I have been sort of losing interest in the WWE shows for a while now. After watching stuff like Cody Rhodes’ All In show and some of the stuff that New Japan Pro Wrestling has been putting out, the stuff that RAW and Smackdown has been producing, both when it comes to the actual wrestling and storylines, haven’t been striking a chord in me anymore. But I will still tune in to the pay-per-view events because I’m sure that the WWE will, at the very least, try to put on an excellent show then. At least, that’s what I hope.
So, let’s go see if the WWE made good with Hell in a Cell!
Match #1: Jeff Hardy vs Randy Orton in a Hell in a Cell
It’s weird that we’ve never seen Jeff Hardy in a Hell in a Cell match before this since this would definitely be in his wheelhouse. With that being said, however, I just don’t see the Charismatic Enigma taking the “W” here. Randy Orton will get the win after Hardy does a humongous stunt and he misses.
Well, I certainly was surprise as this turned out to be a glorified Hardcore or TLC match but inside a Hell in a Cell! There were a lot of clever bumps using various implements like chairs, tables and ladders but not a lot of use of the Cell itself, which I was okay with as the way they used them may be quite trite but well executed. The most squemish spot definitely has to be when Randy Orton took out a screwdriver and used it to twist around Jeff Hardy’s earlobe! My mind told me it wasn’t really painful since you can twist around an earlobe without that much pain but it still grossed me out while watching it happen!
The way the match ended was basically how I predicted but what a unique stunt to close it off! Hardy managed to set the Viper on a table and then the Charismatic Enigma climbed a smaller ladder. It looked like he was going to do his leapfrog legdrop but instead, he climbed the larger ladder, used the top of the Cell like monkey bars and then tried to do a big splash. Orton moved out of the way and Hardy landed face first on the table! Although the referee wanted to call the EMTs, Orton demanded that he get the pinfall so the referee obliged.
This was an excellent way to start of Hell in a Cell. It was filled with action and both Orton and Hardy used the entire “no disqualification” stipulation of every Hell in a Cell match to the limit. It may not be the most memorable match in terms of content and spots but it was still great.
Rating: 8.0 of 10.0 twisted earlobes
Match #2: Charlotte vs Becky Lynch for the Smackdown Women’s Championship
I really hope Becky Lynch will pull off the win and take the Smackdown Women’s belt but, with the way the WWE books these things, I wouldn’t be surprised if they do something like having Lynch get frustrated and use a foreign object causing a DQ victory.
Everything did have a “big match” feel and you could tell that both Charlotte and Becky Lynch worked out the pacing and the details before the bell rang. The problem is there were times when it was just a little too obvious that they’ve planned things in advance, especially when it came to Becky Lynch. There were times when The Irish Lass Kicker would jump back before the spear hit or flop to the floor during a missile drop kick so Charlotte to grab her legs “in mid air”. Minor hiccups but the overall flow was good and the wrestling was mostly great. I do like the fact Becky Lynch focused on Charlotte’s arm throughout the match, which was smart and in character.
The finish came after Charlotte tried to roll up Lynch but the latter reversed it into the Dis-Arm-Her. The Queen managed to slip underneath the bottom ropes to break the hold. Lynch throws Charlotte back into the ring and Charlotte retaliates with an elbow. The Queen then goes for a spear but Lynch rolls through and pins Charlotte for the pinfall victory, making her the NEW Smackdown Women’s Champion!
Afterwards, Charlotte tries to be a good sport but Lynch won’t have any of it. The new Smackdown Women’s Champ talks smack to Charlotte before exiting the ring with the belt.
Despite the somewhat telegraphed moves, the overall flow and feel of the match was great. You can definitely feel the chemistry between Lynch and Charlotte in the ring, leading to a good performance overall. Also, it’s great to see Lynch regain the belt again.
Rating: 7.5 of 10.0 smack talking Becky Lynches
Match #3: Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose vs Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre for the RAW Tag Team Championship
There is a chance that the WWE might do the insane thing and put all the RAW championships on the SHIELD… but I don’t think it’s going to happen tonight. Ziggler and McIntyre for the win here.
