Written by: Scrooge McSuck from DaWrestlingsite.com
– OK, so I accidentally read a spoiler of the Main Event, so my enthusiasm is a little bit… dead. Let’s just get this one over with. I’m sure that’s what was going on in the minds of whoever is in charge of putting these shows together.
– Presented LIVE on the WWE Network (and to several thousand suckers on that dinosaur technology called PPV) from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX, with Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and John “Bradshaw” Layfield calling the action, unless otherwise noted. Renee Young is leading the Panel with Booker T, Alex Riley, and Paul Heyman. I guess Brock Lesnar didn’t need to work this show, since WWE assumes they have our money for the next 6-months. I hope their subscription totals are in the toilet for losing sight of everything through short-sighted goals and assumptions.
WWE Intercontinental Championship; 2 out of 3 Falls Match:
Dolph Ziggler © vs. Cesaro:
I know this will be a good match, but both men are forever stuck in limbo because their names aren’t John Cena or Randy Orton. All the pink really kills the feel of a show called HELL IN A CELL. Maybe they should drop the “L” and… OK, no, never mind. Fall #1: Ziggler quickly takes control with some good ol’ fashion grapplin’. They trade holds until Cesaro grounds Ziggler with a side headlock. Ziggler ducks under a clothesline and takes Cesaro over with a back slide for two. They trade near falls and go through a series of counters. Cesaro teases a Giant Swing, but gets caught in a cradle for two. GIANT SWING RETURNS! I haven’t watched TV in a month, so this is a first for a while for me. Then out of nowhere, Ziggler cradles him again, this time for three at 3:35. RUSHED!
Fall #2: Cesaro immediately hits Ziggler with the Kevin Sullivan Double Stomp™, but the next fall has technically not started. Cesaro with a running uppercut for a two count. Cesaro with a camel clutch/cobra clutch submission. Ziggler fights free and comes back with a jumping single arm DDT, but he’s feeling the effects of it more than Cesaro. Cesaro with another Double Stomp for two. Double Underhook into a Powerbomb for two. Ziggler counters the Superman Suplex and hops on Cesaro’s back with his own Cobra Clutch. Cesaro tries to muscle his way out, but Ziggler hangs onto the arm. Cesaro carries Ziggler up the ropes from that position and turns it into a Super-Plex! The easily amused fans of today chant “this is awesome” at a match that is barely flirting at 3-star territory. Cesaro hits the post on a charge, anf Ziggler connects with the Fame-Asser for a near fall. Ziggler goes for his big DDT, but Cesaro counters with the Uppercut of Doom for a two count. They do a series of counters, culminating in a Cesaro back breaker for two. He goes for the Neutralizer, but Ziggler attacks the arm, hits a Super-Kick, and finishes with the Zig-Zag to retain at 12:31. 2 falls to 0? Eh… with an 8-match card, I knew this wouldn’t get 20-minutes. I can’t complain about Ziggler being allowed to get a 2-0 victory. *** Good match with the expected sequences of hot counters and big moves, and both falls were clean. Too short to really mean much, though.
– WWE uses Warrior’s now-famous promo from the night after WrestleMania XXX to hype… the WWE Network. Buy the WWE Network for only $9.99 a month! If you bought this on PPV, you’re a stupid mark!
– I love that in the background of a backstage segment with Orton and the Authority, is a giant Hell in a Cell Poster with Dean Ambrose… it would be cool if they explained why their super-nemesis is featured on THEIR poster, but that’s looking too deep into things.
