Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Hell in a Cell 2017
Date: October 8, 2017
Location: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
It’s time for the Shane McMahon Does Something Stupid Show. The main event tonight is Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens inside the show’s namesake structure as Shane fights to defend his family’s honor. Other than that we have the Usos challenging the New Day for the Tag Team Titles inside the Cell too. Let’s get to it.
On the Kickoff Show, Tye Dillinger mentions to Daniel Bryan that he beat Baron Corbin on Smackdown but Corbin is getting a US Title shot tonight. Therefore, Tye should be added to the match. Bryan agrees and we get a YES/TEN exchange with both guys doing the other’s thing.
Kickoff Show: Hype Bros vs. Shelton Benjamin/Chad Gable
Shelton works on Mojo’s arm to start before it’s off to Gable, who eats a crossbody. Ryder and Benjamin come in with Shelton scoring with a spinebuster and the Bros heading to the floor as we take a break. Back with Ryder still in trouble as Benjamin and Gable take turns suplexing him. Shelton’s superplex is broken up and it’s a missile dropkick to Benjamin. The hot tag brings in Mojo for shoulders and a tilt-a-whirl slam to Gable. A clothesline takes Mojo down and Gable has to try a moonsault, only to land on his feet when Mojo moves.
Instead he belly to bellys Rawley and hits the second attempt at a moonsault for two. Ryder gets knocked off the apron as Mojo starts….uh….hyping up. The Hype Ryder is broken up (which Ryder seems to blame on Mojo) and Paydirt gives Shelton two on Ryder with Mojo making the save. The powerbomb/top rope clothesline combination puts Ryder away at 10:22.
Rating: C. Just a tag match here that you could have seen on any given Smackdown. That’s the kind of Kickoff match you want though as the fans were into the Hype Bros, even if it seems that they’re splitting. You know, because this division is so deep that they can split teams up right now.
The opening video looks at the power and devastation of the Cell itself before looking at most of the matches tonight. Standard but it still works.
Tag Team Titles: New Day vs. Usos
The Usos are challenging inside the Cell. Before the Usos come out, New Day talks about how it’s going to be a prison break tonight when they break the Usos apart. It’s Kofi as the odd man out and they don’t even bother waiting around before finding the weapons. Two kendo sticks (rainbow colored for Xavier), a chair and a chain are brought in with New Day getting the better of it and Big E. dropping Woods (and the chain) onto Jimmy’s face for an early two.
Big E. is sent into the Cell though and Jey dives over the top to take Woods down. Back up though and Big E. spears Jey into the Cell for a heck of a crash. Woods breaks Francesca II over Jey’s back but Big E. pulls out Francesca III for the same result. And now, a cowbell is brought in with Woods hitting Jey in the ribs. If that’s not enough music for your taste, it’s time for a gong (Mortal Kombat reference) but Jimmy throws a chair at Woods’ head. Big E. gets superkicked down and it’s time for the kendo stick beating.
The running Umaga Attack drives Woods up against the Cell but Big E. is back up with a Rock Bottom off the apron into a Backstabber from Woods on the floor. Woods grabs about six kendo sticks and pins Jey up in the corner, sliding the sticks through the Cell like prison bars. It doesn’t last long but it’s a heck of a creative spot. Jimmy throws Big E. onto his shoulders for a spear through the ropes from Jey, driving Big E. into the Cell again.
Back in and the double Superfly Splashes get two and the Usos are frustrated. They bust out some handcuffs and cuff Woods around the post for some stick shots to the ribs ala Orton vs. Cena at Breaking Point back in 2009. They unload on Woods with about twenty shots in a row before letting him off the corner. That’s rather dumb no?
Big E. is back up though and cleans house, including driving Jimmy into the Cell so hard that the whole thing moves. He does it again, driving Jimmy into Jey this time around. The Big Ending gets two on Jey but Jimmy is back in with a pair of superkicks. A double superkick sets up the double Superfly Splash but Woods somehow dives in for the save. The still handcuffed Woods gets all fired up and shrugs off the kendo stick shots but they finally beat him down. With a chair put over Woods, the double Superfly Splash at 21:56.
