If there was any time the WWE should be putting their best foot forward, it’s now. They just made 2 colossal network deals for both RAW and Smackdown to appear on the USA and Fox networks. AEW is starting up and salivating at the chance to take over the pro-wrestling landscape. The Hell In A Cell pay-per-view event was supposed to show WWE’s new “take charge” attitude and enthrall the fans into committing with them. Did they deliver?
I would’ve said that this year’s Hell In A Cell was just okay… but I can’t because of the final match. I never believe that the ending to something can spoil an experience before. That all changed with Hell In A Cell.
In fact, let’s go talk about it. Let me give my thoughts on what I would say is undoubtedly one of the most stupid, if not incomprehensible, main events in WWE history: Seth Rollins vs. The Fiend in Hell In A Cell for the WWE Universal Championship. Coming into the match, I was interested how they were going to end this. There was no way The Fiend was going to leave Hell In A Cell with the Universal Championship. It was just too soon. They also couldn’t make Seth Rollins pin The Fiend since it would destroy his mystique. What was the WWE going to do to finish the match?
Call a DQ… in a no disqualification match!
Okay, to be fair, the WWE did explain later that the match was stopped due to referee’s discretion that Seth Rollins took things too far. It didn’t look like that to me! It also didn’t look like that to a lot of the WWE Universe and even WWE Legends like X-Pac thought the same thing! Even if this was explained to me right after the bell rang, this is not what we wanted to see. I expect a Hell In A Cell match to have a clear winner and loser! Having the official stop it in this way is just crap!
There were some good things with this match, though. I liked that The Fiend totally no-sold all of Seth Rollins offense to make him look like an unstoppable monster… until he was stopped because wrestling. That was dumb. I also didn’t like that the ring was bathed in red lights for the entire match. I get they did that to make things look more spooky but, logically, it didn’t make sense! What, the referee and Seth Rollins were okay wrestling in a dim light? It’s just stupid! This was the match to close out the night and I hated it!
On the flip side, Seth Rollins’ fiancee fared much better with her Hell In A cell match. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks for the RAW Women’s championship was the match I was looking forward to the most and it didn’t disappoint. The women definitely put on a show and both The Man and The Boss pulled out all the stops for this one. Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks didn’t shy away from the weaponry for this Hell In A Cell match, which is both a blessing and a curse. The weapons did add more of a feeling of danger and dread but, at the same time, it also cut down of the amount of actual wrestling. The finish, wherein Sasha Banks got suplexed by Becky Lynch into the very pile of chairs that The Boss threw in and then The Man locking in the Dis-Arm Her for the submission finish looked weak. I would’ve liked this match a little better if there was just a smidge more technical wrestling and a better finish. These are all nitpicks to a fantastic match, though.
The other women’s match that really got me going was Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross facing off against the Kabuki Warriors, Asuka and Kairi Sane, for the Women’s Tag Team belts. At the start, it looked like it was going to just be your plain old tag team match but things really got heated at the home stretch with the Kabuki Warriors acting more heelish as the match progressed. The finish had Nikki checking on Bliss, who had just took out Sane with a somersault splash to the outside. This also distracted the official and allowed Asuka to spray green mist into the eyes of Nikki Cross! One big kick and we have NEW Women Tag Team Champions! Great in-ring storytelling as well as a sweet looking finish.
The other tag team matches didn’t fare so good but for different reasons. You would think Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan teaming up against Luke Harper and Erick Rowan would’ve been great but it wasn’t since they decided to make it a Tornado Tag Team match. This basically means it isn’t a tag team match since all competitors are legal all the time! The match itself was structured in a confusing way and Harper and Rowan lumbered around and beating on their opponents for the longest time. The finish came after Bryan reversed an attempted powerbomb through the announcer’s table, allowing Reigns to spear Rowan through the table instead. Harper tried to mount a comeback but both Bryan and Reigns followed each other’s signature moves to finally end Harper with a Roman Reigns’ spear for the pinfall victory. After the match, Bryan wanted to hug it out with Reigns, who reluctantly agreed to do so. While the match was boring in the middle, the closing moments did raise this match’s score a little bit… but not by much.
