WWE Hell in a Cell 2017 airs this Sunday, October 8, live on WWE Network. The Smackdown-branded event is headlined by a Hell in a Cell match between Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon, a Tag Team Championship match inside the Cell, and Shinsuke Nakamura once again challenging Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship.
Here’s the complete Hell in a Cell card as we know it.
WWE Hell in a Cell 2017 Card:
1. WWE Championship Match: Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
2. Hell in a Cell Match: Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens
3. Hell in a Cell Match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship: The New Day (c) vs. The Usos
4. Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Natalya (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
5. United States Championship Match: AJ Styles (c) vs. Baron Corbin
6. Rusev vs. Randy Orton
7. Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler
– Kickoff Match: Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin vs. Hype Bros
We’ll be here on Sunday with complete coverage of the event, including an open discussion thread, breakout news and quick and dirty results, so if you’re watching, bring this up on your computer and be here for it.
As always, here are our predictions and analysis for all eight matches. We’re including some new staff members in the staff picks, so don’t be surprised if you see some new names. Be sure to drop down into our comments section when you’re done and let us know who you think’s winning what, and whether or not Shane McMahon will literally explode into pink goo.
Kickoff Match: Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin vs. Hype Bros
What Should Happen: Instead of the obvious Zack Ryder turn everyone and their mother is predicting, the Hype Bros should have a mutually agreed-upon heel turn that basically turns them into a bro’d-out version of The Ascension. Imagine the Road Warriors if they played a bunch of video games and collected action figures.
Also, still waiting for the reveal that Benjamin is Gable’s biological father.
What Will Happen: Gable and Benjamin win, and the Hype Bros do the same “will they or won’t they” breakup tease they’ve been doing for a while. I figure if anything actually happens, they pull the trigger on a Smackdown.
Chris Trew – Hype Bros, I guess? Neither team really feels like true title contenders so I’m going with the team that most needs a win. P.S. has anyone ever been hype for a Hype Bros match?
Elle Collins – Both of these tag teams have already telegraphed their breakups, but the Hype Bros are first in line so they’ll probably lose and break up either after the match or on Tuesday. There’s plenty of time for Shelton to turn on Chad further down the road.
Scott Heisel – oh no, the hype bros are breaking up, whatever shall we do
Bill Hanstock – After weeks of build, the sudden and inevitable end of the Hype Bros will occur on a Kickoff Show. … Yeah, that sounds right. Uh … actually, how dope of a team would Gable and Rawley be? They’re the two most positive dudes on the roster. You can have Positively Page manage them! (Gable and Benjamin win, and the Hype Bros disappear.)
Robby Cole – The Hype Bros have been teasing a break up for a while, and I think they pull the trigger on that here. Some sort of miscommunication leads to a Gable/Benjamin victory and the Mojo Rawley Zack Ryder feud we’ve all been begging for.
Brian James O’Connell – Correct me if I’m wrong but haven’t we been teasing the Hype Bros break-up since Wrestlemania? Longer? It’s Gronk’s fault isn’t it? I’m going to blame Gronk. I am all in on Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable being partners though. I’m looking forward to the storyline where they sit in darkened locker rooms after the boys have left, drinking Michelob Ultra’s and discussing proper ankle locks with well-worn chuckles. I’m giving this to Ga-benjamin due to hyped miscommunication because I can’t imagine we’re going all the way to the Rumble with a will they/won’t they Zach Ryder heel turn.
Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler
What Should Happen: Dolph Ziggler should spend several minutes making fun of superstar entrances, insist that he’s the best actual wrestler in history, then not wrestle. Then Bobby Roode should wrestle literally anyone else and turn heel as fuck on them immediately.
What Will Happen: I really hope there’s a hook or some kind of payoff for the Ziggler segments, even if it’s just him wrestling in black trunks and black boots with a high-and-tight and entering to pitch blackness and dead silence. Just anything other than Ziggler Business As Usual. Either way, this seems like a layup for Roode.
Chris Trew – Bobby Roode’s main roster PPV debut needs to be a win and Dolph Ziggler needs to find something else to do. I suggest putting him with a manager and giving the dude a makeover.
Elle Collins – Dolph seems to think that he’s really good at putting over new guys, and someone backstage clearly agrees with him, but frankly they’re wrong. These Dolph starter feuds always just feel like a speedbump on the way to the newcomer finding a feud that actually counts. But at least we know Bobby will win.
Scott Hiesel –
Bill Hanstock – Bobby Roode’s entrance should just make Ziggler shrivel up and die. That’s it. Just Ziggler dies and is written off forever at the sheer might of Roode’s entrance. Roode will win with a Glorious DDT, and then maybe he can become a heel soon? Please?
