When I first started with blogging, I was really first experimenting with a bunch of other websites. Among these efforts, I started a Tumblr account featuring wrestling, football and music among other things. It was during this time when I started doing wrestling reviews and viewing wrestling from a critical standpoint. Anyway, I figured I’d upload this because it’s always nice to go back and look at how I did business back then.
To give a bit of background, Hell in a Cell was a PPV WWE had six weeks to build. There was an ongoing saga on RAW about who’d face CM Punk for the WWE Championship. Ryback eventually was chosen (as John Cena had gotten injured) and there was a lot of pressure on this match to perform. Also, the finish of the match was really up in the air. Would the WWE sacrifice the historic championship reign of CM Punk or the undefeated streak of Ryback?
NOTES: The paragraphs in italics are what was written at the time, back in 2012.
Anyway, so I started things off by talking about my expectations of the main event…
- “Well, Hell In A Cell 2012 – an event which I stayed up to watch last night. In the UK, Hell In A Cell started at Midnight, and didn’t finish until 3:00am. It was a risk I was going to take, because I thought it’d be better than I expected it to be. I thought that Ryback vs CM Punk would be a hell of a main event, and I thought some of the lower card matches would have been really good.”
It’s kind of weird going back to this review and talking about watching this PPV live. I honestly stayed up to watch it live because there was a lot of anticipation about how this match was going to go. Also, Skip Sheffield had been working mostly short matches since he returned repackaged as “Ryback” in 2012. It was interesting to see if he could deliver a top main event match with someone like CM Punk. The reasons all this is funny is because I watched RAW live THIS WEEK with high expectations and being a bit let down! By the way, you can check out this week’s RAW review at this link. You can read all about what I felt about Seth Rollins, Sting and everything.
- “It was sort of a card of two halves if you will. A really good first half, and a really bad second half. That’s not good news, because the 2nd half should really be the better half, considering them matches are supposed to be the big draws of a PPV. Considering they had six weeks to build up an Hell In A Cell Pay-Per-View, surely they could have done a better job at doing it. I understand why hyping up the WWE Title Match would have been awkward considering the circumstances, but the rest of the card should have had a lot more advertisement. A quarter of the matches showcased were unadvertised matches. For me, that’s not on.”
To be fair, WWE has improved a bit in terms of the promotion of its PPVs. Back then though, it was really lackluster. There were a few instances where a completely random match would be shot on the card to make up time. The reason this annoyed me is because these were usually matches we might have wanted to see. This PPV in particular featured the likes of Rey Mysterio and US Champion Antonio Cesaro wrestling in “bonus matches”. However, I think there’s been a lot more effort put in towards PPV promotions nowadays. With this year’s Night of Champions, the majority of the matches have been announced with weeks to spare. The only title match that hasn’t been announced so far has been the Intercontinental Championship. However, they’ve been hyping up the program on that title match to a degree anyway. They’ll probably just announce that match on RAW.
- “Now on the PPV itself. We kicked things off with Randy Orton defeating Alberto Del Rio after Orton countered an enziguri by Del Rio into an RKO for the win. While that was a pretty cool finish to the match, it is also the 2ND PPV in a row that saw Randy Orton defeat an up-and-coming heel. Orton should have let Del Rio beat him on the PPV, especially if they want the feud to continue. The match was a lot more quicker paced than I expected, but there were a few botches during the match that dampened it’s quality. I think this match should have been slightly longer, but it was good for the amount of time it was on. I hope this feud continues, and Del Rio wins the next round.”
This was the second time in a PPV that Randy Orton had beaten a heel clean. He beat “Mr Money In The Bank” Dolph Ziggler at Night of Champions 2012 and followed it up by defeating Del Rio. This match I think was the second best match of the night, looking back now. There’s one botch which I never mentioned which I think took away from the match itself. Del Rio tried to jump off the top rope and ended up landed in front of Orton and then just started punching him. With that botch in mind though, this was a great match. At least JBL actually mentioned the botched, calling out Del Rio’s decision to jump off the top. Great recovery by JBL.
- “Next on the agenda is the WWE Tag Team Championship match, which saw Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow defeat Kane and Daniel Bryan by disqualification after Kane wouldn’t stop hitting Cody Rhodes (I think it was Cody anyway). Seriously, a DQ FINISH on a PAY PER VIEW? That was definitely not necessary for this match. On RAW or SmackDown! YES, but not a Pay Per View. It devalues the tournament beforehand, considering Rhodes and Sandow, who went through 3 tag teams just to get the title shot, won the match but not the titles, because the other team got themselves DQ’d. It kinda gives you the feeling that Sandow and Rhodes got screwed. Nevertheless, the match was pretty good. I’ve been noticing improvements in tag team match qualities as of late, which is definitely a good sign. They played off Kane and Daniel Bryan not working together, with Daniel Bryan accidentally hitting Kane with the high knee, and stuff like that. I think it was a good match, other than the finish.”
