Tonight at the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana, WWE presents its third annual Hell in a Cell Pay-Per-View (PPV) event. Step inside "Satan's Structure" as The Daily Zombies give our own spin on the show.
Another WWE Pay-Per-View (PPV) already? Really? Really? It almost seems only a couple of weeks ago where we have the beginnings of Mark Henry's first-ever World Heavyweight Championship reign as well as John Cena's tenth WWE Championship reign at Night of Champions. Oh wait. It really was a couple of weeks ago. A quick recap: We are at the second rest stop of the astoundingly hectic three-PPVs-in-five-weeks schedule. Oh, and welcome to WWE's most satanic PPV of the year (right there with Elimination Chamber), if we were to take in all the hyperbole from the likes of Jerry "The King" 'Anal Bleeding' Lawler, John 'Super' Cena and Michael 'GDYC' Cole. Accordingly, the Hell in a Cell match, in actuality a glorified cage match with a bigger cage with a roof, is Satan’s playground and "structure" (whatever that mean) and is designed by Satan himself!
With the WWE writers writing themselves into a corner with only two weeks to hype the PPV, let's see what's on the card for this one.
With Mark Henry surprisingly defeating Randy Orton both cleanly and decisively for his first-ever World Heavyweight Championship reign at Night of Champions, the World's Strongest Man is looking to defend his newly-gained championship against a particularly loose-cannon mode Orton. While John Cena's victory on the same night bored us to tears, Punk, who had earlier failed to bring forth his rematch clause (due to his involvement with Triple H and to a lesser extent, Kevin Nash), is now back in the title picture along with former champion, Alberto Del Rio. Interestingly, for a show that is no doubt the secondary brand, Smackdown has more to offer than Raw tonight as Sheamus takes on Christian in their first encounter of their newly-ignited feud, while a most peculiar match-up awaits as Sin Cara faces his evil twin in a bout to decide who gets to keep the namesake of "Sin Cara". Meanwhile, in a case of unnecessary deja vu, The Glamazon, for the third time in a roll, takes on Kelly Kelly, for a shot at her Divas Championship.
While only five matches have been announced on the card, we are quite certain that we will also get to see WWE Tag Team Champions, the unfortunately-named Air Boom (Evan Bourne & Kofi Kingston)) in action, possibly taking on Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger, as inexplicable as that might sound (as both Ziggler and Swagger have done absolutely nothing in the capacity of a functioning tag team and have in fact lost in their last tag team encounter). In addition, while the conspiracy storyline has taken a backseat for this event, we fully expect that recently "fired" WWE Superstars like The Miz, R-Truth, and Kevin Nash, are likely to turn up to further the plot.
For those keeping the score, our disastrous prediction continued with Night of Champions, scoring a dismal 3:4. Well, it's still an improvement over the absolutely cataclysmal zero score we had at SummerSlam. Now on with the show.
WWE Championship Triple Threat Hell in a Cell Match
Reigning WWE Champion John Cena (c) takes on CM Punk and Alberto Del Rio.
With many online fans and pundits expressing their dismay over WWE's constant title switch (with many speculating that the recent switchback to Cena was a panicky move on WWE's part to save the ailing ratings for Raw), it is interesting to note that 2011 might just turned out to be the year with the most WWE Championship title change. Let's put things in perspective: In the course of Kelly Kelly's WWE Divas Championship reign since June, a total of five WWE Championship title change took place. Kind of alarming, isn't it? Coupled with the fact that Cena will, most likely than not, be without the WWE Champion belt on his waist (or shoulder, or whatever) come Survivor Series on November 20th, and you know you can count on WWE to continue the wild title chase in the last quarter of the year.