Brie Bella vs. Nikki Bella:
Loser has to be the Winner’s “Personal Assistant” for 30-days. Why not just tell everyone Nikki is winning and save us 10 agonizing minutes? I guess they didn’t want to upset their sponsors and share holders by heavily advertising this as the originally listed concept of the loser being the winner’s “bitch.” How has this turkey of an angle lasted two months (and counting)?! Gotta’ love Brie sucking up to the fans with a “Yes” chant, and WWE for blasting her theme music as loud as possible to hide the anemic reaction she received. Brie with a series of pin attempts. Brie misses a charge to the corner by a good 5-seconds. Nikki grabs a chinlock she must’ve learned from her boy toy… there’s about 6-inches between her hands and Brie’s chin. They do stuff that might resemble choreographed entertainment, just poorly. Crowd chants JBL, so you know they checked out, less than 2 minutes in. Brie with a crappy X-Factor for two. Brie with a knee to the face, the first cool spot of the match. Suicide dive, barely getting enough distance to go splat. Missile dropkick gets two. Nikki hits her goofy Torture Rack Drop for two. I guess it’s called the Rack Attack. Brie goes for the Yes-Lock, and even she does it better than John Cena. That’s NOT a compliment, by the way. Nikki escapes and the Rack Attack puts us all out of our misery at 6:23. 1/2* Were they trying to get this over as some epic encounter? ‘Cause it failed. I guess this could’ve been worse, though. They could’ve trotted Rosa Mendes, Cameron, or Naomi out there.
WWE Tag Team Championship Match:
Goldust & Stardust © vs. Jimmy & Jey Uso:
WWE’s Tag Division is starting to show how thin it’s getting, again. How many times, in either standard 2 on 2, or 6-Man Tags, have these two teams had since July? It’s getting up there to compete with the Uso’s and Wyatt Family total. You have to give Cody credit… he’s totally into his gimmick. Stardust and Jimmy Uso lockup. Has Cody been wearing red contact lenses the whole time? Jimmy with a hip toss and rolling senton for an early near falls. Jey with a dive into the corner and a takedown for two. Goldust tags in and immediately runs into an elbow. Uso’s with a double forearm and elbow drop for two. Whip to the corner, Cody trips up Jimmy and wraps the left leg around the post. Jimmy tries slugging it out with Goldust, but gets grounded with a chinlock. Jawbuster forces a break, but Goldust quickly recovers with a snap powerslam for two. Stardust with a front suplex for two. Jimmy sends Goldust to the floor with a back drop, and it’s hot tag time to Jey Uso. Suicide dive to Goldust, suicide dive to Stardust! back in the ring, Jey with a flying body press for two. Jey with a Super-Kick and Samoan Drop for two. Jey with the charging butt to the face for another two count. Goldust blocks another Super-Kick and catches him off the ropes with a Spinebuster for two. Whip to the corner, Goldust misses a blind elbow from the second rope, and Jey Uso connects with another Super-Kick for a near fall. Jimmy and Stardust finally return from the dead for a double suplex spot. Jey with a splash on Goldust, but Stardust breaks the cover. Heck breaks loose, Stardust cheap shots Jey, and Goldust plants him with a modified Curtain Call at 10:21 to retain. *** Good match, could’ve been better had that heat segment on Jimmy Uso not consisted almost entirely of a pair of chin locks.
Hell in a Cell Match: John Cena vs. Randy Orton:
… Again. John Cena vs. Randy Orton. Again. I feel like I keep repeating myself, and there’s a good reason for it: I am. How many times can someone complain about the lack of original, fresh matches, especially on PPV/Network Specials? I know it’s going to a solid 3-star match, but that’s not the point. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of Cena vs. Orton. Just because it’s slapped in the middle of the card doesn’t make it fresh or compelling. Hell, there’s absolutely ZERO reason for these two to have to fight each other again, and don’t throw the bullshit “#1 contender’s stipulation” in my face. The lazy layout to make this match happen is as followed: Ambrose fights Cena to get a shot at Rollins, and Orton gets to face the LOSER of that match… and THEN it’s a #1 Contenders Match, because Cena vs. Orton has to have something meaningful attached to it, because it’s Cena vs. Orton Part 1,842. I can’t wait for Orton’s face turn so we can go another 4-years until they’re trading their 17th and 22nd Championship Reigns amongst each other while Dolph Ziggler is jobbing to U.S. Champion Sheamus after doing that stupid “I tease the Zig Zag spot and get thrown halfway across the universe” spot. Did I mention the bullshit hype video trying to make this out as some epic rivalry? Having 15 one-on-one PPV matches doesn’t make it epic, it makes it over-kill.
