WWE Hell in a Cell 2018 preview/predictions



Roman Reigns defends against Braun Strowman, AJ Styles defends against Samoa Joe and a lot more this Sunday.

The first of a triumvirate of pay-per-view events WWE is promoting right now happens this Sunday: Hell in a Cell. As the name suggests, this year we’ll have two matches taking place inside Satan’s Structure — though whether or not they are the two feuds that best fit the use of the stipulation is up for debate.

The New Day vs. Rusev Day (SmackDown Tag Team Championships)

After knocking half of the Bludgeon Brothers onto the injured list, the New Day are in the midst of their fifth run as tag champions. Paige, looking to develop her own Teddy Long-style quirk as General Manager, decided the best way to decide new challengers for the dime belts was to set up a multi-team tournament that pitted the six best (read: only) teams chasing the belt. Despite the presence of perennial New Day foes in the Usos and The Bar, it was the mighty Rusev and his skeletal familiar Aiden English taking the dub. Now that Days New and ‘Sev are set to do battle, who will emerge as the SmackDown Tag Team Champs?

Jason: It’s weird to call the New Day placeholder champs, because a). they’re an amazing team and b). They’re super over with the WWE Universe, which suggests they’d be ideal champs. The thing is, at this point in their lifespan, the New Day is bigger than the tag titles. You know who isn’t, though? You know who could really use those belts to help raise their stature? You know who would make for a fun crop of new and interesting matchups at the top of the SmackDown tag division? Is it the Lucha Brothers, Pentagon and Rey Fenix? Is it the Young Bucks? Is it an NXT call up? No, you fool! It’s Rusev Day!
Winners: Rusev Day

Patrick: I was genuinely surprised to see Rusev Day beat The Bar to become #1 contenders here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy, because despite New Day and The Bar putting on great matches together, we’ve seen it a lot lately. Part of me says that it’s time for Rusev to be thrown a bone and win something for once, but I also don’t see he and Aiden English dethroning one of the most successful WWE tag teams of the decade.
Winners: The New Day

JJ:I feel like Rusev can’t catch a break. His feuds are always with guys who are way too over for him to stand a chance of realistically beating. In this case though, I’m just not sure of where him and Aiden stand. Technically The New Day wouldn’t even be champions right now if Rowan hadn’t suffered an injury. So while it feels far too early for the belts to move hands, it’s possible that Vince will finally toss the Bulgarian Brute a bone. If there’s any team in WWE who doesn’t need the a championship to succeed, it’s The New Day. They’re bulletproof BAYBAY.
Winners: The New Day (I’m not unrealistic)

Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre vs. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose (Raw Tag Team Championships)

Last year, Dolph Ziggler disappeared from SmackDown Live after winning the US Title only to reemerge as the final participant in the Royal Rumble…where he was eliminated within two minutes. Still, he eventually returned to Monday Night Raw with 250 lbs of Scottish muscle in the form of Drew McIntyre and…made little impact if we’re being honest. Yeah, Zigs picked up the IC belt from Seth Rollins, but he’d lose it to the Architect once his (now jacked and slightly less wacky) buddy Dean Ambrose returned from injury. The duo then took a page from the Roman Reigns playbook and realized people like you more when you hang around Braun Strowman, so they joined with the Monster Among Men to form the Dogs of War. From there the gruesome twosome muscled their way into a title match, stomped the B-team, joined the entire heel roster in a gratuitous beatdown of the Shield, and here we are. Will the Hounds beat the Dogs?

