We got a match of the year candidate, a whole lot of bullshit, and one of the greatest heel turns in recent memory.
Kick Off Show: Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable vs The Hype Bros
Early in the match both teamsshowed signs of mutual respect, that is until Benjamin turned a handshake with Zack Ryder into a spinebuster. From there Benjamin and Gable would tag regularly and isolate Ryder from his parter Mojo Rawley, working him down in almost a heelish manor at times. Finally Ryder would get some offence with a missile dropkick and a hot tag to Rawley. Rawley landed a wicked power slam on Gable, who would respond with a belly to belly and then a moonsault. The hype bros showed a lack of communication, which would wind up with Benjamin and Gable hitting a double team on Ryder for a clean pinfall victory.
Result: Benjamin and Gable win via pinfall
Nothing we haven’t seen from these four on Smackdown the past few weeks, the action was okay and Benjamin and Gable are starting to blend well. Really the big shame here is that there was essentially no advancements on the breakup of The Hype Bros. There playing a very long game with it, hopefully they don’t go with it for too long, the story hasn’t got enough heat behind it to last
The New Day (C) vs The Usos in Hell in a Cell for the SD Live tag titles
Kofi Kingston left the ring which was a surprising move. As soon as the bell rang all 4 men grabbed a weapon and started brawling. Bodies flew everywhere as both teams looked to take control. Big E did his classic spear through the ropes and clattered into the cell, The New Day would take control with Woods using trombones, cowbells and dongs to beat down The Usos. The Usos handcuffed Woods and smashed him with Kendo sticks, Big E would get hot and destroy both of The Usos on the outside using the cell, Jimmy would kick out of The Big Ending and then Woods would break up a double splash on Big E. With Big E hurt, The Usos would demolish Woods with his hands still cuffed together, and hit the double splash on the chair on Woods to get the 3 count.
Result: The Usos win the tag titles via pinfall
And just like that we have the match of the night. It could’ve main evented the whole card and everyone knew it was going to be a barnburner. A match of the year candidate with a fairly surprising result. I’m not entirely sure where we go from here, these two teams steal the show every time they’re in the ring but can you get bigger than Hell in a Cell? Are The New Day getting a rematch? Whatever happens, I’d like to thank all 5 men for giving us some of the best matches of the year for several months, the story aspect might grow stale, but they could wrestle every day and I’d watch.
Randy Orton vs Rusev
We go from the rivalry with the greatest matches of the year to the rivalry with the worst matches, and zero heat or story to it. As always Orton teased an RKO out of nowhere and soon after Rusev took control, working a slow and methodical pace stopping every comeback Orton had for quite a while, before they teased ANOTHER RKO. Rusev repeatedly shouted “RUSEV DAY” which was arguably the highlight of the match. Orton hit is vintage DDT and finally hit the RKO out of nowhere for the 3 count.
Result: Randy Orton wins via pinfall
Boy that was a downer, from the match of the night to this. The result makes no sense, it doesn’t boost Orton but it does kill Rusev. Orton is at an all time high level of staleness and a heel turn is needed, in fact, a double turn for both men would’ve made this rivalry a lot better. The classic ‘RKO outta nowhere’ shtick is boring and lost all steam, much like Orton. The biggest mistake with this match was the distinct absence of Aiden English, who has been the best thing about this dull story line.
AJ Styles (C) vs Baron Corbin vs Tye Dillinger triple threat for the US title
Dillinger was a last minute addition after a backstage segment with GM Daniel Bryan earlier in the night. Early on The Perfect 10 and Styles would team up on Corbin. The crowd gave us the chant of the night with the “Where’s your briefcase?” but it was Corbin who soon took over, manhandling both of his opponents. Keeping Styles out of the ring, Corbin would work on Dillinger for a large portion of the match. Once Corbin was finally out of the match, the action picked up the pace with Styles and Dillinger going back and forth. Corbin hit the Deep 6 on Tye and then a vicious chokeslam backbreaker on AJ for a two count. Styles hit another Phenomenal Forearm on Dillinger, but it would be Corbin who kicked Styles out of the ring and pinned Tye.
Result: Baron Corbin pins Dillinger to become the new US champion
It took a little while but once the pace picked up this was a fun match. The inclusion of Dillinger was the best choice all round, it saved AJ from being pinned, let the fans see a new matchup, and it showcased all three men. My guess is this lets AJ move on to bigger things while Corbin and Dillinger run with potentially fun program.
