Courtesy of WWE Home Video, Matthew Roberts takes a look at their latest DVD release, Hell in a Cell 2021.
Hell in a Cell in June? It’s almost as if for once there were feuds that warranted a Cell match rather than it just being “that time of year”. With a decent looking line-up, expectations were at least on the up for this one.
Of course a “gimmick” PPV lives and dies upon those gimmick matches. We kicked things off with the Women’s Hell in a Cell 2021 match for the Smackdown title between Bianca Belair and Bayley. They had a lot to live up to in terms of previous Women’s matches in the Cell over the past few years but generally they managed to do that, even if they didn’t quite hit the heights the women had previously reached. It was good that they went straight at it and they generally kept things going. There were the usual problems of setting up “stunts” (and to be honest, the excruciating wait for the kendo stick spots to be set up definitely took the viewer out of the zone) but the growing desperation from Bayley and the upping of the violence levels brought things back around and in the end Belair retained. A very solid effort.
Things closed with the WWE Championship Match between Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre. Like WrestleMania this was a great “big man” clash where they just let it all hang out and walloped each other. They cleverly eschewed the use of too many weapons but that only added to the intensity really. You could quite easily believe watching this unfold that the two hated each other. The only real problem was the copious interference from MVP towards the end and a cheap roll up finish that seemed incongruous given what had gone before). Still it was another very good effort.
The undercard gave us four matches. Cesaro and Seth Rollins put together a predictably solid match, going back and forth in a fast paced affair that told a very good story. Cesaro was the better man on the night, but Rollins nicked it in the end. Alexa Bliss’, well, haunting of Shayna Baszler in the build up to the match didn’t bode well for a lot of observers. And as many watchers will have hated the match itself, which included Alexa no-selling with laughter and also Bliss “controlling” Nia Jax to make her hit Reginald. Won’t have been to a lot of people’s tastes but if you’ve been watching WWE for more than thirty years like I have you will have seen a lot of worse things on your TV. For what it’s worth, Bliss and Baszler played their roles to perfection.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn was predictably good too. Nothing these two do together could ever really be bad. We’ve seen better from them and it didn’t really feel like anything other than a “we know these two can have a good match in their sleep so let’s just put them out there” kind of things but this was a hard-hitting, fun match that kept everyone entertained. Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair couldn’t really match that, despite there being more at stake in their Raw Women’s Championship match. It wasn’t awful but it never really clicked into gear and the DQ finish was beyond lame.
Overall whilst perhaps never giving us that killer match, Hell in a Cell 2021 was another enjoyable offering from the WWE. For all the brickbats thrown their way, they have a great roster than can put on great shows when given the chance.
Extra’s wise we do get the addition of the Hell in a Cell match that was scheduled for the PPV but instead got moved to the preceding Smackdown. Roman Reigns and Rey Mysterio assemble a decent match for the Universal Championship but you’d be hard pressed to say that it will be taking it’s place in many people’s best Cell match list.
7 out of 10
Photographs courtesy of Fetch and WWE. Thank you to WWE Home Video for our review copy of Hell in a Cell 2021 which is out Monday 9 August on DVD. You can buy your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk by clicking here.
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