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Welcome back to the Excellence in Column Writing exclusively LordsofPain.net and no where else. Tonight, we review the WWE Hell in a Cell Pay Per View which I prepared as the show was happening and instantly posted it immediately following the conclusion of the PPV. It has been kind of my thing for the past 3 years and it solves two problems: (a) saves me time as I can write and watch at the same time and (b) gives you instant expert analysis from the hardest working columnist on the planet.
Heading into this show, I had no real expectations… Pay Per Views for the past 2 years have been TERRIBLE and the WWE has yet to prove that by combining rosters, it would improve the quality of the shows. It hasn’t… Same folks on the Creative Team and nobody backstage is daring to challenge the McMahon family on innovating new creative ideas and developing new superstars. Until you fix that and until valid competition somehow arrives to challenge the WWE, nothing will change.
In other words, the bar was REALLY low for this Pay Per View… Just give us a decent show, please?
Mr. Tito’s PHAT WWE Hell in a Cell Pay Per View Review
I was worried about getting home in time to watch this show, as I attended the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs in Pittsburgh, PA today. What a game, as both teams shook hands before the game and agreed NOT to play defense. I got home in time although I did not try to watch the pre-game show.
Funny to me how the WWE Shopzone is able to have 20% off title belt replicas and 40% off of t-shirts. How could a company selling merchandise be able to offer such amazing discounts and still make money? Well, look on the tag of your WWE t-shirts and other merchandise to see where they are made from and you’ll understand why the WWE Shopzone can have large discounts and still make money.
One last snarky comment… I really do NOT care about announcers from other countries. No, no, no… Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that other countries can watch WWE programming in their own native language. I just don’t need a long introduction. Just get on with the show!
Actually, one more thing… I kind of like the red cage. Looks kind of cool, although I wonder why the WWE is always pushing the color red as their tone for all of their shows?
I really enjoyed the opening match between Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton. That was excellent, as Orton was in full heel mode and Jeff Hardy was in daredevil mode. Both guys seemed to pour all of their veteran skills into one match and they actually worked quite well together. I really enjoyed the ending, too, because Jeff Hardy’s nature would make him attempt such a dangerous move by swinging off the top of the cage. Probably Orton’s best match since Luke Harper gave him a great bout during early 2017. For Jeff Hardy, if this is his reported “swan song” match before he retires, he retires on a high note. [ **** 1/2 ] Loved everything about this match!!
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair was damn good as well… Following the 2017 “Superstar Shake-up”, the WWE had both ladies on the SAME roster for OVER a year and refused to have them work against each other. What took them so long? Both ladies looked like real athletes, as both have beauty, length, and athleticism that no other wrestlers on the women’s roster have. What took the WWE so long? My only gripe was the ending, as that spear to the roll-up finisher was a tad sloppy… But the back and forth between the two ladies was crisp and flowed nicely. Zero complaints, other than the slightly sloppy finisher and at times, Charlotte forgetting to sell her “injured” arm. [ **** ]
Momentum continued with Seth Rollins/Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler/Drew McIntyre. EXCELLENT Tag Wrestling on display, as Dolph and McIntyre were on fire with HEEL tactics throughout the match and played the referee quite well. Rollins and Ambrose sold the “sense of urgency” of wanting to win these tag titles and sold the “face in peril” then “hot tag” stuff perfectly. This tag match was true poetry in motion and the finish was tremendous with the Shield falling prey to not knowing who the legal man was. [ **** 1/2 ]
Seriously, the midcard did 4 stars and above for me… How could you go wrong with the rest of the show that had the most important matches on the card for the most important titles?
