It's October, and you know what that means. That means the brutal, deadly Hell in a Cell match needs to happen at least once, maybe twice, regardless if we have any feuds barbaric enough to necessitate such a violent match. I miss the days when a feud would get so heated the only way to settle it was between the mesh walls of the demonic Cell. Now it's like, "Oh, we need two guys to get in the cage so we can still call this PPV Hell in a Cell." Oh. How exciting.
This year's PPV feels very much phoned in, consisting of half a dozen rematches from earlier shows. The company is clearly banking on Lesnar vs. Taker to sell this show, but given they've already wrestled this type of match (and it was a bona fide classic unlikely to be surpassed 13 years later), I'm not exactly chomping at the bit for this one. Oddly, last year's HIAC also featured a Cell rematch from years earlier, Cena vs. Orton. Someone's run out of ideas obviously.
***Justin and Dan are currently tied at 40/61***
Pre-Show Match: Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro & Neville vs. Sheamus, King Barrett & Rusev
Ok, first, we just saw this match on RAW. Second, why in the name of fuck are Ziggler, Cesaro, Sheamus and Rusev relegated to the pre-show? Absolutely disgraceful. Might be time to permanently team up Cesaro and Ziggles since they're both way over, the company doesn't want to push either of them, and Tyson Kidd may never wrestle again. Christ.
Justin's pick: Heels win I guess.
Dan's pick: We JUST SAW THIS MONDAY. Christ. I agree with bad guys winning.
WWE Tag Team Championship: The New Day vs. The Dudley Boyz
This is the third Network meeting between these teams. TND escaped Night of Champions with a DQ loss and then again at the MSG live special. I think it would be insane to take the belts of The New Day anytime soon, as they're hugely over to the point that people are even starting to cheer them. However I also don't think you can have them lose by DQ yet again.
Justin's pick: I think TND needs to get a cheap victory here. Some sort of shenanigans that allows this feud to be settled so Kofi, Big E and Woods can move on to someone else.
Dan's pick: He's right, it'd be insane to take the belts off TND. That's why I think they will. Dudleyz (Is that how the kids spell it?) win.
WWE Divas Championship: Charlotte vs. Nikki Bella
These two had a pretty good match at NOC and now have the chance to one-up that bout. Charlotte is the real deal and Nikki's improved immensely over the past year, so if given 15 minutes or so, there's no reason they can't have another fine outing (It won't be anywhere near as good as NXT's two Sasha-Bayley classics, but still).
Justin's pick: Charlotte retains obviously
Dan's pick: Sure.
Intercontinental Championship: Kevin Owens vs. Ryback
The rematches continue as Owens defends against the man he defeated, Ryback. Considering Ryback was used as fodder for Rollins this past week on RAW and was barely even a threat, I'd say WWE is done pushing him for the time being. Owens needs some killer new talents to work with, to solidify him as a strong I-C Champ. If they ever let Daniel Bryan come back I'd love to see Owens vs. Bryan for the belt.
Justin's pick: Kevin Owens
Dan's pick: Ryback ain't getting another shot with this belt. KO FTW.
US Championship: John Cena vs. ???
It's the first PPV appearance of John Cena's Open Challenge. Who will it be this time? A return match with Cesaro? Ziggler? Owens attempting to unify the belts? A new NXT call-up? Another Chris Jericho sighting? Who da hell knows? I'd say the most likely options are Cesaro, Ziggler or Ambrose. In any case I think Cena retains (and likely has the match of the night yet again).
Justin's pick: Cena
Dan's pick: I like surprises. I'm going with ??? For the win.
WWE Championship: Seth Rollins vs. Kane
Jeezus H. Christ, enough with shoving Kane up everyone's ass. The man is pushing 50 and hasn't been a credible threat to any championship in years. I give less than a turd about this dual personality jazz, and Kane is still technically a heel. So who am I supposed to be rooting for? I have a feeling Rollins is on his way to a face turn since The Authority's been fucking with him ever since he won the belt. Great way to push a strong heel, by the way. Rollins is the best guy on the roster and they're almost constantly making him look weak and/or stupid.
Justin's pick: Whether Sheamus decides to cash in on Sunday or not, there's no way Kane wins the belt here.
Dan's pick: There's no way Kane wins the strap. Seth has to retain.
Hell in a Cell: Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt
I would've greatly preferred Reigns, Ambrose and a third guy against the whole Wyatt clan (although I guess Erick Rowan is back in the fold now?). Imagine a six-man or eight-man HIAC match? It'd be fantastic. Why can't they ever do something cool like that? Anyway I've lost all interest in this Reigns-Wyatt feud. I don't know what they're fighting over at this point and I certainly don't buy it as such a violent feud that it needs to be in the Cell. Just pointless.
Justin's pick: Reigns I guess. I just want this to be over.
Dan's pick: Yeah, hoping RR wins and we're done with this. Bray & the family have been a pretty meandering affair for quite some time. Without some direction for them, this schtick is boring.
Hell in a Cell: Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker
Yeah it's this match again. Their SummerSlam match was actually quite good, and I expect this to be perfectly serviceable. But since it's competing with an absolutely vicious, bloody war from 2002 this is probably gonna feel like a letdown. I'm still waiting for Lesnar vs. some fresh opponents. Stop regurgitating 2002-03! It wasn't even that successful an era!
Justin's pick: Not having Lesnar win here would be batshit crazy
Dan's pick: It would be suicidal for Lesnar's WWE career for him to suffer a loss here.
And there's our picks for HIAC. Sigh. It's a tiresome time to be a WWE fan.