WWE Hell in a Cell 2013: GSM's Pick, Preview and Potential for Each Match
In mere hours on Sunday night, WWE will present its fifth annual Hell in a Cell pay-per-view event, live from the America Airlines Arena in Miami at 8 p.m. ET.
WWE didn't have much time to build towards this show, with Battleground being only three weeks ago, but the card looks incredibly solid on paper, regardless. With the right winners, entertaining action and maybe even a shocker or two, this event could very well be better than both Battleground and Night of Champions, but that remains to be seen.
Headlining the show will be Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan in a Hell in a Cell match for the abeyance WWE Championship. With Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee, will it be third time's the charm for Bryan, or will Orton find a way to regain the gold he once held?
For the first time since SummerSlam, John Cena will step inside the squared circle to do battle with World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio. Will Cena be successful in his return to the ring, or will Del Rio's reign of ruthlessness as world champion continue?
One day removed from turning 35, CM Punk will enter the Hell in a Cell for a whopping fifth time to settle the score with Paul Heyman and Ryback in a handicap match. Will Heyman score yet another victory over the self-proclaimed best wrestler in the world, or will Punk manage to silence his former friend once and for all?
Here, I will provide my personal preview, prediction and potential for every match on the advertised card.
Curtis Axel vs. Big E Langston (Kickoff Match for Intercontinental Championship)
On the Oct. 18 edition of SmackDown, Langston came up short against CM Punk in one-on-one action, but that didn't stop him from aiding The Voice of the Voiceless in an ambush against Ryback and Curtis Axel.
This led to a tag team match the following week on Raw, where Langston pinned Axel to score the win for his time and earn a shot at the Intercontinental Championship in the process. Langston will look to prove to Paul Heyman as well as the rest of the WWE Universe that he is much more than a "marginal rookie," while Axel will look to escape "hell" with his title intact.
Langston's face turn was a long time coming given the fact that WWE hasn't done anything of note with his character since SummerSlam. Axel, despite a lengthy run as Intercontinental champion, hasn't gotten over with audiences as officials initially hoped, so one would only assume that his days as the title holder are indeed numbered.
Langston has an immense amount of potential, and a title run could do wonders for him. If there is anyone who could end Axel's reign as champion, it is Langston. I could see the "Paul Heyman guy" resort to retaining via dirty tactics to drag the feud out, but I expect to see Langston walk out of Hell in a Cell with the strap in hand.
These two had a match (for the title, oddly enough) a while back at an NXT taping, and it was good for what it was worth. Then again, Langston is much-more overdone in NXT as a babyface than on the main roster right now, so I wouldn't be surprised to see the live crowd dead for this match on the Kickoff. Nonetheless, both competitors are capable of putting on great matches, and I look forward to a solid outing from them.
Los Matadores vs. the Real Americans
Since arriving on the WWE scene in late September, Los Matadores have already made quite an impact with various victories over the likes of 3MB and Los Locales. The Real Americans have also been on a massive roll as of late with wins over The Prime Time Players, Tons of Funk, and Santino Marella and The Great Khali.
After costing Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro a match against The Usos on the Oct. 18 edition of SmackDown, Los Matadores were challenged to a match at Hell in a Cell by Zeb Colter this past Friday night, to which the masked marvels accepted.
The Real Americans have such great chemistry together as a team that they should be WWE Tag Team champions before long. While they might be a fun act for the time being, I don't see Los Matadores having much lasting power in WWE.
Similar to Tons of Funk, I don't doubt they will fizzle out sooner rather than later, so having them go over one of the best tandems in all of wrestling right would be a mistake. However, officials are obviously high on Los Matadores, so they will emerge victorious here.
Although I am no fan of Los Matadores, there is no denying that they are entertaining in the ring. The Real Americans have had several fun matches thus far, as well, so I expect the styles of the two tandems to mesh nicely. The only thing that will make this match memorable is if Cesaro manages to swing El Torito, so fingers crossed that actually comes to fruition.
AJ Lee vs. Brie Bella (Divas Championship)
Shortly after this year's SummerSlam pay-per-view, AJ Lee dropped a bombshell of a promo when she ripped the cast of "Total Divas" to pieces on Raw. Not only was AJ successful in defending her Divas Championship at Night of Champions, but she soundly defeated Brie Bella to maintain possession of the butterfly belt three weeks ago at Battleground.
However, Brie defeated AJ in a non-title rematch on the Oct. 18 edition of SmackDown, earning herself one last shot at the gold in the process.
Recent reports have indicated that WWE might plan on having both Daniel Bryan and Brie capture championships at Hell in a Cell. I can't say I would be surprised to see this happen, but I won't be all that thrilled if it were to happen, either. AJ has done such a stupendous job of bringing back importance to the Divas title since winning it back in June, and most of her matches have been very well-wrestled as well.
Brie is still struggling to get over as a babyface, and I don't think winning the title will help her cause. I would love to see AJ retain and continue to dominate the Divas division, but it will be Brie taking the title from her on this show.
Brie may not be among the greatest wrestlers in the Divas division right now, but she can definitely be exceptional in the ring given the right opponent. The last two matches between these two have been better than expected, so look for this bout to be much of the same.
Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. the Shield vs. the Usos (WWE Tag Team Championships)
One night removed from the Night of Champions pay-per-view, The Usos became the No. 1 contenders to the WWE Tag Team Championships after winning a Triple Threat tag team match. However, before they could receive their title shot, Cody Rhodes and Goldust defeated Shield members Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns to become the new tag team champions on the Oct. 14 edition of Raw.
