Welcome to The Smackdown Reaction, where I offer my take on this week’s show. As always, you can check out John’s full in-depth review here.
We open the show with Promo Time with Rey Mysterio. Mysterio cuts an amazing promo to sell tonight’s Hell in a Cell main event between him and Roman Reigns. Rey showed a ton of passion and intensity like a father should defending his son. Roman came out to give Rey one final chance to back out of the match tonight and Mysterio said no. We are a go for the main event later tonight.
Our opening match has Kevin Owens and Big E teaming up to take on Apollo Crews and Commander Azeez in tag team action. Sami Zayn came down at the beginning of the match to join commentary. Sami was ok on commentary, but he really needs a new gimmick. The match itself was decent and the whole point was to make Azeez look good in his debut match. Owens puts Azeez over and sold the Nigerian Nail like a devastating move. After the match, Sami cheered on Owens’s misfortune and we would later get a match set up between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn at Hell in a Cell.
Up next is Shinsuke Nakamura taking on King Corbin in a Battle for the King’s Crown. Rick Boogs plays Nakamura to the ring and Pat McAfee goes way over the top as usual. Nakamura manages to get a good match out of Corbin. In the end, Nakamura lays Corbin out with the Kinshasa knee strike to win the right to be called the one true king in WWE. So, I’m guessing this is this year’s King of the Ring tournament. Corbin really needed a gimmick change and let’s hope this gives him what he needs and not revert back to Borin Corbin.
Face to Face Time with Smackdown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair and her Hell in a Cell challenger, Bayley. Bianca gave a good speech about being a champion and ready for the challenge. Belair raises the stakes and wants Bayley in the cell since Roman and Rey are going tonight. Bayley came down to fight and got the upper hand, proving she’s going to lose in the Cell, as we all already knew. I would guess Carmella is next?
Our next match was supposed to be Angelo Dawkins of the Street Profits taking on Otis, but instead, Dawkins got doubled up on by Alpha Academy. It was good storyline advancement and Alpha Academy introduced a new Otis clothesline into a Gable german suplex finisher that Dawkins sold well. I’ll pencil them in for Money in the Bank.
Cesaro was backstage for a sitdown with Kayla Braxton, but Seth Rollins took over for Kayla and they hype up their match at Hell in a Cell. I wish they were put in the Cell instead of it being a regular match. Hopefully, Cesaro picks up another win over Rollins.
It’s main event time with Roman Reigns defending the Universal Championship against Rey Mysterio inside Hell in a Cell. I was surprised that Rey was in control for most of the opening part of the match. Rey beat Roman all around the cell. Roman finally swung the momentum in his favor but Rey battled back one more time before Roman launched him into the cell and tapped Rey out with a modified guillotine type move. The match was pretty good but come on Fox, you really couldn’t get it to go commercial-free or at least picture in picture like you do for the big NASCAR races? It’s the first Hell in a Cell match on network television and the first one not on PPV since 1998. The commercial breaks took a little bit away from it for me.
Let’s take a look at tonight’s highs and lows:
The Hell in a Cell match was really good. I just wished Fox didn’t do the commercial breaks twice. I can see why USA was a little steamed over Fox getting the HIAC match, but there’s nothing really on Raw right now that could justify doing a HIAC match on USA Network.
I liked the confidence that Bianca Belair showed going to her now HIAC title match with Bayley. This should end this feud and both can move on to others things.
Poor Kevin Owens having to sell the Nigerian Nail like it collapsed his throat again. Will he actually be able to get one up on Commander Azeez sometime in the future?
That’s all I’ve got. Until next time.