With 2018's major pay-per-views behind us, Hell in a Cell will be WWE's earliest attempt to whip us towards 2019. Fueled by The Shield's reunion, Braun Strowman's heel turn, and Becky Lynch doing her best Stone Cold imitation, Hell in a Cell promises to be a fun show.
So let's break down some of the bigger questions looming over Sunday's event. Here's your Hell in a Cell Preview and Predictions.
Does Becky Lynch Leave HIAC a Babyface, Champion, or Neither?
Connor Casey: As much as I love what Lynch has done over the last two months, unfortunately not. WWE has this thing about Charlotte Flair where whenever there's an opportunity to elevate her status, even if the story they're telling doesn't call for it, they'll take it (see her feud with Sasha Banks in 2016 for examples). Having her walk in as a champion at Evolution next month is yet another opportunity they won't pass up.
Whether it's done via beating Lynch clean in the ring or cheating to win to cause a double-turn remains to be seen.
Ryan Droste: This is a very, very hard match to predict. Charlotte just won the title, so you would think she would keep it a while longer before dropping it. That being said, Becky Lynch is riding one of the hottest streaks of her career and it would make sense to capitalize on it before she loses her momentum. I'm going to go with a title change here with Lynch winning the belt.
Jack Snodgrass: I think Charlotte beats Lynch and turns heel in the process. That means Becky becomes the babyface we're all dying to see. And it wouldn't surprise me to see her pass out during the Figure 8 in homage to Steve Austin.prevnext
Is it Finally Time for AJ Styles to Drop the WWE Championship?
Connor Casey: I love me some Samoa Joe, but no. At this point I think they let keep it for the full year before having him drop it to somebody else (my money is on The Miz) come December.
Ryan Droste: Daniel Bryan and The Miz are wrestling in Australia for the number one contendership. At that point, one would think either of those guys would have a good chance to become champion. If they go with The Miz, he'll be defeating Styles for the title in my estimation. If they go with Bryan, I think they save a face vs. face Styles/Bryan match for down the line (WrestleMania?), which would mean they need to get the belt on a heel in the interim: Samoa Joe. Joe has been killing it since returning this summer and I absolutely believe he deserves a championship run. I am going with Samoa Joe winning the title here.
Jack Snodgrass: I think so, him winning may officially make things monotonous. However, him losing the title to The Miz may be better. WWE has plenty of options here, so if Styles doesn't lose to Joe, it's a matter of time till The Miz comes knocking.prevnext
Pick One Surprise
Connor Casey: Randy Orton pins Jeff Hardy in a super-quick match with a surprise RKO. It gives Hardy what he always wanted (a Hell in a Cell match) while also preventing him from nearly killing himself with some crazy spot. On top of all that, robbing fans of an action-filled Cell match would give Orton a ton of heat.
Jack Snodgrass: Braun Strowman attacks Mick Foley. Before planting him into the mat, Reigns stops the massacre with a Superman punch, spear, and pin. Wait. That's not a surprise.prevnext
Bigger Foul: No Intercontinental Match or No United States Championship Match?
Connor Casey: Rollins is already in a match so I can forgive them for not having him defending it this month. The real crime here is how little they're doing with Shinsuke Nakamura. I love seeing this guy as a heel and he's a riot every time he's on SmackDown, but they've shunted him into being a bit-player in Hardy and Orton's feud. It just feels wrong that they couldn't find anything for him to do.
Ryan Droste: Definitely the fact that there's no Shinsuke Nakamura on the card. As Connor pointed out, Rollins is in a tag team championship match so there's good reason for there not being an Intercontinental Championship bout. They've built that belt up on RAW really well over the last year, but the champion competing for another title takes nothing away from it not being defended on the show.
Jack Snodgrass: Neither! It's better for Nakamura to not defend his title than to beat someone arbitrarily. Of course, we want to see the title defended, but him pinning R-Truth wouldn't change much.prevnext
So It's Been a Month. How Do You Feel About Ronda Rousey as Raw Women's Champion?
Connor Casey: She's a Terminator dressed as Roddy Piper, I love it.
Ryan Droste: It's exactly what they needed to do and about as I had expected. She's more than capable in the ring, the crowd loves her, and she's the biggest mainstream star on the roster (Brock is gone for the time being). We're looking at a long title run here.
Jack Snodgrass: I think it's impossible to take a genuine stance against her at this point. Not only is she great, but WWE is depending on her to lead the women's division into a new found prominence.prevnext
Who Deserves to Be on this Card But Isn't?
Connor Casey: Kevin Owens. The faster we get to his eventual match with Bobby Lashley, the fast that feud can be over and he can move on to something more interesting.
Ryan Droste: Given all of the punishment he has taken in recent months in PPV matches with no payoff (and his squash lost to Strowman was a travesty), I'd also go with Owens here.
Jack Snodgrass: I'll agree with Owens, but I'll vote for Balor. While he may never be a Universal Champion again, Balor is cultivating a nice relationship with the WWE audience. The Demon at SummerSlam was a nice injection of excitement, but for him to be doing nothing a month later, well, it just feels like we missed something.prevnext
What Are the Odds Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose Become Raw Tag Team Champions?
Connor Casey: Slim. I think it's more likely we have Ziggler and McIntyre retain followed by Braun winning the Universal title to give each member of that trio a championship belt. It gives a nice visual for their eventual six-man tag match at the Super Show-Down in Melbourne here in a few weeks.
Ryan Droste: I don't see the titles changing hands here. Ziggler and McIntyre just won so it's too early for a change. I do think Rollins and Ambrose get them eventually, but not just yet. You've got to think WWE wants the visual of Reigns as Universal Champion, Rollins as IC Champion, and Rollins/Ambrose as Tag Team Champions eventually, though.
Jack Snodgrass: With Reigns seeming destined to pin Strowman, The Shield sweeping at HIAC would make them look invincible—something WWE is insecure about. We'll have to wait till December.prevnext
Make One Gurantee
Connor Casey: The New Day vs. Rusev Day will steal the show. Xavier, Kofi and Big E can tear the house down with pretty much any tag team in the business these days, and playing into the story of English repeatedly taking a beating to allow Rusev to pick up wins could make for a great story.
Ryan Droste: Ronda Rousey is not losing the RAW Women's Championship at this show.
Jack Snodgrass: Flair and Lynch tear down the house. It's time for the women's division to take center stage.prevnext
Is There Any Chance Braun Strowman Becomes Universal Champion?
Connor Casey: Yes it's possible. As that ungodly poster for the show indicates, the WWE wants to Strowman to be portrayed as an unstoppable monster for Roman Reigns to overcome. If he beats Strowman straight up in their first match any tension between the two evaporates, and we already know they're going to keep feuding afterwards with that six-man match at Super Show-Down. I think a scenario where Strowman wins this match, Shield wins in Melbourne and Reigns gets his title back shortly after is entirely possible.
Ryan Droste: It is possible, but not likely. If Strowman wins the title here, it's because they've been thrown off by how much his star has fallen since they turned him heel (an asinine move in the first place) and want to recapture his momentum. Given Reigns' long, long chase for the Universal Championship, it would not make much sense for him to lose it here. We are likely looking at some kind of schmoz finish here involving the Shield and McIntyre/Ziggler to protect Strowman in a losing effort while not having him straight up eat a Superman Punch and the 1-2-3.
Jack Snodgrass: No. It's impossible. WWE and Vince McMahon waited three years to crown Reigns. Having him drop the big red belt on his first opportunity would un-do everything.prev