‘Sup grapple fans! Another month brings us yet another WWE PPV, this time with the added incentive of a gimmick!! A gimmick that it seems the WWE are doing their level best to run into the ground to make it just another meaningless match, but a gimmick none the less. IT’S HELL IN A CELL TIME!!
Hey, you. Yes, you there, reading this right now. Do you remember when Hell in a Cell matches were the uncompromising, “there must be a winner” decider after months and months of feuding? A final solution to a dispute between two guys that just couldn’t be contained any other way? The satanic structure so pant-wettingly, fear-inducingly awesome that it made Mick Foley need to acid flashback into Cactus Jack just to survive it? The cage that MADE Mankind?
Well it turns out you can just throw that kind of match in at the end of any four week build nowadays. And WWE wonder why people generally don’t care about things. Here’s an idea, how about keeping big-a*s marquee matches like a Hell in a Cell for special occasions, instead of just trotting them out on their own PPV every year? I dunno, maybe I’m just jaded on the whole thing, but in my opinion Ryback/Punk is a feud that has just started…so obviously kicking it off with a natural feud ending match is a fantastic idea! And yes, that is supposed to be delivered with all the authenticity of a Sarcastaball interview. Scratch that, two Sarcastaball interviews. (If you don’t get it, then go watch South Park and be enlightened :P)
How are we supposed to get invested in Hell in a Cell matches, when they’re happening for no real logical reason? And that’s not to detract from the matches themselves. I have no problem with the idea of the match, I just honestly don’t think there should be a whole PPV dedicated to the concept of Hell in a Cell, so take it for what you will. You know what they say though, the only inevitable things in life are death, taxes, and Vince McMahon doing whatever the hell Vince McMahon wants regardless of what anyone else thinks.
I feel like I’m already ragging on the show, when truth be told it’s purely the concept of the show that I’m against. The matches up and down the card should be pretty cool. Maybe it’ll help if we just focus on those for a while, eh?
Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio
Is it just me, or has poor old Randall been a bit lost in the shuffle over the last few months? He’s been pretty much a non-entity since his last suspension, and it kinda upsets me a bit. I think I’m feeling the way Randy himself is probably feeling right about now, he was brought over to Smackdown to run the show as the main babyface but now finds himself superceded by the ever improving Sheamus, so spends most of his time twiddling his thumbs and waiting for the heel turn to come a’knockin’.
And you know what? I think it’s about time. There was a time when Orton was the most devilishly awesome bad guy in the whole company. The dude punted Cena’s Dad! And Vince! And RKO’d Steph then snogged her in front of her restrained husband! THAT WAS AWESOME!! Why can’t we have the IED Randy Orton back? He was my favourite! I’m kinda guessing he may have been Randy’s own favourite too, the guy looked like he was having waaaay too much fun playing the explosive psychopath.
Wind on a while, and we’ve got Randy Orton now. Still plugging away at trying to make the babyface thing work, but you can just tell he’s not feeling it. In fact the only time Orton does seem to enjoy his work recently is when they allow him to be a d*ck to the heels, instead of trying to be a standard babyface. The Christmas brawl last year is a stunning example of that. Have you seen Randy Orton happier than he was in that match anytime during the last year? Clapping Otunga with cookie trays, and perfectly bouncing presents off Dave’s geometrically coiffured head. That’s the Randy Orton we need. The Randy Orton that gives a damn. The Randy Orton that…wait, what’s that? He’s in a match with Del Rio? Aaaah geez.
Okay, to me this match just smacks of the standard “we’ve got nothing for both you guys to do right now, you may as well work with each other. It seems like there’s some kind of mentality on Smackdown right now that they can only have at maximum three guys interested in the title. And one of those is the champion. They cycle out guys like Big Show, Del Rio, and Orton, but once their shot has passed they just kind of dissolve into the background for a while until it’s decided they’re needed for another shot. Kinda silly really when you look at the success they’ve had in getting the whole Tag Division involved in the hunt for the Tag Team Titles.
I guess in a roundabout way what I’m saying is that I’m not overly bothered about this match. Del Rio has turned into a one trick pony as far as I’m concerned, and Randy just doesn’t seem all that impressed with his lot right now. I’ll make a prediction, but I think we all know that in the grand scheme of things this match doesn’t really affect anything for anyone.
