A PPV which WWE seemed to have forgotten about until Sunday, Hell in a Cell had the opportunity to be a dark horse for WWE PPV of the Year.
With AEW breathing down their necks, could WWE produce the goods and deliver a decent PPV? Let’s delve in and find out.
Lacey Evans vs Natalya
Result: Natalya forces Evans to tap to the Sharpshooter
This felt like a RAW match. Both women have been feuding for the past few weeks, and this should have been the end of their little feud. This was probably the best match they’ve had. The crowd got into it after a while, and Lacey got good heat.
In my opinion, Lacey should have won here. She’s going to be a major star one day, and Natalya gained nothing from her win here. Short term, it does make sense. Lacey has tormented Nattie for weeks, so Natalya needed payback. However, WWE should have thought long term, and have Lacey go over here. Decent match, but the wrong result.
Hell in a Cell match for the RAW Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (C) vs Sasha Banks
Result: Lynch forces Sasha to tap – Becky retains the belt
This was great. Right from the start, it looked like it was going to be a brutal match, when Becky used the chain usually used to lock the cell door to batter Sasha. They held NOTHING back throughout, with both women laying some stiff weapon shots on each other, including a brutal looking Meteora from Banks to Lynch onto a Ladder.
There were some amazing moves through out, including a Meteora from Banks to Lynch through a table, and Becky dropkicking Sasha from a Steel Chair propped up on Kendo Sticks in the corner of the Cell. This wasn’t just the women’s Match of the Year; this might have been WWE’s MOTY so far. It was that good.
That said, I’m surprised Lynch won. Sasha had the momentum and it felt like her time. However I’m not complaining, because this means that we get more fire promos from Becky as the Champ, and it will be a huge deal when she eventually loses that title.
Tornado Tag match: Eric Rowan and Luke Harper vs Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan
Result: Reigns pins Harper after a Superman Punch from Reigns, a Running Knee from Bryan and a Spear from Roman.
This was another brutal looking match. They went all out to prove who were the better team. On this occasion it was Bryan and Roman, but Rowan and Harper put in a fantastic effort.
Like the Cell match, they used a variety of weapons and table spots to incapacitate the other team. Highlights included Rowan hitting Roman with a piece of the barricade, Roman spearing Rowan through an announce table and Harper hitting a second rope Powerbomb on Bryan.
Eventually, a flurry of offence from Reigns and Bryan put Harper down for good. Bryan and Reigns hugged afterwards, solidifying Bryan’s face turn. A fun match.
Ali vs Randy Orton
Result: Orton pins Ali
Although this match was made on the Kickoff Show, these two do have history together. It was Orton who injured Ali a week before Elimination Chamber, allowing Kofi Kingston to enter the Chamber and really kickstart KofiMania.
They had a good match. Ali got bruised ribs early on, which Orton wisely targeted throughout. However, Ali kept countering Orton, and came close to victory a few times. I would love to see more from these two, because they have real chemistry together.
The finish was awesome too. Ali originally countered the RKO with a handstand and rolled Orton up, but Orton kicked out. Ali went for a facebuster, but Orton hit an RKO for the win. Let’s have more matches between these two please.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships: Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross (C) vs Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane)
Result: Asuka pins Cross after poison mist and a Roundhouse kick – Kabuki Warriors become the new WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions
I am very conflicted here. On one hand, I’m very happy that Asuka and Sane are getting recognition for their work. However, they were heel throughout and no-one realised this until the very end, when Asuka cheated and used Poison Mist to blind Nikki before hitting her with a brutal Roundhouse Kick to win the belts.
The only saving grace I can find here is that Asuka did all her heel work behind Kairi’s back. Is this leading to an Asuka vs Kairi feud somewhere down the line? I hope so, because it could be amazing.
King Corbin vs Chad Gable
Result: Gable rolls Corbin up for the win.
WE GET IT. CHAD GABLE IS SHORT. You don’t have to keep ramming it down our throats every five seconds. They didn’t do this to Kurt Angle or Daniel Bryan, both of whom are roughly the same height. Who is this amusing? The crowd hate it, Gable hates it and it sounds like the writers are just scraping the barrel for any jokes they can find.
