Hell in a Cell match
Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose
It's the only rivalry on the card truly worthy of the match type that gives the whole show its name. Is it the end of the road (for now) for the former brothers in arms?
The Road to Hell in a Cell
Well, it all started back at Survivor Series 2012...
Now, as much as I enjoyed watching that initial promo spot from the Hounds for the first time in a long while, we're not gonna go back and recount the last 23 months of WWE history. But we are going to make note of the fact that all of those Michael Jordan's jersey number worth of months went into this match.
And in this day and age, that's a rare and wonderful thing.
Things have gotten a little weird over the past month, so try and forget most of it. Seth Rollins interference at Night of Champions that drew John Cena into the tale of brotherhood and betrayal at the core of the break-up of The Shield and Dean Ambrose's pursuit of the traitorous self-proclaimed Architect of the group. Anything that might vibrate in Rollins' Money in the Bank briefcase, or the mannequins that Dean keeps on hand for sadistic ventriloquist shows.
Whether or not you choose to ignore rigging the aforementioned briefcase with green slime or condiment attacks is probably a matter of personal preference, but I'd recommend holding onto your memories of anything that came out of either Dean or Seth interacting with Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble.
The exceptionally horrid booking of the pole match to determine whether Cena or Ambrose would face Rollins in the cage - not just bad by the already low standards of pole matches, but also demonstrating all the problems Creative has in writing for any babyface not leading a Ce-nation - can definitely be discarded. All that matters from that episode of Raw is that it got us the right two men in the cage for this should-be-but-probably-won't-be main event match.
No, forget all that.
But remember Dean helping a battered Seth from the stage after their debut pay-per-view (PPV) victory at TLC '12. Think back to how the hairs on your arms stood up when the black clad paramilitaries stood across the ring from The Wyatt Family for the first time. Remember one of the most successful factions in the history of WWE, and the path of destruction these two ripped through the company (with Roman Reigns) as first heels and then, all too briefly, as babyfaces. Recall the three-to-zero elimination match victory at Payback over another of the greatest factions in pro wrestling, Evolution.
Then, remember this. Remember...Plan B.
What's at Stake?
Brotherhood vs. Ambition. At least if we can stick to the storytelling focus outlined above.
If we allow the real world to slip back in, there's a lot to consider. One of the first things is the placement on the card. Despite our wishes, the powers that be will probably go with a more proven commodity in Cena vs. Randy Orton. That old rivalry has already been given a rub denied this one, because the winner will face WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar. The contract in Mr. Money in the Bank's briefcase entitles him to the same, but to the surprise of many, that's not on the line in this showdown.
So, a victory doesn't secure the Lunatic Fringe a title shot, and it really might not mean much of anything in terms of his backstage clout. He's the good guy, so it's expected that Ambrose will win out in the end.
Despite the structure they'll be wrestling in and its history, there's no guarantee that this will resolve the issues between the two former stablemates. Win or lose, what happens next is the most important thing for Ambrose. If he's being 50/50 booked in the mid-card, a feud-clinching outcome tonight isn't going to help him much.
A win for Rollins is even bigger. He's already being protected in ways that previous briefcase holders haven't been, where the contract is just treated like the United States title. Being allowed to even temporarily fend off a loss that karma, and the laws of pro wrestling, dictates he take would be a big vote of confidence for someone already being referred to as the future of WWE.
It's probably best to cast the smark prognostications aside with the pole match and Dean's Seth dummy. Wherever this match falls on the show, whatever comes next for either character and performer, this is two of the best young talents WWE has featured in years. They'll have chips on their shoulders and a unique environment within which to prove they deserve a bigger spotlight in the years to come.
And, they have the kind of "years in the making" story behind them that we hardly ever see.
Sit back and enjoy the show.