WWE Hell in a Cell – October 30th 2016
TD Garden: Boston, MA.
The Hell in a Cell match was once the biggest feud-ending match the WWE could possibly produce. In 2016 however, that is no longer the case and the gimmick has been beaten into the ground so much that it is almost impossible to care about the stipulation. Running a PPV every October with multiple Cell matches has completely killed the stipulation and booking THREE of them in one night could not come close to invoking the same excitement that the announcement of one Cell match would have brought 15 years ago. It also doesn’t help that the majority of Cell matches these days are pretty much just a regular contest with a gigantic cage over the ring. So with all that in mind, the 2016 Hell in a Cell show probably over-delivered. The three Cell matches were all very good in terms of performance, but the booking up and down the card left a lot to be desired and once again the WWE’s creative let themselves down. If you are limited on time then I would suggest just watching the Cell matches and skip everything else.
The first ever women’s Cell match was in fact the main event, so Stephanie must have talked Vince into changing his mind. Charlotte regained the title from Sasha Banks in a good, but reckless match, although the finish was completely flat and met with dead silence from the crowd – that’s not hyperbole by the way, the crowd were literally dumbstruck by the finish. Kevin Owens retained the WWE Universal title over Seth Rollins in another good Cell match that was marred by interference from Chris Jericho – as if the stip wasn’t dead enough. Roman Reigns retained the US title in the opener in what was a surprisingly good Cell match, although he was booed unmercifully throughout. That’s pretty much the main news from the show so let’s look at it match-by-match. Oh yeah, Brian Kendrick beat TJ Perkins for the Cruiserweight title; of course nobody cared and the finish made TJ look like a moron.
Pre-show was the usual asinine blather and banter from the geeks and gals. There was a six-man tag featuring Lince Dorado, Sin Cara & Cedric Alexander vs. Tony Nese, Drew Gulak & Ariya Daivari. Alexander pinned Gulak after the Lumbar-check at 9:45. Match was decent and proved that people will actually get into the Cruiserweights if you don’t put them on in the death spot. New Day were in the Social Media lounge and they went on forever with some painfully unfunny comedy. Rich Swann was on the panel briefly, so they had him show up to the building and didn’t even put him in the six-man. Genius.
Hell in a Cell Match for the US Championship: Roman Reigns (C) vs. Rusev. – Reigns retained in 24:35. Match did not need to go nearly 25 minutes, but it picked up after some plodding moments. Rusev tied Reigns up in the ropes and used a Kendo stick; he very kindly hit Reigns in his chest protector which was nice. Rusev kicked out of a Superman Punch then sent Reigns into the steps which were set up on the top turnbuckle. The big spot saw Rusev get a chain and he put Reigns in the Accolade on top of the steps and used the chain to pull back on Reigns’ face with the hold. Finish saw Reigns power out and hit a Samoan Drop on the steps then he Speared Rusev off the steps to get the pin. – It was the least spectacular of the three Cell matches, but it was probably the most straight-forward of the three as there was no dumb interference or “creative” finish. Senile old Vince continues on with the Reigns push. (***½).
Bayley vs. Dana Brooke – Bayley over in 6:30. Match was horrible. Bayley tried her best but Dana is beyond hopeless. Finish saw Bayley win with the Belly-to-Belly. – Total TV match. (*½).
Stephanie McMahon & Mick Foley were in the back talking, in a way that no two human beings have ever communicated, about the Survivor Series. Chris Jericho showed up and wanted to be on Team RAW. He threatened to put Foley on the list then told Steph he and Owens should be the first two guys on Team RAW. Steph said she would think about it.
Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson. – Gallows & Anderson over in 6:45. Enzo & Cass did their usual spiel before the match and sucked up to the Boston crowd. The Club actually won a match! It was a dull TV match, but they won nonetheless. Heat on Enzo, Cass with the comeback. Finish saw the Club pin Enzo clean with the Magic Killer. – They really needed this win, but I’m sure the Club will be back to being geeks on TV in no time at all.
Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Universal Championship: Kevin Owens (C) vs. Seth Rollins. – Owens retained in 23:15. Good match with some cool spots, however the interference took my enjoyment of the match down considerably. It was kind of dull early on, but they performed a really great back-and-forth sequence that led to a double-down which the fans went nuts for. Owens took a hard Suplex on the apron which looked like no fun at all. Owens sprayed the referee in the face with a fire extinguisher and a second ref helped the first one out of the cage. Jericho ran down to a monstrous babyface reaction and locked himself in the Cell. Rollins put Jericho down with a Pedigree then Powerbombed Owens over the top through two tables that were set up on the outside. Crowd lost their minds for that spot. Jericho pulled the referee out to stop Rollins getting a three count; Rollins responded by Powerbombing him into the Cell. Owens cut Rollins off and worked him over with a chair. Rollins made a brief comeback, completely no-selling the chair shots he took, but Owens cut him off again and Powerbombed him through two chairs to get the win. Jericho hit Rollins with a Codebreaker afterwards to presumably set up a match. – The lads worked hard and the crowd went insane for the big Awesome Bomb spot. Still, the interference was as unnecessary as it was predictable and it certainly didn’t add anything to the match. Hey, the fans enjoyed Jericho showing up, so what do I know? It also didn’t do much for the Universal title, or Kevin Owens as the champion, to be on in the middle of the card underneath the Cruiserweights. (***½).
WWE Cruiserweight Championship: TJ Perkins (C) vs. Brian Kendrick. – Kendrick became the new champ at 10:35. In a storyline right out of Russo-era WCW, Kendrick asked TJ to take a dive and let him win this match. Unbelievable. Both guys tried, but the crowd didn’t care about this at all. Match was decent; finish was awful. Kendrick faked an ankle injury and Perkins like a sap came over to check on him twice. Kendrick jumped to his feet and hit a headbutt then submitted the idiot babyface with the Captain’s Hook. This began a sting of horrible finishes to end the show. (**¾).
Cesaro & Sheamus were in a backstage skit that went way too long; they were talking about kinesio tape or something. New Day came out and they proceeded to talk forever as well. At this stage the show felt just like an average episode of RAW just without the commercials.
WWE Tag Team Championship: New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods) (C) vs. Sheamus & Cesaro. – Sheamus & Cesaro over 11:15 via DQ; New Day Retained. Another TV match here on PPV; it was fine but it was really hard to get into after the mess of the CW match. Things picked up a little when Big E ran wild off the hot tag and threw Sheamus & Cesaro around. Shemuas hit Cesaro with the Brogue kick by accident which led to absolutely nothing, although they will probably bicker about it on TV forever; oh goodie. Finish saw Cesaro hook Woods in the Sharpshooter and Sheamus pulled Big E to the floor to stop him breaking up the hold. Kofi Kingston tried to hit Sheamus with the trombone but ended up hitting him with the Trouble in Paradise which the referee saw and called for the DQ. – Another “creative” finish that was completely worthless other than to keep the program going. Awful. (**).
Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks (C) vs. Charlotte. – Charlotte became the new champ at 22:25. Really good main event with another bad finish. They both got fancy entrances, with Charlotte being carried to the ring on a throne and Sasha coming out in her Escalade. Sasha was over huge in her hometown and they milked the Cell gimmick for all it was worth by having both women staring at the cage as it lowered. Charlotte jumped Sasha before the Cell finished lowering and the ended up on the outside. They brawled through the crowd then both women teased climbing to the top of the cage. Thankfully they didn’t and the big spot saw Charlotte Powerbomb Sasha through the announcer’s table. They did the whole Mick Foley/Undertaker deal of teasing that Sasha could not continue and brought a stretcher out. After an exorbitant amount of time, Sasha eventually fired up and got back in the Cell. Charlotte gave her a Money Flip into the Cell and Sasha landed right on her neck. Charlotte followed up with a Suplex into the turnbuckle and Sasha landed on her neck once again. Sasha went for the Banks Statement but Charlotte carelessly dumped her over the top to the floor. Charlotte worked over the back and wrapped Sasha around the ring post. Sasha came back with a Meteora off the side off the Cell then delivered the Three Amigos and followed up with a weak Frog Splash for a near-fall. Charlotte messed up a table spot horrendously, as Sasha kicked her off the apron and intended to come off the top through Charlotte and the table. Charlotte however, managed to collapse the table when she fell off the apron and completely ruined the spot. Finish was also very bizarre, as Sasha went for a Powerbomb through a table in the ring but her back gave out. Charlotte tossed Sasha onto the table twice (it didn’t break) then she hit Natural Selection out of nowhere and got the pin. Crowd were literally silent and didn’t even boo the finish. – The girls were determined to have a great Cell match and they almost delivered. Almost. It was a good effort and probably the best match of the night, however the finish was such a let down that it failed to provide a satisfying ending considering the big spots early on. According to Dave Meltzer on the 30/10 Observer Radio, the plan was to have Sasha win until Vince changed his mind on the afternoon of the show. Steph & Paul might want to think about booking the old man in for a CT scan. (***¾).