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Dissecting WWE dialogue: Kevin Owens promises destruction

WWE’s next pay-per-view offering, Hell in a Cell, is this week. The build to the show, as has often been the case for the annual event, hasn’t featured much action that makes people believe that the HiaC matches need to happen. Thanks to Rusev and Kevin Owens, that perception has been altered.

Randy Orton hit an RKO on his only ally, Kane. He later claimed to be joining The Wyatt Family. Or did he?

There is nothing to fear, but Rusev himself

“Hell in a Cell is a vicious structure capable of changing careers. But the Cell is only as dangerous as your opponent. And Roman, you’re going to be locked inside of it with me! I am not afraid of Hell in a Cell because I’m not afraid of you, Roman Reigns.” – Rusev on why he is going to defeat Roman Reigns this Sunday at Hell in a Cell.

Rusev’s promos were great during the intolerable storyline that saw Lana turn on Rusev for Dolph Ziggler. It showed that he had a lot of range as a speaker and as a character. It was the only good thing that came out of that entire scenario. He was able to be angry, upset, funny, happy — he conveyed all of the simple emotions with the kind of timing and humor that most native English speakers envy.

He continues to do so today, and this backstage vignette was no different. When compared to Rusev’s, Roman Reigns’ rebuttal was akin to a school-aged kid threatening to pull your hair.

Unlike anybody before, Rusev completely downplayed the ominous Hell in a Cell. He essentially proclaimed that he didn’t care if he was locked in a cage or stranded at sea with Roman Reigns. Hell in a Cell doesn’t scare him, and it shouldn’t scare his opponent either. Roman should be afraid only of the threat that Rusev brings.

This was an amazing and eye-opening perspective for a man to take. He’s right, though. I could get locked inside the cage by myself and take a nap. It won’t hurt me. I could do the same with my daughter in there. I won’t get hurt. The cage is just a bunch of wire surrounding the ringside area. Being inside the Hell in a Cell with a man who wants to kill you, however, is scary.

Rusev has no limitations. It’s a No DQ match, and everyone knows that there are tons of weapons under the ring. He has all of the aggression and anger in the world. He has the physical structure to use as a weapon. And, most important of all, the cage eliminates Reigns’ opportunity to distance himself from Rusev’s onslaught.

Hell in a Cell can be dangerous, but there has to be a dangerous person inside with you for that truth to be realized.

This is not a game

“But after Sunday, there will not be any kids talking about how cool Hell in a Cell is. There won’t be any aspiring superstars dreaming of their first Hell in a Cell match. Because they are going to see what happens to Seth Rollins inside that Cell. I am going to dismantle The Architect piece by piece. I’m going to put Seth Rollins through the same kind of hell that people talk about 20 years from now. I’m going to leave a permanent scar on Seth Rollins and anybody watching.” – Kevin Owens on how he’s going to destroy Seth Rollins.

With Hell in a Cell coming up this Sunday, Kevin Owens needed to do everything in his power to sell people on his match. He has had a decent rivalry with Seth Rollins, but it has not been the kind of feud that would generally be settled in a match with the perception laid upon Hell in a Cell. A cage match, maybe, because then at least they can use the excuse that it’s there to keep Chris Jericho from interfering.

Using Jericho’s silly (entertaining, of course, but silly) “List of Jericho” as the main catalyst for the night’s proceedings on Monday’s episode of RAW was not the best-laid plan. Why focus so much on the list when WWE is about to hold their equivalent of a death match in just 6 days? I understand that mind games were involved. Seth Rollins was trying to drive a wedge between Jericho and Owens for self-preservation, but come on.

As soon as Tom Phillips put his microphone in the control of Kevin Owens, the WWE Universal Champion went about selling the match better than anybody in this business today. That’s why he’s the champion.

Owens pulled some inspiration from the Sasha Banks – Charlotte feud when referencing kids dreaming of one day being inside Hell in a Cell. It wasn’t direct, but the idea was clear. It also touched on how the HiaC concept has become watered down. Why else would a young kid or an aspiring wrestler want to get inside the “Devil’s Playground”? It housed bloodbaths like Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker and Triple H vs. Cactus Jack among many others.

The answer to the question “Why?” is simple. There has been almost no brutality in these matches for years. Career threatening? Life changing? Show me anybody who has had either of these side effects in the last decade. I’d wait, but it’s not worth my time. The answer is nobody.

Kevin Owens, simply put, told the world that on Sunday, he will crush the dreams of everybody that aspires to be in a Hell in a Cell match by reminding everybody about what that match entails. He’s going to tear Rollins apart, limb from limb, and possibly punt his head into the 7th row.

And people at home will never forget.

Will he? Won’t he?

Randy Orton (Courtesy of WWE.com)

Randy Orton (Courtesy of WWE.com)

“If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” – Randy Orton on his decision to hit Kane with an RKO.

This is a very difficult sentence to decipher. If you look at it only on its surface, it means that Randy Orton is giving up. He hasn’t been able to get one over on the Wyatt Family, so he might as well just become a part of Bray’s gaggle (that’s what they’re calling it, right?).

Obviously, this isn’t a sentence that can be taken as spoken. Maybe that’s what they want you to think. Maybe Randy Orton is going to be the next member of the Wyatt Family. It’s possible. He can be an alpha leader alongside Bray Wyatt. Who (Who? Who? Who?) says he has to be a follower? Because that’s how they portrayed Daniel Bryan? Because the other three regular members of the Wyatt Family have been followers?

I believe that everybody is looking at this wrong. Orton won’t be a lackey. He is very unlikely to turn heel, especially when the only other top faces on the brand are Dean Ambrose, and, on a certain level, Kane. He is going to use this as a point of leverage, as writer Adam O’Brien alluded to. It may not be a simple measure of gaining an advantage by learning the tricks of the Wyatt trade from the inside. That may certainly be a part of it, but there’s no way that a man as cunning as Bray Wyatt would fall for a trick like that.

With Daniel Bryan, it was a little more understandable. Nobody sees Bryan as cerebral and uncaring. The man wears his heart on his sleeve. It looked like he gave up. Randy Orton is not giving up. For one, he and Wyatt are pretty close to even in this rivalry. Bray has a slight lead due to the win at No Mercy, but it was due to Luke Harper’s surprise return. Orton was the guy who caused Bray to lose to Kane the previous month at Backlash. At this point, Wyatt has simply been good at running away.

The way I see it, Orton will join the Wyatt Family. The entirety of the saga will be a competition, however. It won’t be a leader-follower situation nor will they be a pair of scheming masterminds. They will recruit some new followers, tag together a few times (maybe win the Tag Titles if WWE feels froggy) and eventually one of them will turn on the other because of an opportunity at the World Title. They’ll never be friends and they will barely be allies, but both will use it as a way to advance.

Or it could be boring and obvious. Ya know, whatever. We have to just wait to see how it plays out.

 

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