Last night’s WWE event featured four championship matches and two matches featuring the titular, demonic Cell. Most of the promotion leading up to it revolved around the extremely personal animosity of Kevin Owens towards SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon. Just by the name of the PPV alone, we were promised a barbaric night to remember, but would the show live up to it? Let’s dive into the results!
SmackDown Tag Team Championship – Hell In A Cell Match
The New Day (c) vs. The Usos
Dating back to June’s Money in the Bank event, this is the fifth straight title match featuring these two teams, and each one has continued to raise the stakes and steal the show. It was difficult to imagine this supposed final encounter between them being even better, but once again, they managed to set a very high pace for the show. From using kendo sticks to pin Jey Uso into the corner of the cell, to the multiple musical instruments used as weapons, to the endless suicide dives into the sides, the teams brought new elements to the familiar match and made it entirely their own. In the end, the titles changed hands yet again with the Usos winning their fifth overall title. Hopefully, this is indeed the end, because this is the rivalry of the year and a perfect way to go out on top.
Winners and NEW Tag Team Champions: The Usos
Rusev vs. Randy Orton
I was worried that this match was doomed to fail following the high-octane and brutal pace set by the Hell in a Cell match before it. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how good of a match this was. A lot of it was due to just how strong Rusev looked throughout it. For the first time in a while, he actually looked like a credible threat in the ring, and that bodes well for his character. Overall, it was a fairly classic bout with little time spent outside of the ring, and a few finisher close-calls to boot. (LOVED that counter into Rusev’s Accolade hold near the end.) Even with Orton’s victory, I expect to see more out of this.
Winner: Randy Orton
United States Championship – Triple Threat Match
A.J. Styles (c) vs. Tye Dillinger vs. Baron Corbin
Dillinger ended up being a last-minute addition to this match, so I had to figure that there would be something happening in this match: Either Styles wins, or he loses without being involved in the decision. This had a bit of a slow start to it, with Styles and Dillinger attempting to double-team attack Corbin, and it was he who would be the workhorse of the match, alternating between fighting the other two. And he actually looked pretty good throughout the match. Styles took some brutal slams throughout the match, which at this point is just Styles being Styles. And my heart skipped a beat when Dillinger literally fell into a two count near-fall. But in the end, Corbin capitalized on Styles’s Phenomenal Forearm on Dillinger and walked out with his first ever championship in WWE. It’s not the top prize, but I think Corbin will take it.
Winner and NEW United States Champion: Baron Corbin
SmackDown Women’s Championship
Natalya (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
I really liked the champion coming out of the gate with some anger and rage. It effectively sold the story of the long-time rivalry between the Flair and Hart families. However, once Charlotte started to show signs of a knee injury, to me it was the end of her dreams of walking out as the new champion, at least for tonight. The two ladies hit their usual points, and Charlotte did her moonsault to the outside, which at this point has become standard fare. But in the end, Natalya attacked the injured knee with a chair, which called for a disqualification. The only issue I had with this DQ was that it didn’t seem like Natalya was on the losing end at the time; Charlotte was already injured, and the attack just seemed abrupt. Other than that, it’s a decent way to prolong the feud.
Winner by DQ: Charlotte Flair (Natalya remains Women’s Champion)
Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
The encounter between these two at SummerSlam in August was admittedly a pretty drab affair. It was sluggish and offered nothing new in terms of an ending. The rematch this night was fortunately better, but it did so by shaving off about five minutes from the previous match. The result was a bout that felt more like a SmackDown match than a WWE Championship match. Nakamura was given more chances to show off his offense and get the crowd behind him. And the official’s attempt to eject the Singh Brothers from ringside gave the crowd a glimmer of hope. But in the end, Mahal eked out another win. At this point, Mahal’s reign is teetering towards the side of tedium, and hopefully he’ll be given a fresh opponent who knows how to build a better overall match with him.
Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler
I’ve been fine with the idea of Ziggler re-inventing himself. However, the problem here is that Ziggler spends the majority of his matches getting beat up. And regardless of whether he wins or loses, it never looks good for him. It was more of the same here in his match against Roode. If it was similar to Rusev from earlier in the night, where he looked supremely dominant against Orton, then we could get behind the claim of Ziggler being the best. But in addition to him getting beat up, he also lost at his own cheating game, when Roode held the tights during the pin. Ziggler immediately hitting the Zig Zag finisher after the pin was good, but at this point, it’s too little too late. Hard to see where Ziggler goes from here.
Hell In A Cell Match—Falls Count Anywhere
Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens
The biggest hurdle that this match had to overcome was distinguishing itself from the other HIAC match. Thank God this match didn’t feature a single kendo stick. Given both men have been known to sacrifice their bodies—especially Owens in last year’s HIAC event—the match definitely lived up to its brutal expectations, with plenty of cringeworthy moments: Owens’s full-speed cannonball into an empty table; McMahon being slammed onto the steps; a Pop-Up Powerbomb on the top of the cage. This match hit all the right beats, but the biggest surprise of all is Sami Zayn rescuing Owens from McMahon’s elbow drop from the top of the cage—and then helping Owens pin him! WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?!? I’ll tell you what, it’s a fresh storyline injection that will make SmackDown Live must watch.
images and video courtesy of WWE
So what did you think of Hell In A Cell? What was your favorite match? Let me know in the comments below!