Last week, I talked about remasters in the video game world and if they were wastes of money. Well, ultimately, I don’t think they really are. However, there is something we’ve been spending on month after month that’s starting to feel like it is: the WWE Network. The main reason why we got the WWE Network wasn’t so we could watch Raw and Smackdown. We got it because we wanted to watch pay-per-view events on demand. Oh, we’re able to do so. Too bad the last couple of pay-per-view events were crappy!
This is why I was very interested with Hell In A Cell, the WWE’s most recent event. This was the a make or break it pay-per-view in my eyes. If Hell In A Cell wasn’t all that good and then Survivor Series proves to be a bust, I was going to suggest cancelling our subscription to the WWE Network. So, let’s go see if Hell In A Cell made it or broke it!
Match #1: Hell In A Cell Match: Roman Reigns vs. Rusev for the United States Championship
I’m a gal that appreciate long, drawn out feuds in wrestling. It gives importance to story and usually gets me invested in the wrestlers involved. But I just never felt this feud between Roman Reigns and Rusev really got going. So I was going into this latest match between The Leader of the Roman Empire facing off against the Bulgarian Brute really deflated.
To be fair, the match was fair, I guess. It took a while for things to escalate into a proper Hell In A Cell Match as the first part really didn’t utilize the Cell all that much. Once they started using the rules of the Cell and started bringing out stuff like tables, kendo sticks and even chains, the match did get better. But the entire match overall just seem to plod on too calculated and didn’t feel spontaneous, like both Rusev and Reigns were just ticking off stuff of a Hell In A Cell checklist. It just lacked creativity. Also, this match made Reigns look too strong, as nothing Rusev did could pin him. There were blows that even Shawn Michaels wouldn’t have kicked out of!
A prime example of this would be the closing moments of the match. Reigns powered out of Rusev’s Accolade on the steel steps and with a chain. The former SHIELD enforcer then picked Rusev up and slammed him into the steel steps with a Samoan Drop. Reigns then speared a stunned Rusev off the steps for the pinfall victory to retain the title.
Making Reigns look undefeatable makes him a whole lot of uninteresting and unlikable because I don’t feel the need to root for him at all! At least Hulk Hogan made it look like he could lose, which is why he needed us to cheer for him. This match made it seem like Reigns just does it out of sheer will, and without the need to hear the cheers of the fans. Decent match but would have been better without all those Reign’s kickouts, which could have been fixed if they shaved off around 3-4 minutes off the match.
Rating: 6.5 of 10 unbelievable Roman Reigns
Match #2: Bayley vs Dana Brooke
As much as I love Bayley when she was in NXT, it seems like a lot of what made her popular didn’t really translate well when she moved to the main roster. And having her stuck in a dead end feud with Dana Brooke definitely didn’t help her all that much as well. I’m also amazed at how Dana Brooke hasn’t improved all that much since coming into the main roster. She still moves around clumsily around the ring and this match hasn’t made me change my mind on that fact. The match was mostly about Dana going after Bayley’s injured right arm and that was pretty much it.
The finish came pretty much out of nowhere. After a run by Bayley, seen in the clip above, The Hugger went for her Bayley-to-Belly finisher but Dana struck the injured right arm to break the hold. It didn’t matter as Bayley immediately recovered and nailed Bayley-to-Belly on Dana anyway to get the pinfall win. What was the point of breaking the hold then?
Not really all that sloppy this time around. However, the match wasn’t all that interesting as well. It was your typical heel beating down on the face and then the face turning things around to win. A little more back and forth would’ve made it more entertaining. But, well, this is what we got.
Rating: 5.0 of 10 lame comebacks
Match #3: Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs The Club (Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows)
What’s the best part of an Enzo Amore and Big Cass match? The pre-match mic work, of course! At least these guys get it! They understand that a big part of becoming a big name wrestler is actually being good in the mic. And Enzo and Cass have that in spades! It takes a lot of charisma to take an old Toy Story reference and actually make it work!
While the pre-match mic work was great, their match against Anderson and Gallows was pretty good as well. Yet, I do have to say it was a very standard match. It’s not necessarily a bad thing; it just never hit any big spots to make it anything special. There was good double team work from both teams, with Enzo Amore and Big Cass getting the upper hand early. But, of course, The Club reversed things and started to dominate over the small Enzo. Enzo eventually got the hot tag to Big Cass to reverse things.
Like I said, very classic tag team pattern. Unfortunately, the faces run didn’t last all that long. Enzo tried to take on Gallows but ran into a big boot for his troubles. The Club then nailed the Certified G with Magic Killer for the pinfall victory.
