And that's not just because I had a lot of correct predictions. :)
Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin vs. The Hype Bros
My prediction: Gable and Benjamin via pin
Result: Gable and Benjamin via pin
Decent match, though nothing really happened. But that's what you usually get on the pre-show. I will say that Gable and Benjamin are starting to show some more chemistry, which I do appreciate. I wish they had an actual tag team name, but if they're entertaining I can get over it (see: Sheamus and Cesaro).
Randy Orton vs. Rusev
My prediction: Orton via RKOOUTTANOWHERE
Result: Orton via RKOOUTTANOWHERE
God, they gotta do something with Rusev. He's just so entertaining, such a great heel even during the match. His whole style, his crowd interactions, everything screams that he should have gotten the push that Jinder Mahal got. Frustrating.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match in Hell in a Cell: The New Day (c) vs. The Usos
My prediction: The Usos via pin
Result: The Usos via pin
This match was phenomenal. They had a bunch of great spots, the workers are great, they were creative and explosive. Hopefully this opens up The New Day for some singles competition as well, as it feels like a waste to have three great workers condensed into a single match every month.
Smackdown Women's Championship: Natalya (c) vs. Charlotte
My prediction: Charlotte via submission
Result: Charlotte via disqualification
I don't find Natalya all that entertaining to watch, and this match wasn't any exception. It wasn't a bad match or anything, just didn't feel like it had the excitement of a title match. That it ended in a DQ was fine with me; extending the strife between these two is okay, and you want Charlotte to stay strong. She doesn't need to take a loss to Natty, even a clean one.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Bobby Roode
My prediction: Ziggler via pin (dirty)
Result: Roode via pin
My first incorrect winner, but I'm okay with it. It set off a continuation of the feud, which is fine with these two accomplished workers. I also absolutely loved Ziggler's 80s heel entrance. I was just thinking that a no-music entrance would be a cool throwback, and while he wasn't the wrestler who came to mind, Ziggler ran with it perfectly.
I mean, of course he did. He's Dolph freakin' Ziggler.
United States Title Match: A.J. Styles (c) vs. Baron Corbin (vs. Tye Dillinger)
My prediction: Corbin via pin
Result: Corbin via pin
This was actually a really well-crafted match. During the pre-show, Dillinger chatted his way into the match after showing he beat Corbin on Smackdown, adding some last-minute excitement. Then for the finish, Styles hit his finisher on Dillinger but Corbin shoved him off and stole the pinfall. It worked out well for everyone.
And now that Styles lost his rematch on Smackdown, he can get out of the U.S. Title picture and into the WWE championship scene.
WWE Championship Match: Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
My prediction: Nakamura via pin
Result: Mahal via pin
Mahal was about a C- in this match, which is considerably better than he's been in all of his other matches. It still wasn't good, but it was a bit better than usual. They probably could've afforded to drag out the ending a little more; if the Kinshasa is supposed to be a true finisher, an extra four seconds for Charles Robinson to get back in the ring shouldn't be the difference between a pin or a fail.
Anywho, overall the match was fine, probably bottom three on the night though, which isn't what you want out of your premier title. Hopefully something good is coming.
Hell in a Cell Match: Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon
My prediction: Owens via pin
Result: Owens via pin
Remember how I said my expectations were high for this match? Well, consider them met. Owens is such a great, animated competitor, his matches always seem to have so much meaning for his character.
The whole sequence where he sets Shane up on the table and tries to psyche himself up to jump off the cell onto him was just brilliant. Then when Shane climbed the cage and they executed a bunch of moves on top of the cell, even though they were on the same section and you knew it wouldn't break, there was always the worry that something would go horribly wrong. It was well-executed drama.
Then, finally, FINALLY, they had a PPV match end with some questions about what's going to happen next. The insertion of Sami Zayn to save Owens and then plop him on top of Shane for the win was a great way to refresh Sami's character and generate buzz for Smackdown.
Overall: 6/8 (75% correct)
Even though this PPV was fairly predictable (and really any non-mark should've gotten Roode and Mahal correct), it was immensely entertaining. Great matches, good story progression, good setups for future feuds, it was all there. It's no coincidence that the better brand seems to be the one with Kevin Owens on it. The man is just incredible at his job. And A.J. Styles is probably the best in-ring wrestler in the company.
RAW has The Shield again. So...I guess that's cool.
Good luck at TLC.
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