Nation, don’t take this the wrong way, but this weekend we are all going to hell. Not eternal damnation mind you, it’s just another wrestling pay-per-view. But work with me here. For all intents and purposes we are going to hell and hopefully this is as close as we all get to swimming in the lake of fire. While I already know of some snarky readers joking that watching another WWE special event this year will constitute their own personal hell on earth, I’m actually cautiously optimistic that this show will deliver some high marks.
If you’re a fan of these previews, you know that what follows are my commentaries of the individual matches, several attempts at levity, and truly wretched predictions that won’t win you any money in Vegas unless of course New Day is involved. If you aren’t a fan of these previews then you can go straight to… oh nevermind! Let’s start the show!
DOLPH ZIGGLER, CESARO & NEVILLE VS. KING BARRETT, SHEAMUS & RUSEV (KICKOFF MATCH)
This match is subbing for the scrapped tag match between the team of Randy Orton and Dean Ambrose against the Wyatt Family’s Harper & Strowman. Seems Orton is becoming as fragile as Derrick Rose these days though I appreciate them keeping kayfabe alive by saying that the Wyatts took him out this past week. That being said, we are now stuck with this thrown together six-man bout. This brings back memories of the early 1990’s when they just threw anyone without a match on the card by sticking them in a multi-man tag. Nasty Boys and Mountie vs. The Bushwhackers and Hacksaw Jim Duggan anyone?
All these guys deserve better than the kickoff. Sheamus may soon be the World Champ for crying out loud! Rusev is an absolute mess lately and where the heck is Stardust? Isn’t he feuding with Neville, Barrett and Cesaro? Wouldn’t it have been wise to run Dolph vs. Tyler Breeze here to further the Summer Rae storyline? I’ll answer that one later. Man, this is full of questions and why did I go to two paragraphs for the opener? This will be fun though hardly all that memorable match and I suspect the faces win to pop the crowd and give the company another excuse to make Rusev look stupid. MCGINN’S PICK: DOLPH, CESARO & NEVILLE
INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Kevin Owens (C) vs. Ryback
A straight-up Night of Champions rematch for the IC belt is on the card when the internet darling Kevin Owens now defends the gold against the former champ Ryback. There hasn’t been too much time given to this program besides Ryback’s original rematch on Smackdown this month that ended in an awful count-out win for Da Big Guy. Otherwise Owens continues to disrespect his opponents and carve up the rest of the midcard. I liked their NOC match even with Owen’s blatant eye rake to ensure the victory and I suspect this time around will be even better. Ryback will put forth a tremendous effort though Owens wins here and continues to bring legitimacy back to the IC strap. MCGINN’S PICK: KEVIN OWENS
WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
The New Day (C) vs. The Dudley Boyz
Will the third time be the charm for the most-decorated tag team in wrestling history or will the dominance of The New Day continue Sunday? We shall see but I want to take this opportunity to take another victory lap over The New Day and their success. Haven’t they been great? Didn’t I call it months ago? But seriously, they are easily the hottest act on either program surpassing Cena, Rollins, Reigns, etc. When New Day is on, you can’t help but watch. They’ve had main event shine the last few weeks and even put on their own version of a Horseman beat down when they took out Cena, Ambrose, Orton, the Dudleys and Ziggler on TV. All the more of an accomplishment considering they are the tag champs which is usually the forgotten title in the company. That being said, I believe the Dudleys were brought back for at least one more nostalgia run with the hardware and I just don’t see them leaving LA without the titles. Expect more broken trombones, at least one broken table and another championship reign for the D-d-d-d-Dudley Boyz! MCGINN’S PICK: THE DUDLEY BOYZ
DIVAS CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Charlotte (C) vs. Nikki Bella
Do I really have to preview this match? Between the Paige drama with Team PCB, the mystery surrounding the attack on Natalya, the shunting of the B.A.D. ladies to The Main Event – which is an absolute miscarriage of justice – to the horrific acting, I’m about ready for the Divas Revolution to come to an end. Meanwhile Bailey and Sasha are putting on 5-star main events but let’s not pay attention to that please. Anyway, with all the distractions, the belt and this match seem sort of meaningless but if you threatened my dog Basil’s life on me making a pick, I guess I’ll go with Charlotte and pray that it’s nice and quick. MCGINN’S PICK: CHARLOTTE
UNITED STATES OPEN CHALLENGE
John Cena (C) vs. ?????
John Cena is still with the company? Of course he is but you wouldn’t think so based on his recent involvement on TV lately. This was probably as good a time as any to give the Franchise some time off after putting the pedal to the metal the last few months with his open challenges and his rekindled feud with Seth Rollins. I mean the kid has had his working shoes on all year. So who is this mystery man that will accept Cena’s US Open Challenge? There are some longshots like Adam Rose, Fandango or Zack Ryder who definitely have as much chance as I do to headline WrestleMania. Then the thought turns to a guy who makes frequent returns like Chris Jericho but we saw that last month and we’ve been there, done that. So now NXT becomes an option. Perhaps Samoa Joe makes the leap to the big leagues. So many options. My jaw would drop if they dug up Jushin Liger again to face Cena but don’t count on it.
