A WWE Hell in a Cell 2015 Preview – Slap a Band-Aid on It

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

This year’s Hell in a Cell has more intrigue than it deserves, considering how stale and cold the product has been lately. WWE is supposedly planning to keep ratings up by bringing more of the part-timers back, including The Rock. That’s a fine band-aid, I suppose. But it’s not going to fix the real problem: This company needs new stars, better booking, and in a perfect world, a two-hour Raw.

But hey, one problem at a time…

WWE Hell in a Cell 2015, Kick off showPRE-SHOW MATCH:
Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro, & Neville vs. Sheamus, Wade Barrett, & Rusev

I hate this match. I hate it so much.

It’s nothing personal against the guys in the ring. It’s just that I’m so damn tired of six-man tags. This week on Raw they did three of them. Even they put Rollins with Ambrose and Reigns to face the Wyatts, I was just so sick of six-man tags that whatever novelty it might have had was totally washed out. As for who wins this match, given WWE’s policy of “even steven booking,” and that the bad guys won on Raw, I’m giving it to the good guys here.

The really sad thing here is that Dolph Ziggler being in this match likely means he won’t be answering Cena’s open challenge again.

PREDICTION: Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro, & Neville

WWE Hell in a Cell 2015, Charlotte, Nikki BellaWWE DIVAS TITLE MATCH:
Charlotte (c) vs. Nikki Bella

Weren’t they supposedly planning to make this a triple-threat match with Paige? That match would likely have had more intrigue than this one, given that we’ve seen it twice already.

Still, while I don’t often use the word “respect” in the same sentence as Nikki Bella’s name, I’ll do it here. I respect what Nikki has done with Charlotte, and the match they had on Raw for the title. So I’m willing to sit through another match between the two. But after this, they really need to put Charlotte with somebody else. Paige is basically just standing around acting weird. I don’t see why she shouldn’t be next in line.

PREDICTION: Charlotte

WWE Hell in a CEll 2015, The New DAy, The Dudley BoyzWWE TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
The New Day (c) vs. The Dudley Boyz

The right thing to do here, for my money, is to keep the titles on The New Day. Put the Dudleys with another up-and-coming team (Harper & Rowan?), and let The New Day move on. Who do you put them with at this point? That’s a tough question. Either way, Kofi, Xavier, and Big E. will likely make it entertaining. And that’s 90 percent of the battle, right there.

PREDICTION: The New Day

WWE Hell in a Cell 2015, Kevin Owens, RybackWWE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH:
Kevin Owens (c) vs. Ryback

Firstly, what the hell was Ryback wearing on Raw this week? He was clearly trying to pander to Komen crowd. But there are better ways to do it than dressing like a newborn baby girl with a beard.

Having seen Kevin Owens as champion, I have very little desire to see the belt back on Ryback. Owens may not have the build that Ryback has, but he clearly makes up for it in charisma and wrestling ability. Even the stuff he did with the Lucha Dragons was fun to watch. There’s a whole line of babyfaces you can put Owens with, including Sami Zayn when he heals up. So I say we keep the title right where it is.

PREDICTION: Kevin Owens

WWE Hell in a Cell 2015, Seth Rollins, KaneSTIPULATION MATCH FOR WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE:
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Kane
If Rollins wins, Corporate Kane loses his job as director of operations.

The build-up to this match has been brutal. They overcomplicated things so damn much with the Corporate Kane/Demon Kane multiple personality angle. All this needed to be was a chase story. Kane has been dying to get his hands on Rollins all year, and now he’s finally going to get that chance. Until then, you have Rollins constantly looking over his shoulder as Kane (mask and all) plays bizarre mind games. There’s a lot of fire imagery they could have played around with, and of course Kane is a good promo. But instead we got a lot of bad and contrived storytelling, the worst of which saw Kane pin Rollins in a lumberjack match.

I don’t see this being one of Rollins’ better pay per view title defenses. But I’d love to be proven wrong. The big upside here is once he wins, the whole “director of operations” thing is over, and we hopefully won’t have to see Corporate Kane again.

What a damn waste…

PREDICTION: Seth Rollins

WWE Hell in a Cell 2015, John CenaWWE UNITED STATES TITLE OPEN CHALLENGE:
John Cena vs. ?

