One of the premiere baseball writers of my generation and fellow New Englander Buster Olney always mocks the fact that, every spring, he is asked to make his predictions for the playoff and World Series teams for the following October. Being asked to project 6+ months ahead when there are so many variables that can change the fate of a franchise is ludicrous. For proof, go back and look at how many “experts” accurately predicted a Giants / Royals World Series. I imagine it’s zero, and that includes those writers who live in either San Francisco or Kansas City.
While we have similar problems in the sport of wrestling (Come on WWE and Kurt Angle, I still believe you can make my ‘Mania 31 main event dreams come true!), we have a much easier time when it comes to making PPV predictions. To that end, it’s time to gaze 50 or so hours into the future and make my guesses as to the winners and losers for Sunday’s Hell in a Cell extravaganza. Just for fun, I’ll also add who I believe SHOULD win (which often is different from who I predict WILL), and throw in my assumed match order for good measure.
In fact, let’s go even further, and start with the…
Damien Mizdow, who is so insanely charismatic that he’s actually making The Miz popular, hosts the first of what I hope will be many episodes of Miz(dow) TV. Fresh off his upset victory over Sheamus on RAW this past week (and the beginning seeds of some dissent amidst Team Hollywood), I expect Mizdow to take issue with the fact that he’s not the one getting the title match. For each of the last 3 weeks, Miz (or Mizdow) has beaten Sheamus, all thanks to Damien.
What SHOULD happen: Mizdow and Miz get into a bit of a spat which is only exacerbated when Sheamus agrees with Damien, saying he is more of a contender for “Fella’s” title than Miz himself is. The match becomes a Triple Threat in which Mizdow wins the US title. He and Miz feud for the remainder of 2014 while Sheamus moves back into the main event picture.
What WILL happen: Miz is able to calm Damien down enough to avoid any major issues, but Damien is still resentful. Resentful enough for it to matter later in the night.
Alright, that brings us to the show proper and to my predicted opening match, which if you’ve been keeping up with the blog this week, is also my projected show-stealer.
Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Cesaro for the IC title - 2 out of 3 falls
Honestly, folks, the more I think about it, the more I think we might all be witness to a match of the YEAR candidate Sunday. While there are 8 matches on the docket for HIAC, at least half of them could easily be 10 minutes or less, giving more possible time for Dolph and Antonio to work their magic.
What SHOULD happen: Cesaro and Ziggler are given 25-30 minutes to re-introduce themselves to the WWE fans. Cesaro takes the first fall with relative ease, Ziggler battles back to tie it up at one fall a piece, and the ultimate decision takes an additional 10-12 minutes before we get our winner. As to who SHOULD win? Truthfully, I can make a case for either man. Cesaro is seemingly right on the cusp of reaching that next level of WWE stardom, though he’s been flirting with said cusp for the better part of 2014. An IC win and lengthy reign would set him up to be one of “the guys” going forward in the next 5-10 years. However. . .
What WILL happen: Ziggler has been doing an exemplary job of making the IC title relevant, specifically in the absence of the World Heavyweight Championship. By defeating Cesaro, who all can agree is a worthy challenger, Dolph proves himself a fighting and ferocious champion who will valiantly carry the WWE midcard torch well into 2015. Ziggler wins, but its ridiculously close, and holy hell will the rest of the roster have their work cut out for them.
Fans are going to need to calm down and perhaps get some oxygen after that breath-taking opener, and while I am sorely tempted to put a Divas match here, I think match #2 is
Rusev vs. Big Show
Of all the matches for Sunday’s card, this strikes me as the biggest “Who Cares?”, hence why it comes here. Big Show pulled down a flag, Rusev kicked a guy pretending to be a soldier, there’s bad blood. We get it.
What SHOULD happen: Whatever it is, it should happen fast. There is too much potential in the other matches on this card for these guys to get any more than 6, 7 minutes tops. Rusev dominates the opening minutes, Big Show comes back because he is a giant of a man, he is poised for victory and then Mark Henry ruins it, becoming the biggest patriotic wrestling turncoat since Sgt. Slaughter joined Col. Mustafa and General Adnan.
Yeah, I know, totally unlikely.
What WILL happen: Rusev continues his rush of dominance, using Big Show as the final springboard to the main event scene. I still think Mark Henry is involved, but its more because of anti-Show sentiments than anything else.
Dust Brothers (c) vs. Usos for the Tag Team Titles
Not a whole lot needs to be said by way of introduction. They are the only teams going, pretty much, so they have to keep fighting.
What SHOULD happen: The end of the feud, and if necessary for the rest of 2014, the end of the tag team title scene. Seriously, can you remember a time when things were this bad? If the Usos are the #1 contenders, who comes after them? Doesn’t it have to be either the matadors or Slater-Gator? The Wyatt’s are splitting, The Ascension is still ruining IWC dreams by beating up KenTami every week, there is seriously nobody else going. How has WWE not thrown Fandango and Adam Rose together yet, just to get some fresh bodies in these matches?
If WWE isn’t going to make the tag team title scene anything of importance, they are better off dropping the belts altogether. You’ve already removed the WHC, why stop there? Let the Usos win Sunday and then take time off, let Dustin and Cody start the feud everybody has been clamoring for, and bring back the division when you actually have some people to make it worthwhile.
I am Mr. #PromotingPositivity, but there’s no way you can do that when it comes to tag teams these days. Quite sad.
