10/30 WWE Hell in a Cell Review: Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks make history by main eventing a WWE PPV


WWE Hell in a Cell Review
October 31, 2016
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com

Since WWE has introduced Hell in a Cell as a yearly PPV in 2009 featuring multiple Hell in a Cell matches on the show, the impact of this once imposing and money drawing match was greatly affected except in certain instances (it really did help to save this year’s WrestleMania). Usually when October rolls around, this is just another PPV on the WWE calendar that you’ve just got to get through. Watching feuds that have no logical business being forced into the cell to go through matches that are physical, but quickly forgotten about is a yearly tradition now. Except for last year when Undertaker and Brock Lesnar fought inside the cell to end their epic feud, I can’t think of a single match that’s been presented on this PPV event that has truly belonged in the cell. In many instances, the cell is just one of a series of matches that a feud contains. This used to be the be all, end all for feuds.

Who would have thought that with how watered down the Hell in a Cell has become and how pretty unimportant this event has been since its introduction in 2009 that real WWE history would be made? For the first time ever, Vince McMahon allowed women to wrestle in the main event of a PPV, only it wasn’t just any match. It was a Hell in a Cell match, another first. The old man caved after much speculation and let it happen. Now WWE will spend the next six months congratulating themselves on breaking down barriers that they put up and kept up themselves for years. Still, that doesn’t take away from the fact that something special happened at this event.

So how was this historic match? How was the rest of the match? Let’s talk about this show.

WWE catches up to the times with women athletes

I guess I should preface this by saying the important thing is WWE has finally pushed the monkey off its back and caught up to the times with women athletes. After seeing a template for how successful it can be to build an event around a strong woman with how UFC was with Ronda Rousey (though to be fair, on many cards she wasn’t the sole attraction), Vince McMahon still had to be dragged kicking and screaming into allowing this to happen. It was kicked around for this entire week whether or not they’d be in the main event. This morning, McMahon finally set it in stone and opened up his mind to something that goes against every old school notion he has about professional wrestling. Well, the old school professional wrestling that he’s aware of that is. Thanks to the wonderful documentary “Lipstick and Dynamite,” it’s shown that women in the 1940s and 1950s routinely main evented cards around the country and were large draws. Still, taking so long to just let it happen hurt a bit. This is something that should have been decided a while back so they could properly promote this and make the most out of it.

Ok, enough of that. You’re probably wondering what I thought of the match. I’m going to say this: the match itself is largely unimportant in the grand scheme of things. The result was the wrong result, but they worked hard in this match and kept it representative of what the Hell in a Cell match has come to be known as today. That’s what will be remembered. People will remember that Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair were the first (and probably last for quite some time I’m sure) women to main event a PPV. They were given a lot of time and went about fifteen minutes past 11:00 PM EST to make sure they could get enough time to build. I really liked how they kicked off the proceedings with a big brawl through the crowd before faking an injury with Banks. There were a few flubs and Banks naturally spiked herself on her head a few times. Being that they were going on last, they should have ended this historic moment with the feel good moment of the hometown girl overcoming the odds to retain her title, but for whatever reason they went against doing that. Still, like I said, that’s unimportant in the grand scheme.

My hat is off to Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks. When I started recapping shows in June 2008, the women’s division (then the Divas division) in WWE was a complete and total joke. I used to absolutely trash the segments because they deserved it, and I earned the ire of websites like DivaDirt for it. I did it because it was a total waste and knew it could be better. It only took eight years, but the pinnacle is here. Good on these two. No matter what, this cannot be taken away from them.

Oh yeah – there were two other Hell in a Cell matches

Roman Reigns vs. Rusev – This match kicked off the show. These two worked hard and beat the crap out of each other, but they were largely handcuffed being the first Hell in a Cell match of the evening. They could do all they probably wanted to do because if you bring out the kitchen sink in the first match and you’ve got two to go, how can the other two follow it? Rusev dominated the match and looked good doing it. The crowd wasn’t behind Reigns, but what else is new? They had Reigns sell for a good portion of the match, but he made his superhuman comeback and picked up the win. I have no problem with the superhuman comeback, but would it kill them to have him sell his beating after the match a bit? Barely two minutes before he was holding up the title after a victory, Rusev was applying the Accolade to him with the steel chair across his mouth for added pressure. One spear and the previous beating is immediately forgotten about? This is one of a plethora of reasons why no one is taking to this guy whatsoever. Reigns is hardly ever vulnerable. When he is made to look vulnerable, it’s quickly squandered.

Speaking of Reigns, on the debut of “Raw Talk” after the PPV, he came out, sat on the panel, and cut a really good promo about being “the man” that wasn’t scripted. It was off the cuff… and it was very good. Again, going back to what I said two weeks ago, this is just more proof that scripted promos have absolutely no place in WWE. Reigns is capable of handling himself in a promo so stop scripting him with absolute garbage and let him go out there and do it. It’s not rocket science. I swear on my life it isn’t.

Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins – This was my match of the night. These guys went out there an absolutely killed each other. The whole purpose of the Hell in a Cell structure is to prevent interference, so it does hurt the match a bit when interference does happen, but at least they had a creative way to make it happen. Owens pretended to not know how to handle a fire extinguisher and absolutely smoked the referee. The referee had to be removed from the match, so the door is left open, and Chris Jericho ran down to interfere. Prior to the interference, they had a really great, physical match including a very impressive table spot. Rollins really is freaky strong. Rollins went to powerbomb Owens through the tables, but Owens didn’t rotate enough and was falling down. Rather than let him crumble and have to set the spot up again, Rollins held him before powering him up. It was really an impressive sight. The interference from Jericho allowed Owens to pick up the win not unlike how he did it at Clash of Champions last month. After the match, Jericho laid out Rollins with a Codebreaker, so maybe this is the next feud?

Quick Thoughts

* Bayley has lost a ton of steam since debuting on the main roster and being saddled in a feud with Dana Brooke, who has the wrestling acumen of a pinecone.

* Nice to see Gallows and Anderson pick up a win for once, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that they’ve been booked horribly since coming in.

* It’s been barely a month since they’ve debuted, but already the Cruiserweights are stuck in the death spot of a PPV. Not good – not good at all. T.J. Perkins is in trouble with the awful gimmick they’ve saddled him with. Maybe they can do a reset with the more charismatic Brian Kendrick having the title.

* So Sheamus and Cesaro killed themselves in a Best of 7 Series that ended in a No Contest just to get a shot at the Tag Team Titles and have that title match end in a screwy finish. If I were those two, I wouldn’t be thrilled with the booking.

Overall Impression

This PPV will be remembered forever for being the first one to be main evented by women. The three Hell in a Cell matches all delivered in terms of physicality and were for the most part above average for today’s standards in WWE. While the undercard wasn’t that great, I didn’t feel like I wasted my time watching the show tonight.

A plurality of our readers (42% as of Monday at 1:15 AM) gave Hell in a Cell a “thumbs in the middle” rating.

Bump of the Night: Seth Rollins powerbombing Kevin Owens through two tables
Match of the Night: Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins *** 3/4

Final Rating: ***

Well those are my thoughts. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know by commenting or using one of the other two options to get in contact with me.

E-Mail – MikeyT817@gmail.com
Twitter – @MikeTedescoWV

Check out my recap of WWE Hell in a Cell here.

Please check out my live recap of RAW every Monday at 8 PM EST.

Thanks for reading!

Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE Monday Night RAW for Wrestleview.com.