Oh wait, forgot, there’s a match taking place… Slugfest to start, won by Cena. Charge to the corner meets elbow. They take it to the floor, with Cena getting to taste the cage. Anyone else question keeping cage matches around when blood will never be allowed again? Orton with a chair, but since he’s aiming for the head, it’s clearly not connecting. Chair to the ribs and back for a two count. Cena goes for an AA, but Orton counters with a DDT for two. Cena wastes time posing, allowing Cena to hit a clothesline from out of nowhere for two. Orton with a trio of corner clotheslines for two. Cena with his signature shoulder tackles and back suplex. Orton counters the 5-Knuckle Shuffle and snaps him over with a Powerslam for two. Cena responds by countering the hanging DDT with a back drop to the floor. They brawl, with Orton crotching Cena on the ring post and connecting with a sweet modified version of his signature back breaker. Cena mounts his comeback, as I ponder how useless the HIAC gimmick has become. Back in the day, the HIAC meant HOLY CRAP, this is going to be brutal. Now it’s just another match. Cena sets up a table, because why the hell not? Orton escapes an AA and connects with a dropkick for two. Cena gets whipped into the chair for another two count. Cena goes for his stupid shoulder tackles, but Orton counters with the RKO! Only gets two. BOO! Orton casually throws Cena through the table for a two count. RISE ABOVE TABLE SPOTS! Orton brings the ring steps in the ring, gets slammed on them himself, and hit with the 5-Knuckle Shuffle. AA attempt #3 is countered with a nut shot. Orton misses the Punt From Heck™, and Cena hooks the STF. Orton somehow survives, but like Judgment Day, jobbing to Cena is inevitable. Cena launches the steps, but misses. Back in the ring, Cena with the AA for two. Cena with another AA attempt, countered with a neck breaker for two! While we enjoy the replay, Cena hits another AA for two. Find a new finisher, Cena! Another table is brought in the ring. Orton goes for a Super-RKO, but Cena counters and comes off the second rope with an AA through the table for three at 25:54. That was a little too long. Oh, and LOL Cena Wins™.
***1/4 Guess what… another good match. Nothing too remarkable about it, other than that I’m surprised Orton dominated almost the entire thing, which just makes no sense if you’re building another Cena rematch with Lesnar. I guess Orton vs. Lesnar was too fresh of a concept to go with, so it’s Cena vs. Lesnar III, maybe three months from now. Will Lesnar kick out of 4 AA’s, or will Cena debut a new Finisher because the AA is played out? Seriously, how the HELL are they going to explain the WWE Champion not working a match for FOUR MONTHS?!?!
WWE United States Championship Match:
Sheamus © vs. The Miz (w/ Damian Mizdow):
When are they going to just release Sandow and let him have his dignity back? Come on, “the Miz’s STUNT DOUBLE” is the best idea they have for this man? Whatever happened to being the Intellectual Savior of the Masses? Good to see this turd is in the death slot. At least Miz is kind enough to have the pink ribbon on his obnoxious black robe. Sheamus misses a Brogue Kick at the bell, because only Daniel Bryan jobs to it that quickly. Miz fights out of the clubbin’ forearms, but runs into a back breaker. Sandow’s “comical” actions at ringside is probably going to be the highlight of the match. Miz with Stunt-Double Miscommunication… I can’t believe I’m actually writing that, as Sheamus continues to dominate. Miz finally takes control… with a chinlock. I’ve actually found myself paying more attention to Mizdow’s mime performance than the match itself. Sheamus with a battering ram from the top for two. Irish Curse back breaker gets two. Miz comes back with his goofy back breaker/neck breaker combo for two. DDT gets two. Crowd chants “Mizdow’s Awesome”, the first true chant of the night. A series of counters ends with a Sheamus powerslam. Miz with the Skull Crushing Finale… for two! Miz to the top, and he jumps right into a Brogue Kick. Sheamus retains at 8:21. More comedy happens post-match. * I don’t know what the hell this was supposed to be, but it served as ridiculous comedy rather than a serious Championship Match.