Natalya (C) vs Charlotte for the SD Live Womens title
Natalya took charge early in the match targeting the leg of Charlotte Flair. It was great heel work as she wound up the crowd and maintained control. The match dragged along with Natalya working the leg for the mostpart. Whenever Charlotte tried to gain control she’d be knocked back down. She took a power bomb and a sharpshooter before gaining any major momentum, hitting a bit of a botched moonsault to the outside of the ring. Things were looking bleak for Natalya, who then hit Charlotte’s injured leg with a chair, losing by DQ but retaining the title.
Result: Charlotte wins by DQ, Natalya retains the title
A slow paced match with a simply awful ending. They don’t want to put the belt on Charlotte just yet so they do the lazy DQ finish. Zero use of Carmella, and playing far too much up to the idea of Flair being a face. For two women who have had some of the most classic women’s matches of all time, this was a major disappointment. It’s clearly a story that’s going to carry on, so hopefully they fix it quick.
The Fashion Files
Some brilliant comedy from Breezango as always. The referencing of Cesaro as the tooth fairy, Dillinger’s hair cut being a perfect 4, and Kevin Owen + Orton being allergic to sleeves was all instant hits. Tyler Breeze was the star here of a short segment which announced the premier of ‘Pulp Fashion’ on Smackdown this Tuesday. This was probably better than everything we’ve seen since the tag title match.
Jinder Mahal (C) vs Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE title
My first thought on this match is why no cell? The only match that needs a cell to avoid interference from The Singh Brothers, but you know, WWE logic. The commentary team bigged up Mahal as always, who was caught reeling early, but soon took over and slowed the pace down, doing his usual submission holds. Nakamura started making a comeback, he took out both Singh Brothers but lost momentum as a result. The Singh’s got involved one time too many as Baby Naitch sent them packing to the back. Nakamura would land a Kinshasa but Mahal got hold of the ropes. Nakamura went for a second Kinshasa but was countered as Mahal hit his finisher for the win
Result: Mahal wins by pinfall to retain the WWE Title
What a painful watch. Mahal and Nakamura have no chemistry, and Mahal just isn’t at a good enough level to be anything more than midcard. WWE are set to go on a tour of India, which might be the main reason Mahal won here, in a fairly clean fashion. Nakamura’s losing what brought him to the dance, he badly needs a new opponent and Mahal badly needs to drop the belt.
Bobby Roode vs Dolph Ziggler
Roode came out to a big pop as always, the glorious one has amazing charisma and the best entrance in the WWE at the moment. Dolph’s entrance was the opposite, no lighting and no music. Roode started off with some great chain wrestling, but Ziggler took over and wore Roode down. The noticeably frustrated crowd could be heard quietly chanting for CM Punk. Roode was trying to make a comeback but got hit with a solid DDT from Ziggler. Dolph got a near fall with his famouser. The pair traded roll ups bothing grabbing the tights, it was Roode that won it, but Ziggler hit the Zig Zag after the bell
Result: Bobby Roode wins by pinfall
The crowd at this point is none existent, you’d never have a dull crowd for a Roode match in NXT. From a match of the year candidate and a decent triple threat match, everything went downhill. Mahal’s win killed the energy and kind of killed anything this match had to offer, not that the buildup was anything special anyway. Ziggler attacking Roode after the match leaves the door open to carry this program on, and with a bit of luck Ziggler can pick up a win or two, and not get totally buried.
Kevin Owens vs Shane McMahon in Hell in a Cell
The bell rang with both men outside the cell, with this match being falls count anywhere. When both men got inside the cell, Owens took over, mocking Shane doing his classic dance in front of his kids. Shane missed a shooting star press which was followed by a KO frog splash. KO set up a table on the outside and went for a cannonball through it, McMahon moved out the way and KO flew through it drawing the first “Holy shit” chant of the night. With Shane in control, he’d go on to hit his classic coast to coast, with somewhat of a botched pinfall with a random ropebreak. Shane would use bolt cutters to escape the cell, with the two continuing the brawl on the top of the cell, with constant teasing of someone either falling of the cell or going through it, KO even hit a pop up powerbomb on the top. When KO tried climbing back down Shane would follow and knock him off the side through the announce table. Shane went back to the top for an elbow drop, and none other than Sami Zayn pulled KO out of the way, he than dragged KO on top of Shane for the pin.
Result: Kevin Owens wins by pinfall
FINALLY THEY’VE DONE SOMETHING WITH ZAYN!!! The match was about to get an A, but the finish warranted that A+. The match itself was a huge spot fest which was expected, slow at times which can also be expected with Shane involved, but it was brutal and the spots were amazing. Zayn getting Owens the win leaves us with a million and one questions.
Overall, we got a match of the year candidate, a whole lot of bullshit, and one of the greatest heel turns in recent memory. This by no means was a great PPV, in fact, rather average, a 5 out of 10.