By Jason Powell
WWE Hell in a Cell 2017
Aired October 8, 2017 live on WWE Network and pay-per-view
Detroit, Michigan at Little Caesar’s Arena
The main show opened with a video package featuring classic footage and then shifting to feuds from the current feuds… The broadcast team was Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton. Phillips hyped that the event in the new venue was sold out with 16,206 in attendance…
New Day made their entrance and delivered an in-cage promo. Woods ran through the HIAC structure specs and said it’s about to get real. Kingston said the structure can be their greatest weapon. He said the Usos claim they have the tag division on lock, but New Day has the keys (tag titles). The Usos made their entrance minus a microphone…
1. Big E and and Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston) vs. Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso in a Hell in a Cell match for the Smackdown Tag Titles. Phillips said it was the first time the tag titles would be defended inside the HIAC structure. The broadcast team noted that it’s tornado rules inside the structure and noted that the rules will be different during the falls count anywhere match later in the show.
The teams went to ringside and grabbed weapons. The Usos had a chair and a kendo stick, while Woods had a stick, and E had a chain. Woods dove at one of the Usos, who moved, causing E to go through the ropes and crash into the cage. Jimmy Uso dove onto Woods, who was at ringside against the cage. E recovered and performed his spear through the ropes and drove one of the Usos into the cage. The first “this is awesome” chant started just three minutes in.
Woods used a trombone as a weapon and broke it. Kingston passed a new one through the structure for a rinse and repeat spot. Woods apparently had a fever and the only cure was more cowbell, as he struck Jey with one. E also pulled out a drum cymbal at one point. Woods went up top and ended up having a chair thrown at him. The Usos came back with kendo stick shots.
The Usos took out Woods at ringside and then focussed on working over E inside the ring. However, he ducked a kendo stick shot from Jimmy and then suplexed Jey. Jimmy caught E with a superkick on the apron. Woods recovered on the floor just in time for E to perform a uranage on Jimmy, who landed on Woods. Xavier came up holding his knee, but then he went up top and performed a double team move on Jimmy. Jey broke up the pin.
New Day wedged four kendo sticks through the cage in a way that trapped Jey in the corner. Woods casually tossed a broken trombone at him, and one of the four sticks came loose. Jey got free. One of the Usos hoisted up E on his shoulders, then the other performed a spear through the ropes to drive him into the cage. The Usos hit back to back top rope splashes on E for a near fall around 15:00.
The Usos handcuffed Woods with his arms around one of the ring posts and then worked him over with several kendo stick shots. One of the Usos freed him for lord knows what reason. Big E cleared Jimmy from the ring, then hit a belly to belly suplex on Jey. E picked up on his shoulders and rammed him into the cage, then picked him up again and ran him into his brother.
At 19:10, Big E removed the straps and hit his finisher on Jey for a two count. The Usos ended up catching E with a few superkicks and then performed a simultaneous top rope splash. They had E pinned, but Woods broke it up at the last moment. The Usos worked over Woods with kendo stick shots, as his hands were still handcuffed together. Woods fought back briefly, but they hit him with more kendo stick shots. The Usos placed a chair over Woods and then performed their simultaneous top rope splashes for the win…
The Usos defeated New Day to win the Smackdown Tag Titles in 22:00.
Powell’s POV: That was the opening match? Damn. It was violent as hell and that’s not a criticism. This was a terrific brawl that was perfect within the HIAC structure. I like the call to go with the Usos as champions again, as they can continue to feud with New Day as well as Benjamin and Gable (who beat The Hype Bros on the Kickoff Show), whereas the New Day didn’t have any strong heel teams to face once they wrapped up their feud with the Usos.
Backstage, Kayla Braxton interviewed AJ Styles about the U.S. Title match becoming a Triple Threat with Tye Dillinger being added. Styles said he gets where Daniel Bryan was coming from even if he doesn’t like it. Styles quoted Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” to close his promo…
2. Randy Orton vs. Rusev. Orton received the big star pop during his entrance. He went for an early RKO, but Rusev shoved him off and went to ringside. Rusev rebounded and knocked Orton off the apron and into the barricade. Rusev followed up with a fallaway slam against the barricade at 2:55. Orton came back by dropping Rusev back first on the barricade at 5:20, but Rusev quickly regained control and got a two count back inside the ring.
