Saturday, October 26, 2013

#HELLINACELL PREVIEW!

OK. The whole "Road to Hell in a Cell" thing kinda went off a cliff, so-to-speak. What can I tell you? I've been a busy guy lately. But I promise I'm going to make it up to you--and here's how: first of all, with this in-depth preview of the Hell in a Cell PPV, going match-by-match to unravel the story behind it (if any) and prognosticate on what might happen, what should happen, and what will happen; then, on Sunday, I will be tweeting LIVE from Section 306 of the American Airlines Arena at HELL IN A CELL 2013 starting at 7pm (my Twitter handle is @bioponic); and finally, the following morning, I will be posting a full recap of Hell in a Cell right here at Vundablog.com! So without further ado, let's get right to it...


WWE Intercontinental Championship Match -- Curtis Axel (c) v. Big E Langston (Pre-Show)

How We Got Here: That's a good question, actually. Basically, CM Punk had a match with Big E to gear up for Ryback and after Punk defeated Big E, Heyman diminished the victory, referring to Langston as a "marginally talented rookie barely out of the NXT division." Punk and Big E faced off again on Raw and after the match, Axel and Ryback attacked Punk. Big E thought that was kinda uncool and was also still a little peeved about the whole "marginally talented" thing and came to Punk's aid which led to Vickie making a tag team match with Punk and Big E taking on RybAxel which Punk-E won. That's really about it. The match was made shortly thereafter.

What Might Happen: It's the pre-show so all bets are kinda off for this one. The IC belt has been collecting dust on Curtis Axel for a while now and Big E is exactly the kind of guy who could really use a mid-level title right now to push him over the top and get him into some meaningful feuds. I can't for the life of me imagine Curtis Axel getting a clean win here because it's time for him to drop the belt and Big E is the perfect guy to drop it to so it's gotta be either a dirty win for Axel setting up a future rematch or a straight up Big E win.

What Should Happen: Big E should win the title. Whatever happens, there will likely be a rematch and if you're planning on having Axel drop the belt to Big E, sooner is better than later. I would even be OK with Axel getting a dirty win in a rematch and winning the belt back temporarily so as to not bury him completely but the IC title is desperately in need of some heat and Axel dropping it to Big E will do the trick.

What Will Happen: Again, anything can happen on the pre-show but you're also more likely than not to see a heel champion retain by cheating, especially a guy with Paul Heyman in his corner. I wouldn't be surprised if Big E won by DQ or countout or if Axel cheats to win and either of those scenarios sets up a rematch on Raw where Axel drops the belt.


WWE Divas Championship Match -- AJ Lee (c) v. Brie Bella

How We Got Here: AJ pipebombed the "Total Divas" into smithereens and they didn't like it much so they set out to prove her wrong. Brie beat AJ once. Also she got engaged to the most popular guy on the show so now WWE thinks that makes her important. That about brings us up to speed.

What Might Happen: If Brie Bella wins the Divas title I will hurl myself over the balcony of the American Airlines Arena.

What Should Happen: If Brie Bella wins the Divas title I will hurl myself over the balcony of the American Airlines Arena.

What Will Happen: If Brie Bella wins the Divas title I will hurl myself over the balcony of the American Airlines Arena.



WWE Tag Team Championship Match -- BRHODES (c) v. Seth Rollins/Roman Reigns v. The Usos

How We Got Here: Oh, boy. Well, it all started when Cody Rhodes had the nerve to question some of HHH's decisions, leading the benevolent Hunter to give Cody the "opportunity" to not get fired if he could just beat Randy Orton. He didn't and was summarily fired. Goldust then came back and took on Orton for the chance to get Cody his job back and he came up short as well. Then dear old dad got involved when Stephanie McMahon offered him a "business proposition": choose whether Cody or Goldust would get their job back. He told her to go to hell, so she had Big Show knock him out. Finally, The Authority gave the Rhodes family one last chance when Cody and Goldust took on Rollins and Reigns to get both their jobs back and were successful in what many are calling one of the best matches of the year. Not too long after that, having already beaten them once, Cody and Goldust got an opportunity to take on Rollins and Reigns with the tag titles on the line. Jimmy and Jey Uso weren't exactly thrilled about this since they had been the #1 contenders for weeks. Anyway, in one of the greatest matches ever on Raw, BRhodes ended up winning the tag titles with a small assist from Big Show (who had been fired earlier in the show for knocking out HHH the previous week). The next week on Raw, for some reason the Usos actually had to fight Rollins and Reigns for a title shot even though they were already the #1 contenders but the match ended in a no contest, setting up what promises to be an EPIC Tag Title match at Hell in a Cell.

