WWE Hell in a Cell 2017
October 8, 2017
Little Caesars Arena
Detroit, Michigan

Watch: WWE Network

Meet our previewers:

Andrew Sinclair: Taking a break from reading about 16th century English marriage practices to impart his infinite wisdom with you, the humble VOW reader. Follow along on Twitter at @AMSinclair97 for a variety of takes on a multitude of issues.

August Baker: Is really looking forward to No Mer… wait, no, sorry, Tables, Ladders, &… wait, which show is this again? Follow on Twitter, @augustbaker12, if you also aren’t sure what’s going on anymore.

Pre-show: Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin vs The Hype Bros

Andrew Sinclair: A pre-show match with some actual consequences attached to it! Gable and Benjamin have been fun since they were put together in August, whilst the Hype Bros have been demonstrating signs of dissension for a number of weeks. I wouldn’t be massively surprised if they gave us the bait and switch, with the Hype Bros coming out strong and Benjamin turning on Gable, but the rehashed American Alpha taking the win is more likely. Prediction: Gable & Benjamin

August Baker: Am I supposed to be offended that they replaced Jason Jordan with Older Jason Jordan? I need the PC police to let me know on this one, I’m stumped. In any case, Gable and Benjamin have a future, both in singles and tags, while Ryder and Mojo… don’t. Tag team dissention only matter when the people involved matter, and I can think of only a few things I care about less than Mojo Rawley. Prediction: Gable & Benjamin

Randy Orton vs. Rusev

Andrew Sinclair: There was a time, roughly this time last year, that Smackdown Live was compelling viewing (by a WWE standard) and outshone Raw every week. Then Road Dogg happened. I cannot remember a specific episode in 2017 standing out  – most episodes have had a couple of good matches sandwiched by awful segments, or more often the other way round.

These men have exchanged two 10 second matches. This is in theory the blow-off, but I thought the same about Balor/Wyatt and that nonsense appears to be rolling on. Orton hasn’t been interesting in a very long time and whilst I’m a fan of Rusev, they’ve had ample opportunities to push him before and I can’t see that changing now. Therefore, where does this go? Orton can take the loss and I assume he’s more likely to be involved with a SD vs Raw tag match at Survivor Series, meaning the loss is less relevant. Rusev also is listed in the US title picture on the upcoming round of house shows, so I think he picks up the W. Prediction: Rusev

August Baker: Can I type this preview in less time than the last two Rusev/Orton matches combined? It turns out I cannot. Since this show is not nearly as bloated as Summerslam, maybe they will get more than 10 seconds. I feel like these two have at least a decent match in them, and would really like to see that match someday. Rusev should win, but wins and losses don’t matter. Prediction: Randy Orton

Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler

Andrew Sinclair: Talking of questionable booking – what on earth is Ziggler’s new gimmick meant to be? I’ve rarely found Ziggler compelling and despite his good work between the ropes, he’s got nothing to make you invested. I’d be perfectly happy if he left the company and went off and did comedy or whatever it is he does outside the ring permanently. For all the criticisms people have of Roode, he at least always has a defined character and has a knack of drawing you in. My first reaction was that Roode would win as he’s the big new addition from NXT and I’m sticking with that, but this ‘feud’ is definitely going to continue. Prediction: Bobby Roode

August Baker: Bobby Roode’s first major main roster match has me pretty pumped honestly. Out of all the guys from TNA’s glory years, I always thought Roode was the best fit for WWE. Better late than never, eh? I prefer him as a heel, but I’ll take what I can get. Somewhere in all of Dolph Ziggler’s weird antaganism is a decent point. Roode is, in fact, mostly a flashy entrance, and Ziggler is (usually) a better wrestler between the ropes. But his gimmick right now is nigh unwatchable. Both these guys could really use a win here, but I gotta give it to the new guy with the cool entrance. Prediction: Bobby Roode

WWE United States Championship
AJ Styles © vs. Baron Corbin

Andrew Sinclair: I genuinely thought that this match was going to become a triple threat, with Tye Dillinger added into the mix. Dillinger pinned Corbin on Smackdown and he still wasn’t added. That makes a Corbin victory a distinct possibility, especially as AJ’s title run seems to be going absolutely nowhere fast. I hope it isn’t because Corbin has no charisma and no personality and we’ve already got major champion on Smackdown playing that card. Styles winning and moving onto a programme with Rusev makes the most sense in my head (and is the most appealing), so I’ll lean with AJ. Prediction: AJ Styles

