Four championship matches, including two huge Hell in a Cell matches headline the 2017 rendition of WWE’s devilish event, live from the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The unlikely championship reign of Jinder Mahal continues, as the WWE Champion has a contractual rematch with the King of Strong Style, Shinsuke Nakamura. The Comissioner of Smackdown Live, Shane McMahon, will go one on one with the menace known as Kevin Owens inside the vicous structure with falls slated to count anywhere in the arena, while the New Day will defend their tag team championships inside the cell as well. The women’s championship is on the line between champion Natalya and challenger Charlotte Flair, and United States Champion AJ Styles has a tough night ahead as he defends against both Tye Dillinger and Baron Corbin. All of this, plus the return of the Fashion Police at WWE Hell in a Cell.
+ Shane McMahon vs Kevin Owens (Falls Count Anywhere Hell in a Cell Match): whilst I understand why this was the main event, I don’t know if it should have been. Shane is an incredible athlete for a non-wrestler, and Owens has been such a love-to-hate bad guy as of late, this made for a heated fight, even if there were a few smaller admin errors (such as rope breaks in a Falls Count Anywhere HIAC match). The mid-section of this match had me in a permanent state of bated breath, and you’ll count yourself luck if nobody legitimately dies. This was fantastic, with an ending you’ll never expect
+ Jinder Mahal (w/ The Singh Brothers) (c) vs Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Championship): it is a shame that this didn’t main event, because it was the best work that Jinder has done his entire reign. Nakamura had the crowd in the palm of his hand, but much like all of Jinder’s title matches this was just too short to get the various near-finishes over. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this
+ Randy Orton vs Rusev: this was another really good match between the two, but I do hope that it is now finished with. Some clever counters from their previous meetings were the highlight
+ The New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods) (w/ Kofi Kingston) (c) vs The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Hell in a Cell Match): gosh, this was brutal. Not in a blood and gore kind of way, but I can’t imagine any of the four men in the match not having some horrid bruises tomorrow. Those kendo sticks are deadly
+ Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable vs The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley): this was the match on the kickoff show, and I really liked it. There was a good backstory to this, over the last few weeks of SmackDown, and both teams delivered in a really good match to open the show
– Dolph Ziggler vs Bobby Roode: so I guess Ziggler is the go-to “NXT call up” match, after Corbin, Nakamura and now Roode, and so far all three of those have been sub-par. Similarly, Ziggler’s status as the “jaded veteran” (who always loses) des no good for the new stars who have to go back and forth with him for several minutes, and even moreso if they lose. Ziggler needs to go away and come back with something new to offer
– Natalya (c) vs Charlotte Flair (WWE SmackDown Womens’ Championship): the WWE’s love affair with the Hart vs Flair matches needs to end; these two had one good match in NXT years ago and have not been able to repeat that success. Please make it stop
– AJ Styles (c) vs Baron Corbin vs Tye Dillinger (United States Championship Triple Threat Match): this wasn’t a bad match, by any means, but it was not the match any of these men needed; Baron should be beating people one on one, Dillinger should be in the middle of his rise to the top and Styles should be in the main event. There was some good stuff here, but for the most part I couldn’t feel any interest in it
> the whole theme of the advertisements seemed to be a Hellraiser style puzzle box, and damn I loved it. It’s a shame that didn’t play into the show at all
> some of the camera work on this show was absolutely perfect. In this live environment, you only get one shot, and for once the WWE absolutely nailed it
Should you watch this event: This was realistically a three match show, and in that regard it delivered and more. As always, it is Dolph Ziggler that brings the card down, and you’ll probably agree that Styles deserves better, but Nakamura/Jinder and both Cell matches were fantastic, which overall made for a great show.