What Might Happen: I'm beyond thrilled to say that I have absolutely no idea what might happen in this match. Any of these three teams are absolutely over enough to get a win here--BRhodes and Shield have torn the house completely down the last two times they met and Usos are poised to finally rocket through the glass ceiling. It's certainly more likely that BRhodes or Shield will walk out with the titles but I'm not counting out the Usos by any means.

What Should Happen: I'm honestly absolutely OK with whatever happens in this match. My biggest hope is that whoever wins gets a clean win and that if Big Show gets involved, his involvement is minimal and doesn't actually cost anyone the match so much as even the odds if Dean Ambrose (or even Orton or HHH) tries to intervene. But as long as this is the solid 4-star match we all know it can be, I'm good. But I'm not too worried about that because...

What Will Happen: ...it will be. Both BRhodes and the Usos have done more than enough phenomenal work and had more than enough memorable moments in the ring with the Shield to convince us without a shadow of a doubt that they are fully capable of putting on a 4.5-star caliber match with enough effort. I have no doubt in my mind that this match will steal the show and no matter who wins, the big winners will be the fans yet again.


Handicap Hell in a Cell Match -- CM Punk v. Ryback and Paul Heyman

How We Got Here: I suppose it all started at Night of Champions when CM Punk faced Heyman and Axel in a handicap elimination match. Punk eliminated Axel and got his hands on Heyman but Ryback came to the rescue, putting Punk through a table and plopping Heyman's handcuffed carcass on top of Punk for the three-count. As it turns out, Ryback doesn't much care for "bollies" and couldn't stand to see Punk "bolly" Heyman any more. In his seemingly neverending quest to "finally" get his hands on Heyman (for like the eighth time), Punk took on Ryback at Battleground, which was basically an episode of Raw so it doesn't really count. Then on Raw recently, they devised this really random and pointless "Beat the Clock" stipulation where if Ryback beat R-Truth faster than Punk beat Curtis Axel, Heyman could choose any match he wanted for Hell in a Cell (he wanted Punk v. Ryback and Axel) but if Punk won faster, he got to choose. Well, guess who won. But instead of picking something, y'know, interesting--I still say he should have made a match with Ryback where if he won, he got Heyman in the Cell--he chose to bogart Heyman's idea but instead make it basically the same match from Night of Champions only not an elimination match, with Ryback in place of Axel, and inside the Cell.

What Might Happen: I mean, I'm still trying to figure out what WWE thinks is compelling about this match at all. HIAC is always billed as the PPV where feuds end so I'm guessing this will somehow end with Punk destroying Heyman inside the Cell but it's hard to see how he takes Ryback out. He has been playing up this line of him being smarter than Heyman so maybe he'll figure out a way to lock Ryback out of the Cell with him and Heyman in it. We also haven't seen or heard from Brock Lesnar since SummerSlam which is a big reason this feud has lost some heat so I wouldn't be surprised to see him intervene, especially since the last time WWE was at the AAA was Brock's big return after WrestleMania XXVIII to challenge Cena.

What Should Happen: First and foremost, Punk should get his hands on Heyman, beat him to a bloody pulp, and end this feud already. I thought I would want this to go on forever but it's gotten old and stale. Punk needs to turn his attention elsewhere (like the WWE title pretty pretty pretty please) and Heyman should torment him from the periphery, leading to a rematch with Lesnar and eventually a rubber match at WrestleMania.

What Will Happen: Expect the unexpected. There really isn't anything remarkable about this match that gives any real hints about how it will play out so I'm holding out hope that WWE has something wildly unexpected in their bag of tricks (like a Brock Lesnar return). I certainly expect Punk to win the match and probably to beat the everloving hell out of Heyman in the Cell. But at this point, that feels strangely unsatisfying. Either the feud reaches an unsatisfying conclusion at HIAC or Brock returns to bring the heat back to the feud. That's my pick and I'm sticking to it.


World Heavyweight Championship Match -- Alberto Del Rio (c) v. John Cena

How We Got Here: Vickie Guerrero wanted to screw with Alberto Del Rio. Seriously. That's it. It's not like there are several other guys with legitimate claims to a shot at the WHC right now or anything (one of whom isn't doing FUCKING ANYTHING right now and isn't even wrestling on the PPV [Ziggler]). None of that matters because John Cena is John Cena and he gets a WHC shot after not being on TV for 2 months because John Cena. (Actually, you could make the argument that Cena technically never got his rematch for the WWE title he lost at SummerSlam and the WHC is kind of a consolation prize in that sense.)

