WWE Hell In A Cell 2019: The Return Of Ronda Rousey And 5 Potentially Huge Surprises

WWE: Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch
WWE.com

WWE Hell in a Cell 2019 is an important event for WWE as it marks the company’s final pay-per-view before it begins a brand new era for Raw and SmackDown.

SmackDown has now transitioned to Fridays on FOX, with an audience that’s nearly twice as big as it was on USA Network, while Raw has morphed into WWE’s new B-show as it will remain on USA Network in front of a much smaller audience and likely with significantly less star power. The expectation is that WWE will load up the blue brand with most of WWE’s biggest stars during next week’s highly anticipated draft, and advertisements certainly suggest that is the case. So, rest assured that–as evidenced by the surprising debut of Cain Velasquez–WWE is feeling the pressure to give SmackDown the star power it needs to create compelling programming on FOX but also ensure that Raw isn’t totally shortchanged during the draft.

At Hell in a Cell, WWE fans will learn a lot about the future direction of both Raw and SmackDown as the outcomes of the show’s biggest matches will likely hint at future plans for the stars involved in those bouts. As has been demonstrated at several recent pay-per-views, like at Clash of Champions when Seth Rollins rather easily defeated Braun Strowman, or on SmackDown when Velasquez shockingly attacked Brock Lesnar, that will probably result in WWE pulling out all the stops and executing a few more major swerves at Hell in a Cell to pave the way for the company’s new-look roster in this post-SmackDown-on-USA world.

What shockers might we see inside the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento? Here are five potentially huge surprises fans could witness at Hell in a Cell 2019.

Bray Wyatt Fails To Beat Seth Rollins

The overwhelming consensus is that Bray Wyatt, competing in his first world title match as “The Fiend,” is an absolute lock to defeat Seth Rollins and become Universal Champion.

But what if he isn’t?

While Wyatt has all the makings of WWE’s next big part-time draw, WWE has made a bad habit out of rushing stars like Wyatt into the main event picture only to pull the rug out from underneath them once they get there. Wyatt would have benefited much more from a slow and gradual rise to the world title picture, but now that he’s there, this match could make or break him. If he loses the bout or fails to win in any way, shape or form (even with a cheap finish), that will be quite detrimental to his supposed standing as one of the most dominant and captivating acts in WWE. This would make it seem like a no-brainer that he will win at Hell in a Cell, but recent history suggests that won’t be the case.

One need not look any further than the curious case of Strowman, who also appeared to be a lock to become Universal Champion on several occasions. Of course, Strowman still hasn’t won a world title, and there’s speculation that he may never will. Sound familiar? Because the same may very well happen to Wyatt, who–much like Strowman–has his limitations as a character and may not be someone who WWE wants to carry Raw’s top title.

Sheamus Returns

Sheamus hasn’t been seen on WWE programming since the Raw after WrestleMania 35, but the former WWE Champion is reportedly set to return soon despite battling spinal stenosis, which is a potential career-ending condition.

Ever since The Bar was broken up shortly after Mania, there has been concern that Sheamus might never return to the ring, which would explain why his tag team with Cesaro came to an end. But the latest news on Sheamus, who has gotten himself into phenomenal shape, seems to be encouraging, and there is reason to believe that he will be back on WWE programming as soon as WWE finds an interesting storyline for him. While that is easier said than done, Sheamus is valuable to WWE no matter what role he’s in, having excelled as an upper midcarder, tag team performer, main eventer and world champion in the past.

It hasn’t been made clear if WWE has any concrete creative plans for Sheamus, but he could instantly slide in to a major storyline, whether on Raw or SmackDown. WWE may ultimately want to hold off on Sheamus’ seemingly inevitable return until the 2019 WWE Draft, but his return–if well executed–could have a much bigger impact if it takes place at Hell in a Cell and reinserts him into a marquee angle.

Shane McMahon Shows Up Again Anyway

During the initial stages of Kevin Owens’ ongoing babyface run, it was reported that his feud with Shane McMahon would lead to the end of McMahon as a regular on-screen performer.

When Owens defeated McMahon on Friday’s SmackDown, it appeared as if WWE finally put an end to McMahon’s reign of terror. But this is WWE, which is notorious for quickly rendering “firing” storylines completely pointless and may ultimately do the same with the boss’s son. Owens appears to be well on his to becoming the next “Stone Cold” Steve Austin-like babyface, especially after seemingly writing McMahon off TV after McMahon’s push became infurating for fans and “infuriating” for WWE’s own superstars. Owens’ win on SmackDown gives WWE its best opportunity yet to move on from Shane appearing on TV regularly once and for all, but any fan who’s watched WWE consistently over the years know that McMahon isn’t really gone until he’s gone.

Per the stipulation of the match, McMahon’s loss means he’s fired from WWE, but because WWE “firings” almost never last, this may be yet another case of WWE ignoring its own storyline stipulations. With SmackDown now on FOX and in front of a much bigger audience, it’s hard to envision WWE pushing Shane as one of the centerpieces of its A-show when the blue brand will probably have so much more talent to build around, including the likes of Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar.

