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WWE Hell In A Cell Review

WWE Hell In A Cell
October 30th, 2016
TD Garden
Boston, Massachusetts

Pre-Show notes:

I’m pretty sure Renee Young called Lince Dorado, “Lance” during the pre-show rundown. Doesn’t quite sound as imposing does it?

Pre-Show Match:
6-Man Cruiserweight Tag Team Match
Sin Cara & Lince Dorado & Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese & Drew Gulak & Ariya Daivari

Hey, look at that! Mauro Ranallo & Corey Graves are calling this match. Thank god!
During three simultaneous dives to the outside by the color coordinated presumably babyface team, I noticed Chris “Harvard” Nowinski in the front row. Haven’t seen him in awhile. As I was typing that, Alexander gets the pin on Gulak after a double knee backbreaker. I missed that for you guys. I hope you appreciate it.
It was a good fast paced match, as expected. No complaints. **1/2

Official start of the show after a cool video package with a Ouija board tie in. Pyro shoots off as Michael Cole, Corey Graves & Byron Saxton introduce the show. Ah yes…the pink rope. Nothing says badass, violent, feud ending, brutal cage match better than a…pink rope.

Match 1:
United States Championship
Hell In The Cell
Rusev w/Lana vs. US Champion Roman Reigns
Reigns going with the red flack jacket tonight. You know what that means? I got nothing. The ending came when Reigns hit a spear on Rusev off the stairs. Reigns retains. One thing you can say for this match was that it was stiff and hard hitting. I’m loving Rusev right now (and his new beard, as that is totally what a Bulgarian should look like), and Reigns continues to excel in his matches, but I just wasn’t feeling it. It felt just like a RAW match to me. Lana looked good though. ***1/2

Match 2:
Bayley vs. Dana Brooke
God, I just hate Dana’s posing/flip/dance entrance routine. It’s just awkward looking. Bayley finishes Dana with the Bayley to Belly Suplex. Solid, inoffensive match that served its purpose of elevating Bayley. Crowd was dead until the finish. I blame Dana. She just lacks something. **

Apparently, RAW Talk is something that is gonna start happening after RAW, similar to Talking Smack on the Network. As if 3 hours 15 minutes wasn’t enough to put you to sleep. I like the concept, but I’ll never be ok with more RAW content until RAW is back to a tight 2 hours.

Match 3:
Enzo & Cass vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
Enzo is on his game promo wise again tonight and it’s good to see. They’ve been so bland lately. If they saved his prolonged mic work just for the PPVs, then it would seem special. I know, logic. Probably won’t happen. Everything in WWE gets watered down once it gets over. The Club, Enzo & Cass, The New Day…even Jericho’s freakin’ list! The Magic Killer finishes off Enzo & Cass for the win for Gallows & Anderson. Fairly standard match. Nothing too exciting, but one extra point for the right team going over **

Match 4:
WWE Universal Championship Hell in The Cell
Seth Rollins vs. Universal Champion Kevin Owens
Well, I guess that settles it, the women are main evening. I wish they’d just hyped it more instead of shoe horning them into the slot. It’s still a big deal though. Creative booking got Jericho in the match and accomplished making this match different than the previous HIAC match. The cell wasn’t as much of a factor as much as chairs & tables were. I guess in this PG era, you have to rely on other means to make these matches seem brutal, which it did just that. Owens beats down Rollins with a chair with Jericho’s help & sets up two chairs. Owens powerbombs Rollins on the chairs for the win, and to retain the title. Both guys really took a beating in this, and I believe the effort paid off. I really dug this, and it re-ignited my interest in their feud. ****1/2

