Hell in a Cell definitely delivered and was the best Smackdown pay-per-view of the year. There wasn’t really an awful match on the card. Both Hell in a Cell matches are MOTY candidates. Jinder is still champion, and it looks like nobody’s going to beat him at any rate. Smackdown for once had a better pay-per-view than RAW. Every match had a purpose and that’s a first for Smackdown. Let’s wander through the hidden 10th circle of Hell with a match by match review of Hell in a Cell 2017.
Prediction Score: 7-1 (Oh so close to being perfect!)
PRESHOW: TAG TEAM MATCH: Team Shelton Gable (Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin) def. The Hype Bros (Mojo Rawley & Zack Ryder)
This preshow match was a lot better than expected. The highlight of the match was when Shelton Benjamin & Zack Ryder were going off. Team Shelton Gable showed plenty of aggression, and it was back and forth. Gable missed a moonsault, hit Mojo with a belly to belly and hit the moonsault anyway. Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin could be a decent team. The fans love Shelton and both of them are technically sound in-ring. Then some miscommunication happened, and it once again cost the Hype Bros the match. No heel turn from Zack Ryder, or anything.
TAG TEAM HELL IN A CELL MATCH FOR THE WWE SMACKDOWN LIVE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Usos def. The New Day to become the new Smackdown Live Tag Team Champions
I didn’t think this was gonna kick off the show, but wow. That was one hell of a match, and could arguably be the best match in this feud. The New Day came out and cut a promo selling on how dangerous the Cell is. They also said that while the Usos have the tag team division, The New Day hold the key to the Uso Penitentiary. Kofi started the match locked outside the cell. I expected all three members to be inside. Both teams immediately got weapons, but then threw them down and started brawling. Big E speared one of the Usos into the cell, and I could’ve felt that. Then the weapons came into play. Both teams just went to town on each other. The New Day then hit the Usos with two trombones, a cowbell and a gong. Then the Usos went on a kendo stick party. This showed the resiliency of Big E after the Usos took Xavier woods out. A nasty spot was when Big E slammed an Uso onto Xavier woods, who fell just in time to turn it into a backbreaker. There were some near falls sprinkled in this match, but it was mostly a car crash. The New Day used Kendo sticks to literally trap one Jey Uso in the corner of the cell. Xavier threw a piece of busted trombone that knocked one of the kendo sticks out of place that helped Jey get free. Another monstrous looking spot was Jey had Big E on his shoulders, then Jimmy hit Big E with a suicide dive. The Usos then handcuffed Xavier woods to a post and then destroyed him with kendo sticks. Big E immediately went on a tear, destroying any Uso in his path, but that wasn’t enough to retain. Just when it seems that the Usos have won, Xavier comes in to break up the pin. Xavier woods kept on fighting, despite still being handcuffed. Ultimately, the Usos hit a splash onto Xavier with a chair onto Xavier and the Usos are 5 time champs. I believe that this match is the end of the feud, despite the New Day having a rematch clause. If this feud keeps going, I’m not sure if it could top the brutality of this match.
Randy Orton def. Rusev
This is the match that should have happened at SummerSlam. The match started out early with Orton trying to hit an RKO before Rusev started to take control with power moves. Orton had a little comeback offense, but Rusev got right back to keeping the Viper grounded. Rusev went for a corner splash and ate the turnbuckle for dinner (don’t worry, he didn’t lose any teeth), before Orton started to come back with strikes. Orton went for an RKO, Rusev fought our, then Orton hit a powerslam. Rusev tried to hit the accolade, but Randy rolled out of the ring. Rusev went for the accolade again, then Randy countered it with and RKO from out of nowhere for the win. Randy won this feud, and Rusev is buried once again.
