From a match standpoint, not a single moment from last nights event left me dissapointed. Storyline wise, I can only say that I have one gripe about how things played out. But for not knowing exactly when we’ll see Lesnar compete again, they set us up fresh feuds that will keep us plenty busy and entertained until that moment comes.
Let’s begin with our non-title grudge matches of the night. The match between Nikki and Brie Bella carried the stipulation that the loser would have to be the others personal assistant for the next 30 days. Now look, a lot of the segments that involve Nikkie and Brie mic time have been cringe worthy granted, but I stand by my stance that when it comes to in ring work these two are no slouches. Especially the villainous sister Nikkie, they showed some great in ring psychology and intensity during the match. A great moment had Brie kicking out of Nikki’s first attempt at her finishing move the rack attack. In the closing minutes of the match, Nikki hit Brie with the elbow that she betrayed her sister with at Summerslam to put an end to her sisters offense and hit her with another Rack Attack for the victory. On her way up the ramp Nikki mocked Brie with the yes chant, great heel move, and we got our first “personal assistant” segment between the two. This kind of humiliation will be interesting to watch in the next few weeks and will make us want to see the payoff.
The second grudge match was the rematch between the giant Big Show and the Bulgarian Brute Rusev. Again an extremely physical match that switched it up and had Rusev gain most of the offense in the match. The crowd is still invested in wanting to see Rusev get knocked down a few pegs and that keeps me interested in the character. Rusev is a classic heel, and one of the only who doesn’t get a mixed reaction on occassion. In the early stages of the match Rusev attacked the leg of Big Show and I thought it was going to isolate him for most of the match but the angle was eventually forgotten. I was on the edge of my seat in the closing minutes of the match when Mark Henry made his way to the ring, expecting a heel turn from the World’s Strongest Man. We didn’t get that however, and Rusev picked up a victory with his finishing submission. Big Show passes out rather than taps. Point is, Rusev picked up another clean win, and I don’t think this feud is yet over.
The first match of the night and also first title defense was the Intercontinental Championship out between Dolph Ziggler and Cesaro. These two earned a “this is awesome” chant pretty much from jump and I’m here to tell you, it was warranted. The first fall of the match was essentially an amateur wrestling clinic of a match with near fall after near fall from both men. I’m talking roll-ups galore here and Ziggler eventually won the first fall with one of those said roll-ups. The second fall of the match I was firmly in the corner of Cesaro. He pulled out all the stops here, now a suplex from the top rope is something we’ve seen a million times, but something about the brute strength and velocity of the one Cesaro delivered in this match rocked everyones socks. Cesaro hit Ziggler with everything he had, and several times I thought Cesaro had the second fall won, he hit Ziggler with that mean upper cut for two count at one point. Ziggler eventually came back and hit Cesaro with a Zig Zag to pick up the clean sweep victory to retain. I was initally disturbed by this, but dammit that match was too brilliant to complain about. Cesaro was made to look strong. Nuff said.
Next up was the Tag Titles defense with Gold & Stardust defending against the USOs. Is it just me, or do Tag matches these days involve about 5 minutes of classic tag match then descend into mayhem? That’s what happened here and you know what I dug it. Fast paced, the teams work really well together they did a good job in making me think that maybe just maybe The USOs were going to regain the titles. After the USOs did their usual high flying over the ropes to take out somebody on the outside shtick it all came down to Goldust and Jimmy in the ring. Like I said a couple of times I thought the USOs had it, but with the assistance of Stardust, Goldust was able to hit his finisher to get the win for the brothers. Always love seeing these guys work together, but I hope the Tag Champs will now get another team to work with. Time to get something fresh going. But excellent match.
