“If you wanna go to Hell you should take a trip to the Sodom and Gomorrah of the Mississip.” Yes, it’s true: when The Simpsons poked fun at New Orleans with that line, as Marge played Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire, the writers were clearly looking to the future when the home of the NFL’s Saints would host the WWE’s most devilish event. Four championships are on the line — which two do you think changed hands?

The Triple Threat, Hell in a Cell match for the WWE Championship is slotted as the main event. The opening video for the pay-per-view featured a twisted rendition of Brahms’ Lullaby; are the editors sending a secret message that a Go-To-Sleep will feature prominently in the match’s outcome?

All three combatants take their sweet time actually entering the cage, daunted by the door, like it was a metal detector and they were sneaking in a sledgehammer. Alberto Del Rio does the man-in-motion routine, scampering away from both John Cena and CM Punk before they catch him and take turns putting the boots to him, then the crowd kicks him too with a “Let’s go Cena / CM Punk” chant. When did Del Rio become an afterthought?

He releases his aggression by shoving Punk into the cage, then goes after Cena, wedging a chair into the corner buckles. Cena, though, cuts him off with a vintage routine, culminating with a Five-Knuckle Shuffle. Punk charges both of them, showing off a nice set of lacerations on his torso. Can Straight-Edge folks use Polysporin?

Cena tosses Punk off the apron into the cage again, and Del Rio brings the champ down with a side suplex onto a chair. As Punk returns and scraps with Del Rio, Cena hits them both with a leg drop off the top buckle. Del Rio decides to go with less subtlety, attacking both adversaries with a chair, including placing one between Punk and Cena and then leaping off the top buckle to squash them.

A sequence of finishers and interference disrupting pinfalls follows, culminating with Punk doing his Macho Man elbow on Del Rio. As Punk is tossed aside, Cena gets Del Rio in the STF — but Ricardo Rodriguez knocks down the outside ref and gets his key. He enters the cage with a lead pipe, but Cena chases him out and gives him an Attitude Adjustment. Del Rio grabs the pipe and smacks Cena in the ribs, then locks the cage with Cena on the outside.

Announcer Michael Cole can’t believe his eyes, having never seen someone locked out of the cell before (meaning he didn’t watch DX vs. Legacy two years ago). Del Rio has the pipe in hand, shellacking Punk as he’s hoisted up for the GTS, then finishes Punk off with a blow to skull. There’s no getting up from that, and Cena watches Del Rio pin Punk for his second championship from the outside.

Stay tuned for the post-match activities …

The next WWE pay-per-view is Vengeance on October 23rd.


New Orleans, LA hosts tonight’s event, brought to you with commentary by the trio of Michael Cole, Jim Ross, and Booker T.

Match #1 – Christian vs. Sheamus

As the sporadic but volatile history between these two is relayed, a commotion in the crowd distracts the announcers — The Miz and R-Truth make their way to ringside, sporting tickets. John Laurinaitis quickly arrives with security, demanding that they leave. The Miz doth protest, showing his paid stubs, but the former employees are forced to leave nonetheless.

Christian slips behind Sheamus, but the Great White easily hip-tosses him to the mat, then grounds him with an oppressive headlock. Christian responds with a misguided slap to the face, sending Sheamus into a raging attack. With the Irishman on the top rope, though, Christian simply shoves him off to the floor.

A series of escapes and reversals follow, with Sheamus dumping Christian off his back during a sleeper hold, and Christian rolling out of the way from an elbow drop. Captain Canuck drills Sheamus into the mat with a severe spinning DDT off the second rope, and soon afterwards spears Sheamus both on the floor and in the middle of the ring — but Sheamus kicks out to Christian’s immense frustration. Christian misses with a flying headbutt, then Sheamus dodges a third spear and ends the match with a Brogue Kick.

