When Seth Rollins turned on his Shield brethren Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose a few months ago, everybody knew that the WWE was in for one heck of a war.
Thus far, it has been exactly that, with Ambrose attacking Rollins upon every opportunity, Reigns battling against Randy Orton and the other Authority cronies, and most recently the newly-returned Corporate Kane being tasked to weaken both of Rollins’ former running mates.
On the two most recent episodes of Monday Night RAW, Rollins destroyed Ambrose by way of a vicious curb stomp onto a stack of cinderblocks and eulogized the battered “Lunatic Fringe” in a mock funeral. These events are clearly a giant escalation of this rivalry.
It has been intense, heated and chaotic from the moment Seth turned his back on his brothers. We missed one match because the two men couldn’t stop fighting long enough to make it out to the ring. When the match did occur, it was set with a stipulation designed to make sure Rollins couldn’t run away, and it still ended up spilling out of the ring and sprawling throughout the arena. Their second official encounter was more chaotic still, featuring vicious brutality with foreign objects galore and closing with an interference from Kane that left Ambrose wide open to have his brains smashed onto blocks of concrete.
The violence has gotten out of hand. Ambrose is on the shelf (to film a WWE Studios movie) and won’t be on the road until September 20, which is perfect timing for him to make a surprise return at Night of Champions on the 21st to begin the process of exacting his revenge. The following PPV? Hell in a Cell. They wouldn’t do a third John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar match in a row, right? They have a chance to make the show special: only one Hell in a Cell match.
We have reached that level. The Falls Count Anywhere match was barely a sliver of what these two men can do in a dangerous environment, and this time they can be trapped in close quarters with nobody around to get in the way or interrupt the two-man melee.
It makes sense. In 2009, there were seemingly 74 Hell in a Cell matches featured on the inaugural PPV card. All 74 (three, all joking aside) contained wrestlers engaged in fairly longstanding feuds, but none of the prerequisite hatred was present in order to justify that type of match. 2010 saw two more shoehorned PPV namesake matches, and 2011 saw more of the same. While most of them were good matches, none of them were the kind of match one might expect to be set within the confines of the “Devil’s Playground.”
The show named Hell in a Cell was on the way, so the title matches were set inside the structure just to fulfill the promise. The 2012 and 2013 editions were much of the same, but at least each only had one match in the Cell!
This year, for the first time in many years, the WWE has a chance to put two men inside the giant cage who are embroiled in a feud worthy of the massive structure. Time will tell if they decide to go that way. For once, I actually have a little bit of faith.