This was one of the best tag team matches I’ve seen in a while! Yes, the action was good and the in-ring storytelling was fantastic. But what really made it for me was it was hard to figure out who was going to win. It was great to see the extremely long beatdown on Seth Rollins, which made it oh-so-satisfying when Ambrose finally got the hot tag.
The finishing sequence of events was just as insane. Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler set up Ambrose for a Doomsday Device but, amazingly the Lunatic Fringe pummeled Ziggler and McIntyre to wiggle out of the move. Ambrose went for Dirty Deeds but McIntyre powered out of it. However, Rollins got the blind tag and went after a prone Ziggler. The Kingslayer tried to go for his superplex into falcon arrow signature move but McIntyre snuck back into the ring and nailed Rollins with a Claymore kick during the falcon arrow combo attempt. Ziggler flopped on top of a knocked out Rollins to retain the RAW Tag Team Championships!
This was just a great match with everyone pulling their own weight and the performers doing their best to do the best spots at just the right moments. The fantastic finish was just the icing on the beautiful cake that this match was.
Rating: 8.5 of 10.0 C-c-c-c-c-combo breakers!
Match #4: AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe for the Smackdown World Heavyweight Championship
Despite Samoa Joe doing his best to make it seem like he’s getting under the current champion’s skin, I don’t see AJ Styles losing his title at this junction.
This was much like their first outing but, this time, things just seemed to flow more fluidly here. This was like a classic David vs Goliath match with Styles having to rely on quickness and more tempered attacks while Joe simply used his size and power to take control. By the end, both Styles and Joe looked worn out and, because of how well paced everything was, it felt real.
The finish came after Joe kicked out of Styles’ 450 splash. Styles then went for a Styles Clash but Joe powered out, delivered a slingshot and a wicked clothesline to Styles for a 2 count. Joe tries go a muscle buster but Styles reverses it and tries for another Styles Clash but Joe powers out. Styles then tries for a Calf Crusher but Joe connects with an enziguri for another 2 count. Styles ducks a clothesline and delivers a Pele kick to Joe. Joe reverses a Phenomenal Forearm and locks in the Conquina Clutch. Styles flips around and pins Joe for the 3 count… but Joe complains that Styles actually tapped out? It turns out that, from another angle, it clearly shows Styles tapping out before the referee made the 3 count.
I normally don’t like ambiguous endings like this and, well, I do feel this way for this match as well. However, I understand that they’re setting up another match between the two in the future and the feud will go on. Despite my mixed feeling for the ending, I still enjoyed the match as it was exciting, filled with great action and drama.
Rating: 7.0 of 10.0 ambiguous finishes
Match #5: Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella vs The Miz and Maryse
Seeing that The Miz already beat Bryan in the previous pay-per-view event, I don’t think the WWE will let this happen another time so soon. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Bryan will take this one.
Before I go to the match review proper, I just have to say… Brie Bella’s theme song is still the worst thing ever! There! I just had to mention that because it’s the worst.
I feel sad with the way the WWE is using Daniel Bryan. I get that they can’t make him a title contender because of health concerns but having him tag with Brie Bella, his wife? That’s just low! As expected, it was The Miz and Daniel Bryan who was in the ring for the majority of the match. And when they were in the ring, everything was okay. Thankfully, Maryse’s heel antics were fun to watch, even if she didn’t wrestle all that much.
The finish came after Brie and Maryse became the two legal competitors. After dual “Yes” Kicks from Mr. and Mrs. Bryan, Miz and Maryse try to leave but are stopped. Brie with a knee to Maryse and she then attempted a rollup after knocking Maryse into her husband. Maryse then manages to counter and get the pinfall victory on Brie Bella.
The match was generally okay but the finish was terrible. Maryse simply rolled Brie up for the win without using any underhanded tactics? I guess Brie was distracted by Miz for a split second but it just wasn’t enough to warrant getting pinned.
Rating: 4.0 of 10.0 Maryse clean pinfalls
Match #6: Ronda Rousey (with Natalya) vs Alexa Bliss (with Mickie James and Alicia Fox) for the RAW Women’s Championship
Ronda Rousey will win. As much as I like Alexa Bliss, it would be ridiculous for Rousey to lose the RAW Women’s Championship this quickly.