Who I want to win: Orton. I’ve got no feelings whatsoever for Del Rio. I don’t even hate him in the way I should hate a heel. The only thing he’s got going for him right now is that he still has Ricky Rod as his ring announcer. If it wasn’t for that then I’d probably skip over most of his matches these days.
Who I think will win: Orton again. But like I said earlier, it’s not as if it matters either way really.
Tag Team Championship Match
Team Hell No© vs. Team Rhodes Scholars
TAG TEAMS!! Now we’re talking!! I’ve been a big advocate of WWE bucking their ideas up and sorting out their Tag Team division, so this whole tournament thing has been a breath of fresh air for me. WWE CARES ABOUT TAG TEAMS (finally)!! And look at what’s happened once a little care and attention has been paid to the division. We get such spectacular things as Kane and Daniel Bryan becoming pretty much the most perfect “Odd Couple” pairing since MVP & Matt Hardy. Plus we get little unexpected surprises like The Rhodes Scholars. Who’d have thought Cody and Sandow would work together so well as a team? Something about them just clicks, and I’ve really enjoyed watching them progress through the Tag Team tournament over the last few weeks. I know they had to throw a few people together to fill out the numbers for the brackets (Zack and Santino, I’m looking at you…and why aren’t you using the name Ryderino yet?), but on the whole it’s been pretty awesome. I feel bad for the Usos STILL not getting their chance to shine as a team, but that day has to be coming…surely?
I think that’s the most exciting thing about this match. Once the winners have been decided, there’s already a whole host of teams waiting to step up to challenge the champions. When was the last time WWE was in that position? Whoever wins, they can expect to immediately have challenges like the PTP (I still groan when typing that), ReyCara, or the obvious rematch clause. You’ve even got teams on the peripheral of the field like The Usos, Primo & Epico (although getting mauled by Ryback shows they’re not very high up the pecking order), maybe even the 3MB (although to quote Jimmy Redman “f*ck a Jinder Mahal!). Maybe…perhaps, just perhaps we might soon be seeing the main show debut of The Ascension (alright, I know they were on one episode of Smackdown, but just go with it, okay?). In fact, The Ascension are my pick to really ignite the Tag Team revival. I’m counting down the days until they appear with their epic entrance on Raw…it’s gonna be sweeeeeeet.
Okay, let’s get to the match itself. I’ve got every confidence this is going to be a great match. Sandow & Rhodes have shown they work well as a team, Kane is an old hand at this kind of stuff, it’s his bread and butter, and D-Bry, well D-Bry is D-Bry, you never need to worry about the guy putting on a solid performance.
I don’t really have much to add. This should be a great little match, although I’d expect some shenanigans in the form of other teams trying to make their presence known. All in all, the last 4-6 weeks have been a real shot in the arm for the Tag Division, and I totally couldn’t be happier. Well at least until The Ascension show up!
Who I want to win: Gerald the waiter and Goatface. Team Hell No have been one of the most consistently entertaining things about the shows for a while now, and the whole “I AM THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS” still hasn’t gotten old yet. Let these guys keep the titles.
Who I think will win: Team Hell No. The thing this division needs now is to make the titles seem important. Make them seem coveted, make them the focal point of every active team on the roster. And which two guys are better to stand tall as champions in this brave new Tag world? Team Hell No. (Although I still prefer the infinitely better “No Chants in Hell” name :D)
Divas Championship Triple Threat Match
Eve© vs. Layla vs. Kaitlyn
So for all my fawning over the invigorated Tag Division, I’ve got to admit that I’ve also been impressed with some of the work being put in from the ladies of the WWE. Who’d have thunk that Eve would currently be one of the best heels in the company (well in my humble opinion at least)? That woman has been doing some absolute grade-A b*tch work in recent weeks, and it’s been a pleasure to behold. We all know someone like Eve’s character. The person who tries to be all friendly to your face, but would walk all over you at the first opportunity of gaining some ground for themselves. God I hate those people, and Eve plays it so well that I hate her right now too. She’s got the level of smarminess down to a tee, and the sheer insincerity of everything she does is actually pretty damn entertaining. The grief she’s been getting from folks on the WWE’s Facebook page is a testament to just how well she’s doing at getting under the skin of the “universe”.