Robby Cole – I’m upset that we never got Ziggler to do a Max Moon entrance. I feel that Roode can’t lose here, but it will make Dolph look like a total knob if he spent the last month not wrestling and telling us all how he’s the best at wrestling. I predict that Ziggler gets himself disqualified after realizing that Roode has an amazing entrance AND can go in the ring just as well as he can.
Brian James O’Connell – Hear me out. Dolph comes out cosplayed as CM Punk cosplaying as Jeff Hardy but with his arm in a sling and just cuts a savage promo about the crowd and gets nuclear heat. Bobby Roode tops him and lands in a helicopter to Thus Sprach Zarathustra. They go 12 minutes and just hit each other with bomb after bomb after bomb, Ziggler spitting at kids in the front row and that’s the feud: Just two guys who got sick and tired of their spot on the card and take it out on each other. Best case scenario, we get a Black Jack Mulligan/Bobby Eaton tweeners feud. Worst case scenario, we get “We’re Hot, Brother” Ziggler/Barrett Lite.
Rusev vs. Randy Orton
What Should Happen: I’ve made this joke before, but they should play on the “Orton pinned Rusev in 3 seconds and then Rusev pinned Orton in 9” by making this an Iron Man Match, having both guys continually be able to pin each other in seconds and build to a final score of like, 600-599. Also, Rusev wins.
What Will Happen: The paranoia (or Usos, I’m not sure) in the staff picks tells you everything. We want Rusev to win, but we don’t have faith that he will, because they’ve never given us faith that he will. But he should. So while my head says Orton wins, my heart says, “Rusev wins in an underwhelming way, by cheating or count-out.” Going with my heart here. Paint Randy Orton up and let him be Sister Abigail at TLC.
Chris Trew – Rusev is becoming the king of mid-card non-title singles matches and so in an effort to get him out of this funk and contending for the World Title like we all want, I vote for a squash in favor of the brute. *clutches onto Rusev stock*
Elle Collins – I don’t understand how either of these guys have been booked lately, but I’m going with Rusev because he’s great and Randy is terrible.
Scott Heisel – Sweet Baby RuRu deserves this win more than anything. Please, just let us have our Rusev Day.
Bill Hanstock – There’s no way Rusev wins this, right? This is going to be horrible and sad to watch, unless they finally go with the double-turn and have Orton maul him after the match. Then you can give the people what they’ve always wanted: an excuse to cheer for Handsome Rusev.
Robby Cole – I honestly don’t know where they’re going with this. I just picked Rusev because he needs the win a lot more than Orton does, and, I mean, come on, it’s Rusev. He should win everything.
Brian James O’Connell – I don’t know. I just. don’t. know. If the last 3 years had been handled with any sort of modicum of mediocrity booking-wise, this could have been at the top of the card and been incredible. I’m talking about RKO Out Of Nowhere ™ from the top of a tank so good, Cowboy Bob’s son would get re-instated. I guess don’t fall in love, get married or go to Clippers games is the lesson here. My gut says we’re going to see another Orton squash. Rumor has it he wants to change his look because he’s getting old and the diet is killing him. Put him in tight Batista track suits and let the Viper be the Grand Theft Auto V anti-hero he was born to be.
United States Championship Match: AJ Styles (c) vs. Baron Corbin
What Should Happen: Baron Corbin should get Nathan Jones’d before the match and Sami Zayn should take his spot for no reason. Styles and Zayn burn it down for like 17 minutes, and Baron Corbin publicly apologizes for bogarting AJ Styles’ ability and title run for the past couple of months.
What Will Happen: There are few things WWE likes more than making a guy look weak as shit for weeks and weeks leading into a title shot, lose a match right before it, then win somehow and become champion. I feel like that’s what Corbin’s about to do. Scott has it right in the staff picks, if you scroll down a little. Then maybe Styles ends Jinder’s reign, and we build to Styles vs. Nakamura for the championship at Mania like all good people want.
Chris Trew – All in favor of the second-tier titles being put on second-tier superstars as a way to aid in their character development? Aye. Corbin via shenanigans so AJ can move up a tier.
Elle Collins – AJ Styles wins because he’s the best wrestler in the world, and Baron Corbin is just a tall guy nobody likes.
Scott Heisel – For the upset, I’m picking Corbin, who becomes the new Bad News Barrett in the process — he’ll spend the next six months losing every single non-title match then will somehow manage to retain on PPV. (The only difference is he will never, ever be over.)
