The Rope Break #20: WWE Hell in a Cell 2017 Review!!

By Curtis Suthard – 10/9/2017   

Credit: WWE.com

 

Well, well, we are back here yet again. The day after another WWE event/PPV/whatever they call them nowadays to take a look back at all of the festivities that occurred and both praise and grumble about it. Last night’s Hell in a Cell started off really strong, lost its momentum a bit and then found it somewhere towards the end of the three and a half hour show. I’m honestly really on the fence on just how I feel about the outcome of the Main Event Hell in a Cell match between Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens. It was exciting and a tad unexpected. I’m just not sure it was satisfying? Anyway, we’ll get to that in a few paragraphs (I’m going to try and keep it short, this time around). Let’s start at the start.

Credit: WWE.com

The Hype Bros. VS. Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable (Kickoff Show Match): Normally the Kickoff Show Match is something I only watch out of the corner of my eye as I patiently sit and wait for the main show to begin. But, this match, was surprisingly good and the Hype Bros., who I have sort of written off, deserve a lot of the credit for making this one exciting. I’m sold on Shelton & Gable. They work well together and complement each other’s skill set as any good Tag Team should. But, Mojo & Ryder put on a heck of show in this match. Plenty of close calls, near falls and hot tags kept the pace for this match near light speed, especially in the later minutes of it. I was for certain that we would see Zack & Mojo split, with possibly one of them turning on the other or both of them turning heel. But, now I’m beginning to think that it could be Shelton & Gable making that turn. Though Benjamin & Gable won clean, there were a few signs throughout the match where both of them took cheap shots and were a bit “unsportsmanlike”. Even when Gable got amped up, it felt a touch overly aggressive. This could be interesting in the future as Shelton does make a good heel and I could easily see Gable slipping into that “cocky, young man”-type role. Which would free up the Hype Bros. to continue on as the underdog good guys. A role that Ryder is exceptionally good at.

Credit: WWE.com

The New Day VS. The Usos (Smackdown Tag Team Championships Hell in a Cell Match): Every time I start to think that these two teams are eventually bound to have a bad match and it could possibly be the next, I get slapped upside the face with yet another show-stealing bout between the Usos and The New Day. This time, four of them were locked inside the Cell, with Big E and Xavier representing New Day, and they all just went at it. From start to finish this match was fantastic and should be viewed by you (if you haven’t seen it by now. And, why wouldn’t you? Go! Watch it!). I was a little surprised at the decision for Xavier to be included, having just come off of a slight knee injury and being thrown into the middle of a cage in what is basically a hardcore-style match. But, not only did Xavier keep it tight, he may have been the MVP.

Credit: WWE.com

Both teams innovated some great stuff, which I have never seen before, and had everyone on their feet. Xavier destroyed not one, not two, but three Francesca’s in rapid succession. There were chains and handcuffs and chairs being thrown around Sabu-style. There were also more kendo sticks than I think I have ever seen used in any one match before. Kendo sticks were even used to trap Jey (maybe Jimmy? I honestly don’t remember and am way too lazy to double-check it) in the corner of the Cell, only for him to get hit by even more kendo sticks, as well as getting hit by a thrown piece of a former Francesca. Big E hit his Suicide Dive-Spear thingie, that always makes me cringe. Only this time, I cringed a little harder, because instead of just landing hard outside of the ring, he rammed his head right into the side of the cage.

Credit: WWE.com

In the end, the Usos got the victory and won back the Tag Championships. Which is honestly a good thing, as I’m pretty confident that it signals that this feud will be continuing for even longer, though the announcers were hinting that this could be the “Final Chapter” in the rivalry. I look forward to any future encounters with these two teams, as they are usually the highlight of any show or event that they are on together. This was easily one of, if not THE best match of the night.

