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Mr. Tito's PHAT WWE Hell in a Cell 2017 Smackdown Pay Per View Review with Match Ratings & Show Grade
By Mr. Tito
Oct 8, 2017 - 11:33:35 PM

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Welcome to Mr. Tito's WWE Hell in a Cell 2017 review column exclusively here at / Like much of my other Pay Per View reviews, I wrote this as the event occurred and instantly posted it moments after the show ended. I have been consistently doing that with almost every WWE event since mid-2015 and hope you have enjoyed it.

Heading into WWE Hell in a Cell 2017, my expectations are super low. I don't agree with the Creative Direction of the Smackdown roster and insist that Vince McMahon just stick to RAW. Triple H has more than proven himself as a capable booker with the NXT brand and should be given 100% control over the Smackdown brand. Not only that, but the star power for Smackdown has become weak following the "superstar shake-up". Sorry, but pushing Jinder Mahal and still an unknown to most WWE fans Shinsuke Nakamura as your World Title headliners is a joke. Ditto for relying on Shane McMahon and his part-time 47 year old backyard wrestling skills to force a full time wrestler like Kevin Owens to sell for him. Kevin Owens was just a World Champion, remember? Meanwhile, AJ Styles is a United States Title contender...

The Road Dogg nodding his head and saying "yes sir" to Vince McMahon isn't cutting it for Smackdown. The lower ratings (2.5 million is becoming a "good day") and the empty arenas with Smackdown cameras only showing one side should be proof enough of a FAILED creative direction. WWE botched the split of the Wyatt Family, pushing Randy Orton too strong once again, and trying this RAW jobber to Smackdown WWE Champion experiment with Jinder Mahal. It's embarrassing and people should be fired for it while the rest of the WWE Board of Directors (Stephanie & Triple H included) need to grow stones and challenge the Chairman's sanity.

Smackdown went from a good show that over-achieved despite a thinner roster to an awful show that overpushes 1 guy to impress an entire country of India. Yeah, let's impress India wrestling fans by making him a cheating heel instead of a babyface superhero that they can all look at as a role model. Declined WWE Network subscriptions in the last quarter despite the Jinder push should be Checkmate for this FAILED experiment.

My advice? Move Braun Strowman to the Smackdown roster after he wins the 2018 Royal Rumble and let him choose to chase the WWE Title. Then, Strowman can murder anyone on the Smackdown roster as a dominant champion and Roman can rule RAW. I'm fine with that... As bad as Jinder Mahal is, what on that Smackdown roster could be better? I'd personally like Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles in a 3-4 month series, but that's not everybody's cup of tea. Most other wrestlers on that roster are "damaged" by years of bad booking or just aren't ready for the top spot.

Anyway, onto the WWE Hell in a Cell 2017 review.

Mr. Tito's PHAT WWE Hell in a Cell 2017

I did not catch the pre-game match between Chad Gable/Shelton Benjamin vs. Hype Bros, as I arrived home just at 8pm. I'll catch it later. Happy to see Gable & Benjamin winning, though.

OPENING MATCH was the New Day vs. Usos for the Smackdown Tag Titles. Provided their show-stealing match about 2-3 Pay Per Views ago, my expectations were high for this match. What did I get? One of those early 2000s WWE Hardcore matches. They had a few nice spots in using the cage, don't get me wrong... But the focus was on beating the piss out of each other with Kendo Sticks and other junk weapons that have no business being under the ring (Trombones, Cowbells, etc.). That, and the Kendo Stick beatdowns were one sided in favor of the Usos too. New Day seemed to be losing much of the match with a chunk of the match being 2 on 1 beatdowns. Why Kofi Kingston was excluded from this match, I'll never know. He could have hit some high risk moves in this match to spice it up a bit instead of the 2000s WWE Hardcore match that we had instead. Usos eventually won and became Tag Champions when the Kendo Sticks overwhelmed the New Day and then hit their double splash finisher with Woods under a chair. [ ** 3/4 ] I saw a few on my Timeline "praising" this match... They must be huge fans of Kendo Stick whacking. If so, check out the early 2000s WWE! You'll LOVE it!

