The SmarK Rant for WWE Hell in a Cell 2019 – 10.06.19
It’s fitting that we’re in the month of Halloween because this show is pretty much SPIN THE WHEEL MAKE THE DEAL as far as booking matches in advance. I know the top four matches and the rest is a complete mystery.
Live from Sacramento, CA
Your hosts are Vic Joseph, Jerry Lawler & Dio Maddin
Hell in a Cell, RAW Women’s title: Becky Lynch v. Sasha Banks
Sasha attacks before the Cell is even lowered and they immediately fight outside to the floor so that Sasha can hit a suplex on the ramp and run her into the railing. So they head into the ugly red cage to start the match all official-like, but then Becky steals the chain for the door and beats on Banks with that. To the floor for some cheese grater action and Becky locks the door herself, but Sasha fights back until Becky throws her into the stairs. Becky finds a table and a ladder, but Sasha uses a chair before Becky can set anything up. But then Becky just destroys her with the chair and really someone would be gushing blood by now if this was Crockett. Into the ring and they trade rollups and Sasha gets a backslide for two. Becky tries the armbar in the chair, but Sasha escapes with a high kick and dropkicks the chair into Becky for two. Becky with the Bexploder to put Sasha on the floor and she follows with a baseball slide into the cage, but she misses a charge and Sasha gives her the double knees into a ladder. That looked painful. Back in, that gets two. They head to the floor again and Sasha puts her arm in the door and smashes that repeatedly, and that gets two. They’re doing a lot of creative spots but it’s not really flowing very well as a match and it doesn’t have much heat thus far. Back in the ring, Sasha goes to work on the arm and hits the meteora for two. So then Sasha awkwardly wedges a chair into the cage and then brings another one into the ring, but Becky fights back and dropkicks Sasha into the cage. Becky comes back with a bexploder into the cage, and they slug it out in the ring before Becky rams her facefirst into an open chair for two. Becky goes up and Sasha grabs a chair to counter, but Becky gets a missile dropkick into the chair for two. To the floor again and Sasha beats on her with a kendo stick and then wedges it in the corner, which of course backfires on her. So this allows Becky to set up a wacky contraption with a chair on top of three kendo sticks, then Sasha gets put on the chair and dropkicked. Eh, that seemed like a lot of work for not a lot of payoff there. Back in, Becky with a top rope legdrop for two. Becky sets up a table, but Sasha gets the backstabber and they fight to the top rope. Becky tries a powerbomb, but Sasha hits the double knees through the table and gets two. She retrieves yet another kendo stick and chokes Becky out with it, but Lynch escapes to the floor and just smashes it into Sasha’s head repeatedly. And then Sasha whips her into Chekhov’s chair that she put into the cage earlier. Back in, Sasha tosses a huge pile of chairs into the ring and beats on Becky for a bit, but then goes up to finish and Becky cuts her off with a Bexploder into the chairs and taps her out with the disarmer to retain. Hard work from both but the weapons stuff was really overdone and I just don’t think it ever reached the next level they were shooting for. It mostly felt like a bunch of neat spots all strung together with nothing in between. ***1/2
Tornado match: Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns v. Erick Rowan & Luke Harper
I think they need to add another special stipulation where the loser has to try to explain the storyline. Also it’s typical WWE that they’d spend all the time and money to repackage them into the Bludgeon Brothers, and then just randomly break them up and then randomly put them back together again but without the gimmick. The babyfaces clean house to start and Bryan dropkicks Rowan to the floor and hits Harper with a dive. Roman follows with a superman punch on Rowan outside. Back in, Rowan with a dropkick on Roman, but he misses the splash and Reigns gets a samoan drop for two. Spear is blocked by a superkick from Harper that gets two, however. The Bludgeons double-team Roman in the corner and then double-team Bryan for a bit and choke him down. More punishment for Roman as Rowan hits him with a crossbody on the floor and runs the stairs into his head. Back in the ring, Bryan gets double-teamed in the corner and Rowan gets a spinkick for two. They set up for a Doomsday Device, but Bryan rolls up Rowan for two. Bryan takes him down with the Yes lock, but Harper breaks that up and Rowan gets a Jackhammer for two. Bryan fights back again, but walks into a Michinoku driver from Harper for two. Roman randomly pops into the ring again to save, but Rowan pulls him out of the ring again. Bryan works on Harper with the Yes kicks in the corner, but then Rowan pulls him out of the ring as well. Harper hits Roman with a dive and smashes his own face into the table as a result and everyone is out on the floor. The heels prep all three tables and then Rowan rips off a piece of the railing and sends Roman into the front row with it. And then Rowan BREAKS A PENCIL. Oh my god, he’s going off the booking sheet! They try to powerbomb Bryan through the table, but Bryan escapes with a rana and Roman pops back in with a spear onto Rowan through the table. None of that looked really impressive. Back in the ring, Bryan comes back with corner dropkicks on Harper as his comebacks are the only time the crowd really comes alive here, but Luke counters with a powerbomb for two. Harper hits a pair of half nelson suplexes, but Bryan lands on his feet and Roman comes in with the spear for the pin at 16:44. The tornado stip added nothing here and the match was pretty dull for the most part, but fine overall. **1/2 And then Bryan teases a handshake but then wants to hug it out instead and no one turns on no one.
