The SmarK Rant for WWE Hell in a Cell 2021 – 06.20.21
Man, once the inevitable Disney buyout goes through, they’re gonna have to quit with the salty language in their PPV names. My suggestion would be “H-E-double hockey sticks in a cell” instead.
Live, for the last time on PPV thank god, from the AWARD WINNING Thunderdome! Still not a huge fan of people jammed in everywhere, but I get my second dose of Pfizer on Wednesday and Saskatchewan opens up completely on July 11, so we’re all gonna have to get used to it again, I guess. And I can’t take much more of the endless fake crowd noise.
Also, I got a literal pile of new games for PS4 for Father’s Day, and I ended up playing GTA5 all day while I was waiting for them to install. That game’s got some LEGS.
Your hosts are Michael Cole and the other people.
Smackdown Women’s title, Hell in a Cell: Bianca Belair v. Bayley
Bayley immediately brings chairs into the ring but gets foiled, and Belair rolls her up for two. So we get the epic chair v. hair showdown, and Belair wins that one with a dropkick to the chair. They head to the top and Bayley runs her into the post to escape that predicament, and that gets two. Bayley goes to work on the arm with some SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION and that gets two. The replays are sponsored by what appears to be a WWE credit card. How does that work, you spent whatever you want for years and then fall ass-backwards into TV money to pay off the card? Bayley brings the stairs into the ring and steps on the braid while Pat McAfee references the Young Bucks on commentary, so that’s a thing. Bayley manages to tie the braid to the bottom rope, but she charges and gets run into the stairs and bails to the floor. Bianca follows and runs her into the cage, but Bayley bites her arm to take over again. Women, amirite? And because it’s a Cell match, Bayley finds a kendo stick under the ring for some shots, and then adds a Code Red on the floor, taking Bianca into the cage. Next up, Bayley finds a giant poking device under the ring and tries for the same spot as last year, but Bianca chases her off and then slams her on the sticks. Back in, that gets two. Bianca works her over with the chair again, but Bayley kicks it back in her face and then wraps up the bad arm for some punishment that you can’t even see because the camera cuts THREE THOUSAND TIMES and there’s no continuity. Next up, Bayley ties up the hair again, this time to the chair, but she charges and somehow manages to hit her knee on the chair. So Bianca ties her own braid to Bayley’s wrist and beats on her outside. So then Bayley tries to negotiate an exit from the cage while the announcers clarify “there’s no escape from the cell” which is hilarious. So then a ladder gets involved and they fight over that while I think the fake crowd is logging off and going to Nachos.com. Bayley does something like slamming the ladder on Bianca and it doesn’t really make any sense but we get a bunch more camera cuts anyway, and that gets two and Bayley I guess hurts her knee as well. They fight over a backslide and Bianca drops her on the turnbuckle and then hits a senton on the ladder. And then the KOD on the ladder finishes at 19:42. Really, we needed twenty minutes for THAT? They spent all that time setting up arm injuries and knee injuries and none of it led to anything. This was REALLY boring and was mostly them running in and out of the ring and looking for weapons. **1/4
Meanwhile, Bobby Lashley is surrounded by women but still upset about it.
Meanwhile, Alexa Bliss wants us to expect the unexpected. HEY! That’s Julie Chen’s line, you phony.
