The SmarK Rant for WWE Hell in a Cell 2020 – 10.25.20
Live from THE THUNDERDOME. The most violent and hate-filled show of the year! BROUGHT TO YOU BY SKITTLES!
Your hosts are Michael Cole and the usual suspects.
WWE Universal title, I Quit: Roman Reigns v. Jey Uso
This was the one match I was actually wanting to watch, so I’m kind of bummed that they’re opening the show with it because there’s not much else on this show that I’m particularly excited to see. Finally we have a match with actual stakes, which is something that they’ve had trouble coming up with for months now. Roman overpowers Jey to start and slugs him down, then hits him with a corner clothesline to lay him out. Jey fights back and chases Roman to the floor, then follows with a dive into the cage. Back in, Jey puts Roman back on the floor and hits another dive, then runs him into the cage while laying the badmouth on him. Hey, might as well demoralize your opponent to really soften him up. Back in the ring, Uso sets up for a corner splash, but Roman hits him with a spear. The fatal flaw was going “OOOOOOOOOO-SO!” before doing the move, I feel like. Roman responds with his own badmouth and puts the boots to him, but he goes for a chair and Jey dropkicks him into the cage. But another dive is cut off with a forearm to the face, and Roman hits him with another spear. Poor Roman clarifies that he doesn’t want to be the bad guy. Too bad, he’s pretty fucking great at it. Another spear is blocked and Jey superkicks him and follows with the flying splash, but Roman does not wish to quit. So Jey goes up and does it again, but the head of the table never quits, apparently. See, we’re learning stuff. So Jey finds a strap under the ring and promises to WHUP THE DOGSHIT out of him. Oh, that’s some quality smack-talk. Reigns takes a few shots to the back with the strap, but then hits him with a spear to stop that. And now Roman’s got the strap and that goes badly for Uso because Roman’s the one who does the whipping around here. To his credit, Jey still won’t quit, but Roman has this awesome heel sneer and hauls Jey around by the strap. Jey fights back and Roman misses the superman punch, allowing Jey to wrap him up with the strap and choke him out. Roman looks like he’s out, but Jey can’t seal the deal and Roman won’t quit. So Jey sets up a chair, but Roman blasts him with the superman punch and guillotines him, but Jey still won’t quit. So Roman has this great look of disappointment in having to do what’s gotta be done, and offers him one last chance to spare himself the suffering. And thankfully, the announcers SHUT THE HELL UP and let them tell the story in the ring. So Roman drapes him neck-first on the apron and hits him with the Drive-By, but Jey still won’t quit, so I bet he’s gonna have to do it on the ringpost. Well, Roman warned him. So Roman wedges the stairs up against his head, stops to think about how awkward this is gonna be at Thanksgiving dinner, and then dropkicks the stairs into Jey’s head. Jey is too unconscious to quit and even the ref is kind of getting worried now, so Roman throws him out of the ring for attempting to stop the match. And then a bunch of geeks run in and try to stop the match, so Roman closes the door again and throws the stairs into the ring to chase them off. Roman gives us a great villain monologue about the pressures of being the tribal chief and threatens to smash the stairs into Jey’s head, but Jimmy runs in and calls him off, trying to appeal to the human being inside Roman because they’re family. And then Roman gives him the tribal handshake of love and then traps him in a guillotine because he’s an EVIL SON OF A BITCH. And with that, Jey has no choice but to quit at 29:09 because you can do whatever you want to him, but he’ll always save his brother. Oh this was FUCKING GREAT. Roman Reigns is hitting everything out of the park right now and I’m all about it. This was the most real and believable big fight I’ve seen in years and both guys knew exactly how to sell it every step of the way. This was absolutely perfect and exactly what it should have been, and so great that I’m worried the rest of the show is going to annoy me 10 times more by comparison now that we’ve seen what they can do if they want to. ***** And then we get a cameo from Afa and Sika, who crown Roman the head chief of the Samoans to cap it off, as the Usos are now bound in servitude to the big dog. I know it can’t happen realistically but they should build to the Rock at Wrestlemania with this.
I don’t think they’re topping that one tonight but this is a thumbs up show after the first match by my count.
