Hell in a Cell 2009: The Hangover
Needless to say, this is going to be a very busy October. Three pay-per-view events in one month can sound very tiring and overwhelming but that is all in the eyes of the beholder. It’s not as much dependant on the quality of production or the efficiency of the in-ring talent, but more on the number of questions we are left to ask ourselves every Monday following them.
If today is any indication following WWE’s ?Hell in a Cell? from Sunday night, this will be a very exhausting month indeed.
Before we jump into this ?hangover?, I highly encourage all of you to respond to this column with your own answers to questions I pose. Don?t let Suzanne Abshire be the only one that I get to enjoy reading (seriously, I could devote an entire column to the responses she gives me to all of my questions and debating my opinions on them? thanks, Suzanne!).
So without further ado? with coffee brewing and the bottle of Tylenol on standby? let’s get over our hangover.
Was CM Punk’s legitimacy as a main event talent truly hindered?
While sitting in the WrestleView chat room watching the program and enthusiastically reacting like everyone else was about the opening bout for ?Hell in a Cell?, I noticed a considerable majority speaking negatively about CM Punk’s loss of the World Heavyweight Title. Complaints of his combined length of tenure holding a world title and the federation ?holding back? the Straight Edged wonder were flooding the room.
Let’s be honest, though. Is this loss going to really hurt CM Punk at all? He is still considered one of the most despised heels within the company and a definite guarantee for heat behind a microphone. Does he really need a belt to affirm his posture within the roster? I definitely don?t believe so.
We can believe what we want to about the length of Undertaker’s reign as World Champion, but it honestly a waste of breath and brainpower. Whether it is long or short, it still does not hurt CM Punk’s stature on the Smackdown roster. With Edge still on the shelf slated for a return to action in January (rumored to be in babyface mode) and Chris Jericho retaining his Tag Team Title alongside Big Show, CM Punk will be viewed as the number one heel for quite some time.
So before you continue to dog the federation for relinquishing the strap from the Straight Edge’s waist, think of this in the long run? Punk doesn?t NEED anything to cement his status, he already has it.
Have John Morrison and Dolph Ziggler been validated?
This is not meant to be criticism towards their match last night. In my opinion, their match last night was thoroughly entertaining, filled with back and forth exchanges and great selling from both sides. While this was a great contest driven by their competitive nature for the Intercontinental Title, it still leaves us wondering if the two are considered ?upper echelon? talent.
Imagine how easy this question would have been to answer if either one of these talents were facing against Rey Mysterio. Morrison or Ziggler would have easily been put over winning the title over Mysterio? but Ziggler has had this opportunity twice now (three all together) and has yet to cash in.
The best way to answer this question is to envision this scenario: Can you see John Morrison or Dolph Ziggler vying for a world title of some forms and think of either of them worthy of such a contest?
Honestly, now is the not the time to put either of them in such a position. Morrison still needs a few more pay-per-view matches under his belt and against physically bigger opponents. We can say his matches against Mysterio, Ziggler, and Punk as great ones, but would he give such a great performance against Batista or Undertaker? That remains to be seen but I feel that would cement his legitimacy.
As for Ziggler’s case, he has the pay-per-view resume. He has faced larger performers like The Great Khali and Kane. The difference between his situation and Morrison’s is that a belt would greatly increase his stature within the roster. Having a title run of at least 2 or 3 months would do Ziggler a world of good, though he has been having great contests chasing for the Intercontinental strap. So again, Morrison needs more matches against different talent and on the pay-per-view stage, Ziggler needs a nice title run of some kind (Mid-card belt preferred).
Was it too soon to place Drew McIntyre on the pay-per-view stage?
I honestly have no idea why they had him on the card against R-Truth. Sure they have a great feud going on and there was a slot open on the card, but it definitely did not have enough heat behind it to warrant such a placing. Sheamus and Goldust’s rivalry on ECW had more heat and more animosity behind it, but fizzled out and died long before they could have either of them on a PPV card.
Why wasn?t there an ECW match of some kind on the ?Hell in a Cell? card? A triple threat or fatal four-way could have easily been put in and would have been great to put over some decent talent on their roster (Ryder, Sheamus, Shelton, etc.). The belt would not change hands of course, but it would least give some exposure to performers who rightfully deserve it on a much broader stage.
The bigger question pops up now? what do you do now with McIntyre and R-Truth for that matter? Do you maintain their feud? Do you start new feuds for either one of them? The two seem to be in roster limbo right now and is very difficult to say what will happen. One statement that can be made from this contest? having the verbal backing of Vince McMahon does not automatically deem you as pay-per-view ready.
Has WWE’s grand ?re-naming experiment? been successful?
With two of the re-named pay-per-views come and gone (Breaking Point and Hell in a Cell), has this experiment of theirs achieved what it was meant to? increase buy-rates? This has yet to be answered since the numbers have not come out, but the logic behind the matches themselves seems very irrelevant.
With the three Hell in a Cell matches we saw last night, I could see only one of them actually ?needing? the stipulation. Undertaker/CM Punk? Cena/Orton? these two matches were just glorified cage matches with the only use of the cell being the occasional raking of faces. Chairs were used but you could easily use those in a cage match or no-disqualification match as well.
This was the bed that WWE marketing and WWE creative made for themselves. Branding your pay-per-view off of a stipulation for the sake of increasing the buy-rate, sacrificing television ratings, and deeming the stipulation itself immaterial because of the end product? all three of these make for a very lumpy mattress for the federation to sleep on.
?Hell in a Cell? used to have a sense of finality. It was known as ?the end all be all? of any feud. With Randy Orton regaining the WWE Title, it leaves John Cena open for yet another rematch. With Undertaker and CM Punk combating for only the second time, it just seems too fast and too soon. ?Hell in a Cell? has now been reduced to what WWE marketing meant for it to be? another way to get a quick PPV buy.
After drinking our pot of coffee and the headache slowly fading away, the biggest of all questions can now be asked: Will WWE keep this stipulation-titled pay-per-view for next year’s calendar? And if they do, will the buy-rate increase even though the audience now knows how irrelevant the stipulation itself really is? The sad answer to both of these: As long as wrestling fans continue to have short attention spans, they will keep on buying.
Until next time, mouth-breathers!
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