The WWE Hell in a Cell pay-per-view (PPV) aired last night (Oct. 8) from the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. You can find all the action from the show at the live blog here.
Coming into this blood feud Hell in a Cell match between Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon, there were two characters to watch. It was Shane McMahon going to extremes to defend his family and Kevin Owens finding his darkest side to put a motivated Shane down.
It turns out, it’s about a third man as well: Sami Zayn
The first 10 minutes of the match didn’t use the Cell stipulation much at all. It felt like an in-ring match that happened to be in a cage. Given how much these two hated each other, this didn’t seem to fit. But with time it got where it needed to be.
The match made its way outside of the Cell when Shane McMahon used some bolt cutters and took some sweet time cutting the lock. (Do they practice things like that?) When the fight left the Cell, Kevin Owens was able to unleash on his foe. Shane ended up on an announce table and Kevin Owens went to the top of the Cell for a possible splash through the table. However, he had second thoughts while up there. And as the devil and angel argued on his shoulders, Shane recovered and climbed to the top to fight his nemesis.
This led to about 5-10 minutes of my heart in my throat. Every slam, powerbomb, senton on the top, I worried that cage was going to give. Of course, the top of the Cell is well enforced, but it’s just scary to see men fight that high. It’s part of the match and adds to the danger of the cage. But I can’t say I wasn’t relieved when Owens decided he didn’t want any of it any more and decided to climb down.
As he climbed down, Shane followed and as they were maybe half way down, he hit Kevin’s head into the Cell. Kevin fell off and crashed through the table.
After all the talk of Kevin being vicious, it was Shane who was the one who was willing to go to that dark place in the end. Instead of just covering Kevin Owens, and he could have to take the victory, he set up KO on another announce table, climbed to the top, and went to drop an elbow.
Enter Sami Zayn.
The Underdog from the Underground ran out and pulled his enemy Kevin off the table, leaving Shane to plow through himself. Then, he put Kevin on top of the injured Shane McMahon and ordered the referee to count Kevin victorious.
This is a great turn of events. Sami Zayn hasn’t been doing well on SmackDown Live as the man who does things the right way. And every week he has to watch his long time enemy, a man he has so much history with, be a terrible human and get rewarded for it. World titles. Main events. Marquee matches. Kevin has made a great living by being a terrible man.
So despite telling Kevin just two weeks ago that when he finds success, he’s going to do things his way, Sami’s decided that maybe turning to the dark side is the way to go. Though it certainly wasn’t a decision he made lightly. The look on Zayn’s face after the fact portrayed a combination of shock and disgust in himself.
Perhaps he’ll have a different explanation on Tuesday. But it’s an intriguing turn that was very well done and can be an excellent next chapter in the Owens/Zayn relationship.
Brutal in the PG Cell
Hell in a Cell matches are tough to deliver nowadays since we’re in a PG era. But the New Day and the Usos did a fantastic job making it seem completely brutal within those parental guideline restraints.
Both teams delivered brutal spots. The New Day used kendo sticks to trap Jey Uso in the corner while they went and picked apart Jimmy. It was a spot that looked sadistic without actually being such.
But it was the Usos who truly unleashed their vicious sides in the cage. Every time they had either Big E or Woods isolated, they seemed to thrive on it. They were eager to destroy the man.
They even handcuffed Xavier Woods, hung him up on the ring post, and unloaded on the X Man with kendo sticks. It was a spot that could make the viewer squirm and still stay within the confines of what they are allowed to do.
Both Big E and Xavier Woods had fantastic moments. After the Usos unleashed that kendo stick flurry on Woods, Big E inserted himself and the big man was ANGRY. And Angry Big E is a sight to behold. We often see him with an almost perverse smile shaking his hips which makes focused, enraged E a sight to behold and something to take seriously.
Xavier also had his moment before taking the loss. Still handcuffed from earlier, he was again alone at the mercy of the Usos. They tried to unleash the kendo sticks on him again, but that just fired Woods up. (Xavier Woods’ in ring stock has risen greatly during this series of matches.) He delivered headbutts to his foes but the numbers were too much for him. He ended up receiving the double splash sandwiched by a pair of chairs and was pinned.
It was once again a great match put on by those two teams. The Usos walking out on top fits given they talk up their Uso Penitentiary. And while the New Day showed they can totally get vicious when need be, it’s not who they are like the Usos.
This was another great bout between these teams. You shouldn’t be surprised.
