This Sunday night is the WWE Hell in a Cell PPV. It's a unique show because the most coveted prize in the business - the WWE Title - is not on the line because the WWE Champion Brock Lesnar will be absent from the event. In his place we'll get two Hell in a Cell matches featuring the repetitive John Cena vs. Randy Orton match and then the much anticipated match as former Shield member Seth Rollins will take on his buddy Dean Ambrose.
The rest of the card will see the four other titles defended in mostly rematches of matches we've seen before while Big Show is set to defend America one more time as he battles Rusev. It's as if this is another Night of Champions show except the main champion isn't on the card.
A problem with WWE programming is that they really aren't doing anything that exciting to draw people to the weekly television shows. However, if the right matches get the most time then it could be an excellent all around wrestling show. In other words, give Ziggler vs. Cesaro 20 minutes along with Rollins vs. Ambrose and we could be talking about two match of the year contenders. Will those things happen? We hope so.
(Note: All graphics are from WWE.com. The banner is courtesy of my friend Steve Melo.)
Tag Team Titles: Goldust & Stardust vs. The Usos
They have lost some of the momentum they had in this feud. It's a shame that WWE has done a poor job of building up other teams because they ended up booking these guys in the same matches too often. There were too many singles matches or six man tags in the last month. Fans won't get excited about PPV matches if they work together on TV all the time. They should still get 12-15 minutes and have an entertaining match, but it won't be that fresh if you watch WWE TV regularly.
If this is the opening match it would be a good choice. I can see the IC or US Title matches opening the show too. Goldust & Stardust are heels, but they barely do heel things. I think that's by design. Don't be surprised if they end up going babyface soon as WWE brings back the Ryback/Axel team as top contenders. Maybe The Ascension could start on the main roster to oppose them. I think Goldust & Stardust will retain although if there is a title switch it wouldn't be that surprising.
Winners: Goldust & Stardust
Divas Title: AJ Lee vs. Paige
I like the feud, but the story isn't connecting. It also doesn't help that there's been a title change during their last two PPV matches as well as four title changes in six months. Why should we care about champions that lose the title every month? Long term, Paige is the better choice as the champion because she's a heel while AJ is a boring face that really does nothing interesting any more. The angle with Alicia Fox isn't anything different than when AJ had Tamina with her for about a year. Can't creative think of something new? Apparently not.
Regarding that "Total Divas cast members can't be Divas Champion" rule, let's remember that it was Cameron that said that. She's also the woman that tried to pin Naomi's back in a match. She's not the brightest bulb out there. There have been other reports about it, but we also know plans can change. With that said, Paige is on Total Divas episodes that start airing in January. Because of that, people think she won't win.
I'm not sure how the "win on TV, lose on PPV" theory applies here. AJ lost to Fox on Raw, then beat her on Smackdown. Both matches ended with the dreaded DIVA MATCH ROLLUP finish that I hate so much. I'm going with a Paige win. Heels are better champions and AJ bores me too much. Can we get that Paige vs. Natalya feud now? Thank you.
Winner and New Divas Champion: Paige
US Title: Sheamus vs. The Miz
The US Champion Sheamus has just been an average champion. They put the gold on him to try to make it seem important since he's a former top guy, but the booking isn't good enough to make people care. They also moved Miz from IC Title feud to US Title feud as if a guy that just lost another title deserves a shot at the other midcard title. It seems like the only reason he's getting the shot is because people love the Damien Mizdow act, which is fine with me. I love it too.
Since the announcers are pushing the idea that the great Sandow (or Mizdow) is stealing the spotlight from The Miz, it's going to lead to Sandow becoming a face soon. The best way for that to happen is to have an angry Miz attack him in the near future. That's what the angle is about. Putting another title on Miz doesn't mean anything. Sheamus could do without the US Title at any time, but it's better to keep it on him for now and have him face Rusev as his next feud. I'd also support a Sheamus heel turn in early 2015. He's stale right now.
Nikki Bella vs. Brie Bella
(Stipulation from WWE.com: “The loser must work as the winner’s personal Bella assistant! And if the loser doesn’t fulfill her duties as personal assistant, she will have to quit WWE!”)
This feud is an example of overbooking. They have spent way too much time trying to tell the story. Those segments with Nikki talking to the camera in a monotone voice were brutal. That Jerry Springer was awful. The "I wish you died in the womb" line made people laugh because it was so bad. If they had a match last month it would have been pretty good because the crowd was still into it. It's been two months since the SummerSlam turn by Nikki and they lost all the momentum they had. I've actually been impressed by both of them in the ring in the last year, so the match could be decent. It's just that I don't know if the crowd is going to care or just chant "boring" because the feud has fallen flat.
The stipulation suggests a win for Nikki, but she looked really strong on Smackdown so I'm not sure if that's the way they're going. I'll still pick the heel Nikki to win just because it fits the story better and then they'll have another match down the road where Brie gets her revenge.
