United States Championship Match - Kalisto vs Ryback
The WWE surely harbour hopes that the talented Luchador will transform into the next Rey Mysterio and consequently claw back much of the lucrative Latino audience, but beyond regular victories in the ring, very little real effort has been put into promoting Kalisto’s character to the masses. This is an issue across the board, which seems unfathomable when you consider the endless hours of content the company spew out on a weekly basis.
Alas, I digress. The key to this match is that it’s been relegated to the pre-show, and whilst we have witnessed title changes here previously, the babyface usually overcomes the odds to get the live crowd going early doors. Kalisto’s natural ability and NXT legacy should ensure that the marks in attendance at the AT&T Stadium are firmly behind the champion, and with this feud likely to continue over the next month or so, a best price of 8/11 on the diminutive Lucha Dragon to retain is the call here.
Divas Championship Triple Threat Match – Charlotte vs Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks
Sasha Banks could perhaps prove to be the exception – fans are invested in her but she has ostensibly toed the line between heel and face since becoming The Boss, whilst clearly belonging to the latter. In any case, she is due her moment in the sun but I’m not so sure it will come just yet.
Charlotte, the daughter of Ric Flair, has held the Divas Championship for several months now with some help from her father. Ric will be at ringside on Sunday and should play his part, but his primary role has been to turn Charlotte from a try-hard, naturally athletic babyface into the arrogant, dirtiest player in the game style heel that he epitomised himself for a number of decades. Whilst her reign has been relatively lengthy, this will be the first time Charlotte has defended the title against Sasha in a WWE (rather than NXT) ring, and it definitely feels as though there’s more juice to be wrung from their rivalry yet. In my mind, Becky is essentially there to take a pinfall from either of her opponents and it makes sense for Charlotte to sneak another victory, allowing the mutual hatred between her and Sasha to grow, culminating in one-on-one matches at the next pay-per-views (or WWE Network events, whatever they’re called now.)
Hidden amongst a blockbuster card including a multi-person ladder match, a no DQ bout between two of WWE’s most beloved and a Hell In A Cell match involving two of the biggest characters in their history, Sasha’s victory could well prove underwhelming, lost amongst the crunch of ladders, shrieking chainsaws and broken Spanish announce tables. Why not delay the inevitable and ensure that her coronation receives the appropriate adulation? Charlotte is the bet for me 9/4 – but let’s be honest, the WWE is rarely logical, so small stakes are advised.