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Ruthless Roundtable: WWE Hell in a Cell 2015

Smark Henry's Ruthless Roundtable is here once again to make precious PPV predictions!

In this edition, we have the usual suspects, plus three of Smark Henry's newest writers. Are you ready for WWE Hell in a Cell? Well, ring the bell!


Hell in a Cell Match: Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker

Stan Sy: I want to see this feud end mercifully at HIAC, and that means it’s got to have a decisive finish. No more shenanigans.

From the moment Taker and Brock first faced off, it was always supposed to be to put Lesnar over. Thirteen years later, not much has changed. Brock has to go over, because he’s become the human embodiment of the Streak. He’s the plot device that needs to be protected so that if and when he loses cleanly to the new next big thing, it will be a momentous occasion.

Now, here’s to hoping that we get a proper ending, and not more questions that lead to the next story immediately. Puwede ring magkaroon ng ending. Hindi po siya bawal.

Mark de Joya: Like Stan, I'm still rooting for Brock to lay the Dead Man to rest once and for all, and let's be real—has anyone ever owned Taker the way the Beast has? I'm not just talking WrestleMania last year either.

Wrestling always needs one true monster, and thirteen years since Lesnar and the Undertaker first faced off in the squared circle, nobody has come close to matching Brock’s animal explosiveness, physicality, and force-of-nature intensity. Let's hope WWE Creative makes the right call and realize that in the face of slumping ratings, they need to take the long view towards next year's WrestleMania, and start sowing the seeds for Brock as history's greatest conqueror.

Lynch Imbat: Despite with what everyone’s been saying about how this match was hyped with a flimsy "Go To Hell" tour and the continued reasoning(or lack thereof) behind it, this match will glue eyes to screens and butts to seats. Absent players and sub-par storytelling is overpowered by the sheer big-fight feel between these two behemoths as they take on this one last ride. This is the last time we’re seeing Brock taking on ‘Taker and no better way to end it than in HIAC.

With that said, Brock Lesnar has to take this win. He has been protected far too long for WWE to drop the ball on him now. Adding on what Stan mentioned, Brock should get over clean to put a definitive period on this feud. To use this match as a means to create new storylines for both wrestlers for WrestleMania through shenanigans would be a mighty damn shame.

"Tito" Enzo Tanos: I can imagine it right now. BRRRRRROCK LESNAR demolishes The Undertaker in a tough Hell in a Cell match on Sunday. The Beast takes the Deadman to Suplex City, and this time, let’s not have any unclean finishes like what we had last time. But what’s next for Brock Lesnar after Hell in a Cell? Maybe a feud with The Wyatt Family could be in order.

Lance Ong: It's unanimous: we can all agree that Brock Lesnar has to win in one form or another. Right now, WWE has to protect one of their greatest assets, something they failed to do last summer in a pretty screwy finish against Taker. And Lesnar has taken the responsibility of being the modern-day phenom. Anything that would lead to a Taker win would be a serious injustice to the mystique of Lesnar's character, and at this point, they cannot afford to mess this match up. Plus, yes, someone else will benefit from a win against Lesnar, someone who can be considered one of the future players of WWE when the time comes.


Hell in a Cell Match: Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns

MDJ: Once upon a time, wrestling feuds were built on simple, human things: hate, disgust, loathing, anger. That's precisely why I've loved this feud between Vince McMahon's once-upon-a-time Chosen One and the magnetic New Face of Fear—for me, it's that rare feud that can seem both epic on a grand scale and gritty human at the same time.

Is it the kind of feud that deserves the Hell in a Cell stipulation? Probably not, it's an awfully gimmicky tag to hang onto such a personal war. But I've personally enjoyed Roman's in-ring work, as of late, and Bray Wyatt always plays his role to a T. It's a close one, but I just can't bet against the leader of the Wyatt Family in this one. Anyone but you, Roman. Anyone but you. 

