For the casual observer of WWE, it must be difficult to remember who’s holding championship gold. Creative seems to have been playing the Vince Russo card recently, switching titles quicker than Big Show switches his persona. As of writing, the women’s titles are held by Alexa Bliss in her sixteenth (or whatever) reign as champion on Raw. And over on SmackDown, Natalya “Natty” Neidhart is the current champion.
It’s a strange one for Natalya. Despite being a ubiquitous presence for nine years in WWE, this is only the second time she’s held a belt. Her first run was back in 2010, when it was then known as the marginally sexist Diva’s title. There’s always been an underlying feeling that no-one quite knows how to pitch her as a character. Her appearances on Total Divas seem to overshadow her wrestling work and on-screen personality. She’s had runs as a face and a heel, both with marginal success. They even gave her a farting gimmick once. What was that about?
Charlotte Flair on the other hand, seems to be in the exact opposite place. Her run as the number one heel and champion on Raw was spectacular. Some of her promos were pure goldust (not you, Dustin), and fine examples of how wrestlers can talk an audience into hating them. She was so good at being bad though that inevitably, the smarks of the world started cheering her. It made some sense then, that with her move to SmackDown, she also transitioned to becoming a face. But boy, do we miss that heel Queen Charlotte.
And so, we come to Hell In A Cell. In a fairly strong women’s division on SD, Charlotte is definitely the biggest draw. The WWE clearly recognised this, which is why she’s been booked in this title match. After her two-month absence due to her dad’s illness, it made sense to bring her back with a bang and face Natalya at a pay-per-view event.
— Charlotte Flair (@MsCharlotteWWE) September 20, 2017
With Ric Flair’s fragile health, it does seem unlikely that he’ll be used in building their feud before the PPV (as they have done in the past when these two women have faced each other). More likely, they’ll play up Natalya’s “crazy cat lady” gimmick they now seem to be going with, and Charlotte’s quest to win her first SD women’s title.
The match should be a good one too. Both women are at the peak of their wrestling games at the moment, and they’ll be able to put on a decent technical show for the fans. Will it sell tickets though? Probably not. It does feel like a match we’ve seen before, and despite Natalya’s experience, there’s still some questions over her becoming the women’s champion in the first place. It was certainly a surprise when she beat Naomi for the title at SummerSlam. But it’ll be even more of a surprise if she holds onto the belt at Hell In A Cell.
You see, Natty’s title reign has felt like a holding pattern. We strongly suspect the reason she won, was to drop the belt to Charlotte when she eventually returned. This makes sense, as Charlotte needs to validate her top-spot on the SD brand. A long title reign (which at the moment for the WWE, is probably about two house shows) would solidify her status as the new Queen of the roster.
Of course, there’s always the Carmella curve-ball that could be thrown into the equation. Will she cash in the Money In The Bank briefcase this time around? It’s a possibility, but unlikely. The briefcase seems to be doing great things for Carmella’s character, and it might be worth keeping that going for a while yet. Or at least until Ellsworth ruins it for her, by doing something doofus-like. The chinless doofus.
VERDICT: Charlotte Flair wins by submission