Randy Orton vs. Rusev was up next and honestly, it was a solid match... Both wrestlers are capable of performing... The problem was the heat or lack thereof. Nobody in that arena had any belief that Rusev would win. That's the problem. Now, if the WWE let Rusev lock in that Accolade and choke Orton, that's momentum for the WWE to build upon. Nope, Rusev eats an RKO and it's over. He's done... Orton has won over 10 World Titles has NO increased business to show for it (Smackdown 2011, late 2013, and post Wrestlemania 33) and yet WWE keeps him strong. Orton would only be effective if he had a talented wrestler, like AJ Styles, pushing him to greater lengths... Otherwise, he's a drag on the roster and sucking the life out of most of his opponents during 2017. [ ** 3/4 ]

Because having the US Title on this accomplished wrestler wasn't cheap enough, the US Title match was switched to a Triple Threat with Tye Dillinger being added to Baron Corbin vs. AJ Styles. Why? Sure, it gives a better bumper for AJ Styles to work with, but I don't know what adding him to this match serves. Good chunk of this match had AJ Styles "hurt" on the outside so that it gives us Dillinger vs. Corbin one-on-one for a good while. Whoopie! And then the match was booked as of Corbin was overwhelming to both. Yeah, how has his recent track record been lately to support that? And then Dillinger joins the ring and begins to dominate AJ Styles. How is that freakin' possible? Good stuff from AJ, though, when he reverses Tye into Styles Clash attempts and then the Calf Crusher. Match needs more of those moments and less Corbin/Dillinger dominance over Styles. As the match went on, that's what we had... AJ Styles started displaying his offense and the match greatly improved. Styles was working over Dillinger and hit the forearm but Baron Corbin rushed in to boot Styles of the ring. Corbin makes the cover instead for the 1, 2, 3 to crown a NEW United States Champion. I'm OK with that because it could let AJ Styles move on, hopefully to the WWE Title scene. The match, though, was meh except for the end part which was just starting to heat up. [ ** 1/2 ] Match was poorly planned for 3/4 of it with Styles either selling injury on the outside or featuring Tye and Baron as the dominant 2/3 of the match. Ridiculous.

Next match was the Women's Title match between Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya. Is anyone else amused by how Charlotte HAS to have a last name now and Natalya doesn't? I would think that it's pretty important to remind everyone that Natalya is the offspring of a Hart and a former WWE wrestler. Natalya Neidhart sounds pretty good... More crowd killing booking by having Natalya completely dominate Charlotte Flair to start. It's one thing if we have an "over" heel doing that... Natalya is working on the leg, which seems very similar to the Nikki Bella vs. Charlotte match a while back. Again, it's one thing if we have an incredibly over heel working the knee to piss off fans, but when the heel is dull or uninteresting... Charlotte has to be thinking "why am I working this kind of match again?". Fans are totally bored by this, as evidence by the sounds of silence. Then, Charlotte tries a Moonsault on that bad wheel and completely misses Natalya... And we then get either a Countout finish or a disqualification when Natalya attacks with a chair. UGH, this match was AWFUL. [ 1/2 * ] The veteran Natalya should be able to present a good working match when she takes lead. She didn't, as this bad match was all on her.

Next up, Fandango & Tyler Breeze do their strange non-funny things. I guess this is where Vince McMahon prefers them instead of a ring. The Ascension want "2B" your friends... Breeze and Fandango open up a briefcase that lights up inside, a "new case". Wow, this show keeps getting worse.

Up to the 2 Main Events to "save" this show.

WWE Title doesn't get the Main Event nod, as Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura was up next. But I thought Jinder was a great World Champion? Oh... Maybe this is Vince disliking the challenger? Of course, the Singh Brothers are there for Jinder Mahal. Wouldn't anyone facing Jinder find 2 friends to accompany them to the ring to counter that? The psychology of not doing that is completely idiotic. Fans were hype for Nakamura's entrance, which is always awesome... But bored to start with Jinder's bland offense dominating Nakamura to start. What is it with the booking tonight? If you're a heel who is NOT OVER, then you need to just work on delivering a strong back & forth match-up instead of a one-sided affair that kills the crowd. Wow them with a strong match, not an attempt at psychology when you are NOT good at it in the first place. Nothing spectacular in return by Nakamura who continues to struggle with the WWE less stiff style of working. Of course the Singh Brothers got involved and distract the referee enough to avoid Jinder losing to Nakamura's finisher. Later, Nakamura would try his finisher again but run into the corner. That allows Jinder to hit his finisher to retain the WWE Title. Ha! That's Jinder's cleanest win yet. Terrible match where both guys continued to have zero in-ring chemistry. Both should NOT even be near the WWE Title scene at this point. [ *1/2 ] We'll see how long before Nakamura bolts back to Japan... And in my opinion, I wouldn't miss him. Hasn't impressed me in the WWE since that Zayn match. WWE needs to get that WWE Title off of Jinder ASAP because he is continually failing to deliver in big matches. Too much muscle on that frame makes him appear slow.