Like I said, there wasn’t anything really spectacular in this match. But there was a lot of great energy which got me excited. The pacing was great and, when Big Cass cleaned house after the hot tag, the big man looked really impressive. Good match overall and really watchable from an entertainment standpoint.
Rating: 7.0 Big Cass cleaning house
Match #4: Hell In A Cell Match: Seth Rollins vs Kevin Owens for the WWE Universal Championship
Initially, I didn’t like the pairing of Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho as it just seemed forced and came out of nowhere. But, by golly, these two guys made it work! They have a weird chemistry that just works and actually makes me feel sorry for Seth Rollins as it makes him look like a third wheel to the proceedings. But we can’t have Owens and Jericho compete against each other… at least, not yet.
You do have to give props to both Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens when they compete against each other in the ring as both of them put on a hell of a show in their Hell In A Cell match. The pacing and energy throughout the entire match was beautiful and both Rollins and Owens looked really strong and it really felt like anyone could’ve won this match at any time. Also, the setup for the more brutal spots were intense and nerve wracking as you know someone is going to be put through that double table near the finish.
The way the match ended can be seen as controversial but I see it as necessary. At one point, Owens “accidentally” sprayed the referee with a fire extinguisher so the official had to be taken out. Owen’s best friend, Chris Jericho, took this opportunity to slink into the Cell and locked himself in. After Rollins powerbombed Owens through the tables (which was phenomenally awesome!), The Architect rolled his for into the ring and connected with a frogsplash. Before the referee could make the three-count, however, Jericho dragged the official out of the ring, breaking up the count!
Rollins then beat on Jericho in the outside. Rollins then returned his attention to Owens but got nailed with Owens’ pop up powerbomb! But Rollins managed to kick out! Both heels beat up on Rollins but The Architect made a comeback with chairshots. The number game was too much, sadly, as both Owens and Jericho took down Rollins. Owens then nailed a powerbomb on Rollins through two chairs for the pinfall victory. After Owens left the Cell with his title, Jericho went back in and connected with a Codebreaker on Rollins, possibly setting up a feud with him.
Pretty chaotic but everything felt like everything was planned out and meticulously so no one really got too badly hurt. There was a level of brutality that was just right and everyone looked really strong by the end. The closing moments would have normally gotten me mad, but it made sense in the context of this feud. Nicely done by all men involved.
Rating: 8.0 of 10 powerbombs through two tables!
Match #5: TJ Perkins vs THE Brian Kendrick for the WWE Cruiserweight Title
I usually like Cruiserweight matches as they’re usually full of great energy. This match, however, didn’t seem to have all that much. The pacing just felt really off and the acting from TJ Perkins just didn’t work and wasn’t convincing. It also seemed there were a lot of pauses in between spots so things didn’t exactly flow together smoothly. This definitely make the match feel slow paced, which is bad when you’re expecting high-flying action.
The match’s finish did play well to THE Brian Kendrick’s storyline of being desperate to get the Cruiserweight belt. Unfortunately, it made TJ Perkins look like a total fool. At the end of the match, Kendrick went for Sliced Bread #2 but was reversed by Perkins. Kendrick landed and claimed that he twisted his ankle, and, like an idiot, Perkins went over to Kendrick to help him out. Kendrick then struck Perkins with a headbutt and locked in the Captain’s Hook for the submission finish.
I was going to say this was an okay match despite the total lack of energy but the finish definitely spoiled everything. It didn’t make Perkins look like anything like a dolt for believing a conniving heel like Kendrick who already pleaded with Perkins to throw the match. I do think Kendrick would make a better heel as champ with Perkins now wisening up to his tactics. But it doesn’t change the fact that the match was poorly paced and badly booked.
Rating: 3.5 of 10. “Oh, my ankle hurts. Please come closer Perkins and I won’t headbutt you. Promise!”
Match #6: The New Day (Xavier Woods and Big E with Kofi Kingston) vs. Sheamus and Cesaro for the WWE Tag Team Championship
God help me, but I actually love the team of Sheamus and Cesaro. They’re like the antithesis of a cohesive tag team but that what makes the pairing work for me! The mere fact that they can be a legitimate threat for The New Day’s Tag Team Championship makes it work even more!
The match itself was exciting with Sheamus and Cesaro actually getting the upper hand against the Tag Team Champs, specifically Xavier Woods, for a majority of the match. The number one contenders actually seemed that they were close to becoming the most dysfunctional Tag Team Champions at times! Of course, there was a brief run by The New Day when Woods made the hot tag.
But Sheamus and Cesaro still managed to rally and dominate once again! They even seemed to work really well as a team during the final few minutes of the match, with Sheamus connecting with a rolling senton against Woods with Cesaro following it up with a double foot stomp!