Meanwhile, crybaby Seth is still terrified of Bray Wyatt. He’s not even confident in his ability to burn it down! But…that’s his whole deal!
Randy Orton v. Ali
Orton works the arm as Michael Cole promises that we’ll see “highlights” of Brock’s title win later tonight. Highlights? The match was SIX SECONDS LONG! You can barely even say the word “highlights” before it was over! They trade some chops and Orton pokes him in the eye, and then waits for Ali to head to the top and dumps him to the floor. Orton suplexes him onto the table, which is of course VINTAGE RANDY ORTON. Orton begins the methodical beatdown and goes to a chinlock in the ring. Ali fights back and Orton cuts him off, but they fight on the floor while everyone goes for nachos. Back in the ring, Ali comes back with an X-Factor for two. Orton with the powerslam, which is also VINTAGE ORTON, and that gets two. Ali comes back again with a spinkick and goes up for the 450, but Orton moves, so Ali hits him with a tornado DDT instead. Back to the top and Ali misses a 450 by a mile this time, as Orton wasn’t even in position. Orton with the draping DDT, but Ali manages to counter the RKO and rolls him up for two. But then a second RKO finishes at 12:10. They really couldn’t have just had Ali go over after being the first person to manage a counter of the RKO in mid-move? Total borefest. *1/2
I should note that I’m about two hours behind the live viewing, and at this point a lot of people begin sending me ominous texts about the end of the show. OH GOODY!
Women’s tag team titles: Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross v. Askua & Kairi Sane
I don’t know who got paid to do the lazy mashup of Asuka and Kairi’s theme, but just…no. Let’s not. Kairi offers Nikki a handshake and then knocks Bliss off the apron, and the Kabukis double-team Nikki in their corner. Asuka with a running knee for two, but Bliss comes in and slugs Asuka down for two. Nikki with a snapmare for two. Everyone fights on the floor and Asuka hits Bliss with a high kick and runs her into the railing, and back in for two. Asuka with a hip attack in the corner and she gets an anklelock and works the leg. Kairi gets a sliding dropkick on Bliss after getting a cheeky eye poke on Cross, but the ref is busy with Cross and misses the pin. Bliss escapes another anklelock and makes the tag to Nikki, and she runs wild with clotheslines and a bulldog on Sane. Crossbody gets two. Sane counters and goes up for the Insane Elbow, but Cross gets the knees up to block it and hits the neckbreaker for two. Asuka saves and tries the kicks on Cross, but Nikki fights back, so Asuka blinds her with MUTA MIST and finishes with a high kick to win the titles at 10:32. Well that was certainly a finish we haven’t seen in a long time. Nothing much to the match, though. **
AJ Styles & The Good Brothers v. The Viking Raiders & Braun Strowman
Ivar works on Anderson’s arm to start, but Gallows comes in and slugs away in the corner. Over to Erik, who hits an exploder on Gallows, but charges and runs into AJ’s knee on the apron. The OC beats on Erik in the corner and AJ gets a Pele for two. Erik fights back and Karl takes him down with a spinebuster for two. Erik finally backdrops AJ and makes the hot tag to Braun, who clears the ring and then runs the ring for the shoulderblocks. But then he misses a charge and hits the post, and AJ clips the knee and gets the calf crusher. Everyone runs in to break it up, but the OC triple-teams Braun for the DQ at 8:20. LAME. This was a nothing match and went nowhere. * And then they keep going and Braun knocks out AJ to block a Phenomenal forearm. So they couldn’t have just had him go over?
Meanwhile, the Street Profits discuss the upcoming draft and then Tamina suddenly runs in and rolls up Carmella to win the 24-7 title.
