The formalities are now completed, and we are well and truly on the fast lane to Hell In A Cell. With the go – home episode of SmackDown Live throwing more light on the official card, we now know what to expect this Sunday.
The main event will see Jinder Mahal put his money where his mouth is, as he defends the WWE Championship against Shinsuke Nakamura. For weeks, Mahal has been taunting the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion, but Jinder knows better than to underestimate perhaps the greatest Japanese Superstar to step foot in a WWE ring.
Charlotte Flair will now have the chance to scribble the next chapter in the storied Hart – Flair rivalry, as she faces Natalya for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. However, both women would be wary of the impending threat posed by Carmella, as the Money In The Bank contract gives her the opportunity to cash – in anytime and anywhere she chooses.
Finally, arguably the most anticipated bout on the card will be between Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens. ‘Boy Wonder’ wants to get back at Owens for what he did to his father, while Kevin has flipped a switch – something we haven’t seen before in WWE, and a situation Sami Zayn is all too familiar with.
With just over four days to go for the PPV, we give you our preview and predictions.
Kick off match:
Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin versus The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley)
Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin have hit the ground running on SmackDown Live. However, all is not well between Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley, with The Hype Bros frustrated about not being able to get their momentum back.
There was a time when Mojo and Zack were on cloud nine, flying from their meaningful run on NXT. Mojo won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania, and things only seemed to go up for the former defensive linesman.
But the team has now hit a stumbling block, and the team of Gable and Benjamin will be anything but soft targets. Expect Gable and Shelton to pick up the victory, leading to tensions boiling over between Ryder and Mojo, with one of them turning on their partner.
Winners: Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin
Rusev versus Randy Orton
Rusev Day has come and gone, but it could be the day of reckoning at Hell In A Cell. Randy Orton has plummeted down the ranks since losing the WWE Championship to Jinder Mahal, and would look to climb the proverbial ladder, starting with a victory over Rusev.
Orton scored a quick victory over Rusev at SummerSlam, and the Bulgarian Brute pegged one back, albeit under different — and much difficult circumstances. With a win over Orton at HIAC, Rusev can solidify his claim as one of the the top stars on SmackDown Live, but their rivalry has just begun, and one expects Orton to pick up the win following an evenly matched contest.
Winner: Randy Orton
Dolph Ziggler versus Bobby Roode
Ziggler’s return, to no one’s surprise anymore, has been rather lacklustre. All style and no substance is the best way to describe Ziggler’s run over the past couple of years, although none of it is Dolph’s fault.
The Showoff has been booked as a lightweight most of the times, as WWE tried to push stars such as Baron Corbin at his expense. However, WWE tried to do something new with Ziggler’s present gimmick, but that has quickly fizzled out, and one feels is on life support.
Contrary to Ziggler’s current troubles, Roode is the new hot property in town. Bobby’s main roster debut might not have lit the world on fire, but Roode will definitely benefit from working with Dolph. Expect the former NXT Champion to pick up the victory this Sunday.
Winner: Bobby Roode
The New Day versus The Usos inside the Hell In A Cell for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship
This is one match the fans would be salivating about. The two teams, whenever they crossed paths in the past few months, had stole the show, and we can expect the same come Sunday. The chemistry between the two factions is palpable, and they seem to thrive on the competition, pushing each other to their limits.
The Usos haven’t been given their due credit, while The New Day have proved time and again that they belong in the same league as The Freebirds and The Rock n’ Roll Express. While the tag team division still needs more quality, The New Day and The Usos haven’t given us the chance to feel the need to see more teams competing for the tag team gold.
However, expect Big E and Kofi to pick up the victory this Sunday, as the New Day continue to dominate the division.
Winners and still the SmackDown Tag Team Champions: The New Day
AJ Styles versus Baron Corbin for the WWE United States Championship
‘The Champ That Runs The Camp’ will take on the sly, wily wolf at Hell In A Cell. Corbin would be licking his wounds, after the humiliating defeat he was subjected to on SmackDown Live. On the other hand, AJ Styles is riding high on confidence, and would back himself to dispose off Baron without much trouble.
However, as we’ve seen in the past, Corbin will go to any lengths to get the victory, and would be eyeing the chance to finally win gold in the company. For the longest time, it has felt like Baron had been faltering in crossing the final hurdle, and the Superstar will finally have the chance to exorcise his demons at Hell In A Cell. Considering their recent runs however, you’d have to belt on AJ to walk out with the title still over his shoulder.
Winner and still the WWE United States Champion: AJ Styles
Natalya versus Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown Women’s Championship
The Harts and the Flairs haven’t been the best of friends, considering the long, well documented rivalry between Bret and Ric. While they’re no longer active, their bad blood continues to boil inside Natalya and Charlotte, who will face each other at HIAC for the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
While both women do not need an incentive to prove their superiority over each other, the fact that they will be battling for the gold makes the bout that much more intriguing. Many remember their encounter at Road Block last year, leading up to WrestleMania. The roles have since been reversed, with Natalya walking in as the champion.
We could see the beginning of a historic rivalry between the two women, starting with Flair winning the championship this Sunday!
Winner and the new SmackDown Women’s Champion: Charlotte Flair
Jinder Mahal (with The Singh Brothers) versus Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship
The time for talk and insults are now over. Jinder Mahal courted controversy with his not – so – elegant jibes at Nakamura. While the Japanese Superstar has since said he doesn’t hold grudges, he would definitely like to shut Mahal up this Sunday.
Mahal has undoubtedly been a controversial champion – right from winning the title to his statements about Nakamura. WWE could’ve chosen a better ground to build this feud on, but decided to stereotype Nakamura. While nobody expects Shinsuke to win the championship, their feud is currently running on autopilot, and one feels has already run its course.
Winner and still the WWE Champion: Jinder Mahal
Shane McMahon versus Kevin Owens in a Falls Count Anywhere Hell In A Cell match
The match that has the entire WWE Universe buzzing will finally take place this Sunday. The bad blood between Shane and Owens will undoubtedly boil over at HIAC, and the new ‘Falls Count Anywhere’ stipulation only adds intrigue to the match.
With reports of Owens moving to RAW catching fire over the past week, we could see Shane taking a crazy bump, and be written off TV for a month or two, while Owens makes his return to RAW. Kevin thrives when he is given the main eventer role, and would undoubtedly make a statement regardless of the brand he is placed on. Expect Owens to win at HIAC, and then taking up a different challenge on RAW.