October programming has been a little hit or miss, and HiaC looks to emulate that attitude. The main draw has been laughably under-represented (with the exception of the take home RAW), where Taker vs. Brock was announced not on a live broadcast but during a freaking commercial. No build up, no promos, just “By the way, their doing it one more time!” Speaking of which, call me crazy but I’ve been sold the “last time ever” Kool-aid a few too many times to honestly believe that creative won’t stop beating this dead horse at a B-level PPV. Just like how Cena vs. Rock was only “once in a lifetime” for all of 2 days, I have a feeling that Taker vs. Brock will have yet another follow up, likely at Mania. But I digress.
United States Championship: John Cena Open Challenge
I actually think that this is a pretty cool idea, and to me is a bigger draw than either of the cell matches. The idea that anyone can come out has that added sense of mystery that, quite frankly, is missing from the rest of the bookings. With the news that Cena will be taking the next month off to film some kind of fitness-based competition show, most people are convinced that a title drop is guaranteed. I don’t think that is necessarily the case (remember, Brock absconded with the Big Belt for months at a time), but knowing Cena’s willingness to put others over there is a pretty good chance. The real question, then, is who could walk that isle. Cesaro is a popular choice, although I hear he’s in hot water with creative again. NXT alums like Owens and Breeze have been mentioned, and while there has been a fair amount of history of NXT athletes going through Cena (Neville and Sami Zayn also had shots at the champ), I don’t think Breeze should follow suit and Owens already has the Intercontinental belt and a match at HiaC. They could be looking to absorb the IC belt into the US championship, but I think that would be a bad call. Ziggler seems like the logical choice, especially if he pulls a heel-turn. And, as always, the return of Daniel Bryan would get a monumental pop, however as long as CM Punk is still trying to sue the pants off of WWE’s resident doctor Bryan will never get the call up. Either way, I think that this match will likely be the highlight of the evening.
What I think will happen: Cena will drop the US championship to the mystery opponent.
What I hope happens: Cena retains. He’s done a lot of work making that belt worth something and I don’t think taking a month off justifies dropping it. As a friend once told me: “Don’t put a belt on someone just because.”
Divas Championship Match: Charlotte vs. Nikki Bella
Who cares? Seriously, who cares at this point? If you’ve been following my column since the start of the Divas Revolution, you’d know that I am a huge supporter and believer in the renaissance of women’s wrestling. But even I have to admit that the Divas Revolution has been a big flop. The storytelling has been garbage, we’ve largely just treaded water for months, and the most organically over women’s wrestler today (possibly ever) hasn’t been pushed due to creative favoritism and backstage politics. Women’s wrestling in NXT is jaw dropping because of how innovative, emotional, and downright exciting it is. The women’s wrestling on the main roster is draw dropping because, despite the touted Revolution, nothing’s really changed. It is hard to watch so much talent be simply ignored (poor, poor Becky Lynch).
What I think will happen: Charlotte will retain the Divas Championship.
What I hope happens: Creative decides to invest some storytelling into this garbage heap. Maybe they should watch NXT and see how it’s done? Or, and here’s a crazy idea, treat the female talent equally by creating storylines based on defined characters and motivations rather than “who’s most jelly.” You know, like how wrestling shows are written!?
Intercontinental Championship: Kevin Owens vs. Ryback
Seriously, why even do a PPV rematch. Ryback was dead in the water from the moment he was handed the IC strap, and Owens is far and away a superior performer. He should have been handed a great challenger to build a feud with over the month to cement his as a big-time heel champ. Instead, he’ll have to carry Ryback through another boring match.
What I think will happen: Owens will retain the IC belt.
What I hope happens: We trade Ryback in for someone interesting.
Tag-Team Championship: The New Day vs. The Dudley Boyz
I could really just cut-and-paste my call from last month. I really see this one as a win-win, since both teams are so interesting and legitimate in their own way. As much as I appreciate the genius/lunacy/overall silliness of the New Day, this might just be the perfect time for the Dudleys’ to secure their 10th championship. Like I said, this is a no-lose for me, but I’m calling for the Dudleys on this one.
What I think will happen: The Dudley Boyz will earn their 10th championship.
What I hope happens: The Dudleys overcome the third man (Xavier Woods) with a run-in from Spike Dudley
Hell in a Cell Match: Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Bray Wyatt is the kingmaker. Between his amazing abilities as a storyteller and excellent in-ring skills, he can make anyone look great. And he’s done a great job with Roman Reigns, proving himself able to do what a to-the-moon push he received last year couldn’t: Turn Reigns into a legitimate superstar. It’s too bad that he’s going to be the conductor of Mid-Card Junction because of it, however. As for the match itself, Reigns and Wyatt have really gotten into a groove working together all summer long, and like Ambrose and Rollins from last year this really could steal the show from the “real” cell match.
What I think will happen: Roman Reigns will get a big-time career building push by going over Wyatt.
What I hope happens: I get that doing the J.O.B. is a part of business and wins don’t really matter, but Wyatt really should get his due at some point.
Hell in a Cell Match: Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar
After the silly finish from Summerslam, I really just want this one to be good. I get that Taker and Brock is supposed to be a big-time draw (and I’m sure that it is, monetarily), but it’s just gotten kind of stale to me. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Taker just as much as anyone else. The dude’s a wrestling legend and a bonafide phenomenon, but I’ve also seen what happens to guys who don’t get out when the getting’s good and I really don’t want that to overshadow the history of the Dead Man. There’s something to be said about leaving on a high note, and lets all be honest and admit that these matches with Lesnar will never be considered as highlights of Taker’s career. The match has potential, but with how much Lesnar has hurt Taker in their last few bouts I really don’t see things getting really out-of-hand here. I expect a rather safe, possibly slow match. A few suplexes, a couple of chokeslams and an F-5 or two and we’ll call it a night.
What I think will happen: Taker will put over Lesnar.
What I hope happens: Since I’m not convinced that this will actually be the end of both Taker and this feud, I’m hoping that Taker will get his win back over Brock.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: Seth Rollins vs. Kane
I will admit that I’ve actually had some fun with Kane’s storyline over the last month. It’s super cheesy and silly, but wrestling is inherently cheesy and silly so sometimes it’s important to simply embrace the silliness. But let’s be honest here: There’s no way, in 2015, “The Demon” Kane is a legitimate champion. It’s just not going to happen. The only way Rollin’s drops that belt is due to cash-in, and I feel like they’re going to save that one for Mania season. Cut-and-dry, Rollins walks out of this one with the strap.
What I think will happen: One way or another, Rollins will retain his WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
What I hope happens: Creative figures out a way to write a heel champ who isn’t spoiled, whiny, or unable to win on his own. Rollins is far more talented that he’s being allowed to be.