Credit: WWE.com

Rusev VS. Randy Orton: So, for anyone who has read any of my previous Rope Breaks where I have spoken at all about Rusev, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I let the cat out of the bag and admit that I’m a big Mark when it comes to the Bulgarian Brute. I like the guy and honestly think that he is incredibly talented and could be a great WWE Superstar. So, I’m going to try to be as positive as I can be about the way things have been going for the Bulgarian George Clooney and this match in particular. So here I go………

Credit: WWE.com

F&%# you, WWE! Wait, okay. That wasn’t really fair or positive. I’ll try harder…One positive about this match was that it ran a good length and didn’t end with some screwy quick pin. It was actually a decent match and both guys came off looking really strong. Rusev kept control of things off and on throughout and put Orton through the paces. Randy, on the other hand, did his normal thing, but put in a solid effort and kept it interesting. As a Rusev fan, the ending was kinda cool. As Orton did his little slithering/punching the mat thing, in preparation for an RKO, Rusev rolled backwards over him and started to slap on the Accolade. Unfortunately, Randy slid out and between Rusev’s legs and hit him with the pent up RKO for the win. It was a cool moment, which could have been even cooler had Rusev Machka’ed all over Orton and won the thing. I wouldn’t be surprised if this little feud continues on for another few months. I mean it’s not like there’s anything else going on for either one of them. See! I can be positive when I wanna’.

Credit: WWE.com

Tye Dillinger VS. Baron Corbin VS. A.J. Styles (WWE United States Championship Triple Threat Match): Now, I’m not complaining about the decision to include Dillinger in this one at the last moment. I actually really like the guy and I am always down for someone getting some time in the spotlight and Dillinger deserves it. But, as soon as the decision was made to make this one a Triple Threat match, it was all but guaranteed, in my mind at least, that Styles was losing it. Having Dillinger there to either take the pin from Corbin or to pin Corbin for the win, keeps Styles out of it and “safe”, while one of these other guys loses the match and the title for him. That way Styles can still claim to have not been pinned and therefore comes out of the whole thing clean, deserving of moving onward and upward to a more high profile feud, probably after a rematch or two.

Credit: WWE.com

With all of that said, this was a really good match. Dillinger did great; Styles was, as always, phenomenal and Corbin came off every bit the heel, but still looked strong. In the end, Dillinger played his role well, as Corbin stole the pin after Styles nailed Tye with his Phenomenal Forearm. Corbin would slide into the ring and literally kick Styles out of it to get the pin and the win. Does this mean that the very public punishment of Baron Corbin is over, now that he has the US title? Maybe. I think that the guy was showing a lot of improvement both in the ring and on the mic, but maybe wasn’t quite ready for the WWE Championship. So the United States Championship is a good, fresh starting point for Corbin.

Credit: WWE.com

Dillinger also achieved something with this match by, I believe, having maybe the best match of his career. Showing that he is ready to be at the top of the Mid-Card pile and a possible future Champ. Tye has a fun gimmick and good personality, so I hope that this feud between him and Corbin continues on.  Tye could be the perfect babyface underdog to square off against Corbin for the foreseeable future.

Credit: WWE.com

Styles is undoubtedly bound for bigger and better things *cough*Nakamura*cough cough* and maybe the WWE Championship title picture. I fully expect that he’ll demand a rematch or two. But, in the end, it would be a shame if Styles doesn’t get that push further up the roster and reclaim the spotlight that he deserves.

Credit: WWE.com

Charlotte Flair VS. Natalya (Smackdown Women’s Championship): So, here’s where things slowed down for me. This match wasn’t bad, it was alright, it just felt like I was watching any other weekly Smackdown-caliber level match. I don’t mind a slow, methodical match with one or both of the competitors focusing on a limb or joint in preparation for a submission finisher. I love those types of matches, when done right. This almost felt a little like déjà vu. Charlotte and Natalya have had some good matches in the past. Look no further than their match at an early NXT Takeover, where Charlotte first wins the NXT Women’s title. That was a great match. But, this one came off as only a faint shadow of that one.

Credit: WWE.com

Charlotte does the whole “my knee is injured”-thing a lot. Too much and too often for it to really matter. Charlotte also comes off as a bit sloppy. Maybe it’s just me, but she just isn’t as smooth as some of the other women in the Women’s Division. But, the worst part of this match, was that ending. I like a good screwy ending to a match, but sometimes they make the whole match feel pointless. Which is sort of what happened here. Everything was going okay, until Natalya just suddenly decided to grab a chair and wallop Charlotte’s knee with it, getting disqualified, which means that Charlotte technically won the match, but not the Championship. This match could have been the Main Event on this week’s Smackdown Live and I probably still would have shrugged it off.