Bill Hanstock – Against all odds, Styles’ latest U.S. title run has been a turd, so why not give Corbin his first non-statue, non-briefcase singles title in his wrestling career? It’s clear the United States Challenge as we know it isn’t coming back, so just let the lone wolf hold it and have underdogs chase him for a while. Hey, maybe Sami Zayn can get a main roster title for once, too!
Robby Cole – AJ retains. Corbin has sure fallen a bit since that failed Money in the Bank cash in. I think this eventually leads to an AJ Styles – Baron Corbin – Tye Dillenger triple threat, and I can see AJ losing the title there (in the classic the champ wasn’t involved in the decision) but he’s still walking out with the belt tonight.
Brian James O’Connell – I’m listening to a Giorgio Moroder tribute as I write this and if anyone could use a little funkiness around the edges of his gimmick, it’s Baron Corbin. Like literally change nothing about him, but if he were coming out to “Hot Stuff” by Donna Summer or “I Don’t Like Cricket” by Bob Marley and he still had that scowl, wouldn’t that juxtaposition scare the ever loving shit out of you? Imagine being in a club and everyone is dancing and having a good time and this dude is doing his best Denzel Walk between the shadows and disco ball streams straight at you. /shudder. This match will be above average as AJ Styles could get a great match out of Giorgio Moroder and he’s dead, so the Georgia Peach retains here.
Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Natalya (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
What Should Happen: Charlotte should win and put the fear of God in Carmella for trying to cash in on her. Then, if we’re being ambitious, we keep the strap on Charlotte, build to Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania, and have Carmella cash in on her THEN, when she’s presumably been arm-barred to death. Or better yet, have Rousey win and Carmella cash in on HER. I want to live in a world where the record book says, “Carmella defeated Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania.”
What Will Happen: I think Natalya retains, because the better Charlotte title win is doing the crossbody off the top that knocks her opponent backwards over the referee Ric Flair/Harley Race title change spot at Starrcade ’83 in the steel cage match at Starrcade 2017. Why have a Flair main-event a Starrcade in a cage match if you aren’t gonna do that? Get Ric at ringside for it and the tears will flow.
Chris Trew – On the heels of last year’s groundbreaking match, I’m bummed that this isn’t Hell in a Cell. I’ll be less bummed when Charlotte wins the belt back and then never, ever (seriously, ever) gives it up.
Elle Collins – It’s true that Natalya’s a veteran and a great technician and all the other reasons people have pointed out that she deserved a title run. But the sad truth is she’s just not a very exciting champion, and it’s hard to imagine that run lasting much longer. I think Charlotte’s time has come round again.
Scott Heisel – I was going to attempt to write this blurb like how Natalya delivers dialogue, but I don’t own a wooden keyboard. Charlotte, wreck this chump, please and thank you.
Bill Hanstock – Charlotte should absolutely truck Natalya here and win her billionth title, but I think Natalya takes advantage of an outside distraction and gets a fluke pin to retain. You know; an original finish, for a change.
Robby Cole – Natalya has been a good heel (when she’s not talking) and Charlotte returning to TV after her father nearly died should make for a fantastic babyface to take her on. I think after a tough back and forth match, Charlotte wins the match, only to have Carmella cash in the Money in the Bank and walk out with the title.
Brian James O’Connell – This is another one that needs to be a slobberknocker but will be just a 2.5 star match and this is coming from a guy who doesn’t really believe in star ratings. Charlotte is the face here but she should still be a chip off the old block and she should be FURIOUS that this person so clearly beneath her is holding the Big Red & White. Nattie is finally getting to hold the belt after years of fart and cat jokes all up and down WWE programming so she should be fighting like Susan Lucci for a Daytime Emmy. Instead, this will be a match where Charlotte doesn’t even break out that beautiful top rope to the outside sweetness and instead we’ll get a Sharpshooter reversal. Maybe. I don’t know.
Hell in a Cell Match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship: The New Day (c) vs. The Usos
What Should Happen: The fan in me wants The Usos to win and start another program with Breezango, and for The New Day to do something else. I know the tag team championship belts are as much a part of New Day’s thing as the unicorn horns and the butthole cereal, but man, I don’t think they need them. I want to see New Day take the next step in their characters’ evolution, and they aren’t gonna do that as long as they’re wearing the same belts and doing the same hip swivels and honking the same trombone notes.
Also, I am a hater. Usos forever.
What Will Happen: Presumably the New Day retains, but it barely matters because the match will be amazing.
Chris Trew – As I blabbed out in this post, I’d love to see more variety in Hell in a Cell matches. So that means The Usos and The New Day need to tear the place down, put it back together, then tear it down again in ways we haven’t seen yet. This is low key the match I’m most looking forward to tonight. The Usos in a surprise match of the year candidate (crosses fingers).
