Hell in A Cell 2021: Was It The Worst WWE PPV In Recent History?

It is not a secret that just about most of the WWE fanbase has grown tired of the repetitive match-ups, lack of depth in the storytelling, stop-and-go pushing of stars and a slew of releases that saw some favorites like Samoa Joe and Aleister Black leave the main roster due to “budget cuts”.

Hell in a Cell is never seen as one of the biggest PPVs of the year and while it has occasionally delivered some great HIAC matches (Usos vs. New Day in 2017 and Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks in 2016 come to mind) it continues to be seen as a lazy way to continue storylines.

This year, it was worse. All of the backstage issues, bad writing, and loafing stories were on full display on matches where the cell was basically a non-factor, defeating the purpose of the stipulation.

To start, we were bait-and-switched out of having the only really heated rivalry in Roman Reigns vs. Rey Mysterio at the PPV. Instead, they “randomly” gave it away on a Smackdown episode that definitely wasn’t trying to compete with a special episode of AEW Dynamite. First disappointment.

Next, lets talk about repetitive matchmaking. Take a look at the number of rematches we have had since Wrestlemania 37.

The Rematches

Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
(Apr. 11th – WM 37 Night 2 // Apr. 16 – Smackdown // Jun. 20th – HIAC)
[3 Times]

Bianca Belair vs Bayley
(Apr. 10th – WM 37 Night 1 // May 16th – WM Backlash // Jun. 20th – HIAC)
[3 Times]

Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins
(Apr. 10th – WM 37 Night 1 // May 7th – Smackdown // Jun. 20th – HIAC)
[3 Times]

Bobby Lashley vs Drew McIntyre
(Apr. 10th – WM 37 Night 1 // May 3rd – Raw // May 10th – Raw // Jun. 20 – HIAC)
[4 Times]

Granted, booking the biggest wrestling federation with all of its army of writers along with an executive level that gives little-to-no creative freedom to its performers is a difficult task. That much is not argued.

But is there an excuse for having 4 rivalries that have to last almost 2 months with almost no direction other than “do the same thing” over and over again? No. And while the matches were serviceable at best, there is a looming sense of boredom and fatigue over having to follow a storyline that seemingly doesn’t end or lead to any interesting plotlines.

What exactly happened at Mania?

Belair went over Bayley, clean.

Lashley went over McIntyre because of MVP interference.

And what exactly happened at Hell in A Cell?

Belair went over Bayley, clean.

Lashley went over McIntyre because of MVP interference.

The other two rivalries had different outcomes, however they weren’t main event storylines, which only further underlines this copy and paste formula to the highest degree as WWE’s go-to move for their MOST IMPORTANT TITLES.

As for the rest of the card, we saw a 7-minute “possession/mind-game” match where Alexa Bliss made Shayna Baszler look like a weak wrestler after so much of the build she had on NXT as an unstoppable MMA fighter, and we got a lackluster match between Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair that was incredibly disappointing given their classic at Mania 36. THATS IT. That’s the card.

In Conclusion

This article spawned out of frustration as this writer tried to legitimately review the show but found it to be so dull and so awful that it had to be called out. As a lifelong WWE fan, this wasn’t exactly the WORST PPV that has been shown on their programming, but it represents a total lack of direction and sporadic storytelling that has not been seen since the New Generation or PG HD Era and its small card was littered with rematches that most fans could have done without. Given, everyone involved seemed to work hard and try to make the most out of their situations but they can only do so much when the entirety of the backstage management practically working against making anything interesting.

2/10. Not the worst, but one of the worst. Nothing worth a rewatch and would never recommend. WWE can and HAS to do better.

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