It’s time to go to Hell (as much as WWE does in this era, anyhow). Tonight in Boston, MA WWE presents their “Hell in a Cell” pay per view as a Raw brand exclusive event. Tonight, three championships will be decided inside the Hell in a Cell structure. Sasha Banks and Charlotte will compete inside the structure to determine who will emerge as the Raw Women’s Champion, a match billed by WWE as “historic” as women have never competed inside the Cell. Roman Reigns and Rusev will fight to see who comes out with the United States Championship, and Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins will go at it to see who will be the Universal Champion. Who will emerge victorious from the Cell – will all three champions leave with their titles intact, or will we see title changes?
The card shapes up as follows:
- Kevin Owens (c) vs. Seth Rollins; WWE Universal Championship, fought inside Hell in a Cell
- Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte; Raw Women’s Championship, fought inside Hell in a Cell
- Roman Reigns (c) vs. Rusev (w/Lana); WWE United States Championship, fought inside Hell in a Cell
- TJ Perkins (c) vs. Brian Kendrick; WWE Cruiserweight Championship
- New Day (c) vs. Sheamus and Cesaro; Raw Tag Team Championship
- Bayley vs. Dana Brooke
- Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
- Cedric Alexander, Lince Dorado, and Sin Cara vs. Tony Nese, Drew Gulak, and Ariya Daivari (Pre-Show Match)
The pre-show was hosted by Renee Young, Booker T, Jerry Lawler and Lita. Tom Phillips checked in from the Social Media Lounge and hyped that New Day would be joining him to answer fan submitted questions later.
They ran a video package to hype the Roman Reigns vs. Rusev match then discussed the match. Lita said it was still possible for Lana to affect the outcome even though it would be inside the Cell. Lawler predicted Rusev would win.
Renee Young hyped up the six-man cruiserweight tag match that would take place on the pre-show, accidentally calling Lince Dorado “Lance” Dorado. D’oh!
Bayley joined the pre-show panel. She talked about whether Dana Brooke was jealous of how she was introduced to the roster and said tonight is about revenge. She added that Brooke was doing everything Charlotte told her to do until a couple weeks ago when she made it personal on her own. Young noted the taped shoulder and Bayley said that the arm wrestling match made it worse, but that was Brooke’s plan all along. She said she will end it when she gets her hands on Dana.
Booker asked about Bayley being a role model, and she said she wants to be one and talked about her fan history. She was asked about Charlotte and Sasha making history by working in a HIAC match. Bayley said it means a lot and respects both competitors, but she will be waiting in line for the winner because her goal is to be women’s champion.
They ran a video package for the Seth Rollins/Kevin Owens feud, along with Chris Jericho’s involvement. Lawler said that Rollins winning the Raw handicap match against Jericho and Owens was like the Cleveland Indians winning two straight games at Wrigley Field.
Backstage, Brian Kendrick approached TJ Perkins and talked about dropping the match again. Kendrick told Perkins he could help Kendrick, just like Kendrick did for him back in the day. Perkins told Kendrick they’d always be friends, but he needs to do this the right way and try to win. Kendrick stopped Perkins from leaving the room and told him he needs to let him win.
Rich Swann joined the pre-show panel and said Kendrick has changed. They moved on to talking about dancing, and Young got Swann to show her how. His music played briefly and Booker danced along with Swann. Young did some moves but Booker told her to stop.
The panel threw it to Mauro Ranallo and Corey Graves for the pre-show match.
Match #1 – Sin Cara, Lince Dorado, and Cedric Alexander vs. Ariya Daivari, Tony Nese and Drew Gulak;
Winner: Sin Cara, Lince Dorado and Cedric Alexander
The Summary: Graves bragged that the Cruiserweights are only on Raw. Early action included a nice springboard moonsault from Sin Cara onto Daivari. Dorado and Nese tagged in, with Dorado hitting a shooting star press and covering but it was broken up. Nese threw Dorado onto Sin Cara and Alexander at ringside a short time later.
Gulak worked on Dorado’s legs, then the heels isolated him. Cedric got the hot tag and hit a nice kick, then all three faces dove on the opponents at ringside. In the ring, Gulak locked Alexander in a submission, but Dorado came off the top with a move to break it up. Rapid fire offense ensued, and Alexander won the match with the Lumbar Check.