I’m actually really looking forward to this Divas match for a change. I’m really interested in what Kaitlyn can bring to the match now that she’s finally getting a chance on PPV to show off the skills a little. Ever since her win on NXT season 3, I know a few people who’ve been interested in her progress, so it’s gonna be cool to see where she’s at right now. In fact, it’s one of those strange situations, where taking her out of Night of Champions has actually made me more bothered about seeing her finally get a proper title shot.
And Layla…well Layla just looks good doing whatever she likes, so I’m always happy for her to be included. Actually, thinking about it, all three competitors in this match have been Diva Search winners. Okay, okay, Kaitlyn won NXT, but it was a Diva-exclusive season, so it’s basically the same thing. Pedant. But still, seeing three competition winners face off is a fairly exciting prospect. These are obviously ladies that the fans have some investment with, so it’ll be interesting to see how they come out of the other side of the match, regardless of who wins. Speaking of winners, let’s make some predictions shall we?
Who I want to win: Gotta admit, I’d love to see Kaitlyn get her retribution for being taken out at Night of Champions, but since we haven’t had the bog reveal of Eve being the culprit, then I can’t see it happening just yet. But still, I’d like Kaitlyn to get a title reign.
Who I think will win: I think Eve’s walking out of the PPV as champion. No doubt by some nefarious means. She’s doing great at being a underhanded uber-bitch right now, so why not allow the angle to play out for a while longer?
Intercontinental Title Match
Kofi Kingston© vs. The Miz
So WWE, are you actually gonna follow through on Kofi’s push this time, or are you gonna disappoint us by cutting him off just as he gets going again? Because I’m pretty sure we’ve been here before you and I. Randy Orton and the Legacy ring any bells? You suckered me in then, had me rooting for the new more aggressive minded Kofi Kingston, and what did you do? You cut him off just as he was getting interesting. Back to “Boom Boom Boom”-ing, and random tag teams with partners who inevitably let him down in some way. You’ve hurt me before WWE, and I don’t know if I can trust you this time…
In all seriousness though, I’ve been waiting for Kofi to get the chance to get his teeth into something “proper” for a while now. The dude’s obviously talented. He’s displayed the kind of work ethic the WWE seem to like (basically put up with any cr*p they give you until you finally get your turn), and he’s over big style with the younger fans. I can’t believe it’s taken them so long to pull the trigger on him properly already.
Well at least he has something active to do now, and the best thing is that it all depends on Kofi. There’s no tag partner to let him down, this is Kofi’s time to stand out and make himself known. I mean, sure it’s only The Miz, but the fact that this mini-feud has allowed Kofi chance to talk means that it’s been worth it in the end. And in my opinion Kofi’s been perfectly fine in his recent promos. Better than a fair few people in fact, so it begs the question “why didn’t you let him do this sooner?”
Miz on the other hand, I could do with shutting up for a while. I just have nothing for The Miz. He’s always just…there. It’s not as if he flat out sucks either, but he doesn’t really bring anything to the table. He’s just another dude. I guess the most damning thing is that for a while there I genuinely forgot about his entire WWE Title run. Way to make an impression Mike!
I can’t even think of a way to fix Miz. They’ve tried putting him in movies, they’ve tried putting him out there as a media person, and for all the good work he’s done for the company media-wise, I still can’t be bothered about a damn thing he does in the ring. He tries to act like some big heel bada*s, but he’s just…he’s not that guy. And the dude seriously needs to give the monotone promos a rest. It barely worked for Jericho, so there’s no way The Miz is gonna be able to pull that one off.
Long story short, this needs to be all about Kofi Kingston and starting the long road to building him up to Main Event level. I wanna see Kofi run through The Miz here, and then I want to see what he can do next. Incidentally, before i make my predictions, feel free to play the Kofi Kingston drinking game if you’re so inclined tonight. It’s a simple game, it consists of a single rule. Anytime Kofi Kingston has both feet off the mat, you drink. Trust me, the amount of time the dude spends leaping around means this one is almost as difficult as playing the “drink when anyone points to the WrestleMania sign” game during the Mania go home show! 😀
Who I want to win: Kofi. And not just win, I want Kofi to win BIG. He needs an impressive showing, and I don’t doubt for a second he can do it.