I am consistently impressed with Ronda Rousey’s tremendous ability to adapt to the world of professional wrestling. They had to let Bliss get some offense in so they had a story where Rousey’s ribs were injured and The Goddess focused on that body part. She did a great job of selling the injury. Bliss did a great job of being the cowardly heel, only attacking when she had the advantage and trying every underhanded tactic to get the upper hand.
The finish started after Rousey, for a lack of a better term, started to “hulk up” while Bliss was taunting her. Rousey delivers a wicked gutwrench powerbomb. Rousey starts throwing Bliss around but The Goddess stops the offense with a kick to the injured ribs. Bliss then tries to punch Rousey but the latter… grabs the punch and stops it dead in its tracks. Rousey does a modified fireman’s carry slam to Bliss. Rousey locks in the armbar and Bliss taps out quickly for the submission victory.
This was a good match but not a great match. The biggest problem I have with Rousey is that she just seems unstoppable at the moment. She does a good job of selling the injury but I saw the “hulk up” moment a mile away. Alexa Bliss did a great job being the “evil heel” throughout the match, adding to the enjoyment of Rousey’s comeback.
Rating: 6.0 of 10.0 Ronda Rousey hulking up
Match #7: Roman Reigns vs Braun Strowman for the WWE Universal Championship in a Hell in a Cell match… with Mick Foley as the special guess referee (Whew! That’s a long title!)
It’s sad but Roman Reigns will win this somehow, making Braun Strowman one of the few people who’ve failed to cash in Money in the Bank and win the belt.
Most of the match was a slugfest with both Reigns and Braun just trying to outpower each other. Like the other Hell in a Cell match earlier, there were weapons but they weren’t used all that much here. I will admit, The Monster Among Men looked impressive as he simply tossed the steel steps around like they were nothing! Still, it was just generally Reigns and Braun lumbering around… which did get old rather quickly as it just felt slow paced after a while. But this was only half of the match because all hell was about to break loose!
After The Big Dog speared The Monster Among Men through a table, their respective groups, The SHIELD (Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose) and the pair of Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre, went to ringside and brawled outside the Cell. Weirdly enough, nothing was happening inside the Cell while all of this was occurring. Heck, the two groups even climbed to the top of the Cell! But that wasn’t the end of the chaos!
After Ziggler and Rollins crashed into the announcer’s tables from the middle of the Cell (!), all of a sudden, Brock Lesnar, alongside Paul Heyman, came out to the ring and broke the steel cage door! Holy $#!t, indeed!
Heyman then blinds Mick Foley (who I totally forgot was the special guest referee since he didn’t do a single thing that was special) with a spray while The Beast used the broken table on Strowman and Reigns! Lesnar continued his reign of destruction by delivering F5s to both Strowman and Reigns.
Then the match ends.
What? Why? I call bullcrap! It’s stated in the rules of Hell in a Cell that the match only ends with a pinfall or submission victory. There’s no “no contest” stipulation! As much as I enjoyed the spectacle of the SHIELD and Ziggler and McIntyre battling it out on the top of the Hell in a Cell, the actual match in the Cell was boring and, while the surprise return of Lesnar was huge, ending the match like this sucks balls and I’ll rate it as such!
Rating: 3.5 of 10.0 bull$#!t finishes
Overall rating for WWE’s Hell in a Cell (2018):
I genuinely liked most of the matches in this year’s Hell in a Cell. I noticed that the WWE actually had fewer matches this time, which made the ones that were included in the card have enough time to tell a good story. However, I will have to dock the entire show some points for the terrible screwjob finish for the main event. I get that they had it end this way to show what a monster Brock Lesnar is but it doesn’t hide the fact that having no clear winner for a Hell in a Cell match weakens the entire show since the Hell in a Cell match is why the pay-per-view event is named that in the first place!
Rating: 7.0 of 10.0 no contest finishes in a Hell in a Cell match
What did you think of this year’s WWE Hell in a Cell show? Let me know in the comments section below!