekiel Jackson defeats Wade Barrett; new champion.
– Alberto Del Rio defeats Big Show.
– Alex Riley defeats The Miz.
– CM Punk defeats Rey Mysterio.
Agree? Disagree? Continue the conversation below in the comments section, or follow me on Twitter (@FranchiseSAYS).