It has been 15 years since the WWE first introduced the Hell in a Cell match at the 1997 Bad Blood pay-per-view. In that time, 27 combatants have entered the steel contraption.
While all of the matches have not yet been confirmed, two heavyweight championship matches are set to take place at Hell in a Cell. The World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus will take on the Big Show, and WWE Champion CM Punk will face the unbeaten Ryback.
An interesting thing to note: Neither championship match features opponents who have any one-on-one history with each other. That is to say, none of these guys have ever faced off mano-a-mano.
Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
When: Sunday, October 28, 8 p.m. EST
Watch: Live on Pay Per View
Big Show vs. World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus
This feud has been going on ever since the Big Show returned from his SummerSlam absence. He destroyed both Tensai and Brodus Clay—neither of whom should be main-eventing anyway—to claim the title of No. 1 contender to the World Heavyweight Championship.
Since then, he has been feuding with Sheamus, who has yet to take him—or anything—seriously. He has constantly made light of Big Show, making references to his short 45-second title reign that ended at the hands of Daniel Bryan, who cashed in a Money in the Bank contract to claim the title for himself.
The Brogue Kick Hooligan has even turned to Twitter to make light of his opponent.
At every corner, the Big Show has felt slighted, by both Sheamus and Smackdown general manager Booker T. Whether having to participate in a debate, or being asked to demonstrate his power by punching a computerized machine that calculates strength of impact, Show is definitely being disrespected.
Expect this match to be a "slobber-knocker" between two heavyweight titans.
Look for an aggressive start, as Show will come out strong, seemingly dominating the early part of the match. He is very angry, and much like the Incredible Hulk, opponents don't like it when he's angry.
He will probably attempt to land the Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) in the early goings of the match, but it won't be that easy. This match is bound to be a grueling effort.
Sheamus will use his quickness and cunning to try to out-maneuver Show, but he will undoubtedly find himself being slammed face-first into the steel cage surrounding the ring. This match won't stay in the ring.
Anticipate the Brogue Kick Hooligan trying to wear Show down outside the ropes.
Coming into this match, both combatants are 0-1 in their previous attempts in a Hell in a Cell match, but one man has to win.
Prediction: Big Show Defeats Sheamus
In a moment of vindication, Big Show will prove that the WMD is to be feared, ending The Celtic Warrior's run as World Heavyweight Champion. If you are a fan of The Celtic Warrior, don't be surprised if an apology is demanded—not asked—of you.
To all @wwesheamus fans. After the hell in a cell ppv I will be accepting your tweets of apology. He who laughs last laughs best.— Big Show (@WWETheBigShow) October 16, 2012
Don't expect Big Show to be the last man laughing.
This spectacle won't end without The Showoff, or did you forget about Dolph Ziggler's promise?
"When the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view comes to a close, I guarantee I will be the World Heavyweight Champion!"
Those were Ziggler's words during an run-in with Sheamus a few weeks ago on Miz TV.
What better way to fuel the fire raging within the Big Show than a repeat of last year's humiliating title loss?
Expect Show to be taken off-guard, whether he's attacked with a weapon from behind or smacked in the face by the Money in the Bank briefcase.
My ideal scenario would have Ziggler's music hitting just as Big Show begins his celebration. In a delirious rage, he would look around, trying to locate Dolph. Vickie will walk down the ramp—alone. He will frantically turn around expecting The Showoff, but instead would be greeted by a Brogue Kick.
Sheamus will walk out of the massive steel contraption, allowing Ziggler to steal the title, and enabling the Hooligan to get the last laugh.
Dolph Ziggler becomes the new World Heavyweight Champion
It may seem predictable, since no MITB contract winner has ever missed in his attempt to take the title, but it's the only reason you're watching the match anyway, right?
the only reason anyone would even watch BIG SHOW vs SHEAMUS is to see MY moment! I walk out of #HellInACell THE NEW WORLD CHAMP, whatevs— Dolph Ziggler (@HEELZiggler) October 14, 2012
Ryback vs. WWE Champion CM Punk
The WWE wants you to believe that Ryback is a legitimate contender for the title. They want him to be a main-event draw. They need him to look good. Or do they really?
Ryback presents himself as a menacing, aggressive, testosterone-fueled monster with an insatiable appetite. He is Goldberg 2.0, or so you might be led to believe.
His catchphrase, if you can call it that, is simply, "Feed me more." Which is to say, he is on a quest to devour more and more opponents. Now, after only two coincidental run-ins and a contract signing, he has his sights set on The Best in the World.
Feed Me Punk. Welcome to The Food Chain.— Ryback (@Ryback22) October 16, 2012
However, he is extremely over-hyped. He has a very limited set of moves, no mic skills and a finish that fails to impress. For all his size and power, he is not made of championship material.
If this is going to be an entertaining match, expect CM Punk to carry the show. Aside from having one of the best arsenals of technical maneuvers, he is one of the best at selling his opponent's moves.
Whether as a babyface or a heel, Punk—like only a few others—has the skills necessary to carry a pay-per-view.
Simply put, he is "The Best in the World" right now.
Now, getting back to the original question: Does the WWE really need Ryback to be a legitimate contender?
No. In fact, it might go far to prove that Vince doesn't need a "Goldberg" prototype.
But that is probably not the case. The WWE wants Ryback to be successful. They need him to draw crowds and ratings.
It's just too early for him to be a champion. He isn't capable of carrying the show.
A competitive loss to Punk—presuming the 'Second City Satan' uses his cunning and craftiness to cheat his way to victory or something of the sort—would bolster Ryback's momentum, while enabling The Best in the World to maintain his control of the WWE Championship Belt.
With no disqualifications, expect there to be some interference in the match.
Prediction: CM Punk defeats Ryback. Whether by hook or by crook, expect the title to remain on CM Punk's waist. With John Cena still recovering from elbow surgery, the WWE can ill-afford to to have the championship fall to someone who is not yet ready to carry the company.
Right now, Punk is the face of the WWE.