WWE UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Baron Corbin def. Tye Dillinger and AJ Styles to become the new United States Champion
FINALLY BARON CORBIN IS A CHAMPION IN WWE! I’m so happy that Corbin is getting a push. He’ll do great things and be a top heel on Smackdown. Tye Dillinger was added to the match in the preshow, and if it were possible, Baron Corbin’s theme got even more badass thanks to lyrics. The match started out with Tye and AJ teaming up on Baron Corbin. Tye and AJ started to hit the ground running, quickly trying to pin one another. Corbin came back into the match and started to take control and literally chucked AJ Styles across the ring. All throughout the match fans were doing the “Where’s your briefcase” and I hate that chant almost as much as the “10” chant. Corbin started to take the Perfect 10 apart after throwing AJ into the ring post. Corbin then takes AJ apart outside the ring before facing a rejuvenated Dillinger. Styles tried to hit a springboard move but immediately got popped by Corbin. Later on in the match, Tye Dillinger and AJ Styles started to go at it, and Tye wound up in the calf crusher. Then each man took turns hitting corner splashes on each other, and all men went down. Tye came within a hair of winning the US belt. AJ hit the springboard 450 but Tye broke it up. AJ hit Tye with the Phenomenal Forearm, but then Corbin came from out of nowhere, threw AJ out, and won the United States Championship. I think that a feud between AJ Styles and Baron Corbin would be great, and if Corbin wins the feud, that could propel him into the main event.
WWE SMACKDOWN LIVE WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Charlotte Flair def. Natalya via DQ, therefore Natalya is still Smackdown Women’s Champion
The commentators were making a huge point on this “Hart-Flair” rivalry. This match marked Natalya’s 44th pay-per-view match, which is the most all-time by a WWE woman’s wrestler. This match started with both women going for their finishers before Natalya targeted Charlotte’s knee. Charlotte tried to fight valiantly with only one good let, but Natty quickly got back to keeping Charlotte grounded. Charlotte started to fight again on her bad leg. Natalya hit a nice spinning sit-out powerbomb but it wasn’t enough to retain. Natalya locked in the Sharpshooter and it looks like Charlotte is done for before launching Natty into the turnbuckle. Charlotte hit a moonsault to the outside and it was amazing. Then Natalya hit Charlotte with a chair and proceeded to go to town on Charlotte’s knee. While this match ended in DQ, this is just the beginning of their feud. This was a pretty good match, and their next match should be even better.
The Return of the Fashion Files
This sketch wasn’t as funny as previous episodes, but this served as a teaser of what’s to come. I’m happy Breezango are back, and the Ascension were pretty funny. The Ascension wanted to be friends with Breezango, but got roasted instead. Then the Fashion Police received a briefcase and it teased the new season of the Fashion files, and it’s spoofing Pulp Fiction. It’ll be pretty funny.
WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Jinder Mahal def. Shinsuke Nakamura to retain the WWE Championship
The one title fans wanted to change hands didn’t. Jinder Mahal survived yet again thanks to Singh Brother shenanigans. What frustrates me is that Shinsuke Nakamura, one of the biggest names in wrestling, lost to 3MB alumnus Jinder Mahal not once but twice. This match played out similarly to their SummerSlam match. The match started out with Nakamura using his knees to get control before Mahal used his power to hold Nakamura down. This was a common trend throughout. The Singhs distracted Nakamura before they got ejected. Nakamura hit a Kinshasa, but Jinder grabbed the rope. Nakamura tried to hit another Kinshasa, but Jinder ducked, hit the Khallas, and won the match. This much better than their SummerSlam match, but it wasn’t as good as it should have been. Their styles don’t mesh well, Jinder is very methodical, & Nakamura is all about kneeing people to death. For once Jinder won a match clean. There were some shenanigans, but there weren’t any in the finish. I have no idea how Nakamura is going to rebound from this. The man got clean wins over John Cena & Randy Orton, but he can’t beat Jinder Mahal. This was a good win for Jinder Mahal, and he’ll get a hero’s welcome when WWE go on tour in India.
