411 PPV Roundtable Preview - WWE Hell in a Cell 2012
Posted by Stephen Randle on 10.27.2012
CM Punk puts his lengthy WWE Title reign on the line against Ryback this Sunday at WWE Hell in a Cell! Plus Eve faces Kaitlyn and Layla for the Divas title, Sheamus confronts Big Show for the World Title and more! Check out the full roundtable preview for all the details and join 411 for LIVE coverage of the event Sunday night!
This Sunday, WWE's most demonic structure will be on display as they present their annual Hell in a Cell PPV. In the titular match, CM Punk will put his 300-plus day title reign on the line against the undefeated and so-far-unstoppable Ryback. Punk has faced all sorts of challenges in his nearly year-long dominance of the WWE title, but this matchup is unique to the savvy veteran. Can Punk survive in a match where there must be a winner?
Meanwhile, Sheamus and the Big Show will trade high-impact power moves over the World Heavyweight Championship, Eve will defend the Divas Championship against two women accusing her of nefarious doings in gaining the title, Kaitlyn and Layla, and Team Hell No will put their Tag Team titles up against the winners of an 8-team tournament, Team Rhodes Scholars.
As with every PPV, so much is on the line, including the debatable credibility of the 411 Staff and their ability to pick winners and losers. Let's see what they think about WWE Hell in a Cell!
Stephen Randle, The Wrestling News Experience
Craig Wilson, Moments That Changed Wrestling History
Michael Weyer, Shining A Spotlight
James Wright, The Heel Report
Jack Bramma, Ring Crew Reviews
Greg DeMarco, The Greg DeMarco Show
Ken Hill, Raw recapper
Randy Orton vs Alberto Del Rio
Stephen Randle: Hey, look, it's the "must get Randy Orton a PPV cheque" match! And after months of getting his ass kicked by Sheamus, Del Rio looks to continue his slide down the card, probably bottoming out somewhere around "losing to Kofi in IC title matches" for the near future. Orton gets his receipt for tapping out cleanly to Del Rio a couple months ago, no doubt.
Winner: Randy Orton
Craig Wilson: Two of the most overrated WWE superstars in one match – lucky lucky us. I hope that Orton will take this one though as that'll hopefully result in Del Rio not getting a title shot for at least a PPV or two. Orton has been teasing a heel turn recently and I hope that that comes to fruition soon. Just don't buy into him as a face at all.
Winner: Randy Orton
Michael Weyer: Poor Randy, lowered to this. Del Rio never did pay off as well as expected, good worker but just not true main event material. The match looks pretty forgettable, nothing much at stake, guess I'll pick Orton as he's the bigger star and maybe due for a push again.
Winner: Randy Orton
James Wright: Another pointless Randy Orton feud rolls on. Pointless because Orton doesn't need the win, and isn't such a big star that the man he is against will get all that big a rub from beating him. Orton really needs to be either feuding with lower card guys or icons to make his wins and losses mean something, at the moment he just seems to be in a holding pattern and it is supremely boring. The two will have a match, Orton will probably win, and if he doesn't, he probably will the next time.
Winner: Randy Orton
Jack Bramma: This would seem to be two guys meeting on the way up and down the mountain – Orton on his way back up and ADR on his way back down. I'm much more entertained by Del Rio's act and while I don't have an animus toward Orton, I'm just bored by him and a solid, clean win by Berto over him would help vault ADR back into the title picture. But it seems like ADR just spent 6 months there without beating anyone with a pulse. Orton follows up on his win over Ziggler from NOC with another over Del Rio.
Winner: Randy Orton
Greg DeMarco: I am more excited about this match that one might think. Del Rio's new attitude is working for me—I guess all it took were the black trunks! Orton has acted more heelish in recent weeks as well, furthering the speculation that he'll eventually turn.
The real indicator of this match is the set-up of next week's WWE Main Event…er, main event. Orton and Del Rio will captain opposite sides of a six-man tag, meaning this feud might continue. Normally, that would mean a win for Del Rio. But this is the WWE, and they love to protect Orton more than TNA loves to protect Rob Van Dam.
