John: This Sunday night is the WWE Hell in a Cell PPV. It’s a unique show because the most coveted prize in the business – the WWE Title – is not on the line because the WWE Champion Brock Lesnar will be absent from the event. In his place we’ll get two Hell in a Cell matches featuring the repetitive John Cena vs. Randy Orton match and then the much anticipated match as former Shield member Seth Rollins will take on his buddy Dean Ambrose.
The rest of the card will see the four other titles defended in mostly rematches of matches we’ve seen before while Big Show is set to defend America one more time as he battles Rusev. It’s as if this is another Night of Champions show except the main champion isn’t on the card.
A problem with WWE programming is that they really aren’t doing anything that exciting to draw people to the weekly television shows. However, if the right matches get the most time then it could be an excellent all around wrestling show. In other words, give Ziggler vs. Cesaro 20 minutes along with Rollins vs. Ambrose and we could be talking about two match of the year contenders. Will those things happen? We hope so.
Joining me for the preview are Christian Michael and Justin Seagull of TJRWrestling.com. Andrew Johnson couldn’t make it this month, but he will be back with us next month. The match order isn’t the order that we necessarily think will happen on the show. It’s just a format to use for this preview.
(Note: All graphics are from WWE.com. The banner is courtesy of our friend Steve Melo.)
Tag Team Titles: Goldust & Stardust vs. The Usos
Christian: WWE is in need of some fresh meat in the Tag Team Division. They beat The Usos vs. Harper and Wyatt into the ground and now they are beating The Usos vs. The Dust Brothers into the ground. There’s tons of talent in NXT that can freshen up this stale division. It seems like for two months now an Uso has faced a Dust Brother in some sort of match on RAW and SmackDown.
The match should open the PPV and should be a quality bout, but it won’t be anything we haven’t seen before. I’m picking The Usos to regain the titles because I think it’s easier for WWE to create interesting new heel teams than babyface ones.
Prediction- The Usos win the Tag Team Championships
Seagull: This feud has lost some steam and has been relegated to these teams being on the opposite end of six-man tags since Night of Champions, but what this match has going for it is that it contains four of the best workers in the midcard. I’m sure it’ll open the show, which is par for the course for the Usos these days, and will go 10-15 minutes and get the crowd going. Even though there’s no tag division anymore, I think it would be a mistake to keep this feud going. Putting the belts back on the Usos would be a waste at this point.
Winners: Goldust & Stardust
John: They have lost some of the momentum they had in this feud. It’s a shame that WWE has done a poor job of building up other teams because they ended up booking these guys in the same matches too often. There were too many singles matches or six man tags in the last month. Fans won’t get excited about PPV matches if they work together on TV all the time. They should still get 12-15 minutes and have an entertaining match, but it won’t be that fresh if you watch WWE TV regularly.
If this is the opening match it would be a good choice. I can see the IC or US Title matches opening the show too. Goldust & Stardust are heels, but they barely do heel things. I think that’s by design. Don’t be surprised if they end up going babyface soon as WWE brings back the Ryback/Axel team as top contenders. Maybe The Ascension could start on the main roster to oppose them. I think Goldust & Stardust will retain although if there is a title switch it wouldn’t be that surprising.
Winners: Goldust & Stardust
Divas Title: AJ Lee vs. Paige
Christian: I don’t know what to say about this match. The feud could’ve helped redefine the Diva’s Division but instead it’s just dying a slow death. AJ’s craziness has morphed her into a loner that’s in love with an inanimate object. I think she retains because the Divas Championship has been passed around too much between these two since WrestleMania and it’s time to end the feud and have both ladies move onto something new.
Prediction- AJ Lee retains the Divas Championship
Seagull: Because of the idiotic rule that if you appear on Total Divas, you can’t be Divas Champion due to the taping delay, we are stuck with our only two real options for being the champion, and they’re stuck in a never-ending feud where they’re trading the title back and forth. I actually have no idea who the champion is right now. Is it AJ? Let’s say she retains because there’s no way they can be so stupid as to play hot potato with the Diva’s Championship any more than they already have.
