The big boys of WWE are on the agenda now as I try to find out if Satan’s playground is as scary as it used to be with a look at Hell in a Cell, shown in the early hours of this past Monday morning on Sky Box Office here in Britain.
The broadcast began with the first title match of the evening as Cody Rhodes and Goldust defended the Tag Team Championship against Jimmy and Jey Uso and the Shield’s Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins.
This was the perfect way to begin the show. From start to finish it was jam packed with great action and great performances from all those involved.
All three teams gave a good account of themselves early on, and I think it’s safe to say that the Uso brothers are finally starting to get over with the crowd. Everything they good just looked so good.
The role of the punching bag was played by Goldust in this one. The “old man” as Reigns called him really rolled back the years, and when he finally managed to get the hot tag to his brother it signalled the start of the all hell you know what moment. It was during this particular segment that we saw some great high spots, the best being when Rhodes suplexed Rollins from the top rope onto the rest of the combatants below.
When everyone had recovered they took it into high gear as all three teams went looking for that elusive pin, which eventually went to Rhodes after he took Rollins down with the Cross Rhodes finisher.
After an unscheduled brawl between the Wyatt family and the Miz which saw the return of Kane it was back to regular action as Fandango and Summer Rae took on the Great Khali and Natalya, accompanied by Hornswoggle, in a mixed tag match.
Well, this certainly was an interesting one, and to be honest with you it was just about what I expected. You had the lumbering Khali doing his usual thing as he threw Fandango around the ring before the best segment of the entire match. Rae and Natalya put together some good sequences, and the dancing girl looked pretty good in her first match on the main roster.
As expected Khali soon came back into the match as the dancer worked over his leg for a few seconds before the girls tagged back in and Rae rolled Natalya up for the winning pin. I would call this short and sweet, but no match with Khali in can ever be that sweet.
Then it was back to title action as Big E. Langston challenged Dean Ambrose for the United States title.
This one was actually a lot better than I thought it would be. In fact it was pretty darn enjoyable. Normally I’d describe these kind of matches as being power versus speed encounters, but this was more power versus deviousness.
Langston spent the first few moments throwing Ambrose around the ring like the proverbial stuffed toy, and although he had a great deal of success in this particular department it wasn’t long before the champion managed to impose his will on the proceedings.
But as the old saying goes you can’t keep a good big man down, and as Langston made his comeback Ambrose tried to head for the hills until the big man dragged him back to the ring by the scruff of his neck.
Then came the best part of the match. As Ambrose stood on the ring apron Langston ran the ropes and speared him down to the floor. It was an impressive looking move, but as Langston got back into the ring Ambrose staggered around to the other side to retrieve his title belt, happily giving Langston the count-out win because it meant that he kept the title.
Needless to say that the big man wasn’t too pleased, and as Ambrose headed for the hills again Langston dragged him back in and took him down with the Big Ending.
The first Hell in a Cell match followed as C.M. Punk faced Ryback and Paul Heyman in a handicap match.
Well, that was the idea. Before the match began Heyman was driven to the ring in a lift, and as he did his usual bit on the stick he climbed onto the cage so he could get a bird’s eye view of the proceedings.
So when the match began it was now a one-on-one affair, and while this won’t go down as the best Cell match in WWE history it wasn’t that bad, and if truth be known it was better than their encounter last year, mainly because of the role reversals.
Once again Punk played the part of the never-say-die plucky underdog to perfection. He pulled out all the stops in order to take out his more powerful opponent, although the big man kept coming back, and with the walrus barking orders from on high it looked like Ryback would take the best in the world down.
But a top rope elbow drop that put Ryback through a table gave Punk hope. Ryback eventually got back to his feet, only to be met by a kendo shot to the side of the head from Punk. One GTS later and that was it, Punk had the winning pin.
That still wasn’t enough for him though. With a kendo stick tucked into his tights Punk climbed to the top of the cage as a horrified Heyman looked on. Heyman’s pleas for clemency fell on def ears as Punk released the months of pent up frustration with countless shots from the kendo stick, with another GTS putting an exclamation mark on things.
More tag team action followed as Diego and Fernando of Los Matadors, accompanied by El Torito, faced the Real Americans, Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro, accompanied by Zeb Colter.
This was definitely the filler material of the evening. It was okay, but it probably won’t be remembered in a few weeks time.
Both teams looked quite good throughout, and once again Cesaro impressed the hell out of me, although his big swing move could do with a little addition, such as Swagger dropkicking the guys head while Cesaro swung him around. Now I wonder where I got that idea from.