The other tag team match had The Viking Raiders and Braun Strowman teaming up against the OC. This match was fine as it allowed the Viking Raiders to show their stuff in an actual pay-per-view. Unfortunately, as much as I like Braun Strowman, the focus of the match went to the Monster Among Men and AJ Styles.
The finish for this match was utter crap, unfortunately. After Braun Strowman posts himself (again), we had everyone hit their big moves. Braun recovers and attacks Styles but Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows double team Strowman which has the referee call for the DQ. After the bell, The Viking Raiders make the save. AJ Styles tries to strike Strowman with a Phenomenal Forearm but Braun counters with a big punch. This was an okay match with a terrible finish.
It was weird that Hell In A Cell had a couple of “mid-card matches” at all. The first was Ali vs. Randy Orton. This had the potential to steal the show but it was just okay. This was a classic underdog match with the underdog face wrestler going against the veteran heel. There were a few good spots but nothing that would’ve elevated Ali into a main event star, sadly. As usual, Orton wrestled very conservatively and slowly, which can be boring at times. This was one of those times. I do like how Ali actually blocked the RKO attempt by putting his hands in front of him so his face doesn’t smash into the mat. The finish came when Ali attempts another rolling facebuster which Orton counters into an RKO. It was a good match but nothing special.
The same thing can be said for the other “mid-card” match with King Corbin going against Chad Gable. Before the match, King Corbin dubs Chad Gable as Shorty, which, God bless him, Corey Graves used throughout the entire match. If you’re going to be a heel commentator, you have to do things like this. This was your classic big guy heel against the smaller face match. The problem is, while I do give props to Corbin for trying his best to act like the arrogant big man, he’s just lacking that special magic that actually makes him a credible arrogant big man. He isn’t that huge and he isn’t that muscular. His mic skills are fine but he needs to be a little more heinous in the ring. Chad Gable is fine but I miss his old chipper and idiotic perky self when he was in NXT.
The finish was pretty dumb. Corbin manages to get the upper hand by chokeslamming Gable onto the apron. What does he do next? He gets his scepter to use as a weapon in full view of the referee! This is one of the reasons why Corbin just doesn’t do it for me as a heel. He has to do these ridiculous things even when he has momentum. The referee takes the weapon away from Corbin, allowing Gable to roll up a distracted King Corbin for the pinfall victory. Ultimately, this is the kind of match that I expect on RAW or Smackdown, not a pay-per-view event.
Last but not the least, we have Charlotte vs. Bayley for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. I was expecting a lot more from the two of them but the actual result was a lackluster bout. Everything just seemed slow for some reason. It never got out of the blocks for me. I do like that Bayley is adapting some heel moves like a poke to the eye, which is what you would expect Charlotte, the daughter of Ric Flair, to do, not the Hugger. Charlotte, unfortunately, just felt bland here.
I will give credit to the finish, with Bayley trying the classic heel move of trying to use the ropes for leverage to get the pin. The referee spots it and Bayley tries to makes an excuse. This allows Charlotte to nail a big boot and then hook in the Figure Eight to get the submission victory and become the NEW Smackdown Women’s champion! This had good in-ring storytelling overall but the pacing was just off.
If Hell In A Cell didn’t end on that ridiculous and confusion note that is Seth Rollins and The Fiend, I would’ve just said this was an okay show. The Hell In A Cell match for the RAW Women’s Championship was great and I loved the match for the Women’s Tag Team Championship. The rest of the matches were okay and nothing terrible. It’s just that the final match for the WWE Universal Championship was executed really poorly that it just destroys the entire thing. If the WWE has to put out a show to explain the finish, then they’re not doing a good job as storytellers.
Elaborate all you want, WWE. This year’s Hell In A Cell would still suck.
What did you think of the match for the WWE Universal Championship in this year’s Hell In A Cell pay-per-view? Let me know in the comments section below!