Winner: Randy Orton
Ken Hill: We've seen in recent weeks that Orton's actually lost a match or two heading up to a PPV and he's still over with the crowd like nuts. I think the WWE, for the most part, has finally caught on that someone like Orton at this point in their career can be used to help elevate other talent, whether directly or indirectly, and maintain their popularity and relevance. Plus, he's put over Del Rio before by tapping out, so I don't see the harm in doing so on a slightly larger scale.
Stephen Randle: Arguably, this is the most attention and most coherent storyline they've done for the Divas division in a long while. It doesn't make it any better, but still. On a side tangent, has anyone noticed that NXT has a pretty damned decent Divas division? Why don't they just put them on TV already? I'm pretty sure Brittani Knight already knows how to wrestle.
Craig Wilson: If these are the first two matches then I'll have started to lose interest about now. I've previously voiced numerous grumbles about the state of divas wrestling and this match here highlights how far the divas division has fallen. Ultimately my answer to who wins is "who cares?" but as I have to pick a winner then I'll pluck for Eve here.
Michael Weyer: The Divas aren't quite as wretched as they once were but still not that great shape. A three-way match might make it a tad more exciting but not by too much as I'll pick Eve to retain but just shows how poor the division still is.
Winner and STILL Divas Champion: Eve
James Wright: Well at least the WWE is at least trying to give this 'feud' a payoff. The three will face off and no doubt the woman with the biggest influence outside of the WWE, namely Eve, will win.
Jack Bramma: Kaitlyn only got a title shot and an angle because of a botch. Eve, on the other hand, has been the WWE's go-to villain in the division and they will continue to push her Ms. Hancock, brown-noser, gold digger shtick.
Greg DeMarco: The backstage segment on Raw was well done, especially on Kaitlyn's end. I actually think the WWE has something with her—could she be the "next big thing?" Time will tell, but I think she has that potential.
The match itself should exceed my low expectations. I'd love for the company to build to a bigger Kaitlyn-Eve showdown, so Eve stealing one here makes the most sense.
Ken Hill: Somehow, I think the catfight on Raw this past week will end up having been more entertaining than this, but I can at least appreciate that they're doing something resembling a storyline with the Divas. That being said, with the "mystery attacker" more or less resolved, you'd have to think Eve loses here for justice to be served. Otherwise, what's the point of her being revealed?
Stephen Randle: While Miz may or may not be in line for another "main event push", this is less about Miz and more about Kofi settling back into his comfort zone at the IC Title level, where I imagine he'll have a decent reign until they find someone they want to push over him.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
Craig Wilson: I really like Kofi and after his brief flirtation with being higher up the card earlier in the year I was quite disappointed that he then quietly resumed his role in the tag team division. It was somewhat of a surprise that he won the Intercontinental title from The Miz but I hope he can get a run with the belt. I don't believe he'll make it as a world champion in the WWE – I think he is just short of the attributes required to reach that goal – but he's more than capable of being a good Intercontinental Champion.
Winner: And still Intercontinental Champion, Kofi Kingston
Michael Weyer: Kofi just won the belt so way too soon for a title change already. I actually think he might make a good IC champ, he's hot with fans on the mid-card and good to have a face with the belt for a while. We know he and Miz can have a good match together so this should be a nice brawl before Kofi wins as I can see him making the belt work for a while.