Bill Says: This was a fun opener that the live crowed enjoyed. I’m hoping this is a sign that some of these guys are catching on, but some of it is more than likely due to the match being the first action the fans have seen.
New Day joined Tom Phillips in the social media lounge, decked out in Halloween versions of their Booty O’s shirt. A full on comedy segment. Someone asked how they decide which two wrestle, and Kofi said they can’t answer that because teams don’t know how to prepare for them.
They ran a video package for the Sasha Banks/Charlotte feud. The hosts talked about the match and Lawler predicted a Charlotte win. The structure was shown being lowered as the pre-show ended.
WWE “Hell in a Cell,” Live from The TD Garden in Boston, MA
The program opened with video clips of the various participants in the various matches, as well as from Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon. We’re right off to the first match.
Match #1 – Roman Reigns (c) vs. Rusev (w/Lana); WWE United States Championship inside Hell in a Cell
Winner: Roman Reigns to retain the WWE United States Championship
The Summary: Lana gave Rusev the standard introduction and he got some boos. Reigns got a mixed reaction from the live crowd as he made his way to the ring. Graves said that Reigns has a slight advantage having been in a match previously (vs. Bray Wyatt).
They start with clubbing strikes as the crowd starts a split chant of “Let’s go Rusev” “Rusev Sucks” chants. The match falls outside momentarily but Rusev gets back in. Reigns takes some shots from Rusev, then Reigns shoulder blocks Rusev from the apron to the cage.
The battle spilled back to the floor with Reigns roughing Rusev up all around ringside. Rusev raked the eyes, but got thrown into the ringside steps. Reigns teased pulling a table out but Rusev cut him off. Rusev started to take control of the matchup, working Reigns over with strikes and kicks.
A “USA” chant got some traction as the two exchanged strikes. Rusev whipped Reigns to the corner hard and covered for one. Reigns started to fire up with his short corner clothesline spot, following with a big boot. Reigns called for the Superman punch, but Rusev rolled out. He tried for the Drive By out on the floor but Rusev threw a short clothesline and ducked it. Not a good looking spot. He followed up by tossing Reigns to the stairs.
“Get the tables” rang out from Boston as Rusev threw Reigns into the cage. He followed by hitting Reigns with a section of the steps twice. The fight moved back inside, where Rusev perched the steps on the top buckle in the corner. Roman blocked whip attempts with strikes then threw Rusev out. He kicked Rusev through the ropes.
The two exchanged some kicks, then Rusev picked Reigns up and throwing him face first into the cage. Rusev teased a table but got a kendo stick instead. Reigns hit the Drive By on a distracted Rusev then wore him out with the stick. Reigns fed Rusev in, but Rusev pulled the ropes up for a unique low blow. He caught Roman in the ropes then wore Reigns out with the stick. I’d buy this more if Reigns wasn’t wearing that big heavy vest.
Rusev set up a move by running the ropes but he ate a clothesline for a near fall. Both men sold. On their feet, the two exchanged strikes with Rusev getting the better of it. Reigns tried a Samoan drop that Rusev countered out of. Rusev ran Reigns to the corner but ate a Superman punch for a near fall.
Reigns called for the spear, but Rusev met him with a kick and threw him into the stairs that were still in the corner. Good near fall. Rusev looked for the Accolade and locked it in. Reigns struggled for the ropes and slipped out, then Rusev tried to get it back but Reigns cut him off. He tried to set up a spear but ate a big boot. Reigns rolled to ringside, and Rusev went out for a chain.
Rusev teased a strike with the chain but Reigns countered it and started firing away. Back in the ring, Rusev grabbed the chain and whipped Reigns with it. Rusev went out for the base of the steps as Reigns sold. Reigns threw some strikes but Rusev got the better of it by hitting Reigns off the steps and a superkick for a near fall.
Rusev perched Reigns on the steps and set up the Accolade on the steps, with the chain around Reigns’ jaw. Reigns hulked up and hit Rusev with a Samoan drop on the steps. Rusev stood up on the steps, and Reigns sprung out of the corner to hit a big spear to win. The commentary team recapped the action as Reigns posed for the crowd.
