Your SO OF COURSE preview of WWE HELL IN A CELL 2017

In this day and age you can’t just “predict” a PPV anymore, you have to account for the capricious whims of WWE’s septuagenarian, sleep-deprived egomaniac owner. You can’t just “preview” a PPV…you have to preview how things should go, in a reasonable and sane world, and then add “so of course…” and explain what Vince McMahon will probably do instead.

Last time on SO OF COURSE it was RAW’s post-SummerSlam show, NO MERCY, a schizophrenic event where the good matches were great and the bad matches were trash. The main-event in particular grossly disappointed, and not even because the biggest babyface on the show (Braun Strowman) lost, but because he lost due to a single F5 after a mostly-boring match where Lesnar did little more than suplex him a few times and call it a day.

Lè sigh.

Now it’s Smackdown’s turn to offer up a post-SummerSlam, pre-Survivor Series, mid-NFL season (is anyone still watching the NFL?) event. This one is the annual Hell in a Cell spectacle, which means in this era of toothless PG wrestling, a lot of whacks onto the back with the flat part of a chair, a lot of random kendo stick swings, a few trashcan spots, and someone doing something stupidly crazy in order to counter-balance the lack of blood that’s allowed in a match where blood isn’t supposed to be a bug, it’s supposed to be a feature.

And speaking of toothless…

Now that’s a spot. After Mick got to the back when the match was over, Vince McMahon famously told him “thank you Mick, but don’t ever do something like that again.”

Sure thing Vince…

——————————————————-

The contrast between those two spots shows that there’s no faking reality.
Foley’s first fly off the table was improvised on the spot; the remake was planned ahead of time
to try and manufacture the magic that the first one organically achieved.
You can’t fake reality.

Or it could just show that Triple H is a worse actor than the Undertaker.

(It’s both)

——————————————————-

So while I’m sure, one way or another, the main-event will be memorable, it’ll be up to the undercard to deliver a solid show to make the $9.99 investment and, more importantly, the three-hour commitment, worthwhile. Let’s have a look at the card and see how Vince can screw it up. THIS is your SO OF COURSE preview of WWE HECK IN A SECK RATED PG DON’T TRY THIS REALLY COOL LOOKING BUT OBVIOUSLY DANGEROUS THING AT HOME KIDS!

BOBBY ROODE vs DOLPH ZIGGLER

WHAT WOULD BE COOL BUT WON’T HAPPEN: Absolutely nothing. The match should not take place. Dolph Ziggler should just quietly disappear and leave wrestling altogether. He’s a remarkable athletic talent saddled by a stupid name, too many compounded bad gimmicks, and is currently stuck doing the “I imitate more popular wrestlers” shtick that has never succeeded ever in ever making anyone more popular ever. Why continue? Why go out with a lingering whimper. Just go away and maybe come back in a couple years and try again. Meanwhile Bobby Roode needs to take a good month or two off and not come back until he’s a surprise teammate in a Survivor Series match. And when he comes back he needs to come back as a cocky “Million Dollar Man inside the body of Triple H circa 2000” heel. Hopefully enough time will have passed that we forget this terrible babyface run ever happened. He was meant to be a heel, WWE. Stop fighting the wind machine and just do it.

WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN: Bobby Roode wins. He’s the debuting talent, and Ziggler is basically a jobber to the stars at this point. This is literally a job for a jobber to the stars. Roode wins and works his way into the US Title scene to keep AJ Styles busy (if he turns heel) or Baron Corbin (if he stays a terrible babyface). Knowing WWE, we’ll get babyface Roode struggling to keep the fans interested in a feud with Baron Corbin, leading Vince to declare Roode a bust a mere half-year into his main-roster run.

SO OF COURSE…

RANDY ORTON vs RUSEV

WHAT WOULD BE COOL BUT WON’T HAPPEN: Rusev winning.

WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN: Rusev winning.

SO OF COURSE…

THE NEW DAY vs THE USOS

WHAT WOULD BE COOL BUT WON’T HAPPEN: The Fashion Files opening the show with a killer segment (okay, that part most certainly will happen at some point in the show) and letting it lead into their getting involved in this match. That would be great, becuase as of now, the New Day are (still) a lot of fun, and the Usos are (still) on a roll, but they’ve been circling each other for so long it’s getting stale. This feud has been going on since Money in the Bank, and it’s been a series of wins and losses with neither side gaining an advantage so that it can continue endlessly until WWE’s “creative” team arbitrarily decides to end it and move on. For five months it’s been these two teams, over and over and over again. A little injection of Breezango would be just fine.

WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN: An end to the feud. Give the win to the Usos and let New Day transition to a non-title feud, maybe a series of solo-feuds where the trio stays together but all three of them take turns beefing with someone like Rusev or Mike Kanellis. Or give the win to New Day and let the Usos take a couple months to feud with American Alpha 2.0. Just end it one way or another.

SO OF COURSE…

AJ STYLES vs BARON CORBIN

WHAT WOULD BE COOL BUT WON’T HAPPEN: The WWE Audience at the show chooses to forget how poorly Corbin was booked this Summer and instead gives him a chance to redeem himself in a match against someone with more than enough talent to carry him to a great bout. At the end, Corbin can be completely rehabilitated and can continue the upward trajectory he seemed to be on before everything went to pot after Money in the Bank.

WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN: Ten minutes of fast and furious action. Styles can work fast and Corbin can keep up as long as the match-length is kept short. Let Styles do the heavy-lifting, let Corbin work the crowd with his natural heel persona and give the fans a rapid-fire, fun contest. Fans are restless about Corbin right now; a lot of his supposed-backstage heat has leaked out into the crowd and that, coupled with his aforementioned bad booking lately, has stalled what looked to be a promising young career. Styles can do a lot of magic in the ring and this would be the perfect chance to use some of it elevate Corbin. In fact, I think Corbin ought to win. AJ is more than popular enough to absorb the loss and Corbin needs the win more than he does.

A special word of appreciation for the way this feud has been booked. Unless I missed something, Corbin vs Styles has yet to happen during the course of this feud. I think they had a match or two back in the Spring, but I’m talking about during this storyline: Both men have circled each other and certainly have crossed paths and thrown hands, but no actual match has happened and won’t until this Sunday. The build-up to the match, with Tye Dillinger working as the middle man who keeps the two stars from actually wrestling, has been pitch-perfect. The fans haven’t always responded with tremendous enthusiasm, but its not for lack of trying. You don’t need a string of non-title TV matches and rematches only to have yet another rematch on PPV. It is possible to build anticipation without giving the actual “sport” that your whole enterprise is built around away for free. Good booking this month, WWE. Good booking.

SO OF COURSE…

NATALYA vs CHARLOTTE

WHAT WOULD BE COOL BUT WON’T HAPPEN: Asuka says nope to the prospects of wrestling Nia Jax forty times between now and Christmas and debuts on SmackDown instead where she can wrestle Becky Lynch forty times between now and Christmas. Much better prospect.

WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN: Well if you had asked me two weeks ago I would have said “Charlotte wins, obviously.” But then again I wouldn’t have put the title on a wrestler with one foot out the door to retirement in the first place. I understand the need for celebratory reigns but Natalya’s only claim to fame (other than her birthright) is her longevity as a talent. She’s been around a long time but was never more that a silver medalist in the hearts of fans. But now that Starrcade is coming back next month (good WWE) to a non-televised house show (dumb WWE) I think the only logical course of action would be for Charlotte to get screwed out of the title and then secure a steel cage rematch where she can win the belt at the show her dad helped to make famous. WWE is a sucker for that kind of low hanging fruit talking point.

SO OF COURSE…

JINDER MAHAL vs SHINSUKE NAKAMURA

WHAT WOULD BE COOL BUT WON’T HAPPEN: Jinder’s goons interfere (as they have been doing since the beginning of this over-100 day reign of drowsiness) only instead of it working (as it has every single time, the same way every time, to the same result every time) Nak just kicks their faces off and Jinder collapses in a pool of his own urine, instantly conceding that he’s no match against anyone without his cronies. He is just a jobber pretending to be a main-eventer after all. Nakamura takes pity on him and allows Jinder the dignity of losing via a roll-up and not a kick to the brain.

WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN: Everyone wakes up on Sunday and realizes they put the most prestigious championship left in wrestling around the waist of the weakest link in 3MB. What happens after that is academic. As long as we wake up to that realization of truth, everything else will fall into place. Every day Jinder holds the title, the title loses more and more prestige. And you may think that’s silly since this is a fake sport with pretend fighting, but it does matter, because WWE is storytelling and no matter what the story is, there has to be internal consistency and internal respect for the various elements. If the show doesn’t respect its own rules, the fans won’t, and if the fans stop respecting them, they’ll stop being invested. And when they stop being invested, they stop watching. One of the foundational rules of pro wrestling is “the world title is the most important thing in the world.” When a jobber holds it, and constantly needs help to retain it, you’re signalling to the audience that the most special thing isn’t special.

Fans will flee as a result.

SO OF COURSE…

SHANE McMAHON vs KEVIN OWENS

WHAT WOULD BE COOL BUT WON’T HAPPEN: A real, old school Hell in a Cell match. A street fight forced inside a mesh cube with brutal fighting and a little bloodshed.  This isn’t the ballet. The word “hell” in the title for a reason.

WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN: Nobody needs to do anything stupid. This feud just isn’t worth it. And yet…Lookit, if you don’t think Shane is going to do something stupid and dangerous you obviously didn’t watch WrestleMania 32. Or the Kurt Angle match at King of the Ring 2001. Or the Steve Blackman match at SummerSlam 2000. Basically any time Shane O’Mac is in a match, the boss’ son feels compelled to prove he isn’t shamelessly taking a more deserving (and truer) wrestler’s spot so he goes overboard with the crazy risks.

He’s not a young man anymore, but if you don’t think we’re going to get some kind of a sequel to this…

Or some kind of a way to top this…

You haven’t been paying attention. Let’s just hope everyone comes out of this okay.

SO OF COURSE…

Oh well, there’s always NXT.

Seriously, watch NXT again. It’s good again! They’re bringing back WARGAMES people!

Here’s to Sunday.

~

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