Time then for Smackdown’s first PPV since the poorly received Battleground. The build has not been great but Hell in a Cell always has the potential for memorable moments and dangerous spots. Will WWE deliver to arrest the decline of Smackdown? Or will they fail to impress once again?
Gable & Benjamin v. The Hype Bros (Kick-off Show) – My Prediction: Gable & Benjamin win
The announcers remind us this is Shelton Benjamin’s first PPV for WWE since 2010 – a shame then that he is stuck in the preshow… The match is even in the early stages. Zack Ryder shows sportsmanship by extending a hand to Gable after a lock-up (my heel-turn senses are tingling!) Benjamin returns the favour but lures Ryder into a spinebuster – as Corey Graves puts it “that’s what sportsmanship gets you.” Gable and Benjamin then keep Ryder isolated. He eventually gets the hot tag and Mojo Rawley unloads on Gable with his usual hyped up power moves. A missed splash lets Gable back into it and Rawley survives a couple of near falls. The momentum is swinging back and forth quickly as the Hype Bros go for a Hype Ryder but Rawley can’t get Benjamin up. Gable and Benjamin then hit their finisher on Ryder (almost screwed up as Gable temporarily forgets to go for the pin) and they win the match. Plenty of seeds sown for further dissention between the Hype Bros but no implosion just yet.
Winners: Gable & Benjamin
Prediction count: 1/1 – off to a good start
Tag Team Title Hell in a Cell Match: The New Day (c) v. The Usos – My Prediction: The New Day win
The show kicks off with one of the most eagerly anticipated matches of the whole event. Big E and Xavier Woods represent the New Day with Kofi Kingston on the outside of the cell. This match is mental – fast-paced breath-taking action. A blow-by-blow commentary would end up being longer than Xavier Woods’ PhD thesis so here are some memorable moments:
- Within moments of the start of the match, we see one of the Usos punched in the face with a chain and superstars flying into the walls of the cell.
- The crowd starts chanting “This is awesome!” after about two minutes
- Trombones, a gong, and even cow bells appear as The New Day really take it to the Usos early on.
- Xavier Woods gets knocked off the top turnbuckle by a flying chair to the face.
- The New Day trap one of The Usos in the corner of the cell by threading kendo sticks through the cage.
- The Usos handcuff Woods and hang him over the ring post before giving him a vicious kendo stick beatdown.
- The Usos hit a double splash onto Woods with a chair for added impact to win one hell of a match.
Seriously, if you only watch one WWE match this week (or even this year) make it this one. Winners: The Usos
Prediction Count: 1/2 – the match was the real winner!
Rusev v. Randy Orton – My Prediction: Orton
Nine seconds in and no winner yet so we already have more of a match than their previous two encounters. After a slow start, Rusev gains control by slamming Randy into the ringside barricade. He keeps cutting off Orton’s comeback attempts until a missed splash in the corner results in the Bulgarian Brute’s face smashing into the ring post. Orton hits his trademark powerslam but keeps missing attempts at the Draping DDT and RKO. A huge superkick on the outside swings momentum back Rusev’s way until he draws a laugh from the crowd by shouting “Rusev Day!” before missing a dive from the second rope. Rusev goes for the accolade when Orton starts pounding his fists for the RKO and nearly gets it but The Viper escapes and hits an RKO for the win. Winner: Randy Orton
Prediction Count: 2/3 – WWE Creative, you fail to surprise me once again…
US Title Triple Threat Match: AJ Styles (c) v. Baron Corbin v. Tye Dillinger – My Prediction: AJ Styles
Tye Dillinger, on the basis of his win over Corbin last week on SD Live, successfully petitioned Daniel Bryan to add him to the match making this a triple threat. Despite the loss of champion’s advantage, my prediction remains Styles to win. Corbin immediately ducks out of the ring but Styles and Dillinger go after him. The alliance lasts until The Perfect Ten goes for a quick roll-up. The next few minutes is triple threat by numbers as each superstar takes a turn to lay outside the ring. Styles takes a nasty looking bump on the ring post, leaving Corbin in control. The Lone Wolf keeps chopping his opponents down with kicks and strikes. Styles soon mounts a comeback with kicks and strikes of his own. Tye Dillinger soon takes the upper hand on Styles and sets up for the Tye Breaker. A quick counter later and he is in the calf crusher only to be saved by Corbin. The pace is picking up now as each guy takes turns to pummel the other two in opposite corners. Tye almost wins as he falls into a pin on Corbin after a Pele Kick from Styles. Styles then hits the 450 splash on Corbin and a Phenomenal Forearm on Dillinger only to get kicked out of the ring by the Lone Wolf. He pins Dillinger to prove shortcuts do work after all. Winner: Baron Corbin
Prediction Count: 2/4 – Genuinely surprised by that one!