Given what we know about Cena taking time off until December, it’s not hard to pick a winner here. The only question is, who does Cena pass the torch to?

Ideally, you’d want it to be a heel, right? Looking over the roster, there’s nobody that jumps out as an obvious choice. Theoretically, they could have Ziggler pull double duty and then cheat to win. Cena has been out there with The New Day a lot lately, so it could be one of them. Stardust is a sentimental pick for yours truly. He could win the title and then have The Ascension be his run-in buddies. If they really wanted to piss the smarks off, they could put the title on The Big Show. *shudders*

Either way, this John Cena open challenge for the United States Title is a bigger selling point for the pay per view than what Rollins and Kane are doing with the World Heavyweight Title. That’s a little bit sad.

PREDICTION: Not John Cena

WWE Hell in a Cell, Roman Reigns, Bray WyattHELL IN A CELL MATCH:
Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt

One more note from this past week’s Raw: Um…hi Erick Rowan?

This is the match that should really be main eventing the show. It’s tough for me to complain about having The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar on a show, but you’ve got to believe this was the original main event for Hell in a Cell. But then thanks to low ratings, ‘Taker and Brock got called in early. In a way, that’s a shame. They’d been trying to build this Reigns/Wyatt feud for months now, with varying degrees of success. But despite it’s drawbacks, the time and effort they’d put into it merited a big blow-off like this.

One of the things that has kept this program from being as compelling as we’ve all wanted it to be is the scripted promos WWE has been feeding to Roman Reigns. Ironically, by trying to push him as their next top guy, WWE has prevented him from blossoming into the star he could be. When Reigns talks, you can tell he’s got some of the same swagger that The Rock has. That’s not to say Reigns will ever blow anybody away on the mic the way Rocky did. But somewhere under all that scripted verbage is a real human being that I’d like to get to know. That’s one of the reasons why Reigns, at some point, needs to turn heel. As a bad guy, Reigns can finally be free of some of those shackles, and learn to be himself out there.

As for this match, I’d love to see Bray go over. But if WWE wants to give Reigns another try at Wrestlemania this year, a win inside the cell is the way to go. Here’s hoping a feud with Chris Jericho is in the works to close out his year.

PREDICTION: Bray Wyatt

WWE Hell in a Cell 2015, The Undertaker, Brock LesnarHELL IN A CELL MATCH:
Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker

This match feels surprisingly under-hyped, considering how epic it’s supposed to be. They tried to kick things into high gear this past week, but it felt pretty last minute. They spent too much time focusing on that damn match at MSG with The Big Show. It’s a Hell in a Cell match with the goddamn Undertaker. You’d think they’d give it a little more than two or three weeks of build-up.

Considering that originally this match (presumably without the cell) was supposed to take place at Wrestlemania in Dallas, you’ve got to think ‘Taker was originally set to go over. Obviously plans have changed. But if the rumors about ‘Taker not wanting to retire at Wrestlemania are true, he must be going over here. Otherwise, he just looks like an old man who’s overstayed his welcome.

Granted, they’re not going to beat Brock clean. Oddly enough, I imagine the ending to this year’s Hell in a Cell being much like what happened last year. We’re going to have some kind of screwy finish, in which Brock’s next rival gets in the cage and screws him over somehow. Who’s it going to be? I have no clue. But please, can we keep Brock away from The Big Show?

PREDICTION: The Undertaker

Images courtesy of WWE.com.

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WWE Night of Champions 2015 Predictions – Enough With the T-Shirt!!!

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Oh, Sting. Poor, poor Sting. Still wrestling in that damn t-shirt. In the main event, no less!

But more on that later…

WWE Night of Champions 2015, Six-ManPRE-SHOW MATCH:
Stardust & The Ascension vs. Neville & The Lucha Dragons

I’m happy Stardust and Neville are still doing something post-Summerslam. But this is sort of a nothing match, even by pre-show standards. Cody Rhodes deserves so much better. Neville would too if he could talk worth a damn. Either way, I see “Cosmic Wasteland” getting the win here. I highly doubt creative has any sort of direction in mind for those three, but a win here will at least keep the group alive.