Winner and STILL IC Champion: Kofi Kingston
James Wright: Now this one I am looking forward to. Both men have faced off before for the same belt, but now the Miz has been the WWE champion and Kofi looks to perhaps being pushed back up to at least an upper mid-card talent. I'm expecting them to be given some time to put on a show and tell a story, what's more if the rumours are true that Miz is in line for another run in the main event it almost guarantees that Kofi will win again, which would make him look like a strong champion after he managed to beat the Miz so many times leading up to the match.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
Jack Bramma: There's no rhyme or reason to what they're doing with this belt the past 6 months other than just hotshotting it to returning midcarders to get a shock pop like with Christian and Miz and then having them defend against the generic booking 101 of a battle royal winner from the pre-show. At least there is some semblance of a story here with the WWE seemingly serious about pushing Kofi as a single's wrestler for the first time in 3 years. That botched Trouble in Paradise on Miz that busted him open could be a bad omen for Kofi's push but I still say he picks up the victory.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
Greg DeMarco: Kofi has been on fire lately, and the Miz is such an underrated talent. I would actually see this feud continue for another month, leading to a Raw main event cage match. For now, I just look forward to seeing if they can top their recent successes. They won't be given as much time on the PPV as they received on Main Event—so it might be a slight step back. But it'll still be an entertaining match.
Winner: The Miz
Ken Hill: I like how this feud has served not only to light a fire under the ass of "Mr. Start-and-Stop" Kofi Kingston, but also snapped Miz out of his seeming "auto-pilot" performances in and out of the ring. Miz has been, well, awesome on the mic, and Kofi's taken every step (literally) to prove him wrong. If they're serious about this with Kofi, he retains here.
Stephen Randle: There's no way the inevitable breakup of Hell No goes down here, because there's still lots of gas left in that tank. And just because Rhodes Scholars lose here, doesn't mean they won't get a rematch and a continuing feud anyway.
Winner: Hell No
Craig Wilson: Is it time for the much anticipated split in Team Hell No or do they continue a little longer with the titles? I think they'll keep the belts here but more and more does dissention start to creep in. The eventual dropping of the titles and split will have a bigger pay off than this card so I can't see past Team Hell No retaining. The Rhodes Scholars are a promising team and I hope that they stick together for a bit longer as, if nothing else, it gives both members something meaningful to do.
Winner: Team Hell No
Michael Weyer: First, Rhodes Scholars is a name I'm shocked no one has ever come up with before, just perfect rolling off the tongue. I don't see the split of Kane and Bryan just yet, still plenty of material with their whacky partnership but expect to see some strain here. It's not a title change but will push their storyline along a bit more and should show the division has a bit more life to it.
Winners and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: Hell No
James Wright: This one should also be good. If I could pick another match to be in a cell at the PPV it would be this one, just for the sheer brutality that the cell could add to these already thrown together teams in a thrown together rivalry, which somehow all actually worked. While these teams aren't what you would call 'traditional' tag teams I can't remember the last time a match for the tag team titles was this high profile, so really it's hard to say that the WWE isn't trying, at least in the short term, to rejuvenate the division. I don't think Team Hell No has run out of steam just yet, and I don't think the WWE thinks so either.
Winner: Team Hell No
Jack Bramma: It's a shame that one of these teams has to lose because both have been the most entertaining things on RAW lately, a show desperately in need of more entertainment and less anything to do with authority figures or John Cena. Sandow and Rhodes are one of the stopgap teams over the last several months that have surprisingly stuck together longer than a commercial break. Their characters complement each other well so it was a natural fight, in much the same way that Cody's team with Drew McIntyre was a smooth union a few years ago. Still, I can't help but see Kane and Dragon as THE hottest act on the show and as destined for more than losing to Rhodes Scholar. Does that mean they keep the belts for an extended run or does that run WWE's rushes the inevitable break-up to move DB back up the card? I see this as part one of a larger story and Rhodes Scholar is too smart to take a pinfall loss so it's DQ to get another shot.
Winner: Hell No by DQ
Greg DeMarco: Both of these teams are great, and I want both to continue after this match concludes. In fact, we could be on the verge of a legit, top of the card level feud in the tag team division.
This match could steal the show, as all four men have been great-to-amazing over the past few weeks. I am going with the title change here, but I really think (hope?) this is just the beginning.
