The only reason that I’m looking forward to Hell in a Cell is Ambrose and Rollins. I fully believe that those two are going to tear the house down and break through the glass ceiling keeping them out of future main-event matches. However, everything leading up to their big showdown is looking pretty snoozerific. Here’s hoping that this B-level PPV can pull off a big upset.
The Usos vs Gold/Stardust:
This really isn’t a surprise, given that the WWE’s tag-team roster is limited to these two teams at this point. As a fan of tag-team wrestling, I for one believe that the division is in desperate need of new blood. Rumors of NXT’s Ascension getting the call up to the main roster is a start, but a slew of fresh teams need to be introduced to keep the division afloat (especially since the actually very good and deserving Wyatt Family are seemingly going their separate ways). This one really is a toss-up, since whomever wins will probably just get paired up with the loser anyway. For my money, I prefer having the belts on the Dust brothers, since they bring a kind of drama and gravitas to their performances that the admittedly-colorful Usos do not possess. Let’s be honest: These guys always put on a good show. It’s just a show that I’m tired of watching.
What I think will happen: Goldust and Stardust will retain the titles.
What I hope will happen: Creative will give them someone else to feud with going in to Wrestlemania season.
Nikki Bell vs. Brie Bella:
Honestly, I really don’t get the appeal of the Bellas, but I’m all for them having a match if only to mix up the Divas bracket a little bit. Otherwise, we just get to watch Aj vs. Paige for the seventeenth time because the main roster is in dire need of fresh talent. NXT has some incredible Diva talent on its roster, and hopefully Divas like Charlotte, Bailey and Becky Lynch get their main-roster push sooner rather than later.
As this match stands, the story has suffered a little from being drawn out over two months. This really should have taken place at Night of Champions to keep the momentum from Nikki’s big Summerslam turn going. That being said, this is a great opportunity for the Bellas to prove themselves as singles competitors, which again will hopefully mix up the Divas-championship picture. I’m calling a Nikki win via Authority interference, because it makes more sense to have Brie work for Nikki (as per the match stipulation) to push Nikki as a heel, and hopefully it will pull Nikki into the Authority, which could really use an active female wrestler in the stable.
What I think will happen: Nikki gets the win over Brie.
What I hope happens: Nikki gets in deep with the Authority so that their influence can spread into the Diva division as well.
AJ Lee vs. Paige
Speaking of the Divas division, Hell in a Cell continues the painfully-overdone feud between AJ and Paige. These two are both victims of a poor roster. There simply isn’t anyone else in the Divas division with enough star power to be put in championship contention. Like with the tag-team division, we are left with the same match month after month simply because there isn’t anyone else to throw together. There is so much legitimate talent in the NXT women’s division that it’s an absolute crime that we are stuck on this go-nowhere feud.
What I think will happen: It’s a toss-up and probably doesn’t even really matter at this point, but I’m calling a Paige win on this one, probably due to interference from Alicia Fox.
What I hope will happen: Creative starts putting some actual effort into the Divas division. It’s 2014, girls watch wrestling too and they deserve stronger role models than what the WWE is providing, especially considering the talent at their disposal.
Sheamus vs. The Miz
I’ll admit that I’m a little torn over this one. On the one hand, I think that a title drop is in order. With the WWE Championship likely out of the picture until Wrestlemania season, both the Intercontinental and U.S. Championships have taken a step up in importance. Because of this, we need a much more active and compelling champion than Sheamus, who hasn’t done much as champ since he won the belt half a year ago. On the other hand, it’s the Miz.
That being said, Miz’s current gimmick is actually really over, mostly because of the near-perfect antics of Damien Sandow as his stunt-double. Without a doubt he’s become the highlight of Miz’s matches. I’ve been saying for a while now that Sandow’s comedic talents are greatly under-appreciated, so with the success he’s seeing as Mizdow I hope he’ll get his own push very soon.
While the rule of reverse-momentum implies that Miz will lose on Sunday (he’s won the last two non-title matches with Sheamus), I still think that he should get the push. There needs to be a heel champion somewhere, and unless Cesaro takes the belt from Ziggler (which really should not happen) it seems like Miz getting the U.S. title is the answer.
What I think will happen: Miz will get some gold around his waist and actually do something with the U.S. title.
