Well, folks, we have made it, and we’ve made it together. Tonight’s Hell In A Cell is WWE’s last pay-per-view event before live crowds officially make their return.
The card for this event looks pretty good on paper, so let’s not waste any more time.
Are you ready?
If you’re ready, then say it with me…
LESS DEW EET!!!
(0:00) Before the show even begins, let me say that I really dislike Hell In A Cell being its own event. The match used to mean something. It used to be what was needed when a blood feud couldn’t be contained in any sort of normal match. You never knew when you were going to see the Cell. Maybe you saw one Cell match in a calendar year, or maybe you saw three of them. There wasn’t a Cell match at all in 2001. No matter what, though, it was going to be epic when you did see it. In recent years, you got half-assed post-SummerSlam feuds thrown into the Cell, whether they “belonged” there or not. Now, with the event moving to June, you’re getting a half-assed post-WrestleMania feud thrown into the Cell. Bianca Belair and Bayley have no business having their feud take place in this type of match, but here we are. For the love of fuck, the kayfabe reason we’re having this match is because Bayley laughed in Bianca’s face. Not broke her leg. She didn’t steal Bianca’s man. Bayley didn’t turn her back on her best friend of years. She didn’t try to run her over in a car and end her career. Nope. She laughed at her.
(0:01) Speaking of that match, it’s our first bout of the night, according to an announcement as the pre-show came to a close. Look, I’m not saying the match is going to be bad. Quite the opposite, actually. It just screams “we have to put a women’s match in the Cell, so it might as well be this one” out loud.
(0:07) As is tradition, we’re going through a million video packages. We closed the pre-show with one, then went straight into the opener for tonight’s event. Now, we’re going right into the video package for Bianca and Bayley. Sigh.
(0:08) I’ve said this before, but Bayley’s laugh is BEYOND annoying. She’s trying too fucking hard to be a heel. Or WWE is making her try too hard. Either way. She has shown, for quite a while now, that she is more than capable of being a great heel without having to be ridiculously over-the-top.
(0:12) While we’re waiting for this match to begin, I’m asking myself the REAL question that everyone else is wondering. Will Bianca Belair lose at least one of her fake eyelashes in this match? It seems like she’s lost at least one of them in her last several pay-per-view matches, so we’ll see.
(0:13) We get the opening bell for our first match 13 minutes in. Yikes.
(0:15) It sure doesn’t take much for Pat McAfee to get excited on commentary, does it?
(0:18) Somewhat off-topic, but do you know what I find hilarious? The first Cell match was nearly 24 years ago. This is the 47th Cell match in WWE history. With all that, there are still people that refer to this match and event as Hell In THE Cell. You hear it in promos and podcasts, and you see it on social media. Why? How?
(0:21) I’m trying to enjoy the match, but McAfee is REALLY distracting.
(0:22) Sunset Flip Powerbomb by Bayley, launching Bianca into the wall of the Cell. Very nice.
(0:23) Bayley has already pulled six kendo sticks out from the under the ring. As always, why in the hell are there so many kendo sticks underneath a WWE ring? It never makes any fucking sense. You know why there would be a tool box under the ring. A fire extinguisher makes perfect sense. When there’s fans and multiple announce tables around, you could even say it makes sense to have a bunch of chairs and tables under there. Why… the fuck… are there so many kendo sticks there?!?
(0:27) We have now had four different spots in this match involving Bianca being tied to things by her hair braid. It’s creative and all, but maybe don’t throw them all into one match.
(0:33) After a senton onto Bayley, who was on a ladder, Bianca hits the K.O.D. onto the same ladder and gets the win. The match was good. Not great, but good. It was really hurt by… surprise, surprise… the lack of any true intensity during the match. That’s what happens when you add the Hell In A Cell stipulation to a feud that doesn’t deserve it. It was also hurt by Bianca forgetting to sell for stretches of time. In the end, though, I’ll give it 3.25 stars. The biggest news is that Bianca still has both of her fake eyelashes on!
(0:39) Our next match is Cesaro vs Seth Rollins. You know it’s going to be something fun. The only question is if it will be given the time to be something special.
