Hell in the Cell, the name should strike fear and dread. Perhaps with age, the novelty begins to wear off, or we should just rename the show: “Shane Wants to Do Something Crazy” PPV.
Browsing WWE.com before doing the preview, it seems I have missed a lot of changes on the Network shows. Jack Gallagher and Brian Kendrick are now aligned? I guess all great Brits have to turn heel sometime. NXT had Drew McIntyre vs. Roderick Strong? How did I miss THAT?
Once again, Shane McMahon will be in a Hell in the Cell match, this time against Kevin Owens. For Owens, he gets to highlight the marquee match of the event’s namesake, and Shane gets to play daredevil. It’s a fun feud, and as much as fans may disapprove of Shane being involved in a wrestling match again, one has to admit it is fun to watch his inevitable near-death experience. His match against AJ Styles, was pretty damn awesome. I imagine one with Owens will be the same. I expect Kevin Owens to be victorious, as a loss would make zero sense since Shane won’t be challenging for any championships in the near future… I hope.
It does boggle, how the WWE Championship match is NOT featured within the Cell. I feel like the WWE Championship has been buried with Jinder Mahal and WWE is doing anything they can to make us think they care by placing a huge fan-favorite in Shinsuke Nakamura against the Modern-Day Maharaja. It’s a slap to Mahal, the guy worked and became champ, but all his wins over Orton, except one, were all thanks to interference, and has not had a clean win since winning the belt. I don’t get it, Mahal gets belt, made a big deal, like JBL circa 2004, yet treated like World Champion Jack Swagger. Unless this is WWE telling us not to care for Nakamura, and their way of burying him on SmackDown. Either make the WWE Championship meaningful, since we won’t be seeing the Universal Championship until November, or just don’t bother. Jinder Mahal will retain.
I’m working backwards tonight. Got a lot on my mind. Otherwise, I would have kicked off the preview with the following major, brand-game-changing announcement…
THE FASHION FILES ARE COMING BACK! What insanity will Tyler Breeze and Fandango find themselves embroiled in now??
How does Shelton Benjamin fit with Chad Gable and why are they facing a team about to head to splitsville in Zack Ryder and Mojo “My Career is Only Valuable When Gronk is Around” Rawley? Benjamin should be a solo act and be headlining. No offense to Gable, who should also be going solo and making his way up the ladder. Jason Jordan goes to RAW, so Benajmin is switched in? Who made that call? In any case, I hope this is meant to boost the careers of Benjamin and Gable, because an easy win here is obvious. Can they break up Ryder and Rawley already?
United States Championship Match: Bacon Rorbin vs. Ay-Jay-Styyyyyyyyles
I have enjoyed AJ’s run as U.S. Champion, this means we get to see him fairly frequently. I would think the United States and Intercontinental Championships are the main titles on their respective brands, if only due to the champions actually being on TV and competing. Yes, Mahal is on television plenty, but I don’t think he’s given the proper credit and chance, as stated earlier. If he were U.S. Champ, he’d be #1 heel. Can Captain Corbin finally get a PPV win or will The Bacon Bluster bumble again, and I’m not sure if I mean this as scripted or not. He gets the push, then seems to crash and fail. Smells like Ziggler. Maybe all the losses are meant to fool us and tonight he wins. Maybe he does.
Randy Orton vs. Rusev I feel, no one cares for, but should they put on a good show, maybe it will be something to talk about. Rusev’s time has up and gone. He was great on debut, as the evil United States foreigner heel champion, but without Lana and really no believable gimmick other than beating up cruiserweights, what is left? Now, if Rusev is given the win over Orton, one might think the Bulgarian Brute is still relevant, but much like when Orton defeated Bray Wyatt after their long and drawn-out feud, it ended with a yawn and whimper, no bang. Just because I’m feeling hopeful, I’ll hand the “W” over to Rusev, only because he needs it more than Orty.
Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya
This should be a good match. I want Natty to wrestle like the days before she got saddled with bad gimmicks and jobbing to everyone. Aside from a long overdue title run, that’s all she’s done. Her mic skills fluctuate between tolerable and decent, although lately she’s been doing a whole lot better. She works well as a heel, and Charlotte, despite doing her best work as a heel, also fits a title-chasing face role just as well. Of course, there is the looming threat of a Carmella Cash-in, but I don’t see it for tonight. Tonight, I think Natalya will retain.
Tye Dillenger and Aiden English have been prominently featured on SmackDown in high profile matches and angles with Styles, Corbin, Orton, Rusev, etc… Yet they are not on the card? Have them face each other!
In what I feel might be one of two show-stealer matches, Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler might blow the roof off if they are given a ton of time. This is Roode’s first major opponent on SmackDown, and at a PPV no less. Ziggler, despite being relegated to “enhancement talent” for better part of a year, can take a five-minute match and turn it into 20 minutes. Roode in the face role is mostly by fan-manipulation, I imagine once he begins some major feuds in the future, it’ll be all heel promos, but fans will love him anyway. Much like Ziggler, he’ll get booed after bashing a hometown hero, but then cut the “shoot” promo and have fans applauding. We live in an era of blurry lines and an appreciation for the matches, and there is no doubt this match will deliver. I want to give this one to Ziggler, and I know I am likely in the minority, but perhaps extending this feud to Survivor Series will extend Ziggler’s shelf-life and won’t throw Roode to the top of the roster too quickly.
The other match, which I believe will definitely steal the show, arena, and the next four SmackDown branded PPVs, is the SmackDown Tag Team Championship Hell in a Cell match, The Usos vs. The New Day. I’ll be upfront, and say I have no care about who wins or loses. Each time they go, the match is nothing short of awesome. From the fast action, the dives, the near-falls, the crazy stunts, I imagine in HIAC, the unpredictable factor will get turned all the way up. The Usos are at their best, and dare I say better than ever. The heel antics have earned them more fanbase than any day as a face. The New Day will always be loved, no matter what, the chemistry the five have developed is unreal and unreplicated. This is your real main event, sorry Shane O’ Stunt-o.