WWE returns live on pay-per-view (PPV) tomorrow night (Sun., Oct. 28) at 8E/5P, from the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, featuring "one of the most merciless structures in WWE history". We're talking about the much hyped, fourth annual, Hell in a Cell event, and it's finally just about here folks.
Is the anticipation getting to you? Can you feel the excitement building? No? Well, we are here with all the goods on what to, and what not to, get all amped about this weekend.
First of all, in addition to the show airing at official blast areas in select states, just in case you didn't already read it here first, WWE has officially announced John Cena will take part in the free, live, half-hour long, streaming pre-show, which will air on YouTube, Facebook and WWE.com. It is scheduled to start directly preceding the PPV tomorrow night at 7:30 ET.
From WWE's announcement:
Newly implicated in the "AJ scandal" that forced Ms. Lee to resign as Raw's General Manager Monday, John Cena will face questions asked directly by the WWE Universe during the live WWE Hell in a Cell Pre-Show Sunday. Fans will be able to submit questions via Twitter, TOUT and Facebook, using the hashtag #CenaPreShow.
The PPV will include the following line up:
- Main event Hell in a Cell Match featuring WWE Champion CM Punk vs. Ryback
- World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus vs. Big Show
- Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz
- WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No vs. Team Rhodes Scholars
- Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio
- Divas Championship Triple Threat Match featuring Divas Champion Eve vs. Layla vs. Kaitlyn
Luckily for you Cagesiders, our staff of wild, wicked wrestling wizards are here to help figure out just how the event is going to play out with predictions for each match on the card.
WWE Champion CM Punk vs. Ryback -Hell in a Cell Match
- The General: Probably the most fascinating match of the year, if only because I'm so fascinated by the business aspect of how things work behind-the-scenes. There's turmoil at WWE headquarters in Stamford right now because no one knows what the hell to do. The finish has been changed a million times already. I can't wait to see what they settle on. Pick: Punk wins after a run-in.
- Hulk Holland: While it's not beneath WWE to swerve the Internet with goofy title changes, Ryback isn't getting the strap at Hell in a Cell. Sure, he's over, but there's too much invested in CM Punk's heel run -- including the length of his championship reign -- to waste it on a botchy guy that can't speak in complete sentences. Still, they'll protect him, if for no other reason than to sell a few more Ryback tee shirts, but "The Straight-Edge Superstar" retains (through nefarious means) and moves on to bigger and better things.
- Keith Harris: This is perhaps the trickiest booking decision of the year for WWE. Do they derail Ryback's momentum by having the undefeated musclebound monster lose in his first major match up or do they prematurely yank the title from CM Punk, who has been doing sterling work lately as a heel champion and has much bigger future fish to fry in John Cena and The Rock? They could always have Brock Lesnar come up from out underneath the ring and cost Ryback the match, but given his limited dates contract when could you possibly do the match? I just can't see Triple H stepping aside and letting a Bill Goldberg clone take his spot at WrestleMania 29. So I predict the Devil himself putting over Ryback clean in the middle of the ring in Ric Flair fashion. Punk can always win the title back in a three-way with Cena at Survivor Series or TLC and it would give a much needed one week boost to Monday Night Raw's rock bottom ratings.
- Hollywood Wallace: With a hubris so large that it's only dwarfed by the magnitude of Ryback's hunger, Hell in a Cell will be Punk's Waterloo. Ryback by pinfall.
- Nolan Howell: While this main event will certainly prove where Ryback is, it isn't anywhere close to the time to give him a title. While Punk won't look dominant, but he will pull off something slick and walk out with the victory.
- C. J. Bradford: Ryback has been built up so much that I wouldn't be surprised if he picks up the victory; whether that means Punk drops the belt, though, is an entirely different matter. There will almost certainly be shenanigans in this match (unless there isn't), Punk will probably retain on some technicality (unless he doesn't), but either way, it will be interesting to see how WWE pulls everything together (unless it isn't).
- June M. Williams: Punk retains. Just cause that is how I want it to go, no particular theories here.
World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus vs. Big Show
- The General: Holy shit, I don't care. My hope is that this HOSS FIGHT (shout out to Holzerman) will live up to its hoss fight potential. My fear is it will bomb and Atlanta will take a dump on it by failing to react to any of the high spots of the match. I'll be more interested to see where this match ends up in the line-up because it might be a heat killer. Pick: Sheamus retains.
