Mike Shannon – WWE Hell In a Cell: The Definition of a Filler PPV

I feel bad.

I feel bad for those of you who spent your hard-earned dollars on the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view last night, because what you witnessed was the very definition of a “placeholder.” You see, with John Cena out of action due to injury, WWE had to come up with a backup plan for their main event match without losing their storyline of Punk vs. Cena. Hence, we got Ryback vs. Cena in one of most useless Hell in a Cell matches in history.

After tons of stalling, Punk defeated Ryback when referee Brad Maddox hit Ryback with a low blow and then fast-counted him. Then Ryback immediately got his revenge by destroying Maddox and delivering his Shell Shocked finishing move on top of the cell.

WWE completely booked themselves into a corner with this match because they didn’t want Punk to lose the title, but Ryback’s entire character depends on him continuing to win, so we got the screwjob finish from last night. Some people might applaud the decision, but I say it just maintains the status quo and allows WWE to insert Cena back into the main event picture once again to go ahead with their originally planned match.

However, that wasn’t even the worst part. Nope, the worst part was that the undercard was completely void of storyline development or match victories that will mean anything going forward in the coming weeks. People who spent $50 on this event should be seriously upset at what they witnessed and paid for.

First, let’s get this out of the way: The lone bright spot of last night was the Big Show-Sheamus match, where the two big men worked their tails off and put on a very good heavyweight-style match with a well-developed bout that led to a hot finish and a payoff for storylines. I was greatly impressed with both guys and thought they deserved the ovation that the crowd gave them.

But it wasn’t enough to save the show.

Let’s start with the opening match: Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio. Has there ever been someone who was destined for the main event but fizzled out quicker than Del Rio? He is a completely stagnant character and the crowd barely reacts to anything he does anymore.

It’s very well known that Orton wants to turn heel (since he whines about it on seemingly a daily basis), and he is totally unmotivated in the ring as a result. Orton wins, Del Rio is still in the midcard and Randy is safe to challenge for another world title at some undetermined point.

So nothing changes.

The Rhodes Scholars beat Team Hell No by disqualification as the booking of the match centered around Kane and Bryan’s inevitable breakup and feud rather than defending the tag titles. Hey, I get it, Team Hell No is WWE’s hottest act right now—but really, what changed due to this match? It was basically a second-hour Raw match that they stuck on PPV with a crappy finish.

So nothing changes.

Kofi Kingston defeated The Miz and thankfully didn’t deliver a concussion this time with his finisher. However, no one cares about the IC title still and, while Kofi is nice to have for the little kids, I don’t see anything exciting happening with this belt anytime soon.

So nothing changes.

Antonio Cesaro beat Justin Gabriel in a match the live crowd couldn’t have cared less about for the simple reason that there was absolutely no promo time given to this match at all. Also, Justin Gabriel hasn’t beaten anyone of note (outside of Cesaro a week before the show) in about six months, and now we’re supposed to buy him as a legit contender to a title? No way. Cesaro retains and Gabriel heads back to Saturday Morning Slam with the kiddies.

So nothing changes.

Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara defeat the Prime Time Players in a decent match but, again, what does it do for either team? I know WWE wants to build to a mask vs. mask match at WrestleMania between the babyfaces but is anyone really breaking down doors to see that match? At the end of the day, the Prime Time Players are still jobbing to any half-decent team and seem to have no major push in their future.

So nothing changes.

Eve retains her useless title against Layla and Kaitlyn in a match where you could actually see people getting up to get popcorn during the match. Does anyone on Earth care about this storyline at all? No, so Eve retains just because they have no one else.

So nothing changes.

There you have it. Eight matches on a $50 pay-per-view and, after all that, what is the big selling point for tonight’s Raw? Vickie Guerrero teasing evidence of an affair between AJ Lee and John Cena, two people who weren’t even on the show last night!

Of course, there will be people in the comments section talking about how I hate wrestling and how I shouldn’t watch it if I hate the product so much. They’ll say I’m just a hater and WWE is so much better than I’m making it out to be and so on. They’ll claim that I want the Attitude Era brought back and that I should let that time period go and embrace the new PG-era.

You know what? I love wrestling. I’ve loved wrestling since I saw Hulk Hogan slam Andre the Giant and pose in the Pontiac Silverdome. That wasn’t the Attitude Era. My favorite match of all time is Bret Hart winning the Intercontinental title from Curt Hennig at SummerSlam 1991, and that wasn’t the Attitude Era. I marked out like crazy when Ric Flair went the distance in the 1992 Royal Rumble, and that wasn’t the Attitude Era.

My point is the Attitude Era doesn’t always equal great wrestling. People long for the Attitude Era because that was the last time they can remember WWE being consistently entertaining. This product today does nothing for anyone but the hardcore wrestling audience, and the ratings are finally beginning to show that.

I don’t want the Attitude Era back, I want professional wrestling back.

To quote Paul Heyman: “Death to sports-entertainment!”

Post your thoughts, opinions and comments below!

  • Captain I’m that Guy

    great article. all truth. the ppv did nothing to change the ebb and flow in the wwe right now. They should turn Orton again. If they are short on faces, simply push Swagger as a face when he returns. Afterall he was WHC at one time. There are certainly other viable heels that could believably turn face. PTP should either be pushed to the top of the tag division or break down the division completely. IMO anyways, but what do I know, I’ve only been a hardcore fan since ’88

  • LA_Woman

    No hating here. I completely agree with everything you say! Glad I chose to study than buy that Sunday Night Raw.

  • niggerdick KKK Tyrone

    only a faggot would quote paul heyman

  • Joe Craven

    You’re always a moaning bastard Mr. Shannon.

  • Rosty

    I miss your Raw Reviews. They were fantastic, yet I fully understand why you don’t watch the shit anymore. I find it funny that people say WWE is heading in the right direction when it’s clearly not.

  • Shawn Paul Wood

    Mike, if I could find you on Twitter, I would follow you immediately. I miss great editorials like this from wrestling sites. Obviously, I just found this one and will be coming back. Screw the haters. You’re speaking truth here. Well done.