Thus, a Triple Threat tag team match was made for Hell in a Cell, pitting all three tandems against one another with the gold up for grabs.
Seeing how Cody and Goldust won the tag titles no more than two weeks ago, it would be odd to see them drop the straps so soon. As deserving as The Usos are of a run with the titles, right now simply isn't their time, so I don't see them emerging victorious in this bout.
The Shield have a chance of winning, but the best bet is to keep the straps on the Rhodes brothers for the foreseeable future.
The matches between the Rhodes brothers and The Shield have been fantastic, as have been the matches between The Shield and The Usos. That being said, putting all three teams in the ring together should make for an exciting contest to say the least.
Expect this match to potentially steal the show if given enough time to shine.
CM Punk vs. Ryback and Paul Heyman (Handicap Hell in a Cell Match)
Upon his return to the ring at June's Payback pay-per-view, CM Punk told Paul Heyman that his managerial services were no longer necessary. Heyman turned his back on Punk shortly thereafter, severing their longtime friendship in the process. Since then, Heyman has gotten the better of Punk at every turn, including a defeat over him at Night of Champions.
It was at that event that Heyman enlisted the help of Ryback, who fell short of beating Punk at Battleground earlier this month. The Voice of the Voiceless is still looking to annihilate Heyman once and for all, and he will get his chance inside Hell in a Cell on Sunday night in a two-on-one situation.
Without a doubt, the ongoing feud between Punk and Heyman has been the best rivalry of all of 2013, but the time for it to end has come. It started out strong, but it has gradually fizzled out in recent months. So, I hope this match will be the big blow-off to the feud with Punk getting the win.
Ryback losing to Punk at Hell in a Cell for the second straight year will only further devalue his character, but I am afraid he is damaged goods at this point.
Punk and Ryback had a solid match inside Hell in a Cell a year ago, but this match should be even more entertaining with the addition of Paul Heyman. The match between Punk and Ryback at Battleground was mediocre at best, but the surrounding cell this time around should help them more than it will hinder them.
Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena (World Heavyweight Championship)
Since Payback, Alberto Del Rio has been the reigning World Heavyweight champion. Having maintained possession of his title against the likes of Dolph Ziggler, Christian and Rob Van Dam, it is hard to argue that Del Rio hasn't been successful over the last four months. That is, in addition to the fact that Del Rio hasn't suffered a pin-fall loss on pay-per-view since last year's Hell in a Cell event.
John Cena, who has been out of action with an arm injury since SummerSlam, was granted a title shot for one reason or another on the Oct. 7 edition of Raw. Cena will make his first televised appearance since August on Sunday night, but the question is whether he is coming back before he is 100 percent.
I have enjoyed Del Rio's title reign more than most, but there is no questioning that he is lacking heat at the moment. He has had a nice run with the belt, but there is no way he leaves Hell in a Cell as champion. I would be shocked if Cena were to lose his first match back, especially to someone such as Del Rio.
I have a feeling WWE is looking to unify the two world titles at some point in the near future, and that would only be logical if Cena was World Heavyweight Champion. Furthermore, I don't see Damien Sandow cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase, either.
Interestingly enough, it was almost exactly two years ago that Del Rio and Cena collided at Vengeance in a Last Man Standing match for the WWE Championship. While it was an entertaining match, one must remember that the match between Del Rio and Cena at Hell in a Cell won't have any sort of stipulation attached to it.
Even still, they have had great matches in the past, and their upcoming title encounter should be equally excellent.
Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton (Hell in a Cell Match for WWE Championship)
At SummerSlam, Daniel Bryan cleanly defeated John Cena to capture the WWE Championship, only to have it taken away from him moments later by Randy Orton. This came after Triple H delivered a shocking Pedigree to Bryan, allowing Orton to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase. Bryan received his rematch for the title the following month at Night of Champions, and although he regained the gold, he was stripped of the strap the next night on Raw at the hands of HHH.
Orton and Bryan clashed, yet again, in the main event of Battleground, but the match abruptly ended following interference from Big Show. To ensure that an undisputed WWE Champion will be crowned, Shawn Michaels was appointed the special guest referee for the Hell in a Cell match between the two ruthless rivals.
With this being the fourth consecutive time that Orton and Bryan have faced off on pay-per-view, one can only hope that this will be the blow-off of the feud for the time being. Although the match will be contested inside the Hell in a Cell, there is a very likely chance that we will see some sort of interference in this match, potentially from Big Show or Triple H.
However, I hope Michaels being the referee will prevent that from happening, so we can finally get a no-nonsense matchup from Bryan and Orton. Michaels turning heel wouldn't make much sense if he can't compete ever again, but rather, I see a Team HBK vs. Team HHH match happening at Survivor Series. Bryan has gotten the better of Orton at every turn lately, which would usually mean that he loses here, but Bryan is my pick to become the new WWE Champion.
I have been critical of the last two championship matches between Orton and Bryan, only because I felt they are capable of having better matches together. They had a strong series of matches earlier this year, so why can't they do that now? Here's hoping Satan's structure brings the best out of both competitors.
Read more prediction pieces for past WWE pay-per-views here.
Graham Mirmina, a.k.a. Graham "GSM" Matthews, is a journalism major at Endicott College. Visit his website at Next Era Wrestling and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.