My sincerest apologies for ignoring the last PPV, Battleground, but in my defense, so did the WWE creative team. Following the worst PPV in recent memory, Hell in a Cell has nowhere to go but up (here’s my quickie review of Battleground: Rhodes family vs the Shield, A+. The rest of the card, F-. Moving on).
The inclusion of a steel cage into our main event should guarantee that someone will walk out of Miami this Sunday with the WWE championship in tow. And if that happens, well, we are already doing better than we were a month ago. On to the preview!
Curtis Axel (C) vs Big E Langston
I need five! If the WWE let Big E use even a tenth of the charisma he displayed in NXT, Langston would be one of the most over guys on the roster. Just one time, let Big E pin his opponent and after the match let him do it again for a five count. I’m telling you, the crowd will eat this up. As far as the match is concerned, it’s going to be alright. Curtis Axel has been….uninspiring as champion. To be honest with you, I had to double check to see that he still had the belt. For some reason I thought Fandango was the current Intercontinental champion. This pretty much sums up the entire Curtis Axel era. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2013 Intercontinental Champion!
Prediction: Your NEW Intercontinental champion, Big E Langston
I think Big E will get an opportunity to shine on his own. I started watching NXT towards the end of Langston’s time there, but from what I saw in Orlando every Wednesday night on Hulu Plus, Langston has the “it” factor. You like that plug, Hulu? I can be bought. Literally tens of people read this column. Think about it.
AJ Lee (C) vs Brie Bella
And we’ve come to the portion of our column where I have an internal debate over the effect of Total Divas on WWE programming. There is no doubt that Brie Bella has improved in the ring immensely. There is also no doubt that AJ Lee is the WWE’s best Divas’ champion since
Ashley Massaro Trish Stratus, Lita and Mickie James. With Total Divas returning to television relatively soon, you have to assume it’s only a matter of time before we see that Butterfly belt Sunday nights on the E! channel.
You wanna know why John Cena has been the main focus of the company for the past 9 years? Why he can walk to the ring and demand a title shot any time he wants? Why when CM Punk was champion, John Cena was the one main eventing PPV’s? Because he’s marketable. Because he transcends professional wrestling. You can flip through the channels and see John Cena wrestling, in movies, on ESPN or as a guest on late night. THAT is why it is only a matter of time before Brie Bella is the Divas champion. She can bring her belt to Jimmy Kimmel Live. She can be photographed with it on the red carpet. We can see it in the background when all the ladies go to Las Vegas on Total Divas. And even after ALL that talk, I still think AJ Lee holds onto the belt for a bit longer.
Prediction: Winner and STILL Divas champion AJ Lee
WWE Tag Team Championship
Cody Rhodes & Goldust (C) vs The Shield vs The Usos
I grew up with Jake the Snake, Vader, and the Hart Foundation, but the Attitude Era was my jam. Call it nostalgia if you want, but seriously, has Goldust ever performed as well as he is right now? The man is firing on all cylinders. Plus his Darth Maul face paint just wins
everything. I have to admit, I’m pretty jakked about this match. The Usos have secretly been one of the best parts of RAW the last few months. Reigns and Rollins are incapable of having a bad match. And I love me some Rhodes family chemistry. You throw put all three of these tag teams into one match and you’ve got a combination more potent than Heisenberg’s blue stuff.
Prediction: Winner and STILL tag team champions, Cody Rhodes and Goldust.
Handicap Hell in a Cell
CM Punk vs Ryback & Paul Heyman
Anyone else rooting for CM Punk to move onto something bigger and better? This man is capable of so much more than feuding with Paul Heyman’s lackeys. I love the CM Punk/Paul Heyman dynamic, but I’m fairly certain we’ve stretched this story line out as far as it can go. It’s nice that Punk can exist in his own universe on Monday Night RAW and not have to deal with the Fandangos of the WWE, but I think it’s about time somebody let’s him know what’s going on with Stephanie and Triple H. You’d think CM Punk might care that the guy he broke into this business with, wrestling in high school gyms all around the country, is getting bullied by the people he once referred to as “Vince McMahon’s idiotic daughter and doofus son-in-law.” Hey Big Show, I’mma let you finish your whole anonymous hacker/truck driver angle, but CM Punk is the Best in the World and he should be the one coming to the aid of Daniel Bryan.
Prediction: Winner via pinfall CM Punk
Expect no less than 5 kendo stick shots to Paul Heyman.
World Heavyweight Championship
Alberto Del Rio (C) vs John Cena
Someone needs to check to see if John Cena’s bones are made out of adamantium alloy. I know his nickname is Superman (and the Doctor of Thuganomics) but the dude’s recovery time is just amazing. I have no more John Cena hate left in my heart. Let him spray paint “JBL is poopy” like a mentally challenged Banksy until his hands fall off. John Cena needs to be in the match because Cena’s mere presence elevates the belt that is widely regarded as the “B” show
A John Cena victory or loss makes the belt seem that much more important.
It will be interesting to see which direction creative takes with Cena’s return. I honestly don’t know what’s “best for business.” With Cena, you are never short on options. You can either give him a semi-lengthy title reign, elevating the World championship while simultaneously keeping him away from Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton. You can have him lose the match to Alberto Del Rio via whatever kind of shenanigans and it makes Alberto Del Rio and the World title stronger, as is tradition. Or you can have Cena win the belt, only to have that dastardly opportunist, Damien Sandow cash in the briefcase when Cena is in a weakened state. And the best part is, there’s not really a wrong choice here.
Prediction: Winner and NEW World Heavyweight Champion, John Cena.
WWE Championship Hell in a Cell
Randy Orton vs Daniel Bryan w/ Special Guest Referee Shawn Michaels
Well….there should be a winner at the end of the match. That’s a start. I like the fact that I can’t predict with a degree of certainty what will happen here. You have to figure the addition of HBK will play some part in the finish right? Otherwise why not have Mike Chioda referee this match? Is HBK in the pocket of HHH? Will he show favoritism to the man he helped train? I think Daniel Bryan has to win here in order to keep this feud interesting. I will say this. If Big Show comes through the floor of the cage like he did at St. Valentines’ Day Massacre 99′ I will mark the hell out. Here’s hoping.
Prediction: Winner and NEW WWE Champion, Daniel Bryan.
Hell in a Cell is shaping up to be a pretty good show. WAY better than Battleground. That said, I just want to skip ahead and get to Wrestlemania season now. The storylines have been fine lately. Way more inspired than they’ve been in a while. But I want to start seeing some build towards Lesnar/Taker, Goldust/Cody, Punk/Bryan and HHH/Michinoku. I’m the worst kind of wrestling fan.
Questions/Comments/Complaints – Hit me up @TheRAWLibrarian on Twitter.