Hell In A Cell was overall, not good PPV. Too much of the same rhythm we get with prolonging feuds and under-utilization of potential wrestlers that would bring a whole cavalcade of new life into a well-worn product (with one exception – maybe).
RISING STAR OF WWE EXTREME RULES: Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn is indeed that “one exception” and most certainly that “maybe”. They made this HIAC main event a memorable, yet scary one with a lot of unnecessary risk taking and I’ll echo the same sentiment shared by a lot of the PWTorch analysts: there’s a balance between exciting thrilling spectacles and being disconnected from the story by legitimate concern for someone’s well being. The KO/Shane match was boatload full of that. However, the ending does have me extremely intrigued. Why would Sami save KO? It absolutely matters on the follow-up, which WWE is usually just awful at, but this could be something that reignites the Smackdown brand.
Baron Corbin: The three way match is way overplayed, but Corbin winning and seemingly getting back in the good gracs of McMahon or whoever the hell else he pissed off is worth the trade-off. Now that A.J.’s lost it, let’s have Baron keep it for awhile (like a long while) to maintain credibility behind that United States gold.
The Usos: Jimmy & Jey are just a fantastic tag team and although two HIAC matches are one too many, they and the New Day did a real fine job at being innovative. However, the only problem I see is the lack of competition for the Usos. New Day, The Fashion Police, and that’s pretty much it. It sucks they don’t have more people to go against
FADING STAR OF WWE HELL IN A CELL: Shinsuke Nakamura
Call it bad booking, call it lack of motivation on Nakamura’s part, call it both, but things do not look main event level for the King of Strong Style. It’s really a shame too because he and Styles are who could create a very distinct difference between the Smackdown brand and it’s Monday night counterpart. Personally and this might be embarrassing for me to write as someone with a wrestling column, but I wouldn’t know the best way to book him, but one thing is for sure is I’d let any scripted chains come off and have long gotten rid of any that BS mockery that they’ve been doing for the past several weeks. I don’t know where he goes from here, but now there’s a pretty solid ceiling for him. Blame whoever you choose, but I’m blaming both.
Tye Dillinger: Wow, do I not like Tye Dillinger. I don’t like his finger flashing, I don’t like his weird Marvel Comics entrance attire and I don’t like that he makes Daniel Bryan look like a moron. Maybe he’d fit way better in a not so schticky role, but this is one of the worst things on either brand, hands down.
Bobby Roode: Transversely, I do love Bobby Roode, but WWE did him no favors by putting him up against Dolph for his first feud (If you don’t believe me refer back to our current “Fading Star” and see how that turned out for him). It’s very hard to assess where these guys would pan out if they weren’t so micro-managed, but Bobby’s star power I would argue still has a few more rungs to climb. This match last night didn’t do him any favors.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: RISING STAR & FALLING STAR – WWE Battleground Edition: Rusev, Nakamura, Mike Kanellas, Jinder Mahal, Baron Corbin, Usos