What Might Happen: This has Money in the Bank cash-in written all over it. Cena got shoehorned into this match because he's John Cena and Vickie wanted to piss off Del Rio. There has been no feud to speak of. The only hype for this match has come in the way of videotaped John Cena vignettes. One about his incredible roid (er, road) to recovery or whatever. The other about his entire epic career rife with overcoming of obstacles and whatnot. Last time WWE hyped up a PPV match with videotaped vignettes it was Christian's "one last match" against Del Rio and he lost. In a million years I can't imagine WWE booking Cena to lose to Del Rio but I can imagine him "overcoming the odds" to beat Del Rio, Del Rio flipping his shit and slapping Cena's bad arm in the cross armbreaker post-match, leading Sandow to cash in. The announcers have been questioning for weeks whether Cena is coming back too soon and whether or not he's ready. That combined with the immense amount of hype they're giving him with the taped vignettes make the possibility of a Sandow cash-in very real.


What Should Happen: Let's just put it this way: if you see a sign in the crowd at HIAC that says "IF SANDOW DOESN'T CASH IN, WE RIOT", that will be me.

What Will Happen: The only thing stopping me from saying that my above dream scenario will definitely happen is the fact that WWE very often fails to recognize the obvious answer staring them directly in the face. A Sandow cash-in is really the only thing that makes this match make sense but I've long since given up on relying on WWE to do the thing that makes the most sense. For all I know, Sandow could cash in and lose because the first rule of WWE is John Cena and the second rule of WWE is John Cena...


Los Matadores v. Real Americans

How We Got Here: Los Matadores are hispanic. Zeb Colter is racist. El Torito gored him in the butt. Hell in a Cell needed one more match for some reason.

What Might Happen: Well, at least they're not fighting 3MB for the 18th time. It seems pretty obvious they're setting up a three-way tag match that includes El Torito and Zeb. For now, this match is likely meant to put Los Matadores over and develop the feud. As much as I'd love to see the most underrated tag team in pro graps finally pick up a win after jobbing to pretty much everyone since they came together, it's probably not going to happen. Hopefully we'll at least get to see Cesaro giant swing all three of Los Matadores or even maybe UFO a motherfucker.

What Should Happen: A Cesaro UFO for one thing but failing that, I'd selfishly love to see Vickie or Mad Braddox intervene make the three-way tag after interference from Zeb and/or Torito. Real Americans deserve a damn win also but I'm not holding my breath.

What Will Happen: Los Matadores will win and Zeb will probably claim they won "EELEGALLY" setting up the three-way rematch at Survivor Series.


WWE Championship Hell in a Cell Match -- Daniel Bryan v. Randy Orton (w/ special guest referee Shawn Michaels)

How We Got Here: It all started at SummerSlam when Daniel Bryan vanquished the mighty John Cena to become WWE champion only to be Pedigreed by HHH and cashed in on by Randy Orton. HHH explained that he did what's best for business and that Randy Orton should be the face of the WWE. Daniel Bryan got a rematch at Night of Champions and won but due to a fast count, he had the title stripped and it has been "in a state of abeyance" ever since. Bryan and Orton got a rematch at Battleground but Big Show was sent to knock out Daniel Bryan and then proceeded to snap and knock out everyone else, leading to yet another non-finish.

What Might Happen: Well, for starters, if someone doesn't walk out of Miami as the legitimate champion, AAA might actually burn to the ground. Considering how overwhelmingly over Bryan has gotten and the ridiculously long, circuitous journey he's been on since SummerSlam and the fact that Miami is the place where "YES!" chants first became a thing (the night after WrestleMania XXVIII when everyone was PISSED Bryan lost the WHC in under 10 seconds), I can't imagine that he won't win this match. He deserves, more than anyone, to have a culmination to this journey and a REAL WWE title reign after previous reigns of about 10 minutes and roughly 21 hours. There is, of course, still fear lurking in my heart of hearts that despite the fact that Bryan is 10 times as over as every other guy on the roster combined, WWE truly doesn't think D-Bry can be the top guy, let alone the public face of the company. Also, there's a MUCH-better-than-even chance that Big Show will get involved in this match somehow, as will the Shield and HHH. I wouldn't be surprised to see HBK lay HHH out with Sweet Chin Music to set up a grudge match between them (even though it might literally break Shawn Michaels into pieces).