King Corbin v. Chad Gable
Oh boy, another rematch of this one. Corbin does a vicious verbal beatdown before the match, calling Gable SHORT. What a heel. Gable attacks and goes for the anklelock right away, but Corbin runs him into the post to take over and whips him into the corner for two. Corbin slugs away and cuts off a slingshot attempt to put Gable on the floor. Back in, Corbin goes to a chinlock and hits the Dine & Dash lariat for two. Gable fights back with a dropkick and counters another lariat with a crossbody, but Corbin reverses into a spinebuster for two. Gable slugs back with forearms and gets a Chaos Theory suplex for two. Gable tries some rolling kicks, but Corbin powerbombs him for two. Gable manages to take Corbin down and wraps the knee around the post, which gets two. Corbin comes back with the Deep Six for two. Gable fights back with a neckbreaker and hits a moonsault for two, into the anklelock, but Corbin pulls himself out of the ring to break. Gable charges after him like a moron and gets chokeslammed on the apron, but Corbin grabs his scepter and Gable rolls him up for the banana peel win at 12:48. And then the ring announcer calls him “Shorty Gable”. Yeah, that’ll get him over. Completely heatless time filler. *
Smackdown Women’s title: Bayley v. Charlotte
But first, Tamina wanders into the crowd with her new title as they do the international announce team gimmick, and hides behind Funaki, but Carmella superkicks her and Truth wins the title again. So, I’m still not clear on whether Charlotte is supposed to be a heel or a babyface. Also, can we not find someone else in the division to challenge for the title for a bit? Charlotte chops her down and dodges a crossbody to set up a Boston crab, but Bayley makes the ropes quickly and bails. Bayley pokes her in the eye and lays her out from behind for two, but Charlotte fights back with chops. Bayley pulls her out to the floor and rams her leg into the LED board a few times, and goes to work on the knee in the ring. Bayley with a half crab, but Charlotte reverses for two. Bayley tries a figure-four and Charlotte cradles for two off that, then goes to work on Bayley’s knee in turn. Backbreaker and Natural Selection get two. Charlotte goes up and misses the moonsault, but recovers with a fallaway slam on the floor. Back in, Charlotte tries the figure-four but Bayley reverses for two and then rolls her up for two with her feet on the ropes. Sadly, the ref catches that and Charlotte gets the figure-eight as a result and Bayley taps at 10:13. So Charlotte wins yet another Women’s title. Yay. How exciting. That’ll really freshen up the division. *1/2
Meanwhile, Shorty Gable cuts his victory promo, but Corbin lays him out because THIS FEUD MUST CONTINUE.
Hell in a Cell, Universal title: Seth Rollins v. Bray Wyatt
I’m still not really clear on why this needs to be a Cell match given that it’s only their first match and Bray only beat one person thus far. So the lights remain red for the match and Rollins immediately runs away and finds a kendo stick. The Fiend no-sells that and hits Seth with the uranage, and Seth runs away again. Fiend beats on him outside and runs him into the stairs, but Seth uses those very stairs to come back and brings a table into the ring. Seth with the dives, but Bray catches him and gets Sister Abigail into the cage. Back in, Seth fights back and superkicks Fiend onto the table, then follows with a frog splash through the table. Which Wyatt no-sells. Rollins with the curb stomp and Wyatt no-sells that as well, and Sister Abigail gets two. Wyatt gives him the Zeus necksnap and finds a giant mallet under the ring, but Seth fights back with superkicks on the floor. Rollins with the curbstomp onto the cartoonishly oversized mallet, but Fiend no-sells that as well. Back in, more superkicks and another pair of stomps, and now the crowd completely turns on Rollins. Pedigree and another stomp gets one. More superkicks and another stomp and the crowd is just booing the shit out of this. More stomps and Seth gets a chair and bashes him for one. Next up, he gets a ladder and smashes that onto Wyatt’s face, for two. So next he gets a toolbox and then piles the ladder and a chair on Bray’s face and then bashes him with the toolbox and the crowd has completely had enough of this nonsense. And then that’s still not enough yet so now Seth gets a sledgehammer while Wyatt is still buried under ladders and chairs and toolboxes and giant mallets like the punchline in a Road Runner cartoon. And THAT is enough for the ref to call for the DQ, in a HELL IN A CELL MATCH, at 17:10.
So the refs load Wyatt onto a stretcher and the crowd chants for AEW, but Bray suddenly recovers and puts Seth in the claw, and then destroys him on the floor while the crowd continues chanting for AEW. And then Seth spits up blood to end the show. Well that’s kind of like a metaphor for this main event. I feel like this historic bullshit calls for my first ever -****** rating for posterity. WHY DID YOU BOOK THE MATCH IF YOU DIDN’T WANT TO DELIVER A FINISH?!?
Anyway, promising start to the show aside, this went completely in the tank and will be a tough opponent to dethrone for Worst Major Show of the Year come awards time, even in a year with Super Showdown, unless the other Saudi show pulls out something really special at the end of the month. At the very least the main event is a lock for Worst Match of the Year and completely destroyed any bit of goodwill that the show had going for it at that point. Clearly, this one earns a BURN IT (DOWN) rating and felt like a complete waste of three hours when it was over.