EDIT: I completely forgot Corbin/Styles when I wrote this initially. Added it below.
First off, I think Hell in a Cell is a terrible name for a pay-per-view. I don't think the match stands out as so different from a regular steel cage match that you need to name the event for it (unlike Royal Rumble or Elimination Chamber), and now that we're into having more than one Hell in a Cell matches in a given card, it's not even describing the main event.
Also, in general, I'm not really into the death-defying leaps that typically "make" a Hell in a Cell match, so I could really just do without the match type altogether.
But, this is what we've got, so this is what we'll predict.
Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin vs. The Hype Bros
The problem with this is that it's most likely just incredibly predictable. I assume that the Hype Bros will lose, probably as a result of some mistake Mojo Rawley makes, and that Zack Ryder will turn heel on him, and ho hum boring next match please.
In a perfect world, the Hype Bros would actually win the match as a result of Gable turning on Shelton Benjamin for the sole reason of, "You're not Jason Jordan, you could never be Jason Jordan! I AM THE AMERICAN ALPHA!" That'd be cool, and it would preserve one of a short list of tag teams that have joint names.
But, I can't predict that. I predict disappointment.
Winner: Gable and Benjamin via pin
Randy Orton vs. Rusev
You can't convince me that Randy Orton was willing to do the job to Jinder Mahal three times in a row without some guarantees that he was going to win at least his next couple feuds. This is one of those feuds. Rusev is the guy who should have gotten Jinder's push, but alas, he's from Bulgaria and Jinder is from India. It's a numbers game...because apparently according to the WWE writing staff, good characters and storylines are less likely to sell the Network than "Hey that guy is from where I'm from!"
Winner: Orton via RKOOUTTANOWHERE
Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match in Hell in a Cell: The New Day (c) vs. The Usos
It's been a pretty good feud, and their matches have actually been really, really good. But all good things must come to an end, so this match has to end in a way that sets up the future for the tag team titles. That means the heels have to win.
The only other tag teams that even exist on Smackdown are all faces, at least currently. You've got The Hype Bros (who I expect to not exist after this PPV), Gable and Benjamin (the likely next opponent for The Usos), and Breezango (an outside shot at the next title feud, or more likely to feud with whomever has been destroying their locker room/office, probably NXT's Authors of Pain). Regardless of who's next, they're all faces, which means the heels have to have the titles.
Or you put The Ascension into a tag team title feud. It would be funny to watch The New Day make fun of them for a month, but that'd be a short ass feud, and you'd be back to square one in a month.
Winner: The Usos via pin
Smackdown Women's Championship: Natalya (c) vs. Charlotte
Initially I went into a diatribe about the problems I have with the women's division in WWE, but it got way out of hand. Maybe an article for another time.
I think Charlotte should be the champion, but that would translate to an awfully short title reign for Natalya. Is it possible this is the first of two or three matches, culminating in a Charlotte victory? Perhaps. But I know Charlotte should win the title, so I'm not going to pick against that happening ASAP.
Winner: Charlotte via submission
Dolph Ziggler vs. Bobby Roode
I go back and forth here. Ziggler really deserves to win a feud here one of these days. He's charismatic, an incredible performer, and he's put over plenty of guys of late. But on the other side of the coin, bringing up Bobby Roode from NXT (where he was absolutely electric) to have him lose his first pay-per-view match seems an odd choice.
In the end, I think Roode as a face can survive a loss, especially some heel-ish loss like a foreign object. Ziggler coming to the ring as The Mountie with the shock stick would be hilarious and give them an easy weapon to use. Heck, maybe he could even get Jimmy Hart to manage him in a one-off.
Winner: Ziggler via pin (dirty)
United States Title Match: A.J. Styles (c) vs. Baron Corbin
I think we're supposed to think of this as a match that Styles should win because he's a better wrestler. He is a better wrestler, but that's why he should lose it. Get him out of the US title picture and into the WWE title picture.
One of the hallmark moments of the Money in the Bank match this year was the staredown between Nakamura and Styles. As you'll read below, I think Nakamura will win the WWE title on Sunday, and there's no reason to wait for Nakamura/Styles. Set it up for Survivor Series. They could probably do a 3-4 match run all the way up to Wrestlemania, and we'd eat it up. Do it.
I'll mention just for posterity that Baron Corbin is Styles' opponent.
Winner: Corbin via pin
WWE Championship Match: Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Lord in heaven.
I gotta tell you, I find Jinder Mahal incredibly boring to watch wrestle. He's stiff in a bad way, strong in a bad way, and he can't sell. Shinsuke is basically the opposite on all counts. I would be delighted to watch Nakamura take down Mahal and win the title on Sunday, but I just can't figure out a reason why you wouldn't have that happen at SummerSlam if you wanted it to happen.
Oh wait. The WWE thinks they're smarter than anyone else. I'm sure some idiot in a meeting somewhere said, "Let's not waste Nakamura winning the title at SummerSlam, where we're already gonna have Seth and Dean win. Let's save it for Hell in a Cell.
It's stupid, and I 100% believe it's what's going to happen.
Winner: Nakamura via pin
Hell in a Cell Match: Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon
I have to admit, my expectations are high for this match. As I said before, I'm not a big fan of the whole high spot style, and Hell in a Cell is purely a high spot style match. But Owens and Shane are so good at executing a story in the ring, so good at putting on a great match, just so good at wrestling that I'm expecting a really fun, really brutal, really exciting match.
I'm also not certain how the story advances from here. Obviously this will not be the end of the saga, so the match could go either way. I've heard theories that Triple H will interfere on one side or the other, or the Undertaker, or Sami Zayn, or Daniel Bryan, or one of the other McMahons (Vince or Stephanie, Linda obviously is busy being part of Donald Trump's cabinet).
In the end, my general policy is to pick the guy who benefits most from going over, so I'm going with Owens. You don't want Owens to lose clean to Shane, so if he does end up losing, it has to be with some kind of interference. If Shane wins clean, it'll just be another sign that WWE is clueless on what to do with KO, when he could be the next Triple H. Seriously, he's that good.
Winner: Owens via pin
Saturday, October 7, 2017
WWE Hell in a Cell 2017 Predictions
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