WWE Hell In A Cell 2016 Reaction
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
With yet another Pay-Per-View in the bag, we were left underwhelmed and disappointed by Raw’s Hell In A Cell.
In a show that boasted three main events, three HIAC bouts and the first time a women’s match took place in the structure and main-evented a PPV, there was history made.
In the end though, nobody would rank these HIAC matches among the greatest.
The show ranged from terrible to great, dependent on where you looked.
Luckily, there was some change in directions as some belts changed hands.
The Pre-Show Breakdown
– The Pre-Show Six-Man Tag match between Sin Cara/Lince Dorado/Cedric Alexander and Drew Gulak/Tony Nese/Ariya Daivari was a good idea to fill time with what who we call the “backbone” of the Cruiserweight Division. On another note, why did SmackDown Live’s lead announcer Mauro Ranallo call the match on a Raw PPV? We wish they could continue to keep things separate. Keep in mind that’s the only instance we’ll ever complain about Ranallo’s presence at a commentary booth. It helped that Alexander got a nice pop upon his entrance. The bout saw some “controlled chaos” in terms of the pace, as Nese showed off more of his athleticism. Dorado also hit a nice shooting star press for a good near-fall. Once Alexander got the hot tag, the crowd woke up big time and it was down to the home stretch. The highlight was undoubtedly the Tope Suicida/Tope Con Hilo combination by the faces onto the heels on the floor. Well-executed. The exchange to finish between Alexander and Gulak wasn’t as smooth as we hoped, but the most important thing was that Alexander got the pinfall for his team with the Lumbar Check, which made him look good in the process. Perhaps he’s being groomed up for a Cruiserweight Title shot soon.
– This show’s theme (perhaps so close to Halloween) took that of a ouija board that revealed the word, “Help” and we saw it unfold in the opening video, with soundbite of Raw General Manager Mick Foley’s promo about how the structure changed his career and was more destructive than anything else. We also liked how they tied in soundbites from all the HIAC competitors.
– The Hell In A Cell match for the WWE United States Championship between Champion Roman Reigns and Rusev went exactly how we thought. That’s not to say that’s a bad thing with the storyline involved, but this was hardly a classic. Just felt like a hardcore match that happened to be inside of a HIAC. There was some keen use of the steel steps throughout, but the slow pace and 25-minute time took us out of the action until almost the finish. These two guys brawled a couple weeks back. Where was that fire here? A couple of nice near-falls, but we never doubted a Reigns victory. There was only one instance where there was a good tease and that was with the chained Accolade on the steel steps spot. Unfortunately, that set up an all-too-melodramtic moment where Reigns “overpowered” Rusev to lift him up for a Samoan Drop onto the steel steps and followed that up with a Spear that took Rusev off his feet on the steel steps and to the canvas below for the three-count. It got better towards the end, but this wasn’t the powerhouse match we expected for a feud that was supposedly personal enough to take place inside of it.
– WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens’ backstage promo provided good hype for his later defense against Seth Rollins in HIAC, as he was proud of his apron powerbomb from Raw. He credited Rollins for “having him three of the 700 seconds in the match,” but he didn’t leave the building a winner. He threw in some nice insults about how he’d punish Rollins and berated Interviewer Tom Phillips at the same time. Classic Owens, as he took Phillips’ pocket square out of his shirt and dropped it to the floor. Oh, that jerk.
– In a swift transition from Owens’ brash demeanor to Bayley’s cheerful wacky inflatable flailing tube men entrance, that meant that the Bayley-Dana Brooke match was next. The storyline revolved around Bayley’s injured arm at the hands of Brooke, as she had been beaten twice by her and needed a comeback win. If they were smart, they’d use this as a platform to propel Bayley to the Title picture, but we can also tell they want to take the slow approach with her. In the end, we got a slow, forgettable match that despite Bayley’s resilient comeback topped with a Bayley-To Belly, it was a poor effort from both. This feud has done nothing for either lady and it needs to end.
– The backstage segment with Foley, Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon and Chris Jericho gave some light hype for the big “Raw Vs. SmackDown Live” matches at Survivor Series, less than a month away. Jericho’s deal was a suggestion to choose him as the first member of their “Best Of Raw” team. Foley instead told Jericho to focus on his “best friend” and how that’d fare out for him. Alright promo that was reliant upon Jericho’s List-related comedy. Thank god he had that.
– The Enzo Amore/Big Cass-Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson was the first of what’s sure to be a long feud between Raw’s second popular babyface act and the struggling heels. We had the usual schtick from Team SAWFT before the bout with sports references galore, which was easy in Boston. They also reduced their heel opponents to “Big Gal and Andy.” Yup, that’ll help them get over. Luckily, the match was all about Gallows/Anderson essentially shutting down the faces for a decisive win with the Magic Killer on Enzo. That needed to happen, but it wasn’t memorable either. This show was flatlining fast.
