I hate the Hell In A Cell pay-per-view.
I just had to get that off my chest. It's been my least favorite pay-per-view since it debuted in 2009. The Hell in a Cell match used to mean something. After it started in 1997, there were only 16 matches in the Cell until this pay-per-view started. Almost every match involved intense rivlaries, and almost every match was of an extremely high quality.
That all changed in 2009. When WWE decided to have more themed pay-per-views, whether it was TLC or Night of Champions or Money In The Bank, they decided the Hell in a Cell needed its own pay-per-view. In the 12 years after the debut of the Cell, there were 16 matches. In the five years since, there have been 11 televised Hell in a Cell matches, with 10 of them pay-per-view. And, quite frankly, many of them haven't been good. CM Punk versus Undertaker in 2009 was incredibly mediocre, and there hadn't even really been a feud between the two. Sheamus and Randy Orton, even though they ended up putting on a decent match, had barely been feuding in 2010 before their Cell match. And I refuse to acknowledge the Ryback-CM Punk match in 2012.
This year, however, at least one match makes sense for the Cell. If there was a feud in the past few years that would have resulted in a Cell match, pay-per-view or not, it's Seth Rollins against Dean Ambrose. And the card, as a whole, looks very strong, top to bottom. So maybe this year will be the year the tide turns on the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, and we get an entire pay-per-view worthy of the name Hell in a Cell.
Gold and Stardust vs. The Usos for the Tag Team titles
One interesting note about the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view: while the main events largely have been underwhelming, the Tag Team title matches have been fantastic. Pretty much every year, the match on this pay-per-view has been one of the top three on the card. In an interesting note, these two teams actually faced off at last year's pay-per-view, in a triple-threat that included The Shield.
I view this match as a feud ender. These two have gone back and forth so much that it just seems like it's time for both teams to move on. Granted, right now, there are no other teams to really feud with, but you could certainly see a makeshift team come through to get in a match or two (maybe Mark Henry and Big Show, depending on what happens in Show's match against Rusev). These two have constantly put on great matches, but it's gotten a bit stale at this point. So I see the Dusts winning it, thus ending the feud.
Winner: Gold and Stardust
Brie Bella vs. Nikki Bella (loser becomes the winner's assistant for 30 days)
It's striking how far this feud has fallen in the WWE's eyes. In a month, it went from being one of the highlighted feuds on RAW to barely being mentioned as the two face off in tag matches. The stipulation likely means Nikki will win here. The heel almost always wins in a situation like this, as there's nothing really exciting about a heel having to be a face's assistant. So I'll go ahead and assume this match doesn't have a whole lot of twists to it.
Winner: Nikki Bella
Rusev vs. Big Show
This feud has been pretty good, for the most part. It's been fairly straightforward, but the two have put on some pretty good segments (and matches). While adding the “soldier” to it last week was distasteful to some, I thought it added to the feud, even if it was the definition of cheap heat. I don't think the outcome of this match is in question.
Throughout this feud, the underlying storyline is how Mark Henry has reacted to all this. He's gotten more aggressive since his losses to Rusev and has shown signs that he's close to snapping. He could easily turn on Big Show during this match, especially if it looks like Big Show is going to succeed where Henry failed all those times. Whether it's due to Henry's interference or not, though, I see Rusev coming away with the win.
AJ vs. Paige for the Divas title
This feud has been going for 3 1/2 months now. The odd thing about it is that it really hasn't evolved at all. It's been consistently about their “friendship” and how it’s evolved. And while nothing has been wrong with that overall, the segments have fallen a little flat lately. So I’m thinking this could be the end of the direct. The two can still feud, to some extent, but they’ll incorporate others into it, whether it’s the Bellas or another Diva. Granted, they could go another round after this, but we have to be nearing the end of the feud pretty soon.
If this is the feud ender, the question is who leaves with the title. On one hand, AJ, as a face, has more opponents to work with. You can even have her eventually feud with Stephanie McMahon, which they’ve teased several times but haven't gone with. On the other hand, it’s hard to see exactly where they go with Paige if she doesn’t have the title and isn’t truly in the title picture. It would be a bit of a waste if Paige just turns into someone like Natalya, whom you bring out when you need a match to tell a story. While those aren’t the only options overall, it does seem like, with the exception of the Bellas feud, those are the two scenarios Divas find themselves in these days. It’s tough, and I could see it going either way, but as of now, I lean toward AJ winning, and then maybe going on to have a direct feud with Nikki.
