With WWE’s most recent (and seemingly rapid-fire) Pay Per View offering in the books, I’m here to offer you my hits and misses.
Hell in the Cell HITS:
Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton: In my opinion, aside from suffering from being overbooked (more on that later), this was the match of the night. It was a hard-hitting affair, and certainly both the better of the two Hell in a Cell matches, and better of the two World Championship matches. It’s difficult to create the illusion of true chaos within the guidelines of both PG programming, and WWE’s “handle-with-kid-gloves” approach, however this match felt important, through-out, and both guys turned in a top notch performance worthy of a pay per view main event.
John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio: I am convinced that John Cena is super-human. The man has physical accomplishments that seem to defy even the basic rules of nature. I was as shocked as anybody that they announced his return to be at Hell in a Cell, and I, like many others, was skeptical that we might see a swerve. Not only did Cena return, but he turned in a great performance which was bolstered heavily by how well Alberto Del Rio has gotten himself over since turning heel. I hope this isn’t a one-and-done for these two, as there is potential for a good series of matches (where this one suffered from lack of build, the next few can more than make up for, as well).
Golden Rhodes vs. The Shield vs. The Usos: Is there a better story in professional wrestling right now than the return of Goldust, and the incredible performances and matches he’s been having since he got back. When Dustin Rhodes is motivated, there are very few that are better than him. He can make a bad match good, and a good match great. On top of that, how cool was the superplex to the outside? there isn’t much in wrestling I have never seen before, but I’ve never seen that, and it was a pretty incredible spot. This was a fun match that helped the Usos soak in a bit of the spotlight while continuing the Rhodes/Shield feud presumably for at least another month.
AJ Lee vs. Brie Bella: A minor hit. Both girls worked hard, and are probably the most capable girls in the division right now. It seems like they’re building Bella vs. Bella, as well, which makes me wonder if they’re also building toward Cena vs. Bryan, title vs. title in the future as well.
Hell in a Cell MISSES:
Great Khali and Natalya vs. Fandango and Summer Rae: Much like Dolph Ziggler, Fandango’s peak seems to have been the day after WrestleMania, this year. It’s a shame, too, because both of those guys can go. But for whatever reason Dolph Ziggler landed on the pre-show, and Fandango landed in this mess. And what a mess. I don’t even know what more to say.
The World Heavyweight Championship: As John Cena made his ring entrance, I said to my girlfriend “This is an interesting situation. John Cena doesn’t need the World Heavyweight Championship, but the World Heavyweight Championship badly needs John Cena”. Has this “championship” ever meant any less than it does right now? When was the last time you purchased a PPV because of the feud surrounding the World title? WWE Creative has all-but-forgotten this once incredibly important and historic championship, and the damage has been done. Of course, the exact same thing can be said for both the Intercontinental Championship, and United States Championship as well. They’re nothing more than 8-to-10 pounds of extra luggage at this point, and it kills me to say that.
The booking of Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton: This is not a stage for me to bitch about Daniel Bryan not winning the WWE Championship and overcoming The Authority. If Randy Orton is the chosen one, I’m more than okay with that, because I think he’s an excellent choice. But the booking leading into this is absolutely atrocious. The finish of this match came when the Cell was raised. You know, the very structure meant to keep all of the extra shit out? It included both Triple H, and Shawn Michaels, neither of whom are physically able to give their heat back to Daniel Bryan in the future (okay, you can argue Triple H physically COULD but it’s tough to argue that he WILL), and ended yet another WWE PPV on a totally sour note (making three in a row). WWE had better surely hope that they have one damn good feel good moment planned for the end of Survivor Series, or they’re going to find themselves with a lot more disgruntled customers than they already have. When this is the “best” finish in your past three pay per view offerings, you need to seriously re-evaluate your core strategy, and booking platforms.