What Should Happen: Daniel Bryan should make Randy Orton tap out on top of the Cell after a 45 minute war that sees the Shield climb on top of the cage, infiltrate from the top, beat up D-Bry, prompting Big Show to run out (bonus points if Mark Henry or Kane comes with him), rip the door off the cage, beat the shit out of the Shield while Bryan and Orton climb out of the hole Shield made, brawl on top of the Cell, Bryan hits the Busaiku knee, puts Orton in the Yes! Lock, and Orton taps. Again I stress that Big Show's involvement should ONLY be to level the playing field, NOT to help Bryan pick up the win. Failing my dream scenario, as long as Bryan makes Orton tap, I'm going home a very happy man. I'll even settle for a pin off the Busaiku knee but he's already knocked him out once and he hasn't won a big match by submission in a while so I'd love to see him make Orton tap.

What Will Happen: Probably what everyone expects to happen: Bryan is about to win, Shield and/or HHH interfere, Big Show stops them, Bryan wins. The build up has been too long and arduous for WWE to get too cute with this and outsmart themselves. They know the whole world wants Bryan to be champion and they've teased it long enough. "YES!"-mania will culminate where it began, right here in the 305!


Hobbitcore's College Football Corner (Week 9)

I know, I know, I've been gone a long time. I've been a busy man these last couple weeks. I'm also starting to realize that it's time to dramatically reimagine these posts. They simply take up too much of my time and I always seem to either barely get it posted before noon Saturday or not even make it and have to post a half-assed version until I finish--and sometimes I don't even post it at all. So I'm taking a pair of scissors to this column.

First of all, no more headlines. Coming up with headlines every week is always the most time-consuming part and it's really not important enough to continue doing it. So from now on, it will be straight to the picks.

Also, all the crap at the bottom--the Heisman ballot, out-of-whack spreads, BCS projections--is out too. Maybe when we start getting down to the last few weeks I'll start making separate posts about the Heisman and the BCS but predicting it every week is pointless. I also won't be making picks for totally uninteresting games just because they're on TV. If at least one ranked team is involved, I'll at least consider making a pick, but if that one ranked team is top 10 and it's going to be a blowout, forget it.

Last but not least, I'm going to keep the blurbs about each game to a bare minimum as much as possible. If there's nothing to say about a particular game, I'll say so. If there's a lot to say, I'll keep it as short as possible. I will still be doing upset alerts and will bring back the Game of the Week but I won't be doing the "keys to the game" thing.

In fact, in an emergency, don't be surprised to just see a list of games and my picks for them.

Anyway...try to enjoy the column without all that window dressing. I know it's for the best.

Three Weeks Ago
Overall: 8-0
Upsets: 2-2 (Stanford and FSU won in blowouts, so those are losses)

Season
Overall: 40-8
Upsets: 9-4

CLICK "READ MORE" FOR PICKS ON OREGON/UCLA, TEXAS TECH/OKLAHOMA, AND MIZZOU/SOUTH CAROLINA

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Hobbitcore's College Football Corner (Week 6)

Last Week
Overall: 6-2
Upsets: 2-0

Season
Overall: 32-8
Upsets: 7-2




HEADLINES

-This is getting ri-god-damn-diculous. Now the NCAA's obsession with amateur athletes not getting ANY compensation whatsoever has reached a point where an Alabama assistant has been placed on indefinite leave for giving a loan of less than $500 to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Because GOD FOR-FUCKING-BID a kid with no money take a few hundred bucks from a coach to feed himself or pay rent. Can't have that shit. Ugh.


-As many of you may know, next year begins the four-team playoff. The four teams will be selected by a selection committee much like the committee that chooses the 68-team field. Now, according to ESPN sources, Condoleezza Rice is going to be on the committee. There are way too many jokes forming in my head right now.


-Last Saturday's LSU/Georgia matchup sure didn't disappoint as we were treated to our first instant classic of the season--a 44-41 Georgia win that wasn't sealed until less than a minute left. Both QBs looked more than ready to play on Sundays. My biggest problem is how far LSU dropped in the polls. They lost by 3 points in the final minute to a Georgia team that's already beaten South Carolina and whose only loss was on the road in Week 1 to the #3 team in the nation. And yet they dropped to #10 in the AP poll and #11 in the USA Today/Coaches poll. I want the names and emails of every journalist and every coach who thinks Texas A&M, Florida State, and Louisville can beat LSU (and especially every coach who also thinks Oklahoma can beat them).

CLICK "READ MORE" FOR PICKS ON OHIO STATE/NORTHWESTERN, STANFORD/WASHINGTON, AND MIAMI/GEORGIA TECH