Jason: McGgler JUST got those belts and Seth is still the IC champ. I don’t necessarily see a long reign in the future for the Dogs of War, but if you don’t want to completely neuter two of your top heels (or jumpstart their breakup for a Drew push prematurely) they need to hold onto those straps for a little longer. I see Dolph and Big Mac taking this one, but the Shield costing them the belts down the line to someone like the Revival. That’ll free all four up to be singles stars, which is where they belong.
Winners: The Dogs of War

Patrick: There’s no way Braun is coming away with the Universal Championship in the main event, so if they want the Dogs of War to have any credibility going forward, Dolph and Drew need to hold onto the tag titles. I personally wouldn’t hate seeing The Shield with three championships (hey, remember the Intercontinental title? Fun fact: Seth still holds it!), but I just don’t see it happening.
Winners: Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre

JJ: Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose do not need these belts to be at the top of the card. They’ve long since been solidified as the top guys in WWE, regardless of what brand they appear on. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre are the opposite. Dolph is having another one of his many resurgences from obscurity and McIntyre is in the middle of an incredible return to glory, from the ashes of 3MB and the independent scene. Taking the belts off of them now would kill all the moment they have going. The Shield will eventually hold every belt on RAW, but it’s not time to take The Dogs of War out of the oven just yet.
Winners: Dogs of War

Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton (Hell in a Cell)

Randy Orton’s bad attitude has returned, and the Charismatic Enigma is its first target. His goal is to eliminate every crowd favorite to show the crowd what they think doesn’t matter, and he started by trying to tear Jeff Hardy’s ear lobe. Jeff may have lost the United States Championship to Shinsuka Nakamura, but he’s not ready to fade away and classify himself as obsolete just yet. He’s got a date with the Viper in Hell…in a Cell!

Jason: You know, these guys have been feuding for a few cycles now, and I honestly still couldn’t tell you why. Something about Handy Orton wanting to destroy modern legends (though if he really wanted to piss off the crowd he’d go after Rusev) so he went after the second oldest guy on the brand with any credibility (Sorry, Truth). For his part, Hardy has been doing a fair job of maintaining underdog babyface fire, but watching his matches now is a bit like watching Daniel Bryan’s first few matches after returning from retirement. I’m more concerned about his health and well being than impressed by his athleticism. This one is in a Cell specifically for one reason: for Jeff to fall off the top of that cage. Call me a naysayer, but that sounds like he’s going down the hard way. Orton’s taking this, and (hopefully) sending Jeff into a well-deserved vacation.
Winner: Randy Orton

Patrick: Yeah, I can’t say I’m too invested in this feud. Orton tugging at Hardy’s ear lobe was pretty gruesome, but other than that and Jeff’s absolutely bizarre promos, nothing has really stuck out to me. I guess there’s nothing left to do besides go to HELL! In a CELL! WOOO! ENJOY THE SHOW!
Winner: Randy Orton

JJ: This is the first time Randy Orton has had something interesting to say in a long long time. Everything he said during his initial idol killer promo felt real and I’d love to see him continue to go after people. That being said, it doesn’t feel like this new angle he’s working can go anywhere if he loses the first big match since his return. I have a suspicion that Jeff could be done after this, we’ll see I guess.
Winner: Randy Orton

Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse

After years of build up, Daniel Bryan and The Miz finally went one on one at SummerSlam, where The Miz technically picked up the victory following the illegal use of brass knuckles courtesy of his wife Maryse, who was sitting ringside. As a result, Daniel’s wife Brie has since gotten involved, leading to WWE’s two power couples clashing in a mixed tag team match this Sunday.

Jason: We’ve got to keep this feud burning and I think in order to do that, you gotta keep things competitive. Miz won the first round, I think the Danielsons take the second. This will give the showdown between Miz and Bryan at Super Show-Down a little more heat, and I totally see Miz clinching that one and (eventually) the WWE Title en route to their semi-main event at WrestleMania…well, probably Survivor Series. Let’s just hope the men do most of the heavy lifting in this one. Ring rust is a real thing, and if her recent match on Raw is any indication, Brie is likely to kill herself out there.
Winners: Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella

Patrick: Ugh, this feud is not playing out the way it did in my head. Daniel Bryan and The Miz are two of my favorite guys on the roster, but ever since their respective wives have gotten involved, it’s just felt really watered down. I don’t really have anything against Brie or Maryse, per se, but the focus on them has really muddied this feud. Either way, I don’t think this is the end of this feud, and like Jason said, in order for that to be the case, we gotta keep it competitive, and Miz won the last one.
Winners: Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella

JJ:I do not like Brie Bella and I firmly believe that Nikki could survive easily on her own. Brie exists in WWE because of Nikki and Daniel Bryan. She has little to no authenticity, she’s weak in the ring (almost killed herself last week) and her whole gimmick is “Brie Mode!”, which is built off of how she used to be a crazy drunk. So yeah! I don’t want this mixed family feud to go on any longer than it has to. It has completely diluted the energy and heat this feud had and Brie is a huge component of that. Daniel and Miz are trading off here. The big match will be at Super Show-Down, where the winner gets a WWE Title shot. This is just filler in the meantime.
Winners: Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella

Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch (SmackDown Women’s Championship)

After months of toiling in the doldrums of the lower mid-card for months, Becky Lynch FINALLY earned herself a title shot at SummerSlam by beating every woman on the blue brand not named Asuka. Unfortunately, Charlotte Flair showed back up and so Paige instantly gave her an opportunity at the damn belt. So SummerSlam comes and Lynch locks in the Disarmher on Carmella, pushing the Women’s champ to her very limits….only for Charlotte to swoop in and hit the Natural Selection for the win and her umpteenth title reign. While Becks at first congratulated the Queen, she recognized that she once again got hosed by her so-called friend, and decided to wreck her s--t. The WWE then tried to turn the Lass Kicker heel, only for the crowd to roundly reject the idea. What followed is an interesting feud wherein both participants have strong and valid points about their situation, and though the once virtuous Becky has decided that underhanded tactics are fair play, she hasn’t necessarily gone full Ciampa. With two former friends waging war against one another for the (second) richest prize in the company(‘s Women’s division), who will come out on top?

Jason: I think it’s great that maybe the best told story in the WWE today features two of the best female performers in the company today. It feels like the WWE is still trying to push Becky as the heel here, but are letting the Lass Kicker be herself rather than running down the crowd all the time. Still, the attack on Charlotte this past Tuesday suggests that she’s going to be full heel for a while, and if that’s the case, I think that favors Charlotte in this match. Though I really want Becky to take it (cleanly no less) I feel like SmackDown is pretty heel-heavy at the moment, so it’s far more likely that they keep a face atop the blue-brand’s women’s division.
Winner: Charlotte Flair

Patrick: From a pure storyline perspective, it makes all the sense in the world for Becky Lynch to come away with the Women’s Championship here. But because I’m a lousy smart mark who has to think about the inner workings of the company, I’d assume they want their two female golden geese — Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair — going into Evolution with the championships.
Winner: Charlotte Flair

JJ: This story is one of the most authentic going in WWE. It feels reminiscent of Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa: the best of friends, having each other’s backs at every turn and then the ultimate betrayal. Becky Lynch is on actual fire right now. It’s hard to think of another Superstar in the WWE who’s as universally beloved by the crowd as Becky is. Since she turned on Charlotte she’s had the upper hand at every turn and it feels like her anger is too strong for even Charlotte Flair to overcome. I think it’s finally Becky’s turn to stand in the spotlight.
Winner: Becky Lynch

Ronda Rousey vs. Alexa Bliss (Raw Women’s Championship)

Ronda Rousey dethroned Alexa Bliss at SummerSlam, but Little Miss Bliss isn’t taking that laying down, opting to make the Baddest Woman on the Planet’s life a living hell ever since, even going so far to injure Rousey’s ribs on Raw. Will that be enough to give Bliss the advantage over a wounded — but now even more enraged — Raw Women’s Champion?

Jason: I mean, it’s Ronda right? This feud has never really felt competitive, and no sudden “rib injury” is really going to change that. Plus with Bliss’s dance card for Evolution already announced, it wouldn’t make a ton of sense to have her defending the women’s title against a retired Hall of Famer. Ronda FTW.
Winner: Ronda Rousey

Patrick: See my comments in the Charlotte vs. Becky section for my thoughts on this one. The only difference is here, it wouldn’t even make any story sense for Alexa to beat Ronda. There is no chance Rousey loses the title here.
Winner: Ronda Rousey

JJ: There’s no chance Alexa is beating Ronda. Vince McMahon’s dream come true is to have a UFC Champion and Hall of Famer rocking one of his titles around their waist. Ronda has completely dominated Alexa and her cronies at every turn.
Winner: Ronda Rousey

AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe (WWE Championship)

Samoa Joe muscled his way into the WWE Championship scene a couple months ago, and ever since has played the ultimate mind games with AJ Styles: messing with his family. AJ’s wife Wendy has been a specific target of Joe’s malice, as he hopes to take AJ’s eyes off the prize to allow for an easier time as he attempts to dethrone the Champ Who Runs the Camp at Hell in a Cell.