I didn’t like Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles like I wanted to… In Joe’s older age, he’s doing more mat-based wrestling and has mostly removed power moves from his game (aside from powerbombing AJ tonight). For example, Joe is 100% focused on his choking finisher YET I cannot recall any one decent that he’s actually defeated with that move. Ever since they banned his Muscle Buster and now that he’s back from his injury, he’s a fully changed wrestler. I appreciate the attempts at psychology, but it’s too much and doesn’t guarantee a win with his choking submission hold. That’s the problem, along with his style of match being a “fish out of water” because everybody else just executes move after move for their matches. Joe has to figure how how is mat-based style can actually translate into convincing wins. Just not seeing it yet. AJ Styles tried many of his high energy moves during the end of the match, but it just doesn’t have the spark that it once did. [ *** ] AJ Styles retains and that will conclude the Samoa Joe window of opportunity. AJ Styles has now defeated Nakamura and Joe in multiple matches and neither guy will have much to show for it afterward. Just not sure where AJ Styles is going as champion with these longer feuds that isn’t resulting in impactful matches based on the finishes.
Maryse/Miz vs. Brie Bella/Daniel Bryan. When your match is centered and focused on Brie vs. Maryse and NOT the full-time wrestlers who act as their partners, you’ll have a match that goes no where for said full-time wrestlers. And now, Miz has 2 straight Pay Per View wins over Daniel Bryan in a row. This is pure Total Divas banter here, as the WWE has zero interest in ever pushing Daniel Bryan. That’s fine, as you’ll get repeat 2.1 million viewership numbers with this mentality. [ ** ]
Up next was Ronda Rousey vs. Alexa Bliss… Meh. Like Bliss has any chance heading into this. For this match, they tried to give Bliss some more offense with Ronda selling injuries, but it just didn’t look convincing. Rousey has at least 6 inches on Bliss height wise and she is a former MMA fighter. Why would Bliss ever appear to have a chance? Rousey needs to be wrestling against other women who are physically imposing to her. [ ** ]
Backstage, there is controversy over Joe vs. AJ’s match from earlier, as it appears that Joe’s shoulder was up and AJ Styles tapped out… But the referee saw none of that. Paige grants Samoa Joe a rematch at the Australia Pay Per View. Didn’t the WWE grant a rematch to Nakamura at the Saudi Arabia show? WWE loves to repeat and recycle their creative ideas, eh?
The MAIN EVENT was Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Title with Mick Foley as the special guest referee. Fans chant “Foley” as he comes out, as I can imagine everyone is thirsty to see if he takes the big bump or not. Michael Cole mentions that Braun is the THIRD guy to announce his Money in the Bank briefcase cash in ahead of time (Rob Van Dam, John Cena are the others). Sooooo, WWE has had about 15 years of Money in the Bank winners… How are those cash-ins working out, besides Edge? Yeah, about all of those wrestlers who cashed in those briefcases during the times in which they did it… Match was OK, with the two brawling like they have during their many 2017 matches. Nothing special, though, and then the cage gets broken. Of course, that causes both Rollins/Ambrose and Ziggler/McIntyre to interfere. What was the point of having the damn cage if it breaks? The 4 all climb to the top of the cage while the fans chant “this is awesome”? People on the top of the cage is “awesome”? Is that all that takes to excite you? Attention moves 100% towards the other 4 wrestlers and then Ziggler and Rollins to the “fall off the side of the cage and onto the tables” spot. Impressive bump, but just repetitive.
Then BROCK LESNAR arrives! WHAT THE HELL?!? Paul Heyman insists that the referee let him in, but Lesnar rips off a cage door instead. Then, Heyman sprays Foley’s eyes with something. Lesnar comes in and attacks both Strowman and Reigns with pieces of broken tables. Lesnar then hits the F5 on both Strowman and Reigns, while the Reigns F5 landed on Strowman. NEW referee appears and he calls for the bell as a “No Contest”. What?!? In a Hell in a Cell match? I thought there were no rules except Pinfall or Submission? [ *** ]
LAST WORD: Show started off with a bang with 3 straight matches but soon fell off a cliff. The show hit a wall after 2 straight Smackdown matches then occurred and slowed the momentum of the show. That and Ronda Rousey needs opponents that appear to be a threat to her physically. Another show, another Roman Reigns match that underwhelmed on a Pay Per View. He really has an impressive streak going since his 2017 matches with Braun. [ B ] grade, thanks to the first few matches which were incredible… The rest of the show, “meh” although the Lesnar appearance was interesting. Worth watching to catch the first 3 matches and then consider cutting off afterward.
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So just chill… Until the next episode!
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