WWE presented their last PPV at the Thunderdome (MITB is going to be back in front of a live audience). While this entire card was pretty predictable, it doesn’t mean they didn’t put on a good show. Hopefully, this Hell In A Cell card was the end of some feuds, and the continuation of a few others.
The show kicked off with the Smackdown Women’s Championship be contested in the titular Hell in a Cell, between the Champ Bianca Belair and the challenger Bayley. For her first time in HAC, Bianca seemed well acclimated to her surroundings and really took it to Bayley. Once again, the Braid played a big part in the match. Unless they do something like have a match where she puts her Braid on the line, it is getting kind of old.
When she whipped Sasha Banks with it at Wrestlemania, it was a great spot. But there are only so many times that Bianca or her opponent uses it before it gets old, and we are at that point. How many times can we watch Bayley or any of the women’s locker-room for that matter, tie her to the ropes, or a chair, the ring post, another persons arm or leg?
Overall, a very solid match, that should end the battle between the two, and allow Belair to start a new battle with someone else in the women’s locker-room as we head into Money in the Bank, and live audiences.
Next up was Cesaro and Seth Rollins, any bout between these two has the chance to steal the show, and they did not disappoint.
There were many hot spots throughout, and the fans were left smiling seeing Rollins get put in the Cesaro swing. It is so good to see them not just burying the Swiss Superman, and allowing him to be in an “A” level feud. Rollins is one of the best workers on the roster, and pairing him with Cesaro is pure genius.
It was a little surprising to see Rollins win with a small package as opposed to his typical Curb Stomp finisher. But this was a loss that did not have Cesaro appear weak at all, and I believe this is not the last we have heard from this duo battling it out.
Shayna Baszler going up against Alexa Bliss was next, and this was a match that I had some mixed feelings about. I absolutely LOVE the work Bliss is doing, and have her take punishment and still laugh about it is genius. As is the idea behind her being able to hypnotize people with a gaze and have them do her bidding. But sadly, in execution, it didn’t look all that great.
While Baszler sold the hell out of not looking directly into Bliss face, it just seemed silly the way she was able to control Nia Jax and have her slap Reginald (to be totally honest, I hate the Reginald character, but since Vince McMahon is said to be very high on him, he isn’t going anywhere).
In the end, all the punishment that Baszler could dish out didn’t mean squat against the super natural approach of Alexa, and she hit Twisted Bliss for the win. They are making her look as strong as the Fiend was at first, which is a brilliant move, as long as they don’t go down that same road and make her look weak all of a sudden like they did with Wyatt.
Sammy Zayn and Kevin Owens took the ring over next, and these two could fight at every PPV and I would watch it. The chemistry between them is now and has always been amazing. There was no need for this to be a long match, and it wasn’t. But that isn’t to say it wasn’t full of brutality. When it’s Owens and Zayn, just book it as an A level match. Zayn came out on top this time, but you better believe this is one of the few feuds from HIAC that did not end then.
The RAW women’s title match between Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley was next up, and these two A+ players lived up to the hype. While the match itself was great, I really liked the ending with Flair getting a taste of her own medicine by winning the match, but not the title because it was a DQ win.
The match itself not only showed off how incredible Charlotte is, as if we need to be reminded, but it also showed how incredibly strong and athletic Rhea Ripley is. She is an amazing addition to the women’s roster, and when Becky Lynch does return and IF Rhonda Rousey returns, plus the eventual call-up of Io Sharai from NXT, and the WWE’s women’s ranks will be second to none.
The main event of the evening was up next with Lashley and Drew McIntyre squaring off inside Hell in a Cell, with the stipulation that if Drew loses, he gets no more title shots as long as Lashley is champ. Even with this stipulation, it was pretty obvious that Lashley was going to win, and even with the Cell door locked to start the match, you also knew that MVP would play a role, and he certainly did.
Overall this match was a lot more violent than I expected, and you could see the toll it took on McIntyre’s back afterward. I am just not sure where they go from here with Drew (the only powerhouse face on RAW) and just who can take Lashley next and be believable. Kofi Kingston is currently scheduled to be Lashley’s next opponent at MITB, but the general consensus is that WWE is hoping to build up to Lashley and Brock Lesnar at Summer Slam in August. IF they are able to pull that off, the build from the time Lashley won the belt til Summer Slam will be worth it.
Overall, it was a solid if not spectacular effort for the last PPV without a live audience. I think missing the best thing WWE has going right now, Roman Reigns, was a mistake. Even if you wanted to have his HIAC match with Rey Mysterio on Smackdown, surely they could have furthered the storyline with the Uso’s. Every PPV without Reigns on it is a missed opportunity.