PREDICTION: Stardust & The Ascension

Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev, WWE Night of champions 2015Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev

This was obviously supposed to be the mixed tag team match they were building to with Lana and Summer Rae. Not sure what they’re doing with Dolph and Lana, unless it’s a set up for a big double turn where Rusev and Lana end up back together, and Dolph and Summer become a tandem. Dolph and Rusev are in an unenviable spot here, because at this point they’ve already wrestled numerous times. I don’t doubt they can pull something decent together. But as a fan, it’s getting tougher to care. Especially because this program was hokey from the very start. As far as a winner, I’ll say Lana makes an appearance here and, intentional or not, costs Ziggler the match. I don’t see her being happy about the shenanigans going on between Dolph and Summer.

PREDICTION: Rusev

The New Day, The Dudley Boyz, WWE Night of Champions 2015WWE TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
The New Day (c) vs. The Dudley Boyz

If I’m in charge, there’s no way the Dudleys get the titles back this quickly. Especially since, whether you consider them heels or babyfaces, The New Day have become such an entertaining act. I think in a perfect world, we’d wait awhile before giving Bubba Ray and D-Von the gold again. How about they win it in a tables match at Survivor Series? Maybe even hold off until the Royal Rumble or Wrestlemania? But don’t just hand them the belts a month after they’ve come back. Whether they cheat, or another team comes out to help them, New Day rocks at Night of Champions.

PREDICTION: The New Day

Ryback, Kevin Owens, WWE Night of Champions 2015WWE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH:
Ryback (c) vs. Kevin Owens

In a perfect world, this program would help elevate both guys. And I imagine they’ll have more time to work together, leading to a rematch at Hell in a Cell. But I’m concerned about Ryback’s ability to keep up with Kevin Owens on the mic. I don’t doubt Ryback is working hard, and a lot of the things he’s saying are interesting. But Owens has that understated charisma that’s so different from anybody else on the roster. Things went okay this past Monday, but if Ryback is put in another situation where he has to match wits with Owens, things may not go well.

I see Ryback picking up the win here, leading to a rematch at Hell in a Cell. These two could potentially give us some really interesting TV. At the very least, it’s bound to be better than what we got with Ryback, Miz, and Big Show.

PREDICTION: Ryback

The Wyatt Family, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, WWE Night of Champions 2015The Wyatt Family vs. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, & ?

There’s been a lot of great speculation surrounding who Reigns and Ambrose’s mystery partner is, and that’s a great thing. That’s exactly what you want. Names like Baron Corben, Erick Rowan, and even The Rock have been tossed around. Personally, I wouldn’t discount the possibility of Chris Jericho getting called in for this. He does have a history with Bray, after all.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I want Reigns and Wyatt to have the cage at Hell in a Cell. Give them the main event as the only cell match on the card, and just let ’em go. Put Ambrose and the Wyatts on the outside if you want a little extra hell raised. I’ve got a feeling they’re going to give Reigns another try for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania XXXII in Dallas. If that’s the case, a solid cell match against Bray would help a lot in terms of “the respect factor.” But to get to the cell, Reigns and his team need to win here. It would help drive home the notion that Bray can’t beat Reigns on his own. This program has had its ups and downs. But they can still finish strong.

PREDICTION: Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, & ?

WWE Night of Champions 2015, Nikki Bella, CharlotteSTIPULATION MATCH FOR WWE DIVAS TITLE:
Nikki Bella (c) vs. Charlotte
If Nikki Bella gets disqualified or counted out, she loses the title.

These two had a great showing on Raw this week. Probably one of the better women’s matches WWE has put on in several years. Can they top it? Probably not. But they can still tell us a great story, especially because this match should be just as hot, if not hotter, than the one on Monday.

I expect the ringside set up for this match will be similar to what we saw on Raw: Brie Bella and Alicia Fox in Nikki’s corner, Paige and Becky Lynch in Charlotte’s. That, of course, opens the door for drama on the outside. It also opens the door for what I hope we get here: A Paige heel turn.