– The Hell In A Cell match for the WWE Universal Championship between Champion Owens and Rollins was luckily the show’s best thing thanks to both men’s hard work and we even liked the way they worked in Jericho to the equation. Of course, we wish Rollins’ story was more to get the Title for his own need rather than to prove Steph/Triple H wrong, but beggars can’t be choosers. There was a pretty slow start, but they began to utilize the cage for some spots. The crowd began to get into it with the fast exchange of superkicks, clotheslines and enziguiris that had both men laid out. Things got upped when Owens set up two tables on the outside, one set up traditionally and the other laid in between the cage and apron. He followed that up with his classic sadistic facial expression that we knew all too well in Ring Of Honor. Rollins fought back with an apron suplex and two suicide dives. At that point, Owens introduced a fire extinguisher that he “accidentally” sprayed in the Referee’s eyes to be able to open the cage and replace him, which was Jericho’s chance. This only made Rollins’ task more difficult. Needless to say, the night’s biggest pop went to Rollins’ powerbomb to put Owens through those stacked tables. Rollins nearly struggled to get Owens’ onto his back, which made the feat all the more impressive. Rollins followed up with a frog splash for a near-fall that ended because Jericho dragged the Referee out of the ring at the last moment. Jericho suffered a powerbomb to the cage for his troubles and Rollins walked into a Pop-Up Powerbomb for another great near-fall that could’ve ended it. The heels eventually got their momentum back with two chairs before Rollins briefly had the upper hand. The chairs set up the finish, as Owens/Jericho sat them up and Owens powerbombed Rollins through them, to effectively end the match. That was what we expected from the Reigns/Rusev match and it never went the way we wanted. That felt like the shot to the arm that the feud needed and easily the best thing to this point. We wondered how the ladies would follow that one up. The post-match Code Breaker by Jericho on Rollins was indicative that perhaps those two could be in a solo feud now.
– The WWE Cruiserweight Championship match between Champion TJ Perkins and Brian Kendrick was on a good roll storyline-wise as they mixed Kendrick’s veteran crazed confidence with TJP’s collective yet flashy personality. They threw a curveball in there as Kendrick lost a match to Rich Swann on the go-home Raw, but then things got odd. Kendrick began to beg Perkins to “let him win” like a sore loser little brother in a video game war. Guess we shouldn’t be surprised, but a desperate Kendrick isn’t a good one. The ring work was good though sloppy at points yet easy to watch. The crowd was crickets though, which hurt the emotional investment factor. Kendrick tied Perkins’ wrist tape to the bottom rope before it came loose sooner than expected. Perkins fought out of the Captain’s hook and transitioned into the Knee Bar, which Kendrick spun around to the ropes to get out of. The finish was the worst part of it all, as we knew what story they tried to tell, but the execution was poor. Kendrick feigned a knee injury to make Perkins stop his offense and tend to his friend, which got him caught in the Captain’s Hook to make him tap out. That made Perkins look like a goof, as he didn’t see Kendrick’s tricks though he called him out on it earlier in the feud. If the feud had saw Kendrick show friendly behavior instead of desperation headed into this match, the “ruse” would’ve been more of a shock. Instead, we were left with hopes that Kendrick as Champion could set other guys up like Swann and Alexander for better things, but what an underwhelming match.
– The backstage segment with Cesaro and Sheamus saw them have that “Oh, you’re not so bad after all” moment where we thought we were past all the bickering, until they finally went back to their old ways. Surprise, surprise. If it counts for anything, Sheamus mentioned Cesaro’s yodels, a dark time for us all.
– The WWE Raw Tag Team Championship match between Cesaro/Sheamus and Champions Big E/Xavier Woods would’ve been less predictable if it weren’t Day 434 of The New Day’s record Title reign, within approach of Demolition’s 488-day reign. It was rather obvious they’d surpass it, so both teams would have to work hard to make us think otherwise. The Champs cut a pre-match promo that targeted cheap hometown pops, which helped since Kofi Kingston came from the Boston area, which was true, as he was big in their independent scene before WWE picked him up. They also used the chance to insult Sheamus and his “potential sponsorships.” The bout had decent action with one instance of a near-fall that got us, where Sheamus accidentally Brogue Kicked Cesaro and saved the match at the last second. After that, we had our highlight where Sheamus leaped off the top turnbuckle onto all three ND members on the floor. After that, it was back to Fluky Finish City, but it made sense given the scenario. Sheamus was enraged, as he hit Kingston with the trombone while Cesaro had Woods in the Sharpshooter. Kingston retaliated with a Trouble In Paradise on Sheamus on the floor, which the Referee caught and DQ’d the Champs for outside interference. The thing was, Woods tapped out to Cesaro at that exact point, which confused Cesaro into thinking that they’d won. All in all, Cesaro/Sheamus won and the Champs kept their belts. We guess they’ll have another Title match perhaps on a Raw or the next PPV not named Survivor Series.