Lynch: For the first time in a long time, both Roman and Bray find themselves back in a position they were once in: the chance to move to greater heights. For most of the year, both floundered in the sea which suddenly didn’t seem to fit them in storylines that didn’t make sense. But this feud brought them, surprisingly, to how what they should already be: borderline main-event stars waiting to break out. A simple premise of two guys just wanting to destroy each other and smash-mouth ringwork with Roman’s improving in-ring savvy and Bray’s walk on-par with his talk, along with undeniable chemistry have allowed this feud to be the hammer that breaks their glass ceilings. 

I’m going with the Chosen (by) One, Roman Reigns here to eke out the victory, but not without Bray Wyatt coming off strong. Can’t wait what’s in store for these two after they move on.

Tito: This one could go either way. Going beyond Roman Reigns’ obvious improvement in the ring and on the mic, Bray Wyatt’s always-strong ring and promo work, and both men’s chemistry, I’m looking more at the numbers here.

In the three PPVs since the feud began, the Wyatts have the 2-1 lead over Reigns/Ambrose. So if this feud will indeed be blown off via the Hell in a Cell match, I foresee a Reigns victory here. Furthermore, keeping Reigns strong makes sense if he will be next in line to shoot for Seth Rollins’ WWE World Heavyweight Championship; it’s been several months since these ex-Shield brothers last fought one-on-one on free TV or PPV, after all.

Stan: Before we have Roman face Seth for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, have we considered the possibility that Reigns and Bray have one last hurrah at Survivor Series? Bray Wyatt practically has a Survivor Series team already. It’ll be interesting to see Dean and Roman go around the locker room to recruit two guys who’d be willing to join their cause. After all, the last guy who tried got taken out. Twice. And now he’s out with a shoulder injury. It’s a tried yet tested formula that could make for compelling television.

That being said, I still think Roman Reigns needs this more than Bray Wyatt. Wyatt doesn’t end up looking weak in a HIAC loss because he ultimately still has his Family to be strong and to lean on. As the Throwback Tito’s pointed out, Roman needs a definitive victory over Wyatt, and there is no better place for it to happen than inside Hell in a Cell.

Lance: The one positive from this feud is that both Reigns and Wyatt had been reinvigorated on a character standpoint, after things didn't work out for them in previous storylines. Being said, this match will be Reigns' ultimate chance to prove to the fans that the spot given to him at the main event of Mania was not a waste. So Reigns has to win, but as Stan said, this feud may not be over after all since a Survivor Series match is practically a given with their team set up at this point.


WWE World Championship: Demon Kane vs. Seth Rollins (c)

Stan: This week’s RAW should have been enough to convince you that an episode of WWE’s flagship show can chug along just fine without Corporate Kane as Director of Operations. That all but means Seth Rollins is retaining his title against Demon Kane somehow, unless we get swerved and Demon Kane wins via DQ or something. 

You know what, the bigger question is why this match is just a singles match when two non-title feuds are getting a Hell in a Cell match. Regardless of the fact that this story got so much airtime since Demon Kane returned, it has failed to live up to the lofty expectations of a World Title feud and the multiple personalities angle they saddled Kane with.

All of that being said, expect Seth Rollins to retain and Kane to continue terrorizing the main roster as a full-time demon.

MDJ: Kane is one my guilty pleasures—he's the kind of dude who doesn't always seem like the hottest card in the deck, but when we look back at his career five years from now, we'll all be saying “Yup… that was a Hall of Fame career right there.”

Just like Stan, I'm a bit saddened that Creative didn't mine the potential Kanely Ipkiss character as much as they could have, to add some texture to a resoundingly average feud on paper. Kane is always at his best when his writing pushes the boundaries of suspending your disbelief. I see Seth Rollins winning to extend his record-breaking reign, but where does he go from here? This is a match that sorely needs a huge moment at the end—perhaps the emergence of a new challenger (not crossing my fingers for a Sheamus cash-in though), or an iconic extreme spot. 