Rating: A. The referee saying “three” when Woods was being destroyed on the post and the match ending three minutes later aside, this was a GREAT match for two main reasons. First of all, the stuff they did felt fresh. There were a ton of fun spots in here that you haven’t seen before and that’s much better than the repetitive stuff that happens so often in these matches.
Second, and more important, it felt like they wanted to hurt each other. So often the Cell matches are just big matches that don’t have anything resembling violence or carnage, which makes for some bad performances. This was a heck of a brawl and one of the better Cell matches ever. If they just have to keep feuding though, give us a few weeks/months off. Let Breezango get another shot or Benjamin/Gable or someone. Just give us a breather.
AJ Styles isn’t worried about the match being made a triple threat (with Tye Dillinger being added) and quotes a little Tom Petty in a nice touch.
Quick recap of Rusev vs. Randy Orton, which is their third match after the first two didn’t combine to last thirty seconds. Orton attacked Rusev when he was being given the key to his hometown to set up a third match.
Rusev vs. Randy Orton
An early RKO attempt sends Rusev bailing to the floor but he comes back in and fires off shoulders in the corner. Orton stomps away though and tries the hanging DDT but they head outside again. Rusev drives him into the barricade and grabs a chinlock back inside. A spinwheel kick gives Rusev two but he seems to be favoring his back.
Some big elbows are good for two but a missed charge sends Rusev face first into the post (CHECK HIS TEETH!). An RKO attempt doesn’t work so Orton settles for the snap powerslam for two instead. A fall away slam gives Rusev two more but the Accolade attempt sends Orton bailing to the floor. Back in and the hanging DDT connects but Rusev kicks him down again. The Accolade doesn’t work again though and it’s an RKO to put Rusev away at 11:43.
Rating: C+. Is there a point of having Rusev around? It’s clear that WWE isn’t going to give him anything resembling a push anytime soon (or for years to come probably) and I have no idea why they keep putting him in these spots. Oh but at the same time, we get Jinder Mahal being unfunny and uninteresting because of an India tour in December. Another eye roll inducing ending as Orton is the same with a win or a loss while Rusev takes a big hit.
US Title: Tye Dillinger vs. Baron Corbin vs. AJ Styles
Styles is defending and Dillinger was added to the match earlier tonight. Dillinger had tried to answer the US Open Challenge but Baron attacked him, setting up a mini feud between the two. Corbin was scheduled to be the challenger but Tye beat him on Smackdown, earning a spot in this match too. AJ and Tye stare Corbin out to the floor and look to go at each other, only to stomp Corbin down when he tries to sneak back in.
They send Corbin outside again and AJ rolls Tye up for two before scoring with with the drop down dropkick. Corbin punches Tye to the floor and avoids AJ’s dropkick to take over for the first time. A hard whip sends AJ ribs first into the post so Corbin chokes Dillinger in the corner. They head outside with Corbin whipping Tye into the barricade and then slugging him down.
Back in and AJ wins a slugout with Corbin (bit of a surprise) before scoring with the Phenomenal Blitz. Tye comes back in with a hot shot and backdrop to AJ, followed by that one knee Codebreaker for two. Back up and AJ slaps on the Calf Crusher but Corbin pulls Tye to the ropes for the break.
AJ dives over the top with a slingshot forearm but his second springboard is countered into a chokebreaker for a rather near fall. Tye comes back in and kicks both guys in the face until AJ Peles him onto Corbin for a heck of a false finish. The springboard 450 connects with Corbin but Tye makes the save. That just earns Tye a Phenomenal Forearm, only to have Corbin throw AJ out and steal the pin and the title at 19:30.
Rating: B-. Good match here though it went it a little longer than is needed to. Hopefully this sets up AJ in the World Title picture again (if Mahal retains tonight) as it’s the logical way to get us to that point. Tye being added was a good idea as it kept this from feeling like a dull title defense. It also opens the door for some challengers to the title, including one Sami Zayn somewhere in there.
We recap Charlotte vs. Natalya, which thankfully isn’t another Bret vs. Ric feud. Natalya is champion and Charlotte won a multi-woman match to get the shot.
Women’s Title: Natalya vs. Charlotte
Natalya is defending and this match gives her the record for most pay per view matches in women’s history. They trade early leg hold attempts but Natalya settles for some kicks to the leg to really take over. Charlotte uses the good leg to kick her away but still gets caught in a leglock.