Weeks ago, WWE planted seeds for Paige being jealous of Charlotte and her shot at the title. Ergo, Charlotte has Nikki beaten, and Paige costs her the match. Heck, let’s have her deck Becky for good measure. Going forward, we now have two storylines in the women’s division. We’ll have Charlotte against Paige in a personal rivalry, and we’ll have Nikki against whoever her next contender is. Becky Lynch seems like a likely candidate. But it’s tough to ignore Sasha Banks. Either way, we’ve got a more compelling women’s division than we’ve had in years. Seems to me like everybody wins in that scenario.

PREDICTION: Nikki Bella

WWE Night of Champions 2015, Seth Rollins, John CenaWWE UNITED STATES TITLE MATCH:
Seth Rollins vs. John Cena

I don’t see a reason why Cena wouldn’t get the title back here. We’ve had an extended break from his US Title open challenges, and they’re definitely missed. So in addition to letting us do those again, a Cena win would make Rollins look vulnerable heading into his match with Sting. Rollins has to have some gas in the tank for the main event, so I don’t expect we’ll see these guys go all out the way they did at Summerslam. But needless so say, they won’t stink the joint up.

PREDICTION: John Cena

WWE Night of Champions 2015, Seth Rollins, StingWWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Sting

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at the rather…uninspiring way WWE has handled Sting since Wrestlemania. He inexplicably lost to Triple H, then went away for several months. When he came back, the long trench coat was gone, replaced by merely a t-shirt. He’s been wearing, and even wrestling in the damn t-shirt ever since. Hell, he’s probably going to wrestle this match in the t-shirt. And he’s probably going to lose the match in a t-shirt. They aired those old clips of Sting beating Flair for the NWA Title, and Hogan for the WCW Title. But by comparison, the way Sting is presented today just looks sad. There’s nothing “iconic” about the way this man is portrayed. He just looks like a crazy guy wearing face paint. Now, if they want do something similar to what TNA did with “Joker Sting,” that’s fine, I suppose. But there’s an inconsistency between how WWE wants fans to see Sting, and how Sting actually comes off on television.

The way I see it, the only way Sting wins the title here is if they play the Sheamus card. Sting wins, has a nice moment, then Sheamus cashes in and Brogue Kicks him to win the belt. That’d be fine, but then you have another problem: Sheamus is your WWE Champion. They really booked themselves into a corner with this Sheamus/Money in the Bank thing. You’ll have a pretty hard time convincing me that Sheamus is primed for another WWE Title win. Sheamus has heat, I’ll give him that. But that program with Randy Orton was not good for either man. If you give the belt to Sheamus now, I’m inclined to say people will change the channel. And that’s never what you want.

So what other choice is there but to have Rollins go over Sting? They can make it a screwjob finish if they want. But the fact is, Sting has now lost his first two pay per view matches in WWE, and has yet to actually pin anyone.

Some icon he turned out to be. In WWE, at least…

PREDICTION: Seth Rollins

Images courtesy of WWE.com.

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Nikki Bella Reigns Supreme, and Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

Nikki Bella, Raw, September 14, 2015By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Raw was a really good show this week. It had one major drawback, which we’ll get to shortly. But overall, a really solid “season premiere.” This show proved that if they want to, WWE can still make Raw main events feel important. Now if only they had announced one particular match in advance…

Thoughts From WWE Raw:

After a DQ finish, Nikki Bella becomes the longest reigning Divas Champion of all time. In the almost two decades I’ve been watching pro wrestling, this was one of the few women’s matches I’ve ever seen that had a big fight feel to it. Part of that had to do with the fact that Nikki has so much heat with “smarks” like myself. So many of us genuinely wanted to see her lose the title. It also has to deal with Charlotte, and how many of us respect what she’s accomplished in such a short amount of time. It also has to do with the build-up. WWE talked a lot about this match for an entire week. And the first two hours of Raw built up to it. There was a tension in the air by the time they got in the ring. We had to see whether Charlotte was going to win the title.

Charlotte vs. Nikki Bella, Raw, September 12, 2015The match itself told a nice story, with Nikki working the arm, which Charlotte sold very well. Charlotte is such a natural athlete that you can’t help but root for her. You could almost say she has the same kind of appeal Cesaro has. And I’ll give her credit, Nikki was as good as she’s ever been out there. She’s not the most graceful woman in the world, but with the right opponent, she’s clearly capable of putting on good matches.

