Last night, WWE ran the annual Hell In A Cell PPV (Full results here). Here is my, Jason’s, take and review on the PPV from start to finish. I will admit, I missed the kick-off match, so I don’t have a review of that one.
Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks (HIAC Women’s Championship Match)
This match pulled out nearly all the stops! We had extreme high flying and high risk moves throughout the match. This is what we have been wanting to see out of women inside a Hell In A Cell. Becky and Sasha both sold the match solidly and resulted in keeping the crowd wanting more and involved. In my personal opinion, I think they even went beyond what we were wanting and expected from them! We finally got to see the true badass side of Becky Lynch and I like it!
Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan vs Harper & Rowan
This Match had some really good spots throughout, but not nearly as many (or as good) as the opening match. There was constant back and forth action and they did a decent job of keeping the crowd involved and wanting more. The story told in the ring was able to do the job by selling both the strength and dominance of Harper & Rowan, as well as the diligence and agility of Reigns & Bryan. The biggest sell of this match though was to have Bryan & Reigns both hug it out in the ring.
Randy Orton vs Ali
This match had so much potential between the two based on prior matches on Raw and Smackdown. In those matches, they appeared to have brought out the best in Orton we have seen in years, and the best we have seen yet out of Ali on TV. However, what we got was a low key, low action match between the two. Sure, there were some high spots, but nothing even close to what we’ve seen in the past.
The Kabuki Warriors vs Nikki Cross & Alexa Bliss (Women’s Tag Championship)
This match was solid from start to finish, but nothing on the pace of the opening HIAC match between Banks & Lynch. We finally got to see some real high flying moves out of both Asuka & Sane that we got to witness from them in NXT. We finally got to see the “bad” side of Cross again, after being dummied down to Bliss’ buddy for the past several months. Hopefully with the drop of the Title, we get a singles run for Cross again and we get to see more of that side again. Sorry, but Cross’ demeanor just doesn’t fit the whole babyface persona!
Strowman & The Viking Warriors vs The OC
This was another match of the night that appeared to just be thrown together out of nowhere and was stiff throughout. This was not the type of match you would typically expect out of these 6, especially The OC. The high point of the match was Strowman selling his strength, which we all knew he had to begin with. At least we got some comedy relief out of it with AJ Styles selling the KO!
King Corbin vs Chad Gable
Welcome to the absolute low point of the night (except the end of the show)! This match should have been off the charts based on the previous 2 recent matches they had where they stole the shows with incredible performances. However, that just did not happen in this match. They lost the crowd completely, even to the point where when they tried coaching them back into it, it failed. The highlight of the match? When it was over! Both just seemed to be going through the motions in the ring with minimal effort. This was another match that just appeared to be thrown together 2 hours prior with no real plan besides the grade school name calling!
Bayley vs Charlotte Flair (Smackdown Women’s Championship)
This was a decent match, but I wanted more out of Bayley. WWE has been hyping up this badass Bayley for weeks against Charlotte, but it just wasn’t there at all! At the very minimum, this should have been a no DQ or hardcore match to try and sell that point for both. Instead, we got a standard match. On the positive, it does appear that we may be getting a reuniting of Sasha Banks and Bayley as a team now that Bayley has dropped the Title to Charlotte (again).
Seth Rollins vs “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (HIAC WWE Championship)
And here we end up with the train wreck of the night! This match had (and demonstrated) great potential to be off the charts! The in ring action showing the brute strength and power of The Fiend was on full display here. We saw him attacked with everything (except the kitchen sink). The setup with the red lights and the smoke throughout was great usage as well to sell the scene. When looking at the match itself, it was incredible! Just by the numbers alone, we can see WWE selling The Fiend and his power. Seth Rollins delivered the following to The Fiend during the course of the match:
6 superkicks, 10 Curb Stomps, 2 Pedigrees, 4 knees to the face, and 7 head shots with ladders, chairs, a toolbox, and sledgehammers.
Even after all that (except the sledgehammer shots), The Fiend would sill manage to kick out at just a 1 count! And it wasn’t just once, but THREE times! At that moment, they had the crowd and everyone watching at home sold that The Fiend is this badass that doesn’t know pain and is “impossible” to kill! Why the next step happened, that is where Vince lost everyone!
Grade: A+ so far
Then we get to Rollins breaking out the sledgehammer. When he climbed into the ring with it, we could audibly hear the ref tell him that if he used it, he would be DQ’ed. I even went back multiple times to make sure I heard that correctly! This is a Hell In A Cell match! There are NO DQ’s! Then the ultimate insult happened by calling for the bell immediately after using the sledgehammer, ending the match.
This call would result in multiple controversies, stories, and retractions in the following 12 hours. It even resulted in Vince McMahon saying himself he thought it was a great idea, until the crowd turned after the fact. Towards the end, you can hear the ref tell Rollins “Do not get disqualified.” Then after calling for the bell, he clearly stated “Ring the bell, disqualification!”
From there, Rollins went over to “check” on The Fiend, but instead, was met with a Mandible Claw. This led to chants from the crowd to “Restart Match.” Vince should have done the right thing at that moment, but he didn’t. Things only got worse outside the ring where you could clearly see Wyatt take a blood pack and shove it in his glove before grabbing Rollins again.
Since this took place, WWE has gone out and said the “official” decision was a no decision result. However, this was hours after multiple sources reported it as a DQ (including the ref in the ring). As for those saying this was a way for The Fiend to demonstrate his power, we got that and more in the match! Why did it need to end the way it did? Also, if they weren’t ready for Rollins to drop the Title, but simply use this to demonstrate The Fiend’s power, why even make it a Title match? The only question now is, where does WWE go from here and how do they cover up this mistake?
Grade: F on ending
Overall, Hell In A Cell was just an OK event. There was a lot to be desired from it. The fact that the card wasn’t even finalized until about 3pm EST, the day of the event, showed that Vince clearly had this on his back burner and wasn’t focused on it, but rather, the FOX debut, NXT going head to head with AEW, and Raw season premiere.