Hell in a Cell brought a lot to Los Angeles, California. It featured hard-hitting matches, shocking moments and a hell of a main event with Brock Lesnar and Undertaker squaring off inside the demonic structure. However, did they bring all they could to the state of California? Could the WWE make up for a poor month of RAW ratings with a quality event on the WWE Network? Could this be the turning point the WWE need to get back on the right tracks? Well, let’s run down the card with this review.
The night started off with the US Title Open Challenge. Cena cut his usual promo and opened the challenge up to the roster. Zeb Colter of all people came out on some kind of scooter.He called John a divider and said that it was time for people to come together. He introduced the man that he claimed would become the United States Heavyweight champion. That man was Alberto Del Rio! No words can describe how much joy I had at that moment. I truly never believed that Del Rio would be the one to answer to call for a few reasons. I was talking with a few writers from SLTD Wrestling about who would take up the challenge. Someone actually threw Del Rio’s name into the mix but I shot it down. A reason for that is I had no idea if Del Rio was still under contract with Lucha Underground or not. I heard that Del Rio could have gotten out of that contract any time he wanted but I figured it would taken a lot of time to get the paperwork through in time for Hell in a Cell. Alberto Del Rio is also still the AAA Mega Champion too which is a huge missed opportunity for WWE! After the PPV, I looked onto NoDQ.com and this how Del Rio was able to sign with WWE so easily:
“Regarding his contract with the company, Del Rio’s deal was a lot easier to put together than most. Del Rio’s deal calls for less dates, and he will also be allowed to work through his remainder indie dates that he has previously agreed on. Money played a major factor in Del Rio’s return to the company. Lucha Underground was his main source of income, but both parties had a falling out because Del Rio couldn’t agree with creative and returning to WWE was his only option to making any kind of real money again.”
I did not believe it was going to be Daniel Bryan. I did not believe it was going to Tyler Breeze. I didn’t really know who I thought was going to challenge Cena but I didn’t think it would be Alberto Del Rio. Putting Del Rio with Colter is an interesting mix. I’m not sure if it’s going to work but then again, I was critical when Colter was put with Cesaro and Cesaro ended up benefiting from it in the end. So you never know.
John Cena (c) vs Alberto Del Rio for the WWE United States Championship
When I was doing the predictions for this on SLTD Wrestling, I really didn’t know what to think. I’d changed my mind over and over regarding whether the mystery challenger was going to win. On the predictions, I predicted that Cena would retain. When I saw Del Rio, my predictions were in a constant state of flux! I thought right away that to bring Del Rio back just to beat him on his first match back would be preposterous unless this was a one-off appearance. However, John Cena is John Cena. Having anyone beat Cena is very hard for the writers to do. They have to protect Cena. So I was thinking of all of these ways that would protect both Cena and Del Rio regardless of who win. I thought either Del Rio would win due to Zeb or Cena would just go over. Again, I was wrong. Low and behold, Del Rio pinned Cena after seven minutes… clean.
It was mind-blowing! The whole world went nuts when Kevin Owens pinned John Cena clean at Elimination Chamber. Not only did Del Rio beat Cena clean here, he did it seven minutes. He won off a backstabber and a super kick. The super kick is done by every other wrestler on the roster and is Del Rio’s signature move. It’s not even his proper finisher and Del Rio won clean. CLEAN!
Now I’ve seen a lot of fans on Twitter tweet about the logic of Cena beating the WWE World Champion Rollins clean but losing here clean to Del Rio. Let me just point something out. When John Cena beat Seth Rollins clean at Night of Champions, Seth was preparing for two opponents that night. It was not as clean a finish as you would have thought as Seth was preparing for two opponents. On the other hand, Del Rio had not been in WWE for over a year. Del Rio’s schedule in the last year has been a lot lighter than Cena’s. Cena’s been on the road with WWE nearly all year long. Del Rio’s worked for the likes of AAA, Lucha Underground and ROH but has not been wrestling as much as Cena in 2015. Cena’s body, in terms of the storyline, is hurt after putting up his US title every week. Del Rio is a lot fresher and simply took advantage of a wounded champion. It makes perfect sense as Cena was more prepared than Rollins at Night of Champions but not as prepared as Del Rio for Hell in a Cell. This is alright with me.