Unfortunately, this cohesion didn’t last long as the finish was mostly because of a miscommunication between Number One Contenders. While The New Day set up Cesaro for Midnight Hour, Seamus made the save but accidentally struck The Swiss Superman with a Brogue Kick! Big E took Sheamus to the outside. Woods tried to cover Cesaro but Sheamus broke up the count!
Sheamus then took out the entire New Day trio with a shoulder tackle from the top rope! Cesaro and Woods made it into the ring and Cesaro locked in a Sharpshooter! Desperately trying to keep Big E from coming back in, Sheamus used Francheska II and nailed Big E from behind with it! Kofi, who was at ringside, retaliated with Trouble in Paradise. The referee saw this and called for the disqualification due to interference.
This was a really good match as there were times when you weren’t sure if The New Day would lose the belts. In fact, it looked like they were. I love how, technically, The New Day cheated to keep the titles but it wasn’t just to keep the titles. This leaves things open for the future and made Cesaro and Sheamus look like a legitimate threat for the belts in the future.
Rating: 7.0 of 10 inadvertent DQs
Match #7: Hell In A Cell: Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship
Here it it! The first ever Women’s Hell In A Cell Match. And it was spectacular! The WWE seemed to realized both Sasha Banks and Charlotte were the main draws and they spared no expense even with their ring entrances, which had a Wrestlemania themed quality to them. So unlike the two women’s first Wrestlemania appearance as Triple H’s wenches.
I will tell you right now that this was a fantastic match from start to finish. Not because it was incredibly brutal. Not because the wrestling was fantastic. Not because everything worked perfectly. What made this first inaugural Women’s Hell In A Cell match so great was the emotional storytelling. The match had a great in-ring story where everything made sense.
Even before the opening bell rang, things were really heated as Charlotte blindsided Sasha Banks. The Queen cold cocked The Boss even before the Cell could be lowered down completely! They even hinted that they were going to climb to the top of the Cell! They didn’t but Charlotte did powerbomb Banks through the announcer’s table! They teased that Sasha Banks couldn’t compete but, of course, The Boss powered through and the match officially started!
The action after the bell rang didn’t let up even after that beautiful powerbomb. Sasha did her best Dolph Ziggler impression and sold the heck out of the back injury from being thrown through the announce table. Charlotte played the frustrated and desperate challenger as well and focused on attacking the champion’s bruised back. Both of the women in the match displayed great and innovative offense throughout the match. It was definitely a sight to behold!
There were numerous fantastic and memorable spots, like how Banks broke up Charlotte’s Figure Eight submission by using a chair. Or how Sasha did her double knees on Charlotte with a chair on the bottom rope. Sadly, I think this match will be remembered by how the table didn’t break during the finish.
Sasha set up a table on the corner and attempted to powerbomb Charlotte through it. Too bad Sasha’s back gave out and Charlotte reversed the move and threw Banks into the table.. .which didn’t break! They tried it a second time and the table didn’t break again. So, in a possible adlib, Charlotte comboed into Natural Selection for the pinfall victory and to become the Raw Women’s Champion again.
This was a great match because, like I said, of emotional storytelling. There was more to it that showing a narrative of action. There was heart and soul with what was happening in the ring. You had Sasha Banks, who wanted to keep on fighting despite being badly hurt. You have Charlotte, who wants the title so bad, she had to resort to underhanded tactics. You had two women giving their all so they could win.
This was almost a perfect match but was marred because of, well, frankly speaking, the genetics of being a woman! Both Charlotte and Sasha Banks are relative lightweights when you compare them to their male counterparts. As such, they don’t have the mass nor the weight to actually break tables when falling on them. Despite the tables actually winning against the antics of both women, both Sasha Banks and Charlotte put on one hell of a Hell In A Cell match.
Rating: 9.0 of 10 breaking glass ceilings but not the wooden tables
Overall Rating for Raw’s Hell In A Cell pay-per-view:
I’m happy to say that Hell In A Cell was fantastic for the most part. Most of the matches were just okay but the Seth Rollins vs Kevin Owens and the Sasha Banks vs Charlotte Hell In A Cell matches elevated the entire thing to stellar heights. It was definitely greater than the sum total of its parts. I guess we will be keeping the WWE Network for now. As long as they keep on putting on a product as good as Hell In A Cell anyway.
Rating: 8.0 of 10 more than decent pay-per-views
I will be fondly looking at Hell In A Cell primarily because it was the first Hell In A Cell with Women competing in the demonic structure and also a landmark where the women’s division closed out the show. I may look at this 10 or 20 years in the future with a nostalgic twinge in my heart. Now, I wonder if today’s shows will be nostalgic to other people though. I’ll go talk more about that next time!
What did you think of this year’s Hell In A Cell pay-per-view? Let me know in the comments section below!