Winner: Rhodes Scholars (NEW WWE Tag Team Champions)
Ken Hill: I implied earlier this week in my Raw Report that the Rhodes Scholars would probably be the best match-up for Hell No. You have dysfunction, discord, and disharmony in Bryan and Kane and the seemingly perfect, intellectual unified front in Rhodes and Sandow, who've looked like and performed like a well-oiled tag team machine. With those kind of interesting contrasts, I could see this feud having some legs going past this PPV and into Survivor Series, so the champs should retain here.
Stephen Randle: Well, at least it's not Alberto Del Rio. The only real story here is that Ziggler has guaranteed he'll cash in, which would make more sense if it actually were a Hell in a Cell match, where one or the other might actually be incapacitated. I can't help but feel we're getting another bait-and-switch cash-in tonight, which makes me lean towards Sheamus retaining. If I'm wrong, Show probably wins so they can make more jokes about his minute-long title reigns.
Craig Wilson: I've been nothing but disappointed by Sheamus' run with this belt. It got off to the worst start imaginable and hasn't really picked up much since. Is Big Show really worthy of a title shot here? The only argument for him getting a shot is that it has stopped Alberto Del Rio getting another one. The booking here seems to focus on having Sheamus get a lengthy run with the belt so I can see him keeping the big gold belt at Hell in a Cell.
Winner: And still World Heavyweight Champion… Sheamus
Michael Weyer: Personally, I think HITC might have made it a bit more watchable. Sheamus is working as the champ, has the fans behind him a lot but they really need someone besides Show as a challenger to make him shine more. Sheamus' run has potential if they give him the right guys and seems to have the backing of the company so he retains and hopefully gets someone in the next program who clicks a lot better in the ring.
Winner and STILL World Champion: Sheamus
James Wright: As well as the tag title build my hat goes off to the WWE for making this seemingly thrown together match actually interesting in the build-up. Sheamus has almost been untouchable as champion, and now the Big Show is being made out to be the one man who could possibly end his reign as World Champion, or at least soften him up long enough for Ziggler to do the same. I still say that Ziggler will end up cashing in against Show to make it two years in a row, but who can ever tell, I'm almost certain that he will be cashing in though as with no match scheduled the Show-Off has little else to do on the night.
Winner: Big Show (For about 45 seconds)
Jack Bramma: Sheamus loses less than the Harlem Globetrotters these days. He FINALLY took a loss on RAW to Punk thanks to Show's interference, so he's probably met his quota for the next 12 months before his shoulders are down for the 3 count again. The only possibility of something weird happening here would involve Ziggler and the MITB briefcase. He is suspiciously left off the card which could mean they're setting him up to cash in, though it just as easily could mean that Vickie as acting GM/consultant/spokesman/commish/Jack Tunney will put him in a match with John Cena or something equally opportunistic. There is reason to think they might go with the briefcase though because Show brought up having it cashed in on him and losing immediately when he called out Dragon on RAW. It would be some really bizarre storytelling continuity to have Show beat Sheamus and then have Ziggler cash in to once again have Show be the butt of history's joke by holding the belt for less than a minute. However, that's just not happening. Sheamus retains by taking down Show with the Brogue Kick finally.
Greg DeMarco: I haven't been overly inspired by the booking of this feud. In fact, the real question for me is whether or not Dolph Ziggler will cash in his Money in the Bank title match. Both men are capable, and Show is the prefect opponent to set-up the cash-in.
Why not, right? Sheamus wins, and an upset Big Show connects with the WMD punch post-match. This leads "The Cash In" for "The Show Off," and we have a new World Heavyweight Champion.
Winner: Sheamus, followed up by a successful Dolph Ziggler Money in the Bank cash-in
Ken Hill: Ah, the cocky young upstart going up against the grizzled, serious veteran. Show has warned Sheamus, both physically and verbally, that he needs to take the giant and his WMD seriously, and yet all I've seen from Sheamus is him cracking jokes and making sport of the Big Show, even after Show's made some big statements in costing him matches and beating him out handily in the measuring contest between their finisher. I think the only way Sheamus realistically starts taking this seriously is if he's chasing for the gold.
