Much like Creative’s characterization of Paige, I am split on what I think of Hell in a Cell.
Kickoff Match: The European Union vs. Those Guys Creative Forgot
So. This match happened.
Here we have six men who have all the talent in the world but the worst booking imaginable. I can’t remember the last time I saw the so-called “King” in a relevant match. Rusev just wrapped up the most derived feud imaginable. Sheamus….well, let’s just say with their ratings a hot mess, WWE won’t be making him cash in anytime soon.
Neville was red-hot when he debuted earlier this year, fighting the likes of John Cena and putting on an absolutely stellar match with Seth Rollins. He was a superhero – thrilling crowds both live and on television. But now, he’s stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of meaningless matches that can’t even build up enough heat to create a feud. Cesaro is much the same. He is one of the best men on the WWE roster, technically and athletically, yet Vince McMahon can’t seem to keep a push going for him. It’s no fault of Cesaro: he is a star in his own right. He is completely over with crowds right now. It’s Creative that can’t seem to put enough faith in him. That’s their problem. Dolph Ziggler…he just needs to turn heel already.
But enough of that. Onto the actual match.
The match was short and sweet, a filler to hype up the crowd for the upcoming show. All six men performed well, but the real star was Cesaro, whose incredible athleticism was on full display as he rounded out the match, dizzying Barrett with a mind-blowing 20 spins right into Neville’s Red Arrow finisher.
There’s not much to analyze here, since WWE still doesn’t know what to do with these six men who all deserve better.
John Cena’s US Open Challenge
Suck it, Donald Trump.
Cena (for once) skipped the dramatics, wryly acknowledging how much we hate his endless promos before the Open Challenge itself, and got right to business. Zeb Colter entered, introducing Del Rio to a pop, and the match was underway.
Cena and Del Rio have worked together before, and put on a fairly exciting match. Del Rio’s knockout of The Champ came out of nowhere, and even though we all knew Cena would be dropping the title, the pinfall was still surprising to actually witness.
Cena’s run as US Champ has been one of the best runs of his career. The US Title desperately needed a revitalization, and Cena’s weekly defenses gave the belt legitimacy once more.
I was never too invested in Alberto Del Rio, but his return definitely surprised me, something that’s pretty hard to do. And although I was hoping to see Ambrose get another run with the US title now that he is over as hell with the WWE Universe, I’m curious to see how Del Rio handles the belt in Cena’s absence. His return raises a lot of questions, like how WWE is going to handle another name when so many of their current Superstars are underutilized, or whether or not Del Rio and Cena will have a proper feud before Cena regains the title.
Whatever happens, though, I’m sure it will be interesting to see.
Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt (Hell in a Cell Match)
Roman Reigns has done some of his best work in this feud with Bray Wyatt. It’s almost hard to believe this storyline has been going since Money in the Bank. Bray Wyatt can’t be left out of the praises either, consistently bringing his A-game despite taking a backseat in the focus of the feud to Strowman’s introduction or the constant showcase of Reigns’ strength.
This match was a full-on spotfest packed with kendo sticks and tables, but was absolutely exciting to watch nevertheless. Reigns and Wyatt’s hostility and aggression shone through their near-frenzied punches. The spots were incredible too, including Reigns being shot into propped up kendo sticks and Wyatt being tossed into a table.
Now that this rivalry is over and both Reigns and Wyatt moving on to new feuds (more on that later), I hope Creative keeps their momentum going into Survivor Series.
The New Day (sans Xavier Woods) vs. The Dudley Boyz (Tag Team Championship)
The New Day is widely recognized as the most interesting thing in the WWE right now. With most of the company’s singles talent crammed into repetitive six-man tag team matches or meaningless feuds, audiences have latched onto these three gems to keep things fresh week in and week out. They have been the perfect champs and hilarious heels, and that comedy extended into this pay-per-view.
The Dudley Boyz have certainly had better matches than this one. Aside from their both near the beginning of the match, their performance lacked the spark that made them to exciting to watch. Their mocking of Kingston and Big E was cute, but a bit out of place. That aside, they still performed decently.
Woods’ absence was keenly felt tonight. You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, I suppose. However, Big E and Kingston put on a hell of a show. Kingston in particular shone, dropping both Boyz with dropkicks.
