Look for Randy Orton to defeat Alberto Del Rio in their scheduled match at this week's Hell in a Cell event.
Oh, sure, Del Rio will be allowed to look competitive—and may even come close to winning a few times, but ultimately he will not prevail at the show in Atlanta.
There are a few reasons for this.
For one thing, Del Rio has simply not taken off as a top heel and does not merit a victory over a top star like Orton, something the company must be aware of.
When Del Rio signed with the company two years ago, the hopes were that he would emerge as the company’s next big Mexican star, someone who could potentially be as famous and popular as Rey Mysterio.
He’s been the recipient of a great push, put with a tremendous, charismatic manager in Ricardo Rodriguez. He even had a couple of runs with the WWE Championship but has ultimately failed to get over as expected.
Maybe it’s his struggle to adjust to the WWE style, his one-dimensional snob character or his reported problems with management—but his run can be considered a disappointment.
A deathly dull feud with Sheamus—which, alas, dominated SmackDown for much of this year—didn’t help matters either.
He is, for the most part, another upper-mid carder in a show filled with them. This isn’t a bad role for him, but it is a limited one.
With this in mind, WWE will understandably be reluctant to give him a win over Orton—one of their established top stars—at the pay-per-view.
Sure, Orton may have been plagued with problems this year (wellness issues and injuries, mainly), and his future as a headliner has had more doubt cast on it than ever before, but he is still far more of a centrepiece of the blue brand than Del Rio ever will be.
It also looks like WWE have bigger plans than the World Heavyweight Championship for Orton, thus meaning a loss to Del Rio probably isn’t on the cards.
Why give Orton a loss on PPV when you have bigger things planned for him?
Orton may, as has long been rumored, turn heel and feud with World Heavyweight champion Sheamus. This makes sense. He has noted on Twitter in the past that he is desperate to turn heel ad has always been better—and more interesting—in this role anyway. (His babyface character is fine, but sometimes comes across as rather bland and dull).
Of course, it’s also possible the company will keep him as a face on SmackdDown after deciding that Sheamus is unready to take over the lead face role.
Certainly Sheamus, who has been heavily pushed this year, has failed to truly catch on with the masses. His wacky, comedic good guy character—with its shades of John Cena—may be a factor in this. People just simply cannot take him seriously as a top guy.
With this in mind, maybe it’s Sheamus who will turn heel instead, while Orton stays face, and the pair will feud over the belt.
It’s difficult to predict what the writing team will do, but one thing is for sure: Orton will be a crucial part of whatever it is, which is why he will emerge from Hell in a Cell victorious.