Winner and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: The Big Show
Stephen Randle: Well, something's gotta give, and I imagine it will be Ryback's streak. How they do it and what happens afterwards, however, are what really matters. Somebody's got to play the role of Kane from the original Hell in a Cell match here, tearing into the cage and taking out Ryback for Punk to barely scrape out a win and flee. The obvious money in on Lesnar, but I give an outside shot to a potentially returning World's Strongest Man, if he's good to go. You can have that one for free if you hadn't considered it already, WWE.
Winner: CM Punk
Craig Wilson: Two pay per view main events in a row is nose bleed territory for CM Punk and it's quite disappointing for me, as a big CM Punk fan, that he'll be ending the night as the former WWE Champion. Even by WWE booking standards it would be completely illogical to not have Ryback win this one. The only question that remains is whether this will be a Goldberg-esque squash or not. I personally can't see this one lasting all that long at all but, that said, CM Punk doesn't need the belt to be over and I've always enjoyed him more when he's doing the chasing.
Winner: and new WWE Champion, Ryback
Michael Weyer: I'm not sold on Ryback. Yes, he's over with the crowds and not bad in the ring but just don't see him as ready for the big step. I know it might be wise to have him go over here, strike while he's hot and all but I just can't see it happening. Punk holds the belt a solid year and loses it to this guy? I know he's getting the Goldberg push but he's just Goldberg lite, at least in my eyes. He'll give it his all but in the end, Punk manages to retain and while it may hurt Ryback's standing a bit, might be the wisest move down the road.
Winner and STILL WWE Champion: CM Punk
James Wright: Yet another thrown together match and yet again it seems to somehow mysteriously work, the WWE sure have been lucky this time around, lucky or good. Despite still falling ratings I think there has been a noticeable improvement in the product, whether the payoff of this match will reflect this is yet to be seen. I think everyone wants to see an appearance by Brock Lesnar and have Punk retain, all except Jericho, who thinks the Ryback could be made into an established star with a title run. In the end I have to go for Punk over Ryback, simply because Sheamus' first surprise title run didn't exactly sit well and I think the audience would respond the same way to Ryback. Fans simply find it too difficult to accept someone so new to their screens as champion, and the WWE fears this too much to take the chance and derail their plans with Punk and the Rock at the Royal Rumble.
Winner: C.M. Punk
Jack Bramma: This is where the PPV will live or die. I was not remotely sold on Ryback as even being over with the crowd, much less as a worker or a draw, until the crowd EXPLODED for Ryback coming out to help both JR and Vince against Punk. The comparisons to Goldberg are apt and make perfect sense, but this is clearly a different situation than WCW. Bischoff never depended on Goldberg to deliver 20 minute PPV main events and it wasn't until Goldberg came to the WWE that he was put out of his depth in no-win situations with Triple H trying to be Flair to Goldberg's Sting and it was just a disaster. Luckily though, Punk of 2012 is a better worker than Triple H of 2003, so this match will be good no matter how long it goes. The much tougher question is will WWE put the belt on Ryback? If you had asked me last week, I would have unquestionably said yes. Vince is on a tirade backstage and demanding results and ratings and I don't care how you slice it, but Punk/Cena IV is not going to cut it. The only remotely interesting option was to put Ryback in the main event and just strap the rocket to him and get it over with. I know WWE has been playing the slow burn with Rock the last two years including setting up a title match at the RR months ago, but I think the money is in Rock wrestling either Punk or Cena at the PPV, whether it's for the belt or not, and not in a Rock title match. Therefore, Vince could put the belt on Ryback and see if it moves the dial, while still keeping his promise to have Rock wrestle at the RR, just not against Ryback if he happens to be the champ. My only hesitation to this line of thinking is that Punk has gotten owned on RAW for weeks and has barely even touched Ryback. Hell, WWE basically has given away one of the big appeals of the match on free tv: Ryback kicking Punk's ass. The question finally becomes, are people willing to pay 40-50 bucks to see Ryback hit the Shell Shock and win the belt?
