It’s time, once again, for that Halloween spectacle where WWE takes one of their biggest concepts and does it three times in one night before wondering why the thrill and mystique left so very long ago. It’s time for “Hell in a Cell 2016” with three matches taking place inside the Cell, plus a handful of other matches that don’t mean quite as much. Let’s get to it.
We’ll start on the Kickoff Show with Lince Dorado/Cedric Alexander/Sin Cara vs. Tony Nese/Ariya Daivari/Drew Gulak in a rematch from this week’s “Superstars”. Yeah the Kickoff Show is now copying the D show that only airs on the Network. The first match was something that indeed happened and I can’t seem to remember anything else about it despite watching the match yesterday. My guess is that’s due to the lack of personalities, characters or almost anything interesting about any of the six. I’ll take Alexander and company to win on the grounds of a coin flip as there’s not much to care about here.
We might as well get rid of the cruiserweights here with Cruiserweight Champion TJ Perkins defending against Brian Kendrick in the third match in a series that I don’t think most people needed to see go to a second match. They’ve traded wins to set up Kendrick’s second shot at the title, which is becoming less and less important every single week. I’ll go with Kendrick getting the belt here as he already lost to Rich Swann, which would seem to set up Swann as the first challenger to the new champion. That makes enough sense, assuming you think having the cruiserweights around on the main roster still makes sense.
Let’s go to something a little more fun as Enzo Amore/Big Cass face Anderson and Gallows. This is an interesting one as you have the highly entertaining and incredibly popular Amore and Cass, who have yet to actually win a regular tag match on pay per view while Anderson and Gallows came in hot and have floundered since the Draft. The question here is which one actually breaks through and wins something.
I think I’ll take Anderson and Gallows winning here as the whole idea of Anderson and Gallows wanting to crush the silliness out of the division makes sense if you’re building towards Amore and Cass winning the titles at “Wrestlemania XXXIII”. However, the idea of giving a team a new gimmick has never stopped WWE from having them lose on pay per view right out of the gate.
Anderson and Gallows seem to be more gatekeepers than contenders, which is kind of a shame on one hand but at the same time Amore and Cass eventually winning the titles is a better story. I’ll go with the bald guys here with the promise of a bigger payoff for the popular guys later.
Let’s go to one of the biggest matches as we step inside of the Cell for the first time with Roman Reigns defending the United States Title against Rusev. Once you get past the idea that Reigns has been the heel for most of this feud by doing stuff like attacking Rusev’s wife and beating on a defenseless Rusev with a chair, there’s been a very physical feud in there with both guys beating the heck out of each other.
I don’t know why, but I think Rusev wins here. It’s nothing but pure instinct, but I think they’ll give the title back to the Bulgarian here and let Reigns move on up to the World Title scene again. Keeping in mind that my gut instincts are almost never right, take this one with a barrel or two of salt. However, I’m going to stick with that idea and say Rusev actually gets the belt back here, despite how little sense it would make in either the small or grand scheme of things.
Next up we’ll look at something a bit less intense as Dana Brooke faces Bayley. This is another confusing one as Brooke won their most recent match, though it seemed to be a somewhat botched ending. Aside from that, Bayley hasn’t exactly been on fire since she debuted on the main roster as the crowd is still behind her but there’s not much of a spark to her.
I’ll still take Bayley to win though as she has more potential as a challenger to whoever walks out of the Women’s Title match with the belt. Brooke isn’t the most interesting thing in the world and is a good obstacle for Bayley to overcome. I really can’t imagine a scenario of Brooke challenging for the title and unless Nia Jax is reappearing on “Monday Night Raw” to go after the title, this is Bayley’s match to lose and there’s no real reason to go any other direction.
We’ll clear out the last non-Cell match with New Day defending the Tag Team Titles against Cesaro and Sheamus. Several people, including myself, have gone on several rants about how stupid it is to just throw Cesaro and Sheamus together after all those weeks of them fighting each other but ok, whatever. They’re getting the title shot here.
That being said, there isn’t the greatest case for new champions here. Sure New Day has gotten a little more stale over the last month or so, but they’ve held the titles for well over a year and are about six weeks away from setting the all time record. If WWE just MUST go with Cesaro and Sheamus as a team and wants them in the title picture, let New Day break the record and then go with the new champions sometime around Christmas. New Day should keep the belts here, not defend them at “Survivor Series 2016”, and then lose them at some point in the future.
Now we’ll move on to the two major matches, starting with Sasha Banks defending the Women’s Title against Charlotte inside the Cell. This is the first time any women have participated in this particular match and on top of that it’s in Banks’ hometown of Boston. Why they didn’t just wait until this show to do the title change isn’t clear but the match being inside the Cell is a huge milestone for women’s wrestling. If this match closes the show (more on that later), it’s the biggest match in the women’s wrestling history.
This is where I get scared of WWE as there’s always a chance that they’ll have the biggest layup imaginable and screw it up. Banks retaining here should be an easy concept but WWE seems to have no problem crippling their stars’ hometown fans. If Banks loses and this doesn’t go on last, I have no idea how they expect the fans to care about the main event.
But yeah, Banks wins here and goes on to feud with either Bayley or Jax in the first part of the new year as we somehow get to the Four Horsewomen in a match at “Wrestlemania XXXIII”. Charlotte will be fine as she regroups and fights someone else (I’m not sure who though.) but Banks should go over here.
That leaves us with the Raw World Title match as Kevin Owens defends against Seth Rollins. Where do you even start with this one? Owens is being overshadowed by Chris Jericho who doesn’t have a role on this show and Rollins is being overshadowed by HHH, who may or may not show up tomorrow night for the sake of a slight advancement in this glacial paced story which seems to be setting up Rollins vs. HHH because that’s the rub Rollins needs.
Rollins has even come close to saying that winning the title isn’t the point here because it’s all about impressing or showing up the Authority, which is the real title on this brand. Owens has been completely forgotten as champion as he was handed the belt as part of the HHH vs. Rollins feud and has since been turned into a glorified Jericho lackey. But somehow, this is one of the pay per view’s main events.
I’ll go with Owens retaining via HHH interference because you have to have some kind of cheating in a major match like this because that’s how pay per view main events work. Rollins can go on to feud with HHH while Owens and Jericho probably get into it over the title, assuming Jericho is going to be sticking around and not going on tour with Fozzy instead. Owens wins here and is probably a lot worse off as a result because the title means that little anymore.
That leaves us with the big question: what goes on last? There have been stories all over the place about whether Rollins vs. Owens or Banks vs. Charlotte is the main event with “Monday Night Raw” General Manager Mick Foley officially saying it would be the women but then backtracking with the lame excuse of there can be multiple main events.
Here’s the thing: Banks vs. Charlotte main eventing is a major story and a first time ever moment that makes WWE look like they’re trying to do something special. If Owens vs. Rollins goes on last, it’s just not that interesting. They’re in a lame feud and it’s not going to matter to have them go on last. Just let the women, in Banks’ hometown, do something historic for a change so the fans can have some fun.
Overall, this is a moderately interesting show on paper but I’m much more interested in the upcoming “Survivor Series 2016”, which has left this one feeling pretty unimportant. Having three Cell matches waters the concept down but at least there’s going to be a big feeling with something this big taking place…..at least the first time they do it.
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