Winner: Nikki Bella
Intercontinental Title 2/3 Falls: Dolph Ziggler vs. Cesaro
They've had a number of matches that were very good including this past Friday on Smackdown where Ziggler retained the IC Title. It seems weird that they would have another match when Ziggler just beat him, but I'm not complaining. They're two of the best in-ring performers in WWE. A 2 out 3 Falls stipulation usually means a longer match although they could still just get 12 minutes and leave us wanting more. Hopefully they get closer to 20 minutes because Cesaro and Ziggler have amazing chemistry. They do a great job of mixing in the power of Cesaro with the speed of Ziggler. When you have wrestlers of this caliber, let them show what they can really do.
As for the result, hopefully Ziggler retains. I'm sick of the monthly title reigns. What needs to happen is he should keep the title, defend it fairly often on television as a fighting champion and hold onto it for at least six months. At that point, WWE should try to elevate him to the next level again. One month title changes don't do anything for anybody. Establish a champion. Build around him. Ziggler gets the first fall quickly, Cesaro comes back for a fall a few minutes later and the final fall sequence lasts 15 minutes. Ziggler wins after 22 minutes, two falls to one.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Big Show vs. Rusev
It's a match with a good story built in. The problem with them is their matches together just aren't very good. The same thing happened when Rusev wrestled Mark Henry. He would be a lot better against smaller guys although they are trying to feed him the big guys so that he can beat them to look more impressive.
A heel turn by Henry is going to happen sooner rather than later. It might happen on Sunday or on television soon after. This match should be a competitive battle that Rusev wins by making Big Show submit. It's also not a match that needs to go longer than ten minutes. Maybe Big Show will cry about letting America down while JBL will rant about how Show is a disgrace to his country. If it does run too long then half the match will be rest holds and the crowd will fall asleep.
Hell in a Cell: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
The build up to this showdown has been really good. The mannequin stuff on Raw wasn't that great, but if you think back to the attacks by Ambrose in the summer and then the cinderblock spot, they've really done a great job in setting this one up. That Rollins heel turn was six months ago and they've only had two major singles matches. The one on Raw after SummerSlam was amazing, so I'm excited about this one.
Ambrose should win and probably will win. Rollins has the briefcase in his hands, so he's going to stay over and strong because of that. This match might end the feud temporarily although these two are so good with bright futures that they will have dozens of televised matches over the next decade. Give them 20 minutes please. They deserve it. It has the potential to be a Match of the Year contender and we could be talking about the Feud of the Year too.
I absolutely agree with anybody that thinks this match should go on last. I don't think it will, though. We know how much WWE loves Cena vs. Orton, so they'll probably get that spot even though Ambrose vs. Rollins is the much more interesting match.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
Hell in a Cell: John Cena vs. Randy Orton
(Winner gets future WWE Title match against Brock Lesnar.)
It's not a mistake that WWE is doing this match. The problem is that they really did a poor job in building this up. Cena's facing Orton because he was "the other guy" as Orton called him, which was WWE's way of protecting Cena by saying he wasn't a loser when in fact he was. He lost to Ambrose, so he gets Orton. That was the deal. Now we get this match with only about a week of hype because in WWE's eyes, they have 12 years of history. The problem with the 12 years of history is that their last singles match on PPV was ten months ago at the Royal Rumble and the crowd totally hated it.
Orton's been performing at a really high level and the crowd is responding well to him, so he might get cheered for much of the match. As usual, the crowd will be mixed for Cena. What they need to do is make sure it's not like every other Cena/Orton match. Use weapons. Think of a creative way to break open a cage. Just do something to make it feel different.
Cena's going to win. They'll probably get 20 minutes or more. It wouldn't even surprise me if this match had interference even though the cell is supposed to keep people away. The reason I say that is because Orton's going face. The story leaving the PPV will be that Rollins and Orton lost. It will be a bad night for The Authority. Maybe they stay together until Survivor Series, but this whole thing is obviously leading to Orton vs. Rollins at some point. An Orton loss to Cena and a Rollins loss to Ambrose will set that up nicely. Orton is jealous that Hunter picked Rollins after him and that Orton has had to clean up Rollins' messes for months. The story makes sense.
The win also means Cena would get another title shot against Brock Lesnar. He really shouldn't have to win a match to get another title shot since he won the last one at Night of Champions by disqualification. Orton vs. Lesnar would be pretty cool actually although that's something they can do in the future since Orton will be a face. The rumor is Lesnar/Cena happens in three months at the Royal Rumble. Survivor Series would have been better, but at this point Lesnar isn't scheduled for that.
I'll try to watch the match without remembering all the other Cena/Orton matches I've written about it in my life. I just hope they try to make it different at least a little bit.
Winner: John Cena
I think it will be a better than average show in terms of in-ring competition. There are some potentially great matches on there, so as I said in the open if they get the right amount of time they can be special. In terms of major angles or events, there probably won't be anything that big. However, if you want to watch a good wrestling show for the matches then I think Hell in a Cell will deliver in that regard.
I'll be posting my review of Hell in a Cell on Monday morning or by like 12pmET. I'll be watching the NFL game plus the baseball World Series game 5, so I'll see the PPV either late Sunday night or early Monday AM. There will be a full recap of everything that happened with the results and analysis of everything on the show.
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