Tonight, the WWE presents the Hell in a Cell event from the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas featuring two Hell in a Cell matches that begin a big stretch of major shows from the company. Following tonight’s show, the focus will immediately switch to the Super Show-Down event in Melbourne, Australia, which has most of the card announced. The all women’s Evolution card rounds out the month of October followed by the yet-to-be-announced return to Saudi Arabia that is expected in early November, which is the same month as the Survivor Series.
Wai Ting and I will have a review of the card late tonight that will be available as a podcast, but also as a live video stream for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members of the POST Wrestling Café. This is the first time we are trying this out, so we hope you check it out and enjoy. The podcast version will be uploaded as usual and free for everyone once we finish.
Below is a preview of the matches announced so far:
ROMAN REIGNS VS BRAUN STROWMAN IN A HELL IN A CELL MATCH FOR THE UNIVERSAL TITLE
Mick Foley was added to this match as a special referee and appears to be something Foley pushed for. It didn’t make a lot of sense in the storyline for Stephanie McMahon to place Foley in such a high-profile position after she was the one that fired him and in theory, is being represented by Baron Corbin on the show. To me, that’s a big gap in logic but it could also play itself out with Foley working with Stephanie to get his job back and working against Reigns in the match.
The difficulty in using Foley is that he was told years ago he would not be able to wrestle again, and they didn’t even do anything physical with him over the years for that concern. We’ve seen cases where they have reversed their decisions, but it’s hard to imagine Foley doing much beyond the safest of spots. Foley as a mouthpiece for Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler is not a terrible idea and I feel Foley could successfully turn heel as he would sink his teeth into the turn and make it work.
It’s a viable move and provides Reigns with a chase for the next few months, although the counter is you spent so much time building to this title match that it seems like a waste to immediately take the title off him so fast. The Shield is scheduled for a six-man tag against “The Dogs of War” at the stadium show in Melbourne and you don’t need another major title match until Survivor Series in mid-November.
The Foley addition adds some intrigue to the direction the characters go.
As a match, I think the cell structure hurts these two and would imagine they will be escaping the cell or brawling around the arena before being locked inside. In the past, they have had great chemistry together and it will be an interesting test to see if San Antonio supports Reigns as a Shield member or treat him as most pay-per-view crowds do and side with Strowman.
AJ STYLES VS SAMOA JOE FOR THE WWE TITLE
The acting by these two have showcased a skill set that they don’t often receive credit for, but they have taken what could have been a terrible story and turned it into the high point of SmackDown. Joe is doing the best work of his career and it’s brought out Styles’ character beyond being the franchise player on SmackDown.
With a rematch set for Australia, the time to switch the title seems imminent at either show. Having these two go to another disputed finish is possible and sets up a major stipulation for Australia or you do the title change now with Styles receiving his rematch in a few weeks.
Styles has had the title for 10 months but isn’t dragging and is in his best feud in a long time. I felt they had the best match at SummerSlam even with the non-finish that worked for the story they were telling.
Joe has been one of the most consistent performers since last summer and becoming the strong monster champion on SmackDown seems like a great direction to go and line up babyfaces for him.
RANDY ORTON VS JEFF HARDY IN A HELL IN A CELL MATCH
Jeff Hardy has been wanting to do a Hell in a Cell match for the longest time and was injured during last year’s show, so he got his wish this year.
Everyone is expecting Hardy to do something crazy and this is probably the match reserved for the major stunt on the show. If they go that route, I hope it’s carefully planned out and it means something unlike the Kevin Owens spot with Braun Strowman that was immediately forgotten and extremely dangerous.
Orton seems revitalized as a heel, is doing great work with Hardy and would seem like the one that should go over in the match following the stunt by Hardy. I don’t know if you extend this program beyond a Hell in a Cell match, but Orton moving onto programs with Daniel Bryan or AJ Styles would be great ideas. The issue is both Styles and Bryan are continuing their programs for the Melbourne show and there seems to be a holding pattern until that show is finished.
Hopefully, this match will be as safe as you’re going to get, but I’m not that optimistic that will be the case.
