Predictions from this post, actual thoughts, and some not-too-in-depth breakdowns of the matches:
Shelton Benjamin/Chad Gable vs. Hype Bros
This was a decent kick-off to the pay-per-view. I enjoyed the reactions from the crowd and the wrestlers when Zack Ryder and Shelton Benjamin faced off. Decent action throughout. Hype Bros had one miscue that ultimately led to their defeat. I have a feeling that this will play off more on the next Smackdown.
The New Day (Champions) vs. The Usos: Hell In A Cell
I am very surprised that this was the opening match! This match lived up to the hype. The Cell was used as a weapon – Big E, speared into the Cell, Jey Uso pinned to the Cell by Kendo sticks, and much more – but plenty of weapons were introduced: The Usos started the match with chairs; Big E brought out a heavy chain, while Xavier Woods used one of many Rainbow-striped Kendo sticks. Heck, by the end of the match, The New Day had brought a virtual music store into the ring, including: a gong, cowbell, and 2 trombones. TND ended up handcuffed to the Cell/ring, which didn’t stop either of them (Big E broke the chain to the handcuffs). A double Uso Splash to Xavier Woods – under a chair – earned The Usos their 5th Tag Titles!
Predictions: The Usos
Winners: The Usos
Randy Orton vs. Rusev
I have to admit: this match was better than anticipated. Granted, it was not an Instant Classic, but it wasn’t horrible. Rusev went for the Accolade but Orton slid under Rusev’s legs, hitting Rusev with an RKO. Not sure if it was… Outta NOWHERE.
Prediction: Orton, via DQ
Winner: Orton, via Pin
Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler
This match surprised me, but not in a pleasant way. The entrances were nice: Roode came out in all of his Gloriousness. Ziggler’s big entrance tease: black trunks, no music, no entrance video. Nice, Ziggler! There just wasn’t much to the match, though. It wasn’t bad, it was “meh”… until the last 2 or 3 minutes. The match ended when Ziggler went for a rollup, holding Roode’s tights; Roode reversed it, holding Ziggler’s tights; they did another set of reversals, until Roode got the win. He immediately earned a Zig Zag for his troubles. Maybe this feud continues for a few more weeks?
Prediction: Bobby Roode, via Glorious DDT
Winner: Bobby Roode, via Roll-up
Shane McMahan vs. Kevin Owens (Hell In A Cell)
I made 3 “locks”, regarding this match (see link at the top of the page); 2 of the 3 happened… and one of those was completely from left field! The match actually started outside of the Cell, with wild punches and clotheslines from Shane. Once inside the Cell, Owens proceeded to demonstrate just much punishment he could dish out, and Shane demonstrated how much punishment he could take. Shane got the upper hand and hit the Coast to Coast dropkick, pinned Owens, Owens put his foot on the rope… and the referee broke the pin. Mistake! (should have been no rope breaks inside the Cell)
Nevertheless, Shane got of the Cell (via boltcutters). Action spilled to the announce table, where Owens got the upper hand on Shane. Owens climbed the Cell, was about to jump off, onto Shane, then stopped. Shane recovered, climbed the Cell, and started a 5 minute, nerve-racking, brawl on the top of the Cell. Owens, sensibly, ended the brawl, started climbing down the Cell, Shane chased him, and, from about halfway down the Cell wall, knocked Owens off, sending him through Announce Table #1. Rather than pin Owens, Shane set him up on Announce Table #2, climbed the Cell, and started to jump. When he landed, it was just him and Table; Owens was pulled off the table.
By Sami Zayn.
Zayn pulled Owens on top of Shane and ordered the ref to count. Victory, Owens. AWESOME match!
Prediction: Kevin Owens, via Pop-Up Powerbombb and Interference
Winner: Kevin Owens, via Timely Interference by Sami Zayn
A.J. Styles (U.S. Champion) vs. Baron Corbin vs. Tye Dillinger
Dillinger was added to the match before the show started… and it was a good addition. Corbin displayed his power by repeatedly throwing the other men around the ring (especially Styles). Dillinger showed his heart and resilience, while A.J. showed his Phenomialness (that is a word!). The finish was almost perfect: Dillinger couldn’t overcome an exchange with Styles, getting hit with the Styles Clash. Before A.J. could get the pin, Baron Corbin came into the ring, booted A.J. in the chest (knocking him out of the ring), and pinned Tye Dillinger to become the new United States Champion! This was perhaps the biggest Suprise Match, in that it was pretty entertaining.
Prediction: A.J. Styles
Winner: Baron Corbin
Natalya (Champion) vs. Charlotte
Although it wasn’t their greatest match, it still was a decent match. Natalya focused on Charlotte’s knee, while Charlotte used her power to counter. Unfortunately, the match ended via a chair to Charlotte’s leg, as Natalya went full Old School Heel to retain her title. The good thing about that: this feud will continue.
Winner: Charlotte, via DQ (Natalya retains the SD Women’s Title)
Jinder Mahal (WWE Champion) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Not a fault of Nakamura and Mahal but these two just aren’t a good mesh. This match had more action than their previous encounter, but not much else changed. The Singh Brothers interfered but this time, the referee caught and ejected them from the ring. The slight distraction that that ejection caused led to Nakamura getting hit with the Khallas.
Prediction: Jinder Mahal, via Khallas and Interference
Winner: Jinder Mahal, via Khallas and Interference
This was a decent pay-per-view, overall. The Usos and The New Day waged an absolute war inside the Cell, with Shane and Kevin’s Cell match not far behind. The two non-title matches were nothing special. Baron Corbin surprised me, not only by his win but by how much more comfortable he seemed, compared to recent matches.
I’m not sure if I’ll watch TLC in 2 weeks but it’s a more likely bet than Survivor Series, at this point.