After every pay-per-view, WWE recalibrates and starts to immediately build to the next event. Following SummerSlam 2017, the next SmackDown-branded event will be Hell in a Cell 2017 set for October 8th at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan.
Per usual at the end of an event, I like to try to give my extended projections for which matches I think we’ll be getting on the next card, what makes the most sense, what missteps WWE may take and so forth before it’s all been fully fleshed out and announced while also recapping what we do know for sure is being set up.
This also allows everyone else to leave their comments below to sound off on which directions they think WWE will go so we can trace back to this point and say we were right all along, or that we wish they would have done something different, so on and so forth.
So what do I see in my crystal ball for Hell in a Cell 2017?
WWE Championship Match: Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
With what little build they actually had going into SummerSlam, the way that match went down and the continuation of their feud on SmackDown with no other alternatives being suggested, the obvious pick for the WWE Championship match at Hell in a Cell is for Nakamura to get another title shot.
At least from my perspective, this feud certainly doesn’t feel adequate enough for a Hell in a Cell match, so I’m hoping that cage is applied elsewhere—but there may not actually be any other feuds that are good enough for that gimmick, either.
Whether Nakamura leaves with the title or it stays on Mahal is far too early to tell. There are still many other twists and turns this feud can go down, since it’s at its simplest stages now.
Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens
As if the rumors didn’t already mention that this was a possibility, the way recent events have transpired between McMahon and Owens definitely points to that being the direction.
After McMahon replaced Baron Corbin as the special guest referee and caused enough of a distraction to result in AJ Styles retaining the United States Championship, Owens is going to be out for blood and the only way to settle things will be to have a match between the two.
What will be interesting is if this is just a regular match or if there’s some kind of gimmick attached to it, be it the Hell in a Cell (which would certainly be jumping the gun) or just a No DQ scenario, as those environments are what Shane thrives in much more than a regular wrestling affair.
That being said, he and Styles did have a good enough match without needing to go too hardcore, so it’s not crazy to think Shane and Owens will just have a regular one-on-one in-ring fight.
Speaking of Styles, though…
United States Championship Match: AJ Styles (c) vs. Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin inserted himself into the title picture by acting as the special guest referee for the majority of the title match this week.
Beforehand, he requested a title shot if Owens were to be victorious, as well as if Styles were to retain the title.
When doing so, The Phenomenal One didn’t turn down the future fight and reminded him of the United States Open Challenge being a good enough way for him to get his title opportunity if he wants one so badly.
Next week, I fully expect to see a continuation of this story with Corbin either answering the call or attacking Styles after he dispatches whoever the alternate opponent is.
One way or another, I can’t imagine the course of the US title scene come Hell in a Cell revolving around a challenger other than Baron Corbin, who desperately needs something like this to counteract his recent string of losses, whether or not he is successful in dethroning Styles.
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Natalya (c) vs. Naomi
The easy pick for this is that Naomi will have invoke her rematch clause and challenge Natalya, who will be also looking over her shoulder for the impending threat of Carmella’s Money in the Bank cash-in.
That was hinted at tonight on SmackDown, but I don’t think they’re hinting at any way that the cash-in will happen before Hell in a Cell by any means.
Still, there are over six weeks before this pay-per-view, so just like the other title feuds happening right now, there’s a chance we get rerouted in some other way with Carmella being the champion and setting up a triple threat between the three.
For anyone expecting anybody else other than Natalya, Naomi and Carmella to be in the mix, I think you’ll be disappointed. Tamina and Lana are off doing their own thing, Asuka is injured and no other NXT stars were called up from the women’s division, Charlotte Flair hasn’t been seen (and likely will be focusing on her father’s recovery) and Nikki Bella has yet to return while Becky Lynch is probably going to be the fall-girl for Natalya to pin leading up to this event.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos (c) vs. The New Day
I hate imagining that WWE will just go with a bunch of rematches, but history has shown that the easy option is more than often the one the creative team will go with.
This will be the fourth event in a row where The Usos and The New Day paired up for the tag title match without even including another team in the fight to spice things up.
Granted, we could see something with The Fashion Police and possibly even the addition of The Authors of Pain if they get called up, but I wouldn’t bank on that. Hoping to see something different when it’s much simpler to have The New Day invoke their rematch clause is a recipe for disappointment.
That being said, The Usos and The New Day did have one of the best matches on the SummerSlam card, so by this point, maybe the feud has justified being the Hell in a Cell match and could end up being the highlight of this entire event, so that’s something to look forward to!
POTENTIAL OTHER MATCHES
Randy Orton vs. Rusev
Unless, of course, that 30-second squash at SummerSlam and the minute and a half they spent building up the feud to that point were sufficient. Yeesh…what an awful job they’ve been doing with this, which was completely absent from SmackDown in even the slightest capacity this week.