Off the back of the best WWE PPV of the year it’s been made even more clear in the weeks that have followed since Summerslam that a new era is beginning in WWE. Right now the title holders are probably the most star studded that that groups has been for some time, and the next WWE PPV promises to be more of the same. This on paper should be a really good show, but how many times particularly in 2018 have we said that and the show not quite deliver? Although, as I’ll mention, there are 1 or 2 odd spots in terms of stipulation and booking leading to some of the matches it still promises to be an eventful a show. So lets get right into my preview and predictions of Hell In A Cell 2018…
Jeff Hardy v Randy Orton – Hell In A Cell Match
Why is this match inside Hell In A Cell and (as of yet) Becky vs Charlotte isn’t? Or Joe vs AJ isn’t? I feel like they’re doing their upmost to push a secondary feud as a huge deal. And yes as much as it has been somewhat personal via the promos from both and the simple fact upon his return Orton targeted Hardy immediately. My fear for this match, and the main reason I’m not as excited as I should be for it, is this overriding fear that Jeff is going to do a Swanton off the top of the cell. And that’s where I am with Jeff Hardy now, and it really saddens me that. Seeing Jeff I still am happy, seeing him fly off from up high and inflict further damage on his already battered body I enjoy far less so. I used to get excited when Jeff would climb up high, now I cringe and squirm. Randy Orton is still in decent shape, and can still go fairly close to his peak level. Not that Jeff isn’t but he just doesn’t have to do half the stuff he still does. And as was the case with Shane McMahon last year, this Hell In A Cell Match for everybody watching is just going to be a wait to see what the high spot is. Result wise I see Orton winning, be it as a direct result of a Jeff hardy crash-and-burn spot or not, and then hopefully Jeff can be written out for a bit so he can go home, see Beth and the kids, and REST!
Prediction: Randy Orton
Smackdown Tag Team Championship: ‘Rusev Day’ (Rusev and Aiden English w/Lana) v ‘The New Day’ (C)
They’ve already announced New Day vs The Bar for the show in Australia. They should’ve put the tag titles on Rusev & English NINE MONTHS AGO! They’re going to do the Rusev Day split in the next week or so I’m almost certain of it. And that alone makes me almost completely un-interested in this match, and very very very sad.
Prediction: New Day to retain
WWE Championship: Samoa Joe v AJ Styles (C)
This should be inside the cell. End of. The feud is fast becoming one of the more personal ones of the year, and for me this is the level that the Nakamura-Styles rivalry should’ve got to. It’s the feud that I think people will remember most fondly when we look back at this title reign in years to come. As always Joe, when the spotlight is on him and he has a major program, has absolutely shone as a legit monster, and a proper asshole. And it is that sadistic side of Joe which has light the fire in the AJ Styles character and has further cemented how much you will be able to empathize with him, which for your top guy as the WWE Champion is exactly what you need him to be. So AJ and Joe are a match made in heaven. The last match ended in a DQ, They already have another match lined up for the super-show in Australia, so it is very possible that there is a title change here. But the cynic in me sees that the cover star for the WWE 2K19 video game, which is out at the start of October, is AJ Styles. So they’re not going to have their cover star lose the WWE Championship and take an L on a big PPV in a big-time match up right? So based on all that I’ll say AJ to win, but don’t be surprised if Joe wins the title.
Prediction: AJ to retain
Raw Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss v Ronda Rousey (C)
Lock of the night. Not a chance that Alexa is getting the title back here. Match should be short, one sided, maybe some form of interference or shenanigans from Mickie James or Natalya or somebody, but don’t be surprised if this match largely follows the Summerslam match. I really don’t see what they’re going to do much different, and given the stuff with The Bellas still has at least a month and a half to go I wouldn’t think they’d start that at Hell In A Cell, more likely 24 hours later… 90% chance this ends with Ronda retaining. And with it likely to be the last match of this feud I’d be surprised if this wasn’t another clean, Armbar, Ronda win.