Match 5:
WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Brian Kendrick vs. Cruiserweight Champion TJ Perkins
I liked the purple ropes for the division during the CWC, but during a RAW episode or PPV, it just doesn’t work. Makes it feel like it’s being presented as a 2nd rate portion of the show. And no, it’s lost on me that I bitched about the pink rope earlier as well. These are the truly important aspects of the show. Also, what, no pink rope for the cruiserweight matches? They don’t support breast cancer research? So many mixed signals. The crowd does not care about this at all. It’s too bad as Kendrick is doing some great work recently and this match is no exception. Kendrick feigns a knee injury and when dumb Perkins falls for it and tries to help Kendrick, Kendrick headbutts Perkins and locks in his submission and Perkins taps! Yes! Brian Kendrick is the new Cruiserweight Champion! Right call as Perkins isn’t connecting and Kendrick should be a good cheating heel champ. ***
The Boston crowd was just brutal as were either quiet, chanting boring or at one time even yelling “get a haircut hippie!” I couldn’t tell who this fan aimed his comments towards, but I’m sure he was being objective. Again, WWE slots the Cruiserweights in a death slot, in this case, right after a great HIAC match. Nothing the cruisers do was gonna outshine that match.

Match 6:
RAW Tag Team Championship
Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Tag Team Champions The New Day
I want New Day to lose the titles already, but not to this generic combo. Just weak. New Day does their schtick & Kofi panders to his hometown crowd. Usual silliness. It’s run its course. What hasn’t apparently run its course are grown men in the crowd wearing fallic unicorn headbands & replica titles. This match happened. The finish came when Cesaro had Woods in the sharpshooter but outside shenanigans got New Day disqualified when Kofi (odd man out tonight) got involved in a scuffle with Sheamus. New Day retains. Ugh. **1/2

Match 7:
RAW Women’s Championship Hell In A Cell
Charlotte vs. Women’s Champion Sasha Banks
Charlotte enters first looking stunning getting carried out like a queen. Sasha gets her own big time entrance complete with black SUV and bodyguards. Good stuff. Big home town reaction for Sasha. After announcements, the cage gets lowered, and before it reaches the floor, Charlotte lays out Sasha and they fight on the floor. Charlotte does attempt to climb the cage from the outside, and my heart stops. Sasha stops her and the fans actually boo? F’ing savages! As Sasha climbs the cage, Charlotte powerbombs Sasha through one of the many foreign language announce tables…and kills her (no, not literally. Geez!). There, you happy now fans?! Get your fix?! They run an injury angle strapping a neck brace on Sasha and placed her on a stretcher. Charlotte talks trash while the ref gets ready to award the match to Charlotte. To the surprise of no one, Sasha rises from the grave and demands the match continue. The ref, the same ref who insisted that Sasha “not fight it” and call it quits, quickly accommodated Sasha’s request. Throughout the match, both women teased spots through tables, but in the end Sasha getting thrown twice back first into a table set up in the corner was enough to pin Sasha. Charlotte regains the Women’s Title. ****
Hmm. I’m not sure what I think. On one hand, I’m really glad they played it safe for the most part, and didn’t succumb to temptation to outdo the rest of the card, and even themselves. I also like that the cage seemed to play more of a part in this match, and instead of risks, they told a good story involving Sasha’s back and overcoming that. On the other hand, the finish seemed anti-climactic and was just a standard match with chairs, tables and a slightly obstructed view. WWE just couldn’t help themselves to have the over, hometown babyface champion win and have a good moment. They went with Charlotte…again. I’m fine with a back and forth feud over the title, and think Charlotte is one of the best acts in the biz. It’s just the timing. The spots that WWE choose to implement these hotshot title changes puzzle me. They’ve given away too many matches between them (which also goes for the whole roster really) on free TV, thus the PPV matches do not feel special. I guess, I’ll have to ponder how I ultimately feel about this match, but I know one thing is for sure: it’s time to retire the Hell in the Cell PPV concept…perhaps, even the match itself. Just for a little while. It’s been watered down so much over the years, and with three on one show, it was just too much to expect fans to invest in. There’s nowhere to safely go with it any longer. Maybe it’s best suited sitting next to WarGames in the wrestling vault of our minds. After all, distance makes the heart grow fonder, they say. Then, when we’re feeling all nostalgic, and there is a solid story that fits, you can dust it off, polish the chain links and lay it over a ring once again. While we’re at it, let’s do the same for TLC as well. More on that in December.

Overall, 3 main events that delivered for the most part, makes this watchable. The rest was filler, and continues the tradition of the all too familiar lull that has become the WWE fall season.

See ya again back here for Survivor Series.

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