Welcome to another edition of WWE Heat Index, wherein we discuss the interest level for the various feuds heading into the pay-per-view events. This time around, we’re focusing on Hell in a Cell 2018 coming this Sunday night.
The way this works is a pretty simple three-way breakdown of Hot, Lukewarm and Cold. If you like something and you’re very interested in how WWE is setting up the program, it’s Hot (aka Good). If you’re a bit on the fence about it and see some problems, but it’s not awful, then it’s just Okay or Lukewarm. The ones that are the most problematic that you have no interest in are Cold (aka Bad).
Universal Championship Hell in a Cell Match: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Braun Strowman = Lukewarm
This should be a blistering Hot, as it’s clearly WWE’s biggest priority at the moment…but it isn’t, for me, as I’m completely against this Braun Strowman heel turn.
I’ll give credit where it’s due in pointing out that the fans have cheered Roman Reigns more than I thought they would, and it seems like WWE at least has more ammo to their “we know what you want more than you do” argument, but it isn’t working the same for me.
Instead, I’m just kind of annoyed that Braun Strowman isn’t as fun for me as he used to be as a babyface, and I don’t like Roman Reigns any more than I did before (as I’ve liked him from the start, but this doesn’t change the misdirection in his character, in my mind) and most of the Lukewarm for me is wondering how Mick Foley will work into the mix.
I don’t think Braun Strowman will win. I don’t really even want him to necessarily win if he’s a heel going forward, but at least that would be better than the alternative I’m assuming will happen, which is that we’ll see a lot of chaos and Roman Reigns will retain and just keep this story going into the Super Show-Down event, and afterward, Braun Strowman will be in a feud with someone like Finn Bálor or Bobby Lashley. The end of this match will basically hinder what I think will be an otherwise potentially fun segment, and I just can’t get super into it because of what surrounds it.
WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles (c) vs. Samoa Joe = Hot
I’m going into this event with the assumption that Samoa Joe is going to win the title, which may be entirely foolish of me, but I’m still holding onto that hope, as I feel like he needs it.
If that doesn’t happen, I’m sure my outlook on this will be much more negative than what I’ve got myself hyped up for, but Heat Index is all about excitement and anticipation, not retrospective reviews.
AJ Styles and Samoa Joe can definitely have one of the better matches of the evening, and I’m a bit peeved that this isn’t a Hell in a Cell match, as I think that could have been good for them, but there’s also a chance they don’t need it.
In any fashion, I’m excited to see these two work each other again, and for the possible title change.
Mixed Tag Team Match: Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse = Lukewarm
When it comes to the Daniel Bryan and The Miz part of this, I’m totally in.
When it comes to the booking of a mixed tag team match, I’m 100% sold, too. It’s the most logical way to progress this feud, and it’s just smart writing.
After seeing Brie Bella in the ring on Raw, though…ouch. She just killed my anticipation for this being a fully good match, as I have to assume anything she and Maryse do will be more in line with the 2006 Divas era of women’s wrestling, rather than anything worth really getting invested in.
I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I will be, and I imagine that by the end of this match, we’ll be kind of saying a collective “eehhh…well…” in an attempt not to be too mean.
Raw Women’s Championship Match: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Alexa Bliss = Lukewarm
Credit where it’s due, Ronda Rousey has impressed me in the ring far more than I ever was willing to bet, beforehand.
By now, I know that she’ll put on the best performance she can, and her match against Alexa Bliss will probably be a pretty solid part of the card, even if it’ll be somewhat of a “meh” segment that doesn’t last too long in my consciousness.
What’s working against these two talented women who I’m a fan of (particularly Alexa Bliss) is that this is just a rematch. Ronda Rousey already won the title, and Alexa Bliss isn’t going to win it back, so it’s just a matter of stretching things out and trying to squeeze a little bit more out of something that was more interesting the first time around, rather than bringing any new elements into the fold to make me more excited than I was at SummerSlam.
Hell in a Cell Match: Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton = Hot/Lukewarm
This would be a full Hot if Jeff Hardy wasn’t going into this injured, if this was 2007, if the United States Championship wasn’t a random thing in the background of this feud, but was actually on the line, and if this feud didn’t already have a segment where Randy Orton didn’t attack Hardy.
Basically, I like these two guys, and I’m excited to see what stunt Jeff Hardy does to get him written off television, but I have a feeling this is going to get lost in the shuffle, for sure.
Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins = Cold
Wow, a Cold? Really? Yeah, I know, but I’m just not feeling it as much as I’m supposed to, and that kind of makes me go in the opposite direction entirely.
I don’t think we’ll see new titles crowned, and if we do, I think it’ll be a mistake, so it’s kind of a lose/lose situation. Rather, this feels to me like WWE didn’t think ahead too far in the future, and it’s a shame this match is happening to further this feud and the Intercontinental Championship is just being pushed aside.
Now, I get the argument that it’s a bigger match because of three titles being in the mix and all of them being big stars in the most prominently featured program at the moment, but I feel like WWE is going to harp on this SO much and rely SO much on this being the end-all, be-all of this event, that a segment like this will fall short of expectations if they’re too high, and it’ll influence the main event, too, and if those two segments aren’t good enough, the whole event will feel rather bland.
I fully acknowledge that I’m being pessimistic about this, though, and not looking on the brighter side. If I wanted to be more optimistic, I could easily write paragraphs about how it’s great to see The Shield together again, it’s great that Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler will retain the titles and get more credibility with their win here, how the Raw tag titles are being used in a much more meaningful fashion after going through a period of complete jokes, and so on…but I’m just salty about the Braun Strowman situation and it’s putting a barrier between my level of enjoyment and this event’s festivities. My bad.
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Becky Lynch = Hot
Put the title on Becky Lynch! Go with the momentum! Let these two have a killer match against each other, and swing the pendulum in the way of proving to the fans that you care about what they have to say and that the fans opinions do matter!
If WWE does that, I’m going to enjoy this quite a bit. If there’s some kind of emphatic “no, we want Charlotte Flair as the champion, suck it up and deal with it” mentality in the booking, I’m going to go from looking forward to this a lot to wishing it hadn’t even been booked on the card at all, and really, really hating the Super Show-Down rematch that will be happening in a few weeks to follow.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The New Day (c) vs. Rusev Day = Lukewarm
Since WWE already announced that The New Day will face The Bar with the SmackDown Tag Team Championship on the line at Super Show-Down, it kind of kills my curiosity that maybe Rusev Day would win the titles, which is a shame.
With that being said, I’m glad WWE went with Rusev Day instead of just repeating The Bar twice in a row, as we have plenty of repeat matches between these two events. Plus, it’s good to see a babyface team against another babyface team once in a while.
I’m sure it’ll be okay, but it’ll probably also be a filler match used as a buffer between two more important segments, and it might come off as forgettable by the end of the night.