With Hell in a Cell only a few days away, SmackDown Live needed to do a commendable job of getting people interested in the pay-per-view and ensuring fans couldn't help but tune in. For the most part, they failed.
While all two hours of the show was dedicated to an element of the card on Sunday, not one segment, even the McMahon and Kevin Owens brawl, elevated Hell in a Cell to must-watch status. Everything felt dry, rehashed and uninspired and outside of what talent may do with the actual structure itself, the WWE Universe can come up with any excuse to miss the show and all would be justified.
Could Jinder Mahal and Shinsuke Nakamura make us finally care about their issues? Would the U.S. Title scene all of a sudden get interesting? Would the WWE Universe be excited for another New Day versus Uso's matchup?
Here are your 5 Winners and 5 Losers From SmackDown Live – October 3, 2017.
5. Loser - Mike Kanellis
It's a shame to see how badly the WWE has botched everything about Mike and Maria Kanellis. The fact that Maria is pregnant and will eventually need time off might be a huge blessing in disguise for the couple who need a reason to get off television, away from this gimmick and return with something fresh.
Kanellis was used to put over a babyface Bobby Roode (still hate this idea) and it was a short, near-squash match that does nothing for either competitor.
5. Winner - Mahal / Nakamura
This one goes in the winner category only because there was no reference made to race, look, language or otherwise, but it's still a loser based on how incredibly poor a job these competitors and the WWE have done of getting us to care about this match.
This bout has become a "we don't care who wins, as long as it's not Jinder Mahal" match. No one cares about the match, no one cares about the feud, fans only care to see the company give the belt to someone else.
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4. Loser - Natalya
SmackDown Live felt a lot like a setup for Natalya to lose her Women's Championship. She got a submission win over her opponent and Carmella interfered which sets up the idea that she might do so again on Sunday.
It was nice to see Nattie get rewarded with a title run (however short) but she was really just a veteran placeholder and it's time she gives back the title to female competitors that have a bit more to offer and a longer future in the WWE. Tuesday seems to have set the stage for that to happen.
4. Winner - Carmella
Speaking of the Women's Title change, it looks as though the WWE might finally be doing something with the Money in the Bank briefcase that Carmella has been carrying around for some time but not cashed in. Charlotte should win the title on Sunday but there is a feeling in the air that Carmella may steal it.
The idea of Carmella versus Charlotte is much more entertaining than what's going on right now in the SmackDown's Women's Division so it will be a nice change.
3. Loser - Dolph Ziggler / Bobby Roode
When these two first got together to start the idea of a match, it was clearly a bad idea. Tuesday just reaffirmed how awful an idea it is. Ziggler's new gimmick (that being a lack of a gimmick) is so bad, he knows people hate it and had to address the topic in interviews and social media. Meanwhile, Roode should never have been made a babyface and the image of watching him wiggle his hips and search for cheap pops from the crowd to get over, when he was always one of the better heel characters is hard to watch.
Their match at Hell in a Cell is going to be a mercy killing for one of these guys.
Calling this a winner is like saying that your favorite TV show is a winner based on solely on the fact that you love it even though it's grown stale and uneventful. That's where these two teams are at. There's nothing left to say that they haven't already said and there's only one match left that these two teams haven't had.
The match itself on Sunday should be great. It will likely be the match of the night, but everyone just wants to get there already. The promo on Tuesday did the only thing it could which removed the humor and try to make people believe this was finally serious between the two teams.
2. Loser - Rusev/ Orton
We can't imagine caring less about a feud than I (and probably much of the WWE Universe) do. Outside of one week where Rusev was entertaining with his mock celebration and key to the city, this entire program has fallen flat and it will be among the most disregarded matches on the entire card.
Aiden English has been surprisingly the best part of this entire storyline, and that has to tell you something. If he's more entertaining than two guys who could and should be considered top-level talent, it's an issue.
2. Winner - Tye Dillinger
It's nice to see Dillinger staying relevant during the AJ Styles and Baron Corbin battle, even if it's only short term. With an upset victory over Corbin on Tuesday, Dillinger is a threat to be a contender in that match when the WWE Universe might have otherwise written him off.
The dynamic between these three competitors is different (which is nice), but it's hard to tell if it's working and if people care more or less about the U.S. Title because of it. To date, this Styles and Corbin feud feels less and less like heat between two people and sometimes that's all you need to make a match interesting.
1. Loser - Falls Count Anywhere
Explain the point of having a Hell in a Cell match if the major stipulation is that a pinfall can occur anywhere in the arena. Isn't the point of the cell to keep people in? The WWE Universe has basically been told that the cell is secondary to whatever these two combatants are planning to do.
One can only hope it means McMahon has another stunt planned that is too big for the cell itself, or that the match will start outside and end in the cell, but not using the cell seems like a contradictory waste of time.
1. Winner - Kevin Owens
There still isn't a better worker on the mic than Kevin Owens. He can take you on a ride with his promos and you'll go from the high end to the low end on your emotional scale in a matter of seconds and he masterfully controls that ride the entire time he speaks. He played both tough and cowardly and you can't help but want to see Shane get his hands on Owens.
It didn't feel like this segment got all the way there in terms of psyching up the match, but it will be the most anticipated part of the show and the brawl was fun.
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