So it’s possible, even likely, that I’m going to get all of these wrong.
1. Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin vs. The Hype Bros (Pre-Show)
Neither of these teams have much momentum going into the match, though Gable and Benjamin likely have more. The Hype Bros have been building towards a hell turn that is yet to come to fruition so this could be a good time for that frustration to boil over.
That said, Gable and Benjamin need wins if they’re going to be a team, especially if they’re being pushed towards the tag titles, which seems the only way to go. Faces win on pre-shows so we could have a face win and a heel turn on one pre-show. I’ll take it.
Winner: Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin
2. Randy Orton vs. Rusev
We open with a match that I genuinely forgot about. In a feud that has thus far comprised a 10 second match and a 9 second match this has actually been a varied feud that has made Randy Orton at least interesting again. Meanwhile, Rusev is lining up once against a top draw name which should at least continue to raise his profile.
This feud seems likely to continue for at least one more month and both participants are likely to be on opposing sides during the rumoured Team Shane vs. Team Kevin Survivor Series match. I expect Aidan English to get involved in this one, continuing his quiet background push and giving Orton a reason for a rematch.
3. Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler has a rather obvious formula lately. He puts over the new NXT guy. He did it with Tyler Breeze, he did it with Baron Corbin, he did it with Nakamura and it seems clear that he’s going to do it with Roode. That said, there is a slightly different element at play here. Bobby Roode has been brought in as a face, probably due to the fact that no call up comes up to a boo regardless of alignment.
In the long term Roode makes much more sense as a heel, but you can’t make him a heel against another heel. What you can do is start the ball rolling and give Ziggler a shock, much needed win.
Of course a lot depends on future plans for Ziggler. If he’s leaving as has been heavily rumoured for months then he has no right to win any match. If he’s staying then this is a perfect time to get a win. Roode can easily recover and a loss would help him with whatever alignment he ends up in. I’m not 100% sure on this one but I’m going Ziggler.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
4. AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin (United States Championship)
The US title has been built up to be a big deal due to the last give champions being Rusev, Roman Reigns, Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens and AJ Styles. That’s a great combination of stars. Soon, that belt will go back into genpop where it will most certainly be used to get an up and coming star over. Is Corbin that man? Probably, yes.
Also part of this story is Tye Dillinger, who has been used to keep things fresh in a way that has seen him positively exposed and picking up ring time and wins. I don’t see Dillinger getting involved in this one but at the same time I don’t see Corbin winning it. This is another one that I expect to see go for a couple of months. Is Corbin in position to win this match clean? No. He has been made to look too weak to beat someone like AJ Styles, despite Styles not being positioned as an unbeatable.
Winner: AJ Styles
5. The New Day vs. The Usos (Tag Team Championships – Hell In A Cell)
This was really the only way these teams could go. Since May these teams have fought almost continually and almost continually it has been the top match of the night. In a cell it will be once again.
After Wrestlemania The Usos and a still to debut New Day were the only teams of relevance on Smackdown. Now, we’re seeing a lot more from the Smackdown tag team scene. The build has been positive and the titles have stayed at the top during that time.
With Breezango, Harper and Rowan still rumoured, The Hype Bros expected to turn heel and Gable and Benjamin likely to rise fast and far this is the right time to end this feud with a conclusive win for
The New Day.
Winner: The New Day
6. Natalya vs. Charlotte (Women‘s Championship)
Carmella has factored into the predictions of every women’s title match since Money in the Bank. To put it plainly, if this match was in a cell I would expect Charlotte to win and Carmella to cash in. It’s not in a cell and I don’t expect to see her.
Natalya’s push to the top was carefully done, with Natalya getting a series of wins over Naomi, Becky Lynch and Charlotte after spending several months reminding everyone of her credentials. I would expect this to be another firm victory in her continued build as the top female heel of the brand.
7. Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Championship Match)
Winner: Jinder Mahal
8. Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon (Hell in a Cell – Falls Count Anywhere)
The Falls Count Anywhere stipulation surely means that the match can not possibly finish in a cell. Naturally, this means that Shane’s jumping off of something. This also means that WWE have forgotten that Triple H once pinned Chris Jericho on top of a cell because they already are falls count anywhere people just forget that.
So Shane’s either jumping off the call or he’s getting hit with a pop up power bomb off the cell. The idea that Sami Zayn could interfere and help Shane win worries me. It would be a bad move for Zayn’s character and a bad result for everyone involved. Shane McMahon should not be winning matches against Kevin Owens.
Now should Sami come out to stop Owens continuing the beating, that makes perfect sense.
Winner: Kevin Owens
I’ll see you for another live Twitter (@colohue) session during Hell in a Cell 2017.
NOW CHECK OUT TOM’S PREDICTIONS LAST MONTH: WWE NO MERCY 2017 PREDICTIONS – Tom Gets it Wrong: Brock vs. Braun, Reigns vs. Cena, Miz vs. Jordan, Balor vs. Bray, more