I loved the finish. It built sympathy for Charlotte, got the Bellas a lot of heat, and pointed us toward Night of Champions. And it incorporated one of the Bellas’ trademark tricks as well. Good storytelling, good booking. I don’t say that about WWE often enough, but it deserves to be said here. Congrats to both Nikki and Charlotte.

This match made be believe that we could actually be see a revolution in the WWE women’s division. Is it here now? No. But could it be here in the next several months? It could go either way, but it’s not impossible. They made a believer out of me.

Sting, Raw, September 14 ,2015Sting wrestles his first match on Raw against The Big Show. What a wasted opportunity. Sting’s first Raw match was something they could have built this up for at least a week. How hard would it have been last week to have Triple H or Stephanie to announce this at the end of Raw? No, it obviously wasn’t going to be a five-star classic. But that’s not the point! He’s Sting, and he’s wrestling on Raw for the very first time! We had all week to think about Charlotte vs. Nikki Bella. You’d think they’d give the same advantage to someone like Sting. Sadly, they probably came up with it relatively last minute as a ratings grab. But oh, what it could have been.

The fact that it turned into a tag team match with John Cena and Seth Rollins was fine. But here’s a question: Why did Sting have to wrestle in a t-shirt? Yes, the shirt has a big scorpion on it. So what? He wore his gear at Wrestlemania and he looked fine. What they needed was to cover up his bald spot, and that appears to be taken care of. So what’s the deal?

Sasha Banks def. Paige. The most interesting part of this match was the dueling chants of “Let’s Go Sasha!” and “Let’s Go Paige!” We also heard some of that during the Charlotte/Nikki match. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a chant like that during a women’s bout. Also, a HELL of German Suplex by Paige. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Paige turn heel soon. I actually thought it might happen tonight. But it could also happen at Night of Champions.

Bray Wyatt, Raw, September 14, 2015The Wyatt Family appears on Miz TV, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose attack. Rough flub by The Miz, referring to Night of Champions as Hell in a Cell. But he soldiered on, despite some heckling.

So apparently Randy Orton was simply written off TV last week, and may not be the third man on Reigns and Ambrose’s team. So I suppose we’re free to continue speculating. Erick Rowan? Bo Dallas? Chris Jericho?

Kevin Owens and Ryback have an in-ring segment. I loved that they talked about The Secret, and how Owens used it to prod Ryback. That opportunity has been sitting there for months, but nobody capitalized on it. Owens and Ryback obviously did a little ad-libbing out there, which I’m always a fan of. Ryback isn’t always great at it (Did he say “The Master of the Feed Me More?”), but Owens damn sure is. Really interested to see how their styles match up at Night of Champions.

The New Day def. The Prime Time Players to retain the WWE Tag Team Titles. The New Day are babyfaces. Yes, they’re cheating. But they’re too funny to dislike. Xavier Woods is obviously trying to be a Jimmy Hart-type annoying manager with the trombone. But while Hart was annoying, Xavier is entertaining.

Kurt Angle, TNAPonderings From Around the Wrestling World:

Kurt Angle announces he’s not renewing his TNA contract. Yet another tough break for TNA. His past health problems notwithstanding, Angle is one of TNA’s tentpole talents. Not having him around doesn’t exactly bode well for their future. I’d love to see a Cinderella story here. But the brand may be too badly damaged at this point…

WWE reportedly interested in bringing Edge back for an on-air role. I don’t see the long-term benefit of bringing Edge back on a regular basis. Yes, he’s a good talker. But after awhile the novelty would wear off. I am happy, however, that they’re actively trying to prevent themselves from slipping into the annual “autumn slump.” For the past couple of years, Raw has been pretty hard to watch between September and November. An Edge return is an interesting idea, but not the solution they’re looking for.

Jake “The Snake” Roberts appears on The Steve Austin Show Unleashed. If you’re interested in what goes into the craft of wrestling, this is a really fascinating interview. Jake talks about the art of blading, why heels need to cheat, selling, etc. One of the better wrestler interviews Austin has done in quite awhile.

Image 5 from whatculture.com. Remaining images courtesy of WWE.com.

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