Tito: Though not a great feud by any stretch, the Rollins vs Kane feud has played out better than I expected, but I don’t see this as a long-term feud. What it is, though, is the catalyst to a legitimate Kane face turn, where he gets fired as Director of Operations and resumes being a mask-wearing demon. But what happens after Rollins is done beating Kane? Does he resume his feud with one or both of his ex-Shield mates? When does Sheamus cash in his Money in the Bank contract?

With WWE being the vindictive promotion that it is, it won’t be surprising if they have Rollins holding the title for 435 days or more so they can erase a certain Phillip Jack Brooks from their record books. Till that happens, creative is sure to find someone for Rollins to feud with—I see Dean Ambrose and/or Roman Reigns as potential short-term candidates. 

Sheamus can still cash in if Rollins breaks CM Punk’s modern-day record on the first RAW of June 2016 (albeit barely), and my dream scenario where Daniel Bryan wins the World Title from Sheamus and avenges his “18 seconds” loss from WrestleMania 28 would still make sense. That could be something for SummerSlam 2016, provided Rollins is indeed WWE’s chosen one to break Punk’s record.

Lance: For a guy that has done it all throughout his career, Kane still has found a way to make things relatively interesting (despite the ridiculous storyline). And while it is a given that Rollins will retain the title (unless Sheamus has other plans in mind), the best thing to happen from this is that we can bid farewell to Corporate Kane and resume our appreciation to Demon Kane, even if it is his last great run with the company.

Lynch: I’ll be honest, I really can’t say anything much for this match. It doesn’t deserve this spot in the card. The WWE World Heavyweight Championship doesn’t deserve this at all. And it doesn’t give justice to Kane and Seth, despite trying their best to make the best of this situation.

I can’t shake the feeling this match is a critical time for future storytelling, especially involving Mr. Money in The Bank, Sheamus. I keep harping on this, but we’re on the cusp of WrestleMania season and as much as I hate to admit, the cash-in has to happen now or at least by Survivor Series to preserve the potential storylines for Seth chasing the title and/or feuding with the Authority. Seth can’t be buried on the road to WrestleMania, but odds has it going to Seth Freakin’ Rollins.


John Cena’s United States Championship Open Challenge

Stan: The logical thing is to slot Dean Ambrose in as the challenger and to have him tear the house down with Cena and win the U.S. Championship. After all, Orton’s injury has left him without a tag team partner and without a match at Hell In A Cell

But how awesome would it be to have Cena call out his challenger, only for him to be kept waiting, and then...

... Flight of the Valkyries plays.

DANIEL BRYAN! JOHN! THAT’S DANIEL BRYAN! WE THOUGHT HIS CAREER WAS OVER! THE YES MOVEMENT HAS RETURNED TO THE STAPLES CENTER!

Daniel Bryan could be the biggest swerve to the U.S. Open Challenge, and yet it’ll make all the sense in the world to have him take the U.S. Championship from Cena while he takes some time off.

Of course, the question after that will be whether he actually gets to defend his championship because injury has robbed him of not one, but two championship defenses over the last two years.

MDJ: You had me at Daniel Bryan, Stan, but I actually expect Tyler Breeze to pull a rare pay-per-view championship-winning debut and claim the U.S. Championship, if only to prove to Rusev that Summer Rae is the secret to WWE gold, and that he made a massive mistake sticking with Lana. I wouldn't mind the Bulgarian Brute and Prince Pretty battling for the belt up until the Royal Rumble, when Lana finally makes her return to help her fiancé crown himself as champion. 

But either way, Cena will do the right thing and drop the gold while he takes most of the remaining days in 2015 off. 

Tito: Tyler Breeze? Really? That modern-day occupational guy I talked about briefly in my last Thursday Night Tanders article? He may be a recognizable name in NXT and he may have just been unveiled as Summer Rae’s new client/boylet, but I think it’s too much to give him the U.S. belt right off the bat. Let him squash the Fandangos of the lower card before we think midcard belts. 

