Predicting the 'Hell in a Cell' Winners and Losers
We are just a mere five nights away from WWE's annual Hell in a Cell pay per-view, and it is time to start looking at what may happen this Sunday in Atlanta.
The card is pretty much set, and it is headlined by CM Punk vs. Ryback in a Hell in a Cell match for the WWE Championship, as well as Big Show vs. Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship.
The build has been uneven for this PPV, (including last night's dud of a Raw go home show), but it still should be an entertaining night with all of the biggest superstars likely being involved in the event.
Here is a look at some predictions for each match, as well as some unannounced matches that may take place on Sunday.
Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship
Last week on WWE Main Event, Kofi Kingston scored his second pinfall victory over The Miz in three days, this time to capture the Intercontinental Championship.
It was rather surprising to see the WWE make a title change on Wednesday Night Main Event and not save it for the PPV, but what they will have instead is the rematch invoked by The Miz at Hell in a Cell.
Unless he is in for a character change, I'm not sold on having Kingston as IC champ once again, as it seems as though there were better choices on the roster and we have seen all of this from Kingston before.
Still, the match itself should be solid, as the two have shown excellent chemistry in the ring (and on the mic) together in recent weeks.
Miz just got pummeled by Ryback on Raw last night, making him look extremely weak going into this match, and Kingston's stock is at the highest it has been in some time. Expect Kofi to hang on with another nasty Trouble in Paradise in this one.
Predicted winner and still Intercontinental Champion: Kofi Kingston
Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena
Although he won't be participating in the WWE championship match, now that John Cena has been medically cleared to compete, it would be surprising if WWE left him off the card altogether.
The only real option for Cena to wrestle on Sunday would be Mr. Money in the Bank Dolph Ziggler, and the two set up a mini-feud last night on Raw.
Expect it to be a Vickie vs. AJ representatives type of match between the two on Sunday that could end up being one of the better matches of the night, even if it is not announced.
Both of these men may have larger roles in the PPV later on (Cena in the Hell in a Cell match, Ziggler in the World title match), but a singles match between the two would be a good way to get them both on the card beforehand.
Predicted winner: John Cena
Antonio Cesaro vs. Justin Gabriel for the United States Championship
Another unannounced match to this point that could easily be put on the card Sunday is a United States title match between Justin Gabriel and current champion Antonio Cesaro.
After defeating him two weeks ago, Cesaro was upset last night on Raw by Gabriel which should make the South African the new number one contender for the US title.
Both men excel in the ring, and although they are still working to get over, they have shown the capability to put on tremendous matches over the last few weeks.
Cesaro has a real opportunity to main-event down the road and his US title run has been one of the more memorable ones in recent years.
Watch for him to win via dirty tactics so the two can continue their feud for the title in the upcoming weeks.
Predicted winner and still United States Champion: Antonio Cesaro
Alberto Del Rio vs. Randy Orton
The lone non-title match announced for the Hell in a Cell card thus far is Randy Orton taking on Alberto Del Rio.
The two have engaged in a heated rivalry over the last several weeks on both Raw and Smackdown, and sparks should fly when they step into the ring Sunday.
Del Rio has done a nice job of mocking the "Viper" persona during this feud, but I still wonder if there has been enough build for it to really seem important come Sunday.
Still, this feels like a multi-month feud in the making (perhaps a Team Orton vs. Team Del Rio at SS?), and in that case, it makes more sense for the heel to go over to prolong the rivalry.
Predicted winner: Alberto Del Rio
Team Hell No vs. Team Rhodes Scholars for the WWE Tag Team Championship
After a three-week tournament involving the top eight tag teams in the WWE (other than team Hell No since they are already champions), we finally have the new No. 1 contenders for the WWE Tag Team championship, Team Rhodes Scholars.
Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes became No. 1 contenders by defeating Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara on Raw last night, and now they will finally get the culmination of their feud against Daniel Bryan and Kane, which started last month.
Having Team Rhodes Scholars win the tag tournament was the right call by the WWE, as Rhodes and Sandow form one of the most entertaining and talented tag teams on the roster right now. Both are potential future world champions, but the main-event scene is too crowded right now, so it serves them best to be the card holders in the tag team division.
