Roman Reigns (C) def. Jey Uso – Universal Championship (“I Quit” Hell In a Cell Match)
So, we have a lot to unpack here. There seems to be some mixed opinions about this match. Here is how I viewed it. It was basically half a match and half a Shakespearean tragedy. As far as the actual match itself, the physical aspect, this Hell In a Cell match was probably average at best.
If you want to see a brutal looking Hell In a Cell match featuring Jey Uso, I’d advise you to watch their tag match against the New Day inside the cell. It wasn’t as brutal as I thought it was going to be.
Yeah, the leather strap sounded harsh and the steel chair drive by to the ring post was creative, but nothing remotely squeamish. It didn’t even compare to Seth and Murphy blistering up Dominik with a kendo stick to the point where his body looked like a railroad track. So I can’t say the match physically impressed me. But as we know, there’s more to any match than just what the wrestlers do with their bodies.
This was an acting masterpiece by Roman, and Jey played his part well. It’s like Roman was having a mental breakdown right in front of us and looked conflicted as to what he was supposed to do. I’ll admit I actually laughed when Roman tearfully accepted Jimmy’s olive branch only to immediately choke him out. I loved every bit of it and it added the emotional element the match needed to make up for the physicality that was admittedly lacking.
So where so I stand on this? The match was average physically, but superb story telling wise, so I’ll meet this match in the middle and call it solid overall. ***1/2
Elias def. Jeff Hardy by DQ
Whatever. I gave up on Elias as a character a long time ago, and he’s grown on me ever since. The match was fine, I guess, but what was the harm in giving Elias a PPV victory here? You could have had Elias defeated Jeff and if necessary, get his heat back by attacking him with the guitar after. DQ finishes on PPV are lame, but they’re even lamer when it’s completely unnecessary. **
The Miz def. Otis – Money In the Bank Contract
I think it became abundantly obvious that as soon as SmackDown’s top title got in Roman’s hands, Otis was not going to cash in successfully. But this begs the question, exactly how long was WWE planning to milk it out with Otis with the briefcase? It’s one thing to switch briefcases to a different winner. We saw Edge win it against Mr. Kennedy (but that was because of an injury).
It also became abundantly obvious that Tucker was going to turn on Otis eventually. It’s the old tag team trope we’ve seen when one half of the team finds singles success and the other gets jealous or feels as though they’re being held back by them. Miz winning the contract is a welcome sight since it’s been about a decade since the Miz was in a program for a world title. And more importantly, you can take the man holding the briefcase seriously. The match was, as the one before it, whatever. **1/4
Sasha Banks def. Bayley (C) – SmackDown Women’s Championship (Hell In a Cell Match)
I dug this match and I dug it a lot. Sasha and Bayley have great chemistry with each other and it’s beautiful to see when they are in sync and are motivated to steal the show. It’s a shame that this wasn’t in front of a live crowd because this would have been a great way to end a rivalry definitively.
Bayley’s run was indeed legendary, but Sasha was the only one who made sense to end the reign. I really thought they might stretch the feud out until WrestleMania, but Hell In a Cell usually equals finality. Anyways, from the creative spots used all around to the brutality of the various moves utilized by both women, they were fantastic and the right woman won. ****1/4
Bobby Lashley (C) def. Slapjack – United States Championship
RETRIBUTION is slowly starting to lose their credibility with all the losses they’ve been taking. Just an observation I thought I’d made. Most like the undercard, this was an underwhelming match, and this one was basically a squash. So, I’m not even going to bother rating this.
Randy Orton def. Drew McIntyre (C) – WWE Championship (Hell In a Cell Match)
So, at this point, my viewing of Hell In a Cell matches for the night has given me great fatigue, having seen two near half hour matches within the past two hours. Essentially, there was nothing that these two could have done that would have had me thoroughly entertained short of violence we never saw before.
First, addressing the Orton victory, it makes sense since Orton has lost on PPV three straight times, two of them to Drew, and the other to Keith Lee. So he was about due to get a win back, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t been WWE Champion in over three years. However, all signs were pointing to Drew retaining.
At the draft, RAW got AJ Styles, Braun Strowman, Sheamus and The Fiend as potential partners for Drew to feud with. Then, there’s the fact that Survivor Series is next month and with Roman as the heel champion representing SmackDown, it only would have made sense for Drew to challenge him as the face counterpart. That is, assuming they stick with the traditional champion vs. champion format of Survivor Series.
But it looks like the seeds for Orton vs. Edge for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania have been planted. I guess you can say it isn’t forward thinking, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers. And I’m as big an Orton fan as you’ll find so you won’t see me complaining about him winning. But the result was kind of surprising.
The actual match was a middle of the road Hell In a Cell match. The violence was bare bones for most of the time, and Orton goading Drew to the top of the cell I think only served to pad time. Drew taking the dive was probably the way of protecting him in the match, but I thought there was a better way to do it without unnecessarily elongating the match. You could have just had Orton low blow him and follow it up with a punt. Match wasn’t bad, but it was pretty average by Hell In a Cell standards. Better physically than Roman and Jey, but middle of the road overall. ***1/4
Let’s see, so Orton wins the WWE Championship at Hell In a Cell and The Miz wins Money In the Bank on the same night. Does this remind anyone of something that happened 10 years ago around this time? Just throwing something out there.
This PPV isn’t must-watch by any means. Even the best Cell match by a mile tonight in Sasha and Bayley is something you’d be able to survive without ever seeing if you missed it. I can’t say anything was actively bad either. The undercard was so bland it felt as though nothing happened, and the Cell matches eventually got so over saturated. That’s one of the reasons why I’ve petitioned to end PPV’s names after match stipulations. Average PPV overall and you can do with or without. Your choice. Thumbs firmly in the middle.