Originally published at WWE Hell in a Cell Preview feat. Lashley vs. McIntyre, Belair vs. Bayley
WWE presents the Hell in a Cell show tonight, its final pay-per-view of the ThunderDome era as they will be back on the road with fans for Money in the Bank.
As of Sunday morning, we have six matches announced for the show after the removal of Roman Reigns and Rey Mysterio.
We will be live immediately after the show with our Hell in a Cell POST Show that will be accessible for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members of the POST Wrestling Café. Members at those three levels also have live access to our weekly Rewind-A-Raw and Rewind-A-Dynamite shows with all Café members having access to Rewind-A-SmackDown.
Below is a quick preview of tonight’s show:
Hell in a Cell for the WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley (champion) vs. Drew McIntyre
It’s the key match on the show after Reigns and Mysterio were moved off the card. McIntyre has failed twice to regain the title from Lashley over the past two months and it’s hard to envision him losing a third unless it’s to directly set up a new program. Lashley has been the dominant heel champion for months and it’s not like there is a long list of potential babyface challengers waiting in the wings beyond Kofi Kingston. I don’t see any benefit in McIntyre winning the title without fans, although the idea of going back on the road with McIntyre as champion is possible. The main event mix is not red hot on Raw, to say the least, and either of these two working with The Fiend would not be desirable. Either way, this looks like a strong match on paper and the outcome is the most intriguing on the show.
Hell in a Cell for the SmackDown Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (champion) vs. Bayley
On Friday, this was changed to a Hell in a Cell match to make sure there are two on the show. They have tried to get the most of it this program and the last few weeks have centered around Bayley laughing at Belair. They could go a lot deeper into Belair’s backstory for relatability and a further connection for the audience that didn’t see the WWE Network special. Belair feels like a genuine star following the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania but hasn’t had a lot to sink her teeth into since. The timing is right for Sasha Banks to return and it will be a big deal when they pull the trigger on that rematch. Bayley had an excellent Hell in a Cell match with Sasha Banks last year and I expect this to be very strong and showcase the strengths of each with Belair retaining.
Raw Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (champion) vs. Charlotte Flair
These two need to come out and have the greatest women’s match since…last weekend. Seriously, this feud has been terribly handled and Ripley has been bounced all over the place and I cannot tell you for the life of me if she is to be cheered or booed in this program. Flair’s road to this title match is as follows:
-May 16: Loses to Ripley and Asuka at Backlash
-May 17: Loses to Asuka
-May 24: Beats Asuka
-May 31: Nikki wins the Beat the Clock Challenge against Flair
-June 7: Teams with Ripley losing to Nikki and Asuka
-June 14: Count-out loss to Nikki
Both are terrific performers but the handling of Ripley since WrestleMania and this lead-up has been awful for both and I hope this match is great and we get a hard reset for both.
Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro
This will probably continue the trend of strong matches on the show and yet another character in Rollins, who just needs a kick-ass match as this iteration of the character seems to fall flat for everyone. The story suggests Cesaro getting his revenge and the win, but where do you go with him? As long as Reigns is the dominant champion, I don’t think you can re-visit a Cesaro feud so quickly after last month’s conclusive ending at Backlash. Cesaro should definitely be in the Money in the Bank match next month. At some point, they need to get Rollins away from this character.
Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
When in doubt, Owens vs. Zayn. The program seemed to be building towards Owens and Commander Azeez. However, after seeing Friday’s tag match, I am not holding my breath waiting for a singles match involving Azeez. Honestly, the role of Apollo Crews’ bodyguard should have been earmarked for Aleister Black, who has a history with Owens from last year. Anyway, this continues the trend of strong matches on paper for tonight’s show and there is no doubt these two will have a solid outing and probably have more time than they did at WrestleMania. It’s hard to imagine Crews and Azeez not getting involved, so I’m expecting that going in.
Alexa Bliss vs. Shayna Baszler
It’s the last pay-per-view in the ThunderDome where you can do all the antics you want without a crowd and therefore, go nuts. That’s what I expect in this one with all the hocus pocus and other elements that are played out but have become a hallmark of the past year in WWE.
Our live coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on the site.