Last year’s Hell in a Cell main event, Seth Rollins vs. The Fiend, ended memorably, but not in a good way. It wasn’t actually that bad of a match, but the finish alone hurt the entirety of the PPV. This year was a million times better. Instead of one terrible finish, we had two amazing matches that uplifted this entire PPV. Let’s get into the matches.
R-Truth (c) vs. Drew Gulak (24/7 Championship): This is a perfect match for the pre-show since it featured people we haven’t seen recently .
It’s nice to see R-Truth actually wrestling — something we don’t get to see all that much these days. And the match was actually pretty surprisingly fun. The little comedy bit at the start had me laughing and the back and forth with Gulak and Truth was solid as well.
I do think that they need to do something more interesting with the 24/7 title or just drop it completely. Have actual outdoor brawls that are not just a roll up pin. Something more interesting, otherwise it doesn’t really serve any purpose at all.
Roman Reigns (c) vs. Jey Uso (Hell in a Cell I Quit Match for the Universal Championship): I wasn’t sure which match I was more excited for, between Sasha/Bayley and this one. The storytelling in this was once again, just like last time, wonderful. It was just redo of the Clash of Champions match for the most part, which would have been a problem if it hadn’t been such an amazing match.
The emotion behind everything everything was excellent, from the Usos’ interactions with each other to Jimmy’s heartfelt talk with Roman. Both men had absolutely pained expression with each hit. Jey’s pain of having Reigns treat him like this and Roman seeming to believe he actually had to do this.
Jimmy getting through to Roman was an interesting moment when it comes to Roman’s character overall. Was there a legitimate breakthrough to Roman? Was it all manufactured and purely to manipulate Jimmy? Or somewhere in between? The extremely intriguing nature of this bit has me so excited to see what comes next.
Yet at the same time, it has me extremely terrified when I remember that this is WWE we are talking about. And really, that is the ultimate thing that makes me sad about this: it’s rare that something this good comes about in the wrestling world. The chances of WWE wrapping up all the character arcs in a satisfying manner is almost zero.
I don’t mean to detract from the amazing match, because it was amazing. Just simply I find it hard to be too excited about what’s to come. But who knows, perhaps they can prove me wrong.
I can understand the complaints some people had of it being a bit slow. There were one or two times during the long, drawn out moments between hits that I thought they could have picked it up. But in the end, it is a minor complaint.
Jeff Hardy vs. Elias: Jeff Hardy has just not been doing it for me ever since coming back, and this was no exception. It honestly felt like a random match they threw together to pad out the PPV.
I won’t say that this match was useless, though. I often complain that cards are ordered in terms of pacing matches. However this match was right where it needed to be. It let people go on Twitter, talk about the previous match, and come back to settle back in for the next match.
Otis (c) vs. The Miz (Money in the Bank briefcase): Unfortunately, for a match that was built up entirely with comedy, this match had very little in it. The tonal shift was a bit disappointing. Sure, there were some comedy bits, but it was all par for the course. Otis saying “oh yeah”, the Caterpillar… but nothing that felt like it made the match interesting.
Granted, the reason there probably wasn’t any comedy was most likely because of the finish with Tucker betraying Otis. It for sure made things more interesting but not in a “oh my god!” sort of way, more of a “huh, what’s up with that?” way.
I do like Tucker’s rationale for betraying Otis, though — any plot that extends outside of kayfabe is usually more interesting, but we’ll see where this goes for both parties seeing as I can’t envision Tucker having a successful push whatsoever.
Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks (Hell in a Cell Match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship): I was honestly surprised how fast they got to this match. For such a long, drawn out, slow burn over the course of more than a year, I would imagine that they would have the two women go back and forth for a while before having a match that is usually used as a definitive end point, not the first big match in the feud.
That being said wow. Just wow. The Roman match encapsulated everything I love about the storytelling in wrestling, about the emotional connection. This match encapsulated everything I love about wrestling with regards to the physicality and the athletic performance.
And boy, was there physicality here. This match was absolutely brutal. Each spot had hits that were hard to look away from no matter how much you wanted to. Every time Sasha slammed into a metal object I was convinced she had actually been absolutely demolished. The camera and the performance of the two wrestlers absolutely sold me that these two women were actually trying to kill each other.
I could just go on and on but I think I have made myself clear. This match was absolutely amazing.
It will be interesting to see where the feud goes from here. If Bayley will lay low for a bit or demand a rematch right away. There is absolutely no way this feud doesn’t get a match at WrestleMania. I hope they keep up the amazing storytelling they have had with these two until then.
Bobby Lashley vs. Slapjack: I went to the kitchen for a snack during this match. Watching it back this morning I’m glad I did. That is all.
Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Randy Orton (Hell in a Cell match for the WWE Championship): This is one of those feuds that was honestly getting on my nerves. I just wished it would stop…that is, until the Ambulance Match, which caught my attention. So I went into this match interested, but not necessarily looking forward to it. And that pretty much describes my attitude after watching the match.
There was nothing wrong with this match. In fact, it was good. I enjoyed it. But how can you follow Roman Reigns vs. Jey? How can you follow Sasha vs. Bayley? You just can’t. I am not sure why this match was even the main event.
The big moment was obviously going up to the top of the cell, and I gotta say it was a bit underwhelming. I don’t want to take away from that spot and from what both of these guys did, especially McIntyre with that fall. But between, Undertaker/Mankind, Shawn Michaels/Mankind, all the way to Shane/Undertaker, we’ve seen a spot like this a million times over the year and it just didn’t hit me with the same “wow” factor. But again, maybe this was all due to the previous two Hell in a Cell matches being so damn good.
The outcome wasn’t exactly surprising. I suppose I am indifferent to it, although it does seem rather predictable, giving Orton the belt so he can drop it at WrestleMania (or so I assume). Eh, it is what it is.
In Conclusion: I normally try to rate PPVs by how long of the time I was entertained, not on a single match alone. But sometimes a match or two is good enough to warrant overlooking or at least in part forgiving other matches. While I can’t overlook the other matches completely, Sasha/Bayley and Roman/Jey were just absolutely amazing matches and made this a can’t-miss event.
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