Winner: AJ Lee
John: I like the feud, but the story isn’t connecting. It also doesn’t help that there’s been a title change during their last two PPV matches as well as four title changes in six months. Why should we care about champions that lose the title every month? Long term, Paige is the better choice as the champion because she’s a heel while AJ is a boring face that really does nothing interesting any more. The angle with Alicia Fox isn’t anything different than when AJ had Tamina with her for about a year. Can’t creative think of something new? Apparently not.
Regarding that “Total Divas cast members can’t be Divas Champion” rule, let’s remember that it was Cameron that said that. She’s also the woman that tried to pin Naomi’s back in a match. She’s not the brightest bulb out there. There have been other reports about it, but we also know plans can change. With that said, Paige is on Total Divas episodes that start airing in January. Because of that, people think she won’t win.
I’m not sure how the “win on TV, lose on PPV” theory applies here. AJ lost to Fox on Raw, then beat her on Smackdown. Both matches ended with the dreaded DIVA MATCH ROLLUP finish that I hate so much. I’m going with a Paige win. Heels are better champions and AJ bores me too much. Can we get that Paige vs. Natalya feud now? Thank you.
Winner and New Divas Champion: Paige
US Title: Sheamus vs. The Miz
Christian: Part of me just wishes WWE would just release The Miz. I’m tired of the way WWE has no idea how to use him. He has the charisma most heels can only dream of and he is a very credible wrestler. Instead he just bounces from one midcard feud to the next. All the while he is overshadowed by his sidekick.
Sheamus as the United States Champion is so pointless. He should have lost it last month to Cesaro. He’ll keep it a little while longer though. Miz has had too many fluke wins over Sheamus in the past few weeks to make me feel confident about a title change here.
I’m sure these two will work hard to put on a good match, but all anyone will care about is what Damien Mizdow is up to. Something’s not right when the guy not in the match is the most over guy of the three.
Prediction- Sheamus retains the United States Championship
Seagull: David Shoemaker of Grantland came up with an idea that I can really get behind. The stunt double angle they’re doing with Damien Sandow is easily the funniest thing about WWE, and I think the WWE is realizing how over it, and more specifically Sandow, is getting. My guess is that Miz will either get Sandow to wrestle the entire match, or the very end of the match, and Sandow will win the belt somehow. Any scenario is better than Sheamus retaining at this point. The United States Championship hasn’t been relevant in three years since Ziggler lost to Zack Ryder.
Winner: Damien Mizdow???
John: The US Champion Sheamus has just been an average champion. They put the gold on him to try to make it seem important since he’s a former top guy, but the booking isn’t good enough to make people care. They also moved Miz from IC Title feud to US Title feud as if a guy that just lost another title deserves a shot at the other midcard title. It seems like the only reason he’s getting the shot is because people love the Damien Mizdow act, which is fine with me. I love it too.
Since the announcers are pushing the idea that the great Sandow (or Mizdow) is stealing the spotlight from The Miz, it’s going to lead to Sandow becoming a face soon. The best way for that to happen is to have an angry Miz attack him in the near future. That’s what the angle is about. Putting another title on Miz doesn’t mean anything. Sheamus could do without the US Title at any time, but it’s better to keep it on him for now and have him face Rusev as his next feud. I’d also support a Sheamus heel turn in early 2015. He’s stale right now.
Nikki Bella vs. Brie Bella
(Stipulation from WWE.com: “The loser must work as the winner’s personal Bella assistant! And if the loser doesn’t fulfill her duties as personal assistant, she will have to quit WWE!”)
Christian: I’m not going to lie, when I see these two on my TV screen I hit the fast forward button. I have zero to no interest in the Battle of the Bellas. They had a chance. I paid attention heading into SummerSlam and a few weeks following, but it did nothing for me. Two sisters, twins in fact, and one of them becomes a jealous witch and tries to ruin the other’s life. It’s a story that could’ve written itself. Instead WWE thought handicap matches and Jerry Springer was the way to go.
If you thought this feud was bad before just wait until Brie has to be Nikki’s assistant. It only makes sense to build the sympathy for Brie but the problem is no one will care because no one will be watching.
