There wasn’t any “WrestleMania-caliber” hype like we had for No Mercy, which definitely fell flat compared to expectations, but Hell in a Cell certainly exceeded anyone’s expectations. Not only did we get several quality matches, but we had two of the best Hell in a Cell matches that have ever been witnessed. New champions were crowned, and others escaped with their gold, but it was the end of the night that no one can stop talking about. Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens went to war, but no one saw the ending coming.
Welcome to the Uso Penitentiary
Since July, The Usos and The New Day have been trading victories and trading the SmackDown Tag Team Championship to try and prove who truly is the better team. With their consistently spectacular performances, this was expected to be something special. What these two teams did was literally risk life and limb to give us an unforgettable tag team match inside Hell in a Cell. While this match could have easily been the main event for the show, WWE chose to save that spot for the clash between Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens. With that in mind, there may have been no better spot than to open the show with this epic contest.
It’s hard to encapsulate everything that happened between these two teams without seeing it, but they brought just about everything except the kitchen sink. They even brought the percussion section. Xavier Woods of course brought Francesca 2 Turbo to the ring with him, but The New Day also had a stash of two other trombones under the ring. All three of them ended up being smashed over an Uso. They also had some rainbow colored kendo sticks, a cymbal masquerading as a gong, and of course a cowbell. All of these fun inclusions, along with several other kendo sticks and weapons, were utilized from bell to bell by these teams to inflict unforgettable pain.
The New Day tried to turn the “Uso Penitentiary” back on The Usos when they used kendo sticks wedged between spots on the cell to trap Jey Uso in the corner of the cell. He eventually broke free, and The Usos introduced their own containment devices in the form of two pairs of handcuffs. Perhaps the most cringeworthy moment of the match, despite several huge spots, was Xavier Woods being handcuffed and dangling from the ringpost on the outside from his cuffs. The Usos proceeded to unload dozens of kendo stick shots on Woods, who will likely look like he’s wearing horizontal stripes by morning.
Both teams traded moments and seemed mere milliseconds from victory on more than one occasion, but it was eventually The Usos who got the timing right. After a double splash onto Xavier Woods (with a steel chair lying on Woods), The Usos got the three count and escaped the cell as the new SmackDown Tag Team Champions. Not only will this go down as an unforgettable Hell in a Cell match, but it could be the best stipulation match of the year.
The heels escape with championship gold
Even ignoring The Usos managing to survive Hell in a Cell to reclaim the SmackDown Tag Team Titles, it was a night for the bad guys (and gal). Baron Corbin got his opportunity against AJ Styles for the United States Championship, but a last-minute change on the Kickoff Show didn’t sit well with The Lone Wolf. Despite his frustration, Tye Dillinger was added to the match due to his victory over Corbin last Tuesday, but it ultimately worked in Corbin’s favor. After a great back-and-forth match, Corbin used perfect timing to capitalize on AJ’s Phenomenal Forearm to Tye Dillinger. The Lone Wolf knocked Styles out of the ring and took the pinfall over Dillinger to escape as the new United States Champion.
Speaking of escape, Natalya took it to the next level. The SmackDown Women’s Champion put on a classic wrestling match against Charlotte Flair and spent most of it targeting Flair’s knee to set up for the sharpshooter. After the action spilled to the outside, Natalya grabbed a steel chair and took a blatant disqualification after striking Charlotte with it. Despite the loss, Natalya retained the title due to the championship advantage. Charlotte could be nursing some serious knee damage, but she will surely be looking for a rematch if she’s ready.
Finally, the least interesting WWE Champion of the modern era squared off against The King of Strong Style. The match itself was definitely a step up compared to their last encounter, and one of the best Jinder has had so far, but it still paled in comparison to the kind of match most fans know Nakamura is capable of. The Singh Brothers played a role like always, and ended up creating a distraction while getting ejected that helped Jinder Mahal survive a Kinshasa. After a little more back and forth, Jinder managed to lure Nakamura into the Khallas and nail it for the win to retain the WWE Championship.
A shocking savior after a breathtaking battle
It was clear going into Hell in a Cell that we’d get a memorable collision between Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon. While The New Day and The Usos put on the best match of the night, this one was full of unforgettable moments. From the very start, the animosity between these two was clear as Shane came barreling out of the cell during Kevin’s entrance to get the fighting started as quickly as possible. While the action wasn’t as frenetic as the first Hell in a Cell match of the night, the night’s main event was special in its own way.
With a slow burn, Shane and Kevin got more and more brutal with each assault. Owens was clear about trying to get to Shane personally as he grated Shane’s face on the cell and scream “take a good look at daddy” to Shane’s kids in the front row. Later in the match, one of many brutal moments, Owens asked a simple question of Shane, in his usual shouting manner. “Why are you making me do this?” Those were the words of a desperate man, who seemed to indicate he didn’t want to do the terrible things he was doing. They added even more intrigue by the end of the match.
The chaos led to plenty of anxiety for fans as Owens and McMahon eventually fought their way to the top of the cell. With every slam or fall on top of the cell, we as viewers collectively cringed for fear of a competitor crashing through the cell to certain injury, but even a Pop-up Powerbomb to the top of the cell didn’t break it. Owens ended up trying to escape the damage of the top of the cell, but Shane was quickly in pursuit and ended up causing Kevin to fall off the side of the cell through the announce table.
Owens looked like he was done for, but Shane wanted to put an exclamation point on things. The current Commissioner of SmackDown Live dragged the former Universal Champion to a different announce table and did what we all expected him to do. Shane O’ Mac climbed his way to the top of Satan’s Structure and came diving off for an elbow drop all the way to hell. Then, in a moment that stunned the entire WWE Universe, Sami Zayn appeared out of nowhere and yanked Owens off the table. Shane crashed into it, and Sami dragged Kevin’s lifeless body onto Shane and demanded the referee count the pinfall. As the bell rang, Kevin Owens took the win but looked as confused as all of us. Why, Sami? Why?
- It was disappointing that the Fashion Files didn’t reveal their attacker from Case 2B, but “Pulp Fashion” should be tons of fun this Tuesday.
- The Ascension just wanted to be Breezango’s friends.
- Shinsuke Nakamura has been rendered meaningless within WWE, and it’s a complete travesty.
- The crowd was chanting “this is awesome” within 12 minutes of the show starting thanks to The Usos and The New Day.
- Gable & Benjamin looked great as a team in the Kickoff Show, but they need a team name.
- Rusev lost to Randy Orton…again. Who exactly did that help?
- Kevin Owens trying to convince himself to jump off the cell was terrifying, and it was just the beginning of the anxiety in that match.
- Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin def. The Hype Bros
- The Usos def. The New Day to become the new SmackDown Tag Team Champions
- Randy Orton def. Rusev
- Baron Corbin def. Tye Dillinger & AJ Styles to become the new United States Champion
- Charlotte Flair def. Natalya via disqualification (Natalya retains the SD Women’s Title)
- Jinder Mahal def. Shinsuke Nakamura to retain the WWE Championship
- Bobby Roode def. Dolph Ziggler
- Kevin Owens def. Shane McMahon
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