We are a week away from Hell in a Cell while Survivor Series is just under a month away and the predictably unpredictable WWE creative machine is running at full speed. I've decided to take a look at some of the current angles in the WWE and try to predict where they are headed over the course of the next month.
First, let's take a look at some info that could help us figure out what the WWE might have in store:
- - The Miz is featured on the Survivor Series promotional poster.
- - The Rock, Brock Lesnar, and John Cena are featured on the Wrestlemania promotional poster.
- - The Rock is slated to return at Royal Rumble where signs point to a match with CM Punk for the WWE title.
Now, based on this, here a few predictions:
1.) Someone Helps Punk Retain the WWE Title at Hell in a Cell Against Ryback
I'm not exactly going out on a limb here, I'll admit. Anyone with a bit of common sense can smell this coming a mile away.
The WWE has been pumping up CM Punk's streak of consecutive days as WWE champion while Ryback has been riding an unbeaten streak. How do you leave this match without damaging either of those streaks in the minds of the fans? Why, a dirty finish of course. If this were a standard PPV event, Punk could get himself disqualified or counted out, allowing him to retain the title while Ryback "wins" to keep his streak alive. Hell in a Cell is no ordinary match however, and getting disqualified or counted out would be rather difficult, if not outright impossible.
So enter some "help" for CM Punk. The internet rumor mill is churning that it will be fellow "Paul Heyman Guy" Brock Lesnar saving Punk's ass from Ryback. However, the WWE has only a limited number of appearances to use Brock (who has proven to be a huge draw) so wasting one for a run-in on a second rate PPV may make this unlikely.
Another rumor is that it could be a returning Mark Henry. He has been out due to surgery since the early summer and would be a logical fit for use as "muscle" to protect CM Punk. Henry has no prior relationship with Punk or Heyman, but that little fact can be pretty easily swept under the rug.
Finally, a looooong shot but something that would be interesting would be to have Goldberg save the day. Goldberg's past relationship with the WWE hasn't been great, but he is reportedly signing a legends contract and would have reason to want to stop Ryback for ripping off his character. The fact that Ryback has proclaimed himself to be better than Goldberg just adds further fuel to the fire. Furthermore, the event is being held in Atlanta where Goldberg played college and pro football, and also where the WCW was based. Intriguing though extremely unlikely....
Regardless of which powerful monster wrestler it is, expect the door to the cell to be torn off its hinges and Ryback to be put down for Punk to retain. (I'm not even going to dignify the other possible outcome of this match....so let us leave that be.)
This, of course, leads us to:
2.) Team Heyman vs. Team McMahon at Survivor Series
As I posted above, early event promotions are saying that there will be a classic 5-on-5 match to headline Survivor Series. As with all things related to the WWE, this is subject to change, but it would make a lot of sense following the events of HiaC.
I would fully expect that a heel team, featuring Punk and his savior at HiaC, be it Lesnar or Henry or whoever, will square off with the face team, featuring John Cena and likely Ryback.
A sort-of rivalry between McMahon and Paul Heyman has been hinted at during their last couple of interactions, so it would make sense that these guys would be the managers of their respective teams. (And knowing Vince, he might even be a member of his team.) So what will be on the line?
Well, this is another area where the internet rumor mill is going at full force, and the most interesting prize would be for a position of power on Raw. If Heyman's team wins, he gets to become the new GM. Perhaps World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler (more on that later) can be added to Heyman's team and thus, Vickie could win the GM position of Smackdown.
If that were to be the case, I would look for the heel team to pull off the victory in typical underhanded heel fashion leading to a couple of fun months for the WWE. Heel authority figures are always more fun anyway.
3.) The Miz is Going to be Pushed
The WWE doesn't seem to feature wrestlers on their promotion material unless they have something big in mind for said wrestler at said event. As I posted above, the Miz is prominently featured on the Survivor Series promotional poster, so I expect him to have a big role in that event.
He has been on a cold streak recently, losing repeatedly in non-title matches while Intercontinental champion before losing it to Kofi Kingston this past week. So where does the WWE go with him from here?
