Courtesy of WWE Home Video, our very own Matthew Roberts takes a look at the latest DVD release Hell in a Cell 2020.
”I’m sure that every year I lament the fact that Hell In A Cell comes around purely because it’s October and not necessarily because feuds have risen to the point where the only way to settle it is within the demonic structure. To be fair though two of the three Cell matches (regardless of overkill of the gimmick) this year at least had the feeling that the stipulation was warranted. And we’ll get to that as we go along.
The opener, pitting Roman Reigns against Jay Uso for the WWE Universal Championship, was one of the ones that had at least gone some way to being presented as a match that needed the Cell. After their great match at Clash of Champions, the nuances to the storyline made sense and I wasn’t even bothered like some fans were about the additional “I Quit” stipulation. It mixed things up from the normal Cell routine AND made sense in the Tribal Chief shenanigans that were ongoing.
The match was excellent again and if there are still people in 2020 peddling the line that Reigns is useless, talentless, has no charisma or psychology…well let’s just say they are making fools of each other. The match was a brutal but emotional roller-coaster and left the rest of the card with a mountain to climb to match it.
Elias and Jeff Hardy obviously couldn’t manage that. It was clear that this was “come down” filler from the off and whilst it would have made for a mildly entertaining throwaway on Raw it lacked any kind of pizzazz for a PPV. The ending was right out of TV too. It did bring to mind the question of whether or not a show needs a match designed to give fans a break when there are no fans in actual attendance. But that’s a thought for another time.
Otis defended his Money In The Bank contract against The Miz in another nothing match. I’m not one for complaining that wrestling is “predictable” (note, predictable doesn’t always mean bad folks) but if you hadn’t seen the heel turn by Tucker coming a mile off then the awkward shuffling into position and camera angles designed, presumably, to hide shenanigans only bringing them into focus before time towards the conclusion of this one gave it away.
The Cell was back with us next, as Bayley defended her Smackdown Women’s Championship against Sasha Banks. You could be churlish and state that the Cell stipulation came a little too soon after Bayley had FINALLY turned on her best friend Banks but if you take their storyline journey as a whole you can make a case that for the second time this evening the Cell was a necessary requirement. They certainly made the most of it.
Sure there were the occasional spots that were very contrived but that’s wrestling in 2020 for you (and to be fair, stipulation matches in general for the last two decades plus anyway). There was certainly enough brutality, violence and new innovations to make this a fantastic match as well as a number of callbacks to their storied history. Even better than the opener, this was top notch stuff.
There had to be a match in-between this and the main event so a thrown together match pitting Bobby Lashley against Slapjack. Lashley won easily in a sub-par Raw level match and put yet another nail in Retribution’s coffin. It’s easy to mock the faction and the storyline as a whole in terms of the wrestlers involved, but the booking of it has done none of them any favours.
And so that left us with the main event. In some ways the feud between Randy Orton and Drew McIntyre had been one worthy of a Cell match. It had certainly been going on long enough and had been varied enough. The problem was that it felt like their rivalry had reached it’s natural ending a month earlier and that this match was here simply because there was nothing else for either man to do. It also didn’t help that this was comfortably the “worst” of the three cell matches on this show. Which is not the same as saying it was awful; the effort was there from both men and they took some big bumps. It was nice as well that it was appreciably different in terms of match layout from the other two Cell matches we’d already seen. But in the end it was slightly ponderous at times and never really felt like it was going to be a classic of it’s kind.
Wrestling history is littered with “one match shows” and Hell in a Cell 2020 was more than that. It was a two match show (reminiscent of WrestleMania X perhaps) with a bit of back up from the third cell match. Everything non-Cell was really just there to kill time between the gimmick matches. That said, any card with two brilliant matches like Reigns/Uso and Bayley/Sasha will always get the thumbs up from me.
7 out of 10”
Photographs courtesy of Fetch and WWE