- Hulk Holland: I like "heel" Big Show, but there's no reason for Sheamus to lose the title to him on Sunday. For what? To have everyone's favorite "fella" try to win it back? Like CM Punk, the "Great White" is in-between programs and won't be coughing up the strap until they can elevate someone worth giving it to. With Survivor Series and Royal Rumble just around the corner, I have to think that's sooner rather than later.
- Keith Harris: Sheamus hasn't lost on pay-per-view all year and Big Show is clearly just a name to put him over even bigger as a strong babyface, so expect the Brogue Kick to beat out the KO punch in yet another victory for the Celtic Warrior. The only question is whether Dolph Ziggler will cash in the Money In The Bank briefcase and win the World Heavyweight title afterwards, as he's been teasing. The timing doesn't seem quite right for that, so expect him to be thwarted by Sheamus before the bell rings once again.
- Hollywood Wallace: While Hell in a Cell matches usually favor the larger/stronger man, Sheamus' game is pretty much raw power as well. I honestly think that Sheamus is on the roll of a lifetime and that even The World's Largest Athlete simply isn't a big enough challenge for him right now. Sheamus by pinfall.
- Nolan Howell: This match isn't so much determined by the winner as it is the actions of Dolph Ziggler afterward. That said, no reason to think Sheamus loses here. I think Ziggler will cash in and there might even be a little match afterward, given the slim number of scheduled bouts on this card. If that is the case, it makes sense for him to go over on the bigger star, so that means Sheamus will be the winner.
- C. J. Bradford: There are two options here; Sheamus wins and we get at least another month of him as the World Heavyweight Champion, or The Big Show gets the victory only to have Dolph Ziggler cash in and win the strap. While I know a lot of people think Ziggler will get the belt here, for some reason I just feel like WWE is waiting to pull the trigger. No Ziggler means "The Great White" retains.
- June M. Williams: Sheamus wins. Dolph cashes in after for his shot.
Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz
- The General: I see no reason for them to build Kofi the way they have, really driving home that bad botch on Raw and then taking the title from Miz the next night on Main Event, just to have him drop the belt in the rematch on the PPV. Unless there is some elaborate rib on Kofi here, he's keeping the strap. Pick: Kingston retains.
- Hulk Holland: Despite all the heat Miz gets for, well, being The Miz, he's actually delivered an entertaining program and I think he's got good chemistry with Kofi Kingston. That being said, it's too soon after the high-flyer's win at Main Event for a title change, but I'm still expecting a pay-per-view (PPV) quality match.
- Keith Harris: Losing the Intercontinental title in his first defence would just make Kofi Kingston look like a complete jabroni, so expect him to beat The Miz again in a fashion that keeps the feud going.
- Hollywood Wallace: I think Miz has lost his swagger since Ryback tore him up. Kofi has been a title holder before and he knows what to do with the gold. Kofi by pinfall.
- Nolan Howell: Miz is playing a character on a tear as of late, but to switch the titles that quickly would be pretty bad. And if this Miz push that is rumored is going to happen, the IC belt would just be a ball and chain for him. Kofi wins to make him still relevant.
- C. J. Bradford: I don't see any reason to have Kofi Kingston win the Intercontinental Championship, only to give it back to The Miz a week and a half later. Mr. Mizanin may be getting a push soon, but it won't be with the IC title. Kofi retains.
- June M. Williams: The Miz is being marketed all over the place lately, so I say they give him the win.
WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No vs. Team Rhodes Scholars
- The General: Daniel Bryan and Kane have had a good run and WWE probably wants it to continue but you can't establish a strong tag team foil if you don't put them over. That's why Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes should win the belts here. Pick: Rhodes Scholars win titles.
- Hulk Holland: Team Hell No vs. The Rhodes Scholars The tag-team mini tournament has been a nice surprise and it would be a shame to waste it by leaving the belts on Team Hell No. Besides, they don't need the gold to stay over. In fact, I think losing it will be the perfect segue into the next chapter of their feud (blame game, etc.). It also helps that Rhodes Scholars are an actual tag team and not an unlikely union cobbled together for silly vignettes. New champs in Georgia.
- Keith Harris: This is another match that is tough to call, as clearly the creative team loves writing skits for Team Hell No and it's too soon for them to break up as a tag team, yet Team Rhodes Scholars have great chemistry together and clearly will win the Tag Team Championships sooner or later. It could go either way, but I'll plum for the scholarly duo to win the titles here, with the odd couple of Kane and Daniel Bryan trying to work out their differences despite losing the gold in the weeks ahead on Raw, as more therapy sessions will be needed after such a blow to their confidence.