Cesaro v. Seth Rollins
They fight on the floor before Cesaro makes it to the ring, but he catches Rollins with a slam and beats on him with forearms. They fight to the floor and Cesaro comes back in with a double axehandle for two, but Seth works him over in the corner to take over and hits a DDT for two. Seth chokes him out on the ropes and adds a pair of knees off the ropes. Seth tries a suplex and Cesaro deadlifts him into his own suplex, but Seth bails to the apron and backdrops Cesaro to the floor. Back in, Seth hits the springboard knee for two and slugs him down, but Cesaro fights back with forearms and beats him in the corner. Cesaro pulls off Seth’s own glove and smothers him for a bit, and a short clothesline gets two. Cesaro makes the comeback with the running uppercuts and a powerslam for two. Seth backdrops out of the Neutralizer, so Cesaro goes up and Seth catches him, then rolls through a bodypress for two. Rollins with an enzuigiri that mostly misses, but a forearm to the back of the neck gets two. Rollins goes after the arm with a Fujinami armbar, but Cesaro powers out, so Seth gets the falcon arrow for two. Enzuigiri gets two, which was a cute spot where Seth missed a knee to the head but then reversed his momentum and kicked him from the other direction instead. Cesaro fights back with a lariat and that sets up the Giant Swing into the Sharpshooter. You know, what they should have done was had one of the LED board banks turn into a giant counter for the move. Rollins reverses out, but Cesaro turns it into a crossface and then into another Sharpshooter again before stomping the arm down, but Rollins rolls him up for the banana peel win at 16:20. Really good for the most part but a bit long. ***1/2
Alexa Bliss v. Shayna Baszler
I bet Bray Wyatt must be thrilled at having his spot taken by a 90 pound girl and her doll. Also who is even supposed to be the babyface here? The MMA fighter who needs the giant woman and sommelier manager as backup against the tiny woman-child? Shayna attacks to start and beats Alexa down in the corner, but Alexa acts all creepy and comes back with kicks. Reginald runs interference and Shayna takes over with a knee in the corner, and a gut wrench slam gets two. Shayna goes after the arm, but Alexa laughs off the injury and then, uh, hypnotizes Shayna into letting go of the arm I guess? Bliss with a DDT for two. And then she hypnotizes Nia Jax into slapping Reginald before hitting Shayna with Sister Abigail and Twisted Bliss to finish at 7:14. Well at least Shayna didn’t have to job to the doll, I guess. The match wasn’t TERRIBLE but all the supernatural stuff was stupid and added nothing. **
Sami Zayn v. Kevin Owens
They slug it out to start and that goes badly for Sami, as KO whips him into the corner and Sami takes some huge bumps off that. KO puts him down with an elbow and senton, and they head to the floor for more punishment to Sami. Back in, Sami catches him in the corner and slugs him down while Kevin sells a throat injury from Smackdown due to the charmingly named “Nigerian Nail”. It’s no Samoan Spike. Kevin comes back with a cannonball for two. Sami dumps him and follows with a dive, so Kevin backs off and nurses his wrist. Sami hits him with a running kick in the corner and works the arm to send Kevin to the floor. Back in, Kevin fights back and slugs away on the mat, but they head to the floor again as KO clotheslines him, but misses a senton to the floor. Back in, Sami gets the Blue Thunder bomb for two. KO fights back with kicks, but Sami counters the stunner with a half nelson suplex for two. KO bails to regroup again and catches Sami with the stunner on the floor, but Sami beats the count at 9. They slug it out again, but Sami goes after the arm again and puts him down with a running knee. And the Heluva kick finishes clean at 12:41. More 50/50 goodness tonight. These two can have a great match in their sleep but this one never really got going because the whole thing was focused on telling us how devastating the NIGERIAN NAIL was. You know, the finisher of the guy who isn’t even on the show tonight. ***
RAW Women’s title: Rhea Ripley v. Charlotte Flair
Charlotte attacks before the bell and gets a rollup for two, but Rhea slugs back and puts her down with a big boot. She goes up, but Charlotte boots her down and chokes her out in the corner before going to a chinlock. Rhea reverses to a suplex, but Charlotte escapes and sends her to the floor and back in for two. Charlotte goes after the leg, but Rhea puts her down with short clotheslines and a superkick to send her to the floor. Back in, Rhea comes in with a missile dropkick for two. Rhea tries the cloverleaf and Charlotte reverses her into the turnbuckle to escape and hits Natural Selection for two. She misses a boot in the corner and Rhea suplexes her, but Charlotte sends her into the turnbuckle again and goes up with an Andrade tribute moonsault for two. Figure-four, but Rhea reverses for two. Charlotte elbows her down again for two and goes up, but Rhea brings her down with a superplex for two. They trade chops and Rhea hits the Riptide, but Charlotte gets her foot on the ropes. Charlotte bails and suckers Rhea in for a dropkick to the knee, and back in for a spear and figure-four, but Rhea makes the ropes. So they head to the floor again and Rhea hits her with a piece of the announce table and gets DQ’d at 14:10. Really, after 20 years of table spots, THAT’S a DQ? Really good match with a bullshit TV finish. ***1/2 Also, what was the point of all the Nikki Cross stuff leading up to the match? She wasn’t in the match and it didn’t lead to anything.