What I hope will happen: Sandow somehow steals the U.S. title from both competitors.
The Big Show vs. Rusev:
Ugh. This one. Rusev’s matches have been the low point of nearly every PPV since his push has started, and this one looks to be a little “second verse same as the first.” Except it’s the fourth or fifth verse, and it’s still the same old song. Also, Rusev seems to have a really tough time wrestling the “super-heavyweight” wrestlers, so putting him in the ring with The Big Show doesn’t exactly inspire a great deal of confidence in the match. A five-star match this likely will not be.
I’d be legitimately surprised if Rusev didn’t get this one as well. Having him squashed by The Show would be a very anticlimactic end to his almost six-month run. Besides, what does The Big Show have to gain from a win here? Rumor has it that Cena is the likely candidate to end Rusev’s win streak (because of course he is), and we all know how Cena doesn’t like to share. So Rusev’s streak will probably keep going until someone can figure out how to actually build something off of this shambling zombie of a storyline.
What I think will happen: Rusev will keep winning until creative can actually build a story out of his win streak.
What I hope happens: Rusev actually shows some growth, both as a character and a performer, and Big Show helps him show why he deserves the push that he is getting.
John Cena vs. Randy Orton:
Orton and Cena. Again. These two are quickly becoming the default-option for filling a time slot. There isn’t even a real storyline between the two anyone because everyone simply expects that they’ll match up anyway. The worst part is that Randy Orton is such a great performer, but his matches with Cena are rarely his best. It’s unlikely that either performer will get to really showcase their talents in this one, especially given that the PG-rating of the modern WWE will keep them from pulling off the more dangerous spots. It’s likely that this one will be a “going through the motions” affair for both stars, who are really just going to save themselves for an actual storyline next month. I really want Orton to take this one, especially since the story has marked him as the “runner-up” in the Authority, but Cena will probably get his hand raised because creative is really scared of making him look bad, especially after matching up with Lesnar at the last few PPVs. Both guys really need the momentum, but it’s becoming pretty obvious these days that creative will pick Cena over Orton any day of the week.
What I think will happen: Cena will get the W so that he can build some of his lost momentum.
What I hope happens: Orton gets the push he deserves and retakes his place as the company’s top heel.
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
I just want to point out that I called this one months ago. I called it at Wrestlemania. I called it at Extreme Rules, Battlegrounds, and Summerslam. Hell in a Cell is the natural progression of the Ambrose/Rollins feud, which is rarely the case with a Hell in a Cell match (see Orton/Cena above). It makes perfect sense, and it’s the opportunity that both of these guys have been waiting for. It’s like Mankind vs Undertaken at King of the Ring 98, except both guys are Mick Foley.
Now, let’s be honest, it will be nearly impossible for this match to surpass past efforts due to the firm PG stance of the current WWE. I don’t expect people to be thrown off the cell. I don’t expect thumbtacks. I don’t expect blood, lost teeth or broken bones. But what I do expect is that Ambrose and Rollins will take this as their big break and absolutely tear the house down. If this isn’t the main event of the card then I feel sorry for whoever has to follow, because I can almost guarantee that this will be a five-star affair.
Now, it’s obvious that everyone wants Ambrose to take this one. Rollins has made himself into a great heel, so it’s natural that people want him to lose, and Ambrose is way over with the fans. Given that this match could easily function as the end of their nearly six-month feud, I can absolutely see Ambrose getting the win so that both performers can move on and have storylines with other wrestlers going into Wrestlemania season (like Orton vs Rollins, for example). Either way, I have a feeling that this is match will be the highlight of Hell In a Cell 2014.
What I think will happen: Ambrose will get the win and he and Rollins will tear the house down.
What I hope will happen: Ambrose and Rollins ignore the PG rating that they are supposed to adhere to and treat this match like the Hell in a Cell matches of old. This could be classic in the making if Rollins and Ambrose have free reign.
So there we have it. With the exception of Ambrose and Rollins Hell in a Cell is looking pretty par-for-the-course as far as PPVs go. And without Ziggler and Bray Wyatt there to put on five-star matches, this one is really starting to look like a big ol’ flop waiting to happen. Here’s to hoping that I’m wrong. See you all at the Aftermath following Sunday’s show.