Welcome to The Wrestling Kennection's LIVE coverage of WWE's 2018 Hell In A Cell PPV, with "The Hillraiser" himself, Ken Hill!
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Enjoy the show and raise some hell!
Smackdown Tag Team Championship Kickoff Match The New Day (c) w/Xavier Woods vs. Rusev Day w/Lana
RESULTS: The New Day win via pinfall; Kingston pinned English following Trouble In Paradise.
THOUGHTS: This was a fun little sprint between the two Day teams, with Rusev and English have a couple close calls in winning the blue tag straps, only to fail because of slight miscommunications and a touch of over-enthusiasm on Aiden's behalf. What I really enjoyed was seeing how well Rusev and English functioned as a true, blue face team; the break seems inevitable, but I'd love to see their babyface run continue.
WK KING OF PPV Dan - 1 pt Ken - 1 pt Jaymes - 1 pt Alison - 0 pts Eleanor - 2 pts (LOCK)
Hell In A Cell Match "The Charismatic Enigma" Jeff Hardy vs. "The Viper" Randy Orton
RESULTS: Randy Orton wins via pinfall; Orton got the pin after Hardy missed a swinging splash from the top of the Cell through a table.
THOUGHTS: I said on the preview that this environment would suit Orton's new nasty heel character to a tee, and I was certainly not mistaken in that regard, as Orton was downright brutal here, including his use of a SCREWDRIVER to torture Hardy's earlobe until it resembled a Salvador Dali painting. Hardy gave as good as he got, whipping Orton's back bloody with his studded belt, busting open Orton's thigh with a chair-assisted Swanton, and truly going for broke with an attempted splash swinging off the top of the Cell, only to crash and burn big time.
The ending was interesting, as Orton was insistent on the ref counting three, even as the ref was calling for the Cell to be raised and asking for medical personnel. It makes me wonder if that was the true finish, or if there was an audible called after Hardy's horrific crash. Either way, Jeff truly gave us the unique Cell experience we were expecting from him. Kudos to you, Mr. Hardy.
WK KING OF PPV Dan - 2 pts Ken - 2 pts Jaymes - 2 pts Alison - 1 pt Eleanor - 3 pts
Smackdown Women's Championship Singles Match Charlotte Flair (c) vs. "The Relent-Lass" Becky Lynch
RESULTS: NEWWW Champion Becky Lynch wins via pinfall; Lynch countered a spear into an inside cradle for the three count.
THOUGHTS: This was a solid match with a surprisingly abrupt ending. Charlotte and Becky, who have already developed an intricate in-ring chemistry with one another, put on a really good back-and-forth exchange here, with some brutal arm work put in by Becky, including a rarely-seen Reverse Hammerlock DDT. The ending came with Becky reversing a Flair spear for the three count and shrugging off a post-match handshake from Charlotte, leaving with the title held high. It was a near-unanimous call that Becky needed the win from the get-go, but the surprise was the sudden ending, which could be played off as Charlotte underestimating Becky and her shift in character.
WK KING OF PPV Dan - 3 pts Ken - 3 pts Jaymes - 2 pts Alison - 2 pts Eleanor - 4 pts
RAW Tag Team Championship Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose
RESULTS: Ziggler & McIntyre win via pinfall; Ziggler fell onto Rollins for the three count, after McIntyre hit Rollins with a Claymore in the midst of Rollins' Superplex-Falcon Arrow combo.
THOUGHTS: This was an AMAZING match. So far for HIAC, it's been proven that having a smaller card allows for each of the matches to have more time and a better flow. Here, it was nothing short of a frenetic pace, a constant back-and-forth between an established team in Rollins and Ambrose against a team looking to cement themselves as the top of the RAW tag division in Ziggler and McIntyre. Strowman's "Dogs of War" had an answer for a lot of the Shield duo's trademark breakneck offense, whereas Rollins and Ambrose stayed ever resilient and came close with many near falls, including a nasty-looking Rollins frog splash to McIntyre's back for a loooong two count.
The ending with McIntyre slickly blindsiding Rollins in mid-move and Ziggler falling into the cover was pretty cool; while Ziggler got the cover, you could make the argument that McIntyre was the real game-changer at the end of the match, gearing both him and Ziggler towards an IC Title feud with Rollins in the near future.
WK KING OF PPV Dan - 4 pts Ken - 4 pts Jaymes - 3 pts Alison - 2 pts Eleanor - 4 pts
WWE World Championship Singles Match "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles (c) vs. "The Destroyer" Samoa Joe
RESULTS: AJ Styles won* via pinfall; Styles reversed the Coquina Clutch into a pinning combination for the three count.
