WWE’s Hell in a Cell deserves its label as the “Devil’s Playground.”
In 2018, fans can look forward to experiencing the 10th installment of the specialty match PPV. On September 16, the Superstars of Raw and SD Live will hash out their differences at HIAC 2018. Now that Brock Lesnar has taken a hiatus from Raw, chances are high that the Universal Championship will now be defended regularly.
And we’re betting the current title holder (Roman Reigns) will defend his newly won championship at this PPV. WWE Champion AJ Styles and Samoa Joe’s war has also gotten extremely personal, so it only makes sense for them to go to war inside the the demonic structure.
To get you up to speed on what’s coming at the next PPV, here’s a preview/predictions breakdown of HIAC 2018.
The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and/or Xavier Woods) (c) vs. Rusev Day (Aiden English and Rusev (with Lana) (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship)
Predictions & Winners: RUSEV DAY PREVAILS ONCE AGAIN! The tag team tourney that was put together in order to crown new challengers for the Blue Brand’s titles was pretty good. Rusev & Aiden English, The Bar, Gallows & Anderson, Sanity, The Colons, and The Usos competed in some pretty entertaining bouts weeks prior. Once the Grand Finals came to a close, “The Bulgarian Brute” and his classically trained singer buddy got the big win. So now we’re getting two babyface duos engaging in a clash for the SD Tag Team Championship.
It’s so hard to choose which team I want to see win this match. I’ve always been a Rusev Day supporter – Rusev hasn’t won a singles championship in forever, which is downright criminal. And I’m pretty irked by the fact that both he and English haven’t gotten a sniff at tag team title glory…until now. I’m happy to see them finally getting that chance, but I’m conflicted because they’re facing another favorite team of mines. The New Day just got their hands on the tag team titles (again). And I know in my heart that Rusev & English aren’t meant to win championships anymore. They’re simply a super over act that’s used to get other talent over and still retain the adulation of the crowd. The New Day’s most definitely going to retain here.
Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse (Mixed Tag Team Match)
Predictions & Winners: At SummerSlam, Daniel Bryan and The Miz met in the ring and left the crowd in awe of their passionate performance. At the end of it all, The Miz reverted to his heel tactics and took a pair of brass knuckles from Maryse in order to defeat his greatest rival. With an ending like that, it’s clear that WWE isn’t ready to wrap this feud up after just one major match. As a matter of fact, Bryan and Miz’s rematch has already been booked for WWE Super Show-Down in October. The stop gap between SummerSlam and that exclusive Australian PPV is HIAC. And here is where we’ll see both men battle against each other alongside their wives.
Brie Bella and Maryse have managed to add an interesting wrinkle to this ongoing storyline. Brie has always stood by Bryan and given him plenty of words of encouragement. Maryse has taken a more active role in her husband’s career by helping him win matches thanks to her “assistance.” Like their tag match at WrestleMania 33, The Miz and Maryse have to settle their differences with another husband & wife (actually, Cena and Nikki are no more) duo. Since Bryan took the loss at SummerSlam, I get the feeling that him and Brie will soundly defeat their cockier foes here. This is the perfect lead in to their Australian rematch and a sensible continuation of their feud. Fans should expect to see Bryan and Brie get a dual submission victory over Miz and Maryse that’ll pop the live crowd.
Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Alexa Bliss (WWE Raw Women’s Championship)
Predictions & Winner: Ronda’s run to the top of the Raw Women’s Championship mountain has been surprisingly quick. Once SummerSlam rolled around, she dismantled Alexa Bliss in entertaining fashion and left the event with the title donning her shoulder. I honestly couldn’t think of anyone who’d provide a serious threat to Rousey and I’m guessing WWE felt the same way. Instead of presenting an interesting face vs. face matchup where Rousey faces her best friend Natalya (that would have been an interesting scenario), Bliss is getting a rematch at Hell in a Cell.
While I think this rematch will go a bit longer than its predecessor, the result will be the same. Bliss will surely reach into her bag of (hopefully new) tricks and throw Rousey off her game a bit. And to some, it’ll look as if Bliss might have a shot at getting back her title. Bliss has done considerable damage to Rousey’s ribs prior to this event, after all. But once Rousey’s face scrunches up, Bliss will meet her end just mere moments later. Rousey’s decimation of Bliss will take a bit longer, but it’ll be just as fun to watch as it was before. Afterwards, Rousey will head into Super Show-Down and Evolution for some more expected marquee action.
Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Becky Lynch (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)
Predictions & Winner: After Charlotte claimed the SD Women’s Championship from Carmella at SummerSlam, a portion of the crowd was pretty pissed. Why, you ask? Surely you know why. Fans had been clamoring to see Becky Lynch finally get ahold of the title she so rightfully deserves. For months, she climbed her way back up to the title division’s #1 Contender’s spot after defeating a bunch of top competitors. And then Charlotte came back, won a single non-title match against Carmella, and got added to Lynch’s former one-on-one bout. Becky had every reason to be upset during her post-SummerSlam title match beatdown of her former best friend.
WWE wants us to boo Becky so badly, but it doesn’t make any sense to do so. Becky feels slighted because her spotlight was taken away from her by someone who seemingly gets handed the world on SD Live. It’s pretty tough to feel sympathetic for Charlotte since she “stole” her former best friend’s SummerSlam moment. Like most of you all, I’m rooting for Becky here.