I totally stand by what I said here. The thing about this match was that this was around the time where the Team Hell-No team were at their peak. They won the tag titles on the PPV before and were having great segments on RAW and SmackDown! The feud itself between the two teams was really good. I like how Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes had to win a tag team tournament in order to get this title shot. However, their title shot ended in a DQ. It wasn’t really like a legitimate DQ either. Kane was, to quote Vinny from the Bryan and Vinny show, disqualified for kicking too much ass. Considering all of the build with the Team Hell-No segments and the tag team tournament, the finish was pretty much a let down. However, I do remember it being a good match despite the finish.
- “Match of the night goes to the Intercontinental Championship match, where Kofi Kingston defeated The Miz to retain the title. This was really fast paced match, and the two put on a hell of a show. These two really work well together, and given more time, that match could have been one of the matches of the year (no kidding). I thought it was good when Miz started focusing on Kofi’s leg. Miz targeting a body part and attacking it, actually brought a bit of realism into play. Miz started ripping of Kofi’s boots and did leg DDTs and really showed off the amount of pain Kofi was supposed to be in. Really good. The match has done wonders for the title’s prestige as this was a really good back-and-forth match, and this match will only benefit both guys. One minor complaint – DON’T GIVE KOFI THE MIC. He was interviewed after the match, and I swear, he can not cut a good enough promo, which is a shame because it has held him back in the past, just like it held John Morrison back in the pass. Miz could move on to bigger and better things following this loss, if utilized correctly.“
I think, looking back, I gave this match a lot more credit than I should have. I think, compared to everything else on the show, it was probably decent. However, it was certainly not the best match of this show. It was above average at best. I said that given more time, this could have been a contender for match of the year. I realize now I was wrong. I don’t think this match was as good as I said it would be. Kofi’s not as bad on the mic as I made him out to be. If the New Day is any proof, Kofi can be great on the mic if given the chance.
- “Also, there was a funny segment with Kane and Daniel Bryan arguing. Good humor. What I think they are missing is Dr Shelby. Whatever happened to him? He need to be brought back.”
I think what happened to Dr Shelby was that WWE didn’t feel the need to use him. To be fair, Daniel and Kane were awesome by themselves. However, I just loved Dr Shelby’s role in their entire storyline. He was the peacemaker in this funny and he was just amazing every time I saw him. I wish there were something for him to do in WWE right now, because I miss him dearly!
- “Next, in the first non-advertised match of the night, Antonio Cesaro defeated Justin Gabriel to retain the US Championship. Essentially a squash match. The fans kept chanting “We Want Ryder” during the match (which shows how well they were into the match). For what it, was the match was OK. The spot with Gabriel diving to the outside only to fly into a shoryuken from Cesaro was pretty cool. However, the ending of the match was predictable. Cesaro needs some serious competition for the US Championship, in order to bump up it’s credibility. Maybe R-Truth, or Christian when he comes back. Cesaro and the US Championship needs to be built up better. He can’t be beating up these jobbers all time.”
This was actually a lot better of a match than I made it out to be. It was just infuriating seeing Cesaro’s competition at the time. In hindsight, it was a rare chance to see Justin Gabriel get a chance to shine on PPV. However, Cesaro’s title reign was not helped with who he was going up against. It was very difficult for Cesaro to ascend into stardom at the time.
- “Non-Advertised Match Number Two – Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara defeated the Prime Time Players in a tag team match. Another good tag team match. I thought they did well considering there differences in style. The match was decently paced. Sin Cara performed really well (NO BOTCHES!) and the match was given a good amount of time to showcase all the talent available. I think both tag teams will benefit from this match. Maybe if they did a Fatal Four Way Tag Team Match, with Team Hell-No, Rhodes-Scholars, Prime Time Players and Mysterio and Sin Cara at Survivor Series, then the tag team division would be given a really good boost. However, during the match, Sin Cara attempted an Asai DDT (the move Ultimo Dragon used to do) on Titus O’Neil but he landed on his head (ouch). He’s apparently doing fine now though, so good news coming off that. It’s nice that Sin Cara’s finally getting some momentum in WWE. It’d be a shame for it to end like that.”
I can’t really remember this match too well but I do remember the spot with Sin Cara’s Asai DDT. It looked naughty at the time and thankfully, he was OK after it happened. I did like the Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara tag team they had going on. I feel that it was a shame that WWE didn’t do the Lucha dream match of Mysterio vs Sin Cara. At least AAA did it recently…
What followed this was Big Show defeating Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship. At the time, I thought this match was boring. I loved the finish but I just was not into this program. I thought the promotion they did for this program on SmackDown! was lame and I didn’t think it lived up to the build. Looking back… I was wrong.
I was amazed by how wrong I was when I first wrote it. The reason this match was so good is because I was going into this match not expecting a great deal with regards to the in-ring action. However, these two big guys put on a clinic. The near falls for the Brogue Kicks and WMDs were amazing. I got a chance to rewatch it before this review and it was a quality match. It was probably one of, if not the, greatest matches Sheamus has ever had in WWE. It was probably one of the greatest matches Big Show has ever had in WWE.
