Shane McMahon seeks revenge on Kevin Owens following his attack on his father, Vince McMahon. The New Day and The Uso’s also battle within the Cell, whilst Jinder Mahal defends the WWE Championship against Shinsuke Nakamura…
Xavier Woods & Big E (C) (with Kofi Kingston, “The New Day”)
Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso (“The Uso’s”)
Hell in a Cell match for the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship
(Winner via pinfall, and new champions: The Uso’s)
(Winner via pinfall: Randy Orton)
A.J. Styles (C)
Triple Threat for the WWE United States Championship
(Winner via pinfall, and new champion: Baron Corbin)
WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship
(Winner via disqualification: Charlotte Flair)
Jinder Mahal (C) (with the Singh Brothers)
(Winner via pinfall: Jinder Mahal)
(Winner via pinfall: Bobby Roode)
Hell in a Cell Match
(Winner via pinfall: Kevin Owens)
It has taken me some time to get to this show, and there are a few reasons for that. Firstly, the annual Hell in a Cell event has become one of my least favourite of the year, which brings me to my second reason: lack of heat, and no real justification for the use of the cell structure. Thirdly, WWE‘s weekly television has become so dire in most parts, that it’s now actually putting me off watching the pay-per-views. I could probably go on for a lot longer, if I’m honest.
Given the quality of talent at WWE‘s disposal, however, I feel a sense of duty to stay up to date with what they’re doing, and how they are performing. Without question, there are still some top quality matches being put on by this company, but they are fewer and farther between than in any other promotions I follow. That is due to many factors out of the control of the talents themselves though, and mostly to do with the road schedule, lawsuits, and so on.
That said, whilst I can be understanding of WWE talent working a safer style and format on weekly television, I take great issue with them being made to do the same on PPV. They might only sell for $9.99 a month now (or $4.99, given there’s two per month), but they are still the events that weekly TV build up to, and my personal feeling is that every match should be attempting to steal the show. That doesn’t happen enough anymore, and Hell In A Cell 2017 was yet more proof of that, and difficult to watch as a result.
I’d heard about the opening match for quite some time before I finally saw it, as New Day and The Uso’s battled yet again. I’d been told, and read, about how incredible a match up it was, and that I’d love it. Well, it was decent, but it wasn’t great, and truthfully I think it stands out more simply because of the mediocrity that surrounded it on this show.
Randy Orton, seemingly happy to be more entertaining on Twitter than on TV, put together another genuinely poor match, this time with Rusev. I cannot remember a longer stretch of time where Orton has put out such dull matches. Maybe it’s the guys he’s working with, but at this point, for a guy who has been prominent on PPV in 2017, Orton is having a bad year in my opinion. He’ll love the money he’s making, but even he can’t be happy, and he’s alluded to it himself in interviews by voicing his dissatisfaction with playing a babyface.
The underwhelming nature of this show even affected Charlotte and Natalya’s match for the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship. We know these women can have great matches (look at their NXT TakeOver match!), but suddenly they’re on a WWE PPV, and it all feels very… pedestrian? Is that harsh? I don’t think so. Quite frankly, how Smackdown has managed to mistreat its women’s division so much during the so-called “women’s revolution” defies belief, and I’m amazed WWE haven’t been called out on it more. How is Naomi a 2-time champ in 2017, but neither Becky Lynch nor Charlotte Flair have held the title in almost a year? Bear in mind, this brand only really gives one women’s storyline at a time currently, too. It’s incredible.
If I come across as unhappy, it’s because I am. I don’t expect brilliance from WWE, but I expect to be entertained. I feel they take goodwill from their fanbase for granted, as far as the latter goes.
Look at the WWE Championship contest between Jinder Mahal and Shinsuke Nakamura. Don’t get me wrong, Mahal’s title run helped turn me off weekly Smackdown television. I’m a firm believer that his possession of the championship has damaged its legitimacy, as has that of certain talents who Mahal has gone over, but WWE tries these experiements from time to time, and sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Mahal’s feud with Nakamura can fall into that last category too, never clicking, and genuinely producing dire championship matches. 2017 has not been kind to the WWE Championship, and I say that without any sort of bias.
Nakamura continues to be unimpressive. I never felt he deserved the reputation he gained in NXT, and I still believe that he is merely an entrance, and nothing more. I fully appreciate that he is a great wrestler, and has wonderful talent, but have I seen him use that in a WWE ring? No, I don’t believe I have, and I dare say he phones it in most of the time. I know that with 20-25 minutes, and a talented openent, Nakamura could put on a great contest, but he needs to realise that he won’t always be facing those kinds of opponents (Mahal, as an example!), yet still has to go out there each time and wow his audience. Right now, I feel it’s only his entrance that does that.
The main event, which was actually better than I’d expected given what I’d seen on the show prior to it, committed perhaps the biggest crime of the whole event: it went on far too long. This was a show that had already ignored the need for any real sense of urgency, and then hit us with a main event segment that was closer to the hour mark than it was the half hour mark. I’ll accept that in other companies, but not when I’m watching a silver-haired Shane McMahon face Kevin Owens.
To be fair to both men, I thought there were some nice spots here. This was a brawl, and was never going to be a wrestling contest. The action on top of the cell made me feel physically sick, as is often the case in these matches, and both men are to be commended for some of the spots they did.
The true highlight of the main event, however, was Sami Zayn turning heel. It was fun, it was unexpected, but it also took far too long to happen! What an incredibly drawn out sequence, as he saved Owens from the fall, made very little of it from ringside, then several minutes later cemented his turn by helping Owens pin McMahon. It just highlighted the lack of urgency to anything happening on the show and, if I’m honest, made me feel as though WWE are getting a bit self-indulgent with their product now, especially since they don’t have to have pre-set cut off times for the shows since the WWE Network came along.
Given my ratings for these shows are based entirely (for the most part), on the matches themselves, Hell In A Cell ranks higher than it probably should, given my lack of enjoyment when viewing it. Truth be told, the match concept is a tired one now, and has been from the moment WWE ran its first Hell In A Cell PPV (2009, was it?). They need to rest the gimmick, and inject a dose of excitement into their storylines, because right now the Smackdown content is simply boring, and that’s worse than actually being bad.
Match of the Night
The New Day vs. The Uso’s
You can watch this show via the WWE Network