Elle Collins – This could go either way, but it’s going to be super-fun to watch. Let’s say the New Day retains, because if the Usos win the New Day will just win it right back anyway.
Scott Heisel – The Usos reiterating that only two members of the New Day were allowed in the Cell on Smackdown this week seems to telegraph a run-in on the Usos’ side to give them the upper hand (because otherwise, it makes no sense to give the face team the numbers advantage). The real question is who would join up with the Usos? If this match somehow ends up with Rikishi backing up a truck full of hay bales to the ring and the Usos throw Xavier Woods off the top of the cell or something, I will be delighted. Usos for the win, and the title swap.
Bill Hanstock – These two teams have stolen the show the last several times they’ve tussled, and I feel like they’re really gonna go Balls Out Ish in this one, because if Hell in a Cell isn’t the end of a long-running feud, what the hell is? The New Day shall retain, and hopefully they will begin a Mutual Comedy Respect feud with Breezango.
Robby Cole – This will be the match of the night. After a series of amazing matches, it all comes down to this. What I’m not clear on is will all New Day members be allowed in the cell, or will Xavier have to be on the outside? Either way, after an absolute war, the New Day retains to finish this feud, and immediately get destroyed by a debuting Authors of Pain next Tuesday.
Brian James O’Connell – Hell in a Cell is supposed to be the blow off match to end all blow off matches. It’s supposed to be when two men/tag teams/factions have so much bad blood the only way they can achieve satisfaction is through this test of ultra-violence. Last time I’ve checked, the New Day haven’t tried to strangle anyone with a trombone, so I’m not really feeling the build to this. I really like the Usos long overdue new direction and can’t wait for them to go full Purge at TLC in the future, but this feud between two teams I genuinely like independent of each other is just leaving me feeling “meh”. I say the New Day retain, the Usos lick their wounds off tv for a week or so and then get into a really dark horror-themed angle with Harper/Rowan where all the matches happen via strobe light and red balloons.
Hell in a Cell Match: Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens
What Should Happen: Regardless of what should happen, I think I’m genuinely concerned for Shane McMahon’s safety. Since circa WrestleMania, something hasn’t been right with him. I think he’s ill. Maybe Styles putting his head through a car window gave him some kind of physical problem, I don’t know, but the guy is somehow “in shape” and looking like a pink-ass Slitheen from Doctor Who. I’m not just worried that he’ll hurt himself jumping off something, I’m worried that he’s going to have a heart attack doing ANYTHING in the ring.
Obviously what should happen here is “Kevin Owens should beat Shane McMahon within an inch of his life and pin him easily,” followed by, “and Shane McMahon should stop being on TV and let Daniel Bryan do his job, which is not wrestling.”
What Will Happen: My WWE sense is tingling, so I’m going to say Shane is about to do something drastic to win the match over a helpless Kevin Owens when Stephanie McMahon shows up and helps Owens win. Maybe Stephanie has decided to take over Smackdown because she knows she can’t go back to Raw. Maybe Triple H will show up with her, and we’ll get The Authority running an already Raw-like Smackdown and staying as far away from The Shield as humanly possible. Imagine Daniel Bryan suddenly realizing he works for The Authority!
Chris Trew – As a fan of undefeated streaks and injecting more real sports statistics in pro wrestling, I’m all in on Kevin Owens winning this match, going 2-0 at Hell in a Cell all time, and treating this streak like Undertaker’s Wrestlemania streak’s little brother.
Elle Collins – My prediction is that both guys end up on top of the Cell and something dangerous happens. And then Kevin wins because he’s a wrestler.
Scott Heisel – Kevin Owens literally murders Shane McMahon then recites the lyrics to Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” while standing over his lifeless corpse.
Bill Hanstock – It seems like a really stupid idea to have Shane McMahon win a Hell in a Cell match against a relevant main event heel, but that’s probably what’s going to happen … probably with interference from at least one other McMahon. This is all going to revolve around one or two spectacularly stupid bumps from Shane, although I’m also hoping for a cannonball from Owens that knocks out a panel of the cage.
Robby Cole – Obviously this match spills outside. I know Shane is going to do something crazy, but I don’t see him hitting the same top of the cage elbow drop spot from Mania. Maybe something off the Titantron? Either way, after a lot of unconvincing McMahon offense and one crazy falling off something spot, Kevin Owens gets the victory.