As for the match quality, I think we’re going to witness greatness here. With such a heated storyline backing this one, Charlotte and Becky will tear into each other more than usual. It makes a ton of sense to see Becky get the win. And that’s exactly what’s going to happen here. Charlotte’s had plenty of time in the sun. The SD Women’s Championship needs to be around the waist of heel Becky. It’s a fresh and far more interesting concept that I think WWE will tap into.
Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton (Hell in a Cell)
Predictions & Winner: Once another grown man sticks his finger in your pierced earhole and tries to rip it apart, you have to beat that man within an inch of his life. Just a few months ago, Randy Orton came back with a vengeance and did just that to the man who beat him for the US Championship. Jeff Hardy screamed in pure agony as Orton took out his frustrations on him in front of a creeped out crowd. Ever since then, both men have taken it upon themselves to try and incapacitate each other. All the punishment Orton and Jeff have done to each other will become magnified within the HIAC.
I get the feeling that this match won’t be for the faint of heart. Heel Orton has been extremely vicious lately and I think he’ll become even more unhinged during this bout. And we all know how much of a daredevil Jeff is. I’m excited (and frightened) at what Jeff might be cooking up for this major grudge match. It’s crazy to think that this is Jeff Hardy’s first ever HIAC match. With that being known, everyone should expect Jeff to do something that will cause everyone’s jaws to drop. And after Jeff pulls off that daredevil maneuver, he’ll find the means needed to defeat Orton.
Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship)
Predictions & Winners: The B-Team were running high as the Raw Tag Team Champions…then Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre came along. 2018’s version of Shawn Michaels and Diesel captured the tag team titles and are far more believable as legit badasses. It only makes sense that they’d be forced to defend their titles against the men they’ve been beefing with since SummerSlam – Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. Two members of The Shield are once again vying for tag team championship glory.
Even though this bout got announced during the final Raw before this event, it has quickly turned into one of my most anticipated matches. All four men have the capacity to put on a tag team match that gets the crowd rocking. Ziggler and Rollins put on a pretty dammed good opening match at SummerSlam, plus I’m always down to see McIntyre and Ambrose tear it up in the ring. I think it’s far too early for the newly crowned tag team champions to drop their prizes so quickly. I’m expecting a screwy finish of some kind that will lead to a DQ win for Rollins and Ambrose (gotta save face and keep the champs looking good, right?). Obviously, this will lead to a continuation of the feud and a rematch on Raw during the buildup for Super Show-Down.
AJ Styles (c) vs. Samoa Joe (WWE Championship)
Predictions & Winner: Major props goes out to AJ Styles and Samoa Joe for having the Match of the Night at SummerSlam. I had a feeling that both men would step up to the plate and perform at the high standard they established during their time in TNA. Joe’s savage mic work directed at AJ’s daughter and AJ’s unhinged rage has resulted in one of the better feuds of 2018. Their amazing match at SummerSlam ended in a DQ, which is why their rematch has been pushed to this PPV. Kinda shocked that this intense rivalry won’t be contested inside the HIAC, but I’m happy to see both men fighting regardless.
Now here’s the thing – AJ’s held onto the WWE Championship for a lengthy amount of time. Him dropping the title to a worthy contender like Shinsuke Nakamura made all the sense in the world at the time, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Joe quickly filled Nakamura’s spot and is successfully giving AJ a worthy challenge. The perfect opportunity to pull the trigger on a Samoa Joe WWE Championship run is now, but I actually don’t see that coming to fruition. AJ’s the poster boy for WWE 2K19 and is pretty much still “The Face That Runs The Place” for SD Live. AJ will prevail over Joe’s constant taunts and find a way to get the big victory his family can be proud of. We’re going to get a happy ending here, folks. AJ’s grasp over the WWE Championship won’t be broken any time soon.
Roman Reigns (c) vs. Braun Strowman (Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Universal Championship; Mick Foley Will Serve as Special Guest Referee)
Predictions & Winner: So “The Monster Among Men” had a pretty fulfilling and disappointing evening during SummerSlam. He managed to decimate Kevin Owens and hold onto his Money in the Bank briefcase/contract. But when he made his cash-in intentions clear during the main event between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar, Strowman’s attempt was put on hold due to him getting assaulted by Lesnar.
The night after SummerSlam, Strowman switched things up and went for a cash-in during the middle of a Universal Championship bout. But The Shield made sure to interrupt his cash-in and keep Reigns’ title reign intact. Strowman has now made it clear that he’s cashing in for a third time for Reigns’ title within the confines of the Hell in a Cell. And to raise the stakes even higher, a HIAC legend will be proceeding over this match as special guest referee – Mick Foley.
I’m pretty damn excited about this matchup. Strowman and Reigns had a pretty entertaining array of grudge matches back in 2017. I have no issue with seeing both these powerhouses rekindle their feud, especially now that it’s going to erupt inside the HIAC. Being the proud and respectable champion he is, Reigns will make it clear to his Shield brethren that he needs to do this match on his own.
Once the cell doors close, a weapons filled war will erupt into entertaining chaos. I’m pretty sure Mick Foley will get trampled at some point by a rampaging Strowman. Plus it’s pretty much expected that Strowman will use his power to break out of the cell during the later stages of the match and make it even more interesting. However, I see this action becoming his downfall. Reigns will somehow capitalize on the change in environment and pull off a huge maneuver that finally incapacitates Strowman. Reigns’ Universal Championship reign isn’t ending anytime soon, so get used to it folks.