Credit: WWE.com

Shinsuke Nakamura VS. Jinder Mahal (WWE Championship): Speaking of let downs, this match happened. If you saw the last face-off between Jinder and Nakamura at Summerslam, then you pretty much saw this one as well. It’s a little depressing to see someone like Nakamura, easily one of the best wrestlers working today, working matches like this. It’s a bit beneath him. There were one or two interesting moments in this one. Nakamura took Jinder down with an Armbar, teasing at the potential of some good technical wrestling. But, it only lasted for a matter of seconds. Jinder is alright, at best, but just doesn’t really light the match on fire ever. The Singh’s have more charisma than the Champ. I praised Jinder’s first match with Orton, where he won the title. That match started off hot and was exciting and new. Maybe it was just the excitement of the unknown and unexpected that made that match and Jinder seem better than he actually is? Since then, Jinder and most of his matches have been snore-fests.

Credit: WWE.com

Anyway, this match ended predictably as the Singhs would distract the ref long enough to give Jinder a chance to recuperate after being hit with a Kingshasa and catch Shinsuke in that weak looking Coloss. I have confidence that Nakamura will eventually be WWE Champ, I just don’t know how much longer I can take this slow burn, while watching Jinder go through the motions both in the ring and on the mic. Even the buildup of this feud has been just “blah”. Let’s hope that something is right around the corner to either reignite and liven it up or end the feud altogether.

Credit: WWE.com

Bobby Roode VS. Dolph Ziggler: Another Smackdown Live-level match, mostly due to the finish. Dolph’s new gimmick is that he feels that he doesn’t get respect for what he does in the ring as a wrestler and everyone else is just propped up by the pomp and pageantry of their gimmicks and entrances. I get it and kind of like the idea of it. I just don’t like the execution. Ziggler decided to follow Roode’s epic entrance, by walking to the ring with no song, no lights and no Titantron, which was kind of cool. I approve of this over him copying other Superstar’s entrances over and over. Once the match started, things went well. Ziggler and Roode both came off looking decent. It was the ending that did it.

Credit: WWE.com

After reversing Roode’s DDT, Ziggler went for a roll up and pulled Roode’s tights a bit for leverage. Roode would kick out and shoot Dolph into corner. As Roode ran at him, Dolph would sidestep and again roll Roode up, pulling the tights once more. This would lead to Roode reversing Dolph into a pin, who reversed Roode into a pin and, finally, Roode reversed again into a pin and pulled Dolph’s tights just as Dolph had done to him. Within seconds of the bell ringing Ziggler would hit the Zig-Zag on Roode and lay him out in a temper tantrum from losing the match. I’m not opposed to this type of an ending for the match, it promises more to come, it just fell flat, which didn’t help to clear out the feeling form the last two matches.

Credit: WWE.com

Shane McMahon VS. Kevin Owens (Hell in a Cell Falls Count Anywhere Match): Maybe, I’ve gotten old? There used to be a time when I sat on the edge of my seat and got some satisfaction from watching The Rock repeatedly beat Mankind over the head with a steel chair, while his hands were secured behind his back by a pair of handcuffs, preventing him from defending himself. I happily bought and traded VHS tapes of Death Matches, Glass Matches and Exploding Ring Matches from Japan. I could not wait to get a copy of Axel and Ian Rotten having a Taipei Death Match, in which the brothers had their taped up hands dipped in glue and rolled in broken shards of glass, before throwing rights and lefts at each other with those same mitts. I watched and re-watched Sabu cut his bicep open in the opening minutes of his Barbed Wire Ring Match with Terry Funk. I still own my Green Lantern (early Kyle Rayner style) t-shirt that is stained with Steve Corino’s blood from a match he had with Tommy Dreamer at one of the many ECW live shows I was fortunate to attend at the War Memorial Auditorium in Ft. Lauderdale. So, there was a time that I craved violence and bade for blood. But, those days seem to be behind me and I don’t know just when that changed honestly.