Winner via pinfall: Sheamus

Rating: 6/10

Matt Striker is backstage with Mark Henry, and Henry tells him to shut up and does a weird impression of Striker’s voice, asking him about the match. Henry simply promises Orton’s entry into the Hall of Pain.

Match #2 – Sin Cara vs. Twin Cara

How come the WWE history makers aren’t making a big deal out of two wrestlers trampolining into the ring in one match? Both Caras circle around each other, trading flying head scissors, before Sin tosses Twin out of the ring with an arm drag and follows with a diving somersault. Sin misses a moonsault follow-up and Twin slows things down with a headlock in the ring. “Just hit somebody in the mouth, forget about all these moves, man”, Booker T says, showing his stripes as a Tough Enough trainer.

A “boring” chant pops up from the crowd — small, but audible. A double-headbutt drops both Caras, but a much louder “boring” chant forces them up quickly, and Sin gets some life back into the crowd with a cross-body off the top to the floor. Sin misses his Senton Bomb, but rolls into an upright position. Twin tries a powerbomb, but Sin doubles him over into a pinning hold for the finish.

Winner via pinfall and STILL Sin Cara: Sin Cara

Rating: 7/10 – don’t listen to the crowd on this one

CM Punk is busy taping his arms when David Otunga, dressed a bit like Bert from Sesame Street, stops by to … well, it’s not clear what he came by for. Punk tells him he hates lawyers and dismisses him.

Match #3 – Air Boom (Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne – champions) vs. Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler (w/ Vickie Guerrero) – for the WWE Tag Team Championship

Bourne tries to get the crowd to decide whether he or Kingston should start – but the crowd doesn’t seem to care. Kingston and Bourne start off by making quick tags and landing several double-team moves on both Ziggler and Swagger, but size catches up with Bourne and he gets rag-dolled by Swagger. Kofi gets the tag, but slips through the ropes on the run as Swagger creates an opening for him.

Guerrero’s guys show nothing but smooth teamwork, but Evan Bourne gets back in, leaping off the top rope and driving Ziggler down with his knees, following with a standing moonsault. A big mess breaks out, with Swagger getting in with an ankle lock on Bourne, and Kingston knocking him down with a cross-body. Swagger sets up what looks to be a powerbomb off the middle rope, but Bourne counters with a hurricanrana for the end.

Winners via pinfall and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: Air Boom

Rating: 6/10

Match # 4 – Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry (champion) – Hell in a Cell Match for the World Heavyweight Championship

Cole mentions that this is only the 22nd HIAC match, but mentions a little later that it’s been 14 years since the first one. Put that way, that’s a pretty high ratio. Orton is chomping at the bit for the bell, rushing Henry with flying fists and taking the fight outside the ring. Henry face-plants the cage first, but he soon turns it around and rams Orton’s back into the cage and the ringpost. Henry takes it back in the ring and powerslams the challenger, then does it again on the outside floor.

Henry picks up the stairs and throws them at Orton -– yes, throws them in a move that should be called “I will now kill you”. Orton wisely dives out of the way. After a World’s Gentlest Splash, chased by two backbreakers and a bear hug, Orton escapes a World’s Strongest Slam on the steps by grabbing the cage. He drops the champ with a DDT on the steps, and then again in the ring. He chases this with a clean, solid RKO — but Henry kicks out. Orton feels like he’s on fourth down (third in the CFL), and readies a punt. Henry intercepts him and spikes him with a World’s Strongest Slam for another decisive win.

Winner via pinfall and STILL World Heavyweight Champion: Mark Henry

Rating: 8/10

Henry starts to walk away with the belt, but returns to slam Orton again and nearly gives him the steel chair ankle treatment, but Orton rolls away in time. He smacks Henry with the chair, chasing him towards the back with Henry escaping to the backstage.

Elsewhere, Josh Matthews talks to Del Rio, who is complaining about getting his championship rematch in the cell. He’s not an animal, he says, or a criminal. Or mineral. Or vegetable.

