Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin vs. The Hype Bros
Basically what you’d expect from a preshow tag match. Gable looked fantastic in this one, and deserves far better than what he’s getting. He could be a main event star with his skill level. Gable and Benjamin win after a few minutes.
The New Day (w/ Kofi Kingston) vs. The Usos – WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Hell in a Cell
This was the match of the night. Absolutely awesome tag match between two of the best tag teams WWE has seen in years. Both teams showed up to try and steal the show, and they succeeded. I just really hope Big E stops it with all those crazy spears through the middle ropes to the outside. Poor fella is going to hurt himself badly one of these days, or build up enough wear and tear from doing it that someday he’s going to get hurt. Awesome match though. The Usos win, becoming Tag Team champions yet again. ****1/2
Rusev vs. Randy Orton
We got another decent match here, but Rusev should absolutely be a babyface with Lana in his corner, and he should be in the main event scene. He fits so well at that level. Orton and Rusev show good chemistry in what was a nice match to cool down from the last one, but just good enough to keep you on your toes. Orton wins with an RKO after a nice sequence with countering finishers.
AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin vs. Tye Dillinger – Triple Threat for the WWE United States Championship
The first part of this match was rather dull, with the focus being on Baron Corbin. The second half, however, was much better. The addition of Dillinger seemed perplexing at first, but made sense considering he beat Corbin on SmackDown, and it provided an out for AJ so he didn’t have to eat the pin. Corbin got the win after pushing AJ out of the ring and pinning Tye. Solid match, but went a bit too long. If it were 5 minutes shorter, it might have gotten 4 stars.
Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya – WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
On a fundamental level, there was nothing wrong with this match. Charlotte and Natalya are both very good wrestlers. The crowd wasn’t as into it as a I expected. Charlotte did a decent job selling her knee throughout the match, and it did factor into the finish, although it was a rather weak DQ finish. Nattie hit Charlotte with a chair right across the knee, and Charlotte won by DQ. A rather poor ending that deflated the crowd. Could have easily been 3 to 4 stars, but the finish hurt it a lot. Not the fault of the ladies, who worked a good match.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jinder Mahal – WWE Championship
If you heard weeping during this match, it was probably me. Poor Shinsuke. Jinder wins after Shinsuke gets distracted, again. The crowd knew the finish was coming, because even though it didn’t involved the Singh brothers this time, it was exactly the same as every other Jinder match. Jinder wins. SmackDown attendance crashes. Nakamura deserves so much better than this.
Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler
They were clearly given a directive to cool the crowd down before the main event, but all it served to do was highlight how much Jinder killed the crowd already. If anything, they should have went all out for a blow away match here, but it was rather dull. Bobby Roode wins by cheating. Yes, the babyface won by cheating, thus proving Ziggler, the heel, right (that Roode is just an entrance, and can’t win matches). I hate that kind of backwards booking.
Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon – Hell in a Cell
This match went for nearly 40 minutes. In the ring, it was nothing special at all. Kevin did his best to keep Shane from dying, and Shane nearly caused oxygen deprivation for the entire state of Michigan because of how blown up he was. This isn’t to say I hated it. I actually really liked the match. It had a ton of smoke and mirrors to protect Shane, and they handled the tension of someone falling off the cell really well. Maybe I’m just getting old, but I was very uncomfortable with the thought of Shane falling off the cage (even though I knew he would), and hoped that they wouldn’t do it. They did. The real story of the match, however, was when Shane went for his diving elbow off the top of the cell. Sami Zayn pulled Kevin Owens out of the way as Shane crashed through the (thankfully padded) announce table. Zayn pulled Owens over and onto Shane, where KO pinned Shane. Looks like Sami and Kevin are friends again.
***3/4 – The closing angle, however was ***** easily, and that’s what folks are going to remember coming out of this show.
SHOW RATING: ***
A decent WWE PPV, but definitely not their best showing. If you’re going to watch it, definitely give the opening tag a watch, and the closing HIAC as that was decent too. Otherwise, it’s relatively missable.