Despite the low expectations going in, WWE Hell in a Cell turned out to be a surprisingly entertaining show. It also may prove to be one of the year’s more significant specials as it saw the rubber match between The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar, as well as the end of John Cena US Title Open Challenge. It also hopefully brought the curtain down on The New Day vs. Dudley Boys, Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins vs. Kane rivalries that had dominated WWE television for many, many months.
That of course raises the question as to what matches the WWE should make for next month’s Survivor Series. So let’s play booker and give creative some unsolicited advice.
Undertaker, Kane, Randy Orton and Finn Balor vs. The Wyatt Clan
Hell in a Cell ended with The Undertaker being attacked by The Wyatt Clan. Most have assumed that this beatdown was the start of the build to a Team Undertaker vs. Team Wyatt elimination match. I’m not convinced that this is the case as The Wyatts dragging The Phenom to the back could easily be a set-up for a brainwashed Undertaker being used by the Wyatts to continue their feud with Roman Reigns. Given that such storylines have always failed when tried, and Reigns would be roundly booed against The Undertaker, this would be a mistake.
If we assume that we are getting elimination match we have to consider who will team with The Deadman. Presumably the first pick would be the newly non-corporate Kane, while Randy Orton has a clear storyline rationale for fighting the Wyatts. As for the fourth man it would be a nice nod to The Undertaker’s superstar debut back in 1990 if the match was used to highlight a new talent. The obvious person would be Finn Balor whose ‘demon’ character is thematically similar to the Brothers of Destruction and is too talent a performer to be kept in NXT when the main roster is so struggling in terms of talent depth.
WWE Champion Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns
With his victory over Kane, Seth Rollins has hopefully put behind him the on-off rivalry that has done so much to define him as a whiny mid-carder in the eyes of the fans. However it doesn’t change the fact that Rollins has been booked into oblivion. Indeed, it’s now more than two months since it became clear that he has been the biggest failure as WWE Champion (as opposed to the subordinate World Title that Great Khali, Rey Mysterio and Jack Swagger held) since at least Kevin Nash in 1995.
All fans know that Rollins has failed as a champion and we all believe that WWE will have Roman Reigns replace him eventually. Rather than keep Rollins as a lame-duck champion and Reigns as a directionless challenger it’s time to take the plunge. Given the lack of fresh babyfaces for Rollins to face and credible heels to keep Reigns occupied, there are very few good alternatives.
Indeed the only thing I could think of would be Seth Rollins vs. Triple-H, and Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose challenging for the tag team titles. I personally wouldn’t do that as Triple-H should be saved to put over Roman Reigns, and The New Day are not a serious enough act to be credible against Reigns and Ambrose.
U.S. Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger or Cesaro
The WWE managed to actually end the John Cena United States Open Challenge with a nice surprise, as Alberto Del Rio returned to dethrone the departing champion. Del Rio could be a real difference maker second time around, as if the promotion can effectively work the reasons behind his controversial departure into the storylines he has could finally be the Latino heavyweight babyface superstar they’ve long been searching for.
So of course they shackled him with Zeb Coulter as manager! Because in an era where the Hispanic backlash against anti-immigration politics fuelled a USA-Mexico soccer match to record ratings, it makes perfect sense to align your only high-profile Hispanic wrestler with someone whose character has long been defined by his opposition to immigration.
The best way out of this mess is for Del Rio to turn on Coulter tomorrow, bragging about tricking the old man into securing him the title shot. Whether they do that or not, Zeb’s involvement makes either Jack Swagger or Antonio Cesaro the logical opponent for Del Rio’s first defence.
Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens vs. Sheamus / Tag Team Champions The New Day vs. Wade Barrett & Neville
Both Kevin Owens and The New Day scored decisive victories over their long-term rivals at Hell in a Cell. However given the state of the WWE’s mid-card it’s hard to see who could easily step up and feud with them over the next few weeks. So my advice would be to play the location game and program both champions against the promotion’s three leading British and Irish pro-wrestlers to help flesh out the undercards on the promotion’s upcoming overseas tour.
Barrett has been publicly pushing to team with Neville and the two men would have the ‘Big-Man, Little-Man’ dynamic that would mesh well against Big-E and Kofi Kingston. Meanwhile, Sheamus is the type of upper-mid-carder that should be putting over Kevin Owens to give the Intercontinental Champion credibility.
And finally…what about Brock Lesnar!?!
After Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker ‘III’ proved to be a fight worthy of headlining Wrestlemania 32, the question of what blockbuster match justified bringing it forward is still a mystery. To be more precise we still do not know where Brock Lesnar goes from here -a multi-million dollar question if ever there was one.
Will Cooling is a freelance writer who covers combat sports for Fighting Spirit Magazine, pop culture for Geeky Monkey and politics at It Could Be Said! His work has also appeared on Comics Nexus, Inside Fights, Fox Sports and The New Statesman.