With WWE repeated emphasis ad nauseam that this is the first-ever Triple Threat Hell in a Cell Match, it is noteworthy for us to point out that there have been a Six Man Armageddon Hell in a Cell (reigning WWF Champion Kurt Angle vs. Undertaker vs. Triple H vs. Steve Austin vs. Rikishi vs. The Rock, what a star-studded line-up) in 2000's Armageddon, a 2-on-3 Handicap Hell in a Cell (D-Generation X vs. Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon and Big Show) in 2006's Unforgiven, a Tornado Tag Team Hell in a Cell (D-Generation X vs. Legacy) in 2009's Hell in a Cell, and ironically, as the dark match for last week's Raw, Cena defeated Alberto Del Rio, CM Punk, Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler in a Five Man Hell in a Cell for the WWE Championship (just so that you can have a better idea on why the HIAC was in place during Raw). Multiple-man Heel in a Cell is definitely not as rare as what WWE has been selling, and there's a good reason why. Hell in a Cell, before its recent PG-TV incarnation, used to be the feud-ending match-up for main event-level feuds between Superstars. With WWE's little futile experiment in marking every PPVs with a gimmick, Hell in a Cell became an annual PPV event two years ago, thus forcing the writers's hand to shoehorn whatever feud to the match-type, severely diminishing the uniqueness of the special match.
However, with tonight's main event, while we are absolutely certain that we won't be having the suicidal stunt-filled match-up with gallons of blood, the Superstars involved are adequate to give us a hell of a good show, especially with Punk and Cena's appealing dynamics still shining off their recent feud of the year-caliber work.
Predicted Winner: John Cena
The Champ is .... still The Champ. Much like the aforementioned Six Man Armageddon Hell in a Cell in 2000 and the Punk vs. Triple H main event from Night of Champion, we are likely to see a heavily overbooked main event with numerous moving parts from Ricardo Rodriguez, Kevin Nash, The Miz, R-Truth, John "Johnny Ace" Laurinaitis, to Mr. COO himself, Triple H.
That said, we are not that sure of our prediction here. We knew it as a fact that Cena will fall before Survivor Series, but could it be here or next two week's Vengeance, or even a random Raw episode? Storyline-wise, it would make more sense for Cena to once again win against all odds here (typical Super Cena booking) and at the title match at Vengeance, the much-talked-about new nWo-style faction (comprising The Miz, R-Truth, and Nash) appeared to screw Cena out of his title, setting the stage for the 5-on-5 Survivor Series Tag Team Match involving the in-ring return of The Rock.
World Heavyweight Championship Hell in a Cell Match
We are witnessing a rarity here. A fifteen year veteran who has been more often than not, below the radar of even the midcard titles and at times, the comedic act, Mark Henry has finally been elevated to main event status and guess what, he cleanly and decisively defeated Randy Orton, the leading face of Smackdown.
A living evidence that good old traditional story-telling still works best, the build-up of the monster heel version of Mark Henry is perhaps a lesson for any would-be bookers out there. The trash-talking big man has quite the mileage to go before ending his title reign, and we opined that he should have a healthy long one for the benefit of the show.
That said, the modus operanti of the character of Henry is mainly built on his feat-of-strength stunts and his basic wrestling abilities are still mostly mediocre. With Hell in a Cell barring both to seek ringside distraction, this is an opportunity for both Orton and Henry to display their respective mastery of in-ring psychology.
Predicted Winner: Mark Henry
The Hall of Pain officially inducts the Apex Predator, the Viper, the Legend Killer, Randy Orton. With Smackdown's ratings peaking on Henry's debut episode as the World Heavyweight Champion (by design or coincidence, we will never know...for now) and Henry's incredible build-up, it would be absolutely moronic (even by WWE's writer's standards )to kill off the World's Strongest Man's momentum here by dropping the title back to Orton. Apart from that, Orton's character is strong enough to take two consecutive clean defeat just so that the monster can be even more dominating.
Sin Cara vs. Sin Cara
For once, a feud with an unexpected yet perfectly sound background heavily dipped in reality, though this has by now been a point that WWE hasn't make clear enough to the unsuspecting audience.
Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde, AKA Místico, one of the most popular Mexican luchador in Mexico, needs no introduction. Brought in by WWE to fill in the role of the masked cruiserweight wrestler for the wildly popular Rey Mysterio, who is himself in the twilight of his longstanding career, Mistico was rechristened as Sin Cara and has enjoyed varying level of success in the WWE.