WWE title, Hell in a Cell: Bobby Lashley v. Drew McIntyre
This is Drew’s last ever shot at the WWE title, so if he loses he’ll probably have to, like, win a battle royale or Beat the Clock challenge on RAW or something to get another shot. Or win Money in the Bank. Or get drafted to Smackdown and challenge Roman instead. But I mean, other than those options, he’s SCREWED if he loses. They immediately fight to the floor and Drew runs him into the cage and the post, but he grabs the stairs and Lashley uses the moment to run Drew into the cage himself. Drew suplexes him into the cage and follows with a pair of shots with the stairs. Back in, Drew puts him down with a big boot and follows with a belly to belly, but they head to the floor and MVP gives Bobby his cane for some abuse to take over. Lashley runs him into the cage and tries a suplex off the stairs, but Drew reverses him to a samoan drop on the stairs instead. Tables get set up and Drew smashes him into the cage a bunch, but Lashley escapes a trip to the table with a shot to the throat. Drew comes back with a clothesline off the cage and brings some chairs in the ring for an Alabama Slam onto one of those for two. Drew gets some shots with the chair, but takes a diving swing with it and Bobby nearly catches him in the full nelson. Drew with the spinebuster for two. Powerbomb gets two. They fight to the floor again and Drew uses the stairs on him, but Lashley reverses him into the cage for the silly spot where Drew’s head is clearly in the triangular gap of the stairs but it’s supposed to be a devastating blow. Bobby uses the kendo stick to trap Drew in the corner of the cage and beats on him to take over, then follows with a flatliner out there. Back in, Lashley with a flatliner onto a chair and he beats on Drew with the kendo stick, but Drew gets fired up and the ref gets bumped via chairshot. Drew with the Future Shock DDT and there’s no ref, so he demands that the backup ref come in. Lashley with the full nelson, but Drew escapes that and beats on him with the chair to set up the Claymore for the two, but MVP pulls out the ref to save. You have to love a ref bump and interference in HELL IN A CELL to really kill the gimmick. So Drew beats up MVP like a complete moron, ignoring Bobby Lashley, and of course Bobby sneaks up from behind with the Hurtlock. Drew falls back through a table to escape that. Back in, Drew beats him down with the chair, but misses the Claymore kick and Lashley slams him through the other table set up on the other side. Back in, Lashley charges and misses, and Drew gets a backslide for two and Future Shock DDT, but MVP interferes AGAIN and Lashley gets a rollup for the pin to retain at 25:44. Yes, they actually booked a distraction rollup finish in HELL IN A CELL to end the feud, in a match where the challenger never gets another title shot again. They were having a hell of a hoss fight out there but the shit with MVP and the ref bumps nearly ruined the match, not to mention the finish. ***3/4 At least Bobby can finally feud with someone other than Drew McIntyre after three months as champion.
So yeah, 6 matches, 5 heel wins in a row, and two garbage TV finishes to end the show didn’t exactly leave a good taste in my mouth at the end of this one. Wrestling-wise there was nothing terrible, but ending the show with two garbage finishes that make the paying audience groan in frustration after long matches brings it down to a thumbs in the middle for me. There was just nothing here worth going out of your way to see, and nothing that made me the least bit interested in seeing where it goes from here.