Hell In A Cell 2019
Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California
Oh dear. The first two words that seemed to fall out of most WWE fans’ mouths upon the finish of this year’s Hell In A Cell main event. It’s not unusual for WWE to be trending on Twitter during one of its PPVs. It’s not even that much of a change for people to appear slightly angry about their favourite Superstar losing a match. But the finish of the much-anticipated Seth Rollins vs Bray Wyatt match will surely go down as one of the most baffling booking decisions in the company’s history. Put simply, it was a cluster.
Before we go into detail about The Fiend’s latest match, let’s pump the breaks and look back at the rest of the night’s action. One of the highlights of the night was an innovative and brutal back and forth between Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch for the Raw Women’s Championship. Kicking off the show, two of the staples of the current women’s division threw everything they had to not just put on the best match they could, but succeeded in breaking new ground in a gimmick match that has seen dozens of matches precede it.
Even non-wrestling fans will no doubt have seen images of Mick Foley being thrown from the top of the cell, crashing through an announce table and sprawled at a horrible angle under the safety barrier. Here the action was limited to the confines of the cell itself, give or take a few minutes at the beginning of the match. A steel chair elevated in the corner of the cell by kendo sticks to set up a drop kick from the ring apron was just one example of two competitors looking to make a name for themselves. Innovative. Suplexing your opponent onto a stack of steel chairs. Brutal. Becky Lynch extending her reign against her biggest threat to date. Quite where this leaves both women is an intriguing question that should be answered before November’s Survivor Series hits the network.
An enthralling Tornado Tag match (all four men can be in the ring at the same time as opposed to one from each team) saw the makeshift team of Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns emerge victorious against Harper and Rowan. Although this was by no means a quick win for Reigns and Bryan, it’s easy to feel that the momentum of Rowan may be coming to a screeching halt, with a possible return to the tag division for the pair.
We commented in the preview piece for the PPV that only four matches had been announced and it was on WWE’s social media channels that news broke of a string of other matches to take place on the show. For matches that had received just a couple of hours hype, kudos to those involved as they all delivered solid contests. Randy Orton barely overcoming a game Ali was surely the highlight of a mixed undercard. One bright moment that we have never seen before, was the athletic Ali using a handstand to block Orton’s infamous RKO finishing move.
The Women’s Tag Team Titles changed hands, as Kairi Sane and Asuka stole the titles from Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross. It’s been a long time coming for the Japanese pair – a duo who, despite both having strong runs in NXT, have never really had the chance to show the wider WWE Universe what they can do. The use of green mist to pick up the win for Asuka was a nice little call out to Japanese legends of the past and give the Kabuki Warriors an edge they haven’t had in their run together so far.
Charlotte Flair appears to be well on her way to surpassing her dad Ric Flair’s record 16 world titles, as she won her 10th women’s championship. To claim her record she made Bayley tap out, as the hugger finally showed cracks of frustration after being caught cheating in an attempt to defend her title.
And so, to the main event of the evening. After spending months building Bray Wyatt and his Fiend alter ego, the stage was set for something special. After making his marquee entrance, once again carrying his own severed head to the ring. This time not only was the Cell painted red, but the entire arena was bathed in a red light for the duration of the match. The bell rang and all hell broke loose (pun intended). With only brief attacks and one squash match against Finn Balor, fans have never seen any sort of competitive match since Wyatt’s return.
What transpired was pretty much a one-sided match, with Rollins hitting finishing move after finishing move – each time the Fiend kicking out to relieved cheers from those in attendance. Those cheers quickly turned into loud boos as the pattern of stomp after stomp, morphed into desperation by the champion. Sure, this makes Wyatt look strong but, it devalues a finishing manoeuvre and makes your champion look weak as a result. The worst was to follow, as steel chairs, ladders, kendo sticks and even a toolbox failed to get the job done for Rollins. Bringing in a sledgehammer to smash against the aforementioned list of weapons now piled on the Fiend’s head, proved too much for the referee’s liking as he stopped the match.
For those who don’t know, Hell In A Cell matches are hyped as the most brutal and devastating matches that ‘take years off a Superstar’s career’. A no contest/DQ finish is not only baffling, but quite simply ludicrous. The fact the Fiend popped up moments later to attack Seth and leave him in a pool of his own blood, simply added to the sense of bewilderment that swept the Golden 1 Center. It wasn’t just confusion in the air, as the crowd quickly and loudly voiced their frustrations with chants of rival promotion AEW, ‘Refunds’ and ‘Restart The Match’.
Sometimes controversial ends can be exactly what WWE aims for. Here, however, the whole situation reeked of poor booking. If Seth can’t drop the title and Bray can’t lose, there lies an issue. We as fans can fantasy book all we want but even the most novice of fans would have finished watching this match with a better idea of how to create drama and still having the same outcome.
After a successful week that saw WWE grab headlines around the world, including BBC Sport this may have proved a step too far for fans that have stuck by the company and its sometimes questionable product. With a fanbase that has grown disillusioned and bored of your champion and storylines that are missing their mark, WWE has their work cut out for them before they completely alienate their fanbase.
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