However, following his absence in July (storyline-wise, it was due to the severe injury suffered at the hands of then-heel Sheamus, in actuality, he was suspended for failing a drug test), another wrestler show up in Smackdown in the guise of Sin Cara. Despite the rather tongue-in-cheek prompting from the announcers, most of the audience did not realize that Sin Cara was now portrayed by another wrestler until the eventual heel turn of the new Sin Cara when he attacked Daniel Bryan after a match-up with him.
Soon, the real Sin Cara return to confront his evil twin, a scene that is mainly a source of confusion for the audiences as it proved to be next-to-impossible to determine who is the original real deal. And here's when the interesting plot twist comes into the picture.
Showing up in a black version of the costume, the evil Sin Cara explained his reason behind the usurping of the identity: Revenge. He was stealing the Sin Cara identity from Luis Urive as Urive has stolen the Místico identity from him in his early career.
For those who are confused by the plot up to this point, allow us to elaborate. The evil Sin Cara is actually Jorge Arias, currently under the ringname of Hunico at WWE's Farm League Florida Championship Wrestling. Better known in Mexico as the American Luchador, Incognito, Arias originally debuted in Mexico as "Místico" but was forced to change his ringname following the rise of Místico. While it is unknown if Arias's Mistico namesake preceded Urive's, the Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) managed to obtain the legal rights to the name in 2005, forcing Arias to change his name.
With the history lesson out of the way, both Sin Caras are known for their botched moves in WWE yet both have tremendous potential given their international exposure. With both familiar with their respective style of wrestling in Mexico, this should be our best opportunity to see what the renowned Místico got.
Predicted Winners: Sin Cara... okay, we mean the good blue-masked one
While we definitely agreed that this feud is just getting started, this match actually has the namesake in jeopardy so it is only right that the original Sin Cara wins this one, followed by a series of rematches. It has been some time since we last saw an evil doppelganger storyline and with this one, we have some additional intrigue to spice up the age-old plot.
Sheamus vs. Christian
After sitting out Night of Champion (they had a promo on the show though), the Great White Celtic Warrior and Captain Charisma are back to steal the show.
What begun as minor bickering between both Smackdown Superstars has by now transformed into a full-sized feud. With Sheamus's in ring ability and work rate improving tremendously, and Christian in his regular outstanding form, this could in fact be the match of the show.
Predicted Winners: Sheamus
Taking a page from our prediction for Orton vs. Henry's match-up, Christian, after jobbing to Orton for months, have no problem in taking defeats, unlike the recently turned Sheamus. Additionally, Sheamus is likely to win this bout to further his status before emerging as the next number-one contender for Henry's next title defense.
Divas Champion Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix
There have been whispers of rumors that Beth Phoenix was initially booked to win at Night of Champions but WWE retracted the idea upon realizing that Phoenix is in her hometown of Buffalo, New York, and was afraid that the traditional hometown reaction might adverse affect their storylines (in simple English, make their babyface champion, Kelly Kelly, looked bad).
Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix is shaping up to be the "Christian vs. Orton" of WWE Divas, having in its third installment here. If you didn't like what you saw the first couple of times, it is unlikely that you will change your opinion here regardless who's winning tonight.
Predicted Winners: Beth Phoenix
If Phoenix still can't win this one, there is absolutely zero point to this "Divas of Doom" storyline that has been unfortunately underwhelming despite its promise.
As mentioned in our preview for last year's Hell in a Cell, there's no turning back to the good ol' days of the "Attitude" era as we (being not the targeted demographic) continue to suffer in this PG-TV age. Can the matches be as good as they come without blood and its associated violence? Yes, they certainly can, as demonstrated by veterans like Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and The Undertaker, in their WrestleMania encounters, but it is without a shadow of a doubt much more difficult to do so without them. Nevertheless, with the announced card mostly comprised with solid match-ups, this year's Hell in a Cell should be a better effort than the last two installments.
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