As I struggled to find an article to write about this week, I realized why I was struggling to begin with: nothing of incredible importance is going on right now in WWE. Yes, we have Brock Lesnar’s Go to Hell Tour, which will see him on a podcast (yay) and in a Hell in a Cell match against The Undertaker which has had a build that mostly consists of video packages for the past few weeks (yay?), but our biggest storyline outside of that has been Kane vs. Seth Rollins.
And I don’t care.
For the record, Kane is someone who I think is immensely talented and one of the best superstars in the history of the company. He’s had a tenure that proves just how valuable he’s been, his character was at one point in time absolutely phenomenal (pun not intended) and he’s a bona fide first ballot Hall of Famer. Seth Rollins is currently one of the best WWE has, and his title reign has been justified to the point where I would be okay with him keeping it for a solid year and dropping it at WrestleMania.
That being said, I could not care less about this current feud going on for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, despite how it has had over a year’s build. It’s a sad state of affairs, but I have to not only admit that to myself, but ask all of you if you feel the same way or not.
Problem #1 – No Hell in a Cell Match
I’ve argued for years that the Hell in a Cell gimmick has been tarnished with the creation of the pay-per-view, as we went from this being the feud-finisher stipulation in the company to just being another thing to mark your calendars for at this time of the year. Whether a program warranted the match didn’t matter, because it was October and we needed to have at least one per card, so watered down feuds were put into the structure and sold as being epic.
As diminished as the quality has gotten over the years, it’s still a signal that something is supposed to be important, and since we have Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt and Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker in the HIAC instead of Kane vs. Seth Rollins, it makes the title match come off as filler.
These two have been at each other for months on end, but don’t hate each other enough to put them in the cage where they need to settle their dispute definitively? Even when the top prize in the company is on the line? Even when Kane’s job is on the line, too??
Problem #2 – See No Evil, Speak No Evil
Just like how Kane’s WWE Studios movie has had a sequel, so, too, will this feud. This week, we just saw Kane face off against Seth Rollins in a lumberjack match on Monday Night Raw. That lumberjack match already has more of a stipulation and edge to it than their match at Hell in a Cell is going to have, so you’ve effectively not only given away what the match is going to look like, but given the audience a much more interesting version and told them to look forward to something that could be more boring.
If I hadn’t have seen the two of them fight two weeks before the event, maybe I would be itching to see Kane get his hands on Rollins. Now that I’ve seen Kane get the pin, I’m satiated and no longer feel the need to watch them fight.
WWE has a tendency to do this too often and give away a match on television before a pay-per-view, and every time that happens, I instantly lose a great deal of my anticipation for what’s to come. There are only two ways to build true anticipation: a) something nobody has seen before, or b) the previous thing was SO good that everyone can’t wait for the next installment which promises to be even better.
Option A is already out the window and since the match wasn’t too impressive, option B has been neutered, too. If the synopsis of a movie sounds bad and the trailer doesn’t pique my interest, why would I spend $15 to see it in theaters? Similarly, if the prospect of this feud was pretty bland to begin with and this match was supposed to be a taste of what’s to come, I think I can say without fear of being wrong that if I missed the match at Hell in a Cell, I probably wouldn’t be missing anything. WWE should be making this must-see, not something I need to wager whether or not it’s a better use of my time than cleaning out my fridge.
Problem #3 – Credibility
Seth Rollins retained his title against Brock Lesnar, Sting, John Cena and other opponents who have had a much better chance at defeating him than Kane. Over the years, Kane’s credibility has gone up and down, but has still somewhat remained relatively the same—he’s a guy who could win any match at any time so long as it isn’t too important and that there aren’t bigger people involved who take priority over him.
Comparing the two, there’s just no momentum for Kane to be able to go into this match with any kind of hope to win it. Any fan who is willing to suspend his or her disbelief enough to question the outcome is more than welcome to, as it will be much more fun for them in the long run, but for anyone who can step back and look at this from a booking perspective, the outcome is as clear as can be.
Does anybody really think after all Rollins has gone through, he’d drop the belt to Kane? Are we really going to have Kane, who has been a background supporting character for the better part of two years, be the primary focal point of the company? Absolutely not.
Knowing that Kane has no shot makes it so this situation basically boils down to waiting to see just how Rollins is going to retain more than anything else. Is he just going to cheat with some kind of weapon or some interference on The Authority’s behalf, or does the stipulation of Corporate Kane losing his job if he loses mean that Rollins will technically lose the match, but via count out or disqualification, allowing Kane to keep his position but Rollins keep his title and extending the feud for Survivor Series?
I naturally hope we don’t get the latter, but even with the former, I don’t really have any interest in how things go down, because it’s a foregone conclusion that Rollins will be our champion heading into November and until he’s given a new #1 contender, I just have to wait for something better to come my way.