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Heel Turns: ‘Hell’ may be Smackdown heaven

Posted by Achilles Heel On October 7

Achilles HeelThe Smackdown pay-per-views have been uneven. Some may even say they’ve been disappointing.

But Smackdown has a golden opportunity to reverse that trend with “Hell in a Cell,” which takes place Sunday (8 p.m. on WWE Network) in Detroit. From a wrestling perspective, there shouldn’t be a bad match on the card. The question is whether the booking and execution enable Hell in a Cell to live up to its potential.

The main event match probably has the least potential as a technical wrestling match. But Hell in a Cell matches aren’t supposed to be about technical wrestling. Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens should put on one hell of a dramatic brawl. They’ve added a falls-count-anywhere stipulation, which probably means that both wrestlers will escape the cage at some point. Perhaps the pin could even occur on top of the cage – if the referee climbs to the top as well. It makes little sense for McMahon to beat Owens, so the Greek God of Wrestling is selecting Owens as the winner.

There also is a Smackdown Tag Team Championship match taking place inside Hell in a Cell, with The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods) defending the titles against Jimmy and Jey Uso. These two teams have worked extremely well together, trading the titles back and forth, but it’s time to put the belts on one of these teams for the long term. Based on the other Smackdown tag teams, that would indicate a win for the Usos.

The WWE Championship rematch between Jinder Mahal and Shinsuke Nakamura has been pushed out of the main event status by the Owens-McMahon Hell in a Cell match, just as their first match was by the four-way WWE Universal Championship match at SummerSlam. With Mahal slated for WWE’s recently announced trip to India in December, expect Mahal to hang on to the championship at Hell in a Cell – unless the plan is for Nakamura to capture the title and then lose it back to Mahal at Survivor Series.

Another title match features Natalya defending the Smackdown Women’s Championship against Charlotte Flair. Natalya and Charlotte are two of the best women wrestlers in WWE, so this should be a terrific match. A title change is possible here, although Achilles Heel suspects that Charlotte will be prevented from winning the title by something that will heat up the wrestling vs. mixed martial art feud. That feud could lead to a four-on-four match at Survivor Series and possibly a match between Charlotte and Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania.

Is Baron Corbin going to knock off A.J. Styles and capture the United States Championship? Not yet. Although a title change is possible if Styles is going to become the top challenger for the WWE Championship.

From a pure wrestling standpoint, two non-title matches should deliver. Randy Orton beat Rusev in 10 seconds at SummerSlam, perhaps due to a time constraint. These two should get 10-15 minutes to put together a solid match. Hell in a Cell is also the WWE pay-per-view debut of Bobby Roode, who should have an excellent match with Dolph Ziggler. Roode and Orton should win these matches, although a Rusev upset is possible.

The kickoff show match pits Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin against The Hype Bros (Zach Ryder and Mojo Rawley). Expect more tension between Ryder and Rawley, although Achilles Heel sees a potential swerve here.

The only element of Hell in a Cell that doesn’t interest the Greek God of Wrestling is the return of the Fashion Files. With no disrespect to Tyler Breeze or Fandango, I find these segments to generally be unfunny and a waste of time.

On the whole, though, Achilles Heel is looking forward to Hell in a Cell. It will be interesting to see if the booking and execution deliver the goods so Hell in a Cell can approach its potential.

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SHADES OF WCW: WWE has revived two of WCW’s best-known events: Starcade and War Games. It’s not clear what will happen on Nov. 25 at Greensboro Coliseum, but the WWE event that night will have a Starrcade theme. Starrcade was NWA’s and, later, WCW’s biggest annual event, with the first three being held in Greensboro, N.C. The main event for the first Starrcade, held on Nov. 24, 1983, pitted Ric Flair against Harley Race inside a steel cage for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

WWE is also bring back War Games for NXT Takeover on Nov. 18, the night before Survivor Series. War Games is a match that has a steel cage surrounding two rings. To avoid spoilers, the Greek God of Wrestling won’t tell you who will be involved in War Games, which will take place in Houston.

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REMEMBERING RUSSELL: The wrestling world lost one of the best broadcasters from its regional days last week when Lance Russell died at age 91. Russell was the voice of Memphis wrestling, which was one of the hottest local territories. Russell’s daughter died on Sept. 29, the same day he fell and broke his hip, which led to his hospitalization. For those who loved the territory days, Russell was one of the links to those memories. My condolences and prayers go out to Russell’s family and friends.

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GOING GLOBAL: Ring of Honor kicks off its Global Wars North American tour Thursday in Buffalo. The events, which include wrestlers from Ring of Honor and New Japan Professional Wrestling, kick off in Buffalo with Mark Briscoe teaming with War Machine’s Hanson and Rowe to battle Minoru Suzuki and IWGP Tag Team champions Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer.

There are also two matches in Buffalo involving The Bullet Club, with IWGP U.S. champion Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) squaring off against The Kingdom (Matt Taven, T.K. O’Ryan and Vinny Marseglia). Other matches include Frankie Kazarian vs. Jay Lethal, Christopher Daniels vs. Hiomu Takahashi, and Chaos (Yoshi-Hashi and Toru Yano) vs. The Bullet Club’s Marty Scurll and Ring of Honor World champion Cody Rhodes.

Global Wars continues Friday in Pittsburgh, Saturday in Columbus (Rhodes defending the Ring of Honor World Championship against KUSHIDA) and Sunday in Chicago.

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PHILLY TICKETS GOING FAST: Don’t forget that Ring of Honor will follow its mini-Global Wars tour with “Philadelphia Excellence,” a television taping on Fri., Oct 20 (6 p.m.) at 2300 Arena. As of Saturday evening, tickets for the East and West side sections were sold out, as were three of the four corner sections. What makes that more impressive is that no matches have been announced yet for the event.

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A LITTLE TLC: WWE has announced the first match for Tables, Ladders and Chairs later this month. Alexa Bliss will defend the Raw Women’s Championship against Mickie James. WWE also has been hinting at a Shield Reunion, which could take place at TLC, with a match against Cesaro, Sheamus and The Miz a possibility.

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HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF: Combat Zone Wrestling world champion Shane Strickland will have an open challenge for his title on Sat., Oct. 14 (8 p.m.) at The Wolf of Wrestling as CZW moves into its new home, Rastelli’s Complex, which is located at 1855 Herffville Rd. in Sewell, N.J. Jake and Dave Crist, the Global Force Wrestling tag team champions, will be in action against The Carnies (Nick Iggy and Kerry Awful). There will also be a four-way match between Rickey Shane Page, Jimmy Lloyd, Alex Colon and Mr. Claxton.

The match between CZW legend Masada and CZW Wired champion Maxwell Jacob Feinstein, which was the first match announced for The Wolf of Wrestling, is no longer listed on the events page.

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FEELING THE POWER: CHIKARA, which hosted Tooth and Claw last Saturday, will return to The Monster factory on Sun., Oct. 15 (3 p.m.) for an Hour of Power show. That will be the final CHIKARA show in Philly until the year-ending “Closing Time” on Dec. 2.

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LIGHTWEIGHT: Kalisto is making the transition to the cruiserweight division, where he apparently will be the new top contender for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship held by Enzo Amore. It’s interesting that the wrestlers being billed as the top three cruiserweights, Neville, Enzo and Kalisto, are all from WWE’s main roster rather than from the competitors in the cruiserweight classic.

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