In case you didn’t know, WWE’s SmackDown will see you at Hell in a Cell!
I love how every WWE Superstar who is competing at this event has to make sure he yells, “I’ll see you at Hell in a Cell!” like fans don’t know what the next WWE pay-per-view is.
Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not a fan of this event mostly because I think Hell in a Cell should be a stipulation and not an annual PPV. Same goes for the upcoming RAW pay-per-view, TLC (Tables, Ladders, and Chairs). To me, it takes the luster off what used to be violent affairs.
Hell in a Cell was originally intended to serve as the blowoff to intense rivalries and was made famous by The Undertaker. Some of wrestling’s most violent and memorable matches happened in what was dubbed as The Devil’s Playground.
Of course, Mick Foley raised the bar so high nobody has come close to duplicating it because nothing that happened that legendary night in 1998 was scripted. “As God is my witness he is broken in half!”
Now it’s just watered down tripe that the WWE force feeds us every year, featuring matches that don’t really deserve the stipulation. It just doesn’t fit within the PG era that the WWE is selling.
However, if we’re going to do it, may as well have Shane McMahon involved. The SmackDown Commissioner has a penchant for the extreme and has no problems hurling himself off a cage. Standing in the chain-link enclosure with him will be Kevin Owens, who has been the #1 reason to watch SmackDown Live the last few months.
But the match that truly deserves the Hell in a Cell treatment is the tag-team title bout between The New Day and The Usos. They have spent months putting on some of the best matches of 2017 and, if this rivalry is going to end, the blowoff in the caged box could be the exclamation mark on what has been an amazing feud. This is my pick to be the best match of the night.
All my jadedness aside, the card is pretty solid and, while it may not have all the hype that the previous WWE No Mercy card had, it should still deliver some solid rasslin’ action.
Below is the card (which is subject to change) along with the odds and predictions on who will have their hand raised at…
Hell in a Cell! (Sunday, October 8th)
HELL IN A CELL 2017: ODDS AND PREDICTIONS
NB: one or two more matches may be added over the next week.
Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon – Hell in a Cell
Anytime you have Shane O’Mac and a giant cage, you know you’re in store for something crazy. Add Kevin Owens to the mix and this could be something that turns gloriously violent.
Owens has been on a tear and is currently the best heel in the business. This feud was turned up to eleven when Owens head-butted WWE owner Vince McMahon in brutal fashion. Now Shane looks for revenge and to avenge the McMahon name.
The problem is, I don’t see Owens losing to the current WWE SmackDown Commissioner and a part-time performer. Let’s be honest, the only reason this feud is happening is so they can have an actual Hell in a Cell match in a pay-per-view that bears the name.
No disrespect to this match because everyone loves a good car crash, but Shane O’Mac will be doing the insane stunts while Owens picks up the win. In my opinion, Owens is a valuable heel that you want to keep building so a loss doesn’t make sense here.
There is a chance that this feud continues into Survivor Series. Team McMahon vs. Team Owens?
Predicted winner (and odds): Kevin Owens (1/3)
- Odds Shane McMahon jumps off the cell: 2/3
- Odds this match is the main event: 2/1
Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Championship)
Look, Mahal is getting better as the heel champ, but he’s so hard to watch and he doesn’t mesh well with Nakamura’s strong style. The boredom was on full display in their lackluster match at SummerSlam.
Now we get to see it again and let’s hope this time around both men have figured out how to make this more entertaining. As of right now, there is no Hell in a Cell stipulation so that’s a relief.
The last time out, Nakamura fell short of winning thanks in large part to interference from The Singh Brothers. Will some sort of stipulation be added to make sure that doesn’t happen again? Or will the Singh brothers accidentally cost Mahal the win this time around?
Regardless, this is a tough match to call. The WWE loves having the championship belt on Mahal (as it helps attract the Indian market) but it’s been a lengthy title run and maybe it’s time for a change.
Nakamura’s run in the WWE has been hot and cold, so I guess that amounts to mild? Creative has had problems taking what made Nakamura so successful in NXT and making that work on the main roster. He is someone the company should push hard and heavy, though, as fans adore him.
Screw it, I flipped a coin. Let’s go with Nakamura and a new WWE champion!
Maybe it leads to a Survivor Series rematch of some sort. I hope not, but when does the WWE ever extend feuds well past their best before dates?
Oh right, all the damn time. Cough Bray Wyatt and Finn Balor.