The only thing that took away from this moment with Del Rio coming back was Jerry Lawler down-playing Del Rio’s return like it was nothing. He criticised Cole and JBL for making it seem like he was the greatest thing since sliced bread. As someone on Twitter pointed out, he was aghast at the thought that Cole knew so much about Del Rio. I don’t know if Jerry Lawler is aware of this or not but MICHAEL COLE IS A JOURNALIST! It’s his business to know all of this stuff. You’re mad that he knew so much about a wrestler that you bury him for it? You can be a good guy all you want and you can bury the heels when you need to but not when he’s just made his return. Cole and JBL were making Del Rio out to be a star and Lawler thought it was no big deal. This was the start to a horrible night on the commentary table for Jerry Lawler. However, Del Rio’s return was still lovely despite Jerry Lawler on commentary. The pressure is now on WWE to make sure they don’t drop the ball with him.
There was a backstage segments that followed with Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Seth Rollins and Corporate Kane all taking about the WWE World Heavyweight title match. Seth vowed to retain the title but Kane just wished Seth good luck as he would need it. Scary.
Roman Reigns vs Bray Wyatt in a Hell in a Cell match
Initially, I thought it was kind of strange that there was no cool-off match between Del Rio winning the US title and the first Hell in a Cell match. Having thought about it, I understand now that it was probably WWE not wanting the Cell matches to be too close together so I kind of get it. I’m going to actually give Michael Cole credit for bringing up the statistic of only 35 men or so ever competing in a Hell in a Cell match. That actually helped make the match itself a bit more sacred and special as if it’s not competed in a lot. It may be a small thing, but I think that added to the Roman Reigns vs Bray Wyatt match with two competitors that were in this match for the first time.
It was a decent Hell in a Cell match. Early on, Roman did his drive-by kick to Bray which caused Bray to tumble a few steps and then slam himself into a cell wall. Other than that, I thought Bray was great during this match. Bray was just innovative in general when it came to using the weapons inside the cell. I remember he was like this when he was feuding with Dean Ambrose. When he and Dean had that TLC match last year, they had a WHOLE lot of fun with the weapons. Bray grabbed the chair and was about to hit Roman with it. Bray stopped himself, sat down on the chair, picked up the Kendo stick that was used earlier on in the match and then smacked Roman over and over in the chair while sitting down. I thought that was awesome. Bray was great during this.
The crowd loved Roman hitting Bray with double kendo sticks. The match was very slow paced sometimes to a point where it seemed that they didn’t know what was going on. They were stalling for time quite a bit. What I can say is that both men looked really good coming off this match. Bray and Roman both kicked out of a lot of big moves. Roman did a big powerbomb on Bray through the table but Bray immediately kicked out. There was an awesome sequence with Roman reversing Sister Abigail with a roll up and then hitting the Superman punch. Three tables broke during this. Roman hit a spear from the apron onto the table on the outside which looked really good but Bray kicked out. There was a fan that told Roman to “take his soul.” That made me laugh. Bray had planned to throw Roman into a kendo stick that was wedged into the turnbuckle but Roman threw Wyatt into it and hit the spear for the win.
This was a darn good Hell in a Cell match which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was every bit as fun as I hoped it would be. It was a suitable finish to the feud with Roman getting Wyatt in the cell by himself. It was a great story told with the right man going over. I believe this is a great way to get Roman back into the main event picture if that’s what’s going to happen. At the end of the day, this feud was actually a worthwhile. There’s been times which I’ve been annoyed at the feud but it gave us a quality finish. Judging by the end of the PPV, it seems that both men are going to get a lot out of it. Very satisfied with this one.
The New Day (c) vs The Dudley Boyz for the WWE Tag Team Championship
Xaiver Woods was not a ringside for this one. The announcers claimed it was because of Xaiver being put through the table on Monday Night RAW. I actually think Xaiver Woods was away because he was being married or something. I think that was the reason if anyone was wondering. Big E and Kofi dedicated this match to him. Kofi said he was going to play the bongo drums on D-Von’s head. Big E said he would slap Bubba’s belly like it were a drum. They told everyone to show off their “unicorn horns” which is really just putting your finger on your head. What this lead to was JBL telling Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler to “get their horns out!” I was critical of Jerry Lawler earlier but JBL was great during this show. There was a lot of stuff he threw in which I don’t think were planned. When he just goes off on his own, JBL is so awesome. It’s such a shame that Vince usually limits what JBL can say. Here, he was great somehow. Great promo as usual even without Xaiver Woods!