RONDA ROUSEY VS ALEXA BLISS FOR THE RAW WOMEN’S TITLE
With the injury angle to Rousey’s ribs, you need to have Bliss get the heat, but the key will be not overdoing it and not exposing Rousey, who should be selling in short bursts and not long periods. We learned on Monday that there is a specific match layout for Rousey and like Bill Goldberg or Asuka the long selling isn’t what the audience wants.
Rousey winning in 7-8 minutes after fighting through the rib injury would appear the best way to go about it.
CHARLOTTE FLAIR VS BECKY LYNCH FOR THE SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S TITLE
The reaction from the audience will be a telling one in this match. My expectation is that Becky Lynch will be cheered, and Charlotte will be slightly booed. If this were a different city in the Northeast, I would expect it one-sided in favor of Lynch.
The feud was designed to turn Lynch into a heel, but after the reaction in Brooklyn, they steered away and tried to book it as two friends that each has their valid points behind their motivation. For the story to continue, Lynch should win and put into doubt if Charlotte was holding her back. Like many of the SmackDown matches, these two have a rematch announced for Melbourne in a few weeks.
I expect this match to be strong and it’s an important one for Lynch.
DOLPH ZIGGLER & DREW McINTYRE VS SETH ROLLINS & DEAN AMBROSE FOR THE RAW TAG TITLES
This could be the match of the show and depending on the layout for the two Hell in a Cell matches it could receive a lot of time.
The team with McIntyre has greatly helped Ziggler, who seems like a different character today than the one that was vacating the U.S. title and returning at the Royal Rumble.
I like that they’ve put the tag titles onto a pushed act and made the titles feel infinitely more important than they did with The B Team and the tag division reserved for comedy acts.
The two factions are going to be feuding for the foreseeable future so whoever goes over means minimal as I can see each team having runs with the tag titles over the next few months. You would think that both teams are going to try and get involved in the main event and coming out of this show the direction is a six-man tag so there should be some setup between the two matches to build to the six-man.
DANIEL BRYAN & BRIE BELLA VS THE MIZ & MARYSE
They have had some good segments on television but if I’m grading this feud on my interest in Daniel Bryan as a main event star, this feud has done him no favors. They have brought his star down noticeably from April and that’s crazy if you were to tell someone a year ago that Bryan would be cleared to wrestle in the WWE and would be blending in with everyone on the roster.
Bryan and Miz are having a singles match in Melbourne with a #1 contender’s match and that should hopefully be it for this feud. Some have enjoyed it, it’s done little for me as I was ready for a new program for each guy after SummerSlam.
Andrade Cien Almas seems to be the next program for Bryan, although they have a lot of options with Styles, Joe, Miz, Bryan, Almas, and Orton in the top mix of combinations you can create after the Melbourne event.
I like the idea of Brie beating Maryse and then Miz going on television and berating Bryan for his wife doing all the work and sets up their match in Melbourne as the final showdown between them.
NEW DAY VS RUSEV & AIDEN ENGLISH FOR THE SMACKDOWN TAG TITLES
New Day has been having great matches for months and the trend should continue with this one.
I think at the end, Rusev and English should do the split with English screwing up – or even better, Rusev screws up and after all his patience and forgiveness, Rusev isn’t given the same benefit of the doubt by English.
It’s interesting, with the Raw tag titles tied up with McIntyre & Ziggler and Rollins & Ambrose, the SmackDown side would be such a better fit for The Revival, Chad Gable & Bobby Roode and the AOP.
Sunday, October 8th, 2017
Detroit, Michigan at Little Caesars Arena
*Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin over Mojo Rawley & Zack Ryder
*The Usos over New Day in a Hell in a Cell match to win the SD tag titles
*Randy Orton over Rusev
*Baron Corbin over AJ Styles and Tye Dillinger to win the United States title
*Charlotte Flair over Natalya by disqualification for the SD women’s title
*Jinder Mahal over Shinsuke Nakamura to retain the WWE title
*Bobby Roode over Dolph Ziggler
*Kevin Owens over Shane McMahon in a Falls Count Anywhere Hell in a Cell match