- “Next, a backstage segment involving Eve Torres and Teddy Long arguing, before Zack Ryder came in, dressed as a witch, and effectively calling Eve a bitch, before she stormed off for her title match (more on that later on). Santino Marrella then showed, dressed like Lady Gaga. And then one of the most WTF moments of the year happened with Santino singing some Lady Gaga song. Ron Simmons then came in to deliver the verdict, which all of us were probably thinking… DAMN.”
I remember this! It was a REALLY whacky segment! I was however hyped that Ron Simmons was there!
- “Divas Title match next. Eve defeated Layla and Kaitlyn to retain the title in a triple threat match. Kaitlyn stood out from the crowd. Good signs of improvement from her. But other than that, it was a pretty sloppy match. Didn’t care a lot about this match.”
Yeah, the Divas Division WAS NOT strong during this period. This was a part of the “Who Attacked Kaitlyn?” angle which was one of the worst divas angles of all time. This match was very hard to enjoy for me. I think I was probably justified with my analogy of this match.
- “NOW it’s time for the MAIN EVENT! Ryback vs CM Punk for the WWE Championship inside Hell In A Cell. Right, they started off the match with a little game of cat and mouse – Ryback chasing Punk inside the cell. Ryback would proceed to get some attacks in, and Punk ended up getting some digs in as well, which included CM moving out of the way to allow Ryback to run in the steps which I thought was pretty good. It was pretty evenly matched, and Ryback then got some momentum which would lead to Ryback quoting Shao Kahn, and saying “FINISH HIM”. Shell-Shocked was about to delivered, before the referee Bard Maddox, stopped Ryback in his tracks, low-blowed him, and did a fast count as Punk rolled up Ryback for the win. Wow.”
- “Not happy with the match being as short as it was. The match was ended way to early, and not a lot happened during that match. Ryback did show us a bit more to him than usual, and he did use the cell as a weapon. However, that ending was terrible. It was an abrupt end, and it was a cheap way for Ryback to lose his streak. A roll-up? It didn’t make look CM Punk look good and it doesn’t make Ryback look good either. Neither did the post-match beatdown on CM Punk and the referee, which was slow paced, and the only noticeable incident was when Ryback threw the ref into a side of the cell. Also, the anti-climatic ending with Ryback performing Shell-Shock to CM Punk on top of the cell didn’t help things. Really? I was hoping for something really big to happen, but no. A Shell-shock on top of the cell really? A really disappointing main event, with a really disappointing finish. I don’t think that Ryback and CM Punk are done either. Urgghh.”
Yes. This really was a bad match. Considering the six week build up to this match and what was at stake for both gentlemen, WWE really dropped the ball. Ryback was white-hot in this period of his career and the WWE just threw his undefeated streak away like it was nothing. Ryback was just never able to recover after he lost that streak. I remembering arguing just before this PPV that it was more important for WWE to preserve CM Punk’s title reign than Ryback’s undefeated streak. I was wrong.
Looking back in hindsight, WWE’s plan with CM Punk was to have him hold onto the title until Royal Rumble. At the Royal Rumble, he was going to lose it to The Rock. If that was the plan anyway, then he should have just dropped the title to Ryback here. If Punk was going to drop the title anyway AND lose to the Undertaker, it was going to hurt all the momentum Punk had built. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing for him to face Rock and Undertaker, since it WAS Rock and Undertaker. However, they could have made a star out of Ryback. He could have beaten Punk and then dropped the title back to him in the triple threat match at Survivor Series. Cena would have been pinned, so Ryback’s undefeated streak could still continue since he wasn’t pinned.
This match in general was just a REALLY bad main event. I think in the history of Hell in a Cell matches, this was probably one of the worst. I think that’s mostly due to all the hype they put into this and everything that was on the line. This match had a big impact on future programming and they ended match like that?
- “Like I said earlier, this was a PPV of two halves, the matches like the IC Title matches, and the tag team matches were really good, but the World Title matches and the divas match were really bad. Really disappointed. Expected a lot more of the event. Survivor Series had better be an improvement. Because WWE are starting to get some competition from Impact Wrestling. TNA have been on fire lately, while WWE have been stinking up the place recently. WWE really has to impress, otherwise they are going to lose a lot of fans to the other show. There only a few things in WWE that are making the show tolerable these days.”
I think I was a bit TOO critical of WWE around this time! WWE was bad but it wasn’t “stinking up the place”!
I was wrong about the World title match being “really bad”. However, this really was a PPV of two halves. There was a lot of good action but there was a lot of bad action too including a horrible main event. I was right about one thing… TNA really was stepping up its game around this time. This was really a great period to be a TNA fan, as they were putting on some quality shows. They had some great storylines in place. Meanwhile, WWE were really off their game. I think as soon as The Shield debuted and they hit 2013, WWE started to gain some momentum. However, this Hell in a Cell was really not good enough.