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Thread: WWE Hell in a Cell 2018 Review

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    Hell in a Cell WWE Hell in a Cell 2018 Review

    Hell in a Cell
    September 16, 2018

    That sure is some poster...

    Jeff Hardy vs Randy Orton - Hell in a Cell
    A match that absolutely no one could have cared about going into the show, but once it was finished, about half of the viewers thought it was some incredible overachieving match while the other half got the bad match they expected. I feel like Iím in the middle where there were some aspects that I actually flat out loved and other aspects that I hated. The early going was pretty routine and unremarkable, but once Hardy was given a front suplex through the supports of the upside down ladder, everything improved in a hurry. For a match in the PG era, it was about as sadistic and brutal as you can get. Obviously, the spot that everyone will always remember the match for is The Viper shoving a screwdriver through Hardyís earlobe hole and twisting and pulling at it. It was sick to watch and will go down as one of the craziest things Iíve seen in a WWE ring. The fact that for the remainder of the match, you could see Hardyís earlobe still being stretched out added to the grizziness. Again, for the PG era, Hardyís retaliation by destroying Orton with belt and chair shots to the back until welts on Ortonís back is bleeding and has a gash on his thigh, bleeding even more, was crazy to see. Even though I loved this not of this era barbaric match, the finish was the drizzling shits. For starters, you had Orton jumping off of the table a couple of seconds before Hardy let go of the cell, causing Hardy to crash and burn through a table, looking like a moron for letting go when he did. It got worse when the referee immediately tried to stop the match...a HIAC match because of this simple, albeit high up, bump. Orton ordered the referee to count to three after Orton covered Hardy for the super anticlimactic finish. In a match where someone was tortured with a fín screwdriver, to end the match with an attempted referee stoppable after a table bump and an eventual pinfall came off as really weak. Both men and the match deserved praise, but whatever agent came up with that finish should be fired. *** Ĺ

    Charlotte Flair © vs Becky Lynch - Smackdown Womenís Champion
    The storyline going into this match is pretty dreadful. The commentators play Becky off as if sheís some awful villain for turning her back on a five year friendship with Charlotte. Wasnít it just a couple of years ago that Charlotte was screwing over Becky? Meanwhile, the crowd is 100% behind Lynch, further showing the problems in this storyline. Now this match? Itís good. So much of it was dominated by Lynch working over the arm of Charlotte, trying to go for the Disarmher. For Charlotteís part, she kept finding ways to make mini-comebacks, sometimes even showing that she could still use her bad arm because sheís just THAT damn good such as lifting Becky up with an one armed power bomb. The finish comes out of nowhere, but I appreciate it for what it was as Charlotte attempts her spear, in yet another attempt at mounting a comeback, but Becky floats over into a cover and surprisingly scores the pinfall to become the NEW Smackdown Womenís Champion. Sometimes itís nice to have a sudden pinfall just to show that not every match has to end after multiple finishers. A very simplistic match, but one built entirely around putting Becky over. Considering Iím a fan of Becky, but not one of Charlotte, itís difficult not to enjoy this one. *** Ĺ

    After the match, Charlotte offers her hand in a sign of respect to her former buddy, but Becky instead just raises the Smackdown Womenís Title and trashes talk. God bless that Becky.

    Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre © vs The Shield - Raw Tag Titles
    With Rollins being IC Champion and Roman Reigns currently the Universal Champion, poor Ambrose is the sole member of The Shield without a shiny hunk of gold. I feel like this is a match that gets brought up in concern of highly praised matches, but somewhat gets forgotten too. Itís a good southern style tag with Rollins playing the face-in-peril while McIntyre and mostly Ziggler keep preventing the hot tag to Ambrose. Once Ambrose did get the hot tag, it was cue for everyone to be involved in frequent big spots. Itís really good stuff, really. Thereís plenty of nearfalls and excitement for the crowd to go wild. In the end, the finish comes suddenly with Rollins lifting Ziggler into a Falcon Arrow position, but Rollins gets knocked out cold with a McIntyre Claymore Kick. That results in Ziggler landing on top of Rollins to score the pinfall. A bit of an old school match in the first half before all of the big spots occurred in the second. The Shield, in all of their different combinations, were so good in tag team matches and this isnít any different. I donít see it as quite a stand out as one of the best tag matches in recent memory, but boy is this good. *** ĺ

    Backstage, Mick Foley tries to warn Braun Strowman of the dangers of the Hell in a Cell match, but Strowman isnít interested in listening.

