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W WWE Hell in a Cell- October 25, 2020
by Samoa Rowe
Live from the THUNDERDOME, from now until the end of eternity (or until the lease at Amway Center ends, whichever comes first). Presented by SKITTLES, which are hell for my teeth. Our hosts are Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Tom Phillips, Samoa Joe, and Byron Saxton.
WWE Universal Championship (Hell in a Cell "I Quit" Match):
Roman Reigns © (with Paul Heyman) vs. Jey Uso
I'll spare you my bellyaching over this being a Cell AND an I Quit match, as that narrative has been run into the ground. This situation does warrant the I Quit stips because Roman is upset that Jey disrespected him at Clash of Champions by refusing to verbally submit. Also, if the match is good, it really won't matter anyway. All the cast members do a tremendous job setting the stage, with Roman mouthing "forgive me," Heyman gazing at Roman like a smitten Cheshire cat, and Jey's trash talk. Bell rings and it starts as a slaughter for the champ. Jey desperately mounts a comeback with only 3 minutes gone, and nails a tope suicida into the cell wall. Jey gains some confidence but Roman cuts him down with a spear. Uso tries to regain his momentum, only for Roman to bring it to a halt with a second spear. Roman wastes time yacking and Jey hits a superkick and high crossbody. Jey retrieves a strap and whips Roman on his back. Roman absorbs some blows before popping up for a third spear. "I DO THE WHIPPING AROUND HERE" shouts Roman, as he returns the favor. Roman ties the strap to Jey's arm, and Im starting to fear that Survivor Series will have Reigns vs. Uso III in a Hell in a Cell Texas Bullrope I Quit Last Man Standing Iron Man Match (and that I'll probably like it too). They're both tied to the strap as Uso pulls the wrist to avoid a Superman punch, and then wraps the strap around Roman's throat in murderous fashion. Reigns seems to pass out, or die, I'm not a doctor, but the match continues because he didn't say "I quit." Jey prepares a chair but Roman blocks with a Superman Punch and guillotine choke. Jey won't quit and Roman is beside himself. After a few minutes of downtime, Roman hits a running dropkick to the head. Roman props the ring steps against Jey's head and ring post for another running dropkick. Jey won't quit, but the ref decides to call it off anyway, and Roman (correctly) tosses him out to prevent a nonfinish. Officials and referees run in to reason with Reigns, but he only closes the cell door and gets the ring steps. Reigns pins Jey's head down with the steps and gives a speech about what a superior man he is. Roman hoists the steps over his head and Jimmy Uso runs in and shields his brother. Jimmy emotionally pleads for the family to reconcile. Roman breaks down into tears and for a moment seems to have regained his senses. He takes Jimmy but the hand, and then pulls him into a chokehold! Jey quits to save his brother at 29:09! Wow, this was a bit long-winded and dragged at times, but the emotion down the stretch was incredible. They could not have done this match in front of a live crowd, so hat's off to them for finding ways to turn the Thunderdome format into a positive, ***½.
Winner and still Universal Champion: Roman Reigns
Roman's Uncle Afa and father, Sika, greet him on the stage for an embrace. Looks like an awkward Thanksgiving is coming up for the Samoans.
Elias arrives and is upset that Jeff Hardy ran him over with a car, even though everyone knows it was Sheamus trying to set Hardy up. He then performs an amusing song that insults the fans' messy homes and Hardy's problems with alcohol.
Elias vs. Jeff Hardy
They lock up and Elias uses his power advantage to hit a chop. Hardy uses his speed advantage to hit an atomic drop and takes down Elias for 2. Elias counters a hammerlock but Hardy blocks a chinlock to reapply the hammerlock. Elias breaks free by launching Jeff through the ropes. Jeff shoves Elias into the post and hits a baseball slide dropkick, but misses a dive off the steps and hits the rails hard. Elias roughs Jeff up with clubbing offense and applies the ever-trusty chinlock. Jeff escapes on cue and rallies with double leg drops to the thighs. Elias answers with a wild sitout powerbomb for 2. Whisper in the Wind by Jeff gets 2. Twist of Fate by Jeff, but Elias rolls away to avoid a Swanton Bomb. Elias grabs his guitar, but Jeff breaks it over his back for the DQ at 7:48. This felt like routine filler, but I guess the feud must continue, *½.
Winner via DQ: Elias
Kayla Braxton interviews Otis and Tucker Knight ahead of his briefcase defense against The Miz. Otis is still high on life, even though Mandy Rose got shipped off to Raw, but he's angry at Miz.
Money in the Bank:
Otis © (with Tucker Knight) vs. The Miz (with John Morrison)
Miz insulted Otis on Smackdown during a silly "Law is Otis" courtroom spoof (complete with JBL as the judge, which has got to be a nod to the notorious wrestlers' court from back in the day) and is aggressive at the opening bell. Miz goes on defense, manages to block some disasterous shots, but Otis still lands a seated senton. Miz tosses Otis but misses a sliding dropkick. Morrison's distraction allows Miz to hit a swinging DDT for 2. Miz hits some Daniel Bryan kicks to the chest and a flying axe handle for 2. Otis escapes a sleeper but Miz hits a big boot. Otis does his allegedly endearing blue collar dancing to signal a comeback and takes Miz down with a flapjack. Otis goes for the caterpillar, but Morrison pulls Miz to safety. The ref catches Morrison interfering with the briefcase and ejects him. Otis hits a discus clothesline for 2. Tucker then clocks Otis with the briefcase, and Miz easily pins him at 7:32! After 10 long years, Miz is once again is Mr. Money in the Bank. Match was alright, would have benefited from these guys having been better protected by WWE's booking practices, **.
