Six matches have been announced for this Sunday’s Hell in a Cell, the second RAW-exclusive pay-per-view of the new era since the brand extension. The expectation is that the night will be filled out by as many as three additional matches, at least one of which will be used on the Hell in a Cell kickoff show. The candidates for those slots include Bayley against Dana Brooke, Sami Zayn and Braun Strowman, and some combination of the Golden Truth and Mark Henry vs. The Shining Stars and Titus O’Neil.
However, it’s the aforementioned six and, more specifically, half of those that are getting top billing for the pay-per-view. Of the advertised six matches, five will have a title on the line, and of course, three will take place inside the Hell in a Cell structure.
Never before in WWE’s history have they had three Hell in a Cell matches on one card, nor have women ever competed inside it. But the company is determined to break down barriers, as this Sunday in Boston, Sasha Banks will defend her RAW Women’s Championship against Charlotte inside Hell in a Cell.
The other two cell matches, of course, will feature Roman Reigns putting his United States Championship on the line against Rusev while Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins do battle for the WWE Universal Championship. Vince McMahon and RAW are billing Hell in a Cell as a show with three main events. The only loose end to tie up is actually deciding which match will, in fact, close the pay-per-view.
On the most recent episode of Wrestling Observer Radio, Bryan Alvarez reports that there has been a lot of conflict among WWE officials over the last week about which match will headline Sunday’s Hell in a Cell. If you recall, Mick Foley published a Facebook post proclaiming that Sasha and Charlotte would have the honors, but he was forced to redact and retract.
That, in and of itself, would be major news considering women have never headlined a WWE pay-per-view. Last summer, Sasha and Bayley became the first female superstars to main event an NXT pay-per-view, and the presumption has been that it wouldn’t take long to do on the main roster. A Hell in a Cell match featuring the top two women in the industry has certainly merited consideration, but some feel that if they were going to go in that direction, their storyline should have been built around that.
Although Vince proclaimed that there are three main events, the debate about which match should go on last really only lies between two bouts. With all due respect, Reigns and Rusev aren’t (or shouldn’t) be under consideration, although it was just two weeks ago where Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt headlined No Mercy after the triple threat title match opened the show. That, of course, was entirely circumstantial, as Hell in a Cell won’t have a presidential debate to contend with.
The struggle that WWE officials are having is that if don’t put Sasha and Charlotte in the main event, then the Boston crowd may ruin Hell in a Cell altogether. The only options of where to put the women’s title match appear to be first or last. If the match is placed somewhere in the middle, there is a genuine fear that the crowd will either leave or hijack whatever ends up being the main event, presumably the Universal Championship bout between Owens and Rollins.
If Sasha and Charlotte kick off Hell in a Cell by wrestling first, the feeling is that the fans will be hot for it and won’t waste their money by leaving and missing out on the rest of the card. The worry only intensified Monday night when the Minnesota crowd royally messed up the Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar segment, causing Vince McMahon to flip out backstage.
The WWE certainly will not tolerate Hell in a Cell to suffer a hostile takeover from a notoriously raucous Boston crowd, so the only way to prevent it is to make sure the women’s match is placed appropriately on the card.
[Featured Image by WWE]