RISING STARS & FADING STARS – WWE Hell in a Cell: Sami Zayn, Bobby Roode, Baron Corbin, Usos, Nakamura, Dillinger

By Dominic DeAngelo, PWTorch Specialist

Sami Zayn (credit Scott Lunn @ScottLunn © PWTorch)

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.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

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.

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS

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

3 Comments on RISING STARS & FADING STARS – WWE Hell in a Cell: Sami Zayn, Bobby Roode, Baron Corbin, Usos, Nakamura, Dillinger

  1. Smackdown is intriguing. For once a PPV card loaded with gimmick matches was used to actually finish lots of big feuds, so a lot of new storylines will start on Tuesday night.

    AJ Styles? Hopefully goes after Jinder and the World Title rather than demanding a rematch from Corbin and extending that feud.

    Owens and Zayn? The new two man power trip, perhaps? Probably more of a storyline where they mess with the entire babyface roster (since it makes no sense for them to feud with any current title holders), leading to a Team Owens vs Team McMahon/Bryan at Survivor Series?

    The Usos? They probably need to build up Gable and Benjamin a bit further and have them become #1 contenders to the Usos and feud with them for a bit.

    The New Day? This is a great time for them to get involved in feuds outside the tag title scene. If they do Owens/Zayn vs the roster, then the New Day make sense as prominent opponents. Big E could also go after Corbin’s IC title.

    Corbin? Well, maybe a feud with Big E. Maybe continue the feud with Dillinger. Hard to say.

    I feel like Orton-Rusev and Roode-Ziggler are going to be continuing, and those guys could end up filling out the Team Owens v Team Shane rosters.

    (Owens, Zayn, Rusev, Ziggler and Corbin v The New Day, Orton and Roode at SS? Can they take my money now?)

    Oh, and the women’s division obv. Charlott v Natalya will continue.

  2. I thought Roode was ok. Shinske didn’t seem to really care and Jindar can’t carry someone. Ladies, as bad as I feared. Can we have the old athletic [pre enhancement] Charlotte back with the same ‘I am a God’ attitude. Pretty Please. I have to admit I’m intrigued to see how they explain Sami… or how they screw it up, either is fine because it’s the unknown. Shane is just getting too old for this stuff. Based on the tag hell and the final hell, I’d give tonight a B.

  3. Sami Zayn is a rising star, for sure. I loved the heel turn, and I’m hopeful they pair him with Owens moving forward. I’m really intrigued to see how the whole angle plays out, though.

    Tye Dillinger has really struggled on Smackdown. I almost wonder if they wouldn’t be better off turning him heel, given his character; and pairing him with Owens and Zayn?

    I hate to say it, but I think the language barrier keeps Nakamura from ever truly getting over in the WWE. If Vince didn’t hate managers so much, I’d say this would be the perfect case of where the right manager could really enhance an act. As it is, I think the writers give Nakamura “cute” one liners to go out and hit, and then just have him dance around. That’s just not going to get it as a top player.

    This is a little subjective, but Smackdown just seems to have more natural heels than faces. Smackdown seems to be on the right track after the PPV, but I can’t help but think some type of brand trade would really help that. Maybe Finn, R-Truth and the Club (as faces)for Dolph, the Ascension and Mike Kanellis? There’s probably no salvaging Dolph, but feels like a change might be good for some of those other guys.

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