With SmackDown’s WWE Hell in a Cell 2017 event concluded, it’s time for another 3-Count reaction and Smack Talk Pay-Per-Viewpoint post-show podcast review!
As always, click the video at the bottom of this post to check out the podcast breakdown of everything on the show, but before we get into that, I want to focus on three things that standout from my mind in regards to Hell in a Cell 2017.
For this edition, I want to focus on the three things that I’m the most curious about now that the event is over and I’m wondering what the next steps are that WWE will be taking.
Sami Zayn as a heel
Of course, this one has to make the list as it was perhaps the most shocking thing of the whole evening.
Sami Zayn has yet to be even close to a heel during the entirety of his WWE run, including NXT, and I’ve seen nothing of any kind of heel work he might have done in the indies, so this is an entirely foreign concept to me.
It’s strange to try to justify helping out your “friend” when he’s the same person that has powerbombed you multiple times with the specific intent to injure you, but maybe there’s going to be a good enough promo that explains Zayn’s actions.
Even if we gloss over the reasoning, the feuds this opens up are intriguing enough to be something I’m excited about, as we could be seeing Zayn versus Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode, AJ Styles, Randy Orton, and Tye Dillinger just on SmackDown alone. Once the Superstar Shake-Up happens again, there’s a possibility for Zayn to go up against Finn Balor, John Cena, and others from that brand, too.
Also, how do Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon react to this? The latter will probably be off SmackDown due to recovering, but Bryan will have to do address it soon enough and it could come off as a real betrayal and a major change in the dynamic between Zayn and his superiors that we haven’t seen yet.
I’m hesitant to go full-blown “yaaaay omg best thing ever” for this decision until we get more information of what’s to come, but I’m very, very interested to see how WWE plays around with this big shift.
The Tag Team Division
I disagree with the choice to put the belts back on The Usos, since those titles have changed hands between these two teams far too many times already and I was hoping The New Day would keep them a while, but this does open up some more doors.
Like the Zayn situation, The Usos have a few more opponents they can be gearing up to face, like Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin.
Perhaps, instead of Luke Harper and Erick Rowan coming back as heels, they could even come back as babyfaces to really reboot themselves, which could be fun to see.
Coinciding with that, we have some more story development with The Hype Bros and their possible heel turn or split, which is just vague enough that I’m not seeing the writing on the wall, so that has me a bit perplexed about the end game.
Then, we’ve got The Ascension being the most sympathetic they’ve ever been, while The Fashion Police are suddenly doing Pulp Fiction jokes as well? Since that’s one of my favorite movies, it was a hit for me.
I still think the brand split hurts the ability to have stronger divisions by having all elements in the same room, and it would be better if we could give a little help to Raw when they’re suffering with all these injuries (yet Ambrose/Rollins vs The Bar has continually been solid), but in any case, I feel like the tag teams on SmackDown are trying to do some different things.
Who Challenges Jinder Mahal Next?
This feud with Nakamura has to be over, and if it isn’t, I’m going to be pissed, because it’s been awful and couldn’t sustain itself this far, let alone another few weeks or months.
Working under the assumption that this is the last we’ll see of these two fighting, who is the next challenger?
I had thought that Zayn could be a good filler opponent for Survivor Series, although that seems to be out the window. We’ve seen Randy Orton in this role already and it’s doubtful Tye Dillinger will get boosted up to that level after losing in the United States Championship match, but what are the options left?
It really boils down to three people, I think.
First up is AJ Styles, although he’s still going to have some time where he’ll have to wrap up his feud with Baron Corbin. Since there’s a chance Jinder Mahal doesn’t have to defend the title and could be in a Survivor Series match at that event, we might not see Styles/Mahal until Clash of Champions, which gives Styles/Corbin a chance to wrestle on SmackDown and at Survivor Series to put their feud to an end.
Hopefully, if Styles does feud with Mahal, he takes the title from him, since I don’t want to see The Modern Day Maharaja as champion anymore. But, if Styles isn’t the right man for the job, then maybe John Cena needs to step in to dethrone him and win his 17th world title.
This could definitely happen, although there’s also the chance that he and Mahal have a feud that Cena comes up short in, just so he can make a few appearances heading into Survivor Series and then skip out for another month and not show up again until the Royal Rumble.
Lastly, if we’re staying on the SmackDown crew specifically and nobody turns babyface out of the blue, who is more likely to get the next title shot, Bobby Roode (who is involved with Dolph Ziggler) or Chris Jericho (who could be gone from WWE for many more months, or could theoretically show up at any moment and be immediately inserted into the title hunt)?
As far as the timing goes, I’d rather see Chris Jericho take that temporary spot and then, of course, for Styles to win the title at Clash of Champions, but this is just me pulling things from out of nowhere as opposed to having any clear idea of where WWE’s plans are.
Here’s hoping the game plan isn’t just another Nakamura match…
For more opinions on the show as a whole, check out the latest edition of the Smark Out Moment wrestling podcast SMACK TALK as the panel reviews Hell in a Cell with our immediate reactions following the event before the dust has fully settled.