The remaining pay-per-view of WWE’s ThunderDome period — earlier than followers are welcomed again into arenas subsequent month — highlighted most of the points holding again the corporate’s product.
Hell in a Cell delivered a lot of what we now have come to count on from WWE: There have been excellent in-ring matches, a few good moments, a variety of head-scratching plot twists and a sense of bewilderment over the lack to do easy issues to raise expertise to the following stage.
It was additionally evident how a lot Universal champion Roman Reigns – who had his Hell in a Cell match towards Rey Mysterio on Friday evening’s SmackDown as an alternative — was missed on this present. His work has lifted up lots of WWE’s pay-per-views since he returned ultimately 12 months’s Summer timeSlam.
Here are our takeaways from Hell in a Cell:
The actual MVP
Leave it to MVP to seek out a method to assist Bobby Lashley retain his WWE championship and deny Drew McIntyre one other title shot towards the All Mighty in the method. MVP gave Lashley his cane and trapped McIntyre in a nook with two kendo sticks. After getting contained in the cell, MVP pulled the challenger off a pin and held his leg to stall a Claymore that enabled Lashley to roll up McIntyre for the win.
Interference deciding a Hell in a Cell match definitely isn’t preferrred, even when it’s not the primary time it’s occurred. Having Lashley win clear would have been a a lot stronger assertion for the champ and made McIntyre’s all-time low really feel a lot deeper.
The match itself was wonderful. These two beat the heck out one another, and McIntyre has the marks on his again to show it. Lashley tossed the previous champion off the apron onto a desk outdoors the ring, and McIntyre backed Lashley via a desk in the nook to flee the Hurt Lock. Kudos to each guys.
With McIntyre in his rearview mirror, Lashley wants one other opponent. The most certainly is Kofi Kingston. MVP attempting to recruit Kingston has already laid the seeds for a feud. Kingston additionally has a current win over Lashley. Maybe WWE will get Edge concerned. Or perhaps we get the Lashley-Brock Lesnar match the champ has needed for years.
McIntyre is just about in no man’s land proper now, except a Money in the Bank win trumps his ban on difficult Lashley and units up the championship second that McIntyre has waited greater than a 12 months to get pleasure from with followers.
SmackDown ladies’s champion Bianca Belair going through Bayley inside Hell in a Cell stole the present because the opening match. They delivered a clear story: Bayley labored the champion’s arm to counteract her energy and repeatedly discovered methods to take advantage of Belair’s braid – one of many main story units in their feud. Bayley tied the braid to a chair, and Belair later tied her braid to Bayley. Mix that with chair, ladder and kendo stick spots and you bought a delightfully bodily and well-crafted match. The end was clear, robust and precisely what it is advisable get a champion over. Belair dropped Bayley with a Kiss of Death onto a sideways open ladder to attain the pin.
(Pat McAfee’s commentary actually added to this. At one level, after Bayley bit Belair, he enthusiastically stated, “It’s legal, but it’s not cool to bite another human. Did she penetrate skin?”)
Bayley continues so as to add layers to her improbable heel character, going from mocking Belair and sniping at Michael Cole to begging the referee to let her out of the cage. Working off Bayley’s heel presentation has allowed Belair to construct off her all-time WrestleMania match with Sasha Banks and get her true-babyface title reign off to a good begin. It might be fascinating to see how Belair fares when not paired with one of many Four Horsewomen.
Heading into Hell in a Cell, Charlotte Flair talked about how a lot she is enjoying the opportunity to be a true heel since returning after WrestleMania 37. But she could not even be the clear heel in her present feud. That’s as a result of Flair’s match with Raw ladies’s champion Rhea Ripley had probably the most weird end of the evening. The Queen — sporting Maleficent-themed ring gear and pulling off two signature strikes from the repertoire of her fiancé, former WWE star Andrade — beat Ripley by disqualification as a result of the pissed off champion hit her with the detachable lip of the announcers’ desk. What? Excuse me? That is a DQ now?