Bobby Roode def. Dolph Ziggler
I love that the Smackdown announcer said “the GLORIOUS Bobby Roode!” Dolph Ziggler promised an “elaborate entrance”, which was no music at all. I’m upset that the fans started a “CM Punk” chant during Bobby Roode’s match. I think that’s because this got the pee break spot. This match started aggressive, with both men being very aggressive with punches in the corner. Then Dolph started to take control with a sleeper hold before escaping with a side slam. Roode went for the Glorious DDT but got back body dropped for his troubles. They tried to hit their big moves but they countered each other. Then there was a series of roll-ups, then Bobby Roode won. He couldn’t celebrate, because Ziggler immediately hit a Zig-Zag. This match is just the start to their feud, and I’m looking forward to seeing what direction they take this feud, and whether or not Ziggler stays.
FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE HELL IN A CELL MATCH: Kevin Owens def. Shane McMahon
Kevin Owens cut a promo during the show promising to send Shane McMahon to Hell, and it sells that Kev-Kev is going to annihilate Shane McMahon so he can gain some retribution. Shane attacked KO before the refs had a chance to close the cell. After that flurry from Shane, KO immediately took control and mocked Shane in front of his kids. What a heel. For the most part, it was all Kev-Kev. Owens went for a Swanton Bomb, but Shane had his knees up. This provided Shane an opportunity to come back. He hit the Shane O’Mac Shuffle and even a DDT. Shane once again tried to hit a shooting star press and missed. Owens hit a frog splash, and tried to hit a pop-up powerbomb. That powerbomb got countered into a triangle choke, and KO powerbombed Shane onto the steps in order to escape. Shane hit a Coast-to-Coast and then looked to escape the cell. Once they’re outside, Kevin laid Shane out on a table and began to climb the cell. Kev-Kev began to contemplate whether or not to jump off, Shane began to climb and the two men brawled on the roof. They hit scoop slams and suplexes on the roof and I’m surprised the roof didn’t cave in. Kev-Kev did hit a pop-up powerbomb on the roof, but the roof didn’t cave. Kevin tried to climb down, then Shane knocked KO off of the side of the cell, and through the announce table. Shane cleared off another table and climbed back up the cell. Shane once again jumped to his death and Sami Zayn turned heel and pulled Kev-Kev off of the announce table. I mean that’s one way to keep him relevant. He’s honestly been subject to bad booking and I hope that a heel Sami Zayn can be fresh. I will say that was a great swerve on WWE’s part. This was a great hell in a cell match, and certainly the best cell match of Shane’s career. This exceeded expectations and is going to be a candidate for Match of the Year. I wonder what the future entails for KO and for Shane O’Mac. If Kevin Owens goes to RAW, I want a title match with Brock Lesnar to be in his immediate future.
Match of the Night
This is so hard, but it comes down to the two Hell in a Cell matches. Both matches were brutal car crashes, and some of the best Hell in a Cell matches of all time. If I had to pick one of them, I’d pick the main event. That was one of the best Hell in a Cell matches I’ve ever seen. It had it all, weapons, brawling, going to the roof of the cell, and someone going off of the cell. There wasn’t a dull moment in this match, and we got 2 crazy Shane spots in one match (the shooting star press and jumping off the roof). Then unexpectedly, Sami Zayn saved his former best friend, and let Shane plummet to his doom. KO & Shane put on a great match, and the only way I see this feud continuing, is with a Survivor Series elimination match, with both men being captains.
Hell in a Cell 2017 was a fantastic show. The Cell matches were perfect disasters. I think that the Usos-New Day feud will be a feud that revolutionizes the tag division in WWE, similar to how the Edge & Christian-Dudleys-Hardys feud revolutionized tag team wrestling during the Attitude Era. Baron Corbin, despite the rumors of him being in the “dog house”, finally won his first championship in WWE, and I can’t wait to see his feud with AJ Styles. KO & Shane put on a fantastic performance in the main event, and it may be the best main event of the year. I would rate Hell in a Cell at a 9 out of 10. Like I said, none of the matches were pointless. There was great wrestling and storytelling throughout the show. I hope that Smackdown can continue this trend of great pay-per-views.