What WILL happen: Nothing of interest, outside of another quality match between four talented individuals who deserve a whole lot better. No matter who wins, they’ll keep feuding because there isn’t anybody else, unless Rose and The Bunny shock the world Monday Night on RAW.
AJ (c) vs. Paige for the Divas title
I’m sure many think this will be the palate cleanser between Cell matches, but honestly these two are too good for that spot. Let the Bella’s be the bathroom break.
What SHOULD happen: Vince McMahon needs to get his head on straight and get rid of this stupid rule about Total Divas cast members being champions, that’s what!
Oh, I meant the match, didn’t I? Full disclosure - I don’t watch women’s wrestling on WWE (NXT is so far above them there’s no point really) so I don’t even know what the storyline is. They’re friends who hate each other? They’re secretly in love? Paige is having an affair with AJ’s husband, whomever that may be? No matter, this is one situation where what SHOULD happen and the actual results are one and the same. . .
What SHOULD / WILL happen: AJ retains the title and continues to be the placeholder until Charlotte comes up and takes the belt, becoming the longest reigning Divas champion since Fabulous Moolah. (Note: This is now the time where, as always, I proclaim Charlotte to be the greatest women’s wrestler in history. OK, that’s over now. . . Go about your business.
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins inside the Cell
No, WWE is not going to do two cell matches back to back. No, WWE is not going to do Cell match, divas match, Cell match. There’s going to be at least a 30-45 minute break between appearances of Satan’s Structure, possibly more if the promo packages are lengthy, which they usually are. Most fans will gnash their teeth and rend their clothes at the idea of Dean and Seth relegated to the 9:30 slot, but if halftime for MNF is the prime time for RAW, then we can deal with this, right?
Of course not. Bring on the hate!
What SHOULD happen: Ambrose finally gets his revenge on his former Shield-brother and this feud takes a break for a while. Rollins moves on to Cena and Ambrose gets a new feud. Hey, this would be the perfect place for Bray Wyatt to make his return, attacking Dean after the match for being the WWE’s next savior and starting a feud that could last all the way to ‘Mania.
What WILL happen: Some dives off the walls of the cage, maybe even a little (accidental) blood, and Seth Rollins standing victorious at night’s end. Let’s be realistic - this is the best feud WWE has going and there’s no way they’re going to let it end Sunday. Whether Kane gets involved or we see some sort of other chicanery, Rollins and Ambrose are fighting ‘til the Rumble. . . At least.
Brie Bella vs. Nikki Bella. Loser does winner’s bidding for 30 days, inspiring teenage male fantasies everywhere.
I don’t even have the energy to write an intro. Let me know how this match is, will ya?
What SHOULD happen: Brie wins, the feud is over and we let some actually talented women’s wrestlers get the spotlight. . .
Man, I am jaded this evening!
What WILL happen: Nikki wins, humiliating Brie for the next few weeks until she can take no more, and this feud sadly continues.
Yep. . . Totally jaded. Come on, Teach, you can do this. . . Promote positivity, promote positivity, promote positivity…
Sheamus (c) vs. Miz for the US Championship
We’ve already covered some of what SHOULD happen in the pre-show, so I’ll resist the urge for more Man-Dow crushing and cover another ideal scenario…
What SHOULD happen: Sheamus retains the title due to some sort of miz-communication (I’ll be here all week, folks...Try the veal!), and on Monday night we see the beginning of the Sheamus / Rusev feud for the US title. Many far more intelligent people than I have been arguing in favor or this for weeks, and I won’t deny that it makes a ton of sense, though you’d ideally want the US champ to be. . . You know. . . American. . . in order for the feud to REALLY take off.
What WILL happen: The first part of what SHOULD happen - Miz and Damien start their problems and Sheamus keeps the belt. Really, this seems to just be a holding pattern for the Fella until WWE decides what they want to do with him. He really needs a heel turn - in fact, he could fill both the roles of Orton and Kane at the same time, why isn’t he part of The Authority?
John Cena vs. Randy Orton for #1 Contendership to the WHC
If you haven’t heard the New Age Insiders’ rant on the total lack of logic regarding the stipulation for this match, you absolutely need to catch this past week’s NAIpod. In fact, you all should be listening to it right now, just for the insanity and the Dusty impression.
Basically WWE has hired skywriters and candy-grams to force us to take these two seriously as the main event, when Ambrose and Rollins are the bigger story. Hell, you could make a case that most of the matches on this card are bigger, storyline wise, than this match. Still, Vince says its the main event, so the main event it is.
What SHOULD happen: Orton wins. Cleanly. Very few people over the age of 9 want to see Cena vs. Lesnar again, and Orton needs a boost to remind everyone that yes, he is on the short list of “best wrestlers of the 2000’s”. Orton should beat Cena in the Cell and then give Lesnar a run for his money at the Rumble, or whatever PPV in which our champion makes his next appearance. Cena can feud with Rollins or Ambrose or Cesaro or Wyatt - you know, what he was supposed to be doing before CM Punk and Daniel Bryan ruined it for everybody?
What WILL happen: Some sort of twisted ending, possibly involving Ambrose and Rollins. Orton still might win, but with three months until the Rumble, this storyline is obviously not over. And, of course, we can never underestimate the power of #KidsAndTroops.
Overall, I think we’re in for an excellent PPV, though Cena and Orton in the main event means it’s VERY likely we’ll end the show on some sort of letdown. The IC title match and the only match that should be in a Cell will be good enough for fans (for the most part) to be happy, and we’ll hopefully see some direction for the latter sixth of 2014.