* - It was shown on a different camera angle that Styles tapped out roughly around the same time Joe was counted down for three.
THOUGHTS: This was yet another solidly done match; HIAC has been on a roll from the opening in terms of the overall match quality I've seen here tonight. Joe was his classic brutal self, simply wearing down Styles with a perfect combination of speed, power and submission style, whereas Styles kept pace despite Joe's brute tactics, even getting his nose bloodied at one point, and having enough gumption to reverse the Coquina Clutch into a pinfall for the win...or so we thought until another camera angle revealed Styles tapped out around the same time Joe was counted down. This obviously means that the feud must continue, with Joe having a legit gripe to being the champion.
WK KING OF PPV Dan - 5 pts Ken - 5 pts Jaymes - 4 pts Alison - 3 pts Eleanor - 5 pts
Mixed Tag Team Match Daniel Bryan & Brie Bella vs. The Miz & Maryse
RESULTS: Miz & Maryse win via pinfall; Maryse reversed Brie's roll-up into one of her own for a three count.
THOUGHTS: This was the first real hiccup, but not so serious as to throw off the overall momentum of the show. It was a solid effort on the part of Bryan and Miz, but Brie and Maryse's ring rust was quite apparent. It could use a couple minutes trimmed off and there was clearly some miscommunication near the end, as it seemed like Miz was supposed to distract Brie and allow Maryse to get a cheap roll-up, but the missed timing translated into a relatively clean win for the "It Couple." I don't quite understand Maryse getting the win, other than it meaning that in Miz's eyes, Bryan is a failure in the ring as well as backing up his wife when she needed him most.
WK KING OF PPV Dan - 5 pts Ken - 5 pts Jaymes - 4 pts Alison - 3 pts Eleanor - 6 pts
RAW Women's Championship Singles Match "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey (c) w/Natalya vs. "The Goddess" Alexa Bliss w/Alicia Fox & Mickie James
RESULTS: Ronda Rousey wins via submission; Rousey hit the Rousey Roll, followed by locking in the armbar for the tap out.
THOUGHTS: I can honestly say this was already better than their short one-sided SummerSlam affair. Ronda sold the rib injury quite well here, not being able to go her match-ending offense from the get-go like she did before. Bliss did solid work on the ribs, utilizing James and Fox as expected, and coming close a couple times before Rousey "Rowdied" up and steamrolled Alexa once again (including a sweet-looking gutwrench powerbomb). I said the key here was Ronda learning the aspect of selling for her opponent, and I'd say she scored an A in that regard.
WK KING OF PPV Dan - 7 pts (LOCK) Ken - 7 pts (LOCK) Jaymes - 5 pts Alison - 5 pts (LOCK) Eleanor - 6 pts
WWE Universal Championship Hell In A Cell Match Roman Reigns (c) vs. Braun Strowman
Special Guest Referee: Mick Foley
RESULTS: A no contest (?!) was declared; Lesnar stormed into the cage and destroyed Reigns and Strowman with table shots and F-5s. Foley was maced by Heyman, and a new ref declared that neither competitor could continue.
THOUGHTS: I knew this was going to be an overbooked main event, but the latter half of this match just ended up being one huge mess, including the absolutely ridiculous call at the end of the match. Seriously, it's a no-holds-barred, one-fall-to-a-finish environment inside a steel cell There's is literally NO precedent for a HIAC match being called on account of neither man being able to continue. You could've said that about every (good-to-great) HIAC match like HHH-HBK, Edge-Taker and to a more obvious degree Mankind-Taker, except they KEPT THE MATCH GOING.
It's one thing to call a DQ in the main event (which I still don't approve of), but to call a no-contest, which means no resolution for the live and TV audiences, is a complete dick move, even with Lesnar's surprise appearance. I admit that was the only aspect that truly caught me off guard. DolphIntyre and the rest of the Shield showing up? Expected. Two or more of them falling off the Cell? Expected. All I can guess is that Lesnar was blowing off steam at being denied a rematch; it keeps Strowman fresh as a challenger (though it's still a real waste of MITB) and we're likely looking at a possible triple threat for the Universal Title at Survivor Series in November.
The HIAC PPV was actually running pretty smoothly up until we hit the main event. The first half of Reigns-Strowman was your typical brutal back-and-forth between the two, but like I said, the second half with the telegraphed run-in by Roman and Braun's buddies, Lesnar's involvement and especially the BS call by the new ref really killed the good vibe WWE had going here.
WK KING OF PPV Dan - 7 pts Ken - 7 pts Jaymes - 5 pts Alison - 5 pts Eleanor - 6 pts
Main Event Time-Breaker Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman TIME: 24:15