However, if WWE doesn't allow them to knock off Bryan and Kane and win the titles, then the tournament will feel pointless, so hopefully, they go through with the title change.
As entertaining as Team Hell No has been, in the end, they are both main-event level singles wrestlers, and their gimmick is even beginning to wear a bit thin. Having them drop the belts Sunday as a result of arguing between the two of them,is a good final step for them as a tag team before they move back into singles wrestling.
Predicted winners and new WWE Tag Team Champions: Team Rhodes Scholars
Eve vs. Kaitlyn vs. Layla in a Triple Threat Match for the Divas Championship
Having eight matches is probably too many for the PPV Sunday, so expect either the Divas match or US title match to be left out at Hell in a Cell.
Still, for the purposes of this article, we will include the eventual inevitable Divas Championship match between Layla, Kailtlyn and Eve Torres.
The good news for the Divas division is that they finally have some resemblance of a storyline. The bad news is that the storyline with the mystery attacker of Kaitlyn is ridiculous and makes little to no sense.
Still, Eve has been effective as champion, so if they do go through with this match, expect her to retain.
Predicted winner and still Divas Champion: Eve
The Big Show vs. Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship
After beating Randy Orton to become No. 1 contender, Big Show has entered in to a feud with Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship at HIAC.
The match has had mediocre build, although the WWE is trying to build it as the "toughest match of Sheamus' career."
Sheamus has had some great, great title defense since he became champion at WrestleMania, but this likely won't be one of them, as Show isn't what he used to be in the ring.
Still, the match can be effective if it is more of a slugfest between the two rather then a drag out slow singles match.
For whatever reason, this match is only listed as a singles match and not a Hell in a Cell match despite the fact that it is the Hell in a Cell PPV.
WWE's decision to go with only one HIAC match Sunday may be to make the Ryback vs. CM Punk match feel more special, but it will hurt them in the World title match, since both Sheamus and Show would benefit from having the added element of the Cell.
As for who will win, I expect Sheamus to go over here. Big Show as champion just seems far-fetched at this point since there are so many heels (Ziggler, Barrett, Miz,Henry) who seem to be close to the world championship picture.
Many expect Dolph Ziggler to cash in Sunday as well, but I don't see that happening. Since Ziggler has already made a big deal about cashing in on Sunday, it seems more of a swerve by creative setting up for a tease cash only to have Ziggler stopped in his tracks once again and hold on to his briefcase for another month.
Predicted Winner and still World Heavyweight Champion: Sheamus
CM Punk vs. Ryback in a Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Championship
The final announced match of the night, and likely Main Event, is CM Punk taking on the unbeaten Ryback inside Hell in a Cell for the ultimate prize of the WWE Championship.
By Sunday, CM Punk will have been the WWE Champion for an impressive 343 days, but if he is going to make the one-year mark, he will have to dispose of Ryback at HIAC on Sunday.
Whether or not this match has been created because of the comapny's want to push Ryback to the moon, John Cena's injuries or maybe just a need for someone new in the main event scene, it was still surprising to see Ryback jump the mid-card altogether and go straight for the WWE championship.
However, receiving a title shot and actually winning the WWE championship are two totally different beasts. Is WWE really ready to accept the still-raw Ryback as their champion going into one of the most important PPVs of the year, Survivor Series?
It is entirely possible, but if I was betting money, I'd still say Punk finds a way to walk out with the title.
The issue is, there is simply no way that WWE will allow Punk to win cleanly, considering how powerful they have built up Ryback. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me much to see Ryback totally dominate Punk throughout the entire match, only to have Punk find a way to retain.
The name that keeps sticking in my mind to help Punk is Brock Lesnar.
The connection of Paul Heyman is obvious, and Lesnar still has several appearances remaining in his WWE contract that runs through WrestleMania.
Picture a scenario where, with the ref knocked out, Heyman finds a way to open the cell door and Lesnar comes down to the ring and F5's Ryback, allowing Punk to retain the championship.
Not only would this allow Punk to remain champion, but it would set up a potential Ryback vs. Brock Lesnar match at either Survivor Series or down the road at WrestleMania.
Predicted winner and still WWE Champion: CM Punk