– The hype promo video for the Goldberg-Brock Lesnar match at Survivor Series was short, yet effective. We had more snarky soundbites from Lesnar in reaction to clips of Goldberg’s Denver promo. In the sit-down environment next to Paul Heyman, he let loose, as he claimed he “didn’t give a shit” about his fans, friends or family. Nice stuff.
– The Hell In A Cell match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship between Champion Sasha Banks and Charlotte certainly had the big match feel and was amplified with the unique entrances for both competitors. Charlotte was carried on a literal throne to the ring, while Banks did a repeat of her NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn entrance complete with the Escalade. They did everything possible to make the match different than the other two and paid homage to legendary HIACs, as Charlotte snuck-attacked Banks as the cage dropped down. They brawled at ringside outside of the cage for a time. A big pop as they simultaneously climbed the side of the cage. A rough transition, but they convincingly pulled off the powerbomb spot that put Banks through the announce table. There was a big enough impact and mentions of Banks’ past back issues for it to come off as a good reason to call off the bout. Charlotte did a superb job as she posed around the ring while EMTs tended to Banks. There was a moment where it was announced that Banks was unable to compete and Charlotte was announced new Champion by forfeit, but it was at that point that Banks jumped out of the stretcher and made her way inside the cage. They were key to put more emphasis on Banks’ back, as Charlotte monkey tossed her into the cage, suplexed her into the corner and dropped her over the top rope. Banks battled back as she dropped Charlotte face-first onto a seated chair before the Champ ended up on a backbreaker that landed on the chair. They botched the first table break attempt on the outside. Brief hardcore moment where Banks used a chair to break out of the Figure Eight. Good use of the injury where Banks tried to hoist Charlotte in the air to throw her through the table in the corner but all the damage to her back caused her to drop Charlotte. When Charlotte tried to put Banks through that table twice, it didn’t break, which probably was the plan. However, because of all the back damage, it sold it as even more violent and after a Natural Selection, Banks was pinned for the three-count to make Charlotte the Champion once again. Enjoyable match with inventive spots and “smart wrestling” overall. It’s hard to keep track of who’s Champion at this rate, but as long as they keep their matches fresh, we’re fine with the “hot potato” angle. We were surprised they had Banks lose in her hometown, as it surely would’ve been a huge pop if she won, but that’s a testament to how great this feud is. Obviously, another Title change means another eventual rematch. Wonder when that’ll be.
- Pre-Show – Six-Man Tag – Cedric Alexander/Sin Cara/Lince Dorado def. Ariya Daivari/Tony Nese/Drew Gulak via pinfall
- WWE United States Championship – Hell In A Cell – Roman Reigns (Champion) def. Rusev via pinfall to retain
- Bayley def. Dana Brooke via pinfall
- Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson def. Enzo Amore/Big Cass via pinfall
- WWE Universal Championship – Hell In A Cell – Kevin Owens (Champion) def. Seth Rollins via pinfall to retain
- WWE Cruiserweight Championship – Brian Kendrick def. TJ Perkins (Champion) via submission to become new Champion
- WWE Raw Tag Team Championships – Cesaro/Sheamus def. Big E/Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston) (Champions) via DQ; New Day retains
- WWE Raw Women’s Championship – Hell In A Cell – Charlotte def. Sasha Banks (Champion) via pinfall to regain Championship
Posted on December 25, 2016, in Uncategorized, WWE and tagged Ariya Daivari, Bayley, Big Cass, Big E, Booker T, Brian Kendrick, Brock Lesnar, Cedric Alexander, Cesaro, Charlotte, Chris Jericho, Corey Graves, Dana Brooke, Drew Gulak, Enzo Amore, Hell In A Cell, Jerry Lawler, Karl Anderson, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, Lana, Lince Dorado, Lita, Luke Gallows, Mauro Ranallo, Mick Foley, Paul Heyman, Renee Young, Rich Swann, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Sasha Banks, Seth Rollins, Sheamus, Sin Cara, Stephanie McMahon, Survivor Series, TJ Perkins, Tom Phillips, Tony Nese, Xavier Woods. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.