Brock Lesnar wasn’t finished with them yet. Although he was not scheduled to appear on the card, the former and definitely most notorious WWE Universal Champion made his presence felt at Hell in a Cell 2018.
Lesnar interfered in the Universal Championship match causing a disappointing no contest during an otherwise outstanding card that saw each and every WWE superstar swing for the fences. Unlike many of the Raw/Smackdown Network events thus far, everything clicked. Every match was the result of a malicious grudge and were carried out by WWE superstars who all left their smiles at the door. It made for a fantastic rough and tumble night of WWE action.
The highlights of the evening were the two outrageous Hell in a Cell matches. One pitting Randy Orton against Jeff Hardy and the other, Universal Champion Roman Reigns versus Brawn Strowman.
Mick Foley, no stranger to the Hell in a Cell apparatus, was first to enter the cell for the championship match. He looked nervous and concerned not the fun-loving Foley we are used to seeing. He stared up at the roof of the cell possibly reflecting on the past and he one-way trip down to oblivion.
Braun Strowman paced around the cell waiting for Reigns. He doesn’t seem intimidated at all. Reigns walked slowly to the ring dragging the Universal Championship around like a bag of laundry as per usual. Why he doesn’t show more respect for the title, I don’t know. He surveys the Hell in a Cell before walking through the door.
As Reign holds up the belt, Strowman rips it right out of his hands. A ticked off Reigns punches Strowman into a corner. Strowman absorbs Reigns’ punches, throws him into the steel post and shoulder tackles him off the apron into the cage.
The battle rages on the roof of the cage. Photo: WWE.
Strowman follows Reigns outside, smacking him off the cage, off the steel post.
“Nowhere to run and your boys cannot help you!” growls Strowman before pitching Reigns back into the ring.
It is Reigns’ turn to knock Strowman out of the ring. Strowman’s shoulder tackle on the floor almost puts Reigns through the cell. Strowman bounces Reign’s head off the steel steps three times.
Strowman hoists the steps. Two Drive-bys cause Strowman to stumble and drop the stairs. Undeterred, Strowman chokeslams Reigns on the apron as the fans chant…Get these hands!
Strowman takes a Kendo Stick from under the ring. He shakes his head in disappointment, throws it away and seizes a steel chair instead. Reigns wails on Strowman with the Kendo Stick. He might as well have hit The Monster Among Men with a stick of cotton candy. It does nothing. Strowman takes the stick and breaks it over his knee.
Reigns batters Strowman with a steels chair and side-steps the Monster so he collides with a steel post. A DDT on the steel chair only gets a one count. Strowman’s kick-out sends Reigns a fair ways across the ring.
Two Superman Punches do not put Strowman down. Strowman catches Reigns’ third chokeslamming him hard to the mat. Strowman receives a two count and argues bitterly with Foley. Strowman elevates a running Reigns up into the air. Reigns still manages a Superman Punch on the way down. A dazed Strowman rolls out of the ring to the floor.
Strowman argues with Foley. Photo: WWE.
“Tables are good,” confirms Foley as Reigns slides one into the ring.
Reigns runs around the ring to Superman Punch Strowman. Strowman ruins Reigns’ plans by clocking him with the steel stairs. Back in the ring, Strowman bashes him again with the stairs for a two count. Strowman heatedly debates things with Foley again.
“Why won’t you stay down!” roars Strowman at Reigns.
Strowman lifts the stairs above his head hitting Reigns in the ribs. It is a Running Powerslam for another two count. Strowman shakes his head at Foley. The Monster props up a table in a corner, slapping the surface, reading it for utter destruction. However, two Superman Punches and a spear through the table scores Reigns a two and a half count.
The Shield, Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre appear at ringside. They begin brawling as Strowman and Reigns lay on their backs in Dreamland in the ring.
The Shield whack Ziggler against the cell. McIntyre bashes them against the cell. Ziggler scales the cell and Rollins follows. The two start trading punches on top of the cell.
McIntyre climbs up stopping Rollins from piledriving Ziggler on the roof of the cell. With a Kendo Stick, Ambrose arrives to help Rollins. McIntyre and Ziggler double-team Rollins. Ambrose goes nuts with the stick until he and McIntyre clothesline each other.
