I spend way too much time thinking about this crap, so I might as well write it all down. I’m kind of excited for Hell in a Cell; the card’s pretty stacked and hopefully it’ll put an end to several storylines that have just sort of been running in place for a while now.
Preshow: Neville, Cesaro, and Dolph Ziggler over King Barrett, Rusev, and Sheamus – I had to stare at the blank space where Sheamus’s name was supposed to be for a few minutes before I remembered he’s the sixth man in this match. The writers quite obviously have no clue what to do with any of these guys right now. Dolph and Rusev’s feud was squashed when Ru-Ru real-life ringed Dolph’s fictional girlfriend. Neville’s said maybe three words since his debut. The crowd wants to love Cesaro and wanted to love the “Bad News” incarnation of Barrett and the powers-that-be killed the momentum of both. Sheamus would really benefit from a character trait more complicated than “I’m Irish!” Pretty apropos that they’re all in the same match.
The Dudley Boyz over The New Day for the Tag Team Championships – The Dudleys–a twenty-something-year-old act that hasn’t changed much except for a few misguided singles runs–have been a surprising breath of fresh air since their return. The New Day is consistently excellent, but they never really seemed like a much of a threat simply because there weren’t any other legitimate tag teams around for them to beat. The Dudleys have really helped elevate the New Day into a position where it seems like they could do pretty much anything–and that’s why I think there’s going to be a title change here and that they’ll be involved in another one later on. I’ll get to the second half of that thought in the next section.
Also, I realized the other day that I’d pay like $500 for the privilege of taking a 3D through a table from Bubba Ray and D-Von. Why isn’t this a thing at WWE fan events? Make it happen, Vince! Take my money!
Kofi Kingston over John Cena for the United States Championship – Cena’s taking time off after Hell in a Cell, so logically that belt he’s wearing has to go to someone else. Speculation on who’s going to answer Big Match John’s open challenge this weekend has been running rampant for weeks now, but I don’t think any of the commonly mentioned names (Ziggler, Rusev, Cesaro) are correct. I was thinking about Tyler Breeze, but you don’t debut a guy on Smackdown in the middle of the rancid Ziggler/Summer Rae story and then have him beat the Face that Runs the Place less than a week later.
So I’m rolling with Kofi. He’s been a midcard champion before, and he’s the only member of the New Day that hasn’t responded to Cena’s open challenge (I think). Putting the belt on Kingston gives the entire group something new and important to do while freeing up the Dudleys to work against other teams. Plus, it’s perfectly logical that a three-man beatdown could knock Cena out of action, and the New Day’s recent transition from fun comedy act to dangerous force could’ve been entirely to enable that outcome. This one makes too much sense not to happen.
Of course, I’m still going to stand up and yell happily at the TV when I’m wrong and Prince Pretty’s music hits.
Nikki Bella over Charlotte for the Divas Championship – I liked Charlotte a lot more before she started beadazzling her face. In NXT, she was essentially a female Brock Lesnar: a genetically superior force that filled whatever room she walked into and made everyone watching think “man, she’s about to fuck someone up.” Somehow that got lost in the transition to Raw. That air of confidence that used to follow her to the ring is just gone. I don’t like that. It makes me sad. Bring back bad ass Charlotte, please.
Now, about that prediction. Putting the belt back on Nikki so soon isn’t something I would do, but it’s something I think the mysterious, oft-targeted they who write this crap would do. Charlotte’s done next to nothing since winning the belt. They haven’t even tried to build her up as a legit champion. Meanwhile, Nikki’s in 95% of the Divas segments and has beef with Sasha Banks. Smells to me like they’re going to put the belt back on Nikki so they can hotshot it over to the Boss. I’m ok with that end result, but man…when are they going to give all these talented women something to do? Charlotte’s been nerfed, Becky Lynch’s main job is making pinky swears with her pals, and Paige makes no sense. It’s getting ridiculous.
Kevin Owens retains the Intercontinental Championship over Ryback – Owens is easily the best performer on the entire roster right now. If he’s not World Champ by this time next year, something’s wrong. Meanwhile, whoever’s writing Ryback’s dialog should be sent down to NXT for seasoning. Woof.
Seth Rollins retains the World Championship over Kane – Even though it’s the most interesting potential outcome here, there’s no fucking way Kane walks out of Hell in a Cell with that belt. None. Not happening. This feud has always seemed like a way to give Rollins a clean win over a solid veteran before he moves on to whoever’s next.
The Undertaker over Brock Lesnar via shenanigans – Lesnar matches are like crack for me. I don’t even care who his opponent is; he could wrestle a file cabinet or a Segway or Buff Bagwell and I’d make it appointment viewing. I’m a little tired of the Undertaker at this point–especially given the way he’s been booked as the hero in this feud despite basically being a petty, dick-punching little bitch–but I think he and Brock will put on a good show. No way this one ends clean.
(Author’s note: I’m a dope and I completely forgot this one at publication, which is weird because it’s probably the match I’m looking forward to the most.)
Bray Wyatt over Roman Reigns – Yeah, that cell’s really going to keep Harper, Rowan, Strowman, and Ambrose out. Sure. Tell me another one. This is going to be an absolute mess and it should be a ton of fun. The Wyatt Family’s four men strong and Survivor Series is coming up, so Bray gets the win here to extend the feud into a four-on-four elimination match. Pencil in the Dudleys as Roman and Dean’s backup for that one.