August Baker: AJ should be a great United States champ, but being saddled with Baron Corbin isn’t helping. He should be doing open challenges like Cena, beating mid-carders in excellent matches. Instead he’s going in circles with Baron Corbin and Tye Dillinger, two guys who have plateaued. It’s hard for me to care about what’s going on, and saying that about AJ Styles is rare. There’s no reason to take the title off him though, and there’s really no reason to put it on Corbin. Prediction: AJ Styles

WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
Natalya © vs. Charlotte

Andrew Sinclair: Every pay-per-view we come into now I’m expecting Carmella to cash the briefcase in and I’m going with it again. Natalya has had an OK reign as champion but the division really needs some sort of spark or direction and I think cashing in the briefcase, as frustrating as the whole MITB concept is, will help. The division would also benefit from a Becky Lynch heel turn and some logical and purposeful undercard booking, but it would be remiss to ask for too much wouldn’t it! I think Natalya retains after one of the better matches on the night, before Carmella cashes in. Prediction: Carmella, by way of Natalya

August Baker: Babyface Charlotte is pointless. She’s a good heel, but such a terribly fake good guy. Natalya as a champ is just there. These two have a history of good matches together though, so even though I have no personal interest in the match, it should be at least enjoyable to watch. The Smackdown’s women’s division badly needs a shake up though. In my fantasy booking, I would move Nia Jax over to the blue brand and give her a dominant run as champ. Prediction: Charlotte

WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship – Hell in a Cell
The New Day © vs. The Usos

Andrew Sinclair: The series of matches between these teams has been fantastic and I think the major story coming out of it is how great Xavier Woods has been. He’s been the star of every match these teams have had and in this, what I suspect will be the blow-off match, he has even more of a chance to shine. This will be the first tag team Hell in a Cell match in over 8 years and I’m really looking forward to seeing these teams fight again. The tag division has no depth whatsoever but that’s not concerning me at the moment. These teams are brilliant, this match will be match of the night and it’ll perk me up for what’s next. Prediction: The New Day

August Baker: This match is the main reason to watch this show. Every match between these two teams has been great. They’re so good together they’ve almost completely hidden the fact that there are no other quality teams on Smackdown. It’s a shame that this will probably be the blowoff match between the teams, but hopefully that means they lay it all out. This is a rare modern Hell in a Cell that feels warranted. The Uso’s are wild, the New Day is wacky, and I’m really, really looking forward to this one. Since the only other tag teams are faces, I’m going with a heel win here. Prediction: The Uso’s.

WWE Championship
Jinder Mahal © vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Andrew Sinclair: Every segment in this feud has sucked. Jinder’s racism aside, neither man has shown any fire. No one has shown a desire to be world champion. Jinder’s world title reign is already longer than AJ Styles run with the belt. Let that sink in. The worst wrestler on the main roster has a longer run that one of the best today who’s working fifth from top. More food for thought – Sami Zayn, the most natural babyface on the entire roster, doesn’t even have a match on this show, yet Mahal is in the main event again?

I just want Jinder’s reign to end and for him to be pushed back into midcard mediocrity but I can’t see it happening. With a WWE tour to India all but confirmed for December it makes me think he’ll still have the belt by then, and even if he drops it here, he’ll have won it back and surely they wouldn’t burn Nakamura’s first title reign like that? It’s sad that their desire to break into the market has blinded them to the massive drop in TV ratings and struggling attendances, but I guess the market will provide in the end. It always does. Prediction: Jinder Mahal

August Baker: Can we… just end this? I don’t even care how it ends anymore. I’m a huge Nakamura fan, and this is just sad. Just end it. Put us out of our misery. Please. With what little care I have, I’ll be rooting for one of the rarest occurrences in WWE, that of a foreign babyface WWE Champion. Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura

Hell in a Cell
Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens

Andrew Sinclair: I’m glad this on last, I couldn’t deal with another show ending with Jinder celebrating. Shane jumping off things is always enjoyable (if more than a little bit worrying) and he’s prepared to take the crazy bumps to make this a great match. Shane isn’t a good wrestler and his strikes are painful to watch, but they’ve managed to make this feud feel real enough and for them to have enough of a grudge to justify the stipulation and engage some people. Owens is going to win but I don’t know where he goes from here. Anyway, this should be spot-heavy and an enjoyable watch if it doesn’t go too long. Prediction: Kevin Owens

August Baker: With the “Falls Count Anywhere” stipulation, who wants to bet that this match ends with a powerbomb on top of the cell? I’m going to be so nervous once these guys get out of the cell. People are going to fall off things, through things, and into things. As long as we can avoid an excessive amount of McMMAhon grappling on the mat, this should be a beautiful trainwreck. Prediction: Kevin Owens