Going into Hell in a Cell, fans knew exactly what they were going to get from the main event between Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens… an epic car crash. After all, that is how Shane has made his name in WWE, by performing some of the most deaf-defying stunts in WWE history. While he may get criticised by critics such as Dave Meltzer for being more of a high spots performer, it is hard to deny, Shane is a great performer in his own right. After all, one does not watch a Shane McMahon match for pure wrestling; they tune in to see a spectacle.
Just as audiences loved going to the cinema to see Arnold Schwarzenegger fire machine guns, and cause buildings to explode. Wrestling fans love watching Shane leap off giant structures. It’s simple, it’s fun, and it’s thrilling.
Owens & Shane set the tone for their match immediately, with Shane diving out of the ring and taking the fight outside the hell in a cell structure. Owens was on the back foot, and Shane began jumping off things early, as he leaped off the guardrails onto Owens.
The simple story of the match became clear; the hero will do whatever it takes to get revenge from the dastardly villain. However, like in every story, the villain eventually gets the upper-hand.
The match then revolved around Owens taking control and dishing out the punishment. Some intelligently inserted high spots such as Owens cannonball through the table and Shane’s classic coast to coast kept the live crowd engaged.
On the Edge
Then, as expected, the match took the term extreme to a whole new level. Owens set up Shane on the announcer’s table, and as he was about dive off the guardrail behind the table, he looked up at the cell. A moment of brilliance from Owens, as his one look enhanced the drama of this epic battle.
The exchanges between the two performers on top of the cell seemed to have everybody (including me) on the edge of their seat. One wrong move, one potentially faulty part of the structure and the end result for either man could have been quite nasty. The moments on top of the cell were incredibly dangerous, but it added an incredible amount of drama to the spectacle.
While this match was no Shawn Michaels/Undertaker classic – it did know how to keep the fans invested, and how to keep building the drama.
The match could only have one conclusion, and it had to involve Shane McMahon plummeting to his demise. However, as Kevin fell through the first announce table, the match took an interesting turn. With one announce table broken, it seemed as if one table was enough for this match. Until Shane also looked up at the structure. Just like Owens did earlier in the match, Shane’s look also caused the excitement to build amongst the fans.
Shane stood on top of the cell while Owens lay on the announce table helpless. Shane leaped off the cell and landed through the announce table. As we see Shane in pain, the beautifully executed final twist is revealed to us. Sami Zayn pulled Owens out of harm’s way, causing Shane to crash through the table.
A twist no one saw coming also provided one more dramatic moment to the incredible spectacle that was – Kevin Owens v Shane McMahon.
The Hell in a Cell main event delivered in many ways, but it was by no means a perfect match. Shane & Owens went nearly forty-minutes, which is perhaps a little longer for this type of match. This is also the reason the match has some slower and perhaps, forgettable moments.
This is of course nitpicking, and overall, this match should be remembered for the incredible spectacle it was designed to be. It felt like the match was an endless supply of spectacular stunts, and on this occasion, that strategy worked. Like a great blockbuster movie, it entertained and amazed us. Also, just like a great pro wrestling angle does, it gave fans an intriguing future storyline.
The Kevin Owens v Shane McMahon feud was, in all honesty, an incredibly successful angle for WWE. The rivalry had been building for months until it finally culminated inside Hell in a Cell. Not only did it allow Kevin Owens to be in a high profile match, but it also allowed Owens and Sami Zayn to be the main storyline coming off of an incredibly memorable Hell in a Cell match.