I think Dolph Ziggler would be a more plausible challenger to Cena, given their epic match as of late, and having him win the title AND beat down Cena afterwards would be a great way to turn him heel and give his character new life. He can then add another chapter to the Rusev feud, but this time with their roles reversed—a face Rusev probably accusing Ziggler of using Lana to get ahead, Ziggler acting like a cocky, even misogynistic pretty boy and heeling it up to the hilt. That’s going to make Rusev vs Ziggler Mk. II worth watching, with the additional intrigue of an actual belt on the line.

Still, you’ve got to give the Lunatic Fringe something to do at Hell in a Cell, so it wouldn’t be surprising either if Ambrose steps up as Cena’s opponent on Sunday.

Lance: The wonders of the Open Challenge is that anyone can come in and be the first man to actually win his Open Challenge (his SummerSlam match does not count). It's like the equivalent to beating Brock Lesnar in the sense that the winner will benefit from it in a huge way. So I'll just go out of the limb and say it could be someone that has yet to make his debut in the main roster. It could be anyone from NXT, really, but if a certain Lone Wolf shows up all of a sudden and ends Cena's days as champion…

Lynch: Lance is right, it’s literally a wide open challenge. This is a match to which Cena will hand the baton -- not rei(g)ns -- to his chosen one. The logical choice will always be Dean Ambrose, but we could see anyone from Big E (I can only imagine the fun the New Day will have!) to Damien Sandow (This could be it!)...

Or Sami Zayn

Regardless, Cena drops this match for his VL. How he will be written off, that’s another matter.


Intercontinental Championship: Ryback vs. Kevin Owens (c)

MDJ: Seriously, after Kevin Owens actually planted Mark Henry with his trademark pop-up powerbomb on RAW this week, does anyone want to bet against him? Ol’ KO is on a red-hot run as a weaselly (but dominant) Intercontinental Champion, and he's not about to drop the white-and-gold to some jacked-up gorilla in pink spandex. I love Ryback, but this month, he's just fodder for the Canadian prizefighter. Kevin Owens for the win. 

Tito: Now that's we can agree on, MDJ. It wouldn’t make any sense to make Owens’ reign as Intercontinental Champion a short one. I also like Ryback at this point in his career and feel his first singles title was long overdue, but KO’s gonna feed the Big Guy more Pop-Up Powerbombs come Sunday.

Stan: Open-minded ba kayo? Hindi sa business ah, pero sa possibility na si Roman Reigns ang magiging next #1 contender for the Intercontinental Championship?

I actually want to see this happen, so I need Ryback to lose on Sunday and to bow out of the IC title picture, so that when Roman’s done with Bray Wyatt, Kevin Owens will be chomping at the bit to prove which powerbomb conquers all.

Lance: A Ryback loss won't hurt him in the long run at this point. Owens is red hot, and it won't make sense for him to lose the title immediately. There IS a good reason why Owens won the NXT Title shortly after his debut after all. Shady or not, a KO win is definitely in order.

Lynch: No secret here, KO’s getting this. But this won’t be the last time they’ll face each other in this feud, although Ryback should be moving up.


Divas Championship: Nikki Bella vs. Charlotte (c)

Tito: As I see it, Charlotte’s going to win this rematch against Nikki Bella, even with the strong likelihood of some Team Bella shenanigans. But what’s next for her after she defeats the woman who ever-so-slightly beat out one April Mendez-Brooks for the longest Divas title reign in history?

It’s simple: Have her feud with Paige.

Many have been calling Creative out for being so indecisive with regards to Paige and the real score with Team PCB. But I actually believe things are going somewhere. With Paige being so defensive about certain things, e.g. whether she beat down on Natalya or not on the October 12 RAW, a full-fledged heel turn is in order, and I think she’s going to actually help Charlotte retain the Divas belt at Hell in a Cell, only for her to assault her former Team PCB teammates during the victory celebration. 

Stan: Is it wrong that I care more about Paige’s beef with Nattie than I do about this feud? Creative has written Paige vs. Nattie way better than Charlotte vs. Nikki, and that’s lazy writing when you expect people to immediately care about a program just because the title is on the line. 