Having said that, I will never tire of seeing these two wrestle. They have a lot of chemistry together, and their little feud has been a highlight of RAW these past few weeks. Corbin has improved a lot recently, and Gable has been the breakout star of the King of the Ring Tournament.
I liked the finish too. Corbin tried to use the sceptre, but Gable outsmarted him, rolled him up and got the win. Worryingly however, Greg Hamilton announced the winner as Shorty Gable, which suggests the name might stick. It had better not be permanent, because I can guarantee that the fans will crap all over it within weeks.
The O.C (AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows) vs The Viking Raiders (Ivor and Erik) and Braun Strowman
Result: The O.C get disqualified
Look, I love Braun, but he was only in this match to plug his segment with Tyson Fury on RAW on Monday. For logic’s sake, The Viking Raiders mystery partner should have been Cedric Alexander, because he’s meant to be feuding with AJ Styles.
This was an alright match. It was clearly meant to showcase Braun before Fury on RAW, which it did do. But this should have been on the Kickoff show. It offered nothing of substantial value. The post-match segment, in which Braun KO’d Styles with a punch, was pointless and made the United States Champion look like an idiot. Avoid this when you watch it back.
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bayley (C) vs. Charlotte Flair
Result: Charlotte taps Bayley out – Charlotte is the new Smackdown Women’s Champion
This has left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I think Charlotte is the best WWE women’s wrestler of all time, so I’m happy she won. On the other hand, I felt like WWE have only just scratched the surface of what Bayley could do as a heel champion, so this feels unfair.
It’s also hard to cheer for Charlotte when you could see how much it meant for Bayley to hold that title. She looked legitimately upset to lose the title. Bayley will bounce back from this, but it might take some time.
However, this furthers my idea that we’re getting a Four Horsewomen match at Wrestlemania. Sasha will beat Charlotte for the belt before Survivor Series, which then leads to Becky vs Sasha again. Bayley will get annoyed, and both her and Charlotte will be owed rematches. It’s a stretch, but WWE could make it work.
Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Universal Championship: Seth Rollins (C) vs ‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt
Result: Seth Rollins gets DQ’d for not following the Referees instructions
Right, lets get the good out of the way first. Before THAT finish, The Fiend looked indestructible, which is good. Seth sold fear and terror phenomenally well, which is fantastic. The red lighting used was fantastic. The crowd were loving it. The match was doing fine until the last five minutes.
Then the finish happened.
Look, I get it. The referee is responsible for both wrestlers’ safety in the ring. He clearly thought Bray was in danger, I get that. But The Fiend had kicked out of:
- 11 Stomps
- A Pedigree
- A Splash through a table
- Numerous shots to the head.
He’s been booked as an otherworldly character who is impervious to pain. At no point did he look like he was unable to continue, even with all the crap he was buried under. This was proven when they tried to take him out on a stretcher, and he immediately got up and attacked Seth. If your crowd are chanting ‘Refund’, and chanting your rival promotion’s name, then you’ve screwed up big time. Seth HAS TO turn heel now. It’s the only way he can retain a shred of credibility after that match.
Also, WWE have done the non-finish to a Hell in a Cell match two years in a row now. The Hell in a Cell structure is designed to finish feuds and shorten careers. Mick Foley got thrown off/through a Cell, and still finished the match. How can you expect your fans to take the HIAC PPV seriously if your main events are not going to have a conclusive winner? As you can probably tell, this has really wound me up, but its nothing compared to what the fans in the arena must have felt like after seeing the finish to that match.
The first hour was great. Sasha/Becky was amazing, Harper & Rowan vs Reigns & Bryan was a lot of fun and Ali vs Orton had its moments. It all went downhill after that though. A phantom heel turn in the Kabuki Warriors vs Cross & Bliss match, the annoying short jokes in the Gable/Corbin match and the AWFUL finish to the main event meant that the second half to the show left a sour taste in everyone’s mouths.
The main event just aggravated people further, and this could be the start of a huge fan movement to AEW, which serves WWE right for 1) booking most of your matches ON THE DAY OF THE SHOW and 2) Having a main event so terrible it caused fans to chant for their money back.
Overall Grade: D+
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @Bannister007. Thanks for reading!