Credit: WWE.com

I now look away when guys like Ricochet take unnecessarily high-risk maneuvers. I get annoyed that guys are willing to risk their life and careers, like when A.J. Styles did a 450 Splash from the ring and onto the announce table in one of his last PPV matches in TNA, where he missed his opponent and looks like he landed right on his head. I cringe each and every time Big E just does his Suicide Dive Spear thingie through the ropes. I have become leery of excessive risk-taking and violence in wrestling. Maybe I’m old? So, I was selfishly hoping that this match would have one of those boring, old, predictable and well-choreographed falls from the Cell and onto the announce table, that may or may not have some obviously placed padding beneath it, just for sake of my blood pressure. Which it did. What I wasn’t prepared for was for two large men to be slamming each other on top of the Cell over and over, for a prolonged period of time, and the anxiety that it would bring watching it. I know the Cell is heavily fortified, after Foley got chokeslammed through the roof of the Cell unexpectedly and unplanned back in ’97. But, it didn’t matter. This match was a real test for my mental fortitude.

Credit: WWE.com

But, let’s back up a little: This was a really good match, before anyone got on the Cell even. Owens and Shane just beat each other down inside of the Cell. Owens was in full “Heel Mode” as he taunted Shane’s children who were sitting at ringside, which is always fun. Shane whipped out the aluminum garbage can and set up Owens in the corner for his Coast to Coast Dropkick from one corner of the ring to the other. Owens laid Shane out on a table, at ringside, for a Cannonball off of the ring apron, which Shane moved out of the way of at the last moment, causing Owens to flip through the table and shatter it. After beating Owens with half of the table, Shane then dug out the bolt cutters and opened up the door to the Cell. That’s when Owens regained the upper hand and laid Shane out on the Spanish Announce Table and climbed to the top of the Cell. Though, Owens couldn’t bring himself to jump off of the Cell, which gave Shane time to get up and climb to the top.

Credit: WWE.com

Both guys were now slamming and stumbling all over the top of the Cell and as the fencing flexed, all I could picture was Mick Foley looking like a ragdoll as he fell through the top of the Cell and hit the middle of the ring. It was nerve-wracking, to say the least. Eventually, both Owens and Shane would climb halfway down the Cell and Owens would fall onto an announce table form there. Which I was cool with. But, then Shane, the Spot Monkey that he is, had to lay Owens out on another table, climb back to the very top of the Cell and leap off onto Owens. Or, at least that was before Sami Zayn pulled Owens out of the way and Shane crashed and burned. Sami then shoved the EMTs and medical folk out of the way and rolled his pal onto Shane-O-Mac for the one, two and three and the win. Sami then did the very goofy “Slinking Away With an ‘Oh My God, What Have I Done?’”-shtick.

Credit: WWE.com

Now, I know, some of you may be asking, “Why are you okay with this screwy ending, but not some of the others from this show?” Well the short answer is I’m biased. I like Sami Zayn. The long answer is that it furthers a story along and adds something new to it. Now, you want to tune into this week’s Smackdown Live to see what Sami has to say for himself and how Kevin Owens is going to react to it. Not to mention Shane’s possible reaction. But, that’s really secondary to everything else. The Charlotte/Natalya match ended with Natty cheating to retain her title and…that’s it. Charlotte will get a rematch and we’ll get the same old-same old, all over again. So, this match actually set up something big, which will probably be the focal point of Smackdown for a while.

Credit: WWE.com

Whew, that was a whole lot more than I intended on typing. So after eight big matches, two really good Hell in a Cell’s and a few filler/stinker matches, we here at the Rope Break HQ give WWE Hell in a Cell 2017 a 3 out 5 on the Official Nerd Nation Radio Pocket Protector Scale!

I’ll be back here in just two weeks with my predictions for RAW’s next big show WWE TLC. So be sure to check back here. You can keep up with everything by heading over to the Nerd Nation Radio or Nerd Nation page on Facebook and give us a Like. We would most appreciate it. Also, feel free to explore the site, nerdnationradio.com and check out Curt’s Corner, BY CLICKING HERE, to read my past Rope Breaks, Rope Break: RETROs and my Crappy Movie Reviews.

You can also always drop me a line at Curt@nerdnationradio.com!

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