    AJ Styles © vs Samoa Joe - WWE World Title
    A rematch from Summerslam where that match ended in a DQ victory for Joe. If you ask me, this program is an example of WWEís uninspiring PPV storytelling. Including his match, Styles/Joe worked four PPV singles matches with Styles winning every single one except the Summerslam DQ. Why bother caring about such a program? To be completely forthcoming, I had some real problems trying to play this on my Amazon Fire Stick. It seems as if my Fire Stick is nearing the end of its life as if it failed and was forced to automatically restart twice while trying to watch this. The second time around, I attempted to just watch the match from the start again, but when it happened again, I did my best to just find where I was prior to the fail and watch from there again. It didnít help matters that each time the Fire Stick failed on me, Iíd go back to the WWE Network app and itíd start with the finish of the Shield vs Ziggler/McIntyre match. In fact, literally as I type this sentence as I watch the build towards the Bryan/Brie vs Miz/Maryse match, the Fire Stick fails and reboots on itself. Yeah, I need a new streaming device ASAP. From what I could tell, this was a pretty Joe dominated performance with Styles getting in a lot of offense near the end. Nothing truly stood out much though. Itís one of those matches that feels like it lasts a lifetime, despite only having a run time much shorter than how it feels. The action isnít bad though, but considering I once gave one of their matches (Turning Point 2005) five stars, it feels like a big reduction in quality here. Styles ended up continuing the theme of the night with the sudden finish as he countered a Coquina Clutch by pushing off the top ropes into a pinning position to retain his title. Itís only on a replay that we see that Styles was tapping out to the Clutch while the pin attempt was only at a 2 to ensure that we get an additional match in this series. Overall, thanks in part due to my awful experience trying to watch this match, I saw this as just good rather than anything great. Still, I donít know how it could ever come close to the quality of their amazing Turning Point bout. ***

    Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella vs The Miz and Maryse
    A rematch of sorts from Summerslam when Maryse provided a distraction to allow The Miz to defeat Bryan in a singles match. Here, the men did their best to keep the women out of the match. In theory, that means better workrate for the match, but in actuality, it just means youíre waiting for Maryse and Brie to collide, especially when Maryse immediately tagged out when initially set to go to battle with Brie. Itís hard to get into the match with the women failing to do anything of interest while any time the men are involved in anything, itís clear that itís filler for the women. Maryse ended up scoring the roll-up victory for her team while holding a fistful of Brieís tights for the unfair advantage. Up until Bryanís heel turn with his title win at the end of the year, it seemed as if the WWE was going out of their way to make Bryan as uninteresting as possible to keep Bryan chants at a minimum. Meh. Bryan looked like he tried here, but it was average at best. ** ľ

    Ronda Rousey © w/Natayla vs Alexa Bliss w/Mickie James and Alicia Fox - Raw Womenís Title
    A rematch from Summerslam 2018, a match where Rousey not only defeated Bliss for the Raw Womenís Title, but did it in fairly quick fashion. Since then, Bliss and her pals have injured Rouseyís ribs causing the champion to go into this match at less than 100%. The bad ribs end up becoming the main story of the match as Bliss constantly targets them while Rousey does a swell job at selling them, whether itís by holding them or failing to connect with moves due to the pain. On paper, this encounter feels like such a longshot for Bliss to win, but the rib story allows for a more believable excuse for why itís taking Rousey so long to beat Bliss again and why Bliss is dominating the match. The match also reminds me of Blissí strongest quality - her facial expressions. Bliss is so expressive in all of her reactions amplified by the fact that when Rousey is in her monster mode, Bliss puts Rousey over all the more because of her over the top expression of fear. Basically, Bliss is great and doesnít receive enough credit for talents as a wrestler. Naturally, in a story built around Bliss having the unfair advantage, targeting Rouseyís ribs, and Blissí buddies interfering, it only made sense for the finish to see Natayla take out Fox with a suplex, Rousey destroying Mickie, and Rousey firing up by punching at her own injured ribs before laying Bliss out with Piperís Pit. From there, Rousey locked in the armbar and Bliss immediately tapped out. A superior match to their Summerslam bout, but thatís to be expected when their previous encounter was essentially a squash and this one was more of a fleshed out story based match. ***