Sheamus vs. The Miz for the United States title
Who would have thought that this feud would consistently bring one of the most entertaining segments of the night for the past month? Granted, much of that is due to “Damien Mizdow,” but all three wrestlers have done their job brilliantly, and the matches and segments have been a highlight of what’s become a bit of a down period in the schedule. With regard to Sandow, there’s no question he’s been fantastic. Him mimicking Miz on the outside as he does moves is incredibly well done. I am getting a bit concerned that they’re going to go overboard with it now that they’ve realized how much the fans love it. It would be quite typical of the WWE to take something fun and entertaining and run it into the ground (see: “Fandangoing”). So, hopefully, they find a balance between entertaining and over the top.
Now the question becomes what happens in this match. For most of this feud, I’ve learned toward Sheamus retaining. But with the newfound appreciation of Sandow, I could see them incorporating him somehow into it. It’s ridiculous, but would anyone put it past WWE for Sandow to somehow get the pin on Sheamus without the ref realizing it wasn’t Miz in the ring? Or even if they don’t do something quite as ridiculous, eventually they have to go with the “stunt double” overshadowing the star feud. And the U.S. title would be a nice way to do that. I think they could do anything with Miz and Sandow without a title, but, knowing WWE, they like to have a belt involved. So for that reason, I’m leaning toward The Miz.
Winner: The Miz
Cesaro vs. Dolph Ziggler in a two-out-of-three falls match for the Intercontinental Title
This feud, like many feuds for the IC title, has been pretty choppy. They went back and forth a bit, Cesaro won a match over Ziggler, and suddenly he’s the No. 1 contender. However, with this match, people will be willing to overlook that. This match has the potential to be the show stealer. These two are two of the best in-ring workers in the WWE right now, and giving them the time for a two-out-of-three falls match should allow them to put on a show for the viewers. This could even end up being a Match of the Year candidate.
With a true lack of a feud, it’s hard to see them putting the belt on Cesaro. They certainly could, and it wouldn’t be unprecedented, but with Ziggler continuing to get good crowd reactions, and the crowd still somewhat mixed on Cesaro, I just can’t see them taking the belt off Ziggler at this point.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Randy Orton vs. John Cena in Hell in a Cell (to be No. 1 contender to the WWE World Heavyweight title)
There’s not a lot that needs to be said about this match. I will say that WWE did about as good a job possible at giving people a reason to care about it in the one-week span they gave themselves. The No. 1-contender stipulation makes sense, and if nothing else, it’s at least a reason for it to be in the position it’s in. The big question is whether this match is going on last, or whether it will be Rollins-Ambrose. I hope for WWE’s sake that it realizes that the Rollins-Ambrose match really needs to go last. If this is the last match, the crowd in Dallas could really dump on it. Or, if not dump on it, just not care if it tries to follow what should be a thrilling match in Rollins-Ambrose. So, hopefully, the WWE does the right thing and doesn’t have it last.
I still think that last month’s DQ finish in the title match was supposed to allow one more rematch between Cena and Lesnar. If they had wanted to move on from that feud altogether, they probably would have had Lesnar actually pick up the win, though through shady means, such as with Heyman's help. Also, with Orton, I think they want to focus on his splinter from The Authority, which seems to be happening. So I think Cena takes it and faces Lesnar one more time. (And hopefully it’s before Royal Rumble).
Winner: John Cena
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins in Hell in a Cell
So here we are. Ever since this feud started, I wondered whether they could stretch it out to Hell in a Cell, as it was a feud made for the Cell. Think about the brawls between these two. Even in a Lumberjack match, they brawled into the crowd. So what else could contain them besides the Cell? I expect a lot of brawling, some crazy spots, and it wouldn’t shock me if the two ended up on top of the Cell at some point in the match. I can honestly say that this is the first Cell match (besides Triple H-Undertaker at Wrestlemania) that I’m really looking forward to in quite a while.
So who wins? Well, I believe the Cell should be a feud ender. That’s how it used to be, and I think that should be followed. But I doubt it happens that way. I see this stretching to TLC, where Rollins ends up having to put his briefcase on the line in a ladder match against Ambrose. How do we get from here to that point? I think the most obvious way is to have Ambrose win here. You have Ambrose win this match, have some sort of match with Team Ambrose and The Authority at Survivor Series, and then you have the match at TLC. So, for that reason, I have Ambrose winning here.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
Questions? Thoughts? Leave them in the comment section or find me on Twitter: @TheAOster