Prediction- Nikki Bella
Seagull: If Total Divas wasn’t bad enough for being awful television, it is now forcing WWE to have two different diva segments on their shows and Pay Per Views when we previously only had to be subjected to just one. This feud has lost a ton of steam because the fans aren’t really behind Brie, they’re just behind Daniel Bryan and Brie is his proxy. The longer Bryan is away, the less the fans will care about Brie. This feud is going to go on forever until Bryan recovers from his surgery, so logically, Nikki should win this and absolutely torture Brie for a month.
Winner: Nikki Bella
John: This feud is an example of overbooking. They have spent way too much time trying to tell the story. Those segments with Nikki talking to the camera in a monotone voice were brutal. That Jerry Springer was awful. The “I wish you died in the womb” line made people laugh because it was so bad. If they had a match last month it would have been pretty good because the crowd was still into it. It’s been two months since the SummerSlam turn by Nikki and they lost all the momentum they had. I’ve actually been impressed by both of them in the ring in the last year, so the match could be decent. It’s just that I don’t know if the crowd is going to care or just chant “boring” because the feud has fallen flat.
The stipulation suggests a win for Nikki, but she looked really strong on Smackdown so I’m not sure if that’s the way they’re going. I’ll still pick the heel Nikki to win just because it fits the story better and then they’ll have another match down the road where Brie gets her revenge.
Winner: Nikki Bella
Intercontinental Title 2/3 Falls: Dolph Ziggler vs. Cesaro
Christian: YES! HELL YES! Two of my favorite wrestlers today in a two out of three falls match on PPV. This one should be special. Just give these two 25 minutes and let them steal the show. Cesaro and Dolph Ziggler have had many very good TV matches and now I’m anticipating a classic here.
The way to get people to care about the Intercontinental Championship again is to give them a match with two people they like and let them put on a show ala Mr. Perfect and Bret Hart at SummerSlam in 1991.
Either one of these guys could walk out of the PPV with the title, but it seems as if Ziggler is just keeping it warm for Cesaro. Ziggler beating Cesaro on SmackDown makes me even more confident in my pick. Hopefully after this title change, Cesaro keeps the belt for a long while adding some value and prestige back to the title.
Prediction- Cesaro wins the Intercontinental Championship
Seagull: Such a shame that this rivalry hasn’t gotten more attention on WWE television, and was resorted to a last-minute tack on. But 2 out of 3 falls? Sign me up in a heartbeat. If not for the Rollins/Ambrose Hell in a Cell match, this match will steal the show. Hopefully they actually wrestle three real falls and get 20-25 minutes. I don’t see Dolph losing two pay per views in a row, but stranger things have happened. If the writing team is smart, they’ll continue this rivalry until TLC where Cesaro takes the belt then. Until that time, I think Dolph will retain.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
John: They’ve had a number of matches that were very good including this past Friday on Smackdown where Ziggler retained the IC Title. It seems weird that they would have another match when Ziggler just beat him, but I’m not complaining. They’re two of the best in-ring performers in WWE. A 2 out 3 Falls stipulation usually means a longer match although they could still just get 12 minutes and leave us wanting more. Hopefully they get closer to 20 minutes because Cesaro and Ziggler have amazing chemistry. They do a great job of mixing in the power of Cesaro with the speed of Ziggler. When you have wrestlers of this caliber, let them show what they can really do.
As for the result, hopefully Ziggler retains. I’m sick of the monthly title reigns. What needs to happen is he should keep the title, defend it fairly often on television as a fighting champion and hold onto it for at least six months. At that point, WWE should try to elevate him to the next level again. One month title changes don’t do anything for anybody. Establish a champion. Build around him. Ziggler gets the first fall quickly, Cesaro comes back for a fall a few minutes later and the final fall sequence lasts 15 minutes. Ziggler wins after 22 minutes, two falls to one.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Big Show vs. Rusev
Christian: WWE has done a good job in making Rusev almost an underdog against The Giant. It was a smart move because it’s going to make Rusev’s win that much more impressive. This match is all about the continued assent of the big Russian. I’m hoping the match is kept short to hide the weaknesses these two have when working longer matches. You want the fans to come away impressed with Rusev not bored.