It’s complicated to tell you folks what I thought about the US Championship match between Sheamus and The Miz. Because it seems like the powers that be are tempted to be back there telling the crew to blur what’s going on in the ring and focus on whatever Mizdow is doing outside the ring. Crowd support was essentially laughing at Mizdow’s antics then chanting his name. As far as the match goes, some decent back and forth with Sheamus hitting all of his signature moves, Miz got in some decent offense, but utimately Sheamus retained. What I think would have been a better way to go was to give Miz the victory and slowly begin Mizdow’s turn on the Miz for a feud. But I’m armchair booking. They are going to ride this wave, Mizdow is over because of his pairing with Miz’ outrageous Hollywood character. I’m interested to see if Sandow can find a way to capatilize on his popularity after he breaks away from Miz. After the match, Sheamus had his fun in seeing how far Sandow would go with his stunt double antics. The result was hilarious. It has to be seen to be appreciated. And you can on the WWE Network for just $9.99.
The Divas Championship match is something that fits like an old pair of jeans. We saw another match between AJ Lee and Paige and it still does its job well. These two are definitely the Trish and Lita of their generation when it comes to marching to the beat of a different drum than what we usually see in the womens division of today. These means both appearance and the way they move in the ring, they are just on another level. Ring work wise we pretty much saw what we’ve always seen from these two but that didn’t make it any less entertaining. In the closing minutes of the match there was brutal spot outside the ring where Paige got onto the railing trying to do who knows what, and was tripped hitting her head on the barricade. This almost resulted in a countout before Paige’s bestie Alicia Fox helped her into the ring, AJ Lee locked in her submission move to retain as a result. Paige has a hard time believing this helped and bitch slapped Alicia Fox for her troubles. Hopefully this means a new feud and a new challenge for AJ Lee. Maybe Layla.
The first Hell in a Cell match of the night. I can’t put into words how excited I was that the creative decision was to make Cena/Orton go on first. We all hoped Ambrose against Rollins would be able to main event, and that was what we got. It’s easy to complain about getting Cena vs. Orton again in the first place, but then you get into the match and are reminded about the chemistry between these two and hopefully it shuts the naysayers up. I’ll give the result away immediately and tell you we get Cena vs. Lesnar III in the future. Now, from a guy who would love to write logically for the company wishes Orton would have gotten the win, it would have been fresh and it would have made sense to further the Orton/Rollins feud they are going for. From the standpoint of a fan, I loved the match they put together, because it took me for a ride and made me think Orton would get the win. Cena and Orton have never let me down when they work together, and last night was no exception. They made great use the cell and great use of tables. Kick outs of RKO’s, kick out of two AA’s. All the way up to the end I was hoping for Orton to counter into just one more RKO, the fact that it didn’t happen didn’t hinder my appreciation of the match. The final AA from the top rope onto the table was a beautiful spot to end it all. Great match. The result I could have lived without, but it wasn’t a deal breaker.
For the main event, it’s like we went back in time to the Attitude Era. Dean makes his way to the ring armed with weapons, throws more in the ring then says screw this we’re starting this on top of the cell. Seth makes his way out with a screw THAT attitude and gets his stooges to isolate Dean on top of the cage. Seth eventually climbs the cell and attacks Dean. Ambrose and Rollins climb halfway down the cell and get their holy shit moment by simultaneously landing on the announc tables. Out come the stretchers, halfway up the ramp off comes Dean, off comes Rollins, into the cell they go. Other than a few counters onto chairs and through tables, this match was pretty much Dean’s to dominate. Dean got a good amount payback on his former Shield bretheren and I ate it up. I thought actually, that Dean was getting in so MUCH offense it could only result in Seth making a comeback and getting a clean victory. I thought maybe an Authority interference. But when Dean broke out the cinder blocks looking to deliver some poetic justice and the lights went out, I marked. What I’ve read so far is that people dig the appearence of Bray but hate that Dean didn’t get a clean victory. Let me give you my input, Seth Rollins is a shit kicking heel, dirty victories should be in his nature. He doesn’t need clean pins to stay relevent and look strong. This also tells us the saga between Dean and Rollins isn’t over. Bray makes his return to feud with someone who is red hot right now. These two aren’t the faces of the company who need to be protected so I am predicting the feud will last long enough for both to earn victories, both men will look strong. Loved the hologram lantern, I am pumped for the new feuds we will likely be getting. And up until the come back, we got an awesome cell match. What’s not to love?
Overall Hell in a Cell Grade: A-