Hello, everyone. You've landed on Planet Kayfabe. I'm glad you could join me again to review another WWE Pay-Per-View, this time we visit Hell in a Cell of 2018. As usual I will run down the good and the bad of the event and sum it all up at the end with a grade. Live from the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas this is Hell in a Cell.
The Red Cell:
Obviously this has to be addressed. When I first saw the leaked photo of the new cell I didn't like it since red is a pretty harsh and distracting color. I wanted to see how it looked on TV. However before I saw it on TV I saw that McDonald's Play Place meme a thousand times and I couldn't un-see it since it's the same bright shade of red. During the show, I just found the cell to be a bit too distracting. You may think its nitpicking since of course a big metal structure is going to be distracting, but I didn't feel that way before when it had a generic natural chrome tone.
I give them credit for experimenting and other than the color the Cell looked great. I know it's red because red = Hell or something. I don't know. There were so many bad hell, fire, devil and Dante Alighieri references and puns that I wanted to throw up blood. Next time I'd prefer them going back to chrome or a less distracting color like black. There was just so much red. A red Cell. Red LED light everywhere. Red lights in the crowd. Another thought I had is maybe this red Cell will only be used on this PPV, but if there is a Cell match on Wrestlemania, for example, it will be a chrome cage. Who knows.
Total Bellas/Miz & Mrs Promotional Match:
Not much to say here. I said it in my preview. I did not love or hate this match, but if you asked me how I would book this Bryan/Miz feud after all that build before Bryan even came out of retirement, this would have been my last idea. A mixed tag match getting the wives involved. Brie isn't great, but she's not bad despite an ugly outing on Raw. Maryse however should not be in a ring anymore. This should just be a personal rivalry with Miz and Bryan. Instead they made it about their reality shows and now people really don't care. Maryse picked up the clean win on Brie in an ugly roll up. Like I predicted, Maryse would get the win on Brie like how Miz got the win over Bryan. I was only expecting something more dirty. This is not what I would have done, but whatever. Stock is up and 5 days after celebrating women at 'Evolution' they are going to say f*** 'em in Saudi Arabia where they will get millions to do another glorified house show.
Heels Justified In World Title Match Loses:
One was planned and the other wasn't. First the planned spot. At the finish of what was a very good AJ vs Samoa Joe match Joe was choking out AJ who then countered into a pin to win the match. At first I thought this was a very good finish. The babyface fighting with his last bit of energy to out-will the bad guy and pick up the win in a way that gets them both over.
But no... In 2018 AJ Styles title run fashion WWE can't just have an actual finish there has to be a !~**CONTROVERSY**~! After the match Joe pleaded with the referee saying AJ tapped. The ref didn't see it and us watching at home didn't see it either until they showed the replay afterwards which clearly showed a tap. I guess they wanted to keep Joe strong, but again, I argue that AJ countering into the pin was enough. Joe was winning the match and AJ, like a fighting babyface does, used his last ounce of energy to find a way to win. Joe still looked good and so did AJ. Now suddenly our babyface champion looks like he got lucky. All this finish does is make Joe look good, which is fine, but he's still not champion and now on Smackdown people are going to chant "you tapped out" at your babyface world champion. This company sucks at booking babyfaces now.
Now for your Botchamania moment. Early in the WWE Universal Championship match between Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns, Strowman went for a pin after hitting a chokeslam and Foley counted 1-2-3. I've actually gone back and watched this because it is close, but Foley's hand was down for the 3 count as Roman was beginning to kick out, but his shoulder wasn't off the mat yet. Foley immediately reacted to that 3rd count like he just touched a hot platter out of the oven without any gloves while Braun yelled at Foley for calling it a 2 count. Either Foley f***ed up or Roman wasn't paying attention or both. Probably a bit of both. Either way, Braun has a good argument for a rematch. Ya know, the same way Roman Reigns bitched for 3 months about being the uncrowned Universal Champion after the cage match against Brock, Braun can go around saying he should be Universal Champion. So, on this even both heels are justified. One planned, one clearly not so much.
Good show/Bad Main Event and Finish:
Even outside than the obvious botch that screwed over Braun Strowman, the match was probably the worst on the card. It's a shame because the show was a very good show and the matches were enjoyable and it wasn't filled with a bunch of cop out f*** finishes like I predicted it would have. However, there were some and this was one of them. Braun and Roman laid dead in the ring for at least 5 minutes while Ziggler, McIntyre, Ambrose and Rollins all ran in to brawl outside of the Cell and then on top of the cage which looked very sturdy. So, even though it looks like shit, at least it is a well-made structure. After the high spot of Seth and Dolph falling off the half-way point of the cell after battling each other, the music of Brock Lesnar hit and the crowd went nuts instantly forgetting about that big bump.