Well, the John Cena injury scare has put the WWE into a mode of pushing some newer face talent. Ryback is headlining a PPV and Kofi now has a title in addition to Sheamus' lengthy run as WHC. But they're really scraping the bottom of the barrel in terms of face talent after that. They do, however, have a nice stable of heel talent to draw from. Maybe some of those guys are in for a face-turn in order to balance the roster a bit? And one guy who could make that turn and immediately hit the main even scene is The Miz.
Kick to the head aside, a feud with Kofi Kingston just doesn't have much long term merit to it for the Miz, so that is likely out. The World Heavyweight Championship picture, however, could use an injection of new blood to get past the stale feuds.Sheamus and the Big Show could be moved towards face team McMahon and heel team Heyman (respectively) for Survivor Series, while the Miz does a face turn to feud with newly crowned WHC Dolph Ziggler.
Speaking of which...
4.) Dolph Ziggler Cashes his Money in the Bank Contract at Hell in a Cell, and WINS
Ziggler has been teasing that MitB briefcase for a while now, and I think HiaC is the perfect place to cash it in.
The WWE has made sure to bring up The Big Show's hilariously short previous title reign in the build up to his match with Sheamus, so it doesn't take a genius to see that as possible foreshadowing. Another thing that has been played up is the fact that Sheamus has never tangled with a giant as big as Big Show yet.
What I could see happening in the match is that Sheamus goes for the Brogue Kick, but can't get his foot high enough to hit Show in the chin, instead hitting lower in the sternum. Show is staggered, but not out, and lands a WMD to KO Sheamus. Show goes for the pin and wins the match while visibly shaken from the kick. That's when Dolph decides to cash in and easily dispatches of the wounded Big Show to claim the WHC.
Another possibility is that the loser of the Show/Sheamus matchup gets a little revenge on the winner after the match, leaving the winner in a defenseless state for Ziggler to cash in.
Regadless, it's about time Ziggler cashes in and gets rewarded for being the most-willing guy on the roster to sell for his opponents over the past couple of years.
5.) Ryback vs. Antonio Cesaro for the US Title
Few amongst the Internet Wrestling Community would disagree with the feeling that Ryback should not be headlining a PPV for the WWE Championship at this point in his career. However, that is where we are at.
And, as I outlined above in item #1, I expect the WWE to find a way to keep Ryback "undefeated" while allowing Punk to retain the WWE Title. So what happens after?
Well, I think Ryback should be returned to where he belongs on the mid-card for now, and a feud with Antonio Cesaro would be a great way to go.
Since winning the title at the Summerslam pre-show, Cesaro has had nothing close to what constitutes a feud. He has spent his time beating down low-card talent who are probably just happy to get their face on TV for 5 minutes. So, following his stint at HiaC, Ryback could be slid back down to take on Cesaro for the US title.
It's where Ryback really belongs right now. If not for John Cena's elbow injury, Ryback would probably be feuding with the Miz right now for the Intercontinental title. If you take a look back at Goldberg's career path, he first cleaned house of Raven's flock for the US Title in the WCW before moving onto the main event scene and cleaning house of the nWo. If Ryback sticks to that path, he needs to prove himself a capable champion at the mid-card level before moving up to that main event scene for the primary titles. And since the IC title is now freshly in the hands of another face (Kofi,) that leaves the US title for Ryback to feast upon.
And a feud with Cesaro might not be half bad. Cesaro is getting over as powerful heel and can pull spectacular power moves with the best of them. Putting these two juggernauts in a feud between HiaC and Survivor Series just makes sense.
Hell, you could even include them on the Survivor Series teams. Ryback on the face team, and Cesaro on the heel team. Ryback can try to get revenge for HiaC while the heel team recruits Cesaro to be their anti-Ryback weapon. That would definitely help to get both guys further over.
So there you have it Cagesiders. Now, I will mention that when it comes to the WWE, things will often make too much sense to ever actually happen. For all I know, Ryback could leaving HiaC as WWE Champion, Sheamus holds the WHC and continues with the stale storylines for another year, and the Miz is going nowhere fast. I guess that is the beauty of professional wrestling.
So what are your thoughts and predictions for this next month of WWE action?