But then again, maybe it’s not. So, perhaps McMahon will make his presence felt at Hell in a Cell anyway.

Daniel Bryan Turns Heels And Joins Forces With Rowan And Harper

What if everything going on between Erick Rowan and Daniel Bryan has all been a ruse?

At least on the surface, it looks like Bryan is turning babyface to join forces with Reigns in order to take on Rowan and the recently returning Luke Harper, but over the course of the past year, Bryan has demonstrated that he’s one of the best and most sadistic heels in all of pro wrestling. So, we have to take into consideration the very real possibility that Bryan has been working with Rowan all along, that he’s still a heel and that he will be at the forefront of a newly incarnated version of the Wyatt Family. Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time a heel pulled a dirty trick to try to fool everyone–see Owens “joining” The New Day” earlier this year–and it wouldn’t be the last.

Although Bryan makes for a fantastic babyface, he’s equally as great as a heel, and he would be an uber-villain if he temporarily united with Reigns only to ultimately betray him. WWE needs more main event caliber heels, and instantly turning Bryan back to the dark side would cement him as a loathed antagonist, one who could work in the main event picture either on Raw or SmackDown, depending upon where he ends up in the 2019 draft.

The Return Of Ronda Rousey

Paul Heyman has a well-known working relationship with Ronda Rousey, which may be one of many factors that could lead to the return of the former UFC star and WrestleMania main eventer.

There has been a lot of speculation within WWE that Rousey is nearing a return to the company, which has been fueled by reports that FOX officials want Rousey on SmackDown. Regardless of where she ends up, multiple reports suggest Rousey will be back sooner rather than later, and it makes sense for WWE to bring her back soon to Raw as it battles Monday Night Football or to SmackDown, which will be under a lot of pressure to deliver strong ratings on FOX. Rousey is considered by many to be WWE’s biggest current draw, and there’s no arguing that the women’s division just hasn’t been the same without her.

While it isn’t 100% certain that Rousey will ever return to WWE, the stage is set for her to do just that at Hell in a Cell, which will play host to a pair of blockbuster women’s matches that Rousey could easily get involved in. WWE is likely going to throw out all sorts of bells and whistles due to increased competition from AEW and increased expectations on FOX, and Rousey is a high-profile star who could make up for WWE’s lack of mainstream star power at the top of the card.

Thus, Rousey’s once seemingly inevitable return–which isn’t a definite these days–could finally happen at Hell in a Cell.

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WWE Hell in a Cell 2019 is an important event for WWE as it marks the company’s final pay-per-view before it begins a brand new era for Raw and SmackDown.

SmackDown has now transitioned to Fridays on FOX, with an audience that’s nearly twice as big as it was on USA Network, while Raw has morphed into WWE’s new B-show as it will remain on USA Network in front of a much smaller audience and likely with significantly less star power. The expectation is that WWE will load up the blue brand with most of WWE’s biggest stars during next week’s highly anticipated draft, and advertisements certainly suggest that is the case. So, rest assured that–as evidenced by the surprising debut of Cain Velasquez–WWE is feeling the pressure to give SmackDown the star power it needs to create compelling programming on FOX but also ensure that Raw isn’t totally shortchanged during the draft.

At Hell in a Cell, WWE fans will learn a lot about the future direction of both Raw and SmackDown as the outcomes of the show’s biggest matches will likely hint at future plans for the stars involved in those bouts. As has been demonstrated at several recent pay-per-views, like at Clash of Champions when Seth Rollins rather easily defeated Braun Strowman, or on SmackDown when Velasquez shockingly attacked Brock Lesnar, that will probably result in WWE pulling out all the stops and executing a few more major swerves at Hell in a Cell to pave the way for the company’s new-look roster in this post-SmackDown-on-USA world.

What shockers might we see inside the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento? Here are five potentially huge surprises fans could witness at Hell in a Cell 2019.

Bray Wyatt Fails To Beat Seth Rollins

The overwhelming consensus is that Bray Wyatt, competing in his first world title match as “The Fiend,” is an absolute lock to defeat Seth Rollins and become Universal Champion.

But what if he isn’t?

While Wyatt has all the makings of WWE’s next big part-time draw, WWE has made a bad habit out of rushing stars like Wyatt into the main event picture only to pull the rug out from underneath them once they get there. Wyatt would have benefited much more from a slow and gradual rise to the world title picture, but now that he’s there, this match could make or break him. If he loses the bout or fails to win in any way, shape or form (even with a cheap finish), that will be quite detrimental to his supposed standing as one of the most dominant and captivating acts in WWE. This would make it seem like a no-brainer that he will win at Hell in a Cell, but recent history suggests that won’t be the case.

One need not look any further than the curious case of Strowman, who also appeared to be a lock to become Universal Champion on several occasions. Of course, Strowman still hasn’t won a world title, and there’s speculation that he may never will. Sound familiar? Because the same may very well happen to Wyatt, who–much like Strowman–has his limitations as a character and may not be someone who WWE wants to carry Raw’s top title.

