Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler is trying so hard to make something work that just isn’t working. I know he’s at the point in his career where something needs to click or he’s better off perusing another line of work but this isn’t it. It’s a horrible situation because Ziggler truly is one of the best in-ring performers of this generation. That said, this is former NXT Champion Bobby Roode’s first feud on the main roster. Look for him to come away with a clean win after a stellar match.
Prediction: Bobby Roode
Projected winner (and odds): Bobby Roode (1/4)
Randy Orton vs. Rusev
Here is the prototypical situation of two star who have nothing else to do. The only reasonable result to the “feud” is Rusev picking up a win and gaining a modicum of momentum.
Projected winner (and odds): Rusev (7/13)
Natalya vs. Charlotte Flair (SmackDown Women’s Championship)
Natalya has done a pretty good job holding down the struggling SmackDown women’s division. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not struggling for talent but for stories and depth. A major plot right now is James Ellsworth on a dog leash. That doesn’t look to good for the “revolutionary” women’s division. While it would seem like a Charlotte victory would be obvious, there are heavy rumors circulating a 4 Horsewomen of WWE vs 4 Horsewomen of MMA match at Survivor Series. So, the real question we should be asking is if the WWE wants the Women’s title (and the built in Money in the Bank storyline that comes with it) as a part of the mainstream build Ronda Rousey’s debut would receive.
Prediction: Charlotte Flair
Projected winner (and odds): Natalya (1/1)
Odds Carmella cashes in the Money in the Bank briefcase: 11/9
Odds Carmella is successful in her cash-in attempt: 3/2
AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin (United States Championship)
On NXT, I thought we were seeing something unique in Baron Corbin. On SmackDown, we’re seeing a tough looking dude who just tends to whine and cry a lot. The mystique surrounding this tattooed brute has been broken and I don’t think anyone in their right mind would think AJ Styles would lose to a performer at Baron Corbin’s level. So, I must not be in my right mind when I say I believe we’ll see Corbin go over here for the US Championship. It’s not because I see money in Corbin but I think Styles needs to be moved back up the card. He’s held down the mid-card while stars like Corbin, Bobby Roode and Tye Dillinger were getting settled on SmackDown Live but it’s time for AJ’s talents be used on a larger stage.
Prediction: Baron Corbin
Projected winner (and odds): Baron Corbin (3/7)
The New Day vs. the Usos (SmackDown Tag Team Title Hell in a Cell Match)
These five men have shown a whole new audience how exciting a tag team match can be. Long ago, the idea of a tag team match was developed because bookers thought four guys in a match could be twice as exciting as two. For years that mantra has fallen to the way side as tag team wrestling was almost considered a dirty word, filled with teams of men who couldn’t cut it as singles wrestlers. The New Day and especially the Usos have made it their life’s ambition to revitalize the art of tag team wrestling and this feud has done just that. Their matches have been incredibly breath-taking and Hell in a Cell will be no different. Don’t be surprised if this match headlines the show has these men absolutely deserve it and have proved they can main event any show they’re paired on.
Prediction: The New Day
Projected winner (and odds): The New Day (9/11)
Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Championship)
The ship has sailed on the Maharaja and it’s very nearly has set on Shinsuke main event run. Mahal has proven he could be at the top, if he has a strong opponent to do the heavy lifting. Shinsuke works the best against a cocky, well-spoken heel and Mahal just isn’t over enough to fall into that category. The pairing of these two men was a mistake from the beginning and this feud should have been blown off at SummerSlam. Well that didn’t happen and here we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. I want to say Nakamura but with WWE’s recent announcement of a new India tour touting Mahal headlining seems to make business sense if Mahal is still champion. So, I’m going to go with Mahal here with possibly AJ Styles challenging him next throughout the fall.
Prediction: Jinder Mahal
Projected winner (and odds): Shinsuke Nakamura (1/1)
Odds the Singh Brothers cost Mahal the title: 2/1
Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens (Falls Count Anywhere Hell in a Cell Match)
This is easily one of the most entertaining programs in all of WWE at the moment, thanks largely to Kevin Owens. The performances he’s been putting in this past year as Universal Champion have proved to decision makers that he’s a top guy to build around, no matter what he looks like. And that fact is solidified with him being in a feud with Shane McMahon. If you look at this match on paper it has every handicap that could make it a terrible match. You have a non-wrestler past him prime working in a Hell in a Cell match against a man who does his best work when he works a stiff match against a stiff opponent. And then you realize it’s Shane McMahon, a person who has shattered expectations since the Attitude Era and will do everything in his power to put on an incredible match. With that being said, I must agree with the oddsmakers and say Kevin Owens comes out with the “W” after a BRUTAL match.
Prediction: Kevin Owens
Projected winner (and odds): Kevin Owens (1/3)
Odds Shane McMahon jumps off the cell: 2/3
Odds this match is the main event: 2/1