The Stats Don’t Lie

Sometimes you need a reality check to get back into the right headspace. After yesterday’s post, it occurs to me that it’s not my job to make you love wrestling again. If watching it and seething with anger is what you prefer to do every Monday, then by all means – jack that blood pressure way up! I, personally, find it’s bad for my complexion. And I do love a good dissenting opinion. So if you disagree, please feel free to tweet me or leave a comment. Just know that I do practice dark magic and I can turn you into a reptile or a piece of antique furniture.

In reviewing the card for Hell in a Cell, I began to wonder how we even got here. How did the WWE end up giving us these matches? The same way that watching last year’s show paints a very early picture for what we have now (or does it?) I thought it would be useful to go back and consider the progression of the story lines by PPV, starting from SummerSlam. Before we get to that, here are some stats (which I love. Maybe you do, too.)

39 individuals were in matches at SummerSlam
19 individuals were in matches at Night of Champions (plus Demon Kane & Sheamus for 21)
13 people are scheduled for matches at HIAC (not counting the kick-off match with Ziggler, Cesaro, Neville, Rusev, Sheamus, and King Barrett for 19 & the missing match between Ambrose, Orton, Harper, and Strauman for 23) {note: the previous 3 stats do not include valets, but do include all 3 members of The New Day, regardless of who was in the match}
10 matches were held at SummerSlam
7 matches were held at NoC
7 matches are scheduled for HIAC (again, this does not include the 6-man tag match for kick-off)

Hell in a Cell is made up of:
17 wrestlers with the unknown opponent for John Cena (not including the kick-off match)
13 of who wrestled at NOC and
13 of who wrestled at SummerSlam,
3 rematches from NOC
1 rubber match following Wrestlemania 30SummerSlam
1 singles match created by pulling one face and one heel from a tag match at NOC
1 match with a mystery participant (we had this at NOC as well, before Chris Jericho came out to join Reigns & Ambrose against The Wyatt Family)
1 gimmick match we’ve seen in this gimmick before (Lesnar retained the WWE Championship against Undertaker inside the Hell in a Cell structure at No Mercy in 2002)

The Undertaker/Lesnar match is the easiest to trace. Undertaker came out during an episode of RAW in May of 2014 to begin a feud with Brock Lesnar that lead to their Wrestlemania 30 match. After Undertaker lost, he disappeared, and Brock went on to become the WWE World Heavyweight champion. Undertaker reappeared a year later when he answered the taunts of Bray Wyatt and beat him at Wrestlemania 31. After reasserting himself, Undertaker called out Brock Lesnar for flaunting his conquering Undertaker’s streak, and they had a match at SummerSlam with a Dusty finish. Now they are going to settle the score inside the Hell in a Cell structure.

The WWE World Heavyweight championship match goes back almost as far. Seth Rollins turned on the Shield in June of 2014, and joined up with the Authority – a heel faction that already included someone we’ve come to know as Corporate Kane. Kane ran a great deal of interference for Seth Rollins by being ringside at his matches or even in some of them – including the ladder match at Money in the Bank, stopping Dean Ambrose from getting the briefcase before Rollins could. But Rollins never seemed grateful for Kane’s presence, and after Brock Lesnar broke Kane’s ankle before Money in the Bank in 2015, he seemed to disappear. That is until NoC, when Demon Kane reappeared and set his sights on Seth Rollins – though Corporate Kane has no recollection of such events.

These two matches I can see as having an appropriate build-up. Though, I’m not sure how any outcome for either of these matches will help anyone move forward. What do you do with Demon Kane if he loses? There is a match stipulation that if Demon Kane loses, then Corporate Kane loses his job – so what do you do with The Big Red Monster? Hopefully the outcome is a win for Rollins, as I don’t think a champion Demon is such a great idea. But I think, perhaps, if Undertaker beats Lesnar (though I can’t imagine how) then Undertaker and Kane can feud leading to Wrestlemania 32 in Texas.

The three rematches don’t really interest me at all. I can’t see Charlotte losing her title to Nikki after only a month. It’s too important to the Women’s Division that Charlotte move on to a feud with someone else from NXT. Thought what do you do with the Bellas once that happens? I’d also like to stop seeing the use of the teams when someone is in singles competition for the title. Charlotte is not from Team PCB as a champion – she’s just the champ. Though I do still enjoy Team Bad (minus Tamina.)
Kevin Owens v. Ryback is so incredibly boring. Owens is not elevating Ryback by having a rematch. The last one was not one of Ryback OR Owens’ better matches, so why do we need to see it again? Because that’s what we do now – we give rematches when a title changes hands. How boring is that? The fact that there are three of these on the card (even though I have no idea why The Dudley Boyz are getting another shot at the tag titles) is ridiculous. It makes HALF of the PPV completely pointless and boring. Maybe if the Diva’s match was the first with women inside the HIAC structure? But of course not – not yet, anyway.

If there is one thing to be said for the three rematches over the WWE World Heavyweight Title & the Main Event match is that at least the rematches are set up with someone for us to clearly cheer for. Those matches have heels (New Day, Nikki, Kevin Owens) and faces (Dudley Boyz, Charlotte, Ryback). The other two matches have no clear faces or heels. Brock Lesnar always seems to be a heel these days, but he was wronged in the last match – Undertaker hit him with a low blow which is textbook heel behavior. Both Seth Rollins and Demon Kane are aligned with the Authority, which is a heel faction as I’ve already said, so is there even a face in this match? Who do we want to win? Rollins, I suppose, as Kane is truly a monster.

This is really where the problem of what I wrote about last week comes into play. When we were younger, there usually were heels and faces – there were people you were expected to cheer for, and people you were going to boo. Has there ever been anyone as polarizing in pro-wrestling as John Cena? We now live in a world where the WWE Universe is so divided all the time. Maybe that’s part of the process when booking these matches – nobody knows what the WWE Universe wants because we all don’t want one thing. We want indy darlings and old heroes. We want hot girls and talented workers. We want high flyers and grapplers. As the WWE tries to figure out how to satisfy their whole audience, they are going to leave everyone disatisfied along the way. It might take as long as years to figure it out. But until then, maybe they could at least change the matches from PPV to PPV.

The Lady J Says

 

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