Sheamus Returns

Sheamus hasn’t been seen on WWE programming since the Raw after WrestleMania 35, but the former WWE Champion is reportedly set to return soon despite battling spinal stenosis, which is a potential career-ending condition.

Ever since The Bar was broken up shortly after Mania, there has been concern that Sheamus might never return to the ring, which would explain why his tag team with Cesaro came to an end. But the latest news on Sheamus, who has gotten himself into phenomenal shape, seems to be encouraging, and there is reason to believe that he will be back on WWE programming as soon as WWE finds an interesting storyline for him. While that is easier said than done, Sheamus is valuable to WWE no matter what role he’s in, having excelled as an upper midcarder, tag team performer, main eventer and world champion in the past.

It hasn’t been made clear if WWE has any concrete creative plans for Sheamus, but he could instantly slide in to a major storyline, whether on Raw or SmackDown. WWE may ultimately want to hold off on Sheamus’ seemingly inevitable return until the 2019 WWE Draft, but his return–if well executed–could have a much bigger impact if it takes place at Hell in a Cell and reinserts him into a marquee angle.

Shane McMahon Shows Up Again Anyway

During the initial stages of Kevin Owens’ ongoing babyface run, it was reported that his feud with Shane McMahon would lead to the end of McMahon as a regular on-screen performer.

When Owens defeated McMahon on Friday’s SmackDown, it appeared as if WWE finally put an end to McMahon’s reign of terror. But this is WWE, which is notorious for quickly rendering “firing” storylines completely pointless and may ultimately do the same with the boss’s son. Owens appears to be well on his to becoming the next “Stone Cold” Steve Austin-like babyface, especially after seemingly writing McMahon off TV after McMahon’s push became infurating for fans and “infuriating” for WWE’s own superstars. Owens’ win on SmackDown gives WWE its best opportunity yet to move on from Shane appearing on TV regularly once and for all, but any fan who’s watched WWE consistently over the years know that McMahon isn’t really gone until he’s gone.

Per the stipulation of the match, McMahon’s loss means he’s fired from WWE, but because WWE “firings” almost never last, this may be yet another case of WWE ignoring its own storyline stipulations. With SmackDown now on FOX and in front of a much bigger audience, it’s hard to envision WWE pushing Shane as one of the centerpieces of its A-show when the blue brand will probably have so much more talent to build around, including the likes of Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar.

But then again, maybe it’s not. So, perhaps McMahon will make his presence felt at Hell in a Cell anyway.

Daniel Bryan Turns Heels And Joins Forces With Rowan And Harper

What if everything going on between Erick Rowan and Daniel Bryan has all been a ruse?

At least on the surface, it looks like Bryan is turning babyface to join forces with Reigns in order to take on Rowan and the recently returning Luke Harper, but over the course of the past year, Bryan has demonstrated that he’s one of the best and most sadistic heels in all of pro wrestling. So, we have to take into consideration the very real possibility that Bryan has been working with Rowan all along, that he’s still a heel and that he will be at the forefront of a newly incarnated version of the Wyatt Family. Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time a heel pulled a dirty trick to try to fool everyone–see Owens “joining” The New Day” earlier this year–and it wouldn’t be the last.

Although Bryan makes for a fantastic babyface, he’s equally as great as a heel, and he would be an uber-villain if he temporarily united with Reigns only to ultimately betray him. WWE needs more main event caliber heels, and instantly turning Bryan back to the dark side would cement him as a loathed antagonist, one who could work in the main event picture either on Raw or SmackDown, depending upon where he ends up in the 2019 draft.

The Return Of Ronda Rousey

Paul Heyman has a well-known working relationship with Ronda Rousey, which may be one of many factors that could lead to the return of the former UFC star and WrestleMania main eventer.

There has been a lot of speculation within WWE that Rousey is nearing a return to the company, which has been fueled by reports that FOX officials want Rousey on SmackDown. Regardless of where she ends up, multiple reports suggest Rousey will be back sooner rather than later, and it makes sense for WWE to bring her back soon to Raw as it battles Monday Night Football or to SmackDown, which will be under a lot of pressure to deliver strong ratings on FOX. Rousey is considered by many to be WWE’s biggest current draw, and there’s no arguing that the women’s division just hasn’t been the same without her.

While it isn’t 100% certain that Rousey will ever return to WWE, the stage is set for her to do just that at Hell in a Cell, which will play host to a pair of blockbuster women’s matches that Rousey could easily get involved in. WWE is likely going to throw out all sorts of bells and whistles due to increased competition from AEW and increased expectations on FOX, and Rousey is a high-profile star who could make up for WWE’s lack of mainstream star power at the top of the card.

Thus, Rousey’s once seemingly inevitable return–which isn’t a definite these days–could finally happen at Hell in a Cell.

I'm a contributor for the SportsMoney team at Forbes, where I'll examine the interesting effect that sports have on business...and vice versa. I graduated from Louisiana...