Ziggler and Rollins awkwardly climb down the cell. They start trading punches and bounce each other’s heads off the cell. Rollins and Ziggler hit each other simultaneously, fall off the cage simultaneously through an announce table each.
Things go into overdrive as Brock Lesnar’s music hits. Brock, his new beard and Paul Heyman march down to the ring.
Heyman demands the official give him the key to the cell. The official refuses. Tired of waiting, Lesnar kicks the door down while Heyman sprays a nasty substance in the official’s face blinding him.
Lesnar enters the ring leaning the cell door in one corner. He takes part of a broken table beating down both Reigns and Strowman. An F5 to Strowman. An F5 for Reigns on top of Strowman.
“One more time!” chants the crowd as Lesnar and Heyman leave. Their work is done.
A new official calls for the bell. Due to Brock Lesnar’s interference the match is declared a no contest. The show cuts abruptly away as fans start booing.
The Hell in a Cell match between Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy took on a greater significance with Matt Hardy seemingly announcing his retirement from pro wrestling on Twitter over the weekend.
Orton cleans the wax out of Hardy’s ear. Photo: WWE.
Jeff Hardy took a long breath before heading down the aisle to face Orton. On the inside, Orton taunted Hardy who was on the outside. Hardy rattled the cage in Orton’s face.
As the bell rang, Hardy charged at Orton backing him into a corner. Orton knocked Hardy off the apron into the cell. The two men battled outside the ring. Hardy bounced Orton’s head off the cage twice. Hardy reached under the ring for a table sliding it into the ring.
In a really cool move, Hardy rode the table like a surfboard, sliding it into Orton’s stomach. Hardy pulled another ladder out from under the ring striking Orton in the stomach again. Orton fought back with a steel chair. Orton set up the chair on the floor. Orton sets-up an RKO. Hardy pushes Orton off into the cage. Hardy runs, leaps off the chair and crashes into Orton crushing him into the cage.
Finally back in the ring, Hardy strikes Orton with a Hardyac Arrest. Orton counters with a Superplex off the top rope for a two count. Both men twitch on the canvass already feeling the wear and tear of the match.
A Whisper in the Wind almost pins Orton who barely kicks out. Hardy retrieves another ladder and positions it on the floor upside down. Orton blocks the suplex slamming Hardy onto the upside down ladder. Man, that’s gotta hurt. Orton smiles at his handiwork as he rolls Hardy’s inert body back in the ring for a two count.
Orton takes a steel chair smashing it twice over Hardy’s back. Orton drags Hardy around the ring, ripping his shirt to pieces before he beats him some more with the chair. Orton takes Hardy’s own belt and whips him with it, steel studs and all.
Orton closes a ladder on Hardy, stomping on it over and over for another two count. The crowd cheers for Hardy hoping to bring him back from the brink of unconsciousness. An inverted atomic drop and a double leg drop to the “lower abdomen” has Orton hurting.
Hardy makes the delete motion as the crowd cheers him on. Orton turns the Twist of Fate into a powerslam. Orton removes a screwdriver from a tool box under the ring with a cruel smile. Orton wraps Hardy’s arms behind his back before putting the screwdriver through his ear-ring hole and violently twisting it around and around.
Hardy in a ladder sandwich. Photo: WWE.
Hardy mule kicks Orton to escape. Hardy whips Orton with his belt and smashes him repeatedly with a steel chair for a two count. Orton crotches Hardy before he can hit a Swanton Bomb. With blood pouring down his back from the studded belt, Orton DDTs Hardy off the ropes.
Orton prepares for an RKO by pounding the mat. Hardy reverses the RKO into a Twist of Fate. Hardy puts a chair over Orton splashing him with a Swanton Bomb from the top rope. Blood is seen pouring down one of Orton’s legs.
Hardy makes the delete motion again stunning Orton with another Twist of Fate. Orton is positioned onto a table. Hardy climbs a ladder, holds onto the top of the cell, swings and drops down. Orton moves out of the way. Hardy crashes through the table chest-first and Orton pins him demanding the official count the pinfall instead of calling for medical assistance. The crowd boos the three count. A neck brace is put on Hardy while Orton poses for the crowd. As Hardy is wheeled away on a stretcher the crowd cheers his name.