- Hollywood Wallace: WWE's insistence on prefixing tag combinations with "Team" is something that I can't abide by. It's redundant, superfluous, and able to be omitted without loss of meaning or purpose. Hell No by pinfall.
- Nolan Howell: Team Hell No is a hot commodity as of late, but the expiration date is coming soon and their rise is rivaled by the new tag team. I think it is time for the cracks in the foundation of Team Hell No to start widening and that means that Team Rhodes Scholars will take home the belts.
- C. J. Bradford: Logic dictates that Hell No combusts and the team's in-fighting creates an opportunity for Rhodes Scholars to steal the win. WWE rarely follows logic. I think the powers that be want to milk this duo for all its worth. Hell No keeps the Tag Team Championship tonight, only to lose it at Survivor Series.
- June M. Williams: Team Rhodes Scholars will be taking this one so we can fuel the drama between Team Hell No awhile longer, surely they will ruin the win for one another saving us from the "I'm the tag team champions!" squabble at the end of the match. (Which is the only thing about them I am not still thoroughly enjoying.)
Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio
- The General: This has been a really bland and boring feud that has felt meaningless. Like a time killer. So I'll go with the bigger star here. Pick: Orton wins.
- Hulk Holland: Why the hell are these two feuding? I can't even remember. I don't think it matters, either, as this just feels like "We have to get Randy Orton on the next PPV," rather than the culmination of a serious build. I don't think a loss this weekend hurts either wrestler, but that's because neither one of them has anything to do at the present moment except bounce from foe-to-foe. I'm picking "The Viper" because he's a face and has the clout, but not with any confidence.
- Keith Harris: Ah, Randy Orton's big comeback match after missing a few TV tapings here and there due to shooting a movie where he tries to see if he can lose the company more money than John Cena did in a similar role. Alberto Del Rio has been treading water forever and clearly this is just a makeshift match to get their number three babyface on the show, so I can't see Del Rio winning here. I think this will be a one-and-done feud, allowing Orton to work a longer program with Wade Barrett.
- Hollywood Wallace: ADR has dominated the WWE this season with the exception of the very top echelon of guys, such as Sheamus. Is Orton in that category still? I can't be sure, but I am guessing not. Alberto Del Rio by pinfall.
- Nolan Howell: I love Alberto Del Rio, but tell me one time the WWE didn't try to make him look terrible. Orton wins.
- C. J. Bradford: Unless WWE is still punishing Orton for his failed drug test, "The Viper" wins in a solid, but forgettable, match.
- June M. Williams: WWE will continue to push the Apex Predator at the cost of ADR. Orton wins.
Divas Championship Triple Threat Match featuring Divas Champion Eve vs. Layla vs. Kaitlyn
- The General: I guess Eve because she's better than the other two combined. Pick: Eve retains.
- Hulk Holland: I dunno. This entire program sucks. I guess Kaitlyn wins because they can exploit her past with Layla and blah, blah, blah. Whatever. At least Eve losing can be one more thing she blames on Teddy Long during her next round of Booker T butt-smooching.
- Keith Harris: Eve Torres is the focal point of the Divas division with the ongoing storyline of her pulling the wool over SmackDown GM Booker T's eyes by pretending to be all nicey-nice and playing by the rules just for show. Layla hasn't had any momentum since returning from injury and Kaitlyn is beyond awful as a wrestler, so Eve will clearly retain the title here.
- Hollywood Wallace: Eve is on a roll. Inertia. Eve by pinfall.
- Nolan Howell: Eve Torres is on fire in more ways than one. All of these ladies are, as a matter of fact. Despite that, you keep playing with the hot hand until it fails, so Eve will retain.
- C. J. Bradford: Eve is going to get her comeuppance; it is just a matter of who is going to give it to her. As much as I love Kaitlyn, I think she's is still a little too green to get a serious run as Divas champion. Layla gets another reign with the butterfly belt.
- June M. Williams: Eve is getting heat and I wanna see her lose, therefore she will win and continue to get away with her redic shenanigans for awhile longer, although I wish it would culminate tonight, it won't. Layla will get that prissy belt, Kaitlyn is still too fresh.
Those are our picks and predictions, Cagesiders. What are yours?