That’s broken without too much effort and Charlotte uses the good leg for a big boot to the jaw. A powerbomb doesn’t work as the leg is too banged up so Charlotte tries a backslide for two instead. She’s still able to strut on one leg but tries a moonsault for some reason, allowing Natalya to hit her in the knee a few times. Natalya gets two off a sitout powerbomb but eats another big boot.
This time it’s with the bad knee though and Charlotte goes down, even needing to head outside. The leg is knocked into the steps and Charlotte is in big trouble. Back in and Natalya loads up the Sharpshooter, only to have Charlotte flip her into the buckles for the break. Natalya heads outside again so Charlotte moonsaults down onto her, banging up the knee again. Not that it matters as Natalya grabs a chair to hit Charlotte’s knee for the DQ at 12:18.
Rating: C. Good from a technical standpoint but I’m rather sick of seeing these two fight. Charlotte has beaten Natalya time after time and now we’re probably looking at a submission match next month where Charlotte finally wins the title. The matches are good but sweet goodness the promos to set them up are nightmares and we’re going to be sitting through them for weeks.
It’s Fashion Files time! Their bulletin board includes Cesaro as Tooth Fairy 3 and Raven as That’s So Raven. They’ve solved the 2B case and tease a flashback but wind up in the same place. Ascension, in bad disguises, come in with a delivery. It’s a tube, which Breeze thinks means 2B.
Inside the case is an Ascension poster with the message “we want 2B your friends”. Breeze says there’s no way it’s Ascension because they’re idiots. Ascension takes off the disguises and leave looking very sad. Breeze: “Those disguises were incredible!” There’s another knock at the door but it’s just a black briefcase. They open it up and the contents are glowing ala Pulp Fiction. It’s a new case, meaning Pulp Fashion begins on Tuesday.
We recap Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jinder Mahal for the Smackdown World Title. Basically Mahal is overconfident and thinks Nakamura is funny looking so he made some semi-racist jokes at Nakamura’s expense. Nakamura also has to deal with the Singh Brothers to make things even worse.
Smackdown World Title: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jinder Mahal
Mahal is defending and grabs a wristlock to start. Nakamura takes him down without too much effort but can’t get a cross armbreaker. Back up and Nakamura says COME ON before the threat of the Kinshasa sends Mahal bailing to the floor. The champ sends him back first into the post and we hit a camel clutch back inside. A hard whip into the corner has Nakamura in more trouble and it’s off to a chinlock.
Nakamura fights up with a spinning kick to the head for a breather, followed by kicks to the chest. The running knee in the corner gets two and Nakamura adds a knee drop from the apron, only to bang up his own knee again. Back in and the Khallas is broken up, followed by a middle rope knee to Mahal’s chest.
Cue the Singh Brothers for a distraction but Nakamura grabs a rollup for two anyway. The referee finally ejects the Brothers and there’s Kinshasa to Mahal but he grabs the rope at two. Another Kinshasa hits knee though and it’s the Khallas to keep the title on Mahal (again) at 12:05.
Rating: C-. And yes, it continues. Ignoring how they had back to back matches focused on working the knee, this was your standard dull Mahal match with no heat and the fans rolling their eyes when he retains the title again. They’re more than willing to have Smackdown continue to sink for the sake of those India shows in December and if we don’t like it, get over it because nothing is changing. Boring match, but that’s all you can expect from Mahal.
Kevin Owens doesn’t want to hear about what he did to the McMahon Family because Shane has caused Owens’ family harm for the sake of feeding his bottomless ego. Tonight, Shane has to pay.
Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler
It’s a battle over entrances. Ziggler cuts off his own entrance and comes out to silence and no video. A headlock slows Roode down to start until Roode snaps him throat first across the top to really take over. Some chops in the corner have Ziggler even further in control and we hit a chinlock to keep Roode down.
It’s off to a sleeper for a good while as this is one of the worst ways they could go about having Roode’s pay per view debut. Roode fights up and sends Ziggler shoulder first into the post for his first major offense. A swinging Rock Bottom gives Roode two but Ziggler’s jumping DDT is good for the same.