At 8:30, Orton went for a hanging DDT, but Rusev avoided it and performed another fallaway slam and a kick and ended up getting a two count. Rusev stomped the back of Orton and set up for his finisher, but Orton avoided it and rolled to ringside. Orton hit his hanging DDT a short time later. He struck the Viper’s Pose, but Rusev put him in position for The Accolade. Orton slipped away again and hit the RKO for the clean win…
Randy Orton pinned Rusev in 11:40.
Powell’s POV: Good effort from both men. They had the unenviable task of following the opener, but they came through and had the crowd with them. I’m surprised we didn’t see Aiden English get involved. This was better than expected and the show is off to a strong start.
A chicken shack commercial aired with Kurt Angle dressed up as Col. Sanders and Heath Slater as a chicken… Tye Dillinger made his entrance for the U.S. Title match. They introduced the various international broadcast teams, then Baron Corbin and A.J Styles made their entrances…
3. AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin vs. Tye Dillinger in a Triple Threat for the U.S. Championship. Ring announcer Greg Hamilton delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. You know it’s a hot crowd when they responded loudly to Hamilton’s pause after saying “one fall.” The bell rang and Styles and Dillinger looked at Corbin, who rolled to ringside to avoid them. The babyfaces chased Corbin back inside the ring and worked him over briefly before clotheslining him to the floor. Dillinger rolled up Styles for a two count, then Styles returned the favor.
Later, Corbin ran Styles into the barricade and then fought Dillinger inside the ring. Styles returned and went for a springboard move, but Corbin punched him. At 9:45, Corbin dumped Dillinger at ringside and then traded punches inside the ring with Styles. AJ hit him with rapid fire strikes and knocked him down with a clothesline at 10:25.
At 11:35, it was Corbin’s turn to sell while Styles and Dillinger faced off. Dillinger performed a back body drop. A small “10” count broke out, then grew as he threw punches at Styles in the corner. Dillinger got a near fall on Styles at 12:45, but the crowd didn’t get caught up in the suspense. Dillinger set up for his finisher, but Styles avoided it and kicked him.
Styles set up for the Styles Clash. Dillinger avoided two attempts, then Styles rolled him into the Calf Crusher. Corbin broke up the submission hold at 13:55 by pulling Dillinger to ringside. Styles performed a Phenomenal Forearm on Corbin at ringside. Corbin shoved Styles back first into the post. Corbin and Dillinger squared off inside the ring with Dillinger getting two near falls before Corbin put him down with his finisher. Styles tried to break it up, but Corbin chokeslammed him onto his knee for a two count at 16:30.
There was a cool spot with Styles hitting the Pele Kick on Dillinger, who then fell onto Corbin for a near fall. Styles hit the springboard 450 Splash on Corbin and covered him only to have Dillinger break it up. Styles avoided the Tye Breaker and hit the Phenomenal Forearm on Dillinger. Corbin kicked Styles and tossed him to ringside before covering Dillinger for the win…
Baron Corbin defeated AJ Styles and Tye Dillinger in a Triple Threat to win the U.S. Championship in 19:20.
Powell’s POV: A solid match with the formula of having one man down at ringside while the other two fought inside the ring more often than not. Dillinger being added to the match did nothing for me because I was looking forward to the singles match, but obviously the idea was to have Styles drop the title without being pinned. Dillinger continues to be good inside the ring, but he just hasn’t connected beyond the ten gimmick. It’s not really his fault, as it’s not like creative has given him many chances on the mic. Corbin winning the title is obviously good for him. I like that it gets Styles out of the secondary title picture and back into the world title picture where he belongs.
A breast cancer charity video aired and then the broadcast team spoke about their work with the group…
4. Natalya vs. Charlotte for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Hamilton delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Graves spoke about how Charlotte had been on a book tour for the past couple weeks and was not as focussed as she once was. Natalya targeted the left knee of Charlotte during the first two minutes and continued the attack until 5:45 when Charlote forced her way out of a Sharpshooter attempt.
