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Hell in a Cell RunDown 2017: Another Trip to Hell


But you ruined it! What’s up my peeps? Welcome to a special edition of RunDown where I hit two birds with one stone by giving you some Hell in a Cell insights together with this week’s review because seriously, do you really want to see me twice this week? Yeah, that’s what I thought. I’ll just make this a thing from now on. Every review before a PPV is now the go-home review. Sounds good? So before I change my mind, let’s get down to it.


Hell in a Cell Falls Count Anywhere Match
Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens




I’ll start with the best storyline on SmackDown Live right now because no gives a shit about the WWE Championship. It’s rare for us to witness a narrative as solid as this one. The entire build-up was well-executed and everyone played their part really well. Kevin Owens’ descent to madness was probably one of the best heel acts of 2017 just by producing the most unlikely hero in the form of Shane McMahon alone, a non-active member of the roster. Owens did a better job than AJ Styles in elevating Shane's stock simply by providing Shane a good villain to conquer. This week, they didn’t even have to appear. They could’ve taken the week off and just let the video package of their rivalry speak for them, but I do appreciate Creative’s efforts to stretch the tension leading to the PPV.


Who will walk out of hell and back? After WrestleMania Rollercoaster, I’ve learned my lesson not to underestimate people, especially Shane McMahon. He can produce a great match whenever he wants, and this Monday (Manila Time) will be no different. This match can literally go anywhere given the stipulation, but I will predict Shane McMahon will walk out victorious. I’m not sure how he’ll do it, maybe Sami Zayn will help him out (or turn on him, if you read the rumors) or maybe he’ll win through heart alone. However they want to finish this, expect a great main event for Hell in a Cell.


Hell in a Cell Match for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships
The Usos vs. The New Day (c)




Speaking of great main events, I wouldn’t mind if this gold mine of a match came last. Both teams have been busting their asses to produce awesome PPV matches back-to-back, and being locked inside Hell in a Cell should be the perfect exclamation point to this instant classic of a rivalry. If you’re not convinced that these two teams are the real deal, just watch their final confrontation this week as The Usos read the New Day their rights and the lovable trio laid a more serious verbal smackdown to their Hell in a Cell opponents. I can’t wait for them to just tear the house down inside the Cell. The only thing missing to this booking is a do-or-die stipulation just to raise the stakes even higher, but that’s just me being a #NitPickRick asshole.


Who will survive hell and bring home the gold? This is a hard nut to crack. On one hand, you want the penitentiary brothers to reclaim their tag titles and keep the tag team division on lock. On the other hand, the New Day is the perfect team for the next heel talents to conquer. Besides, they just really look good with titles on their waist. Which team should you place your money on? I’ll take a wild jump to the abyss and pick The Usos.  


Randy Orton vs. Rusev




I actually thought this rivalry was dead after Randy Orton quickly dispatched Rusev with a swift RKO at SummerSlam. This is a classic sample of me quickly judging storylines and not letting them develop before criticizing, as this rivalry revived itself with a classic segment two weeks ago. The establishing of Rusev Day was so simply entertaining, it made me give this storyline a second chance. And guess what, it’s actually a good one, with the ruler of the jungle looking to extinguish the viper lurking on his land. Their second encounter should be a good one and I think this one’s going to be a low-key match of the night candidate. Maybe.


Who will prevail in this battle of jungle pride? I actually think Randy Orton will win, but as long as these two produce a physical and competitive encounter, I’ll have no complaints. It’s been a long time since I saw Rusev work a grueling match so please have them the two of them go at it and beat each other to a pulp. Rusev needs the victory more than ever, but if he lost without looking like a chump, it won’t be a complete loss for our favorite Bulgarian hero.


SmackDown Women’s Championship
Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya (c)




As much as I hate seeing Naomi’s reign end abruptly, I do admit I’m liking Natalya’s current run as the champion. The title really shed light to her talent as an annoying heel act. Just this week, she cleverly called Carmella, her tag team partner for the night, a bitch on live TV. That’s all you need to do to propel Natalya higher up the ladder, by making sure she gets the snarky lines that complements her attitude. It’s also interesting to see the reversal of roles between Charlotte and Natalya. They had a chance to exploit their previous rivalries, but I guess they’re reserving that for the next PPV. Nattie’s doing a great job as the woman on top and it would be a shame if she drops the title on her first PPV defense.


Who will walk out as the alpha female? Natalya certainly doesn’t feel like a paper champion right now, as evidenced by her making Charlotte tap this week in a tag match. And you rarely see Charlotte tap so that’s interesting. I believe she’ll retain her title clean or via shenanigans and hey, that’s fine by me. Let’s stretch this out for three more months, exactly like their previous encounters in the past. Or is Carmella finally cashing in on Monday? Almost forgot about her.


