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   July 26, 2014



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Countdown to WWE Hell in a Cell
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling




For the first time in a long time, I'm genuinely stumped going into a WWE PPV - but this isn't my fault.

You see, World Wrestling Entertainment has done what we all thought was impossible. Usually, pundits like myself have a good idea of what's going to happen in a PPV - especially in a main event.

That's not the case with Hell in a Cell, which hits PPV airwaves tonight with the main event of CM Punk vs. Ryback.

Now this isn't a good thing in this case. Rather than building intrigue by intent, WWE has done this by painting themselves into a corner, putting Ryback's unbeaten streak - which has insane momentum right now - up against Punk's title reign which is about a month away from celebrating one year, a milestone rarely acknowledged on WWE TV.

Obviously, the show could have been booked a lot different had John Cena not had his surgery, but even with the injury there were options for WWE. For example, We've seen Punk and Randy Orton mix it up well before, so why not have that as the holdover until Cena's ready? Why not bring Mick Foley in for the one last match we've all heard and wondered about? Heck, WWE could've even elevated Kofi Kingston for this bout.

Instead, WWE's going to end up sacrificing one of its two milestone storylines tonight in all likelihood. The popular rumour, and one I subscribe to, is interference from Brock Lesnar which somehow results in the match being declared a "no contest" so as to have both men go out theoretically unscathed. Another thought has been John Cena getting involved, which would result either in Ryback turning heel (maybe with a slow burn going on the road to the Royal Rumble where he ultimately would meet Cena after turning on everyone's hero at Survivor Series) or being shuffled into a side program.

Kids, I have no idea who this is going to unfold. I really wish I could tell you something more decisive, but I don't think the WWE booking team has their minds made up yet; so if they don't know, how is anyone supposed to?

The rest of the card is a bit of an easier mystery to solve. Observe.

The World Heavyweight Championship has been built up well for the first meeting between Big Show and Sheamus. I think WWE will legitimately put the title on Show tonight, only to have Dolph Ziggler come down and repeat what Daniel Bryan did a year ago and beat Show in mere seconds, turning the former cheerleader face in the process.

Next up let's look at the Tag Team Championship. As much as I love Rhodes Scholars, I feel like this has sucked a lot of the momentum out from Damien Sandow. I'm not expecting them to win, especially with Bryan and Kane still riding tall as the title holders.

Up next is Alberto Del Rio vs. Randy Orton in a match which it really feels like we've seen 1,000 times over. This is a total time filler as Del Rio's act has really gotten tired. He needs to innovate before the full on revolt against him begins. Orton, meanwhile, has lost a lot of steam since his 60-day suspension. I figure Del Rio to get the duke here and be setup as the first true challenger to babyface champ Ziggler. (Yes, Del Rio's been in the main event too much, but the two will have great bouts together, mark my words.)

Speaking of boring, Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz for the IC title is the height of uninteresting to me. Kofi needs a refresh and Miz isn't the guy to push him there. Hopefully this is just a holding spot until a heel Evan Bourne can return.

Finally, we get Eve vs. Kaitlyn vs. Layla for the Diva's Championship. I'm feeling more and more like Layla is struggling and just can't stay fresh; don't be surprised if she exits WWE at the same time that Beth does. In the meantime, Eve continues to roll as one of the best heels in WWE (and yes, I'm serious when I say that) while actually elevating Kaitlyn as a sympathetic babyface. Kaitlyn's still a bit green but the two could have a decent program ahead.

Enjoy the show tonight one and all, we'll chat again soon.



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