What was that? That’s all I can say after the debacle that was WWE Hell In A Cell last night. I needed to sleep on the results before I could properly address them in words. If you didn’t watch last night, kudos to you.
To start, this thing had absolutely no build. I almost forgot that HIAC 2019 was last night, myself. Apparently the WWE did as well, since there were only four matches booked for the card prior to the Preshow at 6:00. This is when the shitshow began…
-PreShow Match: Natalya v Lacey Evans – I get why this match was on the Preshow and it didn’t need to be announced prior to, because nobody cares about it even though it’s probably the longest running feud at this time. I mean, it could have been a submission match since we basically saw this match on WWE television already. I guess their saving that for who knows what. At least we don’t have to see this one again in two weeks in Saudi Arabia. – 2/5
–RAW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP (HELL IN A CELL): Sasha Banks v Becky Lynch – We all knew this was going to be a great one. Sure, some fans are upset that The Boss took her boots and went home only to be rewarded with this push when she returned. Personally, I don’t care about those fans. Maybe it’s because I’m a Boston boy, but I love me some Sasha. This match was great. It was everything a Hell In A Cell match should be, minus going through the cage and making their way to the top (though, that would have been epic). It was intense, aggressive & violent. They left it all in the ring. I would venture to say that this match should have headlined the card instead of opening but that whole Women’s Revolution thing seems to have been tossed to the wayside a long time ago. Oh well. This feud is far from over and it’s going to be interesting to see where these two go next (It won’t be Saudi Arabia). – 4/5
–TORNADO TAG MATCH: Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan v Luke Harper & Erik Rowan – Another really solid match. After the opener, these four were able to continue the positive momentum of this show with an absolutely stellar match. We didn’t get the heelturn we expected and the finish left this one with really no where to go, so I don’t really know what’s next for any of these four. My guess is we’ll see them split apart at the draft with Rowan & Harper back to tag team action on one of the brands. – 3.5/5
–Randy Orton v Ali – I’m not even a small fan of Ali at all and Orton is way past his usefulness in my not so humble opinion. Anyway, this wasn’t a bad match per say. I’m always game for an RKO out of nowhere. If there was some sort of build to this, it would have been better. Ali showed off his athleticism and creativity and Orton was… well… Orton. Fun match overall. – 3/5
–WOMEN’S TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP: The Kabuki Warriors v Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross – Any time Asuka & Kairi Sane are in the ring I’m happy. The Waifus.. I mean.. the Kabuki Warriors looked great. For another match with no build and not even announce until the Preshow these women came out to work. I don’t know where Paige was or if they’re planning on just removing here from their corner. They have been very back and forth with her involvement with these two. It was great to see a new, darker side, of Kairi and Asuka and the surprise finish with the “Muta Mist” really set it off. Hopefully this leads to a payoff in the whole Bliss/Cross angle. – 3.5/5
–The Viking Raiders & Braun Strowman v The O.C. – This was a fun match too, I guess, despite not doing much to further this storyline and feud. Braun was added to it just to push this whole thing with Tyson Fury. Am I the only one who doesn’t have a clue who this guy is? The Viking Raiders haven’t been able to really rebound from the Viking Experience debacle despite their athleticism and ability to put on a great match. Strowman continues to be wasted and the O.C. (Califoooorniaaaaa!!!), those guys have been misused since day one. I really didn’t understand the point of burying A.J. Styles with a knockout punch after the match. I guess Braun is the new Big Show, complete with 25 face/heel turns and 372 more to come. –
–Chad “Shorty” Gable v King Corbin – Holy shit, I must be drunk– I’m beginning to like this King Corbin gimmick. I love the black crown and robe and he is just a heat magnet. Granted it’s X-Pac Heat but at least it’s genuine and not manufactured. They could have went a dozen different ways with the KOTR but they’re at least doing a good job making Snorebin somewhat watchable. His corny jokes just add to how much you hate this guy. I don’t think he’s won a match since winning the crown, but he’s the King of the Ring so he doesn’t need to win. Also, he’s so hated, he can get literally ANYONE over as a face. These two put on a decent match that will be underrated (even by me) because nobody wants to even see Corbin on their TV screen so anything he does is unappreciated. Oh well. They did it to themselves. – 2.25/5
–SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP: Bayley v Charlotte Flair – This match was pointless. It didn’t tell a good story and it was kind of a letdown after a pretty decent beginning to the night. This was the match to bring the crowd down before the main event, but they still could have done better. Where do they go from here? My guess is Bayley and Sasha either both moving to RAW and SmackDown, respectively, or reforming Team Boss And Hugs (horrible name) and going after the tag titles again. I’m HOPING for a rematch to let these women put on a better showing as this just left a bad taste in people’s mouths and unfinished business between the two. – 1.75/5
–UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP (HELL IN A CELL): Seth Rollins v The Fiend – This match should have NEVER been booked. The Fiend should have run rampant over the next six months or so and destroyed all the faces on RAW before finally getting a shot at Seth and winning the title. Then Seth goes away and comes back after close to a year reign of destruction and becomes the conquering hero. But of course, the crack writing team, who has no knowledge of wrestling or how things should work outside of Hollywood and daytime drama, along with Vince and Kevin Dunn, have no clue what they’re doing. 57 curb stomps and a metric shitton of weapon shots and the Fiend wouldn’t stay down. It almost looked like they were going to book the Fiend as monster with a win after taking that onslaught…
Then the ref stops the match for what seemed like a DQ victory for the Fiend, but WWE later said was referee stoppage, which might mean that Seth will get the win in the record books. The crowd started booing during the repeated curb stomps once they realized (before I did) Seth was probably going over in a glorified squash that required 1000 finishers. They NEVER stopped. It got worse when the match was over. Chants of “Refund” & “AEW” echoed throughout the arena. In fact, if you search the interweb you can find videos of fans throwing things at Seth as he was rushed to the back by officials when the lights went on and the rightfully upset fans really exploded. The Universe turned on him right then and there. The only interesting thing to come from this is the anticipation for RAW to see just how much heat Rollins will have. – -2/5
Overall = 2.25/5 Bibles.
Overall, this show wasn’t all-time horrible. It began as a fun WWE PPV with some really good matches despite no build and only four matches booked before the Preshow. But, the ending destroyed it all. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed it until I had time to sit and think on it. It started out red hot and continued for most of the show up until the final two-three matches, when everything went to Hell in a hand basket. Despite the anger the fans have and #cancelWWENetwork trending on Twitter this morning, there were a lot of positives that the E can build on moving forward.
Unfortunately, they left the fans to go home with a horrid taste in their mouth that overshadowed the rest of the show. Poor job. Tonight on RAW, I’m expecting nWo style heat for Rollins, with the ring filling up with debris like he was the third man joining Hall & Nash. Pretty apropos seeing as the E is more worried about building up Team Flair v Team Hogan on Halloween in Saudi Arabia at Oil Money III. This is what happens when you try to rush something and capitalize on someone getting over with the fans, but your writing team has no clue how to do it. A year ago, they captured proverbial lightning in a bottle with Becky Lynch by recognizing how over she was and acting on it. One would think they would learn from this moment, but instead they went the other way.
Bray deserved better. The fans deserved better. Even Seth deserved better. Now they’ve painted themselves into a corner that I don’t know they’ll be able to get out of. Everyone’s biggest fear, that they would ruin the magic they had with The Fiend, seems to have come true and there might not be any coming back from this. The Fiend’s red hot fire has been seemingly extinguished and the damage may be done. I don’t have faith that this writing team can fix what was done last night and, clearly, the fans in attendance felt the same way. In fine, what should have been a crowning moment for the new era in the WWE was nothing more than a slap in the face to the fans and the talent and more proof that Vince is out of touch and his writing team doesn’t belong writing for a wrestling show. I’ll be tuning into RAW to see how big this dumpster fire gets and if Paul Heyman can do anything to extinguish it. At this point, they might as well just… burn it down.