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House shows point to a very different Rousey/Bliss match at Hell in a Cell

WWE’s love of the contractual rematch trope still seems like the main reason we’re getting Ronda Rousey vs. Alexa Bliss again at Hell in a Cell on Sept. 16 in San Antonio. Rousey pretty much toyed with Alexa en route to winning her first Raw Women’s Title in their first match at SummerSlam, and we’ve been given little reason to think the second bout would go any differently.

At least in-story. The current quick international tour the red brand is on gives us our first indication the next round will be different.

House shows are a tricky thing. They’re not strictly in continuity, but WWE is more than willing to use them that way when they want or need to. Wrestlers love them, because they get a lot more freedom to interact with crowds and tailor matches to fan reactions. One main thing they are is a place for the performers and the company to test out matches, gimmicks and angles.

So it could be Ronda, Bliss and the people calling the shots in gorilla position just don’t want to deliver a repeat of SummerSlam to the folks in England and Japan. But they probably don’t want to serve up a do-over on WWE Network and pay-per-view (PPV) in a few weeks, either. It seems reasonable, then, to look at the booking from London on Aug. 29 and Osaka on Aug. 31 as an indicator of what we’ll see at Hell in a Cell.

The outcome’s the same, of course. You won’t find many predicting Rowdy will lose her first televised title defense. But we could be getting a longer match, with more selling and even a few failed comebacks from the champ.

Wrestling Observer’s report on the show from London says that’s what O2 Arena saw, after Alexa faked an injury to get Rousey to turn her back. A few clips from Friday in Japan tell us the same thing (and that The Goddess is very popular in Osaka):

It all leads to an eventual successful comeback and an armbar submission.

Is this how things will play out in Texas in a little more than two weeks? Will we get an explanation for how Bliss smartened up, or will it be simple overconfidence that leads to Ronda falling for such a heeling 101 trick?

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