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Posted in: Doctor's Orders
Doctor's Orders: Go Home Raw Review and Hell in a Cell Preview
By The Doc
Oct 22, 2013 - 12:27:53 PM

Raw Thoughts

The main thing that I had hoped to see, heading into the Go Home Raw before the PPV, was Daniel Bryan to speak. I thought he had been uncharacteristically silent given the levity of his presumed storyline situation with Hell in a Cell looming. The Authority has made ensuring that the WWE Championship goes to someone other than Daniel Bryan their top priority and Hell in a Cell, from a character standpoint, could well be the final chance for Bryan to prove them wrong. So, I got what I wanted. Bryan did multiple things in his simple, effective promo, not the least of which was teasing a match that many people feel is coming somewhere down the line between he and Triple H. The Game was scathing in his verbal response, setting the stage for Bryan to keep overcoming odds that may eventually lead to Triple H feeling that he has no choice but to step back into the ring to show everyone, personally, that Bryan is nothing but a "B+" player. I was not over the moon about the contract signing segment, but it did an effective job at building another layer to the overall story and hyping the Hell in a Cell match.

I also will admit that recent weeks have won me over, in regards to the Big Show's part in combating Triple H's Authority. Little things that might have gone without an explanation years ago are being addressed, like Stephanie frantically questioning Show's ability to get a feed on Raw or drive a big rig onto the set despite being fired. Whoever is helping Show do what he's doing (Vince, perhaps) is a mystery that adds another wrinkle. My hope is that Show's role, at least through Hell in a Cell, will be to continue opening the door for other, fresher acts like Bryan and Cody Rhodes to be put over rather than taking up a considerable portion of the spotlight at their expense.

The WWE has done well to position the WWE Tag Team Championships in a starring role in recent weeks. For the first time in I cannot remember when, the Tag Team titles actually seem valuable. Team Hell No, though entertaining, rarely had opposition gunning for their gold, rendering the belts as the props to which they've become accustomed. It was not tag team wrestling or its division's titles that were relevant with Team Hell No at its peak a year ago, but Bryan and Kane alone. The last three weeks have, at least temporarily, changed that. The Shield vs. Goldust and Cody at Battleground was Match of the Night and told a well executed tale that meant something to the grand scheme of the creative direction. Subsequently, their title win on Raw meant more. Subsequently, the triple threat match at Hell in a Cell is more important to drawing the buyrate. Every PPV should have a mid-card match to watch out for in the Match of the Night race and Hell in a Cell's is Shield vs. Rhodes vs. Usos. The people are invested in the Tag Team Championships and it is a welcome addition to the show. The Usos, by the way, are a great secondary act for that division.

How brilliant is Paul Heyman? Is there a week that goes by where that man doesn't cut an awesome promo? I loved his promo from this week, much more than I did the same CM Punk interview that I feel we've heard twelve times before. There was nothing wrong with Punk's delivery, by any means; it just seemed standard fare by comparison to Heyman. The video package on John Cena was the production team equivalent to Heyman's promo last night. That was a great tribute/recap to the career of a star destined to be historically underrated despite a legitimately growing case for his being one of the greatest of all-time. I sincerely hope that the critical community one day reflects positively on Cena as the hard-working talent that he is. Again, great video.

Hell in a Cell Preview

If we use the last decade as a sample size, then the Hell in a Cell match has been the PPV blow off to a feud featuring the gimmick in twelve out of fourteen cases (excluding the triple threat that combined a couple of rivalries from statistical consideration). Only Randy Orton vs. John Cena and Undertaker vs. Kane went onto further PPV one-on-one bouts in the same series, so to speak, of their respective storylines. Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton feels like the end of the road to their chapter of the Bryan vs. Authority saga and I expect them to wrestle accordingly. The added bonus of Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee will hopefully help Orton and Bryan hit the emotional points that have been somewhat lacking in their rather disappointing performances on PPV to date.

The Miami crowd will hopefully bring their unique flavor of wrestling fan awesomeness on Sunday to further boost the main-event. If there is one crowd that has worked its way into the discussion of elite audiences in recent years, it has been Miami. Chicago and New York are still the alphas in that conversation, but Miami's tremendous response at Wrestlemania 28 and the next night's Raw put it in the mix. I will be curious to see what role Big Show plays in the result, as his consistent presence suggests he may get involved. This Hell in a Cell match is a really good fit for the gimmick, though. It was built to keep everyone out. My hope is that it will do just that. We have had enough interference and shenanigans in the last two PPVs. Let Bryan and Orton, with HBK's PhD in Storytelling to aid, go out and just tear the house down. That's what I've been waiting for and I hope my patience pays off.

John Cena returns to the WWE on Sunday and he was not gone long enough for anyone to notice that he was missing. I honestly wish he would have taken his time coming back, though I appreciate his uncanny drive to do what he loves. Some might suggest that he's on something to assist his speedy comeback, but from the clinical perspective, there is no replacement for a person's drive to get themselves well. Cena is 100% dedicated to his craft. He loves it every bit as much as all the fans do. It has surprised me over the years that more adults don't relate better to him given that fact. We all basically worship this sport/entertainment, but there is a lack of appreciation for the guy on TV that embodies that passion.

I am excited to see the World Heavyweight Championship match if for no other reason than the booking. Cena would not lose his first match back would he? Then again, why would he win the World title? What if he wins it and they immediately make a new star out of Damien Sandow by having him cash in? But, wait, Sandow has been a ghost lately so that would mean putting the 2nd biggest title on a guy with virtually zero hype behind him. Oh, that's right, the Money in the Bank contract is for losers. Hold on, a company that's gross revenue per year approaches $500 million thinks its a good idea to put a title on a guy that conceivably can win no other way than opportunistically? What if Cena just wins the title and elevates it back to a status that at least makes it worth having a dedicated creative storyline (rather than just champ loses on TV every week but wins on PPV once a month)? I don't know what is going to happen. I like not knowing what's going to happen.

The other Hell in a Cell match might give us the final page of the Ryback chapter of the Punk-Heyman saga. I wonder about Punk's motivation sometimes. I will be watching him closely on Sunday. I wouldn't get that excited to wrestle Ryback either, but I just do not get that same vibe in watching Punk hurl verbal bombs at Heyman and Ryback that I did prior to the Corn-fed Meathead getting involved in this situation. Maybe that's just my own disinterest in Ryback. A colleague of mine in the wrestling world thinks very highly of him but doesn't see "it" in Cody Rhodes. I'm the complete opposite. To each his own, but Ryback bores me to tears. I get the feeling that Punk is less than enthused right now, so perhaps he feels the same. It will be interesting to see what kind of match he can get out of Ryback. If they combine for a Match of the Night contender, then I'll admit to being wrong, but if they go through the motions, I'll feel justified in my previous statement.

I'm banking on either Cena vs. Del Rio or the triple threat Tag Championship match to open the show and get the crowd worked into a frenzy. Hell in a Cell should be a good show, but I think it needs to get off to a good start. A strong opening match does more than just get the crowd going, but sets the tone for the rest of the locker room to step up and out-perform the earlier bouts.

Quick predictions: Bryan over Orton, Ryback/Heyman over Punk, Cena wins but then Sandow cashes in, Rhodes' retain, AJ retains, and Axel wins the pre-show match.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: What do you think will happen in the Bryan vs. Orton match?

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