Pre-Show Battle Royale To Determine #1 Contender For the United States TitleThat's a mouthful (that's what she said). This is the problem when you give someone like Antonio Cesaro the US title without any concrete storyline(s) built in. He dismantled Santino Marella during last month's PPV Pre-Show, and again during their subsequent battles (where the only real buzz was the Cobra being attracted to Aksana's saxophone theme song). Now they're going to manufacture a battle on the night of, which could either be dope or depressing. The last time this happened, Christian won the IC Title to do... nothing. I figure Cesaro will have a longer US Title run, but we'll see if this thing can sprout legs. No real prediction, because this is kind of a wild card for a secondary singles title that's not getting any push, but all titles must be defended.
Divas Championship: Layla vs. KaitlynShouldn't be that exciting of a match; as much as you might love watching Kaitlyn in the ring, she's definitely still in need of work. This match happened on a fluke (it was supposed to be Eve vs. Layla, but Eve got thrown out of the Diva's battle royal to determine the #1 contender accidentally). Kaitlyn has a spark, they just need to develop it. I figure Eve factors into this one somehow, as she's been involved in the on-screen storyline for a bit. Still say Layla wins.
WWE Tag Team Championship: R-Truth & Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan & KaneThis match was supposed to be Truth and Kofi vs. the Prime Time Players, but the "anger management" gimmick between Bryan and Kane has been so hot that Creative stuck them into this match. As in all matches like this, assume the team of guys who don't really get along will win the belts. Might be good, as Truth and Kofi's run has been lackluster, and maybe they can develop some storyline of their own, separately.
Randy Orton vs. Dolph ZigglerAside from their onscreen animosity, what's the point of this match, aside from getting Orton on a PPV? I'm hoping their match is good - they both can work the hell out of a match (given time), but I have a feeling this'll be the first match of the main show, so who knows how they'll work it. I'd love to see Dolph go over, but with Randy having to start filming a movie soon, he might leave with a bang.
World Heavyweight Championship: Sheamus vs. Alberto Del RioNot that we haven't seen this match a million times or anything, but at least the idea of the Brogue Kick being banned has been decent enough to suffer through some of this stuff with. I'd be surprised if ADR pulled it off, though. Sheamus is just their guy right now - indestructible. Unless, of course, they have him drop the belt to regain by year's end.
WWE Heavyweight Championship: CM Punk vs. John CenaThis one is about respect, and that final segment on Raw (even though it had it's flaws, story-wise) was fire. These two can turn it up when need be, and I have a feeling it'll be turnt up. It's in Cena's neck of the woods, and the talk is that at some point Cena is going to pick up the title to face The Rock (probably at Royal Rumble?), but we'll see. Punk also has Heyman in his corner, so there's no telling what tricks can be up their sleeve. Smart money is on Punk retaining, I'd say.
And that's the card! Well, if you mind me dropping some knowledge on this week's SmackDown SPOILER ALERT the Intercontinental Championship will be defended in a Fatal 4-Way, with The Miz up against Rey Mysterio, Cody Rhodes and Sin Cara. Should be a treat, especially if word of a possible Mysterio/Sin Cara feud on the books for later down the road is true.
I figure we might get one more match (Ryback?), but we'll see. No other real surprises in store. Feels like a lackluster PPV, so you'd HOPE they'd spice it up with some title changes and the like.
Leave your predictions and thoughts in the comments, and then come back next week to see who was right! Good luck!