Women’s Championship Match: Natalya (c) v. Charlotte – My Prediction: Charlotte (with possible Carmella cash-in)
The match starts off with plenty of holds and reversals as the commentary team plays up the Hart-Flair heritage. Natalya soon zones in on Charlotte’s left knee, planning in advance for the Sharpshooter. Even with one leg hurt, Charlotte still gets some offence in, kicking from the ground and using the ropes for leverage. Natalya eventually locks on the Sharpshooter but Charlotte (who tapped out so quickly on the last episode on Smackdown) holds on and manages to fling Natalya into the corner. Having tried twice already, Charlotte hits a top rope moonsault to the outside (just about catching her opponent). Natalya then attacks the injured knee with a chair, drawing a disqualification. Strange finish. Winner by DQ: Charlotte
Prediction Count: 3/5 – no title change (or cash-in) but I’ll claim it!
The Fashion Files
Back to a huge pop after a few weeks off the air is everyone’s favourite non-competitive tag team. Nothing much happens except for a few jokes at the expense of Cesaro and his teeth and The Ascension. A new case has been opened for Tuesday: ‘Pulp Fashion’
WWE Championship Match: Jinder Mahal (c) v. Shinsuke Nakamura – My Prediction: Jinder to retain
My lord – they actually replayed Jinder’s ‘comedy’ from Smackdown (without the ‘rook the same’ comment at least) in a video package. The build has been poor and so is the start to the match. The crowd, chanting for Nakamura early on, soon start shouting ‘This is boring’ as Mahal applies an arm hold for what seems like an eternity. The Singhs run their usual interference, eating kicks and strikes from Nakamura and trying to interfere. One distraction too many causes the ref to eject them from ringside. Meanwhile, Nakamura hits Kinshasa but our referee is still dealing with the Singhs. A missed second Kinshasa in the corner leads to the Khalas and that’s is the grim predictability of it. Winner: Jinder Mahal
Prediction Count: 4/6 – sometimes, being right sucks.
Bobby Roode v. Dolph Ziggler – My Prediction: Bobby Roode
After Roode’s full entrance, Ziggler’s music is cut short and he literally just enters the ring – at least he has stopped mimicking… Apart from an early ‘Glorious!’ pop, the crowd is really quiet for this one and no surprise as the first half of the match passes with little of note. Dolph applies a sleeper hold a few times but it seems to be affecting me more than his opponent. Both guys attempt their finishers and signature moves but counter each other. Another bizarre finish ensues as Ziggler and Roode both reverse roll ups, grabbing the tights as they do so (I’ve never understood how that makes it more difficult to kick out). On the fourth roll through, Roode gets the cheeky win. Ziggler hits him with the Zig-Zag after the bell. This rivalry will continue. Can’t wait. Winner: Bobby Roode
Prediction Count: 5/7 – meh
Hell in a Cell Falls Count Anywhere Match: Shane McMahon v. Kevin Owens – My Prediction: Kevin Owens
Time for our oxymoronic main event. Shane jumps KO as he enters the cage and the bell rings. Owens soon escapes into the cell as he starts to take a beating. Shane joins him and orders the door to be locked. KO smashes Shane’s face into the cage wall in front of his kids (who seem more amused than horrified).
The pace slows down until KO misses a senton from the second rope. Shane tries to emulate Tyler Bate’s ‘Bip and Bop’ punch at one point but fails to do it with the same panache. The crowd call for tables and pop loudly when Owens pulls one out from under the ring. An insane spot follows as he tries a Cannonball from the apron to Shane but ends up smashing through the table he has just set up. McMahon then beats KO down with the broken table.
A trash can and a coast-to-coast dropkick follow but KO gets a foot on the rope (does that still work in a Falls Count Anywhere match?) Shane wants to go up top but the referee on the outside refuses to unlock the door. Some conveniently placed wire cutters under the ring soon solve that problem.
With the action now on the outside, we almost get our customary foreign announce table spot. KO lays Shane out on the table then decides to climb Hell in a Cell. He hesitates atop the ‘demonic structure’ too long though and gives Shane time to also climb up. A leg sweep, a body slam, and a Suplex later and ‘this is awesome.’ Corey Graves is freaking out on commentary as they keep hitting moves on the same section of the roof. Owens eventually hits a pop-up powerbomb. On the roof. Wow! The atmosphere is getting tenser by the second.
Owens eventually decides enough is enough and starts to climb down. Shane soon catches him and knocks him from the side of the cage to the announce table – we got that spot after all! And now McMahon is setting up for another one! He reclimbs the cell for the elbow drop and… misses!!
But wait – Sami Zayn pulled him KO out of the way! He then drags his long-time rival onto the Smackdown commissioner and KO wins. So Sami Zayn helps the guy who power-bombed him off the apron just two weeks ago and Kevin Owens needs help to beat a non-wrestler… WWE logic ladies and gentlemen! Winner: Kevin Owens
Prediction Count: 6/8 – that match went 40 minutes!
A decent show bookended by two delightfully vicious matches. The Usos-New Day match was match of the night in my opinion. The last match, while not a classic, had its high spots but was hurt by a screwy finish. That was a theme throughout the night as Bobby Roode and Natalya both ended their matches in dubious circumstances. Randy Orton and Jinder Mahal reminded us how stubborn WWE can be and Baron Corbin got the only big surprise of the night. That means all SD Live titles are held by heels – will we see any quick changes on Tuesday? Check Kayfabe Today to find out.