What you need to know
The card for this Sunday's Hell in a Cell looks to be set. Much of the attention, and rightfully so, is on the vacant WWE championship and the match inside a roofed cage that we've been promised will produce a face of the company.
HHH and his wife Stephanie McMahon, collectively known as The Authority (and I sincerely hope Warner Bros. legal department is working on a memo), are backing Randy Orton. But they don't seem that excited about it. The Viper is just more appealing an option to them than "B+ player" Daniel Bryan. The Beard seems to have the support of his former trainer, special guest referee Shawn Michaels. But this isn't the first time that we believed DB had the support of a guest officiant in a title bout.
Big Show drives a big rig, and this story is making him into a big deal. But we're not sure why, at this point, and he doesn't have a match booked for Miami. Probably because he's technically not a WWE employee since the Billion Dollar Princess fired him. And definitely not with his lawsuit against the company still pending.
Like it or not, John Cena is coming back. And WWE is going to tell you about how amazingly special it is. Who's he wrestling? Oh, some guy who's been World Heavyweight Champion (WHC) for more than 200 days this year, Alberto Del Rio. Lately, he's been torquing ring announcer's arms, so it's understandable that he might have slipped your mind.
The Usos won a tag team triple threat to become #1 contenders for the Tag Team titles a while back. But since they're The Usos, they had to have a match against former champs Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns of The Shield last Monday night to decide the #1 contenders for the Tag Team championship. That match flamed out when current champs Goldust and Cody Rhodes got involved from the announce table, and the pay-per-view (PPV) contest became, you guessed it, a triple threat.
Brie Bella has been consistently getting the upper hand in her dealings with Divas champ AJ Lee, even if she hasn't been able to get over as a babyface. Intercontinental champion Curtis Axel made a new enemy in CM Punk's new friend Big E Langston, and those two will meet in the free streaming kickoff show on Sunday night.
Axel's fellow Heyman guy, Ryback, will head into a handicap Hell in a Cell match against CM Punk. Numbers will be on Big Hungry's side, but he might be the one with the handicap. After months (and months) of talking, the Second City Saint looks to finally get his hands on Paul Heyman in an environment where the underhanded advocate has no way out.
What to look out for
Taped Tuesday in the biggest city in Alabama. As always, previews are spoiler-free, but Cageside Seats can tell you all about what went down if you click right here.
The Chief Operating Officer (COO)'s promo during Monday night's closing segment has been discussed, dissected and left The Game doing some explaining. But expect more of the same tonight, as they seem content to let HHH do all the talking for all three angles currently running out of the Best for Business saga.
While Sunday's matches look locked in, six is a pretty small number, even considering that the ones in the structure will need time. Expect something light-hearted to be booked as filler tonight or via the web over the weekend. Maybe something where Zeb Colter will have a reason to use the new bullwhip he busted out recently...
Heyman will talk. The Shield will wrestle. Raw will be rewound.
What they should do
The tag scene hasn't been this interesting in quite some time. Team Hell No was a lot of fun, but made the division seem all about a vehicle for Bryan and Kane, even though they had some really good foils in Team Rhodes Scholars and The Shield.
Goldy and Cody's nascent run has the potential to do everything Dr. Shelby's charge did and more. With a real-life brotherly bond, fantastic work-rate, characters that lend themselves to odd couple comedy and an eventual split that (with or without a heel turn) will use a veteran to elevate a younger player...it's all here, minus a cool name ruined by having the "Team" prefix hoisted upon it.
What they can and should do differently is use the profile of the champs to shine a light on the entire roster of teams. Rollins and Reigns are made men at this point, and unless they're winning back the belts this weekend should probably be transitioned onto bigger things. Besides, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan of the Wyatt Family and The Real Americans are at the ready as heel challengers.
Jimmy and Jey Uso could end being the next guys that the division is focused around. They wrestle a fun style, have a babyface legacy and they're Total Divas cast members. They've done pretty well getting themselves over - a little push and they'll be ready for a meaningful title reign when the Rhodes brothers exit the scene.
Why not let them start with some mic time tonight? See what they can do besides chant in front of a crowd, and hopefully start to form an attachment between fans and the twins that can build to a huge pop when they eventually win the straps down the line.
What we're afraid they will do
Continue to focus on Big Show and HHH, even though he's not even in a match on Sunday. It boggles the mind - if you are invested in their issues, you're not getting a payoff this weekend, so why buy the show?
And if you're not invested in their issues, the build to this weekend has been centered around them, so why buy the show?
Sure seems bad for business to me.
Who's ready to play "if they win on the go home show they'll lose at the PPV" along with Smackdown tonight?
Join some other players in the show's open thread tonight, and stick with Cageside all weekend as we get you ready for Hell in a Cell!