(0:42) Rollins sprints out and attacks Cesaro during the Swiss Superman’s entrance. They brawl into the ring and the match is officially underway. Well, that was pretty pointless. It didn’t even gain the upper hand for Rollins. His handy dandy sneak attack was neither handy or dandy.
(0:45) It has been 13 months since Rollins has had a World Title shot of any kind. That makes it one of the longest stretches he’s had outside of the title scenes since he left The Shield.
(0:47) This isn’t a complaint, but the pace of this match has been slower than I expected it to be thus far.
(0:49) The slower pace has brought the opportunity for both men to beat the hell out of each other. Some stiff strikes, especially from Cesaro.
(0:52) Well, the term “piss missile” was just said on WWE programming for what is probably the very first time ever. Thanks, Pat McAfee. Congratulations.
(0:56) It really hurts my heart that these two aren’t able to have a nice feud over the WWE Title or the Universal Title. Rollins, of course, is Rollins, but Cesaro has proven that he belongs in the main event scene.
(0:58) Yeah, forget anything I said about the slower pace earlier. These two have picked it up nicely. They’re having a banger outchea.
(0:59) I might have jinxed things, because things were going really well, but then it all ended on a roll-up. Rollins picks up the win. Good, good stuff. Right now, I’m going to give it 3.75 stars, but I want to watch it again later to see if that rating goes up a bit. I suspect it will.
(1:05) Me thinks the momentum of the show is about to come to a halt here in a moment. Shayna Baszler vs Alexa Bliss is up next. The less said about this shit, the better.
(1:08) During a pre-match interview, Reginald tries to kiss Shayna’s hand for good luck, but she responds by slapping him. Such disrespect!
(1:13) Even in the wild world of kayfabe, there is no scenario that makes it believable to see Alexa Bliss getting offense in on people like Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax. None.
(1:16) More of this fucking lame ass “supernatural” bullshit? Baszler has Alexa in some “joint manipulation” arm submissions, but she locks eyes with Alexa, who puts Shayna in a momentary trance. Shayna lets go of the submission.
(1:17) Alexa has locked eyes with Nia Jax now, and Nia is in a trance. They’re doing the stupid Damien Sandow “stunt double” bit where Alexa does something and Nia copies her at the exact same time. In the confusion, Alexa pins Shayna. I’m not rating that shit. Please make this shit stop, WWE.
(1:22) It’s time to kick things up a notch once again. Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn is up next. See, now THIS is a feud that could’ve been placed inside the Cell.
(1:25) In a very nice touch, Owens is coughing and having trouble breathing after getting hit with a Nigerian Nail twice from Commander Azeez on Smackdown. That’s some good work. Any time Owens has to do anything beyond a brisk walk, he begins to cough and spit up a bit.
(1:28) Because of Owens’ throat injury, the pace of this one has slowed down a lot. You tend to forgive that when it’s because of good storytelling, though.
(1:33) Owens was already at a disadvantage in the match, but he has now been selling an arm injury for a few minutes. Not only can he not really breathe, but he’s wrestling as, essentially, a one-armed man.
(1:34) Zayn is bleeding from the mouth.
(1:36) Jesus Herbert Christ, they’re beating the piss out of each other with some solid headbutts, forearm strikes, and punches right now.
(1:37) After stringing Owens out on the bottom rope throat-first, Zayn hits the Helluva Kick and picks up the win. That was a 3.5 star contest that could’ve been better, but as I said, some quality was traded in so that the storytelling could shine. I’ll give Kevin Owens this… he’s either really hurt or his selling his top notch right now. He’s been selling that arm injury incredibly well for a while now.
(1:45) So. Many. Commercials. So. Many. Video. Packages.
(1:45) Time for Rhea Ripley to defend the Raw Women’s Title against Charlotte Flair. This could be a fun one, especially with so much time left in the show and only one other match on the card.
(1:48) I’ve said this before, but Charlotte just looks like an absolute superstar. From her robes to her ring gear, and just to the way she carries herself, she looks like a million bucks. It just feels like a big deal when she’s on your screen.
