Time stood still last night, and it was beautiful.
We all knew this moment was coming: Shane McMahon standing on top of the hell in a cell, staring down at a lifeless Kevin Owens spread out on the announcer’s table. McMahon was about to hit the biggest elbow drop in WWE history on Owens, avenging all the destruction that Owens had done to the McMahon family in the past month-plus. He looked down, said a prayer, and then leaped.
What happened next made us all forget the problems WWE has had with their storyline telling in 2017.
Out of nowhere, Sami Zayn pulls Owens out of the way, leaving McMahon to go straight through the table. Zayn, who has had a bitter rivalry with Owens since they both arrived in WWE, then threw Owens on top of McMahon for the cover and the victory. All of this while they were loading McMahon on a stretcher from the 20+ foot fall he just took.
You could have sensed this was building in the weeks leading up to last night. Small, subtle interactions between Zayn, Owens and McMahon were planting seeds for the potential of last night happening. However, a heel turn from Zayn always felt impossible because of his insane likability.
But the impossible happened last night. And it was incredible.
The joining of Zayn and Owens rekindles old memories of their times before WWE. Kevin Steen and El Generico (Owens and Zayn, respectively) have been friends for two decades, and have won tag team gold across the world. Now, it appears they have formed a new union in WWE, which has tons of WWE fans excited.
While last night’s finish was incredible, it also helped WWE mask the issues of their storyline booking of the previous two hours of the show.
Jinder Mahal retained the WWE Title to the appeasement of nobody. It’s one thing to be a good heel champion who people respect because they’re good at being a heel. But Mahal is just boring, plain and simple. His in-ring style is mundane, and having the Singh Brothers help him every match is redundant and expected. He’s been WWE champion for six months now, and none of those months have been enjoyable. The constant burying of Shinsuke Nakamura is also mind boggling to me.
Natalya destroyed Charlotte with a chair…cool. What did this accomplish? It was the flattest match of the night, especially given the prior matches these two women have put on in the past.
Bobby Roode beat Dolph Ziggler to the surprise of zero people watching. He also won by a roll up, which just seemed odd. Let him display his full arsenal to the audience against a guy like Ziggler and really put him over. The whole match was just “meh.”
The only good match up until the finale was the New Day v. Usos Hell in a Cell match. Once again, those two teams delivered an all-time classic. I could watch those guys wrestle for forever, and at this point, I think that’s what we’re going to get.
But all of the negative booking was forgotten about with a 20-foot jump, a reunion three years in the making, and a heel turn few thought they would ever see. WWE made you hold your breath for the final ten minutes of the match, culminating with an audible gasp after you realized what had just happened.
It was brilliant in every sense of the word, and all three men should be applauded for pulling off the stunt. The Shane McMahon-Kevin Owens match was the most I’ve been invested in a WWE match in a long time, and the ending was one of the best endings to a PPV in WWE history.