A really physical affair as expected. It was a bit slow and plodding at times, but the two men worked hard in a solid opener. The danger here is with Rusev now – his finisher was cut down by a bit too much “Super Roman” and one just has to wonder what is next for the Bulgarian Brute. Not a show stealing match, which keeps the expectations for later matches lower.
The commentary team talked about Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens inside the Cell. They recapped Rollins pinning both Jericho and Owens on Raw, but Owens powerbombing Rollins off the side of the ring. Owens asked if Rollins really was the winner by taking that powerbomb. Owens said that for three seconds of 600 or 700 seconds of that match, Rollins had him. “Good for him.” Owens recalled hitting Cena with a powerbomb on the apron and said it kept him out for weeks. He said Rollins wants to be a hero and ignore the advice of doctors, but what Owens will do to Rollins tonight will make Reigns and Rusev’s fight, as brutal as it was, look like a cakewalk.
Match #2 – Bayley vs. Dana Brooke;
The Summary: Bayley got the first introduction and a decent welcome. Brooke did a cartwheel then posed to heat. In the early going, Brooke controlled the majority of the offense by working on Bayley’s taped up arm.
Bayley mounted a comeback with left handed shots, a corner splash, a suplex and a corkscrew elbow off the ropes. She set the Bayley to Belly but Dana blocked it momentarily with shots to the bad arm. Moments later, Bayley hit it for the win. She posed for the fans as the commentary team bickered.
This was a fine come-down match from the marathon HIAC match that started it off. The crowd responded favorably to Bayley’s comeback. If you recall us talking on Ring Rap Audio, we’re not sure where the women go next from here.
Backstage, Stephanie and Mick Foley talked about how the pay per view may outshine No Mercy, then turned their attention to Survivor Series. Chris Jericho interrupted and mentioned that Smackdown might have AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose on their team. Foley asked if Jericho had a point, which led to a threat to be put on The List. Jericho asserted that he and Kevin Owens should be co-captains of the Raw team. Steph told him they would take it under advisement.
Cole said the new Raw Talk show will be on after the pay per view, and the first guests will be Roman Reigns and Bayley.
Enzo and Cass came out to the stage to a big reaction. They did their normal entrance gimmick and hit the ring for a promo. They made fun of Gallows and Anderson, calling them “Big Gal and Andy.” Enzo called them generic like Times New Roman font, then made some other jokes. Cass called Gallows a “sloppy jalopy” and said he’d go upside his head like Big Papi (Boston Red Sox hitter David Ortiz). Cass closed with the SAWFT line before Gallows and Anderson made their entrance.
Match #3 – Enzo and Big Cass vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
Winner: Gallows and Anderson
The Summary: The faces got an early flurry, but Enzo ended up selling for the heels for the majority of the early going. He fought back, fighting Anderson off from the ropes then hitting a leaping DDT.
Cass got the hot tag and went off on both members of the club. He hit repeated splashes on Gallows and Anderson, then tossed Anderson over the rope. He hit Anderson with a big boot that sent him to the floor, then hit the Empire Elbow on Gallows.
A bit later, Enzo tagged in and hit a cross body on Anderson, who rolled to ringside. He threw punches at Gallows, who was still the legal man. In the end, Gallows and Anderson teamed up to hit the Magic Killer on Enzo for the win.
A win that Gallows and Anderson needed. They need some momentum going forward. The problem is it came at the expense of Enzo and Cass, a face team that also needs some momentum. I figure they’ll get the win back at some point in the not too distant future.
They ran an ad for WWE 2k17 but also to hype Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series. Back in the arena, the cell was lowering for the second HIAC match, which will be Owens vs. Rollins. They ran a video package to recap the feud. Owens made his entrance, looking intimidated at first at the cell. Rollins got a nice pop for his entrance.
Bill Says: This means that Banks vs. Flair goes last. That’s a bit of a big deal.
Match #4 – Kevin Owens (c) vs. Seth Rollins; WWE Universal Championship inside Hell in a Cell
Winner: Kevin Owens to retain the WWE Universal Championship
The Summary: Cole hyped that only four out of sixteen times the title has been defended in the Cell has there been a title change. The fight spilled to ringside early, with Rollins roughing Owens up against the cell early. The fight moved back inside, with Owens getting some strikes in but Rollins getting back in charge with a snapmare and a low kick. Rollins trash talked Owens while stomping on him.