The "piss match" is Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler although fans seem relieved that Bobby Roode is here. Me too. Dolph Ziggler comes out to his regular music and then the record player pull sound is made and he comes out to no music. That was cool... SAME formula in this match. What, does Road Dogg only know one format for a match? Extended heel beatdown to start the match and again, no crowd reaction. It's one thing if you had a strong heel who is popping crowd creations night after night... But Ziggler is "damaged goods" from years of bad booking. It just starts the match so slow and then the workers have to overdo it at the end to play catch-up. Then, when Roode gets in offense of his own that isn't over-the-top to present the crowd with a sugar high, they won't wake up. To make matters worse, a "Let's Go Ziggler" chant breaks out when Roode can't get any reaction. Ha... Ending saw a whole bunch of roll-up reversals that Roode eventually won... But Ziggler immediately hits a Zigzag afterward to negate Roode's "big" win. [ *3/4 ] I don't get tonight's repetive match formula. Nobody is getting over. For Bobby Roode... Once that entrance is over, which is a WWE production, what does he have to offer?

The MAIN EVENT is Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens... This feud has been going on for a while, oddly enough, but it doesn't feel like it matters because those Owens vs. Styles just never clicked. Just didn't feel like the US Title had that great of a "sense of urgency" because the matches didn't work and for the fact that both Owens & Styles started off 2017 as World Champions for both brands. Shane embraces his children and wife before this match... Not sure why he risks losing all of this just for a part-time wrestling "fix". Match is "FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE" and Shane McMahon immediately attacks ouside of the Hell in a Cell. Shane has all spots for moves, too... No psychology and no strength for any power moves. It's just Owens out there selling the spots. Then, Shane tries a Shooting Star Press because that's what all 47 year old non-wrestlers can try. And of course, he can lock in the Triangle Choke from Kevin Owens's pop-up powerbomb attempt. Shane begins to dominate and then hits the Van Terminator... BUT the referee botched the count as it's a FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE and the ropes broke the pin? LOL... Shane wants the door open but the referees refuse. NO PROBLEM, as someone left bolt cutters under the ring! Imagine if Usos or New Day found that? Both are outside the cage now and Owens hits a DDT and then does a first... He holds up Shane for an Atomic Drop and rams Shane's crotch into the side of the door. Owens works his way to the announcer's table and puts Shane McMahon on top. Then, Kevin Owens climbs to the very top of the Cage... After hesitating to drop, Shane gets off the table and climbs to the top himself. Shane hits a Russian Leg Sweep on the top, hurts both. Ha! Then, Shane does a rare power move by bodyslamming Owens on the top of the cage. That prompts a "this is awesome" chant. Really? Shane then hits a suplex on Owens on top of the cage. Owens gets up and kicks and then splashes Shane. Owens goes for a Powerbomb but Shane reverses that. More brawling and then Owens finally hits that Pop-up Powerbomb. That looked really good with Shane hitting nicely on the fencing and bouncing when he landed. Both are climbing down, however, after Shane fought being tossed... On the side of the cage, Shane was able to punch Kevin Owens off the side and Owens falls onto the announcer's table (clean fall). EMTs look over Owens and Shane could have pinned him... Nope, Shane is clearing off a 2nd announcer's table and puts Owens on that table. Then, Shane climbs to the top of the cage. In a WEIRD TWIST, Sami Zayn pulled Kevin Owens off the table just as Shane jumped off the cage for an elbow! Shane crashes through the table and is not moving. Sami pulls Owens on top of Shane and yells at a referee to count. Kevin Owens wins! I guess if you can't beat then, join them? Interesting twist... Match was pretty damn violent and that gets it some points. Still, it was a full time wrestler dead to rights against a 47 year old non-wrestler. [ *** 1/2 ]

LAST WORD: It's time for Vince McMahon to focus on Monday Night RAW only to put his full attention at getting his prized possession, Roman Reigns, over. His input on Smackdown has killed this brand and Road Dogg as the yes-man creative lead is bankrupt of any storyline innovation to make anything appear interesting. The "Superstar Shake-up" killed this show and then bad booking decisions piled on more dirt. When you need a 47 year old Shane McMahon stuntman to headline your show, there's trouble on the roster. The FACT is that Smackdown has both former World Champions to start 2017 on its roster and yet one was defending his US Title while the other was wrestling a 47 year old non-wrestler. At the very least, we have a twist ending that might have us curious with Sami Zayn. [ D+ ] for a weak show that didn't showcase the Smackdown roster well at all. Certainly made Shane McMahon look like a freakin' stud, though.


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