The match itself was much worse then the stuff they’ve done at Night of Champions and Madison Square Garden. The Dudleyz have been together for twenty years and messed up a tag team spot so bad in this match. Let me cut to the chase. Bubba had Kofi up for a side slam. D-Von came off the rope and it appeared that he was going for a leg drop onto Kofi. However, D-Von instead while running decided to switch legs at the last minute. So he got to his spot, jumped up to do the leg drop on one leg, then went for the other, but Bubba didn’t go down at the same time and didn’t drop Kofi either. It was such a bad mess up and it came from the Dudleys. Unbelievable.
Kofi tried the old Eddie tribute spot where he got the trombone, threw it to Bubba and went down. The ref didn’t buy it and the match continued. What was funny actually was that Bubba was begging the referee to not DQ them and told them to listen to the fans. However, not only were the fans mostly behind the New Day during the match, when Eddie usually did this spot, he would be cheered! Big E would then hit Bubba with the instrument behind the ref’s back and Kofi hit Trouble in Paradise for the win. I thought this match was very underwhelming as I expected more considering the amount of months this feud has went on. However, all I can say is the right team went over. With that being said and the botched spot earlier in mind, it was still a pretty average tag team match. Not the best pay-off to months of build though.
Charlotte (c) vs Nikki Bella for the Divas Championship
It was announced on the pre-show that no divas were allowed at ringside for this match, which completely derailed my prediction of Paige screwing over Charlotte! However, I was still convinced that Nikki was somehow going to win the title. I predicted this on SLTD Wrestling. However, it appeared that I was wrong all along!
There’s something about how Charlotte throws her punches that was really off-putting to me. She doesn’t do like a jab, an uppercut or a hook or anything like that. What she does is make a fist and pokes Nikki with her fist. I think Charlotte needs to work on her striking game in the future because it came off so bad in this match.
There were “We Want Sasha” chants. There was a German suplex spot which I thought was so badly screwed up. Nikki was going for a German suplex from the top rope but she had hardly any grip. So what happens is that looked like she was going to try and suplex Charlotte by wrapping her arms around Charlotte’s waist rather than her stomach. It was the most ludicrous looking German suplex I’ve ever seen. The only redeeming quality of it was that Charlotte was able to land on her feet after Nikki tried this “German suplex” which actually made it look sort of cool. Nikki hit the Alabama slam on Charlotte onto the ring apron which looked like it sucked for Charlotte. This went along well with the story of the match, with Nikki targeting the back. Nikki went for the Rack Attack but Charlotte countered it into a botchy looking figure-eight leg lock for the win.
I didn’t like this match. It was certainly not the worst women’s match I’ve seen on PPV. However, it just didn’t come off looking good. I like the idea of wrestlers working over body-parts during the match and it worked well during their match at Night of Champions. However, it did not look good when they did it in this match. This match just seemed like a desperate attempt from WWE to turn this Divas Revolution thing around with Charlotte and Nikki pulling out all the stops and put on a very good match. The only problem with that is you’re asking Charlotte and NIKKI BELLA to put on this “great” match. Nikki is not good enough to put on this type of match and Charlotte is not THAT experienced in the ring. It just came off a cheap rip-off of the stuff Bayley and Sasha were doing on NXT. Nikki and Charlotte were going for all of these great spots in theory but a lot of them were just messed up. The only one which kind of looked cool and was pulled off great was Nikki’s Alabama slam. It was not worth giving the ten minutes they gave them on this show. This match was longer than the Tag Team title and US title matches and it just never justified the amount of time they were given. Sorry girls. You need to do more to impress me. I also don’t think Charlotte was ready for this title run in the first place and this match has not really done a lot to help the cause. Let’s see what they do on RAW anyway.
Seth Rollins (c) vs Kane for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
This match wasn’t really that great. It was certainly not that great considering all of the weeks of hype this feud has been given. The issue is that Seth wrestled this match with Kane like it was just another guy, with the exception of the spot where Seth tried to knock Kane down but he wouldn’t budge. For weeks, the storyline was that Seth was trash-talking Kane when he was in a suit but was scared of him when he had his ring-gear on. However, he treated this match like it was nothing and pinned Kane clean in the middle. The storyline they had built up for so long didn’t even play into the match itself and the finish. All I can think at this point is that it’s going to continue on into RAW where Kane is fired or somehow spared from being fired. We shall see.
Bryan Alvarez thinks that Kane got injured when he took the powerbomb from Seth onto the table. It actually makes sense as Kane didn’t really do a lot after the spot happened and the doctor came to check on him. I hope that’s not the case but it’s really not good news for Seth if he is hurting all of these lads in high-profile matches, whether it was a mistake or not. He broke John Cena’s nose, we have no idea what the future is of Sting after what happened at Night of Champions and he might have injured Kane too. Maybe he has to tone down a lot of his hard-hitting moves because it’s getting people hurt.