Not scheduled for a match, Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes heads into the ring in his casual Friday attire. He calls out the ugliness in New Orleans, which is expected, then drops the Intercontinental belt into a paper bag, which is not. His flunkie hands him a velvet bag, and Rhodes produces the vintage 80s/90s Intercontinental strap. He says he will defend the belt anytime, anywhere — and John Laurinaitis steps out to say that Mr. H has ordered a title match right now. Is it The Ultimate Warrior? Not quite …

Match #5 – John Morrison vs. Cody Rhodes (champion) – for the Intercontinental Championship

Rhodes is actually wrestling in street clothes for the first time in a while, and Morrison starts off with a number of pinning attempts. Rhodes decides to take a walk, but when Morrison brings him back the champ wraps himself around the ringpost to try and force a count-out. Morrison boots him in the head and brings him in the ring, but Rhodes catches his breath and gets a ”Whoo” from the crowd with a figure-four, though he releases it abruptly. This lets Morrison back into the match, but Rhodes grabs his foot to halt Starship Pain, then keeps his title with a roll-up.

Winner and STILL Intercontinental Champion: Cody Rhodes

Rating: 7/10

There’s a problem backstage, and Laurinaitis rushes in to tell Mr. H that The Miz and R-Truth are in the building. They run into the locker room and find them having laid out Air Boom before security drags them away. Mr. H puts the blame on Laurinaitis.

Match # 6 – Beth Phoenix (w/ Natalya) vs. Kelly Kelly (champion, w/ Eve Torres) – for the Divas Championship

What did you think of the WWE Hell in a Cell PPV?
It was great – 17%
It was okay – 21%
It sucked – 16%
Didn’t see it – 46%

Kelly opens with two Lou Thesz Presses, but Phoenix stops her screaming spinning head-scissors with a backbreaker. She slams the champ into the corner, leaves her hanging in the Tree of Woe, then rams her with a drop-kick. Phoenix drops her with a slingshot suplex, but Kelly uses the turnbuckles to roll away from a Glam Slam. The champ climbs the corner and hits a hair-dragged bulldog. Eve picks a fight with Natalya on the floor, and ends up tossed to the side as Phoenix escapes the K2. Phoenix traps Kelly in the Divas of Doom’s new submission move as Natalya berates her on the house mic, but Kelly grabs the ropes to escape. Natalya sneaks in a mic smack on Kelly’s head, and Phoenix follows with a Glam Slam for the overdue, but tainted, win.

Winner via pinfall and NEW Divas Champion: Beth Phoenix

Rating: 5/10

Match #7 – Alberto Del Rio (challenger) vs. CM Punk (challenger) vs. John Cena (champion) – Triple Threat Hell in a Cell match for the WWE Championship

Winner and NEW WWE Champion: Alberto Del Rio

Rating: 8/10

After the match, Cena waits for the cell to be lifted off the ground and he charges in to attack Del Rio — but he’s not alone. Miz and R-Truth, enclosed in hoodies, attack all three wrestlers and the refs as the cell drops to the floor again. A gaggle of wrestlers erupt from backstage, along with Laurinaitis and Mr. H, but nobody seems to know who is responsible for raising and lowering the cage. Seriously, isn’t that someone’s job? Did The Miz steal the garage-door opener that controls it?

Finally, someone comes down with wire cutters and snaps the lock, whereupon police enter the ring and detain the cooperative Miz and Truth. Jim Ross utters that “this is not justice,” with Booker T echoing his sentiments and wishing for “street justice.” Ah, if only WWE announcers were automatic members of the Supreme Court. Anyway, they get their wish as Mr. H assaults Miz and Truth (even shoving Laurinaitis to the floor), and the show ends with law and order disintegrating.

Event Rating: 7/10

Dave Hillhouse is a teacher and screenwriter, and thinks he heard Del Rio triumphantly yell out his own last name after a successful move. Everybody should do that, in all walks of life, for any measurable success.