Eventually the match moved to the mass brawl segment, with the masked guys taking Swagger down with their as yet un-named double team move.
Oh, and needless to say that there was a confrontation between Zeb and the little bull afterward.
Then it was on to the Smackdown main event as John Cena challenged Alberto Del Rio for the World title.
So how did WWE’s poster boy fare in his big comeback? Pretty good in my opinion, and overall this was quite a good match.
As expected ADR targeted Cena’s injured limb for the majority of the match, with the challenger making brief comebacks every so often, although as the match went on many were left wondering if Cena had come back a tad too soon.
The best part of the proceedings was when they kicked things up a notch and brought out the big guns. Inevitably both guys went for their trademark submissions, with neither of them having the desired effect, especially when Cena power bombed his way out of Del Rio’s cross arm breaker.
Moments later it was all over. At the umpteenth time of trying Cena finally took the champion down with the Attitude Adjuster, and a three count later we had a new World Champion.
The penultimate match saw Brie Bella, accompanied by her sister Nikki, challenging A.J. Lee, accompanied by Tamina Snuka, for the Divas title.
Short and sweet was the order of the day in this one. While it was quite obvious that the girls were back to filler material duty it didn’t mean that they couldn’t put on an entertaining few minutes.
A.J. was her usual bat crazy self, while Brie showed that she really is coming on leaps and bounds at the moment, although in truth it didn’t really feel like a title change was in the offing.
As for the end we had a brief brawl between the ringside observers, but after Brie accidentally kneed her sister in the face A.J. pounced, synching in her Black Widow hold for the submission win.
The main event was the second Hell in a Cell match, with Bryan Daniel facing Randy Orton for the vacant WWE title, and with Shawn Michaels as the special referee.
Out of all the matches these two have had against each other this was by far the best. It was packed with great action throughout, and the way the ending was played out was the icing on the cake.
Orton and Bryan easily picked up where they’d left off, and the addition of the cell just added to the drama as they put on a great back and forth affair, with both men using the cell to great effect. Although in truth the best moment came when Orton superplexed Bryan onto a pile of chairs in the middle of the ring. That particular move even had Michaels wincing a little.
The drama quotient certainly got higher as the match went on, especially when Orton accused Michaels of slow counting him throughout the match. This brought COO Triple H down to the ring to confer with his buddy, and it was during this little power chat that Orton took Bryan down with an exploder suplex. The only thing was that Michaels wasn’t in the ring to make the count, which didn’t exactly improve Orton’s mood.
So with Triple H remaining at ringside to make sure Michaels did his job the action continued, and a few moments later Bryan accidentally shoved Orton into Michaels, and as the special referee was taking a breather Triple H and the ringside doctor rushed into action. It was during this time that Bryan found himself without a referee after he took Orton down with his running knee.
Then, as Bryan urged Michaels to make the count Triple H came into the ring and tossed him to one side so he could make sure his best buddy was okay. As Bryan watched from across the ring it became obvious what was going to happen, and moments later he launched himself into the COO, taking him down with the running knee.
Almost by instinct a now-recovered Michaels acted by instinct and took Bryan down with Sweet Chin Music, and as Michaels checked on his buddy Orton went for the pin. A somewhat reluctant-looking Michaels made the count.
As Orton celebrated his title win a dejected HBK left the cage, leaving the new champion and the COO to bask in the glory.
In conclusion – As is my custom with these things I haven’t read any previous reviews, so what I’m about to say hasn’t been influenced by anything else.
I really enjoyed this show. Most of the matches were pretty decent, and even though I had to put up with the Great Khali for the second pay-per-view in a row it didn’t spoil my overall enjoyment.
As for my match of the night no-prize there were quite a few contenders, and while the drama surrounding the Orton/Bryan affair may have swayed me a little the prestigious award is going to the opening match, the three-way affair between the Rhodes boys, the Usos and the Shield. Maybe this is a sign that WWE are finally trying to build their tag division again. Mind you, there’s been a few false dawns before.
So with all of that out of the way there’s only one more thing left to do, and that’s to give this year’s Hell in a Cell the thumbs up.
By day I’m an unemployed retail worker, and at weekends I volunteer at a local museum, but by night I’m the author of The Two Sheds Review, Britain’s longest running professional wrestling and mixed martial arts blog. Visit my site at www.twoshedsreview.vze.com. It’s been online in one form or another since June 2000!