Greg DeMarco:Ah, the match that has everyone wondering—and complaining. The WWE has done an amazing job with the build to this match, so much so that no one knows what will happen.
Will the WWE put the strap on Ryback? Will they have CM Punk end the undefeated streak? Will Brock Lesnar be involved? No one knows, and that's the glory of it all!
To me, this match screams no-contest. I know that Hell in a Cell matches typically have a clean finish, but I just don't see it happening here. Neither man can lose—thus neither will win. But how do you book a no-contest in a Hell in a Cell match?
Time to go Hollywood once again. There will be some sort of collapse with the Hell in a Cell structure—something that shocks the audience and allows Punk to flee. Heyman likely gets Shell Shocked to make the audience happy. And it's the best decision—Punk stays champ and Ryback stays undefeated.
Ken Hill: Ryback has looked dominant as all get out, as he should, going into this match. He's gotten all the backstage support in the world, and he's made Punk as much a victim as any of his squashed, or should I say "eaten", opponents. Despite all that, I can't help but think Punk will find SOME way to retain here, whether by nefarious means within the Cell, or outside help. It feels like a transition match between actual feuds, and yet it doesn't, how strange...
Winner: CM Punk
Stephen Randle: Whereas other PPVs might tease me with the prospect of great matches set up with piss-poor storytelling, there's actually some decent writing (not good, just decent) going in here, but the matches look average-to-poor overall, especially since even the most optimistic fan (i.e. me) still has to be worried that Ryback's going to have to go twenty minutes or so after seven months of going less than five. Punk's probably up for the carry-job, but can Ryback be carried? There's more intrigue in how they're going to finish the World and WWE Title matches than the quality of the matches themselves. I don't pay for finishes, I pay for match potential.
Buy/No Buy: No Buy
Craig Wilson: Not watching, and I'm off on Monday! There is nothing on this card, as it stands, that really marks it out as a must watch event. I am struggling to see what a potential candidate is for match of the night. I think the tag titles match will be decent as will the Intercontinental Championship bout but other than that there are three matches I can barely muster enthusiasm for and even the main event doesn't really do anything for me.
Buy/No Buy: No Buy
Michael Weyer: Usually a good show, HITC looks poor this year. Kofi/Miz might be fun and the main event should have Punk carrying Ryback well but overall, just looks rather forgettable. I'd say save the money as WWE is readying for bigger stuff for Survivor Series and best to get ready for that.
Buy/No Buy: No Buy
James Wright: It's an event with a lot of potential for surprises and one or two additional matches; might I suggest Ziggler vs. Cena and Gabriel vs. Cesaro for the US title. Of course the WWE might go the safe route in the Show-Sheamus match and simply have another win for the Celtic Warrior, but no matter what the outcome the Punk-Ryback match proves to be interesting, so it is worth ordering for the spectacle of that alone.
Buy/No Buy: Buy
Jack Bramma: Other than the women's match, every contest should be entertaining and unlike the droves that are leaving RAW by the week, I'm actually liking the show. I'm hoping for a Ryback win.
Buy/No Buy: Buy
Greg DeMarco: This show has potential. Kofi-Miz can be great if it's given time, along with Del Rio-Orton. Team Hell No vs. Team Rhodes Scholars is sure to please, and the Divas triple threat has a chance to surprise us.
But this show is all about the main event, Punk-Ryback. The WWE is in a position where neither man can really lose, so we're left to wonder what they will do. Will they actually put the strap on Ryback? Will Punk end Ryback's undefeated streak before it really becomes a story? Will Brock Lesnar return? Who knows! And that makes this card a buy.
Buy/No Buy: Buy
Ken Hill: People are really going to be watching this for the Punk/Ryback match, and it feels like the rest of the PPV is just...there. Regardless, it seems like a decent enough card and I'm willing to give it a shot.
Buy/No Buy: Buy
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