Last Thursday I wrote in my Hell in a Cell Preview that you would be better off not bothering. Well, despite that advice here I am again, having put three hours of my life into a WWE PPV. I am indeed a glutton for punishment. My conclusion? Hell in a Cell once again proves that if WWE’s creative was half as good as their in-ring talent. This period of wrestling could be extraordinary. Here’s that, but in much more words.
Pre Show: Ziggler, Cesaro and Neville vs Rusev, Sheamus and Barrett
A match that could have been billed as being made up of all the people whose talent WWE have wasted in the last few years, there was no denying the wrestling ability in the ring and it showed. However, they were hampered by the pre-show formula. It’s meant to be a fun match which gets the crowd interested and sees the babyfaces go over, which is exactly what it was. As a final thought, how can Vince claim that Cesaro isn’t clicking? The crowd was obviously into his burst of offence and damn, the guy is good.
Cena Open Challenge
With the news that Cena is off on holiday, it’s no surprise that he lost this match. It was the manner in which he lost that was shocking. How often have we seen Cena dispatched that easily? It was shocking because it doesn’t happen. Del Rio is a great wrestler and it’s obviously good for WWE that he is back. I hope they explain the pairing with Coulter though, as at the moment it makes no sense. The match itself was solid. Cena seemed to be working a bit slow and you wonder whether his mind was on his holiday already. I was also surprised that the finish didn’t seem to point to a Cena injury. Will he vanish? Or can we expect to see him tonight on Raw?
Roman Reigns vs Bray Wyatt in a Hell in a Cell
This feud petered out a long time ago. However, these two guys gave their all in a very entertaining match. They are both physical wrestlers and this hardcore style is perfectly suited to them. Sadly, it does see Wyatt lose another feud, something which has become all too familiar. By the way, why do WWE keep kendo sticks under the ring? Ladders, chairs etc could be seen as stuff that had helped them set up the arena or things that were left over. But kendo sticks? I’ve always found that strange. It will be interesting to see where Reigns goes next. He should be kept strong going into Wrestlemania season, so does he go onto Strauman? Or do we see him take on Rollins for the title?
New Day (C) vs The Dudley Boyz for the Tag Team Titles
I think a decision has to be made on New Day. Are they goofballs or genuine competitors? Because I honestly don’t know right now. As I said in my preview this feud grew stale fast and The Dudley’s feel like a nostalgia act rather than one that needs to be taken seriously. Buh Buh showed he was a cracking singles competitor in TNA and someone in WWE needs to realise that giving him a microphone might be a good idea. The match was what it was. I feel like we’d seen it before and it did nothing to get me excited. In fact, the only thing I really took out of it was that it is always fun to watch Big E jiggle.
Charlotte vs Nikki Bella
I’m all for fighting against breast cancer, although Susan G. Komen might not be the organisation to do with it, but surely you could avoid having heels actively promote it in the ring? Behind the scenes fine, but it makes it kind of hard for crowds to boo them. It was great to cut out all the crap around this match and let these two wrestle. Despite what people will tell you, Nikki is actually quite good now and they put on decent matches. My only problem is Nikki’s insistence on wrestling a power style. She isn’t physically intimidating enough compared to her opponents for it to work and moves like her big elbow look a bit silly because of it. Despite that the Alabama slam on the apron looked brutal. My only real complaint about this match was Paige coming out at the end. When will WWE realise that just because it’s women’s wrestling, doesn’t mean you can forget things overnight and assume the audience will too? Maybe there is a plan involving that, but it looked bad.
Seth Rollins (C) vs Kane World Title Match
Call me old-fashioned, but champions should come out second. This match summed up why it sometimes make sense to have the champion not appear on every PPV. Brock Lesnar as champ wouldn’t have wrestled this show and it would have made sense. No one cares about Kane vs Rollins and the match going on this early hurts the title. Rollins winning is a good thing though. He rarely wins clean and having him do so here both ends this feud and gives him some in-ring credibility. The match was ok and nothing more. Kane was great back in the day but at this stage in his career he can’t do much. Rollins is at bumping around for him, but even he can only do so much.
Kevin Owens (C) vs Ryback for the IC Title
Owens works a very smart style in the ring. It’s pure heel and while I would love to see him get to wrestle a bit more, it does work with his character. He is happy to take short cuts. This was an entertaining enough match, they didn’t get enough time to do anything special but Ryback is a solid talent when he is there with someone who knows what they are doing. The pop-up powerbomb is always impressive and it was another heel picking up a clean victory.
Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar in a Hell in a Cell match
Say what you want about blood (I actually think WWE’s policy on it is smart) but it does add to matches like this. It sells the brutality quicker than any amount of Cole’s prattling. Taker and Lesnar have something special together and their last two matches have made up for their poor Wrestlemania showing. They are of course helped by the fact Taker seems to have found a little bit more in the old tank. Although he still isn’t great at taking those suplexes. The finish made sense story wise but is a bit flat for the final note between these two. Despite that, they stole the show again. As a final aside, the Wyatt feud feels like a mistake. Undertaker needs to win matches going into Wrestlemania and Wyatt needs wins full stop. One of them has to lose this feud and it will hurt Wyatt when he does.
This was a very alright show. Nothing was awful, but nothing was truly great. It was hurt a lot by the build up and it was hard to shake that while watching. However, it is notable for how many clean wins it contained. None of the suspected shenangians took place and that was nice to see. A lot of feuds ended here and maybe WWE can move onto better things, but this wasn’t the show to rejuvinate a struggling brand.