By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
Ugh. This is like eating stale bread.
We are, indeed, in the midst of what has become WWE’s annual autumn slump. Most of what we’re seeing is either tired and stale, or simply uninteresting. With any luck, Brock Lesnar’s next title defense will be at Survivor Series, which means Paul Heyman will have a reason to be on Raw every week again. I’m guessing some of these older rivalries will end here, too. So hopefully Hell in a Cell will mark the end of the autumn slump. Because good lord, we’ve got a Bella vs. Bella match on this show. It doesn’t get much worse than this.
Nikki Bella vs. Brie Bella
Loser must become the winner’s personal assistant.
What’s worse than having one Bella in the ring? Having two Bellas in the ring. Just keep it as short and as painless as possible, okay? As for who wins…I really don’t care. I’ve been fast-forwarding or muting any segment involving a Bella for awhile now, and this match certainly won’t put a stop to that. But since this whole “personal assistant” stipulation obviously favors the heel, my instinct is to go with Nikki.
Rob’s Prediction: Nikki Bella
WINNER: Nikki Bella
WWE UNITED STATES TITLE MATCH:
Sheamus (c) vs. The Miz
I believe I’ve said this before, but it really speaks to how shallow the WWE roster is right now that United States Champion Sheamus and Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler essentially switched challengers this month. Last week it was Ziggler vs. Miz and Sheamus vs. Cesaro. This month Sheamus has Miz, and Cesaro is with Ziggler. And as much as I hate to say it, because I’m a Sheamus fan, the guy is cold as the U.S. Champion. He’s capable of turning in some really good matches. But his persona desperately needs to be tweaked. As such, despite how hot The Miz’s partnership with Damien Sandow is, this match really doesn’t mean much. How long has Sheamus been champion, anyway? *checks the stats* May 5. And even then, I was calling for a Sheamus heel turn. The other day on The Ross Report, Jim Ross fantasy booked a United States Title win for Rusev, followed by an embittered Sheamus turning heel. Sounds like great booking to me. And with Survivor Series coming up next month, what better time for Sheamus to drop the belt? But for that to happen, he’ll need to get through Miz this month. That shouldn’t be too tall a task. Damien Sandow pinned Sheamus this past week on Raw. So a Miz loss here would further the developing storyline between those two.
Rob’s Prediction: Sheamus
WWE TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Goldust & Stardust (c) vs. The Usos
I’m just about ready for this one to be over. Both these teams have been lumped into six-man bouts in recent weeks, so we haven’t seen a lot of significant development in their rivalry. As such, they’ve gone pretty stale. So I say let this one die, and let’s find some new pairings. This one’s a toss up in terms of who wins, but I’m going to go with the Usos. They make great tag team champions, and think they’re the best duo to have against whatever up-and-coming teams may be on their way from NXT.
Rob’s Prediction: The Usos
WINNERS: Goldust & Stardust
WWE DIVAS TITLE MATCH:
AJ Lee (c) vs. Paige
I’m ready for this one to be over too. I like the AJ/Paige pairing. But we’ve pretty much gone as far as we can go with the whole implied lesbianism thing. And bringing Alicia Fox into the story as Paige’s ally hasn’t brought anything too compelling into the story. So I say we just blow this one off, and let AJ move on to somebody else. As Paige and Alicia Fox have both been added to the next season of Total Divas, I’m not expecting them to go away any time soon. But my hope is that once she’s separated from the Divas Title picture, Paige doesn’t simply become another one of the girls.
Rob’s Prediction: AJ Lee
WINNER: AJ Lee
WWE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH:
Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Cesaro
The cool thing about this match is these guys don’t need to say much to one another to make things compelling. Their ring work and their athleticism largely speak for themselves. While their pairing does speak to the lack of depth on the roster right now, that doesn’t mean it’s not a good pairing. Quite frankly, this is what the Intercontinental Championship should be about. It should be the worker’s title. And a 2-out-of-3 falls match is a hell of a way to showcase what great workers these two are. After Ziggler played championship hot potato with The Miz last month, I think it would do him good to keep the strap this month. Cesaro, of course, can come back to the well several times as far as I’m concerned. If these two are given the proper platform to perform on, they can do amazing things.
Rob’s Prediction: Dolph Ziggler
WINNER: Dolph Ziggler
The Big Show vs. Rusev
Oh c’mon. Like Rusev’s first loss is really going to go to the Big Show at an October pay per view? Yeah, right. Still, I’ll credit WWE with actually getting Rusev over as a dominant monster. Going through Big Show will do nothing but help him in that respect. As I said, I’d like to see him target Sheamus next, hopefully sooner rather than later. In light of current events, a Russian bruiser who captures the United States Championship could make for a hell of an act, especially with Lana doing the mic work. In any event, Rusev wins.
Rob’s Prediction: Rusev
STIPULATION HELL IN A CELL MATCH:
John Cena vs. Randy Orton
Winner gets a WWE Heavyweight Title shot.
*sigh* John Cena vs. Randy Orton…again.
Even with their options somewhat limited as to who they can use on this show, it’s pretty ballsy of WWE to give us Cena vs. Orton on a pay per view in 2014. They got booed out of the building at the Royal Rumble. Why? It’s got nothing to do with their individual talents (at least from where I sit). It’s because we’ve seen this match so many times over the years. At this point, I’d say putting this match on a show actually detracts from a pay per view’s drawing power. I’ll say this much, WWE actually gave us a valid reason for putting Cena and Orton together: The winner gets a WWE Title shot. But then again, it was Dean Ambrose who defeated Cena to get into a cell match with Seth Rollins. So does it really make any sense?
In the end, I see Orton taking the win here, and hopefully moving one step closer to a babyface turn. Orton’s recent popularity on Vine may have sparked interest in a turn. But in truth, it seemed like Orton was moving that way already. And thankfully, an Orton turn would force WWE to shake things up a bit, and put some new dance pairings together.
Rob’s Prediction: Randy Orton
WINNER: John Cena
HELL IN A CELL MATCH:
Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose
If WWE is smart, this will be the last match on the show. Not only will Ambrose and Rollins outperform Cena and Orton, their rivalry is the only one in the company that’s actually worthy of the cell. They were in the Shield together for over a year, then Ambrose targeted Rollins and managed to have a hell of a lumberjack match at Summerslam. To top that off, Ambrose has created one of the most compelling characters in WWE right now, and has made himself the perfect foil for Rollins.
I really think Dean Ambrose needs a win here. Hell in a Cell is a great arena for him, and it makes sense for him to pull out a win here. Ambrose certainly wasn’t at the top of WWE’s list of future main event stars. But circumstances being what they are, they may have no choice but to go with Ambrose. And that, my friends, is a good thing.
Rob’s Prediction: Dean Ambrose
WINNER: Seth Rollins
Images from WWE.com.
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