WWE returns to pay-per-view this weekend for Hell in a Cell – a stipulation that’s feeling really watered down this time around.
We’ve got three Cell matches, with every major singles title (sorry Cruiserweights!) happening in the structure… including, for the first time, a women’s Hell in a Cell match. Sadly, none of those matches have had feuds or storylines that’d traditionally befit the Cell, but it is what it is…
Hell in a Cell match for WWE Universal Championship: Kevin Owens (c) vs. Seth Rollins
To think, if three years ago you heard that Kevin Steen vs. Tyler Black would headline a WWE pay-per-view, inside Hell in a Cell, we’d be clapping our hands. Sadly, this feud has been washed away by Chris Jericho’s list and his friendship with Kevin Owens.
Behind all that, we’re still waiting to find out why Triple H helped Kevin Owens win that Universal title, which means that this feud is essentially two people mad that they’re not the authority’s chosen one. I can’t really sense a title change here, especially if the long term plan is still going to be Triple H vs. Seth Rollins for WrestleMania. Prediction: Kevin Owens
Hell in a Cell match for WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
Historic? Yes. Pointless? Perhaps… Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte (now with a surname) Flair has been the main storyline in the women’s division on Raw since the brand split, and given that this was something of a feud in NXT it does have longevity. Unfortunately on the main roster, we’ve got the bones of a story and very little in the way of meat.
Sasha Banks’ second reign with the women’s title has been largely the same as the first, with the unfortunate expectation that she’ll pick up another injury. The addition of the Hell in a Cell structure perhaps amplifies that fear. WWE have long trumpeted that Charlotte is undefeated in singles matches at pay-per-views (going 13-0). I don’t see that record changing, so I’ll for Sasha to end the night with a pair of short title reigns. Prediction: Charlotte Flair
Hell in a Cell match for WWE United States Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Rusev
Another feud that has been dragged on for little reason – it’s the WWE’s chosen one against Rusev. Yep, we’re still expected to cheer a man who since their last match has attacked his challenger with a chair and abused his family (verbally). Ah wait, it’s because Rusev isn’t American. As you were!
Although this feud feels like it’s been going on forever, it doesn’t in any way feel like it should be inside Hell in a Cell, much like the other two that are happening! Reigns only won the title at Clash of Champions a month ago, and there’s no way they’re going to take the title off him so quickly. So this is a foregone conclusion… Prediction: Roman Reigns
WWE Cruiserweight Championship: TJ Perkins (c) vs. Brian Kendrick
No matter how you spin it, the cruiserweights haven’t been a success since debuting on Raw With a barrage of characters thrown on screen with little character build-up, the main storyline seems to be TJ Perkins still being mad over Brian Kendrick for breaking his Nintendo 64 all those years ago.
This is another rematch from Clash of Champions, and this one could honestly go either way. Brian Kendrick’s still pushing that this is “his last chance”, but I honestly believe that putting the title on a veteran would hurt a division that’s already struggling. Ideally, Perkins should win this one decisively and move onto a fresh opponent for Survivor Series. Prediction: TJ Perkins
WWE Raw Tag Team Championship: The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) (c) vs. Cesaro & Sheamus
Remember that best-of-seven series that got rushed? Well, this is the result of it: Cesaro and Sheamus playing the “tag team partners who can’t get along” gimmick, and this is their title shot.
This is going to be one-way traffic, I feel. WWE’s not going to change the titles this close to the New Day breaking Demolition’s record. Expect hijinx, and Cesaro and Sheamus to come close, only for their arguments to cost them a title… and send them back into another feud. Prediction: The New Day
Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
An odd pairing here; Gallows and Anderson have been firmly shunted down the card after numerous attempts to beat the New Day for the tag titles. Really, since the brand split, they’ve badly floundered without AJ Styles or any formation of the Club to play off of, and I can’t see things getting better for them here. Then again, as long as the New Day are champions, Enzo and Cass can’t really be viable challengers, so I’m going to go with a cheap result here. Prediction: Gallows & Anderson via DQ
Dana Brooke vs. Bayley
Oh dear. Since moving up to the main roster, Bayley has quickly become just another name on the roster – which is a hugely impressive achievement, given how big a star she was in NXT. This is a nothing happening match really; Dana Brooke is nowhere near a title shot, and the only thing I can see happen here is Bayley winning and getting a title shot on Raw before more obscurity. Such a shame. Prediction: Bayley
Cedric Alexander, Lince Dorado & Sin Cara vs. Tony Nese, Drew Gulak & Ariya Daivari
Announced for the pre-show, this gives the ring crew a chance to use the purple tape twice in one show! This really is the epitome of the cruiserweights, as all six of these guys have been thrown into a match for no reason, with little in the way of a backstory. Lazy booking, and an even lazier usage of the cruiserweights, who seem to have been set-up to fail. I’ll pick the babyfaces to win, because does it really matter? Prediction: Cedric Alexander, Lince Dorado & Sin Cara
Notable from their absence on this card are the likes of Sami Zayn and Braun Strowman – who have been teasing a feud, but this is probably too early to match them up – whilst Chris Jericho, Nia Jax and Alicia Fox disappear from the billing after having some involvement last time out.
- Reproduced from BackBodyDrop.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ian Hamilton has been a wrestling fan since 1992, and when he’s not watching WWE, New Japan or his latest wrestling love, PROGRESS, he’s usually suffering through Sunderland AFC and the New York Jets. He’s got a couple of books out on Amazon – “Wrestling’s Sinking Ship” and “Gone Too Soon”, and can be reached via his website, BackBodyDrop.com, or on Twitter @theianhamilton