– Nikki and Brie’s Shenanigans Begin. I’m pretty sure there’s a fine line between “personal assistant” and physical and verbal abuse… but that would require real world logic to enter the wonder world of rasslin’!
Big Show vs. Rusev (w/ Lana):
Lame attempt at generating heat: having Rusev attacking an American Military officer. It’s been over half-a-year… time to move on from token midcard singles matches and just throw the US Championship on him. Seriously, other than the stuff with Jack Swagger, I’ve lost interest in the Rusev stuff, and putting him with Big Show makes me want to skip over this even more. Show pounds away to start. He cares so much about revenge for America, he slows down his offense to play to the crowd, allowing Rusev to escape his grip. Rusev clips the knee and goes to work. It’s like watching a later years match with Khali, except Big Show can actually get up. Show fights back to his feet, only to get taken over with a suplex! Unfortunately it’s used as a transition into another leg lock. Rusev goes for the Accolade, but Show counters with a modified cross leg lock. Show signals for the KO, but Rusev ducks. Show sends him from corner to corner and hits a slow-motion spear. Here comes Mark Henry, because I expect to see ANOTHER shitty angle between Henry and Big Show. Show with the Chokeslam, but it only gets two. Back in the ring, Rusev surprises Show with the Super-Kick, hits Mark Henry off the apron, and hits Show with two more Super-Kicks. Rusev with the Accolade, and Big Show taps out at 7:49. *1/2 This was OK, but Big Show hardly looked like he was seriously going to be a threat to end Rusev’s undefeated record. They’re starting to run out of people to feed Rusev without giving him a Championship.
WWE Diva’s Championship Match:
A.J. Lee © vs. Paige (w/ Alicia Fox):
I actually lost track of who the Champion was. I don’t know what the hell has happened, but somehow these two have had nothing but (mostly) poor performances together (and honestly, in general for most of the last few months that I managed to sit through). I guess I missed something, because I have no clue why Alicia Fox is buddied up with Paige. Lockup, Paige with a headlock and shoulder tackle. A.J. with a clothesline and sunset flip for barely a one count. Victory roll gets two. They take it to the floor, with A.J. hitting Alicia with a Thesz Press, because why the hell not? Paige rips off Cesaro, swinging A.J. into the security wall. I liked it better when Cesaro did it to Miz. Back in the ring, Paige with headbutts and elbows. The crowd is deathly silent. I’m talking “you can hear the one or two people actually responding” quiet. A.J. comes back with a Thesz Press and neck breaker. Paige slows her down with a Super-Kick… seriously, ENOUGH WITH THE FUCKING SUPER-KICK. DOES EVERYONE HAVE TO USE IT?! Paige tries for the Cradle DDT, but A.J. fights free and takes Paige down with a Tornado DDT for two. A.J. grabs a Dragon Sleeper, but Paige powers out and skips around with A.J. before throwing her over with a Fallaway Slam. They fight at ringside… and is that two weirdoes dressed as Mankind and Bray Wyatt in the front row? Oh, umm… Paige goes for a Suplex on the security wall, but A.J. sweeps her legs out. Alicia tosses Paige back in the ring, where A.J. easily applies the Black Widow for the tap-out at 6:52. ** The crowd was like being at a Funeral, but the work was fine. Post-match, Paige punks out Alicia for the loss.