Prediction: Rousey to retain
Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella v The Miz and Maryse
I could see this match, of all on the show, going anyway. Miz pinning Bryan I’d actually see as the least likely, and I don’t see them being able to get too much out of a win via Brie and Maryse. Add that to the fact that Maryse and Brie have a singles match on the Smackdown go-home show so they’ll have done their individual ‘thing’ and by default I see Bryan getting the physical win over Miz. Now… I’ve said this in pretty much very preview and review blog I’ve done since this was all first teased shortly after the last superstar shakeup, but it all ends with Miz v Bryan at Mania for the WWE Title. And so whilst it may look like we are going one way, there’s bound to be many, many twist and turns between now and April next year at MetLife Stadium. I could see Miz and Maryse getting a sneaky heel win, and it’d be decent promotion for their TV show too which is getting a 2nd season by the way, but Brie would seem to be moving more towards whatever Nikki Bella and Ronda will be doing, and as such is part of another match at the big show in Australia. As for Miz and Bryan they too have a big match scheduled for the show, a match in which the winner will get a future WWE title shot. And so logic would suggest that Bryan has to get some form of win over Miz some place surely? Miz won at Summerslam, I think he’ll win in Australia (then beat AJ and we eventually get to Miz v Bryan at Mania) so 50-50 modern-day WWE booking leads me to believe that Daniel Bryan and Brie will pick up the win here. Lets just hope we get lots of The Miz v Daniel Bryan, and less of Brie missing a dive and falling on her head (I refer you to her horrific bump on Raw a few weeks back) and Maryse being somewhat passable in the ring. Fingers crossed.
Prediction: Bryan and Brie to win
Raw Tag Team Championship: ‘The Shield’ (Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose) v Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre (C)
This’ll be good, really really good. Greta storytelling all round leading into this, everyone involved now comes across as a big star, which particularly for Ziggler is a difference form where they have been. Rollins every week continues to go from strength to strength and for me is doing the best work all-round of his career, as he continues to solidify his spot as superstar of the year so far. Ambrose since his return has slotted straight into his previous spot, but now has an awesome physique and an even more deranged way about him, and yet the possibility of a heel turn down the line remains an exciting possibility. Dolph Ziggler should count his blessing everyday that Drew has rejuvenated his career and made him the most relevant he has been for some time. And to Ziggler’s credit he too has raised his game all round since his partnership with his now fellow tag team champion began shortly after Wrestlemania. And Drew? Well, he’s a star. Just look at him and hear him talk and that’s blatantly obvious. He’ll be facing Roman for the title later down the line I’m almost sure of it. SO what happens here then? A great match as I said, but I presume Roman will go over later in the show, and Rollins already has the IC title so I don’t think they will put all of the titles on The Shield just yet… If they did it’d give everyone involved in the entire Shield vs all the Raw heels story more of a purpose, but I don’t trust they’ll do it in a way that isn’t Shield over-kill, so far so good with The Shield #3 but lets not rush it. Given where they seem to be heading towards Survivor Series with this whole thing this is far from over, Australia Super-Show, Survivor Series and probably way beyond.