Jason: Much like Charlotte and Becky, this is a match I want to go one way, but am near certain it will go the other. Joe has been AMAZING as a menacing heel driving AJ crazy by talking about his wife and kids. For his part, Styles has been doing a decent job as the concerned family man. There’s a lot that works here, and I would love it if this led to Samoa Joe’s first WWE title win this Sunday. Unfortunately, WWE 2K19 doesn’t hit stores until October, and Uncle Allen there is the cover star. SmackDown will remain the House that AJ Styles built, and Joe will hopefully sell Night Night AJ on WWEShop.com.
Winner: AJ Styles

Patrick: This feud has been good-to-great (strange fairy tales and empty arena promos notwithstanding), and really should have been inside Hell in a Cell. Usually, the problem with this pay-per-view is that there aren’t any matches that warrant the stipulation, so it feels shoehorned in. This year, there are at least two matches that aren’t in the Cell that absolutely should be. Ah well. It’d be a great time to put the title on Joe (possibly to lead to Daniel Bryan vs. Samoa Joe for the WWE Championship assuming Bryan beats Miz at Super Show-Down for the #1 contendership — hey, a guy can dream), but I don’t see AJ’s long reign ending just yet.
Winner: AJ Styles

JJ: Samoa Joe has got AJ Styles figured out. He’s found his weakness and he’s been successfully exploiting it for weeks now. The years and years of history they share are being turned against AJ and there’s nothing he do about it. We’ve seen him lose his control more than once now and there’s no chance Joe doesn’t use that to the maximum potential at Hell in a Cell. Phenomenal or not, everyone’s got a breaking point and Joe has zeroed in on AJ’s.
Winner: Samoa Joe

Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman, special guest referee Mick Foley (Universal Championship — Hell in a Cell)

The Big Dog vs. the leader of the Dogs of War. Which Dog will come out victorious? Roman held onto his newly won Universal Championship thanks to the return of The Shield, and as a result Braun Strowman formed his own team of bruisers to counteract the Hounds of Justice. Hell in a Cell ostensibly offers protection for both competitors from the opposite faction, but as we all know, people seem to find their way into Satan’s Structure one way or another.

Jason: Remember when we all loved Braun and he was the mega-face at the top of the card who we all cheered? Yeah, well you see…people weren’t cheering loud enough for Roman…so….the man who seemed like he could take on the whole Shield at once allied himself with a flaxen loudmouth, a Scottish yeti and every scrub in the heel locker room just to beat up Roman and his amazing friends. The dude who could flip semis and kill UFC fighters with grappling hooks is now a semi-cowardly heel. Soon enough, he’ll be the fourth man to fail at cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase…but, hey…T-shirt sales, right?
Winner: The BIG DOG

Patrick: Death, taxes, Roman Reigns winning. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I never bet against the Big Dog. Expect tons of shenanigans in this one — Braun made sure to mention Hell in a Cell is the one place no one can ever get in, which besides being patently and demonstrably false, in wrestling logic that means many people are getting in, and both competitors have angry factions behind them. Tack on a last minute special guest referee, and this one’s gonna be wacky, but Roman’s walking away with the title. Believe that.
Winner: Roman Reigns

JJ: I can’t wait to hear Michael Cole excitedly shout “OH MY!” and “THE BIG DOG!” 300 times during this match. Seriously though, it makes me laugh every time. The special guest referee is Mick Foley and both of the guys wrestling belong to the two strongest factions in the company. Yeah I’m sure nothing wonky will be afoot during this one.
Winner: YA DON’T BET AGAINST THE BIG DOG!

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