Hell in a Cell is a fixture on the WWE landscape, serving as a stage for brutal matches and some of the most captivating rivalries from the last twenty years. Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt added their own chapter to the rich history of the match in a Universal Championship match on Sunday.
Despite only having a few weeks of build behind them, Rollins and Wyatt had some intrigue at stake. Here was Rollins, transitioning to a fresh opponent with whom he might the legacy of his still-new title reign. Here was Wyatt as The Fiend, in only his second official match a new gimmick, and one with a very bright spotlight.
This article takes a look at ten things most fans missed about the match.
10 A Throwback To The Original Hell In A Cell
The very first Hell in a Cell Match saw Shawn Michaels face off with The Undertaker. The match featured the debut of Kane. The lights went out, then the arena was cast in red light for his entrance.
Seth Rollins vs. The Fiend took place in its own red light, which appears to be a new feature of Bray Wyatt’s Fiend gimmick. Some critics have already complained that the lighting made it harder to watch the match, but it is an interesting footnote that this choice hearkened back to a key moment in Cell history.
9 The Commentary Team May Have Thrown Shade At Jon Moxley
Seth Rollins became increasingly confounded in his attempts to inflict damage on Bray Wyatt, who mostly no sold The Beast Slayer’s moves. The commentary team made the off hand remark that, while Rollins had fought inside Hell in a Cell before, he had never faced anyone like The Fiend.
Fans could easily enough dismiss this remark as a bit of hyperbole. However, it’s noteworthy that Rollins’s first opponent inside the Cell was Dean Ambrose. Ambrose has since defected from WWE to AEW, and made no bones about accusing WWE of being passive aggressive in tweeting its congratulations to AEW on the debut episode of Dynamite. WWE have also consciously implied that Ambrose—now wrestling as Jon Moxley—was not as formidable of an opponent as Wyatt.
8 Seth Rollins Celebrated Five Years In The Main Event
When Seth Rollins worked Dean Ambrose inside Hell in a Cell, it marked the main event debut for each man. The match occurred five years earlier at the Hell in a Cell PPV.
In 2019, Rollins is solidified as a main eventer—a three-time world champion who has closed his share of shows, including cleanly defeating Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. It’s impressive to see The Beast Slayer’s progression in that regard, making good on the trust WWE demonstrated in him in 2014.
7 Bray Wyatt’s Link To Mankind
The Undertaker and Mankind worked the most famous iteration of Hell in a Cell. At King of the Ring 1998, The Undertaker threw Mick Foley off the roof of the Cell through an announce table. Minutes later, he choke slammed Foley through the roof of the cage to the mat for another epic fall.
Bray Wyatt’s Fiend character has paid homage to Mankind in espousing his signature Mandible Claw. There’s little question he was tapping into some of Foley’s ethos when he started using the hold, and most notably when he closed Hell in a Cell by applying it to Rollins.
6 The Dim Lighting Protects The Offense
The late stages of the Seth Rollins vs. The Fiend Hell in a Cell Match saw The Beast Slayer continually escalate the violence, including shots with steel chairs, a ladder, and ultimately a sledgehammer.
The dim red lighting for this match helped sell the illusion of violence as fans couldn’t see where Rollins was hitting or the degree to which he made contact with Wyatt at all.
5 Bray Wyatt Achieved An Interesting Stat Related To The Shield
The Shield is a uniquely decorated and celebrated faction. The group launched the WWE main roster careers of three future world champions and three guys whose accomplishments would warrant Hall if Fame induction. All three members had singles matches inside Hell in a Cell—a landmark in and of itself.
As of now, Bray Wyatt is the only superstar who can claim to have had Hell in a Cell matches with two different members of the group. More than an oddball stat, it’s a testament to The Fiend’s ongoing uppercase relevance that he waged war in the Cell with both Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. Also of note: he feuded with Dean Ambrose too and even had a TLC Match with the Lunatic Fringe.
4 Jerry Lawler Shows His Rust
After quite some time removed from a full-time broadcast position with WWE, Jerry Lawler returned to the announce table on the Raw before Hell in a Cell. The King drew a mixed reaction. While a segment of fans are drawn to him for reasons rooted in nostalgia, Lawler can also sound outdated.
Lawler may still have some rust to shake off from the color commentary position, and that was particularly evident in the latter stages of Seth Rollins vs. The Fiend. His calls included accidentally referring to Rollins as Wyatt when saying he was at his wits end in trying to figure out how to keep The Fiend down. In the post-match, when Wyatt peeled back the mats at ringside, Lawler sent on to refer to the “unexposed concrete floor” undermining the much more dangerous exposed floor Wyatt was actually using for his assault.
3 The Second Straight Year Of A Main Event Without A Decisive Finish
One of the draws of Hell in a Cell is that the match type, at least in theory, assures a conclusive finish. It’s a cage with a roof overhead, no count out and no disqualification rules, which superficially bars the possibility of outside interference or screwy non-finishes that preclude a pin or submission.
Hell in a Cell 2018 ended not in Roman Reigns or Braun Strowman beating his opponent, but rather in Brock Lesnar making a surprise return to disrupt the match. The Beast’s appearance was at least a big surprise that may have appeased some fans in lieu of a clear finish. This year marked two consecutive Hell in a Cell main events without a clear finish, Fans were split on whether Rollins were disqualified or the referee awarded him the match via stoppage because The Fiend was too hurt to continue. There was no clarification from the ring announcer as the bell rung and the Cell rose from the ground, only for the fight to continue.
2 Triple H Symbolism
Seth Rollins reintroduced the Pedigree to his offensive arsenal last month in defeating Braun Strowman. The move harkened back to The Architect’s on screen partnership with Triple H under the Authority banner, when Rollins took on the move as his finisher for a spell.
It was, thus, not out of the blue that he’d use the move against Bray Wyatt. Rollins went on, however, to use a sledgehammer, further paying homage to The Game. It’s only fitting that this match would include references to Helmsley given not only his history with Rollins but his role as the mastermind behind NXT, where Rollins was the original champion and where the original Bray Wyatt gimmick evolved after Husky Harris returned to developmental to reinvent himself.
1 Echoes Of The Opener
The Hell in a Cell PPV was bookended with Hell in a Cell Matches. The show not only ended with Seth Rollins vs. The Fiend, but started off with a showdown between Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks.
Ironically, red light withstanding, the ring looked similar after both matches, bull of foreign objects. After the Raw Women’s Championship match, it was mostly chairs in the ring, whereas not only chairs, but a ladder, toolbox, and sledgehammer littered the mat after Rollins and Wyatt were done.