By Chuck Carroll
We’re on the verge of a historic moment in professional wrestling. At WWE Hell in a Cell, for the first time ever, two women will compete inside the brutal steel structure for which the pay-per-view is named. Having the RAW Women’s Championship defended in this fashion cements the fact that a new era is upon us. Sasha Banks and Charlotte have headlined events before, but nothing like this. The pressure they must feel is enormous.
Something tells me they will not disappoint. Both have already been in bouts that have been nominated for “Match of the Year.” They are two of the most elite women to ever set foot inside of a WWE ring. Given Charlotte’s lineage, it’s hard to imagine she doesn’t appreciate the gravity of this moment and what it means for the future of women’s wrestling in WWE and beyond.
My wife, Julie Wright, interviewed the fairer Flair recently and asked about the pressure she’s feeling and whether she was concerned about the potential for injury in such a high-risk match. Her response began with a little humor and ended with reflection on the magnitude of the night ahead.
“No pressure or anything! I think I’m a little worried about more than just the ta-tas,” Charlotte joked. “I think I’m worried about the whole thing! I’m just more excited to be a female athlete and represent the company. This is a male-dominated world and to be the first ever Hell In A Cell match … the women are taking over. That’s the message.”
Historic though the match may be, that’s just one of three main events on the card; all of which are inside the cell. WWE has really done a solid job booking the pay-per-view, and looking at the rundown, there doesn’t appear to be a clunker on there.
To help me sort it all out, I’ve again enlisted the help of WWE insiders Scott Fishman and Aaron Oster. Also joining the fray is Mike Sempervive from The Wrestling Observer.
Pick record: 7-5
Pick record: 7-5
Mike Sempervive (@Sempervive) – Co-host, Wrestling Observer Live
Pick record: 0-0
Pick record: 8-4
WWE Universal Championship Hell in a Cell Match
Kevin Owens (c) vs. Seth Rollins
Chuck: Something tells me Kevin Owens will be looking for a new best friend after this one is over. Chris Jericho will somehow get involved in this match. But will he cost Owens his title? I think so. That leaves Rollins free to push forward his feud with Triple H and the two Canadians to battle it out. PICK: SETH ROLLINS
Scott: The star of the Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins rivalry so far has been Chris Jericho. WWE has work to do to have Owens come off as “the man” on RAW. He wins here, but a match versus Jericho in a battle of best friends looks more and more on the horizon. As for Rollins, he still has Triple H to worry about. PICK: KEVIN OWENS
Mike: This should be the closing main event, as it’s probably going to be a great match — and is certainly the best shot of any Hell in a Cell match, hampered by modern times, to go down as memorable. Between Rollins’ athleticism and Owens’ all-around greatness as a pro wrestler, there’s no doubt of its ability to suck fans in. There’s also no need to play with the title here, either, as I believe Owens should win. They’re excellent foils for each other, and the feud should roll on. If you do want to give them a break for a bit, Rollins-Rusev and Owens-Jericho or Reigns would make the most sense. PICK: KEVIN OWENS
Aaron: This build has been odd, because it almost was more about the relationship between Owens and Jericho than anything involving Rollins. Because of that, Owens needs to keep this. Calling it now: Owens vs. Jericho at the December PPV. PICK: KEVIN OWENS
WWE RAW Women’s Championship Hell in a Cell Match
Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte
Chuck: WWE doesn’t always put over talent just because they’re wrestling in front of a hometown crowd. But I think in this case they will. I don’t see where else Charlotte can go as champion right now so the belt should stay with Sasha Banks. And there is no way this match will disappoint. This has match of the year possibilities. I see Bayley in Sasha’s future. PICK: SASHA BANKS
Scott: Charlotte and Sasha Banks headlined an NXT live show, WWE RAW and basically is seen as the main event of Hell in a Cell. These two will do their best to steal the show in the first women’s Hell in a Cell. Normally, I would go against a superstar winning in their hometown. However, I will go with Banks taking the title back in her hometown. It’s too sweet of a moment not to take advantage of. PICK: SASHA BANKS
Mike: My expectations are pretty low for this. Nothing against either woman, but there’s been nothing about this story that makes me want to see them face off inside Hell in a Cell. They had ample time, once Sasha had won the title from Charlotte on RAW, to feature an enraged Flair becoming unhinged and being so dastardly, yet cowardly, that we’d want to see Sasha get her vengeance. Instead, we’ve had a lot of canned lines, seeming very forced, and two women who will probably end up doing too much because they feel as though they have too. I think I’ll take Sasha, with the next question being: Will Nia Jax show up and rip the door off the cage” Charlotte and Bayley would be welcome, as the interaction with Dana Brooke hasn’t helped Bayley at all. PICK: SASHA BANKS
Aaron: I’m very curious to see how far they let the women go in this match. Do they let them completely go all-out in the Cell? I have my doubts. That isn’t to say that they won’t use the Cell, but I don’t expect it to be the true hardcore matches that some of the others on the card are. That being said, it’ll still be a great match. But they aren’t pulling the title off of Sasha again so quickly, so she wins this. PICK: SASHA BANKS
WWE United States Championship Hell in a Cell Match
Roman Reigns (c) vs. Rusev (with Lana)
Chuck: I’m glad Rusev is letting his goatee thing return to normal. He was looking a little weird a couple weeks ago with just the mutton chops. Too bad for him facial hair has no bearing on this match. Roman Reigns retains in what will possibly be the most vicious match of the night. PICK: ROMAN REIGNS
Scott: Roman Reigns just won the United States Championship, so chances are he defeats Rusev. WWE is behind Reigns, and that’s that. Rusev has been great though in showing there is more to him than a physically imposing figure. PICK: ROMAN REIGNS