Elias v. Jeff Hardy
They fight for the lockup to start and Elias gets a cheapshot while the announcers discuss the inane hit-and-run storyline behind this. It makes it all the more eye-rolling after the first match with a real storyline and real emotions. Jeff gets a rollup for two and works the arm, but Elias sends him to the floor and they do some stuff out there. Jeff misses a dive and hits the railing, but they do the New Japan countout tease and Jeff beats the count. That’s about the only time I’ll compare Elias to anything in New Japan. Elias slugs away in the corner for some ZOOM AND SHAKE camera action and gets two. Jeff slugs back and makes the comeback with his usual stuff, but Elias gets an electric chair into a powerbomb for two. Jeff fights out of the corner with the Whisper in the Wind for two, but goes up for a swanton onto the apron and Elias bails to the floor to escape. And then Jeff hits him with the guitar for a DQ at 7:55. Just an average TV match with a shitty TV finish. *1/2
Money in the Bank briefcase match: Otis v. The Miz
We get to watch the whole courtroom drama from Smackdown, I’m assuming because no one was watching on FS1. Honestly, they really need to get that briefcase off Otis because it’s like he’s part of a different continuity than Roman at the moment. It’d be like Scooby Doo making a cameo in Saving Private Ryan. But they shouldn’t put it onto the Miz, though. Michael Cole brings up the last time that someone lost the briefcase in a match 13 years ago, but apparently we can’t say “Mr. Kennedy” so that’s the only information we get. Otis gets a slam for two and steps on him, then takes it to the floor and runs Miz into the table. Back in, Miz gets a DDT for two off JoMo’s distraction. Miz with a double axehandle for two. He goes to a sleeper and then puts Otis down with a big boot, but Otis makes the comeback with the Caterpillar, and Morrison pulls Miz out to save. John tries to use the briefcase and gets thrown out by the ref, and Otis gets a rollup for two. Clothesline gets two. And then Tucker Knight turns on Otis and hits him with the briefcase, and Miz gets the pin and the case at 7:30. Another tag team bites the dust for no reason and putting the briefcase on Otis turned out to be a complete waste of everyone’s time, as they never even bothered to tease the idea of him cashing it in. * And THE MIZ gets another singles push?
Meanwhile, Tucker cuts his explanation promo, taking credit for everything Otis did. Hey, that’s better than “I don’t owe you people an explanation.”
Smackdown Women’s title, Hell in a Cell: Bayley v. Sasha Banks
Sasha beats her down to start and gets the Bank Statement, so Bayley bites her hand to break it up. Bayley grabs a kendo stick and gets some shots, but Sasha throws it out of the cage to stop that. So Bayley finds another one, but Sasha runs her into the cage and hits the double knees off a table into the cage, and then back in for another meteora for two. Bayley rolls her up for two and Sasha ends up on the floor, but she knees Bayley into the cage in a cool spot. They fight out there some more and Sasha swings into a headscissors and sends Bayley into the cage again, then follows with a dropkick into the stairs. Sasha wedges a pair of kendo sticks into the cage and tries a suplex, but Bayley reverses her into them, ramming her into the stairs in the process. Bayley follows with a catapult into the kendo sticks, and back in that gets two. Neckbreaker gets two for Bayley. They head to the apron, but Sasha powerbombs her into the cage and back in for two. Sasha wraps her up in a chair, but Bayley reverses out to smash Sasha’s face into it. She puts a chair in the corner, but Sasha rams Bayley’s head into it, so Bayley fires back with a sunset flip into the chair and that gets two. They’re doing some innovative stuff out there, you gotta give them that. Bayley goes up with the flying elbow for two. Sasha with the backstabber into the Bank Statement again, but Bayley slides out of the ring to escape and then rams Sasha into the frame of the ring before beating on her with a kendo stick. She finds a roll of duct tape under the ring and we get a funny bit where she complains that she’s too sweaty to tear it off properly and asks the ref to do it for her. So she kind of tapes two sticks together and that doesn’t work at all, but Sasha finds a fire extinguisher to make the comeback. Bayley manages to grab her personal chair, but Sasha slugs her down on the floor and runs her into the cage a bunch. Sasha retrieves another kendo stick and beats on her with that while venting her emotions. Sasha goes up for a flying splash, but she lands on Bayley’s favorite chair and Bayley gets two. So Bayley finds a ladder next and puts on a pair of chairs in a bridge gimmick, then drops Sasha onto it facefirst and spraypaints her. But then Bayley misses a dive onto the ladder, and Banks gives her a belly to belly onto the ladder for two. But then Bayley hits her own for two and goes to work with the chair. Another belly to belly is reversed by Sasha, who hooks Bayley’s head in the chair, and the Bank Statement finishes at 26:35 to give Sasha the title. This was a suitably epic and violent end to Bayley’s year-long title reign, and the finish was great. ****1/4
Meanwhile, the Hurt Business selects Slapjack (“The one in the funny mask”) to face Bobby Lashley tonight.