Just in case you thought this match could get interesting, Ziggler grabs the sleeper AGAIN. A bulldog (called a Fameasser) gets two on Roode but the superkick is countered into a spinebuster. The Glorious DDT is countered into a rollup to give Ziggler two and they trade rollups for a bunch of near falls until Roode grabs the tights (which Ziggler was doing every time) for the pin at 11:35.
Rating: F. Nope. Not the match quality but this was the definition of a failure. Roode looked like he got lucky to steal a cheating win and Ziggler dominated 90% of the match while killing the crowd in the process. This was as bad as it could have been and every single problem they had with Nakamura’s debut against Ziggler. Terrible match and it’s entirely on the layout and booking.
Ziggler immediately hits the Zig Zag on Roode to set up a rematch.
Long recap of Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens. Kevin claimed a conspiracy against him for months and attacked Vince after securing a match with Shane inside the Cell. Shane is fighting for his family and is basically holding up a big sign saying “I’m going to do something stupid.”
Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon
Inside the Cell and with falls count anywhere for reasons of Shane needs to do something outside. Owens steps into the Cell so the bell rings and Shane baseball slides him through the door. That means the bad punches make an early appearance and Shane follows up with a clothesline off the barricade.
Owens heads into the cage for safety so Shane kicks the door into his face. Back in and Shane gets knocked off the apron and into the Cell wall, allowing Owens to rub his face against the cage, right in front of Shane’s kids. Owens grabs the steps but gets kicked in the chest. That’s it for Shane’s offense at the moment though as Owens drops a backsplash for two. There’s the Cannonball for two as the crowd is just waiting for Shane to start doing something so they can care.
The Swanton Bomb hits Shane’s knees though and his legs are too banged up to do anything. Why is that something no one else can understand? Back up and Shane peppers him with some more punches, only to miss the shooting star press. Owens’ frog splash gets two but the Pop Up Powerbomb is countered into a pretty messy looking triangle choke.
A powerbomb onto the steps gets Owens out of trouble and it’s table time. The table is leaned up against the table but Owens’ Cannonball off the apron misses Shane and sends him through the table for a crash. Shane hits him with a piece of the broken table and tosses a trashcan into the ring. Coast to Coast connects on Owens but his foot is on the rope, which completely defeats the point of falls count anywhere.
Shane cuts the door open with bolt cutters, allowing Owens to DDT Shane on the ramp with a thud. Owens puts him on the announcers’ table and climbs onto the barricade….before looking up at the Cell. He goes up, looks down at Shane….and can’t bring himself to do it. Instead Shane gets up and climbs to the top as well and it’s time for a slugout on the roof. Shane grabs a Russian legsweep and bangs his own head before slamming Owens on the steel.
There’s a suplex on the Cell to keep teasing the big spot. Owens takes him down for a change and drops a backsplash. The powerbomb is reversed into a backdrop but Owens gets the Pop Up Powerbomb, which still doesn’t break the Cell. Owens teases throwing him off the top but Shane punches his way out of dying.
Thankfully Owens starts climbing down and Shane follows him for some kicks to the back, followed by a ram to the cage to send Owens through the table. EMT’s come down to check on Owens but Shane picks him up and puts him on the second announcers’ table. Shane goes up but dives through the table as Sami Zayn popped up to pull Owens off the table. Sami throws the EMT’s away and puts Owens on top for the pin at 38:18.
Rating: C. I’m going with right in the middle as I got the drama here but I HATED the stunt show stuff. I’m scared of heights in the first place and I can’t stand this kind of stuff in place of having an actual match. Sami turning at the end is a good thing as he doesn’t have anything going for him at the moment and being Owens’ right hand man is the best thing he could do. We knew it was going to be the big stunt at the end and I’m glad Owens won, but sweet goodness it took too long to get there. I get the drama and all that but I really didn’t care for this for the most part, as is typically the case in the WAY too long Shane matches.
Overall Rating: B-. This is a hard one to grade as I loved the opener, couldn’t stand the Ziggler match and wanted to turn off the show during the main event for reasons that have little to do with the actual match. The show was better than I was expecting but the biggest problem was it showed how little star power Smackdown has. They need to boost some people and hopefully the main event starts us down that road. AJ vs. Mahal is the likely title program though Owens/Sami will be the top heel act going forward. This show leaves me cautiously optimistic, but I’ve been in that place before.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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