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WWE Hell in a Cell 2019 review

What happens when you only announce three matches for a PPV less than a week before the show? Well…

In honor of WrestleMania 36, pro wrestling is taking over the month of March at AIPT with WrestleMonth! Check back every day for new reviews, essays, and looks back at classic moments in both WWE and AEW!

Well, lets just jump into this thing as best we can.

The preshow was Natalya v Lacy Evans, which seemed like a waste and almost as redundant as the Chad Gable match. They’ve fought recently and they fought again on Monday’s Raw. It gave me little reason to care about this match so we’re going to push past it to one of the only good matches of the night.

Becky v Sasha. Ah, what a promising way to start off the show. The shenanigans at the start of them fighting outside the ring and then fighting with the door open was just a little odd. It felt like a ‘gun in the first act’ to leave a chance for Bayley to run in, but nothing came of it. Overall a bit of an odd way to start the match but not the biggest deal and I did love Becky locking the cage on her terms. The rest of the match was great as well — we saw fun creative ways for chairs and kendo sticks to be used. It was extremely well paced, from a big start to a bigger finish. Becky is always fun to watch and Sasha as a heel has been doing great.

Becky Lynch retains at HIAC

Next we had the Roman Reigns/Rowan tag match, which a lot of people liked but I was a little underwhelmed by. Since we’ve all been watching AEW as well we’ve been getting treated to the more lucha style tag matches that are chaotic where everyone is in the ring. So when WWE does something similar it shows that they don’t really know how. This match just sort of resorted to what we normally see with most other matches, with a heavy focus on singles action in terms of each individual strike or move. There were few coordinated attacks.

The plot leading up to this match was also a complete mess which is disappointing since it started out so promising. The end of the match was odd too with Daniel Bryan turning back to face after a little less than a year as heel? Just because his lackey lied to him? Or is the power of Roman Reign’s potential friendship that strong?

Ali v Orton was another one for me I just personally couldn’t get into. This was one of the ‘oh crap, we need extra matches’ matches, and it felt like it. I always enjoy watching my flippy guys and have never been a fan of more strong style slow paced wrestling, and this was a match where Orton dominated the match for the most part. Ali got off some hits but not many. The end where Ali countered the RKO was huge and I expected Ali to take advantage of the moment and win. But no, he just got RKOed again instantly.

I get wanting to establish that Ali can counter it before using that counter for him to win, seed the promise of victory over Orton, but for him to just get RKOed again that quickly AFTER he countered and then lose felt almost comical.

The Women’s Tag Title Match was one of the other few good matches on this card. I was not expecting much from it with it being another last minute addition and there being no plot build up to the match. In that way I am still disappointed with it. The Women’s Tag Title has been getting the shaft constantly and is treated as an after thought.

Kabuki Warriors stand tall after their victory

That being said, the match itself was excellent. The heel turn from the Kabuki Warriors I thought was obvious from the get go with Kairi Sane going for the ol’ fake handshake. And the green mist of course sealed the deal; however, I wonder just how much heat they will actually attract. Asuka is beloved at this point, and even if she reverted back to her NXT self I think people would still pop at seeing her crazy side. Kairi meanwhile… well… she’s a pirate princess. How can you boo a pirate princess? It’s too cutesy to be a heel gimmick. She would have to embrace the pirate side more perhaps, or just drop the gimmick to a bare minimum.

The Viking Raiders/O.C. match was where the mediocrity picked back up and the night started sliding down the hill. There were a few good spots, especially Braun punching Styles out of the air. But as it was with all the matches that were thrown on last minute, they really needed to go above and beyond the excitement of a normal match having had no lead up to it before. This felt like another thing you’d see cut from the Hulu edition of Raw. Nothing terrible, but nothing memorable. It was there.

Chad Gable v Corbin. Oh God… The short jokes aren’t even trying to be clever anymore (although I guess they never were) — at one point, Corbin just started calling Gable short. We’ve seen this match three times now. I don’t care. I’m sure someone did something that looked cool. Corbin, as much as I hate his character, he can put on an entertaining match. But I just couldn’t care at all. And so we continued down that hill almost past the point of no return.

However, Bayley and Charlotte was a good, solid match. It wasn’t amazing but it brought me back from the point of just zoning out until the main event. There wasn’t any particular spot that made me pop or go crazy, but I was still heavily invested by the end which I think can be a testament to good in-ring work and in-ring storytelling. There has also been build up to this match which I thought was actually fairly solid that helped as well. I wasn’t too excited with Charlotte winning and am hoping Bayley’s breakdown will only push her more heel as I’m really enjoying her as one.

Quick note about the 24/7 title, can we get more than just roll ups? Can we get some actual fighting, perhaps some weapons being thrown about? Thanks.

And then…. Bray v Seth. I don’t know what to say about this without going on for another 10,000 words and even then you, dear reader, will have probably already heard some variation of it already. So let me just state the obvious. It was great for the first three quarters. It was exactly what I wanted for most of the match. The lighting was a great touch, the giant hammer was great. I didn’t even mind the no-sell curb stomps. I absolutely loved it. And then… then… the DQ came and which utterly destroyed what the match had established leading up to this.

WWE will most likely have Bray claim that he wanted Seth to be DQed, that he goaded him on to be DQed. Which doesn’t explain why there would be a DQ in the first place though, or really 20 other plot holes. At this point the Hell in a Cell match seems like a joke. I do not believe that The Fiend himself got buried by any of this and I still want to see what happens with Bray despite the ending to this PPV. But that is saying a lot.

Is it good?
Becky vs. Sasha was amazing, and the other two women's matches were pretty good. Honestly they are the reason this show didn't get a 1.0. The rest of the matches ranged from mediocre to... well... complete and utter trash.
3.5
Meh

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