Seagull: This feud is so strange because it seems like Rusev is playing the babyface, and he would be in any other country than America. Show and Mark Henry have been bullying Rusev, and all Rusev has been doing is beating them cleanly (until he kicked a crowd plant in the face). On Main Event, they teased a heel turn for Mark Henry and seemingly abandoned it…or did they?
My dark horse prediction is that Henry turns on Show and aligns with Rusev as a Russian sympathizer (like Sgt. Slaughter in 1991). This accomplishes a couple things…it gives Henry something to do and it holds off on Rusev’s eventual mega-push when he goes against Cena so he can team with Henry for a bit. Then you have Rusev, Henry, Goldust and Stardust against Show, Swagger and the Usos at Survivor Series. Boom.
John: It’s a match with a good story built in. The problem with them is their matches together just aren’t very good. The same thing happened when Rusev wrestled Mark Henry. He would be a lot better against smaller guys although they are trying to feed him the big guys so that he can beat them to look more impressive.
A heel turn by Henry is going to happen sooner rather than later. It might happen on Sunday or on television soon after. This match should be a competitive battle that Rusev wins by making Big Show submit. It’s also not a match that needs to go longer than ten minutes. Maybe Big Show will cry about letting America down while JBL will rant about how Show is a disgrace to his country. If it does run too long then half the match will be rest holds and the crowd will fall asleep.
Hell in a Cell: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
Christian: This has match of the year written all over it. This feud is what Hell in a Cell was made for. A blood feud that needs to end once and for all. Their previous matches had provided a sense of wildness and excitement we haven’t seen in WWE in many years.
Dean Ambrose needs the win here. He lost of SummerSlam and was Curb Stomped through cinder blocks so he owes Seth Rollins one and spraying him with green slime doesn’t count. Rollins also can rebound from a loss better because he the heel with the Money in the Bank Briefcase. WWE needs new blood at the top of the card especially on the babyface side and the fans want Ambrose. A win here shows that WWE realizes that because losing this feud won’t be a good thing for the future of Dean Ambrose as a top guy.
Prediction- Dean Ambrose
Seagull: This is the main event. They deserve it. They’ve been the two best workers in the company since Summerslam and it isn’t even really close. This match will be both men’s coming out party into the main event scene. Frankly, if it goes on before Cena/Orton, you can turn off the show when it’s over.
I expect nothing less than a match of the year candidate, and although those may be high expectations, these guys have proven in their previous two matches at Summerslam and the night after on Raw that they can meet that standard. As for who wins, I think Ambrose needs the win more than Rollins, and Rollins can absorb the loss easier. I like the idea of Hell in the Cell as a feud-ender, and in this feud, Ambrose should go over.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
John: The build up to this showdown has been really good. The mannequin stuff on Raw wasn’t that great, but if you think back to the attacks by Ambrose in the summer and then the cinderblock spot, they’ve really done a great job in setting this one up. That Rollins heel turn was six months ago and they’ve only had two major singles matches. The one on Raw after SummerSlam was amazing, so I’m excited about this one.
Ambrose should win and probably will win. Rollins has the briefcase in his hands, so he’s going to stay over and strong because of that. This match might end the feud temporarily although these two are so good with bright futures that they will have dozens of televised matches over the next decade. Give them 20 minutes please. They deserve it. It has the potential to be a Match of the Year contender and we could be talking about the Feud of the Year too.
I absolutely agree with anybody that thinks this match should go on last. I don’t think it will, though. We know how much WWE loves Cena vs. Orton, so they’ll probably get that spot even though Ambrose vs. Rollins is the much more interesting match.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
Hell in a Cell: John Cena vs. Randy Orton
(Winner gets future WWE Title match against Brock Lesnar.)
Christian: Go ahead, make the jokes: Cena vs. Orton 1,429. We get it. We’re also stuck with it so you might as well make the best of the situation and try and enjoy the match instead of acting like a clown. If you don’t want to see Cena vs. Orton again, then don’t watch it. There are (believe it or not) trying to enjoy the match.