The Dudley Boyz will take the belts away from The New Day. It’s a no-brainer. Now, the only question is when.
Charlotte vs. Nikki Bella (Divas Championship)
Anyone following me on Twitter will know that I am not by any means a Nikki Bella fan. I was furious when she surpassed AJ Lee’s record, and she and her sister have never really impressed me in the ring.
That being said, Nikki put on one of the best performances of her career last night, playing the heel in ever respect. She and Charlotte absolutely brawled, going at it with ferocity that has been missing from the Divas Division since the days of Stratus and Lita. Highlight? Nikki slamming Charlotte into the apron. Charlotte sold wonderfully and it made Nikki look very powerful. Obviously this match was nowhere near the likes of Bayley vs. Banks at Takeover this summer, but it was a step in the right direction.
Most of my criticism for this match lies in the characterization of the champ. Charlotte is a damn good wrestler. She has put on stellar matches against Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Bayley, and Natalya. She was a good choice to oust Nikki. However, Creative has positively butchered Charlotte’s character, reducing her to Ric Flair’s daughter: a legacy she has embraced but also tried to keep separate from her own.
Charlotte needs better writing, period. If we as an audience are going to root for her, we need to be given a reason to. Highlight her competitiveness by pitting her against Sasha, who will be the champion herself in due time. Turn Paige heel for good and let them go at it, creating a feud about dominance over a division they both fought to improve instead of petty cattiness.
Those “We Want Sasha” chants won’t go away. I say it’s time The Boss got a shot at the title.
Seth Rollins vs. Demon Kane (WWE World Heavyweight Championship)
Honestly, having seen the buildup to this match, did anyone expect any better?
I will praise Seth Rollins to the sun and back, but not even his in-ring prowess could save this dud of a match. It lacked electricity and intensity, highlighted when Seth’s powerbomb of Kane into the announce table didn’t even break the damn thing.
The end of the match was its saving grace. Seth executed a Frog Splash and Pedigree to get the pinfall. I also feel the need to mention that Kane looked good for a man nearing 50. Though the match itself was subpar, his performance was decent. Also, it was refreshing to see Seth win clean.
I miss the Curb Stomp too.
Something interesting I noticed going into the match was the pop Rollins got from the LA crowd. Cheers for him are growing more and more common, especially before his pay-per-view matches. I wonder if Creative is taking note of this. We all know a babyface turn is coming, but it might come sooner rather than later if they decide to capitalize on it.
Kevin Owens vs. Ryback (Intercontinental Championship)
Blink and you would’ve missed this match.
I honestly don’t have much to say about this match. I am a huge fan of both performers, Owens especially, but this feud lacks any real spark. I would rather see Neville or Cesaro challenge for this title.
Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar (Hell in a Cell Match)
See what I did there?
This match was anything but PG. It got so bloody that most of the photos from the match on WWE.com are in black and white. Seriously, go and see for yourselves.
This was a prime example of simplicity being best for business. The story was simple: two guys really hate each other and have a lot to prove. And despite the fact that we were made to sit through the same promo we have been seeing since Lesnar conquered the Streak about a thousand times, it didn’t even need much buildup.
The match was brutally physical from start to finish. The Deadman looked more intimidatingly dominant than he’s looked in a long time, appearing like his old self as he issued a beatdown on Lesnar. The brawl made use of every inch of the ring: ringposts, chairs, the exposed plywood under the ring…everything. They literally tore the house down.
But even the Phenom couldn’t tame the Beast this time, after Lesnar hit him with a low blow (karma’s a bitch) followed by an F-5 for the win. The Undertaker wasn’t given much of a chance to recover even after Lesnar left, being assaulted by the Wyatt family to end the show.
A suiting end to an intense and enjoyable rivalry, this match also set up a potential Survivor Series team match for November: Team Wyatt vs. Team Undertaker. Could that bring back Demon Kane, coming to his brother’s assistance? Might some young talent, maybe a different Demon, be called up to help?
WWE’s fanservice Shield reunion last week proved one thing: The Shield is as enthralling as ever. And with dropping ratings, we might be seeing a Triple Threat for the World Heavyweight Title sooner rather than later. I’ve been under the assumption that this would be the main event of Wrestlemania 32, but now? With Seth keeping his title, I’m wondering just what Creative has in mind.