The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and/or Xavier Woods) (c) vs. Rusev, Aiden English – match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship
Aiden English puts the Accolade on Kofi. Photo: WWE.
The New Day screw up the name of the titles they currently hold. Sorry, fellas. They say WWE World Tag Team Championship instead of the SmackDown Tag Team Championship. In the ring, the New Day are about to sing a song but Aiden English comes out and there is a battle of the vocalists for a brief time. Kofi’s agility is no match for Rusev’s strength. English and Rusev work Kofi over as Big E is desperate to tag in. Kofi DDTs Rusev from the second rope to bring Big E in. Big E throws English around from pillar to post. Rusev tags himself in clotheslining and crushing Big E. Kofi attempts a save. Rusev backdrops Kofi clear across the ring as the crowd starts cheering…Rusev Day! English blind tags in and almost pins Big E. Kofi blind tags in too and almost pins English after a double stomp. Big E launches Kofi over the top rope at English, Rusev. Rusev Machka Kicks Kofi in the head. Back in the ring, English comes close to pinning Kofi. With Rusev stunned outside the ring after a miscommunication and a diving head butt, English puts the Accolade on Kofi. Kofi kicks English into the ropes. English is pinned by Trouble in Paradise.
Winners: …and still Smackdown Tag Team Champions…The New Day at 8 minutes and 57 seconds.
Match Rating: 7 / 10
Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton – Hell in a Cell match
Winner: Randy Orton at 26 minutes and 19 seconds.
Match Rating: 8.5 / 10
Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Becky Lynch – match for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
Becky is in no mood for a truce. Photo: WWE.
A decent match marred by some botched moves, spots. Becky Lynch storms to the ring. No smiles, all business. Becky is cheered while Charlotte receives a fair amount of boos. A number of signs around the ring, possibly handed out by the WWE themselves as they tend to do, say…”I boo the woo”.
The women goof a leg lock move that ends with Lynch wrapping Flair in an arm lock. Lynch leaps off the apron punching Charlotte in the face. Lynch starts working over Charlotte’s arms and joints including a brutal bridging arm bar. Flair flubs an awkward leg drop. The two women trade blows on the apron. Lynch smashes Charlotte’s arm off the apron. The crowd chants for Becky.
Charlotte kicks Lynch in the face with a big boot. She misses a moonsault off the ropes though. Charlotte lifts Lynch’s Dis-arm-her into a powerbomb. The match devolves into a fist fight. Lynch wraps Charlotte’s arm around a ring post. Charlotte reaches the ropes to halt a Dis-arm-her. Charlotte executes a really sloppy spear. Lynch rolls up Charlotte for the pin and the title in a very awkward ending. Charlotte reaches to raise Lynch’s hand in victory. Lynch doesn’t accept Charlotte’s peace offering. She holds the belt up high telling Charlotte she will not take away her moment and leaves the ring.
Winner: …and new SmackDown Women’s Champion…Becky Lynch at 13 minutes and 45 seconds.
Match Rating: 7 / 10
Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose – Tag team match for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
Ambrose wants to take on McIntyre. Photo: WWE.
Rollins and Ambrose come out to their own individual, separate entrances not in their Shield gear or to a Shield entrance. The complexion of the match changes when McIntyre enters and dares Ambrose to tag in. A drop kick brings McIntyre to his knees. Ziggler distracts Ambrose so that McIntyre can grind Ambrose over the ropes. McIntyre hurls Rollins into a corner chopping, stomping him into the mat.
“You are nothing to us!” yells McIntyre.
“Do something!” screams Ziggler bringing Rollins down to one knee with a sleeper.
McIntyre pulls Ambrose off the apron so a battered Rollins cannot tag out. Ambrose is tagged in but the official didn’t see the tag as Ziggler had him distracted so Ziggler and McIntyre double-team Rollins.
Rollins finally hot tags Ambrose in. Ambrose fights off both Ziggler and McIntyre. Ambrose’s Dirty Deeds on the apron is thwarted by McIntyre. Ambrose throws McIntyre into a steel post and Ziggler into a ringside barrier.