You may or may not like Brock Lesnar, but he is sticking around as long as WWE is willing to pay him as he should and as any of you would also. I actually enjoyed his appearance. He came in, busted open the Cell door and laid out both champ and challenge while Heyman blinded Foley with pepper spray. With both combatants laid out and the special guest referee a new official came out and called off the match. The fans went from hot to cold and booed the no-contest finish to close the show, as they should.
So, that's how Braun's cash-in goes. He, again now a heel, called his spot to have a fair match. Got it. Was screwed with a botched pinfall and his match is thrown out in a no disqualification setting due to outside interference. That's pretty weak especially in a HIAC match, especially in the main event, especially when closing the show. It's Hell in a Cell. Look at the very first one. Kane debuted, laid out The Undertaker and a bloodied Shawn Michaels picked up the win. It wasn't called off. Brock hit motherf***ers with a broken table and hit them each with an F-5. Great. It's Hell in a Cell though and there must be a winner. Apparently not. The heel was screwed twice here, I guess.
Becky Lynch surprises with a title victory:
They avoided a f*** finish here by having Becky, working a babyface style by the way, win a clean title match against Charlotte who beat Becky a month ago after hitting her from behind with the Natural Selection whole Becky was working over the champion in submission. Even in this more quiet crowd the fans were firmly behind Becky, while Charlotte got a mixed reaction, but not as many boos as she may have gotten somewhere else. Charlotte went to raise Becky's hand but Becky denied and said she isn't going to take her moment from her.
This finish also triggered guys like Goldust to bitch about smarks on Twitter telling them they can all shut up now because in WWE you're not a "real fan" unless you just bend over and love everything they shove up your ass and love everything they tell you to. Even though if their ass backwards booking positioned Becky Lynch as the babyface this whole time and then when they turned her they think that the fans just cheer her to be rebellious. No. It's because they genuinely like her and want to cheer her and were happy to see her win the title.
At Least the Raw Tag Titles Looked Good:
I already bitched about the SD tag titles being shunned to the pre-show in my preview so I have nothing to add to that. The Raw tag match was very good and had a clever finish. Rollins went for his suplerplex-into-falcon arrow spot however upon going for the Falcon Arrow he was hit with the Claymore Kick by Drew McIntyre and Ziggler picked up the pinfall victory. The champions retained while that lucky bastard Ziggler was carried on the broad, strong shoulders of McIntyre up the ramp.
What? I'm saying he's lucky because he got the win.
Randy Orton vs Jeff Hardy:
Hell in a Cell violence returns in this match. This is possibly the most violent Cell match since WWE moved to PG. It would also be my favorite match on this show. The match featured some hard way blood. The good kind of red on the show. A piece of Randy's leg was hanging out of his leg. I'm sure Owen Hart would be proud. The finish of the match was Jeff monkey barring the cage to do a splash on Randy who was on a table, but Randy moved and Jeff fell laying motionless while Randy went for a pin. The ref wanted to throw the match away but Randy told the ref to do his job and count for the pin which makes the main event finish look even more stupid in retrospect. Orton won and Jeff was carted out of the arena.
WWE gave two separate medical updates on Jeff Hardy throughout the show so they are playing it off as a serious injury and with the last few months filled with rumors that he's been working banged up, he will probably be written off TV for a while to heal. It was a great match with a cool finish that I enjoyed. Did they need the Cell? No, but this was Jeff's first and what could be his last Cell match so they did it just because they can.
That'll do it for Hell in a Cell. What can I say other than it was a WWE show with good action and some weird finishes. It was mostly good and I give this show 7 hot goth chicks out of 10. That seems fair. Perhaps a B if you like letter grades.
One of my biggest gripes was Ronda selling for 90% of her match with Alexa. I know they played up the broken ribs, but come on. I hate this WWE philosophy they have now where babyface champions sell for 90% of the match before making their comeback. The reason why I didn't include it in the body of my column is because the crowd still popped for the comeback and if they cheer, fine, but it is a boring match layout and Ronda, after squashing Alexa Bliss a month ago, doesn't need to be selling that much. Alexa had two buddies outside the ring who barely played a role. Get them involved if you want Ronda to sell more. She's surprisingly good at it, but I want to see less of it. Don't Asuka her.
As for Brock, he's looking leaner in preparation for his next run with the UFC. It doesn't look like he's leaving WWE, though. Some of you love it. Some of you hate it. He's going to show up as long as WWE is willing to pay him millions to work a very limited schedule. Also, I don't want a triple threat. Bruan is owed a rematch for two reasons, one because Foley called off a shoot 3 count and the other because there was no finish to his MITB cash-in match. It was already stated in storyline that Brock Lesnar has a contractually obligated rematch with Roman Reigns. All a triple threat would do is give the guy who doesn't take the fall yet another match.
Thanks for reading, everyone. Leave a comment below with your thoughts and hit me up on Twitter @PlanetKayfabe
For NoDQ, this is Planet Kayfabe and I'm K.C. take care, everyone and enjoy Raw tonight.