How Raw Utterly Failed to Promote Hell in the Cell

Andy SoucekFeatured ColumnistOctober 23, 2012

photo from
photo from

"Did You Know" that WWE has a pay-per-view on Sunday?

Sure, they mentioned it a few times during Raw, and they even put a graphic in the lower right-hand part of the screen.

But what did WWE really do during the show that effectively helped to promote Hell in the Cell?

After Raw ended, it was clear that the company had failed to construct any sort of a strong selling point. There was no hook.

In terms of promoting a pay-per-view, and trying to get people to pay their hard-earned money to watch it, the show was a complete disaster.

Maybe they're waiting for Saturday Morning Slam for the final hard sell.

First off, the biggest match at Hell in the Cell is Ryback vs. CM Punk.

However, the main event of Raw was CM Punk vs. Sheamus. Now, in theory, that should be the biggest match in the entire company. The two top champions going head-to-head.

If booked right, it should be a pay-per-view main event.

But not only was it forgettable (just listen to the crowd's reaction), but it was a lazy retread of what we'd just seen the last week.

The match was a gigantic, messy spectacle that could have been saved for some other time. It had the same ending as last week's Raw, with Punk looking scared and defeated.

The problem is, this closing to the show, it's just not personal between Ryback and Punk. We still don't know why Ryback hates Punk.

We saw the two have a staredown and saw Ryback later save Jim Ross' pride, but there's no substance to it. Punk hasn't talked about Ryback enough, and Ryback doesn't talk at all.

With the lack of promos, the big selling point of the match has been seeing Ryback finally get his hands on that little weasel Punk. The idea was that fans would go crazy when Punk no longer has anywhere to run. He was going to get manhandled.

The problem is, WWE already gave away Ryback destroying Punk. Twice.

The other big match at the Cell is Sheamus vs. The Big Show.

On Raw, the build to the match felt strangely familiar.

Just like on Smackdown, Big Show slowly made his way to the ring before a lumberjack match, he had his hoodie over his head and he stood there the whole match until he finally laid out Sheamus.

It was nearly an exact rerun from what we saw on Friday. But wait! This time there were more lumberjacks!

Earlier in the show, Sheamus did his best John Cena impression again. Instead of talking up how important the match was to him, and what slaying the giant would mean to his career, he just joked around with a doll.

Why order Sunday's show when you could order a couple of Brawling Buddies instead?

What about the other matches scheduled for Hell in the Cell? How did Raw promote those?

- Alberto Del Rio defeated Zack Ryder for the umpteenth time, and Randy Orton didn't even show up.

- The build for The Miz vs. Kofi was completely ruined when Ryback destroyed Miz again.

- And after weeks of a tag team tournament, it all ended with a half-hearted comedy skit that was designed to get laughs and not get any real heat.

There wasn't even any of those crazy good Hell in the Cell video recaps that show how dangerous the match is. Where were the highlights of Undertaker vs. Mankind or HHH vs. Shawn Michaels?

We're usually told how The Cell can shorten a man's career, how they'll never be the same once they emerge from the cage.

This time, the cell seems like an afterthought. It just happens to be at the show, so they might as well use it, I guess.

Maybe WWE should be excused. In a short, three-hour wrestling show, how is a company supposed to properly find the time to promote their next big event?

WWE had to save some of that time for the drama between AJ, Vickie Guerrero and John Cena. A new managing supervisor had to be named tonight. Fans could no longer wait!

It's too bad that those three don't even have a match at the show.

With six-and-a-half hours of TV to fill every week, maybe WWE just forgot that they're also in the pay-per-view business.

Now, where can I order one of those Brawlin Buddies?