McIntyre belly-to-back suplexes Ambrose into one of the corners. McIntyre and Ziggler catch Rollins as he makes a suicide dive. Ambrose follows up with a suicide dive of his own knocking everyone down like bowling pins.
Rollins kicks out of the Zig Zag. Two super kicks and a frog splash from Rollins doesn’t pin McIntyre. Rollins superplexes Ziggler. As he attempts another suplex, McIntyre cinches the match for the champions with a Claymore Kick.
Winners: …and still WWE Raw Tag Team Champions… Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre at 22 minutes and 56 seconds.
Match Rating: 8.5 / 10
AJ Styles (c) vs. Samoa Joe – match for the WWE Championship
The controversial ending to Joe versus AJ. Photo: WWE.
AJ Styles has Connor’s Cure gloves which are being auctioned off for the charity. Joe is trash talking AJ from the start saying he is going to put him to sleep. Joe goes off the ropes, AJ drop kicks him out of the ring. Styles leaps on the apron and knees Joe in the face. Styles bounces Joe’s head off the announce table and then the apron. A baseball slide knocks Joe into the announce desk. Joe rolls out of the ring to avoid a Phenomenal Forearm. Joe kicks AJ in the knee as he attempts it again. AJ is thrown into the steel post before he is rolled back into the ring. A running knee puts Styles into next week.
A splash in a corner followed by an enziguri turns out Styles’ lights momentarily. Joe dives through the ropes sending Styles into the announce table with a flying forearm smash.
Joe puts his knees up stopping a moonsault off the ropes. A staggering Styles lifts Joe into a torture rack and a slam for a two count. Styles leaps off the ropes, halfway across the ring for a 450 splash. It is still not enough to put away Samoa Joe.
After a running clothesline, Styles is bleeding from the mouth. The only thing keeping Joe up after a Pele Kick are the ropes. Joe turns a Phenomenal Forearm into a Coquina Clutch. Styles rolls through to pin Joe. An irate Joe believes Styles tapped out. He takes out his frustration out on the announce table. Joe grabs the belt away from Styles. Styles knocks him out of the ring with an enziguri. Another camera angle shows that Styles tapped out to the Coquina Clutch before the three count was delivered by the referee. Later on in the evening, Joe complains to Smackdown GM Paige. Paige agrees to schedule a rematch at WWE Super Show-Down in Australia.
Winner: …and still WWE Champion … AJ Styles at 19 minutes and 2 seconds.
Match Rating: 9 / 10
Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse
Brie and Daniel are shocked by their loss. Photo: WWE.
Every time Brie tags in, Maryse tags in The Miz. Maryse breaks up Bryan’s submission hold. Brie chases Maryse around the ring but cannot catch her. Bryan backdrops The Miss out of the ring. Brie is tagged in. When Miz steps in the way protecting his wife, Brie attacks The Miz, which is against the rules but…nothing matters in WWE. Brie bounces Maryse’s head off the announce table several times. The Miz breaks up Brie’s pin.
“Nobody touches my wife!” Bryan barks at The Miz.
Double Yes Kicks from Brie and Bryan on Maryse and The Miz. Maryse and The Miz head for the hills but are dragged back to the ring. Brie is outsmarted when Maryse rolls her up. Brie needs to go to acting school. Enough with the exaggerated, forced expressions.
Winners: The Miz and Maryse at 13 minutes and 40 seconds.
Match Rating: 6 / 10
Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Alexa Bliss – WWE Raw Women’s Championship
Ronda gets rowdy. Photo: WWE.
Alexa Bliss puts up a better fight focusing her attack on Rousey’s ribs. Rousey picks up Bliss to slam her. Unfortunately, her ribs give out. Rousey is stuck on the Tree of Woe. Bliss drop kicks the ribs. Every time Rousey mounts some offence, Bliss attacks the ribs. Slam. Arm bar. Bliss taps out.
Winner: …and still WWE Raw Women’s Champion…Ronda Rousey…at 12 minutes and 25 seconds.
Match Rating: 5 / 10
Roman Reigns (c) vs. Braun Strowman – Hell in a Cell match for the WWE Universal Championship
Winner: Match ruled a no contest…and still WWE Universal Champion… Roman Reigns…at 20 minutes and 21 seconds.
Match Rating: 9 / 10
Overall Event Rating: 8.5 / 10