(1:52) We went 15 minutes from the end of the previous match to the official start of this match. That has to stop, WWE.
(1:55) Physical start to this one. Fits in with the theme of tonight’s show.
(1:59) Jimmy Smith continues to do really good work as Raw’s play-by-play guy. He has the right amount of excitement in his voice, but it all sounds believable. It doesn’t come across like he’s playing pretend. Kudos to him.
(2:03) Ripley hits a superplex from the top rope, but she almost rotated poorly, and she landed at a high angle on her own upper back. That was almost bad.
(2:05) Alright, Rhea, I’m going to need you to tone your screechy screaming down a bit.
(2:06) If you’re someone who feels we should see more matches between these two, have I got some great news for you. Rhea gets herself disqualified after using the announce table. In a post-match attack, Charlotte has a set of fake eyelashes stuck in her hair, so it continues on in some way. Upon further review, it might belong to Rhea Ripley. By now, you would think that we’d have some better ones if these women are going to continue wrestling in them. As for the match itself, I’ll say 3.5 stars. I’ll have to watch it a second time to see if I want to take away from the rating because of that ending or not.
(2:10) Main event time. Bobby Lashley vs Drew McIntyre, inside Hell In A Cell, for the WWE Title. If Drew wins, he’s the new WWE Champion. However, if Drew loses, he can no longer receive any WWE Title shots against Lashley. I have no doubt that this will continue tonight’s theme of very physical matches. Being inside the Cell only amplifies how violent these two are going to be. Oh, and it actually makes sense for Lashley and McIntyre to have their feud end in the Cell.
(2:22) Here we go. I’m pumped for this one!
(2:24) McIntyre suplexes Lashley into the wall of the Cell, and Lashley drops straight down, nearly falling on top of his head. We’re not even two minutes into the match!
(2:26) Oh, hey, more kendo sticks under the ring.
(2:30) Pretty much the entire match has taken place outside of the ring to this point. We’re not even ten minutes in, but these guys seem exhausted. They’re… say it with me… beating the hell out of each other.
(2:31) The match makes its way back inside the ring… but not before McIntyre brings three steel chairs into the mix.
(2:34) I don’t know how Drew McIntyre is even walking. It isn’t just because of the punishment he’s taken in this match. He has been in so many physical battles over the last year or so. It seems like at least one person ends up bleeding and with welts all over their body in a Drew McIntyre match. Hell, most of the time, both competitors end up that way.
(2:38) This isn’t even much of a wrestling match in the technical meaning. It’s just pure physicality. Both men have used the Cell as a weapon. They’ve used all sorts of weapons. Both of them have been dropped on the ground repeatedly.
(2:40) Ref bump!
(2:40) With one ref down, McIntyre demands the ref from outside the Cell open the door and become a part of the match.
(2:41) As McIntyre goes for the pin, MVP pulls the second ref out of the ring, breaking up the count. MVP is very proud of himself, until he realizes that the cell door has been locked behind him. MVP eats a Claymore Kick as the camera shows the bruises, welts, and cuts all over Drew’s body.
(2:43) Lashley puts McIntyre in the Hurt Lock, and McIntyre charges backwards, driving both he and Lashley through a table that was set up against the wall of the Cell. Jesus.
(2:46) Because he hasn’t gone through enough, McIntyre gets chokeslammed from the ring apron through yet another table. His body looks like it has been through a car wreck.
(2:48) McIntyre was able to get back in the mix and was going for a Claymore, but he was distracted by MVP. After everything McIntyre was put through in this match, he lost to a roll-up. Of course. The story here should be that McIntyre has nobody to blame but himself. He’s the one who called for the Cell door to be opened for a second ref, and the opening of the door is what allowed MVP in, too. That was a phenomenal fight. They went to war. I’ll say 4.5 stars, confidently.
Overall, a pretty good night of action. If you love physicality, this was your show. Plenty of it, pretty much from top to bottom. WWE now moves on to the build for Money In The Bank next month, which is always an interesting time. I’ll be right back here in my usual Wednesday spot. Until then, be good to each other. Oh, and Happy Father’s Day to all the dads and the single moms out there, putting in work.