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 Fanservice” Levesque, Runjin Singh, “Road Dogg” Brian James and WWE Chairman “Busted Open” Vince 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 Mr. Turkey brand deli meats. Fat free cuts of delicious bologna, salami and ham, furnished by Sara Lee. Pat McNeill’s wardrobe is provided by “Mr. Guy of Beverly Hills”. This is only an exhibition. This is not a competition. Please, please, no wagering. 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, except for the part where he adds “No Holds Barred” (both the match and the movie) to the WWE Network.
For this, I originally rebooked the Smackdown brand from scratch, then realized you’re likely to see Fudgie the Whale vs. Pepe the Alt-Right Frog at WrestleMania than you are to see an Orton-Ziggler tag team, or an onscreen romance between Erick Rowan and Becky Lynch, or any of the other goofy stuff I came up with. We’re going to try keeping it real.
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 6, 1997, the World Wrestling Federation taped WWF Shotgun Saturday Night from Kansas City, Missouri. History was made on this program when Flash Funk battled “Rockabilly” Billy Gunn, who was accompanied by The Honkytonk Man. Jim Ross and James E. Cornette had the call.
What was happening in World Wrestling Entertainment fifteen years ago? I’m glad you asked! On October 5th, 2002, World Wrestling Entertainment presented an episode of “WWE Velocity” (pretaped) from Lafayette, Louisiana. In the opening match, we saw John Cena take on Matt “Albert” Bloom. Marc Loyd & Michael Cole had the call. (Good luck finding this on WWE Network. Or…anywhere else.)
If you like grudge matches, we have you covered. From this week’s episode of WWE Main Event (taped Monday in Denver), it’s a rematch from two weeks ago between tag team specialists Heath Slater and Dash Wilder. Vic Joseph & Nigel McGuinness have the call.
Michael Cole, Byron Saxton & Corey Graves will be announcing the show. Renee Young, David Otunga & Jerry Lawler and some podcaster will be doing the preshow (I hope it’s Kevin Castle), with Kayla Braxton chilling in the Social Media Lounge. On with the program!
Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin vs. The Hype Bros (Kickoff Match): It’s nice to see Gable and Benjamin again, even if they’re in danger of being forgotten like American Alpha. Hey, did you know Mojo Rawley won the Andre the Giant Battle Royal? Projection: Shelton & Chad pin Ryder with Grand Amplitude. No, they don’t split up during the Kickoff Show. Save it for Tuesday.
We will also discover that the mystery men attacking Breezango are The Shining Stars, because…why not?
Randall K. Orton vs. Alexander Rusev: As you’ve heard, Randy Orton wants to be a heel again, and he wants to wear more clothing in the ring so he doesn’t have to work out as much. But WWE sees Orton as the top star on Smackdown, and they feel like Orton will get cheered no matter how he’s booked. And they have a point. Projection? Orton beats up Rusev pretty badly, and then gives the referee an RKO when he tries to stop Orton from beating up Rusev. So, yeah, Rusev by disqualification.
Make Orton more of a sociopath, and have everybody else out to get Orton. The more Orton acts out, the more merch he sells. Simple.
“Glorious” Bobby Roode vs. “Cricket Wireless Spokesman” Dolph Ziggler: After going through all that trouble to get us to care about Dolph Ziggler, WWE has gone back to booking him as a oloser, then acted surprised when the loser can’t get over. Projection? We should get a good match, and WWE should give these two enough time to have a good match. Roode wins with the Glorious DDT and Ziggler looks dejected again.
“The Phenomenal” AJ Styles vs. “The Forehead” Baron Corbin (WWE Intercontin…um, United States Title): No, I don’t like the direction we’re going with this, but let’s get it over with.Projection? Ziggler runs in on the finish and superkicks Styles, costing him the match and the US Title. Sorry, but in order to get the WWE World Title back on the Phenomenal One, he has to lose the secondary belt.
Ziggler rants about how, of everyone in WWE, he hates Styles most of all. Styles and Ziggler feud, which will hopefully inspire the Showoff and let the Phenomenal One have a little fun.
Natalya Neidhart-Kidd vs. Charlotte Flair (WWE Smackdown Women’s Title): Nattie needed a little help from Carm to beat Charlotte Flair on Smackdown. With Charlotte being so busy this past month, the match doesn’t have much juice. Projection? Charlotte has Nattie set up for the Figure Eight, but Carmella walks down with the briefcase, distracting the challenger, and Nattie wins with a rollup.
The New Day vs. The Usos (WWE Smackdown Tag Team Titles – Hell In A Cell match): Yes, we’ve seen the match order on the WWE website, but $10 says this match opens the pay-per-view. Projection? Xavier stays on the outside, and it’s Kofi & Big E against The Usos. Big E pins Jimmy with the Big Ending to bring this feud to a big ending. I’m expecting a really good match, but I’d like it to be a conclusive match as well.
Jinder Mahal (w/ the Bollywood Knights) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (w/ sweet dance moves) – WWE World Heavyweight Title: Conventional wisdom says Jinder keeps the title until WWE hits India in December. But conventional wisdom may not be the smart play here. Why?
1) Jinder Mahal has held the most prestigious championship title belt thingy in the industry for five months now. That’s long enough to establish him as a main event guy, whether he deserves it or not.
2) WWE never lets wrestlers win in their hometowns. So if Jinder’s going to lose anyway, why have him lose the title on a non-televised show in New Delhi?
3) Wouldn’t WWE make just as money from Jinder trying to regain the title in India as they would from Jinder defending the title in India? The money is in the chase.
4) The money WWE will make in two nights in Delhi should just about cover the costs of medically evacuating whichever superstar gets food poisoning from eating tandoori off a food truck. (In fact, 5Dimes should be posting odds on who gets food poisoning during the India trip. I have Enzo Amore out of the gate as a 3-2 favorite, but your mileage may vary.)
Projection? Kinshasa. Give Nakamura the title already. If WWE really is setting the table for Nakamura vs. Styles at WrestleMania in New Orleans, set it up now.
Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens (Hell In A Cell match – Falls Count Anywhere): I like the stipulation. It means WWE isn’t even pretending these two are going to stay inside the Cell. Projection?The match starts. Shane and Owens join forces to beat up the ref. Shane has the key to the Cell in the pocket of his jeans. (After all, he is the Smackdown GM.) They exit the Cell together by mutual agreement, then brawl all over the building.
Shane does every insane stunt move you can think of, and some you can’t. They brawl backstage. Shane-o-Mac is setting up to put Owens through a table when Sami Zayn blindsides McMahon with a Heluva Kick. Owens runs over Shane with a zamboni and gets the pin.
Zayn later explains he’s tired of being treated as a joke and booked as a joke. He’s not a big enough star to team with K.O., but once Zach turns on Mojo, he and Sami form a new team as the InZayn Can-Am Posse. They feud with New Day until the Authors of Pain arrive.
Aftermath: I have no idea what we’re getting at Survivor Series, expect that I’d put money on a Raw vs. Smackdown Women’s Survivor Series match. Corbin and Randy Orton feud over the US title for a while, a move that only help the Baron. And we get the Nakamura vs. Mahal rematch everyone’s been clamoring for.
Also, don’t forget to join me and Greg Parks on PWTorchLivecast.com after Hell In A Cell for our “Wrestling Night In America” postgame show. (515) 605-9345.
Pat McNeill of Greenville, South Carolina has been a PWTorch Columnist since 2001. He likes the Houston Texans to beat the Kansas City Chiefs on NFL Sunday Night Football. You know, if gambling were legal.