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Roundtable: Following up on Hell in a Cell

hell in a cell
(Courtesy of WWE.com)

Moment of the night?

Travis Wakeman: I’ll go with Goldberg’s involvement with both Paul Heyman and Rusev. Though he looked a little stiff delivering all his old maneuvers, it was good to see him get physical. The spear on Heyman helps evolve the feud between he and Brock Lesnar without Lesnar being there. Honestly, for a show following a network special, I don’t think there was much to choose from for this question. Perhaps WWE felt ratings would be down due to Halloween and didn’t put their best foot forward?

Joseph Nardone: I am probably going a bit off the board here, but I am going to go with Nia Jax returning to television to defeat Bayley.

The latter doesn’t really need any help in getting over with the WWE Universe, and part of her gimmick has always been in her struggle to win matches.

However, with Nia, she was struggling a bit due to happenstance. As Charlotte and Sasha were carrying the division to absurdly high new levels, there really wasn’t any room for her to grow during WWE programming. Because of that, she lost some momentum due to circumstance.

Jax going over on Bayley instantly regains it.

Riley Kontek: It was definitely that R Truth-Goldust segment. Just kidding. In all seriousness, there again was not one moment that stood out in my mind. I guess I would have to settle on Braun Strowman’s manhandling of the battle royal participants to make the Raw Survivor Series team. He looked dominant and gave him something to do other than squash jobbers for a week, though I do enjoy when he does that.

Jason Hall: The opening segment. It was another nostalgia pop for Goldberg, but at least this time they had him do something physical. As great as it is to see him back, he can’t just stand around and talk until Survivor Series. Taking out both Rusev and Heyman helped build the Lesnar feud and it will be interesting to see how Brock responds.

Daniel DeMarco: The opening segment with Goldberg, and it’s not even close. WWE knew what was in store for them on Halloween. WWE knew even less people were not going to be tuning in than usual, especially not for the entire program. So WWE put on its money segment from the get-go when a lot of people still might have been home to see, and the rest of the show was a lot of throw-away material that left many who actually did watch leave wondering why they had not just tuned out like everyone else. Goldberg’s second segment did just enough to keep things interesting, taking it another step along the way and showing us a tease of action (even if it didn’t go quite as smoothly as planned).

Could a potential mini-Shield reunion keep Roman Reigns from being booed every night?

TW: I don’t think there’s anything WWE can do to prevent the boos that Reigns is probably going to receive for the rest of his career. However, a potential partial Shield reunion would be interesting, because that was the one time during his WWE tenure that he wasn’t hated. That said, I hate the pairing of Rollins and Reigns. I get that they had common enemies in this instance, but there should just be too much bad blood for the two to join forces just like that.

JN: Maybe. This one is tough because it isn’t a full-fledged Shield reunion. If that were the case, it would be a definite yes out of me.

An only partial Shield reunion, though, might not resonate the same way. While the WWE can obviously recognize the two talents’ past in the faction, it can’t pretend it is an actual Shield reunion.

Reigns is an improving talent, though. It can work not only because of that and his history with Rollins, but because “The Architect” is a special wrestler that seems to make everything around him work well.

RK: It’s possible, but at this point, I think Reigns just needs to be a full-on heel. By that, I mean basically a declared heel. It’s the only way to salvage him because even if there is a Shield reunion, I see him being booed anyways. That, and he needs to stop being booked like John Cena. That doesn’t help his cause either.

JH: Yes and I think that’s the only way. There’s still enough people who will refuse to cheer him regardless of what WWE does otherwise. But this is what everyone wants to see. It also helps Rollins because it whitewashes all of his heel tendencies. The basis of heel Rollins was turning on the Shield. Aligning with Roman would get rid of any remaining perception of him as a villain.

DD: Of course not. All it will do is make sure there is always someone in the ring with Reigns that the crowd can cheer for more. A large portion of the crowd already has its mind made up, and just like Vince McMahon himself, they are going to be hard-headed and stubborn about it. I know McMahon is going through the entire book of tricks to sway the crowd on Reigns, but at this point the people who enjoy Reigns are basically already decided too. Whether they liked him all along or they came to like him over the last year as he has improved, the line in the sand is drawn and there will be few crossovers from here on out. Of course, McMahon won’t stop and is determined to make Reigns as popular as A.J. Styles or Seth Rollins, but he screwed it up from the very beginning and there’s very little room to fix said mistakes.

Did Goldberg’s appearance make up for the Minnesota fiasco from last week?

TW: To a degree, yes. The fans weren’t booing and chanting “Goldberg sucks” this time. He received a big ovation, though not quite like the one he received in Denver two weeks ago. The fans saw him get physical and, as I said in the first question, and I think that’s important. One of the big criticisms I keep hearing is that Goldberg is almost 50 years old. I think it’s on WWE to do what it can to make people forget about that fact. Goldberg should look as strong as ever going into Survivor Series.

JN: Not at all.

The WWE buried one of its younger stars, Goldberg looked like a super old sweaty man inside the ring, and — while this is completely preference based — I’m already checked out on this angle.

I really don’t know what else to say about it. Not only was I only minimally invested in this angle as it was announced, then happening, but now that the WWE felt the need to bury Rusev for the sole purpose to make a wrestler (Goldberg) who will vanish forever after Survivor Series look good, I hope this angle burns to the ground.

RK:  It did somewhat, but it came at the expense of Rusev, which to me is unacceptable. Rusev should be a top star in the roster, but creative is insistent on him taking the fall time and time again. Paul Heyman taking the spear makes sense. Rusev? No so much. He should be treated as a top predator, but he has once again been made to look weak in a feud he’s not even involved in

JH:  I think so. I mean, what did WWE expect having Lesnar return in his hometown? I think Goldberg is probably over more in most cities, especially due to his long absence. I expect the feud to continue going smoothly as long as segments aren’t in Lesnar’s hometown or smark fans don’t hijack the show just for the sake of doing it.

DD: It got things back on the right track, but it is not Goldberg’s place to make up for Vince McMahon booking Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar into a disastrous segment. What Goldberg did was reinvigorate the feud. And thank goodness for Heyman’s involvement and his winding up as a victim at the end. That was the cherry on top. It took this feud from being a competitive one to entering into the realm of a personal feud. And everyone knows a personal feud is inherently more intriguing. Sure, maybe Goldberg’s attack on Rusev did not go as planned with the obvious slip-up in there, but overall it was still an effective segment to remind us he can still go. For how long? I suppose we will find out the hard way at Survivor Series.

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