Who I think will win: It’s got to be Kofi. Just please have some kind of plan for him, and don’t let it fizzle out like the previous couple of pushes have.
World Heavyweight Championship Match
Sheamus© vs. Big Show
So this hasn’t been announced as being inside a cell, so fingers crossed, eh? This one seems to be a battle of the finishers. Which one is gonna do the damage necessary to take the title, the Brogue Kick or the WMD punch? I’m pretty certain it’s gonna be the Brogue Kick, which leads me nicely onto the state of play for Shemaus recently…
I’ve seen a lot recently about people saying Sheamus shouldn’t be champion? Are you mad? The one person they’ve actually built solidly this year, and it’s still not good enough for people? I think Sheamus is perfectly fine in his role as “fightin’ Irishman”. Go back and look at the progression he’s made since December of last year, and you actually notice the vast improvement in Sheamus’ matches. He’s been built as a big strong champion who doesn’t back down from any challenge, and I think he’s excelling. I know he’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but who else would you suggest takes the top babyface spot on Smackdown? I’ve been racking my brains over this one, and I can’t think of a single other babyface ready to make the jump up to the top. Hell, even their “Mr. MitB” Dolph Ziggler isn’t in a position where he could become champion, because WWE have once more insisted on refusing to put any kind of build or effort into the briefcase holder for the umpteenth consecutive year now.
So, as far as I’m concerned Sheamus is your best bet right now. There’s not really anyone else on the horizon I can see overtaking him, so learn to love it people. Looks like the Great White (again, such an awesome nickname) is here to stay.
Who I want to win: Sheamus. With a Brogue Kick. Just to prove a point.
Who I think will win: Sheamus. I can’t see WWE putting the strap on Show, and let’s face it, for once WWE are fully invested in pushing a guy and creating a main-eventer, so let’s just be thankful for that, eh?
Hell in a Cell
WWE Championship Match
CM Punk© vs. Ryback
Or as I like to think of this match “How to book yourself into a corner”. Again, why is this happening in a cell? In fact, because it is happening in a cell it gives WWE even fewer ways of resolving this situation. There’s no DQs, no count-outs, it would seem there has to be a winner. So we either get a title reign ended and a new (inexperienced and rushed) champion, or we get an undefeated streak ending waaay before it should because of knee-jerk reactionary booking. Stupid WWE.
Or are they? Are they plotting something spectacular, but have done that oh-so-rare of things…actually kept it a secret from doofuses like me on the internet? Everyone has a theory on how this match should go down (a lot of which involve Brock Lesnar in some capacity). I have two theories which I’d like to share with you. Both fairly outlandish, but not completely outside the realms of possibility.
Theory 1: Ryback is a “Paul Heyman Guy”
Okay, so what if the whole thing is a big ruse? A machination from the devious minds Paul Heyman, CM Punk, and…err…Ryback? Seriously though, it’s not outside the realms of possibility that they could be pulling one huge swerve for Ryback to side with Punk & Heyman, is it? There’s a lot of good reasons why this probably won’t happen, but I dunno, I think it’s something that if done correctly could work well. The only problem is it could turn out like a modern day “finger poke of doom” and nobody wants another one of those, do they? But the prospect of a new “Dangerous Alliance” (of sorts) forming excites me just a little. Heyman’s a natural leader, and Punk would work excellently as the focal point of the group. Add in Ryback as the muscle and you’re probably just 1 or 2 members away from a cool little faction. Maybe Punk and Heyman could become the home for the disenfranchised of the WWE, or put together a team of the former Indy guys to stamp their mark on the WWE. Kind of like if the Nexus was done properly. If only.
Theory 2: Heyman screws Punk
This is my current favourite theory, but the chances of this one happening are waaaaaay out there. This one is pretty simple to pull off, and could be quite effective. Plus I guarantee this one would keep the IWC pretty happy.