Charlotte performed a backslide for a two count at 6:25. She threw chops while continuing to sell her knee. She hopped onto the ropes with one leg. Natalya recovered and powerbombed her from the ropes for a two count at 7:45. Charlotte caught Natalya with a big boot at 9:00 and fell to the mat to sell the knee pain. Natalya avoided a figure four attempt by kicking Charlotte to ringside. Natalya ran Charlotte into the steps and her knee hit first.
At 10:00, Natalya applied the Sharpshooter on Charlotte, who rolled her way out of the hold and sent Natalya crashing into the corner. Charlotte went up top for the moonsault again, but Natalya rolled out of the way before she could reach the top. Charlotte kicked Natalya to ringside and then went to the other corner and performed her moonsault onto Natalya on the floor. at 11:45. Both women got to their feet. Natalya struck Charlotte with a chair to the knee for the intentional disqualification…
Charlotte defeated Natalya by DQ in 12:15.
Powell’s POV: A weak finish. I was convinced that Natalya attacking the knee of Charlotte was a set up for Charlotte sneaking out a win and then dropping the title moments later to Money in the Briefcase holder Carmella. I kept waiting for Daniel Bryan to come out and announce that this match wasn’t going to end in that fashion. Instead, we got a flat finish that will obviously lead to a rematch.
Talking Smack will feature the Usos, Baron Corbin, and AJ Styles as guests with Renee Young and Peter Rosenberg(?!?) as hosts. Nothing against Rosenberg, but why not Daniel Bryan?…
The latest installment of the Fashion Files aired. It got an immediate laugh when a photo of Cesaro was shown on the board with a caption that read “Tooth Fairy 3”. The Ascension showed up in bad disguises and gave them poster tube. Tyler Breeze wondered if “tube” was a sign that they sent the wrong man to jail because they thought “2B” stood for “to be.”
The poster was of The Ascension, and read that they wanted “to be” their friends. Breezango said they are idiots. The Ascension took off their disguises and acted sad before leaving the room. There was a knock at the door. Breeze found a briefcase, which he and Fandango opened. There was a light from within the briefcase. “Pulp Fashion” will air on Tuesday’s Smackdown…
The broadcast team set up a video package on the WWE Championship match. Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance. Schlemiel and Schlimazel Singh (or something like that) introduced Jinder Mahal…
5. Jinder Mahal (w/The Singh Brothers) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship. Hamilton delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Mahal targeted the left shoulder of Nakamura to start. Nakamura came back and got a two count, then worked over Mahal briefly at ringside. He set up Mahal with his head hanging over the apron and then kicked both Singh brothers.
The Singhs got involved again when one tended to Mahal while the other tried to distract the referee, who caught him. Referee Charles Robinson ejected the duo. Nakamura hit the Kinshasa on Mahal. Robinson ran back and made the count, but Mahal grabbed the bottom rope to break the pin.
Nakamura set up for his finisher again, but Mahal rolled to ringside and tried to leave through the crowd, but Nakamura caught him and brought him back to the ring. A short time later, Mahal went for his finisher, but Nakamura pushed him off. Nakamura went for his finisher again, but Mahal avoided it and Nakamura sold knee pain when he hit the corner. Mahal performed the Khallas finisher and scored the clean pin…
Jinder Mahal pinned Shinsuke Nakamura in 12:10 to retain the WWE Championship.
Powell’s POV: A deflating match for Nakamura fans or even for fans who are simply bored by the Mahal title reign. Where does Nakamura even go from here after losing to Mahal after the Singhs were ejected? Weak.
Backstage, Dasha Fuentes tried to interview Kevin Owens backstage, but he politely (really) dismissed her. Owens spoke about how Hell in a Cell is the most unforgiving structure in WWE. He said everyone knows it because the announcers talk about it being the most dangerous match. He said the announcers don’t talk about him as the most dangerous and unforgiving man in WWE.