Kevin Owens (c) vs Ryback for the Intercontinental Championship
This was a pretty bad short match. Usually when a match is a short, the wrestlers try to get in as much good spots as they can. However, it just played out like a normal match which had an abrupt finish after five minutes. Ryback got hardly any reaction when he came out which was worrying. I’m shocked that people are still chanting “Goldberg” at him after all of these years. It’s amazing.
Ryback did a powerbomb on his own to Kevin Owens and the announcers just completely no-sold it. He did his opponent’s finisher and the announcers didn’t even think to mention this. Some stuff happened and Kevin raked the eyes and hit the pop-up Powerbomb on Ryback for the win. It wasn’t a very good powerbomb but at least it played into what happened on RAW with the announcers suggesting that Kevin could do the powerbomb to Ryback as well. Hopefully, Kevin gets a much different opponent than Ryback. When Kevin has to work with a fellow big man, it just doesn’t seem like it works. It certainly didn’t work with poor Ryback.
Brock Lesnar vs Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match
This was it. The biggest rubber match in recent memory. Brock got busted open very early into the match by going into the ring post. What’s funny is that the announcers mentioned that Brock stopped himself from hitting the post by using his arm but he was bloody anyway. Undertaker was also bloodied in the match too. According to Bryan Alvarez, “Vince freaked the fuck out” after there was blood in the match. That’s what Bryan said on the Bryan and Vinny show but here’s a bit more from the report I read earlier:
“Bryan Alvarez mentioned on the latest instalment of Wrestling Observer Radio that he received texts from someone that was backstage and the event and witnessed Vince McMahon’s reaction to the blood. Alvarez said that Vince and Kevin Dunn were freaking out over the incident because the company has a no blood policy. Dunn was seen screaming for a doctor to get out there. However sending the doctor out there didn’t do much, as Lesnar shoved the doctor down and after that, the doctor did not return.”
I will never say that wrestlers should blade for a sake of making the match better. I was especially not at ease by the “we want blood” chants that were going on during the match. However, blood just seemed to work for this match in a weird way. They showed a shot of Undertaker busted open and he looked very scary! You could tell it was a scary and serious situation which did add to the match.
Undertaker did the chair guillotine which he hardly ever does but it always looks cool whenever he does it. Brock hit a F5 but Undertaker kicked out. As mentioned earlier, a doctor was sent down to the cell. Brock threw the doctor out the ring and just hit another F5 on the Undertaker but he kicked out again. Lesnar hit Taker with the steel steps and Michael Cole was just like “this is it” as if this was going to be the finish. I know he did that to hype up the kick out but there’s no way that it was believable that Cole thought the match was over after that! Brock went to break Taker’s leg with the steel steps. If you’ll recall, Brock did the exact same thing to Kane a few months ago to take him out. In fact, Michael Cole referenced that on commentary. A nice little bit of story-telling there. Michael Cole was actually pretty good himself tonight on commentary.
Taker locked on Hells Gate and Brock was clenching his fist as he was considering tapping. All I kept thinking was “JUST PUNCH HIM!” He eventually took my advice and he beat the crap out of Taker as if this was the end of a UFC fight and if he was just waiting for the ref to pull him away. I liked this. It played to his time in UFC as a legitimate fighter. Brock then ripped up the ring mat but Undertaker used that to his advantage. He chokeslammed and tombstoned Lesnar onto the hard floor but Lesnar kicked out. Brock won the match with a low blow and a F5 to pick up the win. The right man won this one. I don’t think it was as good as their Summerslam match but it was a good Hell in a Cell match. It finished as it should have and it was a fitting end to the feud.
At the end of the night, Undertaker was stood alone in the ring as the crowd applauded him. The Wyatt Family came out. They came out and simply beat up the Undertaker. JBL was well into this angle and even called the Wyatts “sick bastards.” They then carried him out to end the show. I’m guessing this will lead into Survivor Series, as it appears that Undertaker is promoted for that event. I think it’ll be a four on four with Undertaker, Kane, Sting if he’s healthy and somebody else against the Wyatts. I’d like to see that as Undertaker wouldn’t have to do a lot physically but we’ll see where it goes.
Hell in a Cell was a very good show. It was a great showing by WWE with a lot of good matches to talk about. The Hell in a Cell matches were the best matches of the night which is great as it’s the marquee match of the night. There was a lot of shocking moments and I really hope the WWE can capitalize on them as they hope to turn their RAW ratings around.