So early on in the PPV we find out that Ryback has been jumped backstage and left unconscious (if it was up to me he’d be in a pool of his own “blood” for added effect. We keep up with updates throughout the night until it is announced that the trainers and medical staff won’t clear Ryback to wrestle tonight. Cue boos and mass hysteria from the audience. We get another backstage promo with Punk and Heyman, with Punk genuinely knowing nothing about what has happened (even though EVERYONE is gonna think it was his doing) Heyman says he’s gonna sort the whole situation out and goes off to see the GM. Match time arrives and Punk and Heyman make their way down to the ring, Punk thinking his hand is gonna be raised in a forfeit. Punk gets to give a promo about Ryback finally learning some respect blah, blah, blah, when Vickie appears on the stage and announces Punk’s opponent for the Hell in a Cell match will be…BROCK LESNAR!!
Punk starts to freak out as HERE COMES THE PAIN, BITCHES. He turns to Heyman looking for advice, only to find himself on the receiving end of a face full of his own title!! Dun-dun-duhhhh!! Brock enters the cell, F5s Punk for good measure, and ladies and gentlemen your new WWE Champion…BROCK FREAKIN’ LESNAR!!
Now I know I’m a “CM Punk guy”, and I really, reaaaaaally don’t want to see his title reign end, but if it is going to end tonight, then a huge swerve like Brock is the way to do it. Plus it means we get chance to have some awesome Punk work with him finally having the crushing realisation that after being warned by literally EVERYONE, Paul Heyman has done exactly what folks said he would do, and he’s screwed Punk to do what’s best for Heyman. Cue angry Punk looking for revenge on Lesnar, which I’d ramp up by having Punk get involved in the Brock/Rock title match at the rumble (causing a controversial finish), and then winning the rumble itself so he goes on to a triple threat of Rock/Brock/Punk at WrestleMania.
What? It could happen. Plus it doesn’t automatically mean a face turn again for Punk. It just means he can go back to being his own man, the guy from the awesome build to MitB last year, the CM Punk we all know and love. The CM Punk that finally realises he doesn’t need to believe in his own hype. He doesn’t need to tell anyone who’ll listen that he’s the “Best In The World”. He doesn’t need to crave the respect of his peers. He just needs to go back to being the one person who says what nobody else has the grapefruits to say, and to hell with the consequences.
It doesn’t mean the end for Ryback either. He gets his own little revenge story against Brock (because it was obviously Heyman and Brock who took him out). Ryback gets to continue running through the ranks in hot pursuit of the champion too. I’d just resolve the Punk thing first, which gives Ryback more time to improve. In fact, Brock could well drop the title at Elimination Chamber, which could set us for Rock/Punk and Ryback/Brock at Mania.
That’s how I’d personally turn what many consider to be a lose-lose situation into something that could be a win-win. But then we can’t count out the option that Ryback comes in and wins. Spectacularly, and in short order fashion. That’d set the tongues wagging. Maybe it’d even be enough to get a few people to tune in Monday night to see the aftermath. But what then? Would WWE be able to maintain momentum behind Ryback once he became champion? Looking back, all signs really point to no, no they can’t. But you never know, and that’s the beauty of the whole situation, there’s a myriad of ways tonight could play out for Ryback and Punk in the Cell. Some could be bad, some could be good, some could even be great, but I genuinely don’t know what’s going to happen here. That’s the first time since…funnily enough Money in the Bank 2011, that I’ve had any real idea of the direction WWE are likely to take a main event.
I’m not gonna make a prediction on this one, as like I said, ANYTHING could happen. But you’ve got to admit, that’s just a little bit exciting, isn’t it?
And there we have it, that’ll have killed a fair amount of time while you’re waiting for the show to start. So sit back and enjoy tonight. I’m not saying it’s gonna be anything earth-shattering, but the glimmer of potential is there, and that’s gotta count for something right? But like I say, there’s plenty of things that could happen tonight, so why not let me know what you think? The comment box hasn’t gone anywhere, it’s still down there at the bottom of the page waiting for you to fill it out. You don’t want to keep the comment box waiting, do you?
Enjoy the show folks, and I’ll see you all next time!