US title: Bobby Lashley v. Slapjack
Lashley hits him with a shoulderblock in the corner and beats on him for a while, but Slapjack comes back with a dropkick that barely grazes Lashley, and a cannonball. How the fuck am I supposed to feel threatened by a guy named “Slapjack” who wears a knockoff Jason mask? Why not just “Thorn”? Lashley makes the comeback because I guess he’s a babyface now? I don’t really understand the storyline here, not gonna lie. Full nelson finishes this geek at 3:52. But then the other Retribution clowns hit the ring and get chased off by the Hurt Business like complete jobbers. What a fucking shitshow. ½*
WWE title, Hell in a Cell: Drew McIntyre v. Randy Orton
I think they’re going one too many matches with this feud after pretty thoroughly blowing it off with the ambulance match, but as long as the match is good, it’s fine, I guess. Orton tries one of his patented master of disguise sneak attacks before the introductions, but Drew catches him and beats on him outside the cage for a while. Into the ring to start the match, and they slug it out until Drew clotheslines him to the floor and then grinds his face into the cage. Orton tries to escape, so Drew grabs him and rams his back into various metal objects and beats on him with a chair. And the stairs, too, why not. Back in the ring, Drew sets up the Claymore, but Orton hits him in the knee with a chair to block it and chokes him out for two. Orton finally has a chance to get his pants off and catapults Drew under the bottom rope to work on the broken jaw before stomping him on the stairs and rubbing the pants on his face. Denim can be very abrasive. They slug it out and Orton thumbs him in the eye to win that battle, and runs Drew into the stairs. Back in, Orton cuts off a comeback with the backbreaker for two. Drew fights back with clotheslines and an overhead suplex, and a neckbreaker, but Orton bails to escape. Drew hits him with a suplex through a table out there and they pipe in a “This is awesome” chant at this point. I mean, it’s OK so far, but it sounds so fake when they just arbitrarily dub that kind of stuff in. Back in, Orton gets the draping DDT and then finds a pair of bolt cutters under the ring. Who would put those under the ring in a match where they’re supposed to be locked inside? Doesn’t anyone check before the match? So they escape from the cage and fight up the aisle, but Orton runs Drew into the cage door. And then he climbs to the top of the cell and we get the showdown up there. Drew slugs him down on the cage, but Orton goes low and then decides to climb down the cage again. So they fight on the side of the cage and Drew goes off and through the announce table, which the camera completely misses. Or maybe it was deliberate to avoid showing the bump in case there was a crash pad there. They show a bunch of replays while Drew crawls back into the ring, at least. Orton tries the RKO, but Drew backslides him for two and then hits him with the Claymore to put him on the floor. Back in, another Claymore misses and the RKO wins the title at 30:39. Oh great, just what the world needs, another Randy Orton World title reign. I wasn’t a big fan of this one, it was slow and plodding most of the way and didn’t feel like the right match for the stuntman bump. Also, we do not need Randy Orton going 30 minutes. ***
Well, as noted, with the opener and the Women’s title match, it’s an easy thumbs up, but the main event was a major letdown for me and everything else on the show was garbage so it didn’t really live up to the “best PPV of the year” feeling was I thinking after the second Cell match. But definitely go out of your way to see the Roman-Jey match, it’s spectacular.