2018 WWE Hell in a Cell predictions, matches, card, start time, preview, location
Taking a closer look at every match on the WWE Hell in a Cell 2018 card set for Sunday night
WWE Hell in a Cell has an opportunity for the company wrap up some storylines from SummerSlam and set the course for some new ones with the company's ambitious Super Show-Down in Australia set to go down in just a couple of weeks and Evolution to follow shortly thereafter. Sunday night's eight-match card should make for a relatively fast-paced show as the main roster's heavyweight, women's and tag team titles will all be on the line in San Antonio, Texas.
Two matches are set for the event's namesake, Hell in a Cell, though only one will be contested for the title -- likely in the main event. The other has been a career ambition for one of its competitors, and it could signal some time off for him if all goes as expected.
WWE Hell in a Cell will begin live at 7 p.m. ET with a one-hour kickoff show that starts at 6 p.m. The event is expected to wrap up between 10-11 p.m. CBS Sports will be with you the entire way Sunday with live coverage of Hell in a Cell, including highlights, results, grades and analysis during the entire event. For now, let's take a look at our predictions and picks ahead of the big night from our CBS Sports experts.
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WWE Hell in a Cell 2018 predictions
SmackDown Tag Team Championship: New Day (c) vs. Rusev Day (Kickoff Show)
Brian Campbell: For as much of a feel good story as it is to see Rusev suddenly catapulted into so many title opportunities while simultaneously watching Aiden English over achieve in his role, the division is just more fun with an all-time great team like New Day wearing the titles. While they are certainly over and established enough not to need them, the division has enough depth for them to keep them and set course toward future feuds against SAnitY and a rehash with the Usos. Pick: New Day retains the titles
Adam Silverstein: Something's got to give for Rusev. This guy has competed for every SmackDown title over the last few months and lost every match. He's gone from a WWE title match two shows ago to the kickoff show in consecutive pay-per-view events. It appears that WWE putting the titles back on New Day was solely because of an injury suffered by Rowan of Bludgeon Brothers, which makes me think there's a great opportunity here to give Rusev & English some love. It is counter to normal WWE booking, but I think we might be in for a surprise here. Pick: Rusev Day wins the titles
Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton (Hell in a Cell Match)
AS / BC: When WWE books Hell in a Cell matches, they generally have two reasonings: (1) there is a massive headline-making spot planned, (2) it is a blow-off to a feud. In this case, I have to believe it is both. Upon his return to WWE, Hardy made it known that he always wanted to compete in HIAC, one of the few gimmick matches in which he has not participated over the course of his career. It's also clear that Hardy has been hobbled for months, though he's done a good job hiding his injuries. With brother Matt Hardy off TV and set for rehabilitation from ailments of his own, this will be a good opportunity to write Jeff off TV ... especially after he either misses a Swanton Bomb from atop the cell or Orton counters it into an RKO through a table. Pick: Randy Orton wins
Daniel Bryan & Brie Bella vs. The Miz & Maryse
BC: The introduction of their respective wives has added extra layers to this Miz-Bryan feud in hopes that the creative team can extend the story all the way to WrestleMania 35. In terms of this specific match, it would make much more sense for the heels to continue to get the upper hand to draw heat. The mixed tag team format also allows for Bella to take the pin in order to save Bryan. Pick: The Miz & Maryse win
AS: This one can really go either way. It makes more sense for the heels to continue winning in this feud, but Maryse is the competitor who can eat a pin -- or submit -- the easiest without it damaging her moving forward. Bella is expected to compete in some form at Evolution; Maryse is not. So against my better judgement, this could be the lone win for the faces until the end of this feud. Pick: Daniel Bryan & Brie Bella win
Raw Tag Team Championship: Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose
AS / BC: Though all of the men's titles on Raw are locked up in a singular feud, giving Ziggler & McIntyre the tag team gold was a smart move as a means of enhancing the titles and bringing them back to prominence on the red brand. With Roman Reigns entering as universal champion and Rollins likely holding the intercontinental title for the foreseeable future, it makes the most sense for the heels to keep the straps. Don't look now, but this could be the match of the night. Pick: Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre retain the titles
Raw Women's Championship: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
BC / AS: WWE continues to succeed in making every match Rousey is part of feel extra special, which is why it's way too soon to take the title off of her. One day, her training partner and friend Natalya will follow through on a storyline turn against her, but it feels too early to think Sunday is that day. Credit Bliss for helping this feud feel fresh and electric of late. Pick: Ronda Rousey retains the title
SmackDown Women's Championship: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Becky Lynch
BC / AS: For all of the controversy that has been stirred up regarding whether WWE was in error turning someone as popular as Lynch into a heel, the performances turned in over recent weeks on SmackDown from Lynch have more than justified the decision. Turning Lynch bad hasn't done anything to slow how red-hot she is at the moment, making it more of a perfect time than ever for her to become champion. Anyone still complaining about this is missing the larger point -- Lynch is finally getting the push fans have clamored for in recent years and will end up being more over and successful in the long run for having turned into a bad-ass heel. Pick: Becky Lynch wins the title
WWE Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs. Samoa Joe
AS / BC: Styles has put together a phenomenal (pun intended) run with the WWE title, holding it with a 310-day (and counting) reign, the second-longest for the title since 2006. And he's done a great job thwarting his competition along the way. But here's the thing: Samoa Joe may be the best thing going on SmackDown right now, and if anyone is a legitimate and understandable threat to take the title off Styles, it is him. Joe is completely in Styles' head, and it would be easy to explain how Styles was distracted and taken off his game. That said, there are more heels (Miz and Orton among them) as potential future contenders, and Styles-Joe is already booked for the Super Show-Down in Australia next month. Really, as long as it is a good match, no one will complain, but it this prediction is a bit more of a desire than anything else. Pick: Samoa Joe wins the title
Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Braun Strowman (Hell in a Cell Match)
Mick Foley will serve as the special guest referee
BC: For as much as WWE has done negatively of late with how it promotes the universal title -- from Brock Lesnar holding it hostage to Strowman's clunky heel turn and mishandling of the Money in the Bank briefcase -- it deserves credit for the potential Sunday's Hell in a Cell match has to be memorable. The addition of Foley as referee on the 20th anniversary of his epic HIAC match adds a ton of directions the finish can turn. So does the involvement of both the other Shield members as well as Ziggler and McIntyre. In the end, Strowman's booking has been put on pause long enough this calendar year. It's time for someone as over and impressive as Braun to rightfully wear the crown, if for any reason than to not stunt his momentum and waste his winning of the MITB briefcase. Pick: Braun Strowman wins the title
AS: I've been saying for months that WWE had to bite the bullet, put Reigns over Lesnar and move forward with their push of Reigns as the company's top superstar, even if fans rejected it strongly once again at WrestleMania. The reason for this is not because Reigns "deserves it" (though his work has been vastly underrated) nor because fans should fall in line with WWE's storytelling but rather the only way to get past this storyline is to allow it to transpire. In a similar fashion, taking the title off Reigns after only one month would be dumbfounding. Strowman has been turned into a cartoon character by WWE, a guy who lifts and topples stuff, yells and throws hissy fits destroying stuff in the backstage area. He's suddenly a heel again just a few months after winning the Raw tag team titles with a 10-year-old kid and now needs help to take down guys he towers over.
Granted, Strowman losing here -- after being defeated by Lesnar with a single F5 a few months ago -- would relegate him to more of a Big Show role than a potential future main event superstar, but it's simply too early for him to beat Reigns despite the stipulation. I'm down for it happening at some point, but Reigns literally just got the title and needs to marinate with it for some time. Pick: Roman Reigns retains the title
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