Winner: The Miz
Tucker defends his actions backstage, as he feels he was the workhorse of Heavy Machinery, but became an afterthought due to Otis' popularity. Otis can't tie his own shoes without him. Otis ambushes and chases him into the pro shop.
WWE Smackdown Women's Championship (Hell in a Cell):
Bayley © vs. Sasha Banks
I was hoping this would get the main event nod tonight, so color me mildly disappointed. Aside from a brief Charlotte reign, Bayley has been Smackdown Women's Champion for the last 520 days. Bayley brings a chair with her, but Sasha kicks it out just as the Cell lowers. With the champion taken out of her comfort zone, Sasha gets a hot start. Bayley escapes the Bank Statement and drives Sasha into the wall. Sasha blocks a kendo stick shot and cracks it over the champion's skull. Sasha uses a table to drive Bayley into the wall and hits an impressive meteora! A second meteora in the ring only gets 2! Bayley kicks out Sasha's ankle to send her face first into the ring frame. Sasha leaps off the side of the wall to counter with a kick, and sends Bayley into the steps with a shotgun dropkick. Sasha bridges some kendo sticks between the steps and wall, which is new, but her suplex is reversed into a drop toe hold through a stick! Bayley repositions the sticks for a catapult! Back to the ring, Bayley hits a neckbreaker for 2. Sasha desperately hits a sunset flip powerbomb into the Cell! Bayley answers by jamming Sasha's face into a standing chair. Sasha drives Bayley into a turnbuckle chair, avoids contact herself, but Bayley hits a sunset flip powerbomb into the chair! Sasha kicks out! Bayley's flying elbow also gets 2. Backstabber by Sasha and the Bank Statement! Bayley uses the apron to escapes and ties Banks up for easy kendo stick shots. Bayley tapes two kendo sticks together to bridge them between the ring and Cell, but Sasha ambushes with a fire extinguisher. Bayley cannot flee through the door, but does retrieve her chair, but Sasha unloads on her. Sasha goes completely nuts hitting kendo shots. Bayley counters a frog splash with her chair. Bayley slams Banks' face into the concrete floor for 2. Bayley sets a ladder up on two tables. Sasha fights back, but Bayley tosses her onto the ladder. The champ drapes Sasha on the ladder and spraypaints an X on her stomach. Bayley misses a diving chair shot, and Sasha launches off the ladder for a Meteora into the buckles! Belly to belly suplex by Banks onto the ladder only gets 2! Desperation snapmare by Bayley sets up the Belly to Bayley for 2. Chair shots by Bayley, but Sasha counters into a chair-assisted Bank Statement! Bayley taps at 26:28! Early on I was worried that they were spending too much time trying to find illogical ways to be creative with the stip, but this was a nasty bit of business down the stretch, and a fitting showdown between two longtime frenemies, ****¼.
Winner and new Smackdown Women's Champion: Sasha Banks
The Hurt Business are allowed to pick their Retribution opponent and arrange for Lashley to face the mighty Slapjack.
United States Championship:
Bobby Lashley © vs. Slapjack
Slapjack is mostly known as the Retribution member "with the funny mask" and he gets steamrolled by Lashley early on. Slapjack comes back with a flurry and hits a running cannonball for 2. Lashley breaks a chinlock but Slapjack hits a tornado DDT for another 2 count. Lashley comes back with a power slam and an overhead belly to belly suplex. Pop-up chokeslam by Lashley, and the Full Nelson finishes at 3:53. Complete squash that doesn't do Retribution any favors, *.
Winner: Bobby Lashley
Retribution swarm Lashley, and the Hurt Business make a save even though Lashley was on his way to making a one man comeback. Feels like they're setting up an elimination tag match at Survivor Series where Hurt Business can just sweep Retribution.
WWE Championship (Hell in a Cell):
Drew McIntyre © vs. Randy Orton
A hooded Randy Orton ambushes Drew during his entrance and they brawl outside the Cell. Drew gains the upper hand and shuts them both into the Cell. Drew dominates for several minutes by bashing Orton against the Cell and ringside area. Orton dodges a Claymore and proceeds to pick Drew apart with a chair. Orton (slowly) drags Drew's face into the Cell, because THEY ARE TELLING A STORY! Conventional wisdom suggests that slow = storytelling, fast-paced = spotfest, and we really need to move on from this mindset. I think slow paced matches are just easier to plan and execute. McIntyre rallies and overwhelms Orton with an overhead suplex. Drew's DDT is blocked, so he hits a backbreaker. Orton tries to flee, but Drew suplexes him through a leaning table. Orton comes right back with a low blow and draping DDT for only 1. Orton opens the door with bolt cutters and tries to leave, but Drew cuts him off. Orton knocks Drew loopy and heads to the top of the Cell. Drew follows, and their standoff on the roof makes for an admittedly cool scene. Orton clocks Drew's "Claymore leg" with a pipe and tries to climb down. Drew chases him down, only to take a bad spill through the announce table! Drew is bleeding from the mouth and looks finished as Orton nudges him back to the ring. Drew blocks the RKO and desperately hits the Claymore. Drew misses a second Claymore and Orton hits the RKO to claim the title at 32:48. I disagree with this title change, but not strongly enough to complain too much. I'm not saying they didn't work hard, but 80% of this was simply boring to watch, **¼.
Winner and new WWE Champion: Randy Orton
Final Thoughts: I know I'm preaching to the choir, but 3 Hell in a Cell matches in one night is ridiculous and leads to diminishing returns. Bayley vs. Sasha was outstanding, Roman vs. Jey was a slight downgrade from their sharp Clash of Champions match, and Orton vs. Drew had me staring at the clock. Also, I'm not sure that taking the Money in the Bank briefcase off the ice cold Otis and handing it to the ice cold Miz solved any problems going forward. Overall, Hell in a Cell 2020 was kind of a mess, mild thumbs down.
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