That being said, I’m actually open to Nikki Bella winning the title back to open the door for Sasha Banks to emerge as the next challenger, and to rep Team B.A.D. in the process. I predicted Charlotte to retain on this week’s SGP Podcast, but I’ve had a change of heart after realizing how awful her title run has been so far. Plus, it doesn’t help that Lotlot still wrestles out of the Mizanin School of Ring Psychology.

Lance: In a perfect world, this match would be turned into a Triple Threat, with Sasha Banks being a late addition and emphatically beating both Bella and Charlotte to win the Divas Title after not having a title around her waist for so long. However, under the circumstances, any championship reign is better than another Bella reign, so I'm mostly for Charlotte if only because of the many possibilities for her as champion. Paige vs. Charlotte doesn't sound bad, actually.

Lynch: I’m with Stan here, Charlotte winning the butterfly title has done nothing for the division. Enough talk about the revolution, the Divas Championship should be the main story for this division and not some Scooby Doo mystery. Hard to admit that Nikki’s reign, despite its lapses, at least gave the Divas a shining jewel to aim for and she should regain the belt for this to happen again.

MDJ: I’m trying really hard to care about this match, but failing miserably. I’ll just predict Charlotte will retain the Butterfly belt, but that doesn’t mean I think she’s a great champion—I just think she’d be a better opponent for Paige to reclaim her rightful throne as queen of the Divas scene further down the line.


WWE Tag Team Championship: The Dudley Boyz vs. The New Day (c)

Stan: The New Day is riding the biggest heat wave in WWE right now that taking the titles off them could just stunt their momentum. With or without the Tag Team Championships, the Dudley Boyz will be over as fuck. I just wonder who they’ll be feuding with (and why) if they were to move on from the New Day. I want the Dudleyz to remain relevant. After all, they made such a huge return and they’re still in great physical condition, that it would be a shame to take them off TV with no explanations—something WWE has no problems doing with the Prime Time Players and the other tag teams in the division.

Expect the New Day to finally retain the titles decisively against the Dudley Boyz. There is a tag team division waiting in the wings to be given an opportunity. And face or heel, anyone who goes up against the New Day could benefit from the heat they generate with such ease. 

MDJ: I'm from the old school of wrestling, and I grew up while the Dudleys were kicking ass and taking names. As much as I adore the New Day act, I feel physically programmed to root for Buh Buh Ray and D-Von no matter what. I normally hate hot potato championship reigns, but it could be one way for WWE Creative to pad the New Day's resumé with more title runs. The Kings of Dudleyville win this match with a spectacular 3D off of wacky heel miscommunication, but lose it back in the next couple of weeks. D-VON!!! GET THE TITLES!!! 

Tito: Make that two voices from the old school who want the Dudleys to win. And I’m thinking the same way as you are with regards to how things may play out. The Tag Team belts have been getting hot-potatoed pretty much since The Usos dropped it, but I also see the Dudleys winning the titles come Sunday, then dropping them the next PPV or earlier, with The New Day enjoying a long run as tag champs, probably until WrestleMania 32.

Lance: Let's make it a tie! I'm all for the New Day winning. They managed to turn what would have been an extremely awful gimmick into the hottest thing in all of wrestling, so at this point, it would be unwise to see the WWE's biggest faction beaten by the legendary Dudleys, who are already well established at this point. And it would be a waste for their reign to end as immediate as now, especially when they built such an aggressive momentum. Don't be surprised if the New Day ends up defending their titles at Survivor Series in a multi-team tag title match, though.

Lynch: Uhm, so the responsibility of breaking this tie relies on me. *gulp!*

The tag division has always been this way, interesting, but not really thriving, and they have an opportunity here with all the other teams waiting on the wings. The Dudleyz have legitimized The New Day, but they can also do the same for the PTP with or without the tag titles. Unless Creative wants to really prove that they are not, after all, creative, it should be the New Day.

