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You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby: McNEILL Previews WWE Hell In A Cell 2016 (with a Wrestling History Lesson)
Wake the pets and call the neighbors, it’s time for our exclusive WWE Network/pseudo pay-per-view projections!
DISCLAIMER: Projections are based on what the columnist would do if he were booking this event, instead of Paul “NXT” Levesque, Runjin Singh, Ed Koskey, Ryan Ward and WWE Chairman Vincent Kennedy Trump McMahon. Projections are not predictions, because this is the column where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter. This preview has been sealed in a mayonnaise jar on Funk & Wagnall’s porch since noon today. Some of our departing contestants will receive a supply of Minwax Wood Finish Stain. With twenty-two colors, Minwax makes and keeps wood beautiful. This is only an exhibition. This is not a competition. Please, please, no wagering. And the player who bids within $100 of his or her Showcase without going over wins both Showcases. Pat McNeill’s wardrobe by Chez Antoinne: 19th Century craftsmanship for the 21st Century man. This lineup is based on the best available information as of this writing. These predictions are based on what the columnist would do if he had creative control over WWE, right after he enforces a mandatory retirement age of seventy.
The main story out of WWE Raw this week is the battle over which match should go on last at the “Hell In A Cell” pay-per-view. Apparently, Vincent Kennedy McMahon wants to have the Owens-Rollins match go on last, but Triple H and other members of WWE Creative are convinced the spot should go to the Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte match. I have a funny feeling that Mr. McMahon will get his way here. But that’s not the point.
Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins are the two main event wrestlers on Raw. By definition, that makes them the two biggest stars on the active WWE roster. They’re facing off inside a steel cage for the title and people are actually debating which match should go on last. That’s a problem. That’s a big problem, and it means WWE hasn’t booked this correctly. WWE fans like Seth Rollins. But those same fans like Kevin Owens. If your “WWE Universe” isn’t chomping at the bit to see the good guy get hold of the bad guy inside a steel cage, you’re doing it wrong.
Before we preview tonight’s show, let’s get to this month’s edition of the Wrestling History Lesson, because that’s why many of you clicked here in the first place. Twenty years ago, on October 27, 1996, the World Wrestling Federation presented “WWF Superstars” (pretaped) from Cincinnati, Ohio. In the opening match, we saw The Smoking Gunns battle The New Rockers. Jim Ross and the late Curt Hennig had the call.
What was happening in World Wrestling Entertainment fifteen years ago? I’m glad you asked! On October 28th, 2001 the World Wrestling Federation aired an episode of “Sunday Night Heat” (pretaped) from Omaha, Nebraska. That show saw John Bradshaw Layfield defend the WWF European Title against the late Chris Kanyon. No, really. Michael Cole & Al Snow had the call. (Good luck finding this on WWE Network. Or…anywhere else.)
Did you catch the opening match on WWE Main Event last week? Watch it now (sort of). It’s Zack Ryder locking up with Tyler Breeze. Tom Phillips, Aiden English & David Otunga have the call.
Michael Cole, Corey Graves & Byron Saxton will be announcing the show. Renee Young, Booker T, Lita & Jerry Lawler will be doing the pre-show while Tom Phillips will be in the social media lounge, looking for a place to hide. On with the program!
Cedric Alexander, Lince Dorado & Sin Cara vs. Drew Gulak, Tony Nese & Arya Daivari (Kickoff Show Match): These six wrestlers had a run-through on WWE Superstars this week that went very well. Also, it’s good to see Arya Daivari on a WWE pay-per-view, so maybe there’s something to this whole brand split deal. Projection? This is Cedric’s night to shine, or at least his nine minutes to shine. Cedric beats Daivari with the Kick to Kill.
Bayley vs. Dana Brooke: Dana Brooke beat Bayley two weeks ago in a bad match. Last week, Dana Brooke beat Bayley in a bad arm wrestling match. It’s time to go for the trifecta. Projection? Bayley needs heels to fight, and mountains to climb. Bayley wins with the Bayley-to-Belly suplex. I know there aren’t a lot of female wrestlers in that division. Maybe she can feud with Nia Jax again.
Colin Cassady & Enzo Amore vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson: Amore & Cassady are really over, especially after Enzo gets to pump up the crowd on the microphone. Anderson & Gallows are talented, but they need another good team to play with. Projection? Enzo gets hit with the Magic Killer, and the Bullet Boys continue feuding with the Certified Gees for several more weeks.
The New Day (w/ Xavier Woods) vs. Antonio Cesaro & Sheamus Farrelly (WWE World Tag Team Titles): The New Day members have held the WWE World Tag Team Titles for over a year, while the tag team division has ebbed and flowed around them. It’s time for a different dynamic. Projection? Big E and Cesaro battle outside the ring while Sheamus catches Kingston with a big boot for the win, and the title change. I’d probably have Cesaro break bad and joins Sheamus in the heel column, but we’ll see.
TJ Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick (WWE Cruiserweight Title):We’ve had an unusual setup for this bout. Brian Kendrick has basically begged TJ Perkins to let him win the match and the cruiserweight title. TJ Perkins, to his credit, is disgusted at the idea of fixing an important professional wrestling contest. Projection? We have to make something out of this. Kendrick wins out of nowhere with a double handful of tights. Then, the next night on Raw, you have wrestlers and reporters asking Perkins why he let Kendrick win. Perkins did not take a dive, and he starts getting increasingly upset with the questions.
Roman Reigns vs. Alexander Rusev (WWE United States Title – Hell In A Cell): Of the three Hell in a Cell matches, this is the one with the least audience interest. That’s not necessarily because fans don’t care about the wrestlers. But nobody is expecting a title change. Projection? Superman punch, spear. Reigns retains. This might even be the opening match of the show, so be ready.
Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte Flair (WWE Women’s Title – Hell In A Cell): Sasha and Charlotte are the first two women to wrestle inside the Cell, so WWE’s glass ceiling has been shattered. You have to remember, though, that since WWE did away with blood and people getting thrown off the top of the Cell, the stakes have been lowered over the past several years. Projection? We’re going to get an ill-advised bump or two in here somewhere. Calling it now. Both wrestlers will survive to finish out the match. Charlotte misses a moonsault, and Sasha locks on the Bank Statement to retain the title. This should be the end of the feud, for now.
Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins (WWE Pan-Galactic Title – Hell In A Cell): Yes, this should be on last. That doesn’t mean it will be. Projection? Rollins Finally has Owens right where he wants him. Rollins sets up for the Pedigree…and we find out that Chris Jericho has been hiding under the Cell with a bucket all night. Since this is a PG show, Owens does not use the bucket on Rollins, but a Codebreaker and a Package Powerbomb do the trick. KO keeps the title.
After the match, the Kevin & Chris Show continue their beating of Seth until Sami Zayn limps out to make the save. That’s right, Sami Zayn. Owens & Jericho bail, and the good guys stand tall to end the show.
Aftermath: We’re coming up on Survivor Series. The three top elimination matches will happen, Goldberg vs. Lensar will happen. And AJ Styles vs. James Ellsworth will probably happen too. Be there.
Pat McNeill of Greenville, South Carolina has been a PWTorch Columnist since 2001. He likes the Philadelphia Eagles to defeat the Dallas Cowboys in Sunday night’s NFL game. You know, if gambling were legal.