WWE Hell in a Cell (2015) Review
Recently, WWE has been weening itself from gimmick PPVs in the past few years - and good riddance. Some of them are a little more bearable such as Money in the Bank and Night of Champions, but the one I could do without is Hell in a Cell. For fans who don't remember, Hell in a Cell used to be THE feud ender. Realistically, not every Cell match pre-2009 was a classic. Ironically, the absolute worst Cell match happened BEFORE it became a pay per view. To anyone who has never seen Bossman vs. Undertaker from Wrestlemania XV, word of advice: Don't.
However, the match has certainly lost its luster. Even if the matches did not always live up to the hype, the idea was still there that the match was meant to be a big deal. Now, the cell match is just part of the calendar. Mediocre cell matches used to be fewer and further between, but ever since 2009, they have become noticeably more common. Only a handful have been exceptional (Ambrose vs. Rollins and Taker vs. HHH - which of course was at Wrestlemania!). But so many of them have been bad (Punk vs. Ryback from HIAC 2012), underwelming (Bryan vs. Orton - seriously, why wasn't that match better?) or good but not great (Cena vs. Punk vs. Del Rio). This year, the company finally tried to give the cell match a little bit of luster again. Did they succeed or should the booking team go to hell?
Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena - U.S. Title Match
Cena has been holding open challenges for the US title for months. Considering he has successfully defended the title against Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Owens, Cesaro and current WWE Champion Seth Rollins. So the company had to find someone big to be the big challenger for Cena. After all, there would not be a ton of suspense if Cena were up against someone he had already beaten. More importantly, whoever beat Cena for the title would earn a whole lot of momentum. So the mystery opponent proved to be a returning Alberto Del Rio.
Cena and Del Rio had a good but not great match. Much of the fun was the surprise return of Del Rio, now managed by Zeb Coulter. The match ended somewhat anti-climatically with Del Rio performing a stiff kick on Cena. Maybe the ending felt that way because fans were not used to that finisher or because they expected a longer match.
Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns
I was not expecting this match to be on so soon. Wyatt and Reigns put on another excellent match, but they also demonstrated why Hell in a Cell has become so watered down. First of all, the commentators discussed that over 30 people have been in cell matches, when it used to be pretty exclusive. Also, while the match was superb, Wyatt and Reigns did very little that could not have been done in a no DQ match. Maybe I shouldn't complain. After all, the match WAS good which is still more than I can say about many of the HIAC matches. Reigns and Wyatt are talented workers who know how to create drama in a match, and there were some sick weapons spots - including a table spot. So yes, this was a top notch match (and technically speaking, it WAS the feud ender).
The New Day vs. The Dudley Boz - Tag Team Championship
The New Day's goofiness never ceases to make me laugh. With Xavier Woods down, Kofi and Big E are championing him as a wounded unicorn because of his broken trombone. The match was the perfect balance of wrestling and comedy. Although I have been a fan since their ECW days (Okay not entirely true - in their ECW days, they were two of the most EVIL heels in the business and I responded accordingly) but I will still concede that they are not the world's greatest grapplers. So blending a little comedy with the ring action may have been the best way to keep the flow of this match going. The match ended when Kofi tried to pull a page from the late great Eddie Guerrero's playbook by tricking the ref into thinking he was hit with the trombone. The ref didn't fall for it, but while he was distracted, Kofi DID use the trombone! The New Day retained the tag titles.
Charlotte vs. Nikki Bella
This is a rematch from their bout at Night of Champions. That match was okay - Nikki dominated too much of the match, and it was only entertaining because Charlotte's victory gave it a satisfying ending. The rematch was much more exciting because it featured a little more back and forth action. This meant the substantially more talented Charlotte had some more offense this time around. Charlotte was victorious and the right woman kept her title.
Seth Rollins vs. Kane - WWE Championship
In his prime, Kane was one of the most exciting big men wrestlers. Now, that his salad days are past him, was there a ton of suspense that Seth Rollins was going to lose his world championship to a perennial jobber to the stars? (Come to think of it, even in his prime, Kane was ostensibly the jobber to World champions.) Well, this match had one thing over that Payback match back in May - The match was about Kane, and Kane at least wrestled. Rollins has been getting some backlash for being overexposed, but anybody who doubts the man should watch this match as Rollins got the best non-gimmick match out of Kane in a looooong time. Rollins carried most of this match, though I do feel bad for Kane as he went through a table that did not break.
On a side note, Rollins seriously needs to ditch that Pedigree as his finisher. I get that the booking team does not want to risk injuries with the curb stomp - a much cooler finisher that fit Rollins personality better. However, Rollins just doesn't look right doing the move. It may not be sloppy - like that springboard stunner Cena is thankfully phasing out - but Rollins just doesn't own the move the way Triple H did. Also, Rollins may be the only guy on the roster whose basic trademark moves look cooler and more devastating than his finisher. And by the way, Rollins won.
Kevin Owens vs. Ryback - IC Title Match
On that note, I wonder who COULD get a good (non-gimmick) match out of Ryback. Seriously Kevin Owens is so talented and so exciting that even he can't get anything out of the guy that's better than so-so. (Also I emphasize non-gimmick because Ryback has had some good TLC and no DQ matches.) Like last month, this was a pretty so-so match for Owens standards. It wasn't atrociously bad, but this was hands down the weakest match on the card. Again, the right person won, but hopefully Owens can have some more exciting opponents to defend his gold against.
Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker - Hell in a Cell
Yeah, the obvious idea is to point out this EXACT MATCH was done 13 years ago, but I'm just happy to see this match treated like a big deal again. Although this match was a step below their epic Summerslam bout, it was still a darn good match (Sadly, this match lacks the epic laugh that helped define the Summerslam match). Most of the match was what we expect from these two - some wild brawls, a visit to Suplex City - nothing new but still fun watch. There were two spots this match will be memorable for: Lesnar bladed (which according to reports McMahon is nuclear about - if you don't believe how seriously McMahon takes that, check out Chris Jericho's most recent. Or just check it out period, it's quite excellent). It's funny that Lesnar bladed because it seems like the perfect antidote for 'Taker bleeding like a pig in that No Mercy match. The other big moment was Lesnar tearing up the ring. to perform the F5 on bare boards. I have no idea whether or not that make a difference, but it looked cool. Lesnar got the duke and, even if both men are part-timers, he still felt like the right man.
Overall, Hell in a Cell 2015 was a great show. Most of the matches hardly felt like match of the year candidates, but there were no truly awful matches (Okay, Ryback vs. Owens was the one weak link, but that was short and felt more like filler.) All the right people went over in every match, and hopefully this momentum is carried over into Survivor Series.
- Wrestlemania 31 Review
Every year it's the WWE's most hyped PPV. But is the showcase of the immortals all sizzle and no steak or did it live up to the hype?
- WWE Payback (2015) Review
WWE offers some exciting action in its May Pay Per View
- WWE Elimination (2015) Chamber Review
It's been moved from February to May, but WWE has brought back the Chamber.
- Money in the Bank (2015) Review
WWE presents two ladder matches and some good rematches in its annual event.
- WWE Night of Champions 2015 Review
All the gold is on the line in WWE's annual Pay Per View
- Summerslam 2015 Review
WWE's biggest party of the summer proves to be one of the most anticipated events of the year.
- Is WWE's Attitude Era Overrated?
WWE's Attitude Era is considered one of the most important eras of wrestling. But does it hold up?