After the last two years of absolutely tragic finishes in the main event Cell matches, this year’s Hell in a Cell Pay-Per-View has a lot of damage to undo. Fortunately, at this year’s “welp, it’s October, time to break out the big red cage” show, the three(!) matches inside the devil’s playground actually feel like they belong there, no matter how long their respective feuds have been drawn out. That said, the undercard feels very slapdash and thrown together, as one match digs up a feud from the summer from the opposite brand, and the other… well. Makes very little sense, and as Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful pointed out on Twitter, it only took them one whole week to fuck up the brand split.
In any case, here are my predictions for the five matches announced for Hell in a Cell. Note that I am writing this immediately following the go-home SmackDown, so if something gets announced after this is published, well, that’s not on me.
Universal Champion Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso in an "I Quit" Hell in a Cell Match
Well, who would have thought that one half of one of the greatest brother tag teams that isn’t The Hardy Boyz would be main-eventing for a world championship? As much as I wasn’t invested in their first match at Clash of Champions, this match was an absolute masterstroke of physical storytelling. It was, in the purest, simplest sense of the phrase, sports-entertainment. Besides that, Roman Reigns as an entitled asshole might be the best thing to ever happen to his character, period.
That said… Do we honestly see Reigns saying “I quit?” Or Paul Heyman throwing in the towel on behalf of the Tribal Chief? This match seems like a foregone conclusion, but damn if it doesn’t have me invested regardless. This match is going to be violent, and frankly, of any of the three Cell matches this Sunday, may have the best potential to breathe life back into the stipulation. And hey. At least with an “I quit” stipulation, we can’t possibly have a no contest or DQ finish like last year’s Universal title match.
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton in a Hell in a Cell Match
While both of their Pay-Per-View matches for the title so far have been better than anticipated, the WWE Universe is growing a bit sick of seeing Randy Orton staking his claim for the title, then promptly getting his ass handed to him. With the Ambulance Match last month at Clash of Champions, we know that these two can handle a no holds barred-type match, though given how destructive these two can be to the environment around them, I bet this is the one that sees a cell wall break.
As for who will win this match, it doesn’t feel like it’s time to take the belt off of Drew. Randy has lost to him twice, and Drew has been a great champion, given the circumstances. Drew likely takes this one, and I’m willing to bet that we’ll see a Claymore against or through the cell wall.
SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley vs. Sasha Banks in a Hell in a Cell Match
And this reporter says it’s about fucking time. Finally, we are getting a blow-off to a main roster Bayley vs. Sasha feud. And real talk? Bayley has had an incredible run as champion. But I think it’s done here. Sasha will likely cross this accolade off of her extensive resume, in what will be her third Hell in a Cell match appearance of three that have involved the women Superstars. Aside from that, we know how crazy Sasha can get in big match situations, so this could be the show-stealer, if not the Universal title match.
This match is going to be a war, plain and simple. And I am entirely ready to see how it unfolds.
Jeff Hardy vs. Elias
This might be the least exciting match on the card, so let’s keep this short. Jeff Hardy can work anywhere in the card he damn well wants to. He doesn’t need this win, so long as he puts on a good show, which he is more than capable of doing. Elias, on the other hand, just returned and needs to make a statement. This feels like it will be handily one for the Drifter.
Otis vs. The Miz for the Money in the Bank Contract
Of all of the matches to break the system, I would not have guessed this one would. But as I said before, they’ve broken the brand split, so what else is there to do? This seems like a damned if you do, damned if you don’t, as far as keeping the briefcase on Otis. The Miz has held Money in the Bank and cashed it in to win the WWE title before, but the tag team run he’s had with John Morrison has been entertaining at times. That said, who would be a more believable singles star, much less a WWE or Universal Champion? I love Otis, I think this story with him and Mandy Rose has been one of the shining moments of this shitshow of a year, but The Miz with the briefcase makes sense. It’s an opportunistic, heelish prop, and that fits perfectly with The Miz’s character.
That said… they could have a kickoff match between Tucker and John Morrison, if only to keep them busy and out of this match’s way. With all of the moving parts involved in this long-spanning story as it is, this could get messy fast.
WWE Hell in a Cell airs live on the WWE Network this Sunday, October 25th, starting at 7pm EST, with the Kickoff Show beginning one hour prior, at 6pm EST.