Flair labored Ripley’s leg all through the match and had simply put her in the Figure Four, so the champ will need to have seen a DQ as her solely method out. Babyfaces are purported to persevere, not take shortcuts. Instead, Ripley – the supposed babyface – used a copout heel transfer. “I only did what you would have done to me, Queenie,” she stated earlier than blowing Flair a kiss. That, together with Flair saying after the match, “I got you out. Disqualification, you’re learning, b—h, you’re learning,” was WWE’s method of explaining this.
The ethical of the story, I assume, was Flair taught Ripley it is advisable be keen to win in any respect prices to be a true champion. The two stored combating after the bell, so that is removed from over. Ripley even left Flair laying with a Riptide for good measure. Just two evil queens going at it.
The solely considerably viable explanations for this may be WWE eager to have each Flair and Ripley leaning heel for Becky Lynch’s eventual return or for a shock Nikki Cross babyface title second. Otherwise, this match — half off the primary WWE pay-per-view with extra ladies’s matches (4) than males’s matches (three) — didn’t assist anybody in a feud that’s going to proceed.
Mind video games
Speaking of the shortage of a clear babyface-heel dynamic: Who are followers purported to be rooting for, the creepy super-powered lady with an evil doll or the skilled MMA killer who makes individuals snap, faucet or nap?
Alexa Bliss confirmed off the total impact of the supernatural mind-control powers that have been hinted at on Raw two weeks in the past in a very awkward match with Shayna Baszler, whose MMA credibility needs to be nowhere close to a sport-entertainment angle this campy.
Bliss appeared to benefit from the ache Baszler put her via — Baszler’s badass standing reveals how scary and harmful Alexa is? — then caught the attention of Nia Jax and bought Jax to imitate her gestures. Bliss used her spell to have Jax slap Reginald and roar whereas flexing. Bliss then countered Baszler’s Kirifuda Clutch and finally hit Twisted Bliss for the win. This was all very weird. This was by far the worst factor on the present and makes you assume the supernatural stuff is greatest overlooked of the match itself. All we will do is wait and see the place that is going.
One for the dangerous guys
WWE gave the heels wins in the feuds between Seth Rollins and Cesaro and between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. We are more likely to see extra of each going ahead. Rollins avenging his WrestleMania 37 and Throwback SmackDown loss was a contact higher, principally due to the end. The Grand Slam champion ended up outwrestling Cesaro in a match stuffed with counters, lastly pulling him in for a small bundle as Cesaro was probably trying a second sharpshooter.
Owens and Zayn have been handicapped a little bit by the storyline that Owens was struggling to breathe after taking two Nigerian Nails to the throat from Commander Azeez on Friday evening’s SmackDown. It did maintain a match we now have seen many instances earlier than recent, however it restricted the pace of the motion after the extra-slow Bliss-Baszler match. Zayn hit Owens with a actually stiff Helluva Kick for the win. His win didn’t imply fairly that a lot – despite the fact that Zayn is claiming it was karma biting again at his former good friend. Owens’ effort does get him loads of babyface factors.
All seven of the matches – together with Natalya’s win over Mandy Rose on the pre-show — have been 1-on-1 contests. Not getting a single multi-person match on this card simply highlights the disjointed state of all three of WWE’s tag divisions and the way little they’re valued at instances. Natalya and Rose are in a tag workforce feud, however we bought a singles match. Some of it might be as a result of we see the identical tag matches week after week on TV.
It additionally shines a gentle on WWE’s lack of factions. Everyone type of lives in their very own orbits. This means there are few alternatives to get a number of skills concerned in an angle – leaving many in catering as an alternative.
Biggest winner: Bianca Belair
Biggest losers: Alexa Bliss, Drew McIntyre
Best match: Bianca Belair vs. Bayley for the SmackDown ladies’s championship (honorable point out: Drew McIntyre vs. Bobby Lashley)