One of WWE’s most brutal matches is highlighted tonight, as the company gives us three championship matches within the confines of the enclosed cage known as HELL IN A CELL.
Earlier in the evening, I noticed some larger-than normal holes in the side of the Hell in a Cell and thought they looked maybe like footholds. It wasn’t until the final match of the evening, the WWF Championship Match between Champion Drew McIntyre and Randy Orton, that those footholds were realized, as Orton climbed up to the top of the cage, goaded the champ up there and eventually dropped the champ down the side and through the announce table.
Despite McIntyre getting a pretty decisive victory over Orton (with a little help from his friends) at CLASH OF CHAMPIONS, we got another violent rematch tonight, with McIntyre’s fall from the side of the cage being the real deciding factor. Orton managed to hit the RKO after McIntyre missed a Claymore and got the win to become a 14-time World Champion.
Orton has been one of the company MVPs this year, so I don’t hate putting the title on him, but where does the company go from here? Another rematch? Maybe another feud with AJ Styles? I’m not sure there are a lot of realistic options for a good program with the Viper, but I do hope that McIntyre gets another opportunity with the championship.
Best Match: SmackDown! Women’s Championship Hell in a Cell Match: Sasha Banks defeated Bayley (c) – The program between Banks and Bayley has been the best thing in WWE for a long time now. Bayley’s transformation from the huggable fan favorite to the in-charge heel champion has raised her game to being one of the best performers in WWE. Bayley’s betrayal of Banks has taken the story to the next level and the opportunity to showcase how well they work together in the Cell paid off. While this should have been a major part of a WrestleMania card – and it still could be next year, I suppose – this was a logical end to Bayley’s year-long championship reign. Even if I don’t think Banks is worthy of getting the win…
Worst Match: Elias beat Jeff Hardy by disqualification – These are my two least favorite performers in WWE and the pointless match here did nothing help. Elias wins after Hardy hits him with his own guitar. Meh.
Back to the Well: Another standout of the last few weeks has been Roman Reigns, with the Universal Champion finally coming into his own as a character with his Tribal Chief push alongside Paul Heyman. At Clash of Champions, he had a great match with his cousin, Jey Uso, as Reigns demanded the decorated tag team champion show him the respect he deserved. Reigns beat Jey down, forcing brother Jimmy to come down to throw in the towel. In the rematch, inside the Cell and under I Quit rules with the understanding that the Usos would be out of the family if Jey lost, Reigns again dominated his cousin. And once again Jey Uso refused to give in. And once again Jimmy came down to plead with Reigns to stop. And once again Jimmy was the reason Jey lost. Reigns put Jimmy in a choke hold, forcing Jey to say he quit in order to spare his brother. It was a good match and the story played out well, but it was too similar to their first encounter.
Briefcase War: When tag team wrestler Otis won the MONEY IN THE BANK briefcase earlier this year, it was a head-scratcher moment. Otis is a comedy mid-card act who would be very out of place in the World Championship picture. And when Roman Reigns won SmackDown’s big prize, it became even less likely that he’d manage a successful cash-in. But now, we don’t have to worry about it, because Otis lost the briefcase to The Miz, with a little help from Otis’ (now former) partner Tucker. The jealous friend nailed Otis with the briefcase, allowing a shocked Miz to get the win. I won’t lie, I was hoping the night would end with Miz cashing in the briefcase on Orton, much like he did the first time he had it back in 2010. It’s 2020, a Miz WWE Championship reign is definitely not off the table.
Faction Fight: Retribution, the group of anarchists who have been causing problems for WWE the last few months under the leadership of Mustafa Ali, finally debuted on a WWE Network Special, with Retribution member Slapjack taking on United States Champion Bobby Lashley and getting destroyed in under 4 minutes. Slapjack’s teammates ran down to beat Lashley down, but the champ held them off single-handedly until the rest of the Hurt Business came down to ringside. Retribution looks like a bunch of absolute goofs. It’s a good thing most of them are under masks.
Ranking Hell in a Cell 2020’s Matches
1 – SmackDown! Women’s Championship Hell in a Cell Match: Sasha Banks defeated Bayley
2 – WWE Championship Hell in a Cell Match: Randy Orton defeated Drew McIntyre
3 – Universal Championship Hell in a Cell I Quit Match: Roman Reigns defeated Jey Uso
4 – Money in the Bank Briefcase Match: The Miz defeated Otis
5 – United States Championship Match: Bobby Lashley defeated SlapJack
6 – Elias beat Jeff Hardy by disqualification
Next up on the WWE Network Special Calendar is SURVIVOR SERIES, which in recent years means we take a break from our regularly-scheduled feuds so that Raw and SmackDown (and sometimes NXT) and square off in battles for “Brand Supremecy.” Will be get Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns? Sasha Banks vs. Asuka? Will the Miz cash in the briefcase at Survivor Series 2020 like he did in 2010? Stay tuned!