United States Championship
Baron Corbin vs. AJ Styles (c)




Man, I really hate how they didn’t include Tye Dillinger into this match. He won against Baron Corbin in a grudge match this week, so they could’ve made the victory mean something by awarding him another shot at the United States Championship. His addition to this match could’ve made this one must-see, because if you haven’t noticed, the Styles vs. Corbin storyline is a bit forced and unnatural. I can’t believe SmackDown Live made me hate Styles’ current run as champion. They should really do something about this before the crowd turns sour on Styles. I myself am starting to yawn when Corbin and Styles are together.


Who will stand tall after the dust settles? Let’s just let AJ Styles continue his plan of making the United States Championship a title held by the best of the best. That objective alone made his initial run cool. Now that the title is merely a plot device, it just sucks to see an AJ Styles match under three minutes. Styles and Corbin better slug it out and produce a great match at Hell in a Cell or I’m going to start a riot. Maybe. Okay, not really, but you get my point. I’ll be pissed.


WWE Midcard Championship
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jinder Mahal (c)




Speaking of forced, unnatural, and borderline terrible storylines, how excited are you to see this match? And in case you really are, who hurt you? Seriously, I could care less about this match. They could just open the show ala No Mercy 2016 and I wouldn’t even ask why. I can’t even fathom how the great editors of WWE pieced together a video package to “highlight” their rivalry and try as they might, it still looked like shit. I guess no matter how good they are, they can’t turn shit into gold, and that’s not their fault at all. I do appreciate their opening segment when Jinder attacked Nakamura from behind. See, that’s how you portray an intelligent champion. They should really, really build on that if they want to make a star out of my good friend Jinder.


Who will prevail in this cont...ah, screw it. It’s going to be Jinder, isn’t it? The WWE India tour has been finalized and he’ll be there together with RAW Superstars, so I guess they don’t want to feature the guy without the WWE Championship on his shoulder. And if he does win on Monday, can Creative at least make it a credible one? In a sense that his victory can be tainted by shenanigans but at least paint him as this intelligent and opportunistic human being? It’s the least you can do.


Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler




On the latest episode of Dolph Ziggler: NXT Killer, our hero is looking to vanquish the new NXT call-up, the ever glorious hunk of a man, Bobby Roode. Ziggler has tried to distract his foe with a bunch of elaborate entrances, but Roode seems undeterred. As the Glorious One challenged the Show-Off to a contest at Hell in a Cell, Ziggler is once again haunted by the memories of him being beaten twice by Shinsuke Nakamura, his first opponent from the NXT realm. Can our protagonist score his first victory over an NXT hotshot? Or will Roode hand the rookie conqueror another embarrassing loss? Find out on the next episode of Dolph Ziggler: NXT Killer.


Who will perform a victorious exit? Of course it’ll be Bobby Roode, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make Ziggler a star in the process. Ziggler should wrap up his entrance gimmick nicely by coming out as a beloved but sorely missed Superstar (c’mon, just do a CM Punk already) to gather legitimate heel heat and he should wrestle his heart out to put Roode over as a main roster talent. Not that Roode needs it, it’s just customary, a proper introduction to the casuals perhaps.  


Kickoff Match
Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable vs. The Hype Bros




The makeshift team of Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable looks to continue their winning streak by taking on the slightly on-edge team of Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder. I’m still not on board with Gable going back to a tag team setting after impressive singles matches with the likes of Styles and Rusev, but I guess this should give him something to do rather than seeing him drown in the midcard. I have yet to see Benjamin live up to his hype and he should definitely step it up in his first PPV back in WWE. Maybe a grander stage will pressure him to perform better compared to his lackluster matches in the past few weeks.


Who will kickoff the show with the W? I’d say the team of Benjamin and Gable will win by capitalizing on a miscommunication between Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley, leading to the breakup and Ryder heel turn. I’m not sure how fans will receive a Ryder heel turn, but as long as we get to see both men be relevant to the brand, I’m all aboard with this storyline.


Fashion Files Returns




It’s about damn time, you fashion-loving, mystery-solving, reference-dropping duo! It took them a while to kick-start the second season of Fashion Files and aside from the reveal of their attackers, I’m just glad to see these two back. As to who the attackers will be, I’m pretty sure it’ll be the reunited duo Luke Harper and Erick Rowan because they don’t really have a thing going on, might as well use these two talented big men for something.


Did you enjoy this week’s SmackDown Live? Who are your picks for Hell in a Cell? Let’s all exercise our right to self-discrimination at the comments below.

*****

Ricky Jay Publico (@NitPickRick) is a wrestling fan who enjoys watching high flyers and brawlers battle it out in the ring. A known Botchamania binge-watcher, he claims to have memorized the chronological order of Royal Rumble winners, but fails to remember who won in 2004. He writes stories about life and nonsense.

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