Bianca Belair (C) def. Bayley – SmackDown Women’s Championship (Hell In a Cell)
I’m not sure how I feel about this one. Aesthetically, I suppose it was relatively solid. I think there was some level of creativity involved and that Bianca’s athleticism combined with Bayley’s heel tactics made for a good clash of styles. That being said, I thought there were a few things bringing it down throughout, the number 1 thing being the pace, I believe. It just felt like both women spent most of the match trying to get outside the ring to find weapons to attack themselves with. Bayley would be focused on Bianca’s shoulder one minute and then attack her with a kendo stick the next.
I also thought that while the utilization of Bianca’s hair was a clever tactic, they went to the well one too many times with it. It felt like they were tying her hair to anything they could. At one point I was expecting them to try tying the hair to the referee. And perhaps most glaring of all, this was a match that did not need the cell. Aside from a few face washes, a sunset flip and some other generic moves, this was basically a No Holds Barred match with a red cell hanging over them. If a Hell In a Cell match does not need the cell itself, then we’re already running into issues. The finish looked pretty and there was good physicality throughout so I can’t harp on it too much. But this is definitely a middle of the road, take it or leave it HIAC match in my opinion. **3/4
Seth Rollins def. Cesaro
It’s practically impossible for Rollins and ZAZARO to have a bad match, so whenever I watch them, it’s all about the nuanced differences within the various matches they have. In this particular situation, I didn’t think they deviated from their WrestleMania match too much. That was a clash of incredible reversals. In this situation, there were more focused on body parts (albeit there was a little inconsistency on that end). I’d also like to say that the result of this match is kind of indicative of Cesaro’s career and his booking. You go from giving him the biggest win of his career, a singles match at WrestleMania. Then you have him get a singles match against Roman Reigns, and just when you think he’s getting top star treatment, he immediately gives his win to Rollins back.
Cesaro already defeated Rollins multiple times before Hell In a Cell, so there was really no need to elongate this any more than was necessary. I enjoyed the match, but I just hope Cesaro’s direction doesn’t veer too far off with the often 50/50 booking we see. ***1/2
Alexa Bliss def. Shayna Baszler
I wish I knew what this was. All I know is the match was actually trending in the right direction before all the supernatural stuff came into play. I don’t know. I didn’t completely hate it though, so there’s that. **
Sami Zayn def. Kevin Owens
Once again, just like Rollins and ZAZARO, these two can have a good match in their sleep. All they have to do is copy and paste their formula, and you’ll get a decent product every time. However, in this match, I can’t help but feel they were hammering home the point of the NIGERIAN NAIL too much. Like, we get it. Commander Azeez has a wicked right hand. But it was literally every other minute they were mentioning it, and it was kind of distracting. The match itself is a tier below their WrestleMania bout, but again, relatively solid and watchable. ***
Charlotte Flair def. Rhea Ripley (C) by DQ – RAW Women’s Championship
Really? After all of the table spots we’ve seen over the years in title matches, THAT constitutes a disqualification? Ripley taking the cover and bouncing Charlotte’s head with it. What bullshit that is. As I always say, if you can’t book a match without making people look stupid or incompetent, don’t do it. The sad thing is, I really liked what they were doing with this match here. We can gradually see Rhea getting more and more desperate as the match was going on. I do believe these two have great chemistry with each other as I saw shades of their WrestleMania match last year.
Looks like this feud won’t be going anywhere any time soon, now that the albatross of Rhea never beating Charlotte one on one will be hanging over her head. And I sincerely hope that this isn’t some kind of double turn in the works. Charlotte Flair personally works far better as a heel than as a face to me, but that is just a matter of personal preference. Anyways, I did enjoy what I saw in the match, but the bullshit finish really ruined a lot of my enjoyment. If this was their planned finish, why didn’t they just make this match inside the Cell instead of Bayley/Bianca? ***1/4
Bobby Lashley (C) def. Drew McIntyre – WWE Championship (Hell In a Cell Match)
A distraction roll-up finish. In a Hell In a Cell match. My goodness, what are we doing tonight? Anyway, before we get to that, I will say that this was a pretty good cell match that utilized the cell well and had an appropriate level of physicality. Lashley and McIntyre have been fighting each other for months, so one would expect that all the bells and whistles would be brought out for this main event to have a definitive finish. While I did think the interference with MVP was a bit overdone, overall, I can’t complain too much about what I saw.
I just didn’t really think the finish was too hot. I mean, the purpose of the Hell In a Cell match is to keep others out and to have a decisive winner. Instead, the outcome was decided by a third party and a roll-up. Inside a damn cell. I don’t know man, I think that was weak sauce. I think it was clearly established that Lashley would retain after Drew pinned him in the tag match last week, but I really just wanted two gladiators to battle it out to truly prove who’s better. But aside from that, a great physical outing to close the feud. ***3/4
Hell In a Cell 2021 wasn’t really all that memorable. With no title changes, some questionable finishes and nothing that really grabbed your attention outright, this is an easily forgettable show that I’m sure we’ll forget about by the end of the year. As WWE transitions to getting fans back in the arena, I’m looking for things to pick up as new feuds begin. But for HIAC 2021, nothing outright terrible, but nothing memorable either. Therefore, thumbs firmly in the middle.