Coming out of Hell in a Cell…I…I don’t even know. Some feuds got dragged out for no real reason, twists happened which muddies up the storyline landscape for a while and there was only one real classic match that ended in a nice respect angle on the following Smackdown (yes I’m talking the Usos and New Day). So as per usual, Power Rankings isn’t purely a “best wrestler” concept, it does try to assess overall popularity, social media attention, amount of internet chatter as well as plenty of other things. So let’s see what we’re working with for the Post-Hell in a Cell fallout:
5. AJ Styles
Still the face that runs the place, but seems to be that he was helping to elevate Baron Corbin, so his status does take a hit for this update. Losing a Triple Threat isn’t too bad, but losing clean and rather definitively on the 10/10 episode of Smackdown shows he’s most likely taking a small backseat. They could randomly interject him into the WWE Title scene, but I think that will be a slower build, possibly resulting in a Royal Rumble victory or at least a storyline that takes a few months for him to reach the WWE Title.
4. The New Day
Now this one wasn’t easy. Smackdown stories are at a weird point, a lot of the characters are caught in the wash or there’s no overwhelming feeling one way or the other about some…BUT, New Day has been killing it with The Usos and that much everyone agrees on. Be it Hell in a Cell, new underwear, or popping themselves for the Fashion Police, they are a fantastically over team that has really come into their own last 2 years. Now they may take some time to help validate the other tag teams on Smackdown, but their place at the top of the current division is hard to argue.
3. Jinder Mahal
This has kind of become his spot. His matches are never anything to write home about, they always end with some kind of interference or shenanigans, but he’s being booked strong. People will complain that he’s hurting Live attendance, but the internet doesn’t keep his name out of their mouths and the TV viewership is still holding steady. So he’s doing something, sortuv right, maybe, a little…yeah? But he’s still the champion, he’s moving merchandise even if it’s ironically…so…he’s still a top 5 talent on Smackdown.
2. Kevin Owens
The cell match left a few people saying “What the hell was that”? He had a great match with Shane, and even if a little confusing, bringing Sami Zayn into the angle just helps to move this along. We could see this turn into family warfare, with Zayn calling Owens his brother, that could be foreshadowing that Triple H is coming to help Shane. Even if it’s not a top talent main event storyline, Owens is in one of the most intriguing stories going along now.
1. The Usos
These guys came out of Hell in a Cell looking like a million bucks. So much hype surrounded the match, and it exceeded most expectations. Now, they seem to be on a face turn since they respect the New Day, but this new angle is too new to start anticipating direction. As long as the Usos help elevate the Tag Division and don’t just stomp everyone not named New Day, this could be very healthy for Smackdown. Plus, after the pay-per-view match, people were running through social media trying to crown the Usos as one of the greatest tag teams of all time.
— so the hype is real, let’s see if they can continue to run with this momentum.
In previous iterations, there were stronger singles storylines coming out of the PPVs. Orton’s struggles with Jinder, Nakamura moving up in the card, but now they’re in story limbo. Perhaps it’s a little overdue for this to be New Day‘s debut on Power Rankings, but the singles stories always seemed to overshadow the tag division, until now.
Survivor Series is the next Pay-Per-View that Smackdown builds toward, so there should be plenty of time to build through the talent and hopefully give us something better to work with next Power Rankings update.