That aside, it make little sense that basically a consolation prize match is the one WWE stuck title implications on. Obviously after a DQ win at Night of Champions, Cena deserves another crack at Brock Lesnar. If Orton is going to turn babyface like is rumored, then it would make sense for him to win here, maybe win the title and have Rollins cash in and really jump start that feud.
This match shouldn’t be the main event but you know WWE isn’t going to stick Cena vs. Orton in the middle of the card in favor of Rollins vs. Ambrose. I don’t particularly agree with it but I’ll deal with it.
Lesnar really should be defending the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Survivor Series. I don’t think it’s a smart idea to have no champion for almost four months. If the next title match is Royal Rumble then you run the risk of no one caring about the title and that is not something a wrestling promotion should be shooting for.
Prediction- John Cena
Seagull: Assuming this match even happens (Orton may have ruptured a disc in his back), I really hope this isn’t the main event. The story has always been Rollins and who was going to go after him. After all, Cena lost a match to end up facing Orton, so by all rights, this should be smack dab in the midcard where it belongs. Doesn’t WWE remember the Royal Rumble debacle? So we have a stale match between two overexposed wrestlers, and one of them isn’t even close to 100%? Yeah, count me out. I’ll be watching football during this one.
Orton is the more interesting choices of the two to win, simply because we’ve already seen Cena/Lesnar twice, but more than likely it’ll be Cena, forcing the third title match.
Winner: John Cena
John: It’s not a mistake that WWE is doing this match. The problem is that they really did a poor job in building this up. Cena’s facing Orton because he was “the other guy” as Orton called him, which was WWE’s way of protecting Cena by saying he wasn’t a loser when in fact he was. He lost to Ambrose, so he gets Orton. That was the deal. Now we get this match with only about a week of hype because in WWE’s eyes, they have 12 years of history. The problem with the 12 years of history is that their last singles match on PPV was ten months ago at the Royal Rumble and the crowd totally hated it.
Orton’s been performing at a really high level and the crowd is responding well to him, so he might get cheered for much of the match. As usual, the crowd will be mixed for Cena. What they need to do is make sure it’s not like every other Cena/Orton match. Use weapons. Think of a creative way to break open a cage. Just do something to make it feel different.
Cena’s going to win. They’ll probably get 20 minutes or more. It wouldn’t even surprise me if this match had interference even though the cell is supposed to keep people away. The reason I say that is because Orton’s going face. The story leaving the PPV will be that Rollins and Orton lost. It will be a bad night for The Authority. Maybe they stay together until Survivor Series, but this whole thing is obviously leading to Orton vs. Rollins at some point. An Orton loss to Cena and a Rollins loss to Ambrose will set that up nicely. Orton is jealous that Hunter picked Rollins after him and that Orton has had to clean up Rollins’ messes for months. The story makes sense.
The win also means Cena would get another title shot against Brock Lesnar. He really shouldn’t have to win a match to get another title shot since he won the last one at Night of Champions by disqualification. Orton vs. Lesnar would be pretty cool actually although that’s something they can do in the future since Orton will be a face. The rumor is Lesnar/Cena happens in three months at the Royal Rumble. Survivor Series would have been better, but at this point Lesnar isn’t scheduled for that.
I’ll try to watch the match without remembering all the other Cena/Orton matches I’ve written about it in my life. I just hope they try to make it different at least a little bit.
Winner: John Cena
John: I think it will be a better than average show in terms of in-ring competition. There are some potentially great matches on there, so as I said in the open if they get the right amount of time they can be special. In terms of major angles or events, there probably won’t be anything that big. However, if you want to watch a good wrestling show for the matches then I think Hell in a Cell will deliver in that regard.
I’ll be posting my review of Hell in a Cell on Monday morning or by like 12pmET. I’ll be watching the NFL game plus the baseball World Series game 5, so I’ll see the PPV either late Sunday night or early Monday AM. There will be a full recap of everything that happened with the results and analysis of everything on the show.
Follow us on Twitter at the following places.
Christian – @Christian_973
Seagull – @PocketSeagull
John – @johnreport
If you want to send an email, send it to me at email@example.com as well. Thanks for reading.