Does The Fiend come away with gold, or at least a compelling reason to keep caring about his character?
Since the day started with only four matches known, there’s only really two matches that we care about.
Does new blue Sasha Banks finally get a PPV win? Does The Fiend start a reign of terror or at least a protected enough finish to keep us interested?
With most of the IWC loving The Fiend, this seems like the perfect time to keep the momentum going. The Fiend doesn’t need to win, but I’m very interested to see what they do with him.
- Natalya vs Lacey Evans: Natalya wins via Sharpshooter @9:25 – **
- Hell in a Cell Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs Sasha Banks: Becky retains via Disarm-Her @21:50 – **** 1/4
- Tornado Tag Match: Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan vs Eric Rowan & Luke Harper: Reigns & Bryan wins via Superman Busaiku Spear @16:45 – *** 1/2
- Randy Orton vs Ali: Orton wins via RKO @12:10 – **
- Women’s Tag Team Championship: BlissCross (c) vs Kabuki Warriors: Asuka wins via Green Mist + Roundhouse Kick @10:25 – *** – TITLE CHANGE!!
- AJ Styles, Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows vs Viking Raiders & Braun Strowman: Raiders & Braun wins via DQ @8:15 – *
- King Corbin vs Chad Gable: Gable wins via Roll-Up @12:40 – *** 1/4
- SmackDown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair vs Bayley (c): Flair wins via Figure Eight @10:15 – ** – TITLE CHANGE!!
- Hell in a Cell Universal Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs Bray Wyatt: Referee Stoppage, No Contest, what? @17:30 – -** (yes that’s negative)
Natalya vs Lacey Evans – This is the definition of a pre-show match. A loose story rivalry, that I forgot was still going on, and I feel like most of the crowd did as well. I suppose they tried, the Sharpshooter was part of the story in this match since Lacey was using it to taunt Natalya leading up to this. The action in the match was mediocre at best, Lacey misses her Moonsault and Nattie slaps on the Sharpshooter, Lacey taps nearly immediately. Afterwards Nattie clocks Lacey with what I guess is her version on the Women’s Right, and hopefully we never see any more of this any time soon.
Hell in a Cell Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs Sasha Banks – Sasha takes the offense to Becky as the cage is lowering, which is a little different. The cage finishes lowering and Sasha goes into Hell in Cell to gloat a bit. There’s a good bit of use of the cage and weapons. Sasha sets up a chair into the side of the cage for later, which comes into play during a reversed Irish Whip. The cool spot was using three Kendo sticks to stabilize a chair in the corner of the cell, Becky puts Sasha on the chair, and hits a running Dropkick from the apron right into the seated Sasha. Lots of nice call backs with the attempts Disarm-Her through the chair, and Sasha introducing the chair into the match via strikes to the back. Sasha throws in about dozen chairs, and that ends up being her undoing. Becky hits the Avalanche BecksPloder into the pile of chairs and then applies the Disarm-Her for the submission victory. Surprising that Becky retained, but it was a damn good match.
Tornado Tag Match: Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan vs Eric Rowan & Luke Harper – We saw some early back and forth, but team with more tag team experience eventually started to take over the match. Luke was selling his knee early in the match, and that did play a part towards the end. There was some nice destruction in the match, Roman ran across two announce tables to spear Rowan into the other. Daniel Bryan was looking to hit a Avalanche Frankensteiner, but Luke blocked it and hits an Avalanche Liger Bomb. It looked like Harper was going to put away Daniel, but Roman manages to slide in for the save with a Superman Punch, Bryan hits the Busaiku Knee and Spear off the ropes equals pinfall victory for the babyface team! Solid match, some of the slower parts were just to set up for the next sequence, but it was still quite enjoyable.
Randy Orton vs Ali – So this was set up on the Pre-Show since Ali was looking to prove himself and Randy was more than happy to see what the kid’s got. This was set up much like a Proving Ground style match. We saw a lot of heart out of Ali, and Randy was never completely on the back foot. A fun visual was that at some point during the initial outside scuffle Ali had a huge bruise from his ribs down his midsection a bit. Ali misses the 450 Splash, but does a Handstand to counter the initial RKO. Nearly picking up the win with a Crucifix Pin, Ali tried to go for his Rolling Facebuster, but Randy catches him with the RKO. Randy showed some respect to Ali as he was leaving the ring, but it was a very slow match that most people probably got food during.
Women’s Tag Team Championship: BlissCross (c) vs Kabuki Warriors – Now I’ve been annoyed at the Kabuki Warriors name cause even if the girls came up with it themselves, it didn’t fit their personas before. But now we get heel work, Kairi takes early cheap shots and even messes with Alexa when Asuka had her in the Abdominal Stretch in the ropes. Watching the Japanese sweethearts dive deeper into heel tendencies during this match was fantastic. Asuka with her version of Kawada Kicks to mess with Nikki and Kairi being generally animated, was great. When Kairi ran interference on Alexa, Nikki got a little distracted, so when she turned back to Asuka, Asuka hit her with the Green Mist and then a well placed kick to the head. So finally the Kabuki name makes more sense. Great Kabuki was the first to use the mist and now we see the Kabuki Warriors start accepting heel personas. Character work and finish were tremendous, though the work in the match was average.
