Pruett’s WWE Hell in a Cell 2012 Preview and Predictions: C.M. Punk defends the WWE Championship against Ryback in the Cell, Sheamus vs. Big Show, Team Hell No vs. Rhodes Scholars and more!
By Will Pruett
Normally writing a pay-per-view predictions column is pretty simple. I just have to pick a winner, find an arbitrary reason to defend that choice, then suck it up and admit that I was wrong after the fact. This month is different. This show is different. There is a new face in the main event and he has created an interesting dilemma for both WWE and their fans. Sunday excites me. Hell in a Cell will be fun.
The following predictions are made from a place of complete ignorance to the finishes. They are merely predictions of what I would find logical, entertaining, or interesting. Let's all have a good time.
C.M. Punk vs. Ryback in a Hell in a Cell match for the WWE Championship: This match has been built beautifully. I'll admit that a month ago, I would have never seen this coming. In the last six weeks, Ryback has become an absolute beast. From the moment he stared Punk down backstage to the end of this week's Raw, I've been excited about him.
Most of the excitement for Ryback has actually come from C.M. Punk. Punk's role in this has been played to perfection. The fear in his eyes when Ryback enters and the way he attempts to escape the monster have all worked extremely well. Punk is doing great work right now. While most online fans would rather Punk was the fearless monster, he is perfect in this role.
Six weeks ago, I would have picked a Punk win easily, but now it is more of a challenge. Ryback has been built up so well, that it seems like his time. He is the hot hand in WWE right now. Does this mean they should go all the way with him?
I try to learn from the mistakes of others and if WWE wants an example of how going with the hot hand can hurt, they can look at TNA. Austin Aries was the hot new star that dethroned a long-term heel champion, upsetting long-term plans. This was a fun choice at the moment, but a poor one in the long run.
If the plan is for Punk to fight The Rock at the Royal Rumble for the WWE Championship, this is not the time to change courses. Ryback is the hot hand, but long-term storytelling should be the priority. How then does Punk win?
Interference is the easy answer. It wouldn't ruin Hell in a Cell, since the first Cell match in 1997 ended in interference (and is still one of the best matches of all time). It would set up a match the next month where Cena and Ryback could team up against Punk and his interfering friend. For that friend, I'll pick Mark Henry. It's just a guess, but I'd love to see it.
Prediction: C.M. Punk defeats Ryback via interference of some sort to retain the WWE Championship.
Sheamus vs. Big Show for the World Heavyweight Championship: This match has been made a little more interesting by the constant threat of Dolph Ziggler and his Money in the Bank. He has promised to cash in here and it is looking like this could be his time. Ultimately, I believe this is a tease, but it is a decent one. Ziggler doesn't leave here with the title, but he still leaves with the briefcase.
As for the match, I've found the build to be decent, but not exciting. Sheamus' character has been insufferable. Big Show is a giant monster, but he feels recycled from his recent run with John Cena on Raw. Both men can do some compelling stuff, but this feud has been paint by numbers.
As for picking a winner, I believe WWE sees something special with Sheamus and they will want to continue this run. I can't blame them. He is amazing in the ring and capable of so much as a character. As soon as he stops selling Lucky Charms and gets back to being awesome, he will be in good shape.
Prediction: Sheamus pins Big Show to retain the World Championship and leaves the pay-per-view with it.
Daniel Bryan and Kane vs. Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes for the Tag Team Championship: The tag team tournament that has filled a great deal of TV time for WWE has been really fun to watch. There are currently multiple stories happening in the tag division for the first time in years. There are also quite a few tag teams in WWE, which is encouraging. While these are both teams made up of singles wrestlers, I would say that this is a perfect use of all four guys.
Kane and Bryan are bringing heaping loads of entertainment to the WWE product. Their chemistry has been a joy to watch develop in and out of the ring. The act isn't perfect, but it is very close.
Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow have come on strong through the tag tournament. They have a killer team name (Rhodes Scholars!) and they are killers in the ring. This is a great use of both men that could easily get lost in the mid-card.
I'm picking a tag title change here, simply to make the pay-per-view more memorable. Kane and Bryan and chase the champions while learning to overcome their differences. It'll be a fun story and Sandow and Rhodes can use the belts for a little while.
Prediction: Damien Sandow and Cody Rodes defeat Kane and Daniel Bryan to win the WWE Tag Team Championship.
Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio: Is filming over for the "12 Rounds" sequel? Has it even started? Is that why Orton suddenly has hair and is remaining me of chubby-faced 2006 Randy Orton? Is this Orton's full time return to WWE after taking some time off to film a movie that will ultimately hurt his career?
Alberto Del Rio is suffering. Sure, he had a start and stop push in 2011 and that can be blamed for about six months of issues, but now he is suffering for a different reason. He hasn't changed. He hasn't evolved. His promos are almost the exact same as they were in 2010 when he debuted. It seems that his destiny is to be a boring one-note character. Del Rio is capable of being a great heel, but the act actually needs to change on occasion and it hasn't.
This match will be technically proficient and could be fun to watch. I'll probably be bored during it. Characters in holding patterns don't interest me.
Prediction: Randy Orton defeats Alberto Del Rio and I try not to fall asleep.
Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship: Their match on Main Event was the second best match of the last month in all of wrestling (Punk vs. McMahon was the first). They have had some great promo segments together in the past couple of weeks. The Miz is working hard to help elevate Kingston and Kingston seems as ready as he was in late 2009 (which is very ready).
In short, this match excites me because Kingston's push excites me. This should be a great display of what these two are capable of. They won't have the time they got on Main Event, but they will have a solid eight to twelve minute slot. Kofi Kingston has mastered the eight minute match. It will be fun.
I don't see a change of course in the mid-card here. Kingston can use a nice, long run with the title. The Miz can always find a new rivalry or a new objective. I'm excited to watch this match. It should be very fun.
Prediction: Kofi Kingston defeats The Miz to retain the Intercontinental Championship.
Eve vs. Layla vs. Kaitlyn for the WWE Diva's Championship: This match does not excite me for a number of reasons. Most of them involve Kaitlyn being a not-so-great wrestler and an insufferable character. She's bad, people. Really bad.
On the flip side, Eve has been one of the better performers in WWE this year. She has been involved in a variety of stories and has player her part well in every one of them. Eve is a tremendous talent and if the Diva's division is going to be anything worth watching, it needs to be built around her.
Layla could be a very fun character if she were set up with a proper chase storyline. At this moment she is the dancing queen of WWE and just like ABBA, she's gotten a little obnoxious.
Prediction: Eve pins Kaitlyn to retain the Diva's Championship (or Jeff Hardy's TNA Title, since I can't tell them apart).
Part of me wishes this show wasn't Hell in a Cell. Punk vs. Ryback would have sold me without the structure (and the ending would be easier to pick). The rest of the card isn't super compelling. Don't get me wrong, it should be a fun show, but there is only one real reason to watch. That reason just happens to be a hard to predict match with a brilliant build up. Punk vs. Ryback sold me this show.
Make sure to check back here on Sunday night. Jason Powell and Chris Shore will be covering the show live and will have an audio update for Dot Net Members shortly after the show!
Let's do some good old fashioned talking about this show! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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