Mike: Your safest bet not to be one of “the big main events” to actually close the show. In fact, we’ve probably seen this one before. It will be good, people will boo Reigns, cheer Rusev, still pop for Reigns big moves, and will boo again when his music hits as they announce him as the winner. Which, considering he’s been the more natural heel during this whole feud, really shouldn’t be any shocker. Both need to move on. But against who? Rusev is an easy fit against almost anybody, from Sami Zayn up to Seth Rollins. Reigns not so much. But could you imagine a Reigns vs. Braun Strowman feud? PANDEMONIUM GONE WILD. PICK: ROMAN REIGNS
Aaron: If I wasn’t confident that both of these guys ended up on the Survivor Series team, I would say that Rusev would win this so Roman could move back into the title picture next month. Survivor Series complicates that. I think Rusev should win this, as he’s a better U.S. champ, and if this is truly the blowoff of the feud, then he should win. That being said, knowing WWE logic, this won’t blow off the feud, and Rusev can take the belt back in December. PICK: ROMAN REIGNS
WWE RAW Tag Team Championship Match
The New Day (c’s) vs. Sheamus and Cesaro
Chuck: I’m always saying The New Day’s championship reign is about to end. And so far I’ve been wrong every time. But I think that the time is officially at hand. Cesaro and Sheamus are ready to take their program to the next level. It’s been a while since we’ve seen tag champs feud with each other. So, we’re due. I think we’ll see Enzo and Cass in the picture soon though. PICK: CESARO AND SHEAMUS
Scott: The New Day have held the championship long enough. They don’t need the titles at this point, as the trio is already over. And WWE likes putting random teams together and having them win the tag championships. I’ll go with this happening here. PICK: CESARO AND SHEAMUS
Mike: Honestly, I’d be fine with Cesaro and Sheamus winning here. I really would. But, the New Day is what, about 50 or so days behind Demolition right now, right? Krusher Darsow Kruschev Demolition Smash Repo Blacktop Bully Golfer is probably okay with WWE. But, I think Vince still doesn’t like “Demolition Ax” Bill Eadie (and vice-versa). And spite is just about as good of a reason as any to believe that The New Day’s reign will continue until around the time of The New Year. The big problem for both teams? There’s almost no one else to work with. PICK: THE NEW DAY
Aaron: I have a soft spot for odd bedfellow tag teams. When done effectively, they can be extremely entertaining. And I think that Cesaro and Sheamus have the potential to be extremely entertaining. But you didn’t keep the belts on The New Day all this time just to drop it to Cesaro and Sheamus before they beat Demolition’s record. Pick: THE NEW DAY
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match
T.J. Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick
Chuck: This match has the potential to steal the show. WWE has done a decent job at re-introducing the cruiserweight division and have a solid young champion they can build around. T.J. Perkins’ feud with the veteran Brian Kendrick should blow off in spectacular fashion. But Kendrick will come up short in his “last shot.” PICK: T.J. PERKINS
Scott: The company has gotten behind T.J. Perkins, and I hope they give him some time to build a nice run for himself. That is why I see Perkins retaining against Brian Kendrick. PICK: T.J. PERKINS
Mike: The story of Brian Kendrick has been one of Lazarus. He’s old. He dies. That should be it. But he gets resurrected. As well as gets big opportunities. I see no change here. Taking the title off of Perkins, who isn’t exactly setting the house on fire, would be jumping the gun. And, Kendrick doesn’t need it to continue his character’s story of trying to hang on. Like a vampire, he just needs fresh new blood, and they have plenty of those types of guys. Perkins needs wins, and he gets one here. Not sure who’s next, but they could certainly use a Gran Metalik-type right now. PICK: T.J. PERKINS
Aaron: I didn’t think Kendrick would win until this Monday. With his loss to Swann, plus the backstage interaction, I now can see it. It won’t be clean. It will probably involve some hesitation on Perkins’ part based on Kendrick begging for the win. But they laid out a clear scenario where Kendrick can win, and I think they take it. PICK: BRIAN KENDRICK
Gallows and Anderson vs. Enzo and Cass
Chuck: This week’s Monday Night RAW should answer any questions you may have had about Enzo and Cass’ popularity. They’re as over as the day they came in. They’re so popular they don’t even need a microphone anymore — the WWE Universe does the promos for them. I think it’s time they get in the WWE tag title picture, and a win over Gallows and Anderson will do just that. PICK: ENZO AND CASS
Scott: I want WWE to give Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson some momentum and move forward with them. A win over the popular Enzo and Big Cass will be a step in the right direction in being a viable threat in the tag division. PICK: GALLOWS AND ANDERSON
Mike: Anderson being more Fall Guy than Lee Majors recently has me believing that someone (well, Enzo) is going to be taken out via Magic Killer, before all is said and done. But, as far as what comes after? See the tag title match. Such a limited roster, post-brand split, leaves no one to work with. Makes me wonder if both tag team matches turn out to be convoluted endings, just so no one gets too damaged, as we move on into the Survivor Series. If not, at least The Club vs. Cesamus has intriguing possibilities. PICK: GALLOWS AND ANDERSON
Aaron: Plain and simple, if The Club doesn’t win this, put a fork in them, they’re done. You can’t keep hyping them up as a destructive force in the tag division if they lose every match. This match is a bit frustrating, because both teams could use a big win. However, The Club could use that big win more. PICK: GALLOWS AND ANDERSON
Chuck Carroll is former pro wrestling announcer and referee turned sports media personality. He once appeared on Monday Night RAW when he presented Robert Griffin III with a WWE title belt in the Redskins locker room.
Follow him on Twitter @ChuckCarrollWLC.