Owens began to take over the offense, working on Rollins’ back. He threw Rollins back first into the LED corner posts and taunted Rollins, then played to the crowd who seemed to have settled in to watch. Back in the ring Owens got a cover. Rollins threw some strikes but Owens threw Rollins out of the ring and face first into the cell. Owens took a bow.
Owens went out to rough Rollins up some more, then threw him in to hit some corner clotheslines on Rollins. He followed with a cannonball. Rollins fell to ringside, and Owens hit a second cannonball against the cell. Back in the ring, Owens looked for the pop up powerbomb but Rollins leaped over and set for the Pedigree. Owens back dropped out and tried a roll-up, but Rollins hit a kick. Owens returned a superkick, but Rollins hit an enzugiri. Great sequence.
Owens, who had rolled to ringside, grabbed a table to put it next to the one that was already set up. He paused, then set it up against the cage. Graves said Owens has turned the Cell into his own erector set. On the apron, Rollins hit a suplex on Owens. Rollins followed with a couple dives on Owens into the cage, then went top rope. Owens rolled to ringside and grabbed a fire extinguisher. He thrust it into Rollins ribs, then doused the referee with it.
As the official was being helped out, here came Jericho. He ran down and got in the cage and locked it. Graves said he didn’t agree but it was legal. Rollins threw a strike at Jericho on the apron, sending him face first to the cage. Owens hit a powerbomb on Rollins for a near fall. Owens went top rope looking for something, but Rollins countered.
Rollins sought the Pedigree on Owens, but Jericho came off the ropes. Jericho took a Pedigree for his troubles. Rollins loaded a powerbomb on Owens through the tables perched on the cage earlier. A safe, but exciting, spot. Rollins hit a frogsplash and covered, but Jericho pulled the official out.
As Owens sold, Rollins went after Jericho and roughed him up. Rollins returned to the ring, only to take a pop up powerbomb from Owens for a good near fall. Jericho stirred while Owens unloaded on Rollins. Jericho brought a chair in and Owens used it to wear Rollins out. Rollins got the chair, and he started going after both men. Owens cut him off and hit a DDT onto a chair.
Owens set the chairs up and powerbombed Rollins through the chairs as Jericho cheered him on. Owens covered and won. Graves said that we didn’t have to like it but we just had to accept it that Jericho helped Owens retain. Owens played to the fans as the commentary team ran down highlights. The official opened the cage, but Jericho returned to hit a Codebreaker on Rollins.
Eh. Lukewarm on this. Whether this match happened in or out of the cell, this finish was going down in some way or form like this. So, did this need the Cell? Kinda don’t think so. The match quality was fantastic though and the women are going to have a hard time topping this one. So far, things feeling all very predictable but the women do have the “unpredictability” factor going for them.
They sent it to the panel who recapped some of the action to this point. They recapped the six-man cruiserweight tag match on the pre-show, then sent it back to the commentary team to hype the cruiserweight championship match.
Match #5 – TJ Perkins (c) vs. Brian Kendrick; WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Winner: Brian Kendrick to win the Cruiserweight Championship
The Summary: They recapped Kendrick asking Perkins to let him win earlier. The two shook hands as doesn’t happen in any other match on WWE television. In the early going they noted Kendrick’s history with WWE, tagging with Paul London. Perkins used an early monkey flip, but Kendrick used a roll up for an early pinning predicament.
After some shoving, Perkins hit a springboard cross body. A little later, Kendrick tied Perkins up with his wrist tape and threw a couple kicks, then hit a belly to back suplex for a two count. Kendrick slowed the pace down and locked on a cravat hold.
A bit later, Perkins went top rope, but when he leaped off Kendrick was there with a drop kick for a near fall. The two men exchanged strikes and kicks. Perkins hit the detonation kick for a good near fall. He followed with a wrecking ball drop kick but took a belly to back suplex into a cradle for a two count for Kendrick.
Perkins locked on a chicken wing, then the men rolled through and then Kendrick locked on Captain’s Hook. Perkins rolled him over to break it. Perkins locked in the knee bar submission but he spun around to the closer bottom ropes to break it.