AJ Styles, Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows vs Viking Raiders & Braun Strowman – Braun was the surprise teammate, hooray, this had OC loss written all over it. I couldn’t care less if the Viking Raiders and Gallows & Anderson have had issues over the last few weeks, this was pointless. The match didn’t matter, picking and choosing when to enforce tag team 5 counts is always stupid, and got a chorus of boos from the crowd once the DQ came in. Then I guess we’re supposed to think Braun can knock out Tyson Fury cause he caught AJ during the Phenomenal Forearm and knocked him out. Sure AJ selling it like he didn’t know where he was, was entertaining, but this was a waste of time. Braun is Big Show, just with less wrestling talent. Great.
King Corbin vs Chad Gable – S0 even though the promo that Corbin cut before the match was dumb, the Shorty Gable tidbit was alright. Granted Corey beating it into the ground did definitely make it stupid, but I enjoyed Hamilton saying in the end. As for the match, this wasn’t a ton different than what we’ve seen in the previous two meetings, this was just allowed to come to a real finish. Corbin’s height jokes played into a lot of Gable “chopping him down” and keeping everything manageable. Gable’s sheer willpower and wrestling prowess carried the low points of the match and kept most of the action interesting. Corbin is still not very engaging in the ring, but this was one of his better matches. Funny aspect was of course, the fact that Gable won because he was shorter, so he could get the leverage on the Roll-Up.
SmackDown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair vs Bayley (c) – Bayley started off aggressive missing a few kicks and generally getting a good laugh out of Charlotte before connecting on some offense. Full disclosure, I did have to go to the bathroom during this and somehow in 30 seconds when I get back, apparently Bayley is working of Charlotte’s “bad” leg, but that doesn’t really play a big role into the match. Charlotte’s leg gets hung up on the rope and Bayley goes for a very slow and sloppy Roll-Up, but when she gets her feet on the ropes, the referee sees it. So as Bayley is pleading her angle, Charlotte takes advantage, gets Bayley to the ground and slaps on the Figure Eight. This match was just boring. Nothing more, nothing less, it happened, now Charlotte is a 10 time champion.
Hell in a Cell Universal Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs Bray Wyatt – So immediately we get to deal with a red cell bathed in red light, so that just makes watching the match awkward. But at least we get some decent action. Bray goads Seth into hitting him with strikes and weapons, and shows his invulnerability. Seth hits two Stomps, and Bray pops up, Seth hits his crappy Flying Knees, but The Fiend doesn’t go down. So we got to see a lot of The Fiend taking more punishment than we’ve really seen anyone take. Fiend hits a Sister Abigail, Neck Snap and then brings Seth to the outside of the ring and goes to get his mallet. Even though it looks like a Gateway computers box on a stick, we could see something interesting here. But of course, after taking a signature, neck snap and getting the mallet rammed into his stomach, Seth still of course fights back like nothing happened. Now the match gets awful. Seth redoes the sequence against Braun where he hits about five Stomps and a Pedigree, but Bray kicks out at 1. So Seth then adds a chair to the equation, but Bray kicks out. This continues with Seth getting a ladder, throwing in kendo sticks, a toolbox and a sledgehammer. We get subjected to Bray laying in the middle of the ring for what felt like 5 minutes straight while Seth decided to have an existential crisis and just keep getting more weapons. When he gets to the Sledgehammer, the referee tells him not to do it, but he eventually does hit Bray, who’s face is covered with a chair sandwiched between a ladder, the referee calls for the bell. So it’s not said in the show, is it a referee stoppage or disqualification? Either way it was garbage.
Overall Score: 5/10
So let me be clear, I get the fact the story of the main event was The Fiend pushing Seth Rollins passed his personal comfort level or having the emotional distress of overcoming fear or a living nightmare. But the match told the story beyond poorly. And The Fiend shooting up when the EMTs came in to demolish Rollins after the fact, was even worse since that show ended with a bullshit finish. The Fiend did not need saving from the referee and if the angle is that the referee stopped it as a way to protect Seth from “going too far”, that’s nothing to care about either.
In the same show where we got an in-ring story of Kabuki Warriors going heel and solidifying BlissCross as faces (for now), we get an over dramatized pile of nonsense that was the main event Hell in a Cell. The same match where Mick Foley was nearly legit killed, the referee jumps in for a worked DQ or whatever finish.
This show was pretty good before the main event. I would’ve probably given the show about a 7.5, until a bullshit gimmicked finish that was unsatisfying. The worst part is that it’s not unsatisfying in the way to motivate you to watch, it’s more watching someone ruin your new favorite thing and not trusting their process anymore. Hell Bray could’ve lost, if it made sense and felt like a complete ending…not the botched abortion of a stoppage or disqualification in HELL IN A CELL!