Owens said people act offended because he beat up Vince McMahon and spoke about Shane’s family. He asked if anyone thought about his family when Shane tried to end his career or when he screwed him out of the U.S. Championship. Owens said Shane is the definition of a bad person. He said he uses his power to make people who work for him feel inferior. Owens spoke about how he would stop at nothing to get his revenge…
6. Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler. Roode made his usual entrance, while Ziggler’s big entrance was that he walked out minus entrance music. Roode leapt from the second rope and performed a Blockbuster for a two count at 7:50. He followed up with a uranage for another near fall. The crowd was silent. Roode went for his finisher, but Ziggler backdropped him and sat down on him for a two count. Ziggler followed up with a DDT for a two count.
Ziggler went for the Zigzag, but Roode avoided it. Ziggler applied a sleeper hold at 9:35. He followed up by tuning up the band for a superkick, but Roode ducked it and performed a spinebuster. Roode went for the Glorious DDT, but Ziggler avoided it. Ziggler rolled up Roode after he avoided him charging in the corner. They both rolled through a couple of times. Roode ended up on top and held the tights for the win. Immediately after the match, Ziggler put Roode down with a Zigzag…
Bobby Roode defeated Dolph Ziggler in 11:35.
Powell’s POV: As much as I enjoy taunting Ziggler (he’s a part-time stand up comedian, he can take it), I felt bad for these guys in that they played to a crowd that was really flat coming out of the WWE Championship match. Granted, the fans popped for Roode’s entrance, but it was tough going from there. As expected, we haven’t seen the last from these two.
A WWE TLC pay-per-view commercial aired for the Raw event that takes place in two weeks. Graves spoke briefly about the event and hyped the debut of Asuka. Phillips set up the video package for the main event…
The Hell in a Cell structure lowered around the ring while the usual music played and Phillips used the usual lines to describe it (unforgiving, demonic, etc). Graves reminded viewers that it’s a falls count anywhere match. Shane was out first and took a lap around the ring to greet his wife and sons who were in the front row on the hard camera side. Owens made his entrance wearing new ring gear…
Powell’s POV: One can only assume that Owens will be having some fun at the expense of Shane’s family given the falls count anywhere rules.
7. Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens in a falls count anywhere Hell in a Cell match. As Owens entered through the cage door and made it to the apron, Shane caught him with a kick through the ropes. Shane took the fight to Owens outside the cage and threw bad punch after bad punch and kicked Owens’ leg out from under him.
A short time later, Owens entered the cage and closed the door. Owens started to talk smack to Shane, who kicked the door into Owens. Once inside the cage with Owens, Shane told the official to lock the door. What’s the point given the match stipulations? Anyway, Owens ended up grinding the face of Owens into the cage in front of Shane’s family while saying, “Take a look at Daddy.” Owens did the Shane dance. Shane’s youngest son appeared to be laughing.
At 6:15, Owens performed a cannonball on Shane in the corner and got a two count. Owens looked at Shane’s family and said: “Don’t point your little finger at me. I should be your role model.” Owens went to the top rope and performed a senton, but Shane put his knees up at 7:10. Shane worked over Owens with punches and then connected with a running elbow. At 8:20, Shane performed a DDT.
Shane went up top, took a deep breath, and then performed a shooting star press. Owens rolled out of the way. Owens followed up with a top rope splash for another two count at 9:20. Owens went for the Popup Powerbomb, but Shane caught him with a triangle on the way down. Owens pulled his way to the floor to break the hold. Shane kicked him into the cage and then reapplied the hold on the apron. Owens powered up Shane and powerbombed him onto a piece of the ring steps at 11:00.
“Why are you making me do this?” Owens asked. “Why? Why?” Owens put the boots to Shane, who was on the floor by the cage. The crowd chanted for tables. Owens went underneath the ring and obliged by pulling out a table for a pop. Owens leaned part of the table against the cage and placed Shane on it. Owens went to the apron and performed a cannonball. Shane moved out of the way and Owens crashed through the table, drawing “holy shit” chants. Shane put his arm over Owens and got a two count at 14:00.
Shane picked up a piece of the broken table and slammed it over Owens a few times. Shane tossed a trashcan inside the ring and then set up Owens in the corner and placed the can in front of him. Shane went up top and took three deep breaths before performing the Coast to Coast spot. Shane covered Owens, who put his foot on the bottom rope, causing the referee to stop the count. Graves correctly pointed out that it should not have stopped the count given the rules of the match and simply chalked it up to the ref getting caught up in the moment.
