We just crossed the highway to hell with WWE's most dangerous match and pay-per-view concept. History was made in a big way, the violence was cranked up to 10 and excitement permeated throughout the night. What did Sasha Banks and Charlotte do in the first ever Hell in a Cell match involving women? What is Chris Jericho -with his List!- up to with no match on the card? Did Triple H show up to continue his storyline with Seth Rollins?
With three Hell in a Cell matches in one night, read on to see if the WWE handled it all well, or if too much Cell action was a detriment to the PPV.
It's safe to say the Cruiserweight Division hasn't exactly lit the world on fire, and the writing team is solely to blame. The talent is definitely there, these poor wrestlers just haven't had any sort of meaningful storylines or mic time to let their personalities show. They just have matches -which are awesome, more often than not- that are just sort of there, not leading to anything more substantial.
Just look at tonight: they had 6 competitors at random team up with no prior storyline in place. Was the match good? Sure, but what was the end goal? We know these guys are talented, but we need substance to actually care. Cedric Alexander got the pin, does he get rewarded in any way?
With so many competitors, is it that hard to book more than one feud at a time? It's good to see them trying to make TJ Perkins look important as the face and champion of the division, and they've been fairly successful thus far, but why can't any of the other cruiserweights also be highlighted?
Love him or hate him, Roman Reigns is gonna stick around for a while, so we might as well embrace him. Has he gotten better on the mic? Not really. Is he entertaining in the ring? He is, and you have to give him SOME credit for that. He most likely can't carry a match at this point, but he's more than capable of putting up admirable performances. His match with Rusev was solid, and hopefully this feud is done and over with.
Where does Reigns go from here? We predict a Cena-like epic defense of the US Title throughout the end of the year that will keep Roman looking strong going into WrestleMania season. He may not be the face of the WWE at the moment, but Vince McMahon will make damn sure his pet project thrives, building him up again in the eyes of the fans. Now where's that heel turn to make that pill easier to swallow?
Bayley's call up from NXT has been less than stellar, especially when you compare her ascent to that of the other Four Horsewomen of NXT. She rightfully beat Dana Brooke at Hell in a Cell in a forgettable match after a lackluster feud, but she needs something a lot more meaty to dig her teeth into. All is not lost yet, as she thankfully did end up winning her first feud on Raw. Now it's time to show what she can really bring to the table.
What's Nia Jax up to anyway? Now that Charlotte has officially won her feud with Sasha Banks, maybe Bayley can move up in the ranks and challenge the Queen? Better yet, maybe we get a #1 contender's feud between herself and The Boss!
The Magic Killer on Enzo tonight sealed the return of the Gallows and Anderson hype train. In a theme that's been common throughout the WWE since the return of the brand split, a lot of wrestlers have been poorly booked, with Gallows and Anderson leading the unfortunate pack.
The duo came from Japan after dominating overseas as part of the Bullet Club. With AJ Styles, a fellow Club member, making his much-anticipated debut with WWE, a lot was expected from this tag team, and unfortunately they never got their time to shine. They floundered for a while, and the less said about their feud with The New Day, the better. It seems the WWE finally realized the talent they had in this tag team, and stopped the nonsense and just made them badass world beaters who are looking to dominate the tag division, beating Enzo and Cass who don't lose much momentum because they're insanely over with the crowd. Let's see if they can continue their dominating ways.
First of all, the Universal champion, whether face or heel, should NEVER come out first - this is just a small little remark to show how the little things matter in the presentation of matches.
Now, onto the match itself; it was good, a little overbooked, with the sequence of one-upmanship between Owens and Rollins being a highlight as well as some big moves making it memorable (that powerbomb through the tables was SICK). Unfortunately, the title was almost secondary in the feud, as Jericho and his List stole the show every time they were on screen. The fans cheered loudest when Jericho made his way down to the ring and essentially made it a 2 on 1 match. They even had Jericho's music, not even the champ's music, end the Universal Title's feud portion of the PPV after he hit the Code Breaker on Seth.
Jericho is on fire right now, and it's great to witness, but please make the title the most important part of, you know, a title feud.
It was good to see the competitors in these Cell matches actually increase the violence factor. Every match in the demonic structure featured a number of spots involving the Cell itself and the many weapons that were introduced.
Roman and Rusev beat the hell out of each other using the steel steps and a kendo stick. That Accolade with the chain on the staircase was barbaric, and a welcome sight in these kind of matches - yes, we're sickos.