Brian James O’Connell – McMahons win. They always win. Always. Forever. Shane-O-Matically pins Kevin Goddamn Owens after jumping off the cage after 2 minutes because if Falls Count Anywhere in a f’ing cagematch just go ahead and get it over with and don’t waste my time or insult my intelligence. In a perfect world, KO says “Screw this, I’m going back to ROH”, goes into business for himself, powerbombs Shane through the top of the cage and just refuses to come down. They have to lift the Cell back into the rafters with him sitting criss-cross applesauce staring into the distance like Pvt. Pyle. At the top, he hops onto the catwalk, high fives Sting and walks out the building knowing that in the last year and change he put enough coin in the bank to get his kids through college. You saw what my complaint was above about New Day/Usos, so multiply that here by 10 million because this isn’t Owens/Zayn.
WWE Championship Match: Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
What Should Happen: From this week’s Best and Worst of Smackdown:
… how hilarious is it that Nakamura vs. Mahal for the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell isn’t actually inside a Hell in a Cell? The entire point of Jinder is the outside interference. The one time they booked him in a cage match, which would effectively work to keep the Singhs outside the ring, HE suggested it, and the Singhs were able to climb through the cage. Now you’re coming up on your giant steel cage pay-per-view where the holes in the fencing aren’t big enough for humans to fit through, and you’re not putting your WWE Championship match inside of it?
What should happen is that (1) Nakamura should just win and end this already, or (2) they should make this a Hell in a Cell match at the last minute, put the inner cage of the Punjabi Prison on the inside of it and the outer cage on the outside, and precariously balance the two War Games cages on the cell roof.
What Will Happen: The Singh Brothers distract Nakamura long enough for Jinder to hit the Khallas and win the match.
Chris Trew – Leaning towards one more “omg are they still doing this” month of Jinder holding on to the belt before it goes to whoever is going to carry it into Wrestlemania. Jinder goes over, hopefully in a way that’s different from all the other ways he’s been going over.
Elle Collins – I wasn’t a Jinder hater to begin with. I’ll take him over Randy Orton any day, and seeing him come out of that feud on top was awesome. But when his feud with Shinsuke started, everything changed. Seeing Jinder defeat a boring and overrated white guy is great. Seeing him defeat another Asian guy—who’s much more talented than him—while cutting racist promos is a lot less fun. And sadly, I have a strong suspicion we’re about to see Jinder win again.
Scott Heisel – The only thing worse than Jinder Mahal as champion is realizing his run as champion is going until at least December, when WWE runs their first-ever shows in India. I suppose there’s a small chance they pull the switch here, then have Mahal win it back in India, but the phrase “two-time WWE World Champion Jinder Mahal” makes my skin crawl, so I guess I’d rather have him beat Nak here, as sad as that sounds.
Bill Hanstock – I’m with Brandon in that I think it’s absolutely absurd that the one match that absolutely NEEDS the Hell in a Cell stipulation isn’t getting it. I guess we’re going to have Jinder hold the title through those India shows in December, so … sorry, Shinsuke. I guess we’ll have to settle for a WWE Championship feud between Styles and Nakamura heading into WrestleMania. Wait, that’s a good thing!
Robby Cole – I might be one of the only people who loves Jinder. He’s terrible at wrestling, which makes him a perfect heel in our current wrestling landscape. There are business reasons why he might retain (the WWE is planning a big tour to India later this year) but I really just think that this feud isn’t ready yet for the title to change. The Bollywood Boys will interfere, be sent to the back, but Jinder will still find a way to cheat to win.
Brian James O’Connell – So, Tuesday night was definitely garbage as the go-home-show and I’m the new guy here (hi!) so I’m supposed to agree with Brandon Stroud so he’ll like me (suck it haterz, we already like each other!) but I’m okay with this not being in the Cell. I want to take a moment and point out that, without looking it up, I cannot remember the last time I saw 2 POC in the main event of a PPV for the World Heavyweight Championship and the face was the Japanese guy where English is his second language. That is so cool to me I’ve put rose colored glasses over my rose colored glasses but I think Shinsuke goes over here. I don’t know how much merch Jinder is selling in India but if you want to see if a motivated Shinsuke can win the belt and do something with it, this is the time to do it. He’s been on the main roster long enough and is a big enough deal that you have to pull the trigger on the experiment. There are a lot of big names that will lose to a Nakamura knee before they’ll late flat for Jinder. If you don’t like it and King of Strong Style doesn’t move units, you can use him as a transition champ and put the strap on Styles/Orton/Cena again as those are all matches I would pay to see at the PPV level. Then let him write his promos, you jerks. His English is fine. It’s your George Lucas dialogue that Reigns couldn’t even pull off that is killing MMA Michael Jackson on the main roster.