    Roman Reigns © vs Braun Strowman - Hell in a Cell - WWE Universal Title
    Mick Foley is your special guest referee. This would be the fourth, and for time being, last singles PPV match between Reigns and Strowman. Currently, Strowman leads 2-1. In order to secure this title shot, Braun is officially cashing in his MITB briefcase. Boy, after watching this, I have no idea how to review it. The majority of it is really, really good. Braun is a total monster, manhandling Reigns and just utterly destroying the champion. Various weapons are used with Reigns having to find new ways to try and inflict a little pain on Braun just to stay alive. These two guys clearly have chemistry together and this is coming from someone who tends not to enjoy much Reigns. I was all ready to leave a positive review as the match ramped up to Reigns desperately trying to beat The Monster Among Men. After escaping Braunís attempt of a running power slam through a table leaning against the corner, Reigns fires off a Superman Punch. Braun doesn't go down! Reigns connects with a second Superman Punch, but Strowman still canít be knocked off his feet! Finally, Reigns channels all of his power with his rawring pose before spearing Braun through the very table Braun set up! Awesome! Iím into it. And then the match just like...stops. First, Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler run out to try and enter the cell, but the lock is keeping them out. That brings out The Shield to further ensure that no interference can occur as the two teams battle around the outside of the cell. After two commentatorsí tables are cleared, Ziggler is the first to climb to the top of the cell with Rollins close behind. Itís not long before McIntyre and Ambrose are joining them. During all of this fight, the camera keeps cutting back to the action in the ring as Reigns and Braun are still dead on the mat while Foley awkwardly watches whatís happening above him. The thing is, itís not as if I dislike the battle of The Shield vs Ziggler/McIntyre, but...this is supposed to be Braun vs Reigns. It reminds me of that Royal Rumble match with Reigns and Baron Corbin where everything paused for a while as The Usos battled some goons. I donít care about this fight, I care about the damn match that itís interrupting! As Ziggler is trying to escape back down the cell, Rollins again follows with the two falling and crashing through the two tables below. Meanwhile, Ambrose and McIntyre seemingly just disappeared. Theyíre not shown again and now Iím starting to wonder if theyíve spent the last few years still on the top of the HIAC and no one has noticed. After this BS is finished, Iím waiting for the match to restart only for Paul Heyman to lead Brock Lesnar out to the ring. With one kick, Lesnar kicks through the cell door. Heyman sprays some substance into Foleyís eyes, likely because heís not cleared to take any spots without legitimate risk of being killed by Brock. Lastly, Lesnar kills Reigns and Strowman before leaving following some F5s. The PPV goes off the air with the announcement that this main event, a HELL IN A CELL match, has been thrown out, with neither man able to continue. On top of that, this finish is so shit because itís a MITB cash-in, so itís more important than most title defenses and itís with two of the toughest men in the company. How many times has Braun fín Strowman seemingly been killed on WWE TV? Yet, weíre supposed to believe he couldnít finish this match after a six minute rest following the spear through the table (Yes...six fucking minutes for that Shield vs McIntryre/Ziggler battle) and then a little beat down from Lesnar? Maybe Reigns hasnít faced death as much as Braun has on WWE (A bit ironic as itís the opposite way around in real life), but The Big Dog has also withstood a ton of punishment over the course of his career as well. This bullshit call is WWE risking the draw of one of their very top gimmick matches. Yet again, Braun fails to be the big one to be this generationís Lex Luger. Everything up to the spear through the table? I dug it. Everything after is complete trash for one of the lamest finishes on a PPV in the WWE Network era. ** Ĺ

    Surprisingly, I have to admit that I felt Hell in a Cell 2018 was a really good PPV. I kicked off with the three strongest matches of the event. After the tag titles match, the quality of the event does drop some, but I wouldnít say it got awful. The weakest bout of the show was the mixed tag, but who ever has high expectations for a mixed tag? Yet, despite a willingness to praise this show, the finish was one of the biggest negative moments in 2018. Itís probably a good thing that the WWE now does at least two HIAC matches per Hell in a Cell PPV because between the finish to Reigns/Braun and 2019ís Rollins/Fiend, the entire draw of the gimmick would be ruined now. Luckily, we had solid reminders that HIAC could be good on those same shows with Orton/Hardy and apparently Becky/Banks in 2019. In mid September 2018, I imagine Reigns hadnít received the news of his leukemia returning, thus causing Reigns to relinquish the title to deal with his diagnosis. Otherwise, it wouldnít have made any sense to deny Braun the title here when Reigns is giving up the belt a month from HIAC 2018. Itís rotten luck for the WWE and Strowman, but obviously itís not nearly as important as Romanís health. Knowing WWE, even had they found out about Reignsí condition prior to HIAC, they likely would have still found a way to get the belt back around Brockís waist. Overall though, HIAC was one of the better WWE PPVs in recent memory. Hardy/Orton greatly overachieved, the Shield put on another banger, and Becky Lynch finally got one up on Charlotte. Maybe it would have just been better to make Styles/Joe a HIAC match and combine Shield vs Ziggler/McIntyre and Strowman/Reigns into a six man HIAC to fix the booking problems of the main event.

  2. #2
    The Only 2x WC HOF
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    Re: WWE Hell in a Cell 2018 Review

    I do remember most of this show and I definitely think it's a solid overall card.

    I think Orton vs Hardy is a great match that way overachieves. It's one of the few times where I actually feel like Orton is some sick psychopath, whereas most of the time that's his gimmick but he rarely lives up to it. The tag title match is fantastic, easily my MOTN and a low-end MOTYC for me, which is surprising since I think half of the competitors in that match suck. But it worked extremely well.

    The main event is an abomination though. Genuinely one of the worst matches of the year, Roman's third of the year on PPV. The last ten minutes are tragic to watch as these two monsters just lie in the ring while four other guys decide to have another match and do a bunch of homages to much better matches.

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  3. #3
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    Re: WWE Hell in a Cell 2018 Review

    The finish of the main event was terrible. How many wrestlers have been thrown/jumped off/fallen through the top of the cell and continued the match? This was the first of two consecutive year in which the HIAC main event was horrible and now you're looking at at least two if not three of the men involved in those matches being in a HIAC match this year.
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