Kendrick tried for Sliced Bread, but sold a knee problem. Perkins waited on the top rope as Kendrick agonized. Fans booed a little with the delay. Kendrick suckered him in and hit a headbutt, then locked in Captain’s Hook. Perkins tapped and Kendrick smirked as he got the win. The commentary team recapped the ending as Perkins sold disgust in the ring.
The match was fine but maybe should have been positioned differently on the card. I like the finish – heels win in ways that are less than honorable and Kendrick has been booked as the division’s heel. Now, we have the ability to get guys over, which is something Kendrick did a hell of a job with in the CWC, and build characters. Hopefully, WWE won’t screw this up and do it that way.
The commentary team sold WWE Network to those watching on pay per view. They hyped upcoming events that will be on WWE Network like Takeover: Toronto, Survivor Series, and more. They swung into a recap of the story between New Day and Cesaro and Sheamus heading into the tag team championship match.
Backstage, Sheamus and Cesaro talked. They complimented each other and talked about their win last week, and complimented each other, then it boiled back down into them bickering about booking rental cars and whose lead they should follow.
New Day made their entrance and threw some boxes of Booty O’s to the crowd. They cut a promo, with Kofi doing some pandering because he’s from there. They turned to Sheamus, and the crowd chanted “Shame.” They said Sheamus had sponsorship deals for toilet paper and trash cans. Kofi said you’d never see him with the titles because New Day Rocks.
Match #6 – New Day vs. Cesaro and Sheamus; Raw Tag Team Championship
Winner: Cesaro and Sheamus by Disqualification, New Day Retains the Titles.
The Summary: Sheamus got his entrance, but Cesaro’s cut him off. The two bickered after posing. It’s Woods and E for New Day. Cesaro rolled Woods over early but Woods hit him with a clunky huracanrana and a kick against the ropes. Sheamus knocked Woods from the apron, and Cesaro wondered why but tagged Sheamus in.
Sheamus threw Woods to the barrier then hit the ten beats of the battern against the ropes. Cesaro tagged back in and got a two count. Blind tag sequence from Sheamus and Cesaro as they took turns hitting upper cuts on Woods. Woods used a backslide for two but ate a double axe handle.
Woods tagged in blind and hit a cross body but Sheamus rolled him over for two. He followed with White Noise for another two count. “Shame” chants started again. Cesaro made it to the apron and blind tagged, with Sheamus hitting a rolling senton and Cesaro hitting a double stomp.
Cesaro teased the Swing but Woods escaped then threw kicks. He hit a big flying elbow on Cesaro for two. Cesaro hit E with a big boot then followed with a series of uppercuts on Woods. He followed with the swing, then tried to step through for the Sharpshooter.
Big E saved the match, then hit an exploder suplex in the corner. A bit later, New Day set up for Midnight Hour, but Sheamus cut Woods off. Sheamus cued a Brogue Kick but hit Cesaro instead. E disposed of him to ringside and Woods crawled into the cover but Sheamus broke it up.
Late in this one, Cesaro locked on the Sharpshooter on Woods. Big E tried to break things up, but Sheamus hit him with the trombone. Kofi hit Sheamus with Trouble in Paradise. In the ring, Woods was teasing tapping out, but the official saw the TiP outside and called for the disqualification.
This finish was awful. The match itself was fine and I really didn’t have any issues with that. I guess this program will keep going on, but with Survivor Series coming up, will it play out on Raw or some other time?
They hyped Goldberg vs. Lesnar at Survivor Series and ran a video promo. Lesnar was in a sit-down setting, and he told Goldberg’s wife and son to not watch. He said he would suplex Goldberg, hit the F5 and go home, and Goldberg won’t.
Bill Says: The sit-down setting is where Lesnar excels. We need more of that going up to their match.
They ran a video package for the women’s championship, which is up next.
Match #7 – Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte; Raw Women’s Championship;
Winner: Charlotte to win the Raw Women’s Championship
The Summary: Charlotte was carried to the ring on a platform first, then Banks rode out in an Escalade escorted by four men. Banks got a big reaction from the hometown crowd. The ladies got the introductions first before the cell was brought down around them.
