WWE Hell in a Cell 2018 pay-per-view is set to take place early morning on Monday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas and all eyes will be on the Monster in the Bank Braun Strowman as he challenges the Big Dog Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship inside the 20-feet steel structure. Added to the equation is the special guest referee, the Hardcore legend Mick Foley. Only eight official matches have been announced so far by the WWE for the event, much fewer than the previous pay-per-views, and one may expect that there might be lengthier matches in store for the WWE Universe to fill the time. So far, no matches have been announced for the KickOff Show and there is no word from WWE whether Renee Young, who officially took over the WWE Raw commentary duties, will return to host the KickOff panel. Who knows, we might see Jonathan Coachman taking over that role.
Either way, it is time to get into the nitty-gritty of things. Here is the full fight card and predictions for the WWE Hell in a Cell pay-per-view:
The New Day vs Rusev Day – SmackDown Tag Team Championship
Does it make sense to make The New Day tag team titles on an episode of a SmackDown Live, just three days after their pay-per-view match for the same titles? Nope. It was a hasty decision – Rowan was injured (AGAIN!) – and Harper was left without a partner. The Bludgeon Brothers had to vacate the titles. But even the WWE creative team knows that it would mean even little sense if Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E were to lose these titles now so soon after claiming them. The build-up to the match has seen Aiden English coming to Rusev’s aide on numerous occasions, sacrificing himself in front of the opponents, to help his team pick up the win. He literally faced a boot to face from Sheamus last week to help Rusev. It makes perfect sense for English to screw up now and cost Rusev the tag titles at the pay-per-view. The Russian brute could then beat up English and walk away. Anyhow, Rusev is too big a star now to be wasted with meaningless tag titles. On to bigger things from hereon.
PREDICTED WINNER: The New Day
Daniel Bryan & Brie Bella vs The Miz & Maryse
Remember when Daniel Bryan and The Miz used to cut intense, thrilling promos? Well, that seems to be over. The Miz only talks about his wife and his TV show ratings while Bryan appears to be spending too much time harping on his unexpected, heroic return to WWE – much of it has become dull and boring. After an insipid clash between the two at SummerSlam, both the former Champions will resume their rivalry once again, but this time with their wives alongside them. It is a reminder of Miz and Maryse’ clash against John Cena and Nikki Bella at Wrestlemania two years ago – been there, done that. Not much can be expected of the match and since The Miz picked up the win at SummerSlam, it is safe to assume Bryan and Brie will take this one. Maybe, the two can end their rivalry for now, and move on to bigger things after this, only to return to fight for one last time for a mid-card or world title at Wrestlemania.
PREDICTED WINNER: Daniel Bryan & Brie Bella
Jeff Hardy vs Randy Orton – Hell in a Cell match
There has not been a proper build-up to the match and it does not even make sense why this fight is happening inside the Hell in a Cell structure. But a poor build-up can be redeemed with an exciting high flying action from the Charismatic Enigma Jeff Hardy and more ear-pulling ruthlessness from Randy Orton, that actually makes the audience twitch. It could well be the final match for Hardy, who is now in his mid-40s and has not much left in the tank. Orton, who has established himself as one of the top heels, is likely to win the match and move on to challenge Shinsuke Nakamura for the United States Championship, or even the WWE World Heavyweight Champion – AJ Styles or Samoa Joe. For Hardy, he will be eager to give one more unforgettable match.
PREDICTED WINNER: Randy Orton
Drew McIntyre & Dolph Ziggler vs Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins – Raw Tag Team Championship
Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler literally came out from nowhere to win the RAW tag-team titles. The duo attacked The Revival, used Baron Corbin to insert them in their place against the B-team for the belts two weeks ago, and emerged victorious. Their rivalry with Shield means Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins get to challenge them for the titles. But it seems unlikely that McIntyre and Ziggler will lose their belts so soon. It also seems hard to believe that WWE will let Rollins and Ambrose – their two most popular superstars – lose. So, it is time for the most overtly used card to come to the fore again – the Disqualification rules. One may expect Braun Strowman to come out and attack the Shield members and give them the win. Remember, the titles will not change hands that ways – “The Champion’s advantage”. Who knows, maybe Even B-team, who lost twice to McIntyre and Ziggler, and the Revival, interfere in the match to give the same result. A clean result seems far away from a possibility in this match.
PREDICTED WINNER: Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins (Via Disqualification)
Charlotte Flair vs Becky Lynch – SmackDown Women’s Championship
Fact. WWE badly wants the Universe to boo Becky Lynch. Fact. WWE Universe will not boo Becky Lynch. What were the scriptwriters thinking? Lynch fought hard for weeks to finally get a title opportunity – fans were all behind her – and all rumours suggested she could be the new champion. Out of the blue, Charlotte returns from her breast implant surgery, gets one match to insert herself into the title contest and then actually wins it. And then they expect fans to cheer for her? As Lynch says – “Boo the Woo!” Not happening. Lynch’s heel turn has given a much ‘flair’ to Smackdown Women’s division – pun intended – and it is likely that this rivalry will continue for long. If Lynch wins, what more can happen – a rematch? Not interesting. Much better would be if Charlotte wins, and Lynch ruthlessly attacks her – again. These two had a memorable NXT match for the title long time back, and this rivalry should not die down soon here.
PREDICTED WINNER: Charlotte Flair
AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe – WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Hard to call, this one. At one point, it makes sense for AJ Styles to finally lose his title – he has held it since November last year and has successfully defended it for too long. But remember what happened when the Phenomenal One lost his title the first time around – he almost became irrelevant for months, only for the dull Jinder Mahal era to take over at SmackDown Live. The ratings took a massive hit, and tickets sales took even a bigger one – something from which WWE SmackDown has still not recovered from. But one must admit Styles as a champion has become monotonous and a fresh, ruthless, heel Samoa Joe as the title-holder can provide fresh and new angles for the brand to follow. Just because Orton is already rising to be the top heel for the brand, and Styles vs Orton is being predicted as Survivor Series, it seems the Phenomenal One could retain his title for now.
PREDICTED WINNER: AJ Styles
Ronda Rousey vs Alexa Bliss – Raw Women’s Championship
Ronda Rousey already had a squash match against Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women’s Championship at SummerSlam last month. So at least one can be sure this will not be one. With Nikki Bella and Brie Bella extending hands of friendship to Rousey in the past few weeks, and Nikki rumoured to be taking on the former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion at WWE Evolution next month, one can imagine if one half of the Bella twins (or maybe both) can run interference in the match and cost Rousey the title. It would give Bliss an unlikely win over Rousey, and the Goddess will regain her throne. Meanwhile, it will provide some context to Rousey vs Nikki’s fight at Evolution, and would even make Alexa’s fight against the legend Trish Stratus at the all Women’s pay-per-view event much more meat. Imagine if Alexa puts her title on the line against Trish, and the latter wins – only to retire for the second time with the title – SCENES!
PREDICTED WINNER: Alexa Bliss
Roman Reigns vs Braun Strowman – Universal Championship Hell in a Cell match
Do we really need to predict this one? Roman Reigns will be broken in half by Braun Strowman and then will somehow win. Because WWE will go to any lengths to show to the WWE fans how strong Roman Reigns is. Oh, yeah – one can expect interference from Ziggler, McIntyre, and the Shield brothers. The result will remain the same though. Reigns retains.
PREDICTED WINNER: Roman Reigns
SIDE NOTE: Do not be surprised to see a special segment by Elias – featuring “Guru” Jinder Mahal, Bobby Lashley and Kevin Owens, somewhere in between the middle of the show.