Hell in a Cell Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins:
Is this the true Main Event? Only when the PPV numbers are in the shitter and someone has to take the blame. Think about it: WWE is considering turning Randy Orton face because house shows with him on top against Ambrose aren’t drawing, meaning Ambrose will be #3 on the babyface chain, possibly 4th or 5th depending on returns of Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan. This show has been poorly promoted and looks inferior to almost every PPV of 2014, and will no doubt see the least amount of PPV buys from non-Network subscribers. Why? Because Ambrose vs. Rollins was the Main Event. That’s why. Not because of poor build up, poor writing, and an overall lackluster effort from the creative team, but because of the names Ambrose and Rollins. Sorry, ranting again.
After several cop-outs and lame finishes on PPV and WWE Television, this will have to have a decisive finish… right? There’s absolutely nothing that can happen that would make sense that would suggest otherwise. Ambrose comes out first and immediately climbs to the top of the Cell! Rollins comes out with New Stooges Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury and orders them to fetch Ambrose for him. Ambrose applauds their climb and whacks them repeatedly with a kendo stick he brought with him. Meanwhile, Rollins sneaks up and it’s SLUGFEST! Noble and Mercury hook Ambrose by the legs, allowing Rollins some free shots with the Kendo Stick. Ambrose fights free and eyeballs Rollins. Rollins tries to climb down, but Ambrose follows… and an exchange of blows sees them knock each other off the side of the cage, through the ringside announcers tables! Officials try carting them both away, teasing another inconclusive finish to the match, but Ambrose unstraps himself and throws Rollins into the Cell! Start the match!
After about 10-minutes, we’re finally official. Ambrose whips out some duct tape, but decides to cast it aside. He takes a seat waiting for Rollins to pull himself back to his feet, only to smash him across the back with the chair immediately afterwards. Ambrose pulls out a SCREWDRIVER, but Rollins fights him off. Ambrose quickly rebounds, knocking Rollins into the Cell following a dropkick. Ambrose sets up a table at ringside, but Rollins runs. He knocks Rollins through the ropes with a clothesline, and follows with a suicide dive. He stacks up a bunch of chairs, but Rollins counters and drops Ambrose across the pile with a back suplex. Another table gets set up, with Ambrose putting Rollins through with an elbow drop from the second turnbuckle! Ambrose dominates, but here’s Corporate Kane to give him a fire extinguisher blast! Rollins recovers, and puts Ambrose through a table with a running Powerbomb! Back in the ring, Rollins with the Curb Stomp… for two! Rollins with chair shots of his own. He goes for a second Curb Stomp on the briefcase, but Ambrose counters with a knee. Ambrose goes for Dirty Deeds, but Rollins counters with a jumping heel kick. Ambrose bounces off the ropes with a hard clothesline, and nails Rollins with the briefcase for two! Ambrose pulls out a pair of cinderblocks, looking for payback. Suddenly the lights go out, and we hear the voice of… something distorted. There’s a lantern in the ring, and a puff of smoke reveals… some poor special effect. Then Bray Wyatt runs in and plows through Ambrose as the lights go out again. Wyatt gives Ambrose a Rock Bottom, and Rollins crawls over to make the cover at 13:44. What the FUCK? ARE THESE TWO NOT ALLOWED A CLEAN FINISH!?! ***1/2 Great match until the ass backwards, bullshit finish. I don’t get that one bit. I swear, every single match these two have is ruined by an awful finish, and this was probably the worst yet. There’s no logical point for Wyatt to interfere, other than to SWERVE.
Final Thoughts: Questionable finish aside, was Hell in a Cell a bad show? Yes and No. The work from start to finish was mostly above par, if unspectacular. However, the creative direction the company is going seems to be in doubt, and leaves me feeling like everything is just a big time waster. Why can’t we get Brock vs. Not Cena? What’s the point of throwing Bray Wyatt out there? It makes zero sense, other than to find something to do to do a half-assed protection of Ambrose, who’s been jobbing almost every week for months despite being the most over act on WWE television since Daniel Bryan. As a stand alone show, I can see giving this a VERY Mild Recommendation, but for day-to-day operations and intrigue, pass.