Prediction: Dolph and Drew to retain
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch v Charlotte Flair (C)
I pray this isn’t going to go the same way as many others have before them. WWE have what should be an EASY home run with a rivalry between these 2 now-former best friends. But WWE have Charlotte as their top female on Smackdown and that’s been clear since she moved brands originally. But Becky has fast become the people’s champion. They maybe should’ve called an audible at Summerslam and had Becky go over, but it appears they want her to chase it for a while. I haven’t seen a female be as over as Becky Lynch is right now since Bayley in NXT 2015-2016 ish. But she’s a heel, a badass one, but a heel. Most heels in WWE are eventually made to look stupid, good GOD I hope they don’t do that to Becky. I hope Charlotte doesn’t get turned on by the sheer fact that she’s opposing Lynch, and in some people’s mind is the only thing stopping Lynch be the champion, and by some people’s mindset she’s wrongly doing so. Given the nature of the confrontations between the two, not to mention the backstory and the on-going story that Lynch is trying to get out of Charlotte’s shadow, but this should be inside the Cell. And Lynch should probably get the title. NOW…. if you still want to do Charlotte v Ronda at Mania you can still do that, and still give the people what they want by putting the Smackdown title on Lynch. You have this feud go a few shows, maybe either side of the 4 horsewomen v 4 horsewomen dream match if you want to do that, and around the turn of the year you make Lynch the champion. You have Charlotte win the Royal Rumble after a comeback story of how she lost to Lynch and her redemption and her only way of getting a title back and getting to Mania by winning the Rumble, and then she does. Charlotte chooses to face Ronda over Lynch, maybe Becky could face maybe Asuka, maybe even Shayna Baszler, but that could be sorted closer to the time no problem. And after all that you have everyone happy, you still get Ronda v Charlotte at Mania, Becky gets the title, and you can keep Charlotte babyface and turn back Becky in-line with what the crowd want her to be. PLEASE WWE TAKE NOTE, PLEASE?!?!?
Prediction: Charlotte to retain
Universal Championship: Braun Strowman v Roman Reigns (C) – Hell In A Cell Match with Special Guest Referee MICK FOLEY
Remember when they spent almost a full year making Braun into the top babyface in the company, had him win and close their big money show holding a made up belt, and had him win a guaranteed championship match, and we all thought he’d be the savior of the Summerslam main event? Yeah all that… and then they turned Braun heel. And everyone who assumed at first Braun was less of a heel and more an opponent of the Universal Champion, who just so happened to be Roman Reigns, as soon as he teamed with the top heel team on the show it was confirmed that after a year they change course. Or maybe this was the plan all along, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case. But we shouldn’t moan really, The Shield are back together and all 3 members are over as big time singles stars too. 2/3 have titles, and their in big time main event segments which usually involve a chaotic brawl every single week, and don’t forget the simple fact that Brock Lesnar sin’t the Universal Champion anymore, and that the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP is on our TV every week, as opposed to once every few months on the shoulder of Mr Lesnar. So what of this match then? Well for starters, yes for those of you who may have missed it this is indeed Braun’s Money in the Bank cash-in match. And whilst the logic of putting it into the Cell to keep Ambrose/Rollins/Ziggler/McIntyre from interfering, it does seem a little rushed to put this match in the cell, even given the long history between the two men involved. But I guess it fits the necessity of having a Hell In A Cell PPV where you have to have a big cell match to close the show. And this is the blockbuster match of the show, so it does make sense from that point of view I suppose. I’d be astounded after all the build up if they changed the title so soon, or anytime soon to be honest. I’d feel like, and I think everyone else would too, a sense of ‘oh god, here we go again, another long chase for years to come’ with Roman if he were to drop the title so soon after FINALLY winning it. I hear the Shield 3 way for Mania and even The Rock being banded about as future plans for Roman, and none of those make sense without the Universal Championship draped across the Big Dog’s shoulder.
UPDATE: As of the go-home show of Raw; MICK FOLEY is now the special guest referee for this match. I see no reason, aside from it being 20 year since his famous Cell match against The Undertaker, why this is the case but it’s still and always is cool to see Foley on TV. I don’t think he’s able to take any bumps anymore but I’m sure he’ll give as much attitude as he gets from Braun and Roman during the course of the match, so that’ll be fun to see.
Prediction: Roman Reigns to retain
Hell In A Cell much like almost every WWE PPV in 2018 looks as if it could be an awesome show… but as has been seen they often don’t completely deliver. There is a lot that could be great on this show, but WWE have so often shown now they can screw up the most easiest of things to make good. So lets see shall we. Good luck everybody…