The last stop before WWE heads to Hell In A Cell this weekend was Tuesday night's SmackDown Live. The PPV named after the demonic structure has become a staple of WWE's calendar and this weekend we will witness two more matches take place inside the devil's playground. The men and women of SmackDown Live had two more hours to build to the show this week though, and this is everything that happened in relation to Sunday's PPV.
As it stands, only two matches will actually be taking place inside Hell In A Cell this Sunday. The Universal Title match for Raw, which makes sense, and Jeff Hardy versus Randy Orton on SmackDown Live, which doesn't. Nevertheless, The Enigma opened the show on Tuesday night to address his showdown with The Viper, and also to take on Shinsuke Nakamura. Hardy was about to finish off the United States Champion via a Swanton Bomb only to be shoved off the turnbuckle by Orton. Hardy showed fight, though, taking the steel chair The Apex Predator had grabbed and using it against him. He finally managed to deliver a Swanton Bomb, but to his HIAC opponent instead of Nakamura.
If Charlotte Flair versus Becky Lynch was the SmackDown Live match taking place inside HIAC then that would make a lot more sense. Unfortunately, it isn't, but it will still be a terrific showdown between the former best friends. The current SmackDown Women's Champion decided to prepare for Sunday's match by taking on Sonya Deville on Tuesday night. The win didn't come easy but Flair eventually made her opponent tap. What she didn't bargain for was a disguised Lynch lurking in the front row. The Lass Kicker hopped the barrier and synched in the Disarm-her on The Queen. Lock that in at HIAC and we could have a new champion.
Another more deserving candidate for SmackDown Live's HIAC match would be the WWE Championship match between AJ Styles and Samoa Joe. The rivalry is the most personal in WWE right now and that only continues to escalate with each passing week. Neither man was actually on SmackDown Live this week, but both delivered their closing statements via pre-recorded messages. The WWE Champion kept it simple, once again explaining that Joe had crossed a line by bringing his family into it. The Samoan Submission Machine was a little more creative. Joe told a "bedtime story" about his and Styles' feud so far, as if he were telling it to his opponent's children. The tale obviously ends with Joe becoming champ, at least in his eyes.
The WWE and Women's Championship matches at HIAC may have been in place for a while on SmackDown Live, but heading into this week's episode we still didn't know who will be taking on The New Day for the Tag Team Titles this Sunday. That's because a tournament to decide the number one contenders has been taking place, and the final happened this past Tuesday. The match featured Rusev Day taking on The Bar with the champs watching on at ringside. While Aiden English has inadvertently cost Rusev and Lana a few matches recently, this week he proved his loyalty to The Bulgarian Brute. English shoved Rusev out of the way of a Brogue Kick from Sheamus, taking the bullet himself. The Bulgarian then capitalized on the confusion and hit The Celtic Warrior with a Machka Kick for the win.
The main event was not what you might expect considering the sheer amount of talent on SmackDown Live right now. Brie Bella, competing in singles action for the first time in two and a half years, versus Maryse, who hasn't gone one-on-one with anyone since the summer of 2011. In all fairness, both of them have been pretty busy becoming moms. With their husbands Daniel Bryan and The Miz watching on at ringside, this one was guaranteed to end in chaos. Bella had Maryse in the Yes Lock about to tap when The A-Lister came to his wife's aid and dragged Brie off of her. Bryan, incensed by Miz putting hands on his wife, sprung to Bella's rescue and began to beat down The Awesome One. From there on in the match was never going to reach a natural conclusion. Even after Bryan accidentally took out Bella air still rallied and sent Miz and Maryse scurryong from the ring. All four competitors will need to keep cooler heads if there's going to be a winner in their mixed tag match at HIAC this Sunday.