Jinder Mahal defeated Shinsuke Nakamura to retain his WWE title. It was a match that happened.
On paper, nothing was wrong per se. Jinder worked over a body part. The Singh Brothers got involved. The Singh Brothers got ejected. Jinder was still able to capitalize on an earlier injury to retain his title.
But it didn’t work because of what came before it. And that was a subpar feud with a mediocre champion. The feud consisted of Jinder making fun of Nakamura’s faces, being racist, and some Singh Brother crap.
And then there’s Mahal himself, who just isn’t getting it done as champ. You don’t have to put on 5-star matches to be a great champion. You can have a great personality or a charisma that connects with the crowd. Mahal is lacking all of that given how fast he was elevated to the main event from jobber status.
Because of the combination of the poor build and how mediocre the champion has been, this had little heat going in. It’s tough to care about the match when they haven’t given you anything to care about.
As for the challenger, at best, this feud did nothing to help Shinsuke. At worst, he looks worse coming out of it. While you could easily argue that his roll out on the main roster wasn’t that good to begin with because of way too even feuds with Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin, this only served to make Nakamura feel less important. Hell, the man can’t defeat Jinder even when the Singh Brothers don’t interfere.
Welp, onto the next one.
New US Champion
WWE added Tye Dillinger to the US title match between AJ Styles and Baron Corbin match last minute. While it would have made a bit more sense to do it on SmackDown instead of waiting until tonight, it was absolutely the right move.
Because this was a superb match.
Much of the early portion was showcasing Corbin’s size and viciousness. He threw around and then grounded down the smaller competitors. AJ Styles and Tye Dillinger would have their moments going one on one and they certainly delivered.
After plenty of exciting nearfalls, Corbin would have his moment. Despite complaining about this match not being fair to him, he used the change to his advantage. Styles hit the Phenomenal Forearm on Tye but then the Lone Wolf tossed the champ out of the ring and made the cover himself, reaping the rewards from Styles’ work.
It looks like if there was a punishment of Baron Corbin, it was short lived. Now hopefully, we can get the Phenomenal One back in the WWE title picture.
All the Rest:
Do it again later: Natalya retained her title against Charlotte when she used a chair to get herself disqualified. The match was a good ol’ work the body part match and it was well executed. Nattie targeted Charlotte’s left leg the entire time and the Queen sold it well throughout.
By the looks of it, they want to extend this feud for more than one match and this was a good first chapter to the story they’re telling.
Worst. Rusev Day. Ever.: Randy Orton defeated Rusev with an RKO OUTTA NO WHERE. But let’s be serious. The only way an RKO is surprising at this point is if he hits it after setting up for it.
Orton is at the point of his career that he will put guys over, but unfortunately, he can’t put everyone over or it loses its effect. Rusev is the victim of that. After Orton dropped three to Mahal and one to Nakamura, this was him getting built back up. Of course the argument people are going to make is if Mahal deserved it over Rusev.
Glorious: Dolph Ziggler came out for his match against Roode with no entrance music, emphasizing that it’s about what you can do inside the ring instead of a flashy entrance. Despite his claim to be a better wrestler, he tried to beat Roode by holding a handful of tights. Roode decided turnabout would be fair play and grabbed a handful of tights for his win. Immediately after the match, Ziggler hit a Zig Zag.
The crowd was dead for most of the match. It’s possible that’s because it was positioned right after the WWE title match, which left the crowd pretty quiet. This match didn’t do much to get them back.
FASHION FILES: The Fashion Files finally returned and absence surely made the heart grow fonder. By the looks of it, not only do the Ascension want to be Breezango’s friends (poor Ascension) but there’s a new case! Or the opening of an old case? Who cares, they’re back!
Kickoff: The team of Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable defeated the Hype Bros as Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley are still struggling to get on the same page. It was a really fun tag match to warm up the crowd and fans at home.
This show started out really strong, In fact, I was digging pretty much everything up to the third hour. Sure the Orton/Rusev match wasn’t great, but it happened to be sandwiched between the two best matches of the night (New Day/Usos and US title match). But when that 10 o’clock hour hit, it was the WWE title match followed by Ziggler/Roode. That was 45 minutes of air being let out of a balloon.
It was up to Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens to try to leave a better taste in our mouths before the show went off the air. Luckily, the crowd was pumped for this match despite the past hour. While the match had a slow start, it ended up delivering in the end and getting the show back on track.
Also, WWE, if you’re going to have a PPV every two weeks, please try to keep them under that 3 hour mark.
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