Shane went to the floor and told the ringside referee to open the door. When he did not oblige, Shane pulled out a pair of bolt cutters and comically struggled a bit before break the lock and openin gthe door. Shane hit Owens with a trashcan a couple times. Owens rolled to the floor and rolled outside the structure. Shane punched him a couple times, but Owens low blowed him and then DDT’d him on the entrance ramp at 22:00.
Owens picked up Shane and ran him crotch first into the corner of the cage door. Owens ran Shane’s head across the fencing and then tossed the top of one of the broadcast tables on him. Owens cleared the same broadcast table and placed Shane on top of it while the referee swept away a couple of pencils that were still on the table. Owens hopped the barricade and then climbed on top of it. He looked at Shane and then looked at the top of the cage.
At 23:50, Owens climbed to the top of the HIAC structure. Owens looked down at Shane and then teased leaping a couple of times, only to stop. Owens barked at the live crowd. Meanwhile, Shane recovered and climbed up the cage. Owens met him with punches before he could get to the top of the structure. Shane threw a couple punches in return and then got to the top of the cage at 26:00.
Shane and Owens traded punches at the top of the cage. Shane performed a Russian leg sweep on top of the structure. Fans chanted “this is awesome” as both men got to their feet and traded punches again. Shane slammed Owens on the top of the structure. Shane followed up with a suplex on top of the cage. Owens rebounded with a superkick. The broadcast team spoke about hoping that the structure held up. Owens performed a senton while Phillips said, “oh, no, please no, God.”
Owens went for a powerbomb on top of the cage, but Shane backdropped him. They got up and traded more punches. Shane ran at Owens, who turned it into a Popup Powerbomb. Owens tried to throw Shane off the cage, but Shane stopped him. They went back to trading blows. Shane got another running start and ran into a punch from Owens, who then started to climb down the cell to boos. Shane caught him briefly, but Owens broke free. Shane followed Owens down the side of the cage.
Shane punched and kicked Owens, whose feet were on the middle beam. Eventually, Owens fell off the structure and through a broadcast table. EMTs and the referee checked on Owens. Graves pleaded on commentary with Shane to just pin Owens. Shane cleared the broadcast table and placed Owens on it and then headbutted him at 36:00. Phillips said it was payback for his father. Graves said he was trying to make sure Owens never competed again.
Shane climbed back to the top of the cage, took a deep breath, made the sign of the cross, and then leapt. Sami Zayn showed up out of nowhere and pulled Owens out of the way, causing Shane to perform an elbow drop through the broadcast table. The EMTs brought out a backboard. Zayn pulled Owens onto Shane, then shoved the ref to the mat and told him to count. The referee counted three…
Kevin Owens defeated Shane McMahon in a falls count anywhere Hell in a cell match in 39:00.
Zayn backed away from the scene while EMTs placed Shane in a collar and strapped him to the board. Shane was placed on a stretcher while a pair of referees helped Owens to the back. Shane was stretchered out and gave a thumbs up sign to close the show…
Powell’s POV: They went with the exact finish that our own Haydn Gleed laid out in his Thursday blog. The signs were certainly there given the way that Shane blew off Zayn on Tuesday’s Smackdown, so a lot of us had our guards up for the possibility, but it played out well. The brawl on top of the cage felt like it went on a little longer than it needed to, but this was quite the spectacle match and one insane bump by Shane. His last bump off the structure was onto a crash pad of some kind, where as this one didn’t have the same deflation gimmick.
Overall, both Hell in a Cell matches delivered in a major way and this was a quality show. I’m looking forward to discussing it with Jake Barnett for our member exclusive audio review later tonight. Join us on the ad-free version of the site and hear our nearly 10-year history of audio by signing up via the Dot Net Members’ Signup Page.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Todd Martin on his background, attending pro wrestling events in Japan, the NJPW G1 Tournament, why lucha libre companies haven't been as successful as NJPW in the United States, AEW optimism, covering pro wrestling and MMA, and more (68:57)...