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WWE’s Hell in a Cell is here. Is it October already? Nope, this year’s Hell in a Cell has been moved up to June 20, 2021, and will be taking place in the Thunderdome (thank you Vince) at the Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida. Drew McIntyre getting his last chance at Bobby Lashley’s WWE Championship and Bayley challenging for the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship are the two matches to be held in the eponymous cell. Originally, Rey Mysterio was set to challenge Roman Reigns in the cell to avenge his son Dominick, but that match was moved to Smackdown on FOX.
Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Drew McIntyre – WWE Championship Last Chance Hell in a Cell Match
Story in a nutshell: Drew McIntyre gets yet another shot at Bobby Lashley and his WWE Championship, only this time the match is in a Cell to prevent outside interference (yeah, good luck with that) and if Drew loses, he can’t challenge Lashley ever again.
After successfully defending his title at WrestleMania Backlash, Bobby Lashley held an open challenge, but excluded Drew McIntyre from the offer since Lashley was tired of facing Drew. Kofi Kingston accepted the challenge, only Lashley, apparently threatened by Kofi, made it a non-title match. Drew distracted Lashley during the match leading to Kofi getting the win. Drew and Kofi then wrestled to determine the number one contender with Drew coming out on top. Lashley agreed to take the match only if Drew agreed to never challenge him again. Drew would agree to the added stipulation but only if the match took place in the Hell in Cell.
Prediction and analysis: On the WrestleMania Backlash Primer I wrote: “If McIntyre wins, everyone involved in the booking of McIntyre need to be fired… preferably into the sun. There is no rational mind that would have McIntyre lose at WrestleMania where he could have won in front of a RABID crowd in the first match with fans in attendance since the shutdown only to THEN have him win in an empty arena.” I figured I’d just CTRL+C, CTRL+V that statement since that seems to be how the WWE seems to be booking nowadays. I still feel the same way about the situation Drew finds himself in only this time there is no (name redacted) in the match to take the pin for him. While the stipulation might make it look like Drew can’t challenge Lashley again, there is Money in the Bank looming in the horizon so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this match one more time.
Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair – WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match
Story in a nutshell: The unlikeable Charlotte Flair defeated Asuka to earn another title shot against the equally unlikable champion, Rhea Ripley.
Rhea Ripley successfully retained her title at WrestleMania Backlash. Charlotte Flair complained to Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce that she had not been pinned in the WrestleMania Backlash match, so she deserved another shot at the title. Pearce and Deville instead booked a number one contenders’ match between Asuka and Charlotte that Charlotte won. Afterwards the two women took turns trying to, and failing at, defeating Nicky in under two minutes. Nicky picked up more wins as Ripley and Flair distracted each other.
Prediction and analysis: I want, with all of my heart, for Nikki Cross to be added to this match where she can take the title from an unlikable Flair and equally unlikeable Ripley. Alas, I doubt that’s happening. Ripley successfully retains, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the finish of the match leaves the door open for more matches between these two.
Bianca Belair (c) vs. Bayley – WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship Match
Story in a nutshell: After Bianca Belair successfully defended her title against Bayley at WrestleMania Backlash, Bayley pestered Belair by laughing at her until Belair challenged her to a rematch.
Bayley unsuccessfully challenged for the Smackdown Women’s Championship at WrestleMania Backlash. Bayley laughed in Bianca Belair’s face triggering memories of all the times Bianca had been bullied in her life. Bianca granted Bayley a rematch and wants it in the Cell since Bayley made it personal. In response, Bayley attacked Bianca and left her laying on the mat while she held the title in the air.
Prediction and analysis: Since Bayley looked dominant during their last encounter before this match, the Book of Wrestling dictates that Bianca Belair retains. I don’t see a compelling reason to contradict wrestling scripture, so Bianca it is.
Alexa Bliss vs. Shayna Baszler
Story in a nutshell: Alexa Bliss and her “friend” Lily have set their sights on Shayna Baszler by haunting Baszler after Baszler disrespected Lily.
Weird things had been happening around Reginald, Nia Jax’s valet. Pyro would “accidentally” go off near him, nearly hurting him. These “accidents” were caused by Lily, Alexa Bliss’s demonically possessed doll. This had the side effect of causing Shayna Baszler to take some losses. Frustrated, Baszler confronted Alexa and dismissively stepped on Lily. Baszler would then be haunted with pyro going off near her and parts of the backstage falling down around her leading to some close calls. Ultimately Baszler locked herself into a dressing room no knowing Lily was waiting. Baszler hasn’t been seen since. Jax confronted Alexa in defense of Baszler, but that match ended up in a disqualification when Reginald saved Jax from losing. Reginald then seemed hypnotized by Alexa.
Prediction and analysis: Unless Vince is already tired of the storyline, Alexa Bliss defeats Baszler, likely leading to a true confrontation with Nia Jax down the line. While Jax and Alexa did have a match on Raw, Jax was protected from losing.
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
Story in a nutshell: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn set out to prove that it is indeed possible to “fight forever”.
It looked like Kevin Owens and Apollo Crews began a feud for the Intercontinental Championship when Sami Zayn, blindsided Owens rekindling their feud. While Big E and Kevin Owens teamed up against Apollo Crews and Commander Azeez, interference by Sami Zayn led to Owens getting hit by a Nigerian Nail from Azeez. Owens later demanded that Adam Pearce give him this match.
Prediction and analysis: Kevin Owens wins.
Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins
Story in a nutshell: Feeling disrespected when his return wasn’t as appreciated as he expected, Seth Rollins directed his ire at Cesaro which led to this match.
The (unimportant) members of Smackdown’s roster gathered to witness the return of Seth Rollins expecting to see a changed man. When Seth’s address proved he hadn’t changed at all, the roster turned their backs on him in disgust and walked away. Cesaro lingered and Seth, feeling disrespected, directed his ire at him. This led to a match at WrestleMania. A little over two months later, and with a brief detour for Cesaro with Roman Reign, we are STILL mired in this feud.
Prediction and analysis: Cesaro has been getting the better of Seth for a while so its Seth’s turn to come out on top.