The cell didn’t get all the way down when Charlotte attacked Sasha. They brawled into the crowd, then back to ringside. Sasha ripped apart an announce table, then Charlotte tried climbing up the cage. Sasha went after her and they fought on the side of the cage. Charlotte fell down, then when Sasha climbed down on her own Charlotte set up a powerbomb through the dismantled announce table.
Referees stepped in and tended to Banks, who struggled to get to her feet. As they helped her away from ringside, Charlotte taunted her. Sasha continued to fall down as she tried to walk, so the officials called for EMT’s. They tended to Sasha, and Charlotte went into the cell.
The referee entered with the belt and was just about to present Charlotte with the title belt when Sasha stood up and shoved all the trainers aside and headed to the cell. The in-ring referee ruled that the match was a go and the bell rang.
Sasha set out with an early attack but Charlotte recovered and sent Sasha into the cage. Sasha came back and locked in the Bank Statement to try and end it early but Charlotte powered out and sent Sasha to ringside. Cole noted that Sasha’s back hit the edge of the ring, playing into the back injury.
Charlotte grabbed a chair, but Sasha hit her with a baseball slide then a suicide dive against the cage. Sasha set the chair up in the ring. Charlotte came back with some chops, yelling “you will respect me.” Sasha threw punches back. Charlotte slammed Sasha onto the chair and covered for two.
Charlotte stayed on offense, wrapping Sasha around the post and pulling at her foot and hair. Graves said the referee should step in and stop this as it’s prolonging the agony for Banks. Sasha got back up and leaped onto the cage, then did a double knee press off of it.
Sasha threw some kicks and threw Charlotte into the cage, then followed up with running double knees against it. The fight moved back into the ring, where Sasha hit another double knee spot then did the three amigos suplexes that Eddie Guerrero made famous. Sasha went up top and hit a frog splash for two.
Sasha perched Charlotte on the middle rope and put a chair under her, then did the double knee slam for a good two count. Charlotte fought back by pulling Sasha through the ropes and slamming her face first to the ring steps. Charlotte set up a superplex onto a table, but Sasha booted her off and sent Charlotte through it instead.
Sasha dragged out another table and set it in the ring. Charlotte grabbed it though and drove Sasha into the cage with it in a cool spot. Charlotte set up another table in the ring. Sasha got back in and they fought on opposite sides of the table. Charlotte got the better of it, slapping on the Figure Four. She tried to bridge to the Figure Eight, but Sasha hit her with a chair to break the hold.
Charlotte came back with a big forearm shot and yelled about respect again. Sasha came back with a forearm shot and then the two threw simultaneous forearms. Charlotte hit three backbreakers in a row and covered for two. Sasha caught Charlotte going top rope and tried to powerbomb her through a table in the opposite corner but her back gave out. Charlotte whipped Sasha into the table twice then hit Natural Selection for the win.
The crowd was into this until the finish, obviously as Sasha was the hometown girl. Twitter was even pretty divided over what went down, and Drew and I thought something seemed off about it. Can’t put my finger on it just yet, but something seemed weird. We’ll see if I figure that out.
But the ladies worked hard and put on a solid main event, working just as hard as the guys did in their matches. I’m glad we saw absolutely zero insane stunts off the structure – we didn’t need that. The one thing the women had going for them that the men didn’t I think was that their finish was more unpredictable than the others. I am a bit shocked that Sasha lost the title here and I do get concerned with the constant back and forth with the title starting to harm the value of it. I get it that you can say ‘well, they’re so evenly matched that it’s always up for grabs when they fight’ but at some point it has to settle in to one champion who is clearly above all.
I do wonder where they go with several feuds out of this show. I don’t feel like we’ve seen the end of Sasha and Charlotte even though we should have inside the Cell. I feel like Rollins will transition to Jericho, but will that happen or not? Where do they go with Reigns and Rusev? This is a show that ended with some questions more so than answers, some of which I am perfectly fine with as some unpredictability is good.
Overall, the show was solid from top to bottom. I think there were some things that were questionable, but all in all a solid pay per view. Drew will have more to say on Tuesday, and I’ll be back tomorrow night with Raw coverage. See you then.