So, October’s pay per view effort from the WWE was Hell In A Cell – but was it more hell to sell? Read on and find out…
We begin with an excellent opening video package, as usual from the WWE. I’d wager that nobody in the world of sports does these video packages as well as the WWE do. The thing with HIAC is that with 2 guaranteed HIAC matches every year, if not more, the whole “demonic structure” tag seems to be losing it’s shine.
Incidentally, Rey Mysterio as part of the Spanish announce team? With Rey’s injury history, I’m surprised he never dislocated his jaw during this. Ho hum.
The tag match opened things and man, what a hot opener. Goldust is moving as well as he ever has, and the veteran head he brings to a match full of younger guys is a welcome addition. I hope to hell he has his mental demons under control, as physically, he looks better than ever.
This match was a riot from start to finish; some clever interplay between the teams, especially the frustration of the Uso’s waiting to be tagged in was played perfectly. And the highspot of the match was worth the build – a top rope superplex to the floor – something I’ve very rarely seen, if ever in the WWE.
The booking made sense to me, and the Uso’s live to fight another day, proving if nothing else that they can hang with the big guns in this division. If the reports of HHH wanting to build a strong tag division are true, then these three teams – with The Wyatts, The Real Americans and even the idiotically gimmicked Los Matadores could give us some fantastic match-ups.
So out comes The Miz to steal Kurt Angle’s line about “I’m not cleared to wrestle, but I can fight” 0 really, Miz? Really? Stealing from TNA? How the mighty fall. And fall he did, to a beat down from The Wyatt Family, only to be saved (and then splatted) by a returning Kane. Why attack Miz? Maybe he’s as sick of him as I am…
And from here, things pretty much went to hell, pardon the pun.
I’m going to do what the WWE did with the Fandango & Summer Rae / Natalya & Khali match and quickly skim over it and pretend it never happened. The very definition of a sandwich match… although JBL’s constant refusal to mention Summer Rae’s NXT history when he’s the GM of that show is starting to irk me.
I dig the idea of the panel talking over the matches, but Dolph? Dolph can’t get on the show? Dearie me…
Time for Ambrose vs. Big E… Big E showed in NXT he can work well as a face, and the fans bought into him here. This match struck me as something you could see at WrestleMania a few years down the line, if both guys take off.
Big E has the power moves that the WWE love, and Ambrose just gets it. Everything he does on camera means something. The way he moves in and out of the ring just screams star in waiting. Not the worst match you’ll ever see, but the US Title is dead in the water at this point.
CAGE LOWERING MUSIC!!! Dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum. Love it!
Now, here’s the first of the 3 big matches this card was built on, Punk vs. Heyman and Ryback. And man, this match may well have been the worst matches I have seen inside the “demonic structure”. When you consider I remember the Kennel From Hell match, and HHH vs. Nash, that’s a harsh review.
Heyman standing atop the cage made a great visual, and certainly fitted his character – but the ultimate pay-off to his antagonising Punk for all this time is another clean loss by his “monster” Ryback, and a weak looking GTS on top of a cell? Really?
The Ryback boat has sailed. He’s been made to look progressively weaker and weaker, ironically since last year’s match vs. Punk. He’s now no more than a solid midcarder. A lot of rebuilding will have to be done to save this guy. He worked better as a non-speaking face, a guy who was just power move after power move.
If Axel had been allowed to dominate the way Ryback had? Who knows? It might have elevated him, and the damn IC belt might be worth something now as well. Ryback has been cut off at the knees, and any vain hope they may have had of luring Goldberg back to face him must surely be dead now. Goldberg is very protective (some would say obsessive) about his image and ‘legacy’ – he won’t tarnish that by being in the ring with Ryback.
As for Punk… well, the dirt sheets are reporting that he’s working hurt and dealing with a ton of injuries. If Punk is beat up, write him off TV for a while. The man deserves a rest… but there’s no such thing as a rest in the WWE, as John Cena shows. The problem with Cena rehabbing and returning super fast means that the pressure filters down to others to do the same. Perhaps Punk is beginning to fall apart physically under the “must keep going” pressure…
Time for another sandwich break. Los Matadores against the Real Americans. Man, I love Cesaro, but he’s wasted in a) this role and b) this match. Primo & Epico are talented, but undeniably bland – this gimmick sucks, but at least covers their lack of charisma by pairing them with a midget in a bull suit. Only in wrestling, does that sentence make sense. Decent in ring match, but totally and utterly pointless.
And now, it’s time for the John Cena love in. Yes, Super John rehabs and recovers better than anyone since Lazarus, and we should all love him because he’s amazing and BUY HIS SHIRTS. Let’s push him down our throats until we learn to love him. As seems to be the way now, the champion enters first, so Cena can soak up the adulation by entering last… ugh.
I like Cena as a guy – he comes across as extremely humble and grateful for his spot (although Alex Riley might disagree) but surely the WWE machine can survive without him for a wee bit longer? Absence makes the heart grow fonder, as they say – can you imagine the pop for him as a surprise entrant at the Rumble again?
The match itself was fine – Cena has an ability to drag a decent match out of anyone without actually being a five star worker himself. Lord knows how, but he does it time and time again. Ironically, ADR’s loss was probably the strongest he’s looked since becoming champion… but SuperCena needs a belt, so ADR took the loss.
Certainly a lame duck champ, but why Cena? Why not a Smackdown roster member? Why not Ziggler? Sandow? Big E? SOMEONE OTHER THAN CENA.
Oh. It’s a Bella match. Heaven help us all. At least AJ is in the ring, so being sexist for a moment, there’s something worth watching. The match? Well, things happened, albeit in slow motion at times, and AJ is still champion. Meh.
And so to the maaaaaaain event (channelling Bruce Buffer for a moment) and another awesome video montage setting the scene. Everyone gets an entrance – HBK, Bryan, Orton and even COOHHH carrying the title. Plus… more CAGE LOWERING MUSIC! YES!
You know what? I may not like Orton much, but damn, when he’s on his game, and in with someone like Bryan? He is good at what he does. He’s smooth, he’s crisp… we all know how good Daniel Bryan is – and the biggest compliment is that Orton looked like he was more than holding his own in the match.
This is one of those HIAC matches that would have benefitted from, dare I say, a blade job from someone. I realise the WWE is all PG and what not these days – but some of the brutal spots on show here would have been made 10 times more meaningful with an old school Crimson Mask on display. The chair spots especially looked damn harsh,
And yes, the ever ominous STORYLINE OF DOOM probably weighed down on the match too much in places, even more so when COOHHH made his way to ringside and the screwjob finish was on. Orton takes the win, but it was HBK that made the decisive move, amid the chaos that the HIAC stipulation was meant to remove… who woulda thunk it?
I have to admit, I didn’t reckon much to the match the first time I saw it, but watching it a second time it comes across much stronger, although the shenanigans involving HBK and HHH could have been left out, and a proper, clean finish done. Again, the storyline needs outweigh the needs of the match, and it “advances the angle” so all is well in WWE-land.
Of the big 3 matches, only the Bryan-Orton match really, really delivered. On that basis, I’d have to say the show wasn’t a huge success. Worth checking out for the opening tag match, and the closing main event.