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Hell in a Cell 2019: The Good, The Bad and the Weird

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Welcome to what will be considered one of the worst received PPV’s of all time. Half the card was rushed into place, the big title feud ended in a flop and most of all, the crowd went home extremely pissed off. There was an exceptional match in the mix but for the most part this was a very odd, badly paced PPV. I hate to start on a negative but sometimes it’s not worth hiding. Let’s get into it shall we?

The Good

Boss and Man Make Magic

The best match of the night was the first one on. Becky and Banks had one of the most violent matches in recent years taking their personal story to new limits. They brutalised each other in that cell, turning their wars of words into a war of physicality. This was a proper Hell in a Cell match with no rules and plenty of violence. It felt like a necessary step for their feud and certainly gave the audience a Women’s Title match to be proud of. This may have been one of the best opening PPV matches in quite some time. Banks was extra sneaky by smashing Becky before the cell could even be lowered. Both women took some devastating weapons shots, crazy creativity and cell slams before Becky came away with the win. It was fast and furious fun that never stopped for anything but the finish as Sasha tapped to the Disarm-Her after a top rope Bex-Ploder onto a bed of chairs. This was the absolute peak of the PPV.

The Bludgeoning

This gets a pass because it was a nice bit of chaos. I am glad to see Harper and Rowan back together and they were put against a compelling, fragile alliance between Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns. Both men were forced to overcome the size and strength advantage of the former Bludgeon Brothers. There wasn’t anything to really write home about but when it comes to this show, I’ll take what I can get. I will admit, the new more vocal Rowan has become somewhat of an entertaining oddity to me. I am quite sad he has never been given this chance in the past. He is actually way more than a goon. Like the match before, this benefitted from some creative use of the environment as weaponry.

Unexpected Excellence

Considering Ali vs Orton was a very last-minute addition to the card, it was actually a surprisingly good match. Ali is the perfect opposite style to Orton’s slow methodical dickheadedness. It also helped that Ali was willing to sell like a madman to really put over the devastating effects of Orton’s offense. The bruise on his ribs and sternum was rather disturbing to look at. Once again, it wasn’t anything too special but it was a pleasant surprise. Especially given Orton’s last couple of PPV matches.

Empresses Crowned

Random heel turn aside, this was a great return to form for Kairi Sane and Asuka. Both women were back to their hard hitting best with a new attitude and a few devilish tricks up their sleeves. They were physically dominant for a lot of the match and would always find a way to bring the match back to their corner and liking. Asuka was kicking the crap out of everyone and Kairi Sane found funny ways to be a heel despite never really being so at all during her NXT/WWE tenure. It was an excellent thing to see with a surprise return of the Poison Mist as a way to finish a match. I am all for Asuka using the green mist as a way of finishing matches from now on.

The Bad

We Couldn’t Throw Together a Tag Title Match?

Where were the tag titles on this show? Considering half the card was thrown together at the last minute, was it not possible to put together some meaningless title match for the RAW or SmackDown Tag titles? We could have had the Revival on this show facing Heavy Machinery for the random hell of it for all I care, just any semblance of a tag title bout. Then again who would want another throwaway bout on a half throwaway show?

Shorty Gable
Shorty Gable… nuff said.

The Worst Finish of the Year

How can you take one of the most naturally over stars, put them in a high-profile match, then proceed to completely mess it up to such a laughable degree? The Fiend could have never lost this match, the backlash would have been unbearable. Then again, WWE clearly don’t want to give him the belt yet given the result here. THIS MATCH WAS A NO CONTEST. A HELL IN A CELL MATCH ENDED IN NO CONTEST. Are you kidding me? Seth has been given one of the absolute worst title reigns with the Universal Title. He isn’t the face of the company and after this, people hate him even more.

Sure, Wyatt got some payback after the match with a Sister Abagail onto the exposed concrete of the floor but smashing someone in the face with a sledgehammer bouncing off a toolbox, chair, ladder shouldn’t trigger a stoppage in a match with no rules. It’s ludicrously stupid booking. I get that it might not be the right time for Wyatt to be champion, but at least go about it in a decent way. With a finish like this, you may as well have aired an AEW advert straight after the copyright for all the live crowd cared. The worst thing of all? The match itself was actually really fun but that finish ruined everything. I cannot fault Seth’s fear or desperation, it’s just sad the match had to end in such a stupid and unsatisfying way. Never has a crowd booed as loudly after a non-Mania PPV.

PPV of Apathy

This was really a PPV of two halves. The first half was rather good, with decent to excellent matches and decent pacing. The second half was awful. The Corbin match dragged, the short jokes sucked and nobody cared about Bayley vs Charlotte. Even the O.C. six-man tag match was boring to watch. Nothing in the second half bar the main event was worth caring about unless you’re a diehard Charlotte or Corbin fan. That is no way to build or pace a PPV. Plus they added most of the card at the last minute on Twitter. None of these matches had much in the way of build bar being rematches of TV matches and most belonged on TV as they had little to no impact whatsoever.

The Weird

Braun’s New Finisher

So that six-man tag match was bland and not worth talking about but I do have one question, why is Braun doing the WMD? Braun has never needed a single punch finisher. He’s a charge and powerslam type, not a puncher. This seems so forced to tie into the Tyson Fury stuff. You can have your celebrity match and your feud but don’t change a wrestler’s move set to artificially build it. Also don’t have your US champion knocked out and delirious off one punch. Use a jobber. Kudos to AJ for putting it over hard though.

In Conclusion

Well, there you have it. I honestly wanted to like this show. I gave it a chance despite the odd card and lack of care it has been given. The first half is great. The Kabuki Warriors are great heels, Sasha and Becky had the match of the night and the tornado tag was a nice chaotic way to bring a feud to a head. It wasn’t all bad but my god do the negatives outshine the positives. The crowd reception alone has doomed this PPV. The main event was a disaster waiting to happen when you think about it. There was no way it could have really gone well if The Fiend hadn’t won. It seems like WWE lack of commitment and rushed matches have bitten them in the ass here. RAW will be interesting as we can see how WWE address this, if at all. Plus, the draft will make things a bit different too as we can see who goes where. Oh, and we build to Crown Jewel… yay.

John is a UK based wrestling obsessive who still wants to believe the Bullet Club is fine. He is always tearing the business apart and first realised wrestling was for him when he saw Mankind fall from the top of the cell at King of the Ring 1998.

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