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 2017 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).
Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section to let everyone know what your thermometer reads for each feud as I tell you what my thoughts are below!
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Pre-Show Kickoff Match: Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin vs. The Hype Bros = Lukewarm
While nothing is on the line for this match and it’s just on the pre-show, I’m actually pretty interested to see what comes out of it.
The competitors involved could have a decent showing and this could be another step down the path of a heel turn for The Hype Bros, or possibly where they officially transition to those heel roles.
The Fashion Files = Lukewarm
I like these skits, but I’m also getting a little antsy for them to actually go somewhere with it.
The last time this was at a pay-per-view, it still didn’t pan out to be anything much of note, so I don’t have high hopes that we’ll see the debut of a new tag team or the reemergence of Luke Harper and Erick Rowan or anything, but I’m at least hoping there’s a chance WWE has a plan for this other than “I don’t know, crack a few jokes cause we haven’t seen you in a while.”
WWE Championship Match: Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura = Cold
With all the attention the promos Jinder Mahal has cut have been getting as far as questioning whether it’s too far and racist, you’d think this would be red hot, but nope, I couldn’t care less.
This feud to me has been so bland and uninteresting from the start that I don’t think they can really introduce any element to it that would make me care—or, at the very least, the few attempts they’ve made haven’t worked.
Basically, this has revolved around “lol look at Nakamura’s face” and Nakamura retorting with “I’ll win that title.” Snooooooze.
I don’t want to see Nakamura take the title, as I think the best course of action is to have him win it at WrestleMania after defeating AJ Styles (who I think should take the title from Mahal if Cena isn’t going to do it). On the other hand, I haven’t liked Mahal as champion in the slightest, so I almost would welcome the change, even though I know I’d have problems with Nakamura holding the belt right now.
Basically, this is a no-win scenario in my mind and I just want the feud to be over and done with.
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Natalya (c) vs. Charlotte Flair = Cold
Natalya as a babyface is bland, but as a heel, she’s pretty unbearable. Charlotte as a heel got to the point where I couldn’t stand her—in an “I don’t want to watch” way, not in an “I can’t wait to see her get her comeuppance” way—but as a babyface, she’s kind of still finding her footing.
This feud itself does nothing for me, and since I’ve seen the match before, multiple times, there’s no intrigue about how well they’ll mesh or anything exciting that might happen.
It will be a fine match that some people will overrate and others will underrate. The only thing I’m interested in is whether or not we have a new champion and if Carmella is at all factored into those proceedings.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The New Day (c) vs. The Usos = Hot / Lukewarm
This is kind of a catch-22. These two teams have had really solid matches with each other, but I’m definitely tired of seeing them feuding with each other and I’m desperate for the feud to end so we can get something different.
I expect them to have another pretty good match and I’m hoping that it’s the finish these two teams deserve, so I’m leaning more towards Hot. HOWEVER…if WWE chooses to have The Usos win the titles just so they can continue the feud some more and drag it out, having yet another match on SmackDown or even worse, at Survivor Series (as I’m hoping to see the brands face off in a men, tag team and women match like last year), then I’m going to retroactively be annoyed at this.
Make the right call, WWE. Hell in a Cell is supposed to end feuds. End this and don’t stretch it too thin.
United States Championship Match: AJ Styles (c) vs. Baron Corbin = Hot
Admittedly, I’d be more into this if it were a Triple Threat with Tye Dillinger also in the mix, but I’ll take what I can get, with him not being a total jobber sacrificial lamb.
He was a stepping stone to the ultimate plan of what I’m hoping is Baron Corbin winning the title here, and I enjoyed the ride to get to this point.
AJ Styles pretty much always delivers, so I have faith that this will be a fun match and that WWE will make the right decision to give us a new champion, not just to offset the poor track record Corbin’s had over the past few months, but also to open Styles up for a WWE Championship win, hopefully as soon as possible.
Hell in a Cell Match: Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens = Lukewarm
By no means do I think this program has gotten to the point where it justifies being a Hell in a Cell match, and the fact that the WWE Championship picture isn’t good enough to fill that spot just points out the flaws of having Hell in a Cell be a pay-per-view every October no matter what is going on (as well as the lack of depth the SmackDown roster seems to be boasting at the moment)—but I’m still intrigued.
The match itself isn’t assuredly going to be great. I don’t have too high hopes for it. Recent Hell in a Cell matches have been lackluster compared to some of the older ones and that’s mostly because WWE plays it much safer, which I expect them to do here, too.