Predicted winner (and odds): Shinsuke Nakamura (1/1)
- Odds the Singh Brothers cost Mahal the title: 2/1
The New Day (c) vs. The Usos (Tag Team Championship) – Hell in a Cell
Speaking of lingering feuds, this tag-team rivalry has been going on for months. But is anyone complaining? Their matches have been off the chain and will be considered the best of 2017. Now it will all come to a head at Hell in a Cell.
As I said at the top, this is going to be the match of the night. While McMahon/Owens has potential to be good Hell in a Cell fodder, the WWE is force-feeding us that feud. This tag-team match will be a true blowoff to a legitimate feud, and it features two teams that can make the most out of the stipulation.
This is another tough one to call, but the belts have gone back and forth too much lately. I predict there will be some stability going forward. If I were in charge of WWE creative, I’d have The New Day retain and end the feud on that note. But, again, it’s a tough call, and our odds reflect that.
Predicted winner (and odds): The New Day (9/11)
Natalya (c) vs. Charlotte Flair (Women’s Championship)
Charlotte Flair has been on hiatus to be with her ailing father, Ric (Whoo!). Now that dad has somewhat recovered, Charlotte is back in the title conversation after winning a Fatal 4-Way at SmackDown.
It’s great that the veteran Natalya finally has the title around her waist, but she feels more like a placeholder than someone who will have a lengthy run. I hope I’m wrong because she totally deserves it.
When you look at this fight on paper, it’s easy to want to pick Charlotte; she is the Queen and it almost always makes sense to give the Queen the crown.
The only glitch I see is Ronda Rousey.
Rumor has it that, leading up to Survivor Series, Charlotte will be locked into a feud with Rousey and her MMA version of the 4-Horsewomen, and that feud could continue into next year’s Wrestlemania. None of this has been confirmed yet but it appears to be heading in that direction. With the focus shifting to that feud in the not too distant future, it’s hard to see Charlotte winning the SmackDown Women’s Championship right now.
I suspect some sort of interference or heelish activities will take place, costing Charlotte the belt. (Keep in mind that Carmella is waiting in the wings and has the Money in the Bank briefcase which she hasn’t cashed in yet.)
Predicted winner (and odds): Natalya (1/1)
- Odds Carmella cashes in the Money in the Bank briefcase: 11/9
- Odds Carmella is successful in her cash-in attempt: 3/2
AJ Styles (c) vs. Baron Corbin (United States Championship)
This match has finally been confirmed. The men have been verbally jousting and irking each other for weeks, so it makes sense to have them go at it on October 8th.
I have a hard time with the idea of Baron Corbin beating AJ Styles. Not cleanly anyway. You have one of the best performers in the biz in Styles going against a wrestler who is still a WWE project in Corbin. I get the powers-that-be like greasy big guys and I know there was a plan in place to push Corbin into a larger spotlight, but it would seem really wrong to me to have him pick up the win here.
So that’s probably why the WWE will do it.
There is also the chance that Tye Dillinger is added to the match to make it a three-way. That would make it more palatable to have Styles lose the title without being pinned.
Since I picked Nakamura to win over Mahal and become the new WWE champ, I could see a scenario where AJ Styles loses his United States Championship to set up a new feud between Styles and Nakamura, which would send fans into a tizzy.
I’m going with a dirty Corbin win so he can finally have a title of his own. Styles needs to be in the main-event picture, not hanging around in the midcard.
Predicted winner (and odds): Baron Corbin (3/7)
Dolph Ziggler vs. Bobby Roode
For the last few weeks, Ziggler has been making fun of various wrestlers’ extravagant entrances, claiming they are all show with no real substance. All of that has lead to a showdown with the man who has a GLORIOUS entrance.
Easy match to call: Ziggler is the WWE gatekeeper for new NXT talent. As per usual, Ziggler will put over the new guy and Roode will go on to bigger and better things.
Predicted winner (and odds): Bobby Roode (1/4)
Randy Orton vs. Rusev
Remember Rusev? One of the best talents on the roster has been relegated to an afterthought, going from one mediocre feud to another. This is the rubber match between the two and let’s hope it’s the final nail in the coffin because Orton has been rather stale late in his career.
Meanwhile, Rusev has been stuck in this stupid foreign-heel gimmick and could really use a little push from creative. Maybe he finally gets a win and breaks through the WWE noise.
Aiden English has inserted himself into this feud, pairing up with Rusev. He is the wild card in this matchup. I expect Orton to put Rusev over but it will most likely be done with the aid of Aiden.
Predicted winner (and odds): Rusev (7/13)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.