KO and Rollins featured a canonball against the Cell, Seth powerbombing Owens over the ropes through two tables, and the champ retaining the title with a devastating powerbomb on two stairs.
Let's not forget the amazing women, who performed some sick maneuvers including a powerbomb on the announce table.
It's not fair to just assume that Triple H would have shown up to cost Seth Rollins the Universal title match, but darn it, it was a let down to not hear The Game's theme. We know Seth Rollins and Triple H are penciled in for a high profile feud that would most likely culminate at WrestleMania 33, that's why it's a little disappointing to not have the next step of their feud tonight. It's only a matter of time before The Game makes his return; tonight would have been the perfect occasion.
It felt as if every match on the PPV had a screwy finish that involved some kind of overbooking mess. The Tag Team Title match featured a DQ ending with Cesaro and Sheamus winning but New Day walking out with the belts. Brian Kendrick won the title after faking an injury that saw him get a cheap shot in before making Perkins submit. Jericho interfered in the Universal title match that made it into a 2 on 1, and Sasha and Charlotte had a 10 minute injury angle that went on for way too long. Is it that hard to just keep it simple and let them, you know, wrestle?
The Tag Team title match was actually quite good at Hell in the Cell; all five participants provided an excellent effort, but the result was never really in doubt. The odd couple of Cesaro and Sheamus will not be the team to dethrone the tag champs, especially before they break the record for the longest tag team title reign Demolition currently holds. Until New Day breaks the record in the next few weeks, the tag team title scene won't be all that interesting. The question is, who will be the ones to end the reign? Enzo & Cass? Gallows and Anderson?
Do you hear those fans going nuts for either TJ Perkins or Brian Kendrick? No? That's cause that didn't happen. Nobody cared when they came out to wrestle, nobody cared when Kendrick won the title, hell even the commentary team couldn't sell the title change properly.
WWE has to seriously rethink what they're doing with the cruiserweights, and amp up the importance of this new division. Just as fans were starting to get the TJ Perkins character, they go ahead and make the title change and hand the belt over to Kendrick. Well deserved, and the feud will surely continue, but they have to get a little desperate and provide a more compelling product.
The 10 minute theatrics definitely did not help it's case, but the match (and pre-match) that we got was awesome. They were allowed to go for some big spots involving weapons and tables. Charlotte is the genetically superior, faster wrestler; Sasha has the heart and the fight within her. They put on a worthy main event that felt important and displayed how far we've come from Bra and Panties matches. They legitimately outperform the male wrestlers on a consistent basis, and this main event proved that they belong.
It's a complaint you've probably already read about, so we won't dive too deeply in it, but it's something that has to be mentioned: the Hell in a Cell matchup has lost its luster. Instead of an intense rivalry organically leading up to the match that ends feuds, October comes around and whatever high profile wrestlers are feuding just end up having a Cell match at the event.
Did Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins really deserve a Cell match? Yes, Roman Reigns and Rusev have been feuding for a few months, but did their match really require the use of the Cell? The only match that felt like it deserved the Hell in a Cell treatment was the main event, as they have feuded for months, exchanging title wins, with a history dating back to their NXT days.
The WWE rightfully went big for their historic main event. It felt like watching WrestleMania, as the entrances felt important as they went the extra mile with the theatrics and the wrestling gear. The Queen was in full display, as she was carried to the ring by four dudes on a throne. The Boss came out in a car and stood atop it, body guards at her side. There were the theatrics in the main event that took far too much time, but that's WWE just trying to make it that much more epic.
That's right - at the end of the day, the WWE is not banking on Banks; The Queen is the TRUE Boss of the WWE, love her or hate her. With an unbelievable undefeated record at PPVs, she has delivered when it matters most, and is well on her way to becoming what her father was to the wrestling industry, but this time around it's for the women. She absolutely nails the detestable character that she is, and always backs it up in the ring. She is one of the best all-around performers in the WWE right now, deserving the recognition she is getting.
They did it. They actually did it. In 2016, women headlined a WWE PPV. You are going to have your miserable haters finding something to complain about regarding the way this has been handled, but damn it, at the end of the day, the ONLY thing that matters is that 2 exceptionally talented women fought in the main event of a PPV. As if that wasn't enough, it was in Hell in a Cell match - the first time women ever compete in such a match. NO ONE can take that away from them. Forget about the outcome and the middle injury angle that dragged on for way too long - kudos WWE for having the cajones to put them in a Hell in a Cell match, and to let them headline the PPV.
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