Although, I don't mind trading the tag titles for the US title on the New Day..


Kick-off Show: Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro, and Neville vs. Rusev, Sheamus, and King Barrett

Stan: I don’t see the point of having a rematch of this random RAW match at the kickoff show, especially after how we were supposed to have one of the more relevant kickoff matches in a long time with the originally booked match between Ambrose and Orton against Harper and Strowman.

So the kickoff match is back in the dredges of irrelevance, and all six of these guys get a PPV bonus because someone’s got to get that bonus, right?

I really want Team No First Name (Cesaro and Neville) and the Kings of the Ring (Sheamus and King Barrett) to eventually contend for the Tag Team Championships. But for now, I might as well call for Dolph, Antonio, and Adrian to win and kick this show off on a high note.

MDJ: Random observation: Dolph Ziggler is the only non-European in this match. I'd love for the Eurotrash Lads (as Barrett playfully dubbed his teammates) to join forces and beat down that bleached blond piece of ‘Murrican ass to a pile of neon-tinted pulp, only because I actually want them to be involved in a relevant storyline for the first time in what seems like forever.

This would hopefully lead to a nice Survivor Series match, where Ziggler can pull his usual Lone Survivor shenanigans again. So for now, it's one step back, two steps forward for Dolph, as I see the team of Barrett, Sheamus, and Rusev winning through a Euro revolt. 

Tito: I really feel bad for Cesaro at this point in his career. The fans love him, but Vince McMahon says he’s boring, and his push isn’t getting any better. At 35, the clock may be ticking on a big Cesaro push. But he and Neville—another guy who’s seemingly running in place with his current feud with Barrett—will have to take the loss here with the Show-Off. If Ziggler’s turning heel at Hell in a Cell, might as well have his babyface team lose the pre-show match, and have him be pissed-off at one of those two for costing them the match, though not pissed-off enough to turn heel right then and there.

Lynch: As much as it looks sad enough to see some of these middling Superstars here, it still somehow gives an unpredictability to the entire card. Four of these guys could legitimately take the Open Challenge, while one could be World champ at the end of the night.

But that aside, the Kings of the Ring win here. The rule of even booking doesn’t apply to pre-shows. 

***

To summarize:

1. Brock Lesnar will win against The Undertaker inside Hell in a Cell.
2. Roman Reigns will reign inside Hell in a Cell versus Bray Wyatt.
3. Seth Rollins will retain the WWE World Heavyweight Title.
4. John Cena will drop the United States Championship to the one who will answer his Open Challenge (predicted challengers: Dean Ambrose, Tyler Breeze, Dolph Ziggler, Daniel Bryan, Damien Sandow, Sami Zayn, Big E)
5. Kevin Owens will retain his Intercontinental Championship
6. Charlotte will remain the Divas Champion
7. The New Day will still be the WWE Tag Team Champions
8. Rusev, Sheamus, and King Barrett will triumph.

***

Meanwhile, this is how the Roundtable fared at the predictions for last month's PPV, Night of Champions:

YEY! - 1. Seth Rollins will retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
(no score) - 2. The Roundtable is split on who will walk out as the United States Champion
YEY! - 3. Kevin Owens will become the new Intercontinental Champion
YEY! (sort of) - 4. The New Day will retain the WWE Tag Team Championship [The Dudleys won via DQ, though]
YEY! - 5. Charlotte will win the Divas Championship
AWW! - 6. Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and their mystery partner will win over the Wyatt Family [The Wyatts were triumphant]
YEY! - 7. Dolph Ziggler will end this atrocious feud with Rusev
YEY!The Cosmic Wasteland will welcome us to... well, the wasteland somewhere out in... the cosmos?

Our score for Night of Champions: 6-1-1. Not bad! Will the Ruthless Roundtable do better for Hell in a Cell?

***

Do you agree with our Roundtable predictions? Sound off at the comments sections below, and list down your own picks for Night of Champions.

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