Going in, I kinda figured Hell In A Cell was going to be a one match show. WWE seemed resigned to that as well and barely developed any other matches assuming enough fans would be interested in the blowoff of the Lesnar/Undertaker feud to check it out.
But if you spent Sunday evening watching Sunday Night Football and yet another killer episode of “The Walking Dead,” don’t worry. You didn’t miss much at all.
Live from the Staples Center in L.A., it’s Jerry Lawler, JBL and Michael Cole.
We start off with the U.S. title open challenge. After Cena opts to skip his normal U.S. Open Challenge spiel, Zeb Colter comes out on a scooter to introduce Cena’s opponent – Alberto Del Rio.
I really hate Yahoo! sometimes. I was scrolling along the news feed when some headline totally spoils Del Rio’s return and the match result. Why can’t they just use regular click bait headlines like everyone else? End rant.
Del Rio’s been gone for awhile but it already felt like he never left (not a good thing). All that passion and fire Del Rio displayed at Lucha Underground is absent here and it just feels like business as normal. Del Rio counters the AA with a backstabber, hits a kneeling Cena with a superkick and wins the match and the US title.
The Authority gloat about Cena losing for reasons that remained unexplained. No doubt the Del Rio T-Shirt sales will be more than enough to still be best for business. Seth Rollins comes in for his weekly emasculating chat with Stephanie and Triple H. Ah my mistake, Corporate Kane is here to get punked out this time. Just a reminder, Kane’s corporate title is more important than the WWE title.
Next up is the Roman Reigns/Bray Wyatt Hell in the Cell match so they’re clearly not messing around tonight. Pretty sure referencing the Shawn Michaels/Undertaker Hell in a Cell match is not the smartest way to go since there’s no way this match will come close to equaling that legitimate bloodbath.
Since they couldn’t overshadow the main event HIAC, Wyatt and Reigns had to be more creative with the gimmick and turned a cage match into a no DQ tables and Kendo stick match. The cage wasn’t nearly enough of a factor. Just to reinforce the stipulation, an appearance from the Wyatt Family to try and aid their leader would have been a nice touch. Instead, it’s just two guys settling a score.
Roman reverses a Kendo stick deathtrap Wyatt was setting up in the corner and gets the spear for the win. I was really hoping there’d be some follow-up on Wyatt getting the Kendo stick shoved into his eye, but as we’d see later, he was fine.
In terms of matches with an eye to the future, this was the most promising as both guys worked really hard and delivered the most cohesive, energetic match of the night. It wasn’t a go seek it out kind of match, but one that was enjoyable for the moment.
As far as the tag team title match with The New Day and The Dudley Boyz, the right team won. The Dudleys just need to pose a credible challenge for The New Day as they continue failing miserably to have the crowd boo them. But when you’ve got Big E saying he’s going to beat on Bubba Ray’s belly like a Caucasian Kamala it’s hard not to be completely entertained.
The Dudleys were off on some of their double teams and there was a weird bit where the ref didn’t DQ the Dudleys when Kofi faked like Bubba Ray struck him with the trombone. usual, New Day once again proved to be the most entertaining act all night. New Day is probably the only group I’d happily sit though a 20-minute RAW opening talk segment and be upset when it shifted to a match.
The Dudleys have shown some fire, but never quite got on the same page with The New Day as there were a number of odd miscommunication moments. Kofi gets the win with Trouble in Paradise. I do need that New Day shirt in my life though: The New Day “Feel The Power” Authentic T-Shirt
Nikki Bella’s rematch with Charlotte to regain her title proves very similar to last month’s match. Nikki dominates and Charlotte gets the occasional bit of offense. Nikki focuses her attack on Charlotte’s back, which pays off as Charlotte can’t lock in the Figure 8 thanks to the pain in her back. Nikki follows up by hitting an impressive Alabama Slam against the ring apron. That really should have been the finish. Confusingly, Charlotte is then able to recover and immediately hit the Figure 8 for the win, which didn’t make any sense as it negated all the great effort Nikki made in wearing down Charlotte’s back.
Turning to the WWE title match, Seth Rollins is again asked to work a miracle in getting a good match out of Kane in 2015. Not that Kane is a complete waste, but he shouldn’t be the No. 1 contender at this stage in his career. Cole kills his credibility for the night as he jokes that this is the second year anniversary of Corporate Kane’s position with The Authority.
Despite one really solid near-fall after a chokeslam, the outcome is never in question and Seth gets the win with a Pedigree. Seth’s title reign hasn’t been that impressive, but what top contenders has the WWE built up for him to face?
The Kevin Owens vs. Ryback match for the Intercontinental Title was another “just there” match that had the worst positioning in the card since it was between the two matches anyone really cared about going into the show. Owens gets the expected win with the Pop Up Powerbomb.
Main Event time. Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker in Hell In A Cell. This one was much more up to HIAC standards as it got bloody pretty quickly. Brock is approaching Dusty Rhodes levels of bleeding in most of his matches now, which is so against the PG stance of the WWE, but makes longtime fans appreciate him that much more. Taker also got bloody and the fans were very annoyed with the medical staff almost immediately coming in to try and patch them up.
As the match we were all waiting on, this was an OK clash of titans. Their Summerslam encounter had a big time feel and delivered. This one felt more hampered by the cage even as both guys sold the intensity of their hatred and kept reaching down deeper to get the win.
Lesner finally got the pin with a low blow and hitting an F5 on Taker on the exposed plywood mat. Brock needed the win and Taker’s win-loss record officially stopped mattering after Wrestlemania 30.
Taker slowly gets back on his feet and takes in the adoration from the crowd when The Wyatt Family’s music starts. The Wyatts surround the ring and beat Taker back down and Wyatt has his three henchmen carry Taker to the back.
The commentators go on ad nauseam about how everyone in the WWE Universe respects Undertaker, yet when The Dead Man is confronted by four guys, no one in the back even makes an attempt to help him out?
For months, The Wyatt Family has tormented Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose and they don’t want another shot at the Wyatts now that Reigns “won” the feud? I get they’re not going to Taker’s for Thanksgiving, but it was silly for no one to try and make the save.
Selfishly, I was hoping Sting would bust through the exposed ring and help Taker fight off The Wyatts. That kind of shock would have made for an electric ending that would have gotten people buzzing and more eyes on the Network where literally anything can happen.
Rating: 6 out of 10
As it was, Hell In A Cell was decent. The main event was solid, but couldn’t save a show that needed something extraordinary to make it special.
Pics Credit: WWE.com