Dark hearts and final battles will be the story of WWE Hell in a Cell 2013.
Twice will rivals enter "The Devil's Playground" looking to use as violent a retribution as is allowed in the PG era. A Hall of Famer will oversee a Hell in a Cell match between Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan for the vacant WWE Championship while CM Punk will look to maim Paul Heyman in another.
A strong undercard promises an exciting show beyond those matches, including a Triple Threat match that threatens to steal the show.
Who will betray who? Which champions will be champions no longer? A preview complete with a list of matches, predictions based on recent storylines and patterns, as well as a look at some revealing backstage reports awaits.
- Curtis Axel (c) vs. Big E Langston (Intercontinental Championship)
- Los Matadores vs. The Real Americans
- AJ Lee (c) vs. Brie Bella (Divas Championship)
- Cody Rhodes and Goldust (c) vs. The Shield vs. The Usos (Tag Team Championship)
- CM Punk vs. Ryback and Paul Heyman (Hell in a Cell)
- Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. John Cena (World Heavyweight Championship)
- Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE Championship in Hell in a Cell)
The buffet of backstage info for Hell in a Cell is either a method of misdirection or a glimpse inside the planned results for the pay-per-view.
As reported by F4WOnline, via WrestlingInc.com, a script has been leaked, but could just be a dummy one. Still, curious fans will find it hard not to scour this possible sneak peek of the show's direction.
The report says that "someone in WWE creative suggested a few weeks ago to have Big Show tear the cage door off, leading to a finish."
It's no surprise that Big Show will play a part in the event's main event. He's been featured on Raw in a big way in recent weeks. The idea that he ultimately decides this match is apparently a possibility being discussed.
Would Big Show knock out Orton or Bryan, though?
About the Curtis Axel and Big E Langston title bout, the aforementioned report says, "it's not scheduled to be a title change." This comes as a surprise as Langston has the momentum heading into this match and WWE has not highlighted Axel as champ all that often.
Of course, decisions like these can change until right before the Superstars head to the ring.
The tag team match has officials discussing whether or not to have The Shield win back their tag titles or else "keep the belts on Cody Rhodes and Goldust until or around Royal Rumble time at which point Dustin Rhodes, not Goldust, would turn on Cody, leading to a brother vs. brother at WrestleMania XXX."
While neither the idea of the Rhodes brothers staying champs or those even two facing each other eventually is not a surprise, having Goldust wrestle as the persona he worked with in WCW would be odd. WWE fans know him as Goldust, but it appears that the company is thinking that the name change would emphasize the brother aspect.
As for the main event, Bryan fans will like what the F4WOnline report had to say.
"The idea was suggested to have Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella leave the pay-per-view as double champions."
Bryan has been chasing this title for some time now and this would certainly be a big, moving moment. It's no safe bet that he'll be chanting "yes!" by the end of the night, though.
WWE could be throwing folks off with these backstage whispers or perhaps Bryan, Langston, Brie and the Rhodes boys will indeed end the night in celebration.
Big E Langston
Though it goes against the backstage reports, Langston winning here is a strong possibility. A title change would thrust Langston forward, making the most of his recent babyface turn.
He could then battle Axel in a rematch before diving deeper into his feud with Heyman's crew. Title defenses against a man who was recently in the main event scene would be beneficial for the perception of the championship.
Axel has held onto the belt since mid-June, getting some added attention along the way. It's Langston's turn to utilize the championship.
After I become the Intercontinental Champion at #HellInACell, I vow to travel the world as an ambassador for peace & skin-tight singlets.— Big E Langston (@BigELangston) October 22, 2013
WWE's resident bullfighters will win their pay-per-view debut.
After a number of wins over 3MB, Los Matadores need a signature win on their resume. They can get it here with El Torito helping to keep Zeb Colter at bay.
The comic-relief match should be a short one designed to highlight Fernando and Diego's arrival. It will also likely ignite the feud between these two teams.
Brie has pinned AJ several times recently when the title wasn't up for grabs.
That has the smell of "even-steven" booking where the wrestler who loses leading up to the pay-per-view gets the win come the night of the event. Having Brie and Bryan end the night as champions has a certain emotional resonance to it, but WWE hasn't been hinting at that.
Their relationship hasn't been all that emphasized recently.
On Monday's Raw, it was hardly mentioned. If the company were heading for Brie winning here to stand alongside her fiancee, it would have planted that possibility in our heads more. The lack of foreshadowing and AJ's dominance points to the champ retaining.
Cody Rhodes and Goldust
The Rhodes brothers won the championships less than a week ago. Taking them away so soon would the significance of that victory.
Bet on this bout to have chaos, near falls in surplus and Rhodes and Goldust surviving. This team is too hot to dethrone already. The longer they are champs, the more powerful their eventual falling out will be.
The Rhodes boys are the safest bet of the night and this match is the most likely to steal the show. The history between these teams and how often Rhodes, Goldust and The Shield have hit home runs recently point to the latter.
The Punk and Heyman saga has to end eventually. Many, myself included, have incorrectly predicted that this feud would end sooner than it has. Ryback inserted himself into it at Night of Champions and it continued on. Punk got a win, but a non-decisive one at Battleground.
The Hell in a Cell setting offers the ideal place to end this feud for good.
It's hard to escalate a rivalry beyond a Hell in a Cell. Expect Punk to finally get the revenge he's been seeking for months. Heyman is sure to have a few last tricks to try and evade his comeuppance, but WWE has to give the fans the satisfaction of Punk winning out at some point.
This appears to be the best time to do so.
John Cena (Damien Sandow)
The focus of this world title bout has been on Cena returning. WWE showed a career retrospective and provided a look into his recovery from injury. There's a triumphant moment to be had here with Cena's return ending with him holding the world title.
He'll no doubt come out of this battle drained and favoring his recently repaired arm, which Del Rio will no doubt target.
That's Damien Sandow's cue to make himself famous. A Money in the Bank cash in here would be the equivalent of a gut punch to Cena's fans and puts nitrous boosters on Sandow's career. WWE gets an instant feud and a chance to see how Sandow fares in the spotlight.
Big Show will play a huge role as expected, but look for guest referee Shawn Michaels to turn on Bryan and cost him the win.
During the Orton vs. Bryan contract signing, Triple H assured Orton, "Shawn will do what's right." Triple H glared at Michaels, looking as if he was trying to silently remind him of a previous pact.
WWE has played up Bryan and Michaels' connection, but it makes sense for the one between Triple H and Michaels to win out. With Survivor Series next on the pay-per-view docket, Triple H orchestrating another scheme against Bryan leads directly into a rebels vs. authority tag match.
Big Show could even be convinced to turn on Bryan if he's promised his job back.
Despite how glorious of a moment it would be to see Bryan win and keep the title for long time, signs are pointing to him ending up with a 0-1 record inside Hell in a Cell.