As long as we’re throwing crap against the wall, why not give this shot to Tyler Breeze? He had a hot debut on Smackdown with his beatdown of Ziggler. He has Summer on his side, a selfie stick that he’s not afraid to use, and let’s face it, the man is gorgeous. Who is a better representative of America than a self-centered, egotistical pretty boy with a selfie stick like Breeze? Plus, Cena will make the youngster look amazing in his PPV debut. By strapping the jet pack onto Tyler’s back and pushing him right off the bat, the company may dispel the stigma that getting called up from NXT is the kiss of death. Okay, I’m rambling but regardless of who they pick, I think Cena does the favors and passes the belt onto someone new so he can take it easy for the rest of the year. MCGINN’S PICK: THE CHALLENGER
HELL IN A CELL MATCH
Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt
There is no better way to end a long rivalry than in a Hell in a Cell cage match and we’ll be treated with two such matches beginning with the conclusion of the the Reigns/Wyatt saga. One thing I’ve enjoyed about this program is Reigns adapting to Bray’s unorthodox tendencies. Where as months ago, Reigns would have charged in and taken a beating by Bray, Strowman and Harper, it feels like he learned some harsh lessons and is better equipped. On Raw he escaped a similar beating and even got a parting shot on Bray to give Mr. Wyatt something to think about before stepping foot in the cage. Roman seemed scared and you believed Bray was in his head during the summer but now it feels like he has become as dark and twisted as his adversary. You have to have a screw or two loose to agree to fight in such a barbaric structure. In theory the cell means no outside interference though we know that isn’t always the case. Without them scheduled in a match, expect the family to get involved and I’m sure Ambrose will have something up his demented sleeve. In the end, the Reigns redemption tour will finally get back on track and the Wyatts will have to find a new victim for their treacherous schemes. MCGINN’S PICK: ROMAN REIGNS
WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Seth Rollins (C) vs. Demon Kane
Rollins/Kane… Main event anywhere in the country… except on this show. By sandwiching this between two long-time feuds that will come to a conclusion in the most epic of cage matches, this match screams of an afterthought even though it involves the most prestigious title. I will say this though for WWE, they didn’t take the easy way out and just scrapped this angle altogether. All year they had teased of Kane breaking ranks from The Authority to get revenge on Rollins. Whether it was the champ’s constant disparaging remarks or the leg injury he helped cause several months ago, Kane had ample ammunition to get back at Triple H’s boy. This Jekyl and Hyde routine, while campy, has been entertaining to watch. I think I’m a fan of goofy mild-mannered Corporate Kane better than the sadistic Demon Kane but that’s another whole article right there. Meanwhile, Rollins has been great as the gutless heel champ. Even though no one suspects Kane actually has a chance in hell of winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Rollins has done his part to make the demon look like a legitimate threat. While I appreciate them finally paying off a rare long-term booking decision, I doubt this match will be anything to write home about. Rollins escapes with another victory over the monster, Corporate Kane disappears for good and we await a new challenger for The Architect. MCGINN’S PICK: SETH ROLLINS
HELL IN A CELL MATCH
The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar
Well here we are. The final chapter. The Phenom vs. The Beast. They say this match is 13 years in the making though really this is the culmination of Brock doing the unthinkable in April of 2014 when he ended The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania. We thought maybe this was over this past August when Taker got his win back – albeit under the most shady and absurd circumstances possible – at SummerSlam. But alas, here we are, in the finale of the Brock Lesnar “Go to Hell” Tour, subjected to one last dance between these two titans of Sports Entertainment. Whether you agree with it or not, these two will do whatever they possibly can to justify another main event spot on pay-per-view. In their two previous meetings, Taker has subjected his body to such intense punishment, that medical attention post-match was necessary. I’m at a loss for what the plans are for each of these guys moving forward. Assuming neither gets entered into the World title picture, they are likely looking at dream matches at Mania in Dallas. Undertaker it has been rumored would work a retirement angle. Let’s hope Brock doesn’t end his career before that can even happen. Besides another Taker hospitalization, I’m also praying against another screwy finish involving timekeepers and premature bell ringings. There needs to be a definitive winner here. In what I feel will be the best match of their trilogy, Brock lay the Deadman to rest in one of the matches he made famous in his illustrious career. Perhaps we’ll even get an emotional handshake from the two combatants after their war is over. Or maybe Brock gets the last laugh and delivers a low blow as payback from the summer. In any case, Lesnar triumphs and proceeds to go directly to hell. MCGINN’S PICK: BROCK LESNAR
And there you have it! Be sure to follow all the action and analysis of Hell in a Cell only at Place to Be Nation. Be sure to catch the PTBN Reaction Show Podcast featuring my buddy Will and the gang early next week! Did you like or hate my picks? Tell me about it by following me on Twitter @DmcGP2B. In addition